Thursday, October 15, 2015

World peace and thin thighs

photo credit: the inter-webs

Tonight, while sitting out in my yard on a beautiful Tucson evening, I was blessed by a shooting star. 

For years, the dialogue in my head on these occasions has always been that using a wish on myself was selfish and thus, is virtually guaranteed to not be granted.  

I think this notion came from my adolescence when I heard joke about a beauty queen who said if she had one wish it would be for 'world peace and thin thighs... but I don't really care that much about world peace".   Even then, as a kid, when I dedicated a lot of energy to hating my body, I knew the meaning behind the joke.  So for years, I've wished on every opportunity for world peace.  These days, at almost fifty years old, I don't put a whole lot faith stars and wishing.   

The adult me is a big believer in the law of attraction, visioning and positive affirmations/prayers.  I believe that when you put your deepest desires out there, and you move in that direction, the Universe, God, whatever  name you want to use, sets the whole thing in motion.  

I've used the law of attraction for some of the best adventures of my life.  Stacey and I had a wonderful European adventure for my 30th birthday and I worked for several years in the film industry to name just two.    

So, I doubled up tonight when I saw that shooting star with my wish and affirmative prayer.  
World Peace... and so it is.

You're welcome.

Monday, September 28, 2015

On beauty and strength... a guest post by Natalie Patterson

Friends- I'm delighted to bring you a post by guest blogger Natalie Patterson.  She's a poet, an teaching artist and amazing human who teaches me about being a better person whenever I get to spend a bit of time with her.  I'm also delighted that she's a facilitator and will be teaching and performing at our Beautiful You Retreat November 5,6,7th.  So, without further delay... here are the words and wisdom of my friend Natalie.

Ever since I was a little girl, beauty equaled strength to me. Every person I thought was beautiful, was because of an inner power that seemed to pour out of them. It was in their laugh, in their walk, in their ease with speech. I have always been drawn to a great smile, a true smile. Beauty had nothing to do with being perfect and it still doesn't to me. 

I have come to understand that my body, at whatever version of itself it is in now, is a gift. I had a thought when I was around 25, that if I married someone I didn't already know, they wouldn't get the "privilege" of experiencing my 20-something body. At 31, I am still unmarried and I suspect that should I ever marry, they won't have known me, in my 20s and that's ok. They get to know me now. They get to enjoy my wisdom, the grown of my body and the relaxation in my stride, that I didn't have access to, in my younger years, that I am well-acquainted with now.  I suppose this is what aging is all about, the gratitude that comes, that fills all the silly holes, you think you have.  

So while my body is ever-evolving, as is my self-love, what I know for sure is that we all have access to beauty, all own it. Sometimes we forget where we put the key to it, or rather that we are the key. Be diligent about finding your way to your own beauty, about defining it for yourself. It is important. You are important. 

Mine and Yours, 

Natalie Patterson 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

When our habits that make us smaller than we are...

Photo credit:

There are two times of year that I tend to be especially introspective.  Fall is one of them.  I think it's the trees shedding parts of themselves that are no longer serving them.  There's beauty and balance in it.  Letting go of the old, preparing for what's to come.  There's a magical beauty in the mish-mash of colors gracefully floating to re-connect to the earth in a different way.

It occurred to me today, after seeing some stellar modeling from a friend, that sometimes I'm not very good at asking for what I need.  It's a tendency, or habit really that makes me smaller than I am.  It definitely doesn't serve me.  

I believe in living with intention and purpose.  So, therein lies my project for the fall.  I'm starting a 30 day challenge to make some progress with asking for what I need and gratefully (and gracefully) accepting the help of others when it's offered.

What are you ready to let go of?  What habits make you smaller than you are?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

What's the best thing when you find you've temporarily lost your way?

We all lose our way from time to time.  All of us.  Anyone who says they don't has got to be pulling your leg.

I've found myself in that place of late.  I have had my head down being so busy being busy that I looked up and found myself overwhelmed, under appreciated, under rested, eating and drinking more than I need to, not doing any small acts of self-care.  Lost.  Well, if I'm really being honest... lost and utterly lacking in anything resembling joy or happiness.  Imagine my surprise.  I certainly know better.  But, there it is.

