Don’t Mess with My Imperfection

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I was talking with a client the other day who was struggling with moving forward on a big project at work. Why? 1) She was afraid she'd somehow “mess it up,” and 2) she was afraid that people would then judge her for her “imperfect” product.

As my business coach likes to tell me, “Imperfect action is better than no action.” I think this advice can be applied to reclaiming body love as well. Sometimes our inner critic takes over and prevents us from moving forward.

In today's podcast, I talk about what to do when your inner perfectionist is getting in the way of you taking forward action. I hope it serves you!


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What Do You Really and Truly Want? (Reflection Questions Inside)

By | Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 2 Comments

I posted a question on a survey to my tribe recently that asked “What do you really and truly want?” A surprising number of women wrote back, “I wish I only knew…”

As I write this, we are in between two eclipses – a powerful lunar eclipse on August 7 and a powerful upcoming solar eclipse on August 21. I can't tell you the number of women who have shared their feelings of being unsettled, unnerved, feeling lost or stuck and not knowing what to do over the past few weeks. It seems as though we are having a collective crisis of faith – in our country, in our world, and in ourselves. That can be a very scary feeling. I know because I've been feeling it too. Even if you're not into astrology and have no idea what phase the moon is in or which planets are in retrograde, I know that some of this collective crisis of faith/ sense of struggle does have to do with the energies of the eclipses – I think we're all feeling it, even if were not consciously aware that these things are happening in our world right now. We are energy: thus, energy affects us, and eclipses, in particular, tend to highlight for us things that might have been in shadow before now.

Of course, the real question is: how do we navigate through this time of uncertainty? I have two things for you today: 1) a set of reflection questions to help you gain clarity on whatever you are struggling with, and 2) a video on how to move your energy level/vibration when you're having one of these feelings. I hope it serves you.

Reflection Questions:

1) What are you rebelling against or resisting? In other words, what's really irking you right now? Why? Dive deep here and keep writing until you can't write anymore on this one. The deeper you dive, the more clarity you will receive. So don't sell yourself short.

2) What is your big vision? What do you here to do? It's okay if you don't know (some of these feelings of being stuck or lost that my clients have been coming to me for over the past few weeks involve these very questions) – don't beat yourself up about it. Just pose the question and allow Universe to show you the answer in the coming weeks. Breathe and be open to receive.

3) If you do know your big vision, what have you been doing about it? Again, this is not an opportunity to beat yourself up if the answer is nothing. It's an opportunity for you to reevaluate and perhaps, in the moments in between, give yourself time to vision a little more or work on making it a reality. It's also an opportunity for you to ask the question: where I've been holding myself back or self-sabotaging? Again, there's no blame or shame here. It's more of a process of inquiry.

4) How have you been taking care of you lately? It's very difficult for us to gain clarity on anything if we are not taking care of ourselves. Again, use a lot of self-compassion for this one. If you feel like you haven't been putting you first or taking good care of you, now is the time to reevaluate how you can make yourself a priority in your own life. (If you're not sure where to start, and you haven't checked out my new free gift The Well-Nourished Goddess Starter Kit, you can claim yours here.)

5) What's your energy level or your vibration right now? Are you feeling good and positive about things – even in the areas in which you are struggling? Are you feeling negative and a sense of despair or gloom? In today's video, I talk about what to do if the answer is closer to the latter than the former. The bottom line is this: it's difficult for the Universe to give us what we want if we don't think it's possible.

6) If you're feeling like, “Well this is great Dr. Mary, but I don't have time to work on any of it,” then answer this question: What are you saying yes to that you really want to be saying no to? How can you set better boundaries around this particular issue to free up a little more time for you to work on what actually is important to you? (See last week’s blog if you need help.)

In sum, if you're struggling right now, know that you are not alone. A lot of us are feeling the same basic sense of uncertainty or feeling unsettled. And that's okay. Not everything is going to be solved today. Rather, I invite you to feel into these feelings with a sense of inquiry and use what you find there as motivation to take forward action that is in alignment with where your Soul is calling to you. It's time to step up and do the work so you can move forward in positive ways in your life.


Why Paying It Forward Can Be An Important Tool on Your Healing Journey

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Some days life is going great; and some days you feel like a fraud/feel like you've taken 20 giant steps back/wish you could crawl back in bed. I get it. I've been there.

One of the things I used to do (and still do today because I love doing it) when I was having one of those days/weeks/months was to pay it forward. Each day I would do one thing nice for another woman to help increase her Body Love. Some days I would give a compliment to every woman I saw. Some days I would leave sticky notes with Body Love messages on them in random places in my workplace. Some days I would just give a big smile to everyone. What I noticed was this: not only did I brighten other people’s days, but I felt really good about me. What a great way to reinforce your Body Love! It’s time to pay it forward!

