May 23, 2012

Some people become a life coach because it’s trendy and they want the work/life flexibility it provides.

Others are just born life coaches. The kind of skill and wisdom it takes to truly help people live their fullest, most satisfying life is naturally in their bones.

Tanya Geisler is part of this latter category. She is a brilliant coach and, amongst those who know her, revered for her ability to give just the kick in the pants you need wrapped up in the most amazing motherly hug. It’s a wicked combination.

If you haven’t heard already, she’s just introduced her Board of Your Life program and I have to say that I think it’s genius. With these guides, Tanya offers and exciting new, and beautifully laid out, way to find clarity and momentum in our lives. Board of Your Life helps us to gather a circle (or rather an advisory board) of key players from our life to help us see ourselves better, remove obstacles, and move closer to what Tanya calls “the starring role of our life.”

I’ve seen inside the Board of Your Life guides and they, like Tanya, are pretty incredible. No doubt it’s the result of her own well-fed life.


Tanya, what are you TRULY hungry for?

More. (Can you believe it? “More” she said!) I’ve become truly addicted to the belief that I can have it exactly as I want it. So even as my hands are brimming with goodness, here I am, looking for a bigger bowl to house the more-ness that I am hooked on and continue to hunger for.

Because here’s what I see. The more I heap on, the more I share. And the more I send out, the more comes back to me. {Things are pretty giddy around here.}

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

I’ve always been pretty self-aware, which has looked like knowing what I needed. And I could generally figure out how to get it OR make it OR claim it OR make do without it. What’s new is realizing that an easier way might be to ask for it from someone else. ASKING for what I need is new. Quite new.

I’ve had to uncollapse the distinction that asking for help was really asking for permission. {Hint: it ain’t…not by a long shot.}

My Board of Your Life program is deeply rooted in this truth: people want to see you succeed. You actually just need to ask for what you need. I see it every day.

And I work at making sure others are comfortable asking ME. When I notice that I’m so immersed in my own work that I’m oblivious to others around me, I pause and ask my circle: “What do you need from me? I may or may not be able to accommodate, but just ask and let’s see.”

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

Without reservation I know that I am a conduit for people to step into the starring roles of their life. Been doing that since grade school. My indomitable belief is that you are meant to shine. And I know that to do so, you must KNOW your gifts, your values, your strengths. And love them up but good. Then obey them. Devote yourself to them and they will tend to your heart, mind and spirit in ways you cannot even begin to imagine.

Favorite bite in recent memory?

A ridiculously sublime grilled cheese sandwich. (Old cheddar, vidalia onion and granny smith apple). There is precious little that cheese, fruit and bread can’t heal.

May 14, 2012

Last week a very important and dear relationship ended.

This past week I cancelled The Well-Fed Woman retreat to be held at Tassajara. There simply weren’t enough sign ups. This retreat has been a dream of mine and the content was extraordinary. It’s not dead in the water by any means; we’re trying to reschedule, but do I ever feel grief.

Yesterday, Fiona, my family’s dog, died suddenly and tragically at the age of nine. She was the embodiment of love. There was not a mean, grumpy, punky, mischievous bone in her body.  Pure love.

Today, I have a heavy heart.

I have a heavy heart and the unexpected thing is that I was planning to write this post on crying even before any of these events occurred.  Now, I feel an even greater urgency to do so.


Many of us feel shame about tears. Some only shed them in the dark of movie theaters, at funerals, when curled up alone in bed, or maybe only in the confines of a coach’s office. Others quickly wipe away a single tear and issue an apology that goes something like “I’m sorry, I don’t know why I’m crying” or “Ugh, I’m sorry, this isn’t worth crying over.”

Sadly from the time they are small, most of the men in our culture are encouraged to suppress this important and natural emotional reflex at all cost. “Be tough” we tell them. “Be a man.” “Men don’t cry.” In 2012, crying for most men is still a taboo.

Oddly when many of us cry, we feel we need to take care of those who are with us when we come to tears. We feel that we have to make sure they don’t feel too bad or overly concerned. So we buck up, we assure and reassure them “we’re fine” or “we’ll be fine.” We don’t let ourselves melt for fear we’ll bring them down with us.  But sometimes we actually need to melt and we need to trust that others cannot only handle our tears, but can benefit from them.

You see, the result of all the suppression, minimization, and hiding of tears is that we suffer alone. Humans were not meant to suffer alone.

I used to be this way. I would go through the world with a “perfect” face on and only when I retreated to my bedroom or therapist’s office would I give myself permission to fall apart. Unfortunately by holding it all together, I felt profoundly lonely and lifeless much of the time.

Thankfully, I’m not that way anymore. Today, my emotions are fluid and, to me, beautiful. I have a rich community of like-hearted friends who powerfully support me and I them. I have safe places to go and be witnessed. There is no putting on a face anymore for me.

On the other hand, having an online brand adds a complication. Others frequently project their “stuff” on to me. As a healer I must be totally healed; as a wise woman I must know all; and as a woman behind a pretty-shiny website — some people assume my life is always pretty and shiny.

These projections are not true. They are not  true for me or any of my incredible colleagues in the online sphere. No matter how pretty the online interface or wise the teachings, we all have experiences that make us cry.

When I say I want you to cry in public, what I am encouraging you to do is to feel what you feel, peel off the masks and let others (whether close friends or strangers) see you as you are. When we can do this, we heal, we connect, we give others permission to do the same and we are more in touch with the flow of our lives.

Stifled tears = stifled self and life.

When we let go and unleash sad tears, we also break the dam that may be holding back tears of joy, tears of ecstasy, or tears of empathy. I’m not saying we all need to walk around with mascara streaming down our cheeks 24/7. I am simply advocating that we allow what wants to happen to happen and we realize that when we do, the connection between us can be a healing connection.


Reflect: How do you feel after you cry?

Reflect: What story do you have that might be preventing you experiencing emotional authenticity?

Reflect: “What I know to be true about tears is…”


A note about the images I shared here:

The other night I began to sob. It was the kind of sob I have only when I pray. While I am not an alcoholic, it was very much in the vein of the serenity prayer:

“God (or as I say Universe) grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

Heavy emphasis on the last part. I was praying for the wisdom to know the difference. And in my anguish and aching, tears were pouring out of me.

I reached for my phone and snapped a few quick pictures because I wanted to see what that kind of pain looked like and with so many happy headshots of me, I just wanted a visual reflection of my humanity. When I took these photos, I never intended to share them. Yet, I kept going back to look at them, feeling compelled to write this post; so, sharing them seemed fitting.

You and this community most definitely inspires joyful tears. Thank you for reading.

Love, Rachel

“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.” – Isak Dinesen