Tag Archives: Julia Fehrenbacher

Self-Compassion Saturday: Julia Fehrenbacher

As promised (threatened?), this week’s post is unique, it’s a video of me and my dear friend Julia Fehrenbacher talking about self-compassion. When I invited her to be a part of this series, she was teaching the first session of her ecourse, Getting Naked, (an online SoulClass, “Shed the excess. Come back to YOU.”), and we decided the conversation would be something she could share with the class as well. Those of us in her course were the first audience, but I also wanted to share it here, for three very specific reasons.

  1. It is an important, genuine conversation.
  2. As a video, for some you it will be the first time you’ve seen me “live,” moving and talking. *gulp*
  3. There is still time to register for the next session of Getting Naked and I wanted you to see the kind of loving presence that Julia offers as a teacher. This video is just a tiny sample of how she shows up for her students, for life.

Julia-FehrenbacherSome back story: I don’t remember exactly how I first found Julia’s blog (sorry, I know this happens a lot — I blame the particular magic of the internet), but do know that one of the first things we did together was 41 6-word days, which was hosted on Judy Clement Wall’s old website, A Human Thing. I immediately adored Julia’s honesty and her kindness, her willingness to be vulnerable, and over time have only grown to love her more. I was lucky enough to meet her, (read more about Julia and the first time we met in my open love letter to her), and she’s even more wonderful in person.

Making this video was a lesson in self-compassion for both of us. First, the conversation was actually almost an hour long, but there was a technical glitch about 20 minutes in so that the rest of the video had no sound. This was initially so upsetting for Julia, who tried so hard to fix it, to figure it out. I told her after I first saw it, “I’m not worried about this AT ALL. We got so much good stuff there, and maybe it’s even better that it’s shorter? The place to stop at isn’t as tidy as you might like it to be, but it’s still good,” and in the end, Julia saw it as “an opportunity for SURRENDER/self-compassion.”

This video, this conversation for me was a particular sort of medicine. As I told Julia, “something magic happened for me watching it — I really saw myself, not in that self-critical, shamed way I usually look, but really saw that I’m pretty okay. I was thinking as I watched it about how my students and people I work with usually really like me, and I could see why. That was an extra bonus gift I wasn’t expecting.” When I watch it now, I can smile at the way I was so obsessed with peonies at the time that I had to have them in the shot, don’t have the best spot for making a video figured out yet and really wanted something beautiful in the frame with me, how they took up half the screen like a silent third party in our conversation.

peoniesonmydeskBefore sharing the video that first time, Julia and I attempted to summarize what came after the sound cut out. Julia said, “the part where we cut off is right where you are saying that it’s people’s quirks that make them that much more lovable,” and I remembered,

What follows that is more discussion about how an aspect of self-compassion means discovering your own weird, being exactly who you are and knowing that is the foundation of your strength and what you have to offer, and rather than rejecting what isn’t perfect or what is flawed or wrong or broken or not good enough, you practice acceptance and gratitude for who you are and everything that is.

Then we talked more specifically about how each of us practice self-compassion: getting into nature, creating art, writing (one aspect of this being morning pages, in which you do a “brain dump” just writing whatever comes up, what ever shows up, whatever is really there, without judgement or editing), yoga, meditation, etc. We also talked about how it is so important to just show up, not try to control things, allow what wants to happen, to make the offering and then move on to make the next offering, to trust the process and be present.

I don’t know about you, kind and gentle reader, but I think this video, this conversation was the most perfect kind of brilliant mess. I am so grateful to Julia for creating it, for inviting me to do it and letting me share it, for having this conversation with me. It was a really big deal for me to make a video and share it with you all, and I’m so glad it was Julia who helped me do so. To find out more about Julia, to connect with her:

Next on Self-Compassion Saturday: Jamie Ridler.

P.S. If you didn’t see the first post in this series, you might want to read Self-Compassion Saturday: The Beginning. Or make your way through all the posts tagged Self-Compassion Saturday.

Day of Rest

My sweet friend Julia shared this poem last week, and it was so perfectly timed for me, the reminder that worry is like praying for what you don’t want to happen, that it is counterproductive and even destructive, and at its most innocent it comes to nothing, so it’s okay to let it go, to open up and sing. I thought maybe you might need the reminder too, kind and gentle reader.

