My reminders to myself while being with family

While I spend a week at my parents' house, gathering with my immediate and extended family for Thanksgiving, I felt the need today to give myself some reminders.

A permission slip for myself, if you will.

I am allowed alone time.

I am allowed time to do what nourishes me most.

Leaning into dedicated me time, and virtual time with friends, is not selfish -- it can actually nourish the time I have with family so that I can be more clear and present.

I have opportunities -- many of them -- to see how I show up with the people who have been around me for most of my life, and with whom I have the deepest patterns.

I have the opportunity to notice.

To not put extra pressure on myself to immediately change everything, and also to notice when I am able to shift how I feel and act. To try on new ways of being as inspiration arises, and to not feel that I have to be or act in completely new ways.

I have the opportunity to celebrate the small moments.

Like asking my dad more questions instead of coming from a place of assumptions. Of adopting a curious stance to what lights him up and getting to see into his day-to-day life as the treasurer for the Hilton Head Heritage Library.

Like savoring time with my mom, talking about cultural appropriation over grilled cheese sandwiches with tomatoes.

Like receiving the joys of the hectic energy of lots of people making (and giving commentary) on brownie making.

I have the opportunity to learn where I've come from -- what I want to keep and what I want to shift.

One of my meditation teachers, Ethan Nichtern, and other spiritual teachers I've had, talk about how being with family is one of the most difficult arenas for spiritual practice. The last frontier. That if you feel like you're doing "really great" with your practice, maybe it's time to go home.

I am blessed in that I love my family and they're good to me. And, in many ways we're really different, and it can feel challenging.

I recognize and honor that people have a wide variety of familial and relational constructs, and sometimes it may be the most skillful decision to completely cut oneself off from one's family. Or talk everyday. Or somewhere in between.

Everybody's journey and what you'll need to remind yourself of is your own.

What do you need to remember when you're with family?

Should Monster

Should Monster

When we drop "shoulds" we can be real with ourselves and others.

Marcia Baczynski, who has been on the Queer Body Love Speaker Series the last couple of years and works with people on intimacy, boundaries, communication and recovering from the "Good Girl" archetype, wrote a lil ditty on Facebook yesterday that feels SO TRUE.

The secret to intimacy is the willingness to say, and hear, No.

And this includes the willingness to hear your own internal no. And then communicate that. Which can be quite the muscle to build up when you're used to automatically saying yes based on what you think others want you to do!

I have a little story from this morning which illustrates navigating listening to your internal "no" and then receiving support to continue to follow it.

I had plans to go cowork with a friend this morning at her place. She texted me as I was headed over that she was "depressed and sleepy." Super happy to be walking in the sunshine, I told her "go outside!" to which she responded "no".

So clear! Got it!

When I got there, she answered the door in her pajamas and told me in a whiny voice that she was in bed playing candy crush. She had internal clarity that she didn't want to work, and at the same time was judging herself for not feeling like it.

I went and snuggled up with her on her bed in her dark room.

As clear as she felt in her no to me with the specific suggestion of sunshine, she was struggling in resisting listening to her NO that she didn't actually want to do much today, and then trying to force herself to motivate herself to do more was creating overwhelm and tension.

Ooh boy do I know that story.

I reflected back to her the power of her no by sharing an analogy I found in this amazing blog post that I've found incredibly useful.

Imagine that it's snowing outside. If you put on a bikini and try to "soak up the sun", you're going to have a pretty miserable time. Now, if you snuggle up inside and drink some hot cocoa, it might be pretty divine.

Imagine your internal weather in that same way.

When you're feeling that strong internal NO, how about you listen to it?

Now, there may be certain things that really would be helpful to do... and, I know when I'm in that state I put extra pressure on myself to do all the things, instead of trying to focus on the bare minimum that I must do.

Instead of following the made-up story that suddenly EVERYTHING MUST BE DONE ALL AT ONCE, fueled by the war between the internal no and your resistance to listening to that no, focus on what you can drop and what actually really truly needs to happen.

For example, my friend needed to go present at a workshop. She didn't want to do that. And at the same time she felt like she "had to do all the things all at once," even though she felt like doing none of it.

I suggested -- what if going to the workshop was really the only thing you did today? For the next hour before you go, let it really be just your time to do whatever you want. When you get home, check in with where you are and act accordingly. Take off your pressure of what you thought you "should" do today, and dress appropriately for the weather, to use the previous analogy.

I helped her listen to her no.

I know that I feel the most stress and create my own overwhelm when part of me knows what would serve me, but I disregard that, trying to do what my mind WANTS to be reality.

