Come As Your Are

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I received the one of the biggest compliments, or at least what meant the most to me this weekend when after I spoke at the Superwoman Summit. This woman, a trusted friend said “ I loved that when you were on stage you were the same woman who I have had drinks with. The same woman who I see in real life.” Thank you. 

I think it is common place for people to exclaim “This is just me, its the only person I know how to be.” But from my own experience this is not true. Some times who we are, who we REALLY are deep down in our bones is the hardest person to be and the one who rarely shows up. 

Out of protection, survival and learned behaviors we present to the world the person who we think "they" want. The person that maybe will get approval or get accepted for who she is representing at the moment. The woman who is not TOO much, but just the right amount. The woman who must play it small or fake fierceness so as to stay safe. We often show up as the woman we were taught was nice, who is caring and selfless, or who is bold and brave, who is cool and doesn’t care about “all that”, the woman who can DO IT ALL. We show up as the person we have learned gets praised who achieves the things society or our community says matters. We have learned to shield our pain and our vulnerability out of fear that we will either be met with a disapproving attitude or even worse a solution to “fix” our human-ness.

So when this woman said that to me, I let myself receive this compliment to its fullest intention. Because I have worked really fucking hard at being me - because it is not easy to let the world see the real you. To see your gifts AND to see your challenges. 

I let myself receive this because it meant more to me than any other praise, it meant that I am finally realizing that the real me is good enough, that all of me is worthy of witness. 

And that woman showed up on stage this weekend and that was a really big moment for me.

Thank you to all the women who were apart of this incredible weekend. The ones who have given me a chance, the ones who have held space for me, the ones who see me for me who I am, the ones who I am consistently inspired by you all are the fuel to my fire.

My Profession - defining it as it unfolds

I call myself a life coach because that is what I am certified in, that is the process that I have trained hundred and hundreds of  hours to help guide people. I am also so much more because my training has extended hundreds of hours beyond that both informal and personal practice setting. But what does a life coach even mean?

Because to just describe myself as a life coach often times feels vague and incomplete. I have struggled with this label because what it means to the world and what it can mean to others.

I am an empowerment coach. Not because I shared the ways that women have been portrayed in culture, in family, in religion in our history but because I help women find the permission they need with in themselves to be who exactly who they are. All the shiny bits that they show the world or hide out of fear of boasting and also the bits that makes them feel uncomfortable and shameful. They become empowered because they begin to befriend it all, and this self acceptance and approval is empowering as fuck.

I am a mindfulness coach not because I teach people how to pay attention to their internal and external worlds on purpose but because I help them learn how to approach their experience with nonjudgmental curiosity and genuine inquiry. To begin to see things how they are and then to become aware how her own perception can paint it. 

I am a compassion coach. Not because I force feed another “should" about the need for concern for yourself and others. But because I hold space for others to pause long enough to notice that suffering is occurring; that pain, sadness, anger, jealousy, disappointment, and rejection are in fact part of life, its what makes us part of the human collection and discomfort makes you connected, not alone. That understanding this and holding yourself (and in turn others) with this wisdom and then meeting it warmth and tenderness is the way to become courageous, because what is there to be afraid of when you know you got your own back no matter how things turn out? When you know you are part of something bigger.

I am a mindset coach. Not because I spew positive affirmation but because I have been a neuroscience nerd for years. I use the science we have about incredible power of neuroplasticity to help you take a deep look at how your thoughts are shaping your life and how by understanding and rewiring your thinking you can create the outcome you desire through the power of perception and the continuous thirst from what is true.

I am a body intelligence coach. Because it goes beyond our mindset. I guide people to inhabit their physical form, to traverse the layers of tissue and notice the sensations present. To gaze upon these sensations with utter fascination. To warmly cocoon those sensations that are uncomfortable and be seduced and transformed by the ones that ignite you. How to trust your body, no matter if you feel like it has failed or betrayed you in the past. To understand and make decisions from your body's own wisdom and to feel confident in those decisions.

But most importantly I am a compassionate witness, a space holder and the window at which you gaze through to realize your own brilliance. At the end of the day none of this is about me, at all, it is about you and your journey. I am simply here to help you uncover that beauty and wisdom that is already with in you. To really see it and experience it.

I would be honored and humbled to be all of these things and more for you. If you wondered what it would be like to work one on one with a coach I have a very special offer for you. The spots for my Fall Coaching Special have been filling up and there are only a couple of spots left to work with me this year. If you are on the fence, curious, or even a little intrigued I would be happy to chat with you more or if you want I am happy to connect you with one of my past clients and so you can hear more about what it is like to do this deeply important work together. 
 

