Welcome to the Island of Misfit Toys

the_perks_of_being_a_wallflower_quote_7On Friday I saw the most amazing movie, The Perks of Being A Wallflower. It’s the kind of movie where you want to have long conversations about the themes with everyone you know, and you notice its impact sinking in on deeper and deeper levels over the following days. In the movie, the main character, Charlie, a freshmen in high school who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, befriends a group of seniors who are artsy, quirky and outside of the mainstream. These friends also have their share of challenging life circumstances including abuse history, kleptomania, and sexuality/identity exploration. They bond in their approach to coping with the intense world we live in. In the scene where Charlie first meets the colorful characters that will become his friends, Sam, the woman he will inevitably fall in love with, says to him, “Welcome to the island of misfit toys.”

I am a misfit toy, like many of the clients I work with. People often ask me, “Are you in recovery from an eating disorder?” The true answer is – no. However, I know what is like to try to use food to avoid/cope with the pain of life. Although my attempts never developed into a full-blown eating disorder, I have sought solace in the Chik-fil-A drive thru and many, many, many pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

People often ask me, “Are you a survivor of sexual abuse?” The true answer is – no. However, I know the pain of being viewed as an object, not a subject. I have struggled with defining my worth only in my ability to be sexually attractive because of a misguided understanding of a woman’s power.

People are often surprised to learn that I have struggled with very dark times in my life, even feeling hopeless to the point of passive suicidality in my mid twenties. My brain chemistry borders on the bipolar spectrum, and I can experience high highs and low lows. I have been through the darkness and that is why I am in touch with the beauty of my light. I know what it is like to struggle with depression, hopelessness and wishing to be anything else but who I am.

At my core is an emotional, sensitive, intuitive, passionate, creative spirit that is often overwhelmed by the pain of the world. When I was younger, I learned from society that these aspects of myself were weak and not valuable, and so I learned to see myself as weak and without value. These are similar challenges to people struggling with eating disorders and/or an abuse history. Growing up with abuse causes a person to develop sensitivity and hypervigilance in order to survive the situation they are living in. This sensitivity can be so overwhelming in the wide, open world, that many people turn to addictive processes to numb and cope. It is a very scary process to learn to be in the world with one’s sensitive and open heart. Those of us with these qualities learn to judge ourselves, and our inner critic can become the biggest obstacle for healing.

Through my reclaiming beauty journey, I learned to embrace these traits that felt like my greatest weaknesses as my greatest strengths. I use these parts of myself every day to help liberate the women I work with from the shame, criticism and limiting belief systems that rob them of their power. I want to see their brilliant beauty set free, so the world can benefit from the gorgeous human beings I see beneath their struggles.

The last week of February is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. (February 24th – March 2nd) An eating disorder awareness organization I support, Project HEAL, encouraged people on their North Carolina chapter facebook page to create a photo with either “I choose to heal because…” or “I support healing because…” I wanted to join in this campaign, because although I have never had an eating disorder, I am a misfit toy. I know that through self-compassion, people who struggle with eating disorders can heal and free their beautiful selves to help heal the world. This world needs misfit toys. I believe we misfit toys are the answer. I support healing because beneath every eating disorder is a strong, intelligent, beautiful, compassionate, intuitive, creative, powerful person whose gifts can save the world.

Ways to get involved in National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2013:

+ Events sponsored by THE Center for Disordered Eating in Asheville

+ Life is Short, Eat Dessert First, 3rd Annual Project HEAL Benefit in Wilmington, NC, March 1st

+ Through the National Eating Disorder Association: Learn, Find Help, Get Involved

Support the misfit toys.

With love,

Blog Post Signature




ps… Thursday, February 21st is the Embrace the Fabulous You conference for the Frenzied Female! It is not too late to sign-up. I would love to see you there!

I support healing

Why February is going to be Awesome!


I love the word awesome. In fact, I think it just might be my favorite word. When my three year old son, Joey, says it, I can’t stop smiling for hours.

This February is going to be AWESOME. And here is why:

+ Reclaiming Beauty Playshop officially begins! Join us!

+ On Thursday February 21st I will be speaking about Reclaiming Beauty and joining some other amazing women at the Embrace the Fabulous You Conference for the Frenzied Female in Hendersonville. Join us!

