One of the lessons I am learning since my breast cancer diagnosis back in early March, and through my current chemotherapy treatments, is the value & necessity of deep introspection. It has been a time that has forced my overly active performance based perfectionist ass to SIT. DOWN. Rest. Face my Shit. Dive Deep, and then go deeper still, excavating layers and layers of hurt and suffering and fear, and offering those precious pains of the past on the altar of Love.
It’s in these spaces of intentional, ultra-focused awareness when I experience some of the treasures that I coveted & previously sought out in all the wrong ways; treasures like Peace, Calm, Contentment, Healing, Strength, Resilience, Love, and Joy.
Such are the treasures that I had tried to find through partying, hookups, addictions, religions, escapism, numbing, avoidance, deflection, discipline, overworking, and high-vibe-only mindset bullshit. All of these were just more ways to punish myself for my perceived failures.
I am doing much less coaching these days in favor of offering my tarot-based Spiritual Clarity Readings, which is work that feels so much more nourishing to me instead of draining. I have made enough space in my practice to allow for serving fewer clients, in order to say Yes to my own need for physical and emotional healing. I have built extra time between clients so that I am serving within my capacity, not beyond it. Even this simple step is the result of some deep digging, and was arrived at by picking apart some residual bits of guilt/shame.
I know that I have come a long way and I celebrate this. I’m grateful for the healing that has taken place, for the goodness that has come forward. I know that the Love, Joy, Calm, Peace, Strength, Resilience, and Contentment that I feel now is beautiful, and that there is still more of it all to welcome in. So I will sit down, and meditate, and learn new things, and unearth more of me to be Loved. This is Healing. This is Transformational/Positivity.
Listen: For the past week, I took part in a small social experiment on Instagram and Facebook called #amplifymelanatedvoices and it has been powerfully eye-opening. The premise was to center, promote, and amplify the messages of Black activists and artists while simultaneously putting our own messages on pause and truly listening to what they have to say. Without the need to draw attention back to ourselves, our opinions, our perspectives, our excuses, our discomfort. Just… listen. And then, lift up.
Because the truth is that Black people in America have been telling us the same message, over and over, in every way imaginable for hundreds of years and by and large, it seems pretty evident that we haven’t really been listening.
As a long-time, dyed-in-the-wool social justice warrior, I thought that I had been listening, but I am seeing more and more clearly just how much I was only half-listening, and sometimes actively avoiding listening- deeply, reverently, listening– to the larger conversation around racial inequity and white supremacist culture. How often I was missing the message.
I’m in no way an expert in any of this. I can, must, and will learn to listen better. This is deeply personal work, and I know that I need the help, guidance, and leadership of the people who have been doing this a lot longer than me. Maybe you are someone who has been working at being an anti-racist for a while now, and maybe you are someone who is just starting to see, understand, and unpack what all of this means. Wherever you are personally in your own journey, know that there are people who are skilled and ready and willing to support your growth. I’ve included some links to resources below:
RELEASE– Let it allllll out! Spend some quality time with your therapist, your besties, your support squad, your spiritual teachers, and talk about what you’re feeling/experiencing. Name all the feelings and fears that come up to the surface. Release your messy inside stuff. Cry hard and ugly. Shout loudly. Do this with the people who you can trust to be supportive, who can hold space for you without judgement or shaming- NOT with hateful internet trolls (I’ve learned this one the hard way). Release expectations from yourself to do things perfectly, to get it “right” the first time, to have all the answers. Release the need to be right. Release the need for other people to do their work. What else can you release? What else do you need to let go of?
REFLECT– After you’ve had a minute to let your mess out, take the time to process it. Reflect on what it means to you/for you, or if there is any deeper meaning to be found. Note: there isn’t always a gold nugget hiding in a turd; sometimes a turd is just a turd. Reflect on what you want to have happen next, and what some of the steps are that you will need to take to move forward.
RESTORE- Take. Good. Care. Of. Yourself. Restore your whole self with lots of rest, body care, nutrition, art, laughter, music, and so much Love. Restore the relationships that are most important and nourishing to you (this is not the time to feed the drain). Pray and meditate. Build up your community.
I am a teacher and a healer, and I am also here to listen and learn. I look forward to sharing more tips, wisdom, and love with you in the weeks to come. Stay tuned, and stay strong. I am in this with you!
