Wednesday Missive: What Makes this Different (And Makes all the Difference)

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Hello darlings,

First thing: I recorded a podcast with sex and relationships coach Dalia Perez. During our conversation, we discuss: why boundaries are so important in our relationships (and yet still can feel so hard to set!), the ways motherhood can affect our desire for intimacy, intimacy self-care for those not in romantic relationships, and much more!

And now, today…

When I first began helping women with their self-care, I was scared. I didn’t know if I could really help them, was worried I might say the wrong thing, and deeper, afraid I would be exposed as the imposter I felt like. I mean who was I, someone who still struggled in taking care of herself, to tell others what to do? 

Still, I really wanted to teach people about Ayurveda because practicing it’s nature-based rhythms had helped me reclaim some part of my self-care that always felt missing. So, I pushed through the hard parts. I tried my best to ignore the sh*tty voice in my head, and continued to put self-care programs out into the world. And due to some combination of fortitude and luck, I found amazing clients who not only benefited from the work, but offered thoughtful reflections on how I could make it stronger. 

Here are a few of the things I’ve learned about self-care from my clients over the years: 

  1. Emphasizing weight less as self-care is not only body negative, but it creates a lot of disturbance in an authentic self-care healing process. I’d been taught to talk about weight loss as self-care in my early programs because: 1) talking about weight loss sells; and 2) I had a lot of internalized societal fatphobia that I hadn’t yet examined when starting my programs. Introducing a body positive self-care focus not only helped my clients make much greater breakthroughs, but loving my body regardless of its size was also the personal healing I needed. 

  2. While individual efforts are necessary for self-care, the real magic of a self-care breakthrough comes from sharing our authentic selves within a supportive community. So many of our self-care blocks come from unprocessed grief and unexamined loneliness. We could go to therapy and journal about these concepts (and both of those modalities are really helpful), but I’ve found that sharing our real experiences within a compassionate group, one that can feel those feelings with us, can lead to a very profound healing (honestly, much more profound than I even understand sometimes). 

  3. Practicing 100% authentic self-care within a perfectionist culture is not only challenging, it might be impossible. As much as we can experiment with counter-cultural responses to these damaging societal influences, the dysfunction is simply in the air we breathe. The only approach that seems to work is turning our critical lens outward to society rather than internalizing it by criticizing ourselves. Further, participating in social justice efforts as a way to make much-needed structural change is a necessary form of self-care and personal healing. 

Isn’t all that amazing? How could I have known that when I began? What I love most is that I got to learn all this immense wisdom while being in community with smart, caring women who were thoroughly working their own self-care growth processes alongside mine. Thus, my own healing has been furthered by helping others heal. I was allowed to make mistakes the whole way through and this powerful self-care work has still managed to be life-changing for so many people.

This means that we don’t have to have all the answers. This means we get to be lovingly held in the tender places where we’re still developing awareness and we’re allowed to learn as we go along. Mostly, this means we don’t have to be perfect in order to be of service to others. 

My personal growth process as a self-care coach gives me so much hope because it reflects the ways I think we can approach the collective healing we so desperately need right now. We don’t have to know how it’s all going to end before we begin to make much-needed change. We’re allowed to make mistakes, repair and recenter ourselves, and begin again with new intention. Feedback doesn’t have to be damaging. Rather, we can use it to generate and move forward. 

And yet, what we really need to hold us in this growth are authentic self-care practices and a strong community to shepherd us along the way. 

For this, I created the Beautiful Life Collective. This is a community of amazing women who are examining the damaging societal influences on our self-care and exploring the ways our self-care can help heal society. It’s powerful work and I’m honored to hold space for it! Recently our community has completed one year (happy birthday to us!). 

The Beautiful Life Collective is different from other self-care coaching programs because: 

  • No one pretends to have the answers (not even me or my co-leaders!). Rather, we spend time hanging out in the immensity of the questions (usually while eating some delicious snacks) and emerge feeling more human, more resilient, and more excited to keep going in our own growth.

  • We never talk about self-improvement. There’s never a five-step plan which you never have to screw up and thus, never has to make your feel like a failure. Rather, we just share grounding practices and community support which help us grow our self-awareness and actually become our own friends and personal cheerleaders. 

  • We understand that authentic self-care is never a singular process. Most of us suffer because we are too isolated in our lives and don’t have a safe space to share what’s really happening in ourselves. Our self-care work is about breaking down the destructive myth of self-sufficiency while giving each other space to explore our own authenticity. After years of trying to do this on my own and never feeling the breakthrough I desired, finding solace and hope within a lovely community of heart-centered women has been a gift beyond all gifts.  

The Beautiful Life Collective is open for new membership until this Friday, October 11th. We only open our doors a few times a year because most of the time we need the strong boundaries of our community to do this deeper self-care work. And because I’m due with my second child in February, I’m not sure when we’ll invite in new members again. So, this is the moment!

If you feel inspired by this different approach to self-care, I hope you’ll consider joining us! You can learn more and sign up here. And because membership is month-to-month (although you get a big discount and an amazing bonus if you sign up for a full year), you can cancel at any time if it doesn’t feel like the right fit. Plus, you get over $300 worth of self-care bonuses if you just sign up for one month! (Doesn’t that feel win-win-win?)

Do you have any questions? Please write me and let me know! I’m happy to address any concerns and open the door a little wider for your own self-care breakthrough. Because what I’ve learned is that a breakthrough for one person is a breakthrough for us all. And I believe we need all the collective healing we can get these days. 

With care,
Gracy

PS - I just want to emphasize that signing up is time-sensitive! Join our community before October 11th and move into this next season of life with a whole new approach to self-care!