What is it?
It's different things to different people.
I think of it as having a high regard for your well-being and happiness. It’s about prioritizing your needs and what you want in life.
Think about someone you love.
Close your eyes and bring up a clear image of that person who’s very dear to you, someone you absolutely adore.
What is it that you love about them?
Is it their unique way of showing up in the world? Is it their wit, their generosity, their deep caring for other people?
Or is it that they're badass and they never give up?
Take a moment to savor their uniqueness.
Now. I have a question for you.
Do you love yourself as much as you do them?
If you answered yes, what are the similar traits that you have in common with this person? What you admire in others, you probably have some version of yourself like...
Telling someone who loves you and who is trying to help you but isn't really helping what you actually need...well, it's downright hard.
Having the confidence to say what you need to your friends or family is perhaps one of the most challenging things that we do.
Because we don’t want to drive them away. We know they have our best interests at heart but...
When you feel funky or overwhelmed and you think you're going to burst into tears, this is when we all need someone who cares to step in...but in the right way.
It’s the times when you can’t help yourself. The negative thoughts take over and bring you down, down to the deep dark hole.
You say negative things like:
What's wrong with me?
I hate my life
Why is this happening to me?
I should have...
Everybody else does this, why can't I?
Now we're in the hole and we don't know how to get out...
We all start out curious, unedited.
We don’t worry about what our bodies look like.
We know how to eat when we’re hungry and we don't care what anyone thinks of how we dance.
We know how to play without holding back.
Well-meaning parents correct their children, wanting them to be their best but what children hear is something else. The child begins to question herself.
When I was young, I started picking up on messages that I needed to act a certain way because it was really important what others thought of me.
My young brain heard..."other’s opinions matter more than what I think of myself."
This version of me at 17 believed that if she was friendly and popular that everyone would like her.
It was easy for her because that was her nature...friendly and open.
She knew without being told that it wasn't nice to say things that might upset someone or make them...
It doesn't matter whether we're letting go of physical clutter or emotional clutter in our lives.
It's straight-up hard.
In exploring around all the edges of what it means to let go of clutter or anything in our lives that we need to let go of...I'm finding one thing to be true.
It's about fear.
Letting go involves letting go of your fear.
I remember a time way back in 2008 when I began a year-long leadership program.
In our group, we all were all challenged to get clear on our personal strengths so that we could be impactful leaders.
We began this process by engaging in a high ropes course.
The high ropes, if you've never participated in one of these intense experiences, helps you discover your personal courage as well as your strengths.
On the first day of the course, we had to climb up a 25-foot redwood tree. (I'm actually not sure how high it was but let's just say...
“If you let go a little, you will have a little peace; if you let go a lot you will have a lot of peace; if you let go completely you will have complete peace." Ajahn Chah
When I heard this quote the very first time, it stopped me dead in my tracks.
I knew it was true.
But I didn’t have much experience with letting go.
I come from a family who loved to keep things. Everything, actually.
There wasn’t a whole lot that got thrown away. Letters, old bank statements and checks for years and years, clothes that no longer fit, even empty boxes...because, well, the idea was that we might need these things SOMEDAY.
And yes, my parents were of the Depression-era. I get it.
It was a time that affected that generation for their entire lives and my parents and grandparents were deeply impacted along with everyone else. They didn’t believe in getting rid of anything.
So I grew up with the mentality of keeping things, unaware...
I learned the secret to not quitting from a very wise Marine Corps officer several years ago when I worked on a US Marine Corps base in Okinawa, Japan.
I was working out with Marines as I did every day on the base and I was on the 4th round of doing pushups on 2 gymnastic rings in the middle of a very high-intensity fitness workout. (That’s hanging onto 2 rings that are suspended & you’re supposed to do pushups while you’re hoisting yourself on them & maintaining balance at the same time)…you know, crazy stuff like that.
It was hard, to put it mildly. I’d already been rowing, then before that pushups, then squats. I was exhausted.
My head said, "what are you doing out here? You’re too old to be working out this hard, just quit. You don’t have to do this. This is insane. We’re all crazy. Quit."
I looked to my left and decided to ask Mike who was working out next to me why he...
Today I had this imaginary conversation with a friend or (maybe it was myself.) It went like this:
Did you know that that blah mood you're in is normal?
And that you're not the only one?
Did you know that you've been feeling tired because your brain is tired?
Yes ma’am it is.
It's worn out from trying to cope with covid, with fires out of control, smoke, political upheaval, along with all the day-to-day stressors you have and it's been going on now for over a year.
You didn't notice anything at first because you were too busy adjusting, putting on your mask, avoiding crowds, staying inside.
You didn't realize that your brain was on overdrive trying to keep you and your family alive.
Yep. It was over a year without going anywhere except maybe to the grocery store. And you woke up most days thinking...it's another day of the same. The same. The boring old same freakin' thing.
You didn't know how long...
In 2014, my husband and I climbed Mt. Fuji, the highest volcano in Japan at 12,388 thousand feet. Little did I know that this experience would help me be able to deal with the current troubling times.
This was an epic trip for me. In the telling of this story about our adventure, it’s important to give you some background on what it’s like to climb Fuji-San (Mr. Fuji).
Mt Fuji is a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1708. It was a Buddhist monk in 700 A.D. who first climbed Mt. Fuji. A temple was built at the summit 400 years later. It became a pilgrimage site for Japanese.
In 1860, the first foreigner climbed Mt. Fuji. In 1868, Lady Parkes, an Englishwoman, defied a ban on women climbers and ascended the peak. The ban was lifted afterward. What a badass woman she was!
It was my husband’s idea. Thom had dreamed about this climb even before we moved to Okinawa in 2013. He’d always said, “I’m gonna climb Mt. Fuji."
"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."
Today is about not putting your life on hold and waiting to do the things you love.
If we don't live the life we want now or we're waiting to be happy, then we die full of regrets. I am a woman living in my 70s so I ask myself every day, what am I waiting for?
Is it when the bills are paid off, you have enough money, the kids leave home when you have more time?...you fill in the blanks.
We wait for the "right" time. For the best job, for the next raise, the perfect house, the best time to do what we want.
My 13-year-old grand-nephew was diagnosed 4 months ago with a brain tumor. It was malignant. The day before he was diagnosed he was a normal kid playing baseball.
One minute you could be sitting on your...
We're living in funky, unpredictable times.
It’s wearing down even the most grounded and balanced people.
But for some of us, we blame ourselves for things that happen. We may not even be aware that we’re in this self-destructive behavior.
In fact, it won’t help you in any way.
For sure, it’s easy to get stuck listening to the blaming and shaming voices inside of you that tell you that you did something wrong…spiraling you down into negativity, into funky land.
Those are the times when nothing seems right. You feel off but you don't even know what's wrong.
It might be that you woke up feeling happy and everything was going great and then, BAM.
Some small thing happens.
Your phone goes off in the middle of a yoga class, with a voice message from your friend saying your name, "hi, Jo," and the whole class hears the voice recording and glares at you.
(true story that just happened to...
Fall is a time for us to slow down, to ground ourselves and to nourish our bodies. This retreat is designed to help you stop and listen to what it is you need right now. It's a fun and restorative weekend with mindfulness exercises, morning yoga, an online cooking class with the fabulous Chef Bai, healthy recipes to try at home, meditations and group calls to connect you with other women.