around the house and office

There are some things that I’ve really enjoyed lately– from reading, to eating, to using, and I thought I’d share some of them with you this week in case you are looking for things to read, plate up, or use.  Here we go…

Feb 8 Notes from a Book Stack



I typically have three books going at once: an audiobook for the car (my sweet old ride demands that I go with books on CD), a non-fiction book, and a fiction book.  I am enjoying all three of the books that I am wrapping up this week so thought I would share them:

Luckiest Girl Alive- I really love to listen to suspense books while I drive, and this one hasn’t disappointed.  In fact, it makes me wish I had more places to go and for longer times.  As a teenager at a prestigious school, Ani FaNelli endured multiple humiliations and abuses and then the unthinkable.  As an adult, she’s worked hard to craft the perfect life to get her as far away from where she’s been as possible.  As her wedding approaches, her past and future crash into each other.  Who will Ani be on the other side?

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up- I know that I am totally behind on this one.  A client recommended this to me last New Year’s and I finally picked it up and have started mildly working my way through the house with the Konmari method of eliminating excess and organizing what’s left.  I say mildly because I am not going at gangbuster speed and also because some of the tips just aren’t my style (emptying my whole handbag every night and then reloading it in the morning).  But what I’ve done I have really benefited from already– I reduced a fair amount of my fall/ winter/ everyday clothing and like the idea of having all of my clothes in my closet rather than just seasonal clothes (now just to go up in the attic and get the spring clothes down to weed through and then hang), I like her folding tip for t-shirts and have been wearing a lot of things I hadn’t worn in forever because of it, and the cabinet under my sink is now practically empty.  With the master bedroom, my next stops are the laundry room, kitchen, and dining room with my plan to get those done this month.

The Book of You- This is my before bed read– another thriller/suspense novel that tells the story of a woman being stalked who sees her life in front of her eyes as she serves on the jury for a terrifying crime.

Toys Meet Snow- Happy picked this book out at the our local bookshop before Christmas and it so delighted us (seriously, it is incredibly delightful.  Think toys coming to life when their owners are a way and exploring and trying to make sense of the winter world in their own little way) that I looked for other books by the author.  We’ve checked out three collections of stories (including Toy Dance Party) featuring the same stuffed animals (as well as talking towels and washing machines) and have love each of them.  A great read for children in your life that you will enjoy just as much.


I typically make a big pot of soup on Sunday that serves as my lunch for the week.  I love this Minestrone so much; I practically make it every other week.

Brussels Sprouts and avocado salad with lemon dressing was last week’s lunch star.

I am allergic to wheat (not Celiac’s; just a food allergy that contributes to my once constant sinus infections) so we’re doing zoodles (zucchini noodles) at our house instead of pasta and we really like this Zoodle Shrimp Scampi.

Gouda Cauliflower Au Gratin was another recent hit.


The Desire Map Journal.  I’ve enjoyed getting back to journaling in the last five months.  I’ve got a blank journal for freewriting and brainstorming but I am also really liking the prompts in the Desire Map journal by Danielle LaPorte (and it’s efficiency).

Banana Republic Slit Side Open Cardigan.  If you see me on a cold day where I am working in the Sugar Shack, chances are you will see me in this sweater.  It is the coziest.

Maika Crossbody Bag.  I’ve been wanting a cross body bag for running errands and day-to-day living for awhile.  I found this one at a local shop and now have given it as a gift to several beloved ladies in my life.


So what are you reading, eating, and enjoying these days?


To Accept: a verb list to support your journey.


I stopped when I saw it.

It was a blue poster with infinitive verbs on it prominently displayed in the McColl Center’s Innovation Institute classroom where I was taking a two day creative plunge.  So intrigued, I Googled Richard Serra’s Verb List and learned that Serra, a prolific large-scale steel sculptor, had begun writing a list of verbs that could inspire his work in any medium in 1967.  The handwritten list is not part of the Museum of Modern Art’s collection and features two sheets of paper where the artist listed 84 infinitive verbs- to fire, to flood, to smear, to rotate, to swirl- and 24 possible contexts- of gravity, of nature, of entropy- in columns of his script.  Serra described the list as a series of “actions to relate to oneself, material, place, and process,” and used it as a guide to inspire action in his future work.

A series of actions to relate to oneself, material, place, and process.

Ever since I saw Serra’s list, I’ve been keeping my own verb lists.  Today, I want to share with you a Self-Acceptance Verb List—a series of actions to embrace in our relationships with ourselves and on our ongoing journeys towards wholeness.  I hope you’ll use this image as a gentle reminder of the actions you can always come back to in your self-acceptance process.

a selfacceptance verb list

Want to have your own copy of the self-acceptance verb list?  Download here.

Penning your own prescription.

caring about your body

Like many women and young people in general, I didn’t grow up learning much about self-care.  What I did know how to do was everything.  All the time.  I knew how to give and give and give.  And that when I gave out, I should give from the ground that I was lying on.  That’s what I thought it took to be a good girl.  And I wanted nothing more than to be good.  I bet you have felt this way, too.

And, then, my body fell apart in a most dramatic fashion when I was a high school teacher. Though it took me a while to admit that my behaviors had anything to do with my sickliness, I eventually put together my very first wellness plan with the help of a nutritionist, some books, a journal, and some creative problem solving.  Once I started taking care of myself, I felt remarkably better (go figure) and, suddenly, I understood a whole new truth:  choice- choosing your behaviors to best respond to what your body and soul need- is medicine.  Food can be medicine.  Movement can be medicine.  Taking on challenges in moderation can be medicine.  Living a deliberate life is, in fact, medicine.

