Why do I procrastinate?

What is procrastination? Is it truly that you are being lazy, unproductive, slovenly, a waste? Or, is it perhaps a much needed break, a respite, a time to catch your breath, akin to the necessity of sleep? Maybe it’s both: at one point it is laziness, at another, a true and much needed break. And, does it even really matter to know?

I come from a long line of A-type personalities, and here in the U.S., we live in an ego-driven, no-pain no-gain, “productive” society, and after winning my stage 3 battle with ovarian cancer in 2001, the PTSD from the experience perpetuated the drive to go and do and achieve and win (because, among many things, I needed time, lots and lots of time, before I had the strength and ability to face the fears and pain and loss I’d experienced). I’ve come to learn that this drive and constant push to accomplish can kill, literally, and at the least, cause anxiety, depression, physical pain, insomnia, among many other physical ailments.

Some time ago, I came across an article on Liminal Space. It was an enlightening article and something I had NEVER heard of before. Liminal is Latin and it means threshold. Liminal Space is a time of waiting, stopping, pausing, it’s a transition. Like a bend in the road where we have to slow down in order to make it through the turn safely, like the 8-hours of sleep our body’s need each night in order to repair, heal, and clear out the brain connections to make room for more, like the afternoon siesta that for centuries Europe and other countries have taken every day, the a doorway between rooms. The Liminal Space is a powerful place to be, to wait, wait with confident and intuitive expectation. It’s a space where the ego doesn’t exist and the path gradually becomes clearer as we watch, stop, and trust…. and sometimes wait some more. It’s pure potential, the border/threshold between possibilities, the place where anything is possible.

In the tangible/real world, when you are in this Liminal Space, it doesn’t mean that you do nothing, but it may. What’s so hard for our culture to grasp is that doing nothing is just as beneficial and important as doing something. Think if it this way: the earth needs a fall and winter season in order to make way for the spring and summer. Liminal Space is like the night to the day. The exhale to the inhale. We humans are part of the earth, made of the same materials, and we can take a big cue from her to find out best selves and live our best life.

As I see it, there are 2 large problems at play here: 1. we have been conditioned with 12+ years of schooling to think that there is only 1 right answer, that if we get the answer wrong, we are wrong, and that success equals action and being right, and 2. in the U.S., we have become so unaccustomed to being alone, with ourselves, in silence, stopping and pausing, that it’s so foreign, we “feel” bad about it. The good news is that feelings aren’t always true and when we practice slowing down, sitting with the uncomfortable, looking within ourselves, we can begin to flesh out our own and others’ feelings and move past them. Feelings of guilt and shame are big ones that can come into play as we slow down, feelings that we “aren’t doing enough.”

In yoga, there’s a Sanskrit term Aparigraha, it often translates to ‘non-greed’, ‘non-possessiveness’, and ‘non-attachment.’ We can take a cue from this centuries old practice and begin to live with a better relationship with ourselves, and the world around us as we become of aware of how we’ve attached to and become possessive of feelings, belief’s, making them into our identities, our personalities. We humans are so much more than just feelings, much more than a body, we are spirit: a holy ghost walking around in a meat suit. As such, we are mystical, mysterious, and ever changing. As we begin to slow down, release old attachments, we can make room for what the Divine has planned for us, becoming happy, healthy, and whole in the process. We can have faith.

Time is an illusion. The thing at the end of this earthly life is death. As we pause in the Liminal Space and “procrastinate”, we give ourselves time to “smell the roses,” noticing and becoming aware of the things we are holding on to, the stress, the tension, the lack of trust/faith, feelings, and we can let answers come when they are meant to, we can let new possibilities begin to form, dreams take shape and manifest, we can take a breather and heal. Good things take time, think aged cheese, fermented wine/beer, cigars, and when we give ourselves, and others, space and time, good things will follow. Some might call this procrastination, but whatever you want to call it, you’ll find me reveling in it as I pause to remember that I am whole, centered, and living in harmony with all of Creation, happy at all that has been, what is to come, and what is right now.

If this seems really difficult and/or you don’t know where to start when you stop and pause, try reading of of my Meditation blogs here or here and/or listen to my Yoga Nidra CD for some simple guided meditation practice. These are great ways to find that sacred space within.

