Monthly Archives: May 2017

Are You Getting the Support You Need?

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I was talking with a friend the other day about Superwoman Syndrome – the idea that as women today, it's not enough to know that we can do whatever we set our minds to. It's almost like we feel like we have to do it all, or we're less than. 

So many of my clients, and I have certainly been guilty of this myself, define their self-worth by the length of their to-do list and the number of items they're able to check off each day. It's as though, at a fundamental level, we feel our worth is somehow tied to our productivity. The problem is, our productivity is usually defined by somebody else's to-do list (that is, items others wish us to do for them). At the end of the day, we may find ourselves feeling “productive,” yet unfulfilled and exhausted.

I found myself reflecting on this conversation for several days. A quotation – I have no idea who originally said it – kept running through my head: “if you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself.”

I think somewhere along the way, this got translated into something entirely different in our brains: instead of “if you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself,” it became more of “you should be able to do everything by yourself. If you can't and you have to ask for help, it means you're weak.”

So we stopped asking for help and we started placing more and more burdens on our own shoulders, somehow expecting that we would be able to do it all and do it all perfectly, with no thought to our own health or sanity.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. I agree, and I would take it one step further. It takes a village to run a business. It takes a village to raise a family. It takes a village to be human. We need each other to survive and thrive. 

There is no shame in asking for help, or in allowing yourself to receive it. I give you permission to ask for help. I give you permission to accept it with open arms. You don't have to do this alone. In fact, you weren't meant to.

In today's video, I guide you through a process you can use to decide when and where you might need a little support. You've got this. There are others waiting to help you.

 

It’s Time to Take Back Your Power

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It was 6 o'clock in the morning on a random Friday in November of 2013. A woman I'd met one time and barely knew messaged me on Facebook. She asked me: why aren't you walking in your power?

After the initial shock wore off that a woman I barely knew was messaging me about some really weird thing on Facebook, it dawned on me: she was right. I hadn't been walking in my power because I'd been too busy giving it away.

The problem was that I wasn't really sure what taking back my power or walking in my power even meant. I always learned growing up that power was a bad thing – if you have power, then you have power over somebody else. I didn't want that. That didn’t feel good to me. So I had to figure out – what is this elusive thing called power and why did I need to walk in it?

It’s been quite the 4-year journey since that random message I received on Facebook. But since then I've come to define my power as this:

  • it's my ability to share my truth from my heart,
  • it's my ability to stay true to me and what's best for me regardless of what anybody else thinks,
  • it's listening to the voice of my inner wisdom – my connection to Divine – and honoring it.

So how did I do it? How did I take back my power and learn to walk in it?

  1. I stopped trying to please everybody else, because I realized that was exercise in futility. – This was not easy to do, mind you. I had been the “yes” woman for so long that I had people trained to assume that if they asked me to do something, I would graciously comply. More on how I did that in today’s video.
  2. Rather than turning to everyone else for advice, I started listening to that still small voice inside of me because I realized that I actually do know what’s best for me. – This again was challenging. I had become so disconnected from myself that I could barely hear that still, small voice and I certainly didn’t trust it. But over time, and with practice, I learned to reconnect with my intuition.
  3. Most importantly, I stopped hiding who I am and started sharing from a place of my authentic truth – the real me. Purple-streaked hair and all.

I want to leave you with this thought:

But you don’t need someone else to tell you what to do. You have everything you need inside of you.

Express Your Inner Wild Woman [Guided Meditation Inside!]

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The classroom I am teaching in this Summer is very chilly. Toward the end of class one day, I let my bun loose so my hair would cover my neck and warm it up. “It’s a little bit early to be letting your hair down, isn’t it?” one of my students teased.  I thought to myself, “No, no it’s not. In fact, this is the perfect time to let your hair down and let your Inner Wild Woman out to play.”

Spring in Idaho can be deceptive – 80s and sunny one day, 40s and rainy the next. It often looks warmer than it truly is. And yet… there is a part of me calling to get outside, to shake my hips and move, to fully express my creative self.

Earlier in the year, I started a series I am calling, “Chrysalis.” The first painting, which I finished in February was just that – the cocoon of a monarch butterfly waiting patiently to spread her wings and fly. The second in the series, which I finished in March, I call “Emergence.” It truly represents the energy of Spring for me – half in and half out of the chrysalis. With the chilly and ever-fluctuating Spring we’ve had here this year, it has felt like I have one foot testing the waters so to speak and the other, planted firmly inside where its warm. The final painting, which I started in March, has no name, nor have I finished it. It will be the last in the series – the painting where the butterfly spreads her wings and flies. I look at that half-finished painting nearly every day and think, “No. It’s not quite time yet.” Part of me is ready to spread my wings and soar, and part is quite comfortable in the safety of my cocoon. And yet, I cannot stay here forever.

2016 was a year of closure for many of us – a necessary part of the circle of life. We must close and release what no longer serves so that we may open the doors of possibility. But there is a waiting time. A time when we’ve emerged from that cocoon, but still aren’t quite sure where we’re going or how to get there. May feels like that to me. Sometimes this “hurry up and wait” energy is quite frustrating; other times I am grateful for this time of slowness before the fire of Summer heats everything up and motivates us to move. May is a time of harmonizing, clarifying – we need to make sure the goals we set for ourselves earlier in the year still serve us and that we’re not holding onto pipe dreams.  It’s a time to both open to receive guidance and focus our intentions to move in the direction of what we want to manifest this year.

So how do you handle this energy? It’s time to get in touch with your Wild Woman self and ask her how she wants to be expressed right now. It’s time to make sure you are getting your own needs met. It’s time to root firmly into the earth’s energy, harmonize with your Soul’s purpose, and take aligned action one baby step at a time. It may not quite be time to soar, but it is certainly time to explore and test your wings a little bit!

