Monthly Archives: October 2016
As I write this, it's Halloween, the last of three harvests in the fall season. Here in the northern hemisphere, the leaves are turning, the rains are falling, and my students are stressed out over midterms. Fall is definitely here.
Halloween, Samhain, marks the halfway point between the fall equinox and the first day of winter. It also means that we have only two months left in 2016. Now is the perfect time to take stock of what's going on in your life – to not only harvest or reap the seeds you sowed earlier in the year, but to also reevaluate what you've got on your plate and what might be time to fall off.
In The Nourished Temple, we are examining how to take better care of ourselves and nourish our sacred body temples. But part of that is also re-examining what's working and what's not working for you, what's filling your cup versus what's draining or depleting you.
As women, so often I think we do this to ourselves. We take on too much – too many obligations; too many problems that aren’t our own, yet we’ve somehow taken ownership of. And we suffer for it. Because we can't say no, because we don't want to let people down, because what will people think if we don't do it all? If this sounds like you, I encourage you to take off the Superwoman cape and take back your health. Take back your power. Take back your sovereignty. Take back your life.
The world will not fall apart if you say no or let go of some of your current obligations. I know it seems like it's difficult, but you can't give from an empty cup. I know this far too well. So many times in my life I’ve put myself last, I've served from my reserves, until I had none left. I'm not asking you to quit your job, foist your kids off on someone else, or get rid of all of your roles and responsibilities in one fell swoop. What I'm encouraging you to do is to take a long hard look at what you want. Are you there? If not,
To get you started, I'm going to ask you to dream for a moment.
- In all areas of your life – career, health, education, family, relationships, spirituality, hobbies, etc. – where do you want to be in five years? What do you want your life to look like?
- Ask yourself the same question, this time substituting three years – where do you want to be in three years? Let's do it again: where do you want to be one year from now? What will you be do-ing with your time?
- Now what will it take to get to each of these goals?
Start mapping out your life – where you want to be in one, three, and five years and then fill in the blanks as you figure out what it would take to get you there. For each of your “big goals,” set mini goals for six months, three months, and one month for each of those areas of your life. It may take a little time to do this exercise (I’d allow half an hour), but once you get some clarity on what you want, it’s easier to assess how your current roles and responsibilities fit (or don’t fit) into that picture.
Once you’ve gotten clarity on what you need to let go of (what needs to fall off your plate), go through the same process with your roles and obligations that no longer serve. Assess where you want to be in one, three, and five years; then, set benchmarks for one, three, and six months to get those responsibilities shifted. If you’re feeling trapped by some of these goals and don’t see a way for them to completely fall off, is there a way you can change them in some way to help take some of the load off of your plate (e.g., can you ask for help or ask someone to take over part of the role/responsibility)? Finally, mark your calendars with your smaller benchmark goals and set aside some time at the beginning of each month to reflect on where you are, where you’re going, and whether or not anything needs to shift on your current plan to get you there.
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 Scorpio
Because Scorpio is a water sign, Scorpios are very emotional, but it tends to lie under the surface. It's the calm before the storm type of feeling. That being said, this sign is encouraging you to find a healthy balance of emotional expression – don't hold it in until you explode! It's okay to feel; you don't have to keep it all in. Emotional expression is a necessary part of life. Scorpios are also very perceptive – they pick up on the small details others might have missed. Scorpios are also very magnetic and passionate, so get ready for your playful and passionate side to come out and play!
What does this mean for working with the New Moon energy? You can add the energy of Scorpio to your New Moon reflections by asking yourself the following reflective questions:
- What could use a little passion in your life right now?
- Where have you been suppressing your emotions or hiding how you feel?
- Where do you feel out of balance emotionally? Either under- or over-expressed?
- Are you paying enough attention to detail? What does your intuition tell you?
- How can you harness your magnetic energy to attract what you want to you?
Enjoy working with the New Moon energy in Scorpio! It should be a passionate, fun time for all of us!
We're a week into my new group program, The Nourished Temple, and I have been faithfully participating along with all the other wonderful women who said yes to themselves. As part of this journey, I decided to do something a little extra: I decided I wanted to track how I was spending my time to see how much I was nourishing my temple.
In typical Virgo fashion, for the past week, I've dutifully written down what I am doing each hour of the day. I wanted to get an idea of how much I was working, how much self-care I was giving myself, and what I was doing during that time.
