Be Well Blog

Meditations & musings on the art of living well.


Being at Home In Your Body

I remember reading about a masterful teacher who was asked how he remained peaceful despite the constant traveling and uprootedness of his life.

 

He felt so deeply at home within his body, that no matter where his body was or what was happening around him, he was able to stay connected to his inner reservoir of peace.

 

What a dream. To be so connected — so integrated into the self — that in any circumstance, there is a feeling a peace that bubbles up from within.

 

Have you tasted that before? I know I have, but only just. To live in that space is one of the reasons that I practice.

 

When I am at home in my body, I feel connected; I feel peaceful; I feel at ease. When I am resisting, or negating the intelligent power of this body I call home, I feel disconnected and at war with myself. This is typically projected outward as a war against something or someone else. Not being at home in your body is one aspect of the roots of suffering.

 

Landing in your heart and fully coming into gratitude and devotion to your body vessel is a revolutionary act in today's world. We, especially women, are taught to dislike and distrust our bodies.

 

It is revolutionary to begin practicing self love and deep trust of the body's intelligence.

 

My three favorite ways to move toward being at home in my body:

  1. Practice the Self-Love Mirror Meditation each day for a week!
  2. Spend a day, or some span of time, unplanned. Ask what the body desires and follow the inspirations! This might mean taking a new route to work, or dancing, or experiencing the body in some other new way.
  3. Put down the external distractions — the phone, the computer, the noise, the food — and just feel what the body feels like. Suspending judgement or the need for anything to be different; just feel and breathe.

Simple, but not easy.

 

We have a million little things tugging at our attention, and many of those things are suggesting that the body — your home — is not safe.

 

I am here to tell you that it is. You are safe in your vessel. You can trust the intelligence of your body, and you can thrive by resting into it.

Living Cyclically: 3 Ways to Understand Yourself and Heal

Each time you move through an experience — say a fear — and you work to stay present and observe then choose to release the emotion, that fear or experiential trigger becomes more manageable, diminished and easier and quicker to move through.

 

Here, I am talking about those daily fears; the ones that keep you from going to the gym, or from talking to that cutie over there across the cafe, or sharing your work with the world.

 

Experiences of healing in this life are never ending and ever expanding. Each day, each month and each year present qualities that you get to look at and heal through so we can become your most radiant self.

 

Qualities like expansion or contraction; light or heavy; integration or dissolution; quick or slow become interesting to watch like a pendulum. These qualities come and go.

 

I like to look at them as opportunities to become aware within the cycles of life.

 

When you come across a point of suffering, this is an invitation from Life to observe the cycle you are in. In this way you can grow in your connection to yourself and the world around you.

 

Let's look at the three main cycles we all navigate: cycles within a day, cycles within a month and cycles within a year.

 

Cycles Within A Day 

Cycles within a day are easy to spot and experience because they are so acutely related to our present moment.

 

When you wake up, you experience certain qualities and feelings. Some folks feel alert and awake. Others, like me, feel a slowness and some resistance. Then during midday, when the sun is high most folks feel energetic and ready for lunch because the digestive fires are running hot. And at night, as the sun sets, the body prepares for sleep and experiences heaviness and restfulness.

 

This is a general, healthy cycle. Some folks experience different qualities and feelings based on imbalances caused by health and habits.

 

According to Ayurveda, the daily cycle can be described using the three doshas. Doshas are three intersectional qualities of nature that permeate all of life. These are Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

 

In a nutshell, Vata has light, effervescent qualities.

 

Pitta holds fiery and sharp qualities.

 

And Kapha expresses as a heavier and more dull quality.

 

If you consider these qualities in terms of the times of day, it helps to indicate our level of wellness at this moment.

 

I can tell if I am imbalanced because I won't be able to keep my eyes open during the 3 p.m. lull — a Vata time of day when lightness and mobility are typical qualities.

 

On the other hand, if I stay up too late and try getting to sleep past 10 p.m. when the fiery Pitta qualities begin, it usually takes me a solid 30 minutes to even start to feel sleepy because my mind is intensely trying to solve all the problems of live at once while lying in bed (it hasn't worked yet so I opt to get in bed by 9:30 to skip this neurotic over analysis and overthinking pattern).

Cycles Within a Month

Within the course of a month, the cycles take a tiny bit more intention to become aware of.

 

The intention: Look at the moon each night. Don't just look, but experience the moon. Notice her shape. Notice her brightness. Notice her placement on the horizon. Notice how you feel inside when you connect with her.

 

This barren rock in our orbit controls the water on planet Earth. It is noticeable in the ocean tides. We can understand the tides if we study the cycle of the moon.

 

The cycle of the month in regards to the moon affects everyone because we are primarily made of water. This is known within biodynamic farming practices we well. There are times of the month to plant seeds when the water is pulled downward by the moon's cycle, and the time of the month to harvest plants when the water is pulled upward.

 

The root word of "month" is "moon". In human history, time was kept by the moon.

 

And, with a little further research, you would find that the word "moon" is also related to the word "menses".

 

The cycle of the month more deeply affects women. In this little blog post, I will not do it justice to describe the beauty and intricacies of the history and connections.

 

So for now, just understanding that the cycle of the month changes the way we can approach life. Is this a time in our life to draw inward, to pull the tides back toward our center and plant seeds? Or is this a time to stretch outwardly and meet Life full on?

You may begin to notice a shift in your connection to your inner cycles based on the phase of the moon. During different phases, currents of emotion and memories subtly move.

 

When you begin to understand your natural tendencies during different times, you can begin organizing your life to suit your current needs. You can also give yourself a little extra love and grace during certain times as you move through natural cycles.

  

This knowledge is power. When you spend time experiencing the moon, you can begin to lovingly and intelligently use the energy that arrives through its cycles to benefit you and those around you.

 

At the new moon, a more subtle experience is available. This is a beautiful time to look inward. To meditate and journal. To access your subconscious. To use the darkness, like a seed under the soil, to plant your intentions for this next growing season.

 

At the full moon, anyone working in the Emergency Room will attest to the full power of those nights. At home, you might notice a manic sort of energy. Perhaps a sleepless night. Or perhaps a heated night — this could be expressed as a passionate heat between lovers or a passionate heat as a dispute.

