On this episode, Rabbi Jessica Kessler Marshall and I discussed all the good stuff — including her love of cycling and snacks, the power of nature, the importance of ritual, and what happens when she tunes into her heart.
Jessica is a cyclist, a hiker, and a general lover of the outdoors. She’s also a rabbi with a passion for writing, creating, and helping others to inject rituals into their routines, which we are definitely going to talk about as it pertains not just to spirituality but to everyday life and sport.
As a rabbi she moved away from a traditional role in a synagogue to forge a different kind of path that pulls from a variety of traditions and really highlights her many gifts. (Which I LOVE!!)
As a spiritual leader and coach, she guides participants into deeper connection with Spirit by moving beyond intellect or logic, to access soul-wisdom so their path lights up with ease, vitality, abundance, and JOY!
Championing spiritual inclusivity via creative rituals, intentional reflections, mindfulness practices, and the wisdom of the natural world, Jessica guides with humor, authenticity, and Divine presence.
Fun fact about Jessica, one of her talents is writing dating profiles- you can hire her to do that for you- more info on that as well as a whole bunch of amazing offerings are all available at her website rabbijessicamarshall.com which I will link to in the show notes. And I have to say I recently tried a ritual she described on another podcast and I was blown away.
This one is a must-listen for anyone who wants to create more joy and meaning in their life.
In this episode, we talk about…
- Jessica’s relationship with food; why Weight Watchers was so attractive to her at a tumultuous time in her life and how she let go of food rules.
- The week-long Hazon cycling trip in Israel that was her intro to road biking
- Her passion for open faced nut butter and jelly sandwiches
- The bike ride she was on when she knew she had to quit her job and move to a different state.
- Leaving a dream position as a congregational rabbi to work for herself in a non-traditional role.
- The one thing Jessica can rely on to supercharge the growth of her business
- Setting boundaries as an entrepreneur
- Why rituals matter and how anyone can imbue their life with more of them.
I’ve really come a long way in terms of getting to a place where I have a beautiful and celebratory relationship with food and with how I look.
Distance cycling is my happy place. I’m a huge hiker. I love cross-country skiing. I love light weightlifting. I do it all and it’s a huge way that I connect spiritually as well.
I treasure my relationship with movement and with activity. It’s a giant part of who I am.
My mom said to me, it seems like you don’t enjoy food anymore. And that really landed, that really landed. And it was just kind of a slow undoing of that process of not always depriving myself. I think that’s what was at the crux of it, so it was really that comment and then just slowly getting to a place where I listened to my body more in terms of what felt good with activity and movement and eating and, how to nourish myself and how to celebrate like the amazing gift of being human and getting to taste delicious food, you know?
My whole life is one giant snack.
So we all know the power of when we’re in flow state and we’re so connected to our bodies, to the universe, to nature very much to nature too. And that’s when I would say spirit can come in and when we can have those deep insights about what’s most aligned for our path.
I love working for myself. I frigging love it. It’s the best.
I’m someone who really enjoys having control over my time and all the freedom that comes from just creatively getting to kind of go wherever whimsy takes you and wherever spirit takes you.
I’ve actually created a beautiful rabbinate for myself where I’m able to straddle kind of more of a little bit of the organized Jewish world, a little bit of the spiritually inclusive world, a little bit of just like women’s spirituality world. It’s pretty great.
For me, working for myself and building my business is one of the biggest spiritual growth invitations.
The number one most important way that I grow my business And expand. My reach is through nourishing and cultivating my own spiritual life, hands down.
Number one, that’s, what does it, it’s not someone else’s program about how to grow, you know, X, Y, and Z. It’s really about tending to my own connection to spirit
Do what you love, what actually brings you joy. That’s where the magic is.
When we’re really grounding into the wisdom of our body, then we’re in the magic zone, not so much our heads, but like actually feeling into these sweet bodies that were given and noticing what is it that would be most nourishing to you? It’s a very different way of interacting with our bodies.
When I’m on my deathbed, God willing many, many years from now, what is gonna actually matter? I come back to that all the time, all the time. It’s so clear. It’s being love in the world, sharing my love, touching people’s lives, showing up in my fullness.
It’s about tuning in, we each have kind of different seasons and different flows sometimes we wake up and what we really need that day is to just like snuggle up with a cup of tea and a book, our body needs time to restore, and sometimes we wake up with like so much energy and all these ideas and we wanna create, create, create. So I think it’s about listening into that, and nature has those same, same rhythms too. Of creation and restoration and rest and birth
Giving ourselves the quiet and the spaciousness to tap in and. Listen to what is the energy that feels most true to me.
It’s been a process of moving as much as I can from my head into my heart, knowing that our hearts and our spirits have so much wisdom in them.
I’m just so much happier when I’m living in my heart.
And when I can, show up from that space of like deepest compassion for myself and for other people, and to be able to be the love bug that I am,
I know how good I feel when I move even on a day when I’m sluggish.
The older I get, the less interested I am in pushing myself,
The beautiful thing about ritual is that it can take so many different forms, ritual can be marking a giant life moment, like getting married, or moving out of a family home into a retirement facility or becoming an empty nester. It can be all of those things. But it can also be taking a deep breath in the morning, looking at the sunlight on the trees and drinking your cup of coffee.
That can be a really powerful ritual too. So, you know, it’s blessing all of the beautiful little, everyday moments and also blessing life’s big moments. For me, Ritual is a way of taking life’s transitions and creating holiness around them.
I use the cycles of the moon a lot. Like the new moon is a beautiful time for intention setting. The full moon is a beautiful time for releasing.
Sometimes a ritual is a comma. Sometimes it’s a period. Sometimes it’s a whole new chapter.
Depending on the weight that we feel of an event in our life or a moment in our life, then we get to create something around it.
We each get to find our own unique path, you know, we each connect differently and that’s perfect.
We create this dichotomy, but spirit, universe, love, divinity, whatever you wanna call it. Is just as present in a physical, if we’re able to let it in.
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