When food is more than food

My Grandma Shirley passed away last week. Even though computers and emails weren't her thing, she was signed up for my newsletter list and she learned how to use her iPad so she could read and reply to my weekly emails (and ask me follow up questions when I'd chat with her on the phone or see her in person).

Today I'm sharing a story I posted on Instagram this weekend in her memory. While I'm understandably mourning the fact that she is no longer with us physically, I'm comforted in knowing that these memories (especially those linked to common place activities such as food and cooking) will live on in my heart.

IMG_2903.JPG

When I was a little girl, my brother and I would have sleepovers at my grandparents house and we’d always make chocolate chip pancakes in the morning. My grandma had these molds so we could make our pancakes in the shape of dinosaurs and teddy bears, the chocolate chips creating eyes and faces on these shapes.

As I grew older, pancakes took on other memories: making them for my friends after sleepovers (Bisquick mix of course),  later enjoying stacks at IHOP when we got to go into school late because of standardized testing, and most recently discovering paleo pancakes made from egg and bananas, and treating myself to these healthified yet decadent cakes on special occasions.

Each time I have pancakes I’m reminded of those mornings with my grandma and brother - the glee that came from getting to eat chocolate for breakfast and the special connection that truly only exists between grandparent and grandchild.

IMG_2904 2.JPG

Food holds memories.

Food can remind us of a feeling, or of a different time and place.

Food is so much more than calories or nutrients.

Food is love.

We haven’t had a chocolate chip pancake morning in a long time. My grandma had diabetes and me being me won’t touch Bisquick with a 10 foot pole.

On Friday I found myself ordering a stack of paleo pancakes at one of my favorite NYC spots. I wasn’t really that hungry, and I knew the chocolate and coconut flour and egg wouldn’t be the best for my gut. But I knew this wasn’t about the pancakes themselves; it was about a memory.

IMG_2902.JPG

I feel so fortunate to have these memories and many more. And if I need to use food sometimes to access them, to feel that memory in my body in a more visceral way, I’m okay with that.

Food is so much more than just food.

And I hope it stays that way.

Love you and our special memories Grandma Shirley, pancakes and beyond.

In loving memory of Shirley Elaine Nachazel (March 31st, 1933 - January 18th, 2019)

Make a vision board with me!

This weekend I took myself on a little retreat out of the city. I rented a room via AirBnB and got out of town. I wanted to give myself space to think about the year ahead and find clarity for some personal and professional things (thoughts, visions, worries, plans) that had been swirling in my mind.

One of the things I wanted to get clarity on for my business was if and how I should host a vision board workshop.

As I shared last week, creating a vision board has been a tradition of mine for the past few years. In addition to making my own board, I've led in-person workshops to teach my students, friends and community how they too can create a vision board that actually works (there are some secrets I've learned over the years!).

A new year, a blank slate to create on

A new year, a blank slate to create on

This year I wasn't sure what to do with my vision board workshop - I knew for certain I want to host more in-person events in 2019, but I also knew that many of you are not in the NYC area. And that January can be a busy month as we all get back into the swing of things after the holiday season.

I wanted to offer something around visioning that would serve my community, but also serve me. With this career path I've taken (and with my personality and human design) if I'm not feeling lit up by something, I know it won't be as impactful since my JOB is to lead by example - to live my life in a way that feels inspired and aligned so that you can feel empowered to do the same.

Last week my mind was planning out ways I could do both an in-person workshop AND a virtual one (I'm still a people pleaser at heart) - going through the details of scheduling, if and how much I would charge, how I'd promote, etc etc. But it didn't feel fun.

My gut said to get quiet - to get out of the city noise, and out of my regular routine so that I could better listen for an answer.

And so that's exactly what I did. I booked one night at an AirBnB about an hour outside of the city, arranged to borrow a friend's car and packed my bags (yes, I had multiple bags for a one night trip - c'mon books and food and crystals can't all fit in one backpack with clothes!).

It didn't take long for the answers to come. I spent the afternoon exploring some cute little towns and as soon as I checked into my AirBnB I started journaling. I pretty quickly got clarity not only on the vision board question, but a whole lot of other things with my business and life.

My cute AirBnB room. Nothing fancy, but it did work magic!

My cute AirBnB room. Nothing fancy, but it did work magic!

What I heard about my vision board conundrum was two things:

  1. YES to more in-person events, but not to make vision boards and not this month. I had a whole download (which is what I call thoughts that pour out of my head and onto the page effortlessly, as if they're being downloaded from an external source) on exactly what these events are meant to be and it was clear that the vision board workshop was not one of them. I am SUPER excited for this to play out (and will of course be sharing more details as they come). Click the link in the PS of this email to stay updated on all in person things!

