The good news is, no one can take your power unless you give it to them.
The problem is that we are often unconsciously giving our power away, and this leads us to feel like we are existing in a victim state rather than living in alignment with our highest potential to experience a vibrant, soul-aligned life.
How do we give away our power? Some of the ways are by allowing other people’s opinions to silence our voices, keeping ourselves small in order to avoid judgement or rejection, entangling our energy trying to change other people’s beliefs, wasting our energy on things that don’t matter, and getting stuck in routines that are dull and lifeless.
There are two steps to activating your personal power:
The process of healing is not about adding things on, but rather releasing the blocks and leaks to our innate power. Every one of us has a higher self within us, and stepping into our power happens when we release distractions and reconnect with our source. If you are skeptical about this higher self part of you, then it is definitely time for your to call your power back to you.
2. Connect to a renewable power source
YOU are a renewable power source, but sometimes we get so depleted that we need a little extra help. Often we look for power in the wrong places - social statues, bank accounts, job titles. These are superficial bids for power that do have their place in the world we live, but true power comes from connecting to our spiritual nature. Our spiritual power is infinite, and once we connect with that we can live a much more fulfilling and vibrant life.
For me the easiest way to do this is to connect with Nature, which is a renewable power source. Think about it - Nature literally creates Life out of the simplest building blocks of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. You as a human being contain all of these building blocks and can create incredible things when you know how to nourish and harness them. Nature has a spirit that animates it, with which it creates miracles. An embryo doesn’t need to figure out how to grow into a fetus, just like a seedling doesn’t need to figure out how to grow into a plant. In the same way, once you connect with and activate this life force, you won’t need to figure out your life - miracles will simply come to you because you have become a magnet for spiritual power. When you can recognize, connect, and collaborate with this spiritual force that exists in all natural things, you will awaken your own spiritual power.
So you may be asking, “Ok, well HOW exactly do I do that?”
One way is to take part in an earth-based ceremony, like the one I’m offering in San Diego next weekend. Ceremony opens up a portal to anchor in spiritual energy that helps us to remember, the magnitude of the power and grace available to us, not just mentally but also physically in our DNA,
If you have found it difficult to commit to yourself in your daily routine, then it might be time to take a leap and show up for yourself on a deeper level by coming to Guatemala with me for a 7 day shamanic yoga healing retreat. Surrounded by nature spirits in the mystical Lake Atitlan, we will be working with the earth, our hearts, and our energy fields to magnetize our power so we can clear out what does not serve our highest good, open our hearts for deeper connection, clarify our souls’ purpose, and welcome miracles into our lives. If you are in need of a personal transformation right now, this retreat is for you! Details are at www.katyalovejoy.com/earth-magic-retreat.
For now I’ll leave you with this quote from Terence McKenna:
“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it's a feather bed.”
How are you ready to commit to yourself and claim your personal power?
Yesterday I was excited. I felt so ready to let go of the past, to forget the old pains and move on. The grief felt done, the grasping over. It felt like such a relief, a new timeline of ease and vibrancy. Today, I don't want to go. Resistance is high. I feel heavy and on the verge of tears as I sit on this plane. I long for what is already dead. I know it's dead, I've stared at the corpse of this love, and yet here my heart goes, starting the old game of chasing and grasping in desperation. I know I am going into the wilderness to have pieces of me die. To come to terms with what is already dead. But what will be left when I return?
We are taking 4 days to drive to the site of our Vision Quest, taking time to ease into Nature and begin to listen and receive. Yesterday was a hard day for me emotionally. Then an eagle feather found me in the middle of a parking lot. In Native tradition, eagle feathers are sacred messages from God, and represent honesty, truth, majesty, strength, courage, wisdom, power and freedom. Hard to believe I found this sacredness in a parking lot, but so magical. Hard to believe I have the courage to do this journey, but I've already been blessed with so much magic. Moving between many emotions and experiences, it feels in some way that I'm living many timelines at once, at the same time I'm trying (and often succeeding) to be present to this entire special journey.
9/1/17 - 9/4/17
Coming soon (ish)
Post Vision Quest
I have never felt so in love in my life. I cry at the sight of flowers growing out of rocks, and at the rising of the full moon. I feel the Divine Mother in the moisture of the gentle breeze on my sun blessed face. I bow down to ants as some of my greatest teachers, and welcome flies to feed off my body. I am humbled by this magnificent Earth. My heart sings, and I devote my life to honoring the Great Spirit that moves through all of her children.
This is not real. The screen you are reading this on is not real. Social media is not real. The government we argue about isn't real. The economy we worry about isn't real. All these things and most things we create drama about are not natural, not made by nature, but created by humans. It would do us good to remember what is real. Earth, water, fire, air - these are real. The winds, the trees, the sun, the rivers - these are real. Your beautiful aging body with its wrinkles and scars, badges of a well-lived life - this is real. You're beating heart, your spiritual heart, which opens and overflows when you are in love or in the presence of beauty - this is real. The creative thoughts, the insights - even these are real, though they are not yours, you are simply an instrument through which the Great Spirit sings her wisdom. Know what is real. And which do you worship? Are you depressed or anxious? Look at what you are worshiping by putting your energy towards. Keep coming back to what is real - your breath, your heart, this Earth. Get down on your knees and pray to her - smell the dirt, learn from the ants, hear the melody of the wind in the trees. Know what is real and keep coming back. This is how you will (re)learn how to live in harmony. This is how you will heal your suffering.
Forgive forgive forgive. Carrying our resentments clouds us from seeing how we are truly taken care of in every moment. When you feel that something is lacking, when fear of scarcity arises, when you feel someone has wronged you, ask yourself, "how am I already taken care of in this moment?" I sat in the wilderness for 3 days without food, water or shelter and still cried from gratitude for how much abundance, beauty, and support exists all around me. If I could find my greatest bliss in such personal sacrifice, then I can survive whatever slight a person of lower consciousness and vibration might unknowingly send my way. They know not what they do. They deserve compassion and forgiveness for where they are on their journey, even if it may cause me discomfort. We are all on our own journey. This is what I must keep coming back to as I reintegrate into a world where people have forgotten how to grow roots from their feet into the earth and how to blossom their hearts in recognition of themselves in each other. Having unclouded my own Vision, I must now hold space, with compassion and forgiveness, for this unfolding in others. This is the gift and the responsibility that has been entrusted in me by Great Spirit.
One of the greatest gifts I received from Vision Quest is humility. This is something I specifically prayed for. Though I have been called to my type of work by a desire to serve and a soul's knowing of my purpose, there was still an ego attachment that I had become more and more aware of. There was a desire to be recognized, to be rewarded, and this did not feel in alignment to me. Some of my most heart felt prayers were for detachment, humility, and support in being an instrument of Spirit.
It was the ego attached part of me that wanted a grand Vision - a teaching from a bear walking through my space, or a voice booming down from the clouds, or even an extra terrestrial encounter! Instead my lessons came in whispers and from ants and flies.
When I first got to my hocoka and the ants began crawling all over me, the flies buzzing in my ear and landing here and there, I brushed them away (gently and without anger, at least, but admittedly with some discomfort and annoyance). Of course I knew right away there was a lesson here, and slowly I eased into comfort with sharing my body with these brothers and sisters of our Earth Mother. The queen ant in particular took a pleasing to me, and I delighted in watching her nourish herself on the salt from my dried sweat. I held space for an injured ant who took refuge on my leg. And did you know that a fly's lifespan is only 24 hours? What a blessing that these these flies choose to kiss me in the short time they have on Earth.
I could never have imagined that these little creepy crawlies and winged ones had the power to dissolve the fortress I had built around my heart. I am forever indebted to these powerful beings for the great wisdom they have gifted me.
The body is not so important. Well, not in the way we often concern ourselves - with the outward appearance of it. Today I looked in the mirror and found myself slipping into an old pattern of assessing and evaluating different parts of my body - my hair, my face, my butt, my breasts. Then I had a larger Vision (Eagle eye), and remembered that in the moon lodge and my hocoka I didn't look at myself in a mirror for 4 days. Instead, I felt and lived in my body. I bled into the earth and had dirt under my nails and through my hairline. And I never felt more at peace in my body. Instead of judging it, I allowed it to be its natural, animal self. There was a separation of the stories about self (based on expectations) from the true experience of Self, as experienced through my body, my mind, and my 6 senses. Instead of assessing myself, I interacted with Life around me,. I found myself finally living, rather than just creating an internal dialogue in my head about living. What I learned is that a body is beautiful because of the fullness of energy that moves through it, not the external form that it takes.
The night we completed, after I had enjoyed the most glorious shower of my life, I looked into the mirror and was taken aback by my beauty. I had never looked more radiant and I felt the radiance in the calmness of my energy. It's been a week since I've worn makeup and I've never felt more beautiful and confident in a completely non-attached, non-ego way. I'm pretty sure the best beauty regime in the world is a spiritual and self-love practice.
I can't beg you enough to get quiet. Go to quiet, get quiet, so that you can listen. Listen so that you can hear and know. There is so much wisdom and beauty available to us, so many messages that Spirit is trying to give us in ordinary things, so many blessings that flit in and out of the veil of this reality. But we have to S L O W down and listen and watch. I am back in a city now and I can feel my access to reality (Nature) slipping as the vibration of this alternate reality (matrix) is pulling me to resonate with it. Tonight I was lamenting to a friend that it is too loud here, I cannot hear the messages, the magic is leaving. Just then there was an animal sound and she said, "do you know that's an owl?" Of course it is. I cried, of course. Magic is still here. Messages are still accessible. But I need to really dedicate time and space to quiet. I recommend the same to everyone. Life can be so much more magical than we allow it to be. We think magic is money and fame...I know it is crickets and wind and a babbling brook. What is it for you?
I will not help you build a 6-figure business. I will help you tear down the fortress you've built around your heart, so that you can feel true love and connection again. I will help you feed your soul with things that bring you joy, so that spirit moves through you in creativity and inspiration. I will help you learn how to listen to your body, to decipher its messages, and to really learn to love it. I will guide you to healing your wounded inner child, so that you can stand on your own two feet with grounded power and confidence. I will teach you how to listen to Life to hear her wisdom, how to dance with her, and to feel that you are always supported. This is what I offer for those who have a need. A 6-figure business is a potential side effect of living your passion and purpose, but what interests me is gentle guidance back to self love and connection to Spirit - there is nothing to me more valuable than this.
I used to think sacrifice was a negative thing that ended in bitterness, resentment, and feeling trapped. Now I understand that sacrifice given willingly with an open heart only brings more love in. It nurtures our faith and trust that we will be taken care of even as we let go. To communicate with Spirit, to embody your dreams, to live in alignment with your soul's purpose and excitement always requires some sacrifice. It doesn't have to be negative, it can be sweet and given with love. I sacrificed my body during Vision Quest by not eating, drinking, bathing or having shelter and it was both the hardest and the easiest thing I've ever done. During that time, doubt left and I could trust that what would come out on the other end was worth it. Now I'm anchoring that trust again as I ease into reintegration, knowing that this space between my old life and my new life is a sacred time. I am patient, I am trusting, I am grateful. Spirit has seen my sacrifice and my humble heart, and I know new opportunities are being worked on on other levels. Trust trust trust (reminder to myself!)
My life no longer fits me. I've grown and what I've come back to doesn't fit. It's like I'm trying to stuff myself into a corset. I'm gasping for breath, I feel constricted, claustrophobic. My body is literally closing in on itself - range of motion in my arms is now limited and my chest plate keeps cracking. The only way I've ever known how to deal with sensory overload is to shut my system down in a depression. It's my instinctual survival response to being surrounded by rushing and denial. Do people even realize they live on Earth? With the amount of trash I see everywhere it seems like they don't. I don't want to hear human noises anymore, at least not the ones I've been hearing lately. I love humans but I love their natural animal selves and their raw soul essence. I'm tired of pretending all the constructs we occupy ourselves with are real or important. It's stressing my system. I feel more calm when I can interact with the elements. I feel more connected when I can hear the wind and all the little sounds animals make. I feel more safe when I can feel the arms of the Divine Mother Earth holding me through the support of rocks and tree roots. And I get excited to connect with another human's expansive loving heart. But it feels hard right now. So much noise, so many distractions. I have been crying for the calm and connection of my space on the hill. I am stretching myself to stay aligned with peace and openness. I'm praying for the wisdom of how to integrate my old self/life with my new Self and Life. I know it's coming...shortly after I wrote this I found a hawk feather.
Signs are everywhere. Pay more attention to the voice inside your head, whispering things to you. Not the voice that judges and worries. The other one - the voice that whispers ideas and creative commands.
Out on vision quest I would be lying down and then I would think, "Sit up." At first I responded, "nah that's my own mind, I'm just gonna lay here," but then I heard it again. So I sat up. Then I heard, "get up and dance." So I did, and it felt great and I think it pleased the spirits. On the last night out, I didn't even realize I'd had a vision because I was expecting something external, like a voice booming from the sky. Instead I had an entire story happen inside my head that at first I dismissed because it was in my head. Now I realize the incredible wisdom and healing it held, and I understand that the "random" thoughts I have are actually messages and medicine. .
Yesterday I went back to nature and I cried for awhile at a creek, after which I felt relieved, my heart more soft and open. I could have stayed there for hours, but I had the thought to hike awhile. As I was hiking I felt pulled to go off the trail to a clearing of trees in the distance. I hesitated and thought about it, and decided to follow the pull. I went into the clearing, walked around with an open heart, and that is when I found these feathers. Hawk feathers are special gifts, messengers of Spirit who remind us to pay attention to the signs. With so much gratitude I thought, "I am seeing all the signs," and in response I was guided to look down and there I found another feather.
...more to come!
Today I was called a narcissist and a fraud. My first trolls on Facebook.
The other day I made a long post about changes in my life that are inspiring me to shift how I serve the world. I wrote about feeling a stronger calling and deeper alignment with my purpose as a teacher and healer. I wrote about the old feeling that I need to please others, and how this pattern has contributed to me over stretching myself. I’ve noticed that my energy, my personal life, my projects, and my capacity to serve others has been affected. I announced that I would be scaling back on some of the events I regularly offer to focus more on deeper work like training and individually supporting light workers, not by helping people to make money - though there’s nothing wrong with that and that’s a natural result of growth work - but by helping people to heal and let go of their old shit so they can move forward, feel empowered and at peace, and live a life of joy and meaning.
The gist of the message is that I am letting go of certain ways I’ve been trying to make money, and focusing instead on offering the best of what I can, trusting that I’ll be able to support myself as long as I’m staying heart-centered.
The words in my post came from a deep place within me that has taken time and effort for me to discover. They came from the part of me that it has taken me time to remember - a woman who is more aware, grounded, visionary, and who is now ready to be even more true to herself. It came from a place of knowing my spiritual purpose on Earth as an instrument of transformational energy. It comes from an understanding and humility that I serve a power greater than me, and that my purpose is larger than just taking care of myself. It was a vulnerable share about a transitional time in my life, an update for the people who follow my work, and a call to action for anyone out there who is also on the warrior healer path.
I was surprised when I received the hateful comments on my post. Of course, it was only a couple of negative comments compared with lots of positive feedback from my community. Still, those judgements have a way of sticking with us, like a painful tooth we keep on tonguing even though it just makes it worse. The beautiful thing is that the process of watching and investigating my reaction to these trolls has been an amazing opportunity for growth and learning. And it is in perfect alignment with everything else that’s been going on.
You see, I think I called in this hate. Not because I deserve it, quite the opposite. First of all, it’s a fact that the more people who read a message, the more negative comments the writer receives. It’s also important to acknowledge what’s happening on an energetic level. As I’ve been moving deeper into my own personal and spiritual evolution, I’ve been stepping into a new way of being. I could use a lot of New Age terms like: resonating at a new vibration, evolving into a new paradigm, tapping into my higher self, etc…It’s also called just choosing something different, and having the courage to act in a new way. To grow up, mature, and learn how to take care of yourself and to give back to the world in a meaningful way. Growing to understand your human and spiritual nature, and to understand that you have a purpose and responsibility to give back to the world. That’s why we are here.
We all have a greater purpose, I am not special in that regard. Everyone is here for a powerful reason, it’s just that a lot of people haven’t been given the opportunity to realize/remember that. For many people, it’s easier to stay small and stuck and pretend the world is against them and that there is no meaning. I used to be one of those people. However, this is not the Truth. I, along with many many others who have walked the good road before me and who walk with me now, choose a new way. We have done the work to remember our Truth, and for me it has changed the course of my life.
Part of this process has been letting go of old belief systems that have been keeping me small and scared and living from a place of fear and doubt. For 30 years I did not know what those subconscious beliefs and habits were, I just thought I was crazy, undisciplined, lazy, fucked up…the list goes on, mostly things I heard when I was young. So it makes total sense to me that as I step into being more embodied, empowered, and in more alignment with self-love and divine love, I also invite in more of the old energy of hate and abuse. This is the Law of Opposites. When we make an empowered decision to step into a new way of being, the universe will throw up all the old energy so you can look at it and stay strong in your commitment to your higher way of being. It’s the Universe testing you to see if you really want what you say you want.
So isn’t it interesting that last weekend when I was at the Wellness Institute I had an incredible healing session where I cried, sweat, and worked really hard and unleashed SO much old energy and cut cords with old abuse dynamics…. and then that SAME weekend the childhood abuse I thought was long done reared it’s ugly head at me through my cell phone. Here I was, releasing the old and understanding that I am a spiritual being with a mission and a purpose to serve humanity (like all of us, really), and then I am confronted with someone telling me I am a failure, a hypocrite, shameful, and selfish. This is nothing new - it’s the old dark energy flailing as it resists it’s annihilation.
