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Let me introduce myself

I thought I’d introduce myself to readers new and old. Lots has changed since I started this blog!

We’re all in this space of rebirth, even the planet herself as she rages with fires of purification and waters of renewal. Personally, I’m being called to bring more of my self outward after a long (very long) inward journey. It’s a little scary stepping out!! But I know can’t keep the wisdom or the lessons to the myself because they aren’t mine to begin with. They’re meant to be shared with you dear reader!

When I started this blog my world felt topsy turvy and rightly so because many MANY things in my little world came crashing down. All of them for good reason, though I didn’t know it at the time! I came to understand that the old ways just wouldn’t work anymore. Something was calling me home to myself and the whole situation was at times ridiculously confusing to me. Everything I had attachments to–wanting to have another child,wanting to start a proper career in the law–crumbled like dust. I look back at that confused, exhausted and tapped out woman and I hardly recognizer her as me. That was seven years ago but might has well have been many lifetimes ago!

Recently after working with some clients who are really struggling, I was thinking about how so many in the world are at their root needing hope. I thought, wow if only people knew that it will be ok, they will be ok! And then with the subtly of a cartoon piano falling from the sky, I heard source cackling at me going, GEE IF ONLY SOMEONE COULD SHARE THEIR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF LIVING THROUGH DESPAIR AND COMING OUT BETTER THAN EVER AT THE END. Ohhhhh. So that’s what you want me to do! (Face palm. Lol)

Our world en masse is facing so much and reckoning with so much. But there is nothing to fear. There is a grander plan that is pushing you to a place that will bring you home to yourself, urging you or in some cases bonking you over the head with the message! So many are living through nothing short of terror, with fires raging outside their door, pandemics lurking outside the masks, protests roaring in the streets. Breathe deep. This is the definition of an initiation and is painful and hard. Frankly it sucks. It is meant to wake you from your slumber. I’s awakening medicine in yourself you didn’t know you had, gifts that were dormant. Lives longing to be lived.

We aren’t of this world of pain and suffering and joy is our birthright. Hard to see when the world is burning but keep in mind the old must fall before the new rises. Whatever you are going through, know I send you love and blessings that you path through it all with as much ease and grace possible.

You can do this — we can do this together!

love, Sarah Joy

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A raccoon visitor and a story of delightful synchronicities

I love when blog posts–and raccoons–cross your path for a purpose. Everyone becomes your messenger if you open up to receiving the messages!

Earlier this afternoon I was staring at my WordPress feed instead of writing, and saw this blog post from Laura Bruno pop up:

Synchronicity, Intuition and Animals

Somehow I landed on this old post I wrote 12 years and a day ago. These themes still arise a lot in sessions, so I’m reposting today.

Huh, that’s cool, I thought. I love when animals send me messages. I made a mental note to self to read the post later and I went back to writing my crappy blog post.

Well, I tried to write but then I stopped. Even though I’d been feeling a call to do more writing on my blog as of late I was ready to throw in the towel. Boooo! Oh well! Time to move on!

That’s when I looked up. Outside the window about about six feet away from me a raccoon strolled by. Just nonchalantly wandered across our front lawn like this is a totally normal thing raccoons do in the mid-day heat of Florida. (Spoiler: it’s not.)

Hi Sarah! I’m your messenger! Well not me, pictured above. I’m just a random cutie who lives on the internet. You saw my cousin twice-removed on my mother’s side.

Even the raccoon looked like, why am I HERE….whatever I guess I keep walking? And then go back to my den to sleep because I’M NOCTURNAL. SMH.

Spirit was sending me a message, no doubt about that. In my spiritual training I’ve been taught that raccoon represents stolen energy. Interesting…!

I interpret this as a message to keep writing and not give up my power so easily. You know, like feeling a call to write but avoiding it and throwing in the towel when you get stuck. Huh. Certainly some readers may thing, but how can you know it’s not just a raccoon. Sometimes a squirrel is just a squirrel. Sometimes a raccoon is just a raccoon! And sometimes it’s crystal clear in your gut (and in the bizarre totality of the circumstances) that a message being shared.

Intrigued to learn more? Read Laura’s post. She shares some great insight on how you can learn to discern symbols and messages and how working with animals is a great place to start. I can attest that early on in my spiritual awakening I found animal sightings to be a neutral, less emotionally-charged way to get feedback from spirit.

Who knows, maybe I am a messenger for you! We’ll keep the thread going….

Have you had any fun and wacky animal sightings lately that you knew were winks from the universe? Share them! I’d love to hear.

RANDOM RABID RACCOON FACT: Raccoons are considered one of the primary carriers of the rabies virus in the United States, though only one person has ever died from a raccoon to human transmission of the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Using hard times as fuel to take you up

Think about a time in your life where you had a leap of consciousness. What were the circumstances that brought you to a new understanding of yourself? When I think about my own life, the times of greatest and most significant leaping occurred during times of enormous friction.

There was the dark night of my soul in my early twenties when all the trauma that had been suppressed made its way into my consciousness — painful but a huge leap into new awareness that led to healing and newfound growth.

There was that moment of choice I made where in a place of deep pain I realized I no longer needed to suffer, and in deep surrender to the divine, I experienced a profound spiritual awakening.

Emotion can provide a fuel, and circumstances can give great friction, but it is up to use to determine what we do with it. Do we attach to emotion and the story we tell ourselves about it (that we deserve nice things, we aren’t worthy of love, insert-crappy-ideas here), remaining stuck? Or do we choose to learn the lesson and say “no more of this nonsense!” and go UP?!

I share this as someone who at points in my life was…how shall I say this…very much the long suffering sun-in-Pisces, moon-in-cancer-martyr who dramatically chose to carry the pain and suffering of all humanity on her back. I can laugh about it now but there was absolutely nothing funny about to me at that time, thank you very much! I was wearing my serious face doing my serious spiritual work rooted in painful melancholy! And much agonized poetry writing!

That being said…let me be clear : I don’t think the only way to grow as a soul is through pain and suffering. Rather, I believe that difficult situations can be a great AWAKENER to show us to true nature of our reality and existence: that we are love, that the universe is one of love, and that really our soul is hoping we get the lessons once and for all so we don’t have to repeat them.

Which reminds me of this quote my sister sent me when I was wallowing years ago in the pain and suffering of grief…bless her for poking at me and urging me to shake out of it!!

21 Paramahansa Yogananda Quotes to Unveil Your Inner Light
Wise words and beautiful locks to boot

Yep, ain’t that the truth. Well, the good news is that 2020 is bringing us all sorts of delightful ways to awaken!! HA. You ready to use the friction as fuel to take you higher? Roll up those sleeves folks, you can do it!

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Staying rooted during 2020 ~ (aka Ayurvedic practices + tik tok dances)

“There are those who say the world is ending. But you know that is a new world is just beginning!”

That came through in meditation a few days ago. A reminder during the times of darkness, chaos and confusion that while it is the end of many things, something new and beautiful WILL be built in its place! We are entering a new era, and like any new beginning it has to include a death. Shedding the old ain’t pretty but we can do this!

This week has been intense for me, lots of bizarre energy and unexpected emotional releases. Whoa nelly, breathe in, breathe out!! I”m trying to stay rooted to the earth as much as I can, which for me lately has included not overdoing the coffee-intake (my greatest vice! oh mama loves her coffee), hydrating like crazy, practicing  abhyanga (Ayurvedic oil massage, part of my nightly routine before bed), trying to eat healthier-ish (more salmon, less pizza), and generally trying to find balance when I observe myself getting out of whack. The other night I noticed I was feeling super intense and VERY VERY SERIOUS, which as you know is cured by some dancing and tik tok watching. (Don’t shame the tik tok game! If there was ever a time we needed puddin’ and dozer it would be now.)

How are you staying rooted during the wild 2020?! Lots of love to everyone. Hang in there!

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More thoughts on freedom

What if freedom isn’t freedom from something (pain, suffering, third dimensional stuff) and instead is the embodiment of your true self, the love that you are? What would that look and feel like?

I’ve been thinking, where am I stopping myself from being free? Where do I cutoff flow, where do I give away my power, where do I shy away from the call of my heart, from the embracing of who I truly am, which is love?

Freedom is available every moment, every second, if we choose it!

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Feeling the call for freedom

I’ve been feeling the call for freedom! What does freedom look and feel like inside myself?

For me, freedom is no more falsehood. That only the true, authentic me remains–no masks!

It’s freedom of pain and suffering. No matter what appears before me.

It’s finding flow and letting the light be…no interruption, no stagnation, no forcing.

It’s walking my path, step by step, trusting that whatever comes is for my highest good.

It’s moving beyond the constraints and limitations of a system of oppression that really lives inside myself.

Freedom feels like HOME inside myself.

Are you feeling the call to freedom? What does freedom feel like to you?

(Oh: and freedom also feels like THIS…the epic Aretha Franklin singing “Think!” in Blues Brothers…freedom…freedom…freedom, FREEDOM!)

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Things are feeling a little…intense

How are you doing? If you feel anything like I do today then you might be feeling the pressure that 2020 keeps laying on thick! We get it, 2020, you are shaking us awake and won’t go away until we FULLY embody the lessons that this year has to offer. PHEW. Breathe in, breathe out!