In other words, I am currently practicing listening to my internal no more often and more easily.

Yesterday, I hit a wall at 5 pm in terms of work. But, but, but... I hadn't finished my newsletter! I hadn't edited some web pages that I had meant to! I hadn't sent that email! I had a headache and everything in my body was screaming that I was done.

I tried to work through it anyway. Needless to say, I wasn't that efficient, and ended up feeling even more tired.

Hm. Noticing. Okay, so next time (actually, like right now!), listen!

When we listen to our nos and can communicate them to ourselves and others, we can soften into much more loving intimacy. We can be in so much more flow with our world.

And with that... I'm off for a run!


This is one entry in the November Queer Body Love daily blog writing, where I will be exploring through writing what I see, think, pray, and question. I don’t know what liberation looks like, but I want that for you, and for us. This blog is me sharing a personal practice of being with the question of what that might look like in the hopes that it might be useful. If you're interested in personal support from me as your guide as you explore that in your own body and life, check out my newest 1-on-1 offering, SOFTEN. I can sit with you with so much love and compassion as you orient in the direction of more ease and comfort in your body and with yourself. Together we'll take a stand for new possibilities.

Mind *Blown* by Sonya Renee Taylor's Brilliance

Mind *Blown* by Sonya Renee Taylor's Brilliance

I like to surround myself with brilliance.

So today I was in luck. I got an email 30 minutes before a live Q&A session on radical self love that's offered to subscribers supporting the amazing The Body is Not an Apology and decided to join last minute today.

I’ve had the honor to interview Sonya Renee Taylor for both the 2016 and 2017 Queer Body Love Speaker Series. She’s brilliant, and every time I talk with her I feel like my mind is blown open with possibility.

This time, I got to engage and ask my most pressing questions about how she’s navigated running a radical business aimed at dramatic, real personal and collective change within capitalism.

Her movement, and her business, began with a poem. In that poem, she said that she started a movement.

And now, she is co-creating a movement with the 29 folks running The Body is Not An Apology and the thousands around the world who read and engage with its work.

She jokes with people that she didn’t start a non-profit because she had gotten a masters in nonprofit management. She told me a bit of her critique in the Q&A — namely that the non-profit model is taking the margins of wealth and access and applying it to what those who have made the wealth in the market economy deem the priority. In other words, it marginalizes change.

Her perspective is that for change to happen, we have to ground it in the systems that currently exist, even as we aim to disrupt them.

We talked about this both on the level of business and also personally.

As people who have started our own businesses, we talked about the necessity to decouple money from merit and self-worth, which is what capitalism would want us to believe. 

Talking about money and healing our relationship to money such that we can receive it in order to be well supported to our work, while also staying aware and real about the harm that capitalism causes reminded me of an idea Sophie Macklin posted recently:

“I see a healthy relationship with money as one where the charge has gone enough for you to be able to access what you need to do the things you want to do, and has stayed enough for you to keep working towards a different economic system."

You know the charge? The charge around money? The "story" that "money is evil," and then "money mindset" people telling you to disregard that and think of money as neutral? The charge can actually motivate change.

It’s difficult to live with the tension of acknowledging the reality of white supremacy, capitalism etc. And, recognizing it is the only way we can begin to heal it so that external change can come from internal change.

Sonya Renee and I talked about how the road of acknowledging and shifting these massive external systems both within us and through our actions is hard work. Most everything outside of us is set up against us. We will be rewarded by playing along with the system.

And, the deeper reward comes from being more true and more real with ourselves and others about the new world we’re wanting to create — where we’re not there, and where we can take steps towards creating it.

The Body is Not An Apology is truly amazing. If I were to recommend one resource to folks interested in radical self love from an intersectional, radical perspective, this would be it.  So I want to take this opportunity to both thank them for their work and how it's influenced Queer Body Love, and also to encourage you to go check it out! And if you're moved to support their vision, join as a subscriber. They’re developing their program and how to extend what they offer — be in on it from the get go!


This is one entry in the November Queer Body Love daily blog writing, where I will be exploring through writing what I see, think, pray, and question. I don’t know what liberation looks like, but I want that for you, and for us. This blog is me sharing a personal practice of being with the question of what that might look like in the hopes that it might be useful. If you're interested in personal support from me as your guide as you explore that in your own body and life, check out my newest 1-on-1 offering, SOFTEN. I can sit with you with so much love and compassion as you orient in the direction of more ease and comfort in your body and with yourself. Together we'll take a stand for new possibilities.