My special guest today is the gorgeous Tova Gold from Finding My Muchness, and she’s got some pretty awesome things to say, PLUS a Giveaway! So pour yourself a herbal tea (or a vino!) and pull up a chair, beautiful. Let’s get to know this inspiring lady a little better. xx
Welcome, Tova! It’s such a pleasure to chat with another sparkle connoisseur.
I actually get a bit choked up (with happy tears!) when I visit your website because you are such an inspirational beacon, spreading a powerful (and much needed) message of self-kindness and self-love. I’m a huge believer in building a rich, joyful life by paying attention to the little things, choosing positivity, noticing the brightness and beauty in every day, and giving yourself permission to love with all your heart and to shine your beautiful light.
I know it hasn’t always been rainbows and unicorns for you, though.
Please tell us more about how the ‘muchness’ story first began and what led you to create your 30 Days of Muchness Challenge?
Thanks so much for having me here! I’m really so thrilled to share The Muchness with your audience!
The idea of Muchness comes from the movie Alice In Wonderland. In that 2010 movie the Mad Hatter says to Alice, “You used to be much muchier, you’ve lost your Muchness” and Alice embarks on a journey to find her Muchness. I read that line on Facebook and it was like a million fireworks went off in my brain – YES! – That was THE word for that indescribable thing that used to live inside me that seemed to have faded over time – My Muchness!
My Muchness started fading after college, when responsibilities and “appropriateness” took over my mindset. I stopped taking time to indulge in my creativity and silliness, and then with a full-time job, bills to pay and eventually, a mortgage and a kid- who had time to even think about that long-lost side of my personality? But then, in 2009, my second pregnancy ended at 6 months when my identical twin daughters were stillborn. Whatever Muchness was hanging on inside of me seemed to die with them and my life turned very dark.
I always thought that talking about the world being dark was some sort of a metaphor but I learned that it really isn’t. Truly, all of the color was stripped from my world and I saw the universe through different eyes. And it was very scary.
After a number of months sinking deeper and deeper into my grief, I hit my turning point where I decided I needed to at least try to see light again or I knew I would drown in my darkness. So I started wearing sequins. It was the light on the outside that I was missing on the inside and it helped! Little bits of sparkle just seemed to give me a reason to smile.
I shared my sequins obsession with other loss moms online and was amazed to see how it helped and inspired them as well. And then I read the line “I used to be much muchier, I think I lost my Muchness.” and I decided if a little sparkle was good…. how much better would a lot of sparkle be?!
That’s when I decided to embark on my 30 days of Muchness challenge. Inviting things that made me feel connected to My Muchness into my life every day for 30 days and sharing a picture on social media. Sequins, sparkles, colour, heels, creativity – things that I’d been telling myself for so long “didn’t matter” but really, truly did.
What was the biggest lesson or insight you gained from completing the muchness challenge?
I learned so many lessons- some of them I didn’t recognize till years later… but the biggest lesson I learned is that we have a choice how we see things. We have a choice how we respond and we have a choice about how we show up in the world and sometimes it’s as simple as wearing something fun and colorful that breaks the cycle of gray and blah that is playing on repeat in our minds and stripping the color from our lives.
How did the story unfold from there?
By day 5 or 6 of the 30 days I knew I was on to something. My entire mindset was shifting and people were rallying around this idea of Muchness. By day 30 everything in my world had changed. It was like I’d broken the chains that had bound me for so long, and so many other people were asking if they could take the 30 Day Muchness Challenge too! I launched FindingMyMuchness.com and invited other people to take the 30 Day Challenge and I saw women transform themselves.
Despite a number of website redesigns, updates, downgrades, hackers, a server crash that stole nearly 3 months of content, The Muchness Movement has continued to grow and inspire people to find their Muchness. I eventually left my full-time job as a product designer / art director to do “The Muchness” full-time and I recently gave a TEDx Talk about The Muchness and that was really a full-circle moment for me. I feel as if it’s a message that needs to be shared with people and I am simply the person assigned to share it.
What inspired you to create your sparkly new ‘Finding Your Muchness Funbook’? Who did you write it for and what did you just KNOW you wanted to include?
I am a product designer- I see everything in 3 dimensions in my mind and I knew early on that I wanted to create and interactive activity workbook to help people find their Muchness, I just didn’t know where to start and overwhelmed myself thinking about the enormous task of Writing A Book. Plus, I really wanted to make sure it could truly help people and the fear that it wouldn’t, that I didn’t know what I was talking about or that it would be judged in some way, stopped me from creating the “workbook” I saw in my mind.
Towards the end of 2013 I woke up one day and realized I was ready. I realized I needed to stop thinking about it as some sort of serious “Workbook” and just have fun with it! Put in my personality, my dorky sense of humor and all of the 3-dimensional interactive ideas that had been swimming around in my brain for years and the knowledge and insight I’d gotten working with so many women one-on-one to help them find their Muchness. I started with the cover, scratching out the word “work” and scribbling on the word “FUN” and then I got to work. 😉
I wrote it for the women I’ve connected with, the ones who send me notes telling me how The Muchness impacts them, and for the ones who are impacted by it, but can’t figure out how to tap into their Muchness on their own. And I wrote it for all the women like the ones I know, who I just don’t know ‘yet’.
How did the book find its way from your heart out into the world?
Early in 2013 I did my first crowd funding campaign. It was for a deck of cards I designed to help you tap into your “Muchness Moments” – the moments of light that exist all around you, when you remember to look for them. That campaign was successful, raising 171% of my goal. I knew I wanted to actually PRINT my book and not an e-book or just print on demand. For one thing, the book is meant to be cut up and made into other projects. I needed the paper to be extra thick + super high quality 4 color printing. An ebook wouldn’t allow you to make all the goodies with print quality that I wanted. Also, I speak a lot and wanted to be able to bring copies of the book with me to those events.
I work best under pressure and I also really, really appreciate accountability, and nothing would make me more accountable than a crowd funding campaign with a tight Christmas delivery deadline. I started the layout for the book, launched the campaign and then busted my butt competing the entire book before the campaign ended. The book had been marinating in me for SO LONG that it’s almost as though it just spilled out of me. We hit the original kickstarter goal in just 4 days and ultimately exceeded it 237%! I’m really, really proud of it and the Muchness Community that rallied around me to make it happen. It was really awesome.
What’s your favorite part of the book?
Now that it’s printed, my favourite part is the feedback! 😀 Women are sharing pictures of the things they are working on in the book, people are using them in therapy sessions – it’s really surreal.
It’s hard to say what my favourite part of the actual book is. Every page is like a stand-alone little project or journal prompt – there’s even a board game on one of the spreads. I feel very fortunate to have insight from 7 different contributors, coaches, therapists and generally awesome women… ya know, I think my favourite part of the book is that it really feels like an authentic expression of me and my message. I talk at women’s business building seminars about how when you bring your Muchness to your business it not only resonates strongly with your target audience, but it also makes your business a pleasure to do every day. I feel like I was able to capture that in the book and that is pretty cool. Oh – and the testimonials in the front cover. Messages I’ve received from women whose lives were changed by tapping into their own Muchness. Reading those there, all in one place… amazing.
How are people using this little gem of a book?
One woman was going through the book while sitting with her mom at the hospital while her mom was undergoing chemo. Another who is using the book in her therapy appointments…. and another who is going through it slowly- a page a day, to savor it. Even my kids teacher who said each page was like a little treasure. I’ve heard from so many different types of people and for me, one of the most rewarding things is that I’ve been able to share my particular story of loss, which is obviously, thankfully, not something too many people can relate to specifically, in a way that is empowering regardless of what an individuals particular struggle or story is. College students to grandmothers each relate to this idea in their own way, and that is what leaves me awed and humbled.
What advice would you give to anyone who is going through a really dark time right now?
Be gentle with yourself and do not judge yourself for your feelings. Allow them to be what they need to be, and also know that this darkness is not all that you are nor all that you are destined to be. We are able to honor our grief and sadness and still, simultaneously acknowledge and feed our internal light.
That is the beauty of humanity.
I believe our deepest grief can introduce us to our capacity to experience our deepest joy… and I believe in the power of sequins.
Tova Gold, FindingMyMuchness.com, Facebook, Twitter.
Want to WIN a copy of Tova’s ‘Finding Your Muchness’ Funbook?
We’ve got one to give-away! Click the gold button below to enter. Entries close Midnight AWST Wednesday 22nd January. The winner will be chosen at random and notified on Thursday 23nd January.
The winner must be a current VeganSparkles.com newsletter subscriber. Click here to subscribe if you haven’t already (and score yourself a bonus Dessert SuperSmoothies eBook gift!).
*UPDATE 23/01/14:* Congratulations to Melanie B.! You are our lucky winner!
Thank you to everyone who entered.
Didn’t win? Click here to order your copy and use coupon code ‘VEGANSPARKLES’ for 10% off at Checkout until 31st January!