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.

9 thoughts on “Self-Compassion Saturday: Julia Fehrenbacher

  1. Barbara Markway

    I am so sorry you went through that experience with the doctor. I went through 8-9 months and thousands of dollars with a “complimentary medicine doctor.” It did not turn out well, although I’m sure there must be some out there that are good. I’m just so down on the medical profession.

    The interview was beautiful, and you are more than “okay”…you are great!

    The part about the “pause” reminds me of Sharon Salzberg’s teachings about meditation. She said it doesn’t matter if your mind wanders, because that is the “magic moment.” That is the time when you have a chance to be different. Do you beat yourself up for your mind wandering? Or do you simply bring it back to the present and begin again…

    Thanks again for this wonderful series.

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      In the end, my experience with that doctor is something I’m so grateful for — it led to this series, and brought me to a crisis point where I realized I need to stop looking for someone to “fix me” and instead trust myself, my body specifically, to know what to do, what I need, consulting an “expert” only when it’s absolutely necessary, and ultimately it helped me to heal the relationship with my original doctor, to have an honest conversation with her about how I wasn’t getting the help I expected from her.

      As for the pause, I love it there, let go and come back…most of the time 🙂

  2. juliafehrenbacher

    Oh, dear Jill. What an honor it was to have that conversation with you – how lucky are we that our paths crossed? Even though that fluky thing happened with the sound…as you wrote, it really was the perfect invitation to practice self compassion. And, oh how I remember how graciously you handled that little “mishap.”

    I wish I could just pour the contents of my heart out right here on this page so you could fully feel how much I truly adore you. And I agree with Barbara – you are WAY more than okay.

    Thank you a thousand times, my dear friend. I’m so very thankful.

    Love, love, love.

  3. sherrybelul

    I love watching you two lovelies on video. This is SUCH an important conversation that you have started, Jill. Probably THE biggest one we can have, right? Because we all spend our entire lives with this one person who is “me.” We can be our own best friend. Or not.

    In one of the comments up above you said, “I need to stop looking for someone to “fix me” and instead trust myself, my body specifically, to know what to do, what I need…” Wow. That sums it all up. I think a big piece of self-compassion is self-trust. Letting ourselves truly appreciate and TRUST that no one can know what is best for us except ourselves. I bow to you, Jill, for listening to yourself and not that doctor. And lookie what it started … wowza. xo

  4. Pingback: 26 Ways to Love Yourself More | Jamaludin Abdul Ghani

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