Monthly Archives: October 2017

Reflections on Halloween (Reflection Questions Inside!)

By | Goddess Wisdom, Walk the Path, Wisdom Blog | No Comments

Halloween was always my favorite childhood holiday. After all, you got to dress up and eat all the chocolate you wanted! But, as I got older and entered the work force, I often found myself treating Halloween as just another day – no costumes, no candy, nothing special. Or maybe, depending on where I lived and how many children lived close by, after work I would hand out candy to the children who knocked on my door dressed up like their favorite Superhero.

All of that changed for me when my father died a few days shy of Halloween eight years ago. My favorite holiday turned into too-close-to-the-anniversary-of-his-death to celebrate anything. It was too painful to even think about getting dressed up or handing out candy.

And yet, my father’s death offered me an opportunity to rethink my favorite childhood celebration. I became motivated to look into the history of Halloween and why we even celebrate it to begin with. What I found fascinated me. Before Halloween was Halloween, the Celtic peoples celebrated New Year on November 1st each year. This marked the end of Summer and the final harvest. The Celts believed that on the night before the New Year, the veils between the world of the dead and the living thinned. October 31st was called Samhain and people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. Pope Gregory III, in the 8th century, decided to make November 1st a day to honor all saints (All Saints Day, in some cultures this was called Day of the Dead and honored all ancestors who had passed over); the evening before was known as All Hallows Eve. This evolved into what we now know as Halloween, a combination of both ancient and modern traditions (http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween).

Regardless of whether you celebrate Halloween or All Saints Day, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you’ve likely noticed that the days are getting shorter. In addition to being a day to dress up and eat candy, Halloween marks an important turning of the wheel of the year. It is the halfway point between Fall and Winter in the Northern hemisphere and Spring and Summer in the Southern hemisphere. In addition, we’ve only got two months left in the year. Thus, this makes it a perfect time to reflect on where you’ve been, where you are going, and what you want to accomplish in the remainder of the year.

“We remain in the period of the year symbolized by the descent of the Goddess into the underworld. The light continues to decline… And darkness seems to come all too quickly each evening. Our foremothers would have completed most of the year’s outdoor tasks by this time. Today our tasks are rarely determined by the seasons or the weather. Rain or snow, winter or summer, we report to work, move papers, have meetings, sell products. We live differently than people did for most of human history. But our bodies have not altered. We still respond to the diminishing daylight by drawing inward, by changing our sleep patterns, by finding different things taking priority in our lives. It’s futile to fight against this annual cycle. Embracing it, living our lives by it, will ultimately make us happier.” – Patricia Monoghan

Today, if you are so inclined, I offer you a few Samhain-inspired questions for reflection as you move into the final two months of the year. I hope they serve you:

  1. What’s going on for you right now? How are you being asked to face your shadows or shadow side? What keeps coming up for you?
  2. What is your Intuition /Inner Goddess wanting you to know right now?
  3. What do you most need right now at a Soul level? How can you make sure you get this need met?

If you are struggling right now or things feel overwhelming/dark/not what you wish they were, know that you are not alone…                                                                                                                        

  1. What feels like an old story that might be coming forward again for you? How can you re-write this old story? What needs to change and how can you enact this change?
  2. How can you take more responsibility for your life and what is happening? How can you take back your power if you’ve been giving it away?
  3. What inner work are you being called to do right now? How can you embrace that journey without blaming/judging/criticizing yourself for not being “there” yet?

Wishing you a blessed Halloween/Samhain!

Harnessing the Power of the Fallow Time

By | Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 4 Comments

As I write this, we are a week out from another turning of the wheel. October 31 – Halloween/All Hallows Eve/Samhain – marks the halfway point between fall and winter – or between spring and summer if you live in the southern hemisphere. And the feeling that I have been hearing about from many women in my tribe, and in fact have been feeling myself, is a sense of dis- settlement. Of feeling a bit lost.