 

There is so much more information around these cycles of healing that will take a series of posts to cover. I will be expanding on each of these concepts in the future because they are so pivotal to our health and wellbeing; to our awareness and expansion.

Cycles Within A Year

The cycles within a year we all learn as children, then possibly don't think about again except in conversation about how blistering hot summer is, or how frustratingly cold winter is.

 

Or perhaps if we lean a bit more toward an optimists point of view, we talk about how stunning the spring is and how crisp and inviting autumn is.

 

The seasons each year are an invitation for us to step into subtle qualities within ourselves. According to Ayurveda, each season holds qualities similar to the time of day I mentioned earlier.

 

When we are in the heat of summer, Pitta season, we want to stay balanced by indulging in cooling and relaxing activities. So, we eat some cool watermelon, drink a cold smoothie and enjoy a crisp salad.

 

As Vata season arrives with the coming of Autumn, we want to make sure that we are settling into our roots so we don't get blown away into the movement of the season. We want to set aside time to nest, and recharge after the intensity of summer. We want to eat seasonal foods like warm apple crisp, root vegetables and start to amp up the spices to warm ourselves.

 

Then comes Kapha season with winter and the beginning of spring. This cool, damp and wet season is a great time to get moving to bring some heat into the body and keep the body's systems balanced.

 

When we align with these cycles by eating seasonally, balancing out the energy of the season by introducing some more heat provoking movement in winter, or some cooling experiences in summer, our body / mind (nervous system) is able to work its intelligence and keep us functioning at our optimal levels.

Healing as a Cyclical Experience

We have covered a lot of ground in a little bit of space.

 

As I mentioned above, I will be diving into each of these concepts deeper as a series.

 

Healing is a cyclical experience, and understanding three of the main cyclical undercurrents of our life gives context to what I am about to share:

 

You can expect to come across your trigger — that fear, that frustration, that worry — again and again in different forms and in different contexts until it is completely healed.

 

This is the cycle of nature and of Spirit.

 

During summer, notice if your trigger is more irritating and aggressive.

 

In the midst of winter, take time to retreat and optimize the seasonal qualities in your life to help you dive deep within and observe then release emotions and memories associated with old wounds.

 

And during the day, notice how these cycles draw up different opportunities to understand yourself more, and heal yourself more. Perhaps shifting from a late night movie, to a mid-evening walk will help calm your busy mind before bed and help you live more vibrantly throughout the week.

 

The opportunities for healing are endless.

 

It is so exciting because along the way you get to know yourself; the part of yourself that isn't wounded or irritated.

 

You get to connect with your True self more deeply. And you get to love all of yourself.

 

Work with the tools for self-healing: meditate, journal, access inner child work, practice self love meditations, take emotional responsibility (stop being the victim and blaming others for your own opportunities to heal), and grow through what you go through.

 

Also, ask for help from a trusted guide when you feel called to.

 

In my understanding of the spiritual teachings and my own intuitive knowing, living in tandem with the cyclical nature of Life is meant to help us awaken to our true essence.

 

This essence, beneath the stories and the experiences, doesn't need to be healed. When we become awake to this, we recognize the perfection of this trigger, this cycle and this moment.

 

And when we recognize this, we begin the process of transcending it. Not by avoiding it, or overcoming it, but by embracing it and integrating it into our cellular experience of Life.

 

 


Breaking The Sugar Habit: 5 Ways to Nix the Sugar

Celeste Arnold Sugar Detox
Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

They say that 80% of our fitness and wellness happens in the kitchen. Who’s they? I don’t know. But I do know that when I’m eating properly my overall wellness and ability to make good choices for myself is significantly better.

 

When I’m not 100%, I crave sugar.

 

A few years ago, as I was trying to make good choices in the kitchen I realized that I just *couldn’t* resist the stale almond croissant sitting on my kitchen counter that I brought home from the cafe down the road.

 

I had a visceral, felt sense realization: I finally knew what having a “sweet tooth” meant.

 

Some moments, I felt like I was being dragged to the kitchen by my sweet tooth. I felt pretty dang embarrassed and ashamed that I wasn’t in control of my own food choices.

 

This was the beginning of a three year journey; this was what eventually led me to nixing the sugar habit. I did the research and I committed to focusing on healing my relationship with sugar. I didn’t want to be at its mercy anymore.

 

I want to be able to have sugar when I want it, and avoid it when I don’t want it.

Now, I have exactly that!

 

I’m a simple gal with simple wishes.

Well, I like to think so anyway...

 

Five top steps that worked for me to break the sugar habit:

 

  1. Remove all refined sugar from the premises. I mean all of it. Even the stuff hiding in the cabinet in the secret box above the wine glasses (you know what I’m talking about…). Make it hard to get. We all know that after a long day, our decision-making processes are diminished. It’s so hard to say “No” to the sweet stuff when we’re tired. So, make this process easy on yourself by removing the temptation that you have to say “No” to. Remove all the sweet stuff for at least one week; preferably for a month.
  2. Drink more water. Water is imperative for the digestive system to digest the food we bring in. If you’re dehydrated, your organs and cells can’t function properly to absorb or move the food molecules around the body leading you feeling undernourished and craving more. Bonus — increasing water intake helps you feel full!
  3. Add in energy filled foods. Healthy fats and proteins help your body feel full. It also gives you sustained energy for a longer period of time. If you want to continue eating carbs while you nix the sugar, eat complex carbs — not the stuff that’s been stripped away of all it’s natural fibers and minerals (a.k.a. The White Stuff)
  4. Go outside! Getting a healthy dose of Vitamin D is marvelous. It helps boost serotonin levels so you won’t stress as easily and therefore, crave the sugar fix. And it helps the mitochondria in your cells generate ADP (thanks 9th grade biology) so your cells are able to produce more energy! Also, going outside is an awesome way to change your habits. Say you usually go grab a sweet snack when your afternoon lull hits. Instead go outside to get some fresh air and some Vitamin D to boost your energy levels and create a simple and tangible behavior change.
  5. Make sure you’re getting substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals to sustain your body’s systems of balance and health. If you’re craving chocolate, that could be a sign that your body is requiring more magnesium. If your gut biome is imbalanced, probiotics can work wonders to help regulate the healthy bacteria levels to reduce your sugar cravings and support healthy digestive functioning. (Do talk to your health care provider for more in depth information about any supplements you may be interested in taking.)

