December 26, 2011

When women sign up to attend one of my Retreatshops they are asked this (familiar) question: “What are you TRULY hungry for?” It has been surprising to see how many – so very many – have said CONNECTION.

And that is right, isn’t it? Connection is what we are all hungry for. Connection to our community. Connection our the land. Connection to ourselves. To our hungers. Often, most of all, we hunger for a meaningful connection to spirit.

Jennifer Wells-McCullough is the medicine we need to address our deep disconnection. She is a woman, mother, writer, and coach who knows deeply what it means and feels like to be in connection….and to be disconnected. She meets people wherever they are and shepherds them, as she says, to ‘live from’ their ‘soul’.

I hope you’ll savor every word of what she shares in this final Well-Fed Woman interview of the year – it’s totally delicious. In addition to being a wonderful spiritual coach, Jennifer is a talented writer to boot. I hope you’ll follow along with what she’s sharing with the world as she’s a point for all of us to find connection.


Jennifer, what are you TRULY hungry for?

Silence balanced by the good kind of noise that comes with monthly bursts of creativity, spending time with my ten year old son (e.g., long walks, being taught how to draw unicorns, dancing around the room), and doing my work in the world. I’m hungry for opportunities to help others remember who they really are and assisting others in being who they are in a world that isn’t always supportive of this. And stories about life. Writing them, reading them, listening to them.

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

I previously denied my desire to live life as a spiritual being versus someone with a long list of shoulds, feelings of not being good enough, and fears. I barely made space for my abilities, gifts, and talents. I silenced the truest part of myself again and again. One day that kind of living almost cost me my life and I had to make a choice. I am so grateful I chose to live soul first and to have found the support I need to help me do so. It has meant more laughter, more love, a new business, open doors, more ease, more flow, and more opportunities to help others do the same. These changes can be found in every single area of my life. I now live from a place that knows I am deeply and unconditionally loved, larger and stronger than I may appear physically, and here to help others find their way back to and live their lives from the essence of who they are.

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

I’m a conduit for deep listening, unconditional love, and the ability to see the Divine in another human being. Along with this comes the way it feels to be able to hold space for another person – their stories, their writing, their fear, their essence. This is something I enjoy so much. It nourishes me.

Favorite bite in recent memory?

Food: Graeter’s pumpkin ice cream.

A non-food favorite bite – I recently traveled for twelve hours to hear someone speak (car, airport seats, plane, car). I wanted to see this person so much, but the uncomfortable seating and heavy luggage had resulted in an aching back. During the traveling, I’d been imagining how wonderful it would be if I could have circles drawn on my back. This is something my mother or grandmother would do and it totally relaxes me. After the event was over, I stood in line on my way out and the person beside me asked where I was from. I named my city and must have looked either stressed or exhausted or both. She reached out to me, gently placed her fingers on my back, and drew circles as she smiled and asked, “And all of the traveling was worth it, wasn’t it?” (it was).

To get more Jennifer in your ‘diet’ visit her coaching website, blog, and follow her on Twitter.

December 12, 2011

Some Like It Cold

As a coach, this is the time of year my clients start to fret about the upcoming holidays. And I can relate. I’ve had my share of Thanksgiving dinners where the tension in the air was harder to cut than the turkey. I’ve had more white winter family gatherings where one or more people were crying or not speaking to another.

So where do we get tripped up? What are these pitfalls? Here are five that I see a lot and each of us has the power to shift away from these and towards a more joyful holiday.

#1 We look for happiness from outside ourselves

If your holiday is only a success if {insert family member name} does or doesn’t {insert behavior} then you’re already set up for disappointment and resistance to the present moment. Others will do as they do and our power reigns only over our own personal domain. This is good news – trust me – because it means your free. You only have to worry about you and that’s more than enough for most of us. Be intentional about where your happiness is coming from.

#2 We forget that it’s a vacation

If you’re an American who’s lucky enough to still have a job, then chances are you are only allotted meager crumbs of vacation days each year. It’s common to spend our precious vacation week or two on these end of year holidays. That said, we don’t often use that time as it’s intended for — to recharge, to rest, to assume various positions of leisure. Plan now. Say no. Be intentional about getting an actual vacation.

#3 We make it about things that aren’t meaningful

Gifts. Portraits. Parties. Shoulds. Shouldn’ts. Know where you get your deeper meaning from. Know what makes a holiday well spent. Know that if you had to give up every single thing that didn’t really matter what you’d need left over to have a meaningful holiday. I doubt it could be wrapped up with a bow or RSVPd to. Be intentional about making this holiday meaningful.

#4 We expect unrealistic things from ourselves

A 6 course meal for 16. Gifts for all 8 cousins. A red-eye flight on the holiday’s eve. Getting through this season without eating sugar. Thank you letters in the mail the week after the holiday. Where are you setting the bar for yourself? Where are you making yourself the martyr? Be intentional about being human and owning that you’re enough without that extra long jump.

#5 We plan all the magic and wonder out of it

A party at 5 and another at 7. Rigidly sticking to traditions that you’ve outgrown. Firm ‘no’s and haphazard ‘yes’s without checking in with your heart. Be intentional about leaving room for the dance of life, for the wonder that can’t be scheduled, and for the beauty that comes when the branch bends.


December 8, 2011

What I’m sharing today is my framework for moving towards a life rooted in love with yourself.

When I reflect on my own journey from self-loathing (step zero) to true self-love, these are the stages I passed through. These are the steps I work with my clients to take. You can’t leap from Step One to Three. And it takes great patience at each point.

And, no matter what step you’re on, self-judgement will always rear it’s head. These steps are not permanent locations, but rather home-bases. They are where you return to, somewhat effortlessly, when you become aware of unkind and unfriendly thoughts or behaviors from you – towards you.

Think about what it feels like and what it means to make peace with something.

Acceptance. Tolerance. Not trying to change. Not necessarily preferring. A cease-fire.

Think about what it feels like and what it means to make friends with something.

Kindness. Affection. On the same team. Got your back. Buddies. Laughter. On the same side.

Now, think about what it feels like and what it means to make love with something.

Intensity. Deep affection. Pleasure. Delight. Intimate knowing. Union. Flow. Natural.

There is a total absence of being threatened here. There is the full body knowing that coming together, unifying, connecting, sharing, and giving unconditionally is right. There is no ‘other’ here.

You are in relationship with yourself. The most important relationship you will ever have.

What step are you on? How do you know? How could you move towards friendship or love?