Your Body is Not The Problem; Your Thoughts About It Are


Your Body is Not The Problem; Your Thoughts About It Are

As a woman, my body has been many things to many people, myself included. Unfortunately, not all them good. For in culture that is drunk on sex, power and success, where is the sensual, earthy, fertility of of a woman supposed to fit? We don’t see her in the industry of porn, lingerie or bikini competitions. We don’t see her in the boardrooms, sky rises or concrete jungles. We don’t find her in homes that suppress and shame feelings of sadness and pleasure. We don’t see her in the supermarket isles full of artificial food-like items and cheap plastic toys that speak to the superficiality of our times. No, in this modern era of ours, the real bodies of women don’t fit because they threaten the very paradigm of consumerism, patriarchy and suppression our ‘wonderful’ world of the West is built on. 


After all, how can they sell us products we don’t need unless we hate ourselves enough to buy them? And, if those products don’t work to make us feel better … hell, let’s just sell the woman herself. For everyone knows a beautiful woman soothes our anxieties, strokes our egos and gives us a distraction to drool over when we need to escape our companion feelings of shame, pain and loneliness. 


Yes, you heard me correctly. That innocent game of beauty, “health” and hyper-sexualization we all play isn’t so innocent. But even us women (the ones who lose the most when we play) consent when we trade on our bodies for love, attention and value. 


When we are young, we know the truth about our bodies: That they are a home for us to live in. For us to experience the world in. For us to play in, dance in, run in, climb in, jump in, twirl in. For us to drip peach juice down and squish mud between and get running so fast we think we might fly in. But the older we get and the more times we’re told to look pretty (both explicitly and implicitly), the more we cover our home with boards and shades and let the dusty cobwebs take up residence in the corners of our bones. We stop moving, we stop playing and we stop dancing and, eventually, most of us stop eating. In an attempt to emulate our predecessors, and do what we’ve seen generations upon generations of women do before us, we self-abandon and disconnect – for decades.


But what does this feel like? How would we know if we’ve been disconnected from our bodies since the culture of fixating on and maintaining an acceptable body image feels almost inherent at this point in history? And to question further, what if we feel relatively good about our body and have fun showing it off in short shorts, skimpy bikinis and tight fitting jeans? Are we still disconnected then, even when we have the body that meets societies standards for perfection and we enjoy the attention we get from it? Are we disconnected if we are able to eat whatever we want, workout as much as we’d like and walk away feeling lean, muscular and sexy? 


The answer? Most likely. 


Because for most of us, whether the fixation is on obtaining what we don’t have or maintaining what we do, it’s the intellectual obsession with our body coupled with our inability to feel it – really feel it – that is the root of the problem. 


A body at war with itself has many faces, but we know it most intimately through the sensations we experience in it on an everyday basis. But what does it feel like when we’re disconnected and at war?  


It feels like numbness. It feels like heaviness. It feels like comparison. It feels like stolen joy and anxiety about wearing a swim suit, even in front of people who love you. It feels like wondering who’s looking at you and what they’re thinking in response.  It feels like no matter how many diets you try, calories you purge or stairs you run, you’re left with a perpetual feeling of deficiency. It feels like lackluster sex and an inability to orgasm. It feels like needing a vibrator to climax, porn to get turned on and increasing amounts of hyper-stimulation to feel anything at all. It feels like a body that hurts and creaks and aches and needs ever-increasing amounts of pain-killers to function well. It feels like exercising to sculpt your body, not move it. It feels like a vague sense of satisfaction and safety when you’re the most attractive person in the room. And, checking to see whether you are or aren’t at every function you attend. It feels like fear of eating dessert, having sex with the lights on and wearing waist trainers under your dress. It feels like winning gold stars for your glute muscles and being devastated when the girl next you to ‘did it better’ with perfect genes. It feels like needing ever increasing amounts of caffeine to stay alert and falling asleep the second you sit down to read. It feels like a perpetually bloated belly and starving yourself before big events to avoid seeing your pooch. But mostly, in the simplest way I can tell it… it feels like thinking about your body, not living it in. 


And yet, while it might seem like a choice – it’s not. Because when the impetus for a sick society morphs into a self-propelling feedback loop, making the choice to do something different feels near impossible – and in some cases, is; we have the stats to prove it. Today, some 50% of girls under the age of 17 are unhappy with their body and 45% of teenage girls have considered plastic surgery “correction.” To top it off, between 78-90% of women say they are dissatisfied with their bodies, including size, shape, weight and facial features. In other words, women of the world are unhappy, and the cultural motto of ‘thin is beautiful’ lives on. 


But why? Where did our obsession with big breasts, small waists, perfect noses, long hair and a round ass come from? When did how pleasing a woman is to look at become more important than how she felt about her existence? When did we start poking, prodding, cinching, starving, sucking, vomiting, purging and beating our bodies into submission as a means to feel accepted, validated and whole in this world? When did we become so concerned about the ‘competition’ that we started dressing and acting like the women we see in porn films to keep our husbands, boyfriends and partners interested in sleeping with us? When did we decide to enhance our natural beauty with fake hair, lashes, nails and lips? When did we decide that in order to feel and look sexy, we had to have an abundance of male eyes trailing after our every move, visibly affirming our worth? And, for those of us who don’t have such coveted attention, when did we decide we weren’t okay without it? 


I understand that words and ideas and thoughts like these can be confronting. After all, how many of want to admit that we’ve either been too naïve to see our own abandonment or, perhaps worse, that we’ve seen it all along and decided to keep playing anyway… But, given the fact that our entire structure of consumerism – one based on the idea that sex sells -  hinges on our willingness to engage with it… maybe it’s time to stand up, give the finger to the myopic culture of “hotness” and reclaim our fucking birthright – the right to feel at home in our bodies. 


But how? 


When we’re entrenched in a collective belief system that mandates and demands our adherence to it, how do we take a shaky, but brave step toward a more liberated and authentic existence? How do we remove the bonds that keep us tethered so tightly to a rigid standard of valuation when it’s all we’ve ever known? How do we move left when everyone around us, including those whose opinions and love we cherish, are moving right? Yes, I’ll always point to awareness first, but as someone who’s deep in the throes of her own embodied journey, I don’t have a one-size fits all approach to offer you when it comes to your extrication. I can, however, say, with absolute certainty, that all change begins with our ability to first see a space where it could take place. Not to necessarily determine whether it should or should not, but that it could or could not. This sense of open-mindedness and curiosity is what allows the gates of expansion, growth, courage and bravery to fling wide open and to pave the way for paths unknown to unfold. 


To begin, simply start by asking some questions about your own experience:

Do I like the way I feel about my body? 

Do I like the way I feel about having to live up to specific standards? 

Do I feel like I have to meet certain expectations? 

What happens if I don’t? 

What happens if I do? 

What are the times I feel most alive in my body? 

What are the times I feel most afraid or anxious in my body?

When or where do I compare myself the most? 

When and where do I feel the least good about myself and my body? 

What are activities that enrich my sensory experience? 

What are activities that dampen my connection myself and my body? 

When am I most present to my body? 

Do I enjoy sex? 

Do I feel present during sex?
Do I need fantasy or hyper-stimulating objects to intensify my experience during sex? 