+ T.H.E. Center for Disordered Eating in Asheville is sponsoring some amazing events for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDAW) February 24th – March 2nd. Stay tuned on their facebook page for updates. One event I am particularly excited about is a Befriending Our Bodies Yoga series they are offering in partnership with the Asheville Yoga Center. Awesome!

+ I am participating in a 30 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge as part of my personal Reclaiming Beauty process. I’ll be posting daily about the experience on the Reclaiming Beauty facebook page. Hopefully by the end I will be feeling totally awesome.

+ Last but not least… February is the monthly home of Valentine’s Day. I have the best Valentine this year in my son, Joey. In the words of Sarah McLachlan, the love of my three year old is ‘better than ice cream.’ And as I continue to cultivate a loving relationship with the parts inside of me that are all messed up from this Death/Rebirth year, I just might find myself looking into the mirror that day and breaking out into song… “Girl, you are wicked AWESOME!”

Now it’s your turn… what is going to be AWESOME about February in your Reclaiming Beauty journey? Tell me in the comments below.

Stay awesome,

Blog Post Signature


It’s my pleasure to serve you


I spent the past week fighting off the flu. I wasn’t sure if I was depressed or sick, but I tried to stay curious and not freak. Monday and Tuesday night I was in bed by 7. Wednesday I made it to yoga, which felt good and probably got me through Thursday, but Thursday night I was achy all over, chilled and feeling down. Friday morning I woke up and it felt like the flu had taken me hostage. I sent Joey off for his weekend with his Dad, and planned on laying in bed and feeling sorry for myself the rest of the weekend.

Enter an angel in disguise as my cleaning lady, Jackie Tripp. I LOVE this woman. I pay her every other week to come and clean my house. Besides my monthly yoga studio membership, it is my favorite expense. She studied herbalism and infuses her cleaning with aromatherapy and love. She also has healing energy. She came over Friday and gave me an idea for how to kick the flu. I decided to get my butt out of bed and take a ride to Greenlife to gather the necessary provisions.

Who would have thought that on the way to Greenlife, with almost no appetite from the flu, my car would find a way to the Chik-fil-A drive-thru?

Those of you who know me well know my stories about Chik-fil-A. Despite my strong convictions against their policies, it is part of my life rituals to pass through their drive-thru at least once a week for a Number One with Lemonade. I have been doing this for years. I realized after my son was born, when for a brief period I made a daily trip to Chik-fil-A, that the draw was one simple factor… their consistent practice of responding after you order, “It will be my pleasure to serve you at the window.”

I mean come on… I am a mama, and a therapist, and was in a marriage where I was working hard to keep it mutually fulfilling but was not getting much of what I needed. My life was and is about serving others. But where was I getting my needs met? Apparently, at the Chick-fil-A drive thru!

On Friday, after enjoying my Number One with Lemonade, I decided I was going to try a new approach to being sick. I am so hard on myself when I am sick – and lately it painfully highlights my feelings of loneliness. But somewhere between Chick-fil-A and Greenlife, I made a pact with myself. As I nurtured myself back to health, I would keep the mantra in mind… “It is my pleasure to serve me.”

I left Greenlife with the herbal remedy, bubble bath, a new Positive Energy candle, Yogi Tea for Relaxation sampler, a kombucha, Lemon Ginger Soother, Olba’s Oil for congestion and all of the ingredients to make myself an Immune Power Soup with my homemade chicken broth. It was my pleasure to serve me.

I followed my angel, Jackie’s, herbal remedy, nurtured myself like I was my own daughter, took three hot baths, slept most of the day and woke up Saturday feeling able to face the world again. It was my pleasure to serve me.

I feel as if I have passed a test in this Death/Rebirth year… fall back into old patterns of feeling sorry for myself, or find the strength within myself to practice what I preach. You know the answer… It was my pleasure to serve me.


Serving myself provides me more energy to serve YOU! I am excited for the new opportunities available for me to serve you in 2013:

+ In February I will start an open Reclaiming Beauty Playshop. All are welcome! Please contact me if you are interested in getting involved in a Circle of Women who are ready to make a dramatic shift in their Self relationship.

