Tag Archives: lessons

project 30 – mary beth

17 Sep

Reading answers like Mary Beth’s remind me why I started “project 30”. I love learning about such interesting and brave women and her answers where just soooo good. My favorite line was most definitely…”You can never be too much of yourself. I want my “me-ish-ness” to overflow at the brim.” Yes, please. I met Mary Beth about six months ago through mutual friends and I am so grateful to run in the same circle as her because I really look forward to getting to know her even better. Enjoy her answers…

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What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

to always play.
to be kinder to myself.
to slow down.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

I wish I would’ve taken more seriously the time I had to be NOT SO SERIOUS! I would’ve traveled even more, messed up even more (I know you are probably shaking your head, mom), put myself on the line even more. but the beauty of it? I am doing all of that right now.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

my body. I struggled for several years with body and eating issues, and believed that the only way I could be lovable was if there was less of me. I think about that now and it honestly brings tears to my eyes. I’d take that twenty-year-old by the hand and we’d sit down in a cafe for mochas and talk of abundance and healing. You can never be too much of yourself. I want my “me-ish-ness” to overflow at the brim.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Getting on a train leaving from Iowa city to new york city for an internship at jane magazine. I had two suitcases and wore a denim mini skirt and frye boots. I had a regular seat on the train for this 36-hour journey next to a Jamaican rapper named militante who let me cover up my freezing legs with one of his sweatshirts. I remember when we finally pulled into penn station and I rode up the escalator truly seeing new york for the first time. It was a summer of endless adventures and deep learning about myself. Oh, and a lot of white bread and peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

My soul thought I’d be here. california always felt right and I visualized the way I’d look and feel a lot like I do now (minus the pms-y rage weeks and moments of major self-doubt). My head, on the other hand, kinda thought i should stick in the magazine world and have a normal life. im-fucking-possible. ha! (you don’t have to put in the f’ word if you don’t want to !)

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

well, i just got here. I have been thirty for less than a week.
thirty is – married to a lumberjack of a man with a beautiful soul.
cutest bulldog in the world named rosy.
job of my dreams teaching yoga, writing & life coaching.
Venice cottage about a mile away from the beach with a farm table, italian lights and fresh flowers (these elements were in EVERY visualization i ever did about my future.)
girlfriends that inspire me to no end and feel just like family.
oh, and my first tattoo!

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

oh yes! I still am. but my favorite poem of all time is by hafiz and speaks to fate and being led. I truly believe we are not in charge but it is up to us to live out our destinies fully.

The place where you are right now
God circled on a map for you
wherever your eyes and arms and heart can move
Against the earth and the sky,
the beloved has bowed there-

The beloved has bowed there knowing
You were coming…

-hafiz

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

I honestly looked forward to this birthday and decade more than I have any other. I look forward to a sense of inner power and wisdom and fully coming into my own. I feel really strong, like I can take on the world. I spent a lot of my twenties apologizing and doubting myself. my thirties are going to be about speaking and living my truth, even when it rocks the boat a bit.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

more and more of this but with a couple of beautiful kiddos. and maybe another bulldog.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

Ishvara pranidhana
it’s the tattoo i have in sanskrit on my forearm.
it means surrender to god or give it up to god.

find MB elsewhere: twitter / website / blog / instagram 

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project 30 – natalie

11 Jun

View More: http://jenniferyoungstudio.pass.us/natalie-mitchell

Natalie, 34
What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

Know your worth. Stop worrying about everyone else, and just enjoy! You are more special than you might ever realize, but trust yourself and your gifts. You came here to share them with the world.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

The ability to change people’s lives and bring smiles to their faces by doing something that made me happy and filled my soul. Simple as that.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

Everything! With so few responsibilities those were the days to dance all night, explore every end of the city, travel on a whim or sleep a couple extra hours instead of waking in the dark to hit an intense 6 AM workout.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Hanging with my girls. Whether it was a late night out, lazy Sunday around the apartment or a trip to Mexico, girlfriend time was the best. I have so many memories that I can’t narrow it down to just one, but they all involved those special women in my life.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