Namaste.

xoxo

What is Restorative Yoga?

This yoga practice is about slowing down and using lots of props to support and gently stretch the body. In a typical restorative practice only a few easy poses are done: a gentle chest opener, a mellow inversion, a twist, a fold, and nuances can stem from there to include inner thighs, groin, chest, shoulders, and leg lengthening postures to name just a few. In a restorative practice, the body is fully supported by using lots of props like bolsters, a mat, blocks, blankets, straps, and sandbags. Each pose usually lasts for 5 minutes or longer, depending on the length of the session, giving time to breathe and be, still, connecting the body, mind, and spirit.

Life is busy and full. With restorative yoga, we give ourselves time to rest and digest, stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system and allowing ourselves to process and be with our experiences, perhaps shaping how we’d like to move forward.

Sometimes this practice can be challenging because we have nothing to distract ourselves from our thoughts, feelings, and emotions and this isn’t always comfortable; however, with the right guide, this yoga can be the key to moving on and forward in, and with life to live our fullest and best. Meditative techniques and opportunities can be given during the experience to stop the thought loop(s) that can hinder us, subconsciously: giving time and space for the body and mind to begin to unite and harmonize. In restorative yoga, we get to relax, ground ourselves, and begin to see from a higher perspective thus better able to move forward with courage, strength, flexibility, and resiliency.

The health benefits are many for slowing down, stretching, and meditating and include: improving immune function, digestion, fertility, detoxification and elimination, as well as reducing high blood pressure, stress, muscle tension, and general fatigue.

I offer a regular group Restorative Yoga practice in Redding, CA each week, workshops, and work with many private clients using this technique. For so many, this practice is the key they’ve been missing in their exercise routine and life, and they are surprised at how such a simple practice can bring such relief and happiness to their daily lives.

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll see you on the mat, soon!

xoxo

How I Came to the Goddess

It’s been about 4 years of me actively seeking the feminine perspective in the Divine. Honestly, as has been my track record, I started looking in this direction because of excruciating physical pain. A little backstory: I broke 3/4 of my lower left leg while working as a ski patroller and had two surgeries: one titanium rod placed in my tibia and then another surgery to remove the screws that held it in place while it healed around the rod. This was in 2006 and 2007. The excruciating pain didn’t develop until about 8 years later. To combat the pain, I tried SO many therapies, traditional and non-traditional, but kept sensing that there was a deeper, more spiritual reason for the pain. I was part of a church at the time and tried all the prayers and “laying on of hands” and “soaking” practices and times that I could, but the pain got worse. It literally felt like my body was tightening and constricting, I would even use the word rebelling, against all that I was doing. I knew there had to be another way and the church wasn’t providing an answer or clue.

During this time, I began to actively teach Yin Yoga and found the slower, more meditative, contemplative, and inward focused style to be so healing for me; the pain in my body began to lessen and I could feel my body begin to loosen up. The word yin is Chinese and literally means: the passive female principle of the universe, characterized as female and sustaining and associated with earth, dark, and cold. The dark part of yin intrigued me and scared me. I had recently completed 3 years at a Christian Ministry School and darkness was always equated with evil, but I began to wonder if the darkness was where I actually needed to go…

I began to research and test this darkness and what I found was eye-opening. As with the Chinese, all other cultures equate darkness as feminine, the womb, night time, inward gazing, contemplation/meditation, the other half of the Divine. I had not heard any of this in my decade or so of Christian teaching! So, I cautiously began to explore this darkness, pushing boundaries, limits, and edges and continued to find healing for my leg as I confronted fears and began to find out for myself the difference between darkness that heals and darkness that is evil. (There is definitely a difference! I was thankful for my Christian training to build so solidly a foundation on the Divine to be able to test this limit and know that s/he had me, held me, and fully supported my childlike wonder and exploration and was Her/Himself the one providing the healing.)

