Not Holding

Recently I went into sacred ceremony with a breathtaking group of women. My intention going in was to deconstruct the parts of my system that I felt were keeping me in complacency–holding me back from doing the very important things I want to be doing in this life.  What I discovered was how I’ve organized my entire being into compartments and boxes and cubes.  Many of these compartments have no outer side, like a box without a front, and I’m able to put everybody’s shit inside these boxes, thereby holding all these things that do not belong to me.  I’ve been holding my husband’s shit, my kids’ shit, shit from work, my town, the state, the country. I’ve been holding the entire world. 

And so, in the process of seeing how I’ve created this system of holding, I realized that for me, the opposite of holding is not, actually, “letting go,” or “releasing,” but is, in fact, not holding. 

I spent several hours re-learning how to not hold; consciously rearranging myself so that I will no longer itemize and compartmentalize and segregate other peoples’ shit into my own self.  And I’ve spent most of the past two weeks reminding myself of the same.  “I will not hold what is not mine,” “I am not holding.” 

During the process of this discovery and the subsequent learning to not hold, I realized how this act of holding has affected me physically. Since October 2015, I’d been experiencing pain in my right knee, that was beginning to be felt in my left knee.  Additionally, I’d been feeling nerve pain in my left hip and an overall feeling of being “locked  up tight” in my hips, in general. While it was easy to conclude that this pain could be result of a fall I took, aging, and not enough strengthening and stretching each week, it felt deeper than that, like there was a much more energetic component to its cause. 

In September 2015, I’d experienced an intense biological remodeling.  Layers and layers of me were left behind, and I began what felt like an initial massive up-leveling and simultaneous unraveling after nearly a year of intense apprenticeship. It took nearly two months for my body to physically recover from this process, at which point my primary relationship blew up.  As the marriage issue took center-stage, I spent the next three months trying to repair, rearrange, and restore this relationship. During ceremony I felt with acute clarity how all the work I’d been doing to restore this marriage and maintain the wholeness of my family had taken affect physically, adding even more pain and constriction to my hips, knees, and joints. 

During this healing ceremony, I worked for hours on this unraveling — deconstructing these compartments where I have stored everyone else’s shit. I released the incredible amount of tension that I was holding in my body–my muscles, ligaments, my structure, and my bones. I truly felt what it meant to not hold it all, what it felt like to feel only me in my system. And it was incredibly freeing and comfortable and fine.  And within seconds of feeling the freedom of not holding, I’d observe my system beginning the process of holding all over again, and so I’d have to say out loud, “I’m NOT holding,” with enough boldness that I’d feel that relaxation all through my body again and again and again.  So that I could continue to remember what it means to not hold. Because only through the remembering can I continue to practice this new-found art of Not Holding. 

As I’ve continued to maintain this feeling of not holding, practicing the essential relaxation necessary to maintain fluidity and suppleness in my system, I’ve been fascinated to see how my body wants to revert back again and again to taking on and retaining other people’s energetic stuff. It’s fascinating, too, to see how those within my closest circle respond when I don’t actually carry what is not mine to hold.  They have most certainly relied on me carrying all their baggage! 

It is significantly freeing for me to understand how I’ve been doing this, and to feel the expansiveness that exists when I don’t hold on to all that stuff that doesn’t belong to me.  This process of restructuring may take a while, but it most certainly feels necessary for my growth and future. 

To your own expansiveness. 

May it be a Quantum Leap Year!

Hello Beauties.

As we walked the last steps of 2015 and entered these first days of the New Year, I wanted to write something meaningful so badly, but I couldn’t seem to do it. As much as my heart yearned to let myself be the conduit through which words flowed, I found myself in my pajamas, lying down, doing nothing. I was so tired. I’d been working so hard.  So, so hard.

I wanted to reflect on my year…on all the events that transpired, that were felt, and gone through; but today, they just feel gone. In the past.
I wanted to talk about how I found my voice, and listened to my heart, how I underwent significant transformation and how I let go of parts of me that were holding me back.