This time was different. Yes it still hurt, but this time I put up a strong boundary, didn’t abandon myself, and connected to the deep inner self-love that I have fought incredibly hard to find and nurture. What a joy to able to believe in myself to the point of not being destroyed by another’s opinion! To some that may seem easy, but to those who have struggled with self-love for a long time, this is a huge success.
It felt like another success when I read those hateful Facebook comments and my first response was to laugh. Not a spiteful laugh like I used to do, but an expression of pure amusement in witnessing old energy coming to die. My heart actually softened and opened and I felt compassion for these people. It wasn’t a forced compassion like I used to try to create in the past because I’ve heard forgiveness is a good thing - this was the real deal of spontaneously transmuting hate into love.
This is exciting to me not because it makes me “a good person,” but because it is a sign to me that I am truly transforming. I am transforming trauma into empowerment, and alchemizing shadow into light. What this means is that my life actually feels GOOD and not so painful and scary anymore. It means I’m aligned more with my potential and power rather than with my old wounds and traumas. It means that the work I’ve been doing really fucking works and has been worth everything I’ve put into it. It means that the same work that I offer to others is something that will truly transform their lives, and that is something I can be confident about putting out into the world. I am truly confident with not everyone liking me, and I feel blessed to have developed the trust to know that those who I’m meant to create with will naturally connect with me. All is Divine.
In the end, it has been a wonderful growth experience to deal with trolls on my Facebook page and in my life. I can see that I am on the right path. This road may sometimes require pep-talks with myself in the mirror (something I recommend to everyone!), but I have proven to the Universe that I am standing in my heart-centered power, and I am here to stay.
Ah, self love. Everyone talks about it, but what is it actually? The best teachers and healers always say that a happy life comes down to loving yourself, but how do we actually do that? The path to self love can be confusing, and it’s not always as pretty as we think it should be, but it’s also not as hard as we often make it out to be.
Loving yourself means loving ALL the parts of yourself, and that’s where a lot of people get stuck. We’ve been conditioned to believe that we are only lovable when we are good - when we look the right way, behave the right way, think the right way, etc. So we try to “stay positive” and focus on the “good” parts of ourselves, and we think loving ourselves means being grateful for our positive qualities and staying aligned with them. Yes, it is essential to be grateful for these positive qualities - after all, they are unique gifts that we have to offer the world. However, this is just one part of us. There is also the shadow side.
Everyone has a shadow side. The shadow is the darker parts of who we are. It is the unresolved anger, the grief, the jealousy, the pettiness, the fear and doubt, the sabotager, the manipulator, the perpetrator…we’ve all been there. Even if today you are a totally enlightened and perfect person, most likely in the past you acted out your shadow parts, even if it was just as a child who was learning their way in the world. That is still a part of who you are, even if it’s not consciously active today.
Even though the shadow is a completely natural (and necessary) part of us, we often judge it as unacceptable. And so in an attempt to evolve and grow up and be better, we push that part away. However, the act of pushing away keeps us in a perpetual state of disintegration, which prevents us from really maturing and from experiencing wholeness. We can’t feel whole or healed when we cut off different parts of ourselves, and we definitely can’t find complete self love in this way.
We disown aspects of ourselves in so many ways - with holding patterns in the body that prevent feeling (or cause too much feeling, such as in the case of chronic pain), by repressing memories or emotions, or refusing to look at certain ares of our lives. The problem is that by shunning, disgracing, and disowning aspects of ourselves, we turn away from wholeness. We subconsciously experience a state of being split, and that drains our power to act, create, and make a positive impact in alignment with our highest values.
If you’re not sold on the idea of a person being made up of multiple parts, just think about how complex a human is. You play several roles in the course of any given day - a lover, a daughter/son, a worker, a friend, a student, a teacher, an athlete, an artist, a parent etc. or whatever applies to you. Not to mention you have a mind, a body, and a spirit. Several schools of psychology also agree that the internal landscape of a person includes an inner child part, an adult part, and a protector, among other aspects of the ego. Human beings are miraculously complex beings who can literally shape shift - think for a moment about all the different lives you’ve already lived in this one lifetime…!
When you allow yourself to only love what you deem to be the “positive” parts of yourself, you actually add more energy to the shadow through the subconscious shame that is generated about these other parts of you. Shame is the biggest enemy of self love because it gives us the message, “I am bad.” Plus, parts of you that you try to push away will often act out in an effort to be seen and integrated. There’s a saying that “what we resist persists,” and this is certainly true when it comes to the pathway of finding self love. The more you resist accepting yourself, the more you will be challenged to do so.
The bottom line is, you are made up of many different parts, and each part is integral to holding the whole of you together. This doesn’t mean that you need to act out the shadow aspects, but they must be acknowledged and integrated into your self love process. The key to accepting and integrating the shadow parts is to acknowledge the intent of that identity, emotion, etc. For instance, someone who manipulates and tries to control other people is usually operating with the intent of feeling safe and protected themselves. Manipulation and control are not behaviors that we want to perpetuate, but until we acknowledge the emotion of fear and need for a feeling of safety that drives that behavior, it will be challenging to let go of it. Only through loving that part of you that feels scared and unsafe will you be able to find the stability to release the negative behaviors and emotions that once ruled your experience.
When we talk about “letting go,” think for a moment, where is the place where all this stuff that we “let go” goes? The truth is, when it’s done in a healthy way, it doesn’t go anywhere - when we successfully let something go, it actually just becomes accepted and integrated into the whole of who we are. When that happens we can feel whole and healed and truly experience the meaning of self love.
Our true work on this path of growth is to expand our consciousness and capacity to contain different perspectives and aspects, so that we can honor all of them at once without feeling split. The paradox is that we must first see what is and love what is before we can create and anchor what is possible. This is the pathway to true self love and soul evolution. If it's possible for me, then it's definitely possible for you. What one person can do, any person can do. For me, I was finally able to attain this through Heart Centered Hypnotherapy, which I've incorporated into my Higher Self Therapies system. Find whatever works best for you, and then get to the work of loving yourself. You can do this - I believe in you, and I love you.
People talk about New Year's being an aribtrary construct in time, how time is continuous and we should always be reflecting and striving to be better, not just once a year. This is absolutely true, and it is an intention I continually strive toward throughout any year. And yet, we as humans are intertwined in this concept of time to help us make sense of our world and our lives. This is what compells us to categorize a year as good or bad, even though 365 days usually includes a mix of both lessons and laughter. I like the idea of honoring the New Year because I think it's a good reminder for us to check in and see that we are in alignment with our highest values and intentions. We can't have an extraordinary life if we are not.
One of the most valuable things I do around New Year's is an "Inegrity checklist." This is an opportunity to see where I am not in alignment with my values and to recommit to my integrity. Notice that I said values, not goals. Goals are essential in their own right, but goals should reflect values. If your life isn't aligned with your values, then your goals aren't aligned either. To live in alignment with your values is the integrity upon which all grace is built.
Integrity means wholeness. For myself, I cannot feel whole when I have let loose ends fly. There are a lot of mundane human-type things that I hate to do and which I procrastinate (sometimes a whole year!), like going to the dentist, opening my mail, cleaning out my closet, and canceling that damn gym membership I never use. But I know that if I don't have a clean living space my mind will feel cluttered; if I have to-do lists constantly running in the background of my mind, my attention and energy will be sucked up; and if I have financial leaks in my life, I will not feel supported. I also know that being disorganized and late on correspondence or appoinments do not reflect my core values of being considerate, organized, financially stable, and in good physical health (among other things!).
In order to be able to focus time and energy towards bigger goals, to feel whole and capable of achieving one's highest dreams, a person has to tie up loose ends. If we say we want to live a life without stress, we need to stay on top of the things that, when they pile up, cause stress. For me, as a regular human like you, I am not perfect and I can be forgetful and even (gasp!) lazy about doing this. So, the New Year is a good time for me to check in with myself and see where I can be doing better to live in alignment with what I say I want. I take the last few weeks in December to complete any tasks that have been consciously or subconsciously weighing on me. In addition to my own end-of-the-year to-do list mentioned above, this process can also look like: scheduling a health exam, getting your car detailed, paying off any debts, collecting any debts, making that phone call you've been avoiding, cleaning out your email box, cleaning the gutters, returning any borrowed goods, donating unused items, etc. Make a list and do what you can to check them off. Even if you don't complete it before January, you will at least move into the new year more organized about where your focus is.
When I think about integrity meaning wholeness and integration of parts, I also consider the value of nurturing the connection between my mind, body, and spirit. For me, staying aligned with spirit is one of my most heart-felt values and intentions. That's why I love marking the New Year with a special ritual. When we add ritual to an action we add meaning and purpose. When we live from intention in this way, whether during ceremonies, holidays, or just in daily life, we live in integrity with ourselves. This is how we create the foundation for our most courageous dreams to root.
For the last few years I have chosen not to do the typical New Year's activity of going to someplace loud and crowded - that is not my scene anymore (frankly, it never really was). Instead, I have chosen to spend some sacred time with one special person in my life (last year it was my mom, the year before it was my soul sister Rachel). I create a ceremony to honor what has passed, reaffirm my comitments to myself, and call in the highest expression of my dreams.
How a New Year ritual looks is a personal choice. For me it includes setting sacred space by creating an altar with some candles, crystals, and scents, and calling on my spirit and higher power (if that doesn't resonate with you, you can call on your higher self). Sitting in meditation, I review the last calendar year and, with an eagle's perspective, open my heart in graritude for all the lessons I have learned. After that, I will get a candle (one of those tall clear glass ones) and with a Sharpie I write my intentions for the new year on the candle. Then I light it and let it burn for the whole first day of January. I also like to do tarot card readings for guidance and have fun creating vision boards to further anchor in my intentions in a way I can be reminded of them throughout the year.
It's true that we must strive toward living in integrity with our deepest intensions every day of the year. The beginning of a new calendar year is an especially potent time to anchor in this way of living. I invite you to have some fun making meaning with your loved ones and getting aligned with your highest expression!
One of my favorite ways to both de-stress and elevate mood is to take a bath. A bath is one of the easiest healing therapies we can do to facilitate our body’s natural detoxification system, which in turn calms and refreshes the mind. I’ve created a routine that feels nourishing and sacred for my mind, body, and heart, and I try to make it part of my routine at least 2 days a week.
1. Set up the space: As I’m drawing the bath, I light candles, put out fresh towels, and burn sage to cleanse the space and set an intention for healing. Setting an intention is a powerful way to create positive change and also brings in an element of ritual, which helps anchor in healthy habits.
2. Epsom salt + baking soda: Epsom salt calms the nervous system, relaxes muscles, soothes pain, and detoxes the body of toxins. Baking soda also removes toxins, as well as neutralizes and regulates pH levels. I’ve read differing opinion about which ratio of these ingredients to use, but I typically use 1 part baking soda to 2 parts Epsom salt. Once I put that in the bath, I add my favorite essential oils and then stir the bath with my arm while thinking again of my intention for healing.
3. Essential Oils: My favorite part of the bath is the combination of essential oils I choose to use. My recipe varies depending on my intention for the bath. If I am feeling sensitive and sad, I will use Lavender, Wild Orange, and Frankincense. If I have anxious feelings and want to soothe my nervous system, I will use Clary Sage, Lavender, and Chamomile or Geranium. I typically use 2 drops of each oil, as the doTERRA oils I have are very potent and only a little is needed for a therapeutic effect.
4. Soak and drift off into serenity: Depending on your mood, you can take your time in the bath for different things. This is a good place to practice relaxing and cleansing breathing techniques. You can also listen to music or read. Sometimes I just like to practice being present, do a self-love meditation, or connect with Spirit to pray and receive wisdom.
The best part of this self-care tool is that the possibilities are endless! Have fun discovering what works for you and creating your own unique sacred ritual of self-care.
As we move deeper into winter, our bodies and minds need different things than what nourished us in previous seasons. It’s important to understand how winter affects us and what will nourish us. When we can tune into what our external environment is asking of us, we can easily support our internal systems to find more balance and harmony.
It’s essential to tune into the wisdom of the season so that you can respond to what arises instead of reacting. When we react we tend to cause chaos in ourselves, our families, and our environments. This can lead to feeling imbalanced, overwhelmed, drained, and even sick, When we can instead respond with awareness and wisdom, we are able to create an internal and external experience of peace, health, and wellbeing that invites in even more love, joy, and connection.
What opportunities does this season offer? This time of year asks us to go deep within the self. The shortened days invite us to seek replenishment and rest. The lower temperatures ask us to protect and nourish ourselves in healthy ways. The close of the calendar year invites us to reflect on what we’ve accomplished and where we still have work to do. The holidays encourage us to be present with gratitude, joy, and celebration. It’s time for us to be aware of and attuned with our senses.
If you think about it, winter is a time to grow deep roots into the ground. It’s also a time of shedding and cleansing. This is an essential moment for you to look within and see where you can grow your roots down, what you can release in order to foster your expansion, and where can you bring in joy and celebration, because that’s what life is truly about.
As we move into the holiday season where the focus is often on others, I encourage you to keep your commitment to your own wellbeing. You are your greatest investment. If you take the time and action to nurture your own growth and wellbeing, you will be more likely to be a positive force in the lives of your family, friends, and coworkers during the holiday season and moving into the new year.
Here are some tips that I personally use during winter in order to stay grounded and focused on my personal growth and to support my emotional and physical balance:
Did I miss any tips and techniques that you swear by? Do you need any recommendations for anything I mentioned? I’d love to hear from you. Let me know how this season is shaping up for you, and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions - I’m here to support you through this season and beyond!
The most important commitment you will ever make is the commitment to your relationship with yourself. Unfortunately, I find that while everyone seems to talk about self-care and self-love, most people aren't actually committed to being in alignment with the highest version of themselves. For many, the path of "healing" often looks like seeking outside of oneself instead of turning inward, and this doesn't support lasting transformation.
Self-care is not just getting a massage, taking the day off to go to the beach, or even getting that new top-selling spiritual guidebook. It's not about adding more to your life, or about becoming something different than who you are. Self-love is and self-relationsihp are about finding the wounded parts of yourself and becoming the healthy, nurturing presence that loves, accepts, and supports these vulnerable parts no matter what. It is commitment to uncovering and strengthening the part of you that is clear on your own unique needs and desires and knows exactly how to fulfill them. You, more than anyone else, know what you need and how to get it. The problem is that you may not be able to hear what your soul is trying to tell you until you really let go of other people's ideas and hone in on your own soul's message.
We often think we are going after what we want, but in truth we might be chasing the aspirations that others have projected on to us. We try to become better by adding more and more to our resumes, our calendars, our closets, our bank accounts, etc. We rush into relationships because we think we're supposed to be married by a certain age, or pursue a stable career because it's a safe investment for the future. Sometimes these goals truly are our soul's longing, but a lot of the time we are being motivated by ego. The ego is the part of us that tries to protect us by pleasing others, the part that acts tough but is really just afraid to be abandoned in some way if we don't live by other people's desires and expectations. The truth is, no one knows what you need and how to give it to you more than you do, if you pay attention. You abandon yourself every time you ignore your inner voice to follow someone else's guidelines for how you should live your life.
To really be committed to yourself is to get in touch with that highest part of you that is wise, strong, and intuitive, who is able to see and support your soul's purpose and passion. What this looks like is deprogramming and removing all the external expectations that were placed on you from childhood onward. We are collectively so hypnotized by our families and cultures that we often don't even realize that we may not be living in alignment with our highest selves and souls until our lives start manifesting chaos in the form of failing relationships, unfulfilling jobs, and unexplained physical illness, anxiety, and depression. The good news is that all this stuff is just programming, it's not who we truly are. The truth of who you are is an intuitive, driven, creative, loving, and joyful being. If that's not how you feel right now, please don't despair - I am 100% sure that is who you are, and there are many tools you can use to rediscover this about yourself.
It may sound cliche to say that the answer to everything you need is right inside you, but it really is that simple. And yet, how many of us look everywhere but inside for those answers and validations. We can jump from job to job, from relationship to relationship, from city to city, but healing will not happen until we stop, look ourselves in the eyes, and become that strong partner for ourselves, promising never to abandon ourselves, promising to always love and accept ourselves no matter what. Loving and committing to yourself is a revolutionary act. There can be no sustainable healing and growth until you do that on a deep level.
This is a simple truth, and yet it is not always easy. We are culturally programed to be super hard on ourselves, to beat ourselves up, to keep searching and striving, which implies that we are not good enough just the way we are. Sometimes we need help to remember how to love and honor ourselves. There are many guides and many tools to assist you on this sacred journey of becoming the highest version of yourself. I am one of these guides, and if you resonate with this message I encourage you to reach out to me, as it is MY highest purpose to be of service to the world in this way.
I'll leave you with an inspiring passage from Matt Kahn that just blew me away with it's beauty and insightfulness on this topic of self-love and commitment to growth:
"In the new paradigm, we become more inspired, motivated, and intentional when our hearts have been honored, accepted, nurtured, and loved as never before. Perhaps you have come to see how the force of your will cannot create what only the softness of your approach and the elegance of your gaze can ever bring forth.
"No matter the outcomes you chase or the agendas you maintain, what if you stopped for one moment and asked yourself: 'How much more thoughtful, gentle, supportive, and kind must I be to myself in order to feel safe enough to succeed, prosper, and shine at my highest capacity?'
