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.

rachelpeach

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.