Rebel Without a Vice

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What the hell do I even have now?

I gave up my half of a cigarette, stopped boozing, sugar/honey eating is pretty stabilized, I have money in my savings account, my relationship is yummy, what the hell do I cling to as a rebel girl?

If you haven’t had the pleasure of exploring the four tendencies, pop over here and let the light shine on you. The first month of the circle we learn about our tendencies because knowing these has transformed how I view and understand myself, my kids, my lover, my clients, my world.

I am a rebel. I don’t respond to inner or outer expectations and all the rebel yells that come along with that constant struggle to not do what others want and the push pull with your own damn self.

One thing that I’ve counted on is having a secret little vice. The quarter of a cigarette on the porch after a run when the kids were at school. The tequila shot in the Loft before checking the mail and starting dinner at 4:30pm. Didn’t matter what it was, it was part of my identity in the world, of beating in my own rhythm which was chaotic and wild and loving and mine.

Everything feels so calm now. So peaceful. There are days when that is the hardest challenge of my day, adjusting to the stability of my own body and mind.

My friend Alix, also rebel, also on the side of sobriety, told a story about how the most rebellious thing she does now is to say, “I don’t drink.”

I’ve been over here hiding it, feeling almost shame about it because I am terrified of making others feel somehow uncomfortable in my change and she has a new rebel cry, “I don't drink.”

She said that not drinking inside of a world where alcohol is the norm, the go to, is the most rebellious act she can choose.

Mind. Blown.

Dig deeper little rebel. Just because the tequila shot is gone doesn’t mean you are gone. Just because life feels really fucking good, doesn’t mean that it is going to come crashing down.

I have challenged every social dynamic I know. How does a rebel keep herself from not drinking when meeting inner expectations is the struggle?

I suppose by the one thing that keeps time for everything in her life, by figuring out the way she wants to feel and challenging every expectation that comes her way.

My entire life I have been in search of the life I have created, had created. And instead of feeling amazing inside of it, I was still pushing it away, numbing it, fighting inside of it.

I couldn’t see that the feeling I wanted to have most was already there, I was just too numb to access it.

I felt like I was dying inside of everything I had busted my ass to draw forth.

No one asked me to stop drinking. In fact, it was the expectation that I would drink. Travel with my own booze. Be the first at the bar.

I guess there truly is no more rebellious act than breaking that pattern. Saying no more. Claiming a quiet spot on the grass to sit on a beautiful blanket and feel everything.

Maybe feeling everything, and let me tell you it is a wild ride, is what freedom is.

I was telling Dave that on my birthday I was so overcome by emotions that I had to just go to bed. I had time with friends which was amazing, I had a beautiful surprise from my kids and him, I had frustrations with kid homework time, I had my entire house pulled apart and moved around, and I had my first birthday without a bottle of wine. And when he opened a beer, I had to go. Go to bed. Go process how many possible feelings I could have all at once.

I was grateful and moved and joy filled and frustrated and unnerved and sad and happy and vulnerable and scared and proud and excited and disappointed and let down and lifted up. All at once. Everything. All of it.

Leaving and going up to bed to lie there and just feel was the half cigarette, the shot of tequila, the falling apart and getting angry, the blowing up of something, anything.

It was the place where all of that would have been.

Replaced by the feelings. The time and space to process them, find places for them or releases for them. It was a lot of tears. It was gigantic gratitude. It was enough sleep. It was not looking for another person to fill my voids.

This peace and calm feels oddly like a rebel yell. Like coming up for air after holding my breath.

At first you replace your ‘vice’ with a vice. Then trade that one off for a new one. Cigarette into sex sex into tequila tequila into shopping shopping into sugar sugar into…

…peace and calm. Shit.

That is what I have now.

The surprise in the mirror.

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I thrifted these big baggy linen like pants. I tried them on thinking I’d throw them in my store and wanted to size them. They were too big for me so they fell down to my hip bones. I was trying them on under my dress and then the dress fell down over the pants as though it was a petticoat.

I noticed that my lower body which tends to feel out of proportion with my upper body, felt gorgeously full and smooth.

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I took some photos then smoothed the dress all the way down over the pants and used my chunky belt to anchor the pants on my waist. I noticed I was moving with a bit more awareness of my hips. I added the jean jacket and instantly it was like I became my future self.

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My future self wears pants that flow and has found ways to layer that complete the way she wants to feel each morning when she chooses her (first, she loves to change all day) Spiritstyle outfit. She finds ways to explore each thrifted piece she has chosen as a way to tell a story about her spirit, her light, her desires.

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Tomorrow the pants might find a soft white button down tied at the waist. The jean jacket could fall in love with the thin gray tank top and purple skirt filled with holes at the bottom from good living and stepping. The dress might slide under a tan oversized cardigan that wraps around and comforts.

Spiritstyle is a surprise in the mirror. It is play time. Discovery. It is trying things that alone would never work and finding the moment they become magical. It is taking chances, being seen. Spiritstyle is my love affair, all day long, all the fabrics, the possibilities, the color stories, the movement, the stripes.

Tomorrow the shop will be bursting with treasures. Come visit around Noon Eastern and see if any surprises are calling to you. Look also for (re)spiriting style Home, curated pieces for all your spaces and places.

Hiding from feelings.

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We are doing a challenge called Reset, Wildthing, Reset in my circle. If it goes in the direction I’m thinking it will, after having called it in as ritual the last month, I would love to share it with all of you.

For now, in my personal challenge one of my resets is to find my way back to the page. In this context, the pages of this blog, this website. To reconnect with it, to adore it in new ways.

Asking questions of myself around trusting myself, being seen, of my relationship with what I have always called the hole inside of me that no longer feels like a hole. In therapy the last few years the only way I could describe it was that it felt like a hole that existed right in the middle of my body and left me feeling broken and searching.

I picked up the book, Nothing Good Can Come From This by Kristi Coulter and the first two pages took my breath away.

She talks about the hole. And all the ways she has tried to fill the hole, including alcohol.

And did you fill the hole?

No. Turns out there wasn’t a hole after all. Just a space.

A space.

Yes.

And have you filled the space?

Not yet.”

…….

Inside of the contraction of the last few years my expansion could not feel more beautiful. Listening to the Tarot for the Wild Soul podcast (total crushing) she talks about how contraction and expansion are not equal in size, that the expansion becomes so much more.

I love that visual, I can see galaxies and hot mugs of tea with a circle of beloveds and I see visions of future happenings that make me tingle. There is probably mixed in there some vegan gluten free strawberry cake.

Beyond a doubt my contraction has been about hiding from feelings. Never about people or situations, always about the feelings that arose from all of it. Feelings aren’t facts they are indicators of what is up and what we need to know and of how our internal compass, which is to me Divine Spirit channeling through us, are functioning.

Feelings glide with us, in and out, and once we can say, yes, this is how I feel, we can get real with that feeling and see if it matches up to the list of how we want to feel on the sticky note of our beautiful life.

…….

One of the women in my circle recently declared that she was angry. Then she posted a photo of herself in a gorgeous black dress with a jean jacket. If she was going to go through the anger stage of her current becoming, she was going to do it feeling hot.

Choice. Feeling.

These days there is a calmness within that I don’t recognize. I thought I must have some sort of mood disorder or anger issues or something. Turns out I was just filled with booze and the instability that comes with it. My friend Tiffany Han describes her past with booze as part of her branding, champagne bubbles popping. Mine was a badass tequila shot any time of day, total branding of who I thought a badass highly sensitive soul should be.

I look at the photo of that beautiful woman in her black dress and I understand her anger. I have felt it. I have hidden from it. I have tried to fill its hole. Then I have just looked at it and loved it and understood it as information.

The calmness is inside of that.

But please, while you are there, dance in your Spiritstyle and see your fierceness while you are learning boundaries and safety and who the hell you are.

…….

There is a giddiness inside the purpose of being seen. When it isn’t altered by too much anything, sugar, food, booze, sex, shopping (fill in the blank). It is like a declaration of choice.

A choice to fly back out into the feelings.

Drunk Me.

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The first thing I noticed as the sober one in the room is that there is a progressive change in noise and personality in those that drink. An entire vibrational switch. I had always been part of that escalation of alcohol fun, leading the way. 

It is almost like everyone lifts off the ground a few feet and you are still on the ground, watching.

The other thing I've noticed is that as the one who has chosen to stop drinking as a choice, not as a claiming of having a 'problem' or needing a meeting or rehab, I feel a little lost.

While I would argue that alcohol is a problem for all of us, because something with the ability to alter us to the point of not being able to drive or make good choices or cause us to black out and lose time or puke is always potentially problematic, I know that this is not a popular thought.

When someone has an acknowledged problem with alcohol everyone around them is aware and careful and tending to their possible temptations.

Nothing around me has changed. And I feel everything is different.

I woke up on Friday and all I thought about was how much I wanted to have a drink. It stayed with me the entire day. I drank iced coffee filled with agave, and made cup after cup of tea.

No cup of tea will ever be wine. And it felt incredibly lonely. To have a made a choice that feels isolating. That is sometimes the hardest choice I make all day.

And I could have a glass of wine or some bubbly or a gluten-free beer. This was never a quest for sobriety.  But every single time I've asked myself first if that beer or wine would be the kindest choice, every time my Spirit says no.

No, not today.

The honest truth, I sometimes wish it would feel kind, for just one glass, one beer, for one moment. 

I am not marking time that I'm not drinking. I'm marking time in what it is for me to thrive in my best self, and questioning my desires.

The desire to drink every single time, for me, has been centered only around escaping anxiety and fear. A coping. I don't know if it was always that way. And yet, here is the truth of now. I have to be in that now, for now. 

I am so aware now of everyone who says, "I deserve this, I  need this, I've earned this." It breaks my heart to believe that we have earned the right to numb the fuck out. That we deserve to disengage with our feelings because shit gets hard.

The desire to be inside of kindness now has me playing the sober one in the room, watching as those around me become lifted off the ground, voices changing, vibrations feeling chaotic.

I am still mostly unsure as to how to play this role. What keeps me curious is how calm and peaceful I feel most days. How rested I can now be. 

I've had a couple of drinks in the last 7 months. Every time I've felt a little let down by myself, but mostly by the alcohol. It wasn't like I remembered. It doesn't feel fun anymore. I am so aware of my desire to escape as motivation. To numb. To find a place for my Spirit to hide so I don't have to trust myself.

