self-care

You are Worth More Than Your Creative Productivity {Podcast Ep. 19}

If you are listening to this podcast, it is likely that you love to create in some way -- like, LOVE. IT.

But sometimes we find that our creativity stalls, our inner well runs dry, and making suddenly become very difficult, or even impossible. What then? Who are we and what is our value as creatives that aren't creating?

This episode is for you if you're in one of those dry places, with tips on how to navigate it, and encouragement and affirmations for the uncomfortable (but not necessarily negative) place you've found yourself in.

Want more? Connect with me on Instagram, or join our free soul circle on Facebook.

How to Stay Sane When Changing the World {Podcast Ep. 17}

The world feels like a scary, confusing place these days (or is that just me?). It seems like we're about to repeat the same huge mistakes our governments have made before, and everything feels up in the air.

We want to help. We want to make positive changes. We want a safe, just, and beautiful life for all people. We're willing to work hard to achieve these goals.

But how do we do that without burning ourselves out? How do we look into darkness and stay hopeful? 

This episode is about just that. Listen in below or in iTunes for my three simple (but not necessarily easy) tips to stay sane while superhero-ing -- then tell us in the comments, how do you take care of yourSelf when working to make the world a kinder place?

Want more? Connect with me on Instagram, or join our free soul circle on Facebook.

Don't Give Up. Keep Going.

It's okay to feel like an absolute and total mess, like you don't know what to want or what you want. It's okay to want to sleep all day for a while. It's okay to be where you're at.

What's not okay is to deny where you are and how you are. To not look at the things that need to be looked at or not feel the things that need to be felt (this is [part of] what got you into trouble before).

Your task now is to feel and to mourn, and to let that process grow and illuminate yourSelf. To see where this road leads. To love yourSelf more fully, with more abandon.

You will survive. (Yes -- you will.) Stop asking how -- the how is not important. The showing up whole and wholly imperfect and authentic is what's important.

Trust. Trust. Keep going. Don't give up. Serve the world. serve the world your very best. The world needs all the golden soul good that you (we) can offer. So keep going. Don't give up.

Keep going.

Instructions for Living

Breathe deep. Smell all the scents around you. Taste them. Savor them. They are evidence that you are alive and there is beauty in this world yet.

Read. And then read more. Devour words like the sustenance they are. Then put down your books and live your own story in vivid color and with all the courage you can muster.

Drink deep of life. Embrace its experiences. Embrace the ones you love. Embrace strangers (with their permission).

Be willing to be amazed. This takes a certain kind of vulnerability, of trust. Go there. Allow wonder. Enjoy it.

Participate in your own life. Do not be a spectator, a bystander. The days are passing. Live them all, all of what each one has to offer, no matter what it holds. Feel it all, turn it into gold. Share your wealth with the world. We need it. We need you.

And love, for god's sake. Love. Love in all the ways you can: with empathy, in friendship and sisterhood, in nurturing, in mothering.

Let others love you, too. This is harder. But will you let them love you? Care for you? Want you? This is not the same as wanting something from you. It is instead a wanting that can fill you =, if you allow it. Will you allow it?

The days are passing, and there is so much to feel and wonder at, so much and so many to hold and be held by.

The days are passing. Will you live them?

Self-Portraits, Curiosity, & Blending: An Interview with Ariane Machin of the Conscious Coaching Collective {She of the Wild: The Podcast}

I am so pleased to share this interview with my friend, entrepreneur, therapist, mom, and coaching guru extraordinaire, Ariane Machin. In our fun conversation, we touch on topics ranging from taking selfies as an authentic practice of self-discovery, curiosity as an effective + low-stress way of inviting yourself into new experiences, and how to perfectly balance it all (or not).

Subscribe in iTunes, or listen right here:

Want to see the selfie we took mid-podcast because we really do love selfies? Here you go:

Meet Ariane!

Meet Ariane!

You can connect with Ariane on her website and at the Conscious Coaching Collective.

Are you looking for one-on-one support in following your curiosity and getting into the heart of your creativity? I can help! Sign up for a free 20 minute consultation Soul Coaching call with me and let's explore how we can work together to help you find + be the most authentic and alive version of yourself.

Got creative community? Come hang out with us in the She of the Wild Facebook community, where you can get exclusive access to the video version of this interview, in all its unedited glory. 

You Are Allowed to Take Up Space {She of the Wild: The Podcast}

Somehow, at some point in our lives, the messages, both implicit and explicit, began to filter in to our awareness: you are too much, too loud, too big, too bossy, too too too . . . And we changed, shifted, so we weren't too anything -- except perhaps too small, too constricted in the soul to live vital, authentic, and vibrant lives.