I was listening to a video the other day and the person shared the story of an initiate who said to her teacher: “Ok teacher, I’m ready to be done suffering.” That’s how I personally feel! Are you ready to be done suffering? Joy is our birthright! But it won’t be given to us. Neither will freedom. It must be claimed!

I used to view freedom as almost like a bubble of nothing bad every happening but my view has shifted. I’m working on freedom being that I can hold that space in myself that is pure love no matter WHAT surfaces or appears around me! I’ve been working a lot with a teaching that my teacher Magdala Ramirez brought forth (she talks about it on her website and talks about it a little bit in her podcast this week, too.). It’s the idea that we have two hearts — once connected to source, an endless cup pouring love!!–and another smaller heart that is connected to all the pain and suffering we’ve experienced in this lifetime and others. When we hook into that little heart we get stuck. It cuts us off from our own divine nature. However when we tap into that large heart, well, everything changes. The wisdom of the multiverse becomes available to us and we can heal ourselves.

Yesterday I was reading something about the astrology of this coming year (ahem, pretty intense) and all of suddenly felt a whoosh of panic. A tightness in my chest. I was able to observe it and not become it or become swept up in it. I spoke to this part of myself that reared its head: I love you, you are ok, I got this. That was the big heart pouring love into the little heart.

Right now we are being challenged to step into the big heart that we all have. It’s hard. The more potent the emotional trigger the harder it can be to “unlock” from whatever pops up. But we also have so much assistance available to help us through it. For me, I’m taking it moment by moment, tapping into the love I AM, and finding freedom even in the midst of all this commotion.

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Removing the masks

Something’s been building in me and it’s this desire–really, more like a lion’s ROAR!–demanding I remove ALL THE MASKS that I wear. To let it flow. To be 1000% authentically me in every interaction whether with my family or friends or colleagues or strangers at the supermarket.

When we put on a mask we cut ourselves off from source. When we wear the mask we lower our vibration to meet those around us in a desire to fit in, not realizing that we are love and don’t need to seek it from anyone outside of ourselves.

For a long time many of my masks have involved hiding my spirituality and the wisdom of the teachings that have been shared with me. In hiding the teachings I dishonor them, and I don’t want to do that anymore.

What are the masks you are tired of wearing? Let’s toss them into a great bonfire and light up the skies with our freedom!

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Sometimes you are the glass door, sometimes you are the nose slamming into the glass door

What happens when three highly sensitive empaths face a busted-up nose emergency?

It turns out that yesterday’s energetics were full of “thanksgiving chaos” (see astrology report from Tara Greene Tarot) AND BOY WAS THAT THE CASE.

The first one (and oldest one might I add) starts yelling at the victim of the accident – he’s so overwhelmed by all the feels that he cannot handle it!

The second one (the youngest) cries and is then is compelled to run over with first aid and weep while comforting the nose victim.

The third — the one with the bruised nose and ego — cries not because her nose hurts or is bleeding profusely but because a. her husband yelled at her and it hurt her feelings (for real) and b. she is SO EMBARRASSED that she ran into a glass door. Seriously. You can’t make this up.

She then asked to be alone so she could cry it all out. Why she was so sad she does not know! IT WAS JUST SO UPSETTING, upsetting all of those empaths!

For real, the whole experience was very intense. Welcome to my household of highly sensitive folks! My daughter and I snuggled for a while and talked about how even if mommy has a broken nose she will be ok! Heck, maybe she can upgrade to a new nose like Jennifer Aniston did!

OH, and to ensure that I never walk into a glass door ever again, my six year-old made cutouts to tape onto the door. Like those bird silhouettes that keep birds from flying into windows, because apparently my connection to birds extends to their inability to see glass. Except instead of making bird silhouettes my daughter made noses with sad faces, because she is amazing like that.

Sad nose face to prevent sad nose run-ins with door

I hope thanksgiving was safe for all you empaths out there!

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I’m grateful for you!

First an announcement — I had issues posting my blog post yesterday and want to make sure you see that I’m giving away some art and stationary to my readers! You can enter by clicking here and entering your email (just so I can contact you if you win – I won’t keep it!) and you can get an entry by commenting on my post or viewing my facebook page. That’s it! I hope you win!!

Wishing you all a beautiful day of thanksgiving. As I type I have a sick kid playing with intagram filters on my phone, two old beagles barking at a little old man with his dog outside, and a cold coffee with no milk because we ran out. I’m thankful for all if this beautiful mess of life!

May your day be filled with a bounty of pie and streaming netflix. So much love to you all and thank you for reading, subscribing, liking and commenting and sharing!

PIE!

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Receiving and giving, it’s really the same. (Plus, a giveaway to kick-off the giving-receiving season!)

Image from Magdalas.comfollow her Facebook page for all sorts of lovely insights!

When I read the above quote it kind of blew my mind in that things started to click for me in a new way around flow, abundance, and giving and receiving.

I viewed flow state as sort of its own thing. Separate from a giving-receiving thing. I saw it as a one-way street. I think many of us do! I wasn’t seeing how this act was part of a whole. I did that “3d separation” thing.

Just a week or two ago I was in this lovely flow state of giving and creating. And what do you know, while I was in that lovely energy I started receiving so much. The receiving came in all forms–some of it was monetary, some of it was the sharing of my words with a larger audience, but all of it a beautiful gift that was part of a huge loop! A giving-receiving that was connected. Yes! I see it now!

I want to open my arms to the receiving because to do otherwise creates a block. Does that create resistance in you, thinking about the receiving end? So many of us, especially women, are taught to give it ALL without daring to receiving. That is not what the great mother wants for us! What might be holding you back from receiving–is it about worth? Is it about scarcity? Can you let it go and heal those parts that feel unworthy? Open your arms to not only give but receive?

To help get us in the spirit of giving AND receiving I’m giving away some of my art from my Etsy shop–one set of notes and two art prints including matting! Three winners will be chosen and each wins one item. Starts now and ends 11/30 at 12am.

To enter, click this link (sorry I couldn’t’ figure out how to embed this due to javascript!) – – you just enter your email and either comment on this post or on my facebook post and get a point for one or both! (Any questions or issues entering, email me at hello@justfollowthejoy.com,) Thanks and GOOD LUCK! I hope you win! Happy giving and receiving this holiday season. ❤

Enter to win…

Cardinal art print
What if I fly art print

To recap: To enter the giveaway just enter your email on this raffle widget I setup. You can either comment on this post or comment on If you don’t want to use the widget or have any problems you can also email me at hello@justfollowthejoy. That’s it!

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I’m your messenger (and you are mine!)

Image from Pinterest

One of the big messages I’ve had lately is how we are all messengers for one another. Me to you, you to me. The birds. The stranger at the grocery store. We are all connected to one big beautiful consciousness. When we share what’s in our hearts we have the ability to pass along a message for another to receive at just the right time for just the right purpose.

I’ll give an example. Recently in meditation I said, I need help learning how to own my power! I need to put it on and pull this together! Within a week my dear friend Jen contacted me to see if I’d do a 21 day meditation course…on empowerment! Ahh so beautiful. Of course I said yes! Thank you my messenger friend!

One of the reasons I write on my blog is to pass along messages. I pay it forward by sharing what’s in my heart in the hopes that anyone who needs to hear a message at the right time will receive it!

Messages can come from anywhere, not just humans. Animals send all sorts of messages. The vulture tells us we are transmuting emotions. The woodpecker tells us it’s time to build something new. . .I could go on and on. I receive messages from animals pretty much on the daily and sometimes it’s so in my face that it’s funny (though sometimes freaks me out a bit). Recently when I was doing a lot of intense work on healing the wounded father (the system wound) I was walking and thinking about it when a raccoon jumped right into my path. In broad daylight. Then it gave me a freaked out look like, what am I doing here? and it jumped back into the bush. Its message? My power was being stolen! (They are little thieves those raccoons!) Was I ready to retrieve it and reclaim it?

Once you start looking you will notice messages everywhere. If you you engage with the world and ask it a question, see what answers come your way. You might be surprised!

Have you received a message at the right time and place recently? Please share! Let me know if anything I’ve shared has come at the right time as well — I’d love to hear!

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When ABBA speaks directly to your soul!

I’ll confess: I’m a DANCING QUEEN. Mamma mia let me tell you I love their songs. I had a dream I was their biggest fan. It’s the name of the game right? Knowing me, knowing you, this love-fest could go on forever.

Those red boots though.

There is a point to all this I promise. (You are all like, gimme gimme gimme the point to this already Sarah…sorry I couldn’t help myself!).

ANYWAY, the point of this post is how song lyrics will suddenly appear in my head as a message to myself. It’s so fun. Especially when they are from ABBA songs!

Today’s message from myself to myself is…take a chance on me.

Sure, the song is probably written about a guy or gal pining for a lover. But take the message as being from your highest self to your little ego self saying, hey, will you take a chance on me? What if we all took a chance on ourselves. I wrote recently about what if we we became our own best friend…same idea.

Read these lyrics with that in mind and it is SO beautiful. Take a chance on me, your truest self is telling you, ‘Cos I love you so! My love is strong enough. Beautiful right? Who knew it was all hidden in an ABBA song!