Here is what a recent beloved client had to say about our work together:

 

Danielle's gift, her offering is her: she is so talented, the way she pulls together holistic elements, whether it’s creativity, meditation, breathing, thought work, creative writing, strategic planning… she is able to help her clients uncover the magic that awaits them in an effective and systematic way.

Danielle is helping me to shift and release my hatred towards my body. In moments of negative dialogue or self criticism, I remind myself that my feelings are VALID - that it's OKAY and absolutely normal and human to feel sadness around rejection, to feel angry about something I don't agree with, to feel happiness and freedom when I'm immersed in my body. 

There's never an end point in self discovery - there's always something waiting to be discovered or uncovered. Knowing that I have Danielle in my corner and as a resource allows me to continue my self evolution.

Those of us who have been lucky enough to leverage her teachings and influence carry her with us in our daily lives :) 

 

"Of Course" - How These Two Words Changed My Life

"Of Course"


It was 2009 and I was on my first silent meditation retreat. I was a few months past a devastating pregnancy loss that left me confused, angry and heartbroken at a deeper level than I had yet to experience as a young woman. But then there was this other, icky emotion that kept surfacing . . . jealousy. 

Jealousy felt so wrong and each time it bobbed its ugly head I rejected it and was left feeling an even heavier emotion of shame. Shame ate away at every fiber of my being and broke me down. The internal lashing I gave myself after experiencing a moment of jealousy at the news of another friend’s (or stranger’s) pregnancy would have left the strongest of women cowering in unworthiness.

It was this shame that finally broke me and broke through on this retreat. I sobbed as I explained to my meditation teacher what a horrible person I was because despite feeling genuinely happy at the news of others impending parenthood, I was also tarnished with envy. And his reply was this “Well of course you feel this way. You are a woman that just lost a baby, something that you desperately want. Of course you are feeling jealous of those who are pregnant.”


And at that moment everything changed.


I said it over and over again internally “Of course, of course, OF COURSE you do baby girl.” 

And with that my shoulders retreated, my belly filled with breath and my shame lifted like a heavy fog off my soul. 

For the first time I felt myself accept what I was feeling fully.  My body flooded with kindness, understanding and love at the gentleness of these words, “Of Course”.

I felt immense grief, anger and jealousy and it was all welcomed. 

I began to grasp a deeper understanding of being a human, that despite our best efforts we still have real, raw, messy emotions - that is part of experiencing life. Such a simple shift, a shift of acceptance, but how many of us struggle with this exact thing?

Beating ourselves up for feeling angry, sad, disappointed, lonely or jealous only leaves us deflated and small.

Acknowledging you are human, observing when life feels hard doesn’t mean you dwell and marinade in the dark and never come out. It is simply seeing things as they are; there can be fear and excitement, anger and gratitude, sadness and joy. This is what makes us beautiful and learning to see this beauty and wrap your arms around all of you with love and adoration only strengthens your courage and ability to do big things in this world. 

Learning how to befriend yourself is a practice and a skill. I work diligently with my clients helping them uncover those areas that need tenderness and acceptance so they can be their own advocates. And then I watch them experience the freedom and confidence that comes with understanding and wholeness. 
 


If you are ready to do big brave things, feel lighter in your body, connect deeper with yourself and those you love then lets work together. I have got some seriously amazing FALL OPPORTUNITIES!

 

Do any of these resonate with you?

  • “You’re so silly for letting yourself be hurt that he doesn’t want to go out with you again. Get over it, he wasn’t your type anyway.”
  • “Stop feeling so sorry for yourself, so what you hurt yourself and can’t work out anymore? Seriously? Other people have it way worse than you. This is not worth being upset over.”
  • “Oh my gaaawwd you are the worse mom ever! I can’t believe you got so angry over that.”
  • “So what you got passed up on that promotion. Suck it up. It is probably because you are so weak and emotional that you did get chosen anyway."

But there is a different way to treat yourself with acceptance of all of your gorgeous emotions.

  • “Of course your hurt, a man you had interest in just rejected you, that stings.”
  • “Of course you are sad, exercising lights you up, it is a part of you and your community and you can’t participate in this way right now. Of course you feel sad."
  • “Of course you are feeling angry. You spent so much time preparing 5 healthy and nutritious meals and your kiddo won’t eat anything but a Ritz cracker, that is frustrating.”
  • “Of course you are disappointed. You really wanted that promotion and you got passed up, that is so upsetting.”

 

Can't wait to coach some amazing people at reduced rates this fall! 