I Worried
Mary Oliver

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

Wishcasting Wednesday (on a Thursday)

What Do You Wish to Savour?

…my mornings. I get up at 4:30 a.m. and for the first hour or two, my only responsibility is to feed the dog. I pull a tarot card, meditate, write, check my email, Facebook, Instagram, maybe read or write a blog post — time just for me, to practice and contemplate.

…time alone with Sam, having just one dog, just him for a brief time.

…my yoga practice, as I continue to direct compassion towards my body, to be present with it, as I prepare to start teacher training.

…my mediation practice, to relax into that vast, open space, to trust that is always there, always available and accessible.

…my writing practice, the opportunity to go deeper, to more fully experience and understand, to open my heart.

…the transition between seasons, summer to fall, even as I chant “it’s too hot” to remember this time is passing, to notice that things are manifesting their final foliage, blooms and fruits.

…the plenty from my garden, this time of so many tomatoes and cucumbers that we can’t possibly eat them all ourselves, the temporary sweetness of their full, fresh flavor.

…the opportunities coming, the chance to spend time with amazing teachers and good friends.

…each task, seen through until its completion, rather than rushing past some of the details to hurry to the next thing.

…the abundance that is my life now, how simple and small, how deep and wide, how perfect.

Like my dear friend Julia wrote in a recent poem, I wish to savour this life, this experience, and to

Slow way down
get close and closer
listen like crazy
to your life

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: My body carries a deep wisdom, if only I would listen. And, if I refuse to listen, it will get louder and louder until I can’t ignore it anymore. This became very clear to me this weekend. I spent Sunday morning first in Urgent Care and then the ER. I’d been having chest pains and my jaw hurt for a few days (my body’s gentle nudging that got louder) and I knew that something about it wasn’t right, that I hadn’t just pulled a muscle or something.

It turns out that the sack of fluid around my heart was inflamed — Pericarditis triggered by an infection I’ve been struggling with, (which I was also trying to ignore instead of attend to). It’s completely treatable (steroids and rest), workable, okay, and yet it’s taught me that I really have to trust myself (specifically my body), that I need to listen, to show up, be present, to honor the wisdom available to me. I knew something wasn’t right, my body was telling me in the gentlest but most insistent way, and even though it seemed at first like I might be overreacting, I needed to get help.

My body knows. It knows how much to sleep, how to move, what to eat. If something I eat or do doesn’t work, isn’t agreeable, my body gives me the exact information I need to consider a different choice next time. It is directly connected to reality, this moment, through five powerful senses. It is constantly collecting information and making adjustments — heart pumping and lungs breathing with no need of my intervention, my control, my opinion.

A further sign of health is that we don’t become undone by fear and trembling, but we take it as a message that it’s time to stop struggling and look directly at what’s threatening us. ~Pema Chödrön

2. Truth: I can trust myself, my physical body, my intuition, my hunger, my longing, my desire, my suffering, my dreams, my fundamental sanity, my innate wisdom and compassion and power, even my emotions and thoughts are allowable and of value. I don’t have to reject, run away, deny, or hide.

We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves—the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds—never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake. ~Pema Chödrön

3. Truth: I am so grateful there are people to help, to keep me company as I stumble my way through, poets and artists and healers and friends and family and soft animal bodies, all of us messy but brilliant, clinging to each other on a boat that is guaranteed to sink, making each other laugh and offering comfort even as we crash and burn. Every single person I encountered in my time in various medical units this weekend was so kind and wise, wanting to help me, to help, and in the aftermath, I’ve been offered so much love from the people I am lucky enough to know. I mean it, dear people, this life is fucking brilliant, we are, (I’ve had to stop typing this paragraph twice to cry — is this what “Roid Rage” feels like?).

One wish: That we can continue to ask ourselves, in each moment, the question shared by my dear friend, poet and teacher, the amazing Julia Fehrenbacher, in her ecourse Getting Naked: “what would love do?” (this question has the power to change everything — you, your life, the world), and the additional wish that we have the courage to live the answer.

