I recently mailed a congratulatory engagement gift to a dear friend, and included a note that said “Marriage is the best! We would know, we’ve done it for two months.” Kidding aside, I really like being married. I am surprised by how much I love calling B my husband. I like saying it dramatically, drawn out with a southern twang, and a sassy little shoulder pop. I’m pretty sure he likes it, too. (Though maybe less so when I say it this weirdly in public).
Andy, one of our wedding ceremony Reverends, was spot on; When it is right, you do wake up feeling different. A little giddy, youthful, and in awe of this magic. Naive, but brave; the same, but transformed.
My first marriage was... not right (to grossly oversimplify). I remember waking up the morning after our large wedding, steeling myself more intensely than ever for the day ahead. Layering on my masks of all-is-well. Mustering up the phony smiles and “I’m so happy!” pleasantries that would be, naturally, expected of me at a post-wedding brunch. Every day was like this for two plus years. Armoring up. Hiding. Pretending, and out right lying to the broad majority of people in my life. It was not like this for just me, either. My then husband did not play the role of naive, oblivious partner. Not in the slightest. He was painfully aware of the broken, irreparable energy between us; of the resentful, distant, vibrations I leaked into our home and shared existence. I somehow managed to be both transparent and secretive in my deceit, painfully cognizant of his tender awareness yet choosing to limit us both all the same. It was a terrible time.
I’ve never tried on a full firefighters uniform, but I’ve been told they are quite heavy. I imagine they’d have to be, considering what they are built to withstand! This is what I wore every single day for what seemed like forever. I felt tiny and raw and stupid and cowardly. I felt fake and ashamed and slightly, manically crazed. I hated myself. So I pulled on my heavy, burdensome uniform, hoping to feel protected. The more my ex tried to love me, the more layers I piled on. The deeper I withdrew, the more hurt I doled out with disgust for myself. And you know what? Those suits may do the job within a blazing burn, but it only left me sweaty, tired, uncomfortable, limited and sad. Seriously. So, so, so sweaty.
Listen: It wasn’t his fault. And with time, space, therapy, and two individual stories blessedly taking far happier turns...I learned it wasn’t mine, either.
It just wasn’t right.
But this time? This time it is. This time it is a choice fiercely, openly declared over the course of 6 blissful, challenging, awakening years. On December 17th I woke up feeling giddy, youthful, and in awe of the magic. I also woke up feeling sleepy and comfortable and hungry for the bagels being delivered by my dad, wishing B would brush his teeth because of the cigars he enjoyed the night before. For some reason this realness feels important to note, too.
I guess this was all important for me to write out for a couple of reasons. First, as a grateful nod to my husband of two whole months (said with sassy shoulder pop + southern drawl, of course). I love you, I thank you, I appreciate you. You are so funny and playful and sweet. I really love being your wife.
But I also want people to know that the path of love looks different for all of us. One souls journey is not the story of another’s. Your truth ain’t gotta be my gospel, and vice versa. I want the person who may not have gotten their intimate relationship “right” the first (second, third, or fourth) time to see how very possible it is to not only try again, but to succeed. I want the person who is armored, ashamed, or flailing under a sweaty cloak to know that while disrobing from the suit is most certainly, frighteningly difficult, it is not necessarily going to leave you exposed to a scarring flame. In fact I’d argue that if the intention of undressing is both freedom and healing for all, then getting naked in your truth just might turn the blaze of shame into a soft, welcoming light waiting to guide you home. For what it's worth, I think this is true across all of life. Not only in partnership.
If you’ve followed my blogging journey at all over the past several years, you’ll know that marrying Brandon was not the result of some big ol’ stroke of luck. A bit of luck? Sure. The mystery of timing will always amuse and confuse me. But my joyful wholeness is mostly a testament to a hell of a lot of work, effort, reflection, travel, conscious choices + changes. It is the treasure born of forgiveness, acceptance and letting go.
I so deeply wish this for each of you. If you have it - keep at it. This is some of the work most worth doing. And if it is your soul’s desire - keep at it, too. You are most definitely worthy of the giddy, youthful awe of magic.
From our wedding ceremony…
For you, there'll be no more crying.
For you, the sun will be shining.
And I feel that when I'm with you,
It's alright, I know it's right.
To you, I'll give the world.
To you, I'll never be cold.
'Cause I feel that when I'm with you,
It's alright, I know it's right.
And the songbirds are singing, like they know the score.
And I love you, I love you, I love you, like never before.
And I wish you all the love in the world.
But most of all, I wish it from myself.
And the songbirds keep singing, like they know the score
And I love you, I love you, I love you
Like never before, like never before, like never before.
Do Good, Be Well, Keep Loving,
We cannot run from our fears. They are fast, resourceful, and relentless in their attempts to paralyze us or make us choose against our souls core desires. And, they are also great teachers, challengers and motivators; they are invitations to question, to affirm, and to grow.
When a client so much as implies that one of their goals in coaching is to learn how to never be afraid of anything again, I offer them a full refund. I also request they refer me to the person who is able to do this for them, as that is a skill I'd be interested in seeing before I die.
Joking aside -- The point is not to never feel fear, or need to beat it out of our systems in order to be transformed. The point is be a witness to its purpose, and its message. *To observe it, without absorbing it.* To feel so connected to our own innate courage for living a life of authenticity, that while its presence is a part of our emotional story, it is not the driver, the judge, or our gospel.
This takes practice. Probably a lifetime's worth of it. But it does get easier. It gets softer, too. You can absolutely fill your toolkit with resources much better suited to serve you -- that is what we work on in coaching. It is a relationship that each of us could stand to explore, and check in on. But not one that needs to lead the way.
Do Good, Be Well,
A block to coaching I hear fairly regularly from interested parties centers around the price tag of committing to a package. "Oh, I don't think I can afford that right now..." kind of thing.
And I get it. Somebody's gotta keep the lights on, and whatnot.
But this, in my humble experience, is more often really just a way of saying: "I'm *unwilling* to make this work". Or worse: "I am not sure I'm ready to be transformed."
Money is energy. What we appreciate, appreciates.
Coaching absolutely requires a degree of vulnerability to be fully effective, and so many of us fight this tooth and nail, afraid of what we'll discover if we pull back the curtain and allow ourselves to be wholly seen by another.
So I can't help but wonder...
If you do not invest in yourself - your worth, your goals, your spirit, your powerful potential - then who will? Do they know you as well as you do, and will they be present day after day, hour after hour? The only relationship we are guaranteed for the entirety of our days on earth is the one we have with ourselves. People will come and go. Jobs come and go. Houses, pets, families change. You are the one constant. What do you want that to look like?
Money is energy. What we appreciate, appreciates.
How are you spending your energy? Is your ROI made up of fleeting satisfactions, or unshakeable fulfillment?
And, do you believe you are worth the investment?
Because I do.
Do Good, Be Well,
Where does the answer lie?
Allow me to explain….
Winter has never been a favorite of mine. Growing up in NJ, and attending university in PA, meant plenty of years worth of snow, ice, biting winds, frozen fingers, runny noses and wetness creeping into the accidentally exposed cracks of my outwear, sending chills straight to my bones.
When B and I announced our move to Ohio, many first reactions included a chuckled comment on surviving the winters, vs. what we had been experiencing in San Francisco, California (i.e. no real winter) for a handful of years. Eight for me, to be exact.
But, I figured, it wouldn’t be too much of a shocker to ease back into what I had known so well for most of my life. How hard could it be?
As I began to write this, on December 10th, it was 8 degrees. Eight. Degrees.
Pass me the mittens. We are in trouble.
In some parts of the world, winter spans an unimaginable lifetime. Or, in actuality, months and months and months.
“How do you survive the coldest, darkest months here?”, we asked our wicked smart and funny Icelandic tour guide during our August visit two years ago.
“Oh! We drink. We are great drinkers! Vodka. Do you want some?”
Side note: this same tour guide was horrified that we all ate, and enjoyed, crab.
“We wouldn’t even feed crab to our CATS!”, she exclaimed. Apparently, bottom feeders + seaside towns + storms and shipwrecks =
“You could be eating your neighbor! Ack!”
So, I have officially set out on a journey of Hygge. Investing in Hygge has lit a fire in my soul, and I find myself not just braced for true winter, but excited for the opportunities it offers.
From now until March (ohgodwhy), you will find me indulging this list, on repeat, like my life depends on it:
1. Stevie Wonder Christmas Pandora station. This channel has been carefully curated over 3 years, with diligent thumbs upping and downing, and is now pure winter perfection. It feels like living inside an old record player, and you should want to live there, too. Christmas is over? Humbug! If snow is on the ground, Stevie is on the speakers.
2. Yoga. Bit the bullet and got a 30 day pass to a studio up the road. Warm, sunny room + warm, sunny teacher will hopefully help thaw my limbs and heart.
3. Flavored coffees + teas, inside of cute/funny/pretty mugs. I will never not adore a cleverly dressed cup of something warm and tasty!
4. Baking pastries, eating one (two, probably two) and then delivering the rest to the main office of our complex. This fills the house with heavenly scents but keeps the calories away. Our office ladies are all super young and thin, so I feel no guilt over carb-loading them (read: I feel pleasure).
5. Candles, candles, candles. Most of them flameless. I’m sensitive to smells, so other than the this baby that has been my absolute favorite, I prefer the look of flickering light over the too-strong smell so many exude.
6. Hallmark holiday movies. Our DVR was almost at capacity before the season barely began. #noshame. I wrote about my addiction of these last year over here. Suffice to say, nothing has changed (including the movie plots LOL).
7. Shea butter lotion all over my bodacious bod post-shower or bath, followed by extra TLC on the ol’ tootsies via snuggle socks designed to keep them warm + soft. I love to soak in a tub of bath salts so hot that it almost burns off a layer of my skin. It drives B nuts, but it ain’t my fault he can’t take the heat.
8. Bundled walks with Ivy. (we’ll see how long this one actually lasts). She helps me fill my lungs with fresh air after hours spent indoors, reminds me to stretch, and allow the sun to kiss my skin (on top of proper SPF, of course).
9. Time spent perusing the over stock book shop directly across the street from our apartment complex. I mean, look at this place…
(I do not know why he is sitting like that. For the record.) Books for 50-90% off?! YES YES.
10. Read and read and read and read. Read in bed with a diffuser full of essential oils humming beside me. Read on the couch covered in layers of blankets and Ivy’s head on my lap. Read in the HQ of our complex, in front of the fireplace, with my daily free coffee. Read outloud to Brandon, since he falls asleep trying to read on his own. Story time is such happy time for me.
11. Crockpot meals once a week. Makes everything feel homey, and the leftovers keep so well.
12. Coloring! I say this without a trace of humor: I have been wayyyyy ahead of the zen coloring movement for YEARS. Kicking myself for not capitalizing on my stress soothing go-to back in the early 2000’s. This season I’ll be filling out a coloring book of postcards, then sending them off to people I love, miss, just wanna say HI to. Let me know if ya want one -- Britney sold her work for $10k, apparently, but I’m giving mine away for free.
13. Wine from this cup, as gifted to me by my dear friend, Janice.
Hey, the Icelandic say vodka, but wine works just fine for me. (Plus, I feel they’d appreciate this magical chalice , no?)
14. Card games with B. Skip Bo helped heal us once upon a time, and since then we've become big fans of Phase 10, too.
15. Write gratitude letters, practice presence, curl up with Netflix + B, invite new friends over (hooray! we made some in Ohio!), and know that after Winter, must come Spring.
Happy Hygge, everyone!
I've heard that participating in activities such as apple picking, sipping pumpkin spice lattes, taking hayrides, buying pies and cider donuts, etc earns you the millennial label of being a "basic bitch".
I'm not insulted.
Fall is awesome, and there is a reason why people go crazy for it! The smells, the tastes, the colors, the hot drinks, the cozy sweaters, the cute boots. AHHH. I'm basic bitching out on the inside AND outside!
Big thanks to Ali, our new friend in Ohio, for joining us on a little autumn adventure. Ivy loves Ali, and anything that involves being outside in the sunshine. Just like her mom :)
And thank you to Lynd Farm, for having all of the wonderful Fall musts in one place. It was pretty warm during our visit, but I have hope that Ohio will soon flip the switch to cooler temps, just when the soul requires it. We will most definitely be making a return visit, soon.
This. Set. Is. So. GOOD.
My holiday shopping is basically done, y'all. Hallelujah! Ahead of the game. Now I can just enjoy the fall season with my loves.
These goodies are super for friends, family, teachers, stocking stuffers, co-workers, party hosts. I'll be using some for Ivy's dog sitter, our apartment complex office ladies, my Godson, and Brandon's favorite internship teachers.
And, of course, maybe keeping 1-2 things for myself ;)
I'll be breaking down each item here over the next few weeks. Thinking a give away might also be needed....STAY TUNED!
Message me if you want more info on any of these goodies. I'm sharing my discount on the entire line, and likely will have specials for the individual products when they become available this month! This is a pretty crappy photo, but I couldn't wait to post about these as soon as they arrived.....
PS -- Get your own positive notes, delivered to your inbox daily, here!
WE GOT A PUPPY AND SHE IS AWESOME.
We rescued her about 2 hours outside of Columbus. She's mostly black lab, almost 11 weeks old now (we got her at 9), and her name is Iverson "Ivy" Fell.
I am very, very much in love with her. She has mastered "sit", "lay down", "wait" and "Deal!" aka shake/paw. Words do not do her joy-filled being justice, so I hung out behind the lense for a few days to snag a bit of happy Ivy to share with you :)
Come and meet her anytime!