How do I feel about attention on my body? 


Is there anything about my experience that I’d like to change? 

Do I feel free? 

Do I feel home? 

Do I like living in my body? 



Once you’ve done a thorough job of exploring yourself and your current paradigm, the next step is to familiarize yourself with your body in a more open, constructive way. In other words, get to know your body in the way you might get to know a new partner. Spend time with it. Nurture it. Play with it. Caress it. Move it. Sit with it. Talk to it. Feed it. Stretch it. And when you do these things, notice what types of feedback it’s giving you. When you sit with it, does it speak? When you stretch it, does it melt? When you stroke it, does it perk up? When you feed it, does it relax? When we talk about being present in our bodies this is what we mean. To feel the sensations, emotions and physical feelings that arise in any given moment of our day and respond to them accordingly. 


Most of our low worth, shame and self-esteem issues around our bodies do not stem from an embodied space, but an intellectual, conceptual one. In other words, what we think about our bodies is the problem, not how we feel in them. Humans are magnificent beings with an almost infinite possibility to feel, enjoy and immerse ourselves in our sensory experience, but, in a world of stimulation, noise, chaos and demands for our attention, we have to do it purposefully. 


To distance ourselves from a culture that says we’re not enough and we need to do more, we need to create space in our bodies where the measure of our joy is how we feel, not how we look. One of the best ways I know how to do this is through mindful, embodied movement that gets us back in touch with our physicality, moving slowly, deliberately and in tandem with our breath so as to forget the external world around us and tune into the one within us.


Examples include yoga, dance, stretching, tai chi, climbing or simply closing your eyes and moving your body slowly through space in any way that feels good – stretching, holding poses, making big circles, rolling your neck, swaying your hips etc. The key here is that none of it – I mean NONE of it – needs to look pretty. The entire goal of the movement is to switch out of a self-conscious mode and into a self-aware one, where feeling becomes the goal, not thinking. With that in mind, as thoughts of judgment arise (because they will), similar to a formal meditation, notice them and let them go. Or, if that doesn’t work as well as you’d like, you can nudge yourself back to feeling by focusing back on your breath, letting the thought naturally be replaced by a different attention. 


For those of us with deep scars and wounds around our bodies and body image, it may take some time to let go enough to be able to feel. There’s nothing wrong with this. The more you practice staying with the feelings and sensations arising, the easier it becomes to access them regularly. We call it a practice for a reason – because that’s what it takes. Learning to feel your body again means unlearning all the dogma, beliefs and thoughts that hindered your relationship to it in the first place, and this takes time, patience, consistency and desire. If you find emotions that accompany the sensations this is also welcome and even something to celebrate. If you notice ones you don’t enjoy, or feel frightened by what’s coming, you can always stop what you’re doing and take a breather. There’s nothing heroic about staying with the discomfort longer than you can tolerate at first. 


I don’t have all the answers to the pain, shame and heartbreak surrounding our bodies – I too am, and have been, a woman at war with herself. I too have, and continue to, feel the sharp pangs of loneliness, unworthiness and comparison that cut deep into the heart of my fears as the feeling “she’s better than you” brings me to my proverbial knees. I have avoided swim parties or “forgotten” my swim suits many times. I have taken ‘sexy’ pictures for my partners and needed a vibrator for years to get turned on. I’ve shown off my body and I’ve hid it. I’ve looked at other women after my partner sexually betrayed me and sobbed with unworthiness I’ve put scantily clad pictures up on social media because it “made me feel pretty” and sat around nervously wondering how many people would approve of me with their likes. I’ve desired male attention and been angry and resentful when I got it. I’ve pandered to the ‘thin is beautiful’ motto during my years as a personal trainer, and I’ve fought against it in the years since. I’ve starved, poked, pinched, prodded and beat my body into losing weight and I’ve overfed it in the name of recovery as well. I’ve figured out how to beat my body’s need for calories by consuming large amounts of caffeine and a tiny bit of sugar every few hours to stave off the starvation pains, and I’ve sobbed with guilt years later as I apologized to myself for withholding such sustenance. I’ve gotten a breast augmentation to “feel more like a woman,” only to realize later that my boobs have nothing to do with my divinity. I’ve opened my legs to many boys and men in the name of validation, and I’ve sworn off sex for a year to heal the damage those times had on my sense of self-worth. I’ve been numb, disconnected and unable to name the feelings living inside me and sat in front of my mirror, admiring my soft belly, thanking it for getting me this far in life. There’s much, much more I could continue to tell you, but what I want to leave you with is this: 


As a woman who’s been to the moon and back and explored every crevice of body worth, body shame, body hatred and body love, what I know is this…no amount of self-talk, self-love, mirror work, exercise, dieting, therapy or mindset work has ever come close to the feeling of acceptance, admiration and deep fucking gratitude I feel for my body as when I’m actually living in it. 


Women of the world: We need not trade on our bodies to confirm they have value. Next time you feel the urge to prove your worth by either showcasing or hiding your body, ask yourself: If I was grateful to have a body, what would I do with it right now? 


I’m wiling to surmise you wouldn’t waste time and energy showing it off or lose out on fun experiences keeping it hidden. I’m betting that you, like me, would simply want to LIVE in it. Free, liberated and grateful to be alive. 







From Surviving to Thriving: Why Emotions Hold the Keys to Our Health

“Our survival needs are fulfilled when we are taken care of at home; our emotional needs are fulfilled when we are valued at home.” - David Richo 


In our current cultural paradigm, we think of needs as logical, reasonable, action-oriented items to check off a to-do list. Eat (check). Sleep (check). Go to the gym (check). Pay our taxes (check). Go to work and make a shitload of money to buy a fancy house, a couple of cars and a closet full of designer jeans (check). 

All tangible, all attainable and all pointed at fulfilling our physical needs for things like food, water, shelter, clothing, transportation and the like. And yet, there are other needs we have as humans which have found themselves on the short end of the stick for centuries now as patriarchal and logic-driven ways of relating to each other, and our needs, have been a driving force. 

Not only are we living in a time where our physical needs sit in a hyper-elevated tower of priority (you’re nobody without a high paying job and the goods to prove it), but the effect of that prioritizing has trickled into our homes, becoming the bedrock upon which we raise and teach our children about what it means to be human. And the results are devastating. 


Most of us matured in homes where our physical needs were met within the family of origin. Though some families struggled more than others, the majority of middle and upper-class households were able to put food on the table, a roof overhead and save for the occasional family vacation or new school outfit without getting into major debt. This means our physical needs for food, water, shelter, sleep and safety were being met by our parents. And, as most parents will tell you, they felt obligated to (and proud of their ability to) fulfil those needs. But, for many of us, that’s where a delineation occurred, for a society can only be as emotionally healthy as it citizens, and ours… has much to learn. 


Emotional needs are the those which extend beyond basic survival and into the more abstract realm of thriving. They are those needs which, if met, allow for the natural and organic expansion into a wise, grounded, resilient adulthood where we are free to explore, create, and even fail, without fear of social rejection. They are also those needs, which if notmet, send us into a contracted, dysregulated, unhealthy state of living. In other words, when our emotional needs for love, acceptance, safety, value and compassion are not met, we turn into the worst possible versions of ourselves. Our directionality turns away from thriving and toward surviving, and, as most of us probably recognize, survival instincts are anything but connective, loving and kind. 