Thank God for girlfriends.  In these times, it's my girlfriends who are my compass.  They help me pull out the map of my life (which is never folded correctly), and help me identify which particular eddy it is that has me swirling and where it is that I want to go.

Good girlfriends will crawl around in the darkness with you, shining a flashlight on the things you didn't want to look at.  They'll sit with you during the ugly cry and say "I know."  A really good girlfriend will call you on your *ish when you try to get in your head and logic it away.  And they'll invite you to come to yoga with them and begin to do a kindness to your mind, body and soul.

And if you're not ready to have the light shone on something hard to look at.  Don't worry.  Your girlfriend will be ready with her flashlight another day.  You can try again then.  She's not going anywhere.

Baby steps my friends.  An extra glass of water one day.  A long walk the next.  If you move in the direction you need to go, it doesn't matter if it's a baby step at a time.  Keep on moving.  You won't be lost for long.  Your girlfriends will see to that.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Everyday the butterflies come

Every day the butterflies come.  I'm not sure how long it was happening before I noticed it, but since I started paying attention, it's been at lease 3 weeks.  Every day they come.  Usually, I encounter an average of five butterflies a day in the course of my day.  Big ones, tiny ones, plain ones, colorful ones.  

At first I thought it was a curiosity.  Then I thought it was a little freaky.  Now I expect them and I giggle when they flitter through my day.  

I love that they come, but I haven't figured out why.  I haven't mentioned it to anyone or written about it before now.  I thought in time, the reason would become clear to me, but it hasn't.  I've always remembered this quote from The Color Purple:   'I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.' Maybe it's the same thing.  Maybe God just wants me to slow down and notice them.

When looking for meaning, there's also a lot of symbolism that I could draw from too. Metamorphosis, new life, becoming.  Also, the way they dance past me... part joyful and carefree, but also sometimes looking like they're slightly out of control and just trying to stay upright.  These too all fit the current circumstances of my life.  

Whatever the reason, that they come, I am grateful and feel blessed that they do.  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

How beautiful it is when we feel ourselves opening

Personal growth comes in spurts, doesn't it?  

Sometimes I feel like I'm just humming right along and then a moment happens and I feel myself opening.  Opening to acknowledgement of a stumble, opening to awareness, opening to the possibility new and deeper relationships... just opening to possibility.  All that came from a 60 minute conversation this morning with someone the Universe unexpectedly put on my path a few months ago.  I was inspired by someone I saw speaking beautiful and powerful poetry on the internet.  I reached out.  She reached back.  Now I get to call this amazing woman my friend.  Boom.  Across the jungles of time and space, our paths crossing in a particularly serendipitous way.   

I'm blessed to learn some lessons from this new friend.  Blessed that she can extend a bit of grace to cover my unintended privilege blunder.  Blessed that she can help me see that I'm looking at things through a too small lens.  Blessed to hear her affirming words about what I'm trying to create. Blessed to hear her say "It's limitless".

Today, I'm sitting in that possibility.  Here, in my big comfie chair, in my pj's... her words ringing in my ears... I'm opening to that true fact.  It's limitless... I am limitless.   And so it is.  And so I let it be.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Are you re-filling your empty bucket with a cup?

I've been thinking about this a lot.  Women need more places to come together to support one another.  Women need a safe space to try on new ways of being.  A place to catch a glimpse of what is possible when women hold each other up.  When women bear witness to the lives of other women, and honor them for what they have been through, survived, achieved… it gives them permission to fully bear witness to their own lives, their own stories.  Permission to stand in their truth and be honored in return for their strength, their beauty.

