March 27, 2012

The Idea

Henry David Thoreau once said “The question is not what you look at, but what you see. ”

Pema Chodron writes “We have two alternatives: either we question our beliefs – or we don’t. Either we accept our fixed versions of reality- or we begin to challenge them. In Buddha’s opinion, to train in staying open and curious – to train in dissolving our assumptions and beliefs – is the best use of our human lives.”

Eckhart Tolle teaches that “the primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.”

In today’s world, so much of what we perceive to be true is simply an illusion. Yes we have eyes and a big frontal lobe, but we are not equipped with eyes that see clearly. Sorry.

It’s crucial that we dedicate ourselves to seeing The True. The ramifications of our blindness can be found near and far. We pour torrential amounts of precious human life down the “self-loathing” drain and our illusions can be found at the core of all that makes us feel separate — all forms of prejudice are based on these skewed perceptions of reality.

There’s good news though. You’re not alone in this affliction, all human beings struggle to see reality as it is rather then their version and it’s workable. We can practice seeing through illusion. We can become intimate with our unique funhouse glasses and begin, moment by moment, to bring life into focus.

What illusions run your life? What stories or beliefs that you are know in your heart are not true run the show?

Perhaps it’s the “I’m not enough” illusion. Or maybe it’s the “I’m too much for anyone to love/handle” version? Or maybe it’s both.

Is it the “I’m lazy” story when in reality you are not? Is it the “I’m not worth people’s money” when in fact your time, skills, or product are indeed of great value? Is it the “I got the short end of the stick in life” when in reality we’re all doing our best to travel an equally hard road?

What are your illusions?

The assignment I’m here to give you is one I give my clients frequently and it’s mighty.

1. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle.

2. Above the left column, write one of the following words: MYTHS, ILLUSIONS, STORIES, BELIEFS, or LIES. Whichever resonates the most with you.

3. Above the left column write TRUTHS.

It should look something like this:

 4. On the left, begin to write your list of illusions. (i.e. I am not enough.)

5. Now, on the right, write the corresponding truth for each illusion — even if you only cognitively get that it’s the truth. Hint: it’s probably the opposite of whatever you wrote on the left. (i.e. I am enough just as I am.)

6. Post this list somewhere you will see it daily.

7. Challenge yourself with any of the following:

“May I live the next hour by the righthand side of this paper.”

“May I live today as if the righthand side of the paper were my reality.”

“May I make this phone call/write this letter/work on this project as if the righthand side of the paper were known to be true in every fiber of my being.”

“May I show my children in my actions that the things on the righthand side of the paper are true.”

8. Live increasingly more moments from The Truth until you look at the lefthand side and wonder how you ever thought those things could be true.


March 20, 2012

One year ago today my website went live and I officially hung my digital shingle. Two years ago this week, the effusive and amazing-career-coach-extraordinaire Michelle Ward did the same. We’re biz-a-versary buddies. But that’s not why she’s a Well-Fed Woman. It takes a bit more than that to make it into this prestigious club.

Michelle is all about women (and men too) feeding their truest hungers – no matter how big, unique or when in life they show up. She is, in my book, a high-priestess of hunger-satisfaction. *bowing down*

I love how many ways she shares her mojo and wisdom, from workbooks to workshops and group coaching to a clubhouse(!), Michelle really dishes up a smorgasbord of service. And as someone who knows first hand what it feels like to work in a soul-killing job, for abusive bosses, and wondered just if my dream job (what I do now) was more fantasy than reality…I know just how much we need the goods Michelle is dishing out.

Michelle, what are you TRULY hungry for? 

Relationships and connection. To me, that goes hand-in-hand. I’ve always said that I’m nothing if not a relationship-builder, and I think that’s why I’m so fulfilled by being a coach and community-builder. I seek out ways to connect, and to matchmake (I am a Jew from Long Island, after all!), and that makes me ridiculously happy.

And I can’t not add that I’m hungry to prove that you can have a fulfilling, successful, lucrative career with something you’re passionate about, even if it’s a crap economy and the career you want is un-grown-up-like (like owning a pizza fire truck!).