And, hey, make sure your supplements are high quality. If you're looking for an amazing company to get high quality, tested and vetted supplements, get in touch and I can get you the hook up.

 

 

These habits, plus good ol’ regular sleep habits and exercise are going to simplify your Sugar Rehabilitation Plan.

 

If you suffer from inflammation, breaking the sugar habit is top priority.

 

The steps are simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy...

 

Take it from someone who knows, it is such a journey for anyone who has hit their rock bottom. That's why now I support folks who are where I was those years ago. I offer a more in-depth program called The 10-Day Sugar Detox. It is for those of you wanting extra support in breaking the sugar habit.

 

Twice a year — once in the spring and once in the fall — I lead The 10-Day Sugar Detox group coaching program to help you nix the sugar.

 

Whether you’re a slave to your sugar tooth like I was, or if you would just like some time away from sugar to reset your digestive system, this program is a perfect compliment to boost the effectiveness of your current wellness routine.

 

Find out more about the program here: www.celestearnold.me/offerings/the-10-day-sugar-detox.

 

 

Register for the next program by Saturday, March 30 to experience sugar freedom.


Water is Life: 5 Ways to Upgrade Your Life with Water

The brain is 73% water and even mild dehydration can cause cognitive issues.

 

Muscles and kidneys are 79% water.

 

Skin is 64% water.

 

Bones are 31% water.

 

The heart is 71% water and dehydration strains the heart.

 

Water lubricates the joints, flushes waste and helps the body regulate temperature.

 

Water is life. If you're not drinking enough clean water, your quality of life will reflect that. This means that you can use water — a gift born of our natural God-given environment — to easily upgrade all aspects of your life. Here are 5 easy ways to do just that:

 

 

 

Start your day with an internal shower.

Drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning is akin to stepping into the shower each morning to bathe and cleanse your body. When you start your day with a glass of water, you are allowing the water molecules to enter into your empty belly to be absorbed and moved through your organs, essentially bathing your internal organs. Starting your day with a glass of water has a couple other notable benefits like helping your get through your daily water intake if you struggle meeting your baseline hydration as well as helping curb your appetite and avoiding overeating.

 

Drink room temperature water, especially when eating.

If possible, it is generally advised by holistic health practitioners to drink water 30 minutes before or after eating, not while eating. It is also suggested that drinking room temperature water helps the body hydrate more efficiently as the body doesn't have to expend extra time and energy warming the water to the body's temperature.

 

Over here in the United States, ice cold beverages are the norm. In different cultures around the globe, it is uncommon — and for good reason. Drinking cold water actually slows the digestive process down. So drinking cold water, especially while eating, may lead to slower digestion and perhaps digestive upset. If you do drink water while eating, only drink a small amount and make sure to keep it room temp.

 

To be honest, it took me a little while to transition as I had a bit of an attachment to my cold beverages. I noticed that with pure, filtered water, I don't require the cold to help me imbibe.

 

Filter your water.

If you don't filter water before it enters your body, your liver becomes the filter. And if you're anything like me, the last thing your liver needs is more work. Easy options include making sure your refrigerator water filter is maintained. Another great option is to buy a free standing filter like a Brita or a Berkeley filter.

 

There are many more options, these are just the two that stand out in my mind. I even went through a period of time going to the local health food store and filling up three and five gallon jugs with purified water. It was a little more effort on a regular basis than I can maintain with my schedule and lifestyle, so I am leaning more toward other options like the first I mentioned.

 

Ultimately, I would love to have a reverse osmosis feature added to my sink. This is a beautiful option, but it is also a bit more of an initial investment. Although, over time, it comes out to be more cost effective than replacing your filtering mechanism on your fridge or other filter. Plus, the reverse osmosis machine removes contaminants in water extremely thoroughly. Well worth the investment in my opinion.


Add fruit to your water.

So, we've gone over some great practices that help your body stay healthy and hydrated. In moments when your mind is a little bored of water, or seeking something more indulgent, I encourage folks to add a little fruit like lemon, lime, strawberry or raspberry to their water. You could even opt for slices of cucumber or a few fresh leaves of basil to make it interesting.

 

This is especially helpful for those folks who are overcoming an addiction to sugary soda drinks. The added flavor and bit of sweetness from the fruit can help satiate the cravings.


Drink half your body weight in ounces daily.

And a final note on how to upgrade your life with water: drink half your body weight in ounces of room temperature, purified water daily.

 

You can start your day off on their right foot by using tip number one. Sometimes I drink an entire bottle of water in the morning and I am one third of the way there. If you drink diuretics or dehydrating drinks like coffee, tea or sodas throughout the day, make sure to increase your water intake to account for the loss of hydration. Your cells will thank you. 

 

I encourage you to get involved in a little self experimentation. Invest in a water bottle that you love. Find out how many refills of your bottle you will need  daily (your current body weight / 2 = recommended ounces of water daily). If you drink a diuretic or a dehydrating drink, remember to drink extra water to account for that loss.

 

Drink your daily recommended amount for two weeks and take note of how you feel. At first, you will want to visit the restroom more regularly. Once your body adjusts, you may notice you feel more energetic, clear headed and comfortable in your body. You might even find that your bowel movements are more regular and comfortable.

 

It's amazing what a little adjustment in our daily routine can set in motion. I hope you'll take the challenge for a couple weeks and start upgrading your life today.

 


Wellness 360: Sleep

Photo by elizabeth lies on Unsplash

Without sleep, human beings go mad and possibly die.

 

And with irregular sleep, human beings go just slightly mad. Ever wonder what might be happening in the seemingly insane world around us? Maybe everyone is just sleep deprived...

 

It might be one of the most underrated aspects of wellness. Sleep is taken for granted because, well, we have to do it. But what about quality of sleep?

 

If you're waking up regularly during the night, or if your sleeping schedule is erratic you may be missing one massive component of your wellness hygiene that will impact *all* the other components.

 

So, before we dive into nutrition, exercise or mindset, we need to make sure our sleep is on point so these other aspects can more easily fall into place.

