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.
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?)
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.
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?
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?)
(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!
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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!
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.