Sometimes, when Eric or I have a big presentation to give, we like to “talk it out,” to practice, either alone or with a small, respectful, safe audience (usually the dogs). I am going to introduce the Well-Fed Woman Retreatshop tomorrow, explain why I instigated it and invited Rachel to come. I’m anxious, a little nervous, and so excited for this, the whole event, the whole weekend, and the introduction, so I’m going to practice it here. This is going to be a longer version of what I’ll actually say tomorrow, because although I am planning and practicing, I won’t have notes and am going to trust my heart in that moment to tell me what to say and how to say it, but it will help me to write it out, to share it in a safe space with a gentle, loving audience.
First I want to say: you all are so brave for being here. Signing up for this, you knew you wouldn’t be able to fake your way through it, sit in the back of a large lecture hall and pretend to be invisible. You knew you would be making yourself vulnerable, taking a risk–your heart might open, you might see and speak truth, you might be shocked, uncomfortable, comforted, and inspired to do different, to be different, to wake up, to live the life you have imagined, and to imagine that it’s exactly what you deserve, to know that you are enough. You knew that shit might just get real, but you signed up anyway. I hope that you have given yourself credit for how brave that is.
As the instigator of this event, I have my own reasons for being here. Two years ago, I lost two beings that I loved very much, both too young to die, both taken by cancer. I was also in the midst of a toxic work situation, and even though being a writer was the thing I had wanted most since I was in the second grade, I had struggled with writer’s block for 20 years, and I was a highly functioning food addict. I was at a crisis point. Something had to change, everything had to change.
I decided to start by being a better friend to myself. I renegotiated my job. I took my practices of yoga, meditation, and writing more seriously. Early on in this process, I had a realization: I had been in a long-term abusive relationship, with myself. To work on that, I embarked on a life-rehab. I started by reading Brene’ Brown’s Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. I started writing this blog. I took online classes, the first with Andrea Scher and Jen Lemen, Mondo Beyondo: an Online Class about Dreaming Big. I had already been reading Andrea’s Superhero Journal blog and Jen Lemen’s blog, and one day, Andrea posted about her friend Rachel Cole. There was this picture of Rachel leaning in the doorway of her kitchen, wearing an apron and holding a
cherry raspberry pie. Her smile made me smile.
I clicked on the link and went to Rachel’s website. The content and design of her site communicates so perfectly who she is: creative, alive, vibrant, but also calm, peaceful, stable. She is both inspiring and supportive, she glows with energy and love. I became a faithful reader, a follower, and hoped I’d get to meet and work with her some day–so when she mentioned she was “taking it on the road” and doing a tour, I emailed her and asked how I could get her to come to Colorado.
And now, she’s here, we are here with her, so let’s not waste any more time. Everyone, I’d like you to meet Rachel Cole.