Unfortunately, we (who live in industrialized, commercialized parts of the world) are part of a system wherein survival, and the needs associated with it, is our central focus. If you’re not convinced, take a look at the cultural memes dominating your social media accounts or the motivational celebrities dominating the covers prestigious business magazines. One not look further than Instagram hashtags (#bossbabes or #millennialmillionaires, anyone?) to notice our societal obsession with survival. Sadly, this obsession drives our innate desire and ability to flourish underground as we stay myopically zoomed in on our physical needs and desires to the detriment and abandonment of other equally important ones. While I’m certainly not suggesting physical needs aren’t important (nothing in life improves if you aren’t able to feed yourself), I am suggesting they aren’t a holistic picture. And, if we want to figure out why we don’t feel whole – as so many are seeking to do these days – we must personally and collectively acknowledge that it’s time for a paradigm shift. 


As children, we are taught to soldier on, put a Band-aid on it, stop crying, eat a cookie to feel better, be a big girl (or boy), quit whining, get it together, use our words, give an explanation, come up with a solution, figure it out, pay attention, keep up, be quiet and otherwise use any suppression or distraction technique at our disposal to feel better. To some extent, these strategies are useful, especially when circumstances don’t permit us to lose our shit in an adult-sized temper tantrum. But, more often than not, they become permanent ways of living taught to us by those who were given the same strategies during their tender, formative years. And when distraction, suppression and avoidance become our default, our bodies and minds pay the price. For not only are our loved ones not hearing, seeing or valuing us, but neither are we… and self-abandonment is the most painful of all abandonments. Because, as adults, the home where we feel valued is the one inside ourselves, and, when we our home is not being cared for, it hardly feels like the sanctuary it’s meant to be. 


But what do we do when we’ve spent years, and most likely decades, of our lives living under the premise that our feelings are scary, silly, indulgent or weak? How do we move out of vilifying all things illogical and emotional and into a space of balance and duality where both logic and emotion are valid tools for moving through life?  Where our solution to confusion is not eradication, but understanding and practice instead? 


First we must learn to see value in acknowledging our feelings and emotions as valid indicators and messengers that help our bodies maintain homeostasis, and therefore health. This, oddly, begins with seeing the detriment it does to our bodies and minds when we don’t pay attention and, instead, suppress, deny and distract our way out of our feelings because they “don’t make sense” or “are a waste of time.” All of us would like to feel better. Whether it’s our health, our relationships, our finances, our work or simply a sense of chronic dissatisfaction, almost everyone I speak to has some area of their life they’re desperate to improve. And yet, we reject the very needs which have the power to get us there: our emotional ones. 


One of the most interesting qualities of emotion is its ability to self-resolve after it’s felt. Felt being the key word, as felt emotion (physically recognizing an emotion and it’s accompanying sensations) acts much differently in the body than unfelt emotion. Felt emotion signals safety, while unfelt emotion signals stress. Stress, as we know, is king, and when stress reigns, the entire system breaks down. We suffer chronic health conditions, our nervous systems feel frayed, we can’t sleep, we overeat, we’re reactive in our relationships, we can’t get out of scarcity-mode long enough to get ahead, we gain weight while starving ourselves, we rely on caffeine to get through the day and feel unmotivated, stressed and ready to snap or maybe give up all together on the idea of feeling well and resign to the idea that “life is hard,” with a fuck-it attitude that cynically carries us through the day. This is the effect unfelt emotions have on our lives, but because we have no skills in processing them and fear they’ll never leave should we indulge, we quickly shut the lid and never open it back up again, cutting ourselves off from the life-giving qualities of emotional validation. But, here’s the good news…


All emotions have a natural arc. A rise and fall that delineates their beginning and end. None of them are static and all of them, including the uncomfortable ones, will disappear and give way to a new emotion or feeling eventually. This is the cyclical, rhythmic nature of emotions. They come, they’re felt and then they leave, if - and only if - they aren’t thwarted by our fear of their existence. This leads us to understand that emotions don’t require us to “do” anything about them, as we’ve been taught to believe by our well-meaning parents and action-oriented culture, but rather only require to be felt. Once they’ve been felt, they often leave us with a message for how to move forward, but when we turn away, we miss the direction and guidance they provide. 


Feeling, acknowledging, validating, accepting and welcoming our emotions means that our bodies begin to regulate and our minds start to slow down, our trust in life expands and our lives invariably improve. Unburdened from the task of running, we get to let go of distraction, avoidance, suppression and numbing and step into real pleasure, real connection, real purpose and real love. Not the quick-reward-kind we find in a box of cookies, late-night Tinder hookups or a nightly bottle of wine but the kind that leaves us feeling like we matter, this life matters and we’re grateful to be living it. 


Whether or not we grew up in a home where our emotions mattered, we can learn a new way of living to better support our greatest potential and the potential of those around us. Logic matters, action matters, reason matters – but they are not healers. Emotion is a healer. Love is a healer. Compassion is a healer. Joy is healer. Even sadness, in all her grieving glory, is a healer. For her message says “I’m sorry you’re hurting. Slow down. Take your time. It’s okay to cry. Life is hard sometimes. I love you.” 

Words that soften all of us if we let them. 


In order to create a new world, one where our bodies are healthy, our minds are resilient and our hearts are open, we cannot afford to buy in to outdated, oppressive belief systems that would have us deny our instinctual, intuitive nature any longer. We must rebelliously and courageously decide to do it differently and invite others to do so through our example. Whether male or female, young or old, we cannot escape our biology for long, and when we try to, consequences mount. Will you welcome your feelings home? Will you give them a place to live? Be brave. You can do it. 










Making Change Last

What is change? And where does it come from? 


Does it come from the 30-day program guaranteed to help you drop those “last five pounds?” 

Perhaps the numerous self-help books you’ve picked up this year? 

Maybe it comes when you finally give in to your spouse’s request and go to therapy? 


The answer to all of these and more is: Yes and no.


For the secret to change is not really a secret, nor is it nearly as complicated as we make it out to be. It is, however, scary and confronting and perhaps one of the hardest things we’ll ever run into because change is found not in programs, ceremonies, self-help books, coaches or therapist’s couches but in Truth. 


Pure, raw, unfiltered Truth.  Not in the 5 steps or 3 keys or prescriptive information we find on the internet, but in the acknowledgment of Truths - our Truths - that awareness brings to the surface. From a place of truth, we can no longer hide from the most beneficial course of action. We can no longer suppress, deny or run from that which motivates us or from our responses to those motivations, and thus, we do not. And then…. we change.

Because we cannot see a truth without paying attention to it’s consequences, and, when we do, our inherent desire to align with love, both for ourselves and others, arises naturally. 


When we know that we secretly binge on donuts because we’re working to fill a void left behind by our father…and our first boyfriend and our last boyfriend and every friendship we’ve ever had … we begin to reach for healing instead of pastries. 


When we learn that we can’t stop cheating on our partner because we’re too scared to feel our loneliness when he or she isn’t able to be present with us, we reach for self-love instead of a pseudo-connection found on a social media screen or in a secret hotel room. 


