I hope you had a fantastical Thanksgiving! Turkey Day is by far my most favorite holiday and this year I decided to indulge and stay a few extra days with my family. I’ve currently got a leftover pumpkin pie bar in my mouth, turkey soup on the stove and am prepping for a final dinner with my parents before I head home tomorrow. Life is good.
I did want to let you know about one super cool thing that happened. My brilliant friend and oh-so-awesome Huffington Post columnist Maria Ross interviewed me for a recent article. In it we talk about why we as driven women, can only justify slowing down when our bodies begin to break.
This is the epidemic of the western woman. We are amazing at staying on top of work and family, prioritizing and pushing for other people but when it comes to the priorities of our physical and mental sanity, we only say “OK, enough” after our thyroid goes caput, our adrenals give out, we catch a cold, we get pregnant or like Maria, our brain explodes. No joke. Maria’s brain literally exploded.
Read the article HERE. It’s a doozy. In a good way.
Feel like sharing? Do it HERE.
A Must For Your Thanksgiving Plate
Organic, Free Range Turkey- I’m a Diestel fan myself
Potatoes, both sweet and standard, roasted and mashed
Green beans, collards and brussel sprouts
Pie, oh yes, pie
And these that you may have skipped over in years past…
A slice of silence before the festivities begin.
A trestle of trust in your body, knowing SHE can lead the way through the buffet.
To eat with honor, exactly what you really want, no more, no less.
A parade of permission to acknowledge whatever worries arise.
A dash of daring, to donate (or toss) the leftovers.
A whisper of awareness, checking in with your body and being her supreme advocate.
A smidge of slowness, knowing it will all get done and if it doesn’t, who really gives a f*ck anyway?
And a giant piece of peace, allowing this Thanksgiving to be a good one, exactly as it rolls out.
When sadness comes, hold it lightly.
We want to change it, fix it, make it stop. “GO AWAY,” we scream.
We think we have no right to it and frantically remake our gratitude lists hoping this will sear the sadness right out of us.
Our plan of attack is to numb, duck and hide with food, friends, lovers, husbands, running, wine, mothering, fixing, doing, working, shoulds. All weapons drawn to freeze the sadness out. And still, sometimes, sadness finds us. It pulls up a seat and makes a home in our heart.
To figure it out it feels impossible and imperative.
Instead, hold it gently.
No fixing, no denying, no “I shouldn’t be feeling this way because I have so much.” Life is not linear or binary. You can have a sparkling good life and still be sad.
Hold sadness lightly then ask, “What’s for lunch?”
Hold it tenderly and plan Thanksgiving dinner.
Sit in the sadness and go for a walk, talk to a friend, read a book, draw a warm bath. Sadness does not have to be everything yet when ignored, that’s exactly what it becomes. TWEET THIS.
We are multi-emotional beings. To try and only be happy is to deny our essence. Sadness comes and it goes on it’s own accord. Our only job is to let it.
When sadness arrives, let it have a place by the hearth in your heart.
Hold it lightly. Hold it with incredible love. Hold it with the door open to let it come and go.
Hold it without the need to change and then watch as it does.
Rarely do I spout heroics about food. Food can make your taste-buds sing, your heart open, even make your feet dance in ecstasy, but rarely does food sweep in like superman and save the day.
This soup…did just that.
Last Sunday I had a hankering for soup and not just any soup. No gentle cream of cauliflower was going to curb this craving. I needed soup with strength, with panache. Something hearty. Meaty. Manly, almost. A soup with substance. The problem was that I had dinner plans every night the coming week so it seemed ridiculous to make an entire pot of soup just for me. “Live wildly,” I said to myself. “The worst that happens is I eat it for breakfast and lunch all week and freeze the rest.”
There really is magic in listening to your body because the soup that came from my cravings was all my body asked for and more. The transmission that shot from my stomach to the gathered ingredients cooked up a bold, brilliant combo of kale, sausage and lentils. Hearty with the sausage, starchy with the lentils and just enough green to keep a light balance. Heaven.
I inhaled it for dinner that night (so much for mindful eating), soaking up every last bite and thanking my genius body for knowing exactly what would hit the spot.
Fast forward to Monday and Tuesday. With my packed schedule I didn’t have a chance to dive into the soup and felt super guilty that I was about to let the goodness go to waste. Tuesday night I decided the next day I’d freeze the rest.
