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The End of End Goals.

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I used to have this list…

This compiled list of end goals. Things I believed I needed to accomplish, achieve and attain to make my experience of living a meaningful and complete one. This list was generated by many a messages outside of myself of what a good life is supposed to look like, and by so many people, all the time, asking me what I wanted, what I’m working toward, what my goals are. And so to have a response, I started to craft some things that seemed obvious enough.

Things like: a life partner, a family, a home, a fulfilling career and exotic travel.

And as I clung to my end goals, I also found myself in this perpetual state of inadequacy,  feeling like I was missing the mark and doing life wrong, because things weren’t playing out “according to plan.” And so I’ve started to re-evaluate this whole goal setting system that so many of us are so faithful to, and am coming to terms with the fact that long-term goals aren’t actually my style.

What is more my style is being open and trusting of whatever is in the highest for my journey here. Which is whatever is here, right now. And being here, right now, instead of twelve steps ahead.

So, instead of having the end goal of a life partner, what I’m really interested in is the art of conscious loving. The practice and process of discovering how to do that, which I can do right now in this moment. The deliberate intention of showing up for myself and others in ways that feel safe and honest and honoring. That might look like having a life partner at some point, or that might look like a succession of beautiful souls that come in as perfect teachers for the evolution of my capacity to heal and learn and teach through loving. That might look like long stretches of singleness where I get to settle into loving myself, so that I get to remember that I’m perfectly enough, just as I am.

Instead of accomplishing a traditional, nuclear family, I’m more interested in the soul family that’s already here. Recognizing the humans that feel like home, and nurturing those connections with devotion. Maybe someday there will be a child, and a baby daddy to go along with it, and maybe there won’t be. I’ve let go of the need to control, decide, and know if/when/how that’s going down.

As far as a home goes, I’m becoming more and more aware that my home is on the inner plane. That home dwells in my heart, always with me. And as long as I can land down in my inner sanctuary, I can be much more flexible about my outer living conditions. I’ve lived in the same tiny apartment for the past 4.5 years, and it’s all the home I’ve needed all this time. I don’t always feel this way, especially when I’m forgetting that I can access my forever home just by getting quiet enough to feel it.

My work remains mainly goalless because its fluidity is what brings me joy. It adapts as I adapt, in ways that I can’t possibly foresee. As long as I’m showing up with genuine intention, love, and openness, I’m doing my job. And the forms my job take are privy to the inspiration of the present moment, and in that, I am continuously gratified.  

Travel… happens. And fortunately, a weekend away can do a whole lot to reset me, and so I don’t necessarily need extravagant travel goals to aim for. And if at some point a big, international journey becomes relevant and affordable, then what a beautiful surprise. And if that never is relevant for me, then I’m still legit and all good.

Living a goal-less existence feels like a rebellion against the patriarchy. The feminine flows. The feminine intuits. The feminine dances with what is. Planning and projecting has its merit, but we seem to be rather oversaturated with trying to solve everything before we’ve actually lived it. And then we feel stuck and sad and wrong and inadequate and bad because our crafted goals aren’t necessarily what’s in the higher plan for us. Or we accomplish our goals and still feel a sense of emptiness because the goals were never the answer to feeling good about ourselves and our lives.

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I’m not advocating that all people ditch their goals. I’m just revealing that a goal-driven existence may not be the path for all. And there’s nothing wrong with you either way. If long-term end goals keep you feeling grounded and purposeful and directed and happy, then they are working for you. If they make you feel like they make me feel, then F em! They are optional. And the Universe has your back, and will guide you where you need to be without so much effort of trying to figure it all out on your own, all the time.


May you be so trusting that you will receive all that’s meant for you.


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Discovering the True Virtue of Patience.

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P A T I E N C E has become my one-word mantra.


But it sure as hell hasn’t always been.

I used to think that patience was one of the worst things ever. As I previously understood it, patience was about not having what I wanted and having to just kind of wait around for when the time was right to have it, which may in fact be never. There was nothing fun or satisfying about that for me. I couldn’t find any relaxation in my understanding of patience, and so didn’t care to have much anything to do with it, the miserable state of being that I understood it to be.

But being chronically impatient wasn’t really working for me either.

And so some things happened in my life that got me seeking a revision to the age-old virtue. Instead of patience being an anticipation of something that isn’t here yet (and may never be), patience is actually about being okay with things exactly as they are.

Patience is not about the future, patience is about presence.

Now this, I can relax into. I can find myself here -- because here is all there is. And with this reappraisal of a word I’ve more or less abhorred for the better part of my existence, I’m now falling deeply in love.  


To be patient is to be calm. If you’re trying to be patient, the effort and angst that go along with the trying counteracts the simple allowing that patience requires. It’s not a state or quality to strive for, but a state to return to through awareness and acceptance of the moment. When we return to the now, we get to swim with the current, rather than against it, which is what we’re doing when we are wishing things to be some other way than they are. As long as there’s a desire for things to be different, patience and therefore peace, don’t stand a chance.  


Patience is not stagnation. It’s actually one of the best things we can offer ourselves for the most radical and positive shifts. Think about the difference between making decisions fueled by a desperate need for things to be otherwise, versus when they naturally arise from a calm trusting that all is happening in perfect order.

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Which leads me to my next feeling on the matter, which is that patience is a choiceAlbeit a pretty constant choice that requires a lot of re-remembering. We get to choose, over and over again to be aware of what our minds are doing. We get to choose to connect back to our breath, and discover something precious or intriguing in our immediate vicinity when we notice ourselves in discontentment, craving something that isn’t here.


This is why my mantra is only one word right now. To remind me that it’s really quite simple. And it doesn’t require being a hard-core yogi, or a meditating monk, or an enlightened prophet to be present and okay with what is. It’s something we all have access to. And it’s something that I, personally, need to be constantly reminded of. Hence the one-word mantra.


It’s been said that impatience is the root of violence and war. And when I think about how I feel when I’m experiencing impatience, it's irritation at best, which is most definitely a shade of violence.


And so think of it this way, when we make a choice for patience, genuine patience for how things are, just as they are, and how we are, just as we are, and how others are, just as they are, we are making a contribution to world peace. Because as within so without, and so it is.
 


May your now be your happy place.

again and again and again.

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A Letter to Myself.

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Dear One,

In case you forgot...

I really hope you know that you have earned your right to have what you desire in this life, simply by being alive. That you don’t need to prove yourself worthy of your desires, ever.

I really hope you know that the energy you put toward attaining your heart’s truth is your sacred mission and holy as f*ck.

I really hope you know that you have control over your frequency -- and that when you’re consciously elevating your vibration, you become an effortless channel of creative inspiration and a magnet for attracting those who are here to heal with you and grow with you and love with you.

I really hope you know that there are no shortcuts to frequency attunement. That every thought, every deed, every decision contributes to your vibrational pattern. That everything you consume carries its own frequency which then interacts with yours, and becomes the fabric of who you are and what you attract.

I really hope you know that it’s okay to go play in the dark sometimes, to dabble in the forgotten self, to consume harmful matter, so that you are able to experience contrast. Because contrast offers clarity.

I really hope you know that when you are choosing shadow play, aka making choices that contradict your deepest and truest desires and needs, you will experience pain, lethargy, sadness, frustration, and confusion.

I really hope you know that it’s up to you, always, always up to you, to get yourself back to a place of YUM. of YES. of I AM. of devotion to truth, to love, to you.

I really hope you know that you carry within you the resilience to get yourself back to YUM, no matter what it is you are recovering from.  

I really hope you know that short-term gratification will always be here to tempt you. That you are living in an empire that is ruled and fueled by seduction, that the force is undeniably strong, but not stronger than the purity that is ever-aglow in your mighty, sacred heart.

I really hope you know that everyone is doing their best. And that what everyone is doing is actually none of your business.

I really hope you know that YOU are your business. And that YOU get to choose whose business truly serves yours, and vice versa.

I really hope you know that the courage it takes to let go of that and those who are not in alignment with where your heart wants to head, runs so damn deep, that it waters the very root system of the most epic and divine creations that are stored within you, patiently awaiting their birthing season.  

I really hope you know that also stored within you is the quality of unconditional acceptance for that which you don’t have any control over-- like, the true heart’s desires of others, and the weather, and what your cats choose to bring you as gifts.

I really hope you know that you can ask for help. You can ask people, and you can ask Spirit. You can ask your spirit parents, and you can ask your spirit guides.

I really hope you know that you’re not in this alone. Alright girl? Ya just ain’t in this one alone.

I really hope you know that love will always set you free, and that it just takes a couple of moments of quiet and breath and stillness to return to that remembrance.

May you be more free than ever before.

Love,

Me

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Sex and The Shadow

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Alright, so check it: 

I’ve been doing a lot of reading, thinking, and feeling into two main life topics lately — Shadow work, and conscious sexuality.  Even though they became thought obsessions independently of one another, the deeper I get into my inquiry, the more I discover that their parallel occupation of my mind and heart are by no means coincidental.

 

Here’s why.

 

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The deal with the shadow is that it’s made up of our unconsciousness, until of course, it becomes illuminated.  Our shadow’s show up as our emotional triggers, judgments of others and ourselves, deeply entrenched belief systems that hold us back from our thriving. The shadow shows up as our idol worship (our glory can also be in our shadow, and manifests in what we admire and adore in others), our addictions, our self-sabotage and our self-abandonment. The purpose of our shadow is to wake our asses up. Any areas of unconsciousness will have control over us. And so by learning how to interpret the signs and signals of our shadows, we become more conscious, and thus, we become more free.

 

There are a lot of tips and tools for working with the shadow. In fact, I just developed a whole workshop on it that you can schedule, in the comfort of your own home with your favorite people, if you’re interested in delving deeper. But for the purpose of this post, I want to talk about the shadow and sexuality and how this overlap is becoming a profound gateway into my own healing and evolution, and can be into yours too.

 

I’ve been interested in the topic of sacred sexuality for several years now.  I’ve lightly dabbled in it, read some articles, practiced ritualistic intimacy a couple of times, though I hadn’t gone too deep into it for a couple of reasons. For starters, I was afraid I would never find anyone who wanted to really actually go there with me. And not having a willing partner who shares the desire to spiritually ascend through the act of lovemaking, can only take a girl so far. But, as the shadow teaches us, we attract people who mirror that which we are able and willing to hold within and for ourselves -- and so the more correct truth is that I’ve been afraid of experiencing that depth of intimacy and connection with a partner. Hence, the low-key dabbling.

 

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I’ve been doing a lot of deep work on my intimacy aversions, because, well, love is the thing that matters most in this life, and I want to do my best at it, and experience it to the fullest while I have the chance. And so this week, I decided to hit up the used book store and pick up a book on Modern-day Tantra (inspired by really old Hindu texts), and soak up some consecrated wisdom. As I’m reading, it’s all feeling so, “duh.” And not “duh” like,  “I know this stuff already” but “duh” like, “why wouldn’t we honor our sexuality and our mate with the highest of sacred intentions?” Which then brought me right into all of my sexual shadows, which includes no shortage of shame, insecurity, fear, guilt, despair, etc.