And I am teaching Befriend & Becoming Group LIVE in Portland! Eeek! 

 

 

Pleasure Reset

After the crazy/busy/activity filled days of last week I have been spending as much time as I can simply doing this. Experiencing pleasure. 

It is funny how narrow our minds can get around what pleasure actually is, so much so that we have to wait to deserve it or use it as a reward or somehow tell ourselves we aren’t worthy of it. 

Pleasure is usually there at all times, the hard part is simply waking up to its presence. Noticing what the senses are picking up on that are pleasing in the moment. 

The smell of her hair, the softness of her skin, the pure purpose and immense love I feel when she grabs my face and “says I love you so much mama, I just want to cuddle forever and ever.” 

So I marinate in this pure pleasure because it fills me up, nourishes me to my core. So that when things don’t feel so easy I have the fuel to put in the work because I have been pleasured.

Connecting Mania

These last few days have been a whirl wind of connecting and inspiration. It started Wednesday night attending and entrepreneurs gathering, Thursday night with an unbelievable group of doers and visionaries at the Council Meet-Up, and then World Domination Summit Friday through late (very late) last night with 1000 people committed to learning, growing and changing the world for the better. And then this morning connecting with my Boss U ladies, mastering our craft and doing our thing in the most supportive and empowering way I have ever witnessed.

Each time I got to meet another person or listen deeper to someone share their story I felt awe for all the wisdom that we collectively hold.

It is sharing our humanity, our experiences, our vulnerabilities that allow us to see that we are not alone.

When you are surrounded by 1000s of people doing simply astonishing things and being amazing humans is is easy to slip into the tangles of comparing how you measure up.

But comparisons do nothing but harm you and isolate you from the connection we all desire. 

As I listened to the stories of speakers, new acquaintances and old friends I found utter joy in witnessing the beauty of people having the courage to be themselves. Because no matter what you are doing in this world you do it the best when you do it by being you. 

So my take away isn't to run off and try and be like all of these brilliant humans, but to continue to embrace myself, to remember my own brilliance and to boldly and unapologetically be as me as I can be.

So much gratitude for all of the connections I made and unbelievable thanks to those I spent hours with this last week that welcomed and loved me for me.

My "C" Word Check Up

Sitting in the waiting room ready to go over my ultrasound and blood work to make sure my thyroid cancer hasn't done anything naughty in the last few months. It's been almost three years since I had half my thyroid removed and the subsequent phone call that dropped the C bomb on me. Three years since I had to call my family and best friend and reassure them yes I have this but please don't worry, I will be just fine. 

I am one of the extremely lucky ones.

My C word is the "good" kind to have and since surgery it only requires bi-yearly check ups and daily thyroid medicine. But when I first found out I was still scared and sad. I am scared now to be honest.

I use to feel guilty about my fear or any feelings around this because it could be so much worse and it IS way worse for so many. Way worse in a way I can't clearly comprehend. But downplaying or dismissing my feelings never felt right and only added the feeling of guilt and shame to the already uncomfortable emotions I had. 

Getting in a "who has it worse" suffering battle never works and only makes it feel worse. So I'm mindful, not over dramatizing not underplaying, just this is as it is, no more, no less. 

This for me right now is a little scary and that's ok. Even if I know the odds are in my favor, there is still that tinge of worry.

So as I sit here I put my hand on my heart and honor that, this moment is tough, of course it is, and internally whisper small words of love and encouragement to myself. 

Then I come back to the room and immerse myself in the pleasure right here right now: the grandmother bragging to her care taker about her grandson and smiling proudly as she shows off his picture, the silent and loaded gesture of a husband's frail hand gripping his wife's shaky one, the full belly laughter coming from the medical assistant in the back room.

There is fear, there is sadness and there is also pleasureable occurrences and the "ok"ness of this moment. That's life and I'm so grateful for all of it.

UPDATE: Yay! All good baby baby! Whoop one more year until I go back

Scratching the Itch

For the last 10 days or so I have had the strangest thing happen to my body. Now keep in mind I have had numerous bizarre health symptoms happen over the years, enough to fill an entire blog post for another time. 

Last week I had a pretty intense flare, nothing unusual there, and then I started to break out in hives. At first I tried to wrack my brain sorting through what I had eaten or been exposed to that might have stimulated this outbreak and came up with nothing. As the days went on and the hives got worse I began to notice a pattern.

Anywhere I lightly scratched would quickly mutate into a hive, then the itch would become unbearable and spread. The more I would scratch, the more the welts and swelling would spread and the itch would become maddening.

I barely touched my back here.

