Category Archives: Life Rehab

Life Rehab Resource: Rachel Cole

liferehabresourcesI haven’t written one of these posts in awhile, and I certainly haven’t finished the series. There’s so much more worth sharing. Then the other day I was posting on Facebook about people who have shifted my life profoundly, helped me to heal, to wake up, to open my heart a little wider, and I realized I had a few of these posts “in the queue.”

The first time I ever mentioned Rachel Cole here was in November 2011, just two months after I started the blog. It’s clear that it wasn’t the first encounter I’d had with Rachel’s work because the reason I mentioned her in that particular post was to say that I’d finally confirmed a date with her to come to Fort Collins and give a Well-Fed Woman mini-retreatshop. That was the first year she did the retreatshops, and I somehow was brave enough to ask her to come, found the courage to host one.

I was a different person back then. At the beginning of 2011, I had made what would turn out to be my last New Year’s resolution — to be a better friend to myself. This commitment came out of the realization that I hated myself, and I knew enough to know that had to change or nothing else ever would. In September of that same year, I signed up for Andrea Scher’s Mondo Beyondo class and started this blog. By November, I’d made plans to host a Well-Fed Woman mini-retreatshop.


image from Rachel’s website

I’ve been working with Rachel ever since. I hosted that first retreatshop in February of 2012. That summer, I went to the World Domination Summit and got to hang out with her some more. During the fall of 2013, I took part in the first Intuitive Eating Reading Group Rachel offered. In October of 2013, she graciously let me stay at her apartment while I was in town for a retreat and she was traveling with the second tour of the retreatshops. I returned in November of 2013 to take part in the final retreatshop of that tour, and we shared a wonderful dinner at the end of the last day at this really great Asian place, (I still think about the salad we had, the spring rolls with yam, so delicious). Every holiday season, I sign up for her Wisdom Notes. This spring, I was able to be a part of her first offering of Feast. It’s been four years of some of the hardest, best work I’ve ever done.

Rachel helped me save my own life. Before working with Rachel, I was starving. I didn’t know how to feed myself, care for myself, love myself. I didn’t even know what I was hungry for, food or otherwise, just knew I wasn’t getting it. I was malnourished and struggling. I’d had an eating disorder for decades and didn’t even realize it. I’d been in a long term abusive relationship with myself and was only just becoming aware of it, only starting to see the damage I’d done. Having made the same journey herself, from disordered eater to helper, teacher, healer, Rachel had so much wisdom and so many resources to share. She’s a hunger whisperer, a doula of nourishment, guiding women to a life where they are well-fed and cherished.

When I first encountered Rachel, I was immediately drawn to her. I confess, I was also a little afraid of her. It was obvious I wasn’t going to be able to hide, to remain comfortable in my cocoon if I worked with her. She was the real deal — clear and direct, brilliant and fiercely gentle. She knows exactly what is at stake, how important her work is, and she won’t back down. As she says on the About page of her redesigned website, “While my style is known to be extraordinarily warm, spacious and gentle, there is no denying that this work is radical.”

This video from her website is a really good peek into what it’s like to work with her. It makes me tear up every time I watch it because I just adore her, love her so much, have so much gratitude for her wisdom, her help, her support, her friendship.

Feast for me was like the Master’s program of my work with Rachel. It enabled me to review everything that came before and sink into a mastery of the material, the practice of being a well-fed woman. I’m in touch with what my body needs and wants, but it’s about so much more than my body. I approach my life from a place of self-compassion, clarity, purpose, ease and joy. That just wasn’t possible before Rachel. Working with Rachel also means connecting with a tribe, a sangha of other women making the same effort, all of us trying to wake up. Their support and companionship is a key part of the experience.

Rachel is now accepting applications for the next session of Feast. The deadline to submit is August 19th. I can’t recommend the program enough. I endorse Rachel with my whole heart and would urge any woman who is suffering, who is hungry, to take a chance and work with her. It could change your life.