When we find out that we’re addicted to stress and success because intimacy and settling down and being present scare us beyond words, we reach for meditation instead of creating a crisis or working 80 hours a week. 


When we realize that we hate our anxiety but that it also keeps us from having to face our fears and explicitly set boundaries around ourselves, we reach for courage instead of Xanax. 


These truths – the hard ones that terrify us to look at – are the gateway to doing it differently. While we can, with some success, willpower our way into surface changes, the real, long-lasting growth appears when we drag our truths out from the dark corner in which they hide and allow them space and room heal. 


And how do we do this you might ask?

Through the cultivation of awareness. Whether you want to lose weight, work on your anger issues, find love, clear up your health issues, make more money or find lasting happiness, the answer is the same: Cultivate awareness and, through it, change will come.



To Love the Woman, Heal the Girl

When I was a little girl, my father taught me (by leaving) a few really important lessons about life, which I have never forgotten. Namely that,


1.     I was too difficult, and when you’re difficult, people leave.

2.     That I wasn’t enough, because if I had been, he would have stayed.

3.     That I was flawed beyond repair, such that my own parent would abandon ship.


And these lessons – these “truths” – are ones I’ve carried around as heavy burdens my entire life… until now. Until now, when the pain of staying stuck in my same old stories, my same old patterns and same old beliefs has become much (MUCH) more excruciating than the pain of deconstructing and replacing those narratives which have at many different points in time destroyed me, my relationships and my peace.  


When we are young, we learn about the world through limited cognitive abilities and assemble highly emotional storylines from our experiences. Generally speaking, our primitive desires and fears are what drive those conclusions, and usually we never take the time to purposefully interrogate those less-than-helpful beliefs about the world and the people that inhabit it.  But, I believe that much of our work is about knowing where we come from, so that we can accurately assess why we are where we are and, from there, determine where we want to go. Which is to say that loving the woman you are starts with honoring the girl you once were.


For me, that means honoring the fact that although my father leaving was certainly not the worst thing that could happen to a child, it still hurt deeply and profoundly affected (and continues to affect) my life in innumerable and often latent ways. This does not mean I get stuck there or set up camp in a space of mourning, but it does mean that every time my partner appears to be frustrated, I can question whether or not it’s quite as catastrophic as it feels to my rattled 5-year old brain. Or that I can breathe through criticism without dissolving into a puddle of panic or angry lashing out. It means that when I start to get tunnel vision and feel attacked, belittled, unimportant or any other manner of rejected, I can ask more clearly, “Is this true? Or is this an old story popping up?”


In other words, in order to move forward, we must accept and acknowledge our “truths” so that when our defenses are triggered or our wounds poked, we can see what’s going on and call it by its name. Which, no, does not make it less scary, but it certainly makes it more navigable. Because, as I’ve said countless times, change always begins with awareness.


As women, we have not been taught what it feels like to accept all of who we are. We have been taught to neglect ourselves so as not to seem self-absorbed, and to make peace by declaring ourselves void of feelings, thoughts and opinions. Whether or not we’re willing to admit this, the culture we live in would much rather see us than hear us, and this is true of women to women exchanges, not just the men we vilify with movements like #metoo. I have had many girlfriends over the years tell me I’m too opinionated and too vocal. But, what do we teach our daughters when we teach them that the best way to be liked is to be quiet? Better yet, what do we teach ourselves when we only accept the pretty, tidy, presentable parts of us? What do we miss out on or leave behind when we refuse acceptance of that which makes us messy, complicated and sometimes even downright ugly?


What we miss out on is love. Wholehearted, all-encompassing, unconditional … love. And love, my beautiful friend, is why we’re here.


I understand how scary (read: terrifying) and destabilizing it can feel to do this work. To do the undoing and the uncovering and the changing. But it’s all a part of the perfect process that is growth. All a part of the process that brings us closer and closer to experiencing love in it’s truest forms. Not as dysfunctional attachments, obligatory familial ties or self-fulfilling prophecies of abandonment, but as real, non-relational, present Love. The kind that lets us sink into our bodies, breathe easy and feel at home. The kind that spontaneously leads to gratitude, joy and a warm, soothing sense of safety.


So, how do we do this? We look at hard stuff. We try to understand what our childlike motivations are and we give ourselves compassion. Endless, forgiving, loving compassion. When we mess up, we recognize that the little girl inside doesn’t make rational decisions or logical choices and we give her a hug. We tell her it will be alright and we understand that she’s doing the best she can with her limited capability. We understand that in order to move forward as secure, grounded, steady women, we must accept that we WILL run up against our petulant inner children at times, and we mother ourselves. We nurture ourselves. And we do our best. Because in the end, that’s all any of us can do: Our best.


To love the woman you are, heal the girl you were. Love her. Thank her for getting you this far, and then gently take the reigns and do things differently this time.





Make Space: On Connecting with Your Intuitive Woman

 I have been scared to write for some time now because I fear that I cannot do my thoughts and feelings justice with my limited vocabulary and ability for expression. And so, I have not. I have found endless excuses to do work of all kinds, except writing. I have justified that I have nothing to say, that the words will come when they’re ready, that no one reads my work anyway. I have gotten up from my desk to eat, shower, read, eat some more, check Instagram, run errands, clean my house, eat again, take my dogs for a walk, organize my junk drawer, pick up new hobbies, stare at the wall, count sheep, get drunk, complain that I have no time – any manner of ridiculousness but writing. Yet … this is just resistance, and ultimately, I know that.


Therefore, as I sit here choking out these words, feeling somewhat resigned to a force I can no longer hold back, I am reminded of Steven Pressfield’s thoughts on fear:


“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”


So… with that, here we go.


The Intuitive Woman is a concept I have been exploring for some time now. Birthed out of my own neurotic, myopic history with “health,” I realized somewhere along the way there had to be a better way. A way that was richer, more meaningful and less full of angst and anxiety. Less worry and more peace. Less future-tripping and more presence. More love for life.


Because, as it were, all the best food, all the right exercise, all the quality sleep and all the tailored supplements in the world could not fill up the giant, missing piece of the puzzle that was connection. Specifically, connection to Her (the intuitive one), and through Her, connection to others as well. Because that is what we are here for. To connect. To love. To share. To uplift. To create. Not to “be healthy.” Not to chase the perfectly toned body that functions without fault. Not to become so well-tuned that we hardly resemble humans anymore. Not to circle tighter and tighter on the intricacies of blood chemistry and meal timing and lab work. No, that is not our purpose. That is not who we are as women.


Because, there was once a time in history when Woman was not what she is today…


When she was not sick, angry, overworked and unsure of herself.  When she was not insecure, overly emotional, dependent or scared of her sexuality. Not meek, angry, a pushover, irritable or exhausted. No, there was once a time when Woman was intuitive, sensual, knowing and absolutely sure of her place in the scheme of things. When she exercised her power adeptly but with care and felt equal but different from her male counterparts. However, this woman, the woman that we are all so unfamiliar with, has never existed in civilization, for the powers that created society -  colonialism, patriarchy and religiosity – are the same powers who drowned her in the sea and burned her at the stake. She died a ruthless death as the first cities were built upon her tears and protests, and we have never fully regained our access to her. Until now. Until now when the Era of the Sick, Angry and Tired Woman is coming to a head. Until now, when the rates of autoimmunity, chronic illness and mental disease that are overtaking our bodies and minds have reached unprecedented rates and we are waking up to our own pain for the first time in centuries. Until finally, the war of our grandmothers and their grandmothers, grandmothers is ready to begin it’s closing.  