I have not chosen to not drink. I can drink whenever the hell I want. I have chosen kindness and for me, this seems to have become non-negotiable in that pursuit in this moment in time.

.......

Last year I laid in bed woken up by a rapid heart-beat. This was happening multiple times a day and now was waking me at night.

My solution was vodka. Enough vodka and I could slow the feeling that I was going to have a heart attack.

It worked. And then I needed more and more to keep my heart beating normally, which really was becoming rare.

.......

I woke up on Friday and all I could think about was how much I wanted a drink. Anything. Beer, wine, cider, or my favorite personal wrecking ball, tequila.

It stayed with me all day. It hurt. The decision to not drink hurt. I can't explain it any other way. By the evening I felt like I was a puddle. I went to bed early. I wish I had been able to talk about with my partner. But I am tip-toeing around people when they are drinking and don't really yet know how to be fully myself in that vibration.

My inner world is tightly secretive, until it isn't, and I had no idea what to do with that feeling. Where to go with it. This is the loneliness, certainly at this point a chosen loneliness. 

The previous weekend friend's of Dave's had come to visit. They brought beer and wine. I drank kombucha even though I thought about the wine. I made dinner while the rest sipped outside in the sun, distraction helps. I made tea. Lots of tea.

My anxiety told me that maybe now was a good time to have just one drink. And then my spirit and I chit-chatted and we decided that anxiety was a real asshole and I shouldn't listen. Instantly I felt calm. In the past I would have been two drinks deep before anyone walked in the door as that was how I could become the fun Hannah who didn't show a sign of social anxiety.

.......

There were mornings I was making breakfast for the kids before school hungover from the too much wine because I need it to cope with life night before.

I would work with a hangover. I would have a drink at night to feel better. Repeat. Sprinkle in vodka to calm my heart down.

It didn't take much for a hangover. Two glasses of wine could take me there, head throbbing and heart racing. As a highly-sensitive person alcohol is incredibly effective in transformation.

.......

I would save my calories for my wine at night, no dessert thank you, wine is my treat.

I would feel my skin bloat and my body feel heavy and sick from that treat.

I would see memes telling me that wine was my reward, that of course we drank because we are parents, and reinforcing what I already knew, I was so much more fun as tequila Hannah.

.......

I thought my heart was dying. And I was certain alcohol was killing my relationship. After one particular fight, I decided to release alcohol to see if we would function differently as a couple. 

I wasn't chasing sobriety I was chasing Kindness. I was obsessed with it. I would master that thing. I would choose a hard thing so that we could become better.

There was a clear clear message from my intuition and it was that I couldn't mix kindness into my glass of wine, no matter how desperately I wanted to. My face started to break out into a hot rash with just one sip of wine.

My body was revolting. 

.......

The first thing that happened is my heart is no longer racing and oddly, I have less anxiety, or maybe, I have a greater ability to resource my creative options for anxiety.

The whites of my eyes are whiter.

I have control over the words that leave my mouth. I used to love that feeling of my erratic emotional out pourings. Now I can't imagine.

In a shit ton of ways not reaching for a drink is easy once I broke the pattern.

In other ways it hurts. Just does.

I am still figuring out who the hell I am without that shot of tequila.

There is a struggle to not replace it with over-sugaring or over-spending or over-hermiting although it then lets me ask of each of those desires, is this kindness?

.......

I liked so much about choosing to pour a glass of wine at 5:00, sipping while chopping vegetables for dinner. I liked the feeling of that moment when the wine hits and everything seems better, lighter. I loved sitting at a bar in another place in the world and meeting people over a drink.

I loved how I felt like a different version of me, more confident, more fun.

I loved having sex while I felt out of body, less inhibitions.

.......

Here is what I'm learning. 

A cup of tea while chopping vegetables is pretty amazing. And I find that I am really there, not wandering away somewhere, I have a deeper connection.

I am having this moment of time where no other decision has been quite so impactful to my becoming other than that to have babies. Becomings are not passive, they are kick your ass look at your shit own your choices rituals of time.

I'm not as fun. I'm also not an emotional wreck(ish). My memory is improved. My bladder is grateful. My body feels my devotion.

And sex? Sober sex is beautiful. It is pure vulnerability and trust. 

I have orgasms without trouble. They have become wildly different than ever before. When we are both connected without alcohol it is intimate and raw and sweet and I can feel him in my heart. 

My heart.

The one that no longer feels like it is going to have a heart attack. 

My heart.

I'm not looking for sobriety, I'm looking to understand true kindness and trust myself. It has spilled over into my money habits and my practice of feeding myself.

.......

Dave loves country music and as we were driving together the other day a song came on called Drunk Me. Now here is the thing with country music, 90% (I obviously made that number up) has references to alcohol. Mostly beer.

This song is about not drinking.

So I am sitting there listening, in total awe of this person who has broken out of the norm and is brave enough to sing about releasing alcohol.

So I look it up and there is an interview with Mitchell Tenpenny about the song. In it he talks about how he wanted to share a song about how someone doesn't have to have a problem with alcohol to know that it isn't serving them.

And then.

And then he goes on to say that he has no problem with alcohol and he drinks with his buddies and they show a clip of him standing in a circle with his guy friends, cups of beer in hand, drinking and having fun.

Because Goddess forbid we say anything against alcohol in that sponsored by beer country music world. We can't offend anyone who wants to drink by suggesting that we can actually stop drinking before we have a "problem."

.......

Drunk Me.

I haven't wanted to post this because I don't want to upset or offend. 

What the hell is that? 

Let me protect others who might be offended which most usually means they see something of themselves in it.

Is that what I believe my job is here? To be a shield for behaviors that take people further away from their amazingness?

I want to shout out how proud of myself I am. I want to be inside of the hardness of this decision that I make every single day and celebrate myself for choosing this day to feel better. To be more. To truly see who I am.

I am not judging anyone. My decision to not drink today has everything to do with me and wanting to be inside of my best life. The one that I left a marriage to discover. The one that I prayed for. The one that I am blessed and giddy to wake up to each morning.

So I guess this is me getting over myself. I will not stand in a circle with friends holding a cup of alcohol just to make sure everyone likes me.

Drunk me isn't part of my identity today.

Not today.

Nothing around me has changed. And I feel everything is different.

My Grandfather's Yellow Room

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When we went to visit my Grandfather he showed us a special room in his house. 

The room was bright yellow. Bright. Amazingly yellow.

He did it to infuse joy into his house. 

Grief is not linear and in its circular process yellow paint was one of his choices.

I think about that room often. I think about him pretty much daily. (Hi GB!!! I love you.)

I want to paint it all yellow.

.......

Since Lucas (Bobbie) was little he would cry to fall asleep. He didn't need much from me other than to be there, to just lay with him while he worked it through.

He still has his tear nights. He has said he is having sad thoughts that come to him as he is falling asleep. He won't tell me what but I'm pretty sure I know.

When I was little I would worry about fires. I would worry about my mom dying. I would worry about so many things and sleep would feel scary.

He doesn't need to tell me because our sensitive souls are so intertwined I can just feel him. Sometimes the tears are sobs and that is when I know the deepest fears are working themselves out inside of his little body.

.......

I've been working with the Manipura Chakra. The seat of our digestive fire. This chakra is located between the navel and the solar plexus. 

This chakra's color is yellow. I think about the yellow room. Joy. Infusing joy.

Dave and I are preparing to talk about long term plans in the case that one of us dies. We aren't married so I really need to have an understanding of what would happen. I haven't been able to do it yet.

It feels like Bobbie's tears at night. I don't want to talk about it because the thought is terrifying.

I spent the day adulting, on the phone with Insurance for over an hour, trying to fix internet service over the phone, beginning to sort my bills and receipts, feeling truly frustrated at once again my lack of control over my money. I'm still playing the I'm unworthy game with myself.

I was exhausted after. Give me 5 kids and grocery shopping and cooking and anything other than that kind of adulting.

My chakra is screaming at me to look at my Joy levels and I'm screaming back that I'm tired.

And I want to remake my whole life.

Starting with my desire for all the yellow. Throw pillows. And nail polish. And yellow peppers cut up into pasta salad. And melons bursting with juice. 

And a new money plan. And the talk. And the tears.

My chakra isn't fooling around. 

.......

I want to paint it all yellow.

Cheeseball shame.

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By the third time I had talked about it I decided I would write it out. 

The cheeseballs. The shame. 

When my love Mara mentioned perfect imperfection texting a couple days ago, it finally had a name, the cheeseball moment. And named, it feels different.

Perfect imperfection. It's a thing. And we all know it's a thing. If you are on social media, you know it's a thing. It is a curated self protective blend of vulnerability and the perfect photo to tell you all about the vulnerability.

Go to my feed, you'll see plenty.

There I am taking a quick video of Eli's birthday spread complete with things he loves, cucumbers, celery, goldfish crackers, cheese, strawberries, cheeseballs.

Well I post the video and bam. Shame.

I am a health coach and my kids get cheeseballs on their birthdays.

My perfect imperfection that I didn't realize I was attaching to my identity. I'll let you see the goldfish crackers after 5 years of therapy but the cheeseballs, hell no. I've known health coaches ready to leave relationships because their partner bought boxed cereal. Judgement reigns deep in this world. 

After I post the video I spend the next 24 hours thinking about how I need to talk about the cheeseballs, explain the cheeseballs. How they are a family birthday thing. How they started with our youngest hacking our grocery list and adding cheeseballs to it all the time.

Honestly, by the third time I've talked about the cheeseballs with someone those damn things lost their power. Judge me. I can't do this shame dance on social media any longer.

A couple months ago I hit my rock bottom of social media shame. Pretty sure it eventually landed me in the ER with diverticulitis. Because a public airing of anger directed at you will eat up your intestines fast while you are working your way through it.

And. It was one of the moments that changed my life, I am ironically steeped in gratitude. A freedom.

Because.

It is so OK. Here was this thing happening and I didn't have to control it or be part of it or give it power. It just was. Messy. Real. So OK.

Eventually this tenderness for all of it, for other's pain and anger and stories, replaced the terror. The deep vulnerability of being imperfectly imperfect and the potential of social media to be wildly toxic or deeply healing all rushing together.