Everything changed.

For the longest time, I thought that my health, my wellness, my sense of wellbeing, just happened to me.  Except then I learned that it doesn’t.  As it turns out, I happen to it.

I happen to it by understanding that I can choose to infuse my life with a deliberate embrace of intentional health, of making my body as whole as it can be, of giving my body and mind and soul what it needs so it can move me through life in harmony with the way that I most want to be.  I do this not by coincidence or happenstance or luck. I do this by listening to my body, observing what it loves and doesn’t, respecting what it can and cannot do, and then working deliberately to provide it with the good stuff and ridding it of the bad stuff.  I do this by following a personal wellness plan/ prescription.


Over the years, I’ve had different wellness plans.  I’ve needed different plans.  Life changes (you find a partner, you move across the country or world, a baby or child comes into your life, you replace your bike with a car or your car with a bike, you lose a partner, a parent, your way).  Your body changes (you have a short term illness, a chronic condition, you break an arm, you gain muscle).  Your needs change (you require more sleep, less sleep, greater energy, less stress).  The wellness plan I had in my mid-20s isn’t practical for me now in my early 40s.  Sometimes, your wellness plan needs to even change by the seasons.

Moreover, my wellness plan won’t work for my sister or my best friend, because it is not personalized for them, their experiences and needs, their bodies’ little quirks.  When we want intentional health we have to do the work of defining it and deciding to embrace it for ourselves (although, yes, there are some general touchstones that we all might want to factor into our plans).

And so at the beginning of each year, as part of my effort to be intentional (which includes choosing a word for the year and creating a vision board), I revisit my wellness plan.  Today, I want to encourage you to write one for yourself!

Step #1  Name your core beliefs in terms of wellness.

For me, loving myself is about taking good care of my whole self- my body, mind, and soul- so that all of me might enjoy the work that I choose to do and that I am capable of doing it with less strain, stress, anxiety and more enjoyment, awareness, passion.

Caring for my body isn’t about punishing it. It is not about beating it into submission so that it might obtain a particular shape.  It’s about listening to my body, giving it what it says it needs and maybe a little dash of what I know might be good for it even if it doesn’t particularly want it (my taste buds do not want bananas, I tell you, and, yet, sometimes a banana’s potassium is really what my body most needs.  When I crave a banana, I know something’s up and I make myself have one.).  With my wellness plan, I am not trying to achieve a certain weight or look.  I’m trying to achieve a feeling of optimism and optimal wellness for who I am and where I am now.  Caring about your body means you actually listen to your body, respond to your body’s needs, and make choices that support it.  It takes practice and paying attention to learn what your body needs, but it is practice and attention that is well worth the effort.

So take a minute and get real about what wellness means to you.  Let yourself off the hook of someone else’s standards and really embrace doing what is good for you because it sustains your soul.

Step # 2  Name what you need.

Think about what you need to be physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually well.  Make a list of everything that comes to mind.

Step # 3  Craft that into a wellness prescription.

If you could prescribe behaviors and actions to yourself based on what you most need, what would they be?  Make that list.

Here is a peek at some items that have been on my list over the years:

  • Eat a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables daily.  Have fruits or vegetables with every meal.
  • Minimize processed foods in my diet.
  • Cook thoughtful meals at home for me and my family.
  • Practice a good stretchy yoga with a focus on building flexibility.
  • Move my body- sometimes for contemplative, joint loosening movement and sometimes for cardio-endurance- at least four times a week.
  • Strength train three days a week.
  • See my physician for an annual visit that includes labwork so I know how I am doing in terms of blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc.  Based on what I learn after talking to my doc (and getting any lab results), I adjust my behaviors to support obtaining my optimal health.  Related:  get a mammogram and other screenings (eyes checked, dental, skin checked).
  • Read every day with a goal of finishing at least one chapter.
  • Take the opportunity to reflect through time with myself, journaling, and conversations with friends and family.
  • Drink at least 60 ounces of water.
  • Schedule massage as necessary to work through neck, hip, and shoulder tightness and to encourage stress reduction.
  • Enjoy time with friends.
  • Sleep at least 7 hours per night, and ideally more.
  • Express love.
  • Choose my life. While I can’t control every situation, there are things I do get to choose.  There is a life I do get to call dibs on.  I work very deliberately to design the life of my imagining and not an accidental life.
  • Schedule additional self-care like an appointment and not an afterthought.

Step #4  Work your wellness prescription into your life.

Start to work your wellness prescription into your daily life.  Include different steps on your daily to do list.  Menu plan and grocery shop for the weekend over the weekend.  Get an accountability buddy.  Make a checklist.


Can you see this tool working for you?  What needs to be on your wellness prescription?  What does taking care of you look like?

Word up

running into a new year


It happens every year.

The new year comes and we feel compelled to write a long list of goals for the year (or resolutions, if you will).

Week 1 brings great satisfaction.  We are OWNING this task.

Week 2 sees some tempering off of the excitement but we are certain that as soon as we get over this little hump, we’ll be right back to it (whatever it is: juicing, training for a marathon, being supremely organized, etc.).

Week 3 comes and we are trying but, boy, does this juicing, marathon training, supreme organization not delivering what I thought it would.

