October 20, 2014

What You Get by Rachel W Cole

Add a splash of gumption. Rinse, lather, repeat.

July 29, 2014

Pleasure is a food group. I’ve been known to say this fairly often.

It’s a way I remind myself and my clients that things other than food go into making us healthy and well-fed.

While the USDA no longer promotes a food pyramid (I think it’s a circle now?), most Americans remember this popular illustration from our childhoods outlining the types of foods and number of daily servings our government claims is optimal.

Inspired by the pyramid’s iconic image, and also as a tongue-in-cheek jab at it, I created The Fulfillment Pyramid.

Instead of me telling you what and how much to ‘eat’, it’s blank.

It’s up to you to fill it out based on what you know about what feeds you.

There is a 2D and 3D version of the pyramid plus suggestions and instructions are provided in the kit, which is free, when you sign up for my newsletter list.

Below are lots of examples readers have sent to me of their Fulfillment Pyramids. I’d love to see yours.

This is a fun right-brained way to approach building your own well-fed life. It’s great to keep on your personal altar or bedside table—reminding to feast in ways that leave you feeling most alive.

If you already are on the list and missed the link to the kit, send me an email and I’ll resend it to you. If you’re not on the list, sign up over there on the side bar or at the bottom of this.

Ask yourself: “How many of my daily servings of pleasure have I gotten today?”

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February 19, 2014

While I'm gone

Blue Deer

It’s not uncommon to have a house or pet sitter for when we’re on vacation. In such cases we often leave a list of to-do’s (“water the plants”), rules (“Don’t go in the basement”), and emergency contact information (“Call the neighbors, if…”) 

Perhaps the metaphor is stretched a bit here, but I’m headed to Taos tomorrow morning to teach and I thought your spirit could use a little reminder information while I’m gone.

Daily

  • Make the bed. Fluff the pillows.

  • Experience pleasure. As much as possible.

  • Talk kindly to your houseplants. If you don’t have a houseplant, get one.

  • Eat what your body and heart wants. Enjoy it.

  • Tell the truth.

  • Savor all the evidence that suggests you too are a perfectly, imperfect human. Take amusement in how much you resist this fact.

  • Marvel at your functioning anatomy.

  • Ask yourself “What am I truly hungry for?”

Once/Week

  • Make art. Big or small. Make something.

  • Smile at an animal or child.

  • Change your linens. Ask yourself: “Do I love my sheets/towels?” Listen to the answer.

  • Do something that reminds you just how connected and alike we all are.

    • : Visit Humans of New York or maybe PostSecret. Listen to The Moth.

    • : Attend a support or spiritual group…or any gathering of humans being real.

    • : As you see strangers, say to yourself silently, “I am them. They are me.”

  • Wear something from your closet you haven’t worn in the last 30 days. Rock it.

  • Call the oldest person you know and set aside at least thirty minutes to talk to them.

In case of emergency…

  • Call the person you trust the most and that has the biggest heart. Be honest. Be vulnerable. Allow yourself to be supported.

  • Go outside. Look at the sky. Breathe deeply. As if it were a new shade of paint, give the sky’s color a name.

  • Send  flowers or an actual letter to another human being.

  • Go on a photowalk. Capture things that start with all the letters in the alphabet, or all the colors in the rainbow, or just what looks interesting.

  • Write it all down. All of it. Don’t edit.

  • Consider your attitude.

Back Monday night.

xo, Rachel

January 28, 2013

foodporn

Porn on the Cob

Many might assume that as a well-fed woman–as the poster-woman for well-fed living–and an avid Pinterest user that I would have a board dedicated to delicious, sumptuous foods.

I don’t.

I don’t collect gorgeous images of food to drool over because food isn’t an obsession for me anymore. At one point in my life, scouring food blogs, food porn on TV, and collecting recipes was a way to distract myself from the fact that I was starving. Years after I began to simply feed myself everything I was truly hungry for these mediums feel empty to me.

The truth is, my real life is often like a living pinterest board of gorgeous food. Whereas I might not (yet) get to put on that incredible sequin gown or swim in my own gorgeous indoor pool at home, I can cook like a rockstar.