TAKE A CHANCE ON ME song lyrics

Let me tell you now
My love is strong enough
To last when things are rough, it’s magic
You say that I waste my time
But I can’t get you off my mind
No I can’t let go, ‘cos I love you so

If you change your mind, I’m the first in line
Honey I’m still free, take a chance on me
If you need me, let me know, gonna be around
If you’ve got no place to go, if you’re feeling down

If you’re all alone when the pretty birds have flown
Honey I’m still free, take a chance on me
Gonna do my very best, baby can’t you see
Gotta put me to the test, take a chance on me

ABBA “Take a Chance on Me” Lyrics

If ABBA spoke to your soul today what lyrics would be speaking to you? I’d love to hear!

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The magic of finding flow and dropping struggle in parenthood

I’m done with pushing. I don’t like it, I don’t want it, you can have it back thank you very much.

I’m talking about the energetic pushing. (Not the physical pushing – though definitely not into that at all!) The powering through, or powering over, a situation. Not my jam anymore. The results of this shift into flow and out of struggle have been pretty awesome too. Like for example, our struggles with THE READING LADY. (YES ALL CAPS.)

The reading lady might as well be THE CHURCH LADY

My daughter recently started seeing a speech therapist for reading challenges. We were referred to a woman by an Occupational Therapist my daughter loved. But from the get-go the speech therapist rubbed me the wrong way. It’s the kind of thing that you can’t exactly pinpoint though now I can see it: she was a pusher! She was someone who embodied powering through and over challenges. (Plus, she just wasn’t nice!)

So of course since I’m working on finding flow and not PUSHING I instantly decided not to see this woman again and found someone else, right? Oh no, of course not.

Yes, for several weeks we got up SUPER early for a butt-crack of dawn appointment with this woman, who pursed her lips when my child dared to let her eyes wander off the written page, and gave warnings when my daughter played with the shaving cream a little too long as they practiced making letters.

It’s no surprise to hear my daughter started to push back against going to these early morning, super-not-fun sessions! I couldn’t blame her. I didn’t like the lady either! So why exactly were we there??

And then I remember I’m done pushing and forcing. As fate would have it our reading lady was gone on vacation for a bit. During that time I found a new therapist. I ignored the part of me that said “oh but why can’t you be grateful for the person you found” or “yes she is grumbly but she knows her stuff!” or “What if you can’t find someone as good? What if you end up with someone worse?” and alllll that nonsense we tell ourselves. As soon as I shifted my focus asking for divine assistance to help me connect with someone who would serve the highest good in this situation, friends provided not one but two recommendations for therapists who were closer, kinder, and weren’t described as being at all like Dana Carvey’s church lady.

Fast forward to today: we LOVE our new therapist. My daughter looks forward to her appointment! And interestingly enough, the new therapist did mention that she observed my daughter doesn’t always keep her eyes on her, but that she also observed that she is retaining the information even though she appears distracted. The therapist was fine with this but wanted to let us know in case a teacher complains that my daughter isn’t paying attention in class. Fascinating difference right?!

OH, and my daughter is soaring with her reading.

No pushing! Finding balance and flow!

Now it’s time to graduate from kindergarten so to speak and apply this concept to the mother of all struggles we’re currently facing: bedtime routine. (DUN DUN DUN!!!)

Have you found the flow and dropped the struggle in any area of your life? How’s it going?

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What if we became our own best friend?

The ego does not like unknowns. It wants certainty, plans! It wants control.

And yet, all our gifts reside in the place beyond the ego. The vast field of love that is our wider consciousness is just waiting for us to conspire with it.

What if we took a leap of great daring and allowed it to surprise us?

What if we bet on ourselves for once and became our own best friend? What magic might unfold?

“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?

— Erin Hanson

Artwork my own. Free with any purchase through November 18th.

(Heads up – I’m giving away this print for free in my Etsy shop with any purchase made now through November 18th! May it inspire you to take a leap. While supplies last, yadda yadda fine print!)

MAY YOU FLY, BEAUTIFUL ONES.

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Some advice from my future self (aka “old fart Sarah”)

Image from Instagram account @roseunfolding

You worry too much. Live out loud. Your thighs look great. Stop wondering about what will unfold. It’s all beautiful. Trust. You are a badass. Play! Don’t wait until you are an old wrinkled coot to play and be crazy. Try some pottery. Get some new lipstick for crying out loud! You are doing it my dear you are. You are me. You are magic. I believe in you.

Love,

Old fart Sarah

(I wrote this as an Artist’s Way exercise where we had to ask our future self for some advice. Pretty sure future me is way more badass than current me. I definitely want to grow up to be her! What would your wise crone share with you?)

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It’s all about the essence ~ bringing back play to step into flow

Yay Snoopy we found our FLOW!

The essence behind your creations is as important as the creation itself. Are you bringing joy, love, gratitude? Or a fearful, frenetic, desperate, pushing/overpowering energy? Until very recently it was the latter for me, but I feel like at long last I’m finally shifting into a place of loving, joyful FLOW! (Picture me victory dancing atop a piano with Snoopy.)

When I look back to times when my creations haven’t “clicked” almost always there was a wonky energy behind it. I was pushing too hard, I was doing it out of fear or most often it was the case that I had this NOT-ENOUGH-TIME-MUST-DO-IT-ALL-NOW energy–the telltale sign of the ego pushing its way to the front. When it’s about life and death it’s the ego. When it’s about flow, ease, joy, then you know it’s soul-level.

Beautiful art from Wordsmith Studios Etsy Shop

What finally clicked was realizing I wasn’t having enough fun in my life. My spiritual work had become purely WORK (I mean, it’s challenging and all but it shouldn’t be drudgery!). I needed play and spontaneity! I needed that inner child to do her little dance again.

On somewhat of a whim I bought some beading supplies and dove into making jewelry with no plan or purpose, just play. It was SO FUN!! Pure joy. My daughter got in on the act too!

The act of play without any agenda seemed to be just what I needed to step into flow. That tiny act inspired another (some home decorating things I hadn’t been inspired to do in ages) and another (cooking a new recipe, something that had recently been drudgery) and then another (writing on this blog again).

Have you ever experienced the same? What’s helped you step back into flow after a funky period?

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Are you running the old fear program? (Aka clippy from windows 97)

Our highest and true self – which is us – doesn’t experience fear. Fear is artificial to our natural state. We’ve been inundated with conditioning and programming that tells us otherwise. So why do we (ahem…I?!) continue to choose to listen to it?

Earlier this summer I attended sacred ceremony for five days and was able to observe what it feels like to be in the place where fear not only can’t touch you, it’s as though it doesn’t exist and can’t exist. It. was. amazing. Even though I’d been told that fear isn’t our natural state I’d never experienced it quite like this, where fear literally couldn’t touch me. It was so eye opening!

Of course, I left ceremony and returned home and eventually came back down into the density that governs 3rd and 4th dimensional reality. I saw fear creep its way back in.

Which got me thinking, what gives? What keeps me listening to fear when I know it has no business being in my world? Habit mostly. The brain has been running this old crappy program that’s sorely in need of an update. It’s like I’ve still got Windows 97 running with Clippy telling me to be AFRAID, be VERY AFRAID! (Side note: did you know his official name is Clippit?)

be afraid, very afraid! Says Clippy

Time to kick clippy to the curb! Sorry Clippy, 1997 called and wants its Spice Girls’ inspired shiny track jackets, choker necklaces and baggy pants back! (Ok that wasn’t very pithy but it’s surprisingly hard to sum up 1997 styles succinctly.)Time to go home to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer and catch the latest Seinfeld episode. I don’t need you anymore!

(Enjoy all those 1990s references? You’re welcome!)

The brain gets used to habitual thinking but that doesn’t mean we can’t give it NEW habits. It helps me to remember that fear is as ridiculous as an animated paper clip that you can always just remove and replace with something so much better.

Good luck, let me know how it goes. I for one am ready for a new brain/office assistant, so to speak! (Just not Microsoft Bob, seriously what WAS Bill Gates thinking?!)

UPDATE: what should the new brain/office assistance look like? Ooo it needs a name! Share your ideas!

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I want to give everyone a big hug

*hug*

So many people are passing through hard times. Pretty much everyone in my life actually. And lots of people who I don’t know, too. I want to hug each and everyone of you (whether I know you or not – I am originally from the Midwest after all. We hug everyone!)

You may be wondering, what is UP?! Why why why all the struggle and hardship.

You my dears are awakening. The light is returning and light does this thing where it shines into the darkest corners and helps us to see what was hidden. I don’t know about you but when I shine a light under my bed I do NOT like to see what is down there! Cob webs, toys covered in dust bunnies, it ain’t pretty. Yesterday I found a sock so covered in dust bunnies it was like a small sock-shaped animal. YUCK.

(Note to self: vacuum more frequently under the bed.)

Yes, the light is returning and asking us all to raise our consciousness. This is a GOOD thing and will lead to so much beauty, grace and joy. But the process to getting there is a doozy. It asks us to step up and see what we haven’t wanted to see. It asks us to love parts of us that we didn’t want to love. It is demanding that we see ourselves as the love that we ARE and cleanse our hearts of all the pain, trauma, outdated beliefs, identities and attachments that no longer serve. To see ourselves as the light that we are.

