Tag Archives: trust

The key to healthy relationships

I stayed at a hotel recently and the key to the room was an electronic gizmo that looked like a key. It inserted into the lock like a key and turned like a key.

I wondered, “why the trouble to make this new technology look like old tech?

Comfort to the guests. We all know what a key looks like. We are all creatures of habit and want to feel secure, so holding a key in our hand is a familiar feeling.

This key was different. It was embedded with the code to get into a particular room. Room 1167 would not be able to work on the lock for room 1624.

Makes perfect sense.

All the keys, however, were able to access the elevators that took each guest to any floor they wanted to visit. I have been in hotels where your room key only allowed you to access your floor, and if you had a friend on another floor they had to let you in.

This got me thinking about the symbolism and metaphors we have for keys:

The keys to our hearts.

The key to success.

The 5 or 10 or 100 keys to ______

The ONE key to happiness

Happiness is key to ________

Food is the key to a man’s heart

I am sure you can come up with other sayings.

When we allow people to enter into our lives, we give them a symbolic key of trust. We welcome them into our private spaces. We don’t say, “you are only allowed to use the kitchen but not the bathroom.We ASSUME that they will respect the trust we have given.

However, when the people we trust take the key we have offered and turn it against us, we feel violated. We may say things like,

I trusted you to not steal my money when we opened our joint account.
I trusted you to not have sex with my best friend when we went out last night.
I trusted you to not bash my face in when you are angry and blame all your failures on me.

Each one of the above sentences represents a situation where we GAVE the key to our hearts and lives to another and they use that key to wreck our lives.

When this happens, we must find the courage to “lock” them out of our hearts. That, often feels quite impossible.

We feel like they know us too well for us to set any real boundaries. Often, they know us better than we feel we know ourselves, but that is not true.

We must find the courage to block the codes they have used to enter our private heart spaces. If we have values of love and bravery and courage, they know our strengths and may say “Well you say you have love as a value, but you can’t find a way to love me as I am. You must be a liar!

When this happens, we may try to prove them wrong by showing them how much love we have and we may stay in unhealthy situations longer than we should.

What to do?

Turn those values of Love and Bravery and Courage back on yourself and show your own self that you have the only key to emotional freedom. Freedom to choose a healthy relationship over one that causes pain.

Love and light


I am an activist to end violence against women: Part I

UntitledI’ve always had a passion for helping women who have suffered abuse of any kind.  Why did I choose this particular passion?  I am a rape survivor.  As a young teenager, I fell victim to an older teenager who preyed upon my kindness of wanting to help him with his “demons” by inviting him to church.  He disappeared after the rape, and I chose not to report the rape to police, or my parents for many heart-wrenching reasons.  I told my best friend at the time, but my nightmares only seemed to get worse.

I did, however, make sure I got into the front seat of a police car as a police cadet soon after I was raped.  I felt safe, and I believed I could help other girls and women if I was a police officer.

As a police officer, I made every effort to handle the domestic violence calls, the reports of Untitledrape, sex abuse, or teenage girls who were being abused by their parent or guardian.  I investigated every case with a fine tooth comb, dotted every “i,” crossed every “t,” and wanted justice for girls and women who cried out for help.

What I COULDN’T do in my 20 years in law enforcement, was advocate for the girls and women who DID NOT, or COULD NOT seek help.  Police officers must remain objective, and are ethically held by the rules of law.  I did what I could to encourage these women and girls to report their abusers, but that was the extent of my power.

UntitledAfter 20 years in law enforcement, I became a private investigator, and working criminal defense cases came with this territory.  After being a defense investigator during these abuse cases, I became acutely aware of both sides of the stories.  After interviewing and representing multiple “alleged” abusers, many of them told me their family history, the abuse they, themselves, suffered as children, and the demons they fought for most of their lives.  Many of these men admitted their guilt and asked for help.  Other abusive men admitted their guilt, but showed no remorse, and believed the woman “deserved what she got.”