This inward, dark, earthly journey lead me to many places: New York to study with Regena Thomashauer who operates the School of Womanly Arts, it lead me to co-lead a Goddess retreat in Greece to study more about her ways, and in late 2017, took me to India to study a modern culture that worships the feminine through tantra, temple worship, chanting, and yoga. All these things continued to lead me back to Her, to where She truly lives: inside.

What I’ve found is that so many modern religions shun things of the earth and elevate the “higher” perspective of the Divine. This “higher” perspective of the Divine is most often of the Divine masculine perspective and I think in large part because He is orderly, controlled, predictable, straightforward, and logical: it’s the mind and the brain. (For more about the differences between the Divine masculine and feminine check out my most popular blog: Are You a Sissy?)

I feel like I’ve gotten a 4-year degree on the Goddess: I’ve travelled, watched 100s of documentaries and movies, listened to podcasts and Youtube videos, read dozens and dozens of books and articles, taken hours of trainings and seminars and workshops focused on the goddess, had 1000s of hours conversations, and none of it fully satisfied, which is just Her style: she is constantly changing, drawing us closer, enticing us into her bosom, and awakening the scary places with not only compassion, love, kindness, and fun, but with a seductive like quality that I find irresistible. And this my friends, is the feminine, and, why I continue to be drawn to her. The pain in my leg is much less now, it still limits me in things, but I’m using it like a divining rod to lead me to the omnipotent Divine and all her/his magical and mysterious ways.

If you want to join my Goddess journey, I’m leading a weekly class called Goddess Fusion Flow and I’m planning another Goddess Retreat and workshops: all the details for those will be here when they are decided.

Jai Ma and namaste!

xxoo

Why buy recycled, eco, sustainable products?

I have always been passionate about the environment. At 12 years-old, I began my subscription to E-Magazine, I started writing my representatives, senators, and state and local authorities about laws that were on the table concerning the environment, I strongly urged, perhaps argued with(LOL?!!?), my parents as to why we should buy organic food, clothing, cleaning supplies, and beauty products, and I even I bought my friends’ recycling containers for Christmas one year in high school. Some call me a hippie and a tree-hugger, abut regardless of ridicule, name calling, shaming, and derogatory comments, I will continue to not only stand for a purpose that is beyond me, and for one that effects us all, I will do something about it. Maybe after these few reason’s why, you’ll join me:

3 reasons why charing about the environment isn’t a fad:

  1. The earth is our home and, it’s all we’ve got. Just like a brick, wood, or stucco home we live, eat, sleep, and play in, if we don’t take care for our home, then, we don’t take care of our home! I have seen countless studies and quotes about keeping one’s home clean and orderly, and even how feng shui or the gift of hospitality/decorating influences the people inside that home; the earth is simply an extension of that. We are a product of our environment. That’s true not only in a small, micro-causim sense, but also in a larger scale. Think about it: people from India have a particular flavor, way of doing things, language even, so do American’s, so do the French. We can talk micro in the sense of how someone who lives in an alcoholic family will have certain traits and tendencies, as will someone who lives in the Middle East. We are affected by those and that which is around us. If we pollute, if we cut down all the trees, or if we continue to buy from companies that do these things without a thought to the bigger picture, we not only will be, but are affected by it. It’s an obvious correlation. We cannot separate ourselves from the earth. We ARE the earth. Which leads me to the #2.
  2. We are made of the same substances as the earth, so what we do to her, we do to ourselves. We need clean water to drink. We need fresh air to breathe. We need sunlight to thrive (hello Vitamin D!). We need nutritious foods to eat. We need shelter and warmth and ways to cool ourselves down. And, we need play. Forest Bathing has become all the rage in Japan with numerous scientific studies confirming it’s necessity to our health and well-being as a way to de-stress. If we do not keep our waters clean, our foods (both plants and animals) free of toxins, then we will not be clean/healthy either. We are what we eat, not only in tangible junk food over healthily foods, but also in the chemical body system. If a cow is stressed out, it will have high levels of cortisol, then when we eat the steak or hamburger of that cow, we will be eating all those high levels of hormones and be susceptible to adrenal fatigue, weight gain, osteoporosis, anxiety, weakness, depression, irritability, etc.
  3. Some say that recycling and buying recycled products is still part of the problem because it takes a lot of energy to recycle and particularly with synthetic clothing, we are still creating something that is toxic. Well, here’s what I say: we have to start somewhere. There’s a saying “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Or what about this one: “We have to crawl before we can walk.” Exactly my point. For me, as a professional athlete and one who works with clients of varying ability levels and in various conditions (indoors, outside, wind, rain, sun, heat, cold, etc.) I need clothing that performs. I need to be able to focus on the person and task at hand, and not be pulling up my yoga pants, readjusting my bathing suit, or suffocating from the heat of the Redding sun in clothing that doesn’t hold up to my activity, needs for safety and well-being, and leave me sweating and over-heated. So, I will continually be on the look out for new ways and products that recycle, reduce waste, look long-term, AND live up to my demanding work and life needs.

