How Many Spoons Do You Have?

How Many Spoons Do You Have?

Adulting is hard. There are so many responsibilities. So much pressure. So little time. No less than one bajillion competing priorities. I can hear that little voice in your head telling you that you should get it all done…then you can start fresh. Then things will be different. You’ll get all your ducks in a row, and all will be well. But you never seem to reach the end of the to-do list, do you? So you feel guilty for taking the time to do things that YOU want to do, just for you. Instead, you do nothing. You tune into Netflix and grab some nachos, staying up past your intended bedtime and feeling kinda numb. Tired. Irritated. Meh. Waiting on the people around you to change so that you won’t have to micromanage them. Maybe then you’ll have time to read a book or take a walk or listen to a podcast. Here’s the thing: If nothing changes, then nothing changes. This cycle will continue unless you call a time out and choose a new way of being. I recently heard a metaphor that comes in handy for this lesson. It comes from the community of people living with chronic illness. Think of your energy like a bunch of spoons. You wake up each day with a certain number of spoons, and each activity costs you one. Making lunches for the kids costs a spoon. Washing your hair and styling it costs a spoon. Picking up the dry cleaning costs a spoon. For those with chronic illness, that might be it for the available spoons in a day. Others may...
How to Make Your Impractical Dreams Come True

How to Make Your Impractical Dreams Come True

I dreamed of being a singer since I was in the fourth grade. I listened to Tiffany’s album on repeat and learned the lyrics for every Beatles’ song I could find. I was a first soprano in the choir and would make up harmonies with Megan and Janine at recess in middle school. In high school, a couple of my friends started bands, but I never quite felt cool enough to do that. There was one band of guys, who said that I could never be part of it, and another band of girls who were so quirky and expressive that my virgo heart burst with jealousy at their ability to just be themselves. I could never be that unique. So I did my own thing and decided that I’d learn how to play the guitar. I taught myself to play on my dad’s banged-up Goya. It was a well-loved guitar with a deep orange sunburst finish. The scratches beneath the pick guard hinted at all-night sing-alongs and carefree times with friends. I started learning out of an old songbook with a linen cover – Great Songs of the 60’s. Some of the pages were torn along the plastic binding, so I had to be careful as I flipped through its pages. I didn’t recognize all the songs, so I stuck to the simple ones. Mrs. Robinson, The Times They Are A Changing, Turn! Turn! Turn!, Both Sides Now (of course, I played a simplified guitar line that sounded nothing like the real version). I dreamed of becoming likethe legendary women I admired. Joni Mitchell. Grace Slick. Janis Joplin....

How to Find Happiness

Everyone wants to be happy, right? We know we can’t be happy all the time, and I don’t think it’s really about that. Ultimately, we want to feel free to be ourselves, and still loved and accepted. Underneath all the other noise, I think it all comes down to that. The freedom that comes from living authentically is the kind of deep happiness that I’m interested in.   Of course, that might sound a little hard to get. What does that look like? How do we get there?   In this video, Iona Russell and I chat about what it means to live a whole-hearted life. We’re talking about taming your inner critic, tuning into the wisdom of your body, and having the courage to speak up for your desires. Check it out, and let me know what resonates in the...
The practice that saved me

The practice that saved me

Thirteen years ago, there was so much dissonance in my life. On paper, my life probably looked pretty good. I’m pretty sure I was the youngest person in management at a large telecommunications company. I had gathered the courage to leave a long term relationship that wasn’t right for me, and I had recently claimed my independence by getting my first apartment. The truth however, was something completely different. I was working long hours at a job that felt meaningless to me. Although I had made some bold moves in my life, I was feeling stuck. I struggled with emotional eating and gained 40 pounds. I was building my life around what I thought I was supposed to want, and I had never stopped for long enough to figure out what I actually wanted. I didn’t know how to turn it around. I suffered from insomnia, had little to no energy, and was very anxious.I felt very isolated and alone. I was a smart, ambitious woman who should be able to do whatever she wanted. How could I have let this happen? The little voice in my head had no sympathy for me. My own decisions put me in this place, and I should just suck it up and put a smile on my face. After all, other people had way bigger problems than me. Who did I think I was to complain? To want more for myself? Who was I to dream? What I had was reliable, and it wouldn’t be practical to reassess my trajectory this far in. Besides, other people would be affected if I switched routes...
“This job is not that important to me.”

