self-care is not a hamburger

This was written in December 2009, and documents my transition from part-time to full-time coaching.

Okay, funny title, right? But here’s what I mean–self-care is not a to-do list of stuff, achieved or looked at in a factory assembly line fashion (i.e., bun, condiments, burger, lettuce, tomato, onion, bun, voila! self-care has been achieved!).

Some people might look at that and go, “Well, that’s great, but I’m not really experiencing issues with self-care. I get plenty of sleep, exercise, I get time to myself, so if this course is working on self-care, I don’t really need anything in that department.” Others may think, “I’ve tried those ‘self-care plans’ before. I’ve read those books. I know, I know, I just need to be accountable. I just need to get off my duff and do it. Nothing new, here.”

As I work with coaching clients, I am not crafting it like a hamburger. Checklists that maintain accountability are a piece of the process, but they’re only secondary. I’m starting with the type of self-care that is about things like knowing that your life is fully in integrity.

Think of a time when you’ve encountered a difficult situation–perhaps, for instance, a time when you had conflict with a friend but no one was talking about it. Perhaps you felt icky and out of integrity because you knew you wanted to say something, but you were still working up the courage. Think of how much energy that ick feeling took–and think of how great it felt, how much lighter it was, when you finally did clean things up with that person.

In my coaching practice, looking at personal integrity and how to clean up situations where you don’t feel in integrity with others (because of withholds) or with yourself (because you know you have big dreams that you’ve been putting off) is part of self-care.

I remember how it felt before I found my life’s work–my attempts at self-care were that I’d decide that I was going to do yoga every day, or perhaps meditate, or whatever happened to inspire me in that moment, convincing me that I’d be “better if…”. It was great to take on that practice in that moment…but then it wouldn’t last. Why? Or sometimes I’d be really great at my to-do list, and yet I’d still feel empty and unfulfilled. Why?

From my perspective, I had that experience because there are other parts of self-care that were neglected. Self-care is so much more than eating our vegetables. It’s about integrity, personal choice, noticing, acknowledging, making conscious decisions.

My coaching work is about creating real, lasting change that is about a journey, not a to-do list of items to tick off.

I’m also really excited to announce that I have a few confirmed interviews:

Matthew and Terces Engelhart are co-founders of Cafe Gratitude in San Francisco and authors of Sacred Commerce, The Abounding River Personal Logbook, and Plenty of Time: A 366 Day Creative Planner. These two souls are committed to abundance and gratitude and all that it can bring into your life, and I’m really excited to see what they share.

Yvonne & Rich Dutra St.John, co-founders of Challenge Day and authors of Be the Hero. Challenge Day has been featured several times on the Oprah Winfrey Show and a new reality tv show on their work will be produced by MTV in the coming months.

Christine Mason Miller: Artist, Writer, Philosopher. She’s the shining creative writer behind the book Ordinary Sparkling Moments and her work has been picked up and distributed throughout many galleries and stores. She is an artist who has truly shown that through dedication and hard work, artists do not need to “starve.”

it was time to stop drinking lattes, anyway

This post was written in December 2009, and documents my transition from part-time to full-time coaching.


In September, the very day that I decided that I would let go of teaching, the first symptoms hit of what I would now tentatively diagnose as an ulcer.¬†In all of the blog reading I’ve done about people who have left jobs with some kind of security in favor of a path that offered no official “security” but a sense of fulfillment, I only recall people talking about whimsical journeys. Cue the fairy dust! I don’t recall anyone talking about feeling as if they were getting an ulcer.

So let me be the first (if I am), to report: Quitting your job and starting a new career path can cause something that feels suspiciously like an ulcer.

But truly, it’s hilarious. Hilarious! The hilarious thing is that I was sitting on the couch today, doing deep breathing, and I was completely okay with all of it, not in the sense that I was giving up and not caring but in the sense that I was simply taking it in stride, surrendering to it, accepting that this was part of the package that I chose, that this is how my body is choosing to express some of the fear that is coming up–the tummy is sore.

Perhaps the stomach upset doesn’t bother me so much because in addition to the fear, there are so many reasons to be excited–reasons like my Courageous Year e-course filling, or feeling inspired around new ideas for retreats, or seeing my available session times filling more than a month in advance (there are four remaining, so contact me ASAP if you want to set up a coaching session).

