Monthly Archives: August 2016

New Moon in Virgo

By | Goddess Wisdom, Walk the Path, Wisdom Blog | One Comment

7ff9b994-74a0-4359-b2db-e253091d8a45This continues a series of posts on working with Moon energy. Each New Moon and Full Moon, I will post suggestions for working with that archetype and harness the energy of the Moon’s cycle.

New Moon Energy

The new moon is a time of new beginnings, a time when you plant the seeds you wish to harvest over the next month. Yet, do not neglect to let go of what no longer serves before you plant those seeds. It does no good to plant seeds in a barren desert. So the night before each new moon, in the dark of the moon, I like to hold a release ceremony. Some questions to ponder might be:

  • What do you need to release before moving forward with this new moon cycle?
  • What patterns have you been holding on to that no longer serve?

Once you have let go of the old, it’s time to set your intentions for this moon cycle. I do this on the night of the New Moon. Some questions to ponder might be:

  • What do I wish to create over the next month (from New Moon to New Moon)?
  • What do I need to allow my creations to come into light?

 

New Moon in Virgo

Virgos are meticulous and detail-oriented. Once they find something they like to do, they will research it to death to make sure they do it right. The problem, of course, is that whatever the activity is may cease to be fun, so they may have trouble sticking to it. Virgos also tend to be highly critical, especially of themselves. If you're a Virgo, give yourself, and everyone around you, a break. There is no such thing as perfect. Love yourself just as you are. Go out and have a little fun!

What does this mean for working with the New Moon energy? You can add the energy of Virgo to your New Moon reflections by asking yourself the following reflective questions:

  • What is calling you to pay attention to detail right now? What does your Soul say?
  • Where have you gotten caught up or lost in the details and find yourself unable to see the forest for the trees?
  • Where are you being too hard on yourself? Where do you need to cut yourself some slack or give yourself a break?
  • How can you show yourself more love and compassion?

Enjoy working with the New Moon energy in Virgo! It should be a revealing time for all of us!

What to do When You Hit a Snag

By | Body Love, Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 2 Comments

Snag driftwood in the sand in the waves of the sea

How many times have you started a new positive health habit, only to relapse back into your old ways weeks, months, or years later? It happens to all of us. We have the best of intentions; we may even succeed in our new healthier habits for a while. But then, one day, we hit a snag.

Last week, a woman reached out to me. Diagnosed with bulimia nervosa as a teenager, she hadn't really had any problems with it since she was in her mid-20s. Over a decade later, in the midst of a divorce, she suddenly started binge eating again. What did she do? Immediately she started beating herself up for falling back into the grips of her eating disorder. The Inner Mean Girl strikes again!

Here’s the deal: Life happens. It’s not uncommon for healthy habits – all of those things we know we should be doing like self-care and eating right – to fly out the window when we get overwhelmed. It’s okay.

For example, it's not surprising that under the extreme stress of a divorce, my client found herself returning to an old coping tactic of using food to numb her emotions.

First and foremost, stop beating yourself up. The worst thing you can do is to punish yourself for returning to your old ways when you hit a snag. Instead, show yourself a little compassion. After all, if your best friend was going through this, I doubt you'd tell her she was a bad person or say awful things about her. Right?

So what should you do when you hit a snag?

  1. Practice self-compassion – treat yourself as you would your best friend or your child. Tell yourself, “It's going to be okay. You've got this,” – because you do.
  2. Get help if you need it – if you need to see a therapist or a coach to help you get back on track, do it! You are not ‘weak’ for asking for help. You’re human! We all need help sometimes. So do yourself a favor and please tell a trusted friend, coach, or family member what you're going through. It's important to have some type of support as you go through this, whatever it is. You don't have to do this alone. 
  3. Acknowledge what brought you to this point – if you're returning to old ways, there's a reason. In my client's case, it was her recent and very stressful divorce. Your job is to figure out what the real reason is that set you back to that coping mechanism that you used to use but no longer serves.
  4. Figure out what it is that you really need – when my client and I looked at what was really going on, we saw some patterns between when she used to binge and purge in high school and what's happening to her now. When she becomes overwhelmed emotionally speaking, she learned to stuff those feelings with food to numb herself out when she was in high school. Her therapist at the time helped her cultivate new coping skills that worked better to relieve her emotions. But when faced with an intense stressor, something she had an experienced anything like since high school, she returned to what she knew: stuffing her emotions with food. Once we identified the real issue, it was easy to figure out what to do – she needed to review her coping strategies and come up with better ways to deal with her feelings of overwhelm, like talking with a trusted friend or coach.
  5. Give yourself permission to get your needs met – we've talked about superwoman syndrome on the blog before. At 38, my client was a definitely wearing her superwoman cape. A successful entrepreneur and six-figure business owner, she felt like she should be able to handle anything life through at her, including a divorce. She felt selfish for taking time off, for wanting to get help. Shouldn't she be able to do this on her own? No, she shouldn't. Neither should you. We are human beings and we are very social creatures. They say “It takes a village” when it comes to raising a child, but in reality, that should apply to surviving life. It takes a village. We were never meant to do this thing called life alone. It's okay to ask for help. It's okay to take a self-care day or two. If you feel you need permission, then allow me to give it to you. I give you permission: to take a day off, to take care of you, to just be you and have that be enough. After all, you cannot serve from an empty cup.