Shame. Cheeseballs.

My kids eat them on birthdays.

Shame. If I could go back and make decisions differently and undo pain caused, yes, yes.

And also, the one who was, the one who had to control the imperfections, she didn't know how to walk through that time. My heart now cannot believe how scared she was.

Shame. How scared she was. How control and fear became silence. How breaking the silence brought more shame. How cheeseballs could just be cheeseballs and hurts and pains and angers can be OK and real and needed, even when they are coming right at us.

Because it is real and true and tender. 

That's the way through shame. To find the truth inside of it.

I didn't want to show you those bright orange fake ass puff balls that were part of my kid's celebration.

Because shouldn't I be better than cheeseballs when you are viewing my perfectly imperfect life?

(Insert perfectly imperfect photo to represent cheeseball vulnerability.)

What I had to tell my partner about me.

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The other night Dave and I got in an argument, which would not have been an argument in another dimension of time and space.

One where Dave understood part of who I was.

One where I had given Dave the information to understand who I was.

The argument centered around a piece of cake. Strawberry. Gluten free. Vegan. Possibly the happiest I have ever felt about a piece of cake.

He was telling me that my face lit up when I talked about the cake. I cut him off because I was incredibly embarrassed. 

One of the things I've been working on in our relationship is not interrupting. I struggle with it and am making more of an effort.

This interrupting wasn't me being impatient or not listening, I didn't want him to keep talking. I felt my face wanting to flush and I just needed to talk my way out of his calling attention to my happiness over this cake.

I was OK being happy, just not talking about it.

After that we got tangled up. I wanted him to understand that when you are a disordered eater, allowing yourself to truly find pleasure in cake, not deny yourself the cake or overeat the cake because you feel shame for wanting the cake or for just feeling in general, is a big fucking deal.

I didn't want him to repeat himself and tell me again that my face lit up when I got the cake. I felt shame at this point.

We tangled some more. His needs colliding with my needs. The day went from crazy joyful wild tiny moments of life changing proportions to feeling like I was going to throw up.

We left the restaurant. I was almost in tears. 

I left the cake on the table.

It took us almost 24 hours to finally talk. We haven't had a fight in so long, we both were mush inside the discomfort of it. I was so confused as to why he wasn't understanding me.

It took me almost 24 hours and a tantrum to find words that led him to understand why this was such a thing for me.

He has no past with disordered eating with anyone he knows.

I had never talked to him, other than casually, about it. He had no idea a piece of cake could hold so much feeling. He had no idea that I was finally feeling free from the disordered eating I've been inside of.

Because I haven't talked about it. I want him to see me. But not that part of me. 

I want to be seen by him, but within strict boundaries of what I allow.

When he does this with me, it makes me crazy.

As he softened and realized that this cake argument that seemed like the stupidest of arguments was actually a deep wound, a deep story, I started to cry. In that way you cry when something that has been hiding, and now has light cast upon it, rises up.

I cried. For a while. It took us a few tries. I did Ok even though I was fighting against wanting him to know this part of me.

Up until a few months ago, and I've been doing this work of trying to be free from body shame, I have lived with the intention of being smaller.

I'll call it a cleanse, I'll go raw or paleo or fast or create enough drama that I can't eat. All in the name of being smaller.

One of my favorite things to hear people say used to be, "You look like you've lost weight."

I liked to be smaller.

I liked to control my feelings through hunger. The less I would eat the less I would feel out of control.

I don't do that anymore. I don't have rules (which I loved to break) anymore. 

I eat noodles if choosing noodles feels like kindness. I eat bananas if choosing bananas feels like kindness.

Telling Dave about my desire to be 'small' sucked. Like, I hated it. I did it. I made it through. I had a vulnerability hangover. 

Because that isn't how I wanted to be seen.

Maybe because I am terrified that he secretly wishes I was smaller. That he will wish that he didn't get the time of my life when I started healing all my shit and put on 20 ish pounds. That he will think it is an excuse for gaining weight. That he will judge me somehow every time I take a bite of food now.

So, I let him see me. With all of those stories crashing through my body.

I let him know me. I explained to him the first time I realized that I could become smaller by eating less and how it controlled my pain.

That night at dinner I was wearing an outfit that was being guided by my free spirited get in the car and go find an adventure part of self. She spent the day thrifting in a different state. She was wearing all black, all thrifted finds.

I didn't know when I chose that outfit and that part of self for the day that she would be leaving the gluten free vegan strawberry cake behind so that she could lead me to a new layer of being seen. (Pun not intended but cute.)

Looking back, I see that her entire vibration was calling forth being seen. Being brave. Being new.

It never looks like how we think it will. Arguing with Dave hurts my heart, I can feel it beat differently. His stomach was a mess. We were so sad that we were in this place again. 

And. It wasn't that at all. We weren't back at anything. We were being called to go further forward.

He wants to see me. He loves to see me. I was controlling what he knows about me like I was controlling that food.

Because maybe if he knew, he would leave.

Or maybe, if he knew, he would see me.

I would be loved. More.

I would feel. More.

Because I let myself be seen.

(Are we all craving strawberry cake now?)

Phones in a bowl.

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Tonight at midnight I am putting my phone in one of my altar bowls. Maybe I'll throw a crystal in there with it.

Sacred Stillness.

I invite all of you to join me in disconnecting, allowing the quietness of space as it becomes along with us.

This may feel like an edge. It does to me. This will only be my second time doing this.

My family and I did this last Saturday and the kids declared it an amazing day.

I am in love with the idea, a bit fearful of the reality of the stillness.

Saturday Stillness. Or Sunday. Or Friday. Whatever works for you.

.......

My phone is going in the bowl. I invite you to find places where stillness is calling you to lay the phone down and see life not through the glass but all that is when you look up.

For one day.

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I have this zit.

Right under my eye, next to my nose.

One of the times I tried to squeeze it it decided to explode with blood while I was driving the van home. The only thing I had was a panty liner to wipe up the blood and looking for it I swerved on the road a little and then had a cop car follow me.

I'm looking in the rear view mirror, holding a panty liner to my gushing face and rehearsing my speech, "Sorry officer, I had to reach for a panty liner to mop up the blood and..."

It showed up easily half a year ago. It was fierce, intense. Angry.

Its little red mark has been on my face so long now it is part of my landscape. Because of my dry skin I've had few breakouts over my life so I wasn't even sure how to take care of it.

I've only just started to connect the dots to this pimple's arrival and stubbornness in constant filling up of infection and release to who I am now.

Right around that time this crazy life changing moment big thing happened and I made a decision. (That's another story.) I started to listen closely to my body which wasn't hard because it was screaming at me.

My messages on change didn't come from my wildly impulsive normal way of making changes. The jump into extremeness of all or nothingness wasn't there. I just would hear someone say something, a podcast story, casual reference on a Instagram story, a line from a movie or book, and I would get this, like, this opening in my body that would say, that feels kind. Yes, that. I'm ready for that now.

Intuitively as though the messages were running through a guide I was not acquainted with, I would slowly ease into the change.

First it was dairy, I released it. Wine had started to give me these crazy reactions all over my face which felt like a clear signal, so I released alcohol other than an occasional gluten free beer. I found myself unable to eat meat and craving grains which I had been living without for so long. I started making huge pots of beans along with chicken bone broth, the kids would eat the chicken, I used the broth for the beans.

I made celery juice. I would stumble upon a supplement and then my healing would go one level deeper. I was open to the messages.

I wasn't adhering to any eating plan, just following this guide which was gentle and patient with me.

Kindness.

The pimple on my face that won't stop holding infections no matter how much I squeeze or release seems to be the valve that my physical body is using to process. Each time I hit a new level of release boom, that little thing fills up again. A couple of times it has spread into two or three infections. Same spot on my face. 

I was in awe of the changes happening inside of me and around me so I kept going. I found more guides. I held them and communed with them. I walked in shadows with them. I wondered if I was supposed to share this practice I was inside of which I didn't even understand yet.

Starting in June, seventy-three women are going to step into kindness as a practice, as a guide. I have no idea what they will receive, what they will hear. Their story won't be mine. Their needs won't be what mine were. I do know that no matter who we are, how deeply we've been hurt, how fresh our anger or wounds, no matter any of it, we all crave kindness. From somewhere basic and simple, like bare feet in soft grass.

So that is where we will begin. Together. Because being held and seen is kindness.

Six months into these guides my cells have rearranged. I am more new than I imagined possible at forty-three years. Six months ago I wasn't sure my relationship was going to make it. Now I write this waiting for my man to wake up and I can't believe who we are becoming together. I look at my body draped in a silk pink robe that I thrifted and my naked belly is hanging out and I adore it. I have beans and rice in the fridge that I will devour later with cilantro and lemon juice on top. 

Writing about it feels like an invitation for it to prove untrue. My head is screaming, erase this story fast woman.

I'm about to spend a year with these women in circle in kindness and I can already see them becoming. They already are living this.

So I just wanted to throw out this game to you.

Of living one full day inside of kindness as your only guide for the words you choose, to the food you choose, to the decisions you make. 

A filter of your reality. For just one day's time. What could happen in one day? Who could you become in one day?

I'm here, on the other side of these words if you need someone to hold your experience, to see you.

One day in kindness.

Slicing pizza while your whole world changes. Again.

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Chaos was a former iteration of mine. I was seriously rock star good at it. Confrontation was my kryptonite. Something bothered me, blow shit up, create a cloud of chaos, let your heart beat too fast, have another sip of tequila, blame, get angry, pretend it isn't happening, control it all through whatever means necessary. 

Trying to control chaos is actually breeding chaos. 

I have this thing I love to do in quiet moments when I'm doing my chill out via Instagram. I might find someone I know or someone I've just found who inspires me and I scroll as far back to the beginning as I can, I love to find that first post. I'll start from that beginning place, from that iteration that they were and I'll watch as they become. 

There is that moment when the color story changes, the photo quality gets better, things start to look more curated, purposeful. I love watching the moments when they let themselves be seen more or come up with an idea or begin again.

When I am figuring something out inside of myself or making peace at that next level of becoming in my own journey I'll go back to my Instagram and I'll commune with the she who was. 