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: I thought I had to change, but I don’t. When I first started this life rehab of mine, I imagined becoming an entirely different and new person, completely transformed. I invested in self-help and self-improvement. I took classes, bought books, went on retreats, attended workshops and conferences, joined different communities, made new friends, followed lots of blogs, tried numerous strategies. It was like being on a new diet, but it involved my whole life, my whole self. I was going to work hard and change. Then I realized, I don’t need to change but rather I need to be myself, entirely and exactly. I need to live more deeply into who I really am, my truest self, trusting my innate and fundamental wisdom and compassion and strength.

2. Truth: The answer to every question, every struggle is simply this–relax. This is a truth I’ve been contemplating for some time, and I haven’t been able to stump it. No matter what situation or circumstance I apply it to, it works. It brings with it gentleness, space, awareness, freedom, ease, stillness, wisdom, and breath. When things are hard, relax. When you are confused, relax. When you are struggling, relax. When you are bored, relax. I don’t have to remember anything else, just that.

3. Truth: You can’t rush it. There is no speeding up or pushing or forcing or bullying that will get you there, that will make it happen. It takes the time that it takes. And as Chögyam Trungpa said, “Before we produce anything at all, we have to have a sense of free and open space.” If this feels confusing or difficult, see Truth #2.

One Wish: That we can all see ourselves clearly, love and accept who we really are, and that we can relax and live into that fundamental truth.

Step by Little Step

Dex's snow feet

Service is your heart’s desire made visible. Service is the act of sharing what you most care about for the greater good. It requires no special goodness, thankfully. After our basic needs are met, we all yearn to make a difference and service springs from listening to that yearning – and taking action on it, step by little step. ~Jennifer Louden, The Week of Inward Looking

My most intense longing, my deepest hunger, my heart’s desire is to ease suffering, in myself and in the world. As I have been retreating and reverbing and unravelling and reflecting and contemplating and practicing this past month (year?), it has become clear to me that the “basic need” I still must meet is the essential requirement of self-love and self-care. I need to learn and practice radical self-acceptance.

I was naive at the start of this “life-rehab.” From the moment I first realized I had been in a long term abusive relationship with myself, I believed it would be an easy fix, that with awareness and mindfulness would come immediate and lasting change. I thought I could read a book, take a class, attend a workshop, complete a practice or project, and “presto chango” I would be transformed into a woman completely in love with herself, confident and strong.

I was so wrong. You can’t take years of self-abuse, self-hatred, self-loathing, and all of the self-soothing and coping strategies you’ve developed to counter those behaviors, to numb and distract yourself from all the hurt, and fix it so easily, so quickly. It is hard work to repair the damage done, to restore your self to yourself. Almost every single old habit, way of being has to be undone and replaced. This is slow, heavy work, and while so much has changed for the better already, there is more to be done.


Kris Carr’s post The Myth of Finding Your Purpose is one thing that has helped me to see this more clearly. In it, she says “Your purpose has nothing to do with what you do…Your purpose is about discovering and nurturing who you truly are, to know and love yourself at the deepest level and to guide yourself back home when you lose your way.” She goes on to suggest a whole list of “what ifs” that precisely define what steps one might take to embody your purpose. She ends with saying:

Seriously, what if finding your purpose is about finding and nurturing yourself? Not an external to-do or accomplishment, even if that to-do or accomplishment is the most important discovery of all time. Because if you are the one destined to find the most important ah-ha of all time, you will probably find it quicker and easier if you feel good, loved and happy. Start there. It’s that simple.

This is directly in line with the wisdom of two of my primary practice traditions: yoga and meditation. Both used the term “warrior” to describe the practitioner, and in the lineage of Buddhist philosophy in which I practice, I train to be a Warrior, which is described as:

The Shambhala view of warriorship shares some of the qualities of earlier warrior traditions such as those from the Middle Ages that combined fearlessness with dignity and wisdom. The most important quality of the Shambhala warrior is being non-aggressive. The Shambhala warrior is defined by gentleness and fearlessness. As Chogyam Trungpa said it, “the first principle of warriorship is not being afraid of who you are.” ~William A. Gordon, Shambhala The Path of the Warrior

superhero earth necklace made by andrea scher, a gift to myself

Don’t be afraid of who you are. To be a spiritual warrior, face each moment with openness and fearlessness, because “the ultimate definition of bravery is not being afraid of who you are.” Susan Piver, who also practices in this lineage, defines confidence this way, “the willingness to be as ridiculous, luminous, intelligent, and kind as you really are, without embarrassment.”