 

Tips for great sleep:

  1. Decide a great sleeping window for you. Does your body need 5 hours of sleep? Or are you more like me, needing a good 8 hours? This might require some experimentation - one of my favorite parts of wellness! Our body and life is like a living laboratory that we get to produce hypotheses, measure results on then create impermanent conclusions about what is best for us now (I say "impermanent conclusions" because our body and lifestyle needs change over time. We need to keep a keen eye on what our body needs at different times in our life.)
  2. Turn off TV and mobile devices at least an hour before bedtime. This creates a space in the evening for a nourishing bedtime ritual. Instead of scrolling or watching one last episode on Netflix, use this time to relate to yourself. Maybe you decide that reading a book is a great way to calm your mind and body. For me, reading activates my brain and makes it harder to fall asleep. So other options might include:
    • Journaling and dumping all the thoughts that might otherwise keep your mind busy during bedtime.
    • Setting a timer for meditation (either a sitting meditation or a moving meditation like gentle yoga).
    • Upping the ante on your nighttime body hygiene. Instead of rushing through washing your face and brushing your teeth, maybe you use your time to love on your skin and body with some nourishing practices like oil massage, using a clay mask or taking a bath.
    • Spending time exploring your sensuality with yourself or with a partner can also be deeply nourishing and relaxing.
  3. Avoid coffee or other stimulants after 12 p.m. during the day.
  4. Steer clear of the kitchen at least an hour before bedtime so your blood sugar doesn't spike in the middle of the night, waking you up from your beauty rest.
  5. If it resonates with you, try taking a high quality supplement like Magnesium or Melatonin before bedtime to foster a natural state of relaxation in the body.

With a healthy sleep cycle, our wellness routine is fortified. Now we can start to look into the more popular, albeit complex, components of wellness: movement and nutrition.

Wellness 360: A Complete Look at Wellness

When you think of wellness, what comes to mind first? It will be different for different people. It will be different for you today than it was a decade ago, or maybe even 2 weeks ago!

 

It's important to look closely at each area of wellness in our lives. Some are external aspects of wellness — things that manifest outside of ourselves that we can readily see: the food we're eating, our exercise routine, how much sleep we're getting, how many bottles of water we fill up each day, the amount of sunshine we're getting or the quality of the air we're breathing.

 

Other aspects of wellness are more internal. At IAWP, the International Association of Wellness Professionals, we describe these more internal aspects of wellness our "Core Foods". These are: spirituality, finances, mindset, purpose, career and relationships.

 

When these "Core Foods" are imbalanced, it may not be immediately perceptible in your choices day to day, but the impact transcends the one category and can impact your entire life.

 

On the flipside, when we recognize where our imbalance lies in our "Core Foods" of wellness, we are able to impact multiple areas of wellness just by balancing the one aspect.

 

For instance, if you are struggling with Mindset, perhaps this is manifesting as an inability to commit to a regular routine that incorporates proper nourishment, hydration and exercise and in response to this, your sleep is suffering so you wake up tired and in a reactive state of mind, versus a mindul and responsive state of mind. You can see how this could quickly spiral out of control.

 

So, looking at Mindset helps to create a more positive outlook and be more receptive to change. Then you can start to look at your relationship with nourishing foods more openly and lovingly. And perhaps work mindfully to create more space in life to incorporate the exercise schedule, which all culminates in better sleep and an even better mental environment over time.

Celeste Arnold Wellness Coach

The wheel is a beautiful representation of how integral each aspect of wellness is to our total wellness. Without proper sleep, our body, our mind and our connection to our soul is a little bit wobbly.

 

We want to work to create balance within each of these aspects so we can roll forward through life without getting caught on every little pebble or pothole that comes along our path.

 

With this complete look at wellness, you can start to recognize which aspects of wellness are healthy and vital in your life right now — give yourself credit and celebrate these aspects of wellness that you are already embodying! Then start to take a look at which aspects could be requiring some more love and attention right now.

 

As time goes on, our life circumstances evolve. So we might require a little more movement, or a little more intimacy and connection in our relationships. It is a natural and beautiful part of life to be in the flow. Embrace your wellness and discover what your body, mind and soul require more of now!

5 Steps to Authentic Self Care

Self care can take the form of a nourishing and stress relieving bath. Or perhaps self care right now is a commitment to show up at the gym three times a week. Sometimes self care is having that really tough conversation with yourself or, harder still, with your loved one.

 

Each of these scenarios requires you to pull on foundational self care skills that very few of us have actually been taught. These are the 5 steps to authentic self care: Loving kindness, self reflection, emotional responsibility, cultivating purpose and taking time.

 

 

Each person has to go through their own version of a learning experience to master these foundational self care skills. Today I'm introducing these concepts and weaving them together to help you build a foundation that the rest of your self care routine can comfortably expand from.

No. 1   Act From A Place of Loving Kindness

Acting from this place of unconditional compassion is foundational to self care. Without it, the risk of becoming dogmatic in approaching self care increases the possibility of unintentionally creating more pain, harm and blocks than care.

 

When I think of care, I think of nurturance, maintenance, listening, understanding, hope & action. These words, and many more, can be applied to any activity in our lives. I encourage folks to try on this perspective and notice how your body, mind, soul and environment respond.

 

 

No. 2   Reflect Honestly

Become your own best friend and advocate by spending time reflecting — what felt good, what didn't, what's working, what isn't? This isn't a time to criticize and berate yourself for missed opportunities or mistakes. With the lens of Loving Kindness, you will be able to notice those missed opportunities and mistakes, give yourself the space to love and accept yourself regardless and resolve to always do your best moving forward.

 

During these reflections, start to notice how much you really are accomplishing. Start to connect the dots between actions, words and thoughts. This trio is like a feedback loop that we can adjust with a little bit of attention and reflection to create a life that we are excited to live.

 

 

No. 3   Take Emotional Responsibility

I remember the moment I learned this one. I was sitting in the fumes of anger at a situation, and my friend Prema lovingly led me to the question: "What am I angry at myself about right now?" It didn't make much sense sitting there in the midst of the fiery emotion. Over time, it sank in. And I heard more friends and teachers speak on this.

 

Emotional responsibility is a big step. It takes all of the blame for everything — I mean everything — off of the external environment and places it square in your hands.

