It was one of those ideas that comes to you completely out of the blue. I was laying on the acupuncture table, trying to just relax and clear my mind as I had a good 15 to 20 minutes of uninterrupted silence (and I never fall asleep in that kind of setting). “20 Questions — Soul-Style.”
Hmm. What’s that? I wondered. Sounds like an idea for a blog post.
And so this web series was born. Today I present to you the first in a string of incredible interviews I’ve conducted over the past few months, in which I’ve gathered some AMAZING business owners, authors, speakers and teachers to share with you their answers to my 20 Questions — Soul-Style. No, this isn’t like the old game show where you have to guess what the object is or categorize something as Animal, Vegetable or Mineral…these are 20 pointed, soul-stirring questions that I spent a lot (!) of time developing, and the answers have been nothing short of enlightening.
I asked all of the participants to answer the same 15 questions, I tailored three questions more specifically toward the individual’s line of work and I came up with two that I wanted answered by that person just “for me.” But I think you’ll enjoy reading all of the questions and answers, no matter who you are or where you are in life.
So without further adieu, I give you my first foray into this world of 20 Questions: Rachel W Cole, teacher, life coach and Well-Fed Woman. Rachel is a celebrated retreat leader and women’s empowerment expert. She has spent 10 years guiding women to identify, understand and feed their truest hungers — at and away from the table. As an eating disorder survivor herself, Rachel speaks with great wisdom, sensitivity and authority about what it takes to live as a well-fed woman in the modern world. She has traveled across the United States and internationally speaking and teaching to sold-out gatherings of women on how they too can find ease and fulfillment in their lives simply by honoring their own hungers. Rachel holds a Masters Degree in Holistic Health Education and is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach.
Here are my 20 Questions and Rachel’s soul-stirring answers.
20 Questions — Soul-Style
1. Who are you?
In an effort not to get too existential here, I’m Rachel Cole.
2. What do you do?
I’m a coach, retreat-leader, writer, and teacher helping women to feed their truest hungers — at and away from the table.
3. Why do you do it?
Because I don’t want to live in a world full of hungry women and I know a better way than what we’ve been taught.
4. How did you find your way to it?
Well, to be more accurate: I went to hell (more than once) and I paid attention on the way there and the way back. I was given life challenges that awakened me and equipped me (along with my share of formal training) to help other women feel at peace with what they want and feast on their life.
My own experience had me suffering from an eating disorder which propelled me, on my path to recovery, to explore not just my relationship with food, but my relationship with everything I longed for. What I found continues to shape my life and work today.
5. How do you feel when you do it?
Like myself. Right place, right time.
6. What is the joy that keeps you up at night?
Sensual pleasures. I live for transcendent bites of food, physical spaces that I’ve curated with soul, springtime ranunculus flowers, and the feeling of my partner’s body wrapped around me. All these are things that feed me — they might not be what I blog or speak about, but they are the result of me living what I teach.
7. What is one thing you still have to practice every day?
Getting out of the house. I’m such a homebody, work from home, and can think of few places that I’m happier being. As such I have to make leaving my house a practice.
8. What are you always searching for?
Kindreds. Sources of laughter. Creative flow. The perfect shade of red lipstick. Ways to more clearly and effectively articulate my teachings. A softer heart.
9. What have you found after searching?
A lot of happiness, a lot of patience, and deep faith that when I say yes to a true hunger, the universe responds in kind.
10. How do you stay connected to your inner core of peace?
I scan for kindness. The truth only comes in kindness, never in cruelty, fear, or with a mean-spirit. When I choose to listen and be guided by the voices within that are kind I find peace.
11. What makes you feel led or guided?
Pleasure and my commitment to teach what I’ve learned.
Oh, and synchronicities.
12. What do you do when you can’t hear God (or the Universe, or Source, or your intuition) speaking to you?
I wait. I listen. I go to the ocean or the desert. I journal. I seek laughter. I try to loosen my grip.
13. What is the difference between resistance and fear?
Fear is a story about what will happen in the future.
Resistance is just energy. It can be wisdom telling us that something isn’t right. It can be one way we respond to a fear story. Resistance is just a pull. It’s up to us to determine if that pull is wise and worth heeding.
14. Where does the idea come from that we are broken, unworthy or undeserving?
The ego. That story keeps us very safe in some ways. This is the human condition — that we’re somehow separate from life, what is sacred, and each other. As soon as we find our place “in the family of things” as Mary Oliver might say, we can no longer view ourselves as broken or unworthy. We are holy beings and anything else is an illusion.
15. How do you move past that to connect with others on a soul level?
You commit yourself to waking up from that illusion and embrace your equality with everyone. Notice when you make yourself inferior or superior to others, then consciously shift to a place of unity and equality. And you embrace vulnerability as a strength.
16. What feeds your soul?
My nephew and watching him become himself.
People who like themselves.
Living a life created from my own fed hungers.
17. How do you make sure you’re always feeding ‘it’ first?
I don’t always make sure that I’m feeding ‘it’ first, but I notice how I feel when it’s malnourished: disconnected, floaty, depressed. If I feel these things, I feed it.
18. What always leaves you delightfully tickled and hungry for more?
Coaching with a client who’s a great fit for me.
Leading a retreat where women walk away fed.
Game nights with friends.
Weekend adventures with my man.
19. How do you commit to change?
I let my hungers lead me. No forcing. No shoulds. No willpower. I change when I want to change and when it feels good.
20. What makes you confident in your ability, in your beauty, in your skin?
My understanding of my place in the universe.
The years of healing work I’ve done to move home to my body.
Writing something truthful and beautiful.
Swimming and Nia.
White cotton anything.
Lived experience in saying yes to my hungers only to discover that it really does lead to happiness, confidence, and peace.
WOW! Can you take that all in? I had to remind myself to come up for air while reading her answers the first time — on the edge of my seat. Seeing someone so vividly practice what she preaches is refreshing, inspiring, beautiful. It is what I feel I only aspire to sometimes, and I often have to remember to be kind to myself on the days when I feel like I’m not doing my best or not living my fullest, feasting on my one wild and precious life.
I hope you enjoyed this. I hope you read it over again, print it out, circle or highlight what speaks to you. And remember…there are more of these interviews coming up. If you don’t want to miss out, subscribe below for the full series.
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