At the end of the week I realized something: I was asking the wrong questions. What became abundantly clear to me this week was that work is different than Work. It's not about how much time I spend working or “doing” self-care; it's about how nourished I feel by whatever I'm doing. If you love what you do and that fills your cup, then by all means do it. But if you don’t enjoy how you’re spending your time, you might need to re-evaluate. That’s essentially what I was trying to discern with the time log (what I enjoyed and what I didn’t), but I was going about it the wrong way for what I really wanted to know.
While I think time tracking has its uses, especially if you're new to this how-to-balance-work-and-self-care thing, the bottom line is that by tracking my time, I was lowering my vibration. I got too caught up in the shoulds. It's 8am; I should be checking my email and starting my work day. It's 6pm; I should walk away from the laptop. How many hours should I be working this week? I should be able to make this two job thing work…
When I went to analyze my time log, my inner voice of wisdom whispered: you're asking the wrong questions. Instead of shoulding myself or carefully analyzing (and creating a pie chart!) how much time I spent checking email, grading papers, teaching, recording my podcast and YouTube video for the week, creating content for my group programs, or blogging, I need to focus on whether these things Nourish me. How much did you enjoy yourself today? Did you have any fun?
The other piece of this is the permission piece. In a culture that praises busyness as a badge of honor, it’s so easy to lose track of what we actually want. Instead of asking, “How did you spend your time this week?” I’d like to ask:
No, it’s not selfish to want to manifest your dream life, but you’ve got to get clear on what you want so that you can attract it to you. Furthermore, you have to give yourself permission to have it.
I’ve been re-reading a book called The Big Leap for a few months now (unfortunately I haven’t been creating a lot of time to read for pleasure lately). In the book, the author Gay Hendricks, talks about how we self-sabotage. How we’re so afraid of failure, of success, that we don’t allow ourselves to dream big. So we stay small. Whenever good things happen for us, we subconsciously self-sabotage so it doesn’t happen again or so that something negative happens to “balance” out the good. It’s like at some level, we’re afraid that it could be this good, so we make sure it never is.
I was talking with a client about this “big leap” phenomenon last week. She wanted to know how to overcome her “big leap” problem. It’s simple and yet not so simple at the same time: give yourself permission to have what you want. It’s easier said than done, huh? We ended up crafting what I call the “Prove It” plan for her. Its premise is this: Many of us don’t trust ourselves any more than we trust the Universe. We hold out hope that the right person is out there for us or that we can earn a lot of money doing what we love, but at some level, we don’t believe it will ever happen. So we keep one foot in the land of our dreams and one firmly planted in our current reality. We’re not moving from “reality” into “dream world” until we have proof that what we want is there and it will work. Enter the “Prove It” plan.
My client and I were working on her money blocks. She really wants to earn a living as a coach, but is finding it difficult to get and keep clients. Once we got to the bottom of those blocks and cleared them, we created her “Prove It” plan. Her current income from her coaching practice is about $2000 a month. She wants it be $10,000. Right now, she doesn’t really believe that will ever happen. $2000 a month seems like such a struggle. We set a goal for her to earn $2500 in November. We worked through what it will take to achieve that goal and got her set up to make it happen. Once she is consistently earning $2500 a month and feels comfortable(ish) with that, we’ll up her goal to $3000 a month. And so on; you get the idea. We are baby stepping her money goals up little by little, allowing a few months at each level for her to prove to herself that she can earn that amount of money and then stepping it up again.
You can use a similar strategy for any goal. Assess where you are now v. where you want to be. Write out all of the little steps it’s going to take for you to believe that goal is attainable. Start knocking them out one by one. Here’s the reality: most of us are holding ourselves back. We desperately want [insert what you want] but we are so afraid of getting there [all the “what ifs” come into play here] that we keep subconsciously self-sabatoging so we never really get there. Why? We don’t trust ourselves and we’re afraid to believe in and trust ourselves. Bottom line.
If that sounds like you, try my “Prove It” plan. If you want a little more help, I invite you to join my Sacred Circle – November 2016 is self-trust month. You’ll get all the support you need to make and achieve your own “Prove It” Plan! You can do this!