If service is the fruition, radical self-acceptance is the path. Tara Brach talks about this in Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha, where she defines this practice, this awareness of radical self-acceptance as “the willingness to experience ourselves and our lives as it is.” She goes on to say that:

Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns…We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small.

Stop Beating Yourself Up…Start Loving Yourself Radically!!, a video and blog post by Kute Blackson, explain the concept further, with great enthusiasm and clarity.

As one who practices radical self-acceptance, who is confident, a tenderhearted and brave warrior unafraid of herself or her life, showing up with an open heart, no matter how hard or how much it hurts, I can serve. I can embody generosity and love and confidence. I can manifest wisdom and compassion. I can satisfy my longing to ease suffering, in myself and in the world.

I’m still not sure exactly what shape that will take or what it will look like, how exactly it will manifest. Some of the possibilities are as a writer, a teacher, a therapist or coach, a yoga and/or meditation instructor, an artist, a mentor. Some topics I know something about are grief and loss, cancer, addiction, practice, writing, voice (both losing and finding it), mindfulness, and relationship with the self. I’m not exactly sure how those will come together into specific offerings, but I’m okay with not knowing. For now, I will continue to remember, as Jennifer Louden suggests, that “service springs from listening to that yearning – and taking action on it, step by little step.”

The view of the sky from my front porch, right now

I started writing this post in the dark of early morning, as I worked stringing the words and thoughts together the sun rose, and I am finishing with the sun up and out, the sky wide open and clear blue–something about that seems really, really right.

Day of Rest

image by peter harrison

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. ~Maya Angelou

Yesterday afternoon, I sat on a golden couch, laughing, crying, and cuddling with my dear friend and her two pups. The window was open to the sun, our feet were bare, and there was the scent of purple lilacs in the room. We’d gathered together to watch Brene’ Brown give a talk at the Omega NYC Conference, graciously streamed live and for free, “The Anatomy of Joy.”

Brene’ talked about what gets in the way of joy. One thing she mentioned is that we live in a culture of “deep, deep scarcity, and never enough.” It isn’t enough to wake up, love who we love, do our jobs, try our best–we must be extraordinary. From this perspective, our first thought of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep” and our last is “I didn’t get enough done,” and an ordinary life = a meaningless life.

We think we aren’t enough, that our lives have to be big, loud and shiny to be worthwhile, and this is tragic. It’s disheartening and exhausting to think about how we do this to ourselves, how we’ve internalized these ideas about ourselves and our life, about the value inherent in them, or lack thereof.

If you haven’t already read it, I highly recommend reading Brene’s book The Gifts of Imperfection. It quite literally changed my life, helped to save my life. In it, she expands in detail on many of the concepts she talked about yesterday. The short list, the ways in which we can cultivate joy in our lives, is:

  • Embrace vulnerability
  • Practice gratitude
  • Let go of numbing
  • Set boundaries
  • Own our stories

In terms of practicing gratitude, Brene’ said that it is the way in which we can soften to joy. We can notice, accept grace and love, and give thanks, and in this way, we can fully experience joy, embody it.

When I first encountered Brene’ Brown’s work, I was in a very dark moment of my life. I was grieving, stuck, confused, angry, depressed, anxious, and immersed in habitual and destructive ways of thinking and being–unhappy and suffering.

But now, nine months later, the life I live is in stark contrast to that darkness. Today, as a way of celebrating the changes I’ve made, the risks I took, this transformation, I’d like to share a list of 25 things I did to transform my life.