If you’ve recently “hit a snag” and fallen back into old habits, I hope you find these tips helpful. I’d also love to hear your words of wisdom.

 

Full Moon in Aquarius

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The full moon is the time of a birth, a time when the seeds you planted at the New Moon prior (approximately 2 weeks ago) come to fruition. So if you set goals and intentions at the New Moon, now is a great time to bring them out and evaluate your progress.

• What do you need to do between now and the next New Moon to birth your intentions?

• What needs to happen in your life for that to occur?

• What do you need to finish up?

• What do you need to let go of?

This month’s Full Moon is in the sign of Aquarius, an air sign. Aquarians have the unique properties of being both inquisitive (thanks to their air qualities) and dreamers (more of a water energy). They love to explore new things, people, and places. They are creative and inventive and seem to have an innate ability to deal with the “technical stuff.” As such, while they are great at thinking outside the box, they get frustrated when they have to follow the rules.

How Can You Harness the Energy of the Full Moon in Aquarius?

You can add the energy of Aquarius to your Full Moon reflections by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What dream is calling me right now? What wants to be birthed through me?
  • What do I feel called to explore right now? Any uncharted territories?
  • Where am I feeling “boxed in” or “caged” right now?
  • How can I think about this situation in a different way – more “outside the box?” How can I use my creativity to get through this situation?

Gratitude: The Practice That Saved My Life

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I was talking with my Publisher last week as we prepared for the launch of my 5th co-authored book, Gratitude and Grace. We were discussing the “aha” moment I had in April of 2013 when I realized I was living someone else’s life. I had done such a great job of doing everything I “should” be doing that, from the outside looking in, everyone thought I had the perfect life. Yet, on the inside, I was miserable – my marriage was failing, I was depressed and my life was being ruled by my eating disorder.

But that’s not when the shift started. What prepared me for that “aha” moment in 2013 was a small gratitude practice I had begun nearly a decade before.

It was Christmas 2004. A few months prior, I had given up tenure and 5 years of my career to move across the country for a job as an Assistant Professor at Boise State University. I felt like I was in the middle of a war zone. My colleagues were fighting, my husband was unemployed, we were trying – and failing – to get pregnant, and my mother and I had had a big blow up argument. My anxiety was through the roof, and I was questioning everything. For months, I couldn’t even sleep.

I don’t even remember who recommended this practice, but what I do know is that in the midst of all of this chaos, somewhere I got the idea that I should start a daily gratitude practice. This was long before I read The Secret, or watched What the Bleep Do We Know. I didn’t know about energy levels or planetary alignments or even fully understand how my hormones affected my moods. All I knew was that was I was doing – not sleeping and trying sleeping pill after sleeping pill – wasn’t working.

When I first started my practice, I struggled. Each and every night I would wonder, “What I could possibly be grateful for?” I can’t get pregnant. Work was so hostile that one of my colleagues and I were seriously considering pitching a reality TV show called “The Department” to a local network to expose the dirty underbelly of academia to the world. My marriage was on the rocks – thanks to the move and my infertility. Yet, somewhere inside of me I knew that this little gratitude practice was critical. That it would end up be life-saving.

So I endured. Day after day, I made myself write down 10 things I was grateful for each night before I went to bed. Some days I would quit at 5 and call it a success. Some days, I would make it to 8. But, as the months went by, a funny thing happened. 10 became easy; then 15; then I would run out of room on my little planner I had purchased to write down my 10 items per day. I started sleeping again. My anxiety got better. Work calmed down. Things started to shift. It would take almost a decade for things to shift enough inside of me that I was ready to have my big “aha” moment. Yet, I see that little daily gratitude practice as the foundation – the one change I made in my life that made everything that happened after that possible.

I don’t know where you are in your journey. Maybe you’re just starting. Maybe you’ve been reading self-help books for decades. But I do know this: gratitude changes everything for the better. It helped me heal – my eating disorder, my endometriosis, my anxiety. It literally saved my life.

12 years after I started that little daily practice, gratitude is still a part of my life. My “10 things” list turned into a more in-depth evening practice. I added a morning practice of gratitude, meditation and nature time somewhere along the way. But the gratitude practice has remained. Even on days when life gets busy and my schedule is jam-packed, that is one thing I will not give up. Even on the days when I sometimes still struggle to come up with that first item, I know that if I do, the others will flow quickly and easily. Even on the days where nothing seems to be going right, I know that if I shift into gratitude, my day will change for the better almost instantaneously. Because there is always something to be grateful for – even on our darkest days – there always something to be grateful for.

