Days 338 to 358 Keep It Simple, Stupid – but maybe not that simple

Full On 365Wow…coming back from Africa hasn’t been easy. We got back, I worked in Oregon catching babies and visited with friends and family over the holidays, then we came back to Alaska and were here all of one week before leaving to go work in a village out in the bush. I also managed to launch the 2013 Freedom Sessions Mastermind group in those two short weeks, and am THRILLED that almost all the spots are filled! So that gave me a lot of energy, but then I started to get tired with packing and unpacking yet AGAIN. After traveling for three months and coming home to the yurt for only 2 weeks since then, I am craving nesting, like a pregnant woman in her last month, like a sailor returning home after being at sea for years – except with a slight flavor of Gidget on crack.

I know. Scary, right?

Alas, we have also planned a trip to Mexico with a group of friends NEXT WEEK. What was I thinking? I was thinking I hadn’t seen many of my friend’s for months, and we wanted to be someplace warm with each other. Since I had been in Africa for so long, I was focused more on the “with each other” part than the warm part…but it is starting to get chilly here;)

We actually have many friends coming down for the trip – even friends from other states! So in this whirlwind of movement, it naturally crossed our minds to ask: What if we kept things simple and got married in Mexico? A small intimate ceremony then have the big party back in the US this summer? Our parents would actually be OK with it because, well, parents who have kids like us are pretty easy-going about spontaneous big decisions. As long as we had the party;)

However, the reality is, with all this travel and with all this moving around after our return, I am feeling like I am not ready to also rush into planning a wedding in Mexico. Even if it would be simple and amazing and undoubtedly entertaining with the motley crew we’ve conjured up. And I don’t want to keep things SO simple that we don’t give it the proper attention for it to feel sacred.

I am cleansing deeply over the last month, and that has left me with clarity and energy, but on the deep-cleanse days I only have energy for self-care, a bit of yoga, and connecting with my peeps. The fact that my soul hasn’t caught up with me yet from Africa has caused me to feel less present in my relationships, and that is the LAST state of mind I want to be in for planning something like this. Thai has also noticed we are under some stress and pressure, and planning this might make too crazy.

It would be “easier” in some ways to try to do it in Mexico because our friends will already be there in a beautiful place (we rented a PHAT pad on the beach with – get this – and infinity pool yippeee!). Yet we have to honor where our energy is. If it feels right when we are there, and we feel deeply it is the right thing, then we’ll do it. But right now it feels freakin’ CRAZY to try to plan it;)

I have also thought a lot about if I should share this next part, but I figured someone can learn from my process, so why put a kaibash on my vulnerability now, right?

I am trying to get pregnant. I am 39 and going to be 40 this year. I have been involved in Women’s Health and midwifery for over 9 years, and have too good of an understanding of my odds. Did you know the medical term for women over 35 who are pregnant is “Eldery Gavida?” Yup. Elderly.

I know the best I can do is to keep up my self-love practices, continuing to eat well, exercising, decreasing my stress, surrendering to the Universe, to the acupuncture needles, and also surrendering to the fertility specialist if this shizzle doesn’t land a zygote in the next 6 months. In short, don’t be elderly-like unless it’s Yoda-style elderly.

I don’t think I’d do IVF but I would certainly try some other things…I think.

I’ve got a lot going on, to say the least. And it can be easy for me to want to throw my hands up and say, “Whatever! Whatever happens is what will happen!” Like a spontaneous wedding in Mexico. Or not even thinking about this pregnancy thing and not taking extra steps to improve my fertility. But the bottom line is, some things just can’t be THAT simple. Some things deserve a little discomfort and effort (the good kind – not struggle). Sometimes, when you really want something, you can’t just wait and see. You need to move on that shizzle. Be proactive. DO.

When you’re interested in something, you try. When you’re committed, you DO.

I’m going to nest now, so I can save some energy for doing – and BEING me. I’m going to full-on find that balance between surrender and action. Are you with me?

And by the way, I am only 1 week from completing my year of commitment to Full-On living – and as of now, it has been too sweet to even think of stopping!

