balance

Practicing the Power of the Pause

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“In the silence within, you will find relief, truth, and the instructions you’ve been seeking. Go there. And listen.” ~ Brendon Burchard

Ever sense I can remember, I've had a love- hate relationship with Summer. On the one hand, it is my favorite season because it's the only time of year that I can take a couple of months off from school. I use this time to recharge, get creative about what I want to do next, and focus on projects – like my business – that I may have neglected a little bit during the school year. On the other hand, I dread the summer. It's too hot to go outside and do all of the things I was looking forward to doing because of the heat.

But more importantly, I've recently realized that with summer comes a little bit of a feeling of depression and being lost. I frequently get the blues in the winter time – seasonal affective disorder gets me almost every year. But this is different. This has nothing to do with lack of sunshine and everything to do with my abundance of free time.

I found myself feeling this combination of mild depression and “lostness” both last summer and this summer and it struck me by surprise. Last summer, I chalked it up to having thrown my back out and missing a planned trip to Yellowstone Park. This summer, I thought it was just grief at first – I lost my beloved 10-year-old German Shepherd Kolby at the beginning of the summer – combined with having a bad reaction to the vaccines I took before leaving the country.

The feeling when away when I was in Ecuador and Peru, but seemed to return the minute the plane landed back home. That's when I realized – this isn't just grief. This has nothing to do with being injured or sick from vaccines. This is something else entirely; and it took me about a week to figure out what it was.

It's discomfort with the pause; it's discomfort with the idea that I'm not working full-time. During the school year, I'm so busy that sometimes I forget to eat. That's why I look forward to summer so much. I get my “me” time back. And yet, at some level, it's as though I don't know what to do with myself. Without the structure of classes and meetings and deadlines, I forget what it's like to be me. To just be.

I started to explore this idea further. When I look back over my many summers off – after all, between being a student and being a professor, I have been doing this summer thing for over 40 years now – I realized something. I never really have gotten the knack of taking the summer “off.” I always manage to fill my time with something. Last summer I taught an extra class, then did a series of paintings, and presented my work at a research conference. This summer I also taught an extra class in May, and since then, I have been working on a telesummit I will be launching in September (which I am so excited about!!!!). Every single summer – at least since I've been an adult – I've always managed to fill my time off with just another form of do-ing.

I found this realization very interesting. Why, when I supposedly look forward to summers, do I fill my time with other things? That's where the discomfort comes in. It's a discomfort with just be-ing; it's a discomfort with the pause. When I dove deeper, I realized that this discomfort comes from an old pattern that used to define my self-worth: you must be productive to be a value. Like many of us, I learned growing up that my value came from do-ing for others. The older I've gotten, the more I've come to understand that I must take care of me or I can't be of service to others. And the more I've taken care of me, the more I've been able to shift out of this old doing=worthiness mindset. Yet, at a subconscious level, it's still there. If you're taking time to pause (if it’s not a productive pause – more on that in today’s video), then you're not do-ing. And if you're not do-ing, then you're not of value. That's the discomfort. That's the old mindset that I thought I had gotten rid of. Turns out that mindsets can be sneaky though…

So I'm developing an experiment for myself – a non-doing experience, a chance to practice, and maybe even, enjoy the Pause. If this is something that interests you, I'm planning to do this experiment for the next 30 days and see what happens. I talk more about this experiment in today's video, although with other types of pauses that I am more comfortable with and integrate into my self-care on a regular basis.

I hope you'll join me.

Finding Balance Amidst the Chaos

By | Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 5 Comments

January: new month; New Year – a time of new beginnings. Yet, on the heels of a rough 2016 and coming off of Mercury Retrograde, many of my clients are wondering: when is it going to get better? When will I be free of all of that baggage I thought I left behind in 2016?

Breathe.

2017 is the year of big dreams. It’s time to plant those seeds for everything you want to manifest in your life – even if you’re not quite sure what that is yet. But, it’s not going to happen overnight – you’ve got 11.5 more months left in 2017 after all.

Instead of trying to rush things and manifest everything you want right now, what if you could just open to the possibilities? What if you could just hold space for what is to come? Easier said than done for those of us who have a tendency to want to control everything, but stop for a moment and consider this: What if January, this time of new beginnings, is really a time to open up to what is to come? To make time for yourself to ensure you are ready for whatever 2017 may hold for you?