To shine the light we have to remove the density first. It can feel never-ending but I promise things will lighten the more you release and heal. We live in cycles and all cycles have their resolution. Not only that but we’re living in a time where we are experiencing a quickening which means it’s all going much faster than it would normally. So we’ve got that going for us!

If you’ve ever given birth – to a human or even to a beloved project or idea– you know that the labor involved can be hard but the end result is worth it. Keep that in mind. Labor doesn’t last forever. I remember when pregnant with my daughter our birth preparation class teacher told us that no contraction lasts longer than maybe 90 seconds. (I forget the precise length of time now though it was etched in stone at that time for sure.) During a contraction I would count out loud, and as I got closer to the end of the 90 seconds I would speed up my counting because I JUST WANTED IT TO END. And my husband God bless him was counting at normal speed (as someone not giving birth to a watermelon would do) and I yelled YOU ARE COUNTING TOO SLOW! As if speeding up the counting would speed up time. Oh I wish. But it was true–the contractions all had an end point, with a pause between, and goodness I lived for those pauses.

So it shall be for you. Remember the contractions do not last forever. Savor the pause. Bring all your love and strength to yourself during the hard bits. See and release what needs releasing. Find ways to experience joy and gratitude in the midst of it all. Be gentle. Call a friend. Have a sip of tea. Yell into the woods. (I have done that a lot. The trees don’t judge.) Not only have you got this, you were made for this. You have the love of the divine universe at your back. Release what holds you back so you can shine like you were meant to shine.

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Down with the patriarchy! (Oh wait you mean it’s inside me??)

I’m pretty sure I’ve chanted “down with the patriarchy” at a march or rally at some point in my life. But I have to laugh when I think about that now because really it’s as though I was chanting this demand to myself! Hear me out. It turns out that the battle with the system is happening internally. Yes, my friends, it’s time to dismantle the patriarchy inside ourselves!

I had this big, BIG realization recently that I was carrying a wound that I thought I’d let go of a looooong time ago. I recently did some work on healing the wounded father. If you’d asked me if I had a father wound before doing the exercise I would have patted your hand and smugly said, on no honey I spent decades in therapy resolving that! It’s alllll good now.

And the universe laughed!

It’s fair to say that most of us at some point have had some amount of conflict with our father figure. Some lots, some less so. What I never understood about these wounds was that they were keys to seeing and understanding how a system has harmed us. You could call it “the system wound” instead of the father wound. The system – the patriarchy – has dominated, devalued and sought to destroy the feminine for thousands of years. We came into this lifetime with genetic memory of these wounds (and to get super trippy on you, we are living out many other lifetimes that are experiencing those wounds right “now” so to speak. But that’s for another post!)

What ends up happening is that our fathers become the face of the wound. They are men; patriarchy is all “yay men!”; hence we project our pains of this system onto our fathers. It sounds obvious, I mean I knew this, but I hadn’t put all these pieces together. It was like I viewed the system on one side, and viewed it purely externally, and put the father on the other side, and viewed it all personally. The integration of the two hadn’t ever happened.

When I looked at my own wounds they were a lot about self-worth. You say women can’t do this, well I’ll show you I can! You say I should marry a man to take care of me, well I’ll show you how independent I am! I don’t need no man! Grr! (Rosie the riveter arm raised with fist!)

Upon further examination I was pushed to ask…why exactly did I care exactly so much about what anyone said about what I was or was not capable of? Why did I think I had anything to prove? Because if I knew myself to be whole and beautiful and sacred, I certainly wouldn’t give a poop about what anyone cared or said about me.

Huh. What was that all about?

Yes, I spent years working to prove myself. See I am good enough! I am your equal! Ok – well what did I want in return? Digging deeper…to be seen and valued! Essentially, LOVE. I wanted love you guys. And since this is a system wound – not just a dad wound – I wanted this SYSTEM to love me and see me! I wanted to be valued by this messed up, dysfunctional, icky gross system I’d been rallying against my whole life!

Now that is the definition of messed up, right? (Cue Jimmy Fallon….ew!)

The fact is, I’m a sacred woman. I AM love – I’m the eternal spring that gives and gives and I certainly don’t need to go begging for love from a system! Especially a patriarchy that I know logically to be horrible for everyone involved – men and women both.

I spent a lot of time in therapy, women studies courses and chat sessions about how we can dismantle the patriarchy to discover I wasn’t fully getting it. Finally exploring these questions as part of my spiritual work made me see it in a whole knew way. These choices I’ve made again and again only feed a system I don’t agree with or want to keep propped up. I need to remove these beliefs inside myself and align my heart with my mind. To see my value as inherent, not based on the outside system.

Talk about dismantling the patriarchy! Because if there is one thing the patriarchy doesn’t want it’s for us to align our hearts with our mind. The system seeks to disconnect us from our hearts – because the heart is the connection to the feminine! (Ah-ha! You seeing it?) Once we understand the power of our healed, aligned hearts to create a beautiful, loving world then poof! goes the patriarchy.

Of course, your father/system-wound may be different than mine. We all carry different wounds from a system that spent thousands of years telling us to disconnect from our hearts, to abide by rules of a system that would give us love and acceptance, and that threatened to harm us if we didn’t abide. (Hello, burning witches at the stakes anyone?) We came into this life with these wounds in our memory and specifically chose parents who would “push our buttons” so to speak so we could see and heal those wounds. Who knew the the key to healing was right in front of us this whole time?

The good news is that we don’t have to wait for a system outside of us to fall in order to be liberated. That is the masculine way of thinking, looking to the outside to try to understand and heal something that is within us. As women we do the work internally and then the world outside ourselves shifts. The patriarchy falls when we remove the dogmas, fears, entrenched beliefs and programs within ourselves. When we say no more to disconnecting from the longings of our hearts. When we seek to bring the mind and heart together, or as my teacher Magdala Ramirez says, when we allow the eagle and the condor to fly as one.

I for one am done trying to prove or abide by unwritten rules in order to to seek love from a system that doesn’t believe in my inherent worth. I’m ready to see my father in a new way too. I see how the system has wounded him, me–all of humanity. I’m ready to dismantle it within myself.

After all, “the people, united (within themselves), will never be defeated!”

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Reclaiming vitality and joy – magical discovery of Arvigo Therapy/Mayan abdominal massage

I’m wrapping up my series on my journey to reclaim vitality and joy and what better way to end this than with a discussion of Arvigo Therapy!

If you stumbled upon this page, it’s possible that the secrets of the divine feminine are ready to be whispered from my ear to yours. That is how I first found out about this therapy that opened so many doors to healing for me. I was in an online women’s spirituality group on Facebook and “stumbled” (in quotes because I think I was meant to discover it…) a random thread of women discussing Arvigo® Therapy, also called Mayan Abdominal massage therapy, and I knew deep in my bones I was meant to discover this resource.

I was at a place in my life of desperately trying to heal my womb, a center in my body I knew was wounded and wildly out of balance following the birth of my first daughter and later a miscarriage. In asking the question, how do I heal, the divine mother show me the path to healing that led on a grand adventure within myself and in discovering a range of healing modalities–including Arvigo® therapy.

The women in the random facebook thread were raving about the impact this treatment had on their reproductive health – improved fertility, reduced menopause symptoms, reduced pain due to all sorts of ailments in that area of the body. I googled the term and I discovered that this beautiful, elegant technique has been practiced for many generations in the land of the Maya. The story of how a self-proclaimed “gringa” from Chicago came to be an apprentice of a traditional Mayan healer in Belize is itself a beautiful story! But in a nutshell:

The Arvigo® techniques were developed by Dr. Rosita Arvigo, DN. based on her apprenticeship with the Maya healer Don Elijio Panti and her own education, training, and research as a naprapathic physician. Rosita’s lifework, THE ARVIGO® TECHNIQUES OF MAYA ABDOMINAL THERAPY help to restore the body to its natural balance by correcting the position of organs that have shifted and restrict the flow of blood, lymph, nerve and chi energy. Today the Arvigo® techniques are employed by Arvigo® Practitioners across the globe bringing the benefits of natural healing to their clients.

From https://arvigotherapy.com/

I knew in my heart I needed to receive this therapy–was definitely being led directly to it– and I was relieved to discover a trained practitioner was 1 1/2 away from where I live. For several months I visited the beautiful Five Petal Holistic Healing Center and received a range of care including Arvigo massage.

The massage itself is simple and designed so that the individual can perform their own massage (though it is first taught to you by a trained practitioner.) It involves gently pressing on your stomach/abdomen according to a particular technique and can be done in about 5-10 minutes. This simple practice helps restore vitality to organs, increasing blood flow so that toxins are released and bringing balance/alignment to reproductive organs. For a full list of benefits check out the organization’s website.