I don’t need to look at it when I can simply eat it.

I’m personally rarely inspired by images of food. I want to smell it, touch it, and taste it.

The other, less central reason I don’t collect food images on Pinterest is because I’m conscious that others who haven’t yet become rooted in their own internal hungers look to me for guidance. I do not want people to compare what they eat to what I eat (or pin) and use it as a way to judge themselves.

We live in this ridiculous time of online hero worship and as much nonsense as it is, people do project stories on to me like “She has it all figured out” and “I bet she has a perfect diet” and “There’s no way she eats the crap I eat.”

I don’t want to play that game. I don’t want women using images of food I pin as tools for comparison, projection, or mimicry. I want followers of my work to come home to themselves and their own hungers. It’s my belief that my pinning food isn’t part of that.

If you have food board on pinterest, there is nothing–absolutely nothing–wrong with that. Many people use Pinterest to organize their “recipes to cook” file or because food photography is a beautiful art. That said, if you have such a board, check in with yourself on how you use it. Is it so you can drool of over dishes you won’t allow yourself? Do you use it to collect recipes that are low-calorie, low-fat, or low-carb? In other words, is it a tool in your toolbox of dietary control and disconnection?

Food for thought.

Now come on over and check out how awesome these dogs are!

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

 

 

 

April 1, 2012

Creativity.Parenthood. Relationships. Nature.

Musings on this tender and curious life. 

These are the categories Samantha Reynolds (of the beloved Bentlily.com) divides her daily poems into and they say so much about the kind of poet she is and the kind of human she is.

Observing. Breathing her truth into words. Channeling beauty and anguish and questions from an invisible well of wisdom.

It is not a perfectly lived perfect life that creates a Well-Fed Woman, in my eyes.

No, a Well-Fed Woman sinks deep and stretches her arms wide, unleashing her soul in honest ways. She honors herself and maintains, as much as possible, a fullness from which to live well. Samantha Reynolds is a Well-Fed Woman I’m proud to share with you today.

In her words: “The challenge in writing these daily poems isn’t the 15 minutes at the end of the day when I actually write them; it’s the practice of wrenching my senses wide open as often as possible to notice the details of my day. I like to think of this practice as “story poetry.”  It’s not about sonnets or arcane symbolism; it’s simply about noticing your life.  So make a nest where your fleeting moments can hatch.  You will experience a sweetness you will wonder how you did without.”

The kind of writing Samantha practices and speaks of here is very similar to my weekly sacred dose of Wild Writing from Laurie Wagner and it makes this seeker hunger for more unbridled “story poetry.” Are you hungry for this too?

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Sam, what are you TRULY hungry for?

A raucous courage to speak more fully from the deepest belly of my truth.

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

My set point is quite reserved and I used to wish I could find that unselfconscious kid inside me and release her from time to time.  I lucked out and married a guy who, if I am stiffening into a mood, regularly puts various substances like toothpaste and overripe banana on his head to crack open the moment.  It turns out that absurd behaviour is contagious and I am now able to find that dippy side of myself and let her out to play. The effect is a general ungluing so that all parts of me loosen up – I get closer to my most creative and generous self.

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

My poems unspool at the end of each night with such effortlessness, I can barely lay claim to them. My husband says it’s almost spooky, which I’ve decided is a compliment. But it’s the mystery of creativity that deserves all the credit; I am just the bones she hangs it on.

Favorite bite in recent memory?

My friend Georgia’s sweet-salty cake. Why did we come around so late in life to salt on dessert?  Good God, it’s like we forgot to invent kissing.

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I was so honored a few weeks back to have my poem Preparing Your Lesson Plan featured on Bentlily. If you go check it out, be sure to traipse through Samantha’s archives, it’s a veritable treasure chest.

Oh, and happy National Poetry Month!

February 8, 2012

Laura Simms, the radiant coach and writer behind Create as Folk, has a lot of what the world needs right now. When you traverse her words, both written and shared on camera, you can tell you’re privy to the wisdom of someone who cares deeply about being of service and does so authentically.

