Category Archives: Do More of What You Love

What “wandering” might teach you

I don’t know how many hours I spent searching for grad programs, scanning websites and thinking, “Oh maybe I could study English… No? Nah. Or maybe anthropology? Wait, do I wanna be an anthropologist or do I just want to travel? Oh look at this, a women’s studies program in South Africa… that would be cool, right?” Yea cool for sure, but I was TOTALLY forcing it. So much so that I applied to two completely different programs, got accepted, deferred, and then just never showed up to my first class. I SO wanted to be in grad school! Or did I just want to feel like I had “figured it out?”

Either way something inside me kept resisting.
You ever experience something like this?

Fast forward five years, after teaching yoga, waitressing, selling chocolate, starting my own coaching practice, and living on the beach in Mexico, I pulled up Lesley University’s website and found their Holistic Mental Health Counseling program. EVERY part of me said “YES.”

I applied right away, got accepted and it’s been one of the best decisions of my life. Now when I talk with 20- somethings who are anxious about their “next step” all I wanna do is scream, “Wait!” And explain that years of “wandering” taught me a skill I could never have learned in school: to recognize the voice of my heart, and to go only where my heart says “yes.”

This is the last “back to school” season that’ll mean this much to me (my 3rd and final year of school). Doing the work of therapy is more emotionally and intellectually challenging than anything I’ve ever done yet I love it so much I could cry. Yesterday I had a 14 hr. work day (internship, class, private coaching, etc.) and at 10 pm, when I finished, I was smiling.

The reason I share this is, yes, to express my enthusiasm but more so because this is proof to me that my life work, your life work, CAN feel like a perfect fit. It doesn’t mean it’s easy but it means it feels right. When something is a right fit (whether our job, partner, home, etc.) it GIVES us energy, it literally feeds us.

Take a quick assessment of the different areas of your life. Which parts feel right (in other words, they energize you) and which parts don’t?

Three weeks into the semester, of course, I’m already missing long, spacious summer days. Since falling in love with my work, though, it’s been a hell of a lot easier to let those days go with ease, and to embrace the sweet seasons ahead…

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Without a man I feel naked

 

I wrote that sentence not too long ago: without a man I feel naked.

And I immediately wanted to erase it. Or at least rearrange it, or reinterpret the words, somehow reorganize this truth to make it less … pathetic. But instead I just cried, and sank into the disappointment (in myself), the shame, and the insecurity that surfaced as a result of facing it. And then I waited for more. NAKED. What did I really mean by that? I asked myself. More words came. Stripped. Bare. Exposed to the world.

This is a vulnerable share, and I share it, as always, with the hope it will ignite something in you. How would you finish the following statement: “Without _______ , I would feel naked and exposed.” Is it relationships for you too? (Love? Hookups? Or just superficial but constant conversation on social media?) Is it your nightly drinks? Or nightly binge? Your job? Your phone? Whatever feels most scary, or even terrifying to admit, write THAT down.

For roughly 15 years of my life, the men I’ve loved gave me shelter from lots of everyday pain (which I’ve written about before) but there’s more. They also gave me a default sense of PURPOSE (to love him, care for him, connect with him) AND a default IDENTITY (“I’m so and so’s girlfriend”).

Now, check this out…

As long as at least a good portion of my purpose and identity was intimately tied up with someone else, I alone, could never TRULY fail, I alone, could never REALLY be FULLY responsible for anything. Because “I, alone” did not exist!

You catching this? It’s a game changer. Love and relationships was my armor. Without me knowing it, my unconscious was doing a damn good job of keeping me removed from the big bad world of expectations. In other words, keeping me (emotionally) safe, from failure, rejection, disapproval, etc. (Something to consider: what might your thickest armor or greatest attachment be doing FOR you?)

Thing is, eventually, not only did seeking this “safety” outside myself backfire (i.e. tons of pain caused by being in the wrong relationships for too long), but it also stopped being enough. I ached to know myself more completely. To know myself without this armor. To believe myself emotionally capable and strong, especially in my most distressing moments.