+ I am now available for Reclaiming Beauty Coaching Sessions! These can be in person, on the phone or via Skype.

+ Interested in your Tarot Profile? Reclaiming Beauty Tarot Profiles and Tarot Readings are now available.

It will be my pleasure to serve you, at the window, and beyond.

Much love,

Blog Post Signature



Image: Katie Daisy 


You Can Be Anywhere When Your Life Begins



Skills: Beauty Found

From Contributor: Lindsey Parda

Tattooed above my ankle is the phrase: “You can be anywhere when your life begins.” It’s my favorite line from the movie Crazy Beautiful, which I saw for the first time while I was in residential treatment. I got this tattoo recently, with some of the women I was in treatment with. To me, this is more than just ink on my body; it is a reminder of my journey to life this past year. You really can be anywhere when your life begins. Life with an eating disorder is not living; it is existing, and sometimes just barely. It is making it through days, weeks, months, years; consumed with thoughts over food, exercise, and restriction. Life with an eating disorder is a life spent missing out on all the beauty and adventure the world offers every day, because you’re so far in the darkness of the disorder. It’s being so out of touch with yourself that you don’t even notice the beautiful life you are wasting.

For me, my life began when I jumped out of a moving car. My tattoo is about being scared to death, crying and begging to be left alone in a cold parking lot one Friday night when I chose to end an unhealthy relationship. I did not feel like my life was beginning- I felt like it was ending. I knew that night I would never be the same, and I wasn’t, but for that I am so grateful, despite the pain.

My life began when I walked through the doors of The Renfrew Center to have an eating disorder assessment done. My tattoo is about being faced with the harsh reality of my illness that day, which I chose to minimize as much as I could until I thought I would break from the weight on my shoulders. It’s a strange feeling to have someone tell you that you’re sick and need more help than you’re willing to accept.

My life began when I moved eight hours away to start a travel nurse job just 2 weeks after I had gone to Renfrew. My tattoo is about my life beginning in the most unexpected place, when I started meeting with an outpatient team for eating disorder treatment. It is about the people I have met here who have become family, and the love I have that I finally believe I deserve. It is about sitting here a year later, looking at where I never imagined I would be, and being so blessed that has been the case.

My life began during the hours I spent in outpatient therapy. My tattoo is about the amazing people who have helped open my eyes, despite how hard I was kicking and screaming and digging in my heels in resistance. I did not feel like my life was beginning- it felt like I was always in pain, mentally, emotionally, and physically. It is about letting myself be strong enough to ask for help and remembering that I am worth fighting for.

My life began when I told my parents about my eating disorder. This was one of the single hardest things I have ever done, especially in dealing with the aftermath and hours of family therapy that followed. My tattoo is about discovering that I am unconditionally loved and supported, even if it was a rocky road to get there. It is about strengthening that love and support each day.

My life began when I got a phone call from Melissa’s Voice Foundation, telling me that I would receive help in paying for treatment. My tattoo is about completely trusting someone I’d never even met to basically choose a place for residential treatment- and it proved to be the absolute best place I could have gone. My life began when I met this generous founder of the organization, who hugged me and would not let me go upon meeting. My tattoo is about one women’s passion that gave me a second chance at life.

My life began at residential treatment. My life began as I walked through the doors into a house full of love and healing. I have never been more scared in my life. Words cannot express my thankfulness for the people I met there. My tattoo is about letting others help me change my thinking about myself and the way I live my life. It is about enduring hours of therapy and meals that had me in tears. It is about having times where I cried for most of the day. My life began when I learned to stop being afraid to live. My tattoo is about the incredible women I went through treatment with, who will have a special place in my heart always.

My life began when I drove away from residential treatment for the first, and what I am sure will be, the last time. My tattoo is about Holding On and knowing Pain Ends. It is about having the courage to leave the safest environment I have ever been in, and truly stepping into my life for the first time.

Now it’s your turn- Where were you the last time your life began again? Please tell us in the comments below.

lindseypardaAbout the Contributor: Lindsey Parda calls Nashville, TN home, and has spent the past year as a travel nurse in North Carolina. She is a recent Tapestry Treatment alumni. Lindsey enjoys music, Bikram yoga, photography, and being outdoors whenever possible. She also loves to travel and watch Nashville Predators hockey. Lindsey is currently involved with You Part Two, a pro-eating disorder recovery organization, working to share her experiences and story. One day she also hopes to travel to Haiti and other countries to be able to use her medical background to help others.