Week 4 is a big ole’ shame bath.  How did we let this happen again?  How come we cannot complete anything?

I’ll tell you why.  Because resolutions are too often focused on what we think we should be doing.  And shoulds operate in our mindset like some authority figure bossing us around.  They don’t feel like an opportunity.  They don’t feel like a desire.  They feel like expansive.  And feeling (or not) like that is always going to backfire.

The real question to ask ourselves at the new year is what feeling do we want to have more of in our life?  Once you hone in on what you most desire from deep within, you can start thinking about what means you wish to do but our dos- our goals, our actions- should always be driven by the most essential question: for what does our soul hunger?

What’s in a word? 

Ready to choose your own word for the year to guide you?  Start by asking yourself some introspective questions.

What do I want more of in my life?

What do I want less of if my life?

What do I need right now more than anything else?

What feeling do I most want to have (and why)?

Once you have a sense of what feeling you want, try to capture that feeling in just one word.  You want it to be broad enough to encompass many different aspects of your life yet specific enough to really inspire meaningful growth for you.  I also want to encourage you to think about the “dark side” of the word.  For example, maybe you are thinking about boundless for the word.  Are you okay if that ends up translating to boundary-less for you?

As you consider words, feel free to look up definitions and synonyms to help you land on what touchstone you most need right now.

Put that word to work   

Your word is going to serve as a guide for you.  When you wake up in the morning, answer the question, “What can I do today to help me feel like I am X (whatever your word is)?”  Then, meet that need.

When you are presented with an opportunity, ask yourself if it is an opportunity that will help you feel whatever the word is.

Finally, use the word to come up with your goals.  If you want to feel a sense of peace, what actions can you choose this year (as long term goals) to help you feel that (reconcile with your sister, let other people’s opinions go, etc).  Our to do lists should always be driven not by shoulds but by our deepest desires so rooted in how we want to feel.

What I am looking for in 2016

It took me a while to get to my word for 2016 but, boy, have I found the perfect word for my 2016.

For the longest time, I thought my word would be delight.  I wanted a lightness to my being and so much more joy after a year that was filled with heart break, deep grief, challenges, anxiety and more.  I wanted to feel vibrant again and to glow, but I also just wanted to reacquaint myself with the deep happiness that I used to emit more effortlessly before life got so. damn. hard (as life does when you have kids and parents and partners and friends whose wellbeing greatly affects you while balancing work and volunteering and laundry and, well, you know the whole entire drill here).

But there were two other things speaking to me, too, for the new year.  In addition to wanting more delight, I also wanted to accomplish more of the things that my own heart had been calling me to do.  If you know me in real life, you know that I am a completer.  I complete whatever you ask of me before the deadline and, I hope, at a nice quality level.  But my desire to not leave anyone else hanging means that I leave myself, my ideas, and my desires hanging A LOT more than I care to admit.  I wanted to accomplish things that have been on my personal to do list for a long time—not because they will make a difference to anyone else necessarily but because they will make a difference to me.  So completion and accomplishment were speaking to me, too.

Finally, I found myself wanting to channel that desire for delight and completion into sprucing up the daily-ness of living.  I am the kind of person how ‘makes do’ always.  Why get the thing you really want if this thing over here that only kinda speaks to you over sorta works?  I am sure it’s a scarcity mindset leftover from growing up lower middle class and also from being so invested in the community that I would just rather invest those resources back, but, seriously, sometimes a girl just needs to get new underwear.  And I wanted to quit denying myself those things— new underwear, a $10 candle, a rug for the kitchen.  I literally have splinters in my bum because our thatch dining room chairs are so old they are disintegrating and, yet, it feels too extravagant to get new chairs.  If I am honest with myself, I want super simple luxuries that probably wouldn’t be all that fancy to anyone else but would feel like heaven to me.  And so there was that truth, too, swirling around my head as I considered my 2016 word for the year.

So delight, accomplished, and luxury were Word for the Year fight-clubbing when a friend and I got to talking about my word for the year.  In trying to summarize all of these thoughts, I said, “Basically, I just want a life upgrade. I want my feelings upgraded, my work upgraded (because I was completing these dreams of mine), and my house upgraded (goodbye splinters! hello rug on the kitchen floor so it’s not so cold in there).”

And though upgrade wasn’t the right word, it was the feeling and so I played with that feeling until I arrived at my word for 2016 which is lift.  I want to aim high, elevate my professional and personal presence, soar beyond my own expectations, and live with light and optimism.  I want a lightness to my life this year—of spirit, yes, but also of brightness.

What about you? 

What is your word for 2016 and how does it capture what you are most seeking?

Setting up 2016 to be the year of answered questions

Years Zora

2015.  It was a year that posed so many questions for me.

How will I live without my mother? How do I honor her legacy?

What will I do for good health (I battled an unending, debilitating sinus infection for 10 straight months that has led me on a long overdue journey to better physical health)?

What will I do to stop useless cycles in my life?

When does sacrifice become too sacrificial?

What am I willing to do to live the way I intend?

What would it be like to not do X or to do Y?

How can I be true to each of my intentions today?

If there are indeed years that ask question and years that answer them, then my intention is for 2016 to be filled with answers, answers that I deliberately seek and enthusiastically embrace so that they may serve me and those around me well.

Creating a 2016 that provides answers starts with me doing the work of asking and answering some deep questions for myself.