“This job is not that important to me.”

Sometimes I feel like a walking contradiction. I do Crossfit and I eat chocolate every day.  I am a yogi, and I want women to get in touch with their anger. I am all about healthy self-care, and I also binge-watch Netflix with Keegan. (It’s all about balance, right?) Our current obsession is The Blacklist. It’s one of those high-intensity procedural dramas where the FBI has a special team that’s going around catching criminals in exciting and dramatic ways. Lizzie, the main character, is all-in when it comes to her career. She cancels date nights regularly and doesn’t seem to have a life outside of work. So imagine my surprise when, in an episode we were watching the other night, she said, “This job is not that important to me.” Huh? Could’ve fooled me. I mean, if it’s not that important to her, why is she putting all of her time and energy into it? It seems to me that it’s the most important thing to her. (To be honest, in this case, she actually even loves her job. I’m sure it’s what she would be doing if money were no object, but I digress…) We’ve all been there. Sometimes we can suddenly wake up and wonder why we’re so committed to things that really, in our heart of hearts, aren’t important to us. That’s when we know we need to call a time out. It’s up to us to align the way we spend our time with what matters most to us. We must insist on living our priorities. Otherwise, what’s it all for…right? When it comes to spending...
What Women Are Really Like

What Women Are Really Like

I’ve been told a lot of crap about women throughout my life. People have insisted that… Women are vicious to one another. Women can’t be friends. An office full of women is a chaotic nightmare. This has not been my experience. Instead… Women have shown me such deep compassion and caring – and they’ve taught me to do the same for myself and for others. Women have deep friendships based in empathy and understanding- not vicious competition. An office full of women is a creative, inspired, and often hilarious place.  The truth is that we are writing our own stories. We are trying to hard to figure it all out. We feel called to get it right. We insist on doing better. I love that about us. In deep conversation yesterday, a friend asked, “What if we just lived the questions?” I’m trying it on, and it feels good – expansive, open, curious. I often find myself rushing to answer, to figure things out, to nail it down. Today, I thought I’d try a different approach and just share my questions with you. No bold statements or grand conclusions. I would simply love to be in conversation with you. I’d love to live the questions together. On this International Women’s Day, I’m wondering… How can we create a culture that nurtures our wholeness? How can we come together in community in these busy times? How can we anchor our pursuits in our values? How we can we show up more fully for ourselves and for each other? How can we create a better present (rather than future)? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and...
She’s got skills. Leadership skills.

She’s got skills. Leadership skills.

Keira is a confident person. She’s in tune with herself. She knows what she wants and she articulates it clearly and specifically. If she asks for help and doesn’t get it, she asks again and even shows them what she means. When someone asks her to do something that she’s not interested in doing, she simply says “no.” Her tone is neutral – kind even. She’s just answering the request honestly. No drama. No passive aggressiveness. She doesn’t get pressured into it only to grow angry and resentful during and after the fact. She wants what she wants – without apology. Keira is my two-year-old niece, and her straightforwardness warms my feminist auntie heart. I delighted in watching her over the Christmas holidays. On Boxing Day, her dad played a little game with her. He pretended to sleep in the middle of the living room floor, complete with snoring sound effects. She brought him a pillow and covered him with a blanket – so thoughtful. So sweet. After a while (ok, it was only a few seconds – she is 2 after all), she wanted her turn. She pulled the blanket back and tried to get him up. Poking him did nothing. He was undisturbed when she yanked his arm with all her might. The snoring continued. Realizing that this task might require some outsourcing, she marched over to her uncle and said, “Help?” The adults were in mid-conversation, so her request wasn’t immediately addressed. She considered perhaps that she hadn’t been clear. She took him by the hand, pointed at her dad and said, “Help!” She then demonstrated...
4 Steps for Dealing With Difficult Family Dynamics

