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!

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.)

de209ce01e51f0a63473cd92673b2af5-elizabeth-gilbert-quotes-inspiration-elizabeth-gilbert-quotes-big-magic
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.)

 

Alert, alert: off-the-chart parental stress detected. Seek Peanut Butter immediately.

Imagine a parental stress continuum. At one end is the mythical and totally unatainable smiling happy family lounging on a white couch.  At the other end: stress-eating peanut butter out of the jar at midnight.

giphy4

Folks, you can guess which end I’m at right now. (There may or may not be a sticky peanut butter spoon in the sink from last night.)

Ever since Irma decided to come to town –which I am now realizing was nearly three and a half weeks ago (HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE)–life has been something, let me tell you. We had a lovely labor day where we were like, huh it looks like maybe a hurricane is forming or something, anyway, can you pass me some chips? And then Tuesday we we were like, huh, we should stock up on water shouldn’t we. Oh everyone is sold out? Cool, cool. From there it was off to the races.¬† Should we stay or should we go. Will there be enough gas to get us where we need to go. Will the sharknado destroy our house? (No, because there was no sharknado, sadly.) Will we all be stressed out and tired of living in a series of hotel rooms? YES YES WE WILL. Will daycare be closed a super long time? (OF COURSE IT WILL.)

And–this question needs no answer–will all this in some way impact my four year old???¬†

giphy2

Why yes, all along this journey there was a bright-eyed and sensitive four-year old absorbing it all like a tiny little sponge. OH MY DEAR LITTLE SPONGE WHO NOW REFUSES TO SLEEP. And has been acting out, angry, defiant, and in one especially low moment spit her toothpaste foam onto my feet. 

It’s been a trying week to say the least. She hasn’t wanted to sleep, insisting that mama be with her. All week we were trying to solve the puzzle. What is UP with our kid? We asked her, are you scared to sleep? No. Are you afraid of monsters? No. (Spits on my feet.)

Meanwhile in adult-land, I’ve talked with several friends who agree with me that¬†we (ADULTS) are just now starting to feel back to “normal” after Irma. By the way, you should get a load of my crazy kid, what on earth is¬†up with her?!

Funny how hard it is to see what is often right in front of us.

And then, last night. Nearly midnight, I sat on my daughter’s bed with her, not saying much. Just chilling out. I’d finally surrendered to the situation. It was what it was. She wasn’t going to sleep, she wanted me with her, and there wasn’t a whole lot I could do about it.

Guess what happened. As she flipped through a book she started telling me that she’d been having nightmares. She couldn’t remember what exactly, but she was scared to go to sleep. Simply by being and letting her be she was able to let it out. Shake it off, shake it off (to quote the wise Taylor Swift). She went to sleep shortly after that.

Maybe she needed a week of letting off steam before she could reveal the fears underneath it all. Maybe I was too wrapped up in my own stress to be able to just sit and be with her until that point. It doesn’t matter in the end. We did what we had to do to get through it. We’re doing our best to get back to normal.

Regardless, I’m happy to report we’re no longer at peanut-butter-eating-out of the jar status. We have lowered several notches to the piled-up-laundry and copious-coffee-consumption levels–definitely an improvement, and definitely another inch closer to ‘normal.’ For that I’m grateful.


P.S. Shameless plug alert–¬†¬†speaking of hurricanes, I’m donating 50% of the proceeds from Etsy shop sales through Sunday to support Puerto Rico recovery efforts. The funds will go to the Sierra Club’s Maria Fund that supports just and sustainable rebuilding for the most vulnerable communities in Puerto Rico. You can donate directly here as well.

Follow on Facebook