The Truest Things I am Taught

IMG_0639 As I began this self care coaching practice a year and a half ago, my dad was dying of cancer.  

By the time we realized we were nearing the end of his life, I had already committed too much to push pause on starting my first self care coaching groups.

It was such a crazy time of life.  I would wake up before the sunrise and write my coaching programs.  Then I would drive to Baltimore to sit by his side, cry with my family, and wonder what I was supposed to do in such a strange and tender time of life.

Within all the sadness, this coaching work gave my whole family hope.  My dad, who had never taken any interest in me teaching yoga, kept saying that I was really going to help people.  

I wasn’t quite sure what he meant, but it didn’t seem like a choice to give up.

Quite a few of my first program interviews calls were done in his hospital bathroom.  After chatting with my clients, I’d emerge and see him weak, hooked up to all the machines.  But he’d be smiling.  

“How it’d go?” he'd ask.  

“She’s signing up!” I’d say.

“Yes!” he’d say and get that proud father look, the one I can’t stop thinking about.

He died before I filled my winter program last year.  It was the strangest thing I’ve ever experienced.  I don’t know if we can ever be really prepared for death.  I was completely disoriented.

But I did feel clear on one thing.  I needed to keep going with this self care work.  Giving up wasn't an option.  I did more interviews the day after he died.  

By his funeral, the class was full.  He wasn’t around to say it, but I knew I was getting a big “Yes!” from wherever his spirit was residing.

When people ask me how I began coaching, my mind always goes back to my dad.  What started as a fun idea--”I want to teach people Ayurveda”--has turned into a life-changing mandate to not waste my time and to help as many people as I can.

So as shy as I get around self-promotion, I make myself do it.  I am desperately afraid of rejection, yet I keep asking. I do it for myself, for my dad, and for the deepest, truest “us” I am able to see.

With that, please know that the self-promotion that follows comes from the most honest place I know.  Heregoes….

A few times of year I take a group of 20 women through a 10 week habit change process called Self Care 101.  In this very supportive, mostly-online environment we combine Ayurvedic and yogic wisdom with actual habit change science.  

Most women live in Washington, DC but a few live in Canada, California, NYC.  We are professional women who are working really hard but not enjoying our success.  We are doing too much but still feel stuck.  

We are far too hard on ourselves but don’t know how to break the cycle.

Of course we all feel like we are far too busy to focus on our own self care.  Yet we’re afraid of burning out, or worse--of passing our painful tendencies down to the next generation of our family.  So we feel the internal yes within the fear, take a chance, and sign up.

Together we work on shifting one habit a week, ranging from creating a morning routine to grounding a meditation practice to curbing emotional eating.

We work slowly and creatively to build a solid daily, weekly and seasonal routine that we will practice for the rest of our lives.  Together, we offer accountability and support to look at our resistance--why we don’t do what we know we should do.  We discover why we are so nice to everyone else but mean to ourselves and our families.  

This helps us to get to the roots of where we feel stuck and reprogram that sh*tty voice in our heads to a kinder, gentler one.  With that in place, we begin to find real, sustainable change.  Slowly but truly, we become the people we hope we can really be.

At the end of the course, we do a retreat that is beyond-words powerful.  We laugh, we cry, we sing around a campfire.  We learn it’s ok to tell the truth and that doing so amongst supportive friends unlocks our forever-battles with self care.   

The words “life-changing” are thrown around often.  

One amazing 60 year-old lady lost over 10 lbs, began a yoga practice, and realized eating could be a joyful act. 

Another graduate student--who feared she was too busy to sign up--finally learned to manage her stress and has shifted her whole perspective on life.

Guiding these groups brings me so much joy and I couldn’t do it without every bit of my life experience, especially the tough stuff.  My rough childhood, struggling with body image, navigating grief--all of that life informs this coaching.

Because I’ve learned to thrive within the struggle, I can share my lessons with my clients so they can heal and become truly empowered in less time, with more support and greater joy.  Seeing their empowerment makes everything that happened in my life feel so deeply needed and important.  

The brightest hope within my father’s passing is that I know he lives on when I am doing this work.  That is why I am giving it my all.  This is the deepest commitment I can make to anyone who wants to join one of my coaching programs. 

So now the asking part.  Would you like to join my spring group?  It starts on March 20th and goes until the end of May.  We will guide each other through spring and ease into summer feeling balanced and beautiful.  We will learn to be nicer to ourselves and trust our joyful hearts.  Like always, it will feel like magic yet be so real.

The class is a quarter full right now and am excited to meet the other 15 ladies who will round out our crew.

I am looking for people who thrive in groups, are fully ready to make a sustainable change and want to deepen their relationships with themselves.  Could that be you?

If so then please fill out this application, schedule a free 30 minute chat with me and we can see if it would be a good fit for both of us.  Of course there is no obligation to sign up if we talk–sometimes it just plants important seeds for the future.

If it’s not right for you then I’m guessing you know someone who needs a clear pathway to greater self care.  Please pass this along to that person.  You never know whose life you can change.

During the year my father was sick, tending to my own self care gave me a stability that supported not only me but also my family.  It stopped being a hobby and became a necessity.  I didn’t know why I had been practicing yoga and Ayurveda so diligently for so many years.  My dad’s passing made it all quite clear.

What I’ve learned is that we can never go backward. And we can’t predict the future.  We don’t know how it will all play out.

Focusing right now on deepening your relationship with your own heart, your own life and your closest relationships is the most important choice.  My dad taught me that and I believe today more than ever.

If I can be of any help to you in your own deepening, I’d be delighted to know.




'Cause love's such an old-fashioned word

And love dares you to care for

The people on the edge of the night

And love dares you to change our way of

Caring about ourselves

This is our last dance

This is our last dance

This is ourselves

-David Bowie, “Under pressure”

Thanks Kelly for your lovely post on death this week too.