It is here, now, that we can and must begin our journey back to her. Our journey back Home. Because a woman at home with herself, is the healthiest woman in the world. A woman at home with herself knows which foods will nourish, which movement will vitalize, which relationships will strengthen, when to rest and when to push forward, when to speak and when to listen, where to direct her energies, which questions to ask and how to find the answers to them. She uses plans or protocols for health as inquiry, not solution and sees health as a means to an end – as a way to stand more strongly in her power as she ascends to her purpose here. This is the way of the intuitive woman who moves through life knowing she has a compass inside her. Knowing health is the foundation upon which the rest of her life exists, but not her life itself. 


At this point, it would be easy to mistake this woman as “the perfect woman,” however, she is anything but perfect. Not because she is not perfect in her essence, but because she is not impervious to mistakes, doubt or insecurity: all things we would consider imperfect if we’re looking through scrupulous eyes. No, the difference between this woman and the woman most of us embody is that she knows where to turn when things get sticky. She knows that turning inward – coming back home – asking the collective She – not the voices outside - is the path she must take back to center. That she will become grounded once again by reaching out to the eternal wisdom that burns brightly in her center.


But how do we get to know her? How do we begin the journey back home? How do we reconnect with her timeless knowledge?


We make space. This is where the work begins, simply by making space. She will show when we make space, for this is her nature. And yet, our modern world encourages anything but time and space. In fact, most of us are scheduled from the moment we wake up to the moment we lay our heads down at night, and never once do we check in to see if we can hear her little whispers. And so, to get to know her, we invite her in. We find our willingness to believe in her. We question: Could she be real? Could she be in me? We carve out small parts of our day to connect with her. We make meeting her a prioritized part of our routine. Through meditation, quiet time, journaling, coffee breaks, nature walks and time alone, we show her our devotion. And we understand that, like any relationship, this one will take time. We won’t know all of her funny quirks all at once. We probably won’t understand what she is saying or hear her voice clearly. In order to make sense of the path we’ve started down, we may label ourselves “empaths” or a seekers to feel worthy of her wisdom. Or perhaps we’ll revolt when we don’t like what she has to say, writing her off as “woo-woo” bullshit. That’s okay. The thing is, she doesn’t have any prerequisites for us to meet. No demands, no parameters.  We can call her and reject her as many times as we need or want, because she isn’t going anywhere. She is us and we are her. One cannot remove one’s heart, so we must get to know Her. In her, we will find our health.




Know Thyself: Awareness Comes First

Something I’ve been tossing around and chewing on for quite some time now is the concept of self-awareness and its role in the psychology of change, healing and wellness. My slight obsession with it came as the result of my search for meaning and understanding around the elusive, hard-to-grasp topic of self-love. Something I speak often about, and also something, I would argue, we all want to feel, but aren’t entirely sure how to go about accomplishing.


To me, then, it became apparent that before self-love, before self-compassion, and absolutely before self-understanding, there must be something else. Something more substantial and foundational. Something that would catch you as you fall and provide a landing net of sorts to direct you through your darkest and most pivotal moments, and what I’ve found is that it is self-awareness.


As I’ve become more enamored with this idea, I’ve come to believe that self-awareness is one of the most important traits a human being can embody, because without it, we will never really know ourselves, and therefore anyone else – essentially, leaving us devoid of the connection we’re hardwired to seek. Without it, we also become destined to continue loops of mistakes, behaviors and habits in perpetuity, equaling ourselves to a mouse on a hamster wheel (laughably of course). Whether its diets we start and fail endlessly, relationship arguments we rinse and repeat or an inability to find a meaningful career we enjoy, all of it points back to the same thing: the lack of self-awareness to change it.


But why does this matter? Why should we want, or need, to change the parts of our lives that don’t appear to be working in our favor? Well:


 A. Because they aren’t working (obviously)

 B. Because generally, we aren’t always the ones doing the “choosing” of these patterns, habits and beliefs, meaning the software we’re operating on is somewhat outdated, un-useful and un-applicable to who we are, what we want and where we’re going.


Sometimes this software comes from our parents, sometimes the culture we live in, sometimes its just an amalgamation of all our life experiences, but nonetheless, it’s often not directly chosen, and therefore, not directly applicable, leaving us stuck in a weird, self-perpetuating cycle we rarely stop to question, let alone change.


The key to any kind of lasting change then is simply awareness. Awareness of self and the ability to introspectively mine your inner landscape for information you can then use to move forward, both incrementally and insightfully. To understand your feelings, emotions, thoughts and motivations and then act accordingly. In other words, to “know thyself,” as was subscribed in Ancient Greece, written with conviction on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, is to understand the world around you, as the world around you is a reality of your own making.


However, it is here that I find it equally important to throw in a word of caution. Because, for all that I speak of self-awareness, I do find that it can easily become pathological in nature, and therefore, occasionally, negates its own purpose. Let me explain…

Often times, as we become more aware of ourselves (perhaps through counseling, prayer, meditation, or something else entirely), we get a bit obsessive with viewing our life through this new lens. When I, as a newly self-aware person, start to notice all the ways my behavior, beliefs and habits of thought affect my daily experience, it’s easy to myopically zoom in on all that is ME and forget that the reason I wanted to become aware in the first place was so that I could more easily interact with the world around me. I see this evidenced time and time again as clients, friends and family (including myself at one point) become ever-obsessed with finding the next level of ascension, the next layer to peel back or the next roadblock to uncover. And while I clearly promote and agree with knowing oneself, I think it’s worth mentioning that the reason to know oneself IS to be more happy. More free. More content. So, if awareness is leading you away from those states of being, it’s perhaps time to reconsider your approach.


 So, how to cultivate awareness without simultaneously getting caught in self-absorption? More awareness. And I say that laughing, with a smile on my face, yet entirely serious. That’s it. Simply to know that this could possibly, potentially be a problem is enough. Simply to know that you are eating handfuls of chips straight from the bag because you are stressed is enough. Simply to know that you’re over-reacting to something your husband or boyfriend said because it triggered your abandonment issues is enough. Simply to know that your feeling irritable and snappy because you’re scared is enough. Its enough just to know. Because once you know, you can’t unknow. And one of those times, after you’ve known it long enough, you’ll make a new choice that IS directly applicable, and you will have started the process of change so organically, you’ll hardly notice it’s presence.


Start by asking questions. Who am I? What do I believe? Why do I believe it? Where am I going? Why am I feeling this way? What happens when I feel this way? Who would I like to be instead? Is there a reason for this behavior? Do the way I see myself and the way others see me match? Do I care? Who is doing the thinking here? Do my thoughts matter? What are my habits around X? What are my patterns around Y?


Ask. Ask. Ask. Get curious, then sit back and watch the answers unfold. They will. They do every time. And eventually, if you ask enough questions, you’ll get a really good answer.