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Setting Healthy Boundaries

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It was 7pm on a Sunday night. My phone vibrated. I was in the middle of a guided meditation I was listening to on my phone, and yes, I stopped meditating and looked at my phone because it startled me. I saw it was a text and finished my meditation before I read it (believe me when I tell you that there was a day not too long ago when I would have stopped my meditation and responded to that text immediately, so I have actually come a long way!). 

After meditating, I read the text. It was from a former student who wanted my feedback right then on a personal statement she was writing. At one point in my life, I would have dropped everything and spent an hour of my Sunday evening off reading and rewriting something for a student. But I stopped that behavior a few years ago. Why? Because that kind of behavior left me depleted and exhausted. Because that kind of behavior also left me feeling resentful toward whoever was asking me to work in my “off hours” and angry at myself for being a people pleaser and yes woman (more on that in today’s video). Because that kind of behavior ultimately made it difficult for me to show up and be of service at all.

I had a big aha moment around setting healthy boundaries seven or eight years ago. My then boss and I were madly emailing back and forth working on the logistics of a job offer we were going to make a candidate we didn't want to lose to another employer. The catch? It was Christmas Day. Yes, I spent hours on Christmas Day helping my boss write an email offer to a candidate. My then husband asked me why I was working so much on Christmas. I gave him the same excuse my boss kept telling me – that we didn't want to lose this candidate. He pointed out that it was unlikely she'd be checking her email on Christmas or that she'd get another job offer until after the holiday break anyway. I'd love to tell you that he was right… but that candidate was checking her email and accepted our offer… on Christmas Day. (As my boss said, she fit right in!)

The absurdity of the situation didn't really strike me until a couple of weeks later when my boss was bragging in a meeting at work about how we snagged our best candidate on Christmas Day. One of my colleagues commented that it was inappropriate to be emailing an offer on Christmas and interrupting our candidate's holiday with her family. My boss told her that it was okay as she didn't have children. I sat there and wondered why having children gave you a permission slip to actually take Christmas off when my plans with my family (although with no children) didn't qualify.

I would love to be able to tell to that you that things changed forever for me on that day and that I became an expert at setting healthy boundaries at work and with loved ones overnight. But, like much of life, learning to set healthy boundaries was a journey and is still a work in progress for me. In today's video, I share the key pieces involved in learning to set healthy boundaries. I hope they serve you and help you learn to set healthy boundaries for yourself. 

Planning For Those Moments When Life Takes You Off Track

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I wish I could tell you that once you've healed – whatever the struggle may be – that you'll never have problems again. That everything will always be rainbows and puppy dogs and butterflies. But, let's face it. Life happens. Your mother-in-law comes to town, your boss makes you work overtime to get a big project done, the holidays send you into a tailspin. 

I can't prevent life from happening any more than you can. But what I can help you do is make a plan for when life happens. I can help you figure out what your triggers are and what to do when you: 1) know they are about to occur, and/or 2) they've already happened. You can do this. I've got your back. In today's podcast, I walk you through this process. I hope it serves you. Much love!


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The Worth It Quotient

By | Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 2 Comments

I had an “aha” moment the other day. I was doing my Sunday afternoon planning for the week ahead and answering the weekly prompts in my Leonie Dawson daily diary planner (love that thing!). I had an inspiration to flip through the entire year and look at what I seemed to be asking myself for most often. Without fail, when I asked myself the question, “What do I most want to give myself this week?” every single answer had to do with my own time.

For an entire year, my intuitive responses have been telling me that I needed to give myself my own time. Clearly, I haven't been doing so or I wouldn't be asking for it every single week. Thus, the big “aha” moment: If I don't give myself the precious resource of my own time, I'm going to keep asking for it. The feeling of never having enough time for me isn't going to go away. It will just stay there on paper, unfulfilled, as it has done for the entire year.

I followed that aha moment with meditation. I asked my guides for help. What they shared with me was interesting. My higher self – my inner goddess – said to me: You need to develop a “worth it” quotient. If your most precious resource right now is your own time, then you'd better make sure the way you are spending that time feels like it's worth it to you. Not to your partner, not to your best friend, not to your coach, not to anybody else, but to you. You are the one you're asking for your own time. This is your next challenge and your next growth edge. (See today's video for more on creating more time for yourself.)

Of course, I wanted to argue with my higher self. Not everything that I do every single day is going to feel “worth it.” After all, I have a day job and online business to run. I still have to do my chores, like doing the laundry, making dinner, and taking out the trash. Are all of these supposed to feel “worth it?” Her response? For everything you do, ask yourself the question: “Is this worth my time?” If it is, great, go for it. But if it's not, give yourself permission to say no and see what happens. Also give yourself permission for the answer to vary over time. Some days one task might seem worth it whereas other days, it may not. And that's okay.

Is everything every day going to feel “worth it?” I doubt it. After all, we're human beings living a human experience. But I hope that this “worth it” experiment helps me shed some light on the answer to that question:

We have five months left in the year. There's a lot going on right now energetically speaking – I'm feeling it, my clients are feeling it, everyone I'm talking to is feeling it. Perhaps we should harness the upcoming energy of these two eclipses in the month of August to help us gain some clarity. What would happen if you asked yourself the question: is this worth it? You're “worth it quotient” may not look like mine. Maybe it's not time that your greatest resource right now. Maybe it's money. Maybe it's your sanity. But what would it look like if you approached your day-to-day tasks with that curiosity in mind? Is this – whatever it is I'm doing – worth my greatest resource – whatever that greatest resource may be?

In other words, does task/time=resource or is task/time<resource or maybe even is task/time>resource? 


Dealing with the Negative Emotions Healing Can Bring Up

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Healing is a journey; a process. As much as we might wish it was a quick fix; it's not. Sometimes we feel great about where we are on our healing journey, and sometimes it feels like we just took 3 giant steps back to where we came from.

Several months after I started my healing journey with anorexia, I met a man who was recovering from bulimia. We thought we could help each other, support each other. It didn't work out that way, however. He ended up just being a trigger for me. I stopped doing all of the things that had helped me to that point in my recovery and I relapsed. I felt miserable; like a failure, a fraud. I had to end the relationship and get back on the road to healing. It wasn't easy – it certainly didn't feel good – but it was necessary for me to continue on my healing journey. 

In today's podcast, I discuss some of those pivotal healing tools that I used on my journey of healing my relationship with my body – the first time and after I relapsed. I hope they serve you.

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Pushing My Limits

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“You’re hard-headed, baby,” my partner said to me as I huffed and puffed and put one foot in front of the other on a gradual ascent.

“Yes,” I replied, “And it’s usually to my own detriment.” And then I stopped walking.

We were half a mile or so up a 2.5 mile climb and I had altitude sickness. I fought with myself for a minute. I shouldn’t have altitude sickness. I’m only at 7000 feet and I just spent two weeks at 8000-10,500 feet with no problem. This shouldn’t be happening. But it was.

I said as much to my partner and he reminded me that this was different. I hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before. I hadn’t eaten enough that day. We were pushing ourselves much harder than we had with our tour group in Peru and Ecuador. This was our second hike of the day. I had had no time to acclimate to the altitude this time. It was okay to stop.

I stood there for a moment and checked in with my body. Could I complete this hike? Yes, but it would cost me. I was already feeling sick; continuing would only make it worse. I took a breath, turned around, and headed back down the mountain. At the end of the day, proving to myself that I could do it wasn’t worth the cost.

“There was such grace in that moment for me… I knew I was capable of it. The reasons didn’t matter. It’s wasn’t something I could muster that day. And that was okay. I was okay. It didn’t mean anything about my [ability] or me. It was simply a moment in time.” ~ Casey Daly

I gave myself permission to not be able to do that hike on that day and I turned around. I’m not going to lie; it was hard to do – to stop resisting fate, to give up, to give in, to surrender – because I knew that on another day, I could have done it. But not on that particular day, and that was okay.

– do we move forward, stay where we are, or turn around and head back the way we came? It’s not always an easy decision to make. We worry about wasting our time. We worry what other people will think. But maybe, we should be more concerned with what we think, with what our bodies and our hearts are telling us. In today’s video, I talk about how I discern if something is right for me or not. This is a process I developed over time; it may be different than your process. That’s okay. I hope it serves you and that you can some useful ideas from it.


The Power of Body Love

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I've been getting a lot of questions about how to learn to love yourself and your body again. This marks the first in a series of posts on this topic. I hope they serve you.

I battled anorexia nervosa for 24 years. For most of those 24 years, I was in denial that I even had a problem. After all, at that time I had spend almost 15 years building a successful research practice in my academic career studying factors that influenced body image and disordered eating and exercise. I was the researcher, not the victim. At least that's what I told myself.

