Beauty, Intangible

It’s something I’ve written about before, I’m sure, but I’m still thinking about it.

I’m putting together a lovely box of essential oils, essential-oil products, and gifts for this program, Bone Deep.

It’s a two-fold thing, taking its theme from that old saw “beauty is only skin deep”.

If only. There’s an implication “Therefore it is unimportant, and no one should care!” There is no question that paying less attention to external beauty would be nice, especially for the poor kids getting jaw-shaving surgery (among other things) in the K-pop industry.

But it also clashes with this idea that beauty can come from within, something we know to be true.

So, this box includes skincare stuff–infused with essential oils that are great to lift the mood AND treat your skin deliciously.

It also includes a booklet about taking 14 days to improve your love toward yourself. Being at home in your skin is an indefinably beautifying thing.

It also includes three sessions with me on the subject, because getting support and targeted help with the process is invaluable. (I can tell myself over and over again that I’m FINE but it’s when a coach asks me, “So what is really happening” that I’m honest with myself.)

The problem with dismissing beauty is that it seems to be planted in our consciousness for a reason. The way we evaluate it is directed by our cultures–the way we respond to it often coded by our own experience.

(For instance, the way I feel hostility and mistrust toward guys with a certain set of features, because I watched a guy I thought was cute sucker-punch the school misfit. I’m sure many of them haven’t done that, but it’s coded in that they’re capable of deceiving me!)

We react to other humans through a complicated mesh of factors, and what our eyes see is incredibly powerful.

The good news is that very often we see “confidence” before we see size number, or “kind eyes” before we see wrinkles.

It also matters that what you see in your body and face is a reflection of what is going on in your health. As I get more and more experienced as a health coach, I start to notice certain tells in faces or body-shapes that correspond to physical issues.

(Was phrenology so off after all? Who can say, very little legit research on that one…)

Your skin shows, in a muted way, where you’re under stress, where your diet is out of balance.

I include beauty (in the sense of skincare and fitness) in my passions, even though externals aren’t something I hold as a virtue. Instead, it’s because it has a very real interaction between emotion and health, the two things I’m the most fierce about.

Love and beauty from within–you can’t get the one without the other, it seems to me.

What can you do to show your body and spirit a little love today?


There may be something to this wishing on a star thing.

I saw a shooting star tonight!

This is notable because I have two siblings who seem to see them fairly regularly, and I’ve rarely seen them outside of a meteor shower.

You know, I was not prepared with a wish?

Rather, I was not prepared to wish on the shooting star.

Since intentions are powerful, I can’t help thinking that if you were determined enough in your wish to remember it in the instant you see a star, you’re bound to have it come about. That’s no small level of intention.

Weaponized Diary

To be honest, I miss having a drama-diary.

You know, the kind you keep when you’re young or upset, usually both? The kind that chronicles the super-important events of angst and feeling.

I’ve never been very good at that kind of diary (I am the sort of person who writes to reason with myself, and left most of the interesting bits out of any given diary entry even during those days) but Morning Pages aren’t at all like that.

Sometimes when I travel I do wax poetic, or musing. Travel gives an excuse for a sort of self-indulgent writing. I wish I did more of that on a daily basis, too. But no–my journal is now a weapon.


Again, I am not a dramatic diarist. Most days my journal is a bit of catalogue of what I did the day before, and a scheme of what to do with this one. Some days, though, when I’m fighting to keep my attention on even that mundane, easy writing–I know it’s resistance.

And when I’m remembering the weapon in, I start questioning. “What am I feeling? Why? What underlies this?” Often it’s not really a big thing–maybe realizing that I’ve been deterred from doing the proper footwork on starting my business.

Other times, it’s about writing. Problem solving, or just enjoying a little meta.

And yet–it hones my day. It gives me clarity. Helps me shed doubts and push myself forward.

The actual entries aren’t dramatic, but the results are.

And on the rare days that I can’t actually get to the page, I miss it. I also find my mind doing the work it’s been trained to, pushing at the resistance.

The past few days I’ve been on the move–between cities. Two out of four days I missed my window to journal. As I mused on my failure to stay in shape, I asked myself some questions, just as though I was writing it out to myself.

I realized that I was ready to make a big change, one I’ve been resisting because it gives me an excuse. (Sugar. AAAAAAUGH.)

I don’t know, maybe that’s a bit dramatic. I think it’s pretty fierce, anyway.

Bouldering – Master Stroke Workshop

I’m doing a to-do list workshop on Facebook, and the first in-depth lesson I’m going to take  up here!

In this short video I laid out the idea behind choosing the big three accomplishments you want to have in life.

In essence, a day can be filled with little tasks that are urgent…but not leading to your real goals. If you know what your big goals are, and then figure out how to break those big goals into daily steps, you can make sure you’re working on those bigger tasks.

Then the margins of the day be filled with those minor ones.

So how do you discover your Boulders?

Maybe take a moment to think about what you’re pursuing right now. What is the dream for you, that you’re going for? It could be a higher level of responsibility in a career move. If you’re a visual artist, maybe having a gallery show.