As many of you know, I rang in my New Year in Belize. It was with mixed feelings that I got on that plane home on January 2nd. On the one hand, I didn’t want to leave Belize – the easy-going way of life, the soothing sound of the ocean, the 80 degree weather. On the other hand, I was excited to begin my 2017 and creating my dreams for the year. I knew I needed to leave Belize and come home for that to happen.

As I was on the plane home (actually 4 planes and a boat ride!), I spent time reflecting on the lessons I learned in Belize. From the gorgeous waterfalls to zip lining over a rainforest to visiting the Mayan ruins Xanantunich to getting stuck in the middle of the ocean on a boat in the pitch black of night and praying I would make it back to the little island we were staying on, I kept getting the same message: Balance.

But what is Balance and, when it sometimes seems so elusive, how do you find it? While I sometimes wish I could just click my heels together, say “Serenity now!” and have that work, I know that finding balance amidst the chaos of life is completely up to me and my choices. Yes, life happens. Appointments get scheduled for the wrong time, miscommunications occur with family and friends, you get a flat tire on the way to work, [insert stressor], but you can still find your way back to balance.

For me, it all comes down to self-care. Regardless of what’s going on in life, I know I feel a lot healthier and find it easier to handle life’s many challenges when I am taking good care of myself. So my challenge for January is to find out what self-care works best for me. What makes me feel more balanced? I am playing with this and trying new things. I still have my morning power hour (with the addition of the morning yoga I added in Belize), but I am playing with my evening routine and daily “Goddess sanity breaks.” Some evenings I go to the gym, sometimes I journal, some days I even go rock climbing (indoors for now until the two feet of snow melts!). I am taking January to find my center, my balance point.

Each Sunday I reflect on how it went – what I want to keep, what I want to toss – not with any air of self-criticism, but more an air of self-inquiry.

If this is something you’d like to explore with me, I invite you to join my 7-Day Love Your Body, Nourish Your Temple Challenge. We start January 23rd, but you can join at any time. 7 days of audios and workbooks to help you find your balance. Join us!

Born to Receive? The Feminine Art of Receptivity

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yogaI’ve just finished my Spring and Summer teaching obligations and now I get two and half months off from teaching. I’m always torn about the end of the semester. On the one hand, I am thrilled to be able to stop the 50-60 hour work weeks and finally get some rest. On the other hand, I struggle with truly relaxing and feel as though I should be do-ing something.

This past Spring I learned a valuable lesson about myself; an issue I thought I had already dealt with reared its ugly head. It turns out that I had learned, but not mastered, the lesson here. The lesson to which I refer is the art and gift of receiving.

A few years ago I read a wonderful little book called Born to Receive. In it, the author, Amanda Owen, argued that receptivity is a natural feminine state. Women are the cup holders, the chalice bearers, ready and waiting to receive all life has to offer. I see her point, but I think that many of us have fallen off track. In a world that rewards do-ing and achieving, our sense of self-worth is more often tied to our accomplishments and successes than to be-ingness. Thus, the art of resting and receiving, letting go and waiting, is one that is not thought highly of, let alone rewarded. After all, if you’re resting, then you aren’t do-ing. And if you’re not do-ing, you’re not producing.

But then I realized something. There is a fatal flaw in that belief system. Productivity/ achievement/success cannot be a constant stream of do-ing. There must be a balancing of creating/dreaming/nurturing what you’ve already developed with taking action to make it happen. That’s where the feminine art of receiving comes in.

Let me give you an example of how be-ing and do-ing work together. I used to be a distance runner. It was a meditative practice for me and I often found that my best ideas came to me when my brain was ‘turned off,’ or at the very least focused on something else. Problems that had plagued me were often solved quickly and easily as my feet hit the pavement. Why? I stopped do-ing, thinking, forcing and I allowed the answer to come to me.

After working too much thus far in 2016, June is my month of receptivity.  I’m going on vacation, taking a retreat, opening up to allow the insights to come to me. If this resonates with you, I invite you to join the Sacred Circle, where we will be learning to receiving, to let go, to allow the flow to come as we master the feminine art of receptivity.

Full Moon in Libra

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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?

 

The Waning Time

The time between the Full and New Moons is considered the waning time. This is not the time to launch new programs, unless you began crafting them at the last New Moon. The waning time is a time where we go within and reflect – time to prepare for the next New Moon and what we want to put into place at that time. This is a perfect time for release ceremonies, getting introspective about your life, and letting go of what no longer works.

