Category Archives: Do More of What You Love

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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The women we envy

What kind of women do you envy? The skinny ones? The rich ones? The ones who are getting engaged and having babies “on time?”

Me? I always envied women who seemed to have “arrived at their totality,” as a friend in Mexico so wonderfully put it.

To me, that means a woman who embraces all sides of herself and expresses all those sides completely and unapologetically. 

>> She doesn’t hide her huge smile
or her tears

She laughs out loud

She doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable emotion

When she’s angry, terrified,
or heartbroken,
she shows it

Because,
no matter how “messy” it might look,
it’s who she is, all of it

To hide it, to shy away from it, would be denying herself…

And that would be totally out of the question <<

So, where are you on the spectrum of “arriving at your totality?”
Far off and looking for a map? Or are you getting there just still on the road?

For a good portion of my life I was closer to the “far off” side, the side we don’t want to be on…

…and I got comfy there, expressing just a fraction of who I was.

I expressed the side that “didn’t making waves,” and because emotion often makes waves, smiles and silence was my safest bet.

But at some point, my “pleasant” approach to life and relationships became unbearable, suffocating even.

As much as I tried to hold it all together, to hold it all in I just couldn’t anymore. I felt like I’d explode. Not expressing was, all of a sudden, no longer an option.

The specific night I cracked open, I didn’t stop crying for hours. It was in front of my best friend and I was horrified. Up to that point, vulnerability (especially among girlfriends) was not my thing.

But surprise, surprise, she didn’t tell me to “stop crying” or “pull myself together” or to “stop being so emotional.”

Actually just the opposite. She made expressing seem safe. She made it normal. She transformed the act into something beautiful.

Thanks to her, and many other women in my life to follow, I got one step closer to my totality.

Since then, I’ve been trying trying trying to practice openness myself (not always easy) and to practice drawing it out in others.

>> I’ve learned that showing ourselves more completely doesn’t only make us feel good individually (so liberating!), it’s also a gift we can give others every day. The act is contagious. It makes others want to try it too. It then brings us closer to those same people. By simply letting our guard down, intimacy grows <<

Win, win, win, win.

Bottom line is, if you too find yourself envious of women who have arrived at the fullness of who they are, let go of envy. All that you see in them is within you too.

If you’re having trouble moving along the road, like I was, give these steps a try.

1. Notice women who have done it. How will you find them? It’ll likely be women you’re drawn to – maybe you’ll feel a magnetic pull towards them and won’t know why. Chances are it’s because they’re living in the fullness of who they are. Take note of how they carry themselves, how confidence shows up on their faces, in their bodies, in their interactions, and how that way of showing up effects others around them.

2. Deepen your friendships with other women. It was only through making my friendships a priority that I found women who would pull my truth out of me. Get lunch, go to yoga together, host a sleepover.

3. Practice saying what you actually feel, and then acting in accordance. This brings me back to the women in your life. Ask your girlfriends to hold you accountable. For instance, tell them to ask, “how are you?” and then ask, “but how are you really?” Come up with some very simple questions that can help each of you get more in touch with your truth. Let your guard down!

**

What will your first step be?

If at any point you’re overwhelmed with the growing pains (chances are there will be some!), well, then, let’s talk!

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Cacao Butter Salve + Something We’ve Lost

What do you do when you get a headache? 
A toothache?

Where do you turn when you’ve got digestive issues? 
Or PMS?

What do you do if you feel tension in your neck?
Or if you’ve got a skin rash?

Tylenol? Advil? Google? Or do you just suck it up?

Nothing wrong with painkillers or toughing it out, but since those have become the most common defaults, I’ve started to wonder if we’ve lost something.

Clarissa Estes, in her bestselling book Women Who Run with the Wolves, says that a healthy woman “carries the bundles for healing; she carries everything a woman needs to be and know. She carries the medicine for all things.”

>> In other words, she’s suggesting that you and I were both born with the ability to heal ourselves of everything from a skinned knee to the flu and beyond. <<

So, if that’s the case, then what’s happened to this ability?

Well, it could be that we’ve simply set other priorities. We keep our schedules too full and our stress levels too high. We don’t have time or energy leftover to hone our instinctual skills. We’re bombarded by many external (and very influential) voices (advertisements, big business, pharmaceutical companies) which block out the internal voice that matters most.

Very recently I spent time with a group of women in Mexico. 

Their everyday conversation wasn’t about “things to do” or “places to be” but rather on embracing femininity, on the art of being female, and thus, in part, on cultivating this innate gift of healing.

What a beautiful thought, no?

Inspired by these conversations, I came home not with an overly idealized view of life in Mexico, not with a pompous attitude that I’d never need pills or doctors, and not with the intention of pointing fingers or feeding into the divide between women who are considered “health conscious” and those who are not… (there’s already plenty of that!)

But what I did come home with was more faith in myself and the strong desire to rediscover the ways our grandmothers and great grandmothers cared for, soothed, remedied – because no matter which way you look at, that is something it seems we’ve lost.

If that idea sounds empowering to you too, read on. Below is an invitation to start simple and a look at one of my first projects, a cacao butter salve.

Salves of all kinds have been used for generations as healing ointments for the skin – depending on the ingredients, your homemade salve can help rid you of dry skin, itchy skin, acne, rashes, burns, and muscle aches.

Try the basic salve below and then start to experiment with other herbs and oils.

Cacao Butter Salve

1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C coco oil
2-3 TBSP beeswax (I use a grater)
2-3 TBSP cacao butter (again, a grater is helpful)
15-20 drops lavender oil (I get mine here)
15-20 drops tea tree oil

Use a double boiler (or a pan over a boiling pot of water) to melt the first four ingredients together.