One such company I am proud to be a part of is Wolven Threads. Not only are they using recycled materials for their high quality clothing that stands up to my rigorous, athletic demands, they are also using carbon-neutral wood-pulp fibers that have been sustainably harvested, and natural dyes. Plus, an added value is that their designs are sacred geometric patterns and prints designed by local L.A. artists.

As a gift to you, I am happy to be able to offer 20% off men’s and women’s yoga, day wear, swimsuits, and clothing with the code: AudreyDlong20 at WolvenThreads.com

If you know of other companies that are making important earth/environmental/home impacts, share below! I would love to know about them!!!

xoxo

What is Earthing?

Earthing, or grounding, is a profound and simple way to reconnect with our natural harmony and rhythm of life. This is the way we are designed to live: connected, whole, in-tune.

To put it briefly, when bare feet or skin comes in contact with the earth, the body receives free electrons: these electrons are nature’s biggest antioxidants and help neutralise damaging excess free radicals that can lead to inflammation and disease. The Earth is a large and natural conductor of free electrons, as are all living things on the planet, including people. Because our body is composed of mostly of water and minerals, we are excellent conductors of electrons, providing there is direct skin contact or some other conductive channel for them to flow through.

In our modern life of always wearing shoes and being mostly inside toxic and synthetic material buildings, we have lost contact with the earth and thus have lost our biggest source of antioxidants and healing power.

BENEFITS of EARTHING:

  • Reduce inflammation and improve or eliminate the symptoms of many inflammation related disease
  • Reduce or eliminate chronic pain
  • Improve sleep and promote deeper sleep
  • Increase energy and vitality
  • Lower stress and promote calmness in the body by cooling down the nervous system and lowering stress hormones
  • Normalize the body’s biological rhythms providing a connection to mother nature and earth’s natural rhythm of life
  • Improve blood pressure and flow
  • Relieve muscle tension and headaches
  • Lessen hormonal and menstrual symptoms including PMS
  • Speeds healing time and can prevent bedsores
  • Reduces or eliminates jet lag
  • Protects the body against potentially health disturbing environmental electromagnetic fields (EMFs)
  • Accelerates recovery from intense athletic activities

How earthing is done: 

  • Swim in rivers, oceans, or lakes
  • Garden with bare hands
  • Lay or walk on the Earth for 30 or more minutes
  • Hug a live tree
  • Lean up against a live tree
  • Camp and sleep on the earth
  • Wear natural leather-soled shoes instead of synthetic rubber/plastic shoes
  • Wear Earth Runner sandals for everyday life and athletic pursuits
  • Convert existing shoes into earthing footwear with a DIY kit

There have been major studies done by several governmental organizations including the US National Institute of Health about the benefits of earthing and grounding. The US NIH study in particular is fascinating and confirms all the above. Check it out here.

What are grounding techniques:

Besides the above list, I personally earth, or ground, in these ways:

  • I live in a house that has unfinished concrete floors
  • I wear leather slippers and leather moccasins as often as I can
  • I walk barefoot as much as possible
  • I have a pair of Earth Runner sandals (I got the Circadian sandals because they are the most water friendly), socks, and have converted other shoes of mine using a DIY kit from Earth Runners
  • I practice grounding meditations
  • Yoga Nidra’s
  • I host yoga classes, events, and retreats outdoors
  • Paddleboard Yoga
  • I bask in hot springs as often as I can and hold a yearly Hot Springs Retreat, info about it will be here when it’s happening)

Mother Earth. She is our home and she is so much more than that. We are made of her. We are her. Our disconnect from her have caused many health, psychological, and spiritual dis-eases as a result.