How do we come back from constriction and start to unfurl our stifled souls once more?

This week's She of the Wild: The Podcast is all about this very topic. Subscribe in iTunes, or listen below:

Like today's episode? I think you might really my upcoming e-course, Embrace Your Sacred Space. Registration is now open, and the course begins August 1, 2016. And! If you sign up before August 1, you save $50! Check it out here.

 

What To Do When You Want to Quit

I never thought I was a high achieving/overachiever type of person. School was mostly painful, and I thought it was because I was lazy, but recently I've realized that it's probably because I didn't care about it so much. But the things I am lit up for? Totally different story. I have crazy drive and passion and resourcefulness. I'm so grateful for this, for discovering what I feel made to do, and then going after it, for me and for the world.

But at the same time, I can at times get TOO driven. Because there's just SO. MUCH. to be done. So many opportunities for growth, unending improvements to be made. I get overwhelmed, and then I get depressed, and then I want to pack it all in and take up monasticism. I want to quit everything, from writing to art to mom-ing to showering.

But!! Then there are days like today. Where I don't have an agenda, no to-do's, no rushing. Days that feel sweetly slow, the perfect balance between being and doing, between mom life and my creative work. Where I'm not escaping into my phone all day because I'm exhausted or overwhelmed or inundated.

Today my boys and I enjoyed some time at our local science museum, and I chatted with a mom who has boys basically the exact same age as mine, and even GOT HER NUMBER (this kind of thing is usually SO hard for me, but this felt so relaxed and organic, and we're totally going to have a playdate!). Then we enjoyed some burritos, one of the few healthy foods that my oldest boy adores. And, because I wasn't rushing him everywhere, he didn't meltdown when it was time to transition and listened pretty well, which is a rare gift.

This day was, in a word, flow.

I wasn't fighting the current, either to get downstream faster or to battle my way backwards. I was just here. Now. Present.

It rocked.

I took this photo in between burrito bites and stopping the baby from throwing his sippy cup on the floor for the billionth time:

The light + view here remind me of what it feels like when the earth begins to thaw and we start baring our feet again and every breath feels like a miracle. If only I could live in this kind of balance and gentleness everyday. It's a work in progress.

What to Do When You Want to Quit

So, what does one do when you want to quit, no matter what you are "get me the hell out of here!" about (your marriage, your job, your role as a parent, your creative work that you usually LOVE, or maybe just that artistic movie you knew you shouldn't have bought a ticket for, dang it)?

Here's what I think.

You step back.

Like, WAY back if necessary.

Back into the simple, into what flows, into ease.

There's a time and place for pushing, for going hard . . . but then there's also a time and a place for not.

Today, I kind of happened into stepping back, by accident. And I needed that stepping back. Badly. I wish I had been more deliberate about making it happen rather than having it happen to me, but still . . . I'm relishing it.

What does stepping back look like for you?

For me, it looks like taking things slow. Going to bed early. Making time to wander, to get down on the floor and play with my kids. Cleaning the bathroom finally (seriously, it's a disaster).

And in terms of my creative work, it means creating for the joy of it, not because I need to pay my bills (which can be great motivation, but can also be a passion-killer).

How are you going to step back in the areas you need it this week? This month? This (*gasp!* I know, it's hard) year? Tell us in the comments. Let's support each other as we move counter-culturally, but so healthfully.

What to Do When Positive Changes Freak You Out

There are positive changes for my family in sight on the horizon. A new opportunity, different housing, and (hopefully) an expanded sense of freedom in our day to day lives.

In a word, these changes are good.

But one night, as I was putting the baby down in his crib, it hit me all at once that with these good changes would come other shiftings, ones that weren't as much fun but were necessary.

OMG, I thought in a sudden panic, clutching the baby close in the night-dark room, we're going to have to change our health insurance.

I proceeded to then freak out (like, quietly, because near-sleeping baby).

But about a minute after that, after putting the baby down and slipping out of his bedroom, I started to giggle at myself.

Because a) a great new job opportunity certainly warranted enduring an change of insurance, and b) changing from one decent coverage plan to another is not exactly the end of the world. More annoying than anything else.

But my brain and/or that primitive, survival-oriented part of my being would have me believe that this shift was cataclysmic, that everything should stay exactly it is in order to avoid the change of insurance . . . even if current conditions are less ideal than the future conditions that come packaged with said change of insurance.

So, what to do when you're in the midst of a positive change in your life, like starting a great new job, or opening an art shop online, or trying to get pregnant, or joining a gym . . . and out of no where you find yourself freaking the hell out?

Consider trying the following:

Breathe . . . and don't do anything else. Don't rush to turn down that job offer, or cancel your gym membership. Just hold as steady as you can, and breathe deep. Like, a lot.

