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

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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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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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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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.

Blogging series on reclaiming vitality and joy!

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