I barely touched my back here.

Over the past few years my mindset, in regards to my health issues, have changed from resistance towards embrace.  

With every new illness, every new diagnosis or symptom I have learned to surrender and go deep to listen to what my body needed me to hear. 

With this, with the insanity that widespread itching can bring, I had to practice restraint in scratching. When your brain notices an itch the scratch is almost a reflex in nature. Our system is naturally wired to avoid discomfort, to do what we think is best to relieve the disturbance to our equilibrium. With pain we avoid, dissociate, or soothe. With an itch we scratch. In this case though scratching guaranteed unending discomfort.

So I became aware, check that HYPER aware or touching myself. The last few days I have spent countless hours in ball on the ground in tears, doing my best to not escape my body but instead going in, counting my breaths, following the itch, leaning in and noticing the parts of my body affected and those that were not. Mindful of each movement my hands would habitually take to relieve the itch, to scratch, and bringing them back to center.

 

Some times I would succeed and others I would be swept away by the weakness of habitual wiring and scratch away, fueling the fire.

 

And of course it made me think of the larger lesson here. Where else am I habitually scratching? 

We all have it, that automatic response that comes from an itch. A knee jerk reaction to gloomy mood on a Monday morning, a quick to blame comment when things don’t go as planned, a glass of wine, an extra cookie or zoning out in front of the TV because we had a hard day. 

 

Avoid the pain, itch the scratch, habitually do what we need to do to avoid discomfort. Mindlessly contributing to the irritation.  

 

But all it does is feed into that short term gratification, the relief in the moment and not in line with our long term desires.

 

So what is it that you find yourself metaphorically scratching? What uneasiness do you avoid over and over again?

 

That is the first step, noticing where you habitually try to escape an uncomfortable feeling. And then, get curious, what if I stayed? What if I stayed with this sadness, or pain, or itch, then what? What is here?

Because growth doesn’t come by avoiding discomfort, it comes when we learn how to lean in when things are tough, how to courageously embrace those things we are fearful of and come out the other side stronger, braver and wiser.

 

So lean in, get curious, and be mindful of scratching.

Is a Better YOU Up On That Pedestal?

Recently at a conference I was reminded of the pedestal effect, this phenomenon that happens when we see someone and consciously or not place them up on a pedestal; essentially on this place of a position of power over us. This person for whatever reason we hold at such high esteem and admiration that we view them to be “better than” ourselves for one reason or another. Inadvertently though it puts who we are beneath this other person.

We are looking up to this idealized person and in turn looking down on ourselves.

What I find so fascinating though is usually there are many people we are exposed to in our lives that we view as being “up there”. These people embody some quality which we crave to have for ourselves. These people along with the messages we get from culture, school, friends and family create a person in our minds who we hold almost higher than all the others . . . the person WE COULD BECOME.

This better version of ourselves that we wish we could be and strive to become. But just like looking up to some other, the cost of placing this “Better YOU” on a pedestal means that the YOU right now is less than, that she might not be worthy of praise and celebration and embrace.


During my own healing journey I noticed that I did this often. Thinking I would be a better person if meditated everyday. That if I wasn't in so much pain, then I would really seize the day and be successful. I should eat super clean and work out everyday then I would be healthy and fit. If I had a baby then I would have a place in this society. That if only I could manage those icky emotions like anger and jealousy and be fucking happy and positive then I would be a more worthy of love and acceptance.

But all these thoughts I had did not motivate me to be better, really I was just shitting on the person I was. 

It made who I actually was at the time, feel unworthy, unlovable, and unsuccessful. I was living in the shadow of this idealized fictitious woman who I believed I could become someday if I just acted right.

I remember after my second miscarriage I was sitting in a restaurant and I saw this beautiful glowing pregnant woman walk by and it felt like someone had just punched me. And then I noticed jealousy, "Why does she get a baby and I don’t? It’s not fair. I am a good person, is she? Is that why she deserves a baby and I can't have one??"

Being a regular meditator I noticed these feelings and thoughts right away and I immediately followed up the shitty feeling of jealousy with self-beratement that made me feel even worse. “Geez you are awful! How could you say that? You should feel happy for her. You don’t know her story! See maybe you aren't a good person after all and don't deserve to be a mama. You should be grateful for all the things and privileges you do have in your life! You could have it sooooo much worse. Stop being such a whiny ungrateful baby.”

And just like that, who I was, in the moment, was simply unacceptable. 

I hear it all the time, people putting this higher version of themselves above who they are right now. Sitting on the ground looking up in reverence of this perfect version of who they could morph into if only. . . 