The one who loved her black eyeliner. The one who threw a lot of parties. The one who seemed almost extroverted for a time. The one who lived in three homes in one year. The one who tried like hell not to eat rice even though she loves it. The one who gathered women. The one who drove 2 hours with her partner to get a $20 couch that is now her kid's bed. The one who travelled to India and learned how to find quiet and stillness and walking prayer inside of chaos. The one who left her home three times in three years. The one who drove a boat. The one who clearly uses beauty as her place of reset when things are out of control. The one who was preparing for her first date in 20 years. The one who made really stupid decisions instead of just being in her truth. The one who wishes she could go back in time and do it differently, be strong enough to do it differently. The one who said sorry the wrong way. The one who makes soup to heal. The one who didn't have language or understanding or calmness inside of her rebel tendency. The one who said fuck going slow, I'm all in, come with me. The one who liked to be really skinny while eating lots of bacon. The one addicted to tattoos. The one who now knows that being told what to do is her trigger. The one who waited for her best friend's babies to be born, knowing she would never be there again. The one who lay on the beach naked for the camera. The one who decided to create a wall of hooks then decided she hated it and took them all down. The one who would give her clothes and jewelry away to her friends if they liked them. The one who ran. The one who first put on a two piece and took a picture and posted it. The one who felt bangs were a good idea. The one who prayed for her marriage. The one who blew bubbles for joy. The one who put on a green dress. The one who found vintage cowboy boots in Oregon, on her first trip away from her kids. The one who got to spend her entire days with her baby. The one whose first Instagram post was of roasted cauliflower with tomatoes, capers, chick peas and onions for breakfast. April 2nd, 2012.

I scroll and I remember. I flood through all the painpoints and the joys. The places where something is still lingering and my now self has so much to tell the one who was. 

Last month I went through this wild Spirit journey of time back into all my regrets and shame and guilt. It felt like a piece of me was dying as I let myself feel the pain and truth of it. I wasn't sure I would come out of it. I cried more than I had tissues for. 

I looked at every fuck up I've created inside of chaos. This iteration of kindness sucks I remember thinking.

This isn't what I wanted! 

I cannot find a way to detached kindness from shame or even guilt. Especially not with truth or trust. You want kindness, you better get cozy with painpoints. That want you to feel them. 

The work of kindness is incredibly active, it asks of you over and over. It asks for peace and sometimes the peace is only found in looking back and getting right with any false beliefs that still want to be part of your today. 

Kindness is not pretending. 

So I felt it deep. I made soup and a huge pot of beans. I ate as much rice as I wanted to. I found the lingering truths that were haunting me. I watched Dave do all the dishes for days as just getting dressed was hard enough. 

Here is what I learned from that time inside, contracted in kindness which hurt like hell. 

In chaos, it was so noisy. And I needed the noise. There were so many other voices. I needed the voices. And I hurt people. And I made bad choices. And I had voice after voice replace the last voice. And it was all so loud. And I shapeshifted constantly trying to prove or calm the chaos or feed the noise. I pretended. A lot. The pretending shoved me into chaos. Bad choices. Repeat. 

This period of chaos had to be. This iteration of boring kindness, of being seen again, of aligned peace, of observing and feeling, of being OK, of trust, of committing to truth rather than running...all born from the chaos. Iterating doesn't take time off from driving the kids to school, paying bills, watering the plants, throwing another load of laundry in, taking a shower. It happens while the every day simple moments are playing out on repeat while inside we are no longer the same while doing them. 

The tears when you drop her off at school and you are finally alone to break down. The red lipstick you put on to stay at home and be seen by no one. The thrifted strapless dress you put on to go back into the world after the tissues run out. The moment you realize you've got to let the attachment to what isn't yours go because that is chaos, holding onto another's truth about you.

That is the noise. That is the pretending the proving the powerlessness. 

In the contraction of kindness, the iteration of boringly wonderful peace, the unfurling into trust; you see that you don't need it anymore. 

It isn't coming back. The worst scenario of your wound has played out enough that you can trust, finally, that on the other side of the fear coming true, you are actually better. Better. Meaning, no attachment to the noise. 

I was hoping for a more poignant first Instagram post than roasted cauliflower. Something that I could loop into my story somehow. Like pulling a card for the day and having it be the perfect reading. I wasn't finding any medicine in the cauliflower. 

Then I looked at the date of my first post. April 2nd, 2012. Three years to the day later I would sit in my Loft with a man I invited over for coffee, who hates coffee it turns out. 

Last night he asked me a question that triggered me. About pizza, like seriously nothing. I was in my head about something else and really hot and making 4 different kinds of pizzas and the question just pissed me off. 

When he and I lived in the chaos, the noise, this moment of me snapping would have meant a 2 day fight. It would have turned into an epic battle of you are wrong I am right and someone would have wanted to move out. He would have not talked to me and started to slam things around and act out and I would have built a festering inside my gut of anger that was nothing at all about PIZZA. 

Last night it was just about pizza and me not liking the question and him seeing me, seeing that I was stressed and I was having this major download about my story of not being smart or believed all while bleeding and it was the night before we say good-bye to the kids which still leaves me raw. 

I took my fizzy water and sat down next to him on the sunporch where he was doing a beautiful job at not being mad. He said something about my reaction. I said, sorry, that question really annoyed me and I am sorry. He said something else that calmed by nervous system and reminded me that I was safe. And loved. Even in my little moodiness.

I realized we weren't in the noise. The chaos of past stories, the overwhelm of our worst fears coming true because of one moment in time that had nothing to do with anything other than crabbiness. No one was slamming things around. He let me be crabby and not make it about him. I let him see me. 

For real. 

In the messiness of living the everyday moments while standing in the kitchen with red lipstick and kimono flying everywhere, sweating by the heat of the stove, iterating.

While everyone was watching, and no one could see that I was standing inside of this huge moment of understanding my need to be right was connected to this story of not being smart enough.

Silently, unfurling, again.

While roasting cauliflower for breakfast or hugging him good-bye for the first time and feeling like he is still with you or making every kind of pizza in the sweltering heat.

Being seen while it is all happening inside, again. Just slicing the pizza while your whole world changes, again.

I want to get stuck in your words.

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The first time I wore bright red lipstick to the school yard I was beyond nervous. I was filled with anxiety around being seen and worried that my kids would feel embarrassed and have feelings that I would take on as my own.

That was 8 years ago.

Today the practice of red lips causes me zero anxiety. It feels like kindness.

Inside of another round of transitions I found myself yesterday spending time with my clothes.

Hanging up my kimonos on the wooden rack. Next to them a few bathing suits.

Having chosen a few dresses and necklaces and skirts to spend the summer in I am aware of the change in my color story.

There is the yellow cropped lace shirt that feels more like me than anything I've ever put on. The one that lays over my tattoos while still allowing them to be seen. 

I layer the yellow lace over a tight gray tank top and step into a worn purple skirt, a skirt I only have because I found little holes on the bottom hem so I couldn't sell it. A skirt I accidentally fell in love with. A softness that feels how I want my breath to feel. 

My purple lipstick combined with red lipliner creating a new color. Mascara. No other make up. A new iteration without my eyeliner.

Choosing my Spiritstyle to walk with me inside of my transitions of becoming, with me as I feel into social anxieties, is about creating an intimacy with myself which then translates to an intimacy between myself and others.

This is how I connect most deeply to the soft space I hold inside for myself.

Being seen is the result of vulnerability and after 8 years of practicing what I thought was extreme vulnerability in the online world I now rest in the truth that those years were only the warm up to truly being seen.

They were the years that would grow me into someone who is so aware of everything she could have done better and didn't. The years that hold the shame that I travel through and heal and feel.

When I started my little pop up Instagram shop, AGAIN, @respiritingstyle I saw it as this possibility for the future, something my daughter and maybe more of the kids could be inside of together. I saw it as something I could potentially align with other women who wanted to share physical space which has continued to be a dream for so long.

I didn't see it as this next step into the terror of vulnerability. Sometimes iterating feels like a death inside. A part of you, a way of being or believing, no longer can be because you have learned and become beyond it, and because of it.

I have no idea why this little shop feels deeply vulnerable to me. I told someone for the first time yesterday that I was not only a Holistic Coach, I told them I also sold gently used treasures. It felt like all of me merged. Fused. And it feels new and raw.

One of the beautiful cherished women in An Uncurated Circle was giving me some reflection around the shop and said that it was all the things in one unbelievably intimate and loving connection as you select the pieces and share them and send them as meditations on beauty and being and bliss - it's like seeing ourselves through your adoration. (Thank you Sheila.)

I can get stuck in the chaos of criticism and self doubt. I want to instead get stuck in her words. In her offering of what can become a prayer for me.

Intimate and loving connection. When I get stuck in the words that tear me down I am no longer seen, vulnerable.

When I put on my yellow lace and commit to this deeper intimacy with myself I walk through my shame, purple skirt dragging itself through the murkiness of the places that are ready to be traveled through.

I imagine the woman who owned it before me must have done this walk too, evidenced by the little holes along the bottom hem.

I wonder what she wears now that brings her intimate and loving connections. What colors has she chosen for her next iteration? What has she released along with the skirt to become again?

The soft space I hold inside for myself isn't free of anxieties or fears or shames. It is filled with them. I need it because those things are true, as true as the lace of yellow falling over my tattoos. I need it so the thoughts I can't feel as true yet have a place to live while the rest of me catches up.

Do we stop enough to pause and say, "I'm not that anymore."

No one else gets to hold us in an iteration that we are no longer.

That isn't our story, that isn't our business.

Bless it. Set it free. Pause. Find the intimacy with yourself and put on whatever it is that creates that connection with YOU.

Then bless her.

Set her in motion to become, again.

The Pause. For Mindy.

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(I will be reading all our weekly prompts in an uncurated circle, so I thought I'd read to you here too. Huge bundles of love and thanks to Mara for teaching me how to record and share them.)

.......

"Can you talk more about the pause you mention here?"
.......

Many months ago when the pain was so intense I could no longer numb it or fight it, I paused. Literally, I paused everything and just sat in it. I felt really boring not trying to fix or figure out or question. Really boring.

Just paused.

I was confronting my painpoints. Being in them. Feeling them.
.......

I'd like to tell you it was a sacred time carved out to heal.

It wasn't. It was this place where desperation and fighting against met acceptance in a way I had never experienced before. 

