With so many tasks tacked onto our to do list, it’s easy to feel exhausted the moment our eyes pop open in the morning.
What if the only mandatory thing you had to do today was dance to this, and everything else, your work, meetings, cooking, cleaning, was all gravy?
What if everything you did after your one dance was something you could pat yourself on the back for, because, well, you went above and beyond what was on track for the day?
I’m not saying chuck what’s currently on your docket but rather think of it as extra credit. Suddenly each meeting, cooked meal, swept floor, email answered and call made becomes praise-worthy, moving you through your day with a sense of accomplishment rather than unmet expectations.
Oh, and I love you. That’s all.
P.S. One more song, ya know, for extra, extra credit.
As you know, feeling at home in our bodies is a process. It’s the rare woman who wakes up one morning and decides she loves her thighs after years of hiding them.
It’s a journey to feel at home, one that twists and turns over the course of our lives. As I see it, it’s one of the most courageous journeys we can take.
In this episode of The Coming Home Project, I interview Andrea Scher, artist, courageous creative and mother of the blog Superhero Life. With incredible charm and wit Andrea shares her own awkward path home to her thighs, why she now practices going pantless, and quickly reminds us that we are all beautiful works in progress. Click the video below to play it now.
For the audio-only file, click here.
Lots of love and enjoy,
This post might be verging on TMI but I think you can handle it.
So, I’ve never been one for indulgence. “What’s the purpose?” is usually the first question out of my mouth, to be quickly followed with, “What’s the impact?” and “How productive have I been today?”. Needless to say, having fun for fun’s sake was never high on my priority list. In fact I used to cringe at the word pleasure because of the frivolity I’d wrapped it up in. (These days I’m all about pleasure, though I’m still on the hunt for a better word that doesn’t also conjure images of pink rose petals and feather boas.)
And yet, yes yet, it turns out that indulgence isn’t frivolous at all. (Check out this NYT piece if you don’t believe me.)
Truth be told, taking down time, i.e. indulging, gives us more room to create, and more space to bring our best to the next big project. It’s indulgence that sharpens our skills when it’s time to return to “getting shit done”.
And so with this new idea held high, I’ve started reading erotica. Yes, sexy erotica that does NOTHING but make me happy. At first I felt guilty, wondering what productive good was coming out of my steamy afternoon reading, and then I realized, “I’m happy. This is enough and besides, isn’t that what we’re all seeking in the first place?”
We exercise, meditate, eat well in hopes of feeling better and scraping together bits of happiness. And then, bizarrely, we judge what makes us happy. We wonder what good our indulgent activity is providing. We want to know how it’s advancing the conversation and changing the world. I’ve thought about this a lot and here’s what I’ve come up with:
My indulgent, full-blown happiness heals the world. It makes me kinder and lighter which reverberates out to the people in my life. My indulgence gives others permission to experience their own self-expressed happiness rather than believing they must be constantly “productive” and “useful”.
What is being wildly happy is as useful as you need to be?
And so I ask you, what’s the one indulgent thing you never let yourself do? What’s something wild you’ve wanted to try but always deny? Where might you only give yourself one source of joy while keeping the others at arms length?
This week, do something indulgent and frivolous that is only for YOU. See how it makes you feel and how you engage with the people in your life after you do it. I promise they’ll appreciate your incredible mood and will ask where they can get a swig of the goodness you’re drinking. To which you’ll generously reply, “Oh, it’s a bit of indulgence. It works wonders. Try it.”
And if that’s not healing the world, I don’t know what is.
P.S. Know someone who could use a bit of indulgence? Send them this.
Nothing stirs my soul more than intimate conversation. A few years ago I got a bee in my bonnet about creating an interview series where remarkable women openly shared their unique and current journeys home to their bodies, their truth and themselves.
Then, of course, life happened and the idea was shelved.
Well, today is finally the DAY and I’m pumped to share with you The Coming Home Project.
Packed with honest ah-has and inspiration, these conversations get to the heart of the matter: How we, as women, can unapologetically own our bodies, our fears, our desires, our voices and our lives and they show up, raw, brilliant, wild, imperfect, joyous and quite real.
In this Coming Home to Your Body interview I dig in with Abby Kerr of The Voice Bureau, about her struggles with her body, ignoring feelings, denying needs and the big change that helped her finally come home to herself. If you’d like the audio-only version, click here for the MP3 file.
When you think you’ve hit the end, when you believe you’ve reached the bottom, let the floor drop.
How much farther can you move towards kindness?
How much more can you lean into love?
Can you pull the plug on all your judgements and surrender to what you need most … the thing that’s right in front of you? Tweet this.
Let the floor drop and fall through to gentleness.