Tagged , ,

Slogging through the Swamps of Rejection: A Veteran’s Guide


Skills: Beauty Lost, Beauty Found, Emancipate Yourself, Make Beauty Not War, Self-Compassion

from Contributor: Laura Eshelman

The past 18 months of my life have not been the kindest.  In the wake of failing to find employment, several fallouts with friends, and getting dumped like a sack of potatoes, I’ve spared no efforts to exorcise the residual “owch”iness of rejection.  Although writing a few letters mean enough to make Stalin cry and stubbing lit cigarettes through photos of my ex provided temporary relief for a while, I am still reticent to say it’s done a darn thing to help me move on.  Whether it’s a romantic partner, a best friend, school or a job that’s told you, “Peace out,” rejection can easily become its own beast to battle long after you stop caring about its source because we too often interpret it to mean we are inherently undesirable, or inadequate.  The harshness of the last year forced me to evaluate a lot of the unhealthy responses I developed to mitigate and protect myself from the pain of rejection—and I maintain that there’s little pain out there that compares.  So, here’s a seven-point plan to help others out there.  It might not speed up the process, but you might save some money on cigarettes.

1) Don’t feel obligated to minimize it Not to be confused with re-evaluating your perspective.  Getting stuck on ancillary details about your rejection, such as how long/briefly you held a position or knew the person (or people) who blew you off, does not help you lurch forward.  It can be hard if it followed a long-term and personal commitment, but it can also be surprisingly painful sometimes even without that, and there may be a temptation to harp on yourself for how challenging the situation feels when it “shouldn’t”.  Whether you were fired from a peon-type job that you held for a week versus a career several years in the making, there’s no biological rule for how much pain one individual to the next is “supposed” to feel as a result—no matter what we hear from third parties (and there’s plenty of those, with mouthfuls of nothing useful to say).  Regardless of how much sense your feelings surrounding a rejection make, acknowledge them without judgment…and once you can do that, it’s time to move on to problem-solving.

2)  Do something amazing One of the most awful things about getting dumped, fired, snubbed, etc. is the sense of sheer worthlessness that you’re often left with in the wake.  If you find yourself questioning your intrinsic value or even struggling with guilt, take a detour before you get to Wallowsville.  Learn a skill, discover a new area of expertise, or get involved in something civic.  Taking up a new or unique hobby doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, especially if it’s volunteering—and that goes for any Good Samaritan act, whether it’s an afternoon at an animal shelter or helping a friend move.  Recently, I began volunteering with a local organization that works to reduce HIV rates by distributing contraceptives and other sanitary materials in low-income communities.  In addition to having fun and meeting people who express gratitude for outreach, it’s also forced me to count blessings I usually overlook.  It’s hard to sulk when you realize how lucky you are to be able to afford a simple box of band-aids.

3)  Do something crazy Sometimes the best therapy for going crazy is more craziness.  Be careful with this one if you are emotional and/or prone to rash decisions (perhaps review them with a more level-headed friend first), but I’ve found that doing something like getting a dramatic haircut, a piercing, a pet, or going on a random vacation can cleave some distance between you and the origin of the rejection while waiting for time to do its job.  This tip is the equivalent of a rebound after a break-up, because it can either be very good or disastrous, which is why I stress wariness surrounding spontaneity.  But when craziness is carried out with a little measured judgment—contradictory though that sounds, I argue it is possible—it can be a great mood-lifter.

4)  Build a pillow fort This is both a literal and a metaphoric suggestion.  Literally speaking, pillow forts are never bad ideas, especially if you are feeling at odds with the universe and/or have little money for entertainment.  Symbolically, they represent a cushioned safety-zone from harmful elements, and a return to simpler times.  Nothing makes me want to turn into a kid more than when the ‘real world’ shows its ugly side, and what kind of heartless element shuns a child?  Sometimes this is a good method for self-acknowledgment when we’ve gotten distracted by something that causes us to put our own preferences on the shelves.  The “pillow fort” strategy doesn’t have to necessarily involve childhood nostalgia, either—namely, it’s about re-affirming that you still deserve to feel comfort, no matter what has precipitated a rejection.  Rediscovering lost, forgotten-about pleasures is my own preferred go-to.  Watch an old favorite feel-good movie that you’ve forgotten the lines to, hit up a longtime friend who you haven’t talked to in a while, find an empty playground to take over, or drink something soothing from your favorite mug (as long as what you’re sipping doesn’t compound your problems).

5)  Find meaning in this Remember how Marty McFly’s hand started to disappear in Back to the Future after altering his parents’ pasts almost costs him his own existence?  Not the most pertinent example, since that more to do with plutonium politics and magical DeLoreans than coming to terms with rejection, but I use it because most of our most treasured experiences and relationships come from delicate circumstantial happenstance.  Take a moment to think about the people and opportunities that have sprung up in the wake of being ditched at some point in your life.  Some of the richest friendships in my life are with those who offered allied support after others unexpectedly flew the coop.   It’s a cliché adage, but doors don’t close without opening one or two others on impact.  Sometimes in retrospect, rejection becomes less of a door slammed than a bullet dodged.

6)  Be patient with yourself.  At all costs.  To anyone’s knowledge, yelling at an injury to hurry up and heal has never, ever worked.  But nursing it can be especially hard if you feel you’ve gotten the short end of the stick, and some wounds are particularly prone to infection.  If you’ve been laid off or fired from a successful business, or your old flame starts dating someone else, the temptation might be to decide that the world is out to screw you and to add an extra shot to your mug-of-something-soothing.  I don’t think it’s necessarily unhealthy to secretly hope that your rejecters fail at life (and for your sake, I sure hope they do), but preoccupation with revenge fantasies or those abstract “why me”s definitely prolongs harm, like repeatedly picking at a scab.  The best result you’ll get is a scar, and who wants a constant reminder of lost dignity?  Which brings me to point seven…

7)  Fake it ‘til you make it This one sucks.  Point blank.  But eventually, after trudging through one day after another, going through the motions, and doing whatever necessary to keep your head propped upright, there will be a morning when you wake up and don’t immediately think about this latest rejection.  Before you know it, there will be another morning like it.   And another.  The time lapses may seem long and arbitrary at first, but they will pick up succession until you can usually count on feeling normal and out of pain.  Rest assured, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you again down the road, but always make sure that the people who leave you are the ones missing out while those who support you are cashing in.  For instance, executives at Decca Records Company dismissed a small-time band in 1962 by stating, “They have no future in show business”; unfortunately for Decca, the band called themselves the Beatles, and that quote is now one of history’s most laughable. Living well is the best revenge of all—and it doesn’t have to be a fantasy.

mauiAbout the Contributor: Laura Eshelman is a 2008 UNC Asheville alumna with a BA in mass communication.  She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in criminal justice from UC Denver and holds a master’s certificate in domestic violence studies.  Laura is an avid writer, political junkie, and an advocate for various social justice causes; at present, she is an intern with Witness for Peace Southeast and volunteers with NC Harm Reduction.  She enjoys travelling, cooking, hula hooping, and long walks up steep mountains.

Image: Leah Joy

Out of the Box

Skills: Poetry

From Contributor: Hannah Poet Farmer

Note from Heidi: Here’s some inspiration to Get Out of the Box for 2013! This year I got la-la-la-love for myself in bloom…

Here’s a pair of boxing gloves

They are seashell pink and platinum spider-dew

They feel like swan down or sex or your first gulp of air

when you surface from deep beneath sea

and suddenly:             a world of sun

and birds again

and kids shouting on the beach


Put on your gloves, gal, ooo-ee

Shh—they are magic

But they don’t give black eyes

these gloves, they

Knock out boxes, all those damn walls

All those damp and lonely corners

All the boxes that cramp your wings

All the concrete rules

All the jack-in-the-box thoughts that pop up

and try to make you turn down your glory


Hey! What’s your mind for? A chatter-box? A jail cell?

Or is it a bowl, a river valley, the most lovely blue dish

where sparrows sip the rain, ideas percolate

schemes hatch, roadtrips fledge, natives boogie

& freedom unpacks its suitcase

and moves in


Gal, the only box you need is for treasure

for all the booty of a life lived well,

bedazzled with courage and in-betweens

all the maybes and not-quites that are more real,

more shimmering a moth than any specimen

in a case, that’s neatly labeled and pinned down


You da shit, gal!

You’re the golden spoon

With your magic gloves

& your treasure box

& your la-la-la love

in bloom.


565775_10151045775841685_1843388133_nAbout the Contributor:

Hannah Inglesby hails from the hills and hollows of central Pennsylvania. She wrote her first poem at age four. She loves to dance. Since graduating in 2010 from Warren Wilson College, she has dug beets, scrubbed floors, and climbed trees at Kimberton Hills, an agricultural village that includes adults with developmental disabilities. Since summer 2012, she’s been writing “Free Range Poems” at farmer’s market and for friends and passersby. She now works in a group home in her hometown. In whatever she does, she hopes to integrate her passions for healing, gardens, and the arts.


I’m Down for a Sweet Ride

Happy New Year from Reclaiming Beauty!

Here’s to a New Year of creating even more beauty in the world. I look forward to continuing this journey with you as Reclaiming Beauty expands and unfolds in 2013.

My theme song for this upcoming year: Sweet Ride by Tanya Donelly. I recorded this song in 1999 with my band, Maya Rides Away. This song is my dream, my intention, my prayer for 2013. I’m gonna make this Reclaiming Beauty journey a sweet ride. The image in the video was a meaningful Solstice present to me from my two sisters about how our love for one another keeps us found.

In the comments below, please share your Reclaiming Beauty theme song for 2013. Please include a video link if you are able.

~Love ~Love ~Love ~

Walk in beauty in 2013,

Blog Post Signature

Three Little Songs

photo (3)

Since hearing the tragic news of the shootings in Connecticut, I have been looking within myself to see what I am doing that either contributes to or can help prevent such horrible, violent events. I believe in the power of one to make a difference. One person can make a difference by assessing their most primary relationship – their relationship to them self. Ask yourself – is this relationship violent or loving? Cultivating a non-violent, loving and compassionate relationship with ourselves ripples out to create non-violent, loving and compassionate relationships with family, friends, community members, neighbors, people everywhere, animals, the whole earth, and all beings…

I pledge to take action every day to create a more loving, compassionate and non-violent relationship with myself and therefore create more loving, compassionate and non-violent relationships with the world.

I pledge every day to make beauty, not war

I offer three little songs for helping shift your relationship with yourself. The first two songs were shared with me by two Reclaiming Beauty Queens, Marybeth and Stacie, who found them helpful on their journey towards self-compassion. The last song offers some comic relief and is especially for any one in a similar place in their reclaiming beauty journey as myself.

Make a healing offering to the world in the face of this most recent tragedy, an offering of non-violence in all of your relationships.

Love you all,


Phillip Phillips: Home

I like to think the home he sings about as myself… being at home and safe with myself. ~Marybeth

Glen Hansard: You Will Become

A song of hope, and someone offering belief in you. Today I must believe in myself to truly grow.

Your beauty is nothing compared to what you will become.

Garfunkel & Oates: Self-Esteem

And this song is for me, and all other women grappling with the modern day dating scene…

My self-esteem’s not low enough to date you. It’s close, but not quite there.

It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)



I freaking love this picture from a Blue Ridge Rollergirls roller derby bout this summer. The facial expressions on the fans perfectly capture what it feels like when you take a life wipeout in the public eye. At times during this Death/Rebirth year, I have experienced similar expressions on the people in my life. Sure, this year has been rough, but as it is winding down I am starting to realize – it’s the end of the world as I know it, and I feel fine.

Feeling overwhelmed by all the loss in 2012 has recently transformed into gratitude for the opportunity to let go and release. I make it my intention every moment to let go and release all of the stories I have made up in my head about why I am unloveable. These stories rob me of my power and become obstacles to doing the work I want to do in the world. This reclaiming beauty process involves tremendous inner vigilance to let go of that which no longer serves us.

I practice awareness of Death/Rebirth in my yoga class; every Savasana, Sanskrit word for corpse pose, an opportunity to let go – every breath an opportunity to let go through the exhale, than welcome rebirth through the inhale.

I am ready for the Rebirth part of this Death/Rebirth year… and what a perfect time to set that intention as the feared end of days: December 21, 2012… Of course this “end of days” refers to a shift in consciousness – and as for me I say, “Bring it on!” Get me out of my old consciousness – it is making me insane.

In the space before the Rebirth, preparing for my personal shift in consciousness, it is my intention to practice trusting the process of life. I made a request to friends for resources to help with this practice. I am sharing them with you here in case trusting the process of life is also part of the shift in consciousness you are seeking. (Trusting the process of life book club, anyone?)

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Expecting Adam: a True Story of Birth, Rebirth and Everyday Magic by Martha Beck

Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up by James Hollis

Matthew 6: 25-34

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford

The Gospel according to Matthew

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

The Tao of Inner Peace by Diane Dreher

The Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu

This Is Not the Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness by Laura Munson

Until Today by Iyanla Vanzant

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

Now it’s your turn. In the comments below, please share:

+ One belief you are ready to sacrifice to the end of days and

+ One resource that helps you trust the process of life

I will benefit greatly from your comments on this one. It is so helpful to not feel alone in the breaking down.

Love you all,


Click here for some fun information on the End of the World, 12-21-12, from Build Altars.

And I know this song is in your head now, too…

It won’t suck like this forever

The very best piece of encouragement I have received during this Death/Rebirth year came from my sister, Katie:

It won’t suck like this forever.

As we walk our reclaiming beauty journey, so many of us try to avoid working through the feelings in front of us with addictive behaviors. We fear that the feelings will never go away, that we will be engulfed by them, that they will drown us. In actuality, it is the addictive behaviors themselves that keep us stuck as we cycle over and over with the feelings arising, panicking, then engaging in the same old behaviors to avoid suffering. The avoidance of suffering, however, just creates more suffering. Funny how that works…

For me, November turned out to be a very ungraceful attempt at avoiding the grief and anger of this Death/Rebirth year. I’ll just say, yes, I do think OkCupid can become a process addiction! I am happy to report that with my sisters’ love, concern and Thanksgiving intervention, I am off that site and back to the work of facing my feelings. I pulled up my big girl panties to bravely face the next wave of emotion in this process.

The holiday season seems to make all of the triggers even more intense. We Reclaiming Beauty Queens must recommit to our intention to move through the feelings from a place of strength, power and courage. Here are a few other resources for feeling the feelings to get to the other side:

+ Speak to yourself with kindness and love. Use these Affirmations for Use Anytime (last track) by Belleruth Naparstek for brief, positive statements to focus your mind on healing and moving forward rather than catastrophizing or getting stuck in self-criticism

+ Practice radical acts of self-love. Everyday, practice even one small act of wellness. Write down what you do. Every act of self-love is healing.

+ Practice radical acts of self-compassion. If you start getting caught in shame or negative self-talk, explore these resources for Self-Compassion.

+ Release your grip on your head trip. Allow yourself to simply feel the feelings while letting go of the story you tell yourself about the feelings. Because I struggle with incessant head-tripping, I have been practicing this skill in yoga class by focusing my mind on one statement when feelings arise: “Be gentle with yourself.” It is amazing how many tears have moved through my body during yoga lately as I am giving my feelings permission to just flow through me.

+ Use the feelings to deepen self-knowledge. Like Rumi suggests in the wise poem The Guest House, welcome each feeling, being curious about the messages they want you to receive from inside your heart. Hint: The messages are most likely alerting you to some unmet need. Be curious about what that need might be. Journal to explore.

+ Feel your connection to all women facing transition. Check out this post from the website peacelovefree.com. It is so beautiful and inspiring: Staggering the Liminal Spaces {A Love Letter to Women in Transition}

Now it’s your turn to share your strategies. In the comments below, please tell us what skills you use to flow with the feelings to get to the other side. 

I’ll look forward to hearing your ideas and practicing them as I move through the holiday season of a Death/Rebirth year.

I love you all,


Image: Kathryn Andersen, Reclaiming Beauty Queen extraordinaire