I believe that surrender is the intersection between acceptance and change.

The pause was the space between pushing the pain away and the next iteration.

The pause was my discovery that I could sit inside of huge amounts of discomfort and not try to change it.

The pause is where I discovered the practices that would become an uncurated circle.

It was an accident. And incredibly on purpose in some woo-woo-Universal-divine timing-you gotta feel it woman-kind of way.

I had spent the last five/six years (OK, the last part of my life) trying to fix everything that could be seen as broken. Myself. My marriage. My choices. My flaws. My body. My heart. My addictions. My lover. My diet. My mistakes. My wardrobe. My hair. 

Because I am good at it. Figuring it out. Finding a plan. Putting that plan into action. I hit a painpoint and boom, I am off into the land of discovery. I research. Gather my tools. Get crazy ideas. Rearrange my everything in a manic attempt for change. 

I will find the problem, explain the problem, find data to support solutions to the problem. 

And it is a wild beautiful ride of figuring shit out. The downloads. The higher voices. All there.

One step was missing. Because the things that were broken didn't go away, they recirculated. Then I'd be off on the ride of figuring them out again, explaining, finding data, mixing logic with emotion, the high of seeing something so clearly.

The pause. What was different in the pause?

No figuring out. No fixing. No solutions. It was the most pure amount of truth in feeling I have been inside of. It sucked.

It was more uncomfortable than I have words for. It was acceptance on a cosmic level. Acceptance for shit I had been pushing so hard against and trying to change like it was my life purpose to change them. 

The high of the fix. The data. The creative solution. The high of change. The living inside of the what comes next fix. The talking and talking and talking. Fighting and fighting and fighting.

Paused.

In the pause I let myself feel exhausted. Sad. Bored. 

I felt a truth that wasn't only mine, it was the sensuality of a truth I wasn't trying to fight against. It was beautiful there. 

The rest just happened.

I'm still integrating it.

I created a year long circle of women around it.

I am pretty sure if Spirit and I were chatting over mushroom coffee she would say this is what it has all been spinning towards.

It started with kindness. Could there be a more amazing way to begin?

Wanting it. Feeling it. Making choices because of it. It was about understanding myself and others in new ways that lifted me up without the high of the fix. The solution. 

It became about discovery, which is what my work had been teaching me for years. The small surprises that sweep in and create your next iteration and you can't believe it was that thing that brought you to this place. The simple choices. The guiding words. 

Feeling it before the desire for fixing it came on. Lingering in small discomforts that added up to magic. I had an intuitive tap in. A template of my own self. A ritual of becoming that was ridiculously kind. Within a month of the practices that came from the pause I was witnessing my relationship transforming. My body was physically changing. 

I was eating more. I was speaking my truth more. I was choosing clothes that were more me inside of this kindness iteration. I was taking space in my own life with a gentleness of choice.

I was becoming again. I was being seen. 

.......

Thank you Mindy for asking this question of me, for wanting to know more. Thank you for asking so that I can continue the practice of being seen especially when I am feeling fear, again, around creation.

Thank you for reminding me that stories matter. Matter so much. Heal so much. Bond us so much.

Thank you for the prompt of a question that brings me back to the truth that healing happens in community. Healing is community. A cry for the love of a circle, the ones who say, I feel that too. A longing for story to fill in the spaces that feel alone. 

None of this on purpose. And all perfect. Becoming again. In circle. For a year. Together.

Meet Shirley.

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Meet Shirley. She is 59, on the other side of her bleed time, hair the most beautiful of grays.

Shirley has been married since she was 23. Her pain lies inside of this marriage. There is no intimacy, she feels as though she must behave in certain ways. She questions everything and can't find answers for how to fix what is broken.

She has started to learn the talk of magic, manifesting, spaces between, living in the gray, iterating. Her curiosity leads her to wanting more.

The language soon became her second language. She has started playing with new ways to dress a body that feels brand new and deeply missing touch.

Things start to unravel in her home inside her changes. Her husband tells her to stop these crazy ideas. 

Every part of her feels afraid. The change is bringing her alive and the pain of feeling trapped in someone else's idea of her is paralyzing. She says that she will never leave her marriage. She is just waiting. The waiting is her biggest secret and shame.

.......

Meet Shirley. She is 36, two young kids, wondering if another baby is what she desires.

Shirley is inside of her second marriage, her youngest was born in this marriage. She feels disconnected from the part of her before kids. She has ideas popping in and out of her head all day long. The ideas and dreams make her sad because she feels so far from them.

She has learned that she is highly sensitive, the sounds of her little ones can set alarms off in her body. She has a partner who adores her and wants to help all her dreams manifest.

She watches other women who are inside of work she envies and wonders what part of her is broken because she is stuck and afraid. Her insides feel numb every night and her anxiety is rising. She pours a glass of wine and remembers what it used to feel like before, wanting that feeling of herself back.

.......

Meet Shirley. She is a self proclaimed hot shit, 42, dating with joy, starting to experience the hormonal shifts of peri-menopause.

Shirley has been in the same job for 20 years, grown with the business, loved and adored by her co-workers and clients. She has a full social life and thrives in routine and expectations. She has spent her life moving from diet to diet. She has joined all the diet programs promising her the body she has always wanted. They all worked, keeping her the size she desires.

Her body has started to shift with time. She craves feeling free inside herself and wonders why these programs aren't working anymore. She has started to feel her hunger and doesn't want to run from it. As she confronts this hunger she feels an unraveling beginning to grab hold of her.

.......

I have spent the last 9 years working with Shirley in hundreds of iterations. I adore her. When I write about her, I am overwhelmed with feeling. I have become so close to her, I want for her, I celebrate her.

I can see parts of where she is going before she can, not because I am psychic, because when she is trapped in the pain the stuck the shame the grief the loss, I (we) can hold space for the limitless possibilities of iterations waiting for her.

  • Wanting for you is wanting for me. Took me years to fall into this truth, once I got the download, my vibration in the world was aligned with the abundance of compassion. 
  • A wish/dream shared is one more person closer to the collective energy of it manifesting. My kids want to keep their birthday candle wishes a secret and I will whisper that if they ever share with us, we will be part of the team helping them get there.
  • Choosing kindness for each part of who we are is the first moment of change. A few months ago I needed to start manifesting kindness as though it was water and air. I started to play little games with myself around bringing it forth. I started to uncover who I was, layer after layer of downloads and discoveries. Each day I am confronted with choice again, and some days lead to incredible discomfort choosing kindness.
  • Every one of us has our painpoints that create change. Painpoints I have been inside of are immense. Feeling like I was too big, too much, beyond being loved, unhappy, unfulfilled, disconnected, anxious, alone, hurt, not smart, not safe, etc. Each one the way into change, the start of the next segment of me, the ugly beauty of iterative living. Being in the pain as an amazing truth, not something to run from.

.......

When I started this work nine years ago I had no idea what I was doing. I just knew I had to do it. I made mistakes. I got overwhelmed. I could make a list of regrets. I was scared so much of the time, I carry pains from the beginning of my time inside of my business.

My pain is my drive. My pain is my place of iterations.

The last few years have left me little choice than to go in deeper. Working with a healer, exploring my chakras one by one, healing my interstitial cystitis, letting myself be inside of grief, finding my way to the love of food, understanding love addiction, becoming the mother I longed to be, finding peace and sensuality in my skin. 

I still suck at things. I still screw up. I still hurt. I still keep going. When I pull away past iterations of my work and myself I am met with a raw stillness. In this stillness I found something. 

.......

Meet Shirley. She is 43, a divorced mama of three kids who is partnered with a divorced father of two kids. This new relationship has brought her to confronting painpoints and him to his own. They are becoming together. It is crazy hard.

She has been running her own business for 9 years, working with hundreds of women who have shaped her and grown her. She is ready to burn it all down. Again. 

Her feminine energy is in constant iterative cycles.

She has a rebel tendency, rarely finishes a book, loves an Irish good-bye, swoons over I-love-yous and appreciation. She is highly sensitive and cycles in and out of hermit phases. 

She is constantly questioning her value. She thrives in intimacy. Circling is her superpower, so is nurturing, so is creating sacred space.

Recently she has been aching for more kindness and to understand her shame (which she thought she had none of). Her guiding word last year was devotional and it has quietly become inside of her, asking her to be inside of stillness. In this stillness she is feeling all of it. She is understanding, feeling compassion for her past iterations, challenging her patterns of hurt.

In the stillness, she has been creating, for herself, for every Shirley iteration that is and longs to be.

And so it is.

.......

An Uncurated Circle, A year of unorganized iterations and being seen...

Something driving me crazy.

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I am in the midst of wrangling a new idea into life. I have a wall filled with sticky notes. I have text messages to myself with quick ideas I am afraid will go forgotten. I have a stack of books and a yellow highlighter to capture sparks of inspiration. I have that feeling in my stomach that is excitement of something about to be mixed with the dread that I won't be able to capture it.

It is close. I am in the stage now of un-attaching myself from it so that it may start to form its own shape.

It is terrifying. Truly. It is exhilarating. For sure. 

.......

I came home today after a breakfast meeting with my friend who has created her own business and lives much like I do. I rarely break from my flow of days. My hermit like self mixes with a ritualized self that mixes with an entrepreneur self. My output is mingled with this flow.

And. I need to remember that part of why I've created this work, this life, is to have this freedom to live in this flow that is driven by my own desires and choice of output.

I wake up between 5:30 and 6:00am on school days. My day starts self directed and lovingly sponsored by that first cup of coffee.

I try to wake up before the alarm goes off so Dave can have those few extra minutes of sleep before getting into the shower. He will regardless, he is a wonderful sleeper, I just think it is nicer.

I typically pull the clothes on from the night before, piled next to the bed. I dress in the bathroom, freezing as I sit on the toilet while pulling my sweater and leggings on. Pee while you get dressed. Efficient. 

I walk downstairs hoping no one else is awake. Those few minutes alone are the ground for my day. I click on the electric kettle and take the sandwich containers out of the fridge. The lunch boxes are out on the counter from prepping them the night before. By the time the water is boiled they are zipped up and ready for the little people.

My twelve year old doesn't eat lunch at school any more. I am assuming it is his social time. I still put some pretzels or raisins or juice in. The thought of him without food feels unsettling.