UntitledNow that I’m retired from law enforcement and private investigations, I was left with confusing thoughts, beliefs, and judgments, with no clear answer of why men are so abusive to women in our world.  The latest statistic from the United Nations is that 1 out of every 3 women will suffer abuse on this planet.  This is a staggering pandemic.  This means that YOU, or someone you know … a sister, mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin, best friend, or daughter ….. has suffered some form of abuse.  Maybe you are the abuser? Maybe you were a victim of verbal, physical, or sexual abuse as a child? Or maybe you are being abused now. Where do you go for help?  Who do you trust?

In the next “Part 2” blog series, I will share how Indrani Goradia, Indrani’s Light Foundation, and Brené Brown came into play for me.  Meanwhile, I’m feeling vulnerable about sharing my story this way, so I’d love some feedback about how this blog is resonating with you.   Do you have a similar story?  Do you have mixed feelings about becoming an activist?  Tell me your thoughts.


With deepest gratitude,

Director of Education & Training
Indrani’s Light Foundation





Just fly the plane…..

unnamedAt times I get tripped up by fear and worry.

I cannot move ahead, I am scared to do so.

A friend of mine said to me recently, “Kay, just fly the plane.”

I thought about those words, “just fly the plane.” I thought if a pilot worries and is in fear about how the plane stays in the air, they would never get off the ground.

They rely on their training, experience, trust in the equipment and instinct… they take off.

I need to get on with living life without obsessing, over-analyzing and worrying and just do it.

Can you drop the worry and fly the plane?


Love & light,
Kay Walten


Lessons from Olga…..

She wouldn’t accept my offer of a bracelet.
She wouldn’t let me make a crown for her.
She refused to come closer.
She was one of the 200 or so students in one of the orphanages that my clown group visited.

There I was sitting on a step, making crowns from pipe cleaners.  The kids were lined up for their crowns….girls, boys, small, big, some young and some older.

I am not sure when she decided to come closer, but there she was and ready for a crown.
I crafted her crown carefully and with an extra dose of gratitude for trusting that I would not harm her.

When the pipe cleaners were finished, I started making beaded bracelets for everyone. I made hers first and she carefully selected her beads from the small baggies that sat precipitously on my lap. As the kids realized that something new was being given, they quickly swarmed and began demanding their bracelet. She became my helper and as kids requested the color of beads, “rojo, verde, azul, blanco”. She quietly and efficiently fished the correct bead from the baggie and gave it to me to thread on the multi-colored string.

I hugged her and said, “Adios” and thanked her for her help. She smiled and her eyes twinkled.

The magic of this connection was that she did not know if she cared to connect or even if she trusted me. I did not base my success that morning on whether or not she would accept my gifts. I was there, loving and giving without thought as to what her role should or ought to be.

Should she be grateful that I had come all the way from America to visit that orphanage?
Should she care that I had spent money on these pipe cleaners and the baggie of beads?
Her only job was to be herself.
My job was to be loving and present and joyful.
We both did our jobs well.

Now if only I can remember to practice this giving of myself in a pure and unattached way. A way that says, I am here for you, if you’d like to come closer.
A way that allows me to KNOW that chasing you or begging you or demanding of you to be a certain way is just unacceptable.
A way that tells me you are responsible for whom and what you accept from me.
A way that shows me to stay true to me and allow you to stay true to you and hope that in our separate trueness we can still share love, peace and harmony.

Thanks Olga, for these big lessons.
I will hold your smile in my heart forever.
May you be well.
May you be happy.
May you be peaceful and at ease.
May you be free.

Love and light,

Cleaning MY side of the street…

Cleaning MY side of the street..

I have been given an amazing opportunity to clean up some “stuff”.
Relational “stuff”… the kind that is easier to let fester and rot and stay away from. The kind that is easy to not think about…the kind that makes it easy to keep myself busy with other “stuff”.
I am one lucky woman!

In speaking to a mentor about how to clean up my side of the street and how to find the mess that I contributed…I began to see how it is easy to avoid personal responsibility for the “stuff” of life. My mentor allowed me to speak at length about the whole dang thing and then he asked simple questions?