I can’t sing the praises of this therapy enough. Within only a few months of practicing the daily massage myself, and receiving a handful of supportive treatments including massage and acupuncture, I saw a dramatic return to balance and health. I went from showing signs of pretty significant imbalance to showing signs of high fertility in a very short window of time. (In fact, my healer told me to use protection lest I get pregnant while undergoing the therapy because she urged me to complete the treatments first! )

What’s so wonderful about this gentle technique is that it helps you to very gently release toxins and trauma that might be held in your womb and helps you connect and nurture a part of your body that it’s so easy to get disconnected from. (Speaking personally here, yes that was the case for sure.) It’s hard to imagine a woman who hasn’t faced some kind of sexual or reproductive trauma in her lifetime. This technique provides such an empowering way to take ownership of your health and heal. Win-win right?!

Are you familiar with Arvigo therapy or are you a practitioner? Or did you get called to read this article for your own healing journey? Share your experience! I’d love to hear.

For more information or to find a practitioner, check out the directory here.

For other posts in my series, check out the full list of posts here.

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Reclaiming vitality and joy – let’s discuss bodywork shall we?

Hello! A few weeks ago…wait, no a month ago I blogged about my journey to reclaim vitality and joy. If you missed those posts, here’s some of the topics I covered:

Blogging series on reclaiming vitality and joy!

I realized I have so much more I want to write on this topic so I’m going to continue by sharing a series of posts this week too!

Today I wanted to talk about the role that bodywork, such as acupuncture and massage, can play in restoring balance.

When I originally started this blog four years ago it was because I was dealing with a lot of intense grief, some of it experienced in this lifetime with the loss of my mom and a miscarriage, but some of it so intense that it pointed to something deeper. I realized that my body held the memory of so much grief, likely much of it ancestral, and I realized many of my woes were connected to a major shutting down of the yin, or feminine energy, in my body. I started looking into ways to get that flowing again and restore balance, and one of the first places I looked into was acupuncture. This was a natural fit, as it’s an art and science designed to manage the flow of yin and yang (feminine and masculine energy) in the body and to remove blocks and/or slow down places of overactive energy.

I’ll never forget one of the earliest sessions I had where the practitioner explained that one of the biggest blocks in my body was held in the place that stores grief. Ah, ha! Yes indeed! This was wonderful confirmation to me that I was on the right track to righting the ship. But first I needed many treatments!

As I did more and more acupuncture sessions — and do note that if you want to explore acupuncture as a treatment it is best to understand that the greatest impact will likely come with many treatments, not just one or two–I started to somewhat dread the appointments. Why? Because for several days afterward I would feel the release of so much ick….grief, sadness, anger, you name it. I knew I had to let this out of my body but the process wasn’t always fun. However over time as these reactions lessened I also took heart that I was making huge progress!

The one is in the all and the all is in the one….everything is connected and once I realized that the grief I held was connected to the deep shutting down of yin energy which was connected to the infertility, which was all connected to the lack of energy and vitality and joy, I started to understand the urgent need to restore this balance in myself before I saw other outward signs of imbalance in the form of other medical challenges. This process may not have always been fun or easy but in taking responsibility for my health I also restored my power! Yeah baby!

If you’ve never explored acupuncture, just know that those little needles don’t hurt (half the time I don’t feel them!) and are nothing like getting a shot or something like that! They are a very teeny tiny pin put into a pressure point and I’ve been known to walk around with one stuck in me because I didn’t feel it and the practitioner missed it!

If you are looking into acupuncture as a treatment, definitely look to see if your insurance covers it— sometimes it will as part of standard care and other times as part of alternative healing benefit packages. I’m a big fan of community acupuncture clinics for cases where you need many frequent treatments, especially if they are pretty standard-issue. These are clinics that provide treatment in a large open space for a lower cost as compared to clinics that privately treat patients one at a time in private rooms. The vibe in these community clinics is awesome and the cost makes it accessible to so many more people! However I would urge that if you are dealing with complex issues it may be worth your time and money to see a private practitioner to get specialized care and treatment and perhaps switch to community once you have worked through major issues. A practitioner can guide you through the pros and cons of each approach.

Acupuncture can be an especially vital resource for women who are experiencing fatigue, pain, trauma or ptsd, reproductive challenges, or emotional pain (whether grief, anger, depression, anxiety)–challenges that are so common for so many women and yet are ailments that can be difficult to treat with western medicine alone. A skilled healer can assist not only with bodywork but herbs and other treatments that can bring ease and grace to the challenges you are experiencing. They can also educate you about where your body is holding onto physical pain or emotional pain, help you to see the larger picture about the imbalances in your body, and guide you through the process of releasing and clearing it. I’m deeply grateful for the healing I’ve personally received and looking back it allowed me to make many big shifts with more ease and grace and less pain.

Have you had success restoring balance and health through acupuncture? Share your experience! I’d love to hear.

Tomorrow I’ll be writing about Arvigo Therapy as a way to help restore pelvic health. Oh this is a great topic!! Can’t wait to share about this one.

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Finding inner balance with yoga nidra

I’ve been blogging all week about how to restore the balance of your inner masculine and feminine to help restore vitality and joy. Yesterday I talked about Ayurveda as a resource and today I thought I’d share about Yoga Nidra.

When I became consciously aware that my feminine energy was tamped down and really blocked, I started looking for ways to introduce more yin practices into my world. Yin is another word for the feminine energy essence.

I think it was on a SoundsTrue Podcast that I came across a type of meditation called yoga nidra. Yoga nidra is also called “sleep yoga” because it’s done in the corpse pose (laying flat on your back) and you rest the entire time. If you are like me and that sounds like your ideal yoga class then definitely check it out! There are a ton of free yoga nidra meditations on various meditation apps, but one of the best resources I found was http://daringtorest.com/ . This organization is dedicated to help over-tired women to restore the juiciness of life and the woman who founded it has a whole program if you are interested. I’ve not done it but it look s awesome!

To share a little bit more about what Yoga Nidra is and is not, here is an excerpt from Dare to Rest’s Website:

There are no downward-facing dogs, warriors, or other physical postures. Yoga nidra is a sleep-based, conscious guided meditation in which your mind is still active. As your body relaxes, you become open to erasing emotional and mental patterns that are holding you back, combining the benefits of meditation with the benefits of sleep. Over time, consistent practice often leads to transformation in all areas of your life especially your sleep, energy, and emotions.

From Daring to Rest

One way I incorporated yoga nidra into my routine was that after I did daily oil massage I would then take a bath while listening to a Yoga Nidra mediation. It was heavenly! Talk about a way to recharge!

Have you tried any of these techniques? Any favorites?

Blogging series on reclaiming vitality and joy!

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Ayurveda methods to restore balance

I’ve been blogging this week about my personal journey to restore vitality and heath, so far sharing a bit about the need to balance our inner masculine and feminine and also the call for purification of our body. I talked a little bit about Ayurveda yesterday and wanted to share more of the nuts and bolts about ways to use those techniques (and others).

One of the biggest game changers for me was meeting with an Ayurveda practitioner who did an in depth consult on my Dosha, health history and challenges. She gave me a ton of recommendations, and what I realized was that some of the lifestyle changes I was making with diet and sleep alone weren’t likely to fully bring me back in balance (at least not for a long while). She told me that I probably needed a good detox and also a number of Ayurveda herbs to help do just that.

I’ll admit that was a little skeptical at first about the detox because I’m not on the cayenne pepper and water bandwagon! However, what she recommended was actually a holistic all natural product (offered by DrNatura) that you mix with water or a smoothie and take each day, while eating food just like normal. (Though if you can eat organic/natural along with it even better!). In addition she recommended a range of Ayurveda herbs that supported bringing my body back in balance based on my own health challenges.

I wasn’t sure what to expect about the cleanse, but I tried it because what did I have to lose? I did the full month protocol and didn’t notice too much of a difference until I hit day 30 and all of a sudden I felt a huge shift — a major boost in energy and I felt way more grounded. I continued to take the herbs and still take some of them; one of the other big shifts was that I was no longer constipated! This matters a LOT with Ayurveda. The reason is that Ayurveda is very concerned with finding all sorts of ways to remove toxins from the body. The organs of elimination are what remove all the ick from our body; if they aren’t functioning and all that stays stuck in our body it will make us ill.

Some of the other self-care practices include tongue scraping (using a tool to scrape the ick off your tongue, again so you can remove toxins that build up there!) and using oil for self-massage, a practice called Abhyanga. This nurturing practice of massaging warm oil on your body has a huge range of heath benefits – some are listed here. I personally have to say that is is a beautiful practice! It calms the nerves, is really soothing and I personally noticed benefits with sleep, healthier hair, and more. Both of these practices are so easy to do and affordable. You can buy a tongue scraper inexpensively online or from a wellness store, and oil massage costs nothing more than purchasing the oil (and if you are fancy you can get an oil warmer too!) Just first check to see which type oil is recommended for your Dosha. You can see the recommended oils for each Dosha in this article from the Chopra Center.

If you are looking for ways to nurture your divine feminine essence, Ayurveda has so many beautiful ideas that do just that. The oil massage for sure is one of them, but they promote practices such as meditation, putting flowers in your home to increase beauty, and engaging in beauty rituals like masks that make your feel sensual and nourished. Show me a Western health practitioner who would recommend any of those!

I hope you enjoyed this little exploration of Ayurveda. I have some non-Ayurveda tips I’ll be sharing tomorrow if this isn’t your cup of tea!

Blogging series on reclaiming vitality and joy!

