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. ūüėČ 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.

Blogging series on reclaiming vitality and joy!

Just Follow the Joy on Facebook & Instagram for more joy and inspiration!

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‚Ķand 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‚Äôs 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‚ÄĒthey 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!

Just Follow the Joy on Facebook & Instagram for more joy and inspiration!

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!

The Pedigree

I’ve been thinking about the women on the family tree, their circles blackened and crossed out. Elizabeth Breast, 31. Elizabeth’s cousin (name unknown): Breast, 30s. Elizabeth’s cousin (also name unknown): Breast, 30s. Diane, Breast, 44. Brain mets. 46.¬†

Circles signify women, and blackened circles signify cancer. Lines through them signify death.

I’ve been thinking about how we explain and classify these early deaths of four women in my family.

THE H1686R VARIANT HAS BEEN RECLASSIFIED TO ‘SUSPECTED DELETERIOUS’, MEANING IT IS SUSPECTED TO BE A SIGNIFICANT MUTATION AND IS LIKELY THE CAUSE OF THE BREAST CANCER IN DIANE’S FAMILY.

Letter to my father from Barbara Ann Karmanos Center Institute, Dated May 7, 2015, informing of newfound information on my late mother’s BRCA1 gene mutation known as H1686R.

I’ve been thinking about how names on a chart and genetic abnormalities deny a simple truth: cancer over and over again struck the symbol of feminine nurturing and sustenance–the breasts of young mothers–in my maternal lineage.¬†

I’ve been thinking about the assault on women’s bodies–and male bodies too. To paraphrase Eve Ensler, how patriarchy kills men in their hearts…and women in their breasts.¬†Hearts and breasts.¬†

Photo of my grandmother Elizabeth

Certainly I’ve been thinking about my late mom (Diane), and the grandmother I never met (Elizabeth), and her cousins (names unknown) on the genetic chart, called a pedigree. I’ve been thinking about other women too.¬† Debby and Angela, two women I knew and admired, both not much older than myself, who died recently of breast cancer. Circles blackened and crossed out.

I’ve been thinking about the assault on our bodies and our land. Blackened and crossed.

I’ve been thinking about how our vitality as women and mothers is wrapped in the vitality of the earth. That waiting any longer to confront this truth is a pathology.

We can no longer deny the destiny that is ours by becoming women who wait–waiting to love, waiting to speak, waiting to act. This is not patience, but pathology. We are sensual, sexual beings, intrinsically¬†bound to both Heaven and Earth, our bodies a hologram. In our withholding of power, we abrogate power, and that creates war.¬†

TERRY TEMPEST WILLIAMS, When Women Were Birds

How about them (meditation) apples!

According to my meditation app, in 2017 I meditated an average of 16 minutes a day with a total of 37 hours of meditation! That doesn’t include my walking meditations, which I try to take every day.

2017 was the first year where meditation became a habit. I noticed if I didn’t meditate. (Or to put it another way, my family usually noticed because when I didn’t I was an irritable cranky-butt.)

I don’t need more convincing on the benefits of meditation, but if I did, this story might seal the deal. A few weeks ago I saw our family doctor for a well check and I had my my blood pressure/pulse taken. My blood pressure was really good but that didn’t surprise me because I’ve shed some weight.. What I was not expecting was my resting pulse to be so low. My entire life I’ve had a fast pulse. Weight loss and exercise never really impacted it much–even at my lowest weight and highest amount of exercise, my heart rate stayed stubbornly high.

This new rate was by far the lowest it had ever been. In fact, it was so good that I had a hunch it might be getting close to my husband’s heart rate range. The dude runs three miles a day and has the healthiest heart rate of pretty much anyone I know.

Well, well, well. Guess whose resting heart rate is now LOWER her husband’s? This gal’s.¬†

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Totally. Amazing.

Have you seen unexpected results from your meditation routine? Feel free to share!


Want to brag about your heart rate too? Share and follow posts on Facebook and Instagram!

 

. . .and we’re up at Mommyish.com!

I am so excited to share with you all that a piece I wrote,¬†‘Seven Things Nobody Tells You About Miscarriage” has been¬†published on Mommyish.com! They are all about sharing the day-to-day truths related to¬†‘parenting imperfect’–what better home for some truth-telling about miscarriage than their site?

(Plus Mommyish¬†loves listicles–even listicles about miscarriage despite the fact my husband thinks¬†it’s creepy. ¬†Plus they appreciate my love of animated gifs. My piece even includes a gif from Jane the Virgin! AND LIZ LEMON IN A SNUGGIE.)

A listicle about miscarriage? Are you sure?

Needless to say I’m a little bit excited about this (ok a LOT!) because it is my first official byline. ¬†And nearly a paid one at that! (Alas, I wrote a previous version of the piece on this blog so they can’t pay me. But just the¬†idea that I could have been paid¬†makes me want to dance a little jig!)

Thanks for reading, as always. Have a great weekend!

Sarah

 

And the universe laughed!

So about all those posts this weekabout the kid. The coffee. The coffee again. And again.

I’ve Just had a reminder from the universe to not to take everything so seriously. Or to rush to judgement. Not that I ever do any of that!

We’ll start with my daughter. She has been acting out like crazy and not sleeping and it was basically melt-down city (me, not her). I wrote a post about it. I questioned my parenting skills. There was wringing of hands, inner turmoil, the whole nine yards. I tried regrouping and facing it with love. Mostly compassion for myself because I really needed to cut myself a break.