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

Being the boss of me! Even when I was a musical theater actor pounding the pavement, I lived my life by The Shoulds: sing the “pretty” song (instead of the one that showed off my belt-y, comedic chops), wear muted clothes so you don’t distract from your audition, blend in with all the other thousands of twenty-something girls, insert other-BS-I-didn’t-know-to-ignore here…It wasn’t until years later that I realized I got cast as loud, funny, sketch-like characters, and I turned things on its head by wearing a dress (& matching headband!) that looked like candy DOTS to every audition, as well as getting headshots with a bright blue background and starting every audition by waking them up with my loud mix/belt.

That’s when I started getting remembered (often!) and that’s when I started getting tons of callbacks. I’ve brought this into When I Grow Up since I founded it in 2007, always feeling confident that if I remained vulnerable, authentic, and quirkily me, I’d attract the type of people I wanted to work with. Amen and hallelujah – it worked, even with the insane amount of “amazeballs” I’ve thrown around!

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

Enthusiasm. Optimism. Singing. I’ve heard over and over without fail that my clients leave our sessions with more energy than they started, feeling like they can actually do this, and I know I’m to blame. I also never realized how much I sing-talk with my clients, but I had it pointed out to me and now I notice it all the time. I can’t help it!

Favorite bite in recent memory?

The lamb stew at Putnam’s. Perfect for winter. I dream of it.

March 7, 2012

Summer Sisters

I spent my junior year of college suffering from anorexia.

I spent my senior year full steam ahead in my recovery.

One of the most helpful parts of my recovery was reading.

I borrowed every book in entire state of Ohio college and university library consortium on eating disorders (from memoir to clinical manual), feminism, and spirituality. I simply devoured information as if my life depended on making sense of  myself – because it did.

Back then I’d go to the pick-up desk at my school’s library nearly each day and sink into my latest arrivals. One of the books that arrived was Patricia Lynn Reilly’s Imagine a Woman in Love with Herself: Embracing Your Wisdom and Wholeness. Reilly takes a astonishingly deep and astute poem she wrote and turnes each stanza into a fully fleshed out chapter exploring qualities that encourage women to love themselves and steer the ship of their lives.

In the song “Killing Me Softly” by the Fugees, Lauryn Hill croons “…singing my life with his words…”

That’s how I felt when I read this poem – like Patricia Lynn Reilly was singing my life with her words.

10 years later my heart feels full when I see that I no longer have to imagine this woman.

I am this woman.

If you’re not familiar with “Imagine a Woman” I’m excited to introduce you…


“Imagine a Woman I”

Imagine a woman who believes it is right and good she is a woman.
A woman who honors her experience and tells her stories.
Who refuses to carry the sins of others within her body and life.

Imagine a woman who trusts and respects herself.
A woman who listens to her needs and desires.
Who meets them with tenderness and grace.

Imagine a woman who acknowledges the past’s influence on the present.
A woman who has walked through her past.
Who has healed into the present.

Imagine a woman who authors her own life.
A woman who exerts, initiates, and moves on her own behalf.
Who refuses to surrender except to her truest self and wisest voice.

Imagine a woman who names her own gods.
A woman who imagines the divine in her image and likeness.
Who designs a personal spirituality to inform her daily life.

Imagine a woman in love with her own body.
A woman who believes her body is enough, just as it is.
Who celebrates its rhythms and cycles as an exquisite resource.

Imagine a woman who honors the body of the Goddess in her changing body.
A woman who celebrates the accumulation of her years and her wisdom.
Who refuses to use her life-energy disguising the changes in her body and life.

Imagine a woman who values the women in her life.
A woman who sits in circles of women.
Who is reminded of the truth about herself when she forgets.

Imagine yourself as this woman.

“Imagine a Woman” © Patricia Lynn Reilly, 1995


“Imagine a Woman II” 

Imagine a woman who is interested in her own life.
A woman who embraces her life as teacher, healer, and challenge.
Who is grateful for the ordinary moments of beauty and grace.

Imagine a woman who participates in her own life.
A woman who meets each challenge with creativity.
Who takes action on her own behalf with clarity and strength.