By 6:15am I have my mug in my hand and eggs in a pan or potatoes in the oven. They love egg sandwiches, scrambled eggs, hard boiled eggs, omelettes, hash browns, baked potatoes and sausage. 

The night before I know what I'll make in the morning. Making them breakfast is honestly right now my favorite way of being mama to them.

At 6:27am I start to wake them up. My teenage daughter will already be up and joining me in the kitchen making her lunch. She started making her own a few years ago and her current lunch is a veggie burger on a gluten free bun with guacamole and lettuce.

I wake up three out of the four other kids by turning on their lights and saying, "Good morning. Can you believe it is morning?" Or some version of that which they seem to enjoy for whatever reason.

Sometimes I'll drop off a hot chocolate in the bathroom for Dave, blow him a kiss through the shower door. Helping them all start their day is my super power.

I'm back in the kitchen now, chasing my coffee around, grabbing little plates to put the breakfasts on and lining them up on the island. I wake up the final sleeping kiddo. Then if all has gone well, I grab my mug and go curl up in a chair where I can watch the madness unfold.

Where are your glasses?
Would you like me to sign your agenda?
Do you have your lunch box?
Teeth brushed?
I don't know where your sweatshirt is.
Please clear your plate.
You do not need your finger x-rayed. 
I love you.


The first one is out the door at 6:55am. Then Dave takes two of them at 7:00am. I take Chloe at 7:00am but we (me) never get out at 7:00am. I usually can't find my boots, need to pee or forget to do something. I need someone curled up in a chair micro-managing me. She is used to it. She just goes down to the van and waits.

I am a hot mess at this point. Braless. Yesterday's make up often smeared on my eyes if I was too tired to wash it the night before. (Night is not my super power.) I've spoken more words than I'd like to by 7:00am and I turn on the radio and we listen to 80's/90's music on the ride.

She is out of the van by 7:40am and I turn on a Podcast and drive home. I walk in to chaos. Breakfast dishes and crumbs and cups scattered. 

I click the electric kettle on for my second coffee. This one grounding me into the work I'll do that morning. 

I carry the mug upstairs and place it under the sticky notes that are in the wanting to become. I strip off last night's clothes, head into the bathroom and feel the space of silence that offers the opportunity for anxiety if I decide to choose it.

Today, I came home, after this breakfast meeting where we talked about the way we both hide parts of how amazing it is to live life in this way because of the work we have created, especially the part where we get to be the nurturers of our homes and the guides of our nows. We talked about what we try to keep hidden from others so we won't be judged. We talked about new hairstyles, love, communication, what is coming next.

The house was in chaos because I wasn't there to find its order. I clicked on the electric kettle to make a second cup of coffee to ground me into the ritual of cleaning.

After the dishwasher was starting to hum and the blankets were folded, I curled into the couch and clicked on an episode of a show I just started watching while I answered emails for an hour before Eli came home.

.......

I don't know what this new thing will look like in its completion, once it finds its way to a sales page. I do know that it will be built inside of this life of morning egg sandwiches and chaos and the space to be mama, to be lover, to be more open about how proud I am of all of this. 

I forget. Until I am back inside of the unknown. The fear. Then it all comes back.

Why I risked everything that was, to become this iteration of me now. And that is what is leading this new thing, this idea splattered onto sticky notes. My morning flow as mama just as important as all that I let go from my past to find this me. 

It is close. For sure.

Truth in my business.

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Almost two years ago an idea came to me when a woman I adore commented on one of my Instagram photos saying something to the effect of, "You should run a course on your soul-style. I would sign up!"

At the time I was running my business course and I had sent out an On The Eve prompt asking people to make a list of the different parts of themselves and then to find a feeling for each part. Once the feelings were found, the prompt was to try her on, find the part that we most wanted to feel and dress her up. Show up as her.

That prompt felt like it's own course. I realized that this was Spiritstyle. And so it became.

.......

I decided to use Spiritstyle as a list builder. This is what we call something that we can give away for free in exchange for the precious gift of someone's email on our newsletter list.

I had over 500 women sign up. List building with a free program on social media was a breeze back then. Algorithms hadn't changed to what they are now. We didn't have to pay to sponsor posts so that they would be seen. 

It was this beautiful, loving energy of people sharing the work and my posts being seen by about 4,000 plus people without paying for it.

My newsletter has always been my most precious and beloved part of my work. This is where the names of the people who trust me to hold space in their inboxes, the names of people who choose to have my words fall into the intimacy of emails, are kept in my sacred space.

In business I will tell people that every single social media we rely on could go away at any time, build your list. Nurture your list. Love up your list. Don't take your list for granted.

And.

I built my business on social media. No one knew who I was 9 years ago. I used social media to meet other amazing people doing gorgeous work. I connected. I gave. I shared. I found this little home in the safety of my social media living room.

It is no longer that simple. There are now sponsored posts, sponsored groups, Facebook lives, Instagram lives, sponsored posts on Pinterest, paid promotions, audience filters, algorithms, confusion.

And it is OK. Of course it changed. It will again.

So when things change I have to ask myself what do I feel aligned to? What still feels good. Am I willing to give up FB as part of building my business? Can I use Instagram to build true connection with others? Are we so overwhelmed with social media and email that there is a better way?

I'm not offering great answers, just using the questions to sit inside of as I am redesigning the way I work, create and hold space.

.......

This round of Spiritstlye I have under 300 women who have joined. I have worked harder for those 300 names than I did two years ago for 500.

This is data. Important data. 

This data sends me back to the questions.

.......

After about two years of a personal/business growth hibernation, it feels safe to be seen again. It feels safe to grow. To bring new women into circle.

As I prepare to bring life to something new that has been asking to be born into my work, I am ready to be seen. To grow. To invite new women in, to ask them if they will allow me to show them the magic of how we circle, how we work, how we thrive in our iterations of time.

I will tell you a truth, I've been scared.

Shitless.

I've maintained my business to support myself and my family and to feed my spirit.

But I have been scared.

Of getting back to the momentum I had when parts of my life blew up.

Of getting back to a place where I'm seen as a teacher of life when I felt I had done so much wrong.

.......

I'm not sure what changed. I imagine simply time.

Simply time. (And therapy and tears and love and traveling and exploring and leaving homes and healing wounds of child-self and leaning into blessings and hiding.)

I have been doing one-on-one coaching inside of my business group through Facebook Lives. For those who don't know what this is, I start a live video feed, and we coach live! Anyone who is in the business group can watch us live and leave comments as we coach and react by sending up hearts or smiles. 

The hearts. I can't explain to you how magical those hearts floating up are.

I was sure I was done with one-on-one coaching. A voice kept telling me I needed to do the coaching this way. I didn't want to.

I did it anyway. 11 women signed up. I only had 9 spots open.

Those last two, how could I say no to those last two?

These sessions have cracked me open. These women and how they show up and what we talk about and how the women watching send up hearts and words of encouragement or questions and how it all comes together into this crazy explosion of possibility and lifting up.

I'm hooked on the energy they give me, each other.

This is something I am able to do on social media. So we can all have a gathering place. So I say thank you to this platform, even if I can't list build like I used to, even if I am so torn about how to move forward with integrity.

I say thank you because a form of magic that I know I can bring to life in person is now possible for women who live anywhere. This week alone we had women in Norway and England and the West Coast.

We all sat together in my virtual living room and lifted up.

.......

Two years ago it was easier. To be seen. In all the ways.

Then it got more complicated. 

I study the changes. I ask the questions. I find me inside of it all.

I decided the other day to do something that I don't do. Ask.

Ask for support in spreading the word. Ask for the women who circle to share the work if that feels good to them.

It was an edge. I did it anyway. I asked for help spreading my offering.

More than a Facebook algorithm it is these women, it is you, it is those of you who send me back words of love and encouragement each time I send a letter, each time I run a circle.

It is you who lift me up, help me find my bravery in being seen, once more, after time has worn away the wounds that paralyzed.

.......

It is you who I send a thousand little red hearts floating up to the sky to, so you can feel how vital you are to a list built on an idea that turned into another idea that led to another idea that created the most magical groups of women I've ever witnessed.

xo

I can be spontaneous, just let me pack my tea.

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On the plane I ask for hot water and lime or hot water and cream. The first is for my tea, the second is for my mushroom coffee powder. I rub my wrists with patchouli, grapefruit, amber and lotus. (Here.) It isn't strong enough to bother others, it is enough to calm my nervous system. Patchouli and amber are part of me.

In my carry on bag I've tucked an extra pair of fingerless gloves which ground me, keep me warm and when I'm moving through new spaces they feel like this simple little boundary of protection. 

No matter where I'm going I have on my 1974 vintage (does this mean I am vintage, year I was born?) Frye cowboy boots on. I'll pack other shoes, flip flops or tennis shoes depending on where I'm going. Those boots are my center of gravity. I can go anywhere in the world with these guiding me.

I can't think of too many plane rides or road trips where I haven't made a sandwich. I may not even eat it that day, just knowing it is there comforts me.

This is my favorite bread (gluten doesn't work for my body) which I'll smother with mayonnaise and mustard and then add my favorite fillings. At home I put kimchi on my sandwiches, on a plane, not so much because the smell can offend. 

I've started using a little slaw I make with apple cider vinegar and honey and lemon. Helps my digestion and gives me the little hit of sour I love. 

To go with my sandwich a little bag of potato chips, kettle cooked, lots of salt. If you get low blood sugar or a headache and need to take some motrin, that small bag of chips is golden. 

I pack our little anytime meal in a lunch box that slips into a carry on. I'll also add some cashews, dark chocolate, cucumbers. That kind of thing.

Once I packed us broccoli and peanut butter to dip it in. I pulled it out on the plane and Dave didn't even blink, he just went with it! 

I bring my huge water bottle to fill up in the airport or if we are on a road trip with a few gallon water bottles. I get dehydrated (always pack chapstick) when I travel because I am so afraid to not be able to go to a bathroom. While I don't drink much I take little sips often enough to keep headaches away. 

In my carry on I'll also have a huge scarf that can act as a blanket, my reading glasses, a book, a black sharpie, little notecards for lists or notes, motrin, homeopathic tablets for yeast, panty liners, a couple of oils like lavender and frankincense, my phone, and my rings (hands puff up during travel so I keep them in the bag). 

