November 30, 2011

The Well-Fed Woman interview series could never be complete without talking to Brene Brown the trailblazing, shame-busting, proudly imperfect researcher and writer. It’s an honor to share her wisdom with you today. If you haven’t heard of Brene or read her books, consider this introduction a gift.


Brene, what are you truly hungry for?

Solitude and contemplation are essential for my wellbeing. Most people find it hard to believe that I’m an introvert and a very private person. I enjoy talking about my work with 5000 people, but on a day to day basis,I’m starving for time to think. I’m a contemplative walker – which is like a walking meditation, but more thinking and less meditating. It’s how I sort out my life and my research. I’m sure my neighbors think I’m nuts. I walk through our neighborhood in deep thought, often talking to myself (with my hands). If a really significant idea emerges or I figure out the perfect language to describe a research finding, I often just stop and work it out in my head. I’m probably even rubbing my forehead and pacing. I’ve also been known to stop walking and sprint back to my house.

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

I have two cravings that I once denied but I’m now embracing: sleep and play. I never really thought about either one of them until I did the research on Wholeheartedness and wrote “The Gifts of Imperfection.” Sleep and play emerged as critically important pieces of living and loving with our whole hearts. When it comes to sleep, I have some gremlins around being lazy. People who know me often think, “Are you kidding?” I do work hard, but that doesn’t always silence those deep shame triggers. Today I nap if I feel tired and I get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep every night. Sleep debt is the devil and I’m pretty sure most of the world walks around tired and pissed off.

As far as play goes, that one was much harder. For me, I had to do some work around the combination of gremlins about being silly and self-indulgent and the vulnerability of letting loose.  Again, it was the research that really helped me understand the importance of play in our lives. Dr. Stuart Brown writes that one property of play is “time spent without purpose.” I used to call that an anxiety attack. Now I get it. I’ve started playing more and it’s been such a gift to me and to my family. I feel better, I’m more creative, and I love the new feeling of getting lost in something for the sake of getting lost.

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

I’m really good at observing human nature, seeing subtle connections between our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions, and naming those experiences. It’s my superpower and I get to do it for a living – that’s a gift. I love what I do. It makes me come alive.

Favorite bite in recent memory?

I’ve got a new egg poacher that my 6-year old son calls the egg poach-in-a-tor (too much Phineas and Ferb). I’m hooked on poached eggs with truffle salt right now. It’s delicious.

To get more Brene Brown in your ‘diet’, visit her website and follow her on Twitter @brenebrown.
November 18, 2011

In preparation for my 2012 Well-Fed Woman Mini-Retreatshop tour I’ve been mining the road of life that’s brought me here. I’ve been talking to friends about what they remember. I’ve been listening to Gail Larsen’s amazing Transformational Speaking, and I dug out a sizable box of old journals and have been reading through them. There’s a lot of beauty and sadness on these pages. There is also this poem. It appears to have been written in early February 2006. I don’t recall what it was about but rereading it moved me. It’s kind of like seeing yourself in a video doing things you have no recollection doing and yet you can’t refute that it’s you on the screen. Here are my words, new to you and to me…


When we meet
after years
ours will be beautiful
richDance we will
between the nervous unknown
the vastness we’ll unveil
and then like sinking into
wet sand we’ll slip into
the knowing
the cellular awareness that
all our toils had purpose
wisdom designed to merge

When we meet
we’ll both stop to look back
 over our shoulder
 smiling in the distance we’ll
breathe easy at the far off mountain ranges we’ve summited

When we meet
it will be a being – not a

We’ll be
over runny eggs and toast

We’ll be deep in the Sunday papers

We’ll be whole and shameless —
both fully aware of our lovability – and ability to love

Smiling at the perfection –
the amazing flawlessness of our total being of

When we meet
ours will be beautiful.

posted in wisdom: poetry
November 10, 2011

Sandra Milo

I care. I care about you.

I care about you being at ease in your own skin as you walk towards the kitchen, your closet, your office, your yoga mat, your first date, or the podium.

I care about you being so at ease inside your self that you’re available to life. inherent in which is service.