 It is typical in America that women give and give.  Women do for others all day, every day, without stopping to refill their own bucket.  We are so busy being busy in our lives.  Grab a workout before work.  Try and leave work on time to pick up the kids at day care.  Stop at the store for groceries for dinner.  Make dinner.  Homework.  Bath time.  Bed time.  Try and get through some of the emails that didn’t get addressed at work before hitting the sack ourselves.  Sometimes we numb ourselves out with alcohol and bad TV.  We congratulate ourselves when we slow down and take an hour at a time for ourselves for yoga, or a massage, or quick workout.  When was the last time you were fully present and engaged at home, at work?  We think an hour spent on ourselves is going to set us right again.  For most of us, it gets us through another day, another week and then we put another cups worth of water in our empty bucket and do it all again.

When was the last time that you took the time to reflect on the strength it’s taken to get to where you are in life?  When was the last time another person has said to you “Wow, that’s really something.  You’re an amazing human being”?  Does the idea of spending 3 days checked out of real life, and focusing on yourself scare the pants off you?  Does it feel selfish?  Is it strange to think about spending $500 on yourself in one fell swoop?  Lean in to that discomfort and think about doing it anyway.  Retreats  like this one, are a magical gift to yourself.  Aren’t you worth it? 

 It's a lot easier to refill the bucket by dipping the whole thing into the well.  

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Where are you now?

I don't know about you, but for me it comes down to being present.  Present, in my skin, in this moment right now.  As a child abuse survivor, as a fat kid, as a fat woman... I'm pretty damn good at moving around this world, doing my job, being a family member, a friend- all while completely shut down somewhere inside myself.  I'm so good at it, that for about 30 years no one knew the difference.

The thing is, I know the difference.

And although I'm grateful for what was a helping coping mechanism for me as a child, I no longer wish live that way.  I want to be present for the beautiful moments in life as well as the painful ones.

Because I was shut down at points of my life when I should have been discovering things like whether my body liked to play softball, or flipping and turning on gymnastics equipment or hiking in the Arizona desert, my auto response was that I don't like those things.  When I am a fully present adult I have the choice to try new things, and to decide again whether I like them or not.  That's what I want for all our participants at any Beautiful You retreat.

We designed the Beautiful You Body Love retreat to give participants a chance to practice being fully present in their bodies.  If you've experienced disordered eating, body shaming, battled cancer and lost a breast, or any of a myriad of wide ranging experiences that cause us to struggle with our bodies, this retreat may be for you.  You'll sit in circle with a group of supportive women and be accepted unconditionally for who you are.   You'll have a chance to try body positive activities like yoga for all bodies, and drumming and dancing.  You'll be gently guided to identify old messages that may be running the show of your life now.  We'll learn and practice new ways to release those messages that are unhelpful to you now.  We'll all have a chance to view our bodies through a new lens- the lens of the body love revolution.  We'll take a brand new look at ourselves with kinder, gentler eyes and cheer each other all along the way.   We'll probably laugh, there might be some tears, we guarantee some cheers... and all of those things are signs that we're fully present and that my friends is the whole point.

If you would like to learn more please visit

Friday, January 23, 2015

Dreaming a little dream

Meme credit- the interwebs

Hmm.  Yes, so I 've been dreaming a little dream for a while now and it's it's finally time for it not to be a dream any longer.  It seems like there should be a word for the birth of a dream into reality.  I don't think there is one, but attraversiamo fits pretty well for me.  Let's cross over.

With the help of numerous amazing women, Beautiful You- a place to be, become, belong is ready to launch its first retreat.  There will be many wonderful retreats in the coming years to support and lift up women with wide range of themes.  We have plans for retreats for women in transition, women fighting cancer, sexual abuse survivors... but the first retreat is May 14-16th and it's a Body Love retreat.

All of these Beautiful You retreats will be empowering, inspirational, immersion experiences where women will slow down and discover the power of hearing and witnessing the stories of other women.