 

Start small. I would recommend starting to practice on emotions that you feel don't carry a lot of power for you. Everyone is different in this regard. Here are a couple examples off the cuff:

 

Instead of saying, "That person cut me off!!!" when you're driving. Find the power in saying, "I'm not in that big of a hurry. That person has their own life experiences that they're living out. I'll let them live out their story and in this moment, I am choosing to keep my thoughts, words and actions focused on my personal experience." Any emotional residue — anger, resentment, worry, fear — see if you can allow that to exist, acknowledge what it feels like, then take a cleansing breath and move on with your drive.

 

Instead of saying, "She made me feel ashamed of myself." Find the power in saying, "I carry shame within me because of various life experiences, so when I hear words like >insert trigger<  my internal emotions are stirred." And with this comes a period of loving reflection to acknowledge the emotion, feel it in your body, experience what arises. Then take a cleansing breath, remind yourself that you are so loved and move forward filled with a little more compassion.

 

 

Emotional responsibility is a journey. Take your time. Find support when you need it.

 

 

No. 4   Cultivate Your Purpose

Cultivating your purpose is part of authentic self care because your purpose is your True North. Without it, you're floating through life aimlessly and perhaps feeling a bit confused or stuck. When you determine your purpose — your "why" — you are able to choose self care actions that take you in the direction of your dreams.

 

Your day to day self care routine reflects your purpose. Your decisions reflect your purpose. Your daily habits, actions, beliefs and intentions reflect your purpose.

 

Is your purpose to live a healthy and vibrant life? Then your self care routine might include working out five days a week, eating organic whole foods, drinking lots of pure water and spending time meditating everyday to relieve stress and increase your connection to life force (called prana by the yogis). With these self care components tied to your purpose, in addition to the foundational aspects of authentic self care, you would surely be living your purpose.

 

If your "why" is to raise a family, your self care routine might include the same components, but to a different degree. And, you would include some other components like spending time with your partner, cultivating a strong bond with your children, checking in their your financial planner or getting to know your children's teachers and coaches.

 

Another example of a "why" might be to be a millionaire. These 5 Steps to Authentic Self Care still apply. In fact, they might be imperative to your success. Again, your day to day self care routine reflects your purpose. With your purpose as your True North, you will know that part of your self care will be to check in on your investments, create valuable services and show up as the million dollar version of yourself every single day.

 

 

No. 5   Take Your Time

The mind travels at a speed so fast that sometimes we experience impatience with our growth. Integrating self care into our lives takes time. Living a life that feels as good inside as it looks outside takes time.

 

You are exactly where you are supposed to be right Now. All of the events leading up to this moment — the thoughts, the words, the actions — led you to this exact expression of life. Accepting this, now you can implement all of the steps we've gone through today, remember to relax, have fun and take as much time as you need to fully embody self care, and ultimately embody your truest expression of yourself.

 

Chakra Series: The Crown

Sahasrara.

 

The thousand petaled lotus.

 

Our connection and direct link to the divine is through our crown. This connection is the gateway to the ultimate knowing, the Unity Consciousness, and the Truth of Oneness.

 

We each have a direct connection to the divine. God. Source. Universe. All That Is. Pure Divine Essence.

 

Through our crown, we are able to align and become a conduit for divine will. When we are living from this space of connection and alignment with divine will, there is no thing that can stop us from fulfilling our divine mission here on Earth.

 

In they physical body, the brain and the central nervous system are correlated with the crown chakra. In the brain, the pituitary gland, pineal gland, and hypothalamus are linked with the crown chakra. These elements of the brain regulate our endocrine system. When our crown chakra is healthy and balanced, our body's systems are healthy and balanced.

 

When we are excessively open in our crown, we may feel disoriented, ungrounded, spacey or distracted. We may experience an inability to take care of basic needs such as holding a job, eating nourishing foods, sleeping or socializing. We can have an excessive fascination or obsession with the nondual reality that pulls us away from our dualistic, human experience. We may find that it is difficult to connect with people who we are meant to serve because we are overly sensitive, or distracted. 

 

 

When we are experiencing an blocked crown, it is easy to become skeptical, critical or completely disconnected from divinity and ultimately, our selves. We may feel a pervading sense of separation from our self and our environment. We may feel disinterested, depressed, lonely, or insignificant. Physical symptoms include regular migranes or tension headaches. 

 

To balance Sahasrara, meditate. Become a conduit for the diamond white light pouring into your crown from pure consciousness. Breathe. Relax. And meditate.

 

As with all of the chakra work we do, we are seeking balance between extremes to find our own personal and unique alignment to live fully and achieve our divine mission Here on Earth Now. When we connect to the subtle energetics at work along the central channel that radiate outward through our primary chakras and out into our field of experience, we are able to observe and understand how to live a more fulfilling life. 

 

If you have questions, or would like to work together to go deeper into practices, contact me any time.

 

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Chakra Series: The Third Eye

Ajna.

 

Literally translates from Sanskrit to English as "command" or "perceiving".

 

This is the sixth chakra and commands our experience of the unseen realms. You may have heard of the third eye. It is mentioned in religious texts and is explored deeply in many spiritual texts. In some traditions, this is the seat of our consciousness.

 

When we have a balanced experience of the third eye chakra, we are able to be connected to our guidance, our inner voice and our inner vision while remaining grounded in our day to day mundane experience of life. We can perceive life from a higher perspective of oneness and interconnectivity while still remaining consciously connected to the ground level grind.

 

A balanced ajna chakra makes for quite a lovely life experience. You understand how to take things in stride and to follow your intuition. Also, when this chakra is online and balanced, we can go so much deeper into the layers of all of the other main chakras.

 

The third eye rests at the eyebrow center. In the physical body, this energy center is associated with our pituitary gland, which regulate the body's biorhythms such as being asleep, dreaming or being awake. This gland and the energy center are both related to light (think "enlightenment").

 

On physical, psychological and spiritual levels, the third eye relates to vision, intuition, perception of subtleties (movements and energy), connection to inner wisdom and insight. When our third eye chakra is imbalanced, we find that these experiences are either nonexistent or are overriding our normal experience of day to day life.

 

If the ajna chakra is excessive, it is important to ground ourselves. Walk barefoot on the earth, eat grounding foods (root vegetables, naturally red fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds), take salt baths, practice strong standing yoga postures, practice alternate nostril breathing). If you feel like you are spending more time in your fantasies than in reality, this may be you.

 

If the third eye chakra is deficient or blocked, you may not have read this far because spiritual experiences are not especially common or interesting in your experience! If you are reading and you think you may be blocked, here are some symptoms to look out for: migraines, sinusitis, poor vision, delusions, depression, anxiety, feeling stuck, unable to find purpose or a clear vision in your life and realize it.

 

Blockages can be caused by physical factors such as calcification of the pineal gland. I'll let you read more about that here. It can also be a symptom of an overactive ego. The ego mind is the day to day, safety consciousness that is so helpful at times. As spiritual beings having a human experience, we require the ego to be in balance with our intuition and higher consciousness.

 

To open the third eye, try one or more of these that resonate with you:

  • fully embrace compassion and forgiveness
  • meditate regularly
  • sun gaze (at sunrise or sunset)
  • use aromatherapy for support (frankincense, juniper, sandalwood, vetiver)

Take compassionate command of your life. Learn how to live in the flow with practices that support the foundational energetic system of the body.

 

Our energetic health directly impacts our emotional and physical health. If you are interested to go deeper into practices and would like more help in exploring your own energetic body, feel free to contact me to discuss ways that we can work together!

 

Chakra Series: The Throat

Vishuddha.

 

This Sanskrit word translates to English: "especially pure".

 

What poetic imagery.

 

Our throat chakra is a strong creative space in our energetic body. When healthy, we experience pure expression of Self, conscious communication and a powerful connection between our physical and spiritual reality.

 

The throat chakra can be blocked because of traumas to the physical body or to the emotional body. How many folks do you think can relate to being told to be quiet as a kid? Or to speak up and not be shy on the flip side? These seemingly normal experiences can cause our throat chakra to be blocked so that it's difficult to express yourself or speak your truth.

 

Too much openness in the throat chakra can be expressed as verbally vomiting: talking too much and not listening. We may also notice a tendency to be critical, lie or manipulate. 

 

As we learn where we fall along the spectrum from too open or too closed, we want to remain non jugemental and non attached to that understanding. When we understand where we are, we can cultivate practices in our daily lives to become more balanced over time.

 

As we practice and one energy center is shifted, we will notice our practices will also shift. For example, if the throat chakra is blocked and it is difficult to express ideas, we may practice chanting or toning. As we become more balanced in the throat, our attention may move to another chakra that is now the important energy center to balance in tandem with the shifted throat chakra.

 

It becomes a dance of awareness so that we are consistently checking in with our energy and adjusting our practices to serve our body, mind and soul.

 

Chakra Series: The Heart

Anahata.

 

The Sanskrit word Anahata translates to mean: the unstruck sound.

 

What is the striking force that beats your heart? What beats your heart, which gives you life and animation in this third dimension?

 

In many spiritual references, this force is Love. Unconditional love. Divine love.

 

Love is the beginning and end of our spiritual awareness and awakening. As we harness the energy of love, we begin to see just how powerful it is. When we speak, act and create from a place of Love, our reality can shift completely.

 

When we are blocked in our heart center, we may feel cold or distant. We may sense that the world is a place to be feared and not trusted. We may also suffer from physical ailments of the heart, which are all too common in the western world today.

 

When we are too open in the heart center, we may find ourselves getting hurt again and again. We don't have proper boundaries set up to keep ourselves protected from experiences that can bring us heartbreak or pain.

 

We must find balance. If we are empathic and naturally very open in our hearts, we need appropriate and healthy boundaries. If we are naturally distant or fearful, perhaps we could use some opening up and vulnerability.

 

We want to find balance for our own sake as well as for the sake of others. So that we can live a life guided by our hearts; so that we can live a life of Love and bliss for ourselves and for our broader communities.

 

Anahata is a deep space. We will spend our lives exploring and integrating the power of the Heart. It is such a gift to tap into the infinite well of Love that is available to each and every one of us. I hope you will join me in my upcoming workshop on the Heart Chakra. For more information, check out my events page.

Chakra Series: The Solar Plexus

Manipura.

 

Manipura translates to mean "jewel city" or "place of gems".

 

Located along the spine at a height just at the navel and radiating to the spaces above and below.

 

This space holds profound energy and power. It is our center of self esteem and self respect. The energy center governs uddiyana bandha and the space of the solar plexus.

 

Uddiyana bandha is an internal lock just below the navel that allows us to stick that handstand and to draw energy and power into the core of the body.

 

The solar plexus is the seat of our fight or flight response when we're tapped into our sympathetic nervous system. Think butterflies in your belly.

 

With a consistent yoga practice and balanced diet, we can teach our physical body, emotional body and energetic body how to be tapped into our parasympathetic nervous system, which is considered the "rest and digest" response. When we are living with a balanced solar plexus chakra, often we feel powerful in a calm way, like the power of an ocean current.

 

An imbalanced Manipura may be caused by a block. This leads us to feel a sense of powerlessness, a victimhood to circumstances or a disinterest in life. We can feel like we are living completely out of control lives so we want to hide under the covers and often severely limit ourselves. With a blocked solar plexus chakra, this energetic center expresses as a slow trickling creek, but inside often feels like a dam of water that is ready to explode forward at any moment.

 

Moving out of this space and into a more balanced state in a healing way is so deeply transformative. It is such a weight lifted off and an overall joyful and empowering experience.

 

Alternatively, an overly active solar plexus chakra can lead to feelings of intensity, anxiety,  perhaps excessive pride or even aggression. We may feel like our lives are out of control and we're going 100mph. From this space we are more likely to experience reactivity to our environments rather than feel the ability to consciously choose our responses.

 

If any of this sounds like you, believe me and the countless others who have done the self inquiry and put the effort forth: you can live your life consciously and intentionally with appropriate responses and a healthy inner sense of personal power.

 

I can't wait to go deeper into the information and wisdom that this energetic center holds during the next installment of the Chakra Series workshops. Contact me for more information!

Chakra Series: The Sacrum

Svadhisthana.

 

This Sanskrit word translates to English to mean "the dwelling place of the self."

 

When we feel our true nature in creative expression forms like writing, painting, drawing, dancing, singing or playing music we are tapping in to the power of the sacral chakra.

 

When our sacral chakra is balanced, we feel creative, we feel sensual, we feel a sense of well being and abundance.

 

When we are constricted in our sacral chakra, we may experience a disconnection from self; we may experience a numbness, disinterest or rigidity in creative expression. 

 

The health of the sacral chakra effects our ability to tap into our personal creative power, which is so necessary in a world that requires so much creative problem solving to move toward a future that reflects our deepest divinely aligned desires. The health of the sacral chakra also effects our life giving abilities.

 

This energetic center is located at the level of the sacrum, one of three floating bones in our bodies. As you can imagine, having floating bones that support the structure of our bodies can allow for a beautiful range of motion and flexibility, but it can also cause dis-ease.

 

When we experience imbalance in our sacral chakra and the sacral area, we may experience physical pain in the lower back, in the hips or even in the organs of the lower body such as the bladder or our reproductive organs. 

 

When we work with the mind, the body and the emotions in a supportive way, we find we are able to shift long held patterns of behavior and belief. It is a beautiful process of releasing who we are not to become who we are.

 

I look forward to mindfully exploring the sacral chakra with the community next week at Main Street Gym in Pittsburg. We will incorporate yoga, meditation and aromatherapy to experience and balance our second chakra: svadhisthana.

 

We will mindfully explore the energy centers of the body during our yoga practice. Then, without judgement, without fixing or changing anything at all, we enter an witnessing meditation. Where are we now? What is coming up now? From here, we can implement healing practices such as aromatherapy to recalibrate and balance our energetic body.

 

To find out how to attend this workshop or any in the Chakra Series, check out the events page.

Chakra Series: The Root

image from pinterest

Muladhara.

 

This word literally translates from sanskrit to english as "root support".

 

How supported do you feel in your life? How sure is your footing as you take steps into your future?

 

The health of our muladhara chakra effects the health of our physical, emotional, mental, energetic and spiritual bodies. These five bodies are the koshas. I refer to them a lot in my personal work as a basis for health and wellness. Perhaps in a future post I will go deeper into these bodies that make up our experience as human beings.

 

Getting back to muladhara. The energetic center characterized with the feeling of groundedness and stability. It is located at the base of our spine. When our root is healthy, we are in a state of thriving (versus surviving).

 

If our energetic root is unstable, or unbalanced, we may sense that we are constantly in survival mode. This constant state of fear will deplete us of energy, create a mistrusting environment within us and around us, bring anxiety around abandonment or not being accepted into the community (tribe), and lead to a lack of confidence or even addiction. 

 

The root correlates to our earliest stages of development (birth to 2 years old). When we experience trauma, as all of us do to some extent, we create energetic patterns to keep ourselves safe. These patterns can exist for our entire lifetime if we are unaware of how the body stores information. 

 

These patterns can show up in any of the five koshas, and are often interrelated between the koshas and between other chakra centers.

 


Physical Body

  •  intestinal issues
  • issues with feet, legs or hips
  • eating disorders
  • lower back pain
  • material fixation (i.e. shopping impulsively to accumulate more "stuff")

Emotional Body

  • anxiety or fear especially around times of change
  • eating disorders

Mental Body

  • poor focus or discipline
  • chronic disorganization

Energetic Body

  • being disconnected from your body
  • inability to settle or perhaps on the flipside, overly sluggish
  • financial difficulties

Spiritual Body

  •  feeling spiritually empty or confused
  • facing abandonment fears when considering personal spiritual journeys


balancing is healing

Once we understand what imbalances exist in our bodies, we can work with them to create a balanced environment for healing to naturally occur.

 

Through practicing yoga, insight meditation, consistent mindfulness and actually standing on the earth with bare feet we can bring our bodies into alignment and bring balance to the Muladhara Chakra. There are crystals that energetically attune the root chakra. There is sound healing for balancing the root. There are foods you can eat (look for red foods). There are scents you can anoint yourself with. So much fun to be had in balancing and healing and becoming!

 

These practices will bring support and security into your life so that you can blossom into the epic human you are here on earth to become!

 

I am offering a more in depth experiential exploration of the root chakra in the first session of the chakra series. I am so excited to be introducing these concepts to my community in the coming months!

"whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will someday become a reality."  -- earl nightingale

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A Letter to Friendship

You have flooded my life with so much magic: joy, wonder, connection, lightness, laughter & love. I am so grateful for your energy & presence. My friends are absolutely amazing. The folks who I share this time with, these ever-developing stories with, this life with. The plants that I share this air with, the water with, this Earth with. The seen and unseen friends are my healers, my way-showers & my lovers. Life is so much more vibrant and alive with you all.

 

I am so grateful for you, my friend. For your openness, vulnerability & authenticity. You make this life so bright.

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The Practical Art of Shopping

This post is a series of questions I have asked myself and encourage everyone who participates in capitalism to ask themselves.

 

Why do we choose to shop?

Where do we choose to shop?

When do we shop?

What do we shop for?

Who does shopping affect?

 

How do we shop in alignment with our values and the natural universal order?

It depends what matters most to you. So, what does matter to you most? 

For me, the earth is what matters most to me. Human rights matters to me. Health and wellness matters to me.

 

We do our best. Even then we are never perfect.

What are we willing compromise or give up from our current shopping practice that will allow us to do our best?

How much effort are we willing to exert to do our best?

 

Plastic free seems impossible where I currently live because of limited seasonal farmers markets and no plastic free bulk food options.

Completely plant based eating is incredibly difficult where I currently live. I do my best. For my body and for the earth.

 

Aside from food, most of what I buy includes cosmetic products and clothing.

I could do better in these departments by buying from small local businesses that create natural cosmetic products, or shopping for fair trade organic clothing online.

 

This short post is a reminder to me and to you: use your awareness when shopping. Let it be an art and practice that allows you to create the life that you were born to create.

 

 

Atonement, forgiveness and how to feel lightness

Forgiveness. What does this word even mean? I have only recently started to consciously study and meditate on forgiveness. In the last six months, I have been through two Shamanic Rite of Passage Journeys and I have started reading "A Course In Miracles". One piece of wisdom I have gained: atonement, forgiveness and healing are synonyms.

 

I remember the word "forgiveness" being used in church as a child. I remember the phrase, "Forgive and forget." I was always pretty good at forgetting, but forgiving?