"What you perceive as self-sabotage is ultimately the grace of your innocent nature momentarily deferring the advancements of external success, until loving yourself becomes your highest priority. Once your priorities have been rearranged from the inside out, you will find an effortless flow that guides you forward to manifest the incredible success, immaculate health, radiant wholeness, and infinite-flowing prosperity that you were always destined to discover."
Sending you lots of love and light, always,
You have a choice between having the life you want, or the reasons why you can't. You can endure your wounds or you can enjoy your glory. You can live the life of a victim, burdened by the traumas of your past, or you can live the life of a hero - but you can't do both. If you want to feel empowered you need to make a conscious decision to create a sacred dream and practice courage. - Alberto Villoldo, Courageous Dreaming
This is the most brilliant wisdom I have read in a long time. It dropped right down into the center of my being like WOAH.
One of the most frustrating things for me is seeing someone I care about, either in my personal or professional life, cling to their old story when I am trying to offer a reflection of their highest potential. It's even more painful and frustrating when I realize that I am the one clinging to old limiting beliefs instead of tapping into a wider awareness of what is possible. I know better, and yet I continually forget about my spiritual potential, which seems to be part of the human condition.
The excuses we make and the self-sabatoging we participate in are the primary deterrents to our expansion, not anything that's going on outside of us. The "yes, but..." is possibly the most damaging phrase on the path of growth. It keeps us attached to the old, limited perspective of life, which is not our natural state, but something we inherited and were taught.
The truth is, you are not your old story. You have the ability and power to dream and create a new way of being in the world that feels better and freer. Of course, it is important to honor and grieve what has happened in the past without just sweeping it under the rug. What we resist persists. But there is a difference between saying "I am a victim" and "I am a survivor." A difference between "I am a survivor" and "I am a creator." Which one feels better for you? Our work is to attend to the past hurt, give it the attention and love it needs, and learn it's lesson. Once we get the lesson we can expand our awareness, dream bigger, and move on to live bigger.
At a certain point, if you are really going to heal and grow, you must make the courageous choice to turn toward the story you want to be living. Yes, the old you and the old story will have to die. You must be willing to go into this death. This is the hero's journey. Believe me, it's worth it. You will be reborn into something even greater, bigger than your small self could ever have imagined. You will fully align with your highest self, and you will then be free to live the life your soul has always dreamed about.
Yesterday I taught a class inspired by a passage from the Dhammapada, the sayings of the Buddha, and it brought so much up for me that I wanted to share my insights with you. The passage was called "Yourself," and offered the following wisdom:
To straighten the crooked, you must first do a harder thing - straighten yourself.
You are the source of all purity and all impurity. No one purifies another.
Never neglect your work for another's, however great his need.
Your work is to discover your work, and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.
This really got me thinking. In light of the world's recent events, I have been feeling stressed by the idea that I am not doing enough to "fix" society's ills. Then I caught myself in something that I am always pointing out to my clients - it is NOT my job to fix anyone else. It is not my responsibility to do the work of others, and in fact that's impossible. It is not my responsibility to heal another person, a population, a societal construct, an economy, a political system, etc. And yet, it actually IS my job to facilitate healing for other people - that's what my soul purpose is and that's what I've dedicated my life to.
So how do we find a balance between doing our own work and assisting the work of humanity? How do we manage individual healing and healing of the collective? Sometimes it feels like these two goals can be at odds, but the truth is that it's both more simple and more complex than that.
The only work you can do is your own, and you are the only one who can do your work. You are the single person who truly knows what you need and the only one who can make it happen. I have literally hundreds of different tools, exercises, book recommendations, skills, etc. that I offer my students and clients, but if they don't actually use them and do the work when they are on their own, the likelihood of radical change and sustainable transformation is pretty slim.
It's easy to get distracted from our inner work when there is so much going on out there, whether in our families, our work environments or in the world at large, that seems to be screaming for our help. But it is an illusion that our efforts are better spent out there rather than in here, in our own inner world. If we don't heal the fear, guilt, shame, anger, disconnection, prejudice, and violence in our own hearts and minds, it will never be eradicated out there.
So, our responsibility is to do our own work. That might lead you to think that you are all alone. Nope, that's where the paradox is. No one else can do our work, it's true, and yet there's no way we can do it alone. Luckily we don't have to!
Remember when I said that you are the single person who truly knows what you need and the only one who can make it happen? This is absolute truth, and yet it's also true that all humans have psychological blindspots and maladaptive patterning that gets in the way of seeing that wisdom. Your highest self knows the work you have to do (and by that I mean what issues you need to clear in yourself, and what your soul purpose on this Earth is), but sometimes we need guidance in clearing away the muck that has covered up this inner knowing. However, if you don't take the responsibility to go out and find the right guide, if you put the responsibility of your healing on them, if you don't put into action what they offer you, well, as I said, change can't happen.
In the past I have definitely struggled with the desire to have someone else figure things out for me, fix my problems, predict my future, and tell me what to do with my life. I get it, and putting blame and responsibility on others for our problems has been mirrored in the collective experience as well. But that's a childish and immature perspective, and now it's time to grow up and take responsibility for our own evolution. That's the personal work I'm doing right now. And while I'm very grounded in the acceptance of responsibility for my own healing, I also know that there is no need for me to walk this path totally alone. I have a team of wellness and mastery all-stars that support me, including TWO chiropractors (one for my skeletal system, one that specializes in balancing my nervous system), an acupuncturist, a massage therapist, a breathwork healer, my favorite inspiring yoga teachers, shamanic elders, a Reiki master, a mastermind group, and OF COURSE a transpersonal hypnotherapist trained in the same modality I am :)
WE ARE ALL IN THIS WORK TOGETHER.
When we all, collectively, focus on clearing and upleveling our individual conscoiusnesses, the collective consciousness shifts. We are all on a parallel process. We all have different gifts and insights, and it's imperative to share them with eachother. The part about doing the work yourself comes with the responsibility of deciding what actions you are going to take. Are you going to seek out guidance and support for the places your inner wisdom has already let you know need some extra attention? Are you going to offer up your gifts in the service of helping others to uncover their own personal greatness? Are you going to choose not to take responsbility for things that are out of your control (like someone else's reactions), so that you have more energy to focus on what is in your control - your own personal evolution and mastery?
This is an epic journey we are on. The work we do on our own body, mind, emotions, and spirit ripples out in incredible ways. Don't doubt the importance of your own self-care. It's like when you are on an airplane and the flight attendant instructs that in case of an emergency you must put your own oxygen mask on before helping anyone else with theirs. If you don't take care of your own needs, your life force is extinguished, literally or metaphorically, and then you will definitely not be able to serve the world as you are meant to. And boy does this world need you.
So go and do your work! The world needs you. I need you. And I'm right there beside you.
In service and love,
When I am in a good mood, I radiate. When I am not, I can feel like a dark and heavy cloud. As an empath, I am highly sensitive to the subtle energies within me and other living beings, and this can lead to both blissful highs and heart-breaking lows. I've had a lot of practice at learning how to get out of a funk. Here are some of my tips:
1. Figure out the message of your mood.
Before being able to move through something, we need to acknowledge and listen to it. Our moods are more than random occurrences. The rise in the diagnosis and medicalization of mood disorders can make a person think they are crazy to experience variability in moods. Don't worry, you're not crazy. But it's important to remember that if we don't try to understand our negative experiences, we are doomed to repeat them out of ignorance.
It's valuable and important to take a moment to investigate what possible causes for your funk is. Was it a behavior that you or someone else did? Was it a recurring thought of yours? Could this actually be someone else's mood that you are sensitive to and picking up on? As much as possible, but without stressing about it, get the message of your mood. If it's something that you or someone else did or thought, you might want to spend 5-10 minutes processing it in a journal. If you're not sure, you might just ask "Is this my energy?" and notice what you hear/see/feel the answer to be. If it's not yours, often that information will come to you, and you can intend and visualize sending the energy back to the source.
Very important: once you get an idea about the message of your mood, get out of your head! Rumination, or obsessively thinking something through, leads to anxiety and depression. If you're intellectual and analytical like me, it can be hard to separate from the monkey mind. I find it extremely effective to visualize taking my brain out of my head and breathing my heart energy up into my skull. It sounds crazy, but it works - try it! Going into nature helps with this too - see step 4 below.
2. Set up a sacred space.
If you don't already, I suggest having a dedicated space in your home where you go to reflect, meditate, journal, pray, etc. on a regular basis. Sacred self-care ritual is an extremely valuable tool in nurturing the immediate and future reality you wish to experience.