 

The more I read about sex as a holy offering, as an opportunity to merge from the sweetest and highest place within the self and to therefore become more enlightened as a result, the more I have to face how much I haven’t done that. And not that the sex I’ve had in my life hasn’t been wonderful and inspiring and pleasurable in many ways, but it definitely hasn’t been an intentional pursuit to spiritually evolve and awaken. And now that I know that it can be, and have practices and techniques at my fingertips, I just don’t know how I can go back to being unconscious in my deepest intimacies.

 

Money and sex are probably the two biggest collective shadows we grapple with as a people. And so I know that my sexual shadows are no different from most. They are also a lot less severe than many, and my heart truly aches for those who have experienced violent trauma and abuse in this realm. A lot of the pain and trauma we carry in regards to our sexuality is inherited from our parents and ancestors, and then perpetuated by all the systems in place that brainwash us with the most toxic messages and images about sex. Basically, for the most part, our sexual shadows aren't our fault, but they are our responsibility to heal. 

 

We have a lot of work to do as a collective to purify and make sacred again what is one of the most loving acts between people. And it all starts with confronting the shadow aspects within oneself. When the shadow is identified, owned, softened to, accepted, shared, and forgiven, we become free of the pain it once caused.

 

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And so now I’m studying this stuff, tending to my sexual shadows, and choosing to hold sacred intention for my sexual acts and relationships moving forward. By bringing the sacred in, the shadow matter can alchemize into profound power and energy. It may take some time and practice, but love always wins, ya know?

 

I want to leave you with an offering of a little something special I read about in my new book, Tantra: The Art of Conscious Loving, by Charles and Caroline Muir (highly recommended, easy reading)  — as a way to bring some divinity into your intimacy with your sexy person/people.

 

It’s called The Nurturing Meditation, and practiced by devoted Tantricas twice a day, morning and night.

 

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  • Starting from a spooning position (whomever is more stressed, or tired, or in need of more nourishment assumes the little spoon spot).

  • Next, begin to sync your breathing -- slow, deep breathing. Inhaling, pausing for a couple seconds at the top, exhaling, and pausing again at the bottom. Take the time needed to get into the same breath pattern with your beloved.

  • Next, you’re going to focus on each of your chakras, one by one, and take three deep, synchronized breathes into each one, together, in unison. You’ll start down at your root chakra (at the base of your spine) and work your way all the way up to the crown. You don’t need to be a chakra expert for this exercise to heal and invigorate you and your sweetheart. You just need to know where each of them are, so if you don’t know, look up a diagram, and memorize the 7 locations.

  • Once you’ve made it all the way to your crown chakra, you can turn over and face one another, look into each other’s eyes and see the person with whom you’re offering yourself so tenderly. Soak in the beauty of the person you’ve chosen as your intimate lover. Know that they are reflecting your own beauty right back to you.

This mediation is also recommended as a way to purify energy after a fight and get back into harmony with one another.
 

Alright y’all, Ima leave it at that.

 

May your sex be sacred and your shadow embraced into the fullness of your whole, beautiful self.

 

Peace you.

 

<3

 

 

 

 

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The Letting Go Lifestyle

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Sweet Human,

The other day when I was shopping at the local natural foods co-op, I allowed myself to get a lil' somethin' somethin' extra special. I traveled over to the aromatherapy section, ready to drop $15 on a tiny bottle filled with something magical. There’s this one variety that I’m particularly drawn to (Kate's Magik) because the aromatic blends have exciting intentions associated with them. Things like, Healing the Heart, Peace and PurificationFertility and Manifestation, Fearlessness and Confidence, Sensual Lust and Passion, etc. etc. (there’s about 20 total). I stood in front of the display, taking a sniff from each of the little bottles, feeling into the energy of the intention that each one offers, and asking myself, “which of these do I need more so than any of the others?”

It’s a really hard question, mostly because I had to seperate my wants from my needs. I WANT to manifest the shit out of my life. I WANT to feel confident as much as humanly possible. I WANT sensual lust and passion to be a really regular occurrence in my body. But what I need… what I really, truly need is support in letting go (which just so happens to be one of the varieties, a blend of rose otto + cedarwood).

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Here’s why: Because letting go is the gateway to all that other stuff. It’s quite literally, and obviously, the only way to make space for what we actually want to experience. And as you are well aware and acquainted, these minds are quite the coyote tricksters… in many senses, but particularly in the sense that they love to hang on to shit for dear life. To things, people, ideas, and beliefs that are causing discomfort. It’s almost like, the more painful the thought, the more the mind wants to chew on it, dissect it, and analyze it to a pulp. The more that thought is not in alignment with feeling good and whole and pure and connected, THAT’S the one the mind seems to want to wrestle with in every opportune moment.

Many religions and spiritual practices are built around addressing this very thing.

So what can we do about it? Well, I’ll just tell you what I’ve been doing about it lately. I’ve been monitoring my moods. When my mood gets funky, it 100% of the time can be sourced to some mindset that is not an empowering one. When I have broken through to a place of awareness and witnessing my mind tryna play dirty, I can ask myself, “is this thought serving me right now?” If the answer is no, which it always is, I do my best to take an inspired action that counteracts the default setting of my mind (it just defaults to negative, what can I say), and I summon the courage and intention to let go of whatever it’s so desperately clinging to. Action is the key here, because it’s really hard to think yourself into a new place. Sometimes I release through deep breathing, often times through moving my body, I like to take showers and ask spirit to wash all stagnant, unserving energy out of my aura. I’ve been doing a lot of tapping lately. And now I have the pleasure of rubbing my “letting go” oil on my heart and remembering again and again, a hundred times a day, that letting go is liberation.

*Also, just a reminder, that our trickster minds are like innocent children and don’t do well with shame and judgement and blame. That’s usually what is needing to be released in the first place. So when you catch the trickster, it helps to be a sweetie to it, and have a little chuckle, “oh mind, you’re so silly with your default modes! But hey, I still love you.”

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Letting go does not mean shutting down, turning off, or building a wall. It’s quite the opposite really. It’s about staying WIDE OPEN to the energies that are here to actually support and serve. It’s about having enough space in your own heartspace to be of loving service to other hearts who really need it. It’s about releasing age-old behaviors that haven’t done any good the first 647 times that you engaged in them, and finally choosing to put them down, trusting that you’re letting them go for something SO MUCH higher. Lighter. Yummier. WAY more fucking TRUE.

My best gal leads a full-moon circle which is the ultimate time for setting intentions for releasing. A bunch of powerful ladies, gathered in a circle, getting really clear on what’s ready to be purged. And with the power of our collective voices and consciousness, we throw it into the cauldron of love, to be composted back into the earth. This particular friend and I are always talking about living a lifestyle of Letting Go.It’s really powerful to do a community ritual like this on the monthly, and it’s also something that can be a part of our everyday flow. We can ask ourselves before bed, “What am I ready to release from this day?” and keep ourselves so crystal clear.

When we give ourselves permission to let it all go, we are giving ourselves permission to have it all.

So, my question for you is, what are you ready to let go of?

 

Would love to hear what ya got.

Peace and Release.

 

 

 

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Mindful Money

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Today, I want to talk about money. 

So I used to be the kind of person who avoided my financial situation as much as I possibly could. I would spend blindy, have 0 tracking/management systems in place for my bills and expenses, only check my bank account balance when the anxiety was so overwhelming that I couldn’t avoid it any longer, I used credit cards, and never, and I mean NEVER reviewed my bank activity. I didn’t want to see it, because I carried so much shame about my lack of control over the whole damn thing, and because I didn’t have control over it, it controlled me. I actually can’t even believe how I made it this far with that level of financial negligence. (THANK YOU UNIVERSE).

 

I have been choosing, very slowly, to become more mindful of my financial health. It started with making a simple spreadsheet of all my bills so that I can actually see how much I owe every month (I literally didn’t do this until age 30). Then I started tracking all of my income, so that I can see what kind of abundance I’m bringing in, to the penny. Every month I add my earnings to my spreadsheet so I can see how things are developing from one month to the next. That feels really good. Then I started tracking my business related expenses and plugging that into the spreadsheet so that I can deduct it come tax time. I then started checking my bank account frequently, and reviewing my activity for the week. I added “due dates” to my bills spreadsheet so I know exactly when to expect what to come out, and to make sure I have what I need to stay above water. Then I got really bold and started checking my bank account every morning before I got out of bed. Just to know, today I have X amount of dollars. Cool. No mysteries, no stressin’ if this swipe of the ol’ debit card is going to overdraft me or not.

 

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And yo, just to be clear, this growing level of attention and awareness to my finances didn’t happen in a week or even a month. This was about a year-long process. Which included falling off the wagon, and getting back up on it, many a times over.

 

And, each of these steps was met with a great deal of resistance. Especially the initial ones. For people who don’t have money shame and financial shadows, it may be hard to relate to this. But for those of you who have struggled with financial demons, who cringe at the mere thought of scrolling through your bank activity, I want to let you know that each baby step toward more financial awareness is a big step toward more overall health, freedom, and opportunity. Because wearing the blindfold is like this dull, nagging hurt, that doesn’t go away and manifests as stagnation and fear and resistance in other areas of life. But when we face the shit that scares us, we heal ourselves of those constant aches, and free ourselves to live our lives in HELL YEAH fashion.

 

Also, every time I put a little bit more attention and energy into my money matters, I receive a money miracle. For example, yesterday morning I spent a couple hours tending to, organizing, and spreadsheeting my finances, and within the same time frame, I received an email from the IRS saying that I get a refund on something that I wasn’t expecting a refund for, and two new requests for client sessions.

 

Where our attention goes, energy flows.

 

That’s just how it goes!

 

This money stuff is a means to its own end, AND it’s a wonderful metaphor for anything that we are keeping repressed in the dark. When we can courageously take a look at the shit, and take one little baby action step at a time to self-correct, then we are freeing ourselves of all that nagging, anxious space that that thing is taking up -- making us so much more available to being present, grateful, healthy, abundant and kind.

 

And just a reminder, the only way to heal the shadow stuff is to love ourselves through it. Is it going to be scary? yes. And can we be scared, and loving to ourselves at the same time?

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Asbo-fucking-lutely.  

 

AND

 

Sometimes this stuff is too terrifying to face alone!  Mine certainly was. I had to consult with a lot of different people that I trusted about their money systems before I could tackle my own. I needed help, and I had to get myself to a real humble place in order to ask for it. And boy was that the best thing I could have done for myself.

 

Because now, we have a healthy relationship. Me and my money are homies. Which means it has way more of a chance to grow and flourish because it’s getting loved up on a regular basis.

 

And, I might fall off the wagon again. And when/if that happens, I’ll dust myself off, get back on, knowing that I’m one mistake closer to the life of my dreams.

 

K, that’s my two cents for the day. (pun intended).

 

May we all have the courage to love ourselves through the scary stuff.

 

Xo.

 

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The Swing Of Being

I’ve been really into this show lately, it's called Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, where Jerry Seinfeld rides around in a fancy classic car with some famous hilarious person to go and get a cup a joe. Each episode is just like that, except a different car, different comedian, different coffee joint. I like it because it’s unscripted and natural, just two funny people being people, without any prefabricated agenda beyond coffee and conversation. It's light. It gives me good dreams. 

