On Closets


We all have a coming out of the closet experience in our lives. 

Every single one of us. 

(And sometimes we have more than one.)

Breaking through the shame, the ‘shoulds,’ the limiting beliefs, and courageously stepping into who we really are.

In honor of Pride month, let’s remember that before the pride of coming out is even possible, there must first be the practice of courage. 


I’ve personally had three coming out experiences. Thus far anyway. ;)

The first one was stepping out of the closet by departing the religious community of my youth and embracing the avenues of spirituality which hold the depth of resonance, understanding, inclusion, and belonging in which I wholeheartedly believe. God holds no consistent pronoun for me anymore but rather is an ever-present River from which all love, belonging, forgiveness, and acceptance flows. My responsibility is to courageously practice abiding within the Current.

The Current asks me to offer no resistance to what is, to accept all fully—even the falls—so I can get to the work of rising again. You know what I mean — we know when we’re in the flow of peace and when we’re resisting our situation in some way. Maybe you can relate?

Resistance is a popular word these days but for anything to truly change, we must look at and accept our truth (and how we got here) directly in the eye; otherwise, we are trying to create and apply bandages of solutions over the top of unhealed places. Giving our truth oxygen is essential and our liberation lies in its expression.

courageous love

The second coming out experience was all about sexuality. Navigating through the shame, guilt, judgment, and social isolation of this closet took years. YEARS. Over time, closets run out of oxygen, though. I began to suffocate in mind, body, and spirit. I withdrew. I projected my own hurt onto the people I most love. I betrayed myself in every way. 

It took this suffocation, broken hearts, intense physical pain, and a depth of loneliness I will never forget to break down that closet. I was dying inside yet so desperately wanted to live.

Courageous love is loving ourselves completely, loving who we love without hesitation, and loving others without exception. I spent years loving others with a reserved restraint because I wrestled with outdated beliefs and deep dogma; simply put, I didn’t know how to love God and girls at the same time. I thought I had to choose between them. Coming out felt like tasting oxygen for the first time. I can still remember the feeling as I write today. 

Sometimes courageous love means letting go too, allowing those in our lives meant to fall away to actually fall. Since then, my relationships — with myself and others, whether romantically or not—are more honest, real, raw, and true. And I’m still learning as courageous loving continues to be a deep piece of my practice.


soul courage

The most recent coming out experience was making the conscious choice to step further into my spiritual intuition and offer such services more openly beyond close friends & family, particularly here at The Courage Practice.

Intuition has been my best friend—BFF as we refer to it these days—since I can remember; my mother would tell you all about how Intuition and I “grew up together.” I don’t remember ever not seeing, feeling, hearing, sensing, and connecting with the intangible. But I shoved these gifts to the back of the closet because being a spiritual vessel absolutely terrified me.

My great-grandmother, Audrey, was my first intuitive guide and her words of wisdom to me as a child have forever stuck with me. ‘Trust yourself and your deepest knowing.’ In recent years, I’ve sought to rest in this truth she bestowed, allowing the emergence of these intuitive gifts to unfold in combination with continued training, development, mentorship, and practice. Trusting oneself from a soul courage place has been transformative in every way.

I have deeply loved crossing this threshold. Opening my hands up to serving others through Soul Courage intuitive readings and coaching has been nothing short of amazing. I’m currently preparing to bring additional intuitive & consciousness development work to The Courage Practice early next year (2020) too. (Stay tuned for all the fun surprises and details.)



Within every closet we humans experience, a time arrives when NOT crossing the threshold is absolutely as terrifying as what may meet us on the other side. This is the moment when courage becomes our friend in that dark, small, isolating cavern of fear. 

Beyond our fear and the comfort of our excuses lies our deepest truth.

I have grown to appreciate closets in a brand new way ever since these experiences. This may sound hilariously odd but even when I’m folding my laundry and hanging my clothes, these experiences rise up in my heart.

And I love nothing more than supporting brilliant souls to look their fears in the eye and cross their own thresholds with courage and grace. 

first the courage, then the pride

Pride month isn’t just a month full of rainbows and skittle candy-like parades in every city; it’s a beacon of light on the calendar that reminds all of us—no matter our closet—that both being and loving who we truly, deeply are is the one purpose we collectively share.

Rainbows are a symbol of love, peace, and freedom after deep challenges and storms. It’s time to spend less energy talking about our walls and the differences we place between us. It’s suffocating us. We’re hurting each other. We’re betraying ourselves and our humanity.

Let’s instead start honoring ourselves by telling the truth. Let’s start honoring each other by choosing to see one another as we are. As we bear witness to the thresholds we all courageously cross in our lives, we will begin to recognize there is no other, only us.

From there, true freedom will emerge.

With you in the practice,

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An intuitive leadership and life coach for 14 years and founder of The Courage Practice®, Tonyalynne Wildhaber coaches individuals, leaders, coaches, and soulful entrepreneurs to make friends with their courage in a conscious way.

With a unique approach of integrating inner wisdom with outer strategy, she partners with you to courageously step into your highest potential, navigate challenge and transition with greater ease, and transform your abundance and life from the inside out.

Tonyalynne is a member of the Forbes Coaches Council specifically for her integrated leadership and life development approach. She is a frequent contributor to Forbes, WomELLE, and Thrive Global. She is head-over-heels in love with the Pacific Northwest, drinks iced coffee in all weather, and is attempting to train a little Yorkie named Ollie.


The Courage Practice is an inside-out, soul-to-strategy coaching approach guiding you to build a personalized practice to strengthen, shape, and empower you to live, love, and lead with conscious courage.

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