Dear beautiful soul,

I’m writing to you from bed. Ned’s curled up on Cliff’s pillow next to me. Cliff is 7 days into a water fast. I’m deep in an Ayurvedic cleanse that is challenging and changing me and I’m thinking of you. I’ve been wanting to write you this letter for a long, long time.

These last few weeks have been big and heavy and full. One client is mourning the loss of her dear son who left too soon. Another celebrated her birthday and went through the inevitable life inventory that comes with another passing year. Another has moved from one coast to the other and is negotiating a big, new, scary, exciting city where she knows no one. Another has stopped binging and purging for the first time in her adult life. Another has finally, finally thrown away her “fat” clothes. I could go on and on. Like I said, Big. Heavy. Full.

In the midst of all that change, of all those victories and struggles each has a story of food just like you do. They are stories of donuts or cake or coffee drinks with extra whipped cream. Trigger foods. Comfort foods. Shame. Sadness. Struggle. Try and try again. Pants that fit too tight, arms or thighs or you-name-it that’s too fat. That pokes fun at you when you pass the mirror.

Beloved, I’m calling it… enough is enough. It’s time to love ourselves exactly where we are. To honor that we are each living so bravely. That we are unapologetic works in progress. That healing is underway. It’s time to reprogram those old tapes and tales of self-loathing. We are who we are because of our suffering, our experiences, our challenges and perceived failures. We are a tribe, we are one and it’s time to come together.

Ready for the truth? You’ve called this extra weight (physical and emotional) into your life for a reason. It will go when you do the work to release it. I don’t believe in weight loss and I don’t want you to believe in it either. I want you to embrace weight release because when it goes it’s never coming back! You feel me? You lose things you want to find again like your keys! You let go of things you’re complete with, that you never need to see or experience again.

It’s time to start living in alignment with your desires. Over and over again. It’s a million tiny decisions in the direction of your best life. I’m begging you, inviting you and cheering for you! Please embody the beauty that you are. Begin to see yourself with love. With conscious compassion.

It’s time. It’s time to start living from passion and can do instead of discipline and will power. Enthusiasm is your friend. An open heart is your ticket. Willingness will lead the way.

I know that you’re in need of regular and real support. Right? Right! Could you use some practical tools to bring awareness and gain knowledge?

Are you ready to learn what’s possible? To transcend all those stories you’ve been telling yourself? Sure you know the basics. You’re totally in touch with what’s healthy and what you “should” be doing. You know that veggies are good for you and cake isn’t but do you know how to listen to your body? Do you know how to end the struggle? I’d like to show you how.

You’ve mastered what needs to be removed from your diet like soda and chips but do you know what you need to add in? And have you been able to put the chips down? Ready to? Are you wondering what vitamins you really need to be taking? And what’s the deal with super foods? Are you ready to learn how to allow your intuition to lead when it comes to all things food and life?

It’s time to expand your repertoire. It’s time to get comfy in your body and in your kitchen. It’s time to stop hating grocery shopping and your belly. Dear one, it’s definitely time to stop saying nasty things to that person staring back at you in the mirror! This is going to be the education of your life. This is all the stuff we really should have learned as a child and cemented in our formative years.

It’s time.
To believe in you.
To invest in you.
To do the most worthy work of your life.
To practice.
To grow.
It’s time to Love U.

This is THE COURSE that has been waiting to be born and my heart is saying it’s time. If you’re ready to join me in the most worthy education of your life you can sign up for the wait list and more information here.

It’s called Love University.
And this letter is your invitation to enroll in the experience of a lifetime.
You’re going to get a Bachelors degree in Love and it’s going to be beyond amazing.

The Freshman semester begins Winter 2014.

I love you. I believe in you. I can’t wait to share this with you.
Lacy

P.s. Join the wait list here.

We’re over a week into the journey and it feels like time to sit and write. So much has happened in seven days. So many states covered, so many new sights experienced, so many shifts.

road cactusI love watching the landscape change. I took this for my Mema <3 So many sights on the road remind me of my loved ones. I feel like I’m carrying you all with me.

rv travelI’m getting pretty good at making tea while we’re driving. We stopped at a gas station in the middle of nowhere. No published prices because why bother when there’s no competition for 100 miles. It’s the most we’ve paid for gas so far. Note to self:: get gas in big towns.

It’s interesting to set out on an intentional healing journey. To know that come what may we are in this RV and on the road to live our lives, have fun and welcome healing at every turn. There was a comment on one of my instagram photos that said “I wish I could run away like that.” And it struck me as a gift in perspective… we’re not running away from anything. We’re running towards our life, our happiness, our whole health. We’re so sure of this truth and it feels really good.

For months I’ve not been able to see past September, still can’t. All I know for sure is that this is the month that our what next is revealed. We set out on Thursday evening and got a full hour down the road before the back of the RV filled with smoke and we had to pull over and sleep for the night without a/c in a grocery store parking lot. Full system shut down.

A journey is full of unexpected experiences around ever turn. I think that’s actually in the definition somewhere! I figure there’s bound to be a few in the category of our home is also our car and therefore requires a bit of maintenance to keep it all working. Right? Right!

this isn't goodsafer hereWe got something called Feliway to help Ned acclimate to the RV and despite being completely unamused when we are in motion it seems to be helping with his confidence.

After the black plume of smoke filled our bedroom full of white linens we sat with each other. We ran through a few scenarios and faced some serious fears about the journey ahead and our financial means to get there. It was quite possible that in one RV repair event we’d spend everything we had for the entire trip which would land us an hour down the road back home. That simply wasn’t an option for us. We knew we had to see this journey through so we decided it would be and we sent love to our home that is also our car.  We went to bed that night laying as far apart as possible hot, sticky-sweaty and on top of the covers with parking lot lights blazing into our open windows. After several phone calls and help the next day we were back on the road. Want to know the miracle part? They never did find anything wrong with the brakes. All told it was several hundred dollars (and a case of Budweiser to the helper at Dale’s) instead of several thousand. Miracle. Total miracle.

thanks dalejuice to goI made juice for the road and it turned out to be a lifesaver those first few days. Cantaloupe, kiwi, orange, lime. Make it! It’s GOOD!