Here’s the getting back to our roots. Here’s to health. Let me know how it goes.

xoxo

Peeping Tom #metoo

I was so scared I broke the bathroom window with my bare hands and screamed an almost un-human sound that caused my roommate to come running down the hall. With terror in her voice as she yelled “What’s wrong?!!” The guy continued to stand there, staring into the bathroom from the darkness outside. This is one of my many #metoo scenarios.

It was either late 2012 or early 2013 and one of my roommate’s and I had been talking and making dinner in the kitchen. We didn’t have curtains on the back windows of the apartment because although we were on the ground floor, we faced a creek and thick brush. No one ever walked back there. Doris and I were both cooking with oil and every now and then the heat caused the oil to pop in the pans as we sautéed vegetables for our meals. A louder popping sound caught my attention several times, and seemed to be coming from outside, but it was night and we couldn’t see out the windows. I dismissed it as just the oil and walked down the hallway to use the bathroom. There was a frosted glass window directly above the toilet and as I went about my business, I heard that same popping sound. I tried to place it. Pausing, listening, and then realizing, it was rocks. Someone was throwing rocks at the window. There were perhaps 6 – 8 rocks thrown and some were so forceful I thought the window would break, even saying so out loud. I stood up, pulled up my leggings, and turning to flush the toilet, I found a face pressed against the glass. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! I screamed with terror. With a force I didn’t know I had, I shoved both hands at the face behind the frosted glass, so much so that I broke and splintered the window. But, the face remained, peering even deeper into our apartment as I backed away, opening the bathroom door to find Doris. I breathlessly gasped out the situation and we backed up so the man couldn’t hear or see us. Through whispers we decided I would call 911 and Doris would call our neighbors and our apartment manager. No one answered her calls, her multiple calls, and I remained with the 911 dispatcher for over 20 minutes as Doris and I huddled in my room, waiting for the police to arrive. I had the blinds drawn in my room, but later we found out that the little holes through which the string sits, are just enough space for someone, close enough, to see inside. Doris and I heard the footsteps of someone on the rocks, outside my window, and as she kept calling people to come help, and I whispered what was happening to the dispatcher, the sound of feet leaving never happened.

20 some minutes later we heard a knock on the front door. Nervous we looked at each other and both went to the door to look through the peep-hole. Still on the phone with the dispatcher we saw it was the police. Opening the door, we told the officer where we believed the man to be and as the officer turned to head in that direction, we locked the door and returned to the doorway of my room. We saw the flashlights of the police and heard the words “Hey, what are you doing?” to which we heard a very straightforward reply: “Peeking.” A skirmish happened and the police took the man away.

Doris and I were asked if we wanted to see and identify him, because perhaps it was someone we knew? After some consideration, we went with the police to the car to face the guy. He was young, maybe 19, and was obviously high or tripping out on something, but not someone either of us knew. It was a sad situation, on so many levels.

In time, maintenance nailed a board over the broken bathroom window and we placed thick curtains and sheets over each and every window of the apartment. After a day or two, once we felt comfortable enough to venture behind the apartment, we found a used condom among the rocks, outside my window.

I couldn’t make this stuff up, nor would I want to.

We never found out what happened to this man. We did both receive letters in the mail that we might have to appear in court to identify him, and I was offered therapy sessions as something to consider for my personal healing from the trauma. I actually cannot remember all of the details that occurred after that night, involving his trial and the several letters we received about the hearing, our rights, lawyers documents, etc. I actually think I wanted to just forget it ever happened. What I do clearly remember though, is that for years afterwards, anytime I sat on a toilet with a window above, I would panic. Even just before I wrote this, as I opened my apartment door into the darkness of the garage, I feared for what would be there. Right now, my heart is beating a little faster and I’m sweating slightly, recalling this memory, but this is partly why I write this. I want to release the emotion. I want to let my voice and experience be heard. I want to release the energy of this and so many other violations. I want to let go of the trauma of men violating me, on an even greater level. I want to be free of the fear of men harming me, taking what doesn’t belong to them. And, I want to continue the #metoo conversation.