Then came Wednesday morning. Chills, full-body aches and a 102 fever. YEP, struck by the flu. And not just any flu. This sucker came hard, fast and with no mercy. I cancelled all my clients, crawled back into bed, and for the next 2 days pondered the meaning of life between episodes of Scandal. (I get very pensive when I’m ill.) All I can say is thank goodness I didn’t freeze the rest of the soup because if I hadn’t been able to just plop a ladle full of that soul-healing goodness into a bowl then weakly move it to my mouth, I may not be writing this post right now. (I also tend towards melodrama when ill.)
This soup totally swooped in and saved the day…and my ass. May it do the same for you.
Kale, sausage and lentil soup
1 ¼ cups French green lentils
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ a medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 tbs tomato paste
1 pound organic pork sausage, out of its casing (chicken-apple sausage, kielbasa, or lamb sausage would be tasty here too.)
2 cups green leaf kale, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.
In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions, garlic, a touch of salt, a pinch of pepper, thyme, and cumin for 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the celery and carrots and sauté for another 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, drained lentils and water or stock to cover the lentils. The liquid should be about an inch above the lentils. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through and tender.
Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, saute the sausage until cooked fully through. Drain off any excess fat. When the lentils are cooked add the sausage and kale. Cook for another 10 minutes, until the kale is wilted. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Top with parsley and enjoy!
Be sure to share this superhero soup with your peeps here.
A few weeks ago we wrapped up our final BodyOnBoard calls where I got real about our addiction to driving and striving, the importance of feeling safe in our skin, how to create compassion for ourselves during hard times and coming back home to the body.
Yep, BIG THEMES.
If you missed any of the calls, feel free to listen to the recordings here. In call #2 there’s an incredible meditation that I don’t want you to miss.
In recording the calls it reminded me of an awesome interview I did a few weeks ago with my friend Karl Staib. Karl is a fellow business owner who is also a father and cancer survivor. In our conversation we took on this topics of happiness and self-care and questioned if they are really as important as everyone says. Often we try so hard to be “happy”, eat right and exercise, that the pressure we put on ourselves overwhelms the joy they are suppose to create. Tweet THIS.
Click the below image to watch the interview.
Also, be sure to watch for my answer to the key to happiness at minute 17. It’s a good one.
Just yesterday I was on the phone with a client when the topic of strength came up.
I had asked how she was doing after she mentioned recently filing for divorce. MAJOR, I know.
“I’m fine,” she said tightly. “It’s hard but I’m doing…fine.”
“Really?” I said. “Hard. And you are doing “fine”. That’s it? Next to losing a loved one or a child you’ve just gone through one of the most traumatic things a person can experience. This is huge and you are going to tell me that you are fine?”
I could hear her breath quicken on the phone. I had touched something deep inside her she was desperate to avoid and I shone a light right into the dark place.
Slowly she said, “I know. I don’t know why I think I have to be strong all the time.”
“Well”, I said, “it can be hard to let go of being strong all the time when we think NOT being strong isn’t an option. First let me ask, what does being strong look like to you?”
Without hesitation she rattled off what “being strong” looks like to her:
Rarely crying and if it happens it is done alone in the car or in the bathroom.
Keeping it all together.
Handling shit without getting “emotional”.
Knowing the right way to be and the right path to take.
Being superwoman and going it alone.
Answering “good” to the question, “How are you?”, no matter how you are really feeling.
Staying positive at all times.
Being grateful always.
Never burdening others with your problems.
And then I asked her, “What does it mean if you aren’t strong all the time?”
She described a number of beliefs including:
If she’s not strong people will know she’s not perfect.
If she doesn’t hold it together she will be judged as being “crazy”.
Strong women suck it up and don’t cry.
Tears means she’s lost control, which means she’s erratic and untrustworthy.
If she starts crying she may never stop.
If she can’t hold it all together, she’s a mess and can’t provide value.
If she opens up the can of worms of “feelings” she will be overwhelmed by it.
If she falls apart she may never come back together again.
Now raise your hand if you can relate to any of these feelings. Yep, I’m right there with you. We all want to be seen as strong and if our definition of strength is one where we can’t cry, can’t fall apart and can’t share what’s really going on then of course we feel like a failure.