Days 54 to 56 – Fragility and Resilience of the Human Condition

Me and Maria, a nurse’s aid, in the DR after the birth of this beautiful baby

Warning: this post will be sad and possibly considered graphic for some. But living Full On isn’t about always being stoked and easy to read. I have had 4 hours sleep total in three days. Lately I’ve been helping out the midwife group even more, as one of the midwives is on an extended maternity leave and another tore her rotator cuff. This means I am often Full On pooped when on call. But despite the fatigue, I wanted to share  briefly about living full on when you are tender inside.

The past few days have indeed had me living and experiencing fully. I had a deep appreciation of the fortune in my life and counted my innumerable blessings after being reminded of the deep suffering people can experience in this world – A family at the hospital had lost their child, only 24 hours old, from an accident. I can’t even imagine the heartache and the places their souls and minds must go after that.

Then I remembered my friend and fellow midwife, Joanne Jorissen Chiwaula. She founded the African Mothers Health Initiative in Malawi, and I had the utter joy and honor of going to graduate school with her. She described how they had shelves where they would put the babies that had died that day, which happened every day, and they wrapped them in bright African cloths. I had an image of those shelves with bright bundles representing social injustice and the human condition.

I remembered volunteering in the Dominican Republic and going in to catch a woman’s baby and next to the labor bed, on the cold cement floor in a cardboard box, was a stillborn baby just tossed in there. I cringed in horror, first thinking of this mother I was helping and that she might have to see that right before giving birth. I took my foot and gently pushed the box out of the way as she struggled onto the table, apologizing to the baby in there with my heart. I silently cried inside as I tried to stay present for my laboring mother and her baby.

Later, some friends in the chocolate industry in the D.R. sent a driver with a Mercedes to pick me up in the “bad” neighborhood I was in. That was awkward.

After making sure I didn’t feel scared where I was staying (I loved it! Salsa club just around the corner!), they asked about my day. When I told them my experience in the state hospital, they were in disbelief, even going so far as to say my observation of there being no running water in the hospital – at least on labor and delivery – was a “mistake.” One woman there was even a pediatrician, but she trained in the US and worked in a private hospital. They weren’t bad people. Just sheltered – and passively not facing – the realities of their country,

I told them gloves were a luxury, and I brought mine from the US (on advice) while he local staff washed the ones they had in bleach and hung them in the sun, where they broke down quickly and would tear as you put them on. I had to carry my gloves on my person in a hipsack, as they’d get stolen by the staff wanting to protect themselves from HIV and the other predominating communicable diseases there.

I had flashes of the stillborns I had delivered here in the US, because birth is a “miracle” for a reason – and there are lots of things can can go wrong simply because it can, and can’t be prevented. I remembered delicately handing the swaddled silent babies to their mothers and the thick silence and holiness of the air.

After knowing about this family’s loss recently, I was reminded of all these events in a montage of memory flashes. I became heavy when I thought about how so many people experience this so much more frequently in other countries. I remembered my mother casually telling me that in the Philippines (she’s a Filipina herself), they often say pregnancy is “one foot in the grave.” Dang!

This suffering happens all over the world. And people still get up, and make breakfast for their family, go to work, play with their other kids and laugh with them, and they watch the sunset…the resiliency of humans – and here I particularly bow down to the women of the world – is awe-inspiring.

I let my heart fill with compassion,felt the sadness fully, and let it move through me. I was filled with a conviction to not turn away from the suffering of others. I also vowed to not get pulled under by the suffering of others, because that doesn’t serve anyone either.

The human condition is so fragile, yet resilient and bold. Tonight I go to bed grateful for my life, my blessings, and my ability to change the world and make it a better place.

PS: One book that really opened my eyes further to the huge role of poverty in social injustice is Paul Farmer’s Pathologies of Power. Check it.

Note: Ana Neff is known as the Ziji™ Mentor. She helps individuals awaken their lives and personal success with confidence, clarity, and passion. Her monthly Ziji Up! eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE Getting Clear Guide by visiting

Days 29, 30 and 31 – Checking In About Balance and Living Full On Every Day

Living Full On EVERY DAY often seems daunting, especially when I am tired. Sometimes I sit back, sigh dramatically, and think, “I am too pooped to live Full On today.” Then my Outward Bound days and the saying “Sleep When You Die” pops up. Then I tell it to, “Shut Up!”cuz maybe I got cancer cuz I didn’t sleep enough all those years. Then I laugh because I know that isn’t true. Then I stop and reflect on what I said on Day 1 of this great journey:

Full On™365 isn’t just about adventures like climbing, skiing, and traveling to remote places…It is also about the challenges and rewards of living authentically, life’s misadventures, heartaches, and everything in-between…It is all a part of a full-on life. Feeling it all, fully. Living it all, fully. Knowing what you want, fully. Receiving it, fully.”

Well, when you look at it that way, life is too short to NOT to live Full On, and it doesn’t have to be as hard to do so as we often make it out to be. It can be as simple as opening my heart to truths that are hard to hear. Or a tenderness that aches bittersweet. Or making that phone call that I know someone is waiting to receive. I can do that, even tired.

In fact, I have also found that exhaustion can sometimes open everything up precisely BECAUSE you are too damned tired to try and protect yourself and do the “safe” thing. This reminds me of some traditional Buddhist trainings that take a student to the brink of complete exhaustion so that their mind can no longer hold on to preconceived notions and is completely and vulnerably open to enlightenment.

It is all a balance that I am trying to figure out. How to balance F.O.M.O.  (Fear of Missing Out) and self-care, rest, adventure, and retreat. One thing I keep reminding myself: balance is never achieved. You do not “arrive” at Balance. Like Tree Pose in yoga, you move towards balance in every moment with the most minute movements, and sometimes big sweeping recovery maneuvers when you topple over. Even when you feel in balance, you are still moving – however subtly – in order to sustain that feeling.

I’ll keep trying;)

As for the past 3 days, some ways that I’ve been living Full On are by:

Day 29 ) giving a talk about Freedom Junkie. Ziji, and living Full On at a wildly progressive and innovative company, Plexis, in Ashland. It is such a RUSH to share Freedom Junkie with others, and watch the fire get lit in their hearts to live more fully every day.

Day 30) participating in a high-risk c-section and bringing a preemie baby into the world crying with all his might. Then not turning on the TV when I got home even though I was pooped and instead staying up with my man and dreaming about our future.

Day 31) launching my Ziji Up! Mastery Program (it starts March 26th in Ashland!), where we go through my 5-step system for living creative, courageous, wild and free. We will be building clarity and confidence for 7 weeks, and I am psyched! I’ll let you know more about it later.

PS: As an aside, if you’re going to make a commitment to do anything daily for a year, I recommend doing as I did: Start in February because it flies by faster than the other 11 months and you can say sooner, “I’ve done this for a month!” Today it has been more than a month of living it daily and blogging here at Full On™. I’ve received such amazing emails and comments about all of you living Full On in your own lives. THANK YOU for your inspiration and support!

Note: Ana Neff is known as the Freedom™ Mentor. She helps individuals awaken their lives, their businesses and their success with radiant inner confidence. Her monthly Freedom Junkie! eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE Getting Clear Guide by visiting

Days 17 and 18 – I Almost Picked a Fight in Lingerie But Didn’t

Living Full-On Every DayMany of you know me as a life coach at my company, Freedom Junkie. You may not know that I am also a midwife, and when I am on call, it is easy to feel Full On when catching a baby, but kind of hard otherwise. You have to stay close to the hospitals (so no hiking or bike rides or skiing), no vino or other excessively fun things, and if you decide to have sex, you better be ready for that pager to go off at any time. Dancing is kind of the only things I can do with reckless abandon when I’m on call, but none of that was going on until 10pm. So…I decided on the sex. THIS lady was going to live Full-On every day.

Even though my partner and I were both exhausted after traveling a bunch and now working a ton, and even though I had a runny nose and wanted to simply curl up and go to bed, I thought, “What the hooha. Might as well live it up.” I rallied, put on that piece of lingerie you see up there, blow dried my crazy hair, and cooked my man some mushroom risotto. He was working hard all day too, and being half-Italian, I knew he’d be psyched for it. He came home after his long day and had a huge grin after walking in and having the scent of onions, garlic and olive oil fill the air, and seeing me in my cute lil outfit being all domestic and shit (I’m not your stereotypically domestic Stepford Wife, although I DO love food and wine).