What I want from you: to hear me. I just want to be valued enough to be heard. I am not asking for your response or pity. Feel no pressure to have to “fix the situation.” Please, just sit with me. Sit with me long enough to feel with me…… Then, maybe, together, we can both release the damage, release the poison, that has been done to so many…..

Letting go of shame: Observational Meditation


Shame: it’s ugly head pops up and creeps in, most awkwardly and uncomfortably. With new experiences, relationships, and the deepening of such, I see anew where shame still lives. Seemingly never fully out of its grasp (we are always a work in progress), I use awareness and meditation to face it and then let it go without fanfare (because it doesn’t need or deserve much of my energy or focus). 

The best tool I have found to let go of shame, and any other unwanted emotion or feeling, is through the practice of Observational Meditation. Here’s how I do it:

1. I find a comfortable position, lying down or seated, somewhere quiet and where I won’t be bothered. I decide on a time: 2 minutes, 10 minutes, or longer as desired, and I set my meditation timer. (I use the free app I-Qi timer.)

2. I begin to still myself. Breathe. I settle down and settle in. Taking my time, I begin to label thoughts as they arise. (This helps us become less invested in them and breaks the chains of identity to them. Labeling also separates beliefs from reality.) Taking time to label these thoughts, perhaps even a few times, I get to their root feeling, emotion, belief, or other such deep connection. I often exhale when I get to the core thought, then I know I’ve got it. (If you have a hard time deciding which is the core thought, that’s fine, just pick a label and go with it. The body/mind/spirit will speak to you again. Remember, it’s all just practice.)

3. After labeling the thoughts, I become aware of where I feel this thought in the body. This may come easily, or sometimes I have to sit with the thought/label for some time before I’m able to identify where it lives in my body. I stay with the thought long enough to actually feel it, remembering that the goal isn’t to change or get rid of anything but to observe and experience whatever arises. Sometimes this actually works the other way around: I feel and become very aware of a feeling/area within my body, and then I label it. 

4. That’s it! I just sit with the feeling/labeled thought for as long as I need for it to dissipate and lose its hold on me. Usually this is a matter of seconds before a new thought arises and I move on, but sometimes it’s a minute or so. This is such a simple practice, but one that is super powerful and one that does take effort. 

The fun news is that since practicing this technique in comfort and quiet, I can now do this anywhere and at any time, and really, this is the point: to embody this tool and use it when feelings of shame or anything else that no longer serves, arises. 

The harder we resist, the stronger unwanted feelings become. It’s the Self’s way to get our attention to make a change. Think of this practice like a dog that needs to go to the bathroom. He will continue to bark or whine or pester you until you let him out. Our body, mind, and spirit are the same: communicating to us through thoughts and feelings to get our attention to act. 

Shame sucks. Here’s to letting to go and moving on!

Let me know how it works for you. 

xoxo

5 Self Care Practices:

Have you noticed that in some season’s (either literally: the winter, or, a week, a few days, or even for just a moment) you feel this overwhelming need to stop, be quiet, to take a breath, call a good friend? Have you ever noticed those times that you just crave the simple? How do you respond to such a feelings, honestly? What if these senses or feelings were God/the Universe whispering….?

Taking a break is divinely orchestrated: built in daily as “night” and the human (and animal) requirement to sleep, created as “winter” and the land needing to go dormant for a season to replenish and gain back the nutrients it lost while it was growing and producing during the warmer seasons. Taking a break can be induced by a deep sigh, or the diagnosis of adrenal fatigue, or otherwise. These are some of the clues that Divine Spark inside uses to get our attention, saying: “take care, please, take care of you.”

The words “self care” may spark a shutter, or a blush, bringing up thoughts of “I don’t have time for that” or really, “I just don’t want to stop” or, you may be well versed in such practices, either way, good. Good! We as individuals can only serve others to the extent at which we ourselves are filled.

Self care, on the surface, may seem selfish and egotistical, but really, it’s the most giving thing you can do.