While much of this is likely due to what’s been going on in the world as of late – from violence to natural disasters – I think much of it stems from within. We are feeling disconnected from ourselves, uncertain of what our future in an ever-turbulent world may hold. And while we may be feeling a little fear and trepidation around this, know that this is perfectly natural and is part of life‘s many cycles and rhythms. It’s called the Fallow time.

“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.” – Barbara de Angelis

Back in the days when we were hunters and gatherers and lived a much more agrarian lifestyle, the end of October, for those in the northern hemisphere, marked the last of the three Fall harvests. The ground had started freezing at night by this point and the gatherers knew that this was the last chance to glean their crops before they lost them to Winter frost. If you are an avid gardener as I am, you may have found yourself recently cleaning out the garden beds as the temperatures have started to dip below freezing at night time.

I think this “last chance” feeling is what many of us are struggling with right now, what’s causing this dis-settlement and lost-ness. We feel like we’re losing our “last chance” – even if we aren’t certain of what it is we’re losing – and we’re not sure of when our next chance or opportunity will come. But just as the wheel turns and the seasons change, know that this fallow time is part of Mother Nature’s natural cycles and rhythms. Instead of constantly striving, forcing, and doing, perhaps we ourselves would benefit from our own Fallow time.

The thought of having a fallow time for ourselves might be a little anxiety-provoking. After all, most of us live in a culture that prides itself on doing, performing, and producing. We may have a voice – that inner critic – in the back of our mind saying “Fallow time?” Doesn’t that mean you’re just doing nothing or being lazy? No, quite the opposite. As Mother Nature turns her face to Winter in the northern hemisphere and prepares to go within, so too we must turn our faces within and truly decipher what it is that we most need and want at this time in our lives. 

“Fully occupied by the process of achieving innumerable goals, we lose the ability to determine which goals really matter, and why.” – Martha Beck 

I’ve never been a fan of Winter, I’m not going to lie. I don’t like cold weather, I’m not crazy about having to drive in or shovel snow. Yet, I decided that this year, as we approach this final harvest, I might benefit from a slight mindset shift. What if I gave myself permission to enjoy this fallow time? After all, I know that just as fall turns to winter, winter will turn to spring, and the cycle will begin again. So it’s not like it’s going to last forever; after all, it’s only a season of 3 to 4 months. Instead of fighting or resisting the winter – the fallow time – what if I gave myself permission to look forward to it? To plan indoor activities for myself that I find soul-nourishing and enriching? What if instead of bundling up and going out in the snow and forcing myself to be cheery at yet another holiday party, I allowed myself to do what I really wanted to do – hole up inside and read a good book or paint or journal to my heart’s content? 

I’m not saying that every moment of my fallow time will be spent reading, journaling, and painting, as much as I might wish to do so. I too have roles, obligations, and responsibilities. I too have a job and a family to take care of. Rather, it’s more of an attitude shift for me. Instead of trying to fill the void of those empty spaces left by summertime activities or trying to come up with new activities to replace those that I cannot do when it’s cold outside, what if I stopped fighting it? What if I allowed winter to be winter and allowed myself to finally enjoy it? Or better yet, what if I stopped planning every single moment of my life and just allowed myself to simply be – to check in with myself in those moments of quietude? What if I approached my “down time” with a question: “What do you most want to do right now?”

Now, if your inner critic pipes up with some reason why you shouldn’t be creating more time for you right now, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I feel rooted and grounded right now or do I feel like my energy is all over the place? – If you are feeling scattered, this is when you most need to go within and reconnect with yourself, figure out what you want and why.
  • Do I feel centered? Balanced? In harmony with the flow of life? – Again, if the answer to any of these is “no,” that is a sign from the Universe that you need to focusing on regaining that sense of balance and harmony with yourself.
  • What do I most want to do right now? – Keep in mind, the answer “nothing” is a perfectly valid option here…

Let me know in the comments below.

