Monthly Archives: November 2016

New Moon in Sagittarius

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This 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 Sagittarius

Sagittarius is a fire sign and those born under this sign tend to be a little quick-tempered and direct (they tell it like it is with no sugar coating), but on the other hand they are also very lively, fun, adventurous, and flexible go-with-the-flow kind of people (Sagittarians are not planners by nature). They tend to be more rule breakers than rule makers and they love their freedom.

So what does this mean for working with the New Moon energy? You can add the energy of Sagittarius to your New Moon reflections by asking yourself the following:

  • Where have I been holding myself back? How might I need to adapt and change in my life right now? What’s not working for me that could use a little boost of fire energy?
  • What is my Soul's Purpose, my Calling in life? What do I need to do right now to get or stay on that path?
  • How have the rules I've been operating under served me? How have they held me back? What do I need to let go of moving forward?
  • What could use a little more passion in my life? Where am I not allowing myself to have fun and enjoy my life?
  • Where do I need to take bold action in my life?

Enjoy working with the New Moon energy in Sagittarius. It should be a fiery time for all of us!

Make Time for Self-Care this Holiday Season

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This semester has been one of the most stressful semesters in my 20 years of teaching, and it’s provided numerous lessons in finding balance, having patience, and remembering to breathe through life’s little struggles. One of the biggest lessons it’s given me is reminding me of the importance of keeping me at the top of my priority list and scheduling time for self-care.

It’s so easy to forget to put ourselves on our priority list, isn’t it? We get caught up in other people’s problems, drama, and life in general, that we sometimes put everything but self-care on our to-do list. But, if you’re anything like me, lack of self-care equals crazy making. While it may seem that “I would get so much more done if I skipped [insert your self-care plan for the day],” the reality is that you wouldn’t. The days that I find myself skipping my morning power hour (of walking, meditating, and journaling) tend to be some of my least productive and most stressful days. Yet, sometimes when I wake up, I think to myself, “I should skip my morning power hour and just dive right in.”

Then I remember to breathe and remind myself that I am no good to anyone if I skip my self-care. You have to keep your cup full – after all, you cannot serve from your own reserves or you will very quickly find yourself depleted, with nothing left to give. This is especially important to remember as we head into the holiday season.

But when you already have too much on your plate, how do you carve out time for you? Here’s what I’ve learned over the years:

  • Ask for help – whether it’s a big project at work or Thanksgiving dinner, it’s okay to ask for help. Sometimes people are just waiting for their cue that their help is wanted and needed. For example, a few years ago, I started doing my holiday celebrations potluck style. Yes, that meant I didn’t have control over how the mashed potatoes turned out, but it took a lot of the stress off my plate and my friends enjoyed bringing and sharing their favorite holiday dishes with everyone else.
  • Go for the minimalist approach – As a recovering perfectionist, this one can be challenging for me, but a few years ago, I learned a wonderful phrase: “That’ll do.” You know what happens when you make enough for 50 and only 10 show, right? You have leftovers for weeks that eventually go bad and you have to toss half of it out anyway. And you get really sick of turkey – or whatever you made. Here’s a new approach: if you expect 10, cook for 10. Not 50, 20, or even 12. There will still be plenty to go around even if 12 show and you’ll save a few dollars in the process and waste a lot less. And while you’re at, no your decorations don’t need to perfect and no one will really notice if there are a few lumps in your mashed potatoes (and even if they do, who cares?).
  • Presentation is not everything – Yes, you can decorate your platter with fresh flowers and add decorative swirls of chocolate on your dessert plate, but here’s the thing: no one cares what it looks like as long as it tastes good. The hours you spent prepping the ‘perfect presentation’ may get appreciate for 5 seconds and then it will be ignored, eaten, or destroyed. Thus, it’s not worth your time. Trust me on this one. Time with loved ones is more important than time away from loved ones to prepare the perfect plate.
  • Prioritize – what’s really important to you? If having a Martha-Stewart-worthy table is something you truly enjoy doing and value, then by all means, decorate! But if you’re only decorating because you feel like you ‘should,’ then skip it. If you feel you simply must, but don’t want to go to the trouble of decorating, go low maintenance and buy some premade table decorations or one of those little pre-decorated table trees that are a foot or so tall. But, if you’re like me, you may decide to just skip the decorations in favor of giving yourself a little breathing room.
  • Take care of you – every single morning, ask yourself, “What do I need to do for me today?” Then go do it. Right now before you forget or life gets in the way. You are worth this and you will find yourself in a much better mood and more productive when you make time to take care of you. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate thing or take all that long, but you’ve got to fill your cup. Every. Single. Day.

I hope you find time to take care of you and are able to enjoy your holiday season a little more this year. Yes, it only comes once a year, but that doesn’t mean it has to be picture perfect. Always remember: there’s no such thing as perfect, and thankfully, this only comes once a year!

Making Friends with Your Shadow

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This month in the sacred circle we have been working on cultivating self-trust. As part of our full moon meditation journey this past weekend, we took a dive into the shadow self – the parts of ourselves that we try to high hide, deny, or repress; the parts of ourselves that we're not proud of. Yet, we have much to learn from these parts of ourselves.