Junction texasWe had our giant green juice and impromptu photo shoot the second day on a campground picnic table in Junction, Tx. (( For those wondering, I’m holding the phone out and we used the GorillaCam app on timer. We did the blast and took a bunch of picts, this one was the cutest (and I love it). ))

this road.

Somewhere on the road in New Mexico we really hit our groove. It was 65 degrees out and glorious. In the middle of who-knows-where New Mexico we stopped on the side of the road. I ran around taking pictures and standing in the middle of the desolate and empty road yelling, “THIS IS SO PRETTY! THIS IS SO FUN!”

first time we filled the tankThe first time we filled the entire tank! 101 gallons!

so happy in the woodsThe wilderness is one of his happy places! Firewood gathering in Black Canyon Ntl Park, NM

A Facebook post of recommendations (note to self:: ask for recommendations more often, they’re amazing) lead to the two most fun water experiences we’ve had in a long time. We’d just been having a conversation about Cliff’s love of flying. I was wondering… what do I love as much as he loves flying? The answer—– w a t e r. Being in the water. Showers are my happy place. Steam rooms feel like a hug. Soaking is pure bliss. And so we ventured to Ten Thousand Waves and we soaked together with other naked bodies under the Santa Fe sun.

I’m struck by how natural it is to be naked with strangers. I’m not a nudist though I’m super comfy in my skin and certainly don’t shy away from an occasion to be in my birthday suit. I observed myself sitting in the tubs with these other bodies. Bright shiny souls in human form getting all pruny together. I couldn’t help but see us all as little kids running around with naked bums playing in the water just like my sweet two year old niece Chloe and her friends do every weekend at birthday parties.

As Cliff was laying in the sun (one of his very favorite things) I got back in my robe and went down to sit in the meditation room. I resisted at first. Did I really want to meditate when I could take a third shower? I decided —yes— time to meditate. As I sat there listening to soothy music waves of sadness washed over me and puddled at my trachea and around my heart. It was so much it had to be put into smaller (metaphorical) containers and made ready to leave my body. It wasn’t a full on release as I’ve sometimes experienced in meditation. It was an elephant sized mass of sadness overtaking me and the room. It was dark and sticky and was broken apart by my breath and willingness to sit there with it. To feel it. To observe it.

When I opened my eyes and Cliff was sitting nearby in the foot soaking area. I joined him without a word. We sat together and looked at the Koi pond and water fall and smiled.

ojo calente

A full day later we visited Ojo Calente, another of the recommendations. We slathered ourselves in mud and laid in the sun to let it dry all that sadness started to move from me. You know how I know… I was having a blast. I went from all out exuberant joy throwing mud everywhere to laying still waiting for it to dry smiling at everyone walking past. There was what felt like a moment in the shadow of the joy, this stillness came in and with it I felt the sadness start to go.

The largest release came when we went into the iron pool. There are several different pools based on what minerals are present. Iron felt best in my body. The floor was natural pebbles and the water bubbled up from them. I felt still but playful in that pool. And then we went back to the mud one more time… and it was done. I keep hearing that dear woman’s voice in my head, “playfulness will heal the wound” and I’ll be damned if she’s not completely spot on. The more fun we have the more freedom I feel and the easier it is for me to breathe.

mud bathsIt was a no phone zone but I was so thankful to see a rule breaker there who happily took our photo and texted it to me! I love a rule breaker, don’t you! That suit top used to be white.

The next day I felt really quiet. Deeply quiet.

I’ve been observing, experiencing and though I would still really love a solid nights rest, I am happy. There’s been no feeling of “are we healed yet” no force, no struggle, no expectation. Just fun. We wake up each day and decide where we will go next. Literally on the spot. Sometimes we start driving, map out a few routes via the trusty iPhone and then decide. And that feels just right.

Over and out from the road,
Lacy

There’s something about a bare face.

Ease.
Wash and wear.
The natural glow.
The light in your eyes.
The story it tells… the scar on my neck from trachea surgery. The crown on my front tooth from that time I tripped over a rock in a jump rope race in elementary school and the boy I had a crush on picked up me and my tooth and took us to the nurse.

So many times I’ve asked/ told Cliff before we go out… “I’m not going to wear make up, K?” His response is always some version of “You’re so beautiful, you don’t need make up!” And I believe him.

I took this #TBT photo with my sister early one Sunday morning as we were waiting for the Farmers Market to open. This is what we look like when we are together. It’s always slightly frizzy curls, fresh faces and some version of stretchy pants + tank tops. This IS us. We talk about who we are, what we’re creating and share our perspective. Perspective is one of our super powers.

Today I’m wondering… what if we all just were who we are. What if bare faces was code for THIS IS ME and I LOVE ME. Yes! That’s my kind of code. Tag the people in your life that will totally get this. Tag your bare face selfies #campaignforconfidence

I see you.
I celebrate you.
I love you and your bare face!
Lacy

If the RV’s a rockin…
it’s Cliff doing jumping jacks. Seriously. I’ve woken up to him getting his fitness on in the living room twice so far. The first time I swore we were in an earthquake. Um… but there are no earthquakes in Texas. RV life is hilarious.

3 miles for him. 2 for me.

We’ve been running more and more and it feels amazing. This is post run. 3 miles for him. 2 for me. 100 degrees at 10 am. Oy!

Last week we tried out the washer/ dryer with a small load of towels and that day is now remembered as the 2nd time we flooded the basement. Lots of trial and error happening over here. LOTS. Happily, after the first flood I took everything out of the under sections that could be ruined by water and put into plastic bins. And I’ll take my bow now.