Imagine a woman who has crafted a fully-formed solitude.
A woman who is available to herself.
Who chooses friends and lovers with the capacity to respect her solitude.

Imagine a woman who acknowledges the full range of human emotion.
A woman who expresses her feelings clearly and directly.
Who allows them to pass through her as naturally as the breath.

Imagine a woman who tells the truth.
A woman who trusts her experience of the world and expresses it.
Who refuses to defer to the perceptions, thoughts, and responses of others.

Imagine a woman who follows her creative impulses.
A woman who produces original creations.
Who refuses to color inside someone else’s lines.

Imagine a woman who has relinquished the desire for intellectual approval.
A woman who makes a powerful statement with every action she takes.
Who asserts to herself the right to reorder the world.

Imagine a woman who has grown in knowledge and love of herself.
A woman who has vowed faithfulness to her own life.
Who remains loyal to herself. Regardless.

Imagine yourself as this woman.

“Imagine a Woman” © Patricia Lynn Reilly, 1995


Somehow Imagine a Woman slipped my mind when I put together my list of life-changing books. It should absolutely be on this list:

11 Books That Changed My Life.

March 5, 2012

On Sun, Jan 2, 2011 at 4:07 AM, <> wrote to <>:

Name: Rachel Cole
Twitter: @rachelwcole
Website: (soon)
Blog: (soon)
Phone: 510-333-****


My missive? A killer bio that captures my complexity (in person and profession) and spits out a simple song of ‘Whoa. She’s Amazing. It all makes sense. I want to know her/kiss her/hire her.’

I’m launching my website. When? As soon as i get the copy nailed down. Amazing designer and I have been working on it for a month now. Lots nailed down. Lots still in the works. Progress finding my words for the “About Me” page…minimal.

What’s it about? “Coaching & Creative Projects for a Well-Fed & Full Life”…mega question: What are you truly hungry for?

I could say more, but let’s talk.

Happy 2011, Rachel

Have you ever met a celebrity before they were famous?

Or maybe seen a band play when they were just the local kids with a guitar, a drum kit, and greasy hair on their way to become platinum selling artists?

That’s kind of how I feel about Alexandra Franzen. I worked with her back in early 2011 when she charged $50 an hour for stellar copywriting. Then, like wildfires, word spread that she was/is a genius, a prodigy, crazy dependable to over deliver, psychic in her ways of capturing a person through words, and just lovely. Her rates are up to $1500 per day and word is she’s booked through July.

Well-deserved. Every person I’ve sent her way (dozens) have come back saying she blew their mind and would have happily paid double. No exageration.

Just to give a teeny sense of how she helped me, the Fulfillment Pyramid Kit used to be called the Food Pyramid Project. *shutter*

It’s like she sprinkles magic glitter and poof: eloquence, sass, strategy, clarity.

Every once in a while someone hits the scene who ups the game for all of us. Who creates art that makes us stop, think and awe-struck.

That’s Alexandra and she is one of my absolute favorite well-fed women.


Alex, what are you TRULY hungry for?

Toast with Marmite. No, wait…toast with VEGEMITE.

Also: creative fulfillment & complimentary first-class upgrades & hugs from my mom & loopy-lovey gazes from my dude & a business that’s really a legacy (disguised as a revenue stream) & a weekly shipment of Voluspa candles & very, very rowdy sex.

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

It’s a craving I didn’t even realize I had — off-line time. After I took my first digital sabbatical, I realized how much I craved the nourishment of being present, being alert, and being fully tech-free — even just for a few hours.

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

Rhymes. Puns. Your new signature catchphrase. Stories. Manifestos. The bio that pulls your wild-child life into a singular whole. Hat-drop poetry. Hot & heavy thank you notes.

Also: random titles of X-Files episodes. They just come to me. From God. Or maybe Netflix.

Favorite bite in recent memory?

Apple fritter from the infamous Granny Donut in West Saint Paul, Minnesota. It’s an annual tradition, for my brother & me. Always worth the 45 minute drive. Rain, sleet or sub-zero frost. Always.