So here’s the truth. It’s more work to keep the ocean of emotions at bay than it is to let the tidal wave wash over you, stand up, and gently ready yourself for another. The more emotional waves you allow to hit the more skilled you become at riding them when they come crashing down. Yes you will fall apart and the first time the wave hits you will be knocked on your ass. However strength lies NOT in never falling down but allowing yourself to do so without judgement and, when it’s time, tenderly standing up again. TWEET THIS.
After getting her definitions I asked my client, “What if rather than thinking you had to be strong all the time and never cry, never feel, and never really let go, you changed your definition of strength?”
What if being strong was being honest rather than keeping a stiff upper lip?
What if strength was being real rather than acting how you think people expect you to?
What if being strong looked like letting people in rather than shutting them out with an, “NO really, I’m fine”?
I know from my clients’ experiences and my own life that when we hold tight to a definition of strength that doesn’t let us express or feel, those emotions get lodged in the body. They show up as anxiety, calorie-counting, mistrust, body-bashing, digestive disorders, food restriction, insomnia, adrenal fatigue. When we give ourselves the strength to express ourselves our body is forced to express for us, and will in any way she can from low back pain to fertility issues and thyroid concerns.
In the next few weeks consider your definition of strength. Does it look like my client’s definition above? How does this definition make you feel? What is your attachment to holding on tight to what you believe strength should look like?
Now imagine what it might be like to shift your definition of strength. What if being strong felt more like dropping a boulder than holding one up?
These are huge questions so be gentle with what comes up for you.
So tell me. What’s your current definition of strength and what’s the new one you might be shifting in to? Lay it all on me here.
Lots of love coming your way,
If there was one way to describe my cooking style it would be “One pot meals with a side salad.” That’s it. My best culinary masterpieces are one-pot concoctions. Thai curry, chicken tagine, veggie lentil soup, turkey chili, they all fit the bill. Pair them with a side salad and each meal becomes a homerun.
This Brazilian fish stew is no exception. It hits all the requires high notes with beautiful mahi mahi, creamy potatoes, tomatoes and zucchini all cooked in a lemon-scented coconut milk broth. Um, yes please! I’ve been particularly in love with this recipe recently because it gives me another way to enjoy the final tomato and zucchini harvest of the year.
The best part about this soup though is it takes about 35 minutes to make. No joke. Slap a side salad of shredded green and red cabbage together, dress with balsamic viniagrette and you are set.
Biggest love and enjoy,
Brazilian Fish Stew
2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pinch of paprika
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
1 1/2 lbs tomatoes, seeds gently squeezed out, cut into wedges
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 large potato, cubed
3 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
dash of cayenne pepper
2 lbs mahi mahi or snapper, cut into sized sized chunks
1 14 oz can coconut milk
1/2 can of water
2-3 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T chopped flat leaf parsley or cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
Place the onion, tomatoes, garlic and cayenne in a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.
In a 5-6 quart Dutch oven heat up the oil. Add the paprika and when the oil shimmers, add the onion-tomato mixture.
Cook for 5 minutes at a brisk simmer and add the potato. Cook until just soft then add the zucchini with a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low and cook until the zucchini soften, about 5 minutes. Mix in the coconut milk with 1/2 a can of water. Add the fish and mix gently. Cover firmly with the heavy lid and continue to cool at low for 10 minutes or until the fish begins to flake. Mix in the lemon juice, parsley or cilantro and salt/pepper to taste.
Remember the amazing 70’s album, Free to be You and Me? Growing up my mother played it daily and we sang at the top of our lungs, belting out the wild, groovy politically-correct lyrics over bowls of brown rice, avocado and black beans. (Yes, the California hippie runs deep in me.)
I recently found a copy, shoved it in my car stereo and listened, tears streaming down my face, as this line rang out. “There’s a land that I see where the children are free. In this land every girl grows to be her own woman. Come with me and we will live in a land where you and me are free to be you and me.”
I cried out of nostalgia, remembering those afternoons with my mother when it was just the two of us singing in the kitchen. I cried out of humbled awe at the freedom I’ve created in my own life. And then I cried for myself and every other woman, thinking how hard it has been to grow to be our own women in our own bodies.
How hard it still is, in fact. Hard not because we don’t have the strength. But hard because rarely do we let ourselves be free to be us, standing in our truth, at the center core of who we are. More often than not we hide and numb out behind the safety of who we think we’re supposed to be and the messages we downloaded in the tender years of our youth.
We are wrapped up in accolades, goal setting and gold stars. We connect our worth to external validation rather than internal acceptance. Without conscious choice, we shun our unique bodies and throw them under the bus in search of the socially acceptable one.
How free does your body feel while on the bedazzled, gold star, perfect health, praise-worthy life path? I have a feeling not very. In fact I have a feeling with the expectations that run you, your body doesn’t even know what freedom looks like. Life feels heavy and weighty with all the to do’s, things to uphold, love to find, races to run, partners to placate, children to appease, big impact to make, and a world to change.
When was the last time you felt fully, completely free to be YOU in your unique body?
When I ask my clients this question they have no clue where to start. The idea of being authentically THEMSELVES, doing exactly what calls deeply from within their beings, moving from their own preferences in a body they are connected to because it is theirs and theirs alone, is something they haven’t entertained since childhood.
What would it be like to have the unabashed freedom to choose to be you? No judgement. No shame. No mistrust of your self or body. Just YOU in your full glory.
We must allow ourselves to get back to the freedom we felt in our bodies as children that’s been been buried under so many years of, “Act this way, never think that. Eat this, don’t eat that. Look like this, never wear that. Stay strong, never show weakness. Suck it up, don’t be emotional.”
We are all behind “female empowerment” and saying everyone has the right to be themselves, yet daily subvert our own real power by lamely choosing the societal construct of what an empowered woman looks like.
The only person who has the power to set you free is you. And it takes a hell of a lot of courage.
So tell me, how do you block your own freedom? How do you keep yourself and your body on lockdown every day?
If these questions feel too big to unpack alone and you want to get rid of the self-imposed rules that keep you swimming in the watered-down version of you rather than the real you, email me. I currently have 2 open spots in my private practice and I’d love to work with you on this deep, life-shifting stuff. So important.
Biggest love and cheers to the freedom to be exactly you,
P.S. We are talking all about freedom in my final FREE coaching call happening this Thursday. Click here so you don’t miss it.
Isn’t it crazy how often we think we “should know better“?
You believe you should know better when it comes to eating that day old muffin when you didn’t really want it, picking a fight with your partner, eating ice cream right out of the carton, or feeling slighted by a co-worker.
Your favorite “I should know better” though is thinking you should know better than to be dissatisfied with your body. You like to pretend it’s no big deal but behind closed doors you wring your hands and wonder why you are the only crazy person still hung up on her belly pooch when there are major issues like starvation and human trafficing in the world. And then comes the hearty dose of shame. You think, “There are real people with real problems and I’m still going round and round about my thighs, hoping I sweated enough in spin class to warrant eating what I want for dinner. I am a doer, a get-it-done girl so why haven’t I been able to get a handle on this body thing yet. Just figure it out already!”
Big deep breath, my dear.
The first part to figuring out the body mess that almost every woman struggles with is to know you could not have figured it out before now. You can only know what you know when you know it (TWEET THIS). Lessons and revelations appear on their own time. There is no way to rush them into being so holding yourself to an obscene “all knowing” standard, only makes you feel 4 steps behind and like you are missing out on something. Not helpful.
The second part to figuring out your body stuff is meeting your body where she is at. Right here. Right now. It’s time to let go of the resentment you have towards her for getting sick, staying in that unsatisfying relationship, having cellulite or a soft belly, slugging away at that soul-sucking job and not being perfect. You must shift and honestly believe she is exactly where she is meant to be for the lessons you are ready to learn in this exact moment.
BIG, I know. But letting go of the I should know betters and connecting with your body right now is the only way to begin to loosen the junk that’s been keeping you stuck.
Now tell me below, what do you think you should know better about? How does your body feel when you get into the should spiral and what are you tips for getting out of it?
Biggest love and here’s to knowing that right now you don’t need to know any better,
P.S. We are going to hit the “I should know better’s” and body-bashing stuff hard in our second open coaching call on 10/9 at 4 pm and explore how this can block your big plans. If you’ve ever thought you should know better, make sure to sign up so you don’t miss the call. And don’t worry. There will be a recording for you if you have to hop off early!
Think you should know better?
So how good are you at admitting you have needs? Better yet, how good at you at asking for your needs to be met?
Thought so. I used to be terrible at it too. In fact, I used to think of myself as the girl who needed nothing. That’s right, I decided I was need-less. Which, in my mind, made me drama-free and super easy to be around. When asked if I wanted a glass of water my response was often, “Oh, no thanks,” even if I was parched. When my girlfriends wanted to have “girl-talk” I decline with, “No really, it’s fine. I’m good.”
I held that “I’ve got it handled” girl up on a pedestal. I thought she was awesome and the less needs she had the closer to a superhero I would become. They’d call me NO-NEEDS GIRL and I’d have a cape and everything. The more I accomplished without needing help the stronger and more courageous I’d seem and everyone would know I had my sh*t together.
Turns out, that entire superhero storyline I created for myself was a fallacy, a wall I erected to hide behind and protect myself.
Turns out, we all have needs. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. And yet sometimes we’ve been denying our needs for so long that when we even consider what we might need or like we draw a blank. I see this over and over again with my clients. After years of ignoring their needs at home, at work, in love, or creatively they begin to fill their needs with food and body-bashing. Food becomes the obsession, whether it’s overeating or undereating, because it’s the safest need to have and the easiest one to control.
Having a need makes you human. And dare I say, authentic. No one connects with need-less people. You may compete with them, be jealous of them, compare yourselves to them but you never connect with them because connection is based on shared need. So, if you don’t let yourself have needs, you are blocking yourself from the authentic connection I know you want.
Breaking out of the NO-NEEDS superhero paradigm is tough. We use it as our badge of honor and to remove it is to feel a bit naked. Truth be told, everyone in your life already knows you have needs and they are just waiting for you to come to the human experience party.
Here are helpful questions I use with my clients to get the “needs” juices going after years of denial and drought.
If you could need anything, what would it be? Perhaps compassion, flowers, a trip to the museum to see the Impressionist exhibit, someone to hold you and say, “it’s going to be OK,” a new dress, permission to slow down? A need can be anything. The trick is to not judge what comes up.
Are there any needs you’ve been secretly starving for? These are the ones that when they come up you think, “Oh no, I could never ask for that.” These are the ones that make you feel a touch guilty for even having them. Your needs are unique to you and not anything to experience guilt over. Take a deep breath and own them.
What is your fear around admitting your needs? Fear can be anything. Fear of being seen, judged, rejected, shunned. All fears are legitimate and taking stock of them is key to seeing your attachment to your no-needs status. The trick from here is to begin to soften around your fears and know that, most likely, they are founded in old storylines and not the present.
In thinking about your biggest need, what are three possible ways to get that need met? Ooohhhh, this is the good stuff. This is when you take action and voice your needs first to yourself and then to whoever might be able to help you with them. Big move, crazy brave and exactly what needs to happen.
When we let ourselves need and then have the courage to express those needs, the pressure is taken off our food and our bodies. We make space in our hearts for the many layers of us and begin to feeds our needs at the root rather than attempting to numb them with a can of Coke, coconut water, kale or a hearty dose of “I can’t believe you ate that again?” talk.
I’d love to hear, what is your biggest need? How have you been denying it and what is one way you are now going to voice it?
Biggest love and together let’s retire our no-needs capes together.
P.S. The Body OnBoard call is tomorrow at 5 pm PST. If you are currently a NO-NEEDS girl and have a need to end the body battle you’ve been denying you need to take care of, join us. You will be in good hands and among lots of recovering NO-NEEDS, superhero ladies. Register here. I’m tellin’ you right now, you need to be there.
P.S.S. To give you all the not-needy love you can handle I’ve decided to create a mini-coaching series out of the BodyOnBoard call and have added 2 more calls to the mix. Whoot whoot! The other dates are Wednesday, 10/9 at 4 pm PST and Thursday, 10/17 at 5 pm PST. Get them on your calendar now. The number for the calls will all be the same so once you are signed up for one, you can get in for all 3. Also, be sure to join the Facebook group HERE to ask questions and get support during the LIVE calls and also anytime over the next 3 weeks. Getting your body onboard is imperative and not anything you can do alone. Invite your friends to the FB group and get your bodies onboard together!