This week has been exceptionally messy, both for me personally in my healing from cancer journey, and in the much larger context of people absolutely fucking fed up with the cancer of continued mistreatment of our Black brothers and sisters in this country due to our inherently racist, white-supremacist systems of government, law enforcement, judiciary, and all the exceptional privileges that come with being born in a white-skinned body. Fed up with not being heard.
Still with me? Cool. Let’s go a little further.
I have taken my DNA test. I know that my genetic makeup is primarily Northern European, (48.5%) and the balance of my ancestry is Southern European (32.7%) with a smattering of Ashkenazi Jewish (.4%) Native American (5.8%) East Asian (.8%) and Sub-Saharan African (3.2%). The remaining 8.6% is scattered to the winds in traces and indistinguishable bits. Possibly alien, star-seed, angelic, or prehistoric. But if you didn’t know any of this, you’d look at me and just see another basic White person. Previously with gorgeous long platinum blonde hair, now with a shiny bald dome.
I don’t have to fear most of the places I visit or the daily activities I engage in because of the color of my skin. And if you are another basic White person like me, you don’t either. That’s the rule. That’s how this shit works. We know this, deep in our bones, even when we aren’t ready to admit it. Even when we can’t stomach what the truth of that means. Even when we wish and hope and pray that it just isn’t so, that we are the exception, that we really are GOOD, that we aren’t actually racist, that we “don’t see color” or that we are doing our work. We know.
AND… what if we want to do better? What if we want to see real change happen, and we want to see it happen in our lifetime?What ifwe are ready to face our millions of excuses head on? What if we are willing to focus on the Black people who are victims of our violence and our apathy? What if we are willing to be uncomfortable and ready to start GETTING MESSY and unpacking our culturally and familially ingrained biases, unearth our own seen and unseen racism, and actually create positive change? What if we are willing to put our ideals into action?
Healing from cancer is MESSY. The treatments, the recovery, are brutal and messy. I hope that you NEVER have to deal with it yourself, or watch someone you love go through it. If you have walked this road yourself, you know. I see you, and I love you.
Healing from racism is no less messy. The biggest difference is that every White person in the US has been infected with racism- think of it as a spectrum in which every damn one of us falls on, from ignorant & fragile to full-on White Supremacist. Some are completely poisoned and proudly rotting, while others aren’t even aware that they have been affected and go about their merry way, oblivious to the damage they are doing. Still others are painfully aware of their white privilege and are consciously doing the hard, messy, necessary work day after day.
It will be messy. It will be difficult. It will be awkward. It will be uncomfortable. It will be risky. We will make mistakes. Like, LOTS of mistakes. And, if we are willing to do this important and messy and necessary work within ourselves and within our families and within our schools and within our houses of worship and within our workplaces and within our communities and within our online spaces and within our law enforcement agencies and within our local and state and federal governments, if we are willing to make a phenomenal mess of the status quo- THEN we will begin to see the world change and become the beautiful, equitable-for-all utopia that we say we want it to be.
What to do next:
Take ONE action step towards becoming a person who is anti-racist. Then, take another. Repeat.
Here are some links to helpful resources that you can begin to use right away:
Thank you for reading and allowing yourself to be uncomfortable with this conversation. Thank you for being willing to face and unpack your unpleasant parts. Thank you for making the choice every day moving forward to do the hard, messy, necessary work of dismantling racism and the systems that uphold it. You’re not alone; I’m in it with you.
Whew! Well Loves, this has been an interesting month, hey?
We’re entering the New Moon phase, which is all about rest, introspection, and new beginnings. It has me wondering:
•What does Rest look like for you right now?
•What have you been learning about yourself in the past month?
•What new beginnings are you preparing for?
I’ll start: REST for me has been very much about allowing my body to recover from the first round of chemo. It’s looked like saying “No” or “Not Now” to everything that I can, instead of my usual recovering Type A habit of pushing myself through to the point of collapse. (Hello, that’s not healthy in any circumstance!)
INTROSPECTION has been teaching me some pretty cool things about myself. Qualities like resilience, courage, strength, joyfullness, creativity, and wisdom that I have tended to overlook or diminish for fear of “what people might think” because let’s be honest- being judged sucks, and… it’s going to happen anyway so you might as well be true to yourself.