25 things I did to transform my life

  1. Married Eric
  2. Moved to Colorado
  3. Rescued and raised three dogs
  4. Finished undergraduate and graduate degrees, but chose not to pursue a Ph.D.
  5. Write morning pages
  6. Finally completed The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, after three attempts and ten years, with the help of a group of amazing women artists
  7. Adopted writing, meditation, yoga, and dog as spiritual, daily practices.
  8. Renegotiated my job, freeing myself from a toxic situation and changing my schedule from 12 months to nine
  9. Shambhala Warrior training
  10. Therapy, three times when I really, really needed it
  11. Work with a trainer
  12. Got rid of cable TV
  13. Stopped drinking alcohol and reduced my dependance on caffeine
  14. Drink more whole, organic juice, and eat cleaner, healthier food
  15. Realized I was a highly functioning food addict and started the hard work of rehabilitating my relationship with food
  16. Get up at 4:30 am every morning
  17. Made a stand up workstation for my computer at home
  18. Formed WILD writing group
  19. Blogging
  20. Teaching
  21. Year of retreat, “Fearless Creativity” retreat with Susan Piver, Well-Fed Woman Retreatshop with Rachel Cole
  22. Bought a ticket to the World Domination Summit
  23. E Courses: Mondo Beyondo, Superhero Photo, Ordinary Courage, Blogging from the Heart, Unravelling, and Telling True Stories
  24. Took vows
  25. Chose to stop smashing myself to bits, to love and care for myself instead

image by yoko nekonomania, blue hygrangea: kelly's favorite flower

What have you done for yourself that you’d like to celebrate? On this day of rest, my hope is that you might take a few minutes and make your own list, even if you don’t write it down or share it, and thank yourself for all the love, all the hard work, and revel in the joy of your life, no matter how ordinary or small it might be.

You are enough. Please, kind and gentle reader, remember how precious you are, how amazing it all is–notice and feel that today, right here, right now.

Cheer up. It’s okay. You’re perfect.

R is for Retreat

my shrine

Retreat is my word for the year. The qualities of retreat I hope to manifest: practice, balance, rest, and transformation. At four months in, a third of the way done, it seems the perfect moment to give you a progress report, to tell you what I’ve learned while on retreat so far.

I am studying a lot with the “master teachers” of my path, mainly women, artists and healers, studying with them both directly and at a distance: Pema Chödrön, Susan Piver, Tara Brach, Andrea Scher, Jen Lemen, Brene’ Brown, Susannah Conway, Rachel Cole, Laurie Wagner, Patti Digh, Jennifer Louden, and Mary Oliver. There are men too: Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Daniel Collinsworth, Leo Babauta, Ze Frank, Chris Guillebeau, Jonathan Fields, Hugh McCleod, and Austin Kleon.

This isn’t even the full list, simply the primary instigators, the masters. I am reading, studying, taking classes, practicing, connecting and communicating with a rich, vibrant community of creative and compassionate people, and learning so much.

I am continuing to practice: writing, yoga, meditation, and dog. Yoga is steady, constant. There’s nothing new to report there. My meditation practice is deeper, stronger, more intense, more heartfelt and committed. Susan Piver’s Open Heart Project instigated the shift, the softening, and continues to support my practice. I also took vows and recommitted to working with a meditation instructor and participating in my local sangha.

As for dog, every day this practice deepens, as does my relationship with my dogs, my love and appreciation for them. Sam continues to teach me about enthusiasm and patience. Dexter reminds me there’s joy and play in every moment, even as we age and our body begins to change and confuse us. Losing Rocky, along with Dexter getting older, is a contemplation on impermanence–there is enough time, but time is short.

they might be giants

And writing…this is the practice that is the most transformed. Morning pages, this daily writing practice, has been constant for the past 3-4 years. But, starting a blog, taking myself seriously, going to a writing and meditation retreat with Susan Piver, taking Telling True Stories, sharing more of my writing publicly and regularly, has allowed me to rediscover, to claim, my voice and my confidence. I am also clear about my purpose for writing and then sharing it: writing is at first an act of self-care, and then it becomes service. I connect to my basic goodness, my innate wisdom and compassion and strength, and out of this renewed awareness and mindfulness, I can share my insights and hopefully ease suffering in the world.

