Anxiety is feeling bigger than you allow yourself to be...

I woke up this morning feeling more anxious than I have in the last few weeks. I almost went through the same cycle that I usually do; canceling any immediate plans that I can, lying in bed, crying some, journaling, and then after a while deciding that I don’t want to feel that way anymore.

But today was different.  Because today, someone set a boundary with me and forced me to set a boundary with my anxiety...

So, I used to think that by structuring the way I lived my life, by doing specific self-care routines, and by having a healthy mind and body, that I could “heal” my anxiety and make it disappear.  

Then I learned that general anxiety doesn’t ever go away but there are ways to cope with it.  And so I went from feeling it in my entire soul-body to feeling it just pass over me as waves.

But there’s always been one part of my anxiety that I never could seem to learn from or push past.  It was the moments when it made me freeze.
 

That feeling like you don’t want to leave where you are even if you don’t like where you are.

That feeling that you want to have fun and do good work but all your body can do is lie down and distract yourself with a screen or a book.  

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That feeling of knowing that you seem “flaky” and don’t have as much of a social life as you’d like or don’t network as much as you would like to help your business.

That feeling of wanting to be out in the world but feeling so withdrawn and paralyzed with fear that it turns into what looks like procrastination.

That feeling of literally second-guessing every single decision you make.

This is all anxiety.


But I’m also learning that anxiety is being and feeling more expansive than you let yourself feel.

Like a hermit crab who has outgrown her shell but is afraid to leave it find another one.  It’s how I felt when I had my 9-5 desk job but was afraid to quit. It’s how I felt before I broke up with my boyfriends that I knew I wasn’t meant to be with.  It’s how I feel before I have to confront someone honestly. It’s even sometimes how I feel right before I’m about to lead a women’s workshop; I know deep down that the evening will be AMAZING but right before, I’m scared as hell.

Anxiety is the feeling BEFORE you find the new shell or quit the job or speak your truth or set the boundary or let something go.

Do you ever have anxiety?

How does it show up in your body, in your mind, in your actions?

This blog is being written right now because this morning, one of my best friends set a boundary with me- and it couldn’t have been better timing. She told me I was letting her down by flaking and in that moment I realized that I’m in catering to my anxiety, I’m letting down the people that I love.  I’m making my paralyzing fear a priority, rather than leaning in to the life that I actually want.

So that boundary that this amazing person set with me, helped me set one with myself.

Have you ever set a boundary with yourself around your anxiety? She did that for me.  It opened my eyes, it helped me get up off the bed and get dressed. And instead of dreading getting out of the house, I opened myself up to receiving her support.  I allowed myself to be honest and vulnerable. I’m proud of her for setting boundaries and I’m proud of me for being honest.

Is anxiety causing you to freeze in an area of your life right now? Sometimes it’s work, sometimes relationships, sometimes a health-thing that we know we want and need to do but just can’t.  

This is where boundaries can be used.  Imagine your anxiety is like another person.  You can speak to it- you can set the boundary.  You can write it a letter:

“Dear anxiety,
I understand where you’re coming from.  I value the lessons you bring me but I have to set a boundary. I am ready to _____ and you are keeping me from doing that.  I understand that you’ll always be in my life but right now, I need to take some space from you because this isn’t cool to me anymore and it’s not serving me.”

You can meditate on it.  Do what you need to do but as this Full Moon approaches (on Saturday!) I invite you to set a boundary with yourself, find what’s holding you back, and see how you can move forward.

Interested in diving even deeper and finding out where you're holding yourself back? Click here to keep reading!

You are dreaming your life into being

“You are dreaming your life into being”

(lyrics by Marlena Jarjoura)  

 

I spent a lot of my life feeling like someone else was going to save me.  

The thing or person that was going to rescue me had many faces. My mother, my high school sweetheart, my college degree, my dream job, the first boyfriend I ever lived with, my business… you get the picture.  

Each time that I started to depend on one of those knights in shining armor, I was disappointed.  I expected to “find myself” in each of those things and people but instead, I found myself BECAUSE of those things.  

When I realized that my Mother wasn’t an angel, I discovered how to nurture myself.  When I realized that I’d never end up with the first boy I ever slept with- my high school sweetheart- I learned how to let things go and discovered that I’d be okay.  When I graduated college and realized that 4 years of work led to me sitting under fluorescent lights all day, I realized that I had to find my purpose and create my own livelihood, on my terms.

When I moved in with a partner and discovered that living together doesn’t magically make you like the person, I had to learn how to stare conflict in the face and set boundaries. When I started my business and realized that even with my “dream” job, I still wanted more, I had to learn to strive for contentment, rather than pure happiness.  

And now, now I see that prince charming doesn’t exist. That ALL relationships take work.  I have learned that you cannot depend on your partner to be everything for you; your best friend, a boyfriend, your therapist, your handy-man, your travel partner, your lover.  A relationship is two people existing as individuals who aren’t dependent on each other for their own happiness.

Through all of this; the relationships, the careers, the DEEP healing- I’ve learned that my relationship with SPIRIT comes first.

When I say Spirit, I mean Self. To me; they are one in the same.  I don’t pray to Jesus or worship a God or follow a religion. My God is LOVE and it exists inside of me.  I have specific things that I do to access that love, and I can feel when it’s cut off.

The biggest way that I stay connected to Self/Spirit/God is by living a life that is in alignment with the person that I am now.  As a very impatient person, my nature is to be disappointed that the life I have now isn’t the life that I want but in doing that- I am cutting off the connection.  I am not present with the life that I’m creating.

Life is creating.

If we are looking TOO far ahead, we become disappointed with what we have now.  If we look TOO far behind, we aren’t focused on the present and we stop our flow, our connection.  

My work with women is deeply rooted in the feminine- more specifically with our Mother wounds (we’ve all got them). For most of us, we weren’t initiated into our femininity and we haven’t yet learned what that means for us.  Our sensuality- this is our juiciness for living. For a lot of us, that well has run dry. We aren’t sure how to fill it back up. But with intention, ritual, and letting go, we can fill up our cups until they run over, so that we have the energy to do all the things that we were put on this Earth to do. 

I would never have been able to start my business and do all the other things in my life that I do, if  I wasn’t connected to my femininity. The feminine is the flowing, the receiving, the cold, the dark, the night, the rest, the movement, the passion, the beauty.  

This is what makes life fun!

A few days ago the doors opened for my newest program, the VIP Deep Dive.  Last month I officially launched and have since worked with some amazing women who are paving the way for a life of ease and purpose.  

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I am accepting enrollment for just 2 more women who want to work with me in a month-long program to find clarity, discover your purpose, release your blocks, and learn how to stop holding yourself back from the life you really want and the life you really deserve.

In this Deep Dive, you and I will meet for our first session via video call. Together we will discover your main goal/purpose at this point on your journey. We’ll come up with a plan of action. Then you’ll receive a weekly accountability email from me, a special ritual package mailed to your door, and a book specifically chosen for you.  After 3-4 weeks, we will meet for our final call to discover any triggers that came up for you, where you are on your path, and how we can keep you moving towards your dream life.

This is a sacred container of work and I am so fortunate to be able to choose the women who join me in this program.  If you’d like to learn more and schedule a free call with me- just click here. I’m excited to see if we’re a good fit!

Alignment is Sexy

Alignment is the new sexy.  When I first started my business, I would write a lot about alignment.  My very first business card said “Awaken Your Soul’s Path” and I FELT exactly what I was talking about but I didn’t know yet what it fully meant.

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When we aren’t in alignment- we feel off. 

If you’re reading this, you are probably an empath. You can literally feel others’ emotions in your own body.  You can tell when someone or something is “off”- or not in alignment. It's sometimes harder for us to feel when we're off, ourselves.

I’ve gone through a shit-ton of trails and tribulations (that’s a phrase, right?) in my life as I’ve focused on alignment.  For me, it’s been a pretty big single point of focus with my main goal being to transition into a life that feels really good to me- on ALL levels; not just most levels.

I’ve highlighted below some realizations that I've had in order to get to where I am (although I am definitely aware that I have a lot longer to go…).  Maybe some of my own trial and error will help guide you in a direction that feels good, too!


-Alignment happens inside of us, first.

In order for us to break a habit or make a change; we’ve got to be motivated to make that change. And there are different motivators, for each of us. This was key to me transforming my life. I'll give you an example: before I realized that I needed to quit eating sugar to get off of my anti-anxiety medication, I had to first become aware that I FELT off, inside, when I ate sugar.    For me, I couldn’t quit sugar just because I knew it was unhealthy.  My motivator for making change was that I was tired of having panic attacks.  So I realized that and felt in total alignment with that decision. It was only until I felt 100% in alignment with my decision to quit sugar, that I was able to quit it.  Once I made the decision, when sugar was in front of me, I had very little desire to eat it, because now that my inner alignment had shifted- I felt “off” when I consumed it.


-Being in alignment doesn’t have to feel really “BIG”.

Back when I worked a 9-5 desk job, I used to envy health coaches that I saw, or yoga instructors here in Austin that I loved.  I used to feel like in order for me to fulfill that dream of helping others shift their lives, I would have to totally just quit everything and do all new things.  That did happen, but it was over a long period of time.  In the beginning, in order for me to align my life with how I felt- I started VERY small.  One small step that led to huge changes was me becoming aware of the words that I spoke. I realized that I was saying things out loud that I didn’t really mean.  So day by day, I became a little more quiet, unless I had something really truthful to say.  That one change totally shifted the way that my day felt. I didn’t feel like I had to be “fake” or say things like -“my weekend was great! how was yours??” if I’d had a really crappy weekend. I felt like, for the first time, I had some breathing room.  This is because…


-When you’re in alignment, you have so much more energy

It takes a lot of our energy to contain ourselves.  Containment meaning holding ourselves to some level expected by others that doesn’t really feel good, inside.  We use a lot of energy each day just to be civilized human beings.  How many times have you felt like just screaming or throwing yourself on the ground and saying “I give up!” but you don’t? When you live a life that feels good to YOU, a lot of your energy of containing yourself, frees us.  I remember when I wanted to eat healthier and I thought it was going to be impossible and that I’d be in the kitchen 24/7.  I remember seeing women who literally were doing EVERYTHING and still had all this energy left to blog about it- I didn’t get it.  But now I do.  Now that I’m not in a battle with myself every day, I have so much extra energy.  Energy that I get to use to run my business, or help my partner and his son, or cook really tasty meals every day.


-It’s obvious when we’re out of alignment but we like to ignore it

We tend to think that things are way harder than they are.  When I wanted to regulate my menstrual cycle and take more control of my health-care, I remember feeling like I had to go to medical school just to be able to take care of myself.  I felt like there were a million steps between me and holistic health that I didn’t even know where to start.  So I ignored it for a long time. I continued to pop a pain pill when my period found me in a fetal position of cramps. I continued to use drugs and alcohol each week to numb the way I felt, and I continued to stay in relationships that just didn’t feel good. Because I thought that changing those things was going to be hella hard.  And honestly - it was pretty hard but it’s totally worth it.  For example: now that menstrual cycle is regular and I rarely have painful periods, my PMS has decreased. I used to waste 2 weeks out of every month basically in a terrible mood, with zero energy, and then with a painful period.  But now, I feel like I have my life back, and my health-care practices that I do at home, feel much more in alignment with my soul, than depending on a doctor for my care.
 

-Being in alignment is easier when you’re not alone

I hate asking for help. Like… really really hate it. I get all fumbly and embarrassed.  But the truth is- we all need help sometimes.  I wish so badly that I didn’t spend 10 (ten!!) years of my life doing this work alone.  My learning and research into women’s health, practicing on my own body, could have been half the time, if I had just reached out to other women who had been there before. I suppose this is what led me to starting Lunar Nourishment; I see so many women who are wanting so badly to live a life that feels healthy and in alignment but don’t know where to begin- so they just don’t begin.  But my message to them is that you CAN transform your life, relationships, career, health, and SOUL into the life you’ve always wanted to lead.  And I’m here to guide you towards that.
 

-Finally, alignment is an individual experience

This sounds contradictory based on my previous paragraph BUT it’s not.  Because alignment is different based on who you are! There’s no exact way to get in alignment. There’s no formula; there is only figuring out what feels good to you.  It’s almost so simple it’s confusing. I used to think that being healthy meant I could never each chocolate or binge-watch Netflix or skip a healthy meal one day.  I thought that to be healthy meant I had to meditate every day and go to yoga each week.  But being healthy just means that you feel like a WHOLE person.  Not disjointed in how you live your life.  It means that you are the same person at home alone, as you are with your partner, and at your job, and with your family.

 

Alignment is staying true to who you are; feeling into your heart before you say yes or no.  Alignment is the true meaning of self-love.  And it looks different for us all.  

If you want to dive deeper into this topic and see where your life is out of balance and how you can cultivate alignment, check out my VIP deep dive program!

Why we don't set boundaries

I rode my bike this morning; and everything frightened me.  Every dog that I rode past, in my mind, was going to attack me.  Every car that drove past me, in my mind, was going to hit me. Every tree branch that went past my tires was, in my mind, was going to flip me over the handlebars.   I’ve ridden my bike regularly for years, and this is my own neighborhood- but fear was still there. It’s always layered underneath my smile and my sweet words. But it’s a silent killer.

Have I really approached my whole life with such fear? Fear is what kept me from setting boundaries, for so long.

 photo by Richard Casteel

photo by Richard Casteel

If you don’t know how to set boundaries, your life is going to be shittier. Sounds basic- but it’s true. We aren’t taught how to set boundaries; we don’t know what words to say and we don’t always know the outcome so we avoid it.

But when we do it; set boundaries- our energy shifts.

Often, to set a boundary, you don’t even have to say anything. It’s a thought, an intention, a change that happens INSIDE.

But we think setting boundaries means confrontation. So we shy away from it. We’re scared shitless of hurting someone else or sounding mean.

However, setting boundaries is loving.  Because it’s compassion. It’s having compassion for self and for other.  Because when you set boundaries- you clear resentment. Nothing is swept under the rug anymore. It brings clarity.

Forget self-care and eating healthy and having the perfect career or the best house or knowing exactly how your life is going to look; if you don’t know how to set boundaries; you’re giving someone else control over your life.  

It happens over and over and over again.  

And each time, we say “what if” he/she changes? “What if” this time it works?  

“What if” isn’t real.

What’s real is doing what’s right; what’s best for your heart and your soul.  But often, even though we need to set a boundary, we don’t do it and so every decision or thought that comes from not setting that boundary is OUT of alignment with the deepest parts of ourselves. And that blocks the flow of energy. It shuts off the heart. It closes the mind.

And so you see people in the same situations that have been repeating themselves since they were small.

For me, it’s always in the form of a woman- this is the case for most.

When we don’t heal our Mother wound (don’t worry- we’ve all got one) our “mother” keeps showing up; in teachers, in girlfriends, in colleagues, in friends- she’ll show up time and time again until we face her.

When we stop avoiding, when we dust off the cobwebs and straighten the picture frame- we feel more alive, and more like the person we want to be.

Avoidance is the ego.  It’s us not wanting to totally break apart and GO THERE> but often, when we JUST.DO.IT, we see that it’s not really as scary as we always thought.

I have learned to set boundaries inside of myself first.  And I’ve learned that my own “mother” replay happens less and less.  My life is more full of things that feel good to me, and less full of conflicts and drama and just plain unhappiness.

What patterns keep showing up in your life?  Where does your Mother-wound keep coming up?

Click here to download my free Inner Clarity workbook to discover your patterns and learn how to finally break free from them.

Why you won't see me at a doctor's office...

Years ago I began a journey of self-healing. Most of y’all know my story about being diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (who doesn’t have anxiety…??) and wanting to get off my meds. I did that. 

And I've spent the last  10 years of discovering, researching, connecting to, and reclaiming MY BODY.

I do not ever want a doctor to know more about my body than I do.

I do not ever want to have to ask someone else why I feel the way I feel.

I do not ever want to have to put chemicals in my body to reduce symptoms of a bigger issue.

and I won’t.

To me, it’s not a big deal that I haven’t been to a doctor in many years. It’s not a big deal that I shell out over $100 for my annual exam so that I can see the midwife of my choice.  It’s not a big deal that I know every detail about my monthly cycle including the day that I can feel myself ovulating.

It’s not a big deal because it’s taken me YEARS to get here.  It didn’t happen overnight. It’s not some magical secret that all of a sudden I can read the signs of my body and take care of myself accordingly.

I get asked questions every single day that I easily answer off the top of my head-

“What herbs are best for me if I have really painful periods?” 

“What can I do to balance my hormones so that I stop having month-long periods?” 

“How can I figure out what MY body needs to eat, without being influenced by marketing and fad diets?”

These answers are all inside of me- not just in my brain but in my body because I LIVE this.  But I didn’t go to school to learn it. My college degree didn’t teach me about the four phases of my menstrual cycle and how my energy levels change and what self-care practices are best for each phase.  My high-paying communications job didn’t teach me how to mix different herbs for preventative care.

I learned this stuff on my own.  And you can too.

The biggest question that I get after I host a workshop on women’s wellness is, “How did you have time to learn all of this?”

I MADE the time. My priorities were a lot different from other 20-something’s around me.  My money didn’t go to shopping or movies or bars- it went to books and workshops and classes and high quality food and herbs.

My time wasn’t spent on Netflix series or vacations.

I didn’t feel like I had a choice. My body was warning me, through my anxiety, to learn how to take care of myself.  And so I did.

Many of our bodies don’t give us a warning until it’s often too late.  Frequently, it’s not until someone gets cancer or has a heart attack that they drastically shift their life to one of mindfulness and healing.

That’s because of the type of society we live. 

The things that we are taught to value are external, fast, productive, and most of all- distracting.

Every where we turn, we are met with something to keep us from looking within.  Because we want to deny that pain exists; we want to turn a blind eye to depression and illness- it’s easier that way.

Until we get sick.  Then we rush to the doctor or the health food store and we cram as many vitamins and supplements as we can into our bodies and crash until we get better.   

And then we forget about healing until it happens again.  And we suppress the pain or the sickness with medicine, we make the symptoms go away and it does, until it happens again and… you see where I’m going with this.

I like to think of self-healing as like taking a shower. If you went months or years without showering, you’re going to get pretty stinky and not feel so good.  So without even thinking about it, you take part in an almost daily ritual of cleansing your skin.  That’s great because our skin is the biggest organ on our body. But when we do we clean the rest of it?

I’m a HUGE non-believer in cleanses and juice fasts and diets.    There’s nothing you need to “flush” out of your system if you don’t cram it full of toxins regularly.

And health food stores? They have some of the most unhealthy food products ever- but it’s marketing. I say save your money, eat basic foods that your great grandparents would have eaten and most of all…

use common sense.

That alone will get you a lot farther than ignoring your body, hoping the doctor knows best, and continuing to push through everything.

Like the seasons, our bodies and our energy and our health waxes and wanes.  There are times when we need to rest, times to  be more active and foods to eat, according to those seasons.

Have you ever craved an ice cold smoothie when it’s snowing outside? Or a hot bowl of cozy soup when it’s 100 degrees out in the summer? Probably not; your biology won't let you.

We are animals- plan and simple.  Our human bodies have not evolved in 10,000 years…  so it’s up to us to keep returning back to the primal and simple actions that our ancestors relied on:

rest, good calories, active movement, community, and ritual

So, will a doctor ever know more about my body than me?

No. Because even if right now, I stopped learning anything new, I have a wealth of information about how to care for myself. 

If these last 10 years have taught me anything, it’s that we need to nurture our instincts because often, we know best.

If you want to explore your own natural cycles and how to live in rhythm with them for better sleep and less anxiety, click here to see my ebook Natural Cycles. 

How I learned to put the pieces back together

It was only a few years ago that I was driving home from work, sitting in traffic. I was probably pumping my head full of info from NPR but I remember not really wanting to *be* at home. I walked in the door and my roommate/partner/rocky relationship person had his back turned to me, didn't say hello, and I felt invisible. I went straight to the shower and broke down in tears as soon as the water turned on.  

I was fucking miserable. Like... didn't want to live in my body any more - miserable. I was stifling my moans as tears mixed with shower water and felt like I couldn't breathe. In that moment I realized that I COULD NOT continue to just go through life, letting things happen to me. I wanted to be able to feel my emotions and not be guilty about it. I wanted to connect to who I was and be empowered in my femininity. I was so tired of living in a masculine society (usa) and feeling like a robot, operating and producing. I mean, I practiced yoga, I ate healthy, I had a semi-meaningful job, and *what I thought* was a connection to a higher power. But I did ALL of that on a totally intellectual level. My brain woke me up in the morning, it made decisions for me, it dictated my entire life. My heart wasn't in it- my intuition was starving, and my femininity was non-existent.


So through a process of introspection, self-care, and ritual, I decided to learn how to live in the flow, to listen to my heart, and to be my own woman. 

My life radically shifted- I left my partner and got my own apartment and learned how to be alone and love it. I quit my job to figure out what I wanted to do. I began to heal my relationship with my mother by individuating myself from her. I became ME- my clothes changed, my friendships changed, and I even began to learn how to eat according to how I FELT in my body.

Now, when I look back and how much of my life was spent feeling miserable and wanting to run away from it, I'm not sad. I realized that I needed those 20+ years of darkness, to be able to see the light. When I learned about my body, my cycles, and how to live in the feminine while existing in a masculine society- I BECAME a woman. Like a flower opening, my world opened up. It no longer felt small or claustrophobic. I literally felt like I could do anything and my biggest hopes and dreams started to look totally possible. When we are connected to ourselves, we learn how to make decisions from our heart. Life becomes a thing of love, not fear. When we know ourselves, on every level, we feel comfortable setting boundaries, saying NO, and feeling into the hell yes moments, too!

My own experience of navigating through popular self-care processes like yoga, meditation, ayurveda, and basic self-care taught me that self-care looks SO different for everyone. I didn't fully learn how to take care of my self until I connected to myself. Just like a child who needs something, instead of just putting down different items of support, we connect to the child, we speak to them, ask them questions, and we let them tell us what they need. In a world filled to the brim with teachers and healing modalities, and wellness retreats and self-help books, the overwhelm and anxiety can come simply from not knowing what we need.  


This is what I've learned- when we have permission to be ourselves, our higher self tells us what we need.

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I'm so honored that you all are stepping up and saying HELL YES to what you need. This is what I do- and for three more days, you'll have the opportunity to work with me in a self-paced, online experience for women called Balanced Babes. Because this is what I do - I help you connect to yourself so you can cut out the bullshit, honor what you need, and release what no longer serves you. I remember crying in the shower that day and realizing that never again would I feel so disconnected and this is why I do this work. And I would love to do this with you!

Simply click here to learn more.

5 simple ways to become your own healer

I always forget that no one can help me but myself.

I put all my eggs in one basket: “as soon as ___blank__ happens, I'll be fine.”  I do this with everything; small things and the big stuff.