Self-care is the most giving thing you can do for you and for God. God who lives inside you and God who lives inside of others. (For women I’ve been recently calling this Divine Spark, or God inside us, “Goddess.” I’ve been doing this to poke the box of God being a male. If you’re curious you can read more about it here.)

So, if you are feeling the pull toward self care, if you’re hearing the call, and you choose to answer, here is my list:

5 ways to self-care:

  1. Do nothing. Do absolutely nothing. When was the last time you allowed yourself to get bored? Do you know that the creative spark inside us is best tapped when we are bored? Creativity happens when we aren’t busy, when we allow ourselves time. So, lay on your bed and stare at the ceiling, sit in a lawnchair and watch the clouds float by, plop down on the couch and kick your feet up and stare out the window. Do nothing! And see what comes of it: fear, self hatred, creativity, passion, anger, frustration, peace…. maybe those things you’ve been busy-ing yourself to avoid can easily fall away with just a little time…. with just a little awareness…. peace rises up…
  2. Get a massage, mani/pedi, facial, acupuncture, sit in the sauna, take a bath, work out, go to a yoga class, take a walk, attend a retreat. These are the obvious choices for self-care, but none-the-less, super helpful.
  3. Begin that hobby you’ve been wanting and thinking about for a long time now. Let that creativity flow in art form.
  4. Womb Care: my new favorite way to self care. This is self massage. This is getting to know your body. This is facing shame, anger, self hatred, etc. This is love. This is facing love and allowing love to inhabit this beautiful physical body. I’ve been using herbal infused olive oil and gently, intuitively, rubbing my belly and female parts, slowly and with no agenda. Because of some massive trauma I’ve experienced in these areas, this goes deep. For me, this hasn’t been sexual, this has been about releasing shame and fear and softening under my own touch (which then allows me to soften underneath someone else’s). You can learn more, find the oils I use, and get more in-depth details from Amber Magnolia Hill and her Sacred Womb Care MP3. It’s been a lifeblood for me recently and my self-care/pleasure go to. (Men, I have a suspicion this could be just as good for you, but maybe call it Heroic Care…) Remember no agenda, allow feelings to arise, watch, assimilate, hold, take care, meditate, be. Love.
  5. Write a letter, read a book, swamp, listen to a podcast, watch a movie, take a nap, have a date night, have sex, meditate, take a girls/guys night, spend quality time with your kids, play hooky! Enjoy this life, this precious life who’s moments are passing by…

You make time for what’s important to you. What message are you sending if you don’t take time for you?

Know that you are enough. What you are doing is enough. Feel free to say it with me now: I am enough. I am doing enough. I am.

Enjoy you.

xoxo

Why all the talk about Goddesses?

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I’ve often categorized women as on my team or not. Those on my team I have taken with me to explore and adventure and love, but, admittedly, it has been a long practice of learning to celebrate with them for their successes and gifts. For a long time, I felt jealous or sad, even angry if they got something or had something I wanted. Now, I can honestly say that has changed and I am truly happy, proud, and grateful when my girl friend’s dreams and desires come to life. I now stand and celebrate with them, whole heartedly. But, for those not on my team, I am still working on being aware of the judgement and comparison and then, choosing how I respond, deciding if love, empathy, compassion, and celebration, is truly what I want to extend. Now, once I notice I’m judging or comparing, I am choosing to stand with them, even from afar.

For such a long time, life has been a competition and I tried to win at the XYZ game (smarts, physical ability, guys, yoga, etc.). But wow, it’s exhausting! I know I am not alone. We women learn these things from books, magazines, TV (hello: advertising is all about making us women feel less than; we then cure this feeling by buying the sh*t being touted as the miracle answer to us being fat, having cellulite, wrinkles, being tired, sick, etc.), the movies we watch (when was the last time you noticed more than one woman in a movie or a woman who didn’t talk to another woman only about guys, in a movie that wasn’t titled a “chick flick”). We women are programmed to compete and feel less than.