While last week, we focused on looking back at 2015, this week, I want to encourage you to look forward in a New Year Personal Summit.  A New Year Personal Summit is about getting quiet enough to discern what you most desire, so that your intention for the year is articulated and you can build your focus and actions from that deep soul direction.

Ready to get started?  Here you go.

Identify your intention for 2016. 

Intention setting is about naming an internal resolve, a desire to move towards something that will serve who you are and how you wish to be as you move forward. It is claiming the desire to live your life in a certain way so that things happen on purpose rather than by accident. After setting an intention, you can claim your vision, and then it is after that vision has been formed that you can begin to move into action.

What feeling do you want to have most regularly in 2015?  What feeling does your life most need right now?

What would feeling like this add to your life?

How would your life change with this feeling?  What would your life look like if

you were living this feeling regularly?

What behaviors are needed to live this feeling?

Get as clear as possible about what feeling you want in your life and what intention you most need to focus on for that to become real.  Then, if the idea speaks to you, you can choose your word for the year- the one word that will be a grounding and inspiration guide to you as you move through the year and embrace your possibilities (I will be blogging about words for the year on Monday, January 11th if you want more perspective on that).

Figure out your yeses and your nos.  

Now, that you have a sense of your intention, it is time to captures your vision for the year and one way to get started with that is by getting clear about your yeses and nos.

How will your life be different at the end of 2016 if you are able to make your above intention more present in your life throughout the year?

What do you want or need your life to feel and look like to live that concept/feeling?

What do you need more of in your life to bring this concept and feeling into clarity?

What do you wish to be doing more often in your life?

What do you need less of in your life to realize this feeling?   What are the experiences, interactions, and responsibilities that strip you of what you need?

Let your yeses and nos from this exercise be a guide for your new year.  For more thoughts on saying yes and no, check out The Wholehearted Continuum.

Design your action plan.   

What are your biggest dreams for 2016 (think in terms of all areas of your life: professionally, relationships, sense of wellbeing, personal development, spirituality, etc)?

How do these dreams align with how you want to feel in life?  Do they take you closer to what you feel will bring you happiness and congruence in your life?

What growth opportunities do you need to explore?

What beliefs or behaviors might need revision to lead you closer to your dream?

How ready are you for this dream?  How do you know this?

What first step are you ready to take?

What do you need to begin (this could be resources, training, support, time, etc)?

What is the scope and reality of taking that step?

When can you begin and how?

What is your next step?

And, as a gentle and motivating reminder, what do you want to be manifested for yourself because of actions you have taken?

Some thoughts about action plans:  I have several areas where I would like to devote some intention and attention this year.  And I could try to do them all starting January 1st but then that is a whole lot of action all at once and is more likely to lead me to feeling overwhelmed.  So I like to look at my intentions and the actions they suggest and then prioritize when each should happen.

If an all-or-nothing approach to resolutions, goals, and/or intentions has been your downfall, loosen your grips on the absolutes. Instead, give yourself a range. Aim to make the choices you wish to make for 80 or 90 percent of the time, for example. Or aim to do one thing at a time (This week, go to bed at 10:30.  Next week, you can add the 60 ounces of water a day and the next week you can add the fifteen minutes of reading daily).  This way, you build grace into how you experience and create your life. Knowing you don’t have to be perfect (and you know how I feel about perfect) can often be the impetus you need to move you closer to the life you desire.  Your resolutions, intentions, dreams, desires do not have to look like anyone else’s.

Celebrate. The New Year isn’t a time to make yourself feel bad or to shame yourself.  It’s an opportunity to remember that all of life is journey and we can choose our journey any time.

Want even more support as you reflect on 2015 and plan for 2016?  Join me this Friday or Saturday for visionSPARK or re:NEW.  

A Summit of One

personal summit

Hello dear hearts!

I hope your holiday season has been filled with joy and peace and love and that you have found a chance for a lovely exhale amidst all the activity.

One of the things that I am finding time for this week is the End of Year Personal Summit, a reflection activity that allows me to sit down and intentionally say goodbye to 2015 while preparing to welcome 2016, and I want to encourage you to join me in this exercise.

The End of Year Personal Summit has the potential to give you some powerful perspective, create for you a blueprint of what works and doesn’t, and allow you to start 2016 with the most powerful of intentions. So even if you can’t squeeze this one in today, do squeeze it in before the end of this year.

So what is an End of Year Personal Summit? A fancy way to describe sitting down and reflecting on this past year and how it went:: the joys and challenges it brought you, what you learned, and what you might do with that learning.

The EYPS is all about ending your year intentionally so that you can start the new year on purpose.

Ready to begin? Here is how to hold your summit of one.

Step 1: Schedule it and prepare. Summits don’t happen without some effort. So schedule some time on your calendar for this one. Aim for at least 30 minutes. Choose a time of day and a day of the week when you are going to be your sharpest. Also gather what you need. You might want your calendar from this past year, your vision board (if you made one), your camera or file of photos you took this past year, a journal from this past year (if you keep one), some blank paper and pens. You can also go further and get some soothing music, a perfect drink (smoothie, tea, wine?), or a candle ready.

Step 2: Go radio silent. When the time comes for your summit, put your phone on silent, back away from the internet, and hang a literal or figurative Do Not Disturb sign on the door of the space where you are working and on the door of your mind (to warn those superfluous thoughts to go busy themselves for awhile).

