Vacation is reflective time for me. I turn everything off (mostly) and go within. I'm not the usual tourist. I go to the local places to eat. Find nature. Find the healing roots. I came across the Mayan ruins in the picture above while taking an off-the-beaten path.
Today's journey is especially inward for me as it's the eve of my 50th birthday. I've had so many thoughts and mini-revelations over the past few days, since I've had some quiet time after turning in my latest book manuscript. Some small ones, for example, and I'll write more about this one in another post – I picked up a fashion magazine to look at in preparation for an upcoming photo shoot and realized I've crossed into the “What to Wear in Your 50s” category: staid solids in burgundy tones, with decidedly flatter heels. Studies all suggest (which I'll corroborate) that sex just keeps getting better after 50, even in long-term relationships. So what's with the clothes that bury our fire?
We should wear what reflects who we are – at any age. My granddaughter is a living example of this. What that girl combines! She told me last week that she was wearing her “science pajamas” (they have a chemistry motif – yes, her parents are a public health professional and an MD) as “day clothes” because, “Really, Biba, I don't do science at night, I do it in the day.”
Defining Success for Ourselves
I've thought a lot about success lately – what it means and what it takes to get there. It all depends on one's definition. My definition puts happiness first. For me, happiness means living in emotional and spiritual integrity, feeling healthy (healthy is the new sexy, after all), and having plenty of time to say yes to my family. Yes, I can be there. Yes, I can do that because I have time for you. Love, healthy relationships, and self care are at the top of my success list.
Sometimes worldly success is at odds with my definition. Worldly success tells us we should lean in, have it all, be all, do it all. But I don't actually think that's possible – not having it all, all at the same time, and I think many women who say they are doing it have a live-in nanny, relatives who are co-raising their kids, have connections to success that circumvented the hard work and time it usually takes, or are just plain full of it. I know how hard I work, and I know that achieving certain levels of success does require sacrifice. But lopsided success, a term that a coach once shared with me, the kind where you have a super successful career but your personal life is a mess, is not my kind of success. Nor is burnout, the other consequence of trying to do and have it all.
Don't get me wrong. My personal life isn't always golden. I have my shit just like everyone else. I have meltdowns, insecurities, frustrations, I can be impatient with my husband, I sometimes worry about what people think of me and my work, I sometimes forget and start to place value on external validation. I've lost it with my kids. I have inner work to do. Even at 50. Or 49 and 364 days. But I define my success by the fact that my four now grown kids still like to hang out with me (doesn't mean you're not successful if you're on the outs with your kids – I don't talk to my mom at all – again, another blog).
I've also realized that to me success is a life in which I don't feel run ragged all the time. It's a life that feels spacious. Where my inner world feels that there's enough time. Where I have time to answer your Facebook questions personally (I keep getting urged by biz associates to “hire it out” but I won't – because I love talking with you, for real, one on one. Yes, YOU – like this.)
It means staying real, authentic. And having the time to do what I love.
Building Things that Last
Going to 1000-year old Mayan ruins a few days ago also got me thinking about what we build in our lives that lasts. For me that's so important. It's legacy. It's living intentionally. It's living in the now but thinking of the next generations. I am trying to build things that last for women.
I get to manifest my work and personal “superpowers” in a variety of interesting ways – it suits my Gemini nature – I write, teach, travel, get on big stages, work with women one-on-one and in small groups, create online programs, appear in magazines and on TV. It's all wonderful. In thinking of how I most want to spend my time, what I most get to do with this “one precious life” as Mary Oliver has famously called our time here on Earth, is teaching – whether online, in small groups, or the deep dive into healing with my patients – and writing what I learn about from my studies, my patients, my students.
Here's why, as an example: On my second day of vacation I turned on my computer and found the most lovely email from a woman I helped with fertility problems – she'd had her baby the day before and wrote to tell me the news. After two years of trying to get pregnant and struggling with emotional challenges, she found power in her body and mind. She became pregnant, stayed open and vulnerable and honest, and had to face a lot of inner demons about fear and anxiety. She did it. And when she eventually went into labor, she did it mostly at home, arrived at the hospital nearly fully dilated, and had her beautiful daughter a few hours later. It's that simple. My work brings amazing women into my life.
