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  • Wayfinder's #134: Getting Warmer, Which I Like

    All that self help has led me here

    Have you ever seen L.A. Story, with Steve Martin and Victoria Tennant and Patrick Stewart and Sarah Jessica Parker and my favorite Grant brother, Richard E. Grant? If you have not, I recommend it. It is about magic and love, and it's very sweet. In it, Steve Martin's character asks his best friend what it's like to have breasts. He says he thinks if he had breasts he'd never get anything done. He would just stay home and play with them all day.

    All that self help has led me here.

    This is how I feel about my eyelashes. And my clothes.

    I am telling you what, I have spent the past 30+ years sitting on a cushion, taking serious buddhist vows, prostrating myself (FOR REAL, tho not for long), going to every seminar under the sun except maybe EST and The Forum and whatever it's known as now, and reading pretty much all the books, and talking about some form of self help at every opportunity and journaling and techniquing and doing a lot of work and studying with the best, and it has all led me here. To a place where really, I could give a shit about that and all I want to do is go to Paris and eat everything and buy everything ("Two of everything!" says my friend Ali) and share a bottle of wine with friends and come home and take a nap and get ready to go someplace else. 

    (By the way, two things about Paris in January:

    1. Parisians do not do "sales" like the way we do them in the States. They are serious about their sales, which only happen in January and June. I got some gorgeous lingerie at a serious discount. Which I am wearing, because No More Saving The Best For Later. I hope I can do this again next year.

    2. Even the restaurants in all the guidebooks are unlikely to be crowded in January. My friend Anne spontaneously took me to a little place called Le Garde Robe, mentioned in the hipper guides, we got the last table in the place, and some of the best wine I've ever drunk, and we stayed for hours and it was just about the most convivial place I've ever been, with a little impromptu karaoke from the kitchen. Le Garde Robe. Perfect.)

    So after coming home from France and spending a week crawling through six-foot-high tunnels of snow, it was fun to dip into my summer closet and put together a capsule wardrobe for Texas. Now we are here, and Mr Jones is working, but as in Paris, not so much that we can't dress up and go everywhere and eat everything. I would not have guessed that San Antonio would be as delightful as Paris, but it is.

    Have thoughts?

    Leave a comment, if you like.

  • Everyone's least favorite part

    What my girlfriend calls "the wave after the wave".

    Not to be confused with the Mr. Probz song.

    If you live in North America and Alvin Ailey is coming to your city, you will already have been hypnotized by this poster. I mean look at this guy! Is he not the fittest fellow you have seen on the subway, like, ever?

    So ripped, in fact, that it took me a moment to see something interesting about his anatomy. Something I've noticed at the gym, too, where there are a lot of other fit specimens of humanity, male and female. If you haven't spotted it yet, here's a red arrow to help you:

    Yep, it's that arm thingy. The flap. The part that does "the wave after the wave." The part of our body that nearly all of us hate and whose shape we take for a sign of weak will, bad genes, ageing or some other avoidable or unavoidable misfortune.

    If this is you, I want to offer you a reason to drop your arm dislike forever. This spectacular-yet-human dancer clearly shows us the shape that even the best of superchampion world-class triceps run to, THE END. 

    This shape is normal. Your arms are just fine.

    RESPECT. ADORE. And may this short note give you another thing to relax about.

    Have thoughts?

    Leave a comment!I would love to know what you think.

  • Wayfinder's #133: Blue Goes With Blue

    I think I'm starting to get the hang of this packing thing: just make everything blue.

    What we are doing here:

    Treasuring ourselves.

    Dwelling in mystery. 

    Luxuriating in pleasure. 

    Seeking the hot tracks.

    Working magic.

    Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world, and gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality. (If there is one.) 

    And: asking What else might be possible?
     

    Imagining

    Hi friends! I'm headed to Paris with my little blue capsule wardrobe. I am wishing for slowness, ease, pleasure and quiet. And bargains at the January sales.

    I am taking the writing part of Danielle LaPorte's Desire Map. Ripped that book right in half! That's how committed I am to packing light.

    Plans include many hard-to-get rezzos (I hope because it's January) and visits with friends and a trip to the hammam at L'Echappée and the textile library. Oh and maybe the Louvre.

    But the main thing is reviewing 2014's directive of Everything Must Go! Nothing stays for free; everything must be submitted for review. As Havi and I were saying this week, I'm doubling down on that for 2015. Just can't improve on it, and indeed, I was only getting started last year. 

    So I hope to come back from Paris with an even longer list of things to toss overboard. I'll let you know!