 

Forgiveness is a feeling.

 

If I forget, but don't forgive; my body is still holding onto that experience. When that person or that experience triggers inside my feeling body, it is easy to impulsively react. 

 

I don't know about you, but I am finished living any moment of my life impulsively reactive. I want to be fully aware and responsive to every moment so I can build the relationships and the life that I desire. So, how do we release these old patterns of reaction?

 

Practicing meditation and being a witness to myself was the beginning for me. I notice patterns of thinking and consciously let these thoughts go by practicing the mantra of a lifetime: "Let go." *of course, using the mantra gently, not forcefully*

 

I am so grateful for the undeniable impact meditation has made on my life. But, I am still reacting in certain situations. What causes this split second reaction and how can I get it under control?

 

Inner child work first caught my attention when I learned that we react based on patterns we developed as a child, because at that time it kept us safe. The reactions and patterns I was noticing, were unhealed aspects of myself from my childhood. The little girl inside is still there and she needs to be reassured that she is safe. I am here to take care of things now.

 

Inner child work brings forgiveness into the forefront of the experience of healing the self. It gives us the tools to forgive ourselves for the times we felt like we did something wrong, like we were abandoned, or rejected.

 

We can release ourselves from these strong emotions that may still be stored in our body, our psyche and our consciousness by forgiving all parts of ourselves.

 

We can release ourselves from these strong emotions that are ready to bubble to the surface today as a reaction to an unresolved moment that we experienced long ago by reaching atonement in all parts of ourselves.

 

At first, the effects of inner child work might be subtle. The more we go inward, apply to tools of inner child work and forgive ourselves, the more we are able to relax and let our fully conscious adult self run the show. Side effects include: lightness of being, joyfulness, connectedness, and transformation of your outlook, of your life, and of your being.

 

When I am triggered now, my first thoughts are: "Time to go in and forgive myself. Time to go inward with the light of Atonement. Time to be alone and learn how to love myself more deeply."

 

For more advice on inner child work and to learn about Shamanic Rite of Passage Journeys, contact my teacher, 'Iolani Grace at iolani@iolanigrace.com.

 


Coming Home


Yesterday I came home to myself. 

Today I make my way to my childhood home: from Australia to Texas.

I've had a feeling of death approaching.

If it happens, it is ok.

Know and feel the unending love I have for you and know that I feel your love.

You are perfect. 

Let me go.

Allow the magic of Life and the natural universal forces be your guide back home to your true essence: pure love.

Find support from an illumined Being and Be Well.




Support

I find support in my relationships.

 

I am in relationship with creativity, in relationships with close friends and in relationship to the natural world around me and in relationship with my Self (higher self, inner child and present self).

 

Often when I feel unsupported, it's because I've lost a sense of relationship. So what do I do?

 

When I feel I have no ground underneath me to stand on; when I feel like I am sinking into a deep darkness, what do I do?

 

Sometimes I sink. Eventually I find the bottom and start to climb myself back out.

 

Then I begin the journey of proving to myself that I am supported. By going into a natural expanse and sensing the interconnectedness of all of Life; by calling or having a meaningful chat with a friend; by playing guitar badly and singing whatever is on my mind.

 

Now, I am learning how to catch myself before I hit the bottom.

 

I can catch myself by actively sensing my relationship to Life around me. I am still in the process of learning. When I have grasped this more clearly, I will share more. Stay tuned.

 

The Art of Slowing Down

There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.  -- Ghandi

A deep connection to Life is felt when we slow down.

 

Slowing down has been shown to increase creativity (a.k.a. productivity) and happiness.

 

If I don't consciously slow down, I turn into a firecracker burning brightly and chaotically from both ends. And when I've popped, I suffer from serious burn out. Burn out includes adrenal fatigue,  depression, and the Can't-Be-Bothereds.

 

Have you heard of the Slow Movement? It has gained some momentum recently (heh...) and I'm all for it! It's based on slowing down and simplifying so we can realize our relationship with the world around us.

 

Slowing down our experiences of food, education, travel and work offers us the opportunity and space to notice the beauty and complexity of life without being overwhelmed or confused by its enormity.

 

We can start slowing down by noticing the small aspects of life that give us a sense of joy or inspiration and give gratitude for the things that keep our lives interesting.

 

Rest in those moments. Really, it's okay - rest. Take a breath.

 

Next, we get to choose an aspect of our lives that we love and would want to form a more intimate connection with. For me, food is the first and easiest choice.

 

I make little goals for myself:

Prepare ##  meals from scratch each week.

Reduce the amount of processed foods I eat (no package = unprocessed).

Buy organic when feasible to support small farms and slow farming practices.

Eat slowly and chew gently.

Turn off distractions like TV or Internet (a hard one for me!).

Notice the smells and flavors of your food.

Make mental notes about what you might do differently next time.

Repeat.

 

Once we start slowing down, how do we continue? We have to be motivated to continue. For me, the motivation is my mental and physical health, it's the wellbeing of the community I'm living in, it's the economic and environmental health of our world.

 

If you feel compelled to continue, then we find the next aspect we want to tackle. Choose one, or do a little bit of everything. Whatever you can do and want to do!

 

My next aspect is transportation and travel. I walk when I can, I cycle when I can and I use public transportation when I can.

 

Maybe we slow down our approach to working so we are more thorough and find a sense of joy in the process, instead of rushing through so we can get to the next thing.

 

Or maybe yours is shopping:  Reveling in the fun of hunting for the next thing to buy at second hand shops and garage sales instead of making that impulse buy online.

 

What's that feeling we get when we get to do something slowly? 

A sense of presence. Being here. Now. A sense of reverence or ritual in the way we go about our daily tasks.

 

What is rushing?

I've come to know it as a state of mind. I can move about quickly without feeling rushed.

 

The difference is in how my shoulders feel (are they relaxed or are they tense?), maybe I have a soft smile on my lips instead of a furrow between my brows.

 

It's also in how I approach the inevitable obstacles to my task. If I'm rushing I might come at it with all my force, even with a sense of martyrdom as if I would take one for the team in order to overcome this obstacle. If I'm not rushing, I have the space to approach obstacles with more curiosity and playfulness.

 

For those of you feeling frayed at the ends, here is some inspiration to get you started on your journey of slowing down.

 

 

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