THIS is why I self-awareness is key to change. Key to self-love, key to transformation. It is a powerful, foundational, absolutely necessary and vital component to obtaining all that you seek. And the best part is, you can start right here, right now, today – for free.


Until next time,





Scarcity and Lack: The Ringmasters of Holiday Stress


Holidays can be lovely time full of joy, connection and reflection, but more often than not, that potential gets buried under feelings of stress, overwhelm and even dread. But why? Where do these feeling arise from as we navigate through the purportedly “happiest time of the year,” and is there anything we can do to avoid the compensatory behaviors we often find ourselves in (think: over-eating, over-drinking, under-exercising) in an attempt to cope?


Yes, and, let me explain.


In a culture of consumerism, the messages we’re given centralize around the theme, “You need this.” While there are incomprehensible ways to accomplish this, the basic premise of economics is: Sell people things they need in order to collect money you need in order to buy things you need… and the cycle continues. But before I go on further, let me just say that I don’t necessarily see anything fundamentally wrong with this picture. I have needs. You have needs. We have to find ways to meet those needs. Nothing wrong with that. So, for those of you out there rolling your eyes, thinking I’m shaming the world for consuming and trying to sway you into a counter-culture of communing and trading, I’m not. Let’s be clear.


I am, however, going to suggest to you that your needs, and what marketing companies tell you are you *needs, are two, very different things, and that believing your needs are never fully met is stressful to the body and mind, which is particularly present during the holiday season leads to unavoidable holiday gloom.


In other words, the constant highlight of the fact that we don’t have enough and will never be enough unless we buy, get or have ‘The Thing’ being sold to us, creates feelings of scarcity and lack. And furthermore, while actual scarcity has been shown in studies to be associated with decline in cognitive function as well as feelings of tenseness, irritability, fatigue and overwhelm, mere thoughts about scarcity lead to the same outcome. Meaning: Whether you don’t have enough, or whether you BELIEVE you don’t have enough, the results are much the same.


And to that point, no amount of breathing exercises, yoga, meditation or anti-inflammatory foods will be able to combat the stress you feel if your central belief is “I’m not enough. I don’t have enough.” Those two thoughts, which have an evolutionary basis in needs of safety, are not only stressful but destabilizing as well. Yet, we are inundated on a daily basis with messaging and marketing made to make us feel just that: Not enough.  


Turn on the TV and you will see endless advertisements directed at pointing out your flaws, what’s wrong with the world or how you can “fix” your life with this one simple tool. Cue the late night infomercials. But, it’s not always quite as boisterous as that either. A subtle message about those pesky grey hairs may seem totally normal to you based on the culture we’ve grown accustom to, but essentially the storyline is the same old song on repeat: You’re not enough the way you are – here, fix it with this.


No wonder we are all walking around tense, needy and irritable. I don’t know about you, but when I start to feel less-than or not-enough, I immediately want to dig into a box of cookies, a bottle of wine or, better yet, snap at the nearest person next to me just for existing.


In fact, when we feel fearful, stressed or uneasy about our lives, we tend to want to anesthetize that pain with creature comforts such as sugar, alcohol, sex, shopping or exercise. While in moderation, none of these things are inherently harmful, but excessive amounts of them can lead to negative consequences down the road, as most of us are aware. When we spend a whole month (or three considering they put out Christmas decorations at Halloween now) in the feeling of stress around upcoming holidays, we can easily begin to lean on these crutches more often than not, creating detrimental effects for our health.


To demonstrate this point even further, there has been some amazing work coming out of Princeton and Harvard professors Eldar Shafir and Sendhil Mullainathan pointing to the fact that scarcity, and the feelings of scarcity, actually lower cognitive abilities. Meaning, as humans, our decision making skills sort of fly out the window when dealing with the stress of scarcity. Now, they were mostly referring to financial scarcity in these studies, but have alluded to the fact in other articles that it doesn’t necessarily matter what the subject matter is. The reason being that when the human brain experiences stress, glucose levels plummet as energy demands increase in response to stress hormones being released into the bloodstream, and our attention focuses myopically on the stressor at hand, ultimately, making us dumber and hyper-reflexive in nature.


Now, this might seem like an intense description to lay out as a case against watching TV commercials, but nonetheless I think it’s worth mentioning since we are inundated with these messages more often than most of us care to recognize, making us victims of our own culture.


So, what to do? Because, let’s be honest, thinking about the ways your thoughts stress your body out is stressful in and of itself, and that’s not good for anyone.


Luckily, I believe the antidote to this conundrum is much simpler than we might assume. While I talk about it a lot, awareness – simple, sweet awareness – is once again key. Even reading this post, you will most likely think about things a little bit differently, and that, I believe is enough. Because next time you catch yourself feeling badly that you don’t have the latest style of workout pants or a bigger, fancier car or new furniture for your house or all the books you could ever want to read or the newest kitchen gadget from La Creuset, you might just stop and ask yourself, “Will this thing somehow make me better?” “Do I really need it?” “If I do want it, why? And lastly, “Even without this thing, can I be enough?”


Again, I don’t write this post to scare you out of wanting fun things, shopping for your loved ones or getting caught up in the Christmas spirit. We all celebrate differently, and if that feels good to you, and excites you and conjures feelings of joy – by all means, DO THE THINGS THAT BRING YOU JOY. But, if you find yourself feeling badly, feeling like you're lacking or ungrateful for all that you already do have, perhaps check in and tune in to see if the message is yours, or if you’ve been paying a bit too much attention to those outside voices whose message will always, and forever, be: You’re not enough.


Until next time,




The Nocebo Effect: Can You Think Yourself Sick?


The Body is Not A Textbook

When it comes to healing the body, I’m the type practitioner who believes it’s more an art form than a science, but only because I’ve witnessed what happens when we reduce the body to a textbook.


You see, for many years, I made my body a textbook. I figured the more I knew the better, and set out to learn everything I could about the intricacies of internal human landscape as I worked to heal my own debilitating conditions. I was the woman “doing everything right,” by all evidence-based standards, but who was still mired in fear, doubt and a host of physical ailments that left me hanging by a thread. And, not only was I caught in this puzzling web of confusion, but I still see it time and time again in my practice in women dealing not only with whatever diagnoses or host of symptoms they’re plagued with, but also burn out from all the routines, rituals, supplements and protocols of which they’re strictly adhering.


To be fair, these prescriptions and recommendations are helpful. For short term data-collection, plans and supplemental support can absolutely be useful, and I’ll never be one to refute the power of cleansing leafy greens or gut-healing bone broth. Yet, ultimately, finding out what the body needs to repair itself requires more than a pantry full of vitamins and piles of expensive doctor bills. Rather, it requires a gentle, subtle tuning in that starts with our beliefs about it’s ability to do so.


Many of us have heard of the placebo effect in medicine and health, but less so the Nocebo effect. While the placebo effect demonstrates the positive correlation between the mind-body connection (the body’s ability to heal itself), the nocebo effect points to it’s negative implications. Essentially, the nocebo effect is a branch of mind-body healing dedicated to understanding the correlation between the negative beliefs we hold about our body and how they manifest physically and mentally.


What I I want to discuss in this post is how certain beliefs and thoughts you may harboring could be holding you back from that which you want – to live a healthy, free and happy life.