Believe me, I am not saying that desiring to eat healthier, or become more understanding, or working at refining our craft is wrong. I would just ask do you think that this person who you could be as being more worthy in some way? Somehow much better than the you today?

And if so can you begin to see that they are just different? Not better than or less than, just different from one another. 

When I began to truly learn to accept myself and love myself just AS IS everything shifted.

All changes I made in my inner and outer world came from this already accepting place, a place where I felt brave enough to try bigger things because I already loved who I was just as I was. I wasn't on performance waivers with myself. 

So I challenge you, what if that person you could become is no better than who you are in this moment, what if she is just at a different place than you are right now? What does that feel like? To love you just as you are?

And if you are looking for a great tool about how to be there for yourself when things are hard please download S.H.I.T. by clicking the button below!

I Broke Down . . . In Front of My Kiddo

Most mornings are really f*ing nuts at our house. It is something that me and the hubs are continuously working on as I know how beneficial it is for the kiddos to have a nice calm morning before being sent off to school. We have some semblance of routine and have made some amazing strides.

Usually I can keep most of the “crazy" in.  

Presenting a more fun relaxed momma until they are whooshed to the next part of the day. 

But often times I slip up, you know kind of lose my shit? Then recover . . . . and possibly slip up again.

Yesterday morning was one of those days where everything was great until I broke down and fucking LOST IT.

I actually felt quite proud of myself that morning; I woke up extra early to account for my moving more slowly and kindly with my body. I felt good for NOT rushing, for taking time to snuggle each little being. To save time for silliness and a very dramatic rendition of Bing Crosby’s “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” while dancing with my back brace. 

It was all good and gravy and then it wasn’t . . . 

  • Monroe still wouldn’t put her socks on. 
  • I moved too quickly with my stupid back brace I stumbled down the stairs. 
  • Left my breakfast on the table
  • After dropping of kid #1 I lost my keys for 7 $%&W$%#% minutes!!

When I finally made it back to the car to drive across town for drop of #2 I just lost my cool.

In that moment I felt defeated. That despite my very best efforts and an awesome morning we were going to be late AGAIN. 

I would be that mom AGAIN who appears to never have her shit together, scrambling and brushing hair as we walk through the doors that are closing on us.

And it felt like a lot, in that moment it hurt. Yes I know this isn't a big thing at all but you know how sometimes things just FEEL really big?

 

So I cried and said out loud the unkind things I was saying inside.

 

“I am feeling like such a bad mom, why can’t I ever get you kids to school on time?!? Why am I always the last person to sign up to help or remember projects and dates? UGH! I am the worst.” 

*more tears*

Then from the back seat my little girl who is whole and wise said so quietly, 

 

“Mom, you are not a bad mom at all. You are the best mom. I would never, ever, say that about you.”

 

And I looked back at her face as she took in my tears and defeat and she lifted her head high and her chest got bigger and she said boldly, with conviction and courage, 

 

“And I don’t EVER want to hear you say that again about yourself! "

PAUSE

"You lost your keys. People lose things. It's no biggie. And I love you no matter what.”

 

And then I smiled right from my heart because I realized in that moment that I am the best goddamn mom, because I am teaching my little girl about compassion and humanity. That she HAS in fact been listening and learning from me. 

I don't feel bad about these moments where I fall a part a little, I love them.

 

These little breakdowns are like gold, they reveal to me the small little pressures I am still putting on myself and where I can keep focusing my loving efforts.

 

These moments show me where I am still unconsciously worrying about how I appear to others. Hoping to get someone’s approval when really I just needed my own in that moment. That compassionate voice that said so lovingly that I am good mom. My good mothering just looks different. That I am human. That I am in crazy pain which adds some stress, that this moment is hard and that is ok. That I don’t need to make it mean anything about my worth as a mother. 

This is why I call self-compassion a “practice", it isn’t something you just learn and then forget about. You must continue to practice it every damn day because you will get little reminders like these where that loving part of you is needed.

 

Life continues to happen and you get to choose to show up critiquing your every move or as a compassionate supporter. I choose to love me.

 

I would have gone through all this dialogue eventually, as offering myself support is something that I practice daily, but this time I was lucky enough to have my little compassionate voice come from my own daughter, what a gift.

If you are wanting to learn how to cultivate this type of love and support with in yourself I highly encourage you to check out my upcoming online course. It's awesome and you won't regret. Just saying ;) Click here to register

Shout It Out!!

My oldest daughter and I were out and about the other day and she was excitedly talking to a stranger and I almost stopped her.  