Now, I’m finding more and more I’m celebrating women, their dreams, their truths, their desires and like a drug addiction, it’s so much more fun. I’ve begun to call this the “Goddess Rising” phenomenon. It’s a throw back to the worship of the female entity, to a time when women were revered and celebrated, instead of crushed, held down, and told to be subservient. The word goddess evokes a stirring that something isn’t right, it pokes, it shakes, it rattles, and that is exactly the intention. The word goddess reminds us women that we too have the Divine in us.

All this started with awareness, with meditation, with yoga. From there, it moved into celebrating my own achievements and gifts and then, with this new found confidence, I began to share and talk about it/them. This practice has continued and deepened, moving into desire and longing, getting in touch with my sacred female qualities (which men have also: collaboration, joy, pleasure, sensuality, vulnerability, surrender, patience, intuition, creativity, community, etc.). All this is counter-cultural. This is risky. This is new. This isn’t easy, but it’s what the world has been missing for a few thousand years as we have swung to the worshipping of masculine traits (profit, bigger, better, faster, harder, being practical, an individual, logical, non-expressive, competitive, war).

Yoga and meditation, have been the vehicles, the tools through which this has blossomed. And now, I’m all in. It is now be my life’s mission to follow my deepest yearnings and desires, no matter how scary or hard or weird, and be here to champion the same in others.

So, here’s to desires realized and the tree of life growing from their actualization. (Proverbs 13:12)

“The greatest threat to a woman’s happiness and success is her own negative judgment of herself, and other women.

Every flower/woman has her very own unique way of blooming.

I have mine.

You have yours.

She has hers.

The point is to damn the torpedoes and bloom.

Full speed ahead, and bloom.

Bloom in this lifetime.

Bloom now.

Really. Right now.

Don’t let the cultural prejudices against blooming stop you from stepping up to your own plate.

Don’t wait, just in case we don’t get another round.

Bloom, even if the sun generated from another woman’s light hurts your eyes.”

Regena Thomashauer

This pic is from one of my many adventures with the goddesses Heather Phillips and Tara Huff. 💞 So thankful for these and the other women in my life! And, now, I’m truly thankful for those women not in my life, I’m celebrating you too.

xoxo

Ecstatic dance: pleasure in movement

Ecstatic dance:

pleasure

delight

moving this living body, in all those ways where shame has lingered

moving out anger

expressing joy

feeling frustration

feeling hunger

feeling empowerment

all within, the physical body.

This dance is about what feels good, what feels good within, within the body. This is a primal, animalistic movement at it’s simplest. This is movement without judgement, where compassion, love, joy, pain, fear, anything and everything goes and where it surfaces, to be let out, to be seen, to be heard, to be felt. Through ecstatic dance, we own it, face it, become it, noticing when we’re pushing, forcing, seeing the pain that we’ve experienced or are causing. We can choose another way, another movement, another action. This dance: an opportunity to celebrate mistakes, learn from them, change direction, try again, with no judgement but our own. We can move our hips to the left, circling, dropping down, twerking, or not, to do nothing….. Maybe it’s a stomp of the feet, over and over and over and over again!!! Maybe it’s a slap of the thigh or the wall, or a caress of the cheek, a slow touch along the waist….. The ecstatic dance floor forces nothing. Ecstatic dance is all choice. It’s ecstasy. It’s pain. It’s real. It’s raw. It’s sexy. It’s ugly. It’s a lot of movement and no movement. It’s slow. It’s fast. Ecstatic dance is easy, it’s hard. It’s an animalistic groan or a loud shout. It’s a burst of energy and a slow grind. This dance could be said it’s not even a dance at all, it’s somatic: our subconscious/consciousness inhabiting this living body, and finally we’ve found a place, a safe place, to show it, reveal it, let it out, to let it be known.

We become with ecstatic dance. We un-become. This is a moving meditation where you can watch yourself becoming a woman or a man who enjoys this body, movement, play, expressing who you are through your own, unique, movement.

I do this dance at home, by myself, and with a group where the energy of others encourages me that I can go further, face fears, and that I’m normal, I’m just like everyone else. In a group I feel the connection of humankind, we are one, we all have these same struggles and joys, and so, with the group we go further than we could alone.

Join me anytime (click here for my group offerings) and let me know how it goes.

Namaste my loves.

xoxo