Well. It turns out she was having a reaction to an inhaler medicine she was taking for her cough. She is really, really sensitive to any amount of steroid, even the small doses. Side effects: hyperactivity, extreme thirst. (So that explains her constant whines for water and then potty breaks. Nope, not entirely stall tactics this time.)

Hahahaha. Good thing I didn’t overthink all that and make sweeping conclusions about my parenting skills and my child’s sanity!

And about that lemon with water. The other day I literally wrote a love story about coffee. I mocked the idea that anyone in their right mind would never leap from bed for water with lemon!

Funny thing about this detox cleanse thing…I am discovering I kinda need to hydrate more. Especially first thing in the morning. You know, before I drink my coffee.

Ahem. Ladies and gentlemen, I am sitting here writing with hot water and lemon. Pre-coffee. I am not sure if there was leaping from bed, but still. Slightly funny.

OH, and my child is not a (1000%) hell-raising three-year-old.

(But seriously, the decaf coffee IS brewing. I haven’t totally lost my marbles. I mean have you noticed how much I love coffee??)

Coffee, a Love Story

The biggest realization with my cleanse? That there are certain positive behaviors I regularly engage in that rely upon other actions (say, brewing a cup of coffee…) that when missing from my routine creates CHAOS.

It turns out that coffee is the gear in our household machinery that, when absent, causes the whole enterprise to fall apart.

I am being super dramatic. But only a little!  The thing is, each morning (prior to the cleanse), getting up and making coffee was the springboard to my ENTIRE DAY. With it I would wake up, show up to my computer, write, and then have time to do other positive things like exercise or start work early, or even do a morning sketch.

You might ask, But Sarah, couldn’t you replace making coffee with the act of boiling your water and adding a lemon? Great plan. Yes I also considered this. Guess what. It turns out that leaping out of bed to make hot water with lemon IS NOT A THING. 0ebaefd0-a419-0132-e44d-0e7954aeedc0

I have a week left of the cleanse, which by the way is going very well except for the coffee snafu. I am no longer having headaches. I am not even craving caffeine or sugar. I have a butternut squash in my fridge that I plan to eat in some way or another. Kale has been consumed.

But today I am drinking coffee. Decaf coffee. And I am in front of my computer and writing my day is off to a grand start. The missing gear is back!

P.S. guess who is adding a stash of coffee to the hurricane/emergency preparedness supplies? CRISIS AVERTED.

 

 

 

Things are brewing (but not coffee)

I have drafts in my head that I want to put on page but instead I’m painting so the words will have to wait just a bit longer.

Things are brewing. Not coffee of course. Welp. I made it three hours into the morning and legitimately thought about throwing in the towel. That is how much I was missing my coffee. But instead I brewed lots and lots of hot water with lemon. Then I stared at piles of vegetables and decided to figure out a Plan for them later.

Until my next post–some bird friends I dreamed up and painted yesterday. Birds don’t do cleanses. Smart birds. (Of course they don’t drink coffee either so nevermind.)
 

Pour me some hot water and get me a lemon! Change is in the air.

Today I’m savoring my cup of coffee today more than ever.

First of all I have a cross breeze flowing through my house. It is glorious. I opened the back doors to the lanai and the fresh air is tickling my toes! Oh it is a sight to behold. It is officially the time of year in Florida where you can sit with doors open without being drenched in sweat. Glory be!

And did I mention that I have my cuban coffee? We need to talk a little bit more about that.

Today I will have one cup. One kind of weak cup of cuban coffee. (Ugh.)

And in T minus two days I will have no cup of coffee.

Voluntarily.

For twelve days and twelve nights I will abstain from coffee and other caffeinated substances. I will be resisting the Cheddar Jack Cheeze-its’ siren call. I will give side-eye to the chocolate covered raisins. I might even (gasp) give up cheese.

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Seriously this is what my hubs looked like in college.

No, I haven’t gone full blown hippy. Please. I love the hippies but they are not my people.

So what is up?

WELL, I may not be full blown hippy but I am a little bit hippy…cuz guess what, I am doing a CLEANSE!

Let me pause to give you time to roll your eyes.

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Ready to move on?

I get it. I am not really sure any actual “science” backs up all the claims people make about cleanses. Pff. Who needs “evidence” or “research”.¬† I am doing it because I did one years ago as part of a yoga class. And, it felt freaking fantastic. Like, I was stunned by how great I felt afterwards. Kind of floored by it actually.

And frankly, I blame Jen Pastiloff. I signed up for her online class and as part of the experience we are doing a ton of self-care, yoga, journaling, all that jazz. And while the cleanse is optional I figured, why not? We are not doing the Beyoncé only-drink-liquids-containing-cayenne cleanse. Hell no. This is all about eating actual food. Just the really boring stuff. Vegetables!! BROWN RICE. NUTS. And if you feel crazy, maybe some kelp and wheat grass juice!!

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But no cuban coffees. Let me repeat: NO CUBAN COFFEES.  It will just be me and my computer at 6:30 am with some hot water with lemon! Oh that will be fun.

Yes, change is in the air. The lanai doors are now open. The fall breezes are blowing. And sarah will soon be decaffeinated. 


Have you done a cleanse? Have you mocked people who have? Share your story.