How do we meet this part of ourselves if we’ve repressed it? Here’s the thing about the shadow: you cannot fully repress it. It tends to show up in your emotions. When you feel hurt, angry, frustrated, afraid, ask yourself, “What are you afraid of? Why are you hurting? Angry? Frustrated?” You might find some nuggets of wisdom in the answer to that question.

Then dive a little deeper. Where is this coming from? Sometimes it’s coming from what it appears to be coming from: something happened that made you upset. But sometimes when we dive deeper, we find clues: old patterns, thoughts, or ways of be-ing that have been with us for a long time but no longer serve.

It works like this: somewhere in your past, an incident occurred (or maybe several similar instances) that changed your way of be-ing. While you may no longer remember these instances, the pattern of be-ing they created is still there. So, as an adult, you are still operating under these same sets of rules/patterns that you developed in an earlier time in your life, often without giving thought to why you are doing what you’re doing. Sometimes that’s fine; if it’s a good habit you’ve created, there may be no need to delve into the where, why, and how it emerged. However, if you keep finding yourself getting hurt/upset/angry/frustrated over the same types of things, then it might be time to figure out if there is a pattern and where it came from.

Case in point: I’m a recovering fixer. I see something that I perceive needs to be fixed and I dive right in to help – regardless of whether my help is asked for, needed, or wanted. There have been many times in my life when I ‘helped’ someone and my help was not desired or appreciated. I would then feel hurt, not seeing that I had created my own problem. On the surface, in any one of those occasions, I could have asked myself, “Why are you upset?” and responded, “Because I feel unappreciated.” But, if I dove deeper I would find that I had created this situation myself by giving help when it wasn’t asked for. That feeling of needing to fix everyone’s problems and then feeling unappreciated was my shadow side coming forward.

What caused that to happen? Through a series of occurrences early in my life, I ended up becoming the family mediator, the voice of reason. I saw it as my job to calm tempers, make people come to the table and talk things out, and generally “fix” what needed to be fixed on both an emotional and practical level. (No wonder I got my PhD in Psychology, huh?!) As childhood turned into adulthood, and I moved away from my family home, that pattern of behavior had become so deeply rooted that I didn’t know how to not be a fixer. That’s when the problem started. I took an old habit/pattern and started applying it to new situations where it was ineffective. Because my identity was firmly entrenched in being a “fixer,” I found myself trying to fix problems that really didn’t exist. So I kept looking for problems I could fix. Occasionally, I actually found a problem and fixed it, and that felt good, familiar. As word got around at work, I became the go-to-girl for other people’s problems, and I ended up taking on their emotions and problems as my own, just so I could fix them. The issue was: 1) they weren’t my problems to fix, 2) I would end up feeling hurt when my “fixing” wasn’t wanted or appreciated, and 3) I was becoming emotionally drained from trying to fix everyone else’s problem.

As I began to dive into my behavior pattern and learned more about where it came from, I realized how this pattern that had once been so crucial to my identity (and highly effective in my family of origin) didn’t serve me anymore. I needed to stop being a fixer. So I dove in and asked myself, “Where is need to fix things coming from?” As I worked more and more with my shadow side, I understood that at the core of my need to fix things was a little girl who just wanted to be loved and appreciated for who she was. She didn’t really want to fix other people’s problems; it was just the way she felt loved and valued. “If you fix it, they will love you.” But when I give her the unconditional love and appreciation she needs, she no longer feels the need to search for and fix other people’s problems.

The shadow aspect of ourselves is usually, at its core, something very similar to this: it stems from a childhood need that wasn’t met. As a child, you likely learned how to get your need met (in my case, I felt loved and appreciated when I “fixed” things). But, there are likely other healthier ways to get this same need met. I now know that I don’t have to fix people’s problems for them to love me. I am deserving of unconditional love and affection just because – no strings attached. Once you begin to get your needs met (in my case, give myself the love and affection I need), then the shadow tendency should begin to dissolve on its own. Once you know where it came from, when it rears its head again, then you know exactly why it happened (when I don’t give myself the love and affection I need, I find myself trying to “fix” other people’s problems again) and how to address it (allow myself to get my needs met).






Full Moon in Taurus

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This is part of 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.

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 Taurus

Taurus is an Earth sign, and Taureans are very practical people. They are patient and carefully deliberate any decisions before making them. They are also very reliable and dependable, and may find themselves taken advantage of as everyone relies on them to get things done. But, they can also be a bit “bull-headed” or stubborn and sometimes cling to old ideals, even if they are not in their best interest. This Full Moon is reminding all of us to be mindful of your time and your own needs. You are stronger than you know, but remember to keep some of that for yourself.

So what does this mean for working with the Full Moon energy? You can add the energy of Taurus to your Full Moon reflections by asking yourself the following reflective questions:

  • What needs a little deliberation in my life right now? Where do I need to slow down and carefully consider my options?
  • Where am I being impatient with myself or others? How can I benefit from self-compassion and/or showing others more compassion?
  • Where might I be being a little “bull-headed” or obstinate? How might I be more open and receptive to other ways of looking at this situation?
  • Am I taking good care of myself? Am I keeping my cup full? If not, what do I most need to do to take better care of me?
  • How have I taken on too much? How can I off load some of this or delegate to others so that I don't  feel overwhelmed?
  • What needs a dose of strength in my life? How can I be my own supporter?

