An Interview With Jamie Ridler

An Interview With Jamie Ridler from Kate Swoboda on Vimeo.

I can’t remember how I first connected with Jamie Ridler. Was it Facebook? Twitter? Just out and about in the online world?

I definitely remember the first time she re-tweeted something I’d put out there on Twitter. It was so very…”un-coaching-world-like.” I mean, one Coach, sharing the work of another Coach rather than the more typical desperation and clinging and gotta-get-my-piece-of-the-pie stuff–had we stepped into an alternate dimension?

I began following Jamie and noticed that I loved her enthusiasm, passion, and integrity. So I proposed that we collaborate on something and before I knew it, here we were–two Coaches supporting one another. I did a podcast for Jamie Ridler Studios, and then we gabbed on the phone for another half-hour after that interview. I loved her energy and am so excited to return the gesture and interview her and have her featured here today.

Funny thing about this interview–this moment, almost towards the end, when I was going to follow my “interview script” and move on to the next question because, uh, isn’t that what you do in an interview? But then I stopped and said, “Wait. Let’s go back a second.” There was such energy that had come forth when Jamie responded to my question: “What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?” and I felt it and we couldn’t leave it. In that moment, one part of me was in total panic (holyshityou’renotdoingitrightwhat’shappeninghowwillyouforumlatethenextquestion?) while another part of me just knew that if I got really present with each of the next words that were coming out of my mouth, I’d be a-okay.

And we totally were. And she rocked out with this unexpected detour.

Enjoy the interview.


how you do anything is how you do everything

It’s my belief that people tend to fall into one of two categories when embarking upon some new change:

Category One: Gusto People : They dive right in, usually because they feel they know what they’re getting into and how great it’s going to be, and then as challenges arise or old Beliefs & Stories come up, the enthusiasm wanes. Quitting seems like the better option. It might even start to seem very real that the change in question is not “one I wanted, anyway.” The timeline of a person’s life can become littered with things started and abandoned.

or, perhaps–

Category Two : Delayers : They hesitate. Wait. Want to collect all of the right answers. Want to make sure that they know what they’re getting into. Want to have it all figured out. Just getting started and getting something in consistent motion seems like the hardest obstacle. There are false starts, sort of like turning the key but the engine just chugs rather than roaring to life. And it’s very real: Some people can spend years in this space.

Either way, the fear kicks in at a certain point. For some it comes later; for others it’s right from the start. And typically, the inner critic rushes in so fast to tell us how we f*cked it all up, that it’s hard to get our bearings. The Gusto People steel themselves for giving something another try, sort of like focusing right before trying to jump a wall, while the Delayers spend more time trying to figure it all out before making a move.

What’s it Getting You?

I think there’s a question that can be asked that helps to get more present to the cycle: “What do I think it’s going to get me?”

If you something you want to shift, really try to identify what exactly it is that you believe that the shift is going to get you.

For instance, we don’t lose weight because we just think losing weight is a fantastic bit of fun. We lose weight because we think it’s going to get us something–love, for instance. More sex. Pride in an accomplishment. Feeling good about ourselves. We don’t buy stuff because it’s just oh so fun to have stuff lying around. We buy it because we believe that the product or experience is going to make us feel better about ourselves or our lives.

This is not earth shattering news, but it’s amazing how often we can make choices that are totally grounded in an assumption that we will get some specific thing if we do XYZ. One of the earliest practices in the Courageous Living Programis to clearly identify one’s values, so that every decision you’re making about your life is orienting from that place, rather than what other people think or what you’re told you “should” do.

The same question can be asked during the times when we’re clinging so hard to the fear: What are you getting out of hesitating or holding back?

To play the victim? To not ‘have to’ change a belief or habit? To blame someone else? To stay in your comfort zone longer? To not disrupt old family roles? To avoid paying money for something? To avoid fully stepping into your power? To avoid the vulnerable discomfort of pain–or the same vulnerable discomfort of utter joy?

I’m all about people (consciously) sitting with their fear. It’s good stuff. And–I’m also all about curiosity. What’s that about? It wouldn’t serve us to stay in fear, forever.


How We do Anything…

The interesting thing about working with fear is that we often find that how we do anything is how we do everything. When someone first starts coaching with me, the things they want to change really can be anything: Be more connected to myself. Start a creative practice. Lose ten pounds. Earn more money.

The places where we get stuck around money are often the same or very similar to how we get stuck with creative practices or weight loss or…whatever.

This is not bad news. It’s incredibly helpful information to know!

If you’re feeling stuck in any area of your life, take this tool with you. The tool is that you look at your habits in one area of your life, and then you notice how those same habits are operating in another area. And if you identify a place where you managed to surmount those habits, then ask yourself: What was the critical factor, here? What did I do, differently?

Talk about simplification–a glimmer of wisdom or truth in one area becomes your medicine, your transformation, in another.

Click to tweet: Our medicine in one area is our transformation, in another.


the sugar update

Okay, so. As promised, I need to update all y’all on the sugar thing.