Let the floor drop and stumble into serenity.
Let the floor drop and be embraced by ease.
Let the floor drop and let yourself be held by it all.
Did I really just say that? Yes, I did. So here’s what happened.
Last winter I got really sick. Like I-can’t-remember-what-it’s-like-to-feel-healthy sick. I tried not to get pissed (which is what usually happens when I get sick), but rather see my stuffy nose and pounding head as a sign that I needed to slow down and DO NOTHING.
OK. Got it. Message received.
While slightly dazing and burning up, I decided make a list of all the gifts that were hidden in my 102 fever.
Time to read.
Watching The Mindy Project.
Losing 5 pounds.
Wait, WTF?? Where did that come from? Did I really just twist my illness into a weight loss strategy?
I was shocked, confused and most importantly, disappointed. Every day I guide women to value themselves over the number on the scale and here I was, breaking my own cardinal rule.
I took a long, slow breath and decided to check in rather than entertain my disappointment any further. Here’s what came up:
Yes, I am passed that old story of “I want to lose 5 pounds” AND just because it no longer invades my daily thoughts doesn’t mean it won’t visit once in a while.
Old habits die hard.
The difference is I now know what to do with body image thoughts when they come up.
The old Jamie would’ve been thrilled to effortlessly lose 5 pounds, then for fear of gaining it back, would’ve flipped out and frantically created a plan to keep the weight off. Now, I no longer believe everything I think. I’ve learned how to turn myself into a third party observer and recognize the nasty thoughts my mind spits out without allowing them to rule how I feel about my body.
I now step back and say, “Isn’t that curious. I thought you weight-worrying thoughts were gone, and now here you are. I’m actually glad you showed up because I needed a reminder of how far I’ve come.”
Voila. Disaster averted.
Ok, now it’s your turn.
Over the next week, notice if any stressful body thoughts arise that you thought you’d kicked to the curb long ago. Now watch your response.
Do you take the thought as fact? As truth? Or can you let yourself become a third party observer and see it strictly as a passing thought, just another blip on the screen of your mind, as benign as navel lint. See if you can thank the thought for its presence and for reminding you of how far you really have come.
(And if you simply cannot shake the thought that you’ve still got to lose 5 pounds, it’s time for some you + me time.)
Lots of love,
P.S. Know someone who still wants to lose those 5 pounds? Send them this.
A few weeks ago I ate pie for dinner.
No salad first to make sure I got my greens or protein to keep me healthfully full.
And let me say, it was actually the last piece of pie from an entire strawberry rhubarb pie I’d been enjoying all week…all by my sweet self.
This was a major test for me. A grand experiment, of sorts.
After years of believing even the smallest amount of sugar would “ruin my health” and now incorporating more dessert into my life over the last 2 years, I was ready for this big leap.
I wanted to know: Could I let myself eat PIE, whenever my body wanted it, without feeling guilty? Could I let myself have pleasure, over and over again, without worrying about the sugar or the gluten or if it might make me fat?
Most importantly I wanted to know, could I TRUST myself to be alone with my favorite food and in a moment of insecurity NOT go ape-shit and eat the entire thing in one sitting to pretend like it never existed.
I talk to my clients about the big question of trust every day. (And if you’d like to talk about it too, let’s do it.) It takes an incredible amount of courage to trust yourself around the foods you’ve deemed treats or “only for special occasions”. Though it’s nice to save certain foods for indulgences, this can often become a pattern of withholding. Without even knowing it we begin to tell ourselves that we can’t have this and we shouldn’t eat that and before we know it, we’ve created all kinds of food rules to keep ourselves in line, and then suddenly find ourselves binging on the exact foods we told ourselves not to eat.
What a cycle!
Thankfully there’s a path out of this maddening food merry-go-round that has saved my clients and me countless times.
Here are the 4 essential pieces to enjoying anything for dinner without the emotional backlash.
1) You can have whatever you want, whenever you really want it- Seriously, you can. The key is having that pie when your body asks for it. Saying yes when you want it from that place of pure joy, when it’s the only thing in the world that you can imagine eating, RATHER than stuffing your face with something sweet because you lack sweetness in your life or because you need a treat to counteract the pain in your day.
2) Choose your wellness- Both cookies and kale fall under wellness in my book. Wellness is that THING that makes you feel best both in the moment and after. I’m sure there have been times when all you wanted was a cookie but you ate kale instead because it was the more “responsible” choice. How did you feel after? Proud yet unsatisfied? Antsy and looking for something else? Then that was not your best choice for wellness. When we can let go of black and white thinking around our wellness (kale is good, cookies are bad), we open ourselves to the possibility that everything is wellness and our choice simply depends on where we’re at in that particular moment. TWEET THIS.