What’s Your SuperPower?  

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Several years ago I was going through some old school papers my mother had held onto and I found my kindergarten report card. My teacher had expressed that I was too sensitive and encourage my parents to work on dampening my sensitivities. It was clear from her comments that she considered my ability to read other people's emotions and experience them as my own as a weakness. 

Later, when I was in college, and I discovered my voice, I was labeled the outspoken one and told that I needed to knock it off. It was like having flashbacks to childhood when it was made clear to me that children should be seen and not heard. Once again a “weakness” had been exposed.

I don't think that my experience is uncommon –

Might it be time to re-examine that trait (and old belief) and see if your weakness might actually be your greatest strength in disguise?

Three of my character traits that were, at one point in my life, labeled a weakness are certainly now among my greatest strengths. That being said, it took time for me to realize that. Do any of these “weaknesses” ring true for you?

  • Sensitivity – I have always been a “highly sensitive person.” As the word “sensitive” was usually spoken with derision (or even worse, in a whisper!), I tried to deny and hide my sensitivity behind carefully constructed walls. Who are you calling sensitive? Not me! I can take anything you want to dish out. Bring it! I later realized that this attitude was a disservice – to me and to my loved ones. Yes, I’m sensitive. It’s what makes me a healer, an empath, and very good at what I do. Am I more sensitive than most people? Probably, but I no longer see that as a problem; rather, I see it as the gift that it is.
  • Empathic ability – are you able to read and experience other people’s emotions at a heightened level? Me too. There’s actually likely a biological reason for this – women tend to have more mirror neurons (otherwise called monkey-see-monkey-do neurons) in their brains than men do. It’s why we cry at sad movies. Everyone has mirror neurons – it’s part of our genetic make-up, but some people have more than others. I’m not telling you to get tested for the number of mirror neurons you possess; what I’m saying is that if you are able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and feel their pain quickly and easily, you may be an empath (and likely have a lot of those mirror neurons). While this “flaw” of being “too emotional” used to be blamed on my being a “highly sensitive person,” I now understand that sensitivity and empathy may go together, but they may not. Furthermore, they are not the same things. Each trait has played its own role in making me the woman I am today, and they have each made me a better coach, mentor and teacher than I would have been without them. Is that a weakness? I don’t think so. I call my empathy and sensitivity strengths.
  • Being assertive – Have you ever been told that you’re just too outspoken? That you should keep your opinions to yourself? Or been made to feel that way? After I discovered my voice as an undergraduate, I tried to suppress it, tried to bite my tongue. Some days it worked; some days it didn’t. My voice certainly never wanted to go back into hiding! Yes, there were times when I opened my mouth when I likely should have kept it closed, but usually if something wants to come out, it needs to be said at some level. Once I acknowledged that, I began to heal my old belief patterns that my voice wasn’t valued. I began to express myself in ways that were authentic for me. As I did so, other women began to seek me out, wanting to know how they took could find their voices and express themselves openly and honestly. I don’t see that as a weakness at all.  

Do I regret not realizing that these “weakness” were in fact strengths earlier in life? Absolutely not. Our mess is our message, after all.

Might that “weakness” hold the key to your greatest strength?

August, a month ruled by Leo, is a perfect time to examine your strengths – and “weaknesses.” Take this golden opportunity to transmute your perceptions of yourself and release old patterns and limiting beliefs. Take a tip from Leo the Lion: It’s not only time to speak your truth; it’s time to Roar!

Featured Goddess: Yemanya

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Beautiful woman mermaid with a fish tail resting in the water of the pond of lilies

Yemanya

Goddess of the Sea and the Moon

“Now is the time to take action. Get in tune with your own cycles and rhythms and follow your heart as the tide flows with the Moon.”

 

Traits Yemanya Embodies:

  • Activating Latent Energies and Talents
  • Flowing in Harmony
  • Getting in Tune with Your Cycles and Rhythms
  • Gentle Unfolding
  • Faithfulness

How to call on Yemanya:

A revered African and a Brazilian goddess, Yemanya was credited with creating the sea and harnessing the moon's powers to create the tides. She is nurturing and protective of all of her children. You can call upon Yemanya when you need a help calling something into creation (e.g., a job, a baby) or letting go of what no longer serves so that you can allow a new opportunity to unfold. 

Prayer to Yemanya:

Yemanya, Mother of all Creation, 

Hear my prayer. 

Help me to release what no longer serves, and

Surrender to Divine timing.

Help me to flow with  grace and ease as I open to new opportunity.

Help me manifest what is best for my heart and my Soul's Calling.

In this I pray, 

Thank you, Yemanya.

Tribute to Yemanya:

Go to a body of water (preferably a stream, ocean, or other non-stagnant water). Write down what you want to release/surrender and what you want to manifest. Offer these to Yemanya with a prayer of thanks. Leave her flowers or a few drops of essential oil as you leave.