By guest contributer Shann Vander Leek
Fresh from a relaxing hot bubble bath I marvel at my healthy form and am thankful for learning how to appreciate my divine feminine body. I love my Shann-ness: curvaceous, soft and strong.
I haven’t always felt this way. Years ago I had very little body mind awareness. The disconnect had to do with overindulging in my former high-stress career, mind numbing drama, rich restaurant food, and partying like a rock star on the weekends. Thankfully, motherhood and getting involved with coaching, the martial arts and yoga helped me walk away from a career and bloated lifestyle which no longer suited me.
I once worked a highly demanding job during the day complemented with mind-numbing evenings in front of the TV. I was physically inactive with the exception of weekend adventures. Escalating body weight and over-the-top Migraine headaches finally got my attention. My priority became taking an inventory of my life and consciously creating a new way of living.
I was in desperate need of self-care. Can you relate?
A friend recommended yoga as a healthy activity to lower my stress levels and get in touch with my body again. I sampled a class and from the first relaxing breath to the final shavasana, I was hooked. Practicing yoga dramatically began to improve my life. In the years I have been interested in, studying and currently teaching Luscious Living Yoga Playshops; I have reinvented myself and learned how to rock my Goddess life.
My personal recipe to empower the goddess within includes creating a feminine environment, getting my creative on, honoring my body, practicing yoga, engaging in the community, and getting unplugged.
The first step to rocking my Goddess life began with the creation of a luxurious feminine environment. I adorned the walls with a collection of artwork and personal landscape photographs. I promised to keep fresh flowers in the house at all times. I created a beautiful feminine alter showcasing love notes, images of my daughter and special treasures. My feminine space is spiritual, colorful and exotic. I often spray lavender in the room for a calming effect or lemongrass when I want to wake up my senses.
I love to create vision boards and collages including images that represent my interests and desires. Choosing the images and bold graphics from my favorite magazines and crafting each project is fun. My most current collage is filled with images of roses, Kuan Yin, a sunset over the ocean, and Tibetan paper lanterns floating in the sky. The phrases included are “Blossoming” and “Lose your Self here”. Not into clipping magazines? Pinterest is perfect for creating digital vision boards like the one I created here: http://www.pinterest.com/shannv/transformation-goddess
Honor Your Body
I honor my body with regular massage therapy. Massage is not a luxury—it is my feminine right to create time for and receive body work. The benefits of massage therapy include lowering stress, deep relaxation, and improved circulation. Part of rocking my goddess life also includes enjoying a soak in the tub several times each week. I love the calming energy of a delightful bubble bath. Bathing is a sacred ritual. A divinely personal space complete with candles, incense, soothing music or a good book to read. Honoring my body also includes eating whole foods, raw foods and being conscious of what I put in my body.
Nurturing my body, mind and soul with a regular yoga practice helps me get in touch with who I am on a deeper level. I’ve learned to be gentle with myself through restorative poses. Tuning into my breath and how I feel while moving my body is a gift. Practicing yoga improves my body consciousness and helps me remain flexible and peaceful. I delight in creating yoga class recordings, guided meditations and teaching yoga playshops to women in desperate need of a sacred retreat.
Be Kind to Yourself
Positive self-talk is one of my favorite weapons to combat disempowering, masochistic mental commentary. My ego mind can be an unruly playground filled with bullies, tattletales and monsters under the bed. When I am feeling battered by the schoolyard bully, positive self-talk is my magic weapon. I am no longer willing to live in a guilt-ridden shame pit created by the harsh judgement of my ego. When I am emotionally drained or feeling insecure, I practice EFT while creating a dialogue like: “Even though I’m feeling small right now, I love and accept myself completely.” Positive self-talk is also a big part of my feminine confidence. Witnessing my internal dialogue teaches me to practice nonviolent communication with myself and the world.
Engage in Community
Engaging in community is a slow growing process for me. I am an introvert and generally prefer to be left to my own devices. Allowing new people into my life can be uncomfortable. I sometimes think, “What if they see me for who I really am and don’t like what they see?” We all love to be loved. Stepping out feels risky, but I do it anyway. I’m grateful for the chance to to immerse myself in the community through my Yoga Playshop offerings. This year I continue to explore being part of a wise women’s healing circle.
It is essential to regularly get unplugged from my highly connected virtual environment. I create an oasis of time each day to get out into the natural world. My mental clarity improves when I commit to hiking along a woodland trail or beach combing the shores of Lake Michigan. When I freak out about having too much on my plate, I make it a priority to step away from the madness for a while to soak up the sweetness of the day.
Not too long ago my inner Goddess was crying out for attention. I am so glad I listened.
- How will you honor your divinely feminine self today?
- What is your personal recipe to rock your goddess life?
- Are you ready to coax your inner Goddess out of hiding? She’s been waiting for you.