Step 3: Go back. The first official step in your summit is just surveying the scene, reviewing the past year. Flip through your photos. Go through your calendar, to do lists, journals. Make notes about things that strike you, what makes you smile, what ideas come to you, what you are reminded of from the year, any inspiration or insight you have.

Step 4: Ask and answer. Now, it is time to ask yourself some questions. Enjoy these questions; don’t stress about them or overthink them. If you are stuck on one, skip it and then come back to it later. One to a few sentence answers are just fine and your first instinct is usually the right track.

1. Describe yourself at the beginning of 2015.

2. What are five words that describe your 2015?

3. Recall 2015. What are three images that pop into your head?

4. What feelings do these images provoke?

5. What did you do this year that you had never done before?

6. What dates/experiences from this year will remain etched in your memory and why?

7. What was your biggest challenge?  What was your biggest triumph?

8. What are three to five great things you did in 2015?

9. What are some important things you stopped doing?

10. What are some important things you started doing?

11. Looking back, what was this year’s gift to you?

12. Describe yourself now.

Step 5: Learn Your Lesson. So I am a firm believer that life keeps handing you the lesson that you need to learn until you learn it. Fail to learn the lesson the first time it shows up in you and life will turn up the volume, making things a big more uncomfortable. Ignore it again? More discomfort. On and on until it is just way too uncomfortable not to learn the lesson. But here’s the thing. It doesn’t have to be that hard or that uncomfortable. You can learn the lesson earlier– which is really about making the choice to make a change that you know that you need but hesitate to make– and save yourself the later pain and trouble. It’s just a matter of paying attention.

So what were your most valuable lessons this year that you want to take with you moving forward? Make a list.

Step 6: Store these notes for the new year.  Next week, I’ll guide you in completing a New Year Personal Summit to get your new year started with powerful intention.

Want even more support as you reflect on 2015 and plan for 2016?  Join me for visionSPARK or re:NEW.  


a letter to my body image class students on our last day of class

you can change us

With every new interaction, we arrive to each other not fully formed, broken even.

That is not saying anything about you; it is just a reflection on the nature of life.  Our entire life’s journey is about healing in some way, about finding wholeness, and we are always on that journey, always on a quest to make ourselves as whole as possible for this given moment.  And when we connect with one another, when we show up to each other authentic and vulnerable and willing, we receive one more gift, one more balm on our journey towards healing.

You all have been that balm.

To each other, yes; and to me, too.  Week by week, I know that you helped to heal me, and I have witnessed you healing one another.  I marveled at your magic and at our good fortune of having just exactly this combination of each of you at exactly this moment be together, to learn together, to try together, to heal together.

When we show up to each other, anywhere in life, I think these are the most essential questions that we should ask; whose answers we should most seek.

How can I help you?  How can I be a part of your healing?  What is it that I can learn from you?      

These questions are the very cornerstone of discovering what our purpose is in this world.

Life is huge and complex and overwhelming.  Sometimes, in our desire to make things easier, we take shortcuts.  One of our most common shortcuts is to put people in boxes.  Oh, you are Latina?  Well, that means this.  You are male?  That means this.  You are a woman and you date women?  That means this.  We do not create these boxes to be cruel.  We create these boxes to make things easier for ourselves.  And, yet, there is nothing easy or ordinary or basic about the human condition and when we subscribe people to boxes, we deny them all of their complexity, all of their richness and experience, all of their brokenness and even their healing.  We dictate to them who we need them to be to make it easier for us.  These shortcuts, designed for efficiency, almost always fail us because we aren’t meant for efficiency.  As a people, we are meant for expansiveness.

As I witnessed and learned from you each week, the most miraculous realization came to me because I saw in you this way made truth as you committed to hearing one another, witnessing one another, revealing yourselves to one another, understanding one another.  You refused to put each other in boxes; you assumed right intention; you gave grace, you listened.

And here is what I know from watching you:  your generation can be the one that changes everything—that destroys the crutch of the box, that takes each other out of that box and, by doing so, takes society out of its prison.  You can be the one that never assumes, that never limits, that never diminishes.  And each of you, as I have seen here every Friday, can be leaders in that effort.  Because I have witnessed your magic, your compassion, your hope, your hurt, your healing.  You can do better than we have done so far.  You can change us.  You can make the world safer and more welcoming for each of us—no matter our bodies, our beliefs, our brokenness.  You can heal the world as you heal yourself.  Witnessing you, watching your way, reading your words has given me the most profound hope.

We have talked for months about what matters: how it is not how we look but how we show up—our openness, our willingness, our hopefulness—that matters, that people remember, that changes lives.   I think creating the collective and individual future of our dreams comes down to this:

How young can we be when we realize all that matters is how much we love (ourselves and others), how much we cherish the time we have left (and how much we make choices that allow that time to be high quality), how much judgment hasn’t done us a lick of good as an individual, a community, or a society (in fact, it may be the thing that has done us the most collective profound harm), how much our offering help can change everything for someone else and our selves?

Today is the youngest you will be for the rest of your lives.  Can you realize today that nothing else matters but getting the soul part right?  Can you walk away from a prescriptive idea of what your body should look like and who you should be if you fall into any particular demographic and free yourselves, and everyone else, from the uselessness of judgment and smallness?  Can today be the day that you quit living by anyone else’s principles and begin living instead by what you know in your soul to be true—that you have worth just as you are and that this world needs you?

I have known it from the first day that I met you—the collective you, yes, but the individual you even more so—you are magic.   You have it in you to change not just your world but the world.  You were made for a time like this.