I care about you coming to know yourself not only as friend rather than foe, but as lover.

I care about you fully expressing your unique wave in this divine ocean we’re a part of.

I care about your knowing that you are just like me and I am just like you. In fact, we are the same.

I care about you swimming with the tide of your precious life. down stream. turned by rapids. in flow. towards your own estuary of creativity.

I care about you looking first towards yourself for that which you look upon another to provide.

I care about where you source your power and whether it’s sustainable or inspiring to you.

I care about you knowing that love is always in the room.

I care about you knowing that if you never leave yourself, you need never fear being alone.

I care about you cashing in your permission slips. they are already signed by virtue of your sovereignty.

I care about you knowing your truest hungers and heeding them as north stars. walking towards. looking up. walking towards. looking up.

I care about you. I care.


November 7, 2011

You know what? I turn prospective clients down. I do it all the time actually. I simply don’t want to spend the months, days, and hours working with someone when I know in my heart we’re not a fit. It’s never personal. It’s just a gut knowing. For that matter, clients turn me down too. It’s part of the process and I totally trust it.

When I turn a client down I try to send them off with a list of my most trusted coaching colleagues to help them on their way. Amy Kessel is top of that list. She is wise. She is warm. She is deep.

I love how Amy prefers to say that she “helps people to unfurl” instead of she “coaches people.” So true.

If you’ve ever had the sense when reading something or talking with someone that they are right there with you, in it, along side you — that’s Amy. She’s in it with you (and me). She makes me question my own unfurling and who I’m becoming. Amy makes me more engaged in my own life and ultimately a more Well-Fed Woman.


Amy, What are you TRULY hungry for?

Solitude.  My kids are 7 and 10, and for the first time in a decade I have my days to myself.  I realize I need empty hours and white space to replenish what I have (joyfully) given away in mothering.  Now that my children are in school, I want to stretch out into the hours that used to be carved into small and unsatisfying chunks.  I find myself reclaiming bits of myself, and reconnecting to my own form of creativity.  It took solitude for me to realize I was hungry for more of the same.

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

Embarking on something new without knowing how to “do it right”.  Amen.

I recently started running.  It began as a favor to my son, who wanted to get in shape for soccer season.  I have never, ever owned a pair of running shoes.  On top of that, I have held a personal belief that goes something like: you’re a dancer, not an athlete. And your 45-year-old body can’t handle the strain of running. Plus, you don’t know how the experts do it.

Like many of my coaching clients, I tend toward over-preparation; I accumulate degrees and other forms of assurance before I attempt to fly.  But all along, I have craved spontaneity.  Creative license.  Freedom from external sanctioning, and reliance on my own inner compass.  Becoming an expert on my own terms, not someone else’s.

So I’m satisfying this craving by busting my own myths, like the one about running.  I’m finding that without following someone else’s advice, I’m able to run farther and farther.  And I love it.  When I get home after a morning run, I’m grateful for the aliveness I have tapped into and full of awe that I have accomplished something in an entirely new way; without training manuals, demerits or awards.  What a precious gift.

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

I’m a conduit for deep, profound connection.  The kind that leaves both of us cherishing what we have rediscovered in ourselves through coming together.  And the soul-satisfied exhale that follows this connection.

When I connect with someone, I find the pathway that invites us to dive deep, to that place where we see and are seen.  I’m fascinated by what dances just below the surface, and endlessly charmed by the process of bringing it out.  And while the flow of the conversation brings along momentum and clarity, it’s the pause I await.  That pause that contains within it the truth we’re each seeking.  I think it’s the reason we all want to connect.

Favorite bite in recent memory?

Mmm, I can taste it now.  Still-warm blackberry jam on thick sourdough toast.  I live on a little Pacific Northwest island that’s overrun with blackberry brambles, and while we resent them most of the year, come early fall we greedily snatch up their bounty.  Our family picked a bucketful one sunny afternoon, and I turned it into a pot of jam we devoured in a flash.  I ate mine on the back porch, in a patch of dappled sunshine.


Other wonderful Well-Fed Woman interviews…

Lori Race

Tara Austen Weaver

Joy Tanksley

Tara Sophia Mohr