  • Wayfinder's #132: The Expense of Spirit

    Coincidences (aka Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, aka signs of Forming)

    There have been spontaneous unsolicited upgrades, but I am also turning my attention to deliberately organizing my own upgrades. In particular, I'm trying to live by Jennifer Scott's maxim Use Your Best Every Day. That means, at the macro level: dessert spoons, the good china, the nice tablecloth, the best (ordinary) skivvies, the prettiest shirt. At the micro level, it means eating the best bite first, a reminder from local heroine Joanne "Eat Dessert First" Chang.

    What we are doing here:

    Treasuring ourselves.

    Dwelling in mystery. 

    Luxuriating in pleasure. 

    Seeking the hot tracks.

    Working magic.

    Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world, and gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality. (If there is one.) 

    And: asking What else might be possible?
     

    (I never do that, by the way. But I admire Joanne's style.)

    Anyway, it's about not saving, because: When you make use of the best available [supplies, food, thinking, personal strengths, whatever], the inferior provisions can be tossed with impunity. 

    My Depression + Marine Corps + orphanage survivor dad taught me this, so I can't believe I could ever have forgotten it: If you use up the best stuff first, it will be replaced by more stuff, some of which will be inferior and some of which will be very good! Whereas if you save the best for last, you will do that forever. So always use the best available.

    This is so important. So I'm glad I was finally able to let go of 86 lbs of kitchen stuff that I've been saving for years for my kids in a cupboard under the stairs. (Which I am forced to recognize now was a bit musty.)

    I've always thought my kids would feel about kitchens the way I do - the heart of the home, the center of the earth - but they don't. (Maybe because of me?) They may feel quite ambivalent about kitchens and kitchen stuff. For sure they will not pull out a drawer the day after the next big disaster and say "I thought post-apocalypse living was really gonna suck, but Mummy saved me a ravioli wheel, so I'M SOLID!" 

    I asked my youngest this week Honey, is there anything in there you're actually attached to? Because I am totally lined up and signed up to outfit your first kitchen. We will go shopping. I can even rent a van. And he didn't hesitate. Dump it, Mom! I want kitchen stuff, but it doesn't have to be that kitchen stuff.

    Dear heaven. Hanging onto that crap for years.

    Like they say, Some people like cats and some people like golf and some people go to Princeton and some people, like me, can get their identity really wrapped up in spare ravioli wheels. 

    I also purposely upgraded my winter coat. I had got a great one last year in Boulder, during the Polar-Vortex/Airbnb-Fail episode of the Frognado Chronicles, and it's still a great coat, but it doesn't fit me anymore. I am at 10 lbs over the legal limit for that coat, and every time I put it on, buttoning it down to the waist but no lower, the shame was almost unbearable. Like I looked like some kind of crazy person who didn't know her coat didn't fit her. Or maybe like some kind of terrible weight coach who GAINED WEIGHT.

    I kept thinking of this line from a sonnet: The expense of spirit in a waste of shame. Obviously Shakespeare was discussing something other than winter coats, but still, shame is a perfect waste, and it was killing my spirit, wearing this coat. And SO UNKIND TO MY BODY. So after a bracing breakfast with some sister Martha Beck coaches, I went to the posh suburban consignment shop and found a posh suburban quilted jacket on sale. Looks excruciatingly correct with green Wellies. You may laugh, but it zips right up, and it bought me some of my spirit back, and let my body know I'm back on her side. A bargain!

    Imagining

    You know how people will say I'm tired of talking about [thing/dilemma/dream]. Imma TAKE ACTION, so help me Tony Robbins! I could say that about Hawaii except I am not tired of talking about it. I might want to keep talking about it until I get there. Today I want to talk about WHAT ISLAND. Because I hear it is a bad idea to island-hop. What do you think?

    I am imagining the kind of outrageous pleasure we had in Tulum. Rich Hippie levels of pleasure. Bikinis! Massage! Hedonism! OUTRAGE! SWIMMING WITH SEA MAMMALS. And hopefully sex on the beach unless the beaches are patrolled the way they are in Mexico, such a pity.

    That's what I'm feeling the need for. The first stake I'm putting in the Imagination ground for 2015.

    Also, Mr Jones has to go to Paris for work next week, and I am joining him. My French is a blot on our country's honor, so I was incredibly relieved and happy to see that France now has embraced online restaurant reservations. (And their system is better than Open Table by a lot.) So we have rezzos at Verjus and Spring and my other hopes are not taking reservations but it's January so I'm not worried.

    Also because I'm sick of being worried and I have so much evidence that worry doesn't prevent bad shit. If you can believe that.

    Updates on past experiments

    There has been incredible stripper lash success. Finally, I have lashes in length and number comparable to the rest of humanity. They are still blond but that is ok because I have found, thank you Elle Magazine, Lancôme Grandiôse mascara. So that is my secret: Latisse + Lancôme Grandiôse = Very Visible Lashes.