I wanted to talk about the skills I mastered and how I was re-calibrated during my intensive experience of the past year as I apprenticed as an energy healer. I wanted to talk about how I went so deep inside myself that I discovered the universe I had so often found myself hiding out in; and how I walked through memories of past lives and childhood experiences and released and let go of so much shit that was clogging up my system that it was crazy. And how in the process of mastering how to identify and release these things, I became a highly skilled energy reader, and I can walk you through these processes, too, because releasing all the damn shit that holds us back, or keeps us small, or prevents us from really, truly being ourselves is HUGE.

I wanted to talk about my kids who are in such a different state of growth and evolution compared to when they were little, that they blow my mind constantly. And how in awe I am of their talent and their grace and their beauty, as well as all those not-so-glorious parts of parenting, like navigating conflicting emotions, and mood swings, social media, and the difficult territory of friendships, and cops (yes, cops).

I thought I might mention the amazing metamorphosis I went through in September, right at the apex of my apprenticeship, that demanded that all parts of me that were useless, in need of being sloughed-off, and abandoned were gone. And how brutally painful that was, and how alone I felt (and alone was the only thing I could feel, actually), and how I was even worried about my mortality for a while, and yet, despite it all, I knew, deep, deep, deep down in my soul, that this was just part of the shit that needed to happen in order for me to get to my next level of Being. It was a complete biological remodeling of my Being.

I considered talking about my marriage of 21 years and how I was questioning everything there is to question about marriage and love and family and a life together. I contemplated going into the details of how life has its ups and downs and how so often it is the women who carry the heavier side of life and who tend, tend, tend everyone and everything around them and how they often lose their own selves in that process. And how I lost my own self along my path.  And how I sort of got lost in that story…a story where I did everything and no one was there to support me and how tired I’ve been by doing it all for everyone. And although the story was really good, and really “true” in so many ways, the story wasn’t serving me anymore.

And I deliberated detailing how I found myself sitting in the crater of that story when it blew up. And yet, when the story collapsed, there I was, burned, naked, vulnerable, and raw, and suddenly I was able to see everything differently. And what I realized is that I am a total fucking badass, and I am a sensual being, and my heart is love, and truly, nothing can be felt or seen without love, and that no matter what, the love I have for my own self is the most magical thing I’ve ever felt.

And yet, despite all that, I also realize that I can only traverse one day at a time. There are no guarantees. Life is continually evolving and shifting and changing. A never-ending ebb and flow. And I am living here, on this rotating planet that orbits the sun, within a solar system that is part of a greater whole that my brain can barely even comprehend. And, I’ve been there. I’ve touched all that. I have touched the radiant luminescence that is the original light. And so I know that no matter what, from stardust I began, and to stardust I’ll return.

May Your 2016 be as bright, bold, and as transformational as it can possibly be. May this be Your Quantum Leap Year.

Calling the Spirit Back Home

Today I went outside to sit next to my friend, the Canyon. Immediately upon my arrival, the winds blew up and around me. The dried oak leaves rustled. The needles of the Ponderosa shimmered and sighed. The ravens were calling back and forth, and I could even hear some calling from as far away as my home, a couple miles away.

But they all tend to congregate here, in this Canyon.

When the wind wrapped her translucent arms around my physical body, I immediately had chills.  But they weren’t from cold.

“Hello,” I said, “I am here.”

Immediately, I felt the entire ecosystem vibrating with response.

She is here. We are here.

And then, in the very next moment, I began to cry.

Big, wet tears welling up in my eyes and spilling over my cheeks as they do now, in this moment, as I remember.

I wasn’t expecting to cry.

And I said, “Will you give me the courage to fly, now that you’ve helped me to stay?”

The winds furled around–up and down the canyon walls, through trees both large and small.

A bluejay scrawked off to my right. And so many ravens talking.

I haven’t heard that many ravens together for a while.

After weaving a web of intention that has lasted four years, I can feel that the direction of the spinning is shifting. It is time to weave a new web of intention.

For a new web to be woven, I need to call my Spirit back home.

And so…

I breathed in the Canyon, the Ponderosa, the Ravens, the scent of the February air.

