Change is daunting. Particularly the kind of change that asks us to challenge old patterns around how we view our bodies, our lives and ourselves. Controlling what you eat, worrying about weight, comparing yourself to others and obsessing about getting life “right” can all feel like locked-in ways of being; like fixed patterns that just “are how you are”, unable to change.
New clients often say to me, “I truly want to feel settled in my skin and stop the wars I wage against myself, but honestly, sometimes it feels impossible because I have no idea what that even looks like. How do I get from where I am now to where I want to go? What are the steps to take and how do I know I’m doing it right?”
As a planner and doer I completely understand the desire to know exactly where to go, how to get there and the doubt that creeps in when we don’t seem immediate change. I spent years doing my darndest to figure out how to control all outcomes, often making things more confusing and complicated than necessary.
Coming home, as the poet David Whyte says, starts close in. Trying to control our growth or plan it out 10 steps ahead pulls us away from the peace we seek. We must surrender to the first step, and each one after that.
This poem reminds us that any journey, any new way of being, starts with a single step, the one that’s closest to home.
Start Close In by David Whyte
Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
you don’t want to take.
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
way of starting
Start with your own
give up on other
don’t let them
your own voice,
Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own
heroics, be humble
start close in,
for your own.
Start close in,
the second step
or the third,
start with the first
you don’t want to take.
Share this poem by clicking here.
Lots of love,
P.S. Part of starting close in is taking the time to find home within yourself. I’ll be talking about how to actually do that on the upcoming Thrive Now Summit and I’d love for you to join me. Feel free to sign up here.
I thought I’d start off our poetry month with a piece that popped into my life at the exact moment I needed it.
My marriage had freshly fallen apart and in those early weeks of confusion I took countless walks in the hills behind my house. That morning, like the last month of mornings before it, I was walking and crying. My mind riddled with thoughts, my vision cloudy with tears. In my stupor, I made a random right turn and found myself at the top of a staircase between two homes. On one of the wooden fences that lined the staircase I found the following poem.
2 years later the prose still wakens me to myself, the same way it did on that first day of discovery.
Love after love By Derek Wolcott
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another; who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Share this poem by clicking here.
All my love,
I hope you had a wonderful July 4th. For me, this year was a little different. Rather than hit a BBQ or lay out a big getaway weekend, I decided to not commit to much and see where my day took me. For a girl who has always got a plan, this was a very big step.
I drove north towards Pt. Reyes and after taking a random right turn, found myself at a little inlet beach. It was there, after laying down my blanket and taking in the beautiful water and thick layer of incoming fog (hello summer in San Francisco) that I thought, “Holy heck, I need some breathing room.”
The last few months have been mighty pressed with clients, re-branding and finding a new place to live. There have been times when it felt like the hits just kept on coming and I wondered, “How long can I bob and weave?”
In sitting on the beach, watching children play I realized two things.
One: We all have incredible capacity to handle the hits life delivers. The strikes will certainly sting and it may feel like there’s no reprieve. However if we can let ourselves dance in the ring without expectation with whatever’s thrown our way, the blows soften as do their impact.
Two: We all need breathing room. Life is so sweet and can also make us weary and raw. We require space to recalibrate when the hits keep coming. Whatever is wearing you down, whether it be work, family, finding Mr. Right, or figuring out your life’s next big move, let yourself tap out for a minute or a month. Close your computer and step away from the project. Stop dating until it feels good again. Trust that what’s next for you is on its way. There’s no need to hunt it down.
When we give ourselves breathing room and trust to know when it’s time to get back in the ring, we are more grounded, solid and even eager to face the wonders before us. Tweet this.
There are endless ways to take breathing room. For me, poetry is one of the most accessible avenues to first remember my capacity to hold all that life brings, sweet and bitter, and create space to find my center again when I’ve been knocked on my ass.
The next few weeks will be dedicated to my favorite poems that give me breathing room and bring me back to me.
May they do the same for you.
All my love,
First off, I want to thank everyone who emailed me last week about what would feel like a miracle. The answers were thoughtful, tender, hopeful and spoke to what’s most real for you all right now. Thank you.
If you didn’t have a chance to respond, simply click reply and tell me what would feel like a miracle to you, because, I still want to know!
OK, onto your July 4th menu.
BBQs are pretty self explanatory, right?
You go with either grilled chicken, burgers or sausages, which is standard fare and honestly, exactly what we all want at a BBQ.
Where it sometimes gets tricky though is getting all the other dishes together. Of course we could go traditional with macaroni salad and baked beans but I prefer to think outside of the “sides” box.
Below are my favorite July 4th recipes that have you covered from appetizer to dessert. They’re all fantastic but if I had to choose the one, (ok two), that are always crowd pleasers, I’d go with the Muhammara and the Arugula Salad. So good!
Appetizer: Muhammara with pita chips and fresh veggies
Dessert- Thyme Scented Peach Crisp with Vanilla bean ice cream
So fire up the grill, slap on some sunscreen, enjoy yourself and revel in the beautiful long weekend. I know I will.
