July 28, 2011

There is something about being a well-fed woman that is all about being free.

And there are few things as freeing as dancing. Though the truth is, I don’t really dance. I like a good traffic light jiggy or weekend Nia class, but beyond that I’m not really one to let loose on the dance floor. Yet I’d like to and imagine I will dance more in the coming years as I deepen into living an unselfconscious, pleasure-filled life. And what’s fits that bill more than dance?

Dance is what drew me to Jamie Ridler, the big dreaming creative of Jamie Ridler Studios. She hosts an annual, virtual dance party and it totally captivated me this Spring. Here was this joyous woman just moving her body easily to the rhythm for all to see…and it was magical. After watching her I found myself assigning dancing to my coaching clients as homework and sending them links to Jamie’s dancing as inspiration (as I have no videos of myself dancing – yet).

I should add that Jamie does a whole lot more than just dancing. She is also a coach, wildly creative workshop and activity leader, and she hosts the fantastic podcast Creative Living (stay tuned for an interview with yours truly in August).  Jamie’s vibrant spirit, and the many projects that come from it, is infectious. No question – she is a well-fed woman and I needed to find out more.


Jamie, what are you TRULY hungry for?

There’s power in this question. I answered easily. Too easily. So I took a deep breath, reached into my heart and looked, really looked, for what I’m truly hungry for – so here’s the truth.

To work around the table.

I’m in a big growth phase. Jamie Ridler Studios is shifting and I’m so excited about what’s to come. I’m digging into systems. I’m building new architectures. I’m growing new visions. And I’m feeling drawn to a couple of projects I have no idea how to do. I love forging into the new. I love creative adventures. I love learning. And sometimes, I ache, really ache, for someone to say, “Hey, Jamie, want some help? All you have to do is…”  Or when I’m struggling to see the core in the middle of all of the possibilities and I’m thick in the middle of things to have someone say, “Hey, you know, it’s really about ___, isn’t it?”

In theatre, there’s this powerful magic that happens when you have a team of creative people around the table. Everyone has their own specialty. Everyone has their own viewpoint. And there are these magical moments when you’re working on something and click, it becomes clear. That’s what I’m hungry for right now.

What’s a craving that you previously denied that you now happily satisfy? How has this impacted you?

Rest. By nature, I’m driven. I love to create stuff. I love to make things happen. I love to eat life up! But sometimes that leads to pushing, straining, holding on too tight and growling. And it’s often led to crashing.

Now, I listen more. I let myself sleep or go for a walk. I take off random mornings to go to the beach. I take my journal and grab a coffee. I give myself some “chair and stare” time. When I nourish myself in this way, I’m more available to life. I’m more resourceful, more creative and definitely more joyful.

What are you a conduit for? What comes through with ease, meaning, and spark?

Joie de Vivre. I love life. I love that we get to love one another. I love that we are all so different. I love that I can eat raspberries. I love that there are so many possibilities. I love that we get to create stuff. I love that we can hear one another’s hearts. I love that there are oceans and theatre and champagne and river rocks and HGTV. I love that the day starts with morning and ends with night. I love that we dream. I love that people yodel. I love and celebrate this complex, vibrant gift of life and I hope to spread the love.

Favorite bite in recent memory?

One of my favourite things in the world is that my husband and I cook together. I love the way we’ve settled into a rhythm. I chop, he stirs and we talk about our day. He stands in front of the stove. I stand on his right. He gets everything out. I put everything away. I taste things as we go. He waits until the end. And then we jostle for who gets served first. It’s awesome.

Recently we made spicy red lentil soup at the recommendation of my sister, Suzie the Foodie, complete with aromatic Indian spices that she tucked into my suitcase on my last visit. Every moment of cooking was filled with anticipation. It looked and smelled so good! We kept thinking, “Ooh, this one’s a keeper!” and it certainly was. Talk about a meal filled with love!

For more “Joie de Vivre” from Jamie, check out her website or follow her on Twitter!



July 21, 2011
The Best Compliment is a series of posts where I share with you things I love that are worthy of your attention, time, and money.


Today my mind was whirling a bit on some real challenges I’m wrestling with.

I was sitting at my desk (which is really my bed, if you must know), and despite the wonderful client call I’d just finished and the delicious lunch that followed, I was on the verge of going down the rabbit hole of “I don’t like my life the way it is right now.” I saw where I was headed and decided, for my own sake, to switch gears and share with you a few of things I’m loving this summer. I would love it if you shared a few of your own “best compliments” from your summer in comments below.


Wild Writing with Laurie Wagner
: Being a part of this writing group is changing me. It’s a safe space to write, to access the unconscious, to clear the mental cobwebs, and to sit + laugh + cry with women who tell the truth. This is no small thing. It’s held at the wonderful Tea House Studio and has been a dreamy way to spend my Thursday mornings.