I breathed out into the dirt, the snow, the dried-out leaves, and herbs

I breathed in the intensity of the blue sky, the clouds, the wind, my own self, and I leaned into the Earth and all her ecosystem around me.

I observed every single tingle in my body.

I was present in the moment, right here, right now.

Just right.

I moved, stretched, felt my bare feet connecting with each and every bit of texture of rock, lichen, pebble, and pine needle.

I felt the stretch in the back of my thighs. The pain in my lower back. The tension in my belly. The arch of my neck.

The wind moving my hair.

In order for my spirit to come home, she must know where the entrance is to me…

To this body.

To her home.

Call your own spirit home.

The Time is Now -- Let's do the Work

Greetings Dearest One,

It’s been many months now since I’ve shared my musings. I’ve spent the past nine months deeply immersed in healing. When I began this process back in January, I really had no idea what I was getting into, what it would look like, what I might learn, or how it would all turn out in the end.

What I learned is that there is no end. No finish line of completion. No finisher medal. Not even a tee shirt.

What I discovered is the vastness that is Me. The infinite and never-ending beauty that is life. The amazing inter-connectedness of everything in our universe, from the smallest cell within my own blood, to the vastness of dark matter in the depths of the cosmos. We are all intertwined.

I discovered deep sisterhood and the intriguing beauty inherent when women come together to heal themselves and to heal each other.

I read a meme the other day that said something like it’s easier to grow whole children than it is to repair a broken adult. And I wondered…is it even possible for any child to come into adulthood without wounding of some sort? No matter how small that wound might seem?

My life has really been a good one. My parents loved me. I was never abused. I grew up relatively free and unencumbered. I had opportunities and did many fun and adventurous things. But I still arrived here in adulthood with wounding. Mother wounds. Father wounds. Self-inflicted wounds.

And what I’ve learned is that these wounds can be healed. The things in our lives that get buried, or that we turn away from, or that sometimes we just simply don’t see, can be revealed. Often, these things that are so difficult to describe, tend to cause us to repeat old patterns in our lives, or cause us to make the same choice over and over again to the detriment of growth or expansion, but they are actually visible, when we learn how to see differently.

Until I embarked on this expedition towards wholeness, I had no idea that one of my biggest challenges was simply to speak my truth. To speak what I really feel. I’ve spent decades guarding and protecting my truth. Not revealing it. Talking around it. Never wanting to offend anybody, or have to defend myself. So I’ve kept my real voice hidden, buried deep inside to the detriment of myself. What an amazing thing to discover!

And guess what, I have healed this. I cleared away the constraints that were put in place and that prevented me from telling you exactly what I believe or feel or know. This was life changing for me. Mind blowing!

How could it be that I could reach the age of 44, and still be afraid to talk openly and honestly because I didn’t want to offend you or have you think that I was really weird?

I mean seriously!

The interesting thing about this journey of healing (and this example of using my voice is really just one of hundreds of things that were revealed to me and that have been healed and cleared from my system), is that I didn’t actually start out in adulthood this way. In my late teens and very early 20s, I was very much living on purpose, and very much tenacious about it.

I went to the very alternative The Evergreen State College for school. My first year there was really the breaking down of all that had been constructed for me during my childhood. I had to relearn learning. I had to discover my own motivation and passion. And it took a good few years. But by the time I was in my 4th year of college, I was living fully and passionately as ME.

I was immersed in herbal medicine, nature, cycling, writing, and martial arts. I was living and breathing my love for plants, words, and the outdoors. I followed my heart most of the time. I was unafraid to speak my truth and to share it with others.

What I discovered is that ever-so-quietly, though, I began to shut the doors on my heart and my passion. Somewhere in my early 20’s, I began to believe the lie that I had to “do the right thing,” and “be responsible,” which became twisted into the idea that to do what I really wanted to do meant I had to give something else up, or that it was going to be hard. The fact that I began to believe this untruth while still so young and full of so much possibility is mind boggling to me.