Giving Back and Getting Better with Age – Herbal Medicine for Women
In gratitude, I want to give back to you. It's my 50th birthday tomorrow. This also marks 35 years of my work with herbs and midwifery, women and healing. Being here in the Mayan Yucatan Peninsula, I've allowed myself to get a couple of massages. They were both given to me by Mayan women. Such strength and power in their hands. One is a partera (“midwife” in Spanish). The other did a treatment with hot herbal packs that she rubbed on my body – an herbal hot stone massage is the best comparison I can think of). We talked, in my limited Spanish and her limited English, and discovered that both her grandmother and my great-grandmother shared in common that they did “cupping” – a practice usually thought to be part of Traditional Chinese Medicine but that is actually much more broadly distributed than that around the world – extending clearly to Eastern European Jews (my great-grandmother was Hungarian) and to the Mayan people. Laying there I had the idea to celebrate my birthday with a give back to you.
There is little more powerful in this life than listening to your body, knowing your body, and knowing the tools to heal yourself as a woman – body, mind, spirit. My course Herbal Medicine for Women creates that deep dive. It's what I've built – and continue to build – in my life – to last. The legacy of teaching women how to care for ourselves. And like we all do, the course keeps getting better with age. This year the course is transforming. It's easier to use, to complete, and fit into your busy life. There's more real time with me. There's more video. And there's more access to advanced training. You also get to be part of a whole new shift in my focus on women's primary care, along with the best training on herbs for pregnancy and birth. It just keeps deepening.
This course is a powerful journey – and you will have lifelong access – to discovering herbs and the healing capacity of your body. Whether you want to learn this for yourself, your daughters and granddaughters, or your community or health practice, I urge you to learn it. Learn to take your health care back in your hands. Learn to help other women to heal. One in 4 women is on an antidepressant now. Many are on addictive anxiety medications. Half of all women over 50 end up on a statin for cholesterol, but this medication causes diabetes in half of all women who take it. One in 3 will give birth by cesarean – more than half of which are unnecessary. Our kids will get 20 rounds of antibiotics before they reach adulthood. The consequences of this are enormous. There's so much suffering we can prevent and heal by taking this knowledge into our own hands.
I invite you to celebrate my birthday with me, honoring women healers, honoring our ancestors who used food and herbs for healing (if you look back far enough, I guarantee this is in your family history, too), and honoring yourself. In the course you will also define success for yourself – it's a feminine, powerful, self-defined success – and if your dream of success includes women and healing, join me.
Herbal Medicine for Women Sale
Tuesday, June 7th through Thursday June 16th
For the first 48 hours (6/7 8 am thru 6/9 8am) 35% off for individuals ($1397.50)
50% off ($1075) for groups of 3 or more.
After that the course will remain on sale with discounted pricing until Thursday, June 16th at 8 AM EST.
Click HERE to learn all about Herbal Medicine for Women and to enroll.
Additional benefits of this sale include:
- A $2000 scholarship toward my upcoming functional medicine for women professional program – a perfect complement to Herbal Medicine for women (coming October 2016-ish)
- Free access to my upcoming online Adrenal-Thyroid Course
- Free access to my upcoming online Leaky Gut course
- Exclusive access to HMW live chats for lesson reviews
- Exclusive option to join a Mastermind Women's Healing Group with me – available only to HMW and Functional Medicine for Women students
- Preview access to all new updates that will coming in the 2nd edition of my textbook, Botanical Medicine for Women's Health
I hope you'll join me in this next phase of my healing journey and allow me to join you in yours.
After 35 years as a midwife, herbalist, mom, and quite a few years as a medical doctor specializing in women's and children's health – I think you'll find that I have the most seasoned, professional, and effective program available – and the community of over 1500 women in the program, with new streamlined requirements, will make this course a dream program for you.
I'm only turning 50 once, so this is the only time the course will be available at this low a price again (well, when I turn 75…100…).
With love, and in deep connection,