The big awning fell down. Errr was ripped off by a strong wind. So… no more awning for now and that’s been a bummer. BUT it’s got me thinking about the outside makeover more and more.

toilet dump

We’ve finally got the whole composting toilet thing down. We empty the liquid tank every 3 days or so and the solids tank every two weeks or more. We’ve been taking turns emptying the liquid tank, basically whoever notices that it’s time does it. And post poo in the face Cliff has been cleaning the solids tank (which I ADORE him for) though it is MUCH easier now that we’ve got the right combo of composting material in there. We’re using 3 gallon zip lock bags full(ish) of coconut coir and 3 cups diatomaceous earth. That seems to be the sweet spot for us. The diatomaceous earth has gotten rid of the gnats that were seriously trying my patience.

Oh the door. So we have one door to get in and out of the RV (which I like). We joke and call it the front door, side door, passenger door, driver door, back door but it’s all just the one door.

I'm awake. barely.

Our favorite things about living small so far ::
- We always know where everything is. It’s pretty awesome that we have everything we need plus some in these 40 feet.
- Simplicity. I used to feel a bit of a panic (sometimes exciting, sometimes overwhelming) when I’d go into stores and want to buy everything. Now I feel at peace and I know if I’m buying something it’s gotta be pretty amazing. Everything we purchase gets held to the useful and or beautiful standard. We don’t buy it if we don’t absolutely need it or love it. I have started the 1 in, 1 out rule for clothes and so far that’s working really well. We still don’t have our winter clothes in the RV yet. There’s all at my moms so I’m not exactly sure how that’s going to work when we really hit the road. We’re likely going to keep a couple of bins in the ‘basement’ of seasonal clothing.
- Mobility. We can literally go where we want to, when we want to and we’re always home. That’s RAD!
- Being close to nature. At night when it’s calm and still around here we open the door and let Ned venture out. He’s been so brave lately exploring the field behind where we are parked. Little fella is getting a bit of an RV belly from stress eating. We’re excited to get on the road and do some wild camping so he can go out more and more. It’s that or he’s going to have to start doing jumping jacks with Cliff in the living room!

Casablanca!

- I don’t miss TV! I thought I would but so far, nothin. We HAVE been watching more movies and this week watched Casablanca. I’d never seen it! I knew the famous lines but had no idea what the movie was all about. LOVED IT!

air plantssucculent garden

- I’m loving adding greenery to our home. Air plants are everywhere! I have hot glued them into the backs of canvases onto pieces of wood and in empty frames. Yesterday I put together this little succulent garden using a piece of Mema’s vintage enamelware. It will sit on the front dash board. Yeap, plants on the dash.

shadow

- On days when it’s just the two of us I have a Ned shadow all day. He moves with me from room to room (even in this tiny space), waits patiently and then we move along. He’s such sweet company.

Small living challenges ::
- Umm it’s small. Cliff has hit his head on nearly every cabinet. And I keep running into the bathroom door when it’s not open all the way. We bounce off each other daily. Some days it’s hilarious and others it’s the last straw.
- Odors. If the laundry pile is full of workout clothes after a week of running in 100 degree weather, or the trash is full of juice pulp, out or the composting toilet fan stops working it’s a full on situation around here. I have the most sensitive sniffer in all the land and there aren’t enough expensive candles in the world to remedy a smelly RV. That said we now have great smelling candles on our short list of things for a well stocked home.
- I’m flexing between totally excited to hit the road and a nervous wreck over the endless to do list. I’m in that phase where I’m making up things (that will likely never happen) to be worried and stressed out about. It’s wildly illuminating to step back and watch myself. So far what’s helping is to be able to talk it through with Cliff. One of the stories that I notice I play out and identify with is that I tend towards withdrawing, ruminating and letting the issue fester. That’s not really me, it doesn’t feel loving to worry and fester so talking it out when I feel my body tense up has been and is good, good medicine and I seem to be moving through it pretty quickly.

in the shop

- When the RV goes into the shop so do you. We spent half a day this week at a local shop getting new shocks put on and testing the alignment. Getting your home worked on is way different than having your car serviced. It was actually pretty delightful except for the fact that Ned was utterly traumatized. He hid in the corner cabinet in the kitchen ALL DAY and didn’t come out until we opened a can of wet food at 5 pm. The shop had a little room for “drivers” where we could sit in the a/c, everyone took off their shoes before coming inside the RV and Cliff had some really neat conversations with some of the guys working on our rig. The RV was doing something called Porpoising which means it was bouncing up and down WAY TOO MUCH on the road and the new shocks seems to have fixed the issue. YAY!

That’s life in RV land lately! We leave for California on September 5th to go and do some serious healing work. I’ll keep you posted from the road! If we’re not friends on Facebook yet and you’d like to follow along on the journey you’re welcome to friend me (just leave me a little note that says you’re following along on the RV adventure so I’ll know you’re indeed a friend).

Hope this finds you well,
Lacy

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That quote hit me right in the gut. It feels more like a command than an invitation in the best kind of way. I’ve been in a really deep feeling place these last weeks. Internal + thoughtful. It’s been three weeks since I had the dilation procedure on my trachea. I’ve had some time to enjoy breathing (understatement of the year, I’ve been positively giddy over it), time to process all that we learned in Boston and time to decide what comes next where my health is concerned.

The top three questions I’m getting asked are: How are you? What did they say? What happens next?

How am I?

I’m mostly r e a l l y good. I’m enjoying breathing A LOT. I find myself saying I LOVE BREATHING all the time. I’m thankful for it all the time. I used to see people running, dancing, laughing on movies or in real life and feel sad. Now I feel excited and I find myself saying, “I can do that!”

dancing!image by Lizzy Flanagan

There was a moment at my dear friends wedding on the Cape just after the dilation that brought me into the present of I CAN DO THAT in such a sweet way… we were all out on the dance floor, it was nearing the end of the night. My post anesthesia body was really tired and I was ready to go until my friend Kate looked over and saw me dancing and with so much love and excitement in her voice said, “T H I S is just what you wanted!” In that moment I could see and feel us all in slow motion. I could feel the thump of the music in my chest and vibrating all around us. She was right! It was (is) what I’d wanted – to be able to dance and sing and play. I immediately forgot that I was tired and I danced like I meant it… I flung my hair and jumped up and down giving my sticky strapless bra a run for it’s money (those are the best things ever, by the way). I memorized the moment and literally breathed it all in. I remember smiling so big. I remember giggling at Cliff’s signature moves and thinking how much I love having him as my partner. It was all red faces and fist pumps in the air, pure joy. I can’t even believe there’s a photo to go with the moment. Can’t. even. believe. it. Pure gratitude.

Healing can be spontaneous or work. I’m currently in the working portion of this program. I feel my body processing out the anesthesia, the post procedure meds and the experience itself. I’m cycling through tired, angry, frustrated and sad. Some days I’m able to articulate what’s happening inside an others it just washes over me. I’m spending time in the archives of my life and going back to places that need healing — namely, my parents divorce.

I’m 35 and I can’t believe I’m still healing over my parents divorce. Some days (most days) I resist it HARD and think good grief, I thought I’d healed a l l that in therapy. Others I soften into it and see that sweet little 4th grade version of myself and feel so much for all she was experiencing during that time (and now). Life keeps giving you opportunities to heal until you do the work. Sometimes it’s a little nudge, sometimes it’s a smack in the face. Lately it’s felt like I’ve walked right through a plate glass window.

I believe in the importance and all out necessity of feeling your feelings, and letting them move through you (instead of getting pent up and stuck inside you). I’m staying present to that as much as possible and letting my body and spirit move through and out of the muck. I’m asking my body if it can allow the energy to move (something my sister reminds me to do). I’m asking it what it needs from me to help? Some days that’s a swim or a jog, others it’s just to sit quietly in meditation and sometimes I haven’t a clue. I’m forgiving myself and my parents in all kinds of scenarios. I know my folks did the best they could do at the time. I see that really clearly. I love and appreciate them deeply for that. I also know that their split changed me and I’m giving myself permission to take down the armor I built up at such a young age. I’m reminding myself that I’m safe and loved. I’m reminding myself that I always have everything I need, that I am whole health and that happiness is my birth right (pssst, it’s yours too!)!

What the doctors said:

The scar tissue is back. We’d hoped it would be scar tissue at the surgery site something easy to scoop right out of there but nope this scar tissue is thick and stubborn and has invaded into my vocal cords. It looks like a Tim Burton set in my trachea with pink and white marbled scar tissue growing like tree roots into the vocal cords. We also learned that the right vocal cord joint is paralyzed likely from scar tissue growing into it and basically concreting it in place. There’s nothing they can do medically to help. It’s one of those “let’s just keep an eye on it” situations. The good news is that the joint is stuck in a good place which means I can still use and regulate my voice and that’s a HUGE win! I can’t possibly imagine not being able to use my voice! I’ve got so much to say! My doctor says it would be great if it’s a year or more before I need another dilation. I’m thinking it would be great if I never had to have another surgery or procedure ever again! Yes, that’s the option I’m choosing.

Now that there’s some space between me and all the information it feels like just that… information. I don’t feel doomed, devastated or afraid. Those are all things I’ve felt in the past but this time is different. I know (KNOW in that way that’s deep to my core) it’s all a process, it’s all happening for my highest good and I’m trusting that this thing will continue to transform in a way that is perfect. I’ve given up predicting how it’s all going to go down because I suck at predicting the future but I can say that I FEEL my body healing.

What happens next?

I’m fully engaged in a healing journey. We’re headed to California next month in the RV! I’ve been having sessions with helpers and healers and professionals all over the US (and the world, thank you Skype). I’ve been spending more and more time in and near water because it just feels so good.

We were planning a water fast but after talking with an Ayurvedic practitioner (and being warned by one of my best friends who woke up having dreamt of me and said “DO NOT DO THAT WATER FAST, I feel so strongly that you don’t need to do it”) I’ve decided NOT to do the water fast. Cliff is still going to do it so I’ll be there checking in on him between my Ayurveda appointments. Oh and are you ready for this one… the Ayurveda gal is in the SAME CITY as the water fast. Well, thank you Universe!

float

Always always remember that there’s no one size fits all diet and there’s no one miracle cure for what ails you. When it comes to your health the only right answers are the ones that feel best in YOUR body.

What I’m learning:

  • I’m learning to honor my needs and most specially not to put them off. Even my most basic needs – like holding it when I need to pee. Seriously, anyone else sit at your desk way too long and then realize you’ve had to go for over an hour?
  • Matter can change. Scar tissue can change. When this first started 10 years ago it was subglottic (below the glottis) and now it’s invading my vocal cords. While that is really “bad” news in the sense that medically there’s nothing to be done it’s “great” news from the view point of the potential for this scar tissue to change. IT CAN go back to the nothingness from whence it came and that’s exactly what I’m creating.
  • The power of a group is mighty. I’m a member of a Facebook group for folks with tracheal stenosis. It’s been a really safe and loving place for me to be vulnerable, receive support from people who totally get it and to celebrate the deep easy breaths that are flowing right now.
  • It’s ok to ask for help. From your partner, your friends, your family, your community (even if it’s an internet community). Thank you all for being here and for holding visions of me breathing with ease for the rest of my life.
  • I’m learning that real healing happens when I slow way down and have FUN. I’ve been much too serious, much too busy, much too much of a bunch of stuff and fun is setting me free.
  • I’m seeing how important it is to own your situation but not attach to it. To be present but not self loathing. I so badly didn’t want this to be my story. I didn’t want to be the girl with scar tissue in her trachea and yet I’m so grateful for all that has unfolded as a result of this weird condition. Weird has always been wonderful.

To giving each other permission to tell our stories by sharing our truths. I love you. I appreciate you.
Lacy

 

Meet my very favorite low-tech kitchen tool the Julienne Peeler!

I was a hard core texture eater as a kid and actually I am just NOW getting used to the way blueberries pop in your mouth. Couldn’t take it before. I LOVE how this peeler makes everything into teensy tiny ribbons! Texture magic. Use it for cucumber, zucchini and squash, potatoes carrots, etc.

Get one here (less than $10, so awesome) or dig yours out of the back of your kitchen utensil drawer you’re going to need it for this yummy summer slaw!

Cucumber Jicama Slaw Ingrediants | Lacy Young

Cucumber + Jicama Slaw

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
Serves 2 – 4 (if small portions)

You’ll need:
1 cucumber (peel if not organic), julienne avoiding the center (save the center to juice later)
1 small jicama, peel and then julienne or cut into thin matchsticks
4-5 large basil leaves, chiffonade (stack leaves, roll em up like a cigar and then cut. It will make beautiful long ribbons)
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt or salt to taste

Toss in a bowl and serve!

Enjoy it’s totally refreshing and a bit unexpected. Would be really good as a side on family taco night!

April Food:

I did some actual meal planning this month which is rare. I typically just buy an array of veggies and make stuff up as I go. I had an idea for stuffed poblano peppers that turned out to be SOOO delicious even though it’s a multi-step recipe (I like to keep it simple). You can see that recipe here. I also created a smoothie with rose water that tastes so divine! You can see it here.

cabbage

Maybe one day we’ll renew our vows and I’ll carry a veggie bouquet. Too much? ha!

april foodjuice april food2april food3 stuffed pablano peppersjuice buffet

April Family + Friends:

A dear friend got married and we had a blast at her wedding. There was an open bar. Our table of friends were one of the few taking full advantage. I had a tough time breathing while dancing. On the way home in the car in driving rain we talked about the possibility of going back to the doctor and it brought up SO MUCH FEAR. I wasn’t ready. My body wasn’t ready. All these months later and on the other side of the dilation procedure I’m seeing how necessary those early conversations were. It’s so important to check in with your body every step of the way. It will tell you when it’s time and you’ll be better prepared for having gone through all the emotions along the way. At least that was the case for me.

summer wedding april family mema and ayden kelley birthday

Super fun family dinner at Benihana for my uncle’s birthday. I wrote a post about eating out and staying sane.

love you forever, Linda

A dear friends mom transitioned and it hit close to home. Lisa wrote a beautiful post about Linda. Will you read it and send her some love?

wine list

An old and trusty wine list that lives folded in a friends wallet got pulled out at family night. Silver Oak is my favorite! Cliff and I tasted there and bought a few bottles on our engagement weekend in Napa ages ago. Best $100 bottle of wine I’ve ever had.

love gift. new fave mug. new fav candle

A love gift arrived in the mail. I LOVE mail! That sweet coffee mug became a fast fave and made the cut to get into the RV! AND THOSE Produce candles! The Kale one is my favorite and smells divine (it doesn’t smell like kale).

movie in the park

Movie in the park with Aunt Mary. A food docu. At some point can one see too many food documentaries?

April Us:

our mornings

A moment that begged to be collected. I love that we go and get out of bed as a family most days.

matchy matchy

We were headed to get groceries and he pulls over saying, “You look just like the flowers, I have to take a picture of you with them!” Can’t argue with that now, can I? :)

found moms ring

Found my mom’s ring going through a box of old jewelry. One little birthstone for me and one for my sister, Kayla. Every time I look down at it I can see it on her finger.

his words to me on a tough day

His words to me on a particularly rough day. Felt like they could help more than just me.

game of thrones ritual

This is our Game of Thrones Sunday night ritual. Big beer in horns. Can’t wait to see what will happen next season!

turtle rescue

Cliff rescues animals. It’s one of his super powers. This little one was scooped up out of the middle of the street on our way to the track. That’s his happy face, really it is.

ned so comfy

I’d really like to sleep that soundly.

April Biz:

togetherness tuesday begins

I started Drop In Group Health Coaching called Togetherness Tuesday. From the first call I knew it was going to be special but I never dreamt it would come to mean so much to me and the women who show up on that call each week. You can start and stop whenever you like. Phone line and hearts are wide open. More information over here.

remember

Angeles made one of my quotes into a beautiful FREE downloadable poster! You can see it and all my free downloads over here.

My little brother went on an an epic journey last year and traveled to central and south America. He talked so much about one of his favorite places, the San Blas Islands in Panama. Mom decided she HAD to see them and I happily invited Cliff + me along. Months passed, Mom + Cody planned the trip, found a boat to charter, we all got tickets, mom + I got matching North Face backpacks (which I LOVE) and the big day arrived.

Mother’s Day. We all wake up early and get to the airport. We’re checking in only to find out that Cliff’s passport is not valid for travel to Panama. It didn’t expire until June but apparently to travel to Panama your passport must be within 3 months of expiration. The bottom dropped out of my stomach, tears welled up and right there in the airport check in area I cried. And cried. And cried. Mom + Cody went on and we stayed behind hoping we could get it sorted out and join them the next day.

Be sure to check your passport expiration date and the regulations for the country you’re traveling to well in advance of your travel!

The rest of that day we both felt sick. Helpless. Bummed. Disappointed. Frustrated. So many emotions. We did the best we could to move through it and keep (or more like — just find) perspective. All these months later that feeling is still a gift. Going through the wave of emotions of facing a dilation again and all that is involved just scratched the surface of how helpless we felt that day. I know it’s odd (and even feels a little trivial) that just missing a flight vs a legit health situation was a more severe feeling of helplessness but it’s true. It’s the beauty of contrast in life. Those really awful disappointments provide solid contrast to remind me it’s not that bad. There are options and we’re negotiating whatever it may be at the moment the best we can.

We came through the passport experience feeling so good about our partnership. We are a crazy good, totally effective team. The moment the check in clerk started waggling my passport in the air saying that the rest of us could go but not Cliff we clung together. I remember saying, “I’m not leaving him, give me my passport back please. I am NOT leaving him.” We sprung into action. I got on the phone to the passport office to try and get an appointment. Cliff called our ride to come back and get us. We changed our tickets for the next day + moved through an imaginary check list of all the possible things that we could do to fix this asap + get back to the business of vacation! Silver lining… we were home to watch Game of Thrones that night. ha! But seriously.

passport office

The next day was all hurry up and wait and then all GO, GO, GO! We got the appointment at the passport office first thing in the morning. They said we could pick up the passport at 12:30. Wha? I don’t know why but I expected we’d walk out with it that morning. Nope. Doesn’t work that way. So… we went for brunch and came back to wait. Our flight was at 3:05 pm. At 12:30 his passport wasn’t ready. They said maybe 1. Then 1 came and went. We’re counting minutes now running the times over in our heads… we can still make it! I’m in the car making a reservation at the airport park + ride, keeping the getaway car running and waiting for Cliff to give the word that he’s got his passport. When he finally texted that he had it and was headed down I pulled out, opened the door and he literally ran and jumped in. It was one of those laughter through total stress moments. All we could do is laugh. I used my expert daughter of a race car driver skills to get us to the airport as quickly as possible. We checked in with 1 minute to spare. 2:04pm. Once we cleared security we literally ran to our gate just in time for boarding. I sounded like Darth Vader in a foot race but we made it!

barely made it

We flew into Panama City, stayed the night in a hotel and the next morning got up at 4 am to catch another flight out to a small island in San Blas where the sail boat + mom + Cody would pick us up! The minute we got into the tiny plane to head to the islands it felt like vacation. Finally.

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This was my favorite snorkeling spot. An old ship wreck.

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See that tiny blue fish with blue polka dots! It’s a Jewelfish. Incredible, right!

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The swim deck was one of the most peaceful places on the boat. Just you and the sound of the ocean lapping against the boat.

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The weather was impeccable the first few days. Sunshine, heat + humidity.

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Then it got dark, rainy + moody. I love that we got to experience both.

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I love the perspective on this one… little islands as far as the eye can see.

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One of my favorite parts of sailing was getting up and going for a morning swim first thing. It felt like freedom to just off the boat into the water each morning.

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This was our favorite island. Cloud Island. We found Conch shells here, swam in the pouring rain + ate coconut meat. It’s one of the things I remember most from this trip. It rained so hard for a moment I could hardly see. I can almost smell the salt and feel the drips falling from my eye lashes.

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Aren’t they beautiful, the shells I mean. Well us too ; )

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We got matching shirts for the trip. Geeky, awesome + totally necessary to help minimize sun exposure and bug bites.

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We stopped on a small island to buy bracelets + malas made by the Kuna women. The bracelets are tied on each time they wrap around your wrist or ankle. Kuna women wear them on both wrists and both ankles. I JUST took mine off a week ago pre-dilation procedure. I loved wearing it. It started to feel like my own version of a tattoo.

Malas are intricate hand stitched fabric squares. They use them in their clothing. We asked permission (and paid) to take a photo. This woman got dressed in her full attire for our photo. The island is inhabited by one family at a time. They will work there for several months and then return to the community island and another family will come out to sell to the tourists that sail by. They are small in stature, speak their own language but also Spanish (which is how we my little brother communicated with them. He was our translator the entire time and did an amazing job)! The Kuna people are a matriarchal society, when we paid the father he gave the money to the grandmother immediately. Love that.

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Our state room.

save him

He’s joking. Post this image jumped from the front of the boat into the water.

early morning departure

Early morning boat ride from the sail boat to shore to catch our flight back to Panama city.

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where mosquitos are born

This is the airport. They took our airport fees, I think it was $11 each or near that. Our bags were weighed with a handheld scale and then we waited and waited and waited for the little plane to arrive. I’m certain this is the birthplace of all mosquitoes and biting bugs known to man. We made a lot of bugs very happy that day.

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No wind. Just bugs.

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These are the malas we selected. We chose one that was meant to be sewn into a shirt later so it was two complimentary pieces. Mom took one, we took the other. Last night I framed ours and hung it in the bathroom in our mobile abode (which prompted this big beautiful post).

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Dinner at the Panama Canal. It was awesome to watch the gates open and see the water levels rise and fall.

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Our final night in Panama. Penthouse views, LONG showers and air conditioning. Perfection.

I love traveling and I adore coming home. This vacation was a biggie for me. I got really clear on our decision to buy and move into an RV. Really clear. I unapologetically took care of myself at every turn even when that meant turning in early to read instead of listening to stories the captain and his wife were sharing. Older versions of me would have sat there, listened and nodded and gone to bed exhausted from ignoring my own needs. It’s one of those little details that’s actually really huge.

To Panana! To the beautiful Kuna people! And to gifts from the sea!
Lacy

P.s. Foundations of Food starts next week! Ready to learn what foods work best in your body? Ready to give up dieting, calorie counting, struggling and deprivation f o r e v e r? Yes? Yes! Join us!

My dear friend Lizzy took this photo and has been carting us around. She sat with me. With Cliff. Cried with us and been so fully engaged in this experience. Lizzy. I. Love. You. Oh so much. Thank you for spending part of your only vacation helping us.

I had a dilation today. In plain terms my doctor (who I really appreciate and love) made what was a small breather hole much bigger by good old fashioned skillful brute force. I have a sore throat and can take a really full deep breath. It feels like a gift.

I’m sitting alone in my hospital room at Mass Gen. Cliff has gone back to our dear friends house to get some proper rest. I can tell you overnight in the hospital is not fun. Overnight sitting upright in a chair to sleep is just unkind. I’m glad he will have some alone time to process all of this and eat a bowl of cereal with almond milk (his comfort food of choice lately).

There’s a pulse ox monitor taped to my right index finger making it super tricky to hit all the right keys. To my left a wicked view of Boston has been filled in with the night sky to my right an empty bed (yay). All around me are sounds of the hospital. Incessant beeping. A slight creak of the machine monitoring my iv fluids. Nurses chatting as they walk past. All the nurses have been amazing. Though I don’t want to get too comfy I feel as at home as is possible thanks to their stellar care.

It’s been a DAY.

This moment is actually kind of perfect… I think anyone who’s ever been in the hospital or negotiated any kind of sickness whatsoever (or made a really big decision on your own) can totally relate to this feeling… this is happening in my body. It’s a singular experience. I’m completely surrounded by the best kind of love and support and a growing community of prayer warriors and yet in this moment I feel alone. Me and this busted up trachea.

I had hoped it would be a thin little membrane of scar tissue growing over the old surgery site. The completely sucky part is that is not the case. The scar tissue is thicker than ever and has invaded the space near my vocal cords (that’s not good) so that means a second resection is off the table. That’s where they cut you open and cut out the scar tissue. Not fun (understatement) but I had 3.5 good years of breathing after.

What I’m learning yet again is that wellness is a dance. I’m currently on the dance floor with western medicine checking out his best moves. He’s stepped on my feet a few times, I’ve smiled politely as if to say, ‘oh that’s ok’ but I’ve taken note. Really we’re trying to do a dance that he doesn’t know the moves to. This condition is so rare and almost no progress had been made in the six years since my big surgery. But here we are front center throwing our arms up and going for it. I’m doing that signature white girl step-together-step, little bounce with slight head bob, a clap and a ‘wooooooo-who’ every now and then for effect. Sometimes I smooch my lips out and wrinkle my nose like I’m totally cool and confident and throwing off that — ‘I’m doing this on purpose’ vibe. Can you see us out there?

Oh do I have surgery stories to tell…

There was the gal who was here for my resection in ’08 who was in the room again today. I recognized her. She recognized me. So nice to see a friendly face. And she seems like someone I’d be friends with so that’s always a plus.

There’s the guy on the cleaning crew in the OR area. He is probably in his 50′s, he is thin and kind. Faded tattoos peek out from under his scrubs on both arms telling stories of his younger years. He walks like he’s going somewhere. He’s the kinda guy who points when he talks, only pauses for a second and then keeps going. Today marks my 4th time in the OR at Mass Gen and the 4th time I’ve seen this same dude! So today he walks by and sees me sitting in the gurney outside the OR waiting my turn and he says, “I was just where you are not that long ago.” He points at me as he’s talking, gives a little squinty half smile and then goes on his way. It puts me immediately at ease. For a moment I wasn’t just a body on gurney I was a person who was being seen by another person who had felt what I was feeling and had BEEN THERE. I giggled as I realized that he says that to me every time. I’m pretty sure he says that to everyone and he probably takes a nap on the gurney as often as possible so that it’s actually true. Still I totally appreciated it.

Then there was a women on my surgical team. A nurse I think. She asked me what I do for a living. When I said I’m a health coach she did as many people often do and launched into telling me her story about food and her life. I’m so glad she did. She grew up in West Africa eating traditional foods (grains, fruits, veggies, meat when they could afford it) and was naturally thin and healthy. She said they ate breakfast and lunch and maybe a small dinner or no dinner at all. There was no snacking if there was ever a snack it was a banana or an orange. They never asked for food, they only came to eat when called. She preferred to play and was happy to come in to eat but was never hungry or worried about food. She was happy to play —–> that’s Primary Food! The best example of being fed from the richness of your life, from being fed by play and not needing as much food to eat. She is now a little overweight and knows it’s due to eating fast foods and processed foods and adopting the Standard American Diet.

She took her children to visit her home several years ago. Her son was 8 years old at the time and overweight. After eating the traditional foods and chasing goats up the mountain each day he released all the excess weight and his body has normalized into it’s natural size and shape. He’s 11 now and he says he loves his new body. I thanked her for sharing some of her stories with me. Recalling them now I feel a little teary.

I love my job. I love my life. I love that people share their stories with me and I’m so deeply impacted by the power of food and feeling good in our bodies. That’s what I KNOW. And that’s what I’m returning home to inside myself. My next dance on my healing journey is going to be a tribal dance with water. Think body paint and big sweeping moves around a fire. Soulful. Ritualistic. Deep. We got two thumbs up from my doc to go and do a medically assisted water fast in California in September. Apparently I’m seeking all my healing experts on the coasts. East coast medical. West coast spiritual. Sounds about right. You know I love a good food experiment so we’ll see what the absence of food does. It’s meant to reset all your cells to allow the body to heal itself, by itself.

I’m seeing how intentional the call to simplify was those months ago. We heard it loud and clear. I proud of us for listening and acting. We now live in an RV which still kinda blows my mind. We’re calling it Kale On Wheels, our big bus of healing (we also call her Barb. Short for Rhubarb which makes me giggle.) and it feels like we’re fully engaged in a quest of healing. We set this whole thing up (the RV, selling all our stuff, down sizing, simplifying) before we ever had a clue what it would really become. I’m sure it’s all still unfolding. Betcha a year from now this clarity I’m feeling will probably just amount to finding a corner piece on a really big puzzle. And while I’m still having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that I’m back here in a hospital bed using words like stenosis, I’m practicing presence. This moment is really all I’ve got and honestly it’s all I can focus on. The minute I start thinking thick scar tissue and vocal cords and and and the tears start flowing and I’m sucked into the dark and scary place. I’m using all my best tips and tricks that I’m constantly sharing with my clients. I sat in recovery feeling utterly green (nauseous) from coming out of the anesthesia saying over and over “I inhale. I exhale.” And it worked. It was the slowest two hours I’ve experienced lately but it worked.

Alright dear friends I have selected a movie to watch, a girl movie. Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann in The Other Woman. I’m thinking escapist comedy is exactly what I need. Me, these ice chips, all these beeps and this little iv are going to cozy in.

Love,
Lacy

P.S. I actually started blogging in 2008 post tracheal resection surgery. I’d had a Caring Bridge page to keep family and friends updated and I loved posting updates there so much that when I closed that page I started a blog. It’s a full circle moment. There have been lots of those this week. Some very tender and tear filled, some truly spirit lifting. This post is really more of an entry into my virtual moleskin. Since I’m feeling quite alone sitting here in my standard issue hospital socks (they’re the worst tan color you’ve ever seen but they do have that handy no skid stuff on bottom) and gown (would you like to see my bum, everyone else has!) I’m sharing my entry here because the internet really is remarkable and if you’re reading this you’re my people and I love you. And if you’ve been following along and sending me love I want to tell you I literally feel it. Words will always be an inadequate for the deep gratitude I feel. T H A N K Y O U.

Last week I went to the doc and had a photos taken of my trachea. They put a teensy tiny video camera up my nose and down my throat. When the doc played the video back for me and I saw what I’ve been feeling I felt a wash over my body. It was a moment of OMG it’s real. I didn’t make it up. My next thought was Oh fuck it — What do I want to eat?

It’s funny (not funny) how we reflex back. How I reflex back. I wanted a brownie sundae. Or a cream cheese kolache. Or both. I wanted a margarita or a pina colada with a dark rum float and extra whipped cream. I wanted to eat + drink all my feelings. When I realized that we were, in fact at a hospital and the only thing I could likely get my hands on was a candy bar I thought… Snickers! I could go for a Snickers. It was like a Disney movie in my head. Brilliantly dressed up foods dancing past me promising to take away all this anxiety in my body.

Mind you all this is happening while I’m still in the exam chair, the doctor is talking to me and Cliff is sitting across from me asking his thoughtful questions about my health. They say a second set of ears is helpful for that moment when you glaze over. Apparently my version of glazing over takes me right to food negotiations.

And then it happened, as it’s happened many times before — I remembered that any amount of food or drink would not heal these feelings. They’d only serve as a (delicious) band aid that would likely lead to a stomach ache, headache and heart ache. I didn’t have a Snickers. Or a pina colada with dark rum float and extra whipped cream. I sat there. I put my hand on my chest and took as deep a breath as my little airway would allow and I said quietly to myself, “Lacy, I love you. You’re going to be ok. It’s ok to feel this way. You’re doing such a good job dear girl. Ask for what you need. Ask your questions. Let Cliff support you. You’ve got this.”

I came back to the present. I asked the very kind doctor my questions and still really appreciate her candor. We left and I continued to take deep breaths to help clear the giant lump of stagnated energy in my belly and throat.

This is the root of emotional eating for me. Emotions well up in such a big, scary way that I just want to numb it out and eat as much as possible to make them stop or at least shut them up for a moment. When I indulge and eat my feelings I’m left in a fog of regret and physical discomfort. When I come back to the present, sit with the feelings, watch them change, and breathe them out of me I feel like I have a tether. At first it’s wildly uncomfortable and then a little crack of light opens up and I begin to slowly but surely feel free from those guttural desires to numb and self medicate with food.

5 Steps to Help Navigate and Heal Emotional Eating ::

1. Observe your thoughts.

Do you go right to cream cheese kolaches or your chosen food drug of choice? Notice what comes up and resist the urge to judge or change it. Pay close attention. Can you begin to understand what’s causing your thoughts/emotions? Is it fear? Of what? That’s so important in establishing their validity.

2. Stay.

Fight or Flight is carnal. It’s your bodies innate sense of self preservation. When the going gets tough where do you want to run to? Food? Drink? Can you allow yourself to stay and sit with the emotion that you’re experiencing?

3. Breathe.

Notice your breath. Are you taking shallow breaths? Breathing more quickly? Bring a hand to your chest or your belly, lengthen and deepen your breath. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

4. Speak kindly.

Give yourself a word of encouragement. Tell yourself - I see you. I feel you. I hear you. Validating your own experience is a simple but powerful practice. You’re not silly for feeling this way. You’re quite possibly in the midst of negotiating some really tough stuff and some tenderness can go a long way.

5. Plan.

What do you need to move through this? A plan can help you stay present and grounded. Can you ask for support from friends and loved ones? Have a loved one hug you. Talk it through. Stumble and fumble through your words until you’ve got it all out. Keep going.

Emotional eating has really deep roots. Healing can be both gradual and spontaneous. Whisper to yourself that you’re willing to change, begin to notice when you want to turn towards food. Practice being present and sitting with your emotions instead of hushing them. You’re not alone, never have been and never will be. Part of being who you are meant to be in this life means releasing those old behaviors that are no longer serving you. You can move past emotional eating.

Cliff and I fly to Boston tomorrow for my tracheal dilation procedure on Tuesday and then we get to celebrate with dear friends for a wedding on Friday. I still have quite a bit of energy in my body and I’m staying with it. I’m fasting from negative emotions and seeing healing light in my body, especially in my trachea. I’m feeling lifted by the love of so many friends and family. I’m visioning myself going into the operating room and it’s standing room only in there. I’m picturing all the physical doctors and nurses and a spiritual healing team as well. On my spiritual team is an adorable gal named Ginger, my ancestors and all the love of every person I’ve ever met, encountered, passed on the street, hugged, made genuine eye contact with… I keep thinking of airport meetings. When you see someone you’ve not seen in so long… that moment when your eyes meet and you hug so tightly and there are happy tears. That’s the love I’m carrying with me into the OR and I hope that everyone in that room feels changed by my having been there with my big love parade.

May I bring your love with me too? Will you think of me on Tuesday at 12:30 Eastern and smile? I’ll be in my super cute hospital gown with frizzy hair and an amazing hair net thinking of you and seeing love envelope that room, all of Boston, all of the east coast and on and on and on. As I’m counting backward from 10 I’ll be seeing love frosting on all of us. ha!

Love,
Lacy