Last summer I was lucky enough to spend some time with the luminous Rachel W Cole in Portland and San Francisco. I’d admired her blog for a while and wanted to see what this switched-on inspiring woman was like in real life — and she didn’t disappoint. Wise far beyond her years, Rachel is a life coach who helps guide women towards a pleasure-filled, nourishing, well-fed life. And I know I want a slice of that so I’m thrilled to share that Rachel’s coming to London in April as part of her Well-Fed Woman Retreatshop tour. I will be sitting in the front row — can you join us, too?
To give you a taste of what Ms Cole is all about I asked her a few questions for the Creative Life interview series. Friends, it’s my great pleasure to introduce you to the lovely Rachel Cole…
Rachel, tell us a bit about your path into coaching…
My mother will tell you that I was always a coach. It’s not that I was always telling others what to do, but rather I was always interested in the deeper, more personal aspects of a person’s life and how they could find happiness. At parent/teacher conferences my teachers would report that I was “familiar” with them, asking about their personal lives – not your typical peer- or self-focused student.
My path towards coaching went something like this….
Majored in Political Science when I really should have been Psychology major. Developed anorexia in college. Recovered. Became fascinated with everything having to do with feeding ourselves. Was hired by the college post-graduation as a Disordered Eating Prevention & Education head for the Student Wellness Center. Spent a year developing campus-wide educational programs and working with the counseling team on the treatment side of things. Realized I was hungry to learn more and headed back to graduate school.
I toyed with becoming a therapist, but ultimately felt more called to health education. Became frustrated that traditional Health Education masters programs quantified health in ways that I didn’t – namely by weight.
Found an awesome program in Holistic Health Education and moved to California. During that program, I took a seminar in Life Coaching and fell in love with it. I filed it away to be my second career because at the time, I was working in the sustainable food world in San Francisco and having a good run at it.
Ultimately, though, I left the food world in 2010 and started my Life Coaching certification.
This version of the story is from 30,000 feet. Get closer and you’ll see even more twists and turns. In the end, I’ve never been more at home in (or more grateful for) my work in the world.
What does being well-fed mean to you personally?
Being well-fed means that I welcome my hungers as wise allies, seeking to be in deep communion with them, and treat feeding myself as a sacred and powerful act of service. A world full of well-fed women would be a much more vital world than the one we’re living in today. This is my life’s work.
You’re bringing your Well-Fed retreatshop to London in April (yay!) — can you tell us more about what we’ll do on the day? What will participants come away with?
I mentioned above that you’d get to see more twists and turns in my story if you got closer up. Well, you’ll get that at the Retreatshop. I share my story and the pull out the core lessons that form the basis for my teachings today. I offer individual attention helping everyone get really clear on their hungers and through a range of thought-provoking, soul-stirring, fun and restorative activities we work with our hungers, how we relate to them, and what gets in the way of feeding them. Shifts are guaranteed to happen. We’ll have time to talk and share stories and I do a lot of answering “but” questions. Questions like “But what if I don’t know what I’m hungry for?” or “But what if my partner is hungry for something that I’m not?” or “But what if it’s not possible to have what I’m hungry for?”
We laugh. We listen. We inquire. We share. We feast. The whole day is magic.
If you had a look at what past attendees said about attending, I think you’d get a good sense of the takeaways.
How do you personally deal with creative blocks and down days? Tell us about your self-care practices…
I surrender to it. I try to never muscle through anything in my life. Long ago I embraced the idea that you can catch more flies with honey. Ease and softness are my ‘weapons’ of choice.
I tune out what others are doing so I don’t fall into a well of comparison and despair.
I follow where my flow wants to lead, even if that’s mopping the floors or cutting my toenails.
I trust. I release as many ‘should’s as I can. I practice self-kindness in how I speak to myself, in how I choose to spend my time, and how I move through a block.
What and who inspires you – could you share some links and recommendations?
Jenna Lyons & J.Crew
My parent’s collection of American Baskets
This Modern Love article
What is the message you want to share with the world?
Trust and feed your truest hungers. The world is crying out for well-fed women.
What are you working on next?
In September I’m co-leading my first overnight retreat with one of my sources for inspiration, Anna Guest-Jelley. Details about the retreat will be released soon, but I can tell you that it’s called Wise Body, Wise Hungers: Yoga & Coming Home to Your Desires and it will be held at Green Gulch Zen Center in California.
You’re having a dinner party and can invite six famous people from the past or present – who would you choose and why?
:: Jimmy Fallon – for the laughs and to play board games with.
:: Wendell Berry – for, among other things, leading grace.
:: Bill Cunningham – for his commentary on the night’s fashion and overall adorableness.
:: Julia Child – for her majesty and because she’d cook something delicious.
:: Brene Brown – for her Texan drawl, belly laughter-inducing stories, and brilliant heart.
:: Amanda De Cadenet – to take amazing portraits of us (you know, just me and the gang) and ask great questions.
Not famous additions:
:: My parents and sister – because they taught me the joys of a well-thrown dinner party.
:: My Nana – who is no longer with us, but would make the absolute best tamales.
This party would be awesome.
Isn’t she delicious? Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Rachel!
You can sign up for The Well-Fed Woman Retreatshops over here