The one thing I don't bring when I travel is a sheepskin and I want to I want to I want to. I need to find a sheepskin that is thin enough to roll right up in my bag! 

I have a highly sensitive nervous system and I love to adventure. The problem is that if I come undone during travel it can be hard to come back from that and find ease in the adventuring. These specific things are my grounding.

I can be spontaneous, I just need to pack my tea bags first. 

.......

Dave and I are heading to Mexico early Tuesday morning on a trip that his work hosts each year. 

It is part show up as Dave's partner and make a good impression and part feel the sun on my skin, eat amazing food, walk on the beach, collect coral, go with the flow.

All a huge blessing and I am so grateful to be his love and show up for him in this way.

I've been practicing wearing the dresses I might pack, practicing wearing less clothes, layers.

The shock of going from freezing cold to heat is a wild transition for my body. Being seen in less is triggering so a few minutes in a bathing suit with the heat turned up pays off.

The important outfit is the one I will climb into at 3am and start in cold and end up in the heat of Mexico sun and the craziness of the airport. I have settled on a long tank dress with a sweater and light jacket layered over it so I can pull off layers as we warm up.

If I don't do this preparation, I could spend the first couple of days feeling off, and we are only there for a short time.

This practice and planning is how I heal my future self when she is up against the nervous system attack. 

I have already started to make piles of what may end up going into the suitcase. If I take a few days (or so) to feel into making sure I have options and making sure what I have with me already feels good, my transition is smoother. 

Dave packs in 10 minutes. Would never think to make himself a sandwich or need one. Often the night before he figures out what time he is leaving in the morning.

If this is you, let this be a little PSA to help you understand the sensitive spirits in your world. 

We will need ::

4 days to pack.

2 weeks to think about packing. 

A schedule of all the times that we'll need to think about for about 3 days. 

To talk about what time we are setting the alarm for to the point of you wondering if we are crazy. 

Probably 2 scarves because the first one might not feel right or be too heavy or not be warm enough. Or we might loose it.

A sandwich. We will make you one too, it is the highly sensitive love language to keep your nervous system in proper function too.

Oils. Which you may not love the smell of at night when we want to rub them on your feet because your belly hurts and we can fix it.

A full bottle of conditioner, not the travel size. Which means we are checking our bags. We probably need to get up earlier.

And of course our tea. We really, really need our tea bags. And then we can be fully spontaneous right along side you.

Spiritstyle Winter

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When :: February 27th for 10 days

Cost :: A gift from me to you, simply enter your email below

i remember the feeling of school starting. i could smell it and there was that little pang in my belly. what i thought most about is how i would show up. who would i be.

every year after the summer break i would iterate into a new version of myself. the planning of the first day of school outfit would consume me. i remember the year of suspenders and a black hat for 10th grade. the following year my all black wardrobe. 

i've used the outside expression of self to guide the transformation of who i am on the inside since i was young. the guiding for how i chose to layer on clothes as my way of being in the world. 

being seen. being true. being the most amazing version of me.

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.......

this is my spiritstyle. a collection of time and feelings.

the things that if i layer on i become more me.

the colors of cream, mocha, black.

buttery soft. high waist. layered tanks. big sweaters. often no bra. simple mala to ground. fabric draped. sexy and comfort as one. 

this is my spiritstyle. the parts of who i am communicated on the outside.

after the dishes are done, rings find my fingers. a final layer.

boots, worn, loved. leg warmers bunched.

a color story that washes over.

this is my spiritstyle. a woman matching the parts of herself with how she shows up each day.

and this is my practice. again and again. finding who i am now. learning how to communicate that self so she can radiate through me.

.......

she said ::

"i feel like i cycle through so many parts of me. the young girl, the earth mama, the wild woman, the falling apart-do-nothing-right-scared one, the angry wife, the warrior princess. they become confused and mixed up and instead of feeling each one i'm trying to ignore each of them."

she said ::

"i feel that way all the time. and i have been thinking about it a lot lately actually... and how trying to allow space for all of it often leaves me feeling exhausted and depleted. we need all these parts of ourselves. they are vital. because how amazing is that we have these selves to call upon to guide us through what is in front of us in any given moment. and even the ones that appear to be wounds or gaping holes are guides too."

this is how my women talk. i collect the words of the women who circle with me. our work together is to honor each part of who we are. some we need to heal. some just need to be seen. some need to be unearthed from the past and integrated into our becomings. 

one of my wishes a few years ago was to be the most amazing mom i could be, meaning less anger and exhaustion and more fun and loving moments. i could see her. she used to be part of me. she is fun and spontaneous and she includes her kids in all the parts of her life.

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.......

becoming a mother changed my body. the shape and size were unfamiliar. my breasts went from an ab to a swelling c. nursing was my life for about 7 years, welcoming each baby with a mother who felt more confident each time.

i started wearing tank tops that i could pull down, instead of up, to nurse. skinny spaghetti straps with a shelf bra from target or old navy at first. now one of my easiest outfits is a long tank that goes over my bum so i can wear it over leggings with many more layers. 

going from college free spirit to mama challenged something in me. i didn't know how to show up. i tried to fit into a button down blouse with mom jeans look for a while. i put on a bra and bought some shirts that never felt like me. it looked so good on other women. i wanted to fit into someone else's spiritstyle.

i spent years uncomfortable and confused. when i went back to school in 2008 i found myself back inside of the free spirit world. every kind of women that ever existed. from 3 inch heels to dreadlocks, the women were gorgeous. alive. themselves. the freedom of style and expression sucked me back to the girl of 17 who had no doubt who she was.

she didn't look like everyone else. she followed not a single fashion rule. her hair was wild and she knew that she was alive wearing clogs and leg warmers and leggings that hugged her body. she adored showing up in her spiritstyle because it felt like freedom.

this is spiritstyle. the feeling and witness of who we are.

and it changes. all the time. each day we can be new.

allowing this change is the magic.

.......

For 10 days through simple prompts and story we will ::

  • look at the different parts of who we are. name them. make a list.
  • find the feelings inside each of these parts.
  • look back at who we were. remember times that we felt most alive and free.
  • go into our closets. unearth past. clear space for how we want to feel in our now.
  • play with the feelings inside of how we are showing up and being seen.
  • purge what is no longer part of our spiritstyle.
  • find the pieces and layers that communicate and iterate.
  • understand dressing and layering a highly sensitive body.
  • discover our color stories.
  • vision into our spiritstyle becomings.
  • allow change to align us with the feeling of freedom and beauty.
  • practice showing up for the different parts of who we are.
  • share photos on our private facebook group
  • be new.

.......

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I used to want to be famous.

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A really good day for me is when I get through without telling myself that something is wrong with me. 

In my business group I like to ask each person to define their definition of success. The old definition of more money, more status, more notoriety, more power, more more is making way for a softer, less intense, less 'more' based success.

A personal success for me is being kind to my skin, my belly, my people, my heart. It is only recently I have understood how difficult kindness is as a practice. And I desire it like crazy.

I used to want to be famous, now I want to lay my head on a pillow at night feeling loved and seen and challenged and filled with a prayer for tomorrow.

.......

I went to the thrift store. I brought myself over to the rack of dresses. The first thing I needed to move through was the size. The last time I bought a dress I was a good two sizes smaller. 

This is ok I told myself. Be where you are now.

I spent about 40 minutes going through long racks of dresses ranging from crazy orange and brown retro lace to bright flowers in styles I couldn't try to describe.

I had given myself a goal, sexy beach nights. 

I'll be accompanying Dave on his business trip to Mexico and I knew that last year I ended up feeling like I wanted to hide myself amidst all the string bikinis drinking blended drinks like their sugar and alcohol calories converted to magic. 

This year I was not playing that game. What I know, what I freaking teach about confidence, is that it has nothing to do with a string bikini and tight abs.

I plan to radiate.

Which means I have to start putting the pieces into place now.

I pulled about 14 dresses into my cart. 

My color story clear. Black. Gray. White. Mocha. I challenged myself to find patterns and there were so many patterns, this is why we love thrifting, the unexpected, the surprises. 

In the dressing room I did a fast and furious round of trying things on over my leggings and tank top. The rooms are so tiny I kept crashing into the sides and dropping hangers and then I started to sweat in my big winter boots and the creeping in feeling of claustrophobia.

The lighting however is so good it may have led to some false purchases. I kind of love that though, because I can think of people who I can give them to for the next round of their fabric lives. (Which then led to the idea of hosting a giveaway for a box of thrifted items that I send out based on a few questions about style and color and size and lifestyle.) 

I ended up with about 7 dresses knowing that I would need to wear each one for at least a day to see if it felt right, to see if I felt right inside of it. Seams. Pulling. Pinching. Rising up. Falling down. Softness. Does it need a bra. Can you see the panty line cause I gotta wear panties.

All that highly sensitive stuff that makes practicing clothing an essential skill.

.......

I am studying, watching, practicing, challenging.

I am deep inside of creation.

A newness about to be born.

I crave comfort inside this time and what I am creating is the opposite.

I put on the tight dress.

I practice inside the discomfort. All day. In my home. On the school yard. On Instagram.

I am in a becoming of the she who will walk the beaches in Mexico and radiate her joy and adoration of who she has iterated into, which may only find her the moment her feet touch the white sand.

The she who has an idea that is only sticky notes and trust. 

That all of it was always leading here.

.......

One dress I got actually scares me. And makes me laugh. I haven't practiced it yet. It has one sleeve and is tight.

It may be the one that the lighting in the store conned me into purchasing.

At $4.00 my edges were a tad more daring.

Even if this one doesn't get sorted out on my body there is something about having pulled it off the rack and into that dressing room that makes me giggle and remember how I want to feel and how I am willing to practice getting there.

Sexy beach nights. The feeling of the best dressing room lighting shining from inside of you. Your scent of confidence lingering and touching others you pass.

.......

The discomfort of the practice of radiating joy means she (we) will be 'more.' 

A more that is soft, kind, intensely loving. 

A more that will let others see her (us) because she has studied and taught alongside those who desire the same.

She (we) becomes brave because she is not alone in the challenge of pushing herself to actively practice the things that would be so much easier not to.

A more that knows it isn't about the dresses (or the ____) and is so about those dresses.

.......

If I think about the bikini's sipping mudslides my body will have an energetic shift into chaos and chaos will be how I make my choices. How I will feel.