For almost a year now, I’ve been single. And I don’t mean “texting a few guys, Facebook messaging a few others, meeting up with an ex every once in while” kind of single. I mean I’ve intentionally taken any form of romantic, intimate relationships off the table. Why? To see what was left. To see what lie beneath the armor. To meet myself, bare and exposed. And doing this for real, learning to claim my life as my own, I’ll admit, has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

When people ask me whether or not they should give up coffee, or bread, or dairy, know what I say? I say, “Well, how badly do you feel you need it? The more you need it, the more I’d recommend you give it up.” And not as a punishment but as a catalyst for self growth. When you can completely give up the thing you’re attached to (even if only temporarily), it throws your psyche into a disoriented state (“how do I soothe myself NOW? how do I get through this moment? this day? this life?”). In that desperate state you become forced to “dig deep” as my dear friend and I say, into the well of your inner resources (emotional, psychological, and spiritual), of nourishment and soothing.

For many of us it takes years, decades, or even a lifetime, to become comfortable reaching inward instead of outward when times are tough. I like to think of it as a process of coming home to ourselves, the only process I’ve come to believe can bring us true freedom.

I never ask my clients to go anywhere I haven’t gone myself. So, yes, I want you to know I am still in it. I am today, and always, growing into owning this journey that is only mine to take. It’s true, without a man I may feel naked. I may feel exposed. But it’s also true that I finally feel free. 

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Are you choosing what’s convenient?

You ever review your life for a sec (i.e. your job, your diet, your boyfriend) and think: Whoa, how did I get here?

Especially when it comes to relationships, I know a lot of women who have had this experience (myself included). The he has a girlfriend but we started texting one night and then months later we’re still just texting with no hope of a relationship kind of experience. Or the I said yes to one date and then woke up two years later with someone I’m not sure I like kind of experience.

We tend to think of decisions as isolated events. I hear it all the time. “It’s no big deal, it’s just this one piece of cake. I mean, it’s not gonna kill me.” 

It’s just this one text
this one date
this one drink
this one shit day in the office…

In the grand scheme of life, even if it’s not what I truly want, even if it’s not what’s best for me, even if it’s not helping me grow, it probably won’t matter.

Or will it? Let’s look a bit closer.

Back to the cake. It’s Anne’s birthday at the office, and you decide to enjoy cake with co-workers. Now, chances are good you’re eating cake primarily because it’s in front of you. Am I wrong?

Jungian psychotherapist and one of my most influential teachers, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, writes in reference to this:

“In this sort of choice we choose a thing because it just happened to be beneath our noses at that moment in time. It is not necessarily what we want but it is interesting and the longer we gaze at it, the more compelling it becomes.”

Yikes. That’s some truth right there.

Can you think of decisions you’ve made in this way? Your breakfast? Your clothes? Your job? Maybe even your partner?

Any of this hitting home?

This kind of choice keeps you in the passenger seat of your own life. It’s a passive way of living. When you make choices like this day after day, your life becomes a reflection of what’s available and convenient (versus a reflection of what you actually want and need). So, it should be no surprise when you wake up one day with a body that doesn’t look like what you wanted it to, a relationship that doesn’t feel how you wanted it to feel, and a life that doesn’t seem like your own.

The good news is, there’s another way of living,
a way to make clear decisions,
from an empowered place,
that will actually get you what you want.
And that’s what we’ll be exploring in my 90 day group coaching program this fall (this is the last week to apply and chat with me about the details).

In this program, you’ll have an opportunity to step back and become deeply tuned into yourself. You’ll learn how to make decisions from your intuitive center, decisions that will benefit you on a SOUL level (in other words, you’ll know when to say “yes” to that piece of cake, that date, or that job offer and when to keep it movin’).

What will that allow for? It’ll allow you to stop grasping at what you think you need (only to find yourself feeling empty over and over again) and to start seeking that which will most fully and most deeply satisfy you.

If this sounds like something you want, I’d be psyched to chat with you. Fill out the application by clicking here.