Full Moon in Libra

The scales; balance. Libra is an air sign, and while those born under this sign may tend to be indecisive and people pleasers, they are also fair, diplomatic and like their lives to be ordered and balanced. And they love to dream of all the possibilities, so they are fabulous at seeing things from multiple perspectives.

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

  • Where is my life out of balance?
  • What do I need to do to bring balance back into my life?
  • Where might I benefit from looking at my challenges from a new perspective?
  • What do I dream of? How might I manifest these dreams and make them my reality?

Enjoy working with the Full Moon energy in Libra! It should be a reflective time for all of us.

For more about working with the phases and energy of the Moon, go here.

 

Featured GODDESS: Gaia

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gaiaGaia

Mother of All

“Hold yourself high and take good care of yourself, for you are a child of my womb. By honoring yourself, you honor me.”

 

 

 

 

Traits Gaia Embodies:

 

  • Mothering
  • Nurturing
  • Creativity/creation
  • Balance
  • Self-care

 

How to call on Gaia:

 

In the beginning were the four Elements: Earth (Gaia), Water (Pontus), Air (Chaos), and Sky (Ouranos) (some say Gaia emerged from Chaos and then gave birth to Ouranos and Pontus). As Gaia was the only female, she had the pick of the litter, so to speak. Ouranos caught her eye and they wed (Note: incest was not a problem for the Ancient Greeks). They were a busy pair! Gaia had somewhere between 30 and 50 children, depending on the tale. I bet she was tired! Call on Gaia when you need help nurturing yourself or with any projects you are creating or birthing.

 

Prayer to Gaia:

 

Gaia, Mother of Us All,

Hear my Prayers

In this gentle time,

The time to go within,

I call upon you.

I ask for your help with ______ [insert your issue]

May I create/birth what is for the highest good of all

And my I take exquisite care of myself while doing so

Thank you Gaia!

 

Tribute to Gaia:

 

The best way to honor Gaia is to take care of yourself! What can you do to take care of you today?

Do-ing v. Be-ing

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third chakra

During a guided mediation a few weeks ago, I received a gentle nudging from the Universe that I need to heal my root and sacral chakras. As it had been a while since I worked with chakra energies, I set about re-familiarizing myself with them. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’ve worked through the first two chakras, but I’m not stopping there. This week is on to the Solar Plexus (third) chakra.

The Solar Plexus chakra, located in the center of the chest, is our personal power center. It holds our dreams, hopes, fears, and beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. It’s our confidence in and respect for ourselves. It’s also our ability to receive and listen to our intuition.

A few weeks ago, my intuition and the Universe lead me to read Inna Segal’s book The Secret Life of Wellness. Segal argues that each of us has a life purpose, something we were brought on earth to do, but many of us lose our Soul’s Purpose somewhere along the way. Having been told as much by my Inner Goddess in April, the idea of losing and wanting to reconnect with my Soul’s Purpose was something I could clearly relate to.  But before I could truly reconnect, I needed to heal.

What I’ve come to realize over the past few weeks as I’ve worked with healing my chakra energies is that I am spending way too much time Do-ing instead of Be-ing. And while you might think the lesson of the Solar Plexus chakra would be to embrace your personal power by Do-ing more, it’s really not. The lesson I’ve learned this past few weeks is that just as there must be a balance of masculine and feminine, receiving and giving, there must be a balance of do-ing and be-ing. Danielle LaPorte says that when she makes her New Year’s Resolutions, it’s all about how she wants to feel that year. And that’s what I mean by balancing do-ing and be-ing.

Instead of looking at your day as an endless to do list, what if you started each day with a question:

“At the end of the day, how do I want to feel?”

After you ponder that one, you can ask yourself,

“What will make me feel that way?”

So yesterday, I challenged myself to spend an entire day Be-ing instead of Do-ing. Yes, I ‘did’ things, but it was based on my feelings, not my to-do list. And it was wonderful. I started my morning with a very productive and inspirational phone call with my friend Lisa Marie Rosati. Then, inspired by the feelings that emerged in that phone call, I got out my trusty purple pen and paper and spent most of my day working on my Vision statements for my two businesses. I dreamt of where I wanted to take my businesses, what courses I might want to offer, and what I could do to best serve you, my community. I came away feeling blessed and inspired. In the coming months I’ll share some of what I dreamed up. In the meantime, know that I am working on dreams of women’s circles, books, and ecourses to help you heal and transform your life. And you can bet there will be some chakra healing work involved as I move on this week to my heart (4th) chakra. More to come…

Have a great, inspired week and try living a day – or even an hour or two – Be-ing instead of Do-ing. It’s wonderfully refreshing and transformational.