If you are looking for a little more help reconnecting with your own voice of wisdom, remember that you can grab your copy of my Reconnecting with Your Intuition self-study course, on sale through the end of October.

Listening to Your Body’s Wisdom

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

As I shared with you last week, I was recently diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue. This has been a journey my body and I have been taking for several years together. It seems that around this time of year every year (the beginning of the Fall season for those of us in the Northern hemisphere), I end up back in this place. Why? There are a number of reasons why I think I am vulnerable to adrenal fatigue in the Fall. The frenetic energy of going back to school, my birthday (another turning of the Wheel of the Year for me), fire season for those of us in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, seasonal changes that mark a 40-50 degree fluctuation in temperatures each day (freezing temps at night, 70 degrees by 3pm), and the anniversary of my father’s death all can contribute to a sense of disenchantment or dis-ease at this time of year.

Yet, I had an aha moment last week when I realized that while these events/anniversaries may make me more vulnerable to illness, it has been my own choices to ignore my body’s wisdom that has led to this repeated pattern of adrenal fatigue. Just when my body tells me it is time to begin turning inward and preparing for the Fall harvest and the coming Winter, my job responsibilities are ramping up, demanding longer hours, more do-ing and less be-ing. Rather than heeding my body’s wisdom, I keep pushing until I can’t push anymore. Pushing leads to stress leads to burnout leads to adrenal fatigue. As painful as it was to realize that I was 100% responsible for my adrenal fatigue, this level of ownership is also freeing. I can make different choices. I can take more time off for me to rest and recover. I can make the choice to do things differently next year so I don’t wind up back in the land of adrenal fatigue again next Fall.

I’m not saying this will be easy. Awareness of the problem is only the first step of the healing journey, after all. But now I have the opportunity to explore what my body has been trying to tell me all along: you have too much on your plate; it’s time to re-assess your roles, responsibilities and obligations and shovel some of them off. Fall is the perfect season for doing this type of work (although, if you are finding yourself exhausted, depleted, fed up, resentful, etc., anytime is a good time to do this work!). In today’s podcast, I am going to talk about listening to your body’s wisdom. If you’ve been dissociated or ignoring your body’s signs and symptoms for too long, this is your chance to learn how to tune in. I hope it serves you.

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What Does It Mean to Love Yourself?

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

I was tagged in a Facebook post the other day. One of the women who participated in The Well-Nourished Goddess telesummit wanted me to answer a question posed in one of her other groups about what self-love is and how you go about actually doing it.

I love this question for a number of reasons:

  1. Self-love is something that many of us struggle with (enter feelings of not enoughness and our inner critic in whatever form she's decided to show up in at this moment).
  2. I love that more and more women are talking about this topic and being vulnerable about their own struggles – I think when we are vulnerable in places and with people that we feel safe, we give others permission to do the same. 
  3. My definition of self-love keeps changing, evolving, deepening – and that Facebook post challenged me to examine my own definition of self-love and my self-loving actions lately. 

When I first started my own journey back to self-love, I had just gotten divorced, turned 40, broken my heel for the second time in a year, and admitted I'd had an eating disorder for two decades. Can anyone say “uphill battle?” 🙂

A friend of mine had given me Christine Arylo's book Madly in Love with Me a few years prior and I used the definition of self-love Christine gave in her book as my anchor as I slowly started to climb my way back to self-love. While I still think it was a great place for me to start my journey and helped me immensely, at some point along the way, I realized that I needed my own definition of self-love. Rather than using someone’s “prescription” for getting back to self-love, I needed to create my own path. So I started to play with that definition of self-love and what it truly meant for me.

“If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti”

I realized over the years that, rather than trying to come up with a textbook-sounding definition, for me, self-love needed to be more about my actions (how I spoke to and about myself, how I treated myself and allowed others to treat me) than about the way I tried to describe self-love and what it meant. So instead of a definition, I offer you this: a manifesto on what it means for me to be a self-loving woman (and yes, if you ask me again in a year, things may have changed slightly and that's okay).