I caught myself mid sentence about to say something that was coming from that automatic place of my brain. That part of my brain that operates from old memories, habits and beliefs that get ingrained at a young age. 

Not an intentional response in the least.

But I didn't I let her SHOUT IT OUT GIRL!

Harlow lost her tooth. Now this is a big fucking deal at our house. And an even bigger deal to her. 

When she found out her tooth was loose her eyes got even larger than their caricature size and she let out a shrill of excitement as she leapt off the couch like a graceful cat. (And if you know Harlow you know that me putting the word grace even close to her name is a feat). 

She had a lot of fear about the possibility of pain.

For nearly three weeks that wiggly tooth remained wiggly. I tried to wiggle it for her and sometimes she let me. She had a lot of fear about the possibility of pain. But the idea of losing that tooth had stars in her eyes. Over those three weeks many mornings she would wake up and exclaim to me the dream she had just awoken from where she had lost that tooth. 

I asked her if she would like to pull it now and everytime her answer was "no mama, maybe tomorrow".

And then she was ready. 

She courageously agreed to let me push a bit harder on her tooth and voila it came out. She was thrilled. Every nerve in her body electrified with pride and joy. 

"Mom I'm so big! It didn't even hurt! Can you believe it!?! I was so brave.”

 

Yes you were baby girl, you took your time and were brave when you were ready.

 

When she went out into the world she wanted to tell everyone! I mean EVERYONE that she lost a tooth. So when I heard her begin to exclaim to this woman at the store about her lost tooth I instinctively began to hush her.

I almost stopped her.

 

Grabbing her arm as a gesture like "they don't want to know that" or "we don't celebrate our wins outside of this house". I had this subconscious fear for her that she would be let down if this stranger didn't share in her excitement. In her own achievement.

 

Because as women we are taught at a young age that women are "catty". That celebrating yourself for an achievement is bragging and bragging is bad. That exclaiming with enthusiasm a feat of courage or recent accomplishment is often times met with jealousy, judgement or indifference. 

 

That exclaiming with enthusiasm a feat of courage or recent accomplishment is often times met with jealousy, judgement or indifference.

 

But I caught myself and I let her tell her story. I shared in her enthusiasm and exclaimed to this stranger how elated we all were about this. 

 

It became this learning moment or rather unlearning moment for me; of how deeply ingrained it is for most women to hold back from celebrating herself openly for fear of the response from other women. That if we shine bright and shout at the rooftops all the ways we are killing it in the world that somehow we are hurting or taking away from our sister friends. That our bigness is at the cost of someone else’s smallness. 

What if me celebrating your greatness allow my greatness to shine more?

 

Really though, I have found the opposite to be true. As I engage in celebrating all of the women around me I get bigger, my light shines brighter. 

The days of staying small out of fear of making others around me feel more comfortable are fading fast. I am learning how to be unapologetic in embracing and celebrating myself.

 

I decided to create a group, a sisterhood . . .

So I decided to create a group, a sisterhood, where we can do just that. Learn how to embrace ourselves fully, the good the bad and every single delicious inch between. Where we unabashedly celebrate ourselves and UPLIFT the women around us. A place that is about the support of community of other women with the safety of expressing vulnerability without fear of judgement. When we do have those moments when we are so fucking proud, a place where we can . . .

Shout it out!!!!

 

I invite you to join me in creating a new kind of community, it called fEMPOWERED.  

 

On the car ride home I asked Harlow what she had done when her friend lost a tooth? She said she didn't say much, that she thought maybe she was quiet because she also wanted to lose a tooth. So we chatted about how next time one of her friends were excited about something, like really excited how she could remember how nice it feels to have a friend recognize and share in that excitement.

 

Because that is true sisterhood.

 

A place where we feel supported not only when we need to be lifted up but when we want to shine bright and feel just as supported in that achievement. 

That one rain drop filled my whole bucket.

As Harlow and I were stuck in traffic on the way to school she said, with enthusiasm, “Mom! Look at that rain drop on the window! Isn’t it so pretty how the sun makes it sparkle? Its like magic, like the sun got trapped in there.”

My first response, was a nonchalant "yah cool".

And then I actually heard the hurried autopilot response I had just given her.  

I realized I let her words be a passing by, something I often do when we are rushing around.

So I looked at the rain drop on my front window and was filled with the pleasure that comes when magic and beauty enter my being. Like the lightness of “awe” with the thickness of honey down the throat*.

I turned around I told her thank you. "Thank you for noticing things like that, it is one of the reasons I love you so much." And she asked me “Mama, do you notice things like that?” And I said, "Yes I do, when I remember to.  And I am so grateful to have you to remind me. Not everyone notices.”