The Body Love retreat is being held at beautiful Kenyon Ranch in Tumacocori, Arizona.  It's about an hour south of Tucson.  Participants from around the country will settle into their casita's and be welcomed at a happy hour by the pool on Thursday afternoon.  We'll experience the magic of sitting in circle and sharing our stories and cap the evening off with a candle light labyrinth walk.  On Friday skilled facilitators will lead participants through a series of activities designed to support and help develop some beginning body love tools.  We'll also be joined on Friday by the amazing Jes Baker who will spend the day inspiring and sharing in our activities.   Throughout the retreat participants will have the opportunity to create a one of a kind, body love art project to take home.  No artistic experience or skills are necessary.  We will also have the opportunity to participate in several physical activities (yoga, drumming and dancing) that will help us ground ourselves in our bodies and practice being fully present in ways we might not have before.  All of our food will be lovingly prepared onsite by the chef at Kenyon Ranch.  Yummy snacks and beverages will be plentiful.   All your art supplies will be onsite.  We'll even send you home with a few surprises to pack in your suitcase.

This retreat is a small, intimate experience- 20 participants in total.  If you're interested, registration is open now so please reserve your spot.  Registrations paid in full when registering receive a $50 voucher/rebate for the 2015 Body Love Conference in June in Tucson, AZ.  Installment payments available.

Attraversiamo friends... hope to see you in Tumacocori!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I was a Weight Watchers leader... and I'm sorry.

A couple of things happened this week that were interesting for me to look at.  I ran into an old acquaintance who got me thinking about my past role in the machine that is the weight loss industry.  And a medical professional demonstrated some weight bias just when I thought I was going to make  it out of my appointment with out it.

Some years ago I was asked to become a Weight Watchers Leader after having lost 113 pounds on the program.  In truth, I lost 113 by learning to love myself and to act like I loved myself by taking care of my body well.  I also happened to learn how to eat pretty healthily and enjoyed the company of others who were more than 50 pounds 'over' weight in my special group meeting.  It was a place where we could all talk about weight  and the challenges of moving through life while fat.

I think I was a great leader at Weight Watchers.  I had members who followed me from meeting to meeting when I occasionally changed locations or times.  I prepared meetings on the prescribed topics, I knew my content... but I think the reason I was a great group leader is that I was 1-real (authentic/genuine)  and 2- I was really preaching the gospel of body love.  My members would beat themselves up at the scale and I cautioned that it's just a number, it's what we tell ourselves about it that is so damaging.  I ran into a former member in one of my groups this week...Jenny.  I was reminded that she and her husband- both members, were THIS close away from their goal weights on the same week.  They were completely bummed. that the scale just wasn't reflecting their efforts.  I said 'What can you take off?'  We moved the scale to a more private area, and they both dropped their pants and weighed again and they 'achieved' the number they were looking for.  The only thing that was different between totally bummed and elation was taking their pants off. 

In hindsight, I'm glad that I was able to be there in a genuine and caring way for so many people trying to navigate and re-navigate what is for the vast majority of people a lose-lose prospect.  And at the same time, I'm sorry to have been a part of what is a wild goose chase for most.

The other thing that happened this week was a visit to a Nurse Practitioner for my annual well woman check.  It was an uneventful visit.  We didn't talk about my weight at all (I've re- gained all I lost and a bit more).  She left the room and I got dressed, thinking to myself 'wow, no weight talk!'.  A moment later, there was a knock and she returned with the paperwork to get my blood work done and she laid another pamphlet on the counter and pushed it toward me.  She said "you might be interested in this... it really works".  What she was pushing toward me was a really tacky looking xeroxed brochure for Dr. Gann's Diet of HOPE (is that not the most ridiculous, emotionally loaded bullshit name of a business?).  I must have had a look on my face because she next said "or, I'm on Weight Watchers and I like that as well".    I find it really irresponsible for her to have pushed this at me without first asking if I was worried about my weight, if I was actively dieting now, if I had a history of weight cycling, asking what my weight history was or a million other questions she might have used to start an open dialogue. 

If you're an 'over' weight woman in this country it is quite simply assumed that you are unhappy and must be trying or wanting to try and do something about it.  As the day went on, I was more and more angry about it.  She's doing some research and a referral for me and I'm not going to complain about it until I get that.  And THAT makes me angry too... that I can't speak my mind for fear my medical care may be affected.

Let's keep fighting the good fight friends.  And don't forget to love yourself and the body you walk around in.