Let this be a space in your home that is quiet and comfortable and fill it with things that inspire in you a feeling of calm and expansiveness - candles, photos, art, words, pieces of nature (crystals, rocks, shells, feathers, flowers etc), statues of deities if you like, and sage, palo santo, or incense - and whatever else speaks to your spirit! Be creative and intuitive. When you regularly do self-care activities in this space, specifically those that connect you to your higher power, and you utilize all your senses in these rituals, you anchor into your consciousness the association between being in this space, seeing these objects, smelling these smells, with a feeling of calm, connection, and inspiration.
When you are in a funk, whether you feel in the mood for it or not, sit in your sacred space, light a candle and your favorite scent. Even if you just sit there and stare for awhile, there will be some movement of energy. You can write in your journal, read some inspiring writing, sing, cry, pray, do whatever you need to, knowing that this is a safe space to feel and express. Once you let it out, you will be more open to receive the inspiration that flows to you in this space.
If you need some grounding while you are away from home and can't access your sacred space, you can carry sacred objects and regrounding tools with you. For example, I always burn sage in my office before and after private clients, and take rose water to my agency job where I spray the group therapy room. Simply smelling sage or rose water reminds my system what it feels like to feel positive and balanced.
3. Honor the hurt part of you.
Shaming ourselves for our bad moods, because we think we are supposed to be happy and positive all the time, is half the problem. Put a hand on your heart or on your cheek and give some nurturing to that part of you that is not feeling good. Like you're talking to a child who needs love, let that part of you know that you understand what they are going through, that you love them, and that it's all going to be ok. In my experience of working with regression hypnotherapy, so much comes back to the necessary healing of the inner child. Simply using the image of your inner child helps you connect to the vulnerable and innately good part of you, which inspires the self-love that can often help to create an emotional and energetic shift. I keep a photo of myself as a baby in my sacred space to help me connect to this important healing quality. Additionally, I find that when you use words to nurture that part of you, you end up channeling a lot of wisdom from your higher self. As you are in this state, you can ask that higher part of you what else you might do from the next step below that will help you deal with your mood.
4. Get active.
Whatever kind of funk you're in, the fact is that energy has to get moving. There are so many ways to achieve this, and you can ask deep within yourself which will serve you best in the moment (even if you don't feel like doing it!) and go with your instinct. One great option is physical activity - one of my psychology mentors once said to me that the cure for anxiety and depression is not xanex and prozac, it's simply physical exercise. If you can, getting out into nature is extremely beneficial, as the different elements react with your own body and nervous system to transmute negative energy and facilitate grounding and connection. Plus, the sense of awe and wonderment of nature has been shown to be an antidote to rumination, a major cause of anxiety and depression.
You can also get stagnant or overactive energy in the body balanced out by doing different breath work techniques (perhaps I'll write another post about all the options soon!). Being of service to another (person, animal, even plant!) is also extremely effective in spreading positivity both within and around you by getting you out of your brain and into your heart.
It is when we least want to do these things that we need to do them the most. Even if you are in the most stubborn of funks and can't seem to find your way out, know that in time it will most certainly shift, as all things in nature cycle. Remember, you have survived 100% of your hard days so far.
Let me know if you find these techniques helpful, or if you have any great ones that I missed!
Let's be honest. Even though the holidays have the potential to be a joyful time filled with love and connection, it can also be really stressful. There is a lot of pressure to have a Hallmark card kind of holiday, but in my experience most people's family get togethers don't look like they do on the Pillsbury crescent commercials. In fact, a lot of people dread getting together with family for the holidays.
While we can love our families and want to celebrate together, the truth is that getting the family together tends to cause old patterns of behavior to emerge, stress levels to increase, and coping skills to be discarded when we are triggered. Not only does the potential of revisiting family drama during the holidays create stress, the constant activity of the season can feel overwhelming and lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and loneliness.
There are a few things you can do to make the holidays emotionally easier for everyone. This will require your intention and commitment. It's easy to get drawn into our old stuff, especially if we haven't healed fully yet, so it's important to set conscious intentions beforehand. Remember, we are only able to control our own behavior, but if you set your own intention to follow these 4 tips, the holidays will go more smoothly for you and everyone around you. When we heal ourselves, we heal our family system without even trying (in fact, in my experience, this is the case more so than if we explicitly try to heal another).
1. Remind yourself of what you are grateful for.
While it may sound cliche, an attitude of gratitude is going to bolster you during this holiday season. Although most people associate the holidays with the idea of gratitude, the act of being grateful sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. This time of year can often leave us feeling like we need more - more food, more presents, more events, more love, more alone time, etc. When we focus on what we think is lacking, it is inevitable that we will feel depleted, cheated, and/or defeated. Not only does this suck for ourselves, lacking awareness about this can lead to us taking our feelings out on family members, which just fuels the fire of unhappiness for everyone.
Instead, take some time every day to pause and make a mental or written list of 5 things you're grateful for that day. For example, rather than focusing on how stressful travel is, think about how amazing it is that we can get to the people we love so easily. Let go of that comment your relative makes about your current dating or employment status, and focus instead on the delicious food they took time to make for your enjoyment. Instead of focusing on how shitty it is to hear family members argue, connect to gratitude for the fact that these people are still alive and in contact with one another, which means the opportunity for healing and growth is still possible (even if it doesn't happen away).
Studies show that gratitude increases a person's level of happiness. Gratitude is actually a protective mechanism - when we train ourselves to align with positive, grateful feelings we are less affected by negative situations.
2. Be generous with your heart, rather than your wallet.
Hey, if you're a millionaire and can spend a lot of money on gifts for your loved ones - go for it! For most of us, though, the financial pressure of the holidays is real and stressful. When we overspend we feel guilty and resentful of the people we've spent money on. And the truth is, showing our love through unbridled consumerism is kind of hollow. Let go of the idea that how many presents you buy is a reflection of how much you love someone. Think back to your most favorite gifts you've received - I bet they were more sentimental than flashy.
Let yourself be generous in other, more fulfilling ways. Focus on offering your loved ones quality time, sincere compliments, help with something they need assistance accomplishing, and creative gifts from the heart, like an art project, a heartfelt letter, or a framed photo. Of course, money is a form of energy exchange, and we can indeed send positive energy to others with the help of money. But I encourage you to do this in a thoughtful way. Rather than buying a random sweater or tie, get your family member something they've needed to help them achieve their goals - maybe some creative supplies, a healing session, or a coaching package. Or buy them a ticket to an experience you know they will appreciate and remember forever.
In the end, people remember the gifts that are connected to real emotions. Plus, the act of really thinking about what would make another person happy makes us happy, too. So let your love for your family (as much as they drive you crazy!) direct your actions rather than the pressure to buy more.
3. Remember - we're all doing the best we can.
Yeah, your parents relationship may be a mess, your aunt may be an alcoholic, your brother might have anger issues, and you might still throw temper tantrums at age 30 - BUT - you are all doing the best you can. When we really understand this we are able to connect with a little more softness and compassion around family dynamics. With this awareness, we can learn to forgive ourselves and our family members for our mistakes and shortcomings.
Your parents were never given a manual for how to raise you. They could only teach you what they themselves were taught. Just like you, they weren't given a perfect road map for how to live life. They did the best they could with what they had, just like you are doing right now. Have compassion for the fact that they may not have been given the tools for how to have healthy relationships, how to communicate effectively, how to express emotions, or how to cope with life's stressors in a healthy way. Think about a person who, due to a genetic malfunction, is born with no legs. You don't get angry at that person for not having legs. It's not their fault, and getting angry about what they are lacking is a waste of energy and alienates you from love and connection. Remember this when you are faced with a family member who doesn't have the capacity for something you want from them.
We are all just doing the best we can, and all we can do is work on ourselves and offer love to others as they (hopefully) do the same. Even more important, we can offer love to them even if they aren't working on themselves - they may not yet have the capacity of awareness for their issues or they may not be ready for change. Everyone heals on their own schedule, and trying to fight that is a losing battle. Again, all we can do is focus on healing ourselves and that in itself will have effects on others without us even having to try.
4. Don't spend time with your crazy family - get a new family!
I'm only half kidding on this one.
In the busy holiday season where so much is asked of us, it is imperative that we carve out some alone time. It's easy to get swept up in the whirlwind of activity, but this can leave us feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Self-care is essential for helping us to stay grounded and true to our authentic selves. You have probably already done a lot of work on yourself to heal childhood wounds, but being around family can trigger old patterns of behavior that overshadow your new coping skills. It's important to take some alone time to reconnect with your present day wise self that is separate from your past family dynamics.
Going back to tip #2, allow yourself to be generous from your heart towards yourself. Give yourself the gift of a massage, a therapy session, a solo trip to the movies, etc. When you are visiting family, be sure to take solo walks, go to a local yoga class, or just lock yourself in a room by yourself for an hour so you can meditate or do your spiritual ritual. Connecting to self-love through self-care activities will help you feel stronger around people who make you question your sanity.
It's also a great thing to remember that as adults we can choose whom we call family. While it's wonderful to connect with the family we grew up with, and that lifetime bond certainly deserves care and attention, it's also important to consider who else in your life you can count on in this deep way. Most of us have figured out that we can't rely on our family members to fulfill all of our needs (or any one person to fulfill every need, for that matter). So give yourself permission to create a larger concept of family - one that includes the family you grew up with but also incorporates best friends, soul siblings, and (healthy) romantic partners. Make an effort to spend time with these important people in your life so that you can feel love and connection in a broader sense.
The bottom line is that making time to ground yourself and connect to your heart will help you easily access these 4 tips so you can have a smooth holiday season.
If you are looking for more support in healing old family issues, check out my hypnotherapy and energy healing offerings which are extremely effective in working through old blocks that have kept you from feeling love and joy in the present. Prepare yourself for the holiday season by giving yourself the gift of healing, in whatever way that looks for you. Listen to your inner wisdom - you know what you need!
Just in case anyone was wondering - I love my family!
Hi guys! Love ya!
I am a student of the human experience, and in this role I have learned a lot about the behaviors and experiences of individuals, societies, and families. There is no perfect family. Every family has dynamics that cause joy and those that cause frustration and possibly pain. You can love your family in spite of, and even because of, any issues you've had.
It is the nature of family relationships to provide us with a container for growth, and this includes both great feeling and not-so-great feeling lessons. So don't feel bad about sometimes being annoyed with your family - it doesn't mean you love them any less, it just means you are accepting reality and becoming aware of opportunities for your own growth. I encourage you to take these opportunities so you can intentionally begin to create a life that fills you up with more love, joy & wellness of mind, body & spirit :)
Have you been feeling it? The last month has been a time of huge shift. Issues and patterns from the past that we thought we’d already mastered are coming back in full force so that we can move further beyond in order to create a new reality for ourselves. It can feel so frustrating when it seems like we are being dragged back into old issues, but it’s important to remember that there is always a deeper understanding we can gain to assist us in expanding and evolving to our highest potential. Also remember, emotions are energy in motion (which is affected by this full moon and other astrology!) and motion is change. It is in continually changing that we are empowered.
Letting go of old fear & doubt.
This potent period has brought up a lot of my own self-doubt and fear. As I embark on new relationships and businesses, I have been bumping up against old stories and feelings of guilt and inadequacy. I find that starting new projects (whether professional or personal) naturally invites introspection and self-assessment as we explore what it is that is unique and original about ourselves that the other might be drawn to. While this is a great opportunity to feel awe and appreciation for ourselves, the reality is that this triggers many of us to get knocked down by fear and self-doubt.
For me, a lot of doubt has come up about my work. For one, my days are not structured in the regular 9-5 way that I was taught is a responsible and respectable way of contributing to the world. Right now I don’t have a set daily schedule, and I weave teaching, healing sessions, networking, writing, editing, yoga, friends, errands, beach time, and nap time in whatever way I feel like. I could be better at self-discipline in certain areas, but the truth is I am staying on top of creating and managing a lot of different moving pieces. But because I don’t get paid a salary by someone else, and because I don’t get paid for the hours I spend planning, writing, connecting, etc. I’ve realized that this time I spend with myself, going into myself to bring something new forth, somehow doesn’t seem like it’s deserving of my value and respect, even though logically I know it is. Somehow, I have a lot of guilt about this time I spend in quiet creation.
What if I'm just not creative?
I have been getting so many messages from the universe lately about tapping into my potential as a creator. The thing is, I haven’t thought I was creative for a long time. During childhood and adolescence I was really creative - I danced, played the violin, painted and drew, and wrote poetry and short stories. As a teenager, a lot of this was tinged with the feelings of loneliness and melancholy that was characteristic of my depression at the time. When I began taking antidepressants at 17, most of my creative motivation faded. I assumed that I was only creative because I was depressed.
Fast forward to the present day over a decade later, and I am in so many ways feeling fulfilled and connected, but I still struggle with the idea that I can be creative and that my creativity has positive value. I do still have some creative outlets as hobbies (dance, jewelry making). But when it comes to work, the idea of expressing my originality brings in doubt and fear of rejection. If I am truly a CREATOR as I have been told is my soul purpose, do I really have what it takes to live this highest version of myself? Is what is unique about me enough? Do I even know how to create?
What it really means to be a Creator.
What I’ve realized is that creation is so much more than just making art or music. We create with each thought, each decision, each interaction we have. There are truly infinite ways to be creative in all areas of life, and many of these already come so naturally to us, but this creativity hasn’t necessarily been recognized or validated.
As I’ve embarked on starting my private healing practice, which means creating healing content, expressing my unique truth and gifts, and creating avenues to getting my message out, I’ve realized that I actually AM super creative.
Creativity is simply Spirit moving through me! Which means the time I spend consciously creating is an act of love and devotion to myself, others, and the Universe, and this should be valued and respected. Creativity is evolution, awakening, honing and healing. Creativity is being resourceful, creating new solutions for old problems. There is creativity in communication and cooperation. There is creativity in spiritual practice and ritual. Creativity is our power. And of course, we are powered by Spirit.
Once I realized this, some of that long held guilt and inadequacy about living in a way that’s different from the old societal system just fell away. I feel like now I can tap a little deeper into the unbound potential in my heart for self-love and acceptance, which is going to fuel my drive for creativity. We ALL have that potential. Creating is believing in ourselves and our ability to make something new. Creativity is coming in to ourselves with love in order to come out into the world with love.
I made this short video for you to use for your own energy healing. While it's extremely powerful to receive healing sessions from a skilled practitioner in any number of different energy healing modalities, like acupuncture, reiki, crystals, chakra healing, marma, polarity, EFT, etc., the truth is that we all have the power to heal our own energy by ourselves. We can perform energy healing on ourselves even if we are not initiated or experienced in formal modalities. We can promote mental, emotional, physical, and energetic balance within ourselves simply through the use of focused breathing and visualization.
Check out my video for a short meditation for energy healing to promote grounded calm and inspiration. I am always open to hearing feedback, and I'd love to know if you enjoy this video!
Wishing you Love, Joy & Wellness,
Who doesn’t want happiness? Especially for people who have experience with depression, which can be scary, isolating, and overwhelming, the idea of happiness is something that we are naturally drawn to.
There is a positivity movement going on right now, promoting positive thinking and affirmations, and all that is great. However, there is a potential trap that many people fall into when trying to deal with their depression or low states, and that is the avoidance of unhappiness.
Now this is really important: Avoidance of pain is NOT the path to happiness.
If we try to block out or resist or run away from our negative emotions, we are denying a natural part of ourselves, and this denial leads to feelings of guilt and shame when those negative feelings inevitably come up. The raw truth is that sadness, fear, grief and all that uncomfortable stuff are a natural part of existence. All the affirmations in the world are not going to magically make those states go away from our lives. Now, I use affirmations myself, and they are certainly useful in focusing our intention and aligning our energy with our highest selves. However, if it is our expectation that we will reach a point when we don’t ever feel uncomfortable, then we are fighting a losing battle.
Where we CAN find comfort and relief is in the acceptance of all the part of ourselves, the "good" and the "bad"; the acceptance of the reality of existence, which is that both of these dualities naturally exist. Once we accept this law of nature, we don't have to fight anymore. We can avoid the trap of getting stuck in one or the other of dualities - either by grasping at the positive feelings or resisting the negative ones. Through awareness and acceptance of the totality of experience we can find a balance point in the middle. Again, resistance of the reality of our situation is what anchors us in pain. If we can begin to see our emotional states like clouds in the sky that eventually pass away, we can begin to breathe a little easier. We can even learn to see these "negative" emotional states useful and we can learn to be grateful for them.
To learn more about finding emotional balance and wellbeing, check out my workshop series coming up in July! Click here for info.
I want you to banish the word ‘should’ from your life.
The word ‘should’ has a negative vibration. Just say it a few times in your head or out loud and you can feel it. It doesn’t feel good. It creates a heaviness in the heart and stress in the mind. ’Should’ implies that we aren’t doing something that we need to be doing. ‘Should’ suggests that we are behaving badly. With the word ‘should’ often comes feelings of guilt and shame, and the feeling that we’re not good enough in the present moment (which, by the way, is the only place life exists).
‘Should’ also gets in the way of relationships. If you tell your partner they should be doing something that they’re not, or vice versa, chances are your mate is going to become defensive and close up. Whether from ourselves or others, when we are told that we ‘should’ do or be something we’re not already, we feel like we are not being accepted for who we are, in this present moment (the only place life exists!).
Now, that is not to say that we do not need to do the personal work of evolving and becoming better versions of ourselves. I’m not suggesting that one should (there’s that word again) remove ‘should’ from their vocabulary because I want to let people get off the hook for living in ways that don’t serve themselves or the people around them. I believe it is our duty as souls on this earth at this time to do the work to move from limited states of consciousness towards expansion. That’s what I think brings the deepest fulfillment in life. This process, however, needs to be supported by a certain level of discipline and key behavioral components - like not using the word ‘should.’
There are other, kinder ways to motivate ourselves and other people to operate at our highest potentials. Words carry vibration, just like anything else, and research has shown that the energy charge of words affects living matter (check out Marasu Emoto’s work). We know ‘should’ carries a negative charge (just notice how your heart center feels when you focus on that word). What are some words that are more loving and compassionate? How might we speak to someone whom we are guiding from the openness of our hearts? What comes to mind for me are phrases like, “you might benefit from…” “It would probably serve you to…” “it’s a good idea to…” “you could think about doing….” “it would help me if you…” “I want you to…” “it feels great when you…” “you have the power to…” etc etc.
So, I’m not going to tell you that you should or shouldn’t do anything (obviously). I’m just suggesting that it might assist you to remain at a higher vibrational level - the place where love and joy live - if you eliminate the words that make you feel bad and start using the words that make you feel good.
Love, Joy, & Wellness,
Have you ever had the experience of being physically in one location, but your mind is traveling a mile a minute somewhere else? Such a separation of mind and body is a normal experience for many people. Our society has convinced us that we need to be in a constant state of productivity, and the fear of “not getting it all done” prevents us from being able to relax into the here and now. However, to not be aware of our experience in the present moment means that we are missing out on what it means to really live authentically.
Life only happens in the present moment. Our power lies in the present moment, as does our humanity and our ability to tap into the essence of what it means to be alive. Given the world we live in, it makes sense that we have developed the mental habits of analyzing the past and anticipating the future. The thing is, these habits are not healthy, nor do they reflect the reality of life as it currently exists. Not being present increases anxiety, which not only affects the nervous and endocrine systems of the body, it prevents you from being fully engaged in life. Getting stuck in the mind’s ability to jump between the past and the future disconnects us from the fact that it is primarily through our bodies - our senses - that we exist and interact in the life in this moment in space and time.
Luckily, there is an easy way to tap into the present moment and to begin to live more authentically.
What does it really mean to be present? Our experience of any situation is determined by how we process sensory input through our senses - smell, taste, touch, sound, and sight. By paying attention to each of these senses, we can connect fully to what is happening right here, right now. Paying attention to each specific sense allows for direction and concentration that make this process easier. Anchoring ourselves to the present moment through our senses then opens up our ability to connect with our sixth sense - the subtle perception of the energy of the universe.
Instantly Connect with the Present Moment: 6 Sense Meditation
You can do this meditation wherever you are, whether sitting, lying down, standing, or walking. If you’ve never meditated before it will be easier to start in a stationary position, either sitting or reclining. Unless you are doing a walking meditation, close your eyes.
Take a deep inhale and a deep exhale. Allow your energy to drop down from the mental sphere and into the physical realm.
Begin to become aware of your body’s position in space. Feel the parts of yourself that make contact with the surface below you. Notice the feeling of your clothing on your skin. Feel the hairs on your arms and on your head. Feel the air around you, noticing the presence of absence of a breeze. Notice how your body responds to your breath. Feel your belly expand and your chest lift on the inhale, notice your belly contract and chest lower on the exhale. Continue paying attention to the bodily sense of feeling for one minute.
Now, connect to your sense of hearing. Notice any sounds that you become aware of as they travel through space into your inner ears. Try to hear sounds as far away as possible. Notice any sounds you hear outside, letting your awareness move from sound to sound, resisting the urge to create a story about any one sound. Begin to bring your awareness closer to you, noticing any sounds in the room around you. Become aware of the sound of your inhale and the sound of your exhale. Connect with the sound of the thoughts inside your head. Be aware of the sense of sound for one minute.
Bring your awareness now to your senses of smell and taste. First noticing any scents that may be lingering in the room, or on your body. The smell of your shampoo, deodorant, or perfume. Maybe no scent at all. Notice the sensations in your mouth, becoming aware of any lingering tastes, perhaps from something you recently ate or drank. Notice the natural taste of your saliva. Pay attention to each sense, smell and taste, for one minute each.
Allow your attention to move to your sense of sight. If eyes are open, notice the colors, textures, images around you. Notice anything that is moving, seeing how movement changes color and light. If your eyes are closed, notice any colors or shapes behind the eye lids. Perhaps you see moving patterns behind your eyelids, or images in your third eye. Connect with your sense of vision for one minute.
Connect now to your sixth sense, your subtle perception ability. Become aware of the energy moving through your body in the form of you breath, you blood circulating through your system, neurochemicals sending messages through your nervous system. Imagine that you can feel each of the trillions of cells that make up your body vibrating with energy. Become aware of the energy outside your body, moving towards your awareness through different vibrational frequencies. Bring your attention to the center of your chest, and visualize a white light. As you inhale, imagine this light expanding through you, and as you exhale feel it soften out beyond the boundary of your body. Continue this visualization until you feel ready to let go of visualization and simply rest in the spaciousness of your awareness, being aware of the energy inside and around you.
To come out of the meditation, connect back to your breath, bow your chin towards your chest and flex your feet. Make a fist with your right hand, place it under your navel and cover it with your left hand, and fold forward, grounding your energy back into the body.
Originally published at www.bodylocal.com
Yoga teachers will often reference the chakras in class, but for those students unfamiliar with the word, chakras can sound like something esoteric and far removed from everyday yoga practice. The practice of asana, or the physical postures of yoga, is designed to promote balance in the body’s energy, and this is often achieved through a focus on the chakras.
Chakras are energy centers that lie along the central line of the body. In Sanskrit, the word chakra translates to “wheel,” and refers to a spinning sphere or vortex of bioenergetic activity, which emanates from the major nerve ganglia that emerge from the spinal column. There are seven primary wheels stacked in a column of energy that rises from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. There are secondary chakras in all the joints of the body (a reason why it’s important not to lock in the joints during asana practice), but the seven major chakras correlate with what is often referred to as the “energetic super highway” of the body that runs through the center of the body. The chakra system is a dynamic and intricate network that provides a way of understanding the multiple facets of life.
Chakras are not physical parts of the body but rather, are mapped within the subtle energy body and encompass physical, emotional, and energetic aspects. Like emotions, they cannot be seen or touched, yet they exert influence on the physical body. The chakras affect and are affected by our physical posture, emotions, and life situations. They influence our glandular processes, body shape, chronic physical ailments, thoughts, and behavior. Because the chakras play a major role in the connection between mind, body and energy, they can be considered a portal through which a practitioner can gain self-knowledge and inner balance. When the chakras are out of balance, we experience disease in a myriad of mind-body functions. Through the practice of yoga, pranayama, meditation, and visualization, we can influence our chakras, and thereby transform our daily living.
In order to balance each chakra energetically, it is essential to first create alignment in the physical body. Although the chakras are not physical entities, they are often said to have physical locations within the body. Looking at imbalances in these parts of the body can hint at imbalances in the corresponding chakras; it follows, then, that tailoring a yoga practice to focus on the parts of the body that correlate to a given chakra can help to balance that energetic center.
The lower three chakras (Muladhara, Svadhisthana, and Manipura), which are located in the lower half of the body, correspond to our relationship with the material world, our sexuality, and our sense of self. These chakras influence our ideas about who we are, how we see ourselves, and our self-esteem. The ways in which these three chakras affect our life energy manifest as feelings in the fourth chakra, or the heart chakra (Anahata). The heart chakra is the center of the chakra system and bridges the world of matter (represented by the lower three chakras) and the world of the spirit (the upper three chakras). The higher chakras (Vishuddha, Ajna, and Sahasrara), located from the chest to the top of the head, influence how we communicate and relate to others, our emotional wisdom, and our feelings of connection to a greater force. Although each of the seven chakras reflects specific life issues and levels of consciousness, they are all interrelated and interdependent. An imbalance in one chakra will likely affect other areas of the system as well.
CLICK HERE for a chart that illustrates the physical location of each chakra, what energetic aspects each influence, and how you can physically align yourself to promote energetic balance.
Using this knowledge, you can scan your body to notice any physical imbalances that might hint at energetic imbalances. For instance, are your shoulders rounded forward and your chest concave? Do you experience difficulty in connecting and communicating with others? It might be that your heart and throat chakras are out of balance (remember, an imbalance in one chakra will affect another). The best way to start an in-depth focus on alignment is to start in Mountain Pose. Stand in Mountain Pose and go through each tip for physically balancing the chakras. Afterward, notice how you’ve physically changed from your normal stance, and notice if you feel any different emotionally and energetically.
You can use the wisdom of the chakra system to focus your physical asana practice in a way that will help you to achieve balance in your mind and body. In this way, you can personalize your practice to address your own personality and needs. By using your asana practice to connect to the physical, emotional, and energetic aspects of your being, you will undoubtedly gain new insights and understand yourself better so that you can achieve more balance, peace, and joy in your life.
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