Another reason Laura lights me up is that she also took a left turn in her career (her from acting, me from food and events) and dove heart first into coaching, still allowing her previous life to inform and improve her current endeavors. I love seeing how her experience in acting shapes her work online and with her clients, just like I love to see how my years in the food world only enhances my business today.

My advise: embrace left turns.

In her own words, Laura says “A fulfilling career is important, but it’s not the only thing that counts in creating as folk. When you create as folk, you cultivate the life & work meant just for you. I’m into confronting deep desires, honoring possibility, taking risks, and doing all of the above with a sense of humor. Preferably a quirky one.”

Are you in love yet? So, no she’s not just a career coach, she’s the epitome of a wonderful life coach.

Yep, Laura is an über well-fed woman, living her life wide and deep with a big invitation for all of us to play out loud, laugh, and live on purpose. { I’m so excited to meet her in person when I’m in LA for the final Retreatshop! }

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Laura, what are you TRULY hungry for?

One of the most satisfying things that I do is get together with playmates from grad school and do physical theatre work. We do a lot of improvised movement, and when we’re all in the zone, it’s peaceful and exhilarating at the same time. It’s unspoken connection, it’s sweat, it’s group mind, it’s telling stories, it’s being finely attuned and having a broad awareness; it’s knowing what’s going on on the other side of the room without looking. To me, that is magic.

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

To hole up in my nest during the dark winter months. What can I say, I’m a true critter. When the sun goes down, I want to be tucked away. In the winter in Southern California, that means about 5 pm. For the last several years I tried to force myself to go out and be social and productive on winter nights, but it just felt awful. This year I decided to listen to my natural rhythms and do what my critter self wants. I was able to accept and appreciate this yearning instead of feeling broken. The more I’m able to work with what I’ve got, instead of trying to change it, the better I feel.

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

Play. Sometimes silly, frivolous play. Sometimes in a deeper sense: curiosity, taking risks, exploring. I think this is truly at the heart of my coaching work. Even when we’re doing something very serious, there’s still space for light and tender play. When working with clients, I see my role as helping them “get down to you.” To hit the bedrock of their true desires and gifts, and then figure out how to let their work or business be a reflection of that. That feels like play to me.

Favorite bite in recent memory?

My mother-in-law is an amazing Italian cook. Of all things, her homemade pizza is on my personal 7 Wonders of the World list. Dough made from scratch, light brushing of olive oil, fresh toppings in unexpected combinations, and all cooked on a pizza stone over the grill. It’s an experience.

October 6, 2011

I’ve had 15 or so years of psychotherapy.

Yep. Half my life. The better half.

I asked for it for Christmas at 13 years old.

Uh huh.

Psychotherapy is but one of the notches on my branch to spiritual enlightenment (I said ‘on my way’) and radiant meaningful work in the world.

You know what played perhaps the biggest role? Books.

I venture to guess that for every exhale I’ve made I’ve given a book recommendation.  Few of these books will be  new to you, I imagine. Some are best sellers. Others are Oprah-approved. Do not be turned off by this or their location in the ‘self-help’ department. These books are popular because they are excellent and they labeled ‘self-help’ because they assist you to do just that.

Through these books I’ve experienced paradigm shifts that no one will ever be able take from me.

I’ve had concepts explained to me that I could never have understood from any other voice.

These books gave me words when I had none.

I’ve been validated, found kinship, and felt my connection to you and you and you simply because of the books I have read.

Here are 11 that have changed my life.  One for every month of the year and a month off to digest.

Personally, I think this list is worth big bucks. If you read these books – you’re life will almost certainly get more awesome.

But it’s free and I invite you to read up.

  1. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

  2. The Purpose of Your Life: Finding Your Place In The World Using Synchronicity, Intuition, And Uncommon Sense by Carol Adrienne

  3. Broken Open: How Difficult Times Help Us Grow by Elizabeth Lesser

  4. Women, Food, & God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth

  5. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller

  6. Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach

  7. Love and Awakening: Discovering the Sacred Path of Intimate Relationship by John Welwood

  8. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown

  9. There is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hatred by Cheri Huber

  10. Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live by Martha Beck

  11. Essential Spirituality: The 7 Central Practices to Awaken Heart and Mind by Roger Walsh

September 26, 2011

Michele is a woman who radiates so brightly that the sterile 1’s and 0’s of the interwebs fail to diffuse her light. I stumbled upon her through her partnership with Jen Louden and their widely praised Teach Now e-course and am so happy that I did.