Balancing Masculine and Feminine

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2nd chakraIf you’ve been following my blog, you know that I am in the middle of a journey to heal my chakras. Last week I started healing my second chakra and hoped to be onto my third chakra by now. Best laid plans and all that…

A few hours after writing my second chakra post, I was in the middle of a meeting with a magazine editor, when the editor’s friend Lori popped in to say hi. After introductions were made, Lori saw my crutches and asked me what was wrong. I told her that I had broken my heel. Instead of the typical, “How did you do that?” question that usually follows my heel breaking proclamation, she asked me, “Why did you do that?”

I was stumped. What did she mean Why did I break my heel? It’s not like it was intentional. She peered at me, waiting for my answer. The editor I was there to see explained to me, “Lori’s an intuitive.”

Lori asked again, “Why did you break your heel?”

It took me a few days to come up with an answer. (And no, I never saw her again, so I didn’t get a chance to explain my why to her. But that’s not the point, is it?)

To make a long story short, as you may know, I first broke my heel over a year ago. After months of slow healing and mulling the “why” over, I thought it was a sign that I was following the wrong path (see my About page for more on that).

Yet, I have changed what I thought the Universe was asking me to change and here I am in the exact same place I was a year ago. Frustrated, I began journaling and soul searching for the answer to my “why” and this is what I came up with: Yes, I changed the topic of the book I was writing, I started a new business to fulfill my soul’s purpose, I met the ‘right’ people and did the ‘right’ things, but I was still operating under the old model – one that no longer works for me.

When I received my Rude Awakening back in April, the message centered around the fact that I had been suppressing my feminine side – my intuitive nature – for too long. It was time to stop being so logical and ‘masculine’ and reconnect with the feminine essence. Although I starting writing about intuition and getting in touch with the feminine, I was doing it in a masculine way. I was still planning and organizing and crossing all of my I’s and dotting all of my T’s rather than letting it flow. Yes, the writing flowed from me like water, but my life did not. In other words, I haven’t been taking my own advice! I have become skilled at telling you how to connect with your intuition, but have I been doing what I advise you to do? In a nutshell, no.

My re-broken heel is letting me know that writing about using your intuition isn’t enough. You have to actually use that intuition on a daily basis! This reminds me of a recent lecture by Shiloh Sophia McCloud. She explained that while women are perfectly capable of acting in logical, ‘masculine’ ways, to the extent that counteracts the woman’s own nature, she will burn out pretty quickly. Or, in my case, keep breaking my heel.

In the past week, I have found myself in numerous conversations with my fellow female academicians about this imbalance of masculine and feminine energy. Academia, as is much of corporate America, is very masculine dominant – not just in the people in the field, but in the energy you need to ‘succeed’ in the field. I am fortunate enough to be on sabbatical this semester, giving me the opportunity to explore this issue, heal my chakras, and my heel while I write my books. But a friend and fellow academic recently asked me, “What are you going to do when you have to go back to teaching in January?” I honestly don’t know and the question itself frightens me.

I know me and I know how easily I can get sucked into doing instead of being, striving instead of living. And if I find myself struggling to balance my masculine and feminine now – at a time when I am relatively free to spend my time as I choose and work on projects I want to work on – what will happen when the masculine pressure is back in full force next year?

This brings me back to Shiloh’s talk. I think what Shiloh was trying to say was this:

we have a choice in much more of our lives than we think.

Yes, academia is a very masculine world, but is that in part because I expect it to be and answer the call on that level? Why can’t I change that – at least for me? Why can’t I go back to that world still choosing to make decisions that are in line with my intuition?

Of course that means that in the meantime, I need to figure out how to do that from where I am right now. I am still painting (see above for my 2nd chakra rendition). I am trying to find balance – a way to honor my obligations while still living as much of the time as I can by my intuition. Lest I fall back into my old way of thinking, I plugged a daily reminder into my iPhone that says, “Why did you break your heel?”

Because sometimes the Why really is more important than the How.