A few weeks ago I turned 43. I was excited about my birthday this year as it brought my Sticky Note Challenge, 7-Day Love Your Body, Nourish Your Temple challenge, a surprise party with my friends, and fun times with my loved ones. Yet, it’s also brought its challenges. Since my birthday week, I have injured myself every single week. First a sprained ankle, then a pulled back muscle, then a random swelling of my uninjured foot, followed by my not so graceful fall this morning that caused some hip and shoulder strain. To say I’ve been frustrated with my series of injuries would be an understatement. Last night, I even made the difficult decision to give up belly dancing for a while to allow myself time to rest and heal (and that was before my fall this morning). Yet, I know that once I’ve learned my lesson, this too shall pass.
So what is my body trying to tell me? What’s the lesson here?
For the past two decades, I have been paying attention to the wheel of the year, and I have found Mother Earth to be a great teacher. As the seasons change, so do we. Everything has its cycle and season to bloom as well as its season to rest. To me, Fall is a time of harvest – a time to reap what we sowed earlier in the year, to learn the lessons we need to learn before moving into the contemplative season of Winter. It’s also a time to be grateful for all of our many blessings. Yet, it is also a time of stillness. If Fall were a time of day, I think it would be twilight – the time of day when the sun is just below the horizon, but it’s not quite dark yet. It’s a time that can feel both peaceful (because you know your day is coming to an end) and unsettling (because you’re not quite sure what’s going to happen when night/full dark comes).
This makes Fall the perfect time to slow down and re-evaluate things (as both of my feet now hurt, Universe has apparently decided I needed help remembering to slow down!). We have two and half months left in the year. Now is the perfect time to reassess your priorities, examine what you’ve harvested and what lessons you’ve learned (or perhaps still need to learn) before the New Year begins. To help you (and me) do this, I’m offering you a few reflection questions to consider:
- What’s going on for you right now?
- How are you feeling?
- What is working well?
- What is frustrating or challenging you?
- What’s the lesson to be learned by all of these things (both the good and the challenging)?
- What seeds did you plant earlier in the year? (Another way to think about this: What goals did you set for yourself this year?)
- What are you harvesting right now? Have you achieved your goals – why or why not? If things didn’t go as planned, why? What’s the message here?
- What still feels incomplete? What needs to be finished before the end of the year?
- What do you need release or let go of?
- What are you being called to surrender (to)?
- What can you learn from this period of twilight/stillness? What are you being asked to reconsider?
I’d love to hear your thoughts below.
Full Moon Energy
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?
Full Moon in Aries
Aries is a fire sign, so those born under this sign tend to be very passionate and can be known for their temper as they tend to be a bit impulsive and impatient. They are also quite verbally expressive – they don't tend to keep their emotions to themselves. This can be healthy, as long as you remember to be considerate of the person on the receiving end of this expressivity!
So what does this mean for working with the Full Moon energy? You can add the energy of Aries to your Full Moon reflections by asking yourself the following reflective questions:
- What needs a little fire/passion in my life?
- What's been consumed by the fire (feels out of control/too impulsive) and needs to be doused with water/reason?
- How have I not been speaking my truth? What area(s) in my life might benefit from Aries' gift of verbal expressivity?
- How can I balance this gift of expressivity with compassion for myself and others?
Enjoy working with the Full Moon energy in Aries! It should be an action-packed, fiery time for all of us.
A few weeks ago, I shared with you that my boyfriend and I had surrendered our busyness badges of honor and had committed to one another to take Saturdays off. This past Saturday we went rock hounding. I can’t tell you what a difference being out in nature in the middle of nowhere had on our psyches. No cell phone service. No to-do lists. No people in sight for miles. Just rocky outcrops, cliffs, birds, snakes, katydids, butterflies, and praying mantises galore! The calm that washed over me was incredible.
And then Sunday came.
Chores, bill paying, email, and life intruded upon the peace and serenity we had found on Saturday. Todd spent most of the day working at his third job while I took care of things around the house and got some work done myself. Sunday night, over dinner, I remarked that my goal is that by the end of the year, barring the necessary chores we don’t have time to get to during the week, we’ll be taking the entire weekend off – and most weekday evenings too. Todd’s response? “We’re going to have to get really creative then.”
He couldn’t understand what we could do to fill all that extra time.
Then it occurred to me: that’s really the crux of the matter, isn’t it? As a society, we’ve gotten so good at filling every single moment with something on our to-do list that we: 1) feel guilty when we are not doing something ‘productive,’ and 2) we’re not even sure what to do with ourselves when we have time off because we are so far removed from that thing called relaxation.
