July 28, 2012

If you come to my apartment you’ll see that I have a wall full of art, each piece selected because it serves as a reminder of what matters to me and what I need to hear (while still pleasing me aesthetically). I put them up when I moved in four (or was it five?) years ago during a time that I really needed healing.

I love this practice and I wanted to share it, so here are three 4×6 prints I made for you and your walls. In addition to awesome decor, these also serve as great homemade postcards, desktop graphics, and Pinterest fodder.

Maybe your cubicle needs some life. Perhaps you need something for that back-to-school care package. Or maybe it’s time to update what’s on the fridge door. Use ’em however you like and use the question as a daily practice.

Simply click on the one (or two, or three) that strikes your fancy and you’ll be taken to the full sized image for download (tip: right click on the big one and save it!)

Love, Rachel




July 27, 2012

Birthdays that end in zeros, culturally, carry with them expectations that we have reached some sort of milestone.

As the decades pass, we are taught to take measurement of our weight, our marital status, our career success, and other such acheivments (or failings) on these days.

There is a lot of striving energy associated with them. Is the party special enough? Have we done enough? Are we enough? Is our website pretty enough? Do have regrets? Are we still struggling with that same old issue?

I reject this energy.

I reject making my 30th birthday about taking an ‘enoughness’ inventory.

I was enough on July 29th, 1982 and I am enough July 29th, 2012. My enoughness is infallible. unshakeable. unchanging.

Even in moments when I feel not enough. I am enough, experiencing temporary disconnection from that truth.

So I don’t have a listing of “30 things I’ve accomplished” or “30 things on my bucket list.” I don’t have a list of “30 things I know for sure.”

I just have simple simple gratitude.

As Meister Eckhart says, “If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”

And so, because that’s all there is for me right now, the one thing I want my 30th birthday to be about is giving thanks to you.

It’s been a beautiful and delicious trip so far and we’re just getting started.

If you’re a client, a reader, or a Retreatshop attendee…If you’re a fan, a follower, or a friend…

On this birthday I am full of gratitude to you.

Thank you for helping me to share my teachings.

Thank you for joining me in calling forth the commitment to living life in harmony with our hungers.

Thank you for being kind, curious, engaged, and awesome.


I’m so excited for what’s to come and what I’m going to get to share with you during this next ride around the sun.

Love, Rachel


Me, the abundantly lucky birthday girl, when I was wee.


July 10, 2012

A few weeks back I invited my local coaching clients on a field trip.

We went to the Thursday evening Insight meditation sitting group at the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery.

We went because several of them had mentioned during their sessions that they wanted to attend but were nervous to as they’d never been before. They wondered who would be there. They wondered what the protocol would be. They wondered if they would stand out at the “new kid.”

I’ve been there. Haven’t we all? Just wanting someone show us the ropes and energetically hold our hand so we can find our footing. For my clients, it was meditation. For others, it’s a dance class or online dating.

I love anyone who helps others feel safe, welcome, and at ease when trying something new and that’s a big part of why I love Anna Guest-Jelley.

Anna makes yoga accessible for many people who might not otherwise so easily find their way to the mat. As the founder of Curvy Yoga, she leads classes that are “inclusive, accessible & enriching for students of every size, shape, age & ability” and trains teachers across the country to do the same.

In a sea of intimidating limber and lithe yoginis she is just what so many of us need.

If you can’t get to Anna’s classes in Nashville or just want to explore yoga from a place of radical self-kindness you are going to want to snatch up Anna’s new book: Permission to Curve. I really do find myself squealing with delight as I share this. I care so deeply that everyone — absolutely everyone — be invited to feel at home in their bodies, on the mat, the meditation cushion, and the dance floor.

I’ve long wanted to interview Anna for the Well-Fed Woman series, but you don’t have to wait one more second…


What are you TRULY hungry for?

Self-trust. I’ve received this message (usually the hard way) at least a hundred times the past few years. It’s become especially apparent as I’ve navigated my way from a lifetime of body loathing to body loving. As someone who has been on 65 diets in my life, I suppose this is most evident in how much more I am trusting myself to eat what I need, when I need it.

Perhaps more interestingly, though, it also shows up in several other areas of my life, including making career decisions (like deciding to leave my full-time job last year and transition to working with Curvy Yoga only). It has also affected my yoga practice pretty dramatically. I used to practice with the triple AAAs: ambition, angst and even aggression. I just pushed my body so far, too far. Even getting injured (more than once) wasn’t enough to stop me.

But as I began to listen to my inner wisdom and trust it, I realized that nothing positive was driving the AAAs. For me, they came from a feeling that I wasn’t a “true” yoga practitioner because my body didn’t look anything like most of those I saw in class. What self-trust taught me, though, is that the AAAs don’t have a place in my practice. But what does is self-trust: only from that solid ground can I get what I’m really hungry for — the knowledge that I’m okay, just as I am.

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

The middle way. I’m inclined towards the blacks or whites, eithers/ors. This is true for me in pretty much every part of my life. When I’m in, I’m IN. And when I’m out, well; I’ll forget I was in faster than you can blink your eye.

This passion has served me well in some aspects/times of my life, but mostly it left me anxious and unsettled.

So now I let myself have both/and — delicious food that doesn’t trigger my food allergies, strength and flexibility in my yoga practice, time with my work and time with my husband.

I used to think that only “selfish” people thought they could have both/and. But now that I’m happily partaking, I have to say it feels far from “selfish” (in its typical negative connotation). It feels deliciously whole.

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

I’m a conduit for empowerment. This is the thing I know for sure about myself, as Oprah would say. I’m able to help my yoga students find their internal strength and a practice that works for them. And I’m able to help the yoga teachers I certify to find their true voice — bringing forth their teaching in the way they really want.

Favorite bite in recent memory?

Watermelon. Nothing says summer more to me than that first bite of fresh watermelon.


Thanks Anna! To find out more about Curvy Yoga, find a Curvy Yoga teacher near you, or to get Permission to Curve visit www.curvyyoga.com.

July 4, 2012


This is a short story about a long journey.
This is a story about the spiral climb around the mountain of life.

Have you ever found your way through a bramble of life challenges? Have you ever carried yourself through to the sunny side of addiction or abuse or trauma? Do you know what it’s like to overcome a serious challenge?

Unless you are Sidhartha before he left the palace walls, then the answer is most certainly yes.

And what do we do when we come to the clearing? How do we show that we earned our merit badge from triumph over struggle? We tell people “I used to struggle with…” or “There was a time when…but I’m past that.”

Often these are famous last words.

Boom, there it is again.

We relapse into our addiction.
We find ourselves in another abusive relationship.
We wake up one day and we’re back somewhere we were so sure we were beyond.

This is because life isn’t about one summit, it’s about winding our way round and round until, frankly, we die.

We are each given a set of overlooks (challenges/karmic lessons) as we make our unique climb. When we’re early in the climb and we come to an overlook and get past it, we often, naively, think that it’s behind us. Yet as we circle back around to that side of the mountain there it is again, the same overlook. We kick ourselves for being back at a place we were so sure we’d surmounted.

But, for the most part, we don’t surmount. We move up, we learn more, we get wiser, we come to know our hearts, minds, and bodies just a bit more…but we return.

These are our overlooks for this lifetime.

We always return, in some form.

The key is to a) never say never — know that you’ll most likely be back and b) when you return, realize you’re not in the same place anymore. Yes, it’s the same overlook, but take a minute to notice you’re higher up the mountain and you’ve collected more tools on the way to make this visit to the overlook shorter and better.

Life is a spiral climb.