Gratitude Friday

1. Lee Martinez Park. Birds singing, mad with love for Spring. How green everything is getting. A lone goose gliding across the pond, a heron standing in the river waiting for a fish. Baby animals, including a litter of fox kits and a new baby cow at the Farm, (that I can’t get a good picture of yet, because whenever I get close enough, my dogs start barking at her, and I don’t want her to learn to be afraid of dogs, or suggest to my dogs that it’s okay to bark at babies).

2. Clarity and compassion. Being able to take a pause, a deep breath when I am confused, to contemplate and write, to look around and consider, to take a long walk, and through these things, with faith in my own truth and wisdom, I know.

3. A life partner. Someone to share the sadness and anxiety with, along with the joy. Someone who is all in, trustworthy, patient, smart, funny, and an introvert like me, happy to be at home with our dogs, sitting in the backyard with a book, or taking a long walk. Someone who likes to watch PBS shows about museums, but also loves Flo Rida as much as I do. Someone who doesn’t mind eating at the same three or four restaurants time and time again. Someone who will clean the bathroom, wash the dishes, and mow the lawn. Someone who loves me and thinks I’m awesome even when I’m being kind of awful. Someone who will send me pictures of my dogs while I’m at work, who leaves love notes for me on the kitchen counter, signing his name in case I wonder who it’s from. He’s my favorite.

20 years ago

20 years ago in our first backyard

4. Getting Naked, the ecourse. Specifically I am grateful for the lyrical, loving energy of our teacher and my friend, Julia Fehrenbacher. Yet again, she’s created a beautiful thing, sent light and love and wisdom out into the world.

5. A spoonful of crunchy peanut butter and a sweet crisp apple. If there is a better snack, I don’t know what it is.

Bonus Joy: Another week with Dexter. This past Sunday, Eric took Sam hiking, so Dexter and I walked to Lee Martinez Park. We forgot the Colorado Marathon was happening, that there would be so many runners on the Poudre Trail. The one time we had to cross over, stay on the trail for a few minutes to get to the path on the other side, we were running with everyone, and we both think that for those few moments, we were winning.

Day of Rest

This is a video my friend Julia Fehrenbacher made with her friend Alia Indrawan. Julia explains it this way,

Our deepest heart desire is to nudge other beautiful ones toward their greatness, this creation was born from that desire. It comes straight from our hearts with hope that it will inspire you to lose your little mind and lean in and listen, with every part of you, to your big, brave, boundless Self.

There’s a beautiful song accompanying the words and images in this video, so you might want to watch the first time without sound, focus on the message. If you are like me, you will want to watch it more than once anyway, so this is no problem.

For me, this video came around the same time as this quote:


It’s a clear message from the Universe, to lose my little mind, to lean in and listen to my “big, brave, boundless Self,” to pay attention to the bigger “yes,” and to “have the courage — pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically — to say ‘no’ to other things.”

What is the bigger “yes” burning inside for you, kind and gentle reader? What do you need to say “no” to? It’s worth considering, don’t you think?

Something Good

1. You don’t have to pander from Seth Godin’s blog, in which he says, “The reason you don’t have to pander is that you’re not in a hurry and you don’t need everyone to embrace you and your work. When you focus on the weird, passionate, interesting segment of the audience, you can do extraordinary work for a few (and watch it spread) instead of starting from a place of average.”

2. Website designs I like, non-perishable goods and Positively Present‘s new look–both simple and clean, minimalist.

3. Daily Rocks from Patti Digh: your daily rock : love your layers, your daily rock : ignore all critics, and your daily rock : forget about the audience

4. From David Whyte’s poem Out on the Ocean,

Always, this energy smoulders inside,
when it remains unlit,
the body fills with dense smoke.

5. New video from Danielle of one of my favorite songs, The Have Nots.

6. one hundred journeys from Sas Petherick, “The disturbing ugliness and the profound love, the sheer bloody hilarity of being human.”

7. From Geneen Roth, “Peace and contentment are feelings that take practice to achieve. They are not a consequence of being successful or being in love or being thin. They are, among other things, a consequence of stopping in the present moment and looking around.”

8. Why being rash, hasty & stupid is the smartest thing you can do from Alexandra Franzen.

9. The Bigness of God from Julia Fehrenbacher.

10. My Best Mistake: Too Much Success by Gary Vaynerchuk.

11. How to write books and articles more quickly by Cynthia Morris. I will most likely never be this organized, and yet I still aspire to be.