We ate happily and I poured him some wine and he laid back on the couch, all things content…and promptly fell asleep. Not just dozed off. Like…uber crashed out.


No, it’s not a skirt…it’s a freakin’ dress!

Did you know that we humans pick fights when we’re too happy? WE DO! It’s an example of an Upper Limit Problem, a term coined by Gay Hendricks (you can read about it in his book The Big Leap). I was about to do that. Yes yes yes I was going to brilliantly hide it behind the guise of “sharing my feelings,” but it was really going to end up as a conflict of sorts. I was about to get all sobby to the overtired man I love and complain that I felt unloved and unwanted and I wanted to go to sleep too but I didn’t and for fuck’s sake I was wearing a skirt as a dress and I’m not feeling bloated for once!

But I didn’t. I knew better. I knew that he was tired, and he is hardly EVER tired. In fact, I usually look forward to him being tired because it confirms for me he is human and not some bionic athletic machine 100% of the time. I knew that if I said something in the way I was about to say it, it would not serve me, or him. I knew he loved me and wanted me and would have not fallen asleep if he hadn’t worked hard all day for several days and burned 6000 calories a day for the past 2 weeks with less than 8 hours sleep a night (yes, that was vacation).

I knew I was tired and feeling particularly vulnerable and sensitive and I had a few too many cups of coffee which didn’t help me not feel tired – it only made me feel tired but with enough mental energy to madly spin the anxiety wheels in my head so I thought of the 101 ways I could have been sexy enough to keep him awake. LOL. We humans are so freakin’ crazy. Well, I guess I better just speak for myself.

In any event, I decided that I would go to bed, and if I felt strongly about it the next day, then I would say something.

I am so glad I did that instead of get all crazy in my lingerie.

I woke up to his bionic arms around me, sweet kisses, an apology for falling asleep, a promise to cook me dinner tonight, and him radiating love and appreciation like no other, even as I felt him walk out the door to work. And one of the greatest things about him is I know he follows through. On everything. So yes, I felt good about all that.

And I was proud of myself (and grateful!) for knowing that just because something makes me uneasy doesn’t mean someone else has to fix it all the time. That doesn’t mean to hold things in and walk on eggshells. It means to first notice what’s going on, decide what’s important, what I’m able to do about it, get to the root cause of my icky feeling, and if all that isn’t clear, wait until it IS clear.

Full On.

Note: Ana Neff is a personal life coach, guide and FreedomJunkie™ She helps individuals awaken their lives of freedom and personal success with confidence, clarity, self-love, and passion. Her monthly Freedom Junkie ™ eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. Her Full-On 365 blog posts stem from her commitment to living full-on, every day, for 365 days in a row. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download  her FREE Getting Clear Guide by signing up at! Sign up for her next FREE Jedi Juice Training at

Days 8 and 9 – Raining Babies and Snowing in Colorado

Yesterday I caught 3 babies…three new human beings! Two boys and one girl. Sooooooo cute. One tiny, one huge, and one right in the middle.

Ya know what’s full-on? A woman in labor! I sing the praises of the powerful women I was with yesterday. To witness the miracle of birth and the power of a woman birthing is always humbling.

Do you know how deep these women dig within themselves to get their sweet baby out? How scary it is? How HARD it is? How INTENSE it is? How AWESOME it is? Too look into her eyes takes you to another place.

If looking into a newborn baby’s eyes is like looking into heaven or some ancient wisdom, looking into a birthing woman’s eyes is…primal. PRIMAL. It’s so freakin’ raw. Some of these women think they can’t run a marathon, or hike to Everest Basecamp, or travel to Antarctica, or go back to school…and they do THIS and it is awesome. And not just the birth, but they’re parents after it all! It blows me away – this not knowing their power, and touching it during this miracle.

You can always do more than what you’re capable of. The Universe plays like that.

I’m sleep deprived after all those babies, but happy 🙂

Now I’m getting on a plane to Salt Lake City to visit some friends in Park City, then head to Telluride for some skiing of all kinds…backcountry, resort, and longer touring. I can’t wait! A lot of living full-on for me is playing outside, and my body has been needing this a good long while.

To top off my full-on-ness, I will perhaps have a glass of wine on the plane while I’m at it.