A self-loving woman (in no particular order):

  • Listens to her body and gives it what it needs
  • Speaks kindly to herself and about herself
  • Puts her own health/sanity/self-care at the top of her priority list because she realizes that she can’t be of service if she’s depleted
  • Finds her own best harmony/balance in time spent in work, her various roles and obligations, play, relaxation, fun, and self-care
  • Is grateful for what she has
  • Is joyful because she makes being joy-full a priority
  • Walks her own unique path of purpose – she lives on purpose, speaks on purpose, and makes decisions on purpose that feel in alignment with her Soul
  • Is mindful of how she treats herself and others
  • Asks for help and support when she needs it and allows herself to receive it
  • Goes for her dreams because she knows that: 1) they matter and 2) we need her unique gifts in the world and we need her to show up and be herself
  • Takes exquisite care of herself and makes sure her needs are getting met consistently
  • Is truly grateful for all of the unique experiences her life brings her, even the ones that are challenging because she knows that with challenge comes growth
  • Stands in her power and speaks her truth with gracious, but firm conviction
  • Makes sure she feels grounded and rooted in her life and knows how to get back to that place when she gets knocked off course by life’s little mishaps
  • Is able to find stillness and calmness at her center no matter what is going on outside because she has learned to be her own pillar of strength
  • Is happy with who she is
  • Shows up for herself because she knows she is absolutely worth it!
  • Respects herself, her judgement and her values, and expects that same respect from those she is in relationship with or she removes herself from those disrespectful or toxic relationships/ situations
  • Accepts that she will make mistakes, but doesn’t beat herself up over them
  • Loves and accepts herself, even when she feels like she’s made a “mis-take” because she’s learned the art of self-forgiveness and knows that with each of life’s little lessons, she learns
  • Shows herself the same love and compassion that she would show her best friend/child/loved one because she’s realized that, like everyone else, she is only human – perfectly imperfect just the way she is

Am I “perfect” at the things on this list? Of course not (see “Accepts that she will make mistakes, but doesn’t beat herself up over them” – sometimes the reality is that is more of a “try really hard not to beat myself up over them” – I’m only human!). But this gives me something to strive for and reminds me that I am worth taking exquisite care of because I am worthy of my own love as much as anyone else is. It also reminds me that it’s ultimately up to me to make sure I am getting my needs met.

What does being a self-loving woman mean to you? I’d love to find out! Let me know in the comments below.

If you are not sure where to begin and need a little help returning to a place of self-love as you figure out what self-love means to you, feel free to check out my ecourse Learn to Love Yourself Again. You can do this. You are so worth it!

 

 

Making Time for Self-Care

By | Body Love, Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | No Comments

One of the themes that has been coming in up in my tribe lately is the idea of feeling guilty for taking time for you. Many women want to take better care of themselves, and at some level know they need to, but they keep bumping up again two things: 1) lack of time, and 2) feeling guilty for taking time for them/taking time away from other priorities to take care of themselves.

I’ve been there. And, truth be told, sometimes I still struggle with this. But, I’ve learned two things along the way: 1) if I don’t take care of me, I can’t truly show up for others (even if I can, I will at some point end up feeling bitter and resentful and that is called sacrifice/martyrdom, not being of service), and 2) if serving/showing up for others doesn’t make me happy, then all I am really doing is depleting myself – the fast path to burnout and, again, not being able to be of service.

In today’s podcast, I talk about the “markers”/reflection questions I use to decide how to balance self-care with service. I hope it serves you.

 

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Re-prioritizing What’s Important to You 

By | Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | No Comments

It was a Saturday night and my partner was looking at my vision board from 2015. On it, I had a list of goals that I wanted to accomplish that year. It was actually a carryover from 2014, but because I hadn't accomplished my goals in 2014, I just scratched out the four and put a five and used the same list, with a few modifications, in 2015.