    Destination: Date night

    What has happened? A lot of dining in, at home, with friends, and with my cookbook club. You have to recover after eating at Alinea and Chez Panisse in the same month.

    (List compiled 9-nov-2014)

    1. Alden & Harlow
    2. Alinea
    3. Area Four
    4. Asta
    5. Battersby (Brooklyn)
    6. Bondir
    7. Brine
    8. Bronwyn
    9. Chez Panisse
    10. Commonwealth
    11. Coppa (for brunch)
    12. Franny's (Brooklyn)
    13. The Gallows
    14. Giulia
    15. L'Espalier
    16. The Market (closed for the season)
    17. Myers & Chang
    18. Neptune Oyster (why have I never been here? BECAUSE THE ALL-DAY CROWDS)
    19. O-Ya
    20. Ostra
    21. Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
    22. Rialto 
    23. Ribelle (ugly and harshly lit but the food! the wine! spectacular)
    24. Roberta's (Brooklyn)
    25. Scampo
    26. Shojo
    27. Tres Gatos
    28. West Bridge

    Then there is a short list of places I shall not soon tire of, and always want to go back to:

    1. B&G Oysters
    2. Brick and Mortar
    3. Miracle of Science
    4. Oleana
    5. Sarma
    6. Sportello
    7. Strip-T's
    8. Toro

    That should keep us busy for a while, but please feel free to suggest additions.

    The internet's tiniest comment link...

    ...is right down below. You are most welcome to put your thoughts there. 

  • We have an accord


    Hello, friends! I hope you all had a sparkling New Year. I spent mine in Oakland, California, where I was lucky to meet up with sister Martha Beck coach Sasha Mobley. While we admired the bonsai at Lake Merritt, Sasha asked me how come I wasn't writing more about the life events that ate my 2014 for lunch. 

    Dieting: The futile attempt to control what I eat in order to control what my body looks like in order to control what people think about me in order to control how they treat me in order for me to feel ok.

    AUGH.

    

The answer is that everything horrible challenging that happened to me last year also happened to people I love, and they want their privacy. But I can write about what the year taught me without putting anyone on blast. 



    Now, I thought I already had this handled, but as I wrote the other day on the blog, life showed me that I was still punishing my body by withholding and restricting food - albeit much more subtly - and giving it too many things it didn't really want, and not letting it have the deciding vote. And keeping her in the subject position, instead of listening to her, caring for her, and serving her. This despite 30 years of working and teaching in the field of disordered eating.

    

It's an onion, people. At this point, I can only assume there are more layers to peel.

Anyway, In short, I was still doing a form of what I consider dieting, which for me is the futile attempt to

    1. control what I eat in order to
    2. control what my body looks like in order to
    3. control what people think about me so as to
    4. control how they treat me
    5. so that I can feel ok.

    My goodness. When I put it that way it seems so reasonable, doesn't it? What could possibly go wrong?

Let's break it down!



    Can we agree that control is an illusion? I think we can. That's not a hard one, especially when we're talking about what goes on in other people's heads.

    

Can we agree that this really a long way around? I'm going all around the world on a remote hope, when I could go straight at it. I could just figure out how to feel ok now.

    

Can we agree that restricting what we eat is an unreliable way to produce a body with the characteristics we seek? (Even if those features are realistic, which often they are not.) Restriction = starvation -> broken metabolism -> weight gain. (We know this!)



    Can we agree that some people treat us well no matter what we look like, and some people treat us poorly no matter what we look like, and how most people treat us depends on what side of the bed they got up on and how their horse did in the fifth race and what their boyfriend said when they said they wanted to go to Puerto Rico and what their credit card statement read and whether they love themselves and are on their own side. 

Can we agree that how people treat us is a matter of who we allow in our life, and how we respond to they way they treat us? Can we agree that these are commonly known as Boundary Issues, and are nothing to do with our waistband size?

    

Can we also agree that we were not put on this Earth to hit a particular number on the scale? (Or bank statement. Or age. Or followers or likes.)

I hope we can. At least me and my body, we have an accord. We agree that I'm done withholding nutrients from her in a doomed attempt to secure social approval.



    So, basically: I've been fired. And my body is my new boss. And that probably means a lot more naps, and reasonable quitting times.

It also probably means a refocusing of my coaching practice. I'm still working this out, but honestly, my body kinda dies a little on the inside when I talk about weight loss, as if that could trump living bigly, bravely, freely and happily. It's great to release unnecessary weight, but it's not the foremost part of liberation.



    RESPECT! And may your 2015 be an extravagant pageant of love and wonder.

    Have thoughts?

    Leave a comment! I would love to know what you think.

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