“As soon as I quit my job I’ll feel better.”

“As soon as I stick to my yoga routine, I'll get back into shape.”

“As soon as I learn how to set boundaries, I'll have my freedom back.”

As soon as…..

But that never happens because as soon as I DO something, another thing pops up!

It’s not about jumping from one goal to the next.

It’s not about being “good enough” or “better than I was before”…

No- this IS life.

Life doesn’t magically stop happening when we reach a milestone. It continues- like water cutting through rocks; it’s a powerful force that can drown us or send us flowing; weightless and carried by it’s strength.

So what will you choose? To drown, or to be carried by the current?

I’m not sure about you but my mind is constantly a sea of thoughts. A barrage of “I should be doing this.”

“Why did I say that?”

“I have to be better at..”

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And sometimes (most of the time) I just want a break.  But the break, the reprieve, cannot come from anyone but me.  It’s ironic and kind of disheartening to know that it doesn’t matter how many times I see my therapist, or meditate, or eat healthy- I am the only one who knows what’s best for me, at every given moment.

We are not responsible for anyone but ourselves.  And that is both good and bad news.

It’s good to know that WE control how we feel because it allows us to really play the game of manifesting, of self-compassion, of designing our lives.

But it’s bad too because it’s HARD! Many of us don’t have a support system or a structure in our lives where we feel okay to accept ourselves.

So how can we learn to help ourselves? For me, it comes in steps- a sequence- like a dance.


5 ways to become your own healer
 

1: Accept How you Feel

This step is HUGE.  Anxiety is created from disconnection to self.  When we don’t feel good, it’s often because we are resisting; whether it be pain or illness or emotional anguish or worry. We are resisting WHAT IS.  So the first step in helping ourselves is simple, accept how we feel.  I do this by stating it out loud or writing it down. Using very basic words and terms, “I feel sad.” “My feelings are hurt.”
 

2. FEEL how you feel

Once you accept how you feel, it’s time to actually FEEL it.  Like a child, sometimes we need to FEEL for just a few minutes, to get it out of our system.  If you put words to how you’re feeling, let yourself express them. If you’re sad, cry it out. If you’re overwhelmed, breathe loudly. If you’re happy, laugh. This is all about letting ourselves know that FEELING is okay- it’s not negative and it’s natural.  So, feel how you feel.
 

3. Practice compassion

When we feel our emotions, especially if we’re not used to that practice, a little guilt comes in.  “I have no reason to be upset” or “other people have it way worse than I do.”  So practice compassion for yourself. For your feelings, no matter how messy or silly they are.  Take a moment with a hand on your heart and a hand on your belly to just love yourself, no matter how you feel.
 

4. Process

Processing what comes up is where the work comes in.  When we don’t recognize what we’re feeling, it gets buried and blocked. Blocked energy is manifested as illness and even pain in the body.  So, help yourself by processing.  This looks different for everyone. For me, it helps to write in a journal.  Just noting what came up for me, and what I’m dealing with.  Processing could look like sweating it out in a yoga class or taking a walk or even calling a friend. It’s up to you but definitely let it out!
 

5. Take Action

This is the fun part! It’s time to take action to help yourself! You first accepted how you felt; maybe you felt guilty about something.  You let yourself feel the guilt and then you practiced self-compassion.  From there, you processed it; maybe called a friend and chatted about the guilt you had.  Now it’s time to take action- This is where we break the cycle.  Taking action could mean changing a situation (if you felt guilt about canceling plans, make new plans that YOU feel comfortable with).  Taking action could mean writing a note to your future self. Taking action could mean sharing that feeling with a loved one for the first time.  Whatever you do, let that feeling keep moving through you!

So, as we enter into a New Year, it’s up to us to stay connected with ourselves because we are our own teachers. We are our own healers and our own friends.

When we can love ourselves and care for ourselves, as much as we do for others, we are truly thriving- not just surviving.