NEW BEGINNINGS well hot damn, as corny and cheesy as it may sound every day really is a gift. I am grateful for each new day that I wake up alive in this body, and- I still sometimes have to remind myself this throughout the day. Today, for example, if things had gone to plan I would be in Australia for the start of an epic, around-the-world honeymoon with my gorgeous husband. Instead, I am writing from our dining room table for a change of scenery. It’s not quite the same! 😂 And, it’s still pretty fucking great.
Okay, your turn! Tell me what’s what in your world today. I miss you.
The 1st Pillar of Transformational Positivity is Whole-Self Love. It’s the beginning of your personal revolution, a shift in positivity that leads to your most empowered, on-going transformation. Why?
• Because it invites us to daily disrupt our old patterns of negative self-talk and allows us to begin seeing who and what we really are in our wholeness. We develop a loving & supportive way of relating to ourselves that is personally healing and breaks the cycles of negativity.
• Because it allows us to question and rebel against the negative messages that have been sent to us about our bodies from the industries that benefit from making us feel like shit. We discover & create inspiring new communities of radical acceptance that feel like a celebration and a homecoming.
• Because it requires us to push back against and break the oppressive systems designed to keep us small & muzzled. We begin to take back the control that we didn’t even realize we were giving away, and create a powerful new paradigm of true equality as sentient, autonomous beings.
Some things I must acknowledge
Changing behavior is uncomfortable. Changing paradigms is uncomfortable. Facing our inner sh*t is triggering as f*ck. It’s often a bit messy and clunky and awkward and imperfect, until it isn’t, and we find ourselves finally moving forward little by little by little.
I think it’s important to acknowledge that doing the personal work of Transformational Positivity has some common factors that almost everyone will relate to, and there will also be very specific factors that are going to be unique to the individual. Especially within the 1st Pillar of Whole-Self Love,we will each come to the work with our own biases and lived experiences in tow. Some things to consider:
Am I a member of the dominant culture? Do I hold certain privileges based on that? My self-love practice and self-care rituals will look differently than someone who has been systemically marginalized because of their race, gender, economics, etc.
Did I grow up experiencing a supportive family structure? Did I experience any forms of abuse as a child? My self-love practice and self-care rituals will look differently than someone who has also had to overcome a difficult upbringing and/or adverse childhood experiences.
Am I able-bodied? Am I generally in good health? My self-love practice and self-care rituals will look differently than someone who also has to navigate within our ableist culture. My self-love practice and self-care rituals will look differently than someone who must also manage a physical health crisis and/or mental health issues.
Before I steer too far out of my lane, let me be clear in saying that there is room for ANYONE and EVERYONE to do this beautiful and empowering work of Whole-Self Love. For some of us, we will need to do some deeper healing (yes please). We may need to work with a qualified therapist to help us get past our old patterns of recreating pain (I have and I do).
The point of looking at these considerations is NOT to create more shame. It is to acknowledge that each one of us has a story that is beautiful (even the ugly bits), powerful (even in our failings), and worthy of love.
The Pervasiveness of Body Shaming
Like 9/10 people reading this, I have experienced body shaming and I have struggled with my self image. For me, it started pretty early on in childhood at school- by kids and by teachers- and then again in church, and later on in my intimate relationships and even in my professional life- especially when I was working as an exotic dancer and a model, but even when I was working in corporate office jobs and non-profit organizations my body was somehow offensive.
There is a common language of shaming and degrading that seems to be inescapable. It’s a destructive narrative continuously amplified by the media: Too Much, while at the exact same time, Not Enough. To which, I call Bullshit. Among the many damning comments I’ve received for simply existing:“Too Fat. Too Skinny. Too White. Too Freckled. Too Old. Too Young. Too Curvy. Too Narrow. Too Wrinkly. Too Bumpy. Too Slow. Too Fast. Too Slutty. Too Frumpy. Too Loud. Too Quiet. Too Opinionated. Too Bitchy,”…and on and on and on. If it’s a crappy thing to say to a person, I’ve had it said to me, and I must admit that at different times on this journey I’ve said it to or about someone else. If the comments weren’t directed at me, then they were directed at or behind the back of someone else. When I wasn’t personally reeling from hearing the poisonous words, I was either feeding them back to myself or flinging them carelessly at someone else. Ugh.