In today’s video, I lead you through a brief guided meditation to meet your Inner Wild Woman and ask her what she most wants for you right now. I hope it serves you!

Tend to the Garden of Your Soul

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I've been getting a lot of emails lately from women who are experiencing what I like to call “bright shiny object syndrome.” May is here, and they're ready to finally blossom. Yet, they're not quite sure in which way they want to grow. In other words, it's like being at a buffet and there are too many items to choose from.

I, too, have been experiencing this as of late. But I've been around enough to know that this is a combination of multiple factors, and not something I need to act on right now.

I like to think of May as the time when we tend to our garden. It's an invitation to look at your life in its current situation. Where are there weeds growing? What do you want to harvest this year? What seeds do you need to plant now to make that happen? What's coming up that's left over or reseeded itself from last year? Do you even still want these things in your garden?

I invite you to think of your life as a garden. Examine each and every area. What's working well for you? What is working okay, but could stand a little improvement? What is not working at all? What do you just need to scrap all together and start over with? There's no judgment here. You don't even have to have all of the answers right now.  In fact, it's probably better if you don't. You need to leave yourself open space, an opportunity for things to be a little different than you expected. In fact, rather than going into this exercise with the attitude that you have to figure it all out, I invite you to go into it with an attitude of exploration. Try something new. See if you like it. If you do, keep it. If you don't, toss it. Give yourself permission to explore and see how life can be even better than you imagined.

But that's okay. Everything happens for a reason – even the things that we don't like. How can you use each one of these “life lessons” as opportunities for learning and growth?

I know that sometimes when you're feeling down, when things just aren't going your way, it's difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. May is a time of learning to trust yourself – of learning to have faith that, no matter what, it's all going to be okay. Even if you don't know how it's going to work out, even if you don't see a resolution, it will all be okay. In today's video, I help a viewer who is struggling with learning to live in the moment and be grateful for what she has when she feels like nothing is working out her way. I hope it serves you.

How can you tend to the garden of your Soul today?

 

What Do You Most Want Right Now?: Listening to that Still Small Voice

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It was Friday of dead week (the not-so affectionate, yet somehow appropriate term for the last week of classes) and I was exhausted. After working 12+ hour days for an entire week and more of the same planned for the weekend, I had a heart-to-heart moment with myself.

I asked myself.

Chocolate was the first answer that came to mind, but then I dove a little deeper: I need a break. That's what I most want right now. I haven't been practicing what I preach. I've been pushing too hard, letting others overstep boundaries. I need time for myself – Time to unwind, time to be me, time in nature alone. After a week filled with meetings and grading, I need to give myself the gift of my own time.

So I did.

I took off at 4:30 Friday afternoon, sat outside and soaked up the sunshine for a while, and then went climbing with my man. A little physical activity to release the tension of the week. Just what my body needed. But I still had to care for my mind and my spirit. So I took off Saturday. I journaled, meditated, spent some time in nature alone.

I believe that every year we have a life theme, intentionally chosen or not. Last year my theme was discernment – learning to decide what was good for me and what was not good for me. This year my theme has been balance. Universe has tested me again and again, sending me continual reminders when I've gotten out of balance. 

Balance is an often talked about term, yet it remains elusive. What does being in balance actually mean? For me, it's a balance of masculine and feminine qualities. It's a balance of doing and being, giving and receiving. It's a balance of work and play. It's a balance of self-care and being of service. 

With our endless to do lists, it's so easy to forget that we should be on them. That we too are deserving of our own time and energy. It's so easy to fall out of balance. 

I have mastered the art of pushing, striving, doing. That's what I did for the first 40 years of my life. But in the last few years I've realized that it doesn't have to be that way. And I've been much happier for it. Yet, that balance I keep seeking still sometimes feels elusive.

I think I've finally realized why. I kept trying to “get there” – to that place of balance, desperately hoping that once I arrived there, I would somehow stay there. But that's an impossible task because balance is more of a flow or a feeling of rhythm than a consistent state you achieve. This flow of balance, like a river, is ever changing. Thus, being in flow, in balance, is a process of constantly checking in with yourself to make sure you still feel in the flow rather than in a state of doing or efforting. 

I understand that this goal may seem lofty. After all, we all have things we must “do” each day – make breakfast, go to work, shuttle the kids to soccer practice, etc. Sometimes our to-do lists require some amount of efforting, or doing things we don't necessarily enjoy. Yet, that in and of itself is an opportunity to play with this idea of balance. My colleagues and I like to make games out of grading so the task doesn't seem so onerous. I take frequent grading breaks to reward myself every X number of papers or minutes I’ve spent grading. Another of my colleagues treats herself to a good piece of chocolate or glass of wine after an evening of grading. It's about finding and returning to that space of flow even in the midst of chaos or efforting.

How do you know when you've gotten out of balance? For me, there are clear warning signs when I'm getting out of balance: feeling “out of sorts,” sleep deprivation, clenching my jaw during the day or while I sleep, forgetting to eat because I'm too busy, and finding myself short-tempered. Knowing your red flags is the first step to stop getting out of balance in the first place.

The question then remains: what do you do if you're already out of balance? First, don't beat yourself up. Even if you think you should've known better, or should've done something differently, there's no sense in beating yourself up. Life happens. Second, breathe, check in with yourself wherever you are. Third, ask yourself: what do I need right now in this moment? Allow the answer to bubble up from that heart space – not that ego mind with all of your to-do lists, but from your heart itself. What did you need to come back into balance? Fourth, go to that thing right now if possible, or if not, as soon as you can get to it. Make yourself a priority – and you'll find you fall out of balance a lot less often.

So I ask you: