Destined to Fart: Lessons in Being Alive

...so then he says to me, he says, "but Erica, a boat is NOT the only way to cross an ocean! Maybe you're not supposed to be on a boat. Maybe you're not even supposed to be on the water, really. You're like, on a JetPack- farting your way across the ocean, across your dreams and the message you're sharing with the world. Just a bunch of JetPack-producing, brilliant farts, taking you to where you want to go!" (My friends make really good analogies. Sometimes.)

Let me back up...

I was very busy yesterday; I was busy comparing my self, my business, my mission, my body, my Instagram following and my worth to other people. I was just swamped with paperwork, scribbled with doubt and matters of the ego. I was in meetings with past childhood playground trauma and I even took a call from the department of You're Literally Faking Everything and They're Gonna Find Out You're a Fraud and an Imposter Any Day Now, services, inc. In a nutshell, I thought everyone was rowing a much more important and pimped out boat than me, and that I had straight up missed it.

It's taken me a long time to be able to answer the question, "so, what do you do?" with certainty and clarity; I'm an Eating Psychology Counselor, who specialized in Body Image, Chronic Dieting and Binge Eating. No, I'm an Essential Oils Pusher/Educator. No, I am a Yoga Teacher. No, wait, I am a Writer who blogs, with a degree in Visual Communications. Wait, actually, I am a Relationship Strategist, who helps people identify their Values so they can build and maintain healthy relationships with food, their body and people in their life, based on those values. Oh! And I have a Facebook LIVE show, where I build community and start dialogue and blah blah blah blah.

I've placed a lot of weight on my title, since "becoming" an entrepreneur, forgetting that no one really cares about what I do. They care about who I am. And, in reality, whether we are Tax Attorneys, Trapeze Artists, Branch Managers or Grape-Stompers, we are all here to do one thing:

SERVE HUMANITY.

The ONLY difference is the vehicle with which we choose to do it, that most aligns with our values.

If you envisioned the vehicle with which you serve your family, community, customers, students, etc., how much more fun would your day to day interactions be? If you knew that there is simply no comparison to make, no boat to miss, because you're not even meant to be on a boat in the first place, imagine the peace that would being to your work, your family and your own sense of self-worth. There is so much magic in knowing that your course is not meant to look like everyone elses, and that one job, career, vocation is not more valid or important than the other, BECAUSE we are ultimately Doing. The same. Thing.

So what is your vehicle for serving humanity? Selling essential oils? Yoga? Writing Books? Riding a bicycle? Dancing? Massage therapy? Raising compassionate children? Doing math so other people don't have to? Metaphorically, Are you doing this via ship? Or in a '92 Canary Yellow Mazda Protege? You on a train? Or is it a hot air balloon situation?

Trust me, friends, you have NOT "missed the boat", because we're not all meant to be on a damn boat. But what do I know? I'm just a girl, strapped to a JetPack, farting my way across the land - just a bunch of brilliant farts, taking me to where I want to go, all in an an effort to serve humanity.

from my vehicle to yours,

erica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The "Special" Problem: Why Entitlement & Neediness *May* Help Your Relationships

"Sounds like you have a "Special" Problem", said my handsome therapist.

"Oooooh! What's that?! I feel special already!"

"Yea, that's the problem part", he chuckled as he rubbed his eyes for a moment, like he was about to break some earth-shattering news to me. My eyes widened and for a moment I felt excited about my new label, my brand-spankin-new neurosis, my next thing I'd get to blog about. (Good Lord, I really do need therapy.)

Over the past couple weeks I've come to terms with my resistance and my general distaste for sharing and being a "team player", for which I blame my parents, of course; instead of having more children and staying married, they got divorced, gave me my own bedroom and bathroom at both houses, where I had my own toys and never had to bang on a door to go pee or wait to use the computer, or negotiate the time I spent watching my Lifetime movies....in my own room...on my own t.v. If they had given me a sibling or a pet or a few house plants to take care of, I'm sure I'd enjoy a thing or two about being a team player. But they didn't. So, I don't.

However, despite not being a fan or a willing participant of sharing my stuff and working on a team, I've somehow built an entire career that is dependent upon my ability to do just that. First of all, I educate people how to use essential oils and a HUGE part of that business is sharing my oils with people, be that providing Lavender to a gaggle of high-strung Yoga Teachers, giving samples left & right, and putting Lemon oil in everyone's water while in India. As an Eating Psychology Counselor and Yoga teacher, I share my time and my resources in favor of helping people feel more alive, nurtured and comfortable in their body and their relationships. I love what I do, and I wouldn't choose to do anything else. But here's where my "Special" Problem lies...and yours, too, if this resonates with you, which is great, because I can help you...

While my job requires me to share my "toys", it doesn't usually require me to share the credit or the accolades with anyone, for a job well done. Somehow I've managed to stay just under the radar when it comes to collaborating with people on a project, where I'm not the only incredible genius behind the operation, until now...

My friend, Tracy, and I have been asked to run a "Creative Writing & Yoga" workshop next month, because we're both writers and we're both counselors and we both deeply care about the work we do. While I know the workshop is going to be an amazing one-of-a-kind adventure for our students, it will also require me to share the warm, gooey, fluffy praise and the You-Did-a-Heck-of-a-Job hugs with her, which is difficult for me, because there's a running story in my head that says, You know they're gonna like her more, right? You know they're gonna trust her more and look up to her more, and want to work with her more, right? It's a harsh and dangerous world in my head sometimes, my friends.

So where did this story come from? As my handsome Therapist puts it;

You always had all the stuff you wanted; the bedrooms, the toys, the time to watch Lifetime Movies...but that doesn't necessarily mean you were given what you needed; quality time, lots of praise, undivided attention, all the things a child in a typical narcissism stage really does need. So as you developed, you looked to other people's praise, feedback, attention etc. not just to make you feel good in general, but to actually fill you up, to validate you and prove your value and make you feel special. (And why would you ever want to share that with someone else?) But when you rely only on how other people value you and view you, for you sense of self-worth, it doesn't keep you full, because you can't or won't or don't do that for yourself. So, here you have a sense of entitlement...mixed with a specific kind of need to feel special...and that creates a -say it with me- "Special" Problem.

When I peeled my ego-bruised self off the couch after an entirely-too-short fifty minutes, the only solution to this problem I could think of, apart from getting the f*ck over it because I'm a 29 year-old grown ass woman who ought to know how to share and not be so greedy for accolades, was to tell my friend Tracy about my "Special" Problem; how I'm not as jazzed as I could and should be to teach a Creative Writing & Yoga Workshop together. I told her how I'm afraid that people are going to like her more than me, and how I'd look like a fool and that I'm not as helpful to people as I think I am. I told her I might feel jealous. That I do feel jealous already. I told her all those things and she replied:

"Well, that's funny, because I've been so worried that people are going to like you more than me because I'm no 'Erica Jacobs'".

"Oh, so we're afraid of the same things?"

"Yep."

"Okay, cool. So, do you just wanna know that the workshop is better off being done together? Do you wanna just do the thing?"

"Yes."

"Great. Good game." *High Five*

If there's one thing I've learned from walking through such intense grief when my Dad passed away, and the process of healing from an eating disorder, it is the importance of being direct and telling people how I feel. The more vulnerable I've made myself, the stronger my relationships have become...if they're the right relationships for me to begin with. So while I am not someone who has always been direct and outspoken about what I feel (ESPECIALLY to the person I have feelings toward), I've seen the benefit and the rewards of being blunt and sincere in my adult life.

So, the bottom line is this: It's fine to have feelings. As long as we're human, equip with an ego, we're going to have feelings of entitlement and neediness from time to time. We've all experienced that "Special" Problem and it can be used to our advantage when we're willing to recognize it and be honest about it. Being able to say what we truly feel, preferably to the actual people we feel them with/from/because of, no matter how embarrassing, how selfish, how conceited...is what being "authentic" is all about. (We, in the Yoga world, are obsessed with "being authentic", so I had to throw that word in here.) And the truth is, while it is ideal for us to be able to fill our own Self-Worth Bucket, it's not "bad" if/when we need other people to fill us up. It's okay. It's normal.

So, speak up, my friends. Say the things. Stay humble. It's good for your friendships, it's good for your job and...it's the best for your soul.

Isn't that Special? ;-)

Wholeheartedly,

Erica






Framed for Success: Choosing Glasses That Are Aligned with My Values

 

You remember those teen movies where some chick got a makeover because she realized guys would only be interested in her if she were "pretty" and "cool" and didn't wear glasses? Well, when it came to picking out new specs, my goal was to look like the "before" version of all of them; before they dyed their hair, exchanged their backpack for a purse, bared their midriff and swapped their glasses out for contacts. In fact, that's what I told the sales guy at the glasses store. Well, to be precise, I said, "Hi. I'm looking for 70's/80's Ugly Chic. I wanna look like someone's before picture." He understood. This is LA.

Because I value creativity, playfulness and humor, I wanted to choose glasses that made me look like I'm kinda-sorta kidding; I wanted frames that helped me to see the world around me, but didn't make me look too hard at it. I wanted to invest in eye wear that encouraged the "lightness" in me and reminded me to be playful, both in thought and action, since levity and horseplay aren't what I naturally resort to when the contents of my mind are littered with insecurity, stress or doubt.

So, here are the glasses I chose; they make me so happy and so giggly and if you've read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, AND/OR my blog posts about it, these glasses spark so much joy, I feel like my soul's on fire when I wear them. Get it? Spark? Ha.

Oh, yea, forgot to mention I also got bangs and they are a mess and kind of unmanageable and I love them. 

As I dive deeper, kinda, into who I am as a Creative Entrepreneur, writer, counselor, teacher, whatever, I realize that having fun is the most important part. Having grown up as an only child, where I had the freedom of binge-watching Lifetime Movies, it's easy and natural for me to look at my life with a serious set of eyes, which is useful, for sure. However, it's time to give fun to where fun is due. And right now...it's due on my face.

What has sparked joy for YOU lately? How are you having fun?

 

Wholeheartedly,

Erica

*Photos & hair by, Alexia Bernal

Creating a Values-Based Home

As a child, your bedroom is your own personal "home". And thanks to my being an only child and my parents' divorce, I was a homeowner, 2 times over. From Titanic posters in the 5th grade, to Wizard of Oz memorabilia in 8th grade, to passed notes in class, cards, letters and 4x6 pictures of me and my friends covering EVERY square inch of EVERY wall in the 9th, 10th, 11th & 12th grade, I always loved my bedrooms to reflect how I felt and who I was at any point in time. I can remember the *exact* moment I decided to move my twin-size bed (at both houses) to come out of the center of the wall, leaving both sides open to get in and out of bed, just like the grownups.

Now that I've lived in my own home for the last eight years, since my Dad passed away and I sold our house, it's been so important to make my space one that I feel proud and comforted to come home and invite people into.

Last week I turned twenty-nine and I decided that for my birthday, I'd create a values-based home office, as I am now self-employed and work from home 85% of the time. I just needed a designated, carefully-edited area to write, create and run my business, based on what I value most: Creativity, Leadership, and Tidiness. So, I made my BFF, Hailey, drive to my house, an hour away from hers, on a freakishly rainy day last week and help me create the home office I had been dreaming of. The only thing I forgot about Hailey, and all design gurus, is they can't just stop at one area of one room. I should have known the seemingly simple task of buying a new desk, new chair and maybe some wall art would turn into a two-day project that would require two Epsom salt baths and a Xanax. (And by 'Xanax', I mean, like, eight different essential oils to knock me out.)

Here's what we did...

We started at Home Goods and found the desk and the chair and the lamp right away.

This chair is great because it works just like any other chair. So, I bought it.

The cash register was in my line of site. We were so close. And then...Hailey saw a coffee table. "You need a coffee table, Erica", she said. So, I bought that, too. 

The thing is, I thought we were done. I thought the desk, the chair, the lamp, the coffee table would be wonderful additions to my already wonderful home. After unloading the heavy sh*t from my car and hauling it up my stairs, then re-loading my old (apparently "very ugly") furniture into my car to take to Goodwill, that's when Hailey looked around my living room asked, "So...how far do you wanna take this?"

Next, we went to IKEA...

This is what happens to me when it's getting late (6:45pm) and I'm no longer useful. Remind me never to become a personal shopper, k?

We bought the rug and a new stand for my T.V....

Clear instructions for life

...that took us until 3:30am to build.

We woke up early the next morning and loaded more of my "very ugly" furniture into my car and organized my new furniture. We made a few more trips to Home Goods, World Market, and Home Depot.

And eventually, my home started to take shape...

Photo by, Alexia Bernal

Photo by, Alexia Bernal

Photo by, Alexia Bernal

The truth is, our home reflects where we are in life and how we feel about our self. I notice how I feel about my home, impacts my relationship with food, my body, my life and the people in it. It's been an easier road these past few months, since identifying my values and making decisions based on them. My carefully-edited home now supports and reflects the leader I want to be, the creative being that I am and the discipline of being tidy, which I work on everyday.

Before...

After


Photo by, Alexia Bernal

Photo by, Alexia Bernal

If you need me, I'll be in my living room...just looking around...

Dear Business Coach...

typer
typer

A few posts back, I mentioned that I've thrown away all of my old journals. Not only were they totally irrelevant and unnecessary to hold onto, I could never get through one page of one journal without turning to my imaginary friend, opening my mouth and my eyes wide wide, as if t say "Oh.... MyGod. What a loser!" But that's not to say there is no value in revisiting words, videos or photos that represent who and where we were at a point in time; I just didn't need twelve books all written in the penmanship of a retired Pharmacist, explaining how shitty my upper-middle class teen-aged life was. I mean...right?!

But as I sifted through some old emails today, I came across one that I wrote to a Business Coach I hired almost exactly one year ago. My relationship with her came to an end shortly after I wrote this, but maybe the point of hiring her was to have a reason to get all this out. And that's what I did.

I'm sharing this email with you for a few reasons:

 1) I share everything else with you, so why not this?
2) Even "Coaches" and creative entrepreneurs (like me) don't know what the hell they're doing with their life, sometimes.
3) I'm not the only relatively neurotic human being who's had these thoughts and feelings.
4) I'm no longer in the same place I was when I wrote this email and I thought I always would be.

This Coach's name is irrelevant so for the purposes of this post, I'll call her

"Business Coach."

Without further ado...Happy Spinning!

spinning
spinning

January 4th, 2015

Subject: "Spinning"

"Happy New Year, *Business Coach! I hope 2015 is finding you well.

I'm emailing because I'm spinning today. I feel so anxious and scared about my future and I don't know how to navigate any tools to put things into perspective.

I've always been able to see a big picture that I deem to be my destiny or an ultimate dream of mine, but I am impatient when it comes to taking the necessary steps to get there.

Blah blah blah. I could go on typing, trying to over think things and express myself in  practical, self-loving, compassionate, forward thinking words. But I feel more compelled to list the cycle of thoughts that occupy my mind and my body 24 hours a day, leaving no room for anyone or any thing. So, here goes..

I'm 28 years-old and have not been able to financially support myself, despite all my education, experience, talents, willingness and ability to work hard.

I love working with children and I'm good at it. I love my title as Director at My Gym, and I'm frustrated I am accepting only $18,000/year.

I feel guilty about believing I am worth more, since there's so much hype about wanting money as an American is a bad thing. And how greedy we are as a culture. I feel like I need to prove to the world I'm not trying to earn millions, I'm just trying to pay rent.

I'm an excellent writer and public speaker. I have always articulated my thoughts with sincerity and clarity. Not everyone can do this and I wonder how I can put this skill to good use and/or profit from it.

I may be sensitive as a person, but I am also tough. I'm fearless in many ways and terrified in others.

I'm terrified I won't ever be in a loving relationship.

I'm terrified I won't ever have children.

I'm terrified we've done so much damage to the human psyche that Coaches, Counselors, Therapists and Social Workers who want to help, will always be spinning their wheels.

I will fearlessly check behind every door, in every closet and under the bed for someone hiding, waiting to kill me. But I am too fearful of getting my heart broken or being a failure in business or relationships, so I avoid them.

By default, I am always on Craigslist, looking for jobs, to feel safe. But I don't want to just work for a paycheck for the rest of my life. At least at My Gym, I'm making a difference and get to be active. No, I'm not getting paid what I'm worth, or enough to live, but at least I don't feel like a drone. The next tab I open, right after Craiglist, is PadMapper.com or any other apartment website, looking for a place with cheaper rent. I pay $1450, which some days seems like a lot and other days seem reasonable, considering any other apartment or studio in the South Bay will only save me, at most, $200, to which I think I could just become a prostitute for an extra $200/month and BOOM, there's me making up the rest of my "outrageous" rent.

*Business Coach, I'm so scared. During our first conversation you mentioned that our country comes from a state of scarcity, thus that's why our country is poor. So, like, all I have to do is keep 'coming from a place of abundance'? What the hell does that even mean? And as a side note, I don't want to do only ONE job. I have lots of things I'm good at and want to work toward. I wouldn't even want to be a writer full-time. Full time equals "fast burnout" to me. But that makes me sound like a spoiled little child, because I don't want to saturate all my time in just ONE thing. Who the hell am I to think I have a choice?

I think I've covered just about everything that has me curled up on my couch in fetal position today. I don't know what I need from you as far as a response. If I were brutally honest and had my wish, I would want to hear

 "You're going to be more than okay, Erica. I understand everything you're saying and most people who are about to go through a huge breakthrough feel this way. I've seen it. I've given you a boost with my hand to get you to the very top of the fence, where you now have 1 leg on each side. This is the hardest part and I promise you're doing the right thing by going over to the other side. You don't need to move out of your apartment. That is your home and you have every right to stay."

Part of me wants to hear this from you, just because I'm investing a lot of money into working with you. But I know I need to be saying these things to myself.

I feel so alone in the world and I feel like I'm spinning, failing AND flailing, left and right...which always causes me to binge eat. And that opens a WHOLE other can of worms.

Thank you for taking the time to read my sincerest feelings. If you don't mind, I'd love to hear any thoughts you have.

Love,

Erica"

So, friends...please know that the way we feel about our jobs, our family, our relationships and the direction of our life is never permanent. Sometimes we're certain, sometimes we're not. Sometimes we're lost, sometimes we're found. Sometimes it takes a cup of tea and essential oils to bring us back down to earth. And sometimes dinners with friends and a very dirty martini, or three, helps smooth out the rough edges and harsh thoughts. It's okay. You're okay.

So much love to you, wherever you are on your path to wherever the heck you wanna go!

And as always, feel free to tall me where you are on your journey. Have you ever had these thoughts? Am I alone, here?

xo,

http___signatures.mylivesignature.com_54493_178_4A64499E2FC34D4923809CAE67892E32
http___signatures.mylivesignature.com_54493_178_4A64499E2FC34D4923809CAE67892E32