“Well you've gotten about half of them done,” he observed. I got up off the floor from where I was doing my yoga and took a look at my list. It had been a while since I really studied it, although clearly it's still up on the wall for a reason. I decided that maybe it was time for me to re-examine those goals and my reason for still having them up there. I learned a few things about myself in the process.

First and foremost, I got to congratulate myself for having accomplished over half of those goals. Yes, there are still a few that stand out as areas that I am continuing to work on. But, for the most part, I was feeling pretty good about what I had accomplished in the past couple of years. What was even more surprising to me is how some of those goals that mattered so dearly to me in 2014 and 2015 really don't pertain anymore. For example, one of my goals was to get a literary agent. I did get an agent for a book in 2016, but that never went anywhere. That turned out to be quite fortunate for me because in the process of writing that book, I realized I didn't want to be writing that book! 

The process of looking at my goals from 2 to 3 years ago also allowed me to really get clear on what matters to me most and why those goals matter to me, especially the ones that I have not quite been able to cross off the list yet. For example, as I shared in last week's blog post, I've wanted to write books and speak since I was a child. Yet, the publishing industry has changed so much in the past decade that the dream that I had a childhood is really not feasible anymore. Furthermore, when I dove into why I wanted that dream, it really wasn't about writing books and speaking – well it was – but more importantly, it was about the freedom I thought that I would get if I lived the lifestyle of an author. Yet, when I talk to some of my friends who are authors, that's not the lifestyle they describe at all. Lessons learned: sometimes your dreams have to evolve as the scenery changes. 

Perhaps the most important part of this process was looking at the goals that still matter to me, but I have not quite achieved yet. The one that really sticks out for me is this one: “A cup that continually runneth over as I make and take time to recharge, renew, reinvigorate, and rest.” That is very much still one of my top priorities in life, and yet, it is also one of the things that has been most challenging for me as a recovering perfectionist, over giver and over doer. 

I think many women can relate to that one. Even though we know better – even if we've come far enough on our journey to know that we can't serve from our reserves, and that we are worth our own time and energy, it's still a struggle sometimes as life's many demands are always asking for our time, energy, and effort. Many of us were raised in an environment where the word “no” was not part of our vocabulary. We were never taught how to set healthy boundaries. We thought we always had to say yes, with a smile on our face, and make sure we gave our very best to everything. But if you're anything like me, you've learned several times the hard way that you do, in fact, need to make sure your cup is overflowing and you're serving from your overflow and not your reserves. That was the whole point offering you The Well-Nourished Goddess online event – to help all of us remember that very important fact: you have to take care of you. 

As we move into October, now is a wonderful time to take a long, hard look at the goals you set for yourself – this year, 5 years ago, maybe since childhood – and are still holding onto. You may find that you’ve met some of these goals. If so, congratulations! If not, ask yourself:

  • Why did I set this goal? Why was it so important to me? Was it even my heart’s desire to begin with or something someone told me I “should” do?
  • Is this goal still relevant? Does it matter? Does my heart still say, “Yes!” when I think about this goal? If not, let it go.
  • If your heart still says, “Yes!,” why have you not been able to achieve it thus far? Have you not devoted enough time and effort to it? (more on this in today’s video) Have other things gotten in the way? Has it just not been the “right time” yet?
  • Why is this goal still so important to you? What will achieving this goal bring to your life that you wouldn’t have otherwise? Are there other ways to achieve that outcome besides this particular goal (see today’s video for more on that one)?
  • Are you ready to re-commit to making this goal happen? If not, why not? If so, then it’s time to make a plan for baby stepping your way to this big goal.

As you do this process, you may find that goals/desires you used to think were important no longer matter, and that’s okay. Our goals and desires change and evolve as we do. You may also find that you are more committed than ever to making something happen. Great! Now is the time to make a plan to go get it! But most importantly, I’m hoping this process will help clarify for you what’s really important to you so that you can begin to re-organize and re-prioritize your time around making your heart’s desires come true.