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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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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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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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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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!

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“Trust the process”

At least, that is what my wise-woman self tells me.

Trust the process.

artwork my own.

The process is not linear.

The process will not be understood by your monkey mind (which undoubtedly will want to dictate the process and will fail miserably).  

The process may be met with all your defenses. The sudden need to sleep. The sudden need to hide into a book. The sudden need to shove mouthfuls of popcorn into your mouth while reading said book.

If your body says rest, rest. If you body says dig in, dig in. If your body says, “you are putting up your defenses” then stay curious. 

Allow your partner to call you out (they always will). Allow your dreams to speak to you (make sure you’re listening).

Move. Shake. Walk. Dance. Tickle. Flail. Kick. Conga. [really wise self? Conga?]

Walk, relax, meditate in savasana.

Self-care, self-care, self-care. And then some more.

The sun will rise again. It didn’t disappear, it was just out of view. Relax into the orbit of your life.

Shonda Rhimes can keep her Year of YES. 2017 was my year of NO!

This past year was like the cleanup after a hurricane. (Which incidentally I also lived through.) If 2016 was the hurricane, 2017 the now what? after the hurricane.

After the real hurricane–Irma–I was surrounded by so many blessings. I saw them everywhere I looked. My house was still standing! The flood waters stopped short of entering my front door! (Barely.) The palm tree went down, sure, but it missed hitting our roof! And electricity, blessed electricity I so-take-for-granted–it eventually came back on!

That’s the thing about living through a hurricane. If you survive it mostly intact, it has a way of distilling what matters. For instance, living in a home with more than one room becomes a wonderful gift. (My daughter still to this day wants to play “hotel” because nothing was as amazing as having her mom and dad with her 24 HOURS A DAY, EVERY DAY, DAY AFTER DAY AFTER DAY AFTER DAY, IN THE SHARED SPACE OF ONE HOTEL ROOM. She’s most definitely not an introvert like her mother, who to this day does not know how she survived the experience without totally losing her ish.)

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The year 2016: when I finally got tired of my own bullshit.

If 2017 was cleaning up after a hurricane, the year 2016  was the hurricane. I could say it was a year of deep surrender, unveiling of truths, healing wounds and rediscovering joy.  But really it was the year I owned my bullshit. (See Elizabeth Gilbert quote.) After that epic year of owning my shit, in 2017 it became very clear to me that experiencing joy was not compatible with duties that sucked the joy from my life. Shonda Rhimes may have had her year of yes, but 2017 was my year of no.

Yes, this past year was all about Does it bring me joy? No? GOODBYE FELICIA. Does it take time away from my ability to experience joy? SO LONG, WON’T CATCH YA LATER. Are my choices leading to burnout and fatigue, therefore limiting my energy to create art and experience joy? DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE WAY OUT.

This of course was more complicated than I’m making it sound. In one stretch of weeks this past fall I remember collapsing while sick (likely due to lack of sleep) and crying in a puddle of tears. I CAN’T DO IT ALL, WOE IS MEEEEEEE! Well of course you can’t do it all, foolish woman! I had the startling realization that there was still a LOT more no to be said. I faced some major Catholic guilt…”but i promised these people I would volunteer with this project! I can’t possibly quit!” Yes you did, and now you must pay the piper and admit you over-committed. Suck it up buttercup! Time to say no!

I said no. . .and I survived. It felt good actually. I nurtured my yin — the feminine energy fueled by rest, introspection, creativity, and deep glorious sleep. I asked for a sleep mask for Christmas and I wear it with glee. I go to bed early, really early. I even (GASP) went off coffee for a long while so I could rid myself of the addiction to caffeine. It wasn’t needed now that I wasn’t trying to do more in a day than was humanly possible! Such joy and freedom in saying NO. For calling bullshit on the inner dialog that said “this is how it is, I work fulltime and have a child and blah blah blah here are alllll my excuses for why I should be permanently frazzled and fatigued.” Facing the truth–that my time is precious indeed, so how can I use it to fuel joy?–was LIBERATING and EMPOWERING.

Where does this leave me as I say goodbye to 2017? The trash has been taken out. The roles and responsibilities have been winnowed down to essentials only. Now I need to step into my truth. No more excuses. No more distractions. 2018 is where it becomes manifest. Ultimately it will mean living my truth. Time to take the plunge, baby. 

Are you ready? I am. Well, mostly. I’m sipping a coffee as I write this (some habits are hard to break) BUT I did sleep soundly for eight hours with my beloved sleep mask. No more excuses, no more hiding. Let’s do this.

Holiday self-care: visions versus reality

Me every year before Christmas season:

giphy

This year I’m going to make healthy choices for myself to stay grounded. Like, stick to my calming decaf teas instead of coffee, which my body tells me feels so much better.

 

Me yesterday:

giphy1

GIVE ME ALL THE COFFEEEEEES.

Before the holidays:

giphy2

I’m going to buy gifts early and ship in plenty of time to reduce stress!

Me this week:

giphy3

OH CRAP OH CRAP WHY DON’T I HAVE PRIORITY MAIL BOXES! I’LL TRADE MY FIRSTBORN AND A COFFEE FOR ONE RIGHT NOW!

 

Me before Christmas:

giphy4

We will make homemade hand-crafted thoughtful teacher gifts made of love and unicorns

Me two days before the last day of preschool:

giphy5

PEACE OUT, MAKING MY THIRD RUN TO THE STORE TO BUY GIFT CARDS!

 

Merry Christmas everyone. May you stay sane amidst the chaos and find time for self-care. (Real self-care. Like, time to breathe deep and tune out the noise. Coffees are optional. Though I am totally drinking one as I type this.)

 

The man-cold experiment

In not-at-all-surprising news, I got sick with a bad cold. (My last post was literally about how I need to practice more self-care.) Sigh.

I’m working on more rest, less doing in my daily life, so I figured practicing this while sick would be a good place to start. In fact, what better way to demand rest than to treat my cold like it’s a man-cold. 

Man-cold instructions:

  1. Lie down in the bed under the covers and don’t move all night. 
  2. Demand others tend to dinner. Preferably making your favorite comfort food.
  3. Declare yourself off-limits for childcare duty.

It’s that simple and here’s the crazy thing: it basically worked! Childcare tasks were the hardest to shake because the child finds me wildly entertaining and demands me as her playmate. (#onlychildproblems.) I fixed that by suggesting she and daddy play “science” which they both love because they make volcanoes explode and get messy, so win-win.

At bedtime my husband did get a tad snippy: “you WILL be helping with bedtime routine right?!” I said yes, assuming that’s how it goes the next time he gets sick. 

Who knew it was that easy? Ask and ye shall receive!