Consider what it is that you're actually worried about . . . or not worried about. Get out your journal and free-write, or go for a walk and ponder. Is it your animal brain worried about risks, even ones that seem like pretty sure things? Are you afraid of the success that may come from your positive life change?

Accept the uncomfortable. Change, even good, expected, celebrated change, can still be scary. Understand that it's not the wrong move if some discomfort is involved. In fact, that may actually be a sign that you're on the right track.

Be amused. As a friend of mine would say . . . be amused at the inner workings of your mind. Some of its mechanisms are great, and others are a little more rusty or complicated. If you know that this change is right for you at this time, breathe through it, attempt to understand it, accept its discomfort . . . and smile. It's going to be okay.

Have you ever had this happen -- where you're flying high on some fabulous new changes, only to be knocked sideways by unexpected anxiety or general "what the hell am I doing?" freakouts? How did you navigate it, either successfully or not? I invite you to share what you're thinking in the comments below. I'd love to know!

How to Transform Discomfort to Strength

“Even though February was the shortest month of the year, sometimes it seemed like the longest.” ― J.D. Robb

Well. It's February.

Each February, I find myself giving myself a pep talk about how Februaries aren't all that bad, really.

C'mon, I tell myself. It's not that bad. A little cold, sure, which has gotten quite old by this point. But it's a short month, and soon March will be here, and that will mean that it's practically spring.

And yet it kind of does feel that bad. Overly long, inspire of its dearth of days, dreary, and not all too warm (here in Montana, anyway). I'm ready for the sun warming my bared shoulders, for sandals and tank tops without any jackets, for naked feet pressing into the earth.

But

it's not that time of year for us [yet].

So I'm trying really hard to practice being in the here and now, no matter how much I may dislike it or long for spring or feel uncomfortable. (Doesn't putting it like that make such an endeavor seem so much easier than it actually is? In reality, this kind of works makes me feel like a rookie in the big leagues.)

But I've been having lots of opportunities for pressing into the uncomfortable. One of the biggest of which is my reason for being mostly absent online in the past couple of months -- I've been working on becoming a certified OULA (sassy dance fitness for body, mind, and soul) teacher. And now I am one! I just learned this weekend that I passed my audition and that I'm in. What a relief and a joy!

And what a journey. A good one, but not one without discomfort. First there was attending the training weekend (on no sleep, might I add, thanks to a puking toddler), and then teaching my first song there. Then I taught my first song in a real class, and then a few songs, and then a whole class all by myself. And even now that I'm certified, there are new challenges ahead -- getting insured, applying to be a sub at gyms, and bringing in students so I don't find myself in the red with space rentals, to name a few.

I take in a lot (a lot) of articles/podcasts/videos/blog posts on being an online entrepreneur, and read a lot of inspiring success stories. But something that I feel too many of these stories gloss over is the discomfort involved -- the discomfort of trying, of failing, and even of succeeding.

Every positive opportunity comes with its shadow side of discomfort, of nervousness, maybe even of fear and anxiety. This is true for me, and I'm guessing I'm not the only one. So if you've been dismayed or surprised by the difficulties that come with even the good things in your life, you're not alone.

Press into the discomfort, don't walk away from the good in order to avoid the discomfort. By sticking with it, by facing at what's hard while celebrating what's great, you will eventually transmute that uncomfortable aspect into strength.

What kind of strength? It depends on what the opportunity in question is. For me, in pressing forward through my OULA training instead of fleeing when it got hard or [really damn] scary, I gained courage to perform in front of an audience. I discovered that it's not too late for me to be a dancer. And -- perhaps best of all -- I've regained a great deal of vocal power by pressing into the challenge of singing, shouting, and generally making a ruckus while teaching a class.

So if you're walking through a door into a spacious new opportunity only to be knocked sideways by an unexpected challenge, discomfort, or difficulty, stop and take a breath, then look that sucker in the eye. What strength or gain is standing beyond it, just for you? Is it worth it to press through that mucky part to stand in the sun? If so, keep going. Endure. Screw up your courage. Be gentle with yourself. And most importantly, do that hard-but-leading-to-awesomeness thing. I don't think you'll regret it.

p.s. If you need a little support, perhaps my mini e-course, Your Fearless Year 2016, might be of some help? Get it for just $10 USD with discount code BEFEARLESS16.

Owning My Awesome: 4 Key Tools for Writing a Novel in a Month


I blame my father-in-law.

He's the one who put the idea in my head, you see.  A screenplay and fiction writer (check out his stories here), one night as we gathered at his and my mother-in-law's house for dinner, he mentioned romance novels.