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The truth is…

You ever get in bad mood and not know why?

(I know this sounds like a pharmaceutical ad, but bear with me… )

Like maybe you wake up and feel pissed off before you even get outta bed (“Did I have a bad dream or what??“) Or you’re hangin with a group of friends and feel totally numb and disengaged (“Where the hell did this come from?” “Why can’t I just enjoy myself?“)

This used to happen to me a lot, actually, especially in my early-mid 20s. Like on a Saturday, for instance, I’d be getting ready for a “fun” night out with friends. While I could always manage to put a smile on my face, inside I felt some degree of emptiness. Or felt nothing. Or didn’t know what I was feeling. I just knew it wasn’t what I “should” have been feeling in those moments.

It was frustrating and disorienting. If you’ve had experiences like this, you know what I mean.

But it was also an opportunity (as most uncomfortable/painful situation are!) to understand myself more fully. Through years of personal reading and reflection, and work with coaches and therapists, I came to a couple important realizations I wanna share tonight:

1) We rarely feel “off” for no reason. And if we’re feeling “off” and don’t know why, it’s likely because, to some degree, we’ve cut ourselves off from our feelings/our truth (which may or may not be related to the present situation).

2) Why would we do that? Well first of all, it’s not always something we do consciously. And second of all, because there’s about a million seemingly good reasons to cut ourselves off from our true feelings.

i.e.

If I feel the pain of losing him,
maybe i’ll never stop crying,
or never get out of bed,
or never believe in love again.
so I’m not going to feel that right now.

If I feel hurt by what she said,
people might think I’m too dramatic,
or too emotional.
so I’m not going to feel that right now.

If I feel anger at my mom,
or resentment towards my baby,
maybe I’m defective. Or a bad person.
so I’m not going to feel any of that right now.

If I admit to feeling smothered and exhausted by my 9-5,
then I might have to quit,
and I might lose all sense of stability,
so I’m not going to feel that right now.

If I admit to feeling unfulfilled going to bars with friends,
then I’ll have nothing in common with those friends,
and I might have to spend Saturday night alone.
so I’m not going to feel that right now.

Seeing the theme here?

3) Avoiding or denying our true feelings (aka repression), is the way we (often automatically and unconsciously) manage stuff that seems too overwhelming at the time. Thank God for it, right? Sometimes it’s necessary to get through the day (especially if you’ve had some serious trauma).

4) However, it’s not a habit we want to get comfy with… cuz’ if we do, we quickly begin to lose ourselves. Literally we separate from ourselves, our truth, and start experiencing those kinds of displaced and disorienting feelings I mentioned earlier (why am I feeling this way? what am I even feeling? where is this coming from?)

5) Unacknowledged feelings also lead to a lack of energy and enthusiasm. Know why? Cuz’ feelings are a source of energy. When we’re in touch with them, we feel alive. When we’re out of touch, we feel exhausted and depressed.

Feeling our feelings might sound like a pretty basic concept. But the reality is, it’s not, for many people. We don’t learn emotional literacy in school. Lots of us don’t learn it from our families either. Oh, and our culture certainly doesn’t promote it.

So, for many of us, it’s not til after many years of unease with ourselves and/or lots of stumbling in relationships, that we realize its importance and begin to teach it to ourselves, or to seek out guidance from a coach or therapist.

If this is resonating with you, I’ve got a simple exercise for you (below). And as a heads up, I’ll also soon be opening up applications for my upcoming group program, when we’ll dive into this stuff much more deeply.

The TRUTH IS… [a written exercise]

Shakespeare knew it (“This above all; to thine own self be true“), my grandma knew it (“Lying to yourself will make you sick“) and now you know it.

Use this exercise when you’re feeling “off” but don’t know why.
Use this exercise to find your truth.

This exercise will help you back track through the maze of your emotions to find the starting point. It’ll help you find the root of your discomfort, so you can acknowledge it, face it, and perhaps do something about it. (Note: even if you don’t get to the point of doing anything about it, simply receiving your truth can cause an immediate shift and a significant level of healing).

