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!
SaraJanuary 16, 2014 at 9:28 am (9 years ago)
This looks very cool.
For me, the muchness is music. It was so much a part of my identity before I became a wife and mum, and I’ve really lost it. I don’t have the time, or the energy most days. Plus it’s just not so practical to have instruments out and around with little rough fingers. But I’m kind of sad that they don’t even really know that I can play.
It’s one of those things that I can tell myself doesn’t really matter, but I think it would make a difference.
* Vegan Sparkles *January 23, 2014 at 10:07 pm (9 years ago)
Absolutely, Sara. Every day is a new beginning – a new chance to bring more colour (and music!) into your life. I hope you get a little family music festival going. Practical can wait. Messy is fun. 🙂 xx
Vicki | The Fashionable MumJanuary 16, 2014 at 10:18 am (9 years ago)
Glad I found your website, looking forward to reading the desserts book too!
* Vegan Sparkles *January 23, 2014 at 10:09 pm (9 years ago)
Lovely to have you here, Vicki!
Liz WallaceJanuary 16, 2014 at 1:06 pm (9 years ago)
What a creative idea!
My muchness is definately being a foster carer for rescued dogs! There is nothing more rewarding and nourishing for the soul! Taking them in when they are saved from death row ofetn with medical issues and low mood. To see them flourish in care and then find amazing forever homes is just aas much of a muchness as it gets!
* Vegan Sparkles *January 23, 2014 at 10:09 pm (9 years ago)
Oh, that’s a gorgeous ‘muchness’, Liz!
EmmaJanuary 16, 2014 at 1:18 pm (9 years ago)
Oh my goodness! I had a similar moment watching the movie and even have a tattoo that says “never lose your muchness”! This book was meant to be in my life!
Love love love it!
* Vegan Sparkles *January 23, 2014 at 10:09 pm (9 years ago)
It’s a sign, Emma! 🙂 x
Mel BurseyJanuary 16, 2014 at 3:54 pm (9 years ago)
2014 is the year for me to find my muchness
* Vegan Sparkles *January 23, 2014 at 10:10 pm (9 years ago)
Apparently so! Congrats on being our winner, Melanie! 🙂 xx
Tiffany RJanuary 16, 2014 at 7:17 pm (9 years ago)
What brings out my muchness is getting out into nature. I try to hike at least once a week and lose myself in the beauty that surrounds me…it grounds me and fills me up and helps me to find my center every time.
* Vegan Sparkles *January 23, 2014 at 10:11 pm (9 years ago)
Nature is such a healer and revitaliser. Love it, Tiffany.
Jen DeBouverJanuary 16, 2014 at 10:27 pm (9 years ago)
This year I am focusing on the good, positive and being more zen while continuing to work through my grief after losing 2 babies in 11 months. This book looks fun and helpful.
Tova GoldJanuary 21, 2014 at 10:19 am (9 years ago)
Jen- I am so sorry for your losses. I do hope the book helps you – it sounds like you are already off to a good start- just making the decision to focus on the good is a difficult step… then actually doing it is another whole process. Be gentle with yourself. xox
You may find some inspiration at a talk I gave at a baby loss memorial walk… if you want, you can watch a video of the talk here:
DanielleJanuary 16, 2014 at 11:29 pm (9 years ago)
This resonated with me on so many levels – both personally and in thinking about some of my friends. What brings out my muchness is productivity. I love the feeling that overtakes my body when I can reflect at the end of the day all of the things I’ve gotten accomplished that day.
Tova GoldJanuary 21, 2014 at 10:25 am (9 years ago)
Danielle- I JUST completed a post about this… how I used to feel so much muchness around that feeling and then, for years, lost it…. it is just starting to come back- I’m glad you commented about it. Made me smile! 🙂
Kate @ Our Little SinsJanuary 17, 2014 at 3:48 am (9 years ago)
I rarely read interviews on blogs but I am SO glad I read this. Alice in Wonderland didn’t feature in my childhood (or adulthood!) so this fabulously wonderful word is totally new to me. Such a brilliant concept and I’m so looking forward to trawling Tova’s archives and reading more.
Thank you xo
Tova GoldJanuary 21, 2014 at 10:07 am (9 years ago)
Thank You Kate! I hope you enjoy the blog! It’s been years of straight up journaling leading up to what it’s becoming as a resource for others…. even I’m sometimes afraid to trawl my archives! 🙂 I have no idea what I’;ll find. 🙂
DonnaJanuary 17, 2014 at 11:43 am (9 years ago)
LOVE this story and Tova is an inspiration. Great job Bec.
Tova GoldJanuary 21, 2014 at 10:12 am (9 years ago)
Thanks you Donna! xo
Kelly MJanuary 17, 2014 at 8:33 pm (9 years ago)
My muchness is boosted by a new haircut. I always feel great after a cut and colour.
* Vegan Sparkles *January 23, 2014 at 10:13 pm (9 years ago)
Gotta love a new ‘do! 🙂 x
Laura KJanuary 18, 2014 at 6:38 am (9 years ago)
I love this idea and am intrigued by the challenge! I am a long-standing lover of sequins and have had to defend this to some of my friends, but I agree that they can cheer up your mood!
Tova GoldJanuary 21, 2014 at 10:00 am (9 years ago)
Laura- let your friends see how your sequins brightens up someone else’s day! Then they’ll get it…. and also, I’ll let you in on a secret… wearing sequins takes guts. Most (OK- many) people would rather roll their eyes at their potential tackiness then embrace their happy light.
Even now, I still sometimes think twice (or three times) before leaving the house in sequins. You have to own it. But I’ve NEVER regretted wearing them when I felt inclined.
Rachel RoadsJanuary 18, 2014 at 11:26 am (9 years ago)
Day to day I find my “muchness” by getting up early and heading out along the coastal path for a quite walk or more energetic jog (when I’m feeling energised!).
Every now and then I feel the urge to launch myself into a big creative project and try something new, usually for around the home or garden. Indoor and outdoor mosaic projects, a re-design projects for the garden, lounge room and convertible spare room / gym, I’ve even tried my hand at an outdoor mural. So much fun when you give it a go 🙂
* Vegan Sparkles *January 23, 2014 at 10:14 pm (9 years ago)
Creativity definitely invites the muchness moments! Love the sound of the outdoor mural. 🙂 x
AliciaJanuary 19, 2014 at 8:16 am (9 years ago)
What a truly inspirational lady. Grief is an all encompassing Emotion that has the Potential to Confine & Define you & cannot be pushed away and eventually has to be Felt. We have a Choice in it that we can Embrace & Honour the Loss & allow ourself to Grow. It’s a Process of Healing & Discovery. We must Experience each Stage to progress to the next level & allow oneself to Feel the Grief so we can Experience the Healing as then we are able to look for Our Sparkle & do the things that Make our Hearts Sing & Light the Fire within to Find Our Muchness. Whether it’s Journalling, Exercising, Listening to Music, Getting up Early to Listen to Nature, Lying under the Stars, doing some Yoga, being Present with Someone you Care about, reading a book or just having a Rest. Choosing activities that you Enjoy let’s Us Honour ourselves to feel Worthy of Enjoyment despite knowing Grief, gives us Peace & Time to Rest & Relax & allows us to Escape & Be in the Moment doing something that Makes us feel good & allows us to creatively Cleanse & Heal. I would love to see the Magic & Motivation Tolva has discovered on her own Journey so I can Implement it in to my own & Share it with Others ! Thankyou for Caring & Sharing so we can Find Our Muchness. Love & Light to You & Yours Xo
Tova GoldJanuary 21, 2014 at 9:57 am (9 years ago)
Wow Alicia- What a beautiful description of so many ways to embrace your Muchness. It sounds like you know grief…. I am sorry for your loss, whatever or whomever it was. It does make the world just stop and when it restarts it’s on a whole different axis. Connecting to the joys that ground you in yourself is what lays the groundwork for your new beginnings….
AlanaJanuary 19, 2014 at 2:19 pm (9 years ago)
How inspiring. Thanks for sharing Tara’s story Bex. xx
AlanaJanuary 19, 2014 at 2:20 pm (9 years ago)
*Tova’s story (sorry brain fart) 🙂
* Vegan Sparkles *January 23, 2014 at 10:15 pm (9 years ago)
hehe, our pleasure, Alana. 🙂 xx
LeonieJanuary 21, 2014 at 10:30 am (9 years ago)
I don’t even know what my muchness is anymore! But I relate to the idea of colour being stripped away. 2014 is my year to find my colour again!
* Vegan Sparkles *January 23, 2014 at 10:15 pm (9 years ago)
Search and you will find, Leonie! Wishing you a beautiful year of discovery. x
JacquiJanuary 21, 2014 at 11:38 am (9 years ago)
Love all you do!
* Vegan Sparkles *January 23, 2014 at 10:16 pm (9 years ago)
Thank you from both of us, Jacqui! x