  2. Share the vision board workshop you already hosted this year. What I didn't mention above is that this past Thursday I had the great fortune to lead the women in our Rockstar Coaching Collective group through my vision board workshop. I thought that this would be "practice" for my real workshop. But I realized that this workshop was AMAZING itself - I already did it and recorded it. Why do something over again? Why not just share the recording with you all?

So that's exactly what I'm doing today - I'm sharing my 2019 Vision Board Workshop with you!

This workshop is a recorded webinar so you can watch it in the comfort of your own home, and when it works with your schedule. You can turn it on while you're folding laundry or cooking dinner, or you can round up your art supplies (paper, old magazines, markers, etc!) and begin to craft your vision board as you watch.

What you'll learn in this 60 minute video workshop:

  • My personal story and why I make vision boards

  • Why YOU might want to make a board

  • My 3 tips for making a vision board that actually WORKS

Plus, you'll see my past vision boards, including a very personal one I haven't shared anywhere before.

Watch the workshop here: 2019 Rockstar Vision Board Workshop

As I mentioned above, this workshop was recorded as one of our weekly Rockstar Coaching Collective calls. I've shared a bit about Rockstar before - it's a high level coaching program that I help run alongside Robyn Youkilis. Every week we have a video call - some led by Robyn, some led by me and some we have special guest appearances - that's a mix of health, life and business coaching.

We have one or two spots opening up to start with us in February - if you loved this video workshop, or something on the program website sparks something in you, I'd encourage you to apply. And if you do apply - email me to let me know you've submitted an application so I can make sure we put your name on the top of our applicant list :)

Me showing off one of my past vision boards during the workshop!

Me showing off one of my past vision boards during the workshop!

I hope that this workshop serves you.

If you make a vision board (or if you just watch the workshop) - I want to know! Leave a comment below with one vision you have for the year ahead, or one helpful tip you learned from the workshop.

Year end reflection

I've created a vision board every year since I've been self employed. I love the process of sorting through magazines and allowing myself time to dream about what I want for the year ahead. It's also fun to CREATE a visual reminder of these dreams and wishes.

My vision board for 2018!

My vision board for 2018!

In addition to making my vision board, I also do some journaling around specific goals and intentions for the year.

As fun as visioning about the future is, it's equally (if not MORE) important to also reflect on the past.

The past holds a lot of information for us - things we've experienced, lessons learned and challenges faced. It can be easy to skip over the reflection part, especially if where we're coming from doesn't feel good.

And even if we have accomplished our goals, as a society we place a heavy value on achievement and forward motion, so jumping right into the next goal is more natural for us than taking a moment to look back and reflect.

This week I'm challenging myself to take the time to reflect. I'll be sharing more about how to create a vision board for yourself next week (including a special opportunity to make one WITH me!!) but for now, I encourage you to do the same.

Whether you're traveling or with family, or already back to work, carve out some time in your schedule to look back on 2018. It can be just 20 minutes or perhaps you want to devote an afternoon to reflection.

Your reflection time doesn't have to be you seated in mediation: Sure, you can spend some time with a journal in your home, or you can take yourself to the spa (I do a LOT of great reflection during my weekly acupuncture treatments and whenever I do manage to book a massage), or go for a hike, or put yourself in another scenario that allows you to be with your thoughts.

Whatever you can make time for, I do strongly recommend putting a pen to paper and writing out at least some of your thoughts.


Here are some prompts to meditate or journal on:

What am I proud of myself for doing (or not doing) in 2018?

What goals did I accomplish? How did this feel for me?

What didn't I accomplish? Why?

List out some moments where you felt JOY, passionate or fully alive. What made these moments so special?

List out some moments that felt really crappy. What was it about these moments that didn't feel good?

Are there any WORDS or FEELINGS that sum up a lot of my experience this year?

If you did set specific goals or make a vision board, make sure you look back on them at some point during your reflection.

These are the action items that I created with my vision for 2018:

Ha, look at that second to last to do!


Honestly, if I hadn't looked back on these, I may have focused more on what I didn't achieve, instead of reflecting and seeing what I DID do. And while taking a look at what you didn't do or where you felt you fell short is an important part of the reflection process (see prompts above!), it's often over emphasized.

My challenge myself is for you too: make time to reflect this week. Right now look at your calendar and see when you can fit it in. Shuffle commitments around or great creative - a flight or long car ride can be an awesome opportunity to look back and go in. Just make sure you take a photo of your prior year goals or visions, and a screen shot of the prompts above so that you have what you need to do so.

Next week we'll get into the fun stuff - the visioning and goal setting for 2019! Stay tuned :)

Vulnerability

Vulnerability.

This is a concept I've been working on the last year or so, but up until this past weekend it wasn't completely clear to me what it meant to be vulnerable.