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The call to purify

Here we are on day three of the blogging series about restoring vitality and joy! Yesterday I wrote about understanding the need for inner balance of our masculine and feminine energy. Today I’m going to talk about the call to purify the body.

Early in my journey to restore balance I started receiving messages from my higher self that I needed to purify. Frankly I was confused by this and perhaps even a little offended! What exactly was impure in me that needed to go?! What I grew to understand was that energy that sat stagnant had created blocks in my body that caused all sorts of health woes. Plus, The modern processed food diet certainly didn’t help. These energy blocks, or areas of over-active energy, create big imbalances in our body that express with pain, ailments, discomfort, you name it. (There’s a lot more to how energy moves and gets stuck in the body but this gives you a gist. If you are curious to know more check out information on acupuncture which is all about managing/restoring this movement of energy or chi in our body.)

Purification is also helpful because we are living in a time of so much change–the feminine energy is rising and she literally rises in our body. If there are blocks in our body this rising energy will be met with pain and discomfort. By working to detox or purify our body we make space for the energy to flow freely. I think of it as a way to create ease and grace with a process that could otherwise be very uncomfortable.

There are so many detox plans and diets out there, there are probably a million options for ways to purify and restore balance within. I’m sharing what worked for me because hot diggity dog did it work, and swiftly. I’m so passionate about this – but please know I’m not a doctor, it’s not medical advice, all that jazz. 😉 Just one person’s experience.

By far my favorite resource for this topic is Ayurveda. If you aren’t familiar with Ayurveda, it’s an ancient Vedic philosophy rooted in India that is all about the mind-body connection with the underlying premise that our natural state of being is health. It believes that anything we experience outside the realm of optimal health is a sign that we are out of balance — but because it starts within us, should we choose to shift our habits and thoughts we can bring it back to center.

A brief story…remember how I said that I made it my goal to restore my vitality and joy? Once I made that choice I was shown all sorts of resources/supports/people that appeared like bread crumbs from the universe. One of them was a podcast I heard with an interview with a woman named Acharya Shunyas, an Ayurveda scholar/author who was being interviewed about a book she wrote. In the middle of the interview I heard her say, “Joy and Vitality are your BIRTHRIGHT!” My jaw dropped to the floor. I knew this in my core but hearing it from her gave me so much hope! It was like a signpost — yes, Sarah, keep following this path! You can do this!

(By the way, I’ve read a number of books on the topic and by far her book is my favorite! https://www.acharyashunya.com/ayurveda-lifestyle-wisdom-book .)

Before I talk about ways you can restore balance using Ayurveda, it helps to understand your own natural tendencies toward imbalance. Ayurveda believes each person is born with a certain dosha, a term that translates to imbalance. The idea is that once you understand your dosha (your natural tendencies to imbalance) you can be aware of how to keep it from getting out of wack. The good news is that once you know your dosha you can find strategies that work for your particular body type to get back into groove.

There are three types of doshas–vata, pitta and kapha. Each dosha has common physical characteristics and even personality traits that go with it. Personally, finding out my dosha was a game changer. I’m a Vata and to give you a sense of how spot-on this can be, let me describe for you what an imbalanced Vata looks like: dry, fatigued, anxious, hair loss, digestive issues (such as constipation), and problems with fertility and reproductive health.

DING DING DING WE HAVE A WINNER! Could you say I was an out of balanced Vata or what?

So, check it out – what’s your dosha? There are a lot free quizzes online but I really like this one from Everday Ayurveda. What might it tell you about your own natural tendencies to imbalance–and ways to realign? Lots more tomorrow on how you can use all sorts of Ayurveda methods (and others) to begin to restore balance.

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It’s all about that inner balance, baby

This week I’m writing about a journey I’ve been on for the last two years to get my groove back! I’m sharing my story because goodness knows I’m not the only woman who has faced down exhaustion/anxiety/ptsd/infertility or some other host of ailments and longed for something more. Because there is more!

[please know that despite this sounding a little bit like an infomercial I promise there are no herbal supplements being sold! (HA!) If only it were that simple, actually!]

I’m going to take you on a little journey this week to share what I’ve uncovered along the way back to finding ME. The first stop on the the journey is a discussion of ENERGY — specifically why at the root of so much of our imbalance is our yearning for the inner balance of our masculine and feminine energy.

Why start here? The reason is that everything in our outer world is a reflection of our inner world. For women this is even more crucial to grasp because we make our realizations from the inside out (where for men it is the opposite – they need to see the outside world to then go inward.)

Early on in this path of awakening I sensed that there was an imbalance within me but I didn’t have the language to explain it. I hope that sharing these concepts can hep you put your own puzzle pieces together.

One of the first pieces to my puzzle was meeting with an acupuncturist who specialized in infertility treatment. When I described what was going on and my symptoms I remember saying, “hey as weird as it sounds I just feel DRIED UP.” Tapped out, nothing more to give dried up. To my surprise she immediately understood, and said “I know exactly what is going on! And I know how to fix it!” It turns out that my yin channel was blocked and needed unblocking. The yin is the feminine…and wow was she right. My feminine was all sorts of blocked.

Looking back I can chuckle a little bit because it seems like captain obvious to say that my feminine was blocked. But at the time I didn’t know and she helped open the door to me seeing it in a new way.

So what are these energies inside us and why does it matter? First, it’s important to understand that masculine and feminine has nothing to do with gender. Every human (male or female, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identification) has a mix of two energies inside of them. If “male” and “female” trips you up, you might prefer the terms yin and yang, or anima and animus—they are all referring to the same concept. At its root it is energy, two parts within that crave balance, communication and ultimately unity.

In simplistic terms the feminine represents our inner world, that which is hidden, our creative ideas and dreams, our emotions, and the longings of our heart. The feminine is watery and passive. It’s the being, not the doing. The masculine is our outer world – it’s how we live in the world, how we bring life to our ideas, how we behave and interact. It’s our mind. It’s fiery and active. It’s focused on the doing, not the being.

In my own life the imbalance came about because I had way too much doing and not enough being. I was all mental energy at the expense of my creative, artistic longings. I was denying the parts of myself that needed inner tending, rest, quiet. And, I was ignoring the longings of my heart.

In the beginning when you start to understand this energy you may notice extremes. You may notice that there is one aspect of you that is way overpowering the other. Then you start to lessen the gap and bring more harmony and balance between the two; eventually it becomes a subtle dance, a moment-to-moment experience of feeling into what your body needs.

Can you think of a challenge in your life and think about how it might be playing out the imbalance of the masculine and feminine? Our culture has denied and devalued the feminine energy for a very long time, so it is likely that she needs tending in some shape or form. Feel into her…what does she need from you that she isn’t receiving?

There is so much more I can say about this topic but for now I’ll stop here. Feel free to comment if you have questions or thoughts to share. Tomorrow we explore the role of purification in helping to restore balance!

Blogging series on reclaiming vitality and joy!

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A journey to reclaim vitality and joy

Two years ago I was so tired that I barely made it through the work day. I had ZERO energy left over for playing with my daughter or keeping up with the tasks of life. I was cranky, drinking too much coffee (which only made me feel worse!) and despite all that coffee I was never pooping! (Constipation, it turns out, matters in this story. Bear with me.) My hair was starting to fall out – not a lot but enough that I was concerned because ew! That is not normal. I was sick all the time, which at the time I blamed on having a small child in daycare but in retrospect, nope. That wasn’t the full story.

The wake up call came when I found myself sitting across the desk from an infertility doctor being told that I was so infertile I didn’t even qualify for IVF. Well, that got my attention. Women are creators by nature, and if my womb couldn’t create a child then something in me was way, way off. I knew this deep in my bones.

That moment in the doctor’s office was a turning point and one I’m grateful for now. (Though at the time I was screaming with the universe about this, no doubt about that!)

I recently came across my journal from that time and I’d written down two goals moving forward: I wanted to restore vitality and joy within myself. When I reread this I think I gasped a little — because here I am, a year and a half later and I can tell you that yes, I’ve found my way to this place most certainly. I have tons of energy from the moment I wake to the time I go to bed. I rarely if ever get sick. But more importantly, I feel like the life force has returned in me! I am living life rather than being lived by it.

I’m called to share this journey because so much has been given and it’s time to pay it forward. What is happening to one woman is happening to us all in some way or another. It’s practically an ethos in the United States (where I live) that to be a modern woman is to be frazzled, overworked, over-tired and spent. WHAT GIVES. That is seriously messed up!

My path may differ from your own — you may never have faced infertility, and imbalance in your life may present so much differently than my own — but I also know that the wisdom, teachings, healing modalities are available for all of us and don’t only apply to me and my own little situation. I’m blogging daily this week to share some of this journey. Please feel free to comment and share your own experiences or to ask questions! Share a post if you feel called to do so.

What do you say? Ready to reclaim the vitality and joy that are your birthright?

Blogging series on reclaiming vitality and joy!

Just Follow the Joy on Facebook & Instagram!

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Breaking rules, breaking habits

REBEL WITH A COFFEE. Or a cause. 😁

I’m currently drinking contraband iced coffee in the teen section of my local library. No teens are here because it is way before noon (as I type this!) Which means that despite the many NO food in the library signs it’s the perfect place to be a rule breaker with my iced coffee tucked away in my purse.

