Power Posing to Freedom
The photo above is me in 1995, my first L.A. photo shoot. I look powerful and badass, which I should have felt because I had just been scouted on the sidewalk, introduced and set up for a shoot with an impossibly cool photographer.
During the shoot, he nonchalantly said, "Huh? You're prettier than I expected." and at the end, he referred me to Elite and Ford the two most significant agencies at the time. I signed with Elite a few days later. It was a dream come true for a girl raised on Seventeen Magazine in the era of supermodels.
But... there was a problem, well many. At that point in my life, my beliefs were strong and consisted of, I'm not worthy, and I don't belong. I felt anything but badass. I blushed anytime I was asked what I did, I would squeak out almost inaudibly, "I model" then I would turn into a beet. My blushing was severe and debilitating, and the embarrassment about the blushing only made me redder.
One way I could feel in control was my severe eating disorders that had started before but got really real during that period. What I see now is, I didn't feel worthy of being nourished, and I didn't feel worthy of taking up space, so I attempted to shrink myself. I used outrageous workouts and rigid scheduling for eating, sleeping, and exercise as punishment. I was a literal "hot mess," even though those old photos show something completely different.
It was like living in a cage of pretend. I pretended to be cool and together and perfect, but I was coming apart at the seems under that sleek exterior. I never experienced much success in that career because I didn't own my power, my truth, or my beauty. In that state of mind and that state of being, I was caught by dysmorphia, and when I looked in the mirror, I saw a troll.
My saving grace and my versions of power posing through this period were my three besties; we were all seekers, navigating our way through young adulthood. We had precious conversations about who we were and why, and who we hoped to become.
I also did extensive work with Landmark Education, my first exposure to a-ha moments and transformation.
Additionally, yoga and the study of yogic philosophy were starting to get super interesting to me.
Finally and thankfully, I had enough. I woke up one day and chose healing, self-compassion, authenticity and my brilliance I quit modeling because in fact it was killing me, and at the time it was taking me far away from my truth. I was completly out of alignment.
I'd like to say my journey was quick and I had it all figured out in 6 months, but no... It's been 23 years, and I'm still tweaking behaviors and beliefs every day to uncover my truth. However, the growth and healing that has occurred in the last five years have been exponential.
How? I finally invested in support and structured accountability in the form of therapy, coaching, and personal growth study. I also chose to open my heart over the old pattern of isolation so that I could establish and in some cases re-establish a tribe of supportive, loving, souls.
Flash forward to today.
Work in progress? Always!
A woman who practices non-negotiable self-care, rest and fun based on self-love?
A woman who surrounds herself with supportive energizing people who love and want her to succeed?
A woman who is ending a family legacy of self-sacrifice, depression, hiding and self-medicating, by modeling self-love, authenticity, and bold self-expression to her daughter?
A woman who has found her purpose and is willing to share her gifts with the world?
A woman who can get up in front of almost 1000 people and share her truth in service of people breaking open to their version of brilliance?
I don't share this in a "look at me I'm so great and evolved" way, but, as evidence that if I can do it... your dreams and your best-fulfilled life are possible too. If you have had enough of the limiting behaviors and beliefs that hold you back and you are ready to uplevel and move towards your dreams now. I want to invite you to The Oxygen Mask 3 part Workshop series starting on May 4th.
I have carefully curated, exercises and practices to make a perfect starter course. I intend to help you bring awareness to the patterns that are holding you, hostage so that you can finally move through them and find some freedom on the other side.
Click here for more info
What??? No cookies?
Our plane was shifting in a big way seemingly on every available axis. We were warned over the loudspeaker that the ride would be rough, but this was ridiculous! My family was in the back, my daughter next to me and we were thoroughly experiencing the "tail slide" that the pilot blamed for canceling the drink and snack service. Several times I thought about those little oxygen masks falling from the space above us, and as my daughter lay in my lap battling motion sickness. I kept playing "in case of an emergency..." in my head.
"Put the mask on her first", my head and heart exclaimed.
I quickly corrected my self, "No my mask first."
It was the weirdest thing to observe the argument in my head.
"No, it feels right and makes sense to take care of my young, scared, almost ill child, actually it seems absurd not to put her first. "
"Wait wait wait, me first so that I can serve others! "
Back and forth it went. We never had that emergency, and if we did, I would have followed the instructions and masked myself first. But, holy cow what a clear picture I got that night about how and why it's so hard to commit to self-care.
Most of us are experts at self-sacrifice, we somehow believe that if we put everyone and everything else first, we will be satisfied because we feel in control, and everyone else will be happy due to us. Self-sacrifice is seen mistakenly as a sacred duty. Well let me tell you, that is absolute B.S., but that pattern runs deep in us. The truth is when we put ourselves last, not only are we miserable, withdrawn, and resentful, but our relationships, passions and purpose suffer as well.
The Commitment to self-care is just like the oxygen mask argument I was having with my self. Me/them? Me/them? Where we get confused is in the plane our lives depend on a commitment to self, and in real life it doesn't feel that way. I would argue that those feelings are incorrect and that your life, if you want to be well, fulfilled, connected, impactful, and in full expression of your greatness, entirely depends on it!
I invite you to The Oxygen Mask 3 part Workshop series. Over the course of 3 sessions using mindfulness, gentle movement, and communication we will work through specific steps, befriend and revise our limiting beliefs, and create a system for successful self-care based on self-love.
Step 1. Step back so that you can connect to the vision of what life would look like if your prioritized yourself - build awareness around those automatic and sometimes subconscious limiting beliefs around self-care so you can choose differently at the moment.
Step 2. Let go of habits and beliefs that hold you back from self-care and self-love.
Step 3. Say yes in an empowered way to yourself and what you want to create.
Step 4. Discover what your next best step is, formulate a plan and take empowered action.
Step 5. Set up accountability around your self-care so that success is inevitable.
5/3, 5/10, 5/17
@ Pure Body Bliss.91 E Croy St B, Hailey
Space is limited, contact me for more info.
If you ready for this workshop, but not near Hailey, Idaho. Please contact me to share your interest. I have a virtual version in the works, with a wait list.
There I was in my freezing cold car in the grocery store parking proving miracles can happen anytime anyplace.
I was in the middle of a coaching call, and my coach asked,
“What will having a successful coaching practice do for you?”
I answered, “It will show me that I have finally tapped into my magic, that I’m sustaining it and sharing it and inspiring others to find theirs.
She asked, “Have you ever felt your magic before?”
I said, “Yes” and told this story –
After our life-flight to a metro hospital, my daughter was born during an emergency delivery six weeks before her due date. As intense as that time was, I was called to create magic. I was the most poised, present, wise, and fierce version of myself. I advocated like a warrior for her to leave the NICU thriving and healthy.
During that month in the hospital, many serious decisions came up. Sometimes the professionals advised one thing, and my gut said another. I always went with my gut. Make no mistake when we went home she was small, but she was mighty.
Whitney replied, “So your daughter is your anchor for your magic.”
Let me tell you my world turned upside down, and this is why…
Once we were out of the hospital, we shifted into new parent survival mode. She started a 12-week bout with Colic on her actual due date. My husband and I were ready to drive the family off a cliff. I was isolated because she couldn’t be around germs. As she grew into a toddler, we had the tyrannical 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s. She was the most spirited, energetic, button pushing, raging (when she wanted to be) kid, I had met, and I had confirmation from other veteran parents.
Because I am a human meaning-making machine, Guess what I made these challenges mean?
The voice in my head sounded like this:
I didn’t deserve to have the magical natural birth I wanted, because people like me didn’t deserve things like that. The new mommy’s group wasn’t a possibility which was typical because I never got to belong anywhere. I was so damaged to the core that I had produced the Tasmanian devil, and my parenting was so bad that I had no control which made sense because I could never get it right in life. My laundry list of sad proofs went on and on.
My realization in the car that day was, “Holy smokes, I’ve been using my beautiful girl to anchor all of my disappointments, resentments, and shortcoming. I did that for six years…
In one magical moment my coach pointed out – “your daughter is your anchor for your magic.”
... And everything changed. Now when I look at her, all I see is magic. When I anchored my inner sorcerer and took action from that place, miracles appeared everywhere, in my relationship with myself and others, my work, my capacity for creation and gratitude and love.
I see this experience as evidence that;
A love letter to You
Choosing your passions and your dreams over your circumstances can be really hard, I totally hear you. I see people struggle with this decision over and over again.
I wrote this letter to a client who said,
"When my circumstances change."
How many times have you heard those same words come out of your mouth? How long are you willing to wait for the life experience that you want?
So this is my love letter to you, and me, and all the self-less mothers, sisters, wives out there:
I've been thinking about you...
I noticed you opted out of coaching for now without having a chance to see what it's all about. I hear how busy life is for you and that this maybe seems like not the best timing. But, it could also be a crucial time for you to get supported in the specific way that coaching provides.
Coaching isn't really about a time commitment to "work on yourself" when you're having the experience of not enough time, money, or any other lack. That doesn't sound fun or beneficial in any way... What coaching offers is creating the experience you want to be having regardless of your circumstances.
I only share this because I have had times in my life where my circumstances seemed bigger than my dreams. I was lucky enough to have fantastic coaches and supporters who were a stand for my me even when my life was showing me every which way that it wasn't possible at least not for now. I am a stand for my clients dreams no matter what. Whatever life throws, we co-create powerful solutions
You had said how you want to be more present and at peace, you wanted to be having more fun and abundance. Coaching actually amplifies whatever it is you are interested in creating.
If you have any guilt about being selfish, understand as a woman, the social norm is to put children and most everyone else first. Self-sacrifice is accepted and even celebrated.