In the past month, I had two cookies.

Let’s just get that out of the way, right now.

Other than that, it’s been really rocking out fan-freaking-tastic.

No, wait.

There is one other thing.

I am having, like, the worst acne breakout of my entire life. It really blows. I’m drinking a ton of water, and doing castor oil hot packs, and eating veggies, and really just doing this whole “Have acceptance” dance around it. This is so very contrary to my usual habit, which is something like, “Hot Tamale, Batman–I’m having yet. another. breakout.” and then putting some uber-chemically cleanser on it. We’ll see how it goes. It has been a rough year on the acne front. I am the girl who has, literally tried everything–every cleanser, every drug, and it’s not hormonal or due to an imbalance that shows up on a medical test–and my most recent program is simply to avoid wheat, dairy, and sugar, use really gentle and natural Mychelle cleansers and lotions, and to seriously just keep coming back to acceptance of the acne. It’s there. I can’t do anything about it other than what I’m doing. As far as I can tell, I’m detoxing from the wheat/dairy/sugar and that’s that.

Better out than in, right? End of story.

But you’re not reading this update to find out about breakouts, you’re wondering if I had a psychotic break after letting go of refined sugar.

The answer? Not so far. But I am pleased to report a few things.

For one, I have found it. Finally! The diet that works for me (not necessarily everyone, but for me): Avoiding wheat, dairy, sugar. The goal is to eliminate sugar entirely but at this point, I’m not being rigid about it past the point of not eating ice-cream, pastries, sodas, things like that. (For instance, I’m aware that there’s a bit of sugar in my ranch salad dressing. I’m not going to freak about that at this point). It works for me in the sense that I have so much more energy than I did. I include some (sustainable, non-factory, hormone-free) chicken and occasionally beef in my diet. Other than that, it’s tasty deliciousness of all kinds of other great things. My favorite new breakfast is Bob’s Red Mill Rice Farina topped with a bit of lite coconut milk, sprinkled with cinnamon and toasted almonds. Deeeeelicious! I’ve been really enjoying kale, grains, new salad combinations, soups, beans, etc. (P.S. My definition of “works for me” is that it’s a diet I know is healthy, is relatively easy to follow, and leaves me with lots of energy).

For two, I can do this. I had a lot of stuff coming up in that last entry around wondering if I could actually do this and stop having the cakes, cookies, etc. Other than the two oatmeal cookies I had, I haven’t had any of those things. It has been surprisingly easier than I had first thought. It now seems strange to me to think of eating a traditional pizza.

For three, I’m restoring and evaluating as I go, with no attachment. Since I know I’m going to eat whatever the hell I want when I spend the month in Italy and eat out with the retreat participants, I feel good knowing that I’m giving my body a restorative period in the months before I go. Then I’ll come home and be back on my good old California-girl juice-cleansing kombucha drinking leafy green path. I’m both acknowledging that I’m addicted to sugar while simultaneously open (and behind my choice) to have this period of the year where I’ll suspend reality.

For four, I am learning all kinds of great nuances of my body. For instance, a sugar craving is almost identical to a hunger craving (at least, the sensations are the same in my body). Or noticing when it is that I start feeling most nuts for some sugar and when it’s no big deal. Also, it’s been great to put more focus on things like drinking water, and noticing thirst more than I used to.

For four, the most helpful nuance I’m learning? How I respond to addiction. Addiction seems like such a strong word, doesn’t it? I get that. But truly, the sugar thing is such an addiction. As it happens, Andy has recently seen a Chinese Medicine nutritionist and she is doing some acupuncture with him and making assorted diet recommendations, so he’s been ditching wheat and dairy and sugar for the past month as part of a detox/cleanse. We were at a barbeque recently, and among the food on the table was a box of chocolate chip cookies.

After the barbecue, we talked about those cookies–how we’d both wanted one. We’d both thought about it. We’d both debated whether or not to have them. We’d both thought, “Oh, I’m sure one would be okay,” and then taken ourselves back from the brink.

We were laughing as we discussed this, because certainly we were not having these thoughts about the potato salad. Or the regular salad. Or the beans. Or the rice. Or the meat on the grill.

No, the thing that we were debating were cookies, because we both knew that one cookie would lead to two and then to another and I just have to say that for me, even if I have the willpower to stop at two cookies (and I do), part of recognizing the addiction is that when I cave and have the refined sugar, it just makes it harder to resist the next day. I am coming to a far fuller understanding of why it is that alcoholics pretty much have to stop going to bars when they get into recovery. (P.S. I don’t think anything is wrong with having cookies. I just notice that I’m trying to see how far I can go with this phase of letting go of sugar, what that’s like, etc. )

So many of you commented or emailed me regarding my last post on letting go of sugar–I had no idea there were so many others out there who were working through something like this yourselves. Thank you for the support! I immensely appreciate it.

Did any of you recently decide to let go of sugar (or something else that’s hard to let go of)? How’s that going?