To test the consistency, dip the end of a spoon in the mixture. You should noticed that it hardens quickly – if not, add more beeswax and test again.

When you’ve got it to a consistency you like, pour into a small mason jar or other glass container. Allow it to cool a bit before adding 10-15 drops of each essential oil. Cover and allow it to sit out while it hardens, or refrigerate to speed up the process.

Soon enough you’ll find yourself using this cacao butter salve for anything and everything from cracked lips to full body moisturizer (p.s. it obviously makes a great gift too!)

Have fun with it and give me your feedback in the comments below!

Also let me know – do you think as women we have an innate ability to heal? If so, do you think modern day stressors have severed this ability? Is it something you feel inspired to rediscover?

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What Makes Me Lose My Mind

This post is part of the Skinny Dip Society Blog Tour!
20 women. 20 days. 20 ways to Feed Your Soul. Free Your Body. Love Your Life.

Check out more info after my post!

It’s usually with a man I’ve just met. 

Or not. Maybe our eyes just hold contact long enough to communicate consent. With his right hand on my waist he pulls me close. His other hand holds one of my mine securely in the small space between our chests. It’s best when the music starts slow (like in this song), and he guides me with slight, subtle movements, to fall into his rhythm. Our heads gently touch. My eyes close. The music picks up and I’m gone.

We’re all hoping to lose our minds.

Aren’t we?

It’s why we drink and have empty sex and eat entire jars of peanut butter before bed. 

Because we’d like to stop thinking, for once, and just feel ; a touch, a connection, a texture, a taste. It’s a craving not for the food or drink or orgasm, but a craving to get back to what’s real, to what’s human, to be in one single moment versus the land of constant thought and virtual conversation where we typically live.

What do you use to lose your mind?

After dabbling in the typical cocktail of mind numbing activities (mentioned above) and other more enlightened versions of letting go (yoga, meditation, etc.) I rediscovered dance; salsa, then the very sexy bachata… and finally thiskizomba.

While I can still get tripped up on the basic steps, one thing never fails — and that’s the way, as a young single woman, dance saves me; from endlessly searching outside myself for that all encompassing feeling that comes with letting go, that feeling I so desire, the perfect mix of power and presence, of home, of sensuality and satisfaction.

Dance takes me on a visceral trip inside myself, grounds me in my body, allows me to melt into the best version of myself.

And you? Are you ready for the trip?

Even if you’re the ultimate yogini or a master of meditation, I dare you to give dance a shot. If you’re willing to put on some heels and have the courage to spice things up a bit…

You might be pleasantly surprised when you find spirituality in the arms of a stranger.

3 Reasons Why Dance is the Best Way to Lose Your Mind: 

1. You get to be a woman.

Feminism is my jam. But let’s be honest, we’ve seriously lost something in our search for equality —  the beautiful duality of the masculine and feminine. 

In traditional dance, men’s and women’s roles are very defined. The man confidently leads and the woman gracefully follows. For us 20/30 – something women out there, it can be a real stretch to put aside our pride and follow.

Dancing with a strong leader gives us the chance to soften into our femininity. The man offers his body, his strength, and we get to surrender. He holds a frame, the space for us to experience our bodies in an incredible way. The movement may feel new, but don’t be fooled. It’s instinctual.

Take his hand. Let him lead. Soften. Lose yourself.

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2. It’s like sex, only better.

You’ll be attracted to some partners, of course. In those instances, soak up every moment of flirtation and pray he’ll ask for a second dance.

With other partners, most actually, there won’t be any spark at all.

And the magic of it is it doesn’t matter. Because it’s just a dance.

You can let him get close, even allow for a very intimate connection, with space for nothing more than breath between you. Be fed by the closeness, the affection.

And when the music ends you can expect a simple “thank you” or at most, a friendly hug.

In an age where late night drinks and text messages define intimacy, and are often followed by guilt, awkward moments, and walks of shame, dance is looking like a damn good option.

 

3. You’ll find your heart… or heaven… or, ya know, something deep.

There’s a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love that goes,

“You must keep your feet grounded so firmly on the earth that it’s like you have four legs, instead of two. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart instead. That way, you will know God.”

When we move, especially when we move with another, we’ve got no choice but to feel the ground, to come home to our body.

Yes, at first it could feel weird to touch a random guy. You might get grossed out by his sweat or turned off by his moves. You might worry about screwing up or stepping on his feet (I still do).

But then you’ll have that first experience of undeniable connection, a bizarre combo of feeling grounded and feeling high. Your insecurities will fade, as will the mental tape of anxiety that’s been on repeat all day long. And that’s when the trip inward begins.

By coming home to your body you give yourself the freedom to let go of your mind and the chance to awaken your heart.

For once, don’t do anything but feel it.

Ready? 

Tell me in the comments below!

And if not, I want to know what works for you! What makes you lose your mind?

For more inspiration, more beautiful stories on how women have come fully ALIVE, join the rest of Katie Den Ouden’s blog tour… (more info below).

These past few weeks I’ve been honored to be part of Katie Den Ouden’s Skinny Dip Society blog tour, full of stories of courageous women who refuse to settle, who expect to come alive every day.

Sending a huge “thank you!” to Katie for handpicking such an amazing line up of women AND for recognizing the passion in me. I’m so proud to be among you all!

To my readers, don’t miss out (!) on what’s already happened on the tour and what’s still to come…

Yesterday we heard from Connie, on how stillness makes her come alive…

And tomorrow, be on the look out for words from Amy! …

All the archives from the blog tour are here. ENJOY!

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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!"

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    "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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