I thought I’d be married with a child, living in Oakland and working in the non-profit world.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?
Not long after turning 30, I did get married and have a baby. Instead of the Bay Area I’m living in LA. I also made a major shift in my professional life, and I’m about to launch a kids clothing line. My husband was always supportive of me pursuing my art practice and love of creating – I finally decided to run with that.
Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?
Of course. I still find myself unsure of what’s to come, but I know now that it’s all good. I have the ability (just as we all do) to put aside the noise and continue to create the life I dream of.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

The greatest gift came from becoming a mom. After “growing” a human being, giving birth and then nursing him with my body and spirit, I’ve come to appreciate my body in ways I could have never imagined. It feels good to love the skin I’m in.

When you look out onto the horizon what do you hope your life looks like at 40?

My hope is that I will be the mother of at least one more child, in a strong happy marriage, creating things for all the world to see, with a life FULL of family, friendship and love.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

I have to share 2!
“Stop waiting to be who you already are.”
– Melody Ehsani
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.”
– Marianne Williamson

project 30 – chantal

16 Apr

Chantal walked into my life when I was twenty. I was dating a man at the time who was friends with Chantal’s then husband. Did you follow that? Anyway in walks this opinionated, fun, fiery, beautiful Dominican woman to a dinner party one night and we immediately hit it off, becoming fast friends. I can safely say that I got into more trouble with Chantal in my 20’s than anyone else. We were both a bit wild in those days. HA. But I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything and like all lasting relationships do, we’ve stayed close through the changes the last ten years have brought. We’ve held each other’s hand through break-ups, divorce, moves, triumphs, failures, marriage, babies (she has THE cutest little boy named Sebastian) and everything in between. I adore this woman and I thank the Universe for bringing her into my world. She’s always made me feel understood and some days that’s all you need, you know?

I love her more than words can say.

Enjoy her insightful answers to the “Project 30” questions. I fell in love with this line “Yet I now find solace and comfort in the result of what is, and not what isn’t.” Amazing

chantal

Chantal, 35

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

It would tell her, not to take life so seriously.  To relax, and perhaps take life with a little more ease. To love herself first, and more. It seemed as though when I was in my 20’s I was more concerned with the exterior of things, or of life itself, how at the time it was supposed to look , or be.  I was more concerned with what people wanted of me, thought of me, what I should do, or be.  I did not have enough faith in my inner self, my inner voice, and what I thought was best for me.  Through time I realized that my exterior, the things of life, career, nor success would define what I was to become.  Nor who I am.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

The concern and advice of my parents, and elders.  In my 20’s I felt like a young adult that was beating to her own drum, perhaps neglecting their advice and maybe learning the rules of life the hard way.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

My studies. I should have dropped my books, and just traveled the world. Maybe taken a few years off to travel the globe, in search of nothing, and everything.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

When I got the opportunity to go on a sailing trip for 2 weeks through the British Virgin Islands with a group of friends. One memory that sticks out is the afternoon I was sitting alone, on the deck of the sailboat, basking in the afternoon sun, on this beautiful day, with my headphones on, listening to Sade, and staring into the vast, serene, and endless ocean that was in front of me. Not a worry in the world, I was just happy right where I was.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc ) by 30? 

I thought I would be working for the United Nations, or some other foreign government as a Foreign Service Officer, or working in a field that dealt with the economic development of 3rd world countries. I was a dreamer for sure. I thought I would be living in NY, or off in some foreign country.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

By 30’ I was at peace, and felt balanced.  I was neither working for the UN, nor living overseas. After leaving my 20’s behind, I had finally found me, with a few years of soul searching, some inner and outer work, plus a heavy dose of nurturing, I was able to patch up a few of the wounds, and walk into my 30’s at peace with the world, and what was in front of me.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

I think its human nature to worry that what we want, wish for or yearn for, will not fall into place. So yes, I worried. Yet I now find solace and comfort in the result of what is, and not what isn’t.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

Being happy with who I am now. Finding love again, and the right partner for me, to share my life with, to grow old with.  Becoming a mother, and having the privilege and gift to raise our son.

When you look out into the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

I hope at 40 my life continues to evolve, grow, and manifest what ever I set my heart out to achieve.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

There is a line in William Ernest Henley’s poem Evictus, which resonates with me, and I try to live my life by, it reads,  “I am the captain of my fate, I am the master of my soul.” I think that’s it in a nutshell.

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screw off to-do list.

4 Apr

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Yesterday I had a conversation with a family member who reached out to me in response to my posts about anxiety. She shared personal stories with me about bouts of anxiety she’s had from time to time and how she’s dealt with them. It was a lovely, thoughtful and enlightening call. I appreciated every single word of what she shared. During our talk she said something that really resonated with me-

“Honey, you can have it all…just not at the same time.

Truth is, I do want it all. I’ve always wanted it all. I’m quite possibly even a perfectionist. Currently, I want…the perfect wedding. I want to be an amazing partner to Brian everyday. I want to sell my book. I want to blog everyday. I want to write for my favorite sites every week. I want my career as a writer to keep growing while also focusing on my business as a fit model. I want to be there for my friends & family when they need me. I want to practice yoga or workout everyday. I want to do things that inspire me (like ballet classes and artists dates). I want to cook Sunday night dinners. I want to do everything.

Most importantly I want to see movement everyday. The kind that I can track. And when I don’t or I fail at crossing things off my to-do list, I’m pretty damn hard on myself. No wonder I feel anxious! I’m constantly riding myself.

It was an important realization for me about myself.

As it usually goes I was given a little test by the universe on “lightning up” soon after. I got home from a day of fittings and my nearest and dearest friend Rachel came over for a visit and to talk over our upcoming engagement shoot this weekend. Rachel is an insanely talented photographer and when I was thinking about who should shoot our engagement photos she was the only person I wanted.

When she walked in the door I could tell she had had a crap day.  I offered her something to drink…diet coke, water, ice tea? And she said, “how about a glass of wine?”

I looked at the clock. It was 4pm. I immediately thought of my to-do list. I wanted to finish a new piece for Mind Body Green. I had my bar method class at 5. I wanted to get to the market to get salmon for dinner. I had to do a bunch of invoices. I needed to order our save the dates….blah blah blah. But instead of be ruled by my to-do list I said, “Sure!” And guess what happened?? We had an amazing few hours sitting around talking about life, love, marriage, work, family and everything in between while drinking wine. It was the kind of afternoon I will remember for a long time and it was much more full-filling than my bar method class or Gelsons.

My first exercise in being kinder to myself, staying in the moment and saying “screw-off” to my extensive to-do list was a complete success!

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“That’s the key to having it all: stop expecting it to look like what you thought it was going to look like.”
Cindy Chupack

 

surrender

2 Apr

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Monday was a particularly anxious day. Not impossibly hard, believe me I’ve had worse but still an “off” day. It started off just fine. Strangely enough I find myself more anxious in the afternoons. I still haven’t been able to figure that one out. By the time I got home from work around 5pm all I wanted to do was crawl in bed with a cup of tea and be done with the day. But I had an acupuncture appointment at 6pm and I decided it would have been rude to cancel on her so late.

I also realized how crazy my thinking was. I mean, I go to acupuncture for my issues with anxiety and now I wanted to skip out on the appointment because of my anxiety? Silliness. With that I dragged myself out of the house and down the street to Yo San. I walked in the office, checked in and waited patiently for my name to be called. Why was it so hot in here? Stuffy actually. Huh, nobody else seems hot. That woman is even drinking tea.  I peeled off my sweatshirt and took a sip of my cold water. A few minutes later my acupuncturist called my name.

She led me to the same room she does every week and she asked me the same questions she does every week.

How was my week? Have I been feeling better of worse after last weeks session? Any changes in sleep? Anxiety? Night sweats? Was I on my cycle? Did I feel any changes with the new herbs I was taking? 

I told her that overall I felt much calmer this week (because really I have!) although I was having an anxious day for no apparent reason. She took my pulse. Looked at my tongue. Asked me a few more questions and decided that we would do the same points we did last time but add in a few extra for calmness.

She left the room while I undressed, put on the robe and laid down on the table. My head was moving at a million miles an hour. The thoughts moved so quickly. One leading me to the next in a millisecond. I couldn’t stop running through my day. My heart felt fast and I felt hot. I thought about the weekend. It was filled with so many activities. Each one I enjoyed but I was more exhausted by everything then relaxed by it. I hate when that happens. Maybe that’s why today felt hard? I didn’t have any quiet time the last few days and I’m horrible with out quiet time. I really have to make a point of carving out time for myself and putting what I need first sometimes. It’s ok to do that, right? I need to learn how to say no. I need to set better boundaries. I thought about an upsetting phone call I had over the weekend and began to feel more wound up. I hadn’t really addressed the conversation yet. Maybe that’s why I was feeling anxious. That call hurt my feelings. Did I put the check in the mail for the wedding planner? I think I did. I hope I did because then I don’t know where I put it. I need to write tonight. I had no time to write this weekend. Maybe that’s why I feel off?

Faint music played in the background. I hadn’t even noticed it before. I figured it was supposed to be relaxing, so I tried to tune out the noise in my head and listen to the music.

My acupuncturist walked in. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. She began to softly place the needles in various parts of my body; between my eyes, on my ears, on my skull, between my knuckles, on my hands, my wrists, my legs, feet and toes. Once they were all in she turned off the lights and left me alone to lie there for what usually ends up being 40 minutes. I took another deep breath and settled into my body. I stared at the wall ahead of me. The sun was setting and warm light poured through the holes in the blinds, making what looked like a bunch of strings of pearls on the wall. I smiled. How pretty. I listened to my breath. My breathing slowed. There was nothing else to do or figure out in that moment. I could just be. I felt a wave of gratitude sweep through me. I simply watched the sunlight dance against the wall. My head had finally stopped running.

I had finally surrendered to the moment. 

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“Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.”
Walt Whitman

project 30 – Katie

26 Mar

I met the lovely Katie of Confessions Of An Imperfect Life at Jen Pastiloff’s yoga retreat in October. I immediately liked her and knew I wanted to be friends with her. Does that sound creepy?! Probably. She’s just a really cool chick, who happens to be a brilliant writer and person. She’s a thoughtful and supportive friend, who inspires me everyday with her raw, intelligent and honest writing. Enjoy her answers…

rockstar

Katie, 35

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

Don’t work so hard. Don’t worry so much. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Things will all work out the way they are supposed to.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

Everything that was available to me living in NYC. I didn’t take full advantage of the cultural mecca that New York is, mostly because I worked so much.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

Work! Live to work was the mindset then; I wish I had known that work to live was a more healthy option for me.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Seemingly endless nights in NYC, where anything was possible on any given night. And making friends who would be in my life forever.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

Working for an amazing magazine I loved. Living in the West Village. Financially independent. Surrounded by friends. In love. Happy.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

Working for an amazing magazine I loved. Living in the West Village.  Financially independent. Surrounded by friends. Not in love. Happy, but restless, ready for change.

Where you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Everyday. I still worry most days that things won’t fall into place. They may not. The worry drives me to work hard, to fight for the things that I want. And in my 30’s I have learned that sometimes it’s the things that don’t fall into place that are the biggest gifts.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

Learning to be more authentic. Caring a little less what other people think. Being able to do most of what I want to do. Appreciating EVERYTHING more.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

Writing more.  Inspiring people through writing. Working for an amazing magazine. Living at the beach. In love. A mother. Happy.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

“What will you do with your one precious, wild life?” 
― Mary Oliver

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For more project 30 pieces-

Anya / Alison / Amber 

Find me elsewhere-

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project 30 – Anya

12 Mar

anya

I actually have to credit Brian for bringing Anya into my life! They went to college at Cal Poly together and have been best buds ever since. Brian has seriously good taste in friends because I LOVE this woman. She’s passionate, creative, smart, brave, spiritual, hysterical (I mean, doesn’t the picture above say it all?) and just an all around good human. I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did. They made me laugh and cry and be thankful for this ride we call life.

Anya, 31

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

You will endure more than you ever thought possible and you will survive. Stay TRUE to yourself and LISTEN to your gut. It was ALWAYS right (self-righteous biotch). And keep telling your family that you love them… it will make some of that struggle a little bit easier!

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

Nothing. When we take ourselves or life too seriously, we miss out on the greatest moments and some amazingly healing laughter!

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

Boys… sorry, I mean men! Wait… no I didn’t! BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! I wish I’d spent less time looking for “Mr. Right,” had spent less energy on the “Mr. Right Nows” and more time discovering Miss Anya!

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Not to be tear-inducing, but the last fight I had with my father. We were in the kitchen and he was ticked off because I didn’t do the dishes the nano-second I finished eating off of them or something kitchen-clean-up related as was usual! Here I am, 28 years old, his long-lost daughter visiting from my current life abroad and he rips into me over some mundane chore I didn’t even do when I was 10! The best part is that he got so angry he called me an idiot! It sounds so horrible, but I had to burst out laughing because I know with every inch of my being that he’s never thought of me as less than intelligent and capable. It was so funny to me that his anger caused him to revert to childish name-calling and it broke the back-and-forth of our argument. It also led to that feeling of closeness you only achieve with your parents once you’ve pushed each other too far and scratched the other raw. He has been gone two and a half years, but I will never forget his temper, his love of a clean kitchen, and my certainty that my father loved me and was heart-crushingly proud of who I had become. (I failed… totally cried through writing this. I miss him so much still and I hear it just gets worse… ok Anya, see #1 again)

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

I was sure I’d be married or in a serious relationship, finally out of school working with the top veterinarians working in equine surgery or theriogenology (fixing horses or making new little ones), and living in California in a hot body and with money to spare!

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

I was in school. Actually, my 30th birthday was right before I started a new degree at a new school… something I have had a LOT of practice doing! I was embarking on a very new frontier as a veterinarian (I’d at least gotten THAT degree done)! I was single for about a week… then in the worst relationship I have ever entered, working at a restaurant part-time to supplement more student loans, in a new town that I was pretty sure I didn’t want to stay in… and I was pretty happy!

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Constantly, but I kept going! That definitely counts for something! The one thing I make sure I take with me everywhere I go is hope. I keep hopeful that I will one day be more comfortable in my own skin, find a city or piece of land that really feels like home, make a difference… a real difference in the lives of animals, and maybe even have my very own love story. Each day is a gift and an adventure, so hope keeps my eyes and ears open and my heart excited for whatever may come my way!

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

Youth! I am only in my 30s and pretty sure I am only improving as a woman, a citizen, a family member or friend, and am more excited about my career than ever! Women at this age have is so great these days because we aren’t expected to be experienced wives and mothers of 3 at 30 anymore (thanks GOODness)! We spread our wings in our 20s, but are really only just learning how to ride the wind and enjoy it in our 30s!

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

Well, first of all I hope I LOOK like my mother did in her 40s! She looked maybe 28… that lucky girl still looks amazing! I am learning to not plan it out too carefully. I hope I am still hopeful, still idealistic, and still driven to use my skills for good. If I get all nasty and angry, have let the struggles get me down (by not remembering #1) or have lost my hope, you have my permission to give me a hearty slap across my (botox free) face! Life has been very good to me so far and I’m hoping from here until 40 continues the current trend.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

Be BOLD and mighty forces will come to your aid!” -Goethe 

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