I am a stand for women to put themselves first because I have seen over and over when this occurs everyone in the community benefits. We simply can't give from an empty cup, and the services we provide, should not be at our expense. I am a stand for you forever and always, no matter if we work together now, later, or never. My stand for us is unwavering.
When I find myself waiting for the right time or circumstance, I always question, If I am saying "no" to what I want now, then what am I saying "yes" to. Check in, make sure you are saying yes to the right things for you.
It would be my honor to support you in creating presence, clarity, and success in your own unique way. Let me know if you're ready.
I support women in trading the lackluster and agonizing experience of being out of alignment with their truth for freedom and brilliance. Live the life you want to be living... Book a free clarity session and start creating the success you are craving!
My lesson from my Mother
My mother experienced terrible trauma as a young child, psychic wounding which she never really got the proper support for. She lacked human connection and resources that possibly would have allowed her to thrive. I was a witness to her practice of survival, which included isolation, disconnection, victimhood, judgment, and self-medication.
Thinking back to when I was a young child I can see now, how hard she tried to hold it all together. Although I didn't feel super attached and connected to her, she kept me safe, she fed me healthy food, and entertained me by many activities outside of the home to make up for the lack of personal play time and loving connection that she just wasn't capable of.
For much of my adulthood, I've been angry about the emotional neglect, and the mothering it felt like was robbed from me, but also confused and guilty because I know I was well provided for. I had learned well from Mom's model of victimhood, and have been my own worst enemy holding myself back many times in my life. I've had moments where following in her path seemed somehow more comfortable than creating a life I love.
-So interesting how that works.
As I have gotten older, my rage has softened, and I've been able to grow my compassion for her and her personal story. I've gained some skill in carefully watching out for and getting curious about my own dysfunctional survival skills. I have also decided to learn from the experience, and break the cycle rather than repeat it with my daughter. My ability to take personal responsibility for how my life turns out increases each day.
I wish so badly that she would have searched out the right support system as I was lucky enough to do. I wish she could have taken personal responsibility for how her life turned out and realized her power to create her reality.
As an observer, I do see the mighty creator of reality she is, but in my opinion, it could have been a better reality.
At 62 she is in the end stages of alcoholism. She is yellow with jaundice. She is malnourished and has the haunted eyes of a sad, lonely little girl. She is challenging to have a conversation with because her ears are going, but more so it's the wet brain also known as alcoholic's brain damage. Our realities don't match up. Her legs and abdomen are fluid filled. She is in grave danger because she falls. Yes, she's drunk, but alcohol messes with her brain's ability to balance among so many other abilities and it thins her blood so that she could hemorrhage or stroke out at any time. Also, her liver and heart are under extreme duress due to this horrific and self-inflicted disease. This is what she has created.
As awful as it sounds and is to witness, It's strange because she always tells me she's fine.
She doesn't seem fine though. Her denial is just another way to push away responsibility.
Mom says she doesn't want to be a burden, and I believe it, yet when we don't take responsibility for ourselves that is precisely how we end up - a burden.
I tell this story because we can all learn from it. My mother is a severe example of what it's like to slip far out of your sphere of brilliance.
Unfortunately, self-love was not modeled for her, and she didn't find or utilize the resources she needed to learn it on her own. I can see she only valued herself through outside proof; she used my sister and me for that. As relieved as she was once we were out of the house, and on our own, her proof of value was limited.
She didn't understand that self-care, self-acceptance, and self- forgiveness are exercises to be practiced regularly. She never realized her deeper truth as an empowered resourceful woman
(I believe when we get down to it, some version of this is the deeper truth for all of us). Instead, she was and still is the little girl locked inside of her trauma.
As an adult she never really lived authentically, alcohol and other substances were always there to dull her pain and her truth. She rarely asked for what she wanted and almost never got it. I don't believe she ever felt worthy. In her mind, she was a sadly damaged orphan. Like the hungry ghosts from the Buddhist tradition, she was starving and couldn't see that the way to nourish herself and find fulfillment was through self-love, authenticity, expression, and connection.
I do remember times when she had a small glimmer of hope, and some possibility lived within her, but I watched as it slowly drained from her.
I always try to find gratitude for my mother's teachings. Although she is an extreme case, my most recent lesson is how important it is to live with hope and possibility, and how love towards self, un-apologetic realness, and courageous connection to yourself and others feed the possibility of our brilliance. Our brilliance potential is life force, and when we shut it down through hiding, blaming, shaming, and distracting. We die.
***September 2018 Update: My Mother passed away 4-30-2018 from complications of alcoholism. These lessons ring even truer now. I am processing a load of new lessons at the moment as I learn to live in a whole new paradigm. As I gain more clarity, I will be sharing what happens next...
If there is a part of you that is lacking alive-ness set up a complimentary clarity session and discover your unique version of self love, authenticity, and freedom, how to leap over the hurdles that have always held you back, and how to own your brilliance.