He knew a lady, he said, that was a good writer trying to self-publish her work, but no one was buying.  Then she'd heard how lucrative the romance fiction market was so, after doing a bit of research, she churned out a few romance novels of her own.  And -- they sold.  Like, a lot.  She's now completely sustained on income from her words.

I'd been missing writing when he told me this.  Writing fiction, that is.  Reading and writing stories has been in my blood since birth.  I studied creative writing in college, and have more than a few of my own NaNoWriMo novels, not to mention a host of poetry and short stories, under my belt. 


But I quit writing, back in early 2011.  Writing fiction had turned into a devastating trigger for my eating disorder.  It got to the point where the choice was between my health and my words.

I chose my health.  I walked away from fiction. Forever, I thought.

But I've been missing it.

So when my father-in-law mentioned romance fiction, I thought, why not?

Because romance novels are not serious.  They are fun and light and entertaining, even when there's conflict.  They end happily as a rule.

So I gave myself a month.  Try your hand at romance, I told myself.  Something you've never done before.  A genre you never dreamed you would writeNo pressure, no need for no one to ever read it.


And -- I did it. 

I did it.

Without triggering anything.

I wrote a damn novel, you guys.  And not a bad one either, if I do say so myself.

It'll be published soon.  June, I'm hoping.  I'll let you know when it's available.

And now -- I'm writing another one.

I'm writing books.  Sans triggers.

So what's different?  Why in 2011 was it a choice between life and living dead, a choice between fiction words and health, when now I'm sitting down nearly every day to churn out words and I'm okay?

A few things are different.  Big things.  Here they are -- my four key tools for writing that I didn't have (or didn't quite have) in 2011:

  1. Community.  I'm not writing in a vacuum anymore.  Okay, I wasn't writing in a vacuum in 2011, either.  I had a few writer friends I'd met through Twitter, and we cheered each other on.  But now I have a lot more community.  I have a digital family of Story Sisters (and seriously, this group is the bomb -- please check it out).   I have friends and family who know I'm working on a novel, who ask me how it's going and urge me on, people who I can complain to and celebrate with.  People who care.  This is vital.
  2. Accountability.  Accountability is an aspect of community, but is not the same.  It is more direct and deliberate than encouragement, and a little less nice (but no less kind).  It is more kick-you-in-the-ass and pass-the-chocolate than yay-let-me-hug-you.  I send my words every day to my husband, and update my word count here and with my amazing friend (who is also a writing coach).  I tell other friends I'm working on a novel.  I post my progress on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter.  I have people who will challenge me if I try to abandon my goal out of fear or boredom or {insert your favorite excuse here}.  These people are my word doulas, and I need them if I'm going to get through my book-birthing.
  3. Believing in myself.  This is something that I completely lacked in 2011, and is absolutely key.  I felt guilty for taking time to write, when I could be doing something more "productive."  You know, like working in a traditional job that, no matter how awesome it was, sucked all of this ISFP's energy and left nothing for my dreams and passions, or my loved ones.  And while I do have guilt now, too -- this time of the you-are-a-bad-mom variety -- I push it aside because a) I love doing this work, b) I believe in my words and these stories, and c) I am drive by the very real and optimistic hope of being able to provide for my family by working damn hard at something I love doing.  I'm owning my awesome.  Working on Made last year was huge in how it taught me that my ideas matter, can impact many, and can provide income for my family.
  4. Doing the work.  I am getting this shit done.  It's scary.  I procrastinate a lot, spend a good bit of time letting fear lead me to while away time on Facebook.  But when push comes to shove, I do the work.  I do it.  Every weekday, I send my sweet son to play at a drop-in childcare (which he adores -- no crying on the drop off with this guy) and hurry away to a nearby coffees shop where I spend a few hours punching out words.  That's where I am right now, in fact -- writing this post, and then getting to work.  In 2011, every morning I'd wake up and tremblingly wonder, "Will I write today?"  Now, this is not a question.  I will write today, and I will write 2,000 words today.  And then I go do it.  I guess that old "apply the seat of the butt to the seat of the chair" advice really works, huh?

That's how this mama churned out a light but textured and engaging romance novel in one month (stay tuned for its release -- June-ish!).  That's how I'm currently in the process of penning a delicious (and terrifying to write due to said deliciousness) novel loosely based on Celtic myth.  Has there been risk?  Oh yeah.  Paying for childcare, investing money in something that might come to nothing?  That's been scary, damn scary.

But it's also been worth it.  Even though our financial situation is tenuous at the moment, my husband fully supports my writing.  I'm following my dream.  The first big dream I ever, ever had (other big dreams included being a mega horse breeder, and becoming an astronaut and exploring the universe -- those are dreams currently on the back burner).  And that has meant everything.