You can also have goals in your personal life (get fit enough for a 5K, throw an amazing retirement party) or off a bucket list (See Paris!)

These are all things you probably can’t run out and do tomorrow–unless you’ve already been doing groundwork.

You may have way more than three. What are the three you want to accomplish in the next 5 years? 10?

How do you break down your Boulders?

If you look at these big tasks, you may already have a good idea what the next step is.

If not, you may need to Google and read a few blogs on How To Travel To Europe or How To Yarnbomb A Whole Bridge.

(I hope no one comes to this blogpost as the only place offering advice on that second one. GET LOTS OF FRIENDS.)

But you don’t want to get too lost in the details.

For instance, I want to publish a novel. I know I should write every day. But if I write every day and never move on to revising and getting feedback on my novel, I can’t move forward.

If I get all that feedback and then never finish revising, I won’t get it out to agents. (Alternatively, I won’t get around to creating a promotion plan for self-publishing!)

Sometimes you need to figure out each new step as you push forward. I had to go to workshops to learn how to revise my work effectively, and I’ve done other learning in the field, so I know better how to create marketable material.

But you can’t get stuck on any one of those steps. You have to remember the Boulder.


What’s the next step you know to do for your handiest boulder? Put that first on your list of things to do tomorrow.

Need help figuring out your boulders? That’s what I’ve started this Master Stroke group on Facebook for!

I’m also holding free coaching sessions, so get in touch here to brainstorm about your goals in life and in 2017! It would be my pleasure to talk big dreams with you.

Why I Am Religious (Even Though Religions Do Bad Things)

My friend is pretty bold in claiming religion–a word I shy from in my own practice of Christianity. But she has a great point. I’ll need to think about this more…

Becoming Bethany

I ease my back into the old wooden pews. Tall candles flicker just above my head. The cedar garlands draped above the altar and the small fir trees decorating the foyer release a spicy-sweet smell. Deep old sounds emanate from the organ. Ancient words are intoned by a man in a deep voice and a woman invites us to meditate on peace in a time of division. The voices of the choir join together to meld harmonies that have been sung in churches for 350 years.

I exhale deeply and close my eyes. Grateful to find a moment of peace and reflection in a busy season. I feel comfortable in religious spaces. I think I always have. But it’s not very popular to be millennial and be a practicing religious. Only 27% of millennials report attending a weekly religious service.

I get it. Religion has let us down over and…

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Hard Words for the New Year

I’d like to make a statement before 2017 arrives.

A lot of people (many of my friends, anyway) have explicitly cursed 2016. This is actually not new–I’ve heard people cursing the year in pockets for several years now. When favorite icons (too young to be gone or too aged to ever leave us) die, when the nation (and world’s) politics go to an absurd place, when human beings perpetrate horrors on each other, it’s taken as a cue to cuss out the uniting theme. That being, an arbitrary calender limit.

And I understand. I do.

But blaming the numerical year is pointless. And I think it’s actually harmful.

Anthropomorphizing it into the villain shifts the blame to something no one can prevent.

Instead of saying “F___ cancer”, can we start a dialogue about the reasons our cancer rates are soaring and pharmaceutical companies are making a lot of money off of not curing it?*

Instead of saying “F___ 2016” can we talk about the way medicating (be it through doctors or self-drugging) instead of healing the wounds is destroying people who had way more to give?**

Instead of blaming The Opposition, when both sides are consistently trying shout down the other, can we meaningfully engage in the problems that are at the root?***

I’d like to challenge you in 2017:

  • Do things for your body that will help it repair, instead of attacking itself
  • Seek out healing of emotional wounds, even if it’s ugly work, instead of numbing them
  • Listen, ask questions, and find common ground with people who don’t agree with you

It’s easy to feel helpless–like all you can do is curse. This isn’t true.

And while I don’t mean to say you can’t express rage–let’s not stop there.


*There are so many leads on how to heal and prevent cancer, but they are not a vaccine and it won’t be distilled down to a drug. And our system doesn’t want to hear it.

**People are still dying. Our medications are not enough. And addiction is the opposite of connection–there is so much that can be done, if we’re willing to work harder, longer to make things right.

***Are there people who are 100% in the wrong? Absolutely. But you would be hard pressed to find someone who had a change of heart from being screamed at by someone they perceived as their enemy.


By Increments

I find meditation and running very similar.

The first 20 seconds last about 10 minutes, every time you look down time surely having stopped while you weren’t paying attention.

Slowly, you get more adjusted, if you keep with it. Eventually 5 minutes of meditation may come to feel like 2.

(I wouldn’t know about running. I’m currently only netting 5 minutes over the course of an hour.)

Funny enough, it seems like those first 20 seconds are as long as ever when you first come back.

I think this is actually the way a lot of fresh changes work.

When you first sit down to a sewing machine, getting it threaded feels like it takes an hour, when it’s only a few minutes. When you first quit sugar, you think about cookies and candy every few seconds instead of a few times a day.

That’s why I run programs that start off in baby steps.

When Recovery Mode launches next week, the first two days will be really short. To those who aren’t used to taking that time out to only take care of themselves, it will seem like an AGE of not being productive, or watching their show, or getting back to their mother about holiday plans.

And getting past that initial drag of inertia isn’t easy, even if it’s only a few seconds.

That’s what you have me for.


Check out the sweet package included in Recovery Mode! You still have time to get in on time to take care of yourself in 5 minute increments for the first 3 weeks of December.

Recovery Mode

Are you a subscriber? If you sign up, I’ll send you a sweet discount code for 20% off Recovery Mode and other future programs!


The Imposter Syndrome Is Only You

Random thought of the day: Everyone loves a writer, but not an author.

Hold that thought, I’ll come back to this.

Maybe it’s NaNoWriMo in the air, but I’ve heard a few writers recently mention feeling like a fake. Because of their process.

And while I totally get it, I’d like to clear the air here for the general writing community:

No one thinks you’re a fake writer.

In fact, no one cares how much of a writer you are.

This is where the distinction between writer and author comes in. A published writer (“author”) is asked about their process, assumed to have “made it”*.

I am writing this from an ideal place of being a long-term writer who is not yet an author but hangs out in communities with some Real Authors.**

Another thing: writers love to talk about their process. We like to read about Authors and how they do it, and we can learn from fellow writers some tools sometimes.

Do you know what other writers are thinking about when we hear you talk about your process? Our own. Which is why, yeah, sometimes I judge you for a second because M&M bribes are probably bad for your liver, but then? We go back to worrying about our own crap.

What does this have to do with Imposter Syndrome?

Yes. It’s real. And helping you work through it is actually something the coach side of me wants to do. But the writer side?

Just wants to tell you, no one actually thinks you’re not a writer. The fact that most of the uninitiated then equate writer to Author is not your problem. The fact that they want to tell you about their niece who also wrote a book at 14 is not at all about you.

Now, once you’re an author? A different story. Then you’re a performer being judged upon.

Everyone likes a writer, because they want to relate to that. No one likes an author because then there’s a commercial aspect of it that seems threatening.

Neither thing has anything to do with you.

Carry on and do your thing. (And yeah, sort out where your Imposter Syndrome comes from. Maybe with my help.)

*This is errant nonsense. Some writers have it figured out before becoming authors, most authors are in progress a lot longer, if not for their whole lives.

**Again, the only real distinction is having sold a novel. And while this is momentous for the emotional life of a writer, it is not actually the terminus at which you have ARRIVED.

this is more complicated than the manual let on

This is terrible, but I only knew it was my Japanese best friend’s birthday because I was notified it’s also a certain K-pop star’s birthday by the internet.

My heart dropped out of my chest when I typed her into Facebook, and she didn’t come up.

Now, Facebook isn’t really as big in Japan, from what I can tell. And we haven’t been in good touch, though I got a present from her earlier this year, when my mom came back from a visit to our old town there.

But I went scrolling through a mutual friend’s Facebook friends list to check and see if she had unfriended me, or just left Facebook.

In one way I was relieved that she’s just not on Facebook. (I don’t think there was any reason for her to block me.)

In another way, even if she’s just lost interest and deleted her account… it hurt to have her go.

I try not to overemphasize the way being in Japan as a teen affected me, and I’ve tried to acknowledge the grief of leaving that life enough to put it to rest. So the pain somewhat blindsides me, in these little moments.

I cried bitterly the last time we saw each other. I was 17, sure, but it was real heartbreak.

Didn’t I already process this?

I keep trying to say that these losses are behind me. Try to justify why they hurt so much, because they don’t seem ENOUGH for what I feel about them.

I don’t like holding my pains up against other peoples for comparison. First, won’t they be mad? And second, how does that even get tallied?

I’m not really sad, is the funny thing. It’s just that for a while my chest caught with old hurt resonating under my ribcage. I remember, oh, yes. That is still there. Funny!

Happy birthday (a day late, due to time zones) to my friend.

I still love you enough it hurt I don’t get to say that to your face! That much Japanese I can probably manage even out loud. X)

The Results are In

I have only glanced at the Japanese homework I turned in last week.

I know there are several things marked on it that I’m going to have to review, and learn from. I am even, on one level, excited about it.

I purposefully was a little adventurous in what I chose to write for the practice sentences and translations, so I could learn, rather than just playing it safe.

But it still is hard.

In my head there’s an amount of knowledge and capability in this area that has become hard to access from disuse. I stumble to say even the simplest sentence when if I have time I can compose much more complex thoughts.

And while it makes me laugh to fail at things I know I once was better at, it also stings.

It’s doing me no good to deny that, either.

So maybe I need to get a comforting warm beverage, some kind of proper reward for risky behavior, and check out the things I messed up.

And start on next week’s because this week I did it in a rush and I expect to be marked up on a lot more “adventurous” mistakes.