12. Two things that made say “OMG!”: Royal Winnipeg Ballet to debut Margaret Atwood’s “Handmaid’s Tale” next season, and coming out this fall, Mary Oliver’s collection of dog poems, Dog Songs.


13. From Danielle LaPorte, these Daily Truth Bombs, “What do you really want to happen, really?” and “No dream will serve you if you’re forcing yourself to make it happen,” and New Age Judge Judy and Lessons in Yoga Class.

14. From Elephant Journal,  8 Blunt Truths About Becoming a Yoga Instructor,
Complete Protein? Complete Nonsense, The 10 Things You’ll Do Once You Start Yoga That Have Nothing To Do With Yoga, and The Positive Attitude Paradox.

15. A Miniature Bohemian World, which further reveals my love for book filled, messy spaces.

16. Pictures of people who mock me on Salon.

17. Off Camera interview with Aimee Mann.

18. Loveland’s Anthology Book Co. gets new lease on life. Such good news!

19. Masterpiece In A Mug: Japanese Latte Art Will Perk You Up.

20. From Bored Panda: 22 Unbelievable Places that are Hard to Believe Really Exist, (holy wow…), and Dad Illustrates Kids’ Sandwich Bags with Fun Drawings Every Day.

21. I have a crush on Jeff Oak’s writingI found his blog through another of my writing crushes, Guinevere Gets Sober. The fact that they both understand grief and addiction, and have beautiful black dogs doesn’t hurt one bit.

22. The Spiritual Journey, inner journeys and stories of personal growth.

23. Why you should write daily on Zen Habits.

24. On All the Sentimental Stuff and Clutter from Be More with Less, (speaking of writers I have crushes on who have amazing dogs).

25. This quote from Mark Victor Hansen, “Your belief determines your action and your action determines your results, but first you have to believe.”

26. Manifesto on Basic Goodness on Huffington Post–a plan I can get behind.

26. A Beginner’s Guide to Neil Gaiman

27. The Conversation is back! Well, sort of. There are two new, short interviews–better than nothing!

28. In celebration of being ordinary, from Jennifer Louden.

29. Finding a New Rhythm from Jen Lee in which she says,

It’s funny because the old-school approach to getting work done–the entrepreneurial, management-style approach–says that if we start clearing our spaces or wanting to read in bed, we’re just avoiding our work. That we should “push through” and keep in motion.

But that approach has never worked for me in the realm of creative work. Clearing space and resting are as essential to my productivity as the sun and water parts are for growing plants.

30. plumb the depths 26 questions for pure insight from Kylie on effervescence, the art of liking yourself. Also on effervescence, why it’s not selfish to make art…that’s just for yourself.

31. 30 DIY Ideas How To Make Your Backyard Wonderful This Summer. I probably won’t do any of them, but they are awesome, (especially the backyard beach and the tents).

32. Shared by Positively Present, 33 Dogs That Cannot Even Handle It Right Now and Alison Brie mimes your favorite memes.

33. From Susannah’s Something for the Weekend post, 30 Abandoned Places that Look Truly Beautiful and Sneak Peak: Paula Mills and Family, a beautifully designed living space.

34. I am in love with this treehouse.

35. This can still happen anywhere.

36. Shared by Stephanie in her Weekend Treats post, Self-Care Is Not A Punishment and 29 Ways to Stay Creative: Start with Darkness.

37. The calming manatee.

38. 39 Reasons Why You Must Read In Order to Write Well, shared by The Mojo Lab.

39. Writing advice from writers handwritten on writers’ hands [14 pictures]

40. Expiration Date by Lisa Bonchek Adams. Lisa’s story, her telling of it keeps breaking my heart, and sometimes I think it would be better to look away, to stop following her, to stop watching and reading, checking in and waiting, that it would somehow be a healthier choice, a saner option to disengage. But then I realize “Lisa is dying.” Someone’s mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend is dying. She may not be literally mine, and yet she IS mine, and for that reason, I won’t look away, won’t unsubscribe or ignore or wish it away. I will be a loving and kind witness to her reality, which in the end is the same for all of us.

41. The most difficult practice of allfrom Susan Piver–“stop feeling bad about yourself.”