Enjoy working with the Full Moon energy in Taurus! It should be a reflective, cup filling time for all of us!

5 Steps to Healing

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Healing is a process, a journey, and wherever you are on that journey, it’s likely you have encountered, or will encounter, a few hiccups along the way. These little glitches sometimes take us off track and make us forget about all the progress we’ve already made thus far. Sometimes these perceived setbacks are tests from the Universe to see if you’re serious; sometimes they are your own self-doubt intruding; and sometimes life just happens for you. Regardless of what caused the hiccup, know that it’s there for a reason. It’s your job to figure out what it is, why it’s there, and what you need to do about it.

But know this: you are not alone. I’ve been getting several questions lately from frustrated podcast listeners, YouTube channel subscribers, and clients around topics related to healing. Whether you’re healing from a divorce, an eating disorder, body dissatisfaction, codependency, or anything else, there seem to be two central questions that give all of us pause during our healing process: 1) Why does it takes so long to heal? (For my answer, listen in to this podcast episode). 2) Why, once you feel like you’ve made significant progress on your healing journey, do you always seem to fall back in the trap of whatever it is you are trying to escape?

To answer that last question, I think it’s important to recognize that healing is a process. In my experience, it’s one that seems to boil down to these 5 steps. I’m going to walk you through these steps using my divorce several years ago as an example.

  1. Awareness – when I was married, I was not aware I was in a codependent relationship. In fact, I didn’t even know what a codependent relationship was. After all, my parents had a codependent relationship, so I just thought marriage was supposed to be that way. The therapist I was seeing as I went through my divorce diagnosed me with complex PTSD and told me to read Melodie Beattie’s Codependent No More. That’s when I finally discovered that my marriage wasn’t healthy, for either of us.
  2. Acknowledgement – this is truly the first stage of healing, where you admit you have a problem. You begin to see the issue, in my case codependency, for what it is. As you acknowledge the issue, you begin to go through the process of healing, letting go, and forgiveness of yourself and whoever else was involved (Note: to me, forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different than it was – after all, you can't change the past, so ruminating about the “should haves” or “if onlys” does no good).
  3. Testing a Different Way of Being – once you have acknowledged where you are/were – in my case in a codependent relationship – at some point you must decide that you no longer want to do that. However, that’s often easier said than done. I knew I didn’t want to be in a codependent relationship again, but I wasn’t quite sure what Plan B was because I’d never known anything other than Plan A (codependency). So I began to try new things, relate to people differently. Yet, because Plan A (codependency) is all I’d ever known, I kept falling back into that trap with every man I dated post-divorce. The good news was that now that I knew what I was looking for, it was very easy to spot when it happened. So, I had a choice – to go back to codependency or to explore a different way of being. I chose Plan B, not really even sure what that was going to look like. I’m not going to lie, it was a little scary. But I knew it had to be better than Plan A (codependency was miserable). So I experimented. I tried new things. I explored what happened when I did things a little differently. Sometimes I found myself stuck in self-doubt because I didn’t yet know where I was going. In those cases, I learned to breathe through that doubt, so I could move on to stage 4.
  4. Deciding What You Really Want – after enough experimentation and observation of how other people did Plan B (what you want – in my case, a healthy romantic relationship), I started to get a better idea of what I wanted as well as how to cultivate that. I started taking notes, writing it down so I would remember what I wanted. I then continually revisited this written reminder of how I wanted to be now and what I wanted in a romantic relationship. It was still a lot of trial and error at this point, but I could at least see the new way of being even if I didn’t choose it 100% of the time (after all, as miserable as Plan A was, it was familiar…). Yes, it was uncomfortable at first, but I kept going back to my list of what I wanted. I also found a few role models – in my case, women who had recovered from codependency and learned a new way of being. I read their stories; listened to their interviews on telesummits. I even called a few of them to talk it through. That was tremendously helpful as it gave me hope that I, too, could do this.
  5. Walking Down a New Sidewalk – you have enough practice under your belt that most of the time, you are living in this new way. It's still a practice, but with time it does get easier, and past becomes just a memory of how you used to be.

Did I heal my codependency? Yes. Am I in a healthy relationship now? Yes. Did it take time? Absolutely, and this time piece was invaluable. You can’t rush things – trying to hurry the healing process will likely only result in you falling back down the rabbit hole of whatever Plan A you are trying to escape. (I know because I speak from experience!) How long did it take? About 3 years, which is actually right on track with what we know about rewiring the brain (for more on that, listen to my podcast episode here).

Bottom line: If I can heal, you can do this too. But it will take time. How much time? That depends on what step you’re on and how much work you’re willing to do. But know this: you can do this. You are not alone. You have others out there, like me, who would love to support you (you can learn more about working with me here). Find them. Find your tribe. Get the help and support you need. You’ve got this.