I send love to the magical sugar transforming goddesses of the poolside bars and pour some green powdery kombucha while thinking about which dress will be next.

43 year old magic potions being bottled over here. One unorganized discomfort of change at a time.

.......

Why I feel so boring.

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First. When your grandfather calls and leaves you a message checking your pulse because your Friday letters haven't been coming to his inbox, you better sit down and write. 

(Honestly, how much more loved can a person feel than that voicemail?) 

Second. I've been sitting with my computer for the last 3 hours - 3 days - 3 weeks - not writing. Writers must write to be writers. We also must listen. And experience. And sometimes be in the stillness of no words. 

Which can feel like an emotional torture.

.......

I was at the nail salon, Star Nails, and I had chosen a color I still have on and truly do not like. As I was watching this color I regretted picking the moment she opened the bottle, I was reminding myself that this was on purpose. 

I walked in planning on picking an outside of my box color. After far too long thinking about it, chose bright pink.

I challenge myself with little games often, to see if these choices, these experiences will bring me new information about who I am becoming. Or if it is as simple as painting the pink on and then you have become.

(This could also speak to my theory on how boring my life is right now as this was my greatest excitement for the week.)

Typically when I am uncomfortable I can feel it all over my body. My mind starting to tell me I just wasted my money, my body feeling itchy and twitchy. 

The woman painting my nails was listening to the woman talking beside her. And every so often she would make a small sound of acknowledgement, like a gentle mmm, but different, I may not have letters for it. 

I was certain the woman didn't like the color either and maybe even sensed that I was trying to pretend to like it. She carefully brushed it on and continued making her sweet little noises in regards to her friend's story. 

Her sounds were like a guided meditation for my anxious body. I could feel myself transporting to a state that wasn't twitchy at all. I felt calm under the presence of this bright bright bright pink.

Then she quietly held up my hand and said (she has done my nails before and I always choose grays and pale colors), "This is different. Bright. I can like this for you."

I remembered again, this was on purpose. She could like this for me even if I couldn't.

.......

Not writing. Being boring. Pausing in the stillness. 

This is not what you would consider sound business advise. To pause. To be still. To not write your newsletter. To be incredibly boring. 

The honest truth is. I've been a bit annoyed at all the things we are supposed to be doing in business and social media and networking. I am not driven to create a legacy of work. I am not driven to make more and more and more and more money than years before. I am not driven to be the best ever at something. 

I have been overwhelmed with wanting to walk away from everything I have created so that I can find what is underneath it all, or what can be because of it all. 

In this I was struck with craving finding a way to hear what I have sensed was calling me towards it. I have little notes with bits and pieces of thoughts and wonderings and ideas. 

I have been studying trends and research and remembering how things were 7 years ago when it was a love fest with other women creating businesses and how we were all like, holy shit, can you believe we can really do this! 

I have been letting myself sit and think about a shelf in my home for more hours than perhaps seems rational because it brings me pleasure to research ideas and look at pictures and then finally get that moment of YES!!! I figured it out. I know what I will do. 

I have iterated into so many becomings that it surprised me when I became rather boring. I ran out of things to say. I was communing with my plants and being mama and catching these random downloads of something intangible. 

The daily challenges and games written just for me were adding up. I was immersed in figuring out who I was in each one.

.......

Do something to your hair each day that makes you feel beautiful. 

I have discovered my formerly 80's poofs and Lagertha braids, reclaimed for my 43 year old self.

Each time you eat let it become the most sensual experience possible. 

The other day my smoothie came out too thick with almonds and banana transforming the pea protein milk and chocolate powder into a pudding. I ate it with a spoon. It was sensual bliss. And noodles are back in my life. With chopsticks.

Before bed spend time giving your face love with creams and potions and oils. 

I have been using little samples and finding what my face loves, like this one. One of my favorite people texted me the other night and she has been doing the same thing. We shared pictures of our little bottles of creams and potions.

Go to every Petco in the area and spend time with the hamsters until you find her. 

I am impulsive. I am challenging myself not to always be so. I spend a large amount of time alone, and I miss her. I am creating a little meditation/reading/plant nook upstairs in a hidden hallway and I think this would be the perfect home for a new friend.

Find a way to have open shelving in your curated kitchen filled with cabinets. 

My dream was always to find an old house and fix it up. My love's dream was to never do that again in his life! Our compromise was finding a newer home with so much space, that was void of much personality but had potential to become way more bohemian chic than it was intended.

I love this home in all its potential funk. I miss seeing my plates and mugs and glasses as every cabinet has a door. When we decided to ditch a formal dining room and turn it into an office space I realized I could turn a shelf that held our office supplies into open shelving for our kitchen. This is how much it matters to me, I started crying when I knew I could make this transformation. That my kitchen could start to feel more like me. 

Use up all the left-overs in your fridge. 

Fish stew came from this one. 

Mushy brown rice that had too much water. Roasted veggies from a pork chop night and all the sauce from the drippings. Some eggplant, celery, spinach, artichoke hearts that had gone over the mushy rice another night. Some white wine to deglaze after I cooked the veggies down even more. Chicken stock. A frozen bag of Trader Joe's green chickpeas and lentils and tomatoes. All cooked for hours on the stove and then before serving some Trader Joe's white fish Vera Cruz went it until cooked through.

I have been eating it non-stop. Sensually of course.

Let yourself be seen inside of your family, with your love, truly seen. 

This might be its own letter...

Walk with the mantra, my body is sexy and sensual, so when you show up to your vacation in Mexico without having dieted to get there, you will be so. 

Dave's work hosts a reward trip each Winter and this will be our third time going to Mexico.

Each year I am faced with being the 40-something among young 20-somethings in bikinis sitting poolside, drinking like they are fish and the calories transforming into more sexiness oozing off of them and it messes with my mind.

This year I am going to mess with my mind before I go. Because it is true that I am exactly as I am now and I love her. I adore her. I want to show up as her. I want to nurture her. 

.......

All of this on purpose. Listening to sounds from inside from Spirit from people I love from women I circle with that let my body relax after feeling itchy and twitchy and boring.

And maybe we need someone to like it for us as we try it all on.

Until we are ready to change it.

.......

Noodles. And all the questions.

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There is this place of hibernation that has held my mind.

A place where questions are gathering and asking of me to be in the stillness of the words.

Mornings wake with pondering of value of compassion of relevancy of beauty of new choices.

Arising out of a question was the knowing that I will never tell myself I can't eat a grain for purposes of keeping myself slim.

My pleasure comes from combining spices, boiling bone broths, discovering new teas, pairing a wine with a roast, chopping kale into tiny shreds. My pleasure comes from the stack of wooden cutting boards that sit on the counter next to the empty oil bottles waiting for the someday project of infusing oils. My pleasure comes from holding a wooden spoon soaked and stained from their time in the soup pot. 

The words begging us to believe we are not whole running through media, it is time to lose that weight once and for all so just buy Oprah's new soup. My inbox stuffed with more communication than I can receive. So much to buy to know to read. 

I find the place of hibernation and questions as my physical self continues the act of mothering and loving and teaching and providing.

In the mirror each night I am faced with the questions around my body and I refuse the answers that a part of me clings to. I refuse the answers and return to the hibernation of my mind.

Noodles. In college it was Ramen. Set the timer for three minutes, or was it two? We would make three packets at a time. Always chicken. That was our meal.

Then I discovered Pad Thai in New York City, steaming with basil and fish sauce and flavors entered my world that were like mysteries I would one day solve. They have been solved.

Pasta Puttanesca and its story of the ladies of the night simmering this spicy salty sauce and how the capers and anchovies and hot peppers must have become their perfume. I imagine these women piling into the kitchen for connection and escape and that something that beautiful spicy food gives us.

My mom making Fettuccine Alfredo and how I can taste it and smell it in my memory, the inspiration for a pizza I made with butternut squash and shrimp and roasted chickpeas on the Alfredo sauce. 

The meal I made over and over after I miscarried my first pregnancy, roasted eggplant mixed with more lemon than is sensible and the parmesan cheese and black pepper that attach to each strand of the spaghetti, somehow healing my insides through the comfort of the noodles. 

I will not take noodles away from myself again. And this act of kindness and pleasure will mean the questions continue to look at me through my skin as I stand in the mirror.

Earlier today I started to write this email. The first in weeks. The hibernation over and my mind unable to hold back words.

I was about half way through and realized I was typing it into a text block I don't normally use. I didn't know the text block was attached to the picture. The picture I deleted.

Looking at the screen, seeing there was no way to un-do this decision.

Tears. I thought it was good. Really good. I knew I would not get it back. 

The hibernation over and the first words lost.

My throat is aching and my glands sore. I got in the car to go pick up Chloe. I drove the 30 minutes with words dancing in my mind, mixed with the sadness of those lost.

I thought about the three packages of beans I have in the pantry. I imagined what each would become in time.

Winter Solstice making an enchilada pie after soaking the beans then cooking them in onions, garlic and broth until they fall apart. Like she made for me on one of the hardest nights I have lived through.

Pigeon peas for salads. Adzuki for bean burgers. 

The pleasure I feel when I put my hand in a bowl of beans softening. I used to not let myself eat bean either.

The softening in my body of forty-three years. A rooting in as I ache to get the words back and find comfort in knowing that everything we loose is always somehow inside of us. That energy we release or hold.

I decide to surrender. I send a note to my business group and rearrange a video call so I can rest my throat and neck.

Chicken meatballs with grated sweet potato, garlic, onion and kale. Shiitake mushrooms and kale with hot pepper sauce and teriyaki coconut aminos and rice wine vinegar. Rice because kids love rice. I am quiet and listening to them. 

"Mom, there is water all over the floor of the bathroom." I look over at the kitchen floor. The water is dripping down through the ceiling.

We run around for towels as he fixes the leak.

We are sitting at the dinner table. Dave and I have one kid in between us on the wooden bench I gave him for his birthday. All of a sudden he reaches over to me, rubs my shoulder, he is smiling at me with such truth and we hold hands behind our little one.

The kids have second helpings of the meatballs. 

Answers are finding their way in. The hibernation is over. The beans will be soaked. The noodles will be slurped. My pleasure my words my silence my compassion my relevancy my sadness my sore throat my questions.

And so it is.