3) Ditch the guilt- There are countless studies to tell you sugar’s bad. And as health conscious people we want to live as long as possible, which naturally leads us to feel GUILTY every time we eat a “bad” food. And yet we also all have stories about grandparents who lived til 93 enjoying daily danishes and cups of coffee with cream. The moral of the story? When your body says YES to pie, enjoy it without the guilt. When your body says no to pie, honor that without tripping on, “But I’ll never let myself have pie again so I should eat it NOW.” Nothing sucks the joy out of food quicker than guilt. Choose your wellness, whatever it may be, and own it, guilt-free.
4) Trust your body- As I mentioned earlier, when I ate pie for dinner it was the last piece of a pie I’d been eating all week. What I didn’t mention is that it took me 3 days to approach that last piece of pie. Why? Because my body wasn’t interested in it until then. Let me be clear. This was not an act of supreme willpower. Had I wanted pie earlier, I would have eaten it. However in tapping into what it would feel like to eat the pie and have it sit in my tummy, my body kept saying no. And so I waited until I heard a yes.
Trusting your body means checking in with what’s most real from that nugget of knowing perched in your gut. Your body knows when she requires pie. She also knows when she requires tenderness and compassion. The issue is that we often get those signals crossed. Your only job is to keep the ego at bay, listen and honor what’s most true.
Here’s the deal: Saying yes to yourself and to what your body wants is no small thing so be gentle with yourself in this grand experiment. See if you can choose your wellness from what your body wants rather than letting old stories, insecurities and food rules hijack the situation.
Let go of guilt. Trust yourself and before the summer ends, ask your body if she’d like pie for dinner.
Lots of love,
A break up.
A house, job, or dear friend, GONE.
It feels like you’re crumbling. Falling apart into an unrecognizable jumble of your former self. And little makes sense.
Confusion reigns and you’d trade anything to go back to before. Before the explosion, before the loss, before the pain. Before the knowing.
Truth: This is not crumbling, though it feels like it.
This is being cracked open. Awakened. Split in two, to shine light on what you’ve known and dismissed for years.
Let it hurt. Let yourself dig deep, cry, rage, lose your mind. Let the fire of fear and betrayal burn up and out of you. Feel it all.
Then, see the good. See the gift that has arrived in this peculiar package.
Let it crack you open to reveal what could’ve never been seen before this grand bomb detonated in your carefully-monitored, systematically-structured life.
Remember this: You are not crumbling. You are cracking open.
And from these cracks will slowly sprout the understanding, joy and wisdom you’ve been seeking and didn’t know where to find.
They were there all along, under the heavy pavement of your life, simply waiting to be unearthed.
All of my love,
P.S. Know someone who’s crumbling? Send them this.
We can all get a little agro when it comes how we look and how people perceive us. We want to be thought of in a certain way and what we believe about our bodies either helps or hinders that image.
We also want to be recognized for our great work. We secretly (and not so secretly) hope our bodies, accomplishments and accolades will be proof that we are enough, finally acceptable, and hopefully worthy of love.
I adore this poem by my dear friend Tara Mohr for in it she asks us to ponder that perhaps it’s not what we do that’s important, but rather the journey; that our truest accomplishment is courageously walking the path of life, rather than how we looked or what we left behind on it.
In the End By Tara Mohr
In the end
you won’t be known
for the things you did,
or what you built,
or what you said.
You won’t even be known
for the love given
or the hearts saved,
because in the end you won’t be known.
You won’t be asked, by a vast creator full of light:
What did you do to be known?
You will be asked: Did you know it,
this place, this journey?
What there is to know can’t be written.
Something between the crispness of air
and the glint in her eye
and the texture of the orange peel.
What you’ll want a thousand years from now is this:
a memory that beats like a heart—
a travel memory, of what it was to walk here,
alive and warm and textured within.
Sweet brightness, aliveness, take-me-now-ness that is life.
You are here to pay attention. That is enough.
Share this poem by clicking here.
All my love,
P.S. For those of you in Seattle on August 21st, I’m coming to town and I’d love to see you! I’ll be at Urban Campfire, a fire fueled event meant to engage women in authentic conversations about business, relationships and life. If you wanna come, use this link with the code CAMP95 to get the early bird discount. I can’t wait to give you a big hug in person. XO
If you don’t know Mary Oliver, you are in for a treat today. A Pulitzer Prize winning poet and supreme nature lover, her words have saved my soul countless times.
When life feels like it has lost its’ luster or I am burdened by the heaviness of it all, this poem reminds me that life is mine to create, to love, lighten and experience as I choose.
When Death Comes By Mary Oliver
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps his purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
Share this poem by clicking here.
All my love,