It’s no wonder that we struggle with basic self-care skills, let alone the practice of Whole-Self Love. But that’s why it’s so important to me that we have the awareness, that we have the knowledge, and that we have the tools to experience our life in these crazy-amazing human bodies as the whole, complete, brilliant beings that we truly are. Whole-Self Love teaches us how to tap into a level of Positivity that can truly transform our old stories of pain into masterpieces of healing love.
Oh, Honey- I have some things to say about this little
#frenemy right here. It’s been a hot minute since I have shared much publicly
about my physical body, and here’s why:
Talking about dieting is capital B BORING
Diet Culture is toxicAF
The number on the scale does not determine (nor can it ever measure) my worth
I know this
to be True. You probably do as well! (And yet…)
It’s why, for the past 4-5 years, I have made it my personal mission to learn how to Love the body I live in, every damn day. Regardless of my clothing size, weigh-in numbers, age, shape, wrinkles, lumps, flab, rolls, freckles, muscles, strength, etc ad nauseum. I’ve been helped tremendously on my body-positive journey by trailblazers like Jessamyn Stanley (@mynameisjessamyn), Amber Karnes (@amberkarnesofficial), Dianne Bondy (@diannebondyyoga) and most recently Tiana Dodson (@onebeautifulyes) who are all amazing and beautiful.
So, I pose
these questions: What if Loving your Whole Self meant loving your entire
body? What would it take for you to Love all your parts and welcome them into
I’m practicing Radical Self Love & normalizing fat bodies, even as I continue to shed some weight & heal what’s hurting inside. I even have been taking a series of rather societally unflattering selfies as part of my whole-self Love medicine and posting them on my Instagram stories. (It feels insanely liberating, btw) I knew that I couldn’t begin to address my health issues without first being willing to really, REALLY Love all of me. Including the parts that weren’t as pretty, the parts that hurt, and the parts that were breaking down.
As of this writing, it’s been 3 weeks since I began a total shift in my relationships with food & exercise. With the help of an interactive app/virtual program I am not just learning about healthier ways to eat and move and less psychologically & emotionally damaging ways to think about those things, but I’m integrating these new habits every damn day that are supporting my whole self. I won’t lie, it’s been some hard word (first week was the worst) but through the effort I am putting in and the support received, I’ve seen and felt some pretty spectacular results, including my first 10+ lbs. shed; increased endurance; a dramatic reduction in pain in my back, knees, and feet; increased strength; no more chest pain or wheezing; no more bloating or food hangovers; fewer mood swings & more sustained energy; improved sleep and almost no more snoring. All of this Love being poured into my body is coming back to me in these very tangible ways, and I am truly grateful. I am excited to see how much more my body and I can do.
More of this story to come, stay tuned!
Getting My Sexy Back
UPDATE: Since writing this entry in August 2019, I have developed a much healthier & more positive relationship with food, eating, exercise, and caring for my body in general. During the course of my program, I shed over 40 lbs.* (at an average of -2 lbs per week) and watched in amazement as my body composition began to change. I felt such pride at being able to go through my daily activities without feeling exhausted, and I have been delighted to have more physical activity, strength, and endurance become a natural part of my life. More incredibly, I have experienced the release of long-held pain in my body, specifically in my feet, knees, back and chest; released long-held beliefs about my worth being tied to my appearance; and released long-held habits of self-destructive thoughts & actions.
By coupling my mindset work with a refreshed self-care plan, I have discovered JOY in moving my body again, and I have developed a kind of confidence, acceptance and deep Love for the body that I have- lumps, bumps, folds, wrinkles, spots, flabby bits and all. How freeing to realize that I don’t need to look like a Victoria’s Secret model to feel sexy, beautiful, comfortable in my skin (things I never felt when I was an actual lingerie and bikini model).
It is my sincere hope and belief that I will continue to take good care of myself by using the tools that I’ve learned and keep learning. I have a great support system now to lean on when I need to, and I have empowered myself to be in charge of taking care of my Whole-Self… body, mind, and soul.
*No matter how much I stress that the size of my body is not that important, and no matter how much I believe and teach that you don’t have to lose weight before you can love your body- people are still always fascinated by my weight loss and ask me, “How did you do it?” So here it is: I signed up for Noom. If you would like to try their program for yourself, you can click here to use my affiliate link and get yourself 20% off.