When I had nothing to lose, I lost my passion. I lost my bravery and courage to follow my heart. I tamped down my desire with ideas of “when it’s the right time,” or “when I get more settled.” And time just slipped on by. The passionate, heart-driven me was left behind, abandoned on the road of possibility, and buried by layers of time.

Thankfully, though, I’ve rekindled my relationship with this earlier version of me. I re-traced my steps, threw off the layers of time, and took her in my arms and held her and hugged her and brought her back home to me.

This life, all of this, this is our own creation. You are each and every day creating your own life. Is this the life you want? Are you creating the life of your dreams? Are you living the way you have always wanted to?

For years, I have worked in a job that has no heart and soul, at least for me. And for whatever reason, I convinced myself that this was okay. But how can that be okay? I’ve put off living the life of my dreams because I somehow felt constrained to putting in my time being the good girl, doing the right thing, and being responsible. But how has this been responsible?

When we put ourselves aside for whatever reason, we are doing nobody a favor. It might look like we are, because our egos have a way of helping us to justify our choices so that we can live with our decisions. But what I’ve learned is that by doing so, I was really just killing my passion and my interests even more.

And so here I am. Poised on this threshold of potential; standing in the portal of my own becoming.

And what a journey it has been to get here!

For those of you who follow astrology, you are aware of the intensity the cosmos has been steeping us in. I’ve felt this intensity on every level—physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental. There is not a part of me that has not been affected. As I made a commitment to myself to strip away parts of me that were no longer working, my physical body came in to reinforce their removal. A severe allergic reaction to eggs landed me in bed for 2 weeks, unable to do anything but be with my own self. Be with. Be still. Be silent. An incredible and agonizing experience that has somehow left me clearer, more aware, and free.

And it seems there is not a person I know who has not been going through some serious shedding in their lives. It’s as if we’ve all been thrown into the hopper, and what comes out will be only the purest, most basic parts of who we are that’s left—all inessentials peeled away so that only our raw, most vulnerable parts remain.

And it’s almost as if the Earth is the one doing the shaking—demanding that we wake up and begin to see with new eyes, and to hear with new ears, and to feel with new skin because time is of the essence and life is short and we are not here for no damned reason.

We are here to do the work we are meant to do on this remarkable Earth. And while I’m pretty sure that all Mama Gaia needs to do is belch a few times to make do with humanity, it feels like she really just wants us to wake the fuck up.

Whether you are an artist or a scientist or a spiritual light worker there is no doubt that we’ve been fouling our nest. And it’s time for this nonsense to stop. While I don’t believe there are any quick-fixes, I do believe that when we do the work to heal our own inner selves that process radiates outward and impacts the healing of our Earth and all her wondrous creatures.

As a medicine woman, I’m feeling this call with profound urgency. I can no longer stand in the wings or hide in the shadows. It’s time to bring all my gifts to the world in order to heal the world. No small task, to be sure, but with a rekindled passion in my heart and a bonfire in my soul, I am here to do this work.

Let’s walk this path together…let’s heal ourselves and heal our planet. There is much work to be done.

"Be in your Power" "Be in your Essence"

Each of these concepts have long felt somewhat vague to me. I could understand the concepts, but at the same time, I felt unable to apply them to my own self. I’ve recently gained a great deal of clarity on essence, truth, and power. I had to delve in to the fundamental roots of each word and their definitions, but more importantly, I needed to go way deeper into my own self so that I could see what was preventing me from understanding them.

First off, I’m going to say, when I would hear coaches and healers talk about “finding your true essence,” or “being in your essence,” or “sharing your essence with the world,” my brain would shut down.  It’s not that I didn’t understand the concept of essence and what it means to share it with the people, I did!  But for some reason, when I was handed the work that would supposedly help me get to the “core of my essence,” I would literally blank out. I shut down. I stared at the paper, or the computer, and I was plagued with complete writer’s block. After an arduous process of remembering, and writing, and circumnavigating all parts of me and my past and my memories,  I would think, “That’s it! I’ve got it now!” but so often it turned out I didn’t, because when I shared my big A-ha, no one took note.  When I’d introduce a new product thinking, This is it! no one inquired. And so, back to the blank board I would go.  Searching, digging, scouring, journaling, scrounging…it had to be there somewhere, right?

This was fascinating to me in a downright frustrating sort of way.  I mean, I know who I am. I am all these things. A Mom, an Herbalist, a Writer, an Environmental Professional, a Doula, a Martial Artist, a Dreamer, a Climber, an Energy Worker, a Biker, a Hiker, A Homeschooling Mom, a Dog Lover, a Photographer, an Athlete, a Musician, a Dancer, a Creative, a Researcher…so, so, so many things! And that, right there, is what hung me up. I kept thinking that Essence was some sort of distillation of all these THINGS.

Essence is not things. Essence IS.

Essence is the beauty, the power, and the splendor that is the very basis and structure of who we are right down to the molecular level. Essence may contribute to what motivates or directs us to do these many varied things, but essence is not some combination of the things themselves. Essence simply is.

Over the course of the past several years, I’ve realized that one of the reasons I completely blanked out when it came to discerning the essence of who I am was that I’ve been afraid to stand in my own power.  So again, we get to one of these concepts that is often touted amongst healers and coaches and entrepreneurs who want to help us to get on our soul paths so we can make the money we’re supposed to make, so that we can live the life we want to live.  First, they tell us, we must find our true essence, and then we must stand in our power. It all sounds fabulous, right?  Living the life you want to live simply by being your true self and being unafraid to proclaim it. Beautiful! But for me, the fog that surrounded these concepts kept me literally, in the dark. I just kept floundering and reaching towards something I didn’t yet understand.

I have spent a seriously significant amount of time envisioning the life I want to live for the rest of my life, and it’s beautiful! But for me, so often the reality of the present–earning a living, raising my daughters, homeschooling, being the taxi service, maintaining a home, and tending to all those mundane aspects of human life brings me off of Cloud Divine, and I find myself having to put my nose to the grindstone and simply get shit done. When I’m off Cloud Divine, and tending to all that my human life requires, and doing the things I don’t want to do and possibly grouching about it (or lamenting it), I am not standing in my power, and I’m not being in my essence.  I’m pushing them out in front of me like an unattainable dream, and slipping back in to the ruts I work so hard to get out of.

So, my big realization surrounding standing in my power, has been slowly and steadily making its way known to me for quite some time. I realized that the manner in which I’ve taught herbal medicine over the years led me to a fear of being in my essence, and owning my power. I started leading these classes fresh out of college, and with 5 years of solid herbal education. I was motivated, passionate, and very spiritual in my own experiences with plants and herbal medicine. While my education in herbalism was founded in the botany, biochemistry, and biology of medicinal plants, my understanding of plant medicine was guided by my intuition, feeling, and experience. 

When I first began leading classes, I eagerly shared my knowledge and understanding with my students, who I assumed would want to know the whole, and not just the parts. Quickly I discovered that the science-based folks who signed up for my classes, motivated more by scientific inquiry rather than holistic curiosity, wanted to learn about the cold, hard facts about medicinal plants, not the intuitive ways of knowing I felt most comfortable in.  They rejected (and squirmed at!) my stories of intuitive understanding, and so I stopped sharing my intuitive wisdom, and instead tucked it all away hoping that I’d eventually find the right audience for the shamanic wisdom and knowing I wanted to share.

What was really going on, though, was a fear of rejection.  I did not like feeling as though I had to justify or defend my intuitive understanding with people who simply were not likely to get it, so I stopped sharing. I was afraid that if I appeared too off the scientific line, people would not want to learn from me, or they would criticize my approach, or would come to the classes only to question or debate me.  And I began to shrink away, invalidating my own knowledge and education, and choosing instead to focus on the simple and easy basics, rather than the beautiful, magical whole that is necessary to know in the practice of herbal medicine.  It’s crazy!  Looking back on these 25 years, I see where I started and I see where I landed, and I think, what an incredible tragedy! Not only did I let this fear of what other people think completely change the course of my passionate interest in sharing herbal wisdom, I diluted my own teachings and methods so that they became so boring and dry that even I no longer had passion for the information. Thankfully, it’s never too late to change course.