I thought being vulnerable meant sharing all the parts of you - not just the pretty and polished pieces, but the imperfect ones as well. I imagined being vulnerable looked like me saying how I really felt when someone asked "How are you?" (not always "I'm good!") and letting myself cry in front of my therapist, or my friends. Or filming a Facebook live without doing my hair. Or wearing a bikini even though I felt far from bikini ready.

More than anything else, vulnerability felt like pain. It felt like exposing a wound, or airing dirty laundry, or blindly trusting when you shouldn't have.

At this weekend's Rockstar Coaching Collective retreat, we listened to an interview with vulnerability expert, Dr. Brené Brown, where she shared her definition of vulnerability.

Vulnerability does not necessarily equal pain.

It does not necessarily equal disclosure (ie sharing EVERYTHING).

And expressing vulnerability does not make someone weak.

In fact, in her research Brené found that vulnerability is the "birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity." And it's essential for true leadership.

Vulnerability.png

Vulnerability is defined as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.

So what is the difference between vulnerability that leads us to feeling a sense of joy, creativity, etc, and vulnerability that exposes us to harm?

There is no cut and dry answer here - only YOU can assess when to be vulnerable.

Sometimes sharing something personal, something raw or something real can be the catalyst for deepening a relationship, or moment of enlightenment. And sometimes that very share can be where someone gets in and hurts you, where you feel betrayed or simply embarrassed.

As the definition states with vulnerability there is risk of being hurt. There is uncertainty of the outcome. And almost always you're exposing yourself emotionally, for better or for worse.

Maybe you've heard the saying:

"The cracks are where the light gets in."

Your damage, your fears, your feelings - that's what makes you human. And ultimately as humans we want to feel like we're not in this alone. That the things we feel and fear are not just in our heads - that we share these experiences with others.

If we had none of those things, if we were perfect and whole and without "flaws" we wouldn't be human. We'd be robots. And I don't know about you but I don't want to cuddle up with a robot at night, or call a robot and talk about my day. Or go out dancing with a robot... you get the idea.

Perfection is boring. Sure it may be safe, but it's boring. Twists and turns and complexities make us dynamic, interesting and human, and allow us to connect on a real level.

Me feeling the positive effects of vulnerability after some 1:1 coaching calls.

Me feeling the positive effects of vulnerability after some 1:1 coaching calls.


So back to vulnerability - you get to choose who you're vulnerable with. Choose wisely. You don't need to share all your stuff with everyone. It's okay to say you're okay if you don't feel like telling your grandma about the messy break up you just went through.

But remember all of that good that can come from being vulnerable. The connection. The empathy. The love.

It may be scary, especially if you're used to NOT sharing, but I want to encourage you to feel the fear and do it anyways, within reason that is. You may be surprised at what your grandma knows about messy break ups :)

Meditation resources

Last week I was having a conversation with a friend about meditation - he works for a meditation start up so I was curious to learn more about HIS meditation practice.

As we were talking I noticed how it felt good to just talk about meditation: my body was relaxed and I even started to feel my brain go into that "meditated" state where the little things don't stress me out.

I personally have an interesting relationship with meditation. I know my body and brain crave a consistent practice, but it hasn't always been easy for me to make the time and really drop in.

One thing that helps me tremendously is having a handful of recorded meditations I can turn to when I need more guidance and structure with my practice.

Yes, I've used the apps like Headspace and Calm, which are GREAT for just starting a meditation practice. But I've noticed that most of the mainstream meditation resources leave a little something missing.

I've had the good fortune to practice with some next level teachers. I prefer to have something more personal, a little deeper, a little bit more magic in my meditation Rolodex.

With the holiday this week (and all the family and travel and everything that comes with it!) I wanted to share my personal meditation resources with you.

Below I've linked some incredible teachers and recordings that you can access online for support no matter where you are or what you have time for.

_DSC1870-Edit.jpg

Meditation resources:

- Biet Simkin - Meditation + Music - Biet's an incredible meditation teacher here in NYC. She mainly does in person and private events but I found one of her meditations online (linked here). Her music is also meditative in itself (I love putting in on for some inner peace while commuting or working).

- Orkie Meditations - Orkie is great for a meditation that goes deeper and encourages you to reflect on your own consciousness and subconscious beliefs. You can get a little taste for Orkie on the page I linked. If you're into it, there are many (longer) meditations available for purchase and download.

- Jana Roemer - Yoga Nidra Recordings - Yoga Nidra is the practice of Yogic Sleep and Jana is one of my favorite Nidra teachers. She's based in LA but offers Yoga Nidra recordings every month in connection with the moon cycles. Great for a longer, evening meditation.

- Katonah yoga + pranayama - My current daily meditation practice consists of Katonah yoga and breathwork (pranayama). If you're in NYC you can come experience a class at The Studio, but if not, check out this basic breathwork video I made.

Wishing you a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving!