Finding Freedom On Your Plate, in Prison and Poverty with Meg Worden – Episode 36

If you’ve ever asked yourself the dreaded question we all ask before taking that huge leap of faith as an entrepreneur, small business owner or creator of your own destiny, “What’s the worst that can happen?” then I promise you today’s episode is going to have you at the edge of your seat.

Meg Worden joins me for a one-on-one Skype chat (Phil had to catch a plane) that had me wiggling back and forth in my chair the whole time (sorry for my big schnoz in the camera) as she took me through several shut up moments in her life that often resulted in worst-case scenarios. And I’m not being metaphorical here, Meg has served time in federal prison, ran out of money and was homeless not too long ago. She shares with us exactly what went on in her mind and how she rebuilt her life several times over.

Today, I declare Meg Worden as “The Ambassador of SHUT UP Kwan” for being so brave, resilient, uncompromising, and most importantly for being completely vulnerable and raw with us. Thank you Matthew Kimberley for the recommendation.


Watch the show (uncensored & unedited)
Listen to the show (coming soon)

Share Some Shut Up Love –> I don’t want to compromise on a happy life. I don’t feel like living an unsatisfied, torturous life is an option. @MegWorden #shutupshow (click to tweet)

Fun Facts:

  • Meg is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and wellness consultant based out of Portland
  • Meg is a member of AADP and registered with Yoga Alliance
  • Meg was incarcerated in federal prison and served two years for selling ecstasy
  • Meg lived out of her car and hotels surviving off credit cards for a period of time before she built her business
  • She is a writer and author, currently scoping out agents for her memoir

Defining Shut Up Moment:

My big shut up moment happened about four years ago. The income we primarily relied upon came from my then husband. One day, he got a phone call. He lost his job. No severance. Within an hour, FedEx showed up with the final check pro-rated. We had nothing to fall back on. He was unemployed for two years as we tried to work things out. I had been slowly working towards building my business and writing my memoir and then this happens. I wasn’t willing to just do anything for a job and it’s a lot to get over having a felony. I also didn’t finish college so I just didn’t do well in a lot of job scenarios. 

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I wanted to be helping people, immersed in a healthy lifestyle, location independent, set my own hours, for my job to be extremely fun, and to pay the bills so I could buy airplane tickets and sexy boots. I don’t need a lot in life but I don’t want to be in the stress of poverty. After two years of trying really hard, we became homeless. We lived in my car and at times in hotels burning through our credit cards before moving to Portland. I was like, really? The rug’s getting pulled out from under me again?

It took a lot of effort to turn it around. It was something I learned in prison. This is all stuff I learned through necessity and survival techniques. Once you have to do something, you have to do it. Or at least I felt compelled to do it because I don’t want to compromise on a happy life. I don’t feel like living an unsatisfied, torturous life is even an option. I feel my time here is really sacred and important and there’s no way I am going to accept that I have to be unhappy while I’m here. Or put all of my energy into something that has nothing to do with me. I learned to find gratitude even in all of my shut up moments. I started this business over two years ago and today it is everything I ever wanted.

Shut Up Tips:

You either get defeated or you defeat the situation. – Berni

Having roots doesn’t necessarily mean being in one particular place or family. The trick is to have internal roots. Having roots and wings at the same time. I had a sense of stability inside. If the rug is pulled out from under me, I can just hover and hold space and wait to see what the next thing is that comes for me while taking action. – Meg

This is really hard work to accept the fact that your problems are really not that bad. When you get to the next place, you have a whole new set of problems. – Meg

Shit just happens. If we stop and think, what are my problems today? What are the things I’m dealing with? Some things are very serious. Big things are at stake. There may be big fears or emotional triggers attached to them. But just think, would you trade your problems for anyone else’s problems? Generally, the obstacles we’re facing are getting us from where we are to where we want to be. – Meg

When we’re faced with some sort of obstacle, are we labeling it good or bad? Or are we taking action? – Meg

We’re not immune to bad things happening to us, it’s how we react to these things that matters. – Berni

I’ve learned to accept my undisciplined personality and work with it instead of against it. That ends up working a lot in favor with productivity. – Meg

I found a yoga practice. It made my body strong and flexible. It gave me a calm mind and I just kept going. Kept reading. Kept studying. Kept talking to people and kept practicing the idea that if there was something I was afraid of, I should just do it anyway. I recognize bravery was not the lack of fear. Enough practice in that and you’ll get pretty good at it. – Meg

The best thing we can do is edit out the stress. When the stress is intrinsically wrapped around everything we eat, then we’re not being properly nourished. – Meg

I help my clients to figure out what parts of their lives they’re starving in. It’s about long term, sustainable change. What I want for them is freedom. To have a spacious, gentle and peaceful relationship with food and their body. – Meg

Meg Recommends: 

Meg’s post on Maria Shriver: Everything I Know About Freedom, I Learned in Prison

Meg’s talk at Back Fence PDX, a live storytelling series in Portland, capturing her experience before, during and after being incarcerated in federal prison as a new mom.

Find Meg:

Check out Meg’s website and blog at

Tweet Meg at @Megworden