All the while, of course, I’ve diligently continued using my intuitive knowledge and understanding for my own self, and for my family, and for friends and clients that sought me out. This intuitive knowing could not, in fact, be squashed because I practiced in the safe space of my own domain. But when it came to offering this knowledge to a large public domain, I put on my science face, tucked away my intuitive wisdom, and slowly and chronically allowed my power to be crushed on the inside.

The summary?  Fear of rejection, cloaking my essence, too timid to stand in my power.

Yikes!

For a Mama who claims to be the all-powerful, all-mighty, black-belt-intuitive-wisdom-holder, that looks pretty weak.

And we women do it all the time. We cover up who we really are to please others, to spare ourselves the potential of rejection, or to keep our head low. We don’t allow ourselves to stand out from the crowd or to do something that is controversial or risky. We stay small.

Finally, for me personally, these concepts no longer shut down my brain.  I totally get them now.  The reason they were shutting down my brain is because I was afraid to stand in my power.  Afraid to let the real me shine through.  Afraid to see the very essence of my own self.  Afraid to make waves. Afraid to not do the right thing.  Afraid to be big. Afraid to pave my own road. Afraid to use my voice. Afraid to experience rejection. I wanted a magic wand to make me big and bright and shiny without having to truly feel the discomfort of experiencing those things I fear.

As another example, I think that women, and mothers especially, make themselves small because we are trying so hard to do it all. We don’t see that by kicking ass and getting it done we are further reducing our own power and essence because we are simply oozing it all over the place rather than maintaining it by being true to ourselves. One of the ways this happens is by setting aside our own interests because we are “too busy taking care of our children/homes/lives”. When was the last time you read a book for pleasure, went to the movies with your girlfriends, took a spa day, or went skiing by yourself? When you care for yourself, and nourish your own interests and passions, you create space for more passion and interest in your life, as well as the lives of those around you. When you are constantly setting yourself on the back burner, you are invalidating the necessity of YOU, and, consequently, not living your fullest potential.

Just like I used to lead herbal classes that covered both science and intuitive knowing, I slowly stopped using my own voice, and instead of leading with the full passion of my heart, I allowed my own power and essence to be squashed by fear of having to defend my intuition.

So how can we tend to our beautiful families AND ourselves, without losing our power, leaving anyone out, or getting squashed by our fears?

I believe the two most fundamental things you can do are to look yourself square in the eye and say out loud what it is you are afraid of, and then say what you really want.

Don’t tiptoe around the issue.  Don’t bury your real feelings underneath the burden of maternal obligation, or science, or society, or the fear of actually knowing what it is you are afraid of, or the idea that you can’t get what you want because of x, or y, or z. I know that in the past several years, I have been almost physically unable to face my fears square in the eye. I could feel them circling deep below the surface, and could almost, just barely say what they were, but then my conscious mind would change the subject, I’d get distracted, and move on to something else.  I was afraid to directly acknowledge my fears because I needed to feel powerful. But oh…the paradox! Power does not come by ignoring and entombing those things you fear.

In order for me to have the courage to stand in my incredible and beautiful power, and to even see my own essence, I needed the courage to see and experience my fears first. Because I’m still working through this process, I know that I need to acknowledge them, discern each and every specific one, recognize the basis for the fear, and then find a way to clear that fear out my conscious mind so that I don’t get hung up on it again. I also discovered it doesn’t have to be a difficult or complicated process. The first challenge is to look and see what’s there.

Here’s to your beautiful essence and magnificent power!  Let the truth of who you are shine!

How about you?  What experiences do you have around standing in your power?  Finding your true essence? Allowing your true self to shine through? Using your clear voice?

I would love to hear how you feel about these concepts, and what work you’ve had to do to understand and live them!

Many Blessings To You.

 

Bend, Flow, Breathe

Ready or not, here they come!  The Holidays, that is.