I am so very grateful. I am walking into our new house with gratitude, into my yellow studio with gratitude, into every single morning with gratitude. When the fear does come up, it is less and less about “If I do this, will anyone even care?” and more and more, “Wow, I’m doing this–what if I screw it up?”

And that, too–riding that fear–is also part of the journey.

I mean, that’s just it–it. I am completely and totally and utterly thrilled, and so thankful, and so excited, at the same time that my stomach can be in pain to varying degrees or I feel fear and worry about being a screwup.

That’s it.

That’s all.

“That’s all” is a nice place to be.

* * *

Oh yes, and–I give advance notice about giveaways, retreat discounts, etc. via Twitter and Facebook. I also pass along any beautiful links, book recommendations, or inspiring quotations that come my way. If you’re not already getting the official announcements, get added!

the snow globe

This piece was written during November 2009, and documents my transition from part-time to full-time coaching.

If I chose one metaphor for my life in the past year, it would be the snow globe. In general, everything has felt so shaken up, so topsy-turvy, but in a beautiful way (the kind of way where you might be tempted to shake it up again, just to watch it happen), and now the pieces seem to be slowly floating down into a slower space.

The odd part about all of it is that underlying everything that happens lately, I have this larger sense of fate. I feel as if I have stepped off the track of being the arbiter of my life, someone who has sat down to identify goals in a purposeful way and then worked her ass off to attain them, and that now there is something bigger and more magical at play and I am just riding that ride. There is a lot of deja vu, a lot of hanging back and then when something happens kind of shaking my head at the “rightness” that I feel, and then sensing that, yes, it was all supposed to turn out just this way.

For instance, even with the troubles we’ve had with the house that we’ve just moved into–the plumbing lines that backed up, and the newer problem that has presented itself with the electrical system (!)–despite those troubles, I don’t question for a second whether this is the right place to be. It just feels right. In other houses where we’ve been when troubles have arisen it only confirmed what I knew–what I’d felt leading up to the signing of the papers, the red flag warnings that had been whispering at me to think about the choice just a bit more. For whatever reason, with this house it is my story that because it feels right, it is right despite the challenges. Thus, living here feels perfectly okay (in fact, I feel inordinately proud that we made the decision–walking in the house, I feel that sense of “Ah…” that I have been missing the past few years).

There is a kind of magic (energy? presence? spirit? who knows) that seems at work in the background, and I think it is always there but in this particular cycle of my life I feel more present to it. I feel guided by it, protected by it. I feel more committed to doing only that which resonates and trusting that if something does not resonate–even if it’s something that “should” resonate for some reason–there is something to that. I feel willing to listen. I have felt this way to varying degrees since Italy. Sometimes I think to myself that the only thing any human needs to get “right” on what they want is a week away from their everyday life. I find that every time I take myself out of my daily routines, issues that I think I’m challenged by become more clear, and then I can return to the routines with that insight.

I feel really grateful because I know I have felt this guidance before in my life and then it slipped away (or perhaps it’s something that just naturally cycles through, changing like seasons, waxing and waning?). It feels good to have this, especially now, because I also have big waves of fear come up–there is so much more money flowing out of my life in this moment than into it, and my inner little kid, happy as she is that I will no longer force her to do a job she is ready to let go of, is looking at the money part and going, “What the fuck are you doing? Who put you in charge?”

In a few minutes, I’m going to slip out of the house and head to one of my favorite places, Cafe Gratitude. They’re holding a workshop on abundance and I feel all sorts of things–afraid, resistant, excited, open–but mostly I’m hoping that this workshop is just an opening to sinking deeper into a sense of being held by the world. I’m also really, really grateful that there is a place I can go to get even further insights into stepping completely into being abundance. I’ve done a lot of money work in the past few years, and I’m proud of all of it, yet in many ways it feels like an onion being peeled as I discover another way that old patterns around scarcity or lack show up in my life (most recently, by the way, my old learned story about money, “Rich people are selfish and out of touch with the suffering of others” has shown up in feeling sudden bits of self-consciousness that someone might come into my home and think that because Andy and I are paying more rent and buying new furniture, I’ll be viewed as “selfish and out of touch with the suffering of others.” That was a huge wake up call for me yesterday–just when I thought that that story had played itself out fully…)

I’ll be excited to report back!