I’m working hard lately breaking norms, societal and self-imposed. Let’s just say the iced-coffee-in-the-library is but a tiny start.

Yeah I see you sign.

It’s been a long yet short summer of weirdness but wonderfulness. I haven’t written on this blog since April, and not writing and sharing here is a habit I plan to break. I literally woke up yesterday and thought, I need to start writing again. Actually, back that up…I think the realization first came after I did an exercise recently (as a spiritual student of Magdala Ramirez, check her out she is amazing) that got me thinking about ways that widsom has been shared when I needed it most, and how I might share it with the ones who come after me. This blog being a tiny corner of the world to do just that!

Yes much has been received and it’s time to give, too! In this long/short weird/wonderful summer I have been integrating a LOT. I went to sacred ceremony (priestess ceremony) for five days in June and it basically took me all summer to unpack what I experienced. I’m realizing that unpacking it isn’t quite enough. I don’t want to hold tight to knowledge. I need to bring it forth!

Earlier this summer I heard this really great episode of the Pele Report (a weekly video/podcast by Kaypacha) where he talked about how we make something sacred once we share it back with the world. (Trying to find the episode…once I find it I’ll post the link!) For example, let’s say you create art. The creation of the art might be a spiritual act, but if you keep it to yourself you have only done half of the work. In sharing it with the outside world you make it sacred. That final step can feel scary and vulnerable but it’s also so freaking POWERFUL. It becomes a full circle moment. Not just receiving but giving it back to source in a new way.

Which brings me back here, typing in the library as I sneak some coffee. In so many areas of my life I’m being called to bring it forward. No more hiding, no more clinging, just free low of love! It’s boundless and endless, so why cling tight or hold it or hide it?! Let’s make it sacred! Even if we are a little scared! (Wow flip those letters and scared becomes sacred. Just blew my own mind a little! 😂)

This is my long and meandering way of saying I plan to write here a lot more often. I’m excited to hear what you are up to as well. Are you hearing the call to bring it forth? I’d love to hear about it!

With joy,

Sarah

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I’m coming out of my shell! (And it’s a little scary)

The other night I read my daughter a book that mentioned how lobsters hide under rocks while molting a new shell.

First of all: lobsters molt?! I I’m am showing my ignorance of the crustacean family here but I had no idea. Also, gross.

Maine-ly I wanted an excuse to use this adorable Lobstah gif

Second: friends, I think I might be a LOBSTER!

Let’s review the facts, shall we?

  1. Sarah has been on a long-ass journey of releasing, healing, transmuting, discarding . . .one could say that she has molted more than a few shells.
  2. She kept herself under a rock while molting because nobody wants to see a naked lobster!
  3. She discovered one day that it seemed like there was nothing left to molt. Yep, done molting.
  4. She realized that if she was done molting, maybe this meant she could come out from under the rock!
  5. She then cried in the parking lot of a Publix grocery store when she realized that it is VERY SCARY TO SCURRY OUT FROM UNDER YOUR ROCK WITH A STILL-SOMEWHAT-SQUISHY SHELL. (Long story. Everything is ok. Sometimes you just gotta cry it out on the grocery run.)

I was going to draw a picture of myself as a lobster because everyone loves a visual, but I realized that I don’t have time to do that. But I DO have a lovely drawing of a ghost crab. I met him last summer in Cocoa Beach. Isn’t he just the cutest?

My little ghost crabs. They look a little freaked out don’t they! I drew these last summer. 😀

So, for the purposes of this blog post, I am metaphorically speaking a lobster GHOST CRAB. (Which I googled – and they do molt – so it works.)
HERE I GO! It’s a little scary. My shell is still a little squishy. But no more hiding under a rock!! It’s time!

P.S. Do you think crabs are cute or totally gross? I vote cute! Cuter than lobsters for sure. By the way, do NOT google “lobsters molting” unless you want nightmares.

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Thank you, next! How I found myself (and my way) back to joy.

What’s all this nonsense about following the joy, and who exactly gave you these instructions? I want details, you say! Okay here you go… A tiny bit of the journey.

Just Follow the Joy is a mantra, a message, a path. It came to me one day when I was walking my beagles and (once again) asking the universe, I give up! What do you want me to do?!

And the Voice –(not the tv show though I hear it is excellent!)–the Voice within me, the WISE voice, the voice that takes no bullshit, the voice of love and grace and clarity–said, follow the joy.

HUH?

It would have been way more convenient if this voice told me how to look for a job or what job to be looking for exactly or maybe a set of detailed instructions about the meaning of this, but none of that came with this voice. And every time I checked in again, there it was. Just follow the joy!

For some you, this might seem pretty logical. Ok yes, following joy sounds like a good plan you say. But for me, I like to keep things complicated. This seemed…too simple. Too frivolous. TOO joyful.

I would like to now interject and add, What kind of nutty conditioning have I undergone that makes the embracing of joy so difficult and dare I say REBELLIOUS? I have this precious life in a body, a body that can eat starbursts (yes the candy) and go roller skating and sing karaoke and dance to “Thriller” and climb trees and paint pictures! HOW AMAZING IS THAT!

Why on earth would I say no to ANY of that? Oh thanks for the offer, but I’d rather sit over here in human misery, thanks. I enjoy bleakness, sadness, turmoil, heartbreak! Yeah that sounds like a good plan!

It took a bit for me to embrace my highest self’s message. I finally decided that she probably has my best interests at heart so I’d be wise to listen. It did, however, mean saying thank you, next to all sorts of things that at one time I thought would fulfill me but were actually sucking me dry. Thank you, next to a law career. Thank you, next to the idea of respectability and prestige and frankly ego-gratifying stuff. Thank you, next to giving my power away willy-nilly! (And with it my joy and creativity! And the tree climbing!)

So here I am, at long last, ready to embrace the joy. I’ve dropped a bunch of false selves and the bologna that upheld them. There ain’t much more to shed. Time to come out of hiding and do the work! Create the creations! From inner-alignment of heart and mind. From love. From…wait for it…a place of…JOY!

I recently gave notice at a job that gave me a lot of freedom, paid me very well, and was in many ways a great gig! But it was tied a sense of self that no longer exists…a self that viewed the world very differently than I do now, and it is time to say goodbye. not just to the job but to a way of being that no longer fits.

Thank you, next.

What is next…? I’ll be following the joy to see where it takes me. It will involve embracing my gifts of art and writing to be in service to my village. This is exciting and a little frightening too.To quote the title of a Anne Lamott book, HELP! THANKS! WOW! I’ll be sharing my journey on these pages and I invite you to join me as I discover where it leads!*

*(Hopefully to some income. Income is good. But hopefully leads to futher joy too! (Obviously!) And freedom! And creativity! And more tree climbing!)

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Things look a little different ’round here

Why hello my friends and people of the internet! If you are reading this post you at some point clicked “FOLLOW”, maybe because you have known me since I was in diapers (though I no longer am, let me be clear), maybe because we went to school back in the days when I owned a Debbie Gibson-style hat (and wore it to school though sadly there are no photographs to document this), or maybe because you were sleep-scrolling on your phone and thought, sure, I’ll read the random ramblings of this lady and follow her blog and never think about it again.

Well I’m here today to talk about some ch-ch-changes. BIG CHANGES! To the blog yes but really more importantly to me. The lady behind the blow. The Oz behind the curtain if you will.

Let me cut to the chase. This BLOG IS CHANGING NAMES AND FOCUS. (Pause for dramatic gasps.)

That’s right. You probably don’t keep track of these things but my blog used to be called “Mourning Dove Motherhood.” I wrote about being a mom, losing my mom, some other sad stuff, then some happy stuff, then some angry–ARGHH FIGHT THE MAN! BRING DOWN THE PATRIARCHY!–stuff, then I kinda stopped writing. Then I popped my head out recently and gave you all a little teaser, like hey I’m coming back!

Well here I am! Back! Here is the deal. I realized that I am very much entering a new cycle. The blog and its name and jive doesn’t fit so much anymore. I’m still momming it up, yes, but I’m not thinking about grief or writing about grief or healing from giref or any of that jazz anymore. (HALLELUJAH!). At least it is not longer the main focus of my life. That is progress my friends. PHEW. Frankly, I’m impressed you came here to watch it all unfold. I mean, it is intense just thinking about it.

That brings me to the NOW. I’m retooling this blog to focus on where I’m at today, which is cultivating joy and bringing creations (art, writing, so much more!) into the world. I know you have questions so let’s do a pretend Q and A session alright?

Sarah’s imaginary q&a session with her readers:

Q: Blog lady, I don’t know you or care much about this, but I have questions. Lots of questions Like, what is the new name of the blog?

A: Random follower, I’m so glad you asked! It’s going to be called JUST FOLLOW THE JOY.

Q: Cool, cool. What’s the story behind the blog name?