Through her own site, Working with Power, Michele describes herself the following way: “I bring infectious joy. Incisive intelligence. Broadband spiritual connection. A luscious, sensual presence. I’m soulful but irreverent. A gregarious introvert. And a discipline-free yogini.” Um, can we be best friends?

I wanted to include Michele in the Well-Fed Woman tribe because I believe so strongly in the work she is doing in the world. Through her coaching practice Michele guides women to live rich, delicious, pleasure-filled, and powerful lives. Through Teach Now she is sharing her teachers brain trust earned over many years of teaching coaching, yoga, and spiritually-based business building. As I’ve said before, this is the course that will have me front row and center.

*Teach Now closes registration this Wednesday at midnight PST and I’m giving away one free pass for the deluxe guided adventure level to the person who leaves the best comment about teaching and being well-fed.

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Michele, what are you TRULY hungry for?

I’ve run around this question so many ways in my life… Mistaken answers I’ve fervently believed have included: Coffee Haagen-Dazs.  My husband Kurt to truly (really, dammit!) love me.  Standing ovations at speaking engagements.  Yipes, though.  Hoovering those things up time and again, I realized I was trying to fill something that was more fear than hunger, more existential than circumstantial.  Now, I enjoy flavors, but hunger for nourishment.  I savor Kurt’s love (more real than I used to acknowledge) AND the bittersweet ache of the imperfection of human love.  And I see ego snacks for what they are.

These days, I’m aware I’m hungry for the belly laughs Kurt and our 3 year old Cooper share at story time.  I’m truly hungry to BE HERE for my experiences: “good,” “bad,” or just du jour.  I notice it’s more the presence I’m hungry for than the particular taste of the experience itself.  Motherhood (including a miscarriage that broke my heart) have taught me that.  I savor the losses, even, because they let me dig my toes into the humus of what it is to be human. I’m hungry for sensation, for experience.

And I’m hungry to write.  To chronicle those experiences in the voice given only to me.  I’m seeing the self-denial and violence inherent in my neglect to give myself enough time to write.  When I don’t write, I’m emotionally and spiritually constipated.  It’s exhausting.  And when I DO write, it feeds me, as well as others.

Those are my true hungers now.

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

Beauty.  I used to fancy myself oh-so-pragmatic… about my own appearance, especially.  I had real disdain for “flurf.”  Had somethin’ to prove.  Now, I devote time and resources to having easy-to-care-for hair, nails, clothes, shoes (shoes!) and accessories that make me feel delicious inside and out.  I realize I am easily a blessing to others when I take pleasure in my own beauty.  A nourished woman nourishes with her presence.  It used to seem superficial to me – perhaps even evil (remember the witch in Sleeping Beauty?) to gain delight from one’s “fairness.”  Now that I see that everyone’s got the beauty (our greatest differences are in how much we enjoy it), I have a sense that our beauty is part of the grand design:  reveling in our own capacity to feel good in our own skin is a part of how we receive, give, and contain love, enlightenment, and power.

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

Metaphor and other curlicues of language.  J’adore mental imagery and I can feel and see what’s inside other people.  So when I’m listening to someone’s situation, I’ll often say “It’s like…” and they’ll report that the metaphor that came was utterly perfect for reasons I could not possibly have known.  I love that!  Someone recently told me I have a way of delivering divine wisdom pre-digested for the masses.  I dunno, but I sure do love and find it simple to say big, real, important junk in a way so’s folk can understand it and ground it down into their lives.

Favorite bite in recent memory?

I gotta go literal here:  We were at Cafe Juanita, near Seattle, for my birthday on August 18.  I had this bite of Seared Foie Gras with Bing Cherries, Candied Ginger and Cacao Nib.  ‘Nother thing I wouldn’t have known I’d love.  The salty-fatty-crunchy-sweet-sour-bitter explosion in my mouth was a full-body delight.  A delight compounded by the fun of sharing that dish and about 10 others with Kurt and five other people I love.  Scrumptious!