Completing the exercise is straight forward. In a moment you’re feeling “off” (numb, disengaged, tense, pissed, etc.) take out a sheet of paper and write “the truth is… ” and then free write for as long as you’d like. If you find yourself getting stuck or drawing a blank, it can be helpful to write “the truth is…” again and again, to cut through superficial thoughts and feelings and elicit an honest message from your heart.

Pretty simple, right? I swear by this exercise and would absolutely love to know how it goes for you.

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Does it feel like home?

Think of your favorite holiday tradition.

Whether it’s lighting candles around the house, baking a Pecan Pie, or watching the black and white version of “Miracle on 34th Street,” I can bet you one thing…

Your favorite holiday tradition is your favorite because it makes you feel like home.

Home.

For some of us the feeling of home might align with where we grew up or the people who raised us. But for most of us, it’s more than that. Eventually, “home” ends up being less about a person or place and more about a feeling.

Home is comfort. It’s joy. It’s the feeling of, “yes, this is me.”
Those people, places, and things that make us feel like home move us, touch us somewhere deep, and then don’t let us go.

So, with that in mind, you wanna know the real reason the holidays make us feel c-r-a-z-y?

Cuz’ it’s the time of year that calls us home! It’s the time we, consciously or unconsciously, start to shed anything that doesn’t feel like home.

Naturally, this shakes things up.

For instance:

a relationship hits its breaking point.
a job no longer excites us.
an apartment or a whole city no longer feels right.

It’s like shaking off the residue from a year (or years) build up of the no good, or the “good enough for now”…

You know what I’m taking about, don’t you?

And as you question these major choices, emotions heighten, and you end up pointing fingers at Mom, Dad, or your annoying sister in law..

No, no, not this year.

Rather than let this holiday season get to you, take hold of it, recognize it’s about you, and see it as an opportunity…

to let go.
to take a different road.
to find your way back home.

“Even when it is our own dismal choices that have blown us off course – too far from what we need – hold faith, for within the soul is the homing device. We all can find our way back.”

– Clarrisa Estes, Women Who Run with the Wolves

>> To put yourself back on course, right now, write down five pieces of your life that don’t feel like home <<

( a person, a job, even something as minor as a piece of clothing or a workout routine you dread )

Then, choose at least two to let go of, with ease, this holiday season, knowing, believing, that in letting it go you are taking one step closer to home.

Happy holidays! xo

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from “chained” to “free”

What, if anything, do you feel chained to?
Another way to think about it is: what’s weighing you down?

Could be:

coffee
alcohol
sugar

Or, how about:

depression or fatigue
ocd or overeating
chronic pain or a chronic bad mood

Or even:

social media, and the obligatory feeling to be in touch with everyone, all. the. time.
a job you hate
a relationship with someone you don’t feel yourself with

Note: you could also feel chained to something that is, in essence, positive (i.e. “i have to go to yoga 5x/wk or else… ” or “i have to eat organic or else…”)

On a daily basis, anything you feel chained to (like you have to have it or do it) … is going to weigh you down, distract you, pull you away from recognizing your true, vibrant, free, nature.

Got your “chains” in mind?

Now, close your eyes and think “freedom.”

Close your eyes, breathe in, and think “freedom.” (go ahead, take a sec to do it)

What came to mind?

I hope, even for just a sec, you were able to tap into your personal power and sense that being free, feeling free is a choice you make.

And to get there? You’ve got to get to work (yes, it’ll take some work!) breaking whatever chains hold you down.

Start by following the four steps below. Each will immediately make you feel lighter and more empowered.

4 Steps to Freedom:
(to be repeated over and over, as necessary)

>> Freedom is, essentially, about becoming more and more of who you truly are, in your physical, emotional, and spiritual self, and being unafraid to live out that truth every day <<

1. Know what you want
For the next seven days, first thing in the morning, ask yourself, “What do I want?” Do this before you do anything else. Experts say that morning, the bit of time right after you wake up, is when you have the best access to your unconscious. It’s when you can most trust your “gut.” I’ve found that to be true. It’s when you’ll likely feel “off” if something in your life is off. Or when you’ll feel full and nourished if your life is full and nourishing. Asking this question consistently will help you to better know yourself.