I believe in you. I appreciate you.  I am in awe of you.  And I cannot wait to see how you change this world.

At the end of each semester, I write my students a letter that is unique to their class.  This was the letter for my body image class this semester.

Want to read some past letters?

The world is aching for you to show up. 

The world needs your lightness 

We hunger to be known.  

Answer the call into your own greatness 

Radiate Love 

Do the world’s work 

And here is the letter I share with them on the first day of school.  

The Kids are Alright Fall 2015

BY Objects of Motion

At the end of each semester, my body image students write a process paper where they synthesize their learning- both personal and academic- for the semester. These papers are always a delight to read and there is so much wisdom in them that I just have to share a fraction of it (with my students’ permission, of course) with you. Here, some wise words from my students this semester. May they give you hope and inspiration the way they did me.   


Your body image is all about you. You can make it and change it in any way you please; it doesn’t stay the same, and it can be anything you want it to be, because it belongs to you. Your body image is not for other people, and nobody has the ability to rightfully judge it other than you, because they cannot touch it. We are so ingrained into thinking that what we think about others will make them change the way they think about themselves. Sometimes, this is true, and unfortunately, it does happen. It is very easy for someone with poor body image to believe something that someone else says about them. However, we have to understand that we have the divine power to do whatever we wish to do with our bodies. We are rightfully minded to see that we are one with our bodies, and our bodies are our vessels. It is important and necessary to care for our vessels, because they are so precious. Your body is your temple, and you should worship it. Your image is about you, and you create it. It is not the way you look, what people think about you, how people view you, it is how you take your life and your body and turn it into your perception of yourself. No one else is in control of that.  ~Chantal


Thoughts become actions, and thinking that others (including myself) were inferior because of their physical appearance is a dangerous ideal to put into the universe. I came to the brutal realization that these thoughts… are a way of controlling people, and dictating who deserves what. Although this may seem extreme in some ways, there is truth to this idea. The scary thing about believing physical appearance dictates someone’s worth, is where social issues such as racism, and prejudices, come into play. These thoughts have the power to create social unjust, and can determine the quality of a human beings’ life. A tough pill to swallow, but a realization that needed to be made.  ~Mallory 


I find myself using the same type of language my mother used around me about herself when I was growing up. I will say things like “when I get pregnant this baby’s going to just fall right out of me with the size of these hips”, “My butt is so big I can barely fit into these jeans”, and “I got to get to the gym!” All of these statements while different from my mom, had the exact same meaning. I didn’t feel beautiful in my own skin.  57% of all girls have a mother who criticizes her own looks in front of them. I don’t want to be that 57%. I don’t want my child to feel the way I did about myself, and I sure as hell don’t want to relay the idea to my child that she isn’t beautiful just the way she is. ~Holly 

I see beauty in passion, love, nature; beauty is a fluid form of what is good in this world. It is not limited to shiny hair, perfect skin, or a thin body. It is a mother taking care of her child, a stranger helping a stranger, or someone who speaks for the rights of those who do not have a voice themselves. I love myself for being informed, for never wanting to stop learning, and for understanding there is is always room for growth. ~Mallory 
There is no such thing as perfect. These lies that we are constantly fed through advertising shaming us for having normal imperfectly perfect bodies are just a huge money plot. I have grown to realize that we cannot let these things that do not matter or effect our worth as human beings hold such a significant amount of power over us. We are in charge of our own happiness and love for ourselves. ~Blair 
I feel like I used to worry about my body and constantly wonder what I would look like down the road; now that I’ve reached a point in my life where I can fully understand what I want for myself, my body is just an afterthought. My body no longer comes first; my desires do, my passions, my goals. All of these things are so much more important and filling to me than anything else.  ~Chantal

Prepare for 2016 with a one on one retreat with me!

plunge in

I have been working on my plans for 2016 and am updating my Passion. Purpose. Plunge retreats so I wanted to share those details with you here.

But, first, you might be wondering what these retreats are…

Before booking a personal retreat with Rosie, I was noticing a growing feeling of powerlessness in my work life – especially around deciding what freelance gigs to pursue and accept. To borrow Howard Thurman’s phrase, it was as if I was “spending my days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.” What I wanted was to define for myself what kind of work was worthy of my time, energy, and calling and learn to make more trustworthy decisions. While I had been seeing a therapist to tackle my spiritual roadblocks, I needed a fresh approach to tackling my professional ones.

From our first conversation over the phone, Rosie began helping me get unstuck. She listened well. She asked great questions. She mirrored back what she was hearing. Everything about her approach was tailored exactly for me. Even the homework assignments before meeting for our in-person retreat were helpful in and of themselves to discern. Once we were together in person we quickly moved from talking into doing. The most helpful thing we did together was a commitment assessment, walking through every work project on my plate and talking about whether it was something I needed to complete, adapt, or get out of. About a particularly lackluster commitment I had already made, I said, “Although I’m not excited about it, it’s important for me to keep my word.” Rosie looked at me plainly and said, “So, you can keep your commitment to the client or keep your commitment to the values you’ve articulated here.” She gave me permission to act on what my gut had been telling me for a long time.

After the retreat, I felt my personal voice and agency returning in my work life. I updated my website to set clearer expectations for potential clients. I began saying yes and no with more confidence. I even got out of a few of my prior commitments with integrity, thanks to Rosie’s help in wording my change of course. When we had our follow-up phone call one month later, I was astonished to see that we had addressed every concern I brought to the table at the beginning.

Rosie is clearly doing what she was born to do and giving every one in her life the courage to do the same. I’m telling all my friends – pastors, nurses, artists, and anyone who will listen – that it was the best professional development dollars I’ve ever spent.

Erin Lane

What is a Passion. Purpose. Plunge Retreat?

An individualized, one-on-one retreat designed and facilitated by me with your greatest needs, wants, and dreams in mind.

Together, during a pre-retreat Vision Session, we’ll identify what it is you most need to live with passion, purpose, and deep self-acceptance so that you can create an incredibly satisfying life that allows you to authentically be yourself.  Then, I’ll personally design a retreat for you that allows you to creatively and thoughtfully move through your fears and challenges, provides you with the physical and emotional space to see what’s possible and get excited about it, and the create an action plan that allows you to step into the life you are meant to be living.

During the retreat, we spend three to six hours in thoughtful, deep, guided conversation that illuminates what you are after and how to get there and then we create a thoughtful action plan that will get you there.  Finally, about a month after your retreat, we reconnect in a post-retreat Shine session where we reflect on how things are going and tweak anything that needs adjusting.  Throughout this process, I am just an email away for any problem solving, processing, or celebrating.

Rosie brings the perfect balance of encouragement and practical wisdom to her retreats. When I was struggling with my professional future, I scheduled a Passion. Purpose. Plunge. retreat because I wanted a thought partner in thinking through my next steps. Rosie helped me tremendously in planning for my transition in a holistic way, and I walked away with a much clearer vision of what I wanted for my life and how I was going to achieve it. I have been singing her praises to friends and colleagues ever since.

Katey Zeh


 Is a Passion. Purpose. Plunge Retreat right for you?

Are you ready to move past your fear and inertia to really create the life you want?

Do you need space and support to really help you breathe, think, dream, and plan for your best life?

Do you want to feel invigorated, encouraged, inspired, focused, clear, committed, and authentic?

Does having someone in your corner raise your sense of accountability and possibility while bringing out your best?

Are you ready to realize what you have been hoping for?

…then a Passion. Purpose. Plunge retreat may just be the thing for you.

We’ll spend our time together really filtering out the excess noise and identifying and embracing what is most true for you in how to live authentically and create the life you want.  You will claim what you want your legacy to be and understand how to live in a way that aligns with who and how you most want to be.  We will examine your self-care and help you more deliberately embrace self-acceptance so that you are your best ally and not your biggest foe.  You will articulate your wants and needs and then create an action plan that claims your vision and allows you to create it at a pace that is right for you.  Ultimately, you will leave your retreat with a sense of confidence in what you uniquely offer the world, the ability to articulate it, and a vision for how to live on purpose.  You will feel invigorated, optimistic, and focused and have a clear action plan on how to move forward in an authentic, whole-hearted way.

If I could describe my PPP retreat experience in one word, it would be REJUVENATING. Rosie has a great mix of wonderful, whimsical enthusiasm and specific, organized planning. These came together to create a plan for my upcoming year that excites me and challenges me. It’s no longer a clump of vague ideas wrestling with each other, but a set plan that purposefully moves me forward and offers many opportunities for growth and new experiences. It was great to talk about my desires and hopes and have someone listen and forge them into something attainable, someone to remind me that a lot is in my hands – for one, how I face and treat each day. Having Rosie as a mentor is refreshing and life-giving. From the food provided to the exercises of discernment and planning we did, I felt taken care of and listened to. It was great to be able to step back from my assumptions of what society thinks I should do with my life and think about what I actually want to do. No matter where you are or what you’re looking for in life, Rosie will provide a safe space and affirming ways to go forward. You won’t regret a PPP retreat.

Claire Asbury


There are three options for a Passion. Purpose. Plunge retreat.

The Peace experience is a 90 minute one-on-one session done over Skype (this is a contained session and does not include the one hour pre-planning phone call) where  we’ll examine a smaller question or issue and apply some creative problem solving to it so that you come away with powerful solution for your situation and an action plan to guide you forward.  The Peace experience can work for a personal or professional question and is ideal for a small challenge— you are launching a new project and want to fine-tune or trouble shoot it, you are working on your self-care and want help writing a wellness prescription and putting it into practice, you want to work through a specific issue at work.

The Passion experience is a 5 hour one-on-one retreat experience that can be offered in person if you are local to Charlotte, NC or over Skype if you are not. The Passion retreat consists of a pre-retreat vision reflection exercise, a one hour pre-retreat phone/Skype session, a three hour one-on-one retreat done in-person or over Skype that includes creating an action plan to guide your post-retreat plans, a one hour post-retreat phone/Skype session, and email support during the period contracted.

The Purpose experience consists of an 8 hour experience: a pre-retreat vision reflection exercise, a one hour pre-retreat phone/Skype vision session, a six hour in-person retreat that includes creating an action plan to guide your post-retreat plans, a one hour post-retreat phone/Skype session, and email support during the period contracted.

Signing up for a Passion. Purpose. Plunge. retreat is one of the best decisions I’ve made all year. Rosie created a thorough and thoughtful program that helped me identify personal and professional goals and develop a comprehensive plan for achieving them. During the retreat, Rosie created opportunities that stretched my beliefs about what is possible, allowing me to dream big — and she provided the support to help me reach the goals we set together. I left the retreat feeling invigorated and inspired. Less than 48 hours after the Passion. Purpose. Plunge retreat, I’d introduced a new program and got immediate results. I’ll be signing up for another retreat very soon!

