You Don’t Have to Choose Between Success & Your Soul
I don’t take it for granted that you are trusting me to guide you to creating a life that is yours, instead of living for everyone else. I want to make sure you know that I’m a real person over here: a woman who struggles with her body, her self-worth and also a Mother to 3 kids who is always trying to figure out the balance between me and them.
I’m also a woman who feels free to be myself and go after dreams so big I’m often embarrassed to say them out loud. And I’ve created a life that feels like the truest, most beautiful expression of me in this season, in spite of feeling so down and lost in the overwhelm of life at one point.
And I also know that I will continue to get lost and find myself over and over again in my life. Growth isn’t linear but about continuously pulling back the layers of the onion to get closer and closer to my soul. I hope we will know each other long enough to go through many of these cycles together.
So I’d like for you to imagine us as two new friends (because we are, right?) sitting in cozy chairs with a mug of tea in each of our hands. I’d love to tell you about me, and after, I’d love to hear about you….
I grew up in Sherborn, MA, the sweetest, most beautiful country town on the planet with the most loving parents and 2 younger siblings. I grew up feeling the magic bubbling in the blades of grass and calling to me behind the towering oaks. Magic was real to me, but I didn’t have the language or understanding to integrate it into my life as I grew older, and I quickly forgot that giddy feeling of fairy tales coming true.
When I was ten years old, whether it was my normal growth curve, the stress of growing up or a budding obsession with dunkaroos… I became the “chubby” kids in my class, and it was pointed out to me daily in the most heart breaking ways. One day a boy got the whole bus to chant “SUMO SUMO SUMO” as I walked up the stairs and searched for a seat only to be met with little heads shaking “no” to protect their own reputation. I finally found an empty seat and collapsed into a silent puddle of tears.
I went to Weight Watchers which solidified my suspicion that my life would completely change if I could just lose 10 pounds. When I was skinny I’d have more friends, get the lead in the school play and would be free of the constant ridicule. It never even occurred to me that it was them who needed to change, not me.
Here’s the best part of the story… I’m the worst dieter on the planet. The WORST. I’d make plans follow a 1000 calorie a day diet for a month and break it 3 hours in. I’d buy a bottle of diet pills and only take them for 2 days. I had zero “willpower”.
As I grew up, I excelled in school, danced, did theater and sang and was blessed with two incredible boyfriends (not at the same time) who loved me and my body (even though I never really believed them) but the pain of constantly wishing I had a different body always loomed in the background. I always thought my life could be so much better if I could just lose 20 pounds… but I never could.
My first week of college I auditioned for 4 a cappella groups, the choir, 2 dance troops and a play… I was rejected from everything. Um, what?! I was a STAR in my tiny town, and now I was nothing. I found myself at a concert later that night and talked my way back stage because I used to be a bit of groupie for this specific band in high school. There I met the group of students who planned all of the events and parties on campus. Since I never felt cool enough to go the parties in high school, this felt like a great opportunity to re-invent myself.
For the next 4 years you could find me throwing parties for up to 500 people, producing huge concerts like the Roots, Guster and Wyclef, managing huge budgets and a team of 20-30 students. I loved it. It was creative, taught me about business and managing people.
Luckily, I went to class from time to time and one day this cute jock with a cocked baseball cap (I was into emo guitar player-artists at the time) sat next to me and every cell in my body started exploding like a fireworks show. I followed him to lunch, found out he had a girlfriend and married him 5 years later. I’ll tell you the rest of the story another day….
When I graduated I moved to NYC to be an event planner. I worked events where I met people like Martha Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld and Bon Jovi. One time Debra Messing asked me for a tampon, I died. But I knew that if I stayed in events, I was always going to be “the woman with the clipboard” and I wanted to go to these events, to change people’s lives the way Martha was.
I changed jobs to work in Advertising and managed accounts like Dove Chocolate, Foot Locker and Healthy Choice and my weight started to climb at a startling rate despite working out every day and wanting to be thin so badly. After eating an entire of Dove Chocolate promises while hiding in the supply closet on day 3 of my 7 day juice cleanse I realized, if I was going to lose weight, it would’ve happened by now. I gave up. I gave up on diets and my dreams of becoming a size 2 happiest woman alive that got everything she wanted. So, I decided to make the most of my life and what the body I had.
Without the constant obsession with my body and my diet, I looked around and realized, my life really sucked. I hated my job, I did nothing for fun except binge drinking on the weekends. I didn’t feel connected in my relationship and I wasn’t real with my friends.
I got back into singing and went to dance class. I joined a meditation group and met some amazing women. I read relationship books and planned fun adventures with my boyfriend. And guess what? I lost thirty pounds. I was shocked. I filled up my life with so much fun that I no longer needed ice cream, cookies and alcohol to be my only source of fun.
The freedom and joy I experienced led me to quit my job, go to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and birth my international program Live More Weigh Less, where thousands of women have found freedom from emotional eating and fallen in love with their unique and powerful bodies.
In 2011 I moved to San Francisco and in 2014, just as my business started to really take off, I had my first child and things started to fall apart. I felt pressure to fit myself into the “good mom” box. I stopped thinking about what I wanted and focused on how a “good mom” is supposed to act. As I spent my time running errands, making meals for my family, doing laundry, and making sure my kid was getting everything he needed – all while financially supporting my family because Jonathan was doing his surgical residency– I lost touch with who I was and what I wanted.
My business started to make less and less money while my expenses got higher and higher. I thought I couldn’t be more stressed and then I got pregnant with my second child when my first was just 9 months old.