Having just returned from sunny and warm SoCal, my body is not feeling like it’s really the middle of November and that Thanksgiving is next week! And while it certainly feels like winter around here, for some reason, I’m just living on a different calendar these days.  I’ve been doing a lot of work towards really figuring out what kind of programs I will be launching within the next several months.  I’ve been investigating some really amazing ideas, and I’m certain that people will LOVE what I will be bringing out this next year.  I have several women’s wellness retreats that I’m crafting; special programs created just for busy Moms; and I’m going way out of my “safe” zone by creating a program geared towards enhancing sensuality.  All these juicy ideas have been swirling around in my brain, and flowing forth through my hands as I try to capture all my ideas and get them wrapped up into fantastic content.  Top it all off with book ideas, blog ideas, video ideas, artistic ideas, conference presentation ideas, and it’s no wonder that it feels like the Holiday Season is sneaking up on me.

So, I decided that it might be worth taking the time to write a little about maintaining wellness during the Holiday Season.  So many different parts of our lives are combined together to create wellness.  There is physical health, emotional health, and mental health. If one of these gets knocked out of proportion, it’s easy for other aspects to shift around in an effort to compensate.  If stress levels get too high, and your sleep suffers, you might find yourself becoming more irritated and less patient.  You might be skipping work outs in an effort to make up time for things you feel need to get done.  As emotions tend to get out of hand, it’s easy to take little stabs at the loved ones in our lives, not realizing that a cascade of negativity is now flowing into all aspects of our being.

Instead of getting caught up in the stress and frenzy that can often be found during the holidays, I’ve decided to flow and to shift.  I am making a vow to flow more, and to shift when necessary.  For instance, if I find myself getting wrapped up in the idea of all that needs to get done, and I feel myself getting more tense, and more stressed because of this idea, I will shift direction, essentially making a 180-degree turn away from the stressful situation. This is also called a pivot.  If you find yourself feeling frantic, “this has to get done, I need to do this, I don’t have enough time, I’m freaking out!” Then pivot.  Do a one-eighty.  Stop for 10 seconds.  Breathe in through your nose, hold your breath for the count of five, and exhale. Do this 3 times.  And then, reflect and shift your thoughts away from the negative and replace them with the positive.  “This will get done in its own time. I am doing this because I enjoy this (or I want to do this special thing for my loved ones, etc.). There is plenty of time. I’m calm, peaceful, and happy.”

It’s incredible how a simple shift can completely replace negative thinking, and turn what was a stressful situation into a more peaceful situation.  I have started doing this with everything I can.  Traffic is a great place to practice. If someone cuts you off, pivot.  Instead of cursing and allowing the aggressive emotions to take over, find something positive to say instead.  I’ve been using a simple, “Bless them.”  What harm can come from that?  They get a blessing, and I don’t lose my marbles!

I’ve been practicing some excellent ways to enhance my feeling of Flow.  For many years now, I’ve been a huge proponent of finding balance in life.  Balancing my job with my family with my workout needs with my personal interests with my household chores with homeschooling with my…

Yeah, you get the picture.  How the heck does one balance all these things each and every day?  It’s impossible.  At a workshop I attended recently, the idea of Flow was brought up. Going with the Flow. Being able to bend and wave like flexible branches in the wind. Stepping to the side to avoid getting bowled over. Being loose, resilient, bendable, flexible, flowy.  Being like the water, moving through a streambed, over, under, around.  I instantly identified with the concept of bending and waving and flowing. My friend Kendall just wrote about this at ModPaleo. As she says, the concept of balance doesn’t make much sense if you consider sitting in the middle of the scale trying to juggle all these parts of life.  So, I am choosing to Flow. Breathe. Bend.

I'm finding that this not only affects my mental and emotional state of being, but my physical state, as well. When something is challenging, it's easy to tense up, hole-up, and go into a kind of self protection mode. But when I make the choice to flow with it, I find that I instantly looses up. My shoulders release, I start swaying my hips, I breathe more deeply. It's really fascinating. So the first step for me during this beautiful, dark, pensive, and ceremonious time of year is to improve my health and wellness by being truly aware of how my thoughts affect my body and my emotions. By being aware of the things that stress me, trigger my negative self-talk, I can shift my perspective, breathe, and go with the flow.