This is the most important blog I’ve ever written.

On Sunday night, when I was packing for my trip to teach at Soul Camp, something profound happened. Rather than grabbing my go-to carry-on, I went down to our basement and found the largest suitcase we had and started packing. 

You see – I used to pride myself on packing light. 

I didn’t want to be high maintenance, so I’d squeeze everything I needed into a tiny carry-on. Whether the trip was a few days or a week, it was my goal not to take up too much space. 

That used to be an unspoken and unconscious way I lived in the world. . . “Don’t take up too much space.” 


That extended to “don’t be too loud”, “don’t be too much”, don’t be too needy”, “don’t rock the boat”, and so on. 

These unspoken rules about who I was supposed to be dominated my life. Making myself “small” led me to swallow my feelings, stuff down my self-expression, and dance between people pleasing and perfectionism for decades. 

It also led to a distorted relationship with food and my body, an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and work, and a pervasive feeling that there was MORE to my life. 

I, like so many women, was afraid to take up space… 

And every time I swallowed my Truth or got small in order to placate or play the part, I was stuffing my soul into a carry-on suitcase. 

When we stuff down who we really are and try to fit out spirit into a tiny box, we feel like shit because we’re cutting ourselves off from who we truly are. 


And in order to neutralize the pain we feel from being “boxed” in, we reach for whatever we can to make ourselves feel better – food, sex, tv, shopping, wine, more work, etc. 

The thing about trying to stuff our lives into a carry-on is that our souls feel trapped and we’re left wanting more so we reach outside of ourselves to fill the hole. 

But we don’t really want those outer things. 

What we really want is to be MORE of ourselves. We desperately want to take up more space in our lives. 


You’re not meant for small. 

You’re meant for BIG. 


So. . . if you’re waiting for permission to take up more space, to speak louder, to say what you mean, and to ask for what you need. . . THIS IS YOUR PERMISSION. 

Let your soul explode all over the place. 

We don’t need you stuffed into a carry-on anymore. 
We need you big and bright. 

Got it? GOOD. 

It’s time. Express yourself today in the comments below.


Where in your life have you been playing small and what is 1 way you can start playing bigger? 



P.S My suitcase was 11 pounds more than the “allowed” weight. I happily paid the fee and celebrated my bigness. 

P.P.S. This blog is my favorite all of the blogs I have written. Why? Because the world needs us women to rise up and be more authentic than ever. I am committed to taking up more space and sharing my voice with the world – and I hope that inspires you to do the same. We need your voice. We need your Truth. We need YOU.  


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  1. I love this, Julie! Go big or go home as they say in NJ.

    I also take pride in traveling lightly rolling tanks and stuffing them in my shoes, JUST to avoid checking my bag. Why do I have the need to be the “cool girl?” Not sure. I’m cool enough and this blog helps me realize that.

    As I pack for Soul Love Fest, I’ll think of this.

    Michele Santo

  2. Dearest Julie,
    I’ve only recently been brought to you by the universe and your authenticity shines so vibrantly. Thank you for this blog and your words.
    I do the same- use the smallest suitcase, don’t laughs too loudly, fly under the radar, etc and I found myself compromised in work and relationships. I was feeling uncomfortable and stressed and needing to break free. I can start standing in my light and truth by expressing myself using grace and strength, laughing loudly, saying no if it doesn’t inspire me, and giving myself permission. Thank you, so much. Xxo

  3. Charlotte says:

    Wow Julie you are an excellent writer! As a person who has moved 27 times in my short 49 year life, I appreciate the angle here. I have finally slowed down and my children have moved on into their own lives so my nest is only recently empty. I too lived small in many ways. They say when we get old we often do not regret what we did, but rather what we did not do. I am still young enough to capture a good portion of my former ambitions and dreams and strong enough to let the others go. You inspired me. Thank you for the lovely words.

  4. aw! leaving for a 4 day trip tomorrow morning and am partially packed in the tiniest carry on I ALWAYS use. this has inspired me to check a bag for the first time in years! it will be a challenge to take up space + expand 🙂 and I’m sure my traveling companions will enjoy seeing me wear different outfits since I usually wear the same clothes multiple days after not quite packing ENOUGH! thanks, Julie!

  5. Once again your post has moved me to tears!! Thank you for reaffirming what my soul has been saying to me all week. I want to soar without apology! So many times I stifle my comments and enthusiasm about life so as not to irritate my friends and family who think I’m too nice, too happy, too non-judgmental. I am slowly learning to forgive myself for not allowing me to be me. I guess from now on, it is up to those around me to deal with my love for life and everyone on this amazing planet. I’m going to be the biggest me I can be! Thank you Julie for living your life out loud so I can experience your beauty and courage, and that gives me permission to do the same! Much love to you.

  6. I was thinking a similar thought about myself right before I read this. I’m in a relationship where I’ve allowed myself to be small. A funny food analogy was in my head this morning. I’ve been giving him the attention the main dish of a gourmet meal gets; while I have been the sauce for an inconsequential side dish forgotten on the back burner.
    I also remembered the saying that what is meant for us will never pass us by. Your blog combined in perfect synchronicity with these other thoughts to help me really see the part I’ve played in keeping myself on the back burner in my own life. Thank you for helping me see that I belong up front, & ultimately in the center of the table. ?✨

  7. recently – last night, I decided to use Facebook in a different way. I made space for myself so to speak – created room for myself to grow. I changed my relationship status to in a relationship. I hesitated because of what people might say. In my intro I declared “beloved daughter , sister, friend , wife, mother, dancer, nutritionist, finger painter + other things.” I feel very self conscious – it feels very vulnerable on some level to say out loud things I am and I’m becoming, but I thought why not. Pam Grout started her intro like this before she realized any of the things she had declared herself to be on a physical plane.

  8. Bobbie Oxford says:

    My beautiful teacher. You are speaking to my soul once again ?I am waiting the good news today about an incredible new job where I no longer
    Need to hide my light.
    And…last night my girlfriend and I went to the depths of our hearts in speaking our truths in love. You must have been hiding in our closet love!!??????

  9. YES! This was one of my favorite posts of yours too–it had me laughing so hard! I’m always stuffing all my stuff into the tiniest bags when I travel. Why?? It’s not like there’s some prize at the airport for not checking a bag, and then I always end up at my destination without that sweater I needed or that extra pair of shoes that would have made me feel more put together and thus, more confident. And of course this is about more than just the luggage–it’s a wonderful reminder to examine all the ways in which we make ourselves smaller. Thanks for this, Julie. xoxo 🙂

  10. This: “We desperately want to take up more space in our lives.” YES. Going to sit with that thought/wish for a while………. xoxo

  11. Jude Covacevich says:

    Hi Julie

    Your words hit home like the biggest light bulb in the world turned ON….I say YES…finally I am giving myself permission to shine my LIGHT……Shine yours too Baby…take up space that is yours to take…

    I so LOVE you…

  12. Bestest Julie,
    Last weekend I packed for an over night trip in a back pack with extras hanging all over. Think cap, shoes.
    I remembered the “good old days” when I packed for 3 days in that back pack. Got me wondering when that back pack got so small!
    Your inspiration shines in my heart!
    Taking up the space I need. Taking up the space I want. Yep. Definitely want a larger space!
    Thank you.

  13. sotiria says:

    We – the western civilization’s people and women- have been “trained” consciously and unconsciously
    to be “effective” and “light” and “to the point” and other stuff that apply to products in order to be able
    to “sell” ourselves in the big business of lifestyle.
    So the less space the less noise etc the better girls we are.
    you know: “Be nice, be polite” and “Good girl”.
    “Be thin, be sexy, play beautiful, don’t speak (up)”.
    Just pointing out the space we are not taking
    which makes us unhappy
    and not us.

    So, go girl, go girls!
    -and actually whoever whatever sex they may have
    who have felt they “shouldn’t” take up up more space..!-

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