So despite the rush to get out of the house. Despite the aftertaste that a busy weekend single parenting that included three birthday parties and two valentine’s day parties leaves on your nervous system. Despite my to-do list that always seems to get longer instead of shorter I let the beauty of that rain drop on my windshield infiltrate and nourish me.

That one rain drop filled my whole bucket.

 

You see it doesn't matter WHAT we do to fill ourselves up, but it is that we remember that we do in fact fill up.

Remember that somedays it might be an elaborate spa day or trip to the coast. Other days it might be opening to the beauty of the ordinary and the possibility that what is in front of you is exactly what you need. 

 

*I wanted to note that a client recently used this description of "honey down the throat" during one our sessions. I was so taken by it and have noticed how well it described my own soothing sensation that is present with me when I am present with beauty in the world. I won't share the name for privacy, but wanted to give credit. Also I think it is so wonderful to find phrases like this to describe when you feel "alive", what does joy or beauty actually feel like to you??? Write it down! Remember it. This is your body's language you get to decode. Once you begin to recognize what the goodness feels like you can begin to turn towards more and more. xoxo

Self-Care as a Service and How To Leave Time For You

I took off the month of December because I needed it. 

There was a lot going on, as is typical in during the holidays and around winter break. And I thought to myself, as I made the decision to cancel five workshops and postpone a webinar, will this hurt my business?? And I had to face the very truthful reality that the answer was maybe, maybe it would.

But I needed to do it. I was in desperate need for some self-care, some time to fuel myself up and nourish my body, mind and heart. 

People might be upset with me after they had made plans and put money down to attend, learn and show up. The thing is though is that I wasn’t able to show up for them how I wanted to. 

It is easy to worry so much about what others might think when we change plans, opt out of events, decline invitations of helping. Taking care of yourself is not selfish, it is the greatest gift that you can give to those around you. 

 

Self-care is truly an act of service, because when you care for yourself you show up as your best for those who need you. 

 

I whole heartedly believe in helping out others, to showing up for causes that are greater than you, to being available to friends and family but not at the detriment of you. Because when you show up drained and haggard and resentful you really aren't being of much service to anyone

Let’s be honest, no one really wants the you that is riding on your last thread. Your family is not loving “quality” time when you are frazzled and frayed. You helping out someone else when you have nothing left to give usually only makes them feel like a burden. 

 

So what do you do when you are deciding what do fill your schedule up with? What invitations to decline or accept? 

 

Here is a step-by-step process that I go through when making the decision what to take on while honoring what it is that I need.

 

1. PAUSE.

When someone invites you to do something, asks if maybe you can help out or pitch in, take a moment to pause. You want to gift yourself a little bit of time to before committing. You can say something like “Hey thanks for thinking of me, I need to take a look at some things and I will get back to you.”

2. What is the TIME cost?

Be realistic about how much time this “thing” will take. Consider travel time, prep time, face time etc. Time is your most valuable possession, how much time will this cost you? When you get real with this it may impact your final decision or you might only commit to part of what is being asked.

3. What am I saying "NO" to?

Ask yourself "If I do say yes to this then what am I saying no to?" You may have room on your schedule but that doesn't mean you aren't saying no to other valuable opportunities. Like some down time, time for yourself, time with your family, time in the woods, meditation, political action etc. Is saying yes worth what you are giving up?

4. Assess your current week (or month)

Take a look at your week (or month). Notice how much time you have available for relaxation, for nourishment, for connection, for creativity. For the things that fuel you so you can be your best. If it doesn't seem like there is anytime for you and the things you love then understand that burn out, resentment, irritable -- you know all the awesome behaviors are very likely!

5. Ask your body what (s)he thinks

Close your eyes and ask your body what it thinks. Seriously.

Your mind will lie to you all the time “But I have to say yes, so-and-so helped me with my event.” “What will they say if I decline? They will think I am a flake.” "My boss will think I am not a hard worker" “They might not like me anymore” “They will think I am selfish” etc.

Our body doesn't lie, it doesn't know how to.

Take a few deep breaths ground into your body and and then simply ask “how do you feel about me saying yes this commitment”?  

Notice what happens in the body. Does it clench up? Tighten? Feels like your stomach is going to sink? OR does it feel freeing? warm? exciting and fun? If it is the former then your body, your inner wisdom, is expressing to you that this is not something that is going to nourish you or bring you joy (at this moment in your life). 

6. Make a decision and trust that it is the right one

Make a decision and let go of the outcome of what others might think about it. This can be the hard part, but please remember you can not control the reaction of others.  My experience has been that by saying yes to me I am also giving others permission to say yes to themselves. Some people do get upset, and that is ok! (This is a whole other post btw). But trust that in this moment in time you are making a decision that is right for you and by listening to yourself, taking time for yourself, you will be servicing you and those around you the best you can.

 

We all have obligations, like work and taking care of your kiddos. But lots of times we fill all the other moments up with things that feel like obligations but don't have to. Make YOU a priority. You are worth it. And then when you do commit you show up as your best.

Fuck Your Banter.

So this weekend I escaped to the woods alone and tuned out and turned off the outside world.

And then I came back to this a social uproar over Trump’s comments about women.

At first I was at a loss for words, somehow stunned. It is not just what Trump said that is horrible, but all of the people jumping to his defense. His excuse of an apology and dismissing it at “locker room banter”. Reading that line, I found some words . . .

Fuck your banter.

There is nothing that feels bantering and jovial about these kind of comments.

They feel assaulting, degrading, and at the heart of what rape culture is in our country.

The thing is though, because we have been immersed in a culture “that condones physical and emotional terrorism against women”, so many women are desensitized to this and think it is just normal, that it is OK.

Recently I found an old box of notes from high school. One in particular was a back and forth note between me and a male classmate. It began with normal chit chat about homework and then the boringness of class. The next response was a drawing of a dick, a character of me, and a description of what he would like to do to me. I dismissed it, and replied with something else about class, and he wrote back, “sorry about the sex talk” and I responded “No worries at all, I am used to it.”

"No worries at all, I am use to it."

I read those words from my adult eyes like WTF? A 16 year old girl who went through puberty a mere two years ago was use to this type of talk? But the truth is, I was use to it. And I was use to shrugging it off as no big deal, because all of the messages around me were saying it was no big deal.

It was normal, boys will be boys. It was fine.

It is NOT fine.

 

It is not fine that when I was 15 years old in a crowded hot tub a man in his mid 50s started making comments about my boobs. Questioning if they were real, stating that I was in “trouble” if I already looked like that, that I better watch myself.

It is not fine that in high school there was a drawing of me in the weight lifting room, a drawing mostly of my boobs, next to my nick name “Double D Savory”, objectifying me to mere cup size. And no one, not the coaches, not the admin, not the teachers thought maybe it should be removed? For months it remained.

It is not fine while walking to the library one day at college I didn’t respond to the catcalls of some of the athletes. The star football player threatened, “Next time I see you I will make sure I see those tits and ass.”

It is not fine that when I found the courage and expressed my fear to the athletic director about this altercation that he dismissed this as “banter” and just how those boys talk sometimes. This was the response he gave a young woman concerned about her safety after already having been raped on campus earlier in the year.

It is not fine that I have hundreds of stories like this and so does nearly every woman I know.

 

Yes maybe it is actions and not words that you are worried about.  But from a woman who has had to hear men’s sexual remarks for the last 20 years I am telling you it is not FINE.

Nothing about it is fine.

I may at the time have shrugged these things off, didn’t say anything about it, didn’t stand up for myself as human and not a fucking object.  I was young, grappling to find approval from sources other than myself. I was immersed in a culture with messages that said my worth was in how I looked, how men viewed and ranked me, or these things “are just the way things are”.

 

But things have changed, I have two daughters of my own and you better believe I am finding my voice to say IT ISN’T FINE.

 

What Trump said is not banter. 

Letting Brock Turner off with a slap on his wrist isn’t OK.

Continuing to blame women for somehow asking to be assaulted is fucking ludicrous.


Grow up America, we all have to do better for our mothers, our daughters, and our sisters.

 

The quotes on rape culture were from this site http://www.wavaw.ca/what-is-rape-culture/

SIP. SAVOR. SUPPER. SEX - Summer 2016

The evening was so magical. The atmosphere, the energy, the food, the drinks, the conversation, the women, Danielle...all were beyond my expectations. I left feeling recharged.
— Participant

A special thanks to Jennifer Alyse Photography for capturing this sensuous evening.

You created such a special evening that I think many women dream of. It can be hard to meet new women much less have open conversations about sexuality with them. To create an experience where those conversations were slightly guided made it easy to open up to strangers and feel immediate kinship.
— Participant
I came to the event looking for an opportunity to treat and treasure my sensual, feminine self, and throughout the evening, I found not just one, but an abundance of opportunities to do just that. The atmosphere, feast, and context were luscious, and the facilitated moments of mindful sensuality were a gift.
— Participant