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Moving THROUGH Pain

By the end of work today, my back was achy, feeling weirdly weak, and I was just tense all around. When I got home I put on music right away and started dancing. My only requirement was to keep moving one song to the next. As I moved my body started to generate heat all over. Anger rose up. As I danced, images of irritating situations came to mind. I kept going. People who overstepped my boundaries came to mind. Moments when I didn’t assert. Didn’t speak up. It felt like my body was on fire on the inside. I kept dancing, moving my body in a way that felt powerful and strong. I threw punches, bared my teeth. And kept dancing.

Here’s the thing: when I got home from work today I had options. I could have (1) numbed the pain (i.e. superficial socializing, alcohol, drugs, food, etc.), (2) given into the pain (lay in bed for hours watching “The Office” again) or (3) MOVED THROUGH the pain to find the wisdom in it.

This is what I’ve come to realize: My body is the vessel through which I live out my purpose (being the most whole, expressed version of myself). If I’m off track, or I need guidance, my body is going to tell me DIRECTLY. Take today for instance. At my job and in my life right now, my growing edge is around setting limits, speaking my mind, and being assertive. For me to grow more fully into ME, these are parts I need to develop. So when I struggle, shy away from this growth, or for whatever reason haven’t been able to assert myself honestly and authentically, my body gets tense, weak. If I numb that pain or let it paralyze me, I learn nothing, I get frustrated, and the pain just keeps getting worse (oh, and I start forming beliefs like “life is terrible and full of suffering and there’s no way out” kinda thing). If I MOVE THROUGH it, I get the chance to explore it. Rather than get frustrated with the pain I welcome it. The more I welcome it and listen to it, the more the pain subsides. And then I can believe that actually, life is happening FOR me, not against me. That my body isn’t the source of suffering but in fact, my ultimate teacher. And then I get to remain totally in awe of my body and this life!

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How to let more of you OUT

“It’s like everything inside of me wants to get OUT,” I told her.

I knew I held stuff in. But damn, I didn’t know how much. Until my body told me. In the form of nausea, restlessness, and serious anxiety almost every day for the last year. My body was giving me two choices: either find new and more extreme ways to squash this energy or learn to release it. So I started to let it out; tears, tears, tears, coughing, screaming, shaking, singing, writing, talking… and more tears. Releasing all the energy from feelings I’d never let myself feel. For decades, I’d been shut off from so much of myself, locked away any part of myself that wasn’t “pleasant.” My body got more tense every year, containing any “unacceptable” energy (i.e. anger, grief, all the stuff we learn is unacceptable) from getting out into the world. Anyway, this past year, my body had enough. Smiling through it all stopped doing the trick. The rest of me was screaming to be let out.

Some might call this extended process the healing of the inner child, healing my core wounds, or a “dark night of the soul.” If you’ve been through it you know it can be a dark, difficult, and disorienting time (as it has been for me). I share this because I don’t think the truth of the healing process (becoming more fully ourselves) gets enough airtime. It doesn’t always happen through positive thinking and looking at the bright side of things. It’s hard work. It’s ugly sometimes. Sometimes for a while. And it’s all ok. It doesn’t mean somethings wrong with you or that you’re broken. Those are the growing pains. Don’t turn away and don’t turn back. Find ways to move through the feelings. Ask for help if you don’t know how. And most importantly, trust your body. If you listen, you’ll find it’s just desperately trying to get more of YOU into this world.

P.S. Shaking (visit my Insta for video) is one of the practices that helped me most along the way. I was introduced to it through my study of #qigong and then learned it’s been used in many traditional healing modalities all over the world. It helps loosen up physical, mental and emotional tension and gives you access to all that lies beneath.

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The opportunity in WAITING

Single life in the city is really hard.

The truth is I don’t wanna carry my bike up a tiny, winding staircase after a long day of work anymore. I want help with things. I want someone to eat breakfast with. And oh yea, I want to be held.

But what’s also true is that these days won’t last forever. This season will change, as they all do. And I will miss it. Tonight in my kitchen (my favorite place to be) I was blasting my favorite tunes and had this thought: someday I’ll look back onmy single days in the city and think, “Damn, remember when I had all that time to myself? How GOOD were those days?” 

I know there’s probably something you want to be different in your life.

Your body. Your job. Your love life (or lack of one). I wonder if just for a sec, instead of thinking about what’s lacking, you might see the opportunity where you’re at. Some days it’s easier for me than others, believe me, but the more I sink into this phase in my life, the more I realize it’s a chance to know myself more deeply and to do some serious healing. As pastor, Todd Crews, reminded me this past weekend, waiting for what it is I’m wanting is an opportunity to position myself spiritually to receive what is on its way. The more I lean into that teaching, the more I realize I’m just where I’m meant to be.

So tonight after hours of dancing with a chocolate covered spoon, I’m wishing you peace, growth (and maybe even some joy) in the waiting.

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the gift of feeling

 

 

I spent 20+ years building walls around my own heart.

To the people closest to me, I often came across as uncaring, selfish and cold. Thing is, I was terrified of showing I cared. The truth is I was highly highly sensitive and thought if I let my feelings show I’d overwhelm myself and others.

The Latin root of the word emotion is movere, meaning, “to move.” Emotions move energy, they move us to action, AND they move other people. If I show genuine emotion there’s a good chance it will move, or stir something up, in the heart of the person who witnesses me.