I believe that at the heart of everything we might judge as “wrong” with our self, our life, our community, our culture, our world is that we have forgotten basic goodness. We have forgotten that we are all connected and fundamentally the same, all of us desiring to be happy and safe, that everything, including us, is precious and sacred, that we can, with confidence, be with what is, as it is–even the messy, confused, brutal, and sharp bits. We are brilliant and sane, one blink of an eye from being completely awake, and brave and strong enough to work with whatever arises.

The things I am still working with, struggling with are resting and my relationship with food. I am getting better. I am more fully embodied, connected to my body and aware of my actual hungers, more loving and kind in my response to them, more willing and likely to provide what is needed, to feed the right wolf.

These habitual patterns, of pushing too hard and too far, pandering to ego and fear, smashing myself to bits, are old, deep, and sticky, so they shift, but more like the way water wears at a rock. The eye doesn’t see the change, but it is happening, slowly and with time transformation happens. There is more love, more kindness, gratitude and confidence.

In terms of my food issues, I realized that at the heart of it was the need for self-love. There is no diet, exercise program, external wisdom, strategy, technique, plan, or routine that would “fix” it. All I have to do is love myself, realize that I am precious and treat myself accordingly. When you know you are precious, you care for yourself, you get enough rest and exercise, you feed yourself well. It all falls into place when your perspective is love, gentle and kind and wise and brave.

just as i am

The biggest realization so far is that I didn’t need to change.

This process of life-rehab has revealed that I didn’t need to become someone else, different or improved, but rather I simply needed to remember, to sink in to, BE who and where I already am. My strengths are exactly those I was born with. I am, and always was, generous, sensitive, kind, insightful, wise, creative, imaginative, curious, wanting connection and community but also needing time alone with stillness and silence and space, a nature and animal lover, collaborative, easy going, nurturing, loving, peaceful, and funny. This is who I have always been, but I learned to mask it, hide it, torture it, because I believe it, believed I wasn’t loveable or enough or worthy or whole or healthy already.

While on retreat, I have remembered myself. I love myself, I appreciate everything I am and everything I have (most of the time), and I am brave enough to be vulnerable, to risk that I’ll show up as I am, my fully embodied and real self, and you might not love me, might not even like me, might actively dislike and reject me. That’s becoming more okay. I love myself, I have faith in my basic goodness, and in that way, I don’t have to depend on you as a source of love and acceptance–I’ve already got that covered. This frees me up to get busy with the real work, of realizing and manifesting my basic goodness, my “buddha-nature,” and being of service, easing suffering where and when I can.

This is freedom. This is life. This is love. I am love.

path with a heart

Day of Rest: Building my Base

Eric and I (and the dogs, of course the dogs) went hiking and running this morning. He remarked again how much better shape I am in, that we were doing something I wasn’t always able to.

He’s completely right. I have gone through various periods of fitness and then weakness in the nineteen years we’ve been together, circled around and around wellness, momentarily maintaining it but never able to persist, coming together and falling apart. But something about this time is different. I’ve had a breakthrough, a realization, what my friend calls a “come to Jesus moment”–you cannot get healthy with diet and exercise if you hate, loathe, abuse yourself. The only way to health and well-being is through self-love.

I want to make sure you get that, because it’s so important: the only way to health and well-being is through self-love.

It is through this devotion to yourself, self-care, a sense of yourself as precious, worthy, and enough that you become well, regain sanity, connect to your innate wisdom and compassion. It’s from this base of health and well-being that you also find the strength, the courage and stamina, the fearlessness, wisdom and compassion to help others, to serve them. It’s like Evita Ramparte said in the documentary Hungry for Change:

Something miraculous happens when you take care of yourself. You realize that you are precious…You become in love with yourself basically, and it shines, it overflows to others, becomes contagious. You give others the permission to be in love with themselves, with life.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has a new book coming out, Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind. Chapter Two of the book is called “Building Your Base” and in it, he says that when you start running, you need to build your base. You can’t run a marathon on your first day. You start off slowly, but continually challenge your body so that it builds the structures you will need, the endurance and the strength necessary, to be a stable and smart runner. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche explains it this way:

The base, as it turned out, was simply doing enough running, without overdoing it, to build the integrity of the bones and the strength of the tendons and muscles. This would slowly power up my basic physiology so it could handle the running. It was very similar to the first stages of meditation, in which we focus on building strength.