4 Steps for Dealing With Difficult Family Dynamics

Fam dram.   That’s my affectionate shorthand for family drama.   Do you have it? Is it keeping you up at night? Busying your mind and making you feel like crap? In so many respects, we are an all-or-nothing culture. We’re either bingeing or starving ourselves. We’re sedentary or signing up for bootcamps. When it comes to family, we think we either have to suck it up or cut them off, neither of which is a thoroughly attractive option.   If you suck it up, you’re out of integrity. (Doormat central.) You’re getting hurt over and over again, hoping others will magically wake up and change, see the error of their ways, understand the pain they’ve been causing you, and vow to never do it again.   How long have you been waiting for this unlikely shift? How long have you been holding your breath? How many times have you tried to talk yourself out of your truth, out of wanting something better?   I held my breath for years. I tried to ignore the comments that cut me to the core. I laughed it off. I kept coming back and hoped that someone would notice the look in my eye or read my mind. I had a secret hope that old unhealthy patterns would just vanish, and we could all be ourselves and have a good time. It was so draining to live that way. One day, I realized that nothing would change unless I did. So I decided to create the relationships that work for me.   You, too, can manage your difficult family relationships with integrity. You shouldn’t have to...
Envision Your Ideal Holiday Season

Envision Your Ideal Holiday Season

I used to dread planning the holiday season. There are so many competing interests, traditions are firmly entrenched, and expectations are high. Do you ever feel pressured to say yes, just to make other people happy? Do you leave your own expectations unattended while you hustle to fulfill someone else’s vision of a happy holiday? You might be tempted to just plan a vacation over the holidays so you can opt out of the madness – which is a great idea if that’s what resonates with you! But sometimes that’s just a fantasy about escaping some aspects of the experience rather than a real plan.   We often fall into this all-or-nothing thinking. Either do what everyone else wants, or take off and leave it all behind.   Just for today, I invite you to put all of that on pause, and consider what YOU want. (I can help you get clear on this – see below.)   I first started doing this for the holiday season a couple of years ago, and it changed everything. I wrote a page in my journal called “My Ideal Christmas.” I explored how much time I wanted to spend with family and friends, and in what context. I considered what elements of the season make me the happiest, and which ones just feel like an obligation. Then, the magic happened. Without any specific action on my part, the plans ended up very closely mirroring my desires. Family was around on the days that I had hoped they would be. I had alone time when I needed it. There was even a storm...
Let’s talk about boundaries.

Let’s talk about boundaries.

Let’s talk about boundaries.   Do you have them?   I used to not have them. Like, at all. I wanted to be everything to everyone. The first notable time I set a boundary in my adult life was with my ex-fiancé. Realizing that I had put all my dreams on hold to support his, I started to re-think our whole arrangement. At the time, I had a decent job and was paying for most things while he was in film school. (I even helped fund a short film or two). Deep down, I knew that our whole dynamic was off, but we had been together for 6 years and were planning a wedding. I didn’t want to make any rash decisions. So I took a baby step. I told him that I wanted to postpone the wedding so that I could use some of my money to buy a guitar for myself. I had dreams of being a singer-songwriter, and I wasn’t getting any younger. It only made sense that I put a bit of my budget towards funding my dreams too. Well, as soon as I said that, everything revealed itself. I’ll spare you the details, but needless to say, we broke up soon thereafter and moved on with our lives. I am so very thankful that I didn’t sign up for a lifetime with someone who was so resistant to the idea of me spending my own money on my own dreams. It’s natural to feel afraid that nothing better will happen. So many of us convince ourselves to settle because we’re afraid to take the risk....