With two kids under two, 10 employees, a family to support and no end in sight (Jonathan still had 3 years left of his 11 year training) I lost it. The pressure, the immense responsibility, the crippling depression, the desire to be a good mom and great friend and a decent wife (as you can imagine, I wasn’t Jonathan’s biggest fan so that was low on the list) was too much to bare.
I fired everyone, changed the way I did business and did the minimum I had to in order to cover our expenses, which was now a lot easier without the overhead. I finally started to create space for myself, which allowed me to see the ways I was prioritizing the life I felt like I “should want” instead of the life that was a true expression of who I am.
One day, I walked into my therapist’s home office to find an altar with burned down candles, crystals and wilted flowers surrounded by gorgeous pillows and enveloped with the faint scent of incense. My body responded the way it did when I met my husband, like something big and important was being ignited in my soul.
Over the next few years my therapist initiated me in a sacred feminine mystery called 13 Moons. For years I hid this process, afraid to share what I was stepping into to the world, and even my husband. I didn’t feel like people would accept or get the real me.
One day, under the tutelage of Katina Mercadante, I tapped into my soul’s true calling. I wrote a 15-page document about the life I wanted in 5 years. I saw myself gathering large groups of women in New England in open fields and sharing around fires in the woods. I saw a yurt, a stream and lots of land, but close enough to Boston so I could get dressed up for a date every week!
Two weeks after I wrote this, Jonathan and I were laying in bed, our bellies full from our Thanksgiving Dinner, and pulled up the Trulia app for the 100th time to see if anything new appeared in the towns we were considering. Whether it was the wine or fate, we didn’t plug in our “price filter” like we normally do, and up popped a picture of a house on a lake. I was intrigued by the water and clicked.
When I saw the price, I didn’t even want to look at the pictures, for fear of falling in love and being disappointed, but again wine/God took over.
I clicked on the cover picture of the house perched on a lake and up popped a windy tree lined driveway, then sheep, then the living room I’ve seen in visions a million times, then open fields, a barn, and a picture of a trail running through the woods… I’m now looking at Jonathan in shock, and he is looking at me in fear because he sees what’s happening… and then, you’re not going to believe this… there’s a freaking YURT on the property. Yurts are not a “thing” in Massachusetts, and it’s not even a yurt, it’s a huge octagonal building with a kitchen, office and 2 bathroom. At this point, my whole body is shaking, and I’m getting that soul recognition feeling again, and I have to get out of bed and do some deep breathing. The house was way over our budget, but this was, clear as day, our house.
I barely slept that night and the next morning I pulled out my travel altar, asked about the house in meditation and heard, “Google it”.
So I googled the address and a website came up about the various programs that were offered at the yurt-on-steroids. Yoga, reiki, singing workshops, dance, herbalism… this place obviously already had a lot of magic happening in it. I got hooked by the articles written by the owner and was taken by how similar our philosophy is. When I got down to the end of one of the articles I see that the owner of the house is MY HIGH SCHOOL THERAPIST!!!!! Are you kidding me!?
This was the first woman to ever talk to me about my body and was the very first step on my healing journey. The symbolism rocks my world.
A week later I was already planning on being in Massachusetts for my Godson’s baptism, and I emailed the owner to set up an appointment to come see the house.
As soon as I stepped on the property it was clear, this land was sacred, and it felt like I was meant to be there. After meeting with the agents, I went on a long walk through the woods with my old therapist. We talked about what has happened in our lives since our work together many years ago. She told me about the history of the land, the farm, the house and the yurt. We talked about the Goddess, Earth Magic, and Native American Spirituality and seasonal living. So much in common, so much to share, the hours just rolled on and on. She revealed that they had done a shamanic ceremony just a few days before I emailed her to call in the new owner of the land. I felt like I was in a dream.
As all big dreams go, I convinced myself, that this one wasn’t for me. I had a lot of people in my life that told me it was too much… too much space… too many buildings… too much money… too much work.
And you know what? If I was going to buy a house with a Temple in the backyard, I wasn’t going to be able to hide anymore. I was going to have to own that I was into the Sacred Feminine and was a magic maker.
Luckily, I have the best friends on the planet. Women who don’t give a rats ass about boundaries, budgets or being too much. They want me to be BIG to go after the biggest, most amazing life, and they snapped me out of my fog and allowed me to hear that my soul knew this was right.
Jonathan fell in love with it, and we got creative about our finances, there wasn’t a lot left to do but put one foot in front of the other.
We are now proud owners of our dream home – a farm, sacred land and retreat center in Medfield, Massachusetts.
After living here for a month I got pregnant with my third child, completing our family. I was moved to created Whole Woman, an online program for women who want to hear their soul’s highest calling and have the guts (and support) to go after it and I hold regular Full Moon Temples at the retreat center. Everything I do is a true marriage of strategic life change and Sacred Feminine practices. It’s been a wild ride coming out of the “broom closet” in puritan New England, but I have found that when I am real about who I am, women every where reveal how magical they feel deep down, even though they’ve kept it a secret or haven’t truly understood it. I know my job here is to give women permission to be their fully expressed, unique, weird, wild, soulful selves, and it’s been such a gift!
So now, I’d love to hear about you. What are the things you struggle with the most? What do you long for? What do you wish were true about your life? Do you feel safe to be yourself?
I really want to know. Just reply in the comments.
Simple actions to take your life back, know your worth & feel alive no matter how drained, overwhelmed and far gone you feel.