 

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Last night, I watched an episode with Howard Stern. I haven't had too much exposure to good ol' Howard, I just remember my mom was really into him, (she also thought Cosmo Kramer was the sexiest man alive… so yeah, quirky taste in men). But what I thought was so compelling about Stern in the 20 min. or so I got to witness of him on the show, is that he is as utterly arrogant as he is painfully insecure. Like squirm-worthy insecurity. Though unabashedly totally and completely out about all of it. This guy is not hiding any of himself. Even in my squirming, I felt refreshed. He made Seinfeld uncomfortable. I hadn't seen that yet. It was a lot to hold at once.  

 

And so Howard Stern got me thinking about my own polarizing experiences of myself. Are you someone who fluctuates between extreme self-confidence and extreme self-consciousness?

 

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Like one minute, you’re all, “DAMN. I OWN this life! Everything is happening! All of my dreams and desires are coming true! I am a magnet for GREATNESS. I am SO freaking motivated. Yessssss!!!”

 

And then maybe later that day, you’re like, “Shiiiiit. I don’t know what to do with my life. I can’t make any decisions. Who am I even? What do I even want? Does any of this matter? What’s the deal with life anyways… is it some kinda sick joke that I just have to endure until I die?”

 

Eh hem. Yeah. I could probably use some hormonal balancing. But here’s the thing, it’s not just me! Many of my clients and closest friends swing back and forth, up and down, happy not happy. Men and women, old and young. And so it’s got me wondering if it’s the nature of humanness, or just some humans, to fluctuate between radical self-belief and self-defeat.

 

It also would be really nice to not do that so much. To just believe in ourselves the whole time. To feel possibility and inspiration with each breath, to be motivated in a clear and decisive direction with each action. And to fully trust that we are right where we need to be, totally on par with our most scrumptious and fulfilling existence.

 

That’s where the self-help industry gets us. That’s where religion gets us. That’s where consumerism gets us.

 

This isn’t so much of a solution-oriented message. I’m not trying to solve the fluctuation conundrum, or even to promote the “middle path” as the Buddhists have so gracefully figured out. I’m more just acknowledging that when our pendulums swing, we’re not alone in that experience. Howard Stern is WITH US.

 

It’s important for me to remember that left to the sheer reality of having a body, in this culture, at this time, given my personal history, I’m going to feel shitty more often than I’d like to. I’m going to feel tired more often than I’d like to. I’m going to feel scared, and confused, and over-stimulated, and cold, and frustrated that there’s nothing I want to eat in the fridge, way more often than I’d like to.

 

And that’s just part of being alive. And so is feeling enchanted, and deeply moved, and profoundly connected, and well-rested, and awe-struck, and giggly, and warm and satiated.

 

Because Life is a FULL Package.

 

We get to fall in love.

We get to lose that which is the most precious to us.

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We get to push ourselves to face our fears and feel the elation of freedom on the other side.

We get to discover that on the other side is a brand new fear that is going to take a bunch more courage.

We get to struggle with our bodies and how we feel in them.

We get to have “chance” encounters with beings we feel instantly kindred to.

We get to fall out with close friends we’ve cherished for decades.

We get to feel completely at peace.

We get to cry in the night when we feel so terribly alone.

 

WE GET ALL OF IT. Life is all of it.

  

If we can hold, allow, honor, and witness all of it, then at the very least, we don’t have to fight ourselves when we’re on the less savory end of the spectrum.

 

And when we’re not fighting ourselves, we can get back to the other side way more efficiently.

 

One thing I love to do with my clients is to hold space while they identify the ways they feel like doodoo.

 

And then guide them in a process to LOVE UP on all the poopy feels.

 

To locate it in their body, send it some breath. Fake it til they make it, love that shit anyway.  

 

“I love the one who is terrified to open my heart.”

“I love the one who has an overdrawn bank account.”

“I love the one who gambles and eats and sleeps away the pain.”

 

The more we love up our shit, the less control it has over us.

 

May we all be blessed in all of our states.

 

Tired.

Grumpy.

Sad AF.

Shameful.

Bewildered.

Productive.

Inspired.

Joyful.

 

ALL DEM.

 

Peace boo.

 

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The Thing About Problems...

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From my last post, you know how much I LOVE when clichés actually land.

The cliché that’s landing so hard for me right now, is that every “problem” is a gift. Every “problem” has in it an opportunity to refine, grow, and become more clear on what we are really here to do, and how to go about doing all that bomb-ass-sacred-shit that’s ours to do.

 

For example:

This week, I literally had 6 or 7 client cancellations.  I’d go to my office, get my table set up, light the candle, place the crystals, bless the cards, smudge the space, say a prayer for the being who was soon to be sitting in front of me. I’d take deep breaths and ground myself, and call on the spirit guides to help me hold the space. Then my phone would buzz and it would be my client letting me know that they couldn’t make it today.

 

Since I’d done all that sacred space-setting, I’d pull a card for myself. Then I’d take it all down.

 

“Sorry spirit guides, again, for interrupting you from your divine tasking.”

 

Now, I’m not too much of a stickler about clients needing to cancel. Shit happens. Shit happens to all of us, pretty regularly. But when that shit happens 6 times over the course of one week (and one of the times was me needing to cancel), it had me wondering. It had me wondering about me -- the common denominator of all my clients, and what part of myself, as a healer, as a coach, as a space-holder, I wasn’t taking seriously enough.

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After my two scheduled sessions canceled yesterday (albeit for legit reasons), I realized I needed to get introspective, and take a moment to feel into what expired ideas I was holding onto about myself, and what needed to change in my belief system and therefore my healing practice.

 

And I realized some things. I realized that I’m still playing it safe by having my clients pay per session, rather than really asking them to invest in themselves and pre-pay for their program when they commit to one (or half of it on a payment plan). Some part of me wanted to give them an out, because some part of me wasn’t fully believing in my magic, my skills, my glow, and my capacity to help them transform.

 

Ouch. Okay. Noted.

 

After I licked my wounds, I got to revel in how this “problem” is a perfect Godly gift because it’s getting me up-close and personal with a belief that’s officially run its course. My clients canceled this week because it’s time for me to uplevel my belief and trust in myself.

 

The only proof I need of my capacity as a healer, is how my client feels at the end of their session. And I can say with 100% confidence that all of them are beaming rays of sparkle light by the time we’ve moved through whatever process we’ve moved through together.

 

I can also say, that the ones who stick around and really commit to their healing journey, make profound changes in their lives, and find themselves more in-tune and trusting of themselves, more courageous in their ability to make big life choices, and more forgiving of themselves and everyone else along the way.

 

And so knowing that, I’m making some adjustments to the way I structure my business and the commitment I’m asking people to make to themselves, and to me as their guide. It’s scary, and it’s time.

 

And that’s what problems are for. They are here to offer us rich information. They are brimming with opportunity to adjust and realign. They are amazing allies on our journey.

 

And so, my wisdom for you today is to BLESS YOUR PROBLEM. Whatever your problem may be, it’s guaranteed here to help you evolve and strengthen and refine your existence.

 

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The way to bless your problem is to remove yourself from being the victim of it. Once your problem is no longer something that’s happening to you, and is reframed as something that’s happening for you, the lessons become so very clear, so very fast.

 

So, what problem can you bless today?

 

I’d love to hear, if you’re open to sharing.

 

Peace Glory Babe.

 

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BREAK ON THROUGH.

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I’ve been having a lot of breakthroughs lately.

Here’s what I mean by breakthrough…

You know how there all kinds of ideas and concepts and quotes floating around out there about how to heal, grow, and live your best life? A breakthrough is when one of those ideas becomes a fully embodied understanding. Like some cliché-ass-thing you’ve been hearing for years opens up and becomes a truth in YOUR BODY. An undeniable knowing that is now sacredly stored in your wisdom chamber, bringing you into clearer alignment with the you that feels the most yummy and true.

In essence, breakthroughs are absolutely delicious, and I want to share two of my most recent breakthroughs with you.

Breakthrough #1)

You can’t be emotionally available to anyone unless you are emotionally available to yourself.  And what's so cool is that becoming emotionally available to yourself does not require any secret trick, skill, or training. There’s no mystery here. It’s simply having WILLINGNESS to feel what you feel, without being a jerk to yourself about it.

When we give ourselves the chance to feel what’s honest and tender and real, and stay kind to ourselves when it gets uncomfortable, we can then give other people that opportunity too. When we give other people that opportunity, while simultaneously giving it to ourselves, we become capable of having deep-healing-fun-wild-restorative intimacy. And it all starts with our willingness to feel our own feelings with self-compassion.

Ain’t that somethin’?

Breakthrough #2)

How someone treats you has very little to do with how they feel about you. It has a whole lot more to do with how THEY feel about THEM, and how YOU feel about YOU.

Allow me to explain further: The treatment we tolerate from others is a direct reflection of how worthy we feel of love/care/grace/acceptance. And how we are able to show up for others is a direct reflection of how much honoring we’ve got flowing back to our own internal God-Source.

So if someone is an asshole to you, it’s just not about you, sweetheart. Though If you keep inviting him/her back in to flex their judgmental/aloof/manipulative ways all up in your business, then that’s on you boo.

The reason why this breakthrough rocked my socks so much, is that with it, I’m able to let go of hurt feelings I’ve been carrying for ages in regards to how certain people in my past were unable to show up for me. I can release it because it literally had nothing to do with me. Except for my own relationship with me and what I was willing to put up with, based on how I felt about myself at the time. And now that up-leveling my feelings of worthiness is a daily intention and practice, I don’t have to worry about dishonoring relationships making me feel all small and sad anymore. PHEW.

That’s it for now. Hope something landed <3

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The Waiting Conundrum

I want to introduce to you this really funny habit we have as humans, I call it, superfluous waiting. (Because I really like that word, superfluous).

 

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Sometimes waiting is our highest and best option. Like we legit feel in our bones that it’s not quite the time to have that conversation, or quit that less than satisfying job, or separate from our long-term partner. Even though there's a vision of that happening at some point down the line, we feel that something is still cooking, still being learned, still evolving. In many circumstances, Waiting = Grace.   

 

And, other times, we’re just telling ourselves all kinds of make-believe stories as to why we can’t move forward just quite yet.

 

I recently read an article one of my top gals sent to me about the 7 ways to be joyfully single. I don’t even remember the first 6 things, but the 7th one really stuck with me.  

 

It said something like, “live your life like you are going to be single forever.”

 

Now let me just say: this runs 100% counter to a fundamental belief I’ve adopted around manifesting what I want in life (which is to hold the vision for the thing, unrelentingly). Yet in my very depths, I knew this was some life-changing, rocking-ass-advice.

 

Here’s why it moved me so>> It moved me because it illuminated how much of my life I’ve been putting on hold, waiting for my ideal life partner to show up.

 

Things like, moving into a house. Things like, traveling internationally. Things like, core contentment.

 

Basically most of my fundamental dreams and desires, other than being of mad service to my community which I'm dedicated to no matter what.

 

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When I really sat with the idea of making decisions for my life like I’m going to be single forever, I felt incredibly liberated. I felt my heart expand in its potential for exploration and fun and freedom. The old “waiting for my person” game is so ingrained in me as the only option, that this new approach is still taking some getting used to. I’m still a bit baffled by the idea.. “you mean I don’t have to wait for my person to be here in order to do the things that my soul is primed and ready and hungry for?”

 

Wow. Sweet deal!    

 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still want an aligned, expansive, conscious partnership (duuuuh). And, what I’m learning now is the art of holding that desire, while at the same time, making choices for my life that are based on my life, as it is, in this right here, right now, reality.

 

Because my best partner is going to want the woman who is living her best life. Period.

 

Which means…

 

No. More. Waiting.

Or in the very least, waaaaaaaaaay less of it.

 

So how can we tell when waiting is actually for our highest and best, and when we’re imposing it on ourselves due to some fear stories of not being ready, good, safe enough?

 

Here are THREE SIGNS that it’s time to make some moves and ditch the waiting game:

 

  1. You’ve been complaining about the same thing for a really long time.  Like for the past 2 years, you’ve been talking about moving, or leaving, or changing this or that. You’re sick of talking about it. Your friends/family are sick of hearing about it.

  2. Dread is a very real part of your day/week/life. Dread is a CLEAR signal that your soul is no longer in alignment with the thing your doing, person you’re seeing, place you’re living. Please listen to it. Please respect it.

  3. You can’t remember the last time you felt inspired, excited, enchanted, connected. If you aren’t running high-vibe emotional frequencies on a regular basis, than you are living in a way that is not serving you. You are waiting unnecessarily to make some much needed changes.

 

And so I ask you: What are you waiting for?

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Are you waiting to be financially secure enough to finally pursue something that actually lights you up?

 

Are you waiting to be healed, stable, courageous enough to finally ask that person out you’ve been crushing on for months?

 

Are you waiting to have a clear plan, a clear goal, a clear purpose, to take any kind of inspired action in any kind of direction?

 

Are you waiting until you are absolutely, 100% positively sure that you won’t get rejected or abandoned to share your deeper feelings with someone you really care about? 

 

What are YOU waiting for?

 

And what’s possible for you, on the other side of that waiting?

 

Don’t get too stuck on the how. That will all work itself out. All you have to do is decide that something’s got to give. That you’re ready for change. That your heart and eyes are wide open to receive your next inspired move. And then just do something in that direction. Doesn’t have to be the ultimate thingBut just some little thing that tells the Universe that you’re done waiting and are officially ready to expand now.    

 

And if you need support, accountability + someone to process your journey toward a more inspired life with, hit me up for some coaching. You know I got you <3

 

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Doubt-Free is the Way to Be

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I hear people talk about doubt a lot.  Self-doubt particularly. Like I’ll ask someone about what they want to create or manifest, and they’ll tell me some awesome, inspiring, totally achievable thing, and then when I ask what’s holding them back, they’ll say “doubt”.  

As if claiming doubt is a legit excuse to not taking a step in the direction of your wonderful, beautiful dreams.
 

The thing about doubt is that it’s inherent to humanness. We all can claim it if we wanted to, and most of us do, often. It’s not unique to anyone’s particular lot in life. Some of us inherited more doubt energy from our parents and guardians than others of us did, and so have some deeper doubt habits to unravel, but still, when you think about doubt as an invisible non-existent idea that we just decide we have, it can get undone pretty quickly.

 

The opposite of doubt is belief.

Did you know that we can actually just decide to believe in the things that we currently feel doubt about?
 

Like --

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I believe that I can make an abundant living simply by being my authentic self and listening to my curiosity and showing up for my inspiration.

I believe that my conscious partnership is right round the corner.

I believe that my sister is getting a kidney soon.

I believe that my passed-over parents are having the best time wherever they are, and are still actively nurturing my growth.

I believe that in the not-so-distant future, I’ll be soaking in an exotic Thailand jungle spa remembering when I didn’t think things like that were possible for me.

I believe that love will always prevail.

I believe that we are all evolving, so very rapidly.  

 

Now, why the bleep would I waste any energy doubting any of that?

 

We are usually doubting the things that we want most. It’s like this fucked-up protective function our brains do to keep us safe from disappointment. But how safe are we actually, when we’re not believing in our capabilities, connections, visions, and hearts?  

 

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Lately, I’ve taken doubt off the table as an excuse I can use to delay my life. And since doubt is off the table, I’ve had to replace it with other things… things like faith, trust and optimism. Things like discipline, consistency and grounding. When doubt is off the table, I feel powerful AF. When doubt is off the table, I AM powerful AF.   

 

And I didn’t have to do some big, grandiose thing to rid myself of it. Nah, I just sat right here and decided that DOUBT IS NO LONGER AN OPTION. And then when I notice it creepin’ back in, I just remind myself again that I don’t get to use that one anymore.

 

Because on the other side of doubt is all the delicious possibility.

 

Let’s hang out there. Come hang out in delicious possibility land with me. We need each other.

 

Here’s to believing.

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Real Talk Revolution

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You know what’s stressful?

 

Not being on the same page as the person you’re dating/romancing.

 

You know how to solve that?

 

With some real talk.

 

You know what can be really scary?

 

Real talk!

 

You know what’s scarier in anticipation than in actual doing (most of the time)?

 

that REAL TALK, homes.

 

So, let’s talk about real talk, shall we?

 

Real talk is saying the thing that scares you a little, or perhaps utterly shitless. Maybe it scares you because you’re an empath and terrified of hurting or disappointing people’s feelings, so you’ll beat around every bush in the park in order to maintain your stance of innocence when it comes to being the culprit of someone else’s pain and discomfort (yeah, eh hem, my pattern).

 

Maybe it’s because you’re afraid of being rejected or abandoned (most all of our patterns).

 

Maybe it’s because you can’t quite get to the bottom of what you’re feeling. You feel hazy and confused and don’t want to misspeak.

 

Such valid fears for avoiding real talk. Every last one of them.

 

The thing about real talk though is that you don’t have to overcome your fears of rejection or abandonment or of hurting someone’s feelings in order to have it. The thing about real talk is that all the fears can be invited to the conversation. A good way to initiate real talk is to lead with why the real talk feels terrifying. Allow yourself to be messy about it, allow yourself to have emotion about it, allow yourself to not play it cool. Identify, to the best of your ability what it is that you’re feeling, even if that feeling is confusion, and then open your mouth and start talking. Maybe in the process, you’ll discover your true need, and theirs too. That’s the hope right? That’s how you get back on the same page with one another.

 

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Being on the same page with the people in your life, especially the romantic ones, requires constant courage to speak up about what’s true for you. Maybe it’s as simple as, “Ya know, I’m actually not feeling up for company tonight, can we shoot for another day this week?” all the way to, “I’m noticing an imbalance in our affection and wanted to check in about it because it’s feeling uncomfortable for me. I’ve been afraid to have this conversation because I’m nervous about what I might hear.” Maybe it’s, “this feels so icky for me to admit because jealousy feels like an ugly emotion, but I have to be honest that it’s been showing up lately when you talk about so and so.”

 

When it comes to having your real talk heard and received, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

 

When people feel blamed, judged, or like a “problem”, they tend to shut down, get defensive, feel guilty, repelled, turned off. Think about a time when someone has brought some real talk to you, but it was delivered in a way where you felt blamed or judged. Did you want to move toward that person and open yourself to their truth? Or did you want to create space and channel your energies elsewhere? It’s important that we take responsibility for our feelings, our fears, our stuff -- no matter what it is, or how much it feels like someone else’s fault.

 

But it’s also important to be raw and as honest as possible. To hold oneself and the other person with compassion, without abandoning your truth in the discomfort.

 

Remember that the goal is for everyone involved to feel honored and witnessed and encouraged and supported. It’s not just about you and your truth. It’s also not just about them and theirs. It’s about how you can support each other to live authentically, honestly, and harmoniously.  

 

So today, I invite you to practice some real talk. If you don’t have a lover, see if there’s anything stuck in your throat that you’ve been sitting with, afraid of the consequences of your transparency.

 

If you feel really afraid about a big scary truth, take a baby step and speak a tiny scary truth. Like, “Hey neighbor, it’s 2am and I’m trying to sleep, can you bring the party inside?” (I’m still working up the guts for this one…it’s kind of embarrassing that this scares me so much, but hey, work-in-progress).

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Obviously, this message is for me just as much as it is for you.

 

And seriously, commit to giving yourself mad props and hugs and high-fives no matter how your truth is received by the other party.

 

It’s always a huge fucking victory to voice something that requires courage. You always deserve to celebrate yourself for that, even if it results in an outcome that you weren’t necessarily vying for.

 

We have to trust that when we allow our truth to matter, we are putting ourselves in greater alignment with our higher selves, and our dreamier lives. And if people and things fall away in the process, then we also have to trust that it’s exactly how it’s supposed to go to get to exactly where we are supposed to be. And to be cool with not knowing exactly how that journey is supposed to look (but that’s another email conversation).

 

May your truth set you FREE.

Keep it real.

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NOT Responsible

Responsibility. That word sure does bring up some funky junk, if I do say so myself. What comes to my mind is a stern-faced boring person, making me do things I really don't want to do. It's got this daunting energy... it makes me feel like sighing. Though, I will say that even with my unpleasant associations, there are some things about responsibility that I can really get behind, especially as it relates to giving it fully to myself. The more I mature, the greater becomes my willingness to live my life in a way that honors how much responsibility I have... over things like, my health, and getting my social and emotional needs met, and making sure that I’m working enough but not too much so that I'm earning what I need to live a lifestyle that suits me while also getting enough sleep and movement and playtime and fresh air in my lungs. It feels crazy empowering to tune into myself and discover what my needs are, be an advocate for them, and show up for myself when it matters. That’s some golden gravy goodness in the responsibility realm right there.

And then there's this aspect of responsibility that I'm not so keen on, yet have been unknowingly participating in since about age three, as it turns out. I think this is what one might call a blindspot. My blindspot has been to unconsciously feel responsible for the needs, health, growth, happiness, you name it, of other people. I literally had no idea I was doing this. Until I did, and then could recognize all of the subtle and obvious ways it’s been playing out all this time. I’m still unpacking layers of this fresh awareness, and am having to call on lots of self-forgiveness during this excavation process, so bear with me here.  

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I was illuminated to this particular pattern of mine in a recent healing session with a shamanic practitioner, during what is called a Soul Retrieval. In a Soul Retrieval session, a shaman drums and rattles over and around your body while journeying to an alternate realm to retrieve any parts of your soul that have fled your body in moments of trauma. Keep in mind, trauma is relative, so being harshly reprimanded as a little kiddo could be enough to cause the soul to fragment up and out, searching for a safer place to go hang out. More often than not, our soul’s begin to fragment when we are quite young, which then creates patterns of dysfunction, unconscious obstacles, and stuckness on our paths. That is until those patterns are seen, understood, forgiven, and loved back into wholeness. It’s safe to say that we have all experienced some degree of soul loss. And it’s also important to note that we all have the capacity to retrieve our soul parts by doing our inner work. Shamanism is a route, and I’ve found it to be a powerful supplement to other healing adventures and modalities. In certain spiritual schools of thought, soul loss is recognized as the root cause of disease, disorders, depression, and anxiety. It makes sense to me that parts of our soul get the hell out of Dodge to lessen the impact of frightening moments when we are precious, vulnerable, fresh, new flowers of life. And it also makes sense that when we are operating at partial soul capacity-- our growth, energy, physical health, and ability to call in and maintain meaningful relationships are limited, so getting back to being as whole-souled as possible is a really big and important thing to do.  

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In my Soul Retrieval session, the shaman, her name is Jana, journeyed to my 3-year-old self. She saw a little girl feeling really responsible for the emotional and physical unrest unfolding around her. This is something that children do naturally, and the more sensitive they are, the more they are likely to internalize and absorb the strife of others. And so, my tiny, innocent, precious little self interpreted everyone’s problems as mine to somehow fix. This included a father on his deathbed, a sister with serious health problems, and a mom who was overworked and overwhelmed and learning really hard lessons about love and loss. None of which were problems that a 3-year-old could do anything about.

Through all the inner healing work I’ve done over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what’s mine, and what’s not, the strength and pliability of my boundaries, what’s in my personal power and control, and what I get to turn over to God-Energy-Love-Universe. And still, I needed this lesson at this particular moment in time because there are still traces where the tendency to take responsibility for other people’s ish shows up, which is ultimately depleting on my energy supply and takes me away from my sacred mission, and my responsibility to my own damn self which is the only responsibility that is actually truly mine (which includes my two fur babies).  

By examining this pattern over the past couple of weeks, I’ve discovered a potpourri of flavors in which it has played out in my life. There are probably more to uncover yet, but this is where I’m at.  And so, to be really freaking clear...

I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR:

*Doing things to appease others when it doesn’t actually appease me. In other words, saying yes to something I don’t want to do to protect someone else’s feelings. 

*Being too involved and invested in transforming an adult human being’s health, emotional, and/or lifestyle habits -- especially (and primarily) those of my intimate partners.

*Making sure that everyone in a casual group hangout or conversation feels comfortable, seen, safe and heard. (empath problems).   

*Giving advice when it’s not requested.

*Anyone's negative attitude, aloofness, stress, or inability to show up. 

Not my problemo yo. 

In all of these situations, I can guarantee you that at least one or more people (which includes myself) are experiencing frustration, annoyance, resentment and/or disempowerment. And that is just not good juju to be fostering!       

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The other thing that happens when we try and fix other people’s lives, or protect other people’s feelings at the expense of our own, or internalize other people's limitations as some kind of reflection of ourselves, is we rob them of their soul’s perfect lessons and karma that they signed up to learn in this lifetime. Enabling is not a compassionate act. And if we try and fix it for them or take it on as ours, they will on some level a) resent us for not believing in their capabilities and power, and b) stay stuck in their limiting patterns because they need to fix their own shit to move on to the next level.

So instead of being responsible for fixing/solving/taking on other people's stuff, what I am rather is:

*A sacred witness to their beauty and process.

*A compadre/guide/confidant/cheerleader on the path to wholeness.  

This goes for friends, family, clients, romantic partners, strangers. E’ry body.

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And so it is.

May All Soul Parts Everywhere Return Home.

 

Heart.

 

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Conscious Heartbreak

Brokenheartedness.  

Can I get an OUCH?

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I texted my homegirl the other day in a low moment, something about how almost always, the anticipation of something is far worse than the actual thing being anticipated.  Except when it comes to heartbreak.  That just feels like the worst shit ever through and through.  

And even though it feels like heartbreak itself yields the tidal waves of gut wrenching sadness and grief, I'm realizing in my process of moving through it that it doesn't actually create the pain, it illuminates the pain that's been there all along.  By understanding this, there’s something different happening for me this time around.  I’m able to choose to be in my heartbreak with consciousness.  Conscious heartbreak, I’m discovering, (through the support and guidance of my tribe) involves feeling it all -- and removing any shame or hard rules about how, when, or for how long the grief, anger, and pain ought to linger.  It means crying when I need to cry, talking about it when I need to talk about it, writing letters that I'll never send to him, to myself, to my dad, to God.

It means giving myself a whole lot of credit and compassion for being brave enough to show up in the relationship as openly and willingly as I knew how, instead of playing it safe and protecting my heart.  It means cussing loud with my best friend, throwing some pillows around, and taking long, reflective walks at sunset. It means honoring him and his process.   

It also means keeping my eye on the bigger picture, and remembering that I really trust the Universe, and I really trust myself.  And that everything is here to help me grow into my most aligned life.   

Going to those vulnerable, ouchie places, and really leaning into them with awareness, is how I’m welcoming in the alchemical process of emotional transformation.  For me, the ouchiness is the deeply grooved stories and old-as-dirt-wounds that tell me that somehow, I'm not worthy of a healthy, cherished, mindful partnership, where both people are equally invested in showing up fully, and being vulnerable with one another.  It’s the feeling that there must be something terribly wrong with me that makes my love relationships feel so unrequited and short-lived.  It’s the hole that was left when my dad died when I was four and deepened when my mom died when I was twenty-two.  It’s the feeling that I’m no one’s top priority person, and my only hope of being someone’s top priority person is to find someone to love and be loved by.  

Feeling into my fears, and putting language to what feels so sad and scary, helps me see that I’ve been trying so hard to have this certain thing, and in all the dreaming, efforting, and forward leaning, I’ve been blocking myself from actually receiving.  

And mostly, I’ve been blocking myself from receiving my own love, because I’ve been too busy reinforcing the mental groove that I will only feel complete when I have someone by my side to reflect back to me my greatness.  I know it’s cliche, and trust me, I get really tired of the “you gotta love yourself before you can be loved” caveat, but I’m starting to get it now, in a way that I haven’t ever gotten it before.

Loving ME means tending to all of those unworthiness feelings, holding that four-year-old little girl who lost the person who was supposed to teach her how to receive love from the masculine, and telling her, “I’m here now, and I’m never letting you go.”  It’s reminding myself that the internal and external sources of love I have access to are so brilliant and abundant, (it actually blows my mind to think about it), and that I can reach out to my peeps when my aloneness feels overwhelming.  It’s remembering that although I desire an open-hearted, spiritually aware, communicative life partner to travel, nest, and create a family with, it’s not the thing that’s going to take my insecurities away.  Which leaves me with my only other option: to love those insecure places with such gentle fierceness and steadfast dedication, that I no longer need someone else to make me feel okay in my own skin.  

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What I’m getting at here is that heartbreak literally breaks us open so that we can see into our deepest wounds.  We need to see into our wounds so that we can heal them.  We heal them by loving them.  When we love them, we no longer move through the world desperate for the attention and affection of a single individual and instead can hold ourselves, and flow with the magical, perfect, effortless current of the Universe.

Because of this, heartbreak is one of our greatest gifts.  By inviting the process in with an open heart, I am choosing to not shut down, numb, or become jaded.  I am here to love, duh.  And I’m ready to do so bigger and better than ever before because I’m doing it FOR ME. Turns out, I am the love I’ve been waiting for all this time.

May we cherish ourselves unconditionally.  

Blessed be.  

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rewriting my safety story.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about safety lately.  Maybe it's because I’m in a new relationship with someone I dig on a whole lot of levels, or maybe it's because I’m trying to make my living now solely on my purpose work.  Both are epic opportunities to expand my capacity for trust in the Universe, in myself, in my people.  And they also, at times, feel really threatening to my safety.  The threat lies in the potential that at any moment either can backfire, my new boo can change his mind, decide he wants to date someone else, or realize that what he really needs is to set out to far off lands with out me, and my work can just, well… not…. manifest.  As of now, it’s a slow and steady stream on the work front, as I'm moving forward with an intention for financial comfort doing the things that light me up the most, though, ahem, I'm not quite there yet.  So while I’m digging quarters out of my couch to get a cup of coffee to sit at this cafe to write this here reflection on safety, I’m coming to grips with the fact that I’ve got some old, outmoded safety stories that are in desperate need of revision.  I'm also coming to terms with the fact that for me, relationship and work safety are two sides of the same trust coin.  Can I trust in what is, exactly as it is, in this very moment, with the understanding that this moment is perfectly informing all future moments of my abundantly fulfilling life?  Can I remain open to the vastness of all the magical potential, dance with the flow of divinity, without getting too attached to specific outcomes?  

Because my process of cultivating trust in my sacred work and trust in my relationship feel so related, if I bring more understanding to one, I'm automatically freeing up energy for the other.  And since love is my all time favorite topic and something I'm always down to consciously work on, I'm going to process my relationship safety, right here with you.     

First, what I'm learning that safety isn’t:

Safety is not, being guaranteed that someone is going to love me forever and never leave me, and vice versa.  The reason why this can't be what safety is about is because it's simply impossible to control.  Plus, when it comes down to it, I don’t actually want to know how the story ends.  People change, circumstances change, shit, people die.  Like, all us people die.  These are indisputable facts of the Universe that can and will affect the way all our relationships play out.  So to project my present feelings of safety onto some future potential outcome of being left or not, doesn't make a whole lot of sense, now does it?  The times I feel the most unsafe are the times when I’m not trusting in the higher plan.  It's the times when my focus becomes so narrow on a singular point, that point being my potential abandonment -- in which I play the victim in the story, and my partner plays the villain, who at any moment, could strike with the venom of rejection and ambivalence, resulting in straight up the worst heartbreak ever.  Now, how do I expect to offer this person I adore all the love I feel for him, if somewhere in the back of my mind I’ve already cast him as the villain of our play?  This fear-based thought trap can only cause us harm.  So I've got to make some real conscious effort to rewire that neural pathway -- which involves catching myself when I find myself there, getting into my body and returning to love and trust.  Because the old safety story is a deeply engrained pattern in my brain that has built up over probably my whole life, it's not going to disappear over night.  Knowing that it will take time to dissolve means I've got to practice a lot of patience and compassion with myself when it shows up.  There is no shame in this game.      

Now, what I'm learning that safety is:

When I think about what makes me feel safe in my current partnership, it’s that when I'm with him, I feel a lot of freedom to express a lot of different aspects of myself.  I can be weird, childlike, quiet, nurturing, awkward, joyful, contemplative -- all within the span of 10 minutes.  There’s something about our dynamic that allows for a wide variety of expression, which gives me a sense of my wholeness and his as well.  Feeling free enough to expose my quirks and flaws and delights, while relishing in his, is literally, at this point, the best kind of safety I can ask for.  The irony of this kind of safety is that it develops through vulnerable moments, which in the immediate, can feel the opposite of safe.  But when we are able to receive each other in these uncomfortable moments, so much more space opens up for us to bloom into more authentic versions of ourselves, and more present people for one another. 

But the most important thing I’m learning about safety doesn't have to do with anyone else at all.  When I’m wigging out about my potential abandonment or not getting the work I need to survive, that is my cue, and my cue alone, to bring my own safety back to myself.  I'm not fully adept at this yet, but let me tell you, I’ve got mad tools, and use them frequently.  Feeling safe has everything to do with being grounded, and only truly exists on the inner plane.  There is no person or situation that can bring us true and lasting security.  We can only offer that to ourselves, and fortunately, there are a thousand different ways to ground one's energy (if you need tips, just holler).  The other brilliant thing about taking care of our own safety is that when we feel safe within ourselves, we by default show others that they can do the same, and then we aren’t all just running around looking to be saved all the time.    

I read the following passage this morning, and it basically conveys what I'm trying to get at, though much more poetically.  Written by Mark Nepo in his book, The Endless Practice, this part is called, Being Vulnerable.

"At the deepest level, the reason to be vulnerable has nothing to do with whether we have company or not, and nothing to do with whether we belong or are seen or heard.  A flower blooms not because it has an audience, but because that's how it becomes what it was born to be.  A hawk flies not because birders are watching, but because that is what it was put here to do.  For human beings, how we grow is inextricably linked with being vulnerable, because being vulnerable makes us malleable enough to transform, find our place in the larger Universe, and feel the Oneness of things. 
Being vulnerable is how we begin to unfurl our petals, how we begin to spread our wings.  If in doing this we're not seen or heard, becoming that blossom or that bird in flight will give us the strength to endure our loneliness.  If we're seen and heard, we'll know true company and intimacy and the beauty of relationship, though we'll have to resist muffling who we are in order to belong.  Of course, the practice of being human means we know both.  We will be seen and heard for who we are and we will not.  Feeling both is inescapable.  Working with both is necessary.  Ultimately, the reason to be vulnerable is to blossom into a full and complete life."
 Art by LANO

Art by LANO

A mantra my girl Lano and I rely on when we're not feeling our safest is, “I am safe no matter what.”  Say it while you breathe really slowly and deeply.  Say it while your bare feet are making contact with the earth.  Say it a hundred times if that’s how many times it takes.  It’ll make a difference, I assure you.

And as always, I am here to support you on your safety journey, so please don’t hesitate to contact me for a healing session.  I am available both in-person and via skype.  

Big love from me to you.

Halley

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I Love You The Most. Love, Me

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I was recently asked,

“What is something you can talk about for three hours straight?”

Two things, 1) Love, and 2) Self-Care.

But then again, they are one in the same thing.  I get pretty giddy thinking about the fact that love is an infinite resource that generates more and more power every time we choose it.  There is literally no end to how and to whom we can express our love, and we can never, ever run out of it.  How thrilling it is that the more we offer love to ourselves and others, the easier it is to call upon, the more surfaced is its bounty.  Experiencing and remembering this gives me a natural high -- but let's be honest, It’s also really easy to forget.  I know that I do, all the freaking time, as our minds are so habituated to default to doubtful, fearful, scarcity biases, casting shadows over the brilliant radiance of our aliveness.  How many of us are walking around in perpetual (low or high-grade) worry of the uncertainty lurking behind every corner, in every situation, and in every relationship?  How many of us are defaulting to numbing substances and behaviors to cope with past traumas and future anxieties?  How many of us are chronically feeling inadequate, like losers, afraid of being "found out", rejected and abandoned?  I’m going to guess that most of us, if not all of us share in these familiar and universal struggles.  And It’s okay when we feel these things, because EVERYTHING that we feel is valid.  We never need to judge ourselves for what we are experiencing. Though, when we are feeling like purposeless, unlovable, total lame-o's, there's something pretty major that we are forgetting: being alive is a divine expression of love in and of itself.  Each and every one of us is so powerful and the only thing that gets in the way of our power is when we forget that it’s totally innate to our very being, that it comes with the territory of being born.  It's cool and all when we are able to do epic shit, but it really doesn't dictate whether or not we are expressions of love or not.  Self-care is a way to honor our divinity through simple, inspired action.  It’s a way to help us remember that we are worthy, capable, and deserve to feel good.  It's a ways to say to ourselves, "I MATTER, just because, I do."   

By being a pretty intentional practitioner of self-care for a while now, I’ve learned some things along the way... Here are some of those things:

  1. We are responsible for our own care. Expecting anyone else to do it for us (unless we are in a position where we are physically or mentally unable) is doing us, and those around us, a disservice.  Anything extra that is offered by others is a precious gift and a bonus.

  2. Self-care looks different for each of us.  What I need to run smoothly, is most likely pretty different from what you need. In order to take good care of ourselves, we also have to be willing to intimately get to know ourselves, which means slowing down to pay close attention to what feels good, and what our hearts and bodies are asking for.   

  3. The ways in which we care for ourselves is reflected in the ways in which we are able to care for others.  Nobody actually benefits when we provide care from a depleted place of resentment or martyrdom, which is inevitable if we are taking care of others without also taking care of ourselves. 

  4. When we show up for ourselves in genuine and loving ways, others will show up for us in the same kind of ways.  Self-care has exponential value.   

  5. Our society isn’t really in support of Tender Loving Care for self, because it involves slowing down, taking breaks from the “should” list, and reflecting our own value back to ourselves.  There is a lot of un-conditioning to attend to for these practices to have transformational power.  In other words, doing self care while feeling guilty about it counteracts the value.    

It’s so so SO important that we HONOR HOW WE ALREADY ARE showing up for ourselves.  The opposite of self care is shame.  “I’m not doing enough self-care” is an irrelevant thought pattern to get better about self-care.  I guarantee you are doing a lot already, and when you celebrate yourself for every tiny little thing, giving yourself a solid "Go Me!" when you do your laundry, eat breakfast, floss, get out in nature-- your motivation naturally increases for you to do a little more, here and there, a little more.  Self-care is not about being perfect at it.  It's about attending to your needs in a way that feels honest and kind.  You are doing an amazing job at every stage of the game.

Part of my process of getting to know myself well enough to take good care of myself is accepting, and then learning about being a Highly Sensitive Person.  This is actually a real thing (hence the capitalization), there are books written on it, it’s a condition shared by about 20% of the population.  This means that my nervous system becomes over-aroused more quickly and more intensely than 80% of folks.  This over-arousal is activated by things like loud sounds, harsh or artificial scents, fluorescent lighting, crowds of people, and negative/critical energy in general.  I need more downtime than the average joe, more sleep, and definitely can’t skip meals.  Psychologist, Elaine Aron breaks down the HSP situation really well in her book, The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, and I highly recommend it for anyone who thinks they might be an HSP or are in close relationship with one.  

Being an HSP also means that I’m more attuned to subtlety.  I notice things that others don’t, can feel what other people are feeling (and thus am able to understand and often help them), and I have a very intensely pleasurable experience of beauty, kindness and love.  

There are two sides to the highly sensitive coin-- one feels like a disability at times, hugely inconvenient and sometimes embarrassing, and the other side is pure magic, the thing that gives my life such depth, meaning and connection.  At the end of the day, I’ll take my HSP status over not having it, because I’m really into magic, though it means that I have to be extra extra up on my self-care game.  Because if I’m not, I literally can’t function.  Which is why I can talk about self-care for three hours straight.  Everyone needs self-care, not just us sensitives.  But for the less sensitive among us, and for the sensitives who have yet to fully accept and own their true natures, one of the ways that self-care finally gets triggered is through burn out and/or illness.  Pushing too hard and neglecting basic needs because you can function just fine that way for a long time, until... of course, your body just can’t hang anymore.  That's when we become faced with the harsh reality of having to stop everything and start taking care of ourselves in order to save our lives.  

There is nothing wrong with any road map that delivers us to taking our care seriously.  But the option always remains that we save our lives a little bit each day, tending to our needs as they arise, so that we can sustain the work, family, and bodies that are so precious and meaningful.

Here are some ways that my self care manifests at the moment.  Remember, yours is going to look really different, but there might be some commonalities to pull from:

  1. Sleep.  Through trial, error, and paying attention, I’ve found that I need MORE sleep than average, 9 hours is my sweet spot for best functioning.  It's embarrassing to admit because for some ungodly reason, sleeping carries a lot of shame in our culture.  But I'm learning to be much gentler with myself about it.  I am not able to achieve my solid 9 every night, but having the awareness has a lot of power, and I allow myself to rest and take naps when I didn't get what I needed. 

  2. Food.  This is a hard one for a lot of us.  To be proactive about eating nourishing, supportive food takes commitment, time and effort.  I’m far from perfect at this yet, but I do make sure to get to the grocery store every weekend and do meal prep for the week ahead.  Although it often feels like a pain in the ass to devote half a Sunday to, It’s really, really, really worth the effort as it makes everything about my life run so much more smoothly.

  3. Screen Breaks.  Damn these screens these days!  I know that on the days that I spend the majority of my hours behind a computer screen, I feel pretty rotten by the end of it.  I also know that I'm pretty addicted to my phone.  Self care is plugging my phone in across the room when I get in my bed, so that I can't check it 25 times over the course of my one chapter of reading until I fall asleep.  Self care is leaving my phone in the car when I go hang out with someone who means a lot to me. 

  4. Media Limits.  Be it social, news, commercials, shows etc. Aside from some social media, NPR here and there, and a handful of podcasts that I hold dear, I don’t really engage too deeply with world affairs. This is also a hard one to admit because being “ill-informed” is judged very harshly in our society.  But as an HSP, I have to choose to be somewhat ill-informed of the terrors of the world, which are really overwhelming to my nervous system, so that I can show up with love and optimism in my personal life and community.

  5. Movement.  A little bit sprinkled throughout the day means a whole lot. Walking, stretching, foam rolling, doing weird improv dance moves in my living room, really gets my mind out of its looping patterns of worry and clears the way for a more mindful experience of living.  

  6. Space Between.  To go from one appointment, to the next meeting, to the next job, without time in-between to ground and regroup my energy is a very neglectful thing to do to myself.  I find myself sabotaging in this way when I’m too focused on pleasing others and ignoring my own needs.  But when I take a moment while scheduling to remember that I really need space between things, I’m a much happier camper, and can show up so much more fully.  I'm also okay now with being a little bit "flakey" and rescheduling when my body asks me to.  I'd rather show up happy when it makes sense, then stick with a commitment for the sake of it from a place of depletion.      

  7. Creative Practice Time.  This looks different for me from one week to the next, as my creative expressions are always shifting.  It’s not really about what I do, but THAT I do, because if I don’t, I feel like a lost puppy with no clue what my life is about.

  8. I Love You’s.  This simple one has huge benefit.  I tell myself “I love you” on average, about 30-50 times a day.  Usually with my hands on my heart or looking straight into the mirror.  I tell myself this even when, and especially when, I’m having a hard time believing it. (BONUS: Is when I do my 'I Love You's' while giving myself an oil massage).   

I could go, and on, and on… because, yeah, favorite topic -- but I hope by now you get how vast and varied self-care can look, and how key it is to living a life that truly feels good.  

But even more than feeling good individually, the ripple effects of simple acts of care travel so far and wide, that when we choose to do it, we are, on some level, taking care of the whole world -- and what does this world need more so than ever right now?  A whole lot of people feeling good in their bodies, living in integrity, honoring their divinity and what they need to thrive.

I invite you to share any of your self-care practices in a comment, loving up on yourself (and us) by celebrating something that you’re already doing.  May you continue to honor your divinity in whatever ways it makes sense to you.

(Shout out my to my fellow HSP Goddess sister, Lyuba for indulging in my vision of a self-care photo shoot.  I love her bold, sensitive beauty and heart-inspired visions). 