Jodi Helmer

Want to take the plunge in 2016?

In terms of scheduling, I will have 1-2 spots per month for retreats from January to April, 2-3 spots per month from May to August and 1-2 spots per month from September to December.  Available days are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays.  
In 2016, the price for each retreat will be increasing.  The Peace experience will go from $150 to $200.  The Passion experience will go from $500 to $625 and the Purpose experience will go from $800 to $1000.  The new prices will be effective on January 4th.  I will honor the 2015 price for any 2016 retreats reserved and booked before then.  

To schedule a one-on-one experience, email me at rosiemolinary at gmail dot com.

If you are eager to create the life of your imagining, it would be my great honor to partner with you in realizing the possibilities.

 I did an in-person Passion. Purpose. Plunge retreat with Rosie because I’d attended several of her VisionSPARK events and the outcome was always more than a good feeling. Time spent with Rosie is warm and supportive, but it’s also PRODUCTIVE. I knew I would leave my retreat with a clear action plan, timeline, and clearly articulated goals, not to mention fresh motivation to accomplish them. Rosie quickly and precisely narrows down what someone needs to be successful in personal or professional endeavors and then draws a map for how to get there. A retreat with Rosie was an investment in my success and happiness with immediate and measurable results.

Michelle Icard


Giving Love: a self-acceptance gift guide

giving love gift guide

I love coming up with gift ideas. And with the holidays coming, I am brainstorming fun gifts that will help the wonderful women in my life take care of themselves, treat themselves more lovingly, or just experience delight.  So here are some gifts ideas I have come across, in case they are a fit for someone on your list!


Spark Necklace— Every year, Circle de Luz works with a jewelry designer to create a necklace for our newest Circle de Luz class.  This year, the Circle de Luz Board of Directors named the Class of 2021 necklace in memory of my mamacita.  Well, if I didn’t already LOVE this necklace by Bonnie Boardman (and, come on, it says SPARK- in reference to one of our tag lines Spark Her Line- so of course I loved it), that sealed the deal.  Proceeds from this necklace which can be purchased in silver ($46) or gold ($50) benefit Circle de Luz and each necklace comes with a little explanation tag that includes the Circle de Luz Manifesto.

what am I ready for?

Daily Tending Divination Deck by Mara Glatzel— This is a fun little gift for the meditators, reflectors, personal growth people in your life.  This 40 card deck includes 10 prompts, 10 intentions, 10 questions, 10 gentle invitations intended to help you connect more deeply and intentionally with yourself.  $27

Southern Soap Company Soy Candles— These candles smell divine.  Burning candles is one of my favorite little rituals/meditations, especially in the winter, and this company has some of my very favorite scents.  $14.99

Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance

Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance— A daily short essay provides inspiration and insight and a suggested daily activity provides a gentle journey towards greater self-acceptance.  Great for teens and women of all ages who want to have a more positive relationship with themselves.   This link is to my local book shop.  If you purchase BY from Main Street Books,  I am happy to stop in there and personalize the copy to whomever you wish before it is mailed.  $16.95


Motto Journals.  These bright, beautiful journals with not quite graph paper (think graph paper but with dots at each corner and not full lines) have an inspired motto on the front and are perfect for recording inspirations and reflections, taking notes, and keeping track of details.  I carry the red one (Live a Life You Love) and gave one to each of Happy’s elective teachers last year as a holiday gift.  $9.95

awesome life

How to Live an Awesome Life by Polly Campbell.  This one is on my favorite reads of the year list because Campbell offers inspired guidance on how to thrive in your current astonishing life (no weight loss, new degree, cosmetic surgery or new job required).  It is a great mindset book for those on your list who like to develop their thinking, souls, and happiness.  $15.95


The Super Conditions Game (created by Dyana Valentine).  Have someone in your life who has a big decision to make?  This exercise in discernment might be just the right gift for them!  I attended a Super Conditions workshop led by Dyana last year and her inspired work provides valuable personal insight and perspective.  $40


Pouch by Town and Reese.  I love zippered pouches.  They are the perfect way for me to compartmentalize my stuff (I have an office supply pouch and a personal supply- lotion, tissues, chapstick- pouch) in larger bags or the perfect little smaller ‘clutches’ when I don’t want to carry much.  My sweet neighbor gave me one of these for my birthday and I love it.  Now, I want everyone to have one!  It may not directly promote self-acceptance, but it makes my life easier and is precious to boot so I’ll take that!  $20

DVD Cover

Show Up for You 2-Disc DVD set from Curvy Yoga.  I LOVE Anna Guest-Jelley, creator of Curvy Yoga, and was thrilled to see this new disc set release because, seriously, who doesn’t need to show up more for themselves?  Curvy Yoga is designed to meet the needs of students of all shapes, sizes and abilities. This is yoga for people who never thought it was for them, as well as yogis who want some Curvy Yoga at home or on the road.  This DVD includes five practices that will support you in showing up for yourself: mind, body and soul. You can practice each one on its own, or group some together to create a practice that works for you. $22

A final note:  none of these items are affiliate-linked. I do not make any money from sharing any of these ideas or posting links.  These are simply products I am excited about that I wanted to share with you.  xoxo

What suggestions do you have for the self-acceptance loving or seeking women in your life?