“When life is less hectic I’d love to take your course” shared a Birder who is navigating a big career and geography relocation and reached out after watching my recent video about transition. I was touched by her comment and responded:

“Yes can totally relate to moments of transition where it is hard to integrate anything new, even supportive content! Perhaps you could just give yourself permission to “get what you need right now” and you will have it all to go back to later. I have participated in a couple of courses that way before I was ready or had bandwidth to absorb it but both times I found it comforting to take a little nibble when I could. Blessings on all that is unfolding!” Courtney

Now we all get to decide the right time to engage in something new (especially learning) and sometimes we are simply maxed out. But our conversation got me thinking about how hard it can be to really drink in resources when we are on the move. Yet often that is when we are most thirsty! Especially in our culture which focuses on external accomplishments more than nourishing the soul.

That is why Ashley and I are teaching UPLEVEL in the most user-friendly formats. Think of them as self-care snacks you can grab on the go: mp3s of guided meditations, PDF action sheets with simple daily tips and exercises, and audio lessons you can download and listen to in the car, while washing the dishes, or walking the dog. And everything will be recorded (even the live Q & A calls) so you can always catch up at your own convenience.

Click on the picture above for (another) video with all the juicy details. If you saw it last week, this is me again, with different hair. (It was bugging me after five video takes!) Plus in this one I had just meditated with a coaching client so I’m pretty zen. You can also read all the info and register here.

Today I also want to introduce you to Ashley Donovan and share why I’m so excited to co-create UPLEVEL with her. First of all, she is an amazing cook and coach who trained with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. (She whipped up this cauliflower soup for one of our planning meetings for this course at her house. Along with roasted chicken and homemade Chai tea. That’s like on a normal day.) So the recipes will be really tasty.

Ashley's Delish Soup

But I also appreciate her whole approach to food and nutrition. She reminds coaching clients and followers of her blog that food is another doorway into the sensory pleasures of life. Eating is one of the simplest ways that we connect, body and soul, to the present moment.

And Ashley is a master at drilling down to essentials. She and I met through a mutual yoga teacher over a year ago and have been colleagues and friends ever since. And under her influence I have cleaned out old clothes which no longer made me feel good to wear, integrated self care into my work week, and stopped eating at my desk. (Something I used to do, gulp, often.) Now I always sit and eat at the table, even if just for a few minutes.

Whether or not you identify as an emotional eater (Ashley’s area of expertise) I think we can all relate to engaging in certain habits from time to time mindlessly or to numb out — especially when stressed. Ashley helps cut through these habits, with compassion, and find life-giving alternatives. Her voice will get in your head, I tell you, and you will be better for it!

Below I share one of my all-time favorite posts from Ashley called “Size Ten Health Coach.” Because if she’s not doing anything else, she is keeping it real.

Big love to you Birders!

PS Register now for UPLEVEL with early bird rate of $98. Better yet, invite a friend to do it with you and be accountability buddies for each other as you get your meditation groove on!

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Guest Blog From Ashley-Donovan.com…..

“My palms are a bit sweaty just thinking about writing this to you. As much as I talk about loving my body and loving myself no matter what the size announcing to the world what my size actually is, feels horrifying. It’s a strange thing though because anyone that has met me clearly can see my body – so why am I so afraid to just say what size it is?

Here’s the thing – I have this belief that in order to be a good health coach I need to be a size 2. I’m finally admitting to myself that being a size 2 will never be in my future. I’ve never been a size 2 – never. I’m not sure it’s physically possible.

I’ve realized that I am so much happier at the size I am now – a size 10 – then I’ve ever been at an 8 or my thinnest at a size 6. Why? Because every time I’ve been a size 8 or size 6 I’ve starved myself or have otherwise been very unhealthy about getting there. I’ve also been obsessed about being “there” (a certain size) than actually enjoying my life.

Being comfortable in my skin, eating out with friends and family on special occasions, having a happy and meaningful life means so much more to me than my pant size.

I have let the fact that I am a size 10 health coach hold me back. This fear has actually stopped me from taking action on something I am extremely passionate about.

I’m thankful for this. It has driven me to learn as much as I can about excess weight, weight loss and emotional eating. I’ve learned that excess weight has nothing to do with calories in, calories out. I’ve learned so much about the divine feminine as a way to weight loss. I’ve learned about having a pleasurable life as being the only kind to live. Without what I viewed as being a weight problem, I would never have come to learn or explore these things. I might have spent the rest of my life much like I’ve spent it for the last 15 years or so – criticizing my body, judging it, feeling like it’s wrong, obsessing about being a different size, wishing my body was different and hating that it wasn’t. The anger and disgust I have felt towards the size and shape of my body makes me oh so sad. We women and now men feel like we have to be a certain size to feel any sense of loving kindness and self worth.

I think about all of the nasty feelings and thoughts I’ve had towards my body and I think about my daughter. How awful I would feel if she grew up with those same feelings and thoughts towards what I view as the most precious and perfect being on this earth. And what if she’s a size 10 or 12 or 20, would I love her any less? Hell no! Why do we then love ourselves any less because of our size?

And would I expect her to not pursue her dreams or to play small until she was a smaller size? That would be ridiculous.

Let’s stop doing this to ourselves. Next time you think you need to be a different size, next time you criticize your body, next time you berate yourself for being a certain shape think about a young girl. What would you say to her? Then say that to yourself.

I know sometimes we have to mourn a little when we realize we might never look like the airbrushed model in the magazine. I know I had to. I still have to once and awhile. It has been so ingrained in me (and I’m guessing you too) to try to look like that. It’s sad to think of how many hours, days, weeks, months have been wasted. All of that wasted energy trying to be something I’m not. When in reality I know I’m beautiful just the shape and size that I am. I also know that I’m beautiful regardless of my physical form. I just had to uncover (and sometimes rediscover) that deep love that has been there all along.

I want you to have that too. I want you to know that you’re beautiful no matter what shape or size you are. I want you to know that you don’t have to hide behind your weight or your body. I want you to know that the image you think you need to look like, isn’t real. The person in the mirror here and now – that is real. And she needs to be loved. She’s begging for you to love her, just the way she is. ” — From Ashley-Donovan.com