Want to share this menu with your friends? Simply click here.
Lots of love and happy July 4th,
So, I’m in the middle of a major rebrand for Jamie Living (VERY EXCITING) and it’s kinda rocking my world. Why? Well, in the same way I ask my clients to trust their bodies, I’m now being asked to trust myself in moving from the “healthy eating” conversation to one that asks:
How can we settle into our skin and feel at home in our bodies to reveal what’s most true.
And to fully embrace this new direction I need your thoughts on 1 simple question.
First know that this email goes straight to me, NOT to my assistant, so feel free to be as open and honest as you like.
Ok, here’s the question (and your answer can relate to anything; career, communication, faith, food, body, you name it):
What would feel like a miracle right now?
Because ultimately, my intention with new direction is to support little miracles in your life; to create pathways and systems that give you the courage to dive into what’s most true and honor your one and only body that has the capacity to face it, hold it and voice it, all.
Thank you in advance for your thoughtful replies.
Much love and again, thank you.
A few weeks ago I was interviewed by my dear friend and therapist Dr. Leslie Carr. During our chat we hit upon one of my favorite ideas which I like to call, The Season of F*ck It.
Let me explain.
So, my clients are a lot like you; get-it-handled type women who push and strive and seem to be in a constant state of overwhelm.
Which is why it’s imperative, every once in a while, to let yourself have a season of f*ck it; a time when you stop moving and doing and let life go fallow for a bit. I can tell you from personal experience that this is one of the hardest things to do and often, whether consciously or not, we fight tooth and nail against the rest we say we want.
In this interview Leslie and I talk all about the ego trip we take when trying to slow down as well as how to handle fear when it’s popping up everywhere and killing your creativity. (Though this interview is geared more towards self-employed people, there are endless ways to apply the gems I drop into your own life, so don’t miss it.)
Click here to watch and I’d love to know your thoughts.
Lots of love and enjoy.
P.S. Liked the idea of The Season of F*ck It and think others will too? Pass the video along here.
I am not solely my body, though it houses me.
I am not solely my health, though it sustains me.
I am not solely my soul, though it grounds me.
I am not solely my rebellion, though it frees me.
I am not solely my creativity, though it sparks me.
I am not solely my intellect, though it supports me.
I am not solely my fear, though it reminds me.
I am not solely my joy, though it lifts me.
I am them all, and more.
I am my body and my soul. My creativity and my intellect. My health and my rebellion, my fear and my joy.
I try to choose which I need, when, though they often choose ME first.
It is within the mess that gems reside. From within my internal chaos that brilliance comes, distilled in the narrowed eye of the storm. Calm, serene, holding space while the rest of me whirls by.
It is always there. My core knowing. Settled, still, gracefully holding the many pieces of me.
I am it all. And with it all I courageously accept that I am exactly who I need to be.
There are a few actually with wishing for your 20-year-old body, but let’s start with the most obvious.
You are making yourself feel like sh*t for no reason. Here’s why:
You can never go back there. Ever. You can never go back to that body because to do so would mean you’d also have to regress to the emotional state of your 20-year-old self.
Oh, you thought you’d just take your 20-year-old body and leave the rest? Nope, not how it works.
Each body comes with its own emotional counterpart. Imagine physical bodies and emotional bodies. Your pre-college body, post-college body, your swinging single body, pre-wedding body, your post baby body, your divorce body. Each have their own emotional body that represents how you felt at the time in that particular physical body. Our emotional state is mirrored in our physical state and vice versa SO, we simply can’t mix and match.
Fantacizing about thighs and tummies of yester-year is to negate all that you’ve learned over the years to now be where you are. You’ve grown. You’ve changed. Your heart’s been broken. Jobs have been won and lost. You’ve been married. Had babies. Been promoted. Been divorced. You’ve fumbled, faltered and risen again.
So what is it you really want when you covet you 20-year-old body?
Tighter skin, smaller thighs, less wrinkles, a flatter stomach, perhaps?
When you were in your younger body, did you appreciate your youth?
Did your 20-year-old emotional self feel secure in her 20-year-old skin? Did she adore herself and think she was the hottest thing in town? Probably not. In fact, she probably had many of the same struggles you’re grappling with now.
Why? Because no matter how badly we want to change how we feel about our body, it often doesn’t happen until we address it head on. Which is why I created the Coming Home Project starting on June 10. Together we will look at what we think about our bodies, why we yearn for them to be different, how to get our emotional body to support our physical one, and lay the groundwork to feel at home in the bodies we have (rather than pining for ones of the past or future).
Whether you decide to join the Coming Home Project or not, do this for me. Settle into the skin you’re in, right now. To hold tight to your 20-year-old self’s standard of beauty is to make you a prisoner of the past.
Let yourself imagine how good you could feel in this body. Let yourself hold, caress and adore this body just like you would if magically given the 20-year-old version of it. Your current body is JUST as deserving of love and attention as its younger counterpart. More so perhaps for she has lived and learned in a way your younger body can’t even imagine.
Let yourself step into the BODY that’s here.
P.S. Are you at a total loss when I said, “settle into your skin?” I get it and I promise, you’re not alone. Sign up for the Coming Home Project and learn how to stop the internal battle that’s been raging for far to long. You can try to figure this body thing out alone but honestly, being the brilliant woman you are, if you could’ve done it alone you would have by now. Lots of love and if you are ready to come home to YOU, I’d be honored to have you join us.
Los Angeles. Yes, the City of Angels is the one place where, no matter how rockstar I’m feeling, the moment I touch down I immediately believe I’m a pale, doughty, frizzy-haired, be-speckled, insecure nerdo who cute boys never like…ever.
This fact still shocks me. I spend all day teaching women how to feel at home in their bodies and yet with one particular location change I become estranged from my own. Thankfully I take my own advice and on this last visit, when I knee-jerked to old patterns of comparison and body bashing, rather than harassing myself for not “being over it yet” I ask, “WHY?”
And so, while comparing my thigh and ass size to the perfectly styled, boho-casual blonde in front of me purchasing her rainbow colored kale & beet juice with a side of spirulina at the Erewhon Natural Foods store in West Hollywood, I ask, “Why, my dearest darrrhling Jamie, are you hating all over your body right now?”
And the answer, “Because I’m not an uber-thin Malibu beach babe or a Beverly Hills Barbie. Because I’m not perfectly buffed and fluffed with a perky nose, nails & toes polished and a rack to stop traffic. Because I’m funny and smart, not HOT.”
Damn gurl, you’re still hung up on that??
After thanking myself for being honest (in my head of course, not out loud) I decided to get curious about these old feelings that I thought were already healed.
Being raised in Los Angeles was not easy for a precocious, big-haired, loud-mouthed girl who hated all things sun, beach & shopping. I never fit in. I wasn’t tan enough, fun enough, bubbly enough, and most certainly not blond enough. The only place I could get close to being “LA acceptable” was with my body and so I quickly glommed onto being fit and thin as a way of fitting in. The thing about being a human, living around other humans, is there’s always going to be someone you think is fitter than you, thinner than you, rockin’ a hotter ass and tighter jeans than you.
The trick, is not to work out harder so you can finally think you’re hotter than other people, but to take yourself out of the race all together. To end the comparison and competing.
Two things hit me after asking myself, “WHY.”
One, I took a breath and said a prayer for the blond standing in front of me. I prayed that she love and accept her body the way I’m learning to love and accept my own. Though she looked pretty damn perfect to me, I know, like every woman, she has her own demons. (Which were probably screaming at her for skipping the gym this morning, and having too much wine and cheese the night before, explaining why she was in front of me buying a green juice.)
We work on our issues, voice our triggers, tenderly tame our body shame, and gain insight to feel at home in our bodies and then when we randomly feel fat after eating too many yogurt-covered raisins, we start all over again, exactly where we are.
I will say it felt very good to get back home to Oakland. My curls have more room to breathe here. And I’ll also say that I look forward to my next trip to LA, knowing that if the war begins to rage in my body I know it’s just another layer looking to be healed with a dose of kick-ass compassion.
P.S. Old wounds, especially about our bodies, take a long time to heal. Often we think we’re over them, then something happens and we slip right back into worrying about our tummy tire and not trusting ourselves around a dessert table. If you’re struggling with old body sh*t you thought you were over, join me for my upcoming 5 week group. We are going to hit it all. It starts June 10. Get all the details here.
A quick note on eating while looking at your phone.
Seriously, like now.
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one getting this talking to. I’ve been having the conversation with myself for the last 2 weeks.
Though I rarely eat in front of my computer (which also acts as my television), I’ve recently been eating with my phone in hand. Checking email, answering texts, trolling Facebook, you know the drill. I found myself rushing through my meals, taking no care with what was going into my mouth, then suddenly looking down to find my meal GONE and feeling entirely unsatisfied.
And then it hit me. Ah Jamie, you silly girl. Your phone is just like a TV, just smaller.
Your phone has just as many distractions (maybe more depending on how many apps you have) that suck you out of the moment, out of your meal and absolutely out of your satisfaction.
Your phone sucks you away from the joy at hand all the while making you think there’s something better happening OUT THERE, that is, anywhere but where you are. (Click to Tweet!) Yes, I know. The irony
The truth is we never feel satisfied after seeking entertainment from our phone. Facebook creates comparison. Instagram, jealousy. Twitter, a feeling of being behind.
Today do me (and yourself) a favor and avoid your phone when eating. I promise your food will not only taste better but your heart rate will slow, your system will calm and you’ll enjoy those 25 minutes more than you have in a long time.
Biggest love and here’s to phone-free dining,