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Making Sweet Love to the Shame Monster

Why is it sooooo easy to talk mad smack to ourselves?  Treating ourselves like toilets, garbage disposals, manure piles?  On the one hand, I’ve heard it said, that we would never speak to others as unforgivingly as we default to with our own selves.  And sure, maybe we wouldn't speak so unkindly to others out loud… though it's pretty uncanny in how the ways in which we dialogue with ourselves translates onto how we view and treat others.  I’ve noticed in my own attitude and behavior, that when I’m swimming in pools of self-shame and harsh, unrelenting judgment, it gets cascaded onto others through impatience, mistrust, blame, sarcasm, and withdraw. 

Not cute.  And definitely not the path to manifesting sacred connections and my wildest dreams.  

I heard a Dharma talk recently by a wonderful visiting teacher at the Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group who said, “in Buddhism, we’re not so concerned about the why, we’re much more interested in the how.”  In applying this idea to relentless self-criticism, I’m reminded that it doesn’t really matter why we rip ourselves to shreds in every opportune moment, and it doesn’t really matter that we understand exactly where the patterns come from.  Because, for one thing, we can never fully understand where everything is sourced.  We can spend a whole lot of time and energy psychoanalyzing the love we didn’t rightfully receive as children.  We can know that the roots of our self-deprecation are generations and lifetimes deep, and socially and culturally fueled through unjust systems of human exploitation.  We can intellectualize all of this, yet still, cover up our radiant natures through endless stories of not being smart enough, good-looking enough, strong enough, creative enough, brave enough, supported enough, socially accepted enough, rich enough, energetic enough, whatever…. enough.  Understanding the why’s can be helpful in releasing ourselves as the sole cause of all of our problems, but it also puts us in a position to cast blame elsewhere, which ultimately takes away our power to change.  In order to heal and grow out of being locked inside our own masochistic thought patterns and the self-destructive behaviors that follow, we have to take the responsibility back, which means shifting from why to how

And so instead of asking, why do I have all these issues?

The question becomes, how do I free myself from this suffering?

Here’s a "how" that's working for me:::

For starters, I'm getting super curious about that nasty voice inside my head -- how it sounds, what it’s saying, and when it tends to show up.  The most obvious route for building this awareness are quieting of the mind practices (I tend to be more of a yin yoga + walking meditator), which gives me the opportunity to pay close attention to what’s arising in my thoughts and how these thoughts are expressing themselves in my body.  By setting up regular, quality time for quiet observation of what’s going on upstairs – I'm providing myself access to a much deeper awareness and therefore control in shifting my oppressive mental dialogues into something that is way more aligned with the truth of my higher self. 

After becoming more aware of when and how this voice plays itself out, it's time to get radical on it.  Yep, you guessed it -- make sweet, sweet love to the shame monster.  Love it til it tenderizes into something soft and non-threatening.   Here’s where it gets mind blowing: The parts of us that are so convincing that we are good-for-nothin' pointless human beings, are the same parts of us that are dying to be seen and heard.  They are the parts of us that need to be loved from the sweetest of intentions.  And yet the tendency is to get angry, solemn, and frustrated, meeting shame with shame, you know the feeling... I call it the "down to crawl into a hole and die" feeling.  Casting shame on the things we don't feel proud of in the first place is the very response that perpetuates cycles of internal conflict and behavioral suffering.

Here’s the thing I’m really starting to understand:  We can’t break unwanted patterns through willful banishment fueled by feelings of never wanting to experience those ugly thoughts and behaviors again.  But we can melt them down, softly, and often slowly, through some good ol’ fashion tender-loving-care medicine.  It’s the way of the alchemist and the Divine Mother.   

 A sampling of some of my shame monsters I'm willing to share on the world wide web.&nbsp;

A sampling of some of my shame monsters I'm willing to share on the world wide web. 

There’s a practice that I learned from one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Matt Kahn, around loving what arises.  ALL of what arises.  When we catch that nasty voice doing its nasty thing, he guides us to meet it tenderly, call it what it is, and “love the one who…”

The miraculous thing about naming it, is that buried deep down inside each and every one of our shames, is the most magical of our powers.  For example, my highly sensitive nature that holds me back from enjoying many social functions, experiences, and environments, is the same part of me that provides others with a great sense of calm and ease when sharing space.  My sensitivities make manifesting peaceful settings and situations a top priority for my sanity, which can feel shameful and embarrassing when I have to decline invitations to hang out with people I really like and care about.  But it's also the part of me that gives me the ability to tune into others on a deep soul level and be of healing service.  

and so... I love the one who is highly sensitive.  

Making love to the shame monster isn’t something we do a couple of times and then become all healed up, flying high on the wagon of self-praise and encouraging love talk forever more.  It’s something that we practice over and over and over and over and over again.  And because the goal is always to shame ourselves LESS, it’s crucial that we offer ourselves the deepest levels of kindness and forgiveness when we find ourselves back in our old, self-shaming ways.  It’s certain that, I HATE MYSELF FOR HATING MYSELF (and I only speak from experience) will only hold us hostage from our true divine power. 

And so with alla that, I invite you to keep an “I love the one who….” log.  Get them shame monsters up and out and onto the page, cushioned in declarations of your love.  It's most likely going to feel like straight buffoonery, declaring love to the dark and painful parts -- and that's perfectly okay.  The point is to get into a habit of offering love medicine to yourself, and witness how your life transforms as a result.  

Remember: these logs aren’t for anyone else’s eyes (unless you so choose to share them with your most trusted companions), and so the invitation is to be as real and honest as possible, about anything and everything that feels like shame on your heart. The healing potential of this practice is profound, and you deserve a clear and spacious heart, mind and body available to receive the most brilliant miracles and manifestations.    

When you make peace with yourself, you make peace with the world. --Maha Ghosananda

Thank you with all my heart for being here.   

 

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who the f*ck are we though, really?

Confession: Over the past 6 years, I've had 9 or so different business card and/or website identities, each designed to capture the “new me” that was ready to emerge in the world.  I wish I had saved all those cards... fashionable relics of all the twists and turns of my becoming.  It's a funny thing we do in this culture, call ourselves the things that we are doing.   

Some of the things I've called myself in recent history are:

  • a photographer
  • a writer
  • a body worker
  • an abstract painter
  • an arts educator
  • a jewelry maker
  • a creative arts healer
  • a resident service specialist for elders
  • a reader of oracles
  • an interviewer

Not a bad potpourri for half a decade's work.  Some of these things are more past than present, though I still do a lot of them--at different times, and in different ways.  They are pretty fluid in how they melt into and inform one another, yet I've felt a lot of shame over the years for starting and pausing on so many paths.  I've felt many times like I had serious issues, swimming against the pressures of commitment, focus, and mastery.  

It's just that... there's so much wonder to try on in this incredibly time-sensitive experience called life. 

When I asked my girl Lano, my radically creative Tucson soul sista, if she'd design the latest version of me in the form of yet another business card -- she made a very wise suggestion.  “What if this time, you put only your info and omit the title?”

Um, duh!  Why didn't I think of that 6 business cards ago?  

Between each of my identity shifts is this familiar yet dreadfully uncomfortable space where I realize that something feels incomplete or not quite right about what I've been doing and enthusiastically claiming, and that something else is vying for my attention.  This space feels as exhilarating as it does excruciating, knowing the winds of change are upon me, yet not having a clear vision as to what’s happening next.  It's also pretty embarrassing announcing to my friends and family that I'm changing up the life plan again.   

Currently flowing through one of these periods, I’ve started a professional brainstorming partnership with a power sister, Jeanne.  She has a similarly diverse array of interests and offerings-- she teaches yoga and body rolling, is an HR specialist, a community organizer, an attorney, writer, musician, and probably other things she hasn’t mentioned yet.  At our first meeting, the very first topic that naturally rose to the surface for a couple of girls like us, was this baffling question around identity.  

We sat on the floor on zafu cushions across from one another, totally bewildered.  Eyes wide open, we pondered... "well, who the f*ck are we though, really?" 

I'm more curious lately, not so much in trying to figure out what I oughtta do next, but in becoming intimately aware and connected to how all of the things I do and have done capture the essence of who I am.  So that when I show up in the world, it's as authentic and true as I can muster.  

I’ve also been working on un-believing that being multi-passionate and wildly curious about my full-range of capabilities (what some may refer to as commitment issues) is eventually going to ruin my life.  Instead of dialing into that preprogramed mental fear station, which paralyzes magical manifestation, I’m instead giving myself more solid ground to trust on through processes of self-inquiry and investigation.

Currently, the inquiry centers on this question of work identity, and all that it entails.   

Is it the combination of our greatest gifts and strengths?

Is it what we’ve studied the most faithfully?

Is it how we make money?

Is it how we effect others with our presence/products/services? 

Is it what makes our heart sing the most consistently?

Is it the hardest stuff we've been through, becoming our greatest opportunity for helping others?

Is it what we ultimately have the most faith in?

Is it what we’re the most curious about in the moment?

As I swim through another welcomed yet terrifying transition period, I’m finding it relevant to dive deep into questions like these that help clarify what it is I'm actually here intending to do.  If you find yourself in a similar quandary, I invite you to join me in the process of creating an IDENTITY Map.

A simple process that when made space for, can bring a whole lot up and out, allowing room for the purpose path to expand and blossom.  

Some guidance on how to get started:

  • Get yourself a piece of paper.  I like it big, but any size will do.  I have a large drawing pad, 11x14 in. that I use for brainstorming.  There’s something about the bigness that gives me more capacity to think expansively. 
  • Gather some colors. The medium isn't important.  Crayons, markers, colored pencils, highlighters, whatevs you got going on in the junk drawer.  
  • Position yourself in a place that feels comforting.  My choice today is outside of a coffee shop, because 1) coffee, 2) natural light and fresh air, and 3) that buzz of anonymous stimulation. 
  • Write "IDENTITY" in BIG letters anywhere on the page.
  •  From there, explore the questions listed above, and/or anything else that comes up for you. 
  • Get messy, get colorful, get weird, explore connections. 

And by all means, if you feel inspired to share when you’re done, post a picture of your map on the Process Art and Oracles Facebook Page, or share with me privately, as I’d love to see what evolves for you. 

And if there are any identity questions that prove helpful for your process, offer them up!  We can all benefit from your breakthroughs. 

Here's what came up for me today//

And truly, thank you for being here.  It's your presence that brings me the greatest sense and understanding of who I am and what I'm here to do.  

 

in love and support,

 

Halley

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Scratch Magic

This post is about the beginning.  That rich and exhilarating stage that precedes any creative output.

A seed has been planted, an idea has entered the scene and it’s hollering at a frequency that only the bearer of said seed can hear, “flush me out!” 

And though brainstorming what this precious seedling is gearing up to be feels like the beginning, there’s something that happens even before that. When we know full and well that a creative project is upon us, except it’s a vast, barren landscape that we’re staring off into.  Inside the void, we sense a deep well of everything that’s possible, which translates into a whole lot of diddly-squat. 

One of my personal creativity bibles is a book called, The Creative Habit written by the great choreographer, Twyla Tharp.