Then one day a good friend of mine confronted me about it. After a week of fighting back and forth with him, I finally realized he was right. It took a lot of courage for me to “come out of the closet,” so to speak, about my eating disorder. To admit that I studied body image and eating disorders because, at a subconscious level, I was trying to understand myself.

My research focus shifted as I began my healing journey. Instead of simply focusing on factors that made women and men at risk for developing an eating disorder, I turned my focus to prevention. I wanted to know what helped prevent disordered eating and what helped those who were currently suffering actually heal. So as I studied these factors in my research lab, I became my own guinea. As I would read about and conduct research studies on things that helped, I would try them on myself to see if it worked for me. 

Early on in my studies I discovered something called self-love and I wondered how that could apply to my body. Could I use love toward my body to help me heal? And, if so, what would that look like? I came up with an idea. I wanted to write a love letter to my body. Little did I know how powerful and transformational this activity would end up being. It was very hard to do, but it became one of the most important pieces of the puzzle in my healing journey. In today's podcast, I walk you through how to do this and why it works. If you want a copy of my body love letter, you can get yours here. I hope it serves you.

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Practicing the Power of the Pause

By | Goddess Wisdom, Walk the Path, Wisdom Blog | No Comments

“In the silence within, you will find relief, truth, and the instructions you’ve been seeking. Go there. And listen.” ~ Brendon Burchard

Ever sense I can remember, I've had a love- hate relationship with Summer. On the one hand, it is my favorite season because it's the only time of year that I can take a couple of months off from school. I use this time to recharge, get creative about what I want to do next, and focus on projects – like my business – that I may have neglected a little bit during the school year. On the other hand, I dread the summer. It's too hot to go outside and do all of the things I was looking forward to doing because of the heat.

But more importantly, I've recently realized that with summer comes a little bit of a feeling of depression and being lost. I frequently get the blues in the winter time – seasonal affective disorder gets me almost every year. But this is different. This has nothing to do with lack of sunshine and everything to do with my abundance of free time.

I found myself feeling this combination of mild depression and “lostness” both last summer and this summer and it struck me by surprise. Last summer, I chalked it up to having thrown my back out and missing a planned trip to Yellowstone Park. This summer, I thought it was just grief at first – I lost my beloved 10-year-old German Shepherd Kolby at the beginning of the summer – combined with having a bad reaction to the vaccines I took before leaving the country.

The feeling when away when I was in Ecuador and Peru, but seemed to return the minute the plane landed back home. That's when I realized – this isn't just grief. This has nothing to do with being injured or sick from vaccines. This is something else entirely; and it took me about a week to figure out what it was.

It's discomfort with the pause; it's discomfort with the idea that I'm not working full-time. During the school year, I'm so busy that sometimes I forget to eat. That's why I look forward to summer so much. I get my “me” time back. And yet, at some level, it's as though I don't know what to do with myself. Without the structure of classes and meetings and deadlines, I forget what it's like to be me. To just be.

I started to explore this idea further. When I look back over my many summers off – after all, between being a student and being a professor, I have been doing this summer thing for over 40 years now – I realized something. I never really have gotten the knack of taking the summer “off.” I always manage to fill my time with something. Last summer I taught an extra class, then did a series of paintings, and presented my work at a research conference. This summer I also taught an extra class in May, and since then, I have been working on a telesummit I will be launching in September (which I am so excited about!!!!). Every single summer – at least since I've been an adult – I've always managed to fill my time off with just another form of do-ing.

I found this realization very interesting. Why, when I supposedly look forward to summers, do I fill my time with other things? That's where the discomfort comes in. It's a discomfort with just be-ing; it's a discomfort with the pause. When I dove deeper, I realized that this discomfort comes from an old pattern that used to define my self-worth: you must be productive to be a value. Like many of us, I learned growing up that my value came from do-ing for others. The older I've gotten, the more I've come to understand that I must take care of me or I can't be of service to others. And the more I've taken care of me, the more I've been able to shift out of this old doing=worthiness mindset. Yet, at a subconscious level, it's still there. If you're taking time to pause (if it’s not a productive pause – more on that in today’s video), then you're not do-ing. And if you're not do-ing, then you're not of value. That's the discomfort. That's the old mindset that I thought I had gotten rid of. Turns out that mindsets can be sneaky though…

So I'm developing an experiment for myself – a non-doing experience, a chance to practice, and maybe even, enjoy the Pause. If this is something that interests you, I'm planning to do this experiment for the next 30 days and see what happens. I talk more about this experiment in today's video, although with other types of pauses that I am more comfortable with and integrate into my self-care on a regular basis.

I hope you'll join me.