Understanding the Mind-Body Connection


The mind is powerful, this we know. But just how powerful is less charted territory, particularly because our Western medicine culture doesn’t leave a lot of room for anecdotal, or what is often termed woo-woo, evidence. Without good hypothesis and proof, we don’t consider research like that to be valid. And we certainly don’t find clinical evidence to be enough to constitute fact. Meaning that just because I see something repeated in my practice, doesn’t mean it’s true. But, nonetheless, when all else fails and we’ve tested every lab imaginable with no movement toward improvement, its worth looking into what else could be causing the block.


Enter: Mind-body healing. Unfortunately, it’s still last on the list for most people after all other efforts have failed, but then again, I don’t really care how you got here, only that you did.


To demonstrate the Nocebo Effect in action, let’s take a look at a few examples that have been recorded throughout the years:


·      In a controlled study done for a new chemotherapy drug, control patients were given saline water as their placebo, yet 30% of them lost their hair.


·      In another study, control patients were given a sugar pill they were told could cause nausea. 80% of them vomited.


·      Patients on antidepressants who were reporting a decrease in depression were told they would be getting randomized placebos – meaning they may or may not be continuing their medication. Both patients who continued their medication, and those on the placebo, reported a returning and worsening of symptoms.


Now, these are just three of many studies done on the same topic, but they aptly showcase what I mean when I say “the mind is king.” In other words, what you think you shall see. NOT what you see, you shall think.


Our brain’s ability to construct our reality is real, and worth examining if we find ourselves unable to kick certain illnesses, symptoms, beliefs, patterns or conditions.


How to Know If The Nocebo Effect is Affecting You


I often tell my clients to start out writing a list of things they believe to be true about their bodies. For example: If someone is struggling with chronic fatigue, they may list out beliefs like:


I’m always tired.

I can’t exercise without needing a nap.

I don’t’ sleep well.

I never know how my body will feel.

I’m just kind of a weak and sickly person. Always have been, always will be.


Someone who is trying and failing to lose weight may believe things like:


I can’t quit sugar, I’ve tried hundreds of times

Working out is really hard

I just look at food and gain weight

My love handles get bigger every year

My body was just built to be big


Bear in mind that these will vary depending on whatever it is you’re considering a struggle.

Then, after they’ve done that, I ask them to see how many on their list serve them well and how many do not. And by serve them, I mean are helpful to their healing. Most of the time, there are very few which serve them, and many, many that hinder their efforts and cause emotional responses like depression, anxiety, sadness, hopelessness and powerlessness.


When we get clear on what our beliefs about our body or condition or life circumstances are, it becomes easier to see what sorts of responses are resulting as a consequence. Simply put, if I wake up everyday believing that I am tired and didn’t get enough sleep, that is what I will most likely find to be true day in and day out.


While the Nocebo Effect isn’t widely understood from a scientific viewpoint (it’s hard to get approval for studies that knowingly cause harm), some researchers point to the stress effect that negative beliefs or thoughts can have on the body and attribute the physical decline that occurs in response to the Nocebo Effect. In other words, your worrisome and stressful thoughts about your condition trigger a physical stress response in your body which causes all kinds of symptom manifestations.


Yet, this doesn’t necessarily describe the “how” behind the specificity like the cases listed above. But, whether or not we have a fully functional explanation, it’s clear to see that the mind plays a HUGE role in whether or not the body will be able to heal, and I see this in my practice often. Which is exactly why I believe healing the mind and body must be done congruently. When we talk about root cause medicine, we’re referring to finding the root of the problem and digging it out so to speak to the issue can resolve. When the root cause is a belief, that must be addressed as well and can start with something as little as being willing to notice the beliefs that are working for your benefit, and the ones that are not, and then working to replace them slowly.


Even a statement as tiny as, “I don’t know if my body will ever heal, but I’m willing to hold out hope,” can be enough to open up the door of possibilities previously closed to you by your unwillingness to see them.


We know that the power of the placebo effect is real and mighty and can lead to dramatic, spontaneous healings in the body and mind. With that said, it would only make sense that the opposite it true as well, in which case, paying attention to our daily, even moment-to-moment, thoughts about our life could and would be worthwhile.


Til next time,






Relationships: It's not them, it's you.


I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately. Platonic, intimate, acquaintances and everything in between. The nature of them, how they affect our well-being, our health, our mindset and how, despite sometimes wishing they weren’t, they are integral to our joy and fulfillment during this lifetime. So, as I usually do with things I think about intensely, I decided to write about it.


Being an NTP, you’d think my job description ended at food, but what I’ve found over the years is that food is rarely the place of conclusion. In fact, it’s usually the commencement, the place where it all starts and continues to unfold into a deeper understanding of what health really means.


To me, health means being able to wake up in the morning satisfied and eager. Happy and content with your life and where it’s heading. Receptive and open to contrast as a learning tool, but not afraid and fearful of its presence in your life. Health means alignment between your body, mind and soul and a feeling of connection to a greater collective than you can concretely wrap your head around.


Can all of that be accomplished with food? I think not. Which is why I feel it necessary for us to take a holistic approach to our wellness and address all the conditions of our lives, including our loved ones – our loathed ones – and ones we don’t give much thought to, but who still exist in our awareness.


Whether we like it or not, relationships are central to our existence and we are in a “relationship” with everyone we meet. To demonstrate my point, according to the dictionary definition, relationships are defined as such:


“the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.”


In other words, while we often save the word *relationship for our intimate and romantic ones, we are related and connected to everything and everyone we come into contact with, making relationships a very, very large and undeniable part of our experience. If I go to the grocery store to pick up food, I’m in a relationship of some sort with every person and item there. Now, the intensity of that relationship may vary, I may hardly notice some people while choosing to speak to others, but nonetheless, the relationship exists. From a purely objective standpoint, with this many relationships making their way into our daily experience, wouldn’t it make sense to ensure they are mostly positive?


But we don’t do that. We tend to think of relationships as passive. As though the people and encounters in our lives are exerted upon us and our only job is to consume them. To receive them and react to them.  If we are “lucky and blessed” we’re surrounded by people who make our lives better, and if we are “unlucky and cursed” we will be surrounded by those we consider idiots or people who make our lives miserable.


And this is wherein the problem lies...


What most people fail to understand is that the quality of our relationships exists in direct proportion to who we ARE in our own lives. In other words, your relationships are a direct reflection of YOU.




With that in mind, do you like what you see looking back?


Upon learning this harsh, eye-opening truth, I remember balking a bit. I was more of the mindset that people were more hassle than they were worth. For the most part, I found that people were self-serving, annoying, dumb, lazy, mean, and uninteresting. I had time for a few select (read: “important”) people in my life, and even they were often the source of much of my pain. Particularly when it came to my romantic relationships. No matter how hard they may have been trying, I was consistently disappointed with their lack of attention, love and adoration, expecting an inordinate amount of devotion and connection that I myself was unwilling and unable to give in return.


So, you can imagine my surprise, and disbelief, when I found out that all of those relationships – the ones that caused me so much headache and the ones for which I longed to be more meaningful and deep – were a product my doing.


I’m not suggesting that we can manipulate our relationships to fit our ideals, but what I am saying is that if we want meaningful, loving, interesting, expanding, open, communicative relationships, we must first show up as those qualities in our own lives. Borrowing from religion, we call this a faith of sorts. The premise that I must first become that which I want to be and look for what I want to cultivate within myself without having seen proof of it in others. Because the universal forces which bring us together are interesting that way. If my frequency is more irritable than compassionate, more angry than loving, more negative than positive, by definition it will be difficult, if not impossible, to match up with anyone embodying those qualities.


Sometimes this is hard, especially when it means looking at old patterns and ways of showing up and choosing new ones. I remember specifically wanting more authentic, open and vulnerable relationships, until I realized what they would require of me. More authenticity and vulnerability. Unfortunately (or not), relationships are never one-sided, meaning that you will most likely have to become uncomfortable for a period of time while you learn to navigate new ways of being, communicating and interacting. Which is why most of us fail to make changes and then blame others for not being what we needed them to be.


When I was on the road to those more meaningful relationships, I had to dive deep into what I considered hot water and it was, at times, terrifying. It didn’t stop me, but sometimes my heart would race so fast I thought I would die and I had multiple vulnerability hangovers, as shame researcher Brene Brown affectionately calls them. I was wobbly and shaky and unsure of myself most of the time, but little by little I saw people opening up around me in ways I couldn’t have imagined before. Not only strangers, but friends and family I’d known my entire life. People I thought couldn’t possibly share my love for this work or whom I thought were content to stay where they were started joining me on my journey. We talked and laughed and cried – sometimes we pushed back on each other, but ultimately the more responsibility I took for massaging and nurturing my relationships, the more they blossomed before my eyes into something that felt real. That felt like mine.

While that’s simply one example of the way it could unfold, the overarching theme is this:


Get clear on what you’d like from your relationships and then work to become that person.


Your relationships will rise or fall to the level of your expectation and creation. They are not dead, but vitally alive and pulsing with possibility. Not outside of yourself, but in. And arguably, existing in a world where you feel enlivened, supported, loved, seen and connected is one that’s fantastic for your health. Next time you find yourself frustrated, disappointed or disillusioned with the people in your life, ask yourself how you can show up differently to the scene and see how it changes the landscape.


Until next time,






The Art of Reclaiming Your Life


Over the years, in my own life and in talking with others, I’ve come to the realization that many people are walking around right now lamenting lives not lived. They’re stuck feeling like their life isn’t their own, yet are unsure how to fulfill that deeper desire. As if somehow, in some other dimension, they’re living a life they feel passionately connected to and thrilled about, but here and now, are mostly just tired, burned out and waiting for the weekend to arrive.


I remember those feelings too. In fact, it wasn’t until I was nearing 30 that the call to more blared so loudly in my ears I couldn’t ignore it any longer. Yet, I also remember not knowing how or where to start because it felt as though every time I tried to “find my inspiration,” or discover my passion, I came up short handed and more frustrated than before. There were many nights of resignation, wondering if these dreams I had in my head for contentment, happiness and joy were simply not meant for me, meant for someone else with more drive, more courage and more *go-get-em-ness. It wasn’t just that I hated all the jobs I tried out, had a long-term relationship that was falling a part or that I woke up every morning with a sense of unease and discontent, but more more the overwhelming feeling that there was something out there for me and I was just missing what it was – that I was disconnected from my purpose, my reason for being, and it felt awful.


"Like a loyal dog, the nagging, persistent desire for more continued to stick with me..." 


So what did I do? What any normal, self-respecting adult would do – I numbed. Without a way to figure out what exactly was wrong, I was left with a general malaise about life that I couldn’t take any longer. I watched too much television, I drank too much wine, I went to the gym every single day, I filled my time and space with other people and their wins and losses and I counted the hours between waking and sleep when so I could give my mind respite from my thoughts. But no matter how over-stimulated or “busy” I managed to stay, it never left my side. Like a loyal dog, this nagging, persistent desire for more continued to stick with me.


Funny enough, I find that we are often led to what we most desire through secondary routes. For me, I was finally forced to slow down when I came face to face with my worst enemy at the time: my anxiety. With no other options, I enlisted the help of a therapist who I will always hold dear to my heart for this reason: He introduced to me meditation.


Now, in no way, shape or form was I sitting myself down to meditate everyday because I thought it would lead me to some spiritual awakening or "back to myself", I simply wanted the anxiety to leave. But as I familiarized myself with the practice, something miraculous happened. A shift in consciousness, if you will, that radically changed my life – forever.


"Stillness and silence speak... but only if you let them..."


You see, stillness and silence speak … but only if you let them. Many of us fear that if we stop running, stop working, stop obsessing, stop trying, that what we are running from will catch up with us. But that is the point. It’s as if there is a benevolent messenger running after you, with all the answers to your burning questions, but you are running away, convinced that if he catches you, you will surely die. 


However, you begin to make room for stillness in your life, you allow answers to come through you. You allow your subconscious mind to voice what it has known all along. You allow all that you are to show up fully, presently and with confidence. You become clearer, sharper, more in focus. The endless loops playing in your mind calm down, the edge is taken off so to speak. From there, you can actually tap into the wisdom and knowing that lies within you rather than looking for answers outside where they can never be found.


The health problem you just can’t get to the root of? The career decision you're up in arms about? The relationships you can’t decide to leave or stay? The diet strategy that will work for your particular body needs? The friend you  need to have a talk with but aren’t sure how? The money you need to come up with but have no clue where it will come from?


All these answers, and more, exist in this space.


But, getting there can be somewhat uncomfortable, and that’s where most people give up. When they shut off the TV, stop the needless conversation, turn off the notifications and retire to their quiet space alone, they begin to panic. Even a quiet house can send chills of anxiety running through someone who fears his own mind. His own heart.


So what do we do in the face of something that feels so large? We start small. If you are used to endless amounts of stimulation, absolute silence is going to feel empty and you’re going to want to run. That's the simple truth. The best antidote for this then is to take baby steps into that big, wide pond. Start by giving yourself 10 minutes of time to unplug a day. Turn off your cell phone or flip it upside down while you read a book, watch a movie or do dishes. Perhaps, roll your window down in the car and turn down the music. Maybe you take a walk without your phone or decide to do some reading instead of watching TV. Perhaps you just sit in silence with your friends or partner for a minute or two, not needing to fill the space with your words.


Start small. That is the key. Then, when you’re feeling more comfortable, ease your way into more purposeful practices like meditation, lying still or breath work. Or even just try spending a few hours completely to yourself. No distractions, no cell phones, no external noises, no podcasts, no radios… Just you, and you.

These rich, deeply personal experiences can only be felt for what they are when we are willing to receive and hear the gift wrapped up inside them. But if we’re not quite ready, they can propel us into further numbness and further shame because we’ve now failed at the “thing” that was supposed to change our life. This is why I suggest starting small and easing your way into such a practice.


Stillness and silence speak. But not in a language we are used to hearing. Learning to understanding this unique communicative style takes time, awareness and willingness. If all you start with is a small desire to hear that voice, that is enough. Eventually, you will figure it out, but give yourself the time and space to let it unfold naturally. Every question has an answer, our job is merely to allow the receiving of it.