How was that your business?
When did you begin to move in fear?
Did you know that as soon as fear appears, trust and love disappears?

WOW…I intellectually knew all of this, of course, but to suspend judgment of self and others and to bear witness to my process was
fascinating. I could “see” myself doing the dance, saying the words, feeling the emotions. I saw it all, EXCEPT the fear.
The fear crept in, got comfy and seduced me with “I know what’s best here, leave it up to me.” I listened, I allowed fear to speak AND I was not aware of it.

It all boils down to this…I was not aware that I was in the state of vulnerability.

I was scared and vulnerable and confused and yes, afraid.

One of the biggest gifts we can give to ourselves is to have a partner to converse with….to help us keep things in check. Playing the same tape in our own heads just means that the record is stuck and making a deeper RUT. The neuro-pathway is getting more deeply etched and we can never get any more clarity without bringing some fresh, qualified thoughts to the situation.

If you have a relationship that is in jeopardy, then you have to clean up YOUR side of the street.
Their side of the street is their business.
Put on your overalls and your work boots and maybe even some gloves (not boxing gloves) because you may get dirtier before you get any cleaner.

This is not recommended if you expect to be fault free.

Happy cleaning!

Love and light,


Gracefully accept….

In the more formidable challenges of my life, I have solely relied on myself.  I trust myself to get through it, to tough it out, to push myself beyond my limits without the help of others.

I always think I can do it…I don’t need anyone and I don’t want to trust anyone.

While climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, trust in strangers became inevitable.  Not only trust but receiving help gracefully.  Grace is not necessarily my strong suit.

Starting on day two of the climb, the effects of altitude sickness crept in.  I was not aware of it.
One of the guides offered to take my back pack.  My response was “hell no!” If I decided to climb I damn well was going to carry my own back pack!
I was asked again, and my response was the same.

Finally as the day wore on I agreed to allow someone to carry my pack.

The help was not offered to belittle me; it was offered to help me.  The guides wanted to do everything they could to help me summit, which in this case they saw days prior to the summit attempt that I would need help now…which would help me later.

It was only after that day, resting in my tent did I realize this.  And every day after I let the guides carry my pack.  Not only that, my water was in my pack so at every stop I teased them by calling them “Papi” (daddy) and “chupi chupi” (which is Spanish for “to suck”), meaning to suck on my water hose.

There were times where I was so tired at the end of the day that I would fall into my tent and someone would even come and take my boots off for me.  The help in something as simple as unlacing my boots was accepted with gratitude.

It actually got me to thinking about other aspects of my life and when I have turned help away.  Now I will second guess the offer and see if perhaps the help can be graciously accepted and help me to achieve my goals easier rather than struggle on my own.

Nice to meet you…

I recently met a person who seemed intelligent, respectable and personable. This person also seemed to cherish their
family and love life. I thought to myself, hmmm….I could be friends with this person.

But then someone gave me an unsolicited opinion that the person I met was a liar, bad news, and would bring me down. They insisted that I would regret being friends with this person. No specifics in why, it was said cut and dry…just like that. These judgments were offered up to protect me.

Immediately I was filled with self doubt.
Did I misjudge this new person?
Had I been duped?
Had I made a bad judgment in character?
Do I trust too easily?

I felt bad about myself.

These thoughts have been percolating for a few days now. After much thought, I realize that I have a great gift.  I can see the best in people from the start.

If I was to meet you on the street today I would look at you warmly, smile and engage with you.
I do not weigh heavily on other peoples experiences with you.
What matters is how you interact with me.
And if your interactions with me are negative then I may choose not to be around you.

In my world I do not want to immediately look at your face when we meet on the street and distrust you.
You have given me no reason to be on guard.
You are not perfect, nor am I.
You may have hurt others or made mistakes in life, and so have I.

When we first meet we have a clean slate with each other.
It is up to us what we write on that slate and how we interact together.

Hi, my name is Kay.  It is nice to meet you.