Belly to Belly Bartermart
: I’m part of this local food barter group that brings together food crafters each month to swap homemade goods. I generally bring a handful of jars of fermented sauerkraut and come home with pretty incredible edible loot in return. I’m hoping there are more of these popping up throughout the country and that you might even consider starting one wherever you are.

: Loving this task + project management service that fits right into my Google-themed world. I’m am a full on gmail, gmap, gchat, gcalendar, gdoc, gpedometer kinda girl so GQueues has been a welcome discovery . I’m also very excited to share with you some of the projects it’s helping me to organize – stay tuned!

: This latest book from the sage Geneen Roth details her experience losing 30 years of savings (a million dollars) to Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme. From this devastation she explores how our relationship with food is not so different from our relationship money and how both deserve, and in fact need, our concious attention. My copy is soaked through with highlighter ink.

Blue Chair Fruit Tayberry Jam
: I’m not a jam person. I don’t really have a big sweet tooth and you’ll never see me start my day with toast. That said, I happened upon a jar of Blue Chair Fruit Tayberry jam (just one of their many incredible fruit-explosive flavors) and have been swirling it into plain whole milk yogurt as an afternoon snack….divine.

Meadow Salt on a summer tomato
: Last summer I spent 10 days in Portland on sabbatical and was sure to visit The Meadow, a mecca for salt lovers (or lovers of things enhanced by salt). If you read Harry Potter, imagine Ollivander’s Wand Shop, except with tall shelves lined with hundreds of glass jars filled with salt from around the world. They offer tastes of everything…but no water…so you end up narrowing in on your pick fairly quickly. I still have a few jars left from my trip and I’m loving slicing up sweet, aromatic tomatoes and sprinkling them with big crunchy flakes of unique salts. So delicious.

Soul Biographies
: Nic Askew’s gentle and profound weekly mini-film interviews are moving and always cause me to stop and reflect on our shared fragility and the commonalities of the human heart. I always leave fantasizing about commissioning Nic to do a recording of my grandfather as we are approaching his 89th birthday. Nic’s artful way with a camera and a question is hard to resist.

Go see this movie if you can. It’s a fascinating documentary that sheds light on a world I knew little about and a moving portrait of an ordinary yet extraordinary man. Best movie I’ve seen all year.

So what are you loving this summer? What is worth your time, attention, or money? Do tell.


posted in things i heart
July 19, 2011

emmakisstina’s 4 Eyes

While Evangelical Christianity isn’t my personal path, I find these words from, Charles Swindoll, an evangelical minister, so grounding and such an eloquent reminder of our power in life that I had to share them.

No matter our lot, no matter the goody bag we were given upon birth, we are sovereign and powerful beings in charge of the lens through with which we view life.

When I first came upon this passage I was so enamored with the words and sentiment that I hand wrote it and framed it, twice, giving one to my grandfather and one to my mother as gifts. Like the sound of a meditation bell, whenever I walk past one of these quote in their houses, I am instantly brought back to the perspective of empowered choice and gratitude.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable.

The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.

:Charles Swindoll

July 13, 2011

Jen Louden is like the north star of women for me.

Radiant and powerful because she practices greeting life with kindness and open arms, because she cultivates a deeply loving relationship with herself until it becomes second nature, because her drum beat is all her own, and because she understands on a cellular level that we are each here to ultimately be of service.

Jen is a best-selling author, leader of powerful retreats, master of ceremonies for her online Savor and Serve Cafe, certified life coach, expert Satisfaction Finder, and all-around maven of self-care.

The way that Jen lives her life and the work that she offers to the world gives me, and many others, a shining direction to walk towards. She embodies everything about being a well-fed woman and I know you’ll enjoy her interview as much I did…

Jen, what are you TRULY hunger for?

To immerse myself so deeply in each moment I am a Mary Oliver poem.

To gently let go of thoughts again and again so that I am here, in this body, sipping tea, writing this.

To align myself so fully with life there is no separation. To create and nurture women from there. Pure, strong, no apologies.  Without concern for labels, branding and other “marketing” noise.

To fall more in love with my beloved every day – with who he really is, not who I want him to be.

To dance more!

To align myself more deeply with my health.

To shine compassion without strain.

To follow my truest desires rather than my surface moods.

To do less and experience more.

What’s a craving that you previously denied that you now happily satisfy? How has this impacted you?

The craving to refuse to be enslaved by shame.

If there is no lying shackles of shame, suddenly there is only this moment and this honest encounter with you, with these words, with my dogs lying nearby, with the pain in my neck.  Without the moldy shame shroud, I can realize I want to get up and stretch (rather than have to, should, must or I am not taking care of myself). There is the desire to speak clearly and honestly here, not a story that I must dazzle or be better than ________ (fill in the blank with whatever writer you currently admire).

And on it goes, freedom begetting freedom, healing spreading like a pool of warm honey on a fresh (gluten free) biscuit.

What are you a conduit for? What comes through with ease, meaning, and spark?

Nurturing and permission. Delight and aliveness. Questioning and learning.

I can’t help but nurture you by offering you love, resources, and experiences of permission.

I can’t help but ask you to question what diminishes you, and to teach what might support you in expressing and delighting in your essential goodness.

I can’t help but ask you to share your goodness and bounty with the wider world.

It’s what I return to again and again. It’s what I was born to do.

Favorite bite in recent memory?

Street cart food in Portland, Oregon with my daughter. We were looking at colleges.  I liked what she ordered more. Some kind of spicy Asian chicken dish. Eating in the car, warm and quiet, loving being together, taking a break from all the excitement to be animals eating together. Sweet.

For more of this juicy goodness from Jen, check out her website and Twitter feed!


July 8, 2011

Big Bean Photo’s Sweet Dreams

“Do you see a distinction between healthy hungers and unhealthy hungers?” Jamie Ridler asked me last week as she interviewed me for her Creative Living podcast.

“Give me an example of an unhealthy hunger?” I said.

“Like, I’m hungry in the morning and so yes, I am going to have that cake, I want the whole thing!” Jamie replied with a slightly giddy laugh at the thought of this devious act.

I smiled and said “I don’t think cake for breakfast is a bad thing. Are you connecting or disconnecting? Are you moving closer to your Self or farther away from your Self?”

That’s the difference between a good hunger and bad hunger: does it move you closer or further away from your Self? does it connect you to your Self or disconnect you from your Self?”

It’s that simple.

And, yes, it’s that complex…in that you can’t just follow prescribed rules of good foods and bad foods. good portion sizes and bad portion sizes. good times to eat and bad times to eat. good cooking methods and bad cooking methods. good food sources and bad food sources.

You have stay present. You have to listen inward. You have to remove Judgement’s place at the table. Is this hunger moving me towards my Self or away? Listen. Ask. Allow. Allow. Allow. Feed yourself.

There is no reason that cake for breakfast can’t be the best hunger in the world. It’s just not that simple. And yet it is.

This applies, of course, to hungers for things other than food. Hungers to up and quit your job. Hungers to buy something shiny and new. Hungers to be with friends. Hungers to get it on. Hungers to wait. Hungers to go. Hungers to stay. Hungers to run away. or towards.

July 5, 2011

I like to think of Desiree Adaway as a wise, rooted mother tree. The kind that is so majestic and knowing that it serves as the town gathering place. Desiree the tree, as I imagine it, radiates in such a way that you know it’s the  center of something important.

I imagine that many others who have been fortunate enough to cross Desiree’s path (or sit at the base of the Desiree tree) would agree that she is all these things: wise, rooted, magnetic, centering, and maternal.

Desiree Adaway, if this is your first time meeting her, is a coach, consultant, speaker, organization builder, storyteller, and Principal of The Adaway Group. She works with non-profit organizations to be strong, sustainable, and best serve their communities. I have a feeling that we’d be much better off if there were more Desiree Adaways in the world.

I can’t recall how I first found Desiree, but I can recall how I felt when I read her e-book Unconquerable – I felt deeply resonant, moved, and called. It is Desiree’s awakened heart that sets her apart from most people you’ll meet and it is her awakened heart that I needed to ask my Well-Fed Woman interview questions to. Here are her thoughtful words…

What are you TRULY hungry for?

I am hungry for community, not just for me but for everyone. I am hungry for a world where we hold people and questions in a place of community  and  allow that place help us make decisions about how we live our life.  Living has  taught me that true, deep meaningful love always include compassion, mercy and community.  When you feel compassion and mercy (not pity) you want to reduce the suffering of others. I think I used the wrong word– you NEED to reduce the suffering in others.  In my quest to show compassion and mercy to others I have shown these sacred gifts to myself. I have heard compassion and mercy described as being complementary to wisdom and necessary for enlightenment. I believe that to be true but they are also important to building community. I am hungry  for  us as a nation to recognize and respect the  foundation and nurturing framework of family and community. The need  to make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together. It takes a mindful village to prosper and it is a joy and blessing for each of us to participate .

What’s a craving that you previously denied that you now happily satisfy? How has this impacted you?

My need for self-care. I am 45 years old and I’m just beginning to learn the true need for this.

I cannot care for others until I care for myself on every level.

It finally became clear for me when I saw it as the practice of building and developing ourselves in our own interests as well as in the interests of the world, seeing greatness in the good we do and share in the world. We are the world. As we go so goes the world. Hurt people hurt other people. Healed people  help to heal other people. It’s that simple.

I need to be whole, healthy and healed to continue to do my work. Reframing my thoughts on self-care changed my life.

What are you a conduit for? What comes through with ease, meaning, and spark?

Nurturing. Love. Dreams. Connection. Community.

Favorite bite in recent memory?

Some French street food….beautiful rabbit pate and beautiful handmade artisans cheeses.