I have applied this wisdom directly to my running. Every time I walk the dogs, I run as much as I can, not pushing myself too far, but certainly touching my edge. I know that the more I run, the stronger my foundation becomes, and the easier running becomes.

I also am realizing how this wisdom applies to just about anything you are attempting to accomplish or change. In his book, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche relates it directly to the practice of meditation, saying:

This process of taking the inherent structure of the body and strengthening it through regular and repeated runs is very similar to training and developing the mind in meditation…The Tibetan word for meditation is gom. It essentially means “getting used to, familiarizing.” Meditation, then, is the act of familiarizing your mind with what you want it to do. That process of familiarity is just taking qualities and abilities that the mind naturally has, focusing on them in a methodical way, and thus building your base.

Learning self-love and self-care, moving towards health and well-being, undergoing this year of retreat, this life-rehab is building my base.

I am starting to be able to see what’s on the horizon, catch glimpses of what is possible, and it’s beautiful. It makes me weep sometimes, it is so amazing.

But so is the process, the path leading me there. And I have such good company.

What base are you building, dear reader? On this day of rest, may you have time to day dream about what’s on the horizon, and may it be beautiful.

Organic, Super Green, and Naked

This is a long post, so as a public service, TL; DR: Self-love is the key. And I am devoting myself to it.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I struggle with balance, finding a middle path, a middle way. This difficulty manifests in everything I do: how I work, how I practice, what I eat, how much I rest (or don’t), how I relate to people, what I think about, how much I exercise (or don’t), what I do about what I feel (or don’t), how I treat myself–everything.

Add to this that as a highly sensitive person, I have to be careful what I expose myself to: media, text, tv, radio, people. “Garbage in, garbage out” is an absolute truth for me. I have difficulty processing negativity, toxicity, and get easily overstimulated, overwhelmed. I have trouble putting any boundary or barrier between myself and the energy around me. Everything gets in.

In an effort to put better things in, to “feed” myself with things that nourish and nurture me, I signed up for a membership. They have all kinds of good, health and well-being focused media. On the first day, I watched the documentary “I Am.” Then yesterday, I watched two documentaries, “Hungry for Change” and “Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead,” (this second one is actually on Netflix). Both focused on transforming your health, and both have me thinking a slightly different way about what I am doing, how I am moving through my life, and what I might do differently, how I might find balance.

What I found so encouraging in Hungry for Change is that there’s a whole section towards the end that discusses the importance of self-love to health and well-being, and talks about how detrimental, how damaging self-loathing and self-hate can be–that essentially, without self-love, health and well-being are impossible. This has long been my suspicion, that until I learned to stop smashing myself to bits, I would stay stuck, wrecked, and broken.

Some quotes from the film:

As a doctor, let me tell you what self-love does–it improves your hearing, your eyesight, it lowers your blood pressure, it increases pulmonary function, cardiac output…so if we had a rampant epidemic of self-love then our healthcare costs would go down dramatically. So this isn’t just some little frou-frou new age notion, oh you know, “love yourself honey.” This is hard core science. (Dr. Christiane Northrup)

What was the most important thing to keep off the weight? What do I believe was the most crucial component? Without question: love–love for myself and love for others. (Frank Ferrante)

Something miraculous happens when you take care of yourself. You realize that you are precious…You become in love with yourself basically, and it shines, it overflows to others, becomes contagious. You give others the permission to be in love with themselves, with life. (Evita Ramparte)

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead told a great story about Australian Joe Cross (one of the people featured in Hungry for Change), “100 pounds overweight, loaded up on steroids and suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease…at the end of his rope and the end of his hope.” The film “chronicles Joe’s personal mission to regain his health.”

