Author Archive

Loosening the Tether of Perfectionism :: A Note to My Younger Self

Dear 22-year old Mara,

I can see that you’re struggling with all the the unknowns that lie before you. I can feel the palpable nervousness throbbing through the years of memory between us. I know that you believe that it is always going to be complicated and that you’ll never be able to feel deliciously at home in your life – though you yearn for it daily.

Take a seat, I have a few thoughts that I would like to share with you.

Pause.

You do not need to react to everything immediately. You do not need to fulfill every whim or honor every distraction.

I remember the feeling in my skin, the quick jump to response. The anxious yelp of wanting to make sure that everything was just so. The belief that it was possible to to control every outcome, to prevent every ounce of pain.

Give yourself the permission to take a deep breath and then another. Permit yourself the pardon of actively choosing how you want to proceed.

Relax your white knuckles.

Every single upset or potential decision is not an emergency. It may feel like an emergency. It may feel like your nerves are spiking and your heart is racing, but responding to every occasion out of a state of panic will do little more than lead you to live a life of nervousness that will never leave you.

When you feel like things are an emergency, ask yourself: in the whole scheme of things, is this really a big deal?

If the answer is no, please stop making it a big deal. You will be better for it.

Throw your rules out the window.

selfI know that you have that feeling that your entire life is written for you and that you are simply following the path laid out before you: college, grad school, job, a relationship that sticks, house, children. I know that you are telling yourself that is the life that you want, but I want you to take a second to re-evaluate your plans.

What would you do if no one told you what to do?

How do you want to feel in your life?

Then walk backwards. Perhaps you want to feel happy and you told yourself that “happiness” was a path that included many steps to follow. Perhaps you created a framework for yourself that was unmanageable, based on what you had seen or experienced in your youth.

Remember this: You feel moments of happiness everyday. The value of your life is not contingent on the many steps that you’ve set before you, checking them off dutifully like tasks on a to do list.

Instead, follow the desire for how you want to feel. Use it as a barometer, asking yourself: Does this decision make me feel more ______ or less _________? And, don’t be so precious about the particulars.

Everything – and anything – is possible.

You do not know where your wild life is going to take you. You do not know what you are meant for – yet. You will find it by joyfully experimenting with your life, through trying things out and examining how they feel. Remove your blinders lovely. Look up and out, look at the world around you.

Reframe failure as an opportunity to learn from yourself and to make better, more aligned decisions the next time around.

You do not have to do everything perfectly all the time. It is safe to make mistakes. It is safe to take risks.

Build your trust in yourself by answering the heed of your own call – and hold the hope that chasing what feels good is going to lead you somewhere beyond your wildest expectations.

Celebrate.

It is ok to celebrate loudly. It is ok to celebrate small wins. It is ok to reward yourself for rolling out of bed and making it to the laundromat or remembering to pay your bills on time. Tell people about your celebrations and invite them to celebrate with you.

Allow your relationships to blossom naturally with the permission that is inherent in standing in your own light and allowing yourself to be seen. Allow the ripple effect to resonate out of your vulnerability and positively impact the people around you.

Celebrations do not have to be expensive or wild. They can be the quiet rituals and smiles at yourself in the mirror, but they are necessary. Carve out the space to celebrate your wins before moving on to the next thing – the next class, the next assignment, the next job.

And, above all else: take sweet care of yourself. You only get one body. One life. Don’t forget that it’s OK to plan in a little extra sleep, another glass of water, or a quiet moment of supreme self-care.

You’ve got this.

xxMara

 


 

PCSK-Proof-1 Notes to My Younger Self is a blog series in honor of Sarah Von Bargen’s gorgeous creation The Post College Survival Kit – a gorgeous collection of wisdom that aims to teach you how to grow up without f$*&ing up.

I so adore the way that Sarah approaches her creations and this new beauty is no exception. Skip on over and check it out.

Pleasure Reading 08.17.14

It’s almost September, and that means it’s almost time for the next (and last!) round of Hello, Wonderful! Join this growing group of gorgeous women for 12 days of deliciously free love notes to usher in the new season. Skip on over here to sign yourself up.

96 bodies you won’t see on billboards – but you should.

Loving :: Two years to no lies.

Anna’s response to the question, “how has your journey to body acceptance changed your relationships?” is oh so good.

The stories that we tell ourselves about failure and being in photos.

love this woman so much – and her jewelry is really freaking gorgeous.

Mmmmm…. The Nature of Money.

A simple and potent reminder for when it doesn’t come easy.

Woosh, this letter to her younger self is powerful! I love this bog series so very much and can’t wait to participate in it next week.

This week, I also want to (highly) recommend this book: Wild Feminine: Finding Power, Spirit & Joy in the Female BodySo freaking good. 

This week I’m seeking pleasure by :: taking time to visit the beach, asking for the adventures that are soaring in my heart, sleeping late, taking space to be quiet, gathering magical supplies to ship out to the beauties that sign up for In Full Bloom next week, and watching every episode of Vikings that I can get my hands on.

A Circle That Can Hold Anything

A sacred, creative circle of women can hold anything and everything. {Chris Zydel, Creative Juices Arts}

When I came across this statement on Facebook this morning, I paused for just a moment before continuing to sauté the vegetables for my frittata. I remembered it when I picked up my coffee moments later. By the time I sat down to write, it was welling up in my throat, tearing it’s way through my body as my eyes filled with tears.

A sacred, creative circle of women. 

Moments later, I heard all of the voices of my clients over the last two years.

I’ve never had a friend that I could trust. 

I’ve never been the kind of woman that other women invite to baby showers or bachelorette parties. 

I’ve been hurt in every female friendship that I’ve ever had. 

I’m afraid to share my truths – afraid that it will scare my friends away, afraid that it will inspire jealousy, afraid that I’m too need. 

I am secretly terrified that I will always be all alone. 

And my own truths, powerfully coursing through me, tingling in my extremities.

The moments when I was told in no uncertain terms that it was not safe to shine – that I shouldn’t ever allow myself to feel comfortable relaxing into a friendship. That I would always be alone. 

I didn’t allow myself to deepen into female friendships for a long time.

I would laugh. I had acquaintances. Everyone was polite. But, I didn’t share my truth, my wild enthusiasm for the things I was creating.

I said yes. I was helpful. I made myself small, palatable.

But, in my heart I was yearning for friendships where I could show up exactly as I was – and know that I could be held there. That I could be just as bright and sparkly and open-hearted as I am in my true nature, and those parts of me would be celebrated and cradled with care. That I could sob, face against the floor, in the middle of the night and you wouldn’t be inconvenienced by my sadness.

That I could be a human being in your presence. 

But even as I prayed for these friendships and they started showing up at my door, this answered prayer was challenging too.

It is challenging to have women in your life that allow you space to show up, because, then, you are called to show up. 

All at once, those old stories would surge and I was simultaneously myself in the moment and the sixth grade version of myself that was brutally bullied on the playground by the same girls that were my BFFs just two days prior.

And the girl who didn’t get invited to any of the cool parties.

And the girl who hid her sexuality for fear of becoming an outcast (again).

And the girl who was really fucking smart – so smart she was torn down daily.

And the woman who could barely stand to be seen in her fullness, in her own wild truth.

And the wife who realizes that she longs for the kind of friendships that she had when she was single.

And the little girl with her hand stretched out on the playground.

You can be overwhelmed and afraid of all your parts or your can call them forth, one at a time, for the healing of love an acceptance.

You can call those parts of yourself forward to be told: No, sweetheart, there was nothing wrong with you. You are beautiful. You are whole. You are loved. You are enough, exactly as you are. Keep being yourself. Someday, you will be loved for exactly who you are. 

You can long for friendships – and be afraid of them.

You can allow the fear to tether you to a place of hiding out, making yourself small, or you can take the risk of standing in your truth.

You can be brave enough to know that not everyone is going to like you, but some people are and it’s going to feel really good.

You can know that if you standing in your truth makes someone else feel jealous, it has nothing to do with you.

You can expand and soften into your friendships, even when you feel all of our old stories surge up to meet you. 

I believe that female friendships and communities of women are necessary to our growth as women.

Communities of women who support one another instead of tearing one another down.

Gatherings of women of all ages, entering into conversation with one another with respect and delight in knowing that each and every one of us has something important to contribute.

Women standing in truth and sharing their wisdom.

Women gathering in solidarity, as they have for centuries.

A sacred, creative circle that can hold anything – including you, exactly as you are. 

 


 

BLOOM

In Full Bloom :: September 23 – November 22nd

An online community exploration into the creative feminine, this 8-week journey will teach you how to cultivate a loving, honest relationship with yourself and your body. Join me for an exciting group excursion into harnessing the energy of the moon cycles, female archetypes, and a sacred connection to your own body.

You will emerge from the class with a greater sense of understanding your creative feminine nature and ability to work in union with your body and natural surroundings.

Doors will fly open August 25th at 10:13 am, but you can take a sneak peek at everything this community entails by clicking this link.

Pleasure Reading: 08.10.14

There are still a couple of spots left in this month’s Rewired workshop! We’re going to be jamming about peaceful decision making and releasing our white-knuckled grip on expectation. Skedaddle over here to scoop up a spot

Damn that Sas Petherick has a way with words. This one is particularly spectacular.

Your body is not your masterpiece - your life is.

Really digging Heather Day’s beautiful piece about  our collective relationship with money.

How to spot signs from the Universe when life gives them to you.

This piece about what freedom is and what it isn’t, is a rock solid piece about how to differentiate between your desire for an entrepreneurial lifestyle and a vacation.

Forgiveness could set you free.

Wooosh. YES. You don’t have a purpose

I needed to read this post about why sensitive souls need rituals. Perhaps, you need to read it too?

Emma’s 5 Secrets to Success.

I woke up like thison flawlessness and admitting the effort required.

This week I’m seeking pleasure by… crying when I want to cry, freely and without apology. Reading The Wild Feminine. Working on In Full Bloom every spare second that I have, because it is that exciting to create. Taking naps. Slathering Cookie’s Sweet Dreams Foot Cream all over my feet every night. Dancing to Nelly radio on Pandora while I wash the dishes.

And, rededicating myself to eating whole, real foods – prepared with love.

Pleasure Reading 08.02.01

This post about sex, waiting for marriage, cultivating a sex positive culture is simply gorgeous.

Do things your way.

LOVING (x five million): The right to be handsome.

8 questions to ask yourself before doing anything.

Alexandra Franzen wrote an exotic novel and it’s really good. Scoop up your free copy riiiight over here.

So adoring Rachel Cole’s fulfillment pyramid.

What a beautiful way to make someone’s day – paying for a stranger’s meal.

This cool app lets you type in the things that you are ready to let go of – and release them into the virtual ether.

This week I’m seeking pleasure by: At the moment I am somewhere of taking the weekend off for a girls’ weekend on Block Island. Oh my gosh yes. No work. Just fun and sunshine.  PLEASURE. Oh yes. And, truth be told, before I left for my trip I had a pretty rocking time working on my newest class In Full Bloom and doing a photo shoot for the invitation with my little sister.