Do you have a more relaxed work schedule during the summer months? I was so grateful today for the flexibility to go enjoy some “beauty maintenance” (lash fill & mani-pedi!) before joining my sweetheart’s office dinner party tonight.
Self-care is so much deeper than a spa day; it’s really about taking the time to restore what’s on your inside. So, what if you can’t take a day off or even a few hours? Peace and restoration can be had with a quick reset. Give yourself 5, 10, 15 or even 30 mindful minutes to breathe deeply, think some pleasant thoughts, have a power nap, do some stretching/yoga poses, write about one thing you’re grateful for, drink some water, or just sit quietly & eat something nourishing.
Set aside those stressful thoughts for a little while, and give yourself a much-needed break! You’ll come back refreshed and ready to go!
Amazingly beautiful and powerful shifts can take place within us whenever we begin to allow the magic within to come out of hiding and just… SHOW UP.
Yes- that means that you will need to be seen, be heard, be counted- and I know that even just reading these words can cause some feelings of panic, without even taking a single step!
I get it, showing up can sometimes feel really scary. I know this intimately! You may have a story inside you that includes a time when showing up somewhere caused you pain, or even a traumatic experience. Even if this is true for you, I still want to encourage you to SHOW UP whenever you sense that little glimmer of wanting to emerge from your hiding place, that opportunity to be seen and heard. There are ways for you to do this safely, supported by a strong and understanding community that doesn’t try to “fix” you- they just witness you and hold space for you.
The more that you allow yourself to show up, on your own terms and in your own way, the closer you get to reaching your goals, living your dreams, and conquering your fears of being seen. You get to take control and be the star of your life story, not play a minor role or resign yourself to the random twists of fate. You don’t have to have everything figured out first, and you don’t have to be perfect (not a real thing). Just… Show Up. Show up for yourself. Show up for your big dreams, your side hustle, and your day job. Show up for the souls bumping around throughout the world, crossing your path each day. Show up for every single lesson that Life is teaching you, and know that those of us here in your support circle are rooting for you and cheering you on.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that we have all experienced (or have had someone close to us experience) falling for someone who is soooo not right for us. Someone who you are so attracted to, knowing full well that there’s just something “off” but you convince yourself that it’s not really a big deal, or justifiable, or somehow you can work through it together for Love. Someone who makes you second guess yourself, twist to conform, dumb down, or dim your light because it’s just too damn bright for them to handle.
I mean, I get it- I personally have given myself away to men like Luke P. in the past, seduced by the pretty packaging while blowing past all of the early red flags until it was too late to pull out of the relationship without a big mess.
In my 20’s -and even in my 30’s- I was so entangled in the drama that I lost myself, my voice, my power, and permanently damaged some friendships and family connections as a result. In more than one such relationship, it nearly cost me my life. The injuries I sustained were physical (some I still carry to this day), but also deeply wounding emotionally and eventually led me to seek professional guidance from a great therapist or two.
So, when I watch shows like The Bachelorette for fun and cheesiness, I can’t ignore the twisty feelings in my gut that come up when watching the Luke P. scenes. I recognize those feelings, because the truth is that our bodies hold our stories- for better or worse. We have a physical response that reflects our past traumatic experiences, reminding us that we don’t want to go through that shame and pain again.
One of the most important messages I can ever share, whether I am speaking to a room full of women, or a classroom of young people, or 1:1 in coaching sessions is this: You don’t have to change or hide your true self to earn true Love.
If you are stuck in a relationship (romantic or otherwise) where you don’t feel like you can really be yourself, I invite you to schedule a chat with me for some personal empowerment coaching. *And especially if you are in a situation that is not safe- call the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233*
OMG. She’s almost ready! We took another sneak peek yesterday of our house and so much more has been done. The sweet brick motor court is completed. Exterior is 95%. And inside, oh, my… I cannot wait to share what’s going on inside. It’s Beautiful.
I am so very grateful for the life I have, and the Joy that I am a co-creatrix of. In my 20’s, my life was such a story of pain and struggle and desperately seeking to escape my suffering. It was a broken heart and a battered body. It was fear and fight. It was a wish for someone to save me, and it was a wish for something better. Little could I imagine then that Love and the power to change EVERYTHING was not external, but waiting to be discovered inside of me. I promise, it’s also inside of you.