Only in the last five years or so have I truly started to realize the value of my sensitivity. Not only is it healthy and totally natural to welcome in all my feelings but I’ve come to believe that showing my feelings is actually a gift I can give to others.

If you find yourself tempted to hold back expressing yourself sometime this week, for fear of making things awkward or uncomfortable, maybe consider this: your expression could be exactly what another person needs to grow, to transform, and to be moved. Your feelings are a gift.

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Is there any meaning in depression?

What’s something that hurts too much to think about?

Maybe it’s
a strained relationship with a family member
a loss of someone you love
a loved one who’s sick

Maybe it’s
a toxic job you know you’ve settled for
a toxic relationship you know you’ve settled for
Maybe it’s your painful past,
or maybe all of the above.

For me, for instance, in the last year or so, it’s been the reality that getting married and having kids might not happen for me. It might! But it also might not. The “might not” has been at the forefront and has been the source of a whole lot of pain. Sometimes grief. Sometimes anger. Sometimes what feels like a bottomless pit of helplessness.

I’m guessing whatever you don’t wanna think about also makes you feel helpless, yea? And I’d argue this is when depression tends to swoop in; when the body is registering intense and uncomfortable feeling (i.e. heaviness in my heart registered as grief), stemming from an unfulfilled need (i.e. need for intimacy and love), and the mind can’t find a solution.

We’re wired to find solutions to all kinds of dis-ease. And if we can’t find one, our systems (made up of our mind, body, and soul), will do the next best thing: suppress the feelings of dis-ease. If you think of emotions as energy and sensation flowing through the body in streams, it would be like putting up a damn to block any stream of energy or sensation related to grief (in my example).

This making sense?

Now suppressing or blocking painful emotions can be helpful, sometimes totally necessary actually, in the short term. Like if I were at a baby shower, for instance. Damning up those streams of grief might be useful for a few hours. Kinda like a little anesthesia for the soul. Thing is, we’re not meant to keep our emotions damned up for long. And some of us do. For years. Over time, if we refuse to let energy and sensations flow, our system starts to lose its life force all together. It starts to shut down. We feel numb. Stagnant. Tired. Want to stay in bed. Depression, from my perspective, is a widespread and chronic damning of our feelings, a widespread and chronic disconnection from the energy and sensation in our bodies.

So what’s the takeaway? Well, if you experience depression in any form, one way to respond is with thoughts like, “I’m broken and need to be fixed” (the way we’re taught to think in our current medical system). Another, more empowering way, is to respond with a sense of wonder and curiosity.

What am I not feeling? 
What emotions or memories has my system decided I can’t handle?

How much more support (and what kind of support) might I need in my life to feel capable of facing it all?

Over and over I’ve seen depression lift as people (myself included) break away from the cultural standard of isolation and build more support into their lives (i.e. closer bonds with friends and family, starting therapy, committing to a regular spiritual practice). As we get the support we need to face the pain of life, we convince our system that it’s ok to feel again.

From this perspective, there’s nothing bad or wrong about depression. It doesn’t make you broken. In fact, I’d argue there’s wisdom in it. Depression is your body’s way of telling you there’s something (probably something pretty painful) you haven’t felt yet. And it’s gonna stay with you to numb the pain until you build up enough love and support to do the hard work of healing.

Wishing you the courage and support you need this week to feel and heal

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body centered coaching sessions

Starting this month (June 2018), I’ll be offering private, body-centered coaching sessions out of my home in the North End of Boston.

Body-centered sessions will include the integration of gentle movement and breath work into a traditional coaching/talk therapy approach.

Why the integration?

Couple reasons:

  1. Talk therapy and coaching are wonderful vehicles to healing BUT often miss out on the direct and very critical communication coming from our bodies. For instance, the way your stomach starts to get queasy every time you’re at a certain kind of social event or the way your chronic headaches get even more intense when you’re around your awful boss. Our bodies have a wisdom that’s so often overlooked. We live in a culture where over intellectualizing (i.e. talking, analyzing, “processing,” and problem solving) can be consciously or unconsciously used as a way to AVOID how we’re actually feeling about the issue at hand. I’d like to help you reclaim an intimate relationship with your body so you can begin to understand and trust the messages it sends you, and thus get to a deeper level of truth about yourself and your life.
  2. Addressing physical tension and discomfort via gentle movement and breath work is an extremely effective way to elicit what’s often called the body’s “relaxation response.” When activated, this response brings balance and a sense of ease to the body AND mind. We often try to TALK ourselves out of uncomfortable feelings (anxiety, for instance) when what we really need to do is give our body the experience of feeling CALM.

I’ve got a whole lot more to say on this topic, but just wanted to offer a brief intro.

Sessions will be 1.5 hours and are $150 per session (slight discount applies if you purchase three or more at once).

These sessions could be particularly beneficial for you if you:

>feel stuck and want to make a change
>> have trouble identifying what you’re feeling
>> feel “off” but don’t know why
>> feel disconnected from your body and/or dislike your body
>> have chronic physical pain of any kind (i.e. back/neck pain, headaches, digestive issues)

Email me to set up your session: [email protected]

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Be the one who brings chocolate

It’s gettin’ real chilly here in Boston! Over in my kitchen that means it’s CHOCOLATE SEASON!

I’m now shipping my raw chocolate truffles, which are gluten, sugar and dairy free. Would love to get some in your hands this winter!

Click here to order your box.

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    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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