2. Know your chains
Take fifteen minutes to write about what’s holding you down. Another way of thinking about it is “If I let go of _____ , I would feel so much better.” Or, “If I could stop doing _____, I’d feel so much more free.” Could be anything from binge eating to dating the “wrong man,” over and over again.

3. Decide on one chain you’d like to break this season
(i.e. “I’m going to stop over-booking myself and feeling like I need to stay in touch with so many people”)

4. Write your [specific] action plan
(i.e “To do this I’ll take 30 days off social media to redirect my energy on only my most significant, nourishing relationships”)

If at any step of the way you need to talk it through, take advantage of one of my private coaching packages this fall. Simply email me ([email protected]) and we’ll set up the details for your {free} 30 minute info session via phone or Skype.

Have a great weekend … wild + free!

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My next chapter… and yours?

I’m sure you’ve set a goal like this before, haven’t you?

“This fall I’m definitely going to the gym 3X/week.”

or

“I’m cutting out carbs for the month of October.”

It’s nothing new. You, and I, we spend much of our life setting goals around food and exercise. Some goals we reach, others, not so much.

What I’ve found, over the years, is that the setting and striving for these kinds of goals starts to feel a bit stale and uninspired. The implementation starts to feel so routine. And even if we make progress, we still might not feel quite right. Something still feels off.

What’s that all about? If we eat clean and move our bodies shouldn’t that be enough?!

Well, actually, no (contrary to what you might have heard on the news or at your last doctors appointment).

After working with hundreds of people on their journeys toward health, it couldn’t be more clear to me that if we want to reach our full potential (in other words, feel fully alive), we must go beyond our plates, beyond the weights and the ellipticals.

For instance, maybe you will find healing through reviving your creative life or traveling to another country. Maybe you’ll find it in a conversation with your mother or through learning how to dance. The truth is, the answer will likely lie in a combo of different ingredients and won’t always be straightforward… so, you’ll have to be up for a little adventure.

This fall, I’ve started grad school, ready for the next step in my adventure.

My intention over the next three years is to dive deeper into the mind/body connection and the complex multidimensional reality of human experience and the ways we heal.

Moving forward I’ll still be offering you tips on food + lifestyle (including my favorite recipes) but will also be sending out my insights on these “other ingredients” that offer us an even deeper sense of nourishment.

Are you willing to join me and take a closer look at your life this coming year?

If so, respond below – share with me which area of your life you feel needs the most attention NOW.

I sincerely hope you’ll join me for this new season of growth xo

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  • Praise

    Nancy A.

    "Jody has been an inspirational force in my life. Not only do I eat better, but I'm able to handle difficult areas of my life with honesty and understanding"
    2013-09-15T00:45:15+00:00
    "Jody has been an inspirational force in my life. Not only do I eat better, but I'm able to handle difficult areas of my life with honesty and understanding"

    Heather B.

    "Jody has shown me eating healthy is not a chore."
    2013-09-15T00:45:36+00:00
    "Jody has shown me eating healthy is not a chore."

    Audrey H.

    "Working with Jody not only improved my eating habits, but also created more awareness around the nourishment of my mind, body, and spirit!"
    2013-09-15T00:45:56+00:00
    "Working with Jody not only improved my eating habits, but also created more awareness around the nourishment of my mind, body, and spirit!"

    Angela S.

    "Jody has a natural glow and positive energy about her. Working with Jody has inspired me to find the things in my life that will make me glow and thrive!"
    2013-09-15T00:46:14+00:00
    "Jody has a natural glow and positive energy about her. Working with Jody has inspired me to find the things in my life that will make me glow and thrive!"

    Emily S.

    "Working with Jody has helped me take control of my health which has opened doors that used to seem impossible."
    2013-09-15T00:46:31+00:00
    "Working with Jody has helped me take control of my health which has opened doors that used to seem impossible."
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