In between chores and work on Sunday, we had lunch with my mother. Todd asked her when the last time she took a vacation was. At first, she couldn’t remember anything since my childhood in the 80s. Then she finally said, “When I was in the middle of moving up here, driving a U-Haul, I stopped to see my friend on the way. That counts as a vacation.” Really? Having lunch with a friend in the middle of moving across country counts as a vacation?
I’m not sure when the busyness badge of honor became such a valued accessory – I actually do remember a time when shopping malls were closed on Sundays and everyone I knew went to church on Sunday morning and then went home and rested. But regardless of when it started, I think it has to stop.
At the 2009 Vancouver Peace Summit, the Dalai Lama said, “The world will be saved by the western woman…Some people may call me a feminist … but we need more effort to promote basic human values — human compassion, human affection. And in that respect, females have more sensitivity for others’ pain and suffering.”
I agree. Due to the higher number of mirror neurons in the female brain, most women do have a greater capacity for empathy and compassion. Here’s the part that I think was missing from that speech: “The world will be saved by the western woman,” but not at the expense of herself. After all, you can’t save the world if you are trying to do so from an empty cup.
If you’ve ever flown on an airplane, you’ve probably heard something similar to this as part of the flight attendant’s safety spiel: “In the event of an emergency if the cabin pressure drops, oxygen masks will drop from the compartment above your head. Please secure your own mask before helping those around you.” Bingo. You can’t help others if you don’t have any oxygen.
But would you actually do that? Would you secure your own mask first –or would you first help your spouse, your kids, the elderly woman behind you – before putting on your own mask? I think for many women, the answer falls into the latter category – we help ourselves only when we’ve made sure everyone else is taken care of. The problem with that? By then it’s too late – you have nothing left for yourself; you don’t have any oxygen left, metaphorically speaking.
But how do we learn to do this? To actually put ourselves on our own priority list? I gave a talk last week called the 7 Principles of the Well-Nourished Woman (you can get the replay here) where I outlined just that: how to prioritize self-care. It’s doesn’t have to be a big thing – I’m not asking you to spend hours at a spa each day (although, wouldn’t that be nice occasionally?). On the call, I shared simple strategies you can implement every day that don’t take a lot of time. I realize though that sometimes we need to be held accountable when making a change – even one that might be good for us. So I also designed a 7-week group coaching program, The Nourished Temple, where I take you more deeply through these 7 principles of self-care and give you the help and support you need to take care of you – even when you don’t have a lot of free time, and even though the holiday season is around the corner. After all, isn’t the holiday season a perfect time to get support and find some balance and calm in the midst of all the chaos? I’d love for you to join us!
How can you prioritize you today?
Last week I shared a secret with you – that my boyfriend and I made a pact with one another to put down our busyness badges of honor. Truthfully, he wasn't quite sure what to think when he found out that I had shared that conversation with you. But he and I both realized something: the more we talk about this, the more vulnerable we are, the more we can be of service to the world. And that is something that is truly important to both of us.
I spoke with one of my good friends not long ago about this very topic. She remarked that as a society, and as women in particular, we've got to learn to get back in touch with our body's natural cycles and rhythms. We were never meant to be energizer bunnies, to go and do all the time. Just as the Earth goes through 4 seasons each year, we too have seasons, cycles, and rhythms.
September was my birthday month. I ended up declaring September 2016 my month of self-love and self-care. As part of that, I offered you two challenges: the sticky note challenge and the 7-Day Love Your Body, Nourish Your Temple challenge. As we went through the latter challenge together, there seemed to be a recurring theme in the Facebook group: how we keep forgetting to do this. We forget to not only nourish our temple, but how to do it in the first place. We forget to be grateful for our body and all the miracles it performs every day. We forget to take care of ourselves like we know we should.
One of the things that I invited the group to do was to get really clear on what it meant to nourish themselves. I think the nourishment means different things to different people, and I felt it was important for each woman to really define and clarify what that term even means. It was wonderful to watch everyone's individual definition unfold over the course of the week.
Over the course of my journey, I too have gotten clarity on what this word nourishment means to me. For me it boils down to 7 things, I called him the 7 principles of being a well-nourished woman. These principles are so important to me that I've created a free call for you to share them with you. You can sign up for the call and get free access to the 7-day Love Your Body, Nourish Your Temple challenge materials here. I hope you will join us on the call – no worries if you can't make it live, there will be a replay link sent out the following day. I'd love to hear what nourishment means to you and how you nourish yourself. Let me know either on the live call or in the comments below.