How (& why) I've designed my life around my period

I used to dread getting my period. It was painful and I felt like it was unfair that men didn't have to experience this each month.  I hated going to work during that time and social obligations annoyed the shit out of me. But I didn't know there was any other option except to "keep on truckin'.."  

If you're anything like most women in modern society, you weren't exactly initiated into woman-hood. There was no ritual or party or ceremony done when you started your period. You were probably handed a pad or tampon along with a "welcome to the real world" sigh.  

I literally thought I had pooped my pants when I got my first period- I didn't know what the blood was supposed to look like, or that there was a reason my stomach had hurt all day.  It caught me totally off guard. I honestly didn't understand the point of bleeding, like on a physical and biological level.

It wasn't until 12 years later, at age 24, that I started to understand my body more than anyone else possibly could. It started with me tracking my period. I had used apps in the past but I'm not a techy person so I read books and tracked in a calendar. After I learned about the physical changes that take place in my body, I felt totally comfortable with my period. 

And a lot of my period pain went away!

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From observing my monthly physical changes (breast tenderness, appetite changes, bloating, and dips in energy) I began to see that there were also emotional and mental changes that occurred. 

I began to notice patterns in my own psyche, the way I viewed myself, and in my interactions with others. 

I learned that it was NO coincidence that my relationships were way harder towards the end of my cycle, right before starting my period. It was also harder for me to get any work done. My body really needed a lot of rest.  So over time, I learned how to schedule things around my cycle.  Saving most of my social and work obligations to the beginning of my cycle, and scheduling my massage or therapy appointments for the end of my cycle, when I needed the most support and self-care.  

My life completely took a different turn when I began honoring my cycle. It became a way for me to set boundaries (sorry, I can't do dinner that night- I'll be starting my period & will want to rest) and a way for me to honor how I felt (telling my partner to be sensitive with me during my pre-menstrual phase).  

My productivity levels would shoot through the roof because I learned how to work at APPROPRIATE times for myself.  And my rest would really, really nurture me because I would make time for it and plan ahead to my PMS phase.  

My nutrition and eating habits drastically improved when I began to learn how to eat according to my hormones and my cycle phase.  

So, why am I telling you this?

To put it quite simply: life is hard. We all experience the same highs and lows, no matter how much money we have, how much we love our career, or how amazing our partner is.  

"Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.
"

Life isn't just our experiences, but how we react to them.  There will never be a day where we don't get triggered by someone. A day will never pass where we don't feel a glimmer of sadness at the irony of simply existing. 

But there is a way that we can return to the home inside of ourselves.

By honoring who we are and accepting our ups and downs.  By realizing that our inner Moon cycle does indeed dictate many of our emotions. With this realization that, on a primal level, we are creatures of the Earth and daughters of the Moon, we can truly accept every part of who we are. 

My online course, a container for you to do this learning about yourself, is now open for enrollment! Balanced Babes is a 4 part online course where you'll learn about the 4 different phases of your monthly cycle! Click below to learn more and enroll today.

5 Books that changed my life

I don't talk about it a lot but I love to read.  So much so that when I was 8 years old, I read so much that my eyes weakened and I've worn glasses ever since. ( Actually, I have no idea why I became near-sighted...)

So, books have always been a HUGE part of my life. 

I almost went to school for a degree in Library Science! Of the hundreds of books that I've read, there are a handful that literally changed my life.

You know when pick up a book and don't want to put it down? And then you end up re-reading it every year or so? Well, I wanted to share my special book list with you! 

These are listed in the order that I read them :)

1. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

I read this one when I was a freshman in college (or maybe my senior year of high school?). It was the first "spiritual" kind of book that really spoke to me.  I loved how he spoke about mindfulness and sitting with ourselves.  This is one that I've read again and it's amazing how it's always relevant to my life.  I recommend reading this one when you're going through rough time.  

"Much more than simple principles and platitudes, the book takes readers on an inspiring spiritual journey to find their true and deepest self and reach the ultimate in personal growth and spirituality: the discovery