Joe goes on a 60 day juice fast (he calls it a Reboot), loses a ton of weight, gets healthy, and helps a bunch of other people along the way. I was completely and utterly inspired by him. His transformation was sensible, doable, rational–more fruits and vegetables, more exercise. But more importantly, he made a decision to take care of himself, to take charge of his own health and well-being.

I can’t do 60 days, but I have spent this morning researching juicers and juice recipes, even went and bought some juices to tide me over until I can get what I need to make my own. And, I’m considering doing a ten day juice fast. This summer, when I did a Yoga immersion class, we discussed the yogic practice of fasting and I was fascinated by it, am drawn to both the physical and spiritual nature of such a practice. This film reignited that fancy.

But it’s not just that. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I know that smashing myself to bits, while an old way of being that is sticky and deep, no longer serves me. I want to be able to enjoy my life, love my life, for as long as I can. I want every choice I make, every action I take, every thought to be a manifestation, an embodiment of how deeply and well I care for myself, an expression self-love. I want to take care of myself, love myself, feed myself what I am truly hungry for, what will nourish and nurture me. 

I am a fan of various types of divination: I Ching and Q-Card Casting specifically. Go ahead and think I’m weird, but I believe it’s just one more way to get clear about where I am and what I should be focusing on. I think this is one of the ways the Universe sends me messages, because I open my heart and ask, but even if it’s just a message from my unconscious or random chance that doesn’t really mean anything, I find it a useful tool for gaining some insight on my current situation, whatever that happens to be.

P.S. Patti Digh, by way of my friend Courtney, shared this on Facebook, and it explains so much better what I was trying to say about divination: “When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you but because in that brief moment when the coin is in the air, you suddenly know what you are hoping for.” ~unknown

So, this afternoon I went to Hiro Boga’s website and did a Deva card practice. She describes Devas this way:

Every creation on Earth that serves an evolutionary purpose has a spiritual counterpart in the subtle energy realms. This counterpart is a being who holds the pattern or blueprint for the perfect unfolding of the life in its care. I call these pattern-holders Devas…a Sanskrit word that means Shining Ones…As you get to know them and deepen your relationship with them, you can choose to partner with them consciously, to create your life, your business, and the world in which you want to live…Because you are an incarnate soul, all of these soul qualities are already within you, as seeds or potentials. Some of these qualities may be well-developed and readily accessible to you. Others may need to be strengthened and cultivated, for you to experience and express them more fully.

In this practice, you first get clear about your intention. My intention was:

I intend to be healthy, to radiate health, to dissolve the boundary between myself and health, myself and reality, to clarify my essence, to connect bodily with my basic goodness, for my body to be a manifestation of basic goodness, to embody health and well-being.

Then you select a card. The card I received?

Love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause.

Religious worship or action.

Feelings of ardent love.

Commitment to a purpose.

Profound dedication and loyalty, fidelity.

Hiro suggests that once you have received your Deva, that you “Ask for its support and partnership. Ask it to help you strengthen its quality within you, so you can embody it more fully” and that you “Act on the expanded vision and perspective you receive from your partnership with the Deva. Embody and express the quality of this Deva in your life today.”

So that’s it, isn’t it? Self-love is the key. And I am devoting myself to it.

I feel like this realization, this softening, this becoming, this commitment, this vow, this ongoing transformation needs a blessing, a benediction, a prayer, an offering. I can’t think of a better one than a poem the beautiful Julia posted this week on her Painted Path blog (go read it, if you haven’t already–if you are trying to learn to love yourself, she will help, she will remind you), “Like the Moon.” It’s the perfect thing to share here, to end this post, and I am hoping she won’t mind.

You are here in this world
to Love
to lay down the swords–the armor
to fall down laughing, to swing
amongst the stars

to lean into everything
that makes your heart flutter

to live with unapologetic brightness

like the moon