Monthly Archives: December 2016

New Moon in Capricorn

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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 Capricorn

Capricorns are logical and are also incredibly well-organized, orderly, and ambitious. They are the leaders and planners of the zodiac. So if you have goals you need to set or plans you need to make to attain those goals, now is the time! 

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

  • What do you need to take responsibility for in your life and what do you need to let someone else take over?
  • How can you feel more secure moving forward?
  • What are you ready to take charge of? Where do you need to take action or get some direction?
  • How can you better manage your time to accomplish your goals?

Enjoy working with the New Moon energy in Capricorn! It should be a potent time to gain clarity on your goals and what you need to do to make them happen!


How to Hold a Mini-Retreat

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For the past few weeks, I’ve been talking about holding a mini-retreat for myself the last two weeks of the year; I’ve been getting several questions coming in about this self-care practice: What is a mini-retreat? How long does it take? What do you do during a mini-retreat?

The answer to all of those: it depends!

To me, a mini-retreat is a period of time that you have devoted to you and your self-care that is longer than usual, but not as long as you’d like. A mini-retreat might be a week, a day, or 30 minutes. There is no hard and fast rule here. The key is: it should feel like a retreat, a break, a self-care time set aside just for you. But it’s a “mini” retreat because, as much as you might want to leave town and head to a spa for a week, that’s simply not feasible. You have work, kids, chores, and other obligations that require your time and attention.

I try work my “mini-retreats” in on daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. It works like this for me:

  • Twice a year, I take a two-week mini-retreat: one in mid-June and one in the last two weeks of December. I usually hold these in conjunction with the Woman Unleashed on-line retreat and spend part of my retreat time attending the sessions that call to me and doing the inner work they suggest. The rest of the time, I spend journaling, working on my Leonie Dawson yearly planners, setting yearly, 6-month, and quarterly goals, drawing, painting, meditating, spending time in nature, etc.  The “mini” retreat comes in because although I’d love to take two weeks off twice a year, I have a full-time job and a business to run on top of that. So during these two weeks, I work on what absolutely needs to get done that day during the morning hours and spend my afternoons in retreat.  So half of each day is a “work day” and half of each day is a “retreat day.” Yes, this takes some planning to pull off, but it is completely worth it as I come back to “full time work” feeling refreshed and reinvigorated, with a better idea of where I’m going and what I need to do to get there.
  • Each month, I schedule in a couple of hours to assess what worked and what didn’t during the previous month and set my goals for the coming month. Again, I usually pull out my Leonie Dawson yearly planners and daily diary for this activity as Leonie’s got great reflection prompts that help guide me in my monthly assessment and planning. But do whatever works for you – I am a bit of a planner and journaling addict, so that’s what works best for me. I also usually like to pick a theme/word of the month, and if I have extra time, I may paint something to remind me of that theme/word.
  • Each week, I set aside half an hour to an hour to do a smaller version of my monthly and yearly planning. I assess how each week went, what I want to do differently the following week, plan out what needs to get done on each day to stay on target with my monthly goals, etc.
  • Each day, I set aside time – usually first thing in the morning – to journal, plan out my day, etc. In today’s vlog, I explain what I do during my morning power hours.

The point of the mini retreat is to provide you with some built in, much-needed self-care time and to help you stay on track with your goals. If you are new to the idea of a mini-retreat, I would start with these questions:

  • How much time do you reasonably have to do this?
  • What do you want to accomplish during this time?
  • How do you hope to feel at the end of your mini-retreat (e.g., have more clarity, feel more focused, feel relaxed and rejuvenated)?
  • What activities will best help you achieve that feeling?
  • Plan accordingly from there.

My mini-retreats are constantly evolving to better suit me and my needs in the moment, but I hope this gives you a good place to start planning your own!

Much love!

Full Moon in Gemini

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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 Gemini

Aaahh…. the twins. Gemini is an air sign, and while those born under this sign may appear to be indecisive, in reality, they are just able to see all of the possibilities and thus sometimes are unable to narrow their focus to just one option. They are also fiercely independent and desire freedom to explore all of the potential outcomes they can see.

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

  • What emotions are coming up for me right now? 
  • Where do I feel “torn in two” or, alternately, stuck and unable to move forward? How might I benefit from viewing this situation with a new perspective?
  • Where have I been indecisive? Am I ready to make up my mind and move forward? If not, what's holding me back?
  • What needs closure in my life? Old patterns/beliefs/ways of be-ing or viewing the world?
  • What opportunities do I want to explore over the next month? Year?

Enjoy working with the Full Moon energy in Gemini! It should be a thrill ride for all of us.

The Fine Art of Saying No: It’s Time to Reassess, Release and Renew

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I need to be with myself and center; clarity, peace, serenity… ~ Fergie

It's the holiday season. Requests are coming in – requests for your time, your money, and your energy. Can you make another pie for the bake sale? Can you donate to your favorite charity or help stuff the bus? Can you sit in on this one committee meeting for me? Could you take my kids to school today, as I'm sick? You don't mind sewing a costume tonight for your daughter’s pageant, do you? Honey, I volunteered you to make the Christmas meal for the whole family; you don't mind, do you?  

The holidays are a perfect reason to be grateful for what we have, to give, and to receive. But let me tell you a secret: you don't have to do it all. Yet when there are so many demands on our time, it can be difficult to say no. I think it's the way many of us were raised: to be people pleasers, yes women, get-it-done girls.

But at what expense? Often times we sacrifice our own sanity and self-care in order to be of service to others. Yet, how can we really be of service to others if we can't be of service to ourselves? You cannot serve from a depleted place.

I'm reminded of one of my favorite Byron Katie sayings. She meant it in the context of deciding when to speak and went to say silent, but I think it could still be used here, with some minor modifications. Before speaking, she urges us to consider the following questions: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?

Taken in context of deciding when to speak our truth, it makes perfect sense. But I think it could also work when applied to making decisions for ourselves and assessing when to say yes and when to say no: Is it true that no one else could do it? Is it kind to ourselves to say yes to yet another obligation that we may not really want to do in the first place? Is it really necessary for us to be the one to do it? I would add to that: do I really even want to do this?

Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it for me?

This semester has been one of the most difficult in my 20 years in academia and I have found myself using this very philosophy recently. I was faced with a tough decision of whether or not to continue with a role I was tasked with at the beginning of the semester. At the time I agreed to take on the role, I was assured that it wouldn’t take more than 1-2 hours a week. The reality was closer to 5-10 hours a week. It was more than I bargained for and I found myself growing increasingly resentful.

I reached out to a friend and shared my dilemma with her. She passed on some words of advice that fell right in alignment with my own inner conflict: I think you need to examine why you feel inclined to stay? Is it fulfilling to you personally, or do you feel like they need you? They will be okay if you leave… Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it for me?

I ultimately decided that it wasn’t a fit for me anymore and put in my resignation. It was a tough decision, but I know it was the best decision for me – and for the organization I was involved with.

This is the perfect time of year to reassess what’s on your plate – figure out what’s for you and what isn’t – so that, moving forward into the New Year, you can do so with clarity and from a place of renewal, not depletion.

Make some time for you in the coming weeks to truly assess all of your current obligations and decide for each: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it for me?