To get more Michele in your life visit her website Working with Power or follow her on Twitter @lisenbury.

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July 28, 2011

There is something about being a well-fed woman that is all about being free.

And there are few things as freeing as dancing. Though the truth is, I don’t really dance. I like a good traffic light jiggy or weekend Nia class, but beyond that I’m not really one to let loose on the dance floor. Yet I’d like to and imagine I will dance more in the coming years as I deepen into living an unselfconscious, pleasure-filled life. And what’s fits that bill more than dance?

Dance is what drew me to Jamie Ridler, the big dreaming creative of Jamie Ridler Studios. She hosts an annual, virtual dance party and it totally captivated me this Spring. Here was this joyous woman just moving her body easily to the rhythm for all to see…and it was magical. After watching her I found myself assigning dancing to my coaching clients as homework and sending them links to Jamie’s dancing as inspiration (as I have no videos of myself dancing – yet).

I should add that Jamie does a whole lot more than just dancing. She is also a coach, wildly creative workshop and activity leader, and she hosts the fantastic podcast Creative Living (stay tuned for an interview with yours truly in August).  Jamie’s vibrant spirit, and the many projects that come from it, is infectious. No question – she is a well-fed woman and I needed to find out more.

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Jamie, what are you TRULY hungry for?

There’s power in this question. I answered easily. Too easily. So I took a deep breath, reached into my heart and looked, really looked, for what I’m truly hungry for – so here’s the truth.

To work around the table.

I’m in a big growth phase. Jamie Ridler Studios is shifting and I’m so excited about what’s to come. I’m digging into systems. I’m building new architectures. I’m growing new visions. And I’m feeling drawn to a couple of projects I have no idea how to do. I love forging into the new. I love creative adventures. I love learning. And sometimes, I ache, really ache, for someone to say, “Hey, Jamie, want some help? All you have to do is…”  Or when I’m struggling to see the core in the middle of all of the possibilities and I’m thick in the middle of things to have someone say, “Hey, you know, it’s really about ___, isn’t it?”

In theatre, there’s this powerful magic that happens when you have a team of creative people around the table. Everyone has their own specialty. Everyone has their own viewpoint. And there are these magical moments when you’re working on something and click, it becomes clear. That’s what I’m hungry for right now.

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

Rest. By nature, I’m driven. I love to create stuff. I love to make things happen. I love to eat life up! But sometimes that leads to pushing, straining, holding on too tight and growling. And it’s often led to crashing.

Now, I listen more. I let myself sleep or go for a walk. I take off random mornings to go to the beach. I take my journal and grab a coffee. I give myself some “chair and stare” time. When I nourish myself in this way, I’m more available to life. I’m more resourceful, more creative and definitely more joyful.

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

Joie de Vivre. I love life. I love that we get to love one another. I love that we are all so different. I love that I can eat raspberries. I love that there are so many possibilities. I love that we get to create stuff. I love that we can hear one another’s hearts. I love that there are oceans and theatre and champagne and river rocks and HGTV. I love that the day starts with morning and ends with night. I love that we dream. I love that people yodel. I love and celebrate this complex, vibrant gift of life and I hope to spread the love.

Favorite bite in recent memory?

One of my favourite things in the world is that my husband and I cook together. I love the way we’ve settled into a rhythm. I chop, he stirs and we talk about our day. He stands in front of the stove. I stand on his right. He gets everything out. I put everything away. I taste things as we go. He waits until the end. And then we jostle for who gets served first. It’s awesome.

Recently we made spicy red lentil soup at the recommendation of my sister, Suzie the Foodie, complete with aromatic Indian spices that she tucked into my suitcase on my last visit. Every moment of cooking was filled with anticipation. It looked and smelled so good! We kept thinking, “Ooh, this one’s a keeper!” and it certainly was. Talk about a meal filled with love!

For more “Joie de Vivre” from Jamie, check out her website or follow her on Twitter!

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