A: I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED! It comes form something that came to me about a year ago. I was trying to figure out my life direction and was walking and asked the universe/higher self/great mother–what do I need to DO WITH MY LIFE ALREADY. And I heard “JUST FOLLOW THE JOY.” This phrase kept popping up again and again, every. single. damn. time. I aked for life assistance. Let’s just say I finally gave in and decided to heed the advice. FINE, I WILL HAVE FUN FOR ONCE. So yeah, that’s the new blog name right there! (Also, you could say Joy is my middle name. You could say that because my parents gave me that as my middle name for real. So, it’s like a play on words…Just Follow the (Sarah) Joy! HA! Ya dig me?)

Q: Listen, I signed up to read about your grief and miscarriage and infertilty which frankly is a lot more interesting that all this “follow the joy” business. Why the bait and switch?

A: Dearest follower reader (whoa hat was creepy – make me sound like a cult leader), I do apologize for any inconvenience due to the change in my life focus and blog direction. Please note that you may unsubscribe at any time! Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Q: No really, why didn’t you just create a new blog?

A: I considered it, but I figured all of THAT STUFF (grief, healing, loss, healing, miscarriage, healing, infertility, healing) was what got me to HERE, and that people might like to see the full picture…the entire journey from soup to nuts if you will. You hung with me through the pain so I figure you are entitled to some joy, eh?

Q: What will happen when I try to go to http://www.mourningdovemotherhood.com? I AM REALLY FREAKING OUT ABOUT THIS.

A: I want you to take a nice deep inhale. Hold your breath for three seconds. Good, good. Now exhale. Excellent. If you type in that old url you will be redirected to http://www.justfollowthejoy.com. It is that easy! All my old posts are still there for your sad/poignant reading pleasure.

Q: Let’s say I want to make a soup and start with chicken stock. But I don’t have any in my freezer. Can I make a quick stock today or am I screwed?

A: Oh, this isn’t a cooking blog. You are definitely in the wrong place. I once burned spaghetti that I was boiling in a pot of water.

Q: I think I’ll be ok with all of this. But is there anything I need to do, other than finish reading this ridiculous q and a?


A: SO GLAD YOU ASKED! I didn’t set you up for that question at all.

The only action that you do need to takeis to like me on me new Facebook page, ‘k mate? SO WHAT DO YOU SAY? JUST FOLLOW THE JOY ON FACEBOOK!

Oh, and on instagram too!

What the heck, I’m even on bloglovin’!

Follow my (new and improved, now with zero trans fat!) blog with Bloglovin 
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Poking my head out to say hello!

It seems I’ve been HIDING IN MY SHELL. For like, a while. Months and months! It was necessary, this journey inward and focused on dealing with some life situations, but time to renter the world already!

So here I am, poking my head out, tentatively at first but pretty soon I’ll be back in the swing of things just like old times, me and WordPress doing our thing. For now, imagine me waving hello! What you been up to? Ready to take on March? Stick your head out of your shell too? I think good things are in store!

Adorable turtle model is courtesy of The Everglades Wonder Gardens @theevergladeswondergardens where your’s truly took the photo. This little dude’s probably more of a metaphor for someone trying to bust loose from fences (internal? External?) but he’s just so gosh darn cute I had to include him.

Bye for now! But see ya soon! (PROMISE!) .


(Pssttt! Do you like following things more on Instagram than on wordpress? Keep up with my posts in Instagram at @followthejoy!) #justfollowthejoy

Confronting my white silence

This is a post written by a white lady for a white audience– especially those well-intentioned whites who believe that if they vote the correct way and don’t wave confederate flags then they have done their part and are not racist. We need to talk about that.

I went back and forth on posting –I do not want to add to the trauma or grief that black and brown folks are experiencing, and I don’t want to center discussions on white people whom frankly we hear enough from thank you very much–but I also firmly believe that white people have not stepped up and had these discussions for like, forever, and the burden of this work cannot remain on the shoulders of people of color to fix or solve a problem THEY DID NOT CREATE. So – if this is not your cup of tea, feel free to go “Thank you, next” on this piece. If you are still here, let’s carry on!

White people, we need to get our collective sh%t together! Doesn’t matter if your people didn’t own slaves, doesn’t matter if you have suffered your own life trauma’s that made life hard. The bottom line is that if you are white you benefit day in and out, since the moment of your birth (even the manner of your birth or the fact you or your mother survived birth), from a system of white supremacy. We are fish swimming in a sea of supremacy. We live it, we breathe it, we benefit from it. And it’s time we end it.

If there’s one thing I hope to be true during the past few weeks in America it’s that well-intentioned white people like myself maybe, just maybe, are finally starting to truly see the truth in themselves–that good intentions are not enough. It is your ACTIONS that matter, even when difficult, hard, uncomfortable and foreign to your way of being.

This isn’t my first rodeo in addressing my white privilege and the ways I maintain racism, but damn if I’m not seeing a whole new host of issues in myself that I JUST TRULY DID NOT SEE, and they just keep popping up like whack a mole game. I address one within myself, I face the shame and guilt, I move the energy, and the next ignorant belief I didn’t see comes rising up. In the beginning of all this I was feeling raw, ashamed, like I wanted to hide. But I stuck with the discomfort. I don’t say this asking for pity, but just to encourage you to sit in the discomfort and keep going. Too much depends on it!

I won’t bore you with the details of all the realizations I’ve had, but I will share that the biggest of them is finally seeing with wide open eyes the ways that I’ve maintained white silence.

I’ve seen how I’ve subconsciously maintained white allegiance rather than stir the pot. I’ve chosen to be “nice” and “comfortable” rather than make waves. What I’ve come to realize is that my silence in the face of every small micro-aggression toward minorities was me going “Nah this system is cool, I’m just gonna sit back and let it be.” In those moments of silence I acquiesced and aligned with an energy that sought to demean another human. Damn if that isn’t dark.

Why do we continue to do it, even when we know it’s wrong? Even when the racist uncle or colleague says something that makes our stomach churn, why do we carry on like we didn’t hear it, or laugh uncomfortably?

I think many white people — myself included –we have thought, what’s the point of speaking up? Me pointing out my uncle’s racist view will do nothing to change his mind. But that logic can no longer stand. It is time we take responsibility, reclaim our honor and dignity and use our power for good.

What I’ve learned, especially in the course of my spiritual work, is that if I am love itself, why would I stand for any action, words or thoughts that don’t align with that love. My actions on the outside my align with my heart– no more disconnection, no more indignity.

It means reclaiming my power and my responsibility. Confronting the part of myself stuck in shame and guilt and healing it. Addressing the parts of me that feel dis-empowered and moving it.

Imagine that the world we live in in the United States is setup like a large white supremacy system Jenga game. When you see something racist but let it stand, you allow that Jenga piece to stay solidly in the system, propping up the whole. You tell yourself that your one piece seems meaningless, but if every single person decided to make choices aligned with their humanity, and called out every racist act, or chose to align with efforts to dismantle racist systems–basically chose to use their power for the highest good of EVERYONE–well, eventually that entire stack of bricks would fall. You can’t see it when you are only thinking about yourself. It requires you to be an active, diligent, engaged, and dedicated human being who minute by minute, day by day, chooses over and over again to align with humanity. It requires you to be conscious.

Sound exhausting? It is–but in my experience only at first. The reason for that is because you are overcoming a resistance that lies within yourself, and there is a tension there. An energy that you must overcome. (Of course, imagine the flip side of this….feeling that pressure against you all day everyday, aimed at destroying your spirit, your livelihood, your existence. I don’t know what that feels like, I haven’t lived it, and I don’t think most whites have the resilience or grit to get through even a day of it.)

White people, it’s time we choose the kind of world we want to be a part of. Do we want to keep swimming in that nasty water of white supremacy, swimming along like everything is cool when our brothers and sisters of different races aren’t able to breathe (literally and metaphorically?) Or will we choose as to realign with our humanity and stand united with the dignity of all human beings, in words, in actions, in thoughts?

I hope you’ll roll up the sleeves and commit to doing the work. What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Like I said, we haven’t spoken about this enough. It’s time we break that silence.

with love,

Sarah

I want to share Andréa Ranae’s perspective on silence and the consequences of silence. WOW. Checkout her instagram post and follow her at @andrearanaej:
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Silence is not violence. Silence is a decision. Every decision comes with consequences. Consequence: the effect, result, or outcome of something occurring earlier Consequences are not inherently bad or good, they just are. A consequence of silence might be that you get to rest or reconnect with what’s true for you. A consequence of silence might be that violence continues on without intervention. A consequence of silence might be that you’ve made space to listen to the unheard. A consequence of silence might be that other people assume you’re doing nothing. A consequence of silence might be that the rest of us may never get to experience what you have to contribute to the world. Whatever decision you make in any moment comes with consequences and you are responsible for those. Meaning you are able to respond as you see fit. If the consequences you’re experiencing are not getting you what you want, you can always make a different decision. “Silence is violence” often comes with a binary of right and wrong and an accusation of “if you’re silent, you are wrong.” White supremacy thrives off these rigid binaries and absolute truths without space for complexity. Silence is a decision. You get to decide when and how you use silence. Only you can discern whether that decision is aligned with your integrity. Only you can discern whether the consequences you’re seeing/experiencing from that decision is what you want or if you need to pivot.

A post shared by Andréa Ranae | she/they (@andrearanaej) on

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This excellent piece about being an anti-racist white educator has some great tips for everyone, not just those in teaching professions.