I’m going to let Twyla do the talking for a minute:

The first steps of a creative habit are like groping in the dark: random and chaotic, feverish and fearful, a lot of busy-ness with no apparent or definable end in sight.  There is nothing yet to research.  For me, these moments are not pretty.  I look like a desperate woman, tortured by the simple message thumping away in my head: “You need an idea.”  It’s not enough for me to walk into a studio and start dancing, hoping that something good will come of my aimless cavorting on the studio floor.  Creativity doesn’t generally work that way for me. (The rare times when it has stand out like April blizzards.)  You can’t just dance or paint or write or sculpt.  Those are just verbs.  You need a tangible idea to get you going.  The idea, however minuscule, is what turns the verb into a noun—paint into a painting, sculpt into sculpture, write into writing, dance into a dance.

And so she sets us up with this incredibly relatable experience – groping in darkness, desperately seeking that sparkly idea that will turn our verb into a noun. 

As I’m sure many of us can attest to, ideas aren’t always just casually kickin’ it, eager to be manifested.  Most of the time, we need to show the idea that we’re ready for it to enter us.  And so Twyla gifts us with a concept about how to move ideas from unseen realms into workable realizations, something she’s termed scratching.  Scratching is the way that artists intentionally set out to acquire new ideas. 

Twyla gives us some examples:

“A film director is scratching when she grabs a flight to Rome, trusting that she will get her next big idea in that inspiring city.  The act of changing your environment is the scratch.”

 “An architect is scratching when he walks through a rock quarry, studying the algebraic connections of fallen rocks or the surface of a rock wall, or the sweeping space of the quarry itself.  We see rocks; the architect sees space and feels texture and assesses building materials.  All this sensory input may yield an idea.”

Reading this stuff out of a book is cool and I’m so grateful to Twyla for providing us with this super useful framework. But because grabbing a flight to Rome for creative inspiration is a pretty far off reality for folks like me, I need to hear how this scratching stuff actually goes down for real people in my real life. 

outfits.jpg

My friend, Ariel Madrone, is launching her career as a fashion designer.  She's built a beautiful collection of wrapping jackets, crop tops, and sexy tunics that she debuted at the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission’s yearly gala. She started designing clothes because, during her travels abroad, she was constantly moved by the native textiles of the regions and how they communicated stories of the people who made and wore them.  In terms of how she identifies as a designer, she describes herself as being motivated by the textiles more so than by the “fashion."

The textiles she used for this collection include vintage kimonos, luscious golden velvet, and bold, black and white striped linen. I had the fortunate opportunity to model one of her designs at the event, and my goodness.  I was utterly mystified; astonished by the way her vision became such a whole, authentic, and drop-dead gorgeous reality.  So I sat down with Ariel post-show to talk about how she scratched that one out. 

 Ariel's mood board

Ariel's mood board

When I first introduced the topic of scratching to her, it took her a minute to formulate what that meant for her process, as it wasn’t something she felt she did consciously. When Ariel decided she was going to submit to the call for designers, there were some things required in her application that she initially felt resistance toward, but ended up paying off big time for her end product.  One such thing was a “mood board.”  She had never made a mood board before, a collection of visual clippings and inspirations. It was to her great luck that the day before she was assigned a mandatory mood board project, her boyfriend brought home a box of National Geographic magazines that he found on the side of the road.

So she flipped through those National Geos like a 1992 elementary school collage project and built herself that obligatory board -- before she went shopping for her material, before she envisioned any of her shapes and designs, and before she started her sketches.  The first image that really grabbed her was one of some Hasidic Jews and their black and white striped wrapping garments that hung down their backs.  (What did I wear at the show? A black and white striped wrapping garment that hung down my back). 

Then there was the picture of the deer — the inspiration behind her first creation: that figure-thriving, velvety golden dream-come-true of a dress.

 Ariel's mood board and sketch integration

Ariel's mood board and sketch integration

How a picture of a deer becomes a super sexy dress is the magic of a creatively inspired mind, but without the image to serve as a launch-off point, all there is, well, is the void.  This is why scratching is so key and why knowing that that’s what we’re doing makes future idea-hatching feel potentially less desperate and threatening.  

Oh, I also asked Ariel how she scratched out those cornrows and amazing thick, blocky brows she had us all sporting.  She scratched that straight from her middle school days, from her predominantly Mexican girlfriends, in the predominantly Mexican hood she grew up in--back when Sacramento had a bit more cultural segregation.

  Ariel in black surrounded by her creations.&nbsp;   Hairstylist: Shannon Ward   Makeup: Karina Martin, Ari Dee, Nicole Matta   Photographer: One Thirteen Photography

Ariel in black surrounded by her creations. 

Hairstylist: Shannon Ward

Makeup: Karina Martin, Ari Dee, Nicole Matta

Photographer: One Thirteen Photography

So obviously, you’re going to want to stay tuned in to Ariel Madrone.  She’s currently scratching out her next collection, a submission to Sacramento's Fashion Week.  I asked her if she’s going to make a mood board for her future projects. You better believe she is.

To get in touch with the lady behind the magic, email her at arielmadrone@gmail.com and like her page on Facebook to stay updated.

Would love to hear your about your scratch magic--do share in the comments!  

Scratch on. 

Halley

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How We Show Up

 Mural by Sofia Lacin and Hennessy Christophel of LC Studios

Mural by Sofia Lacin and Hennessy Christophel of LC Studios

The other day in yoga class, my teacher, Aaron, spoke some simple, yet profoundly resonating words.  He said, “The hardest part of the practice is simply showing up.”  And boy, did he hit the nail on the head with that one.  It's that hot yoga variety, and you’re doing things with your body under sweltering conditions that you would never do left up to your own devices.  Or rather, I would never do, left up to mine.  Which is why I have to show up for the dang class.  Not only am I exerting myself physically in intense heat, I’m also being called to be with my body, mind and breath in a really intentional way: a perfect recipe for all degrees of resistance. 

 &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;Art By Dana Rader

                                  Art By Dana Rader

Though something happens when I simply show up, and every time it surprises me-- once I'm in that hot room, stretched out on that turquoise mat, there exists no other option but to flow with it.  I move in the ways that I'm guided to, excited by where my body can go, while honoring where it can’t.  And the immediate return of those blissed-out, mind+body sensations makes the challenge of it b-e-y-o-n-d worth it. 

Being such a prominent feature of the human experience, I think about resistance a lot.  And not just in terms of sweaty yoga practices, but in relation to creativity as well.  Simply showing up to the page or the canvas or the keyboard beyond the initial excitement of starting a new project can be the most excruciating aspect to living a creatively inspired life.  Though it is by far, as I’m sure we can all agree, the most important part.  Because without it, ain’t nothing is getting created.

I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to get to know a lot of very creatively active and committed people-- the kind who show up for their creativity day in and day out.  Because I know how hard it is, and because the goal of this blog is to be a source of collective creative nurturing, the only thing that makes sense for this first post is to look into how we work through our resistance and show up for our creativity.

To give you a diverse array of perspectives on the matter, I’ve consulted my personal crew of creativity gurus and goddesses:

 &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Art by Rosaura Unangst of Pigment and Parchment

                        Art by Rosaura Unangst of Pigment and Parchment

Rosaura Unangst | pigmentandparchment.com - I show up for my creativity by practicing self care. In the past I let go of self care completely and that was detrimental to my artistic life. How I show up for my creativity is by getting sleep, eating regularly, and being kind to myself so that I am energized and ready to go when it's time to dive into my art world. 

Sofia Lacin | lcstudiotutto.comI show up for my creativity with an energetic physical power and open eyes. I try to pretend I am doing it all for the first time. I work in my habitual practice to lead me to the freedom of fluid and open work. It's always the most beautiful. 

 &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Lit Mag by Janna Marlies Maron

               Lit Mag by Janna Marlies Maron

Janna Marlies Maron | www.jannamarlies.comThe hard part for me to articulate is that I don’t know how consciously I think about “showing up for creativity,” because I have trained myself to incorporate it in as much of my life as possible. From big things like creating habits around getting up early to give myself 30 min-1hr of writing every day to little things like using colored pens when I write by hand, I try to surround myself with things that will foster a new and fresh perspective every day, even in the little things like writing a to-do list. This also includes constantly learning and seeking input from others as much as possible. I know that my ideas and my work always have room for improvement and they are only enhanced when others contribute.

Trista Dymond | tristadymond.com - How do I show up for my creativity... with a mixture or resistance, anxiety, anticipation and excitement. A part of me is convinced I shouldn't do it. A deeper pert of me tells me it's the only thing worth doing. And so.. the build up is the worst as both sides battle it out. If I were to dissect the split section of decision-making, it could be summed up as: Should I create or should I find something else to fill my time and convince myself that it was a better choice to not create? Once I do actually show up, the hard part is over. Slowly and then quite quickly I fall into my creativity and am healed. When I'm done I walk away thinking "there, that wasn't so bad, now was it?" and ruefully I answer myself with a sheepish smile and a simple "..no."

Jack Craig | jackpcraig.comTry it. See what happens. Try again.

 &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Tables by Jack Craig

                                                             Tables by Jack Craig

Dana Rader | stripedesigngroup.com - I show up for my creativity to feed my soul.  My soul longs to create and when I provide it with creative projects I am truly happy. It relieve stress and opens the window of opportunity to achieve goals in the arts as well as every other avenue in my life. 

 Ceramics by Michelle Kolososki of Adora Bella&nbsp;

Ceramics by Michelle Kolososki of Adora Bella 

Michelle Kolososki | adorabellaceramics.bigcartel.com - It is my belief that we are all gifted by a greater energy.  My gift is my art, it is the greater expression of self that I have the pleasure of sharing with others.  For that I am incredibly grateful.  Not a day goes by that I don't feel full of thanks that I get to share the divine aspect of myself with others by making for them.  I believe that every piece I make has a connection to someone and it will find them once it is released.  So, I pray when I make, after I make and before it leaves me.  I ask for its owner to be found and that the vessel will bring this person it is meant for joy, happiness, health and prosperity.  That is how I show up for creativity, by acknowledging that it is divine and every day I desire to do my job as thoughtful as possible.  

 &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Art by Mandy Lechner

                               Art by Mandy Lechner

Mandy Lechner - I keep my art supplies handy.  I try to keep a project out, waiting for me.  If I'm not feeling it, I do something else.  I start another project or pick up one that I've laid aside. So I usually have four or five projects going.  I think five is a good number. And I don't wait for some kind of mood to come. To refer back to a quote I heard a long time that has stuck with with me,"Write [or in my case, paint] at once and don't wait 'for the mood' The mood comes, in writing [in painting]." (Vivien Eliot to Henry Eliot)."

Ahhhhh. This honest, raw, soulfulness is why surrounding myself with creative folks has been my most consistent good choice in life so far.  There are many ways to feed the soul.  While creative expression is a very potent and illuminating way, so are things like gardening, volunteering, climbing trees, meditation practices, reading books, and deep human-to-human connection.  I don't have to tell you.  You know what does it for you.  Though whatever it is, and however you do it, here's this important reminder: when you show up for yourself and feed your soul, you simultaneously feed the collective good of humankind.  It's never selfish to show up for yourself in a way that enlivens and invigorates.  Never, ever, ever.  My highest hope is that when you finish reading this, you show up for you.  And please don't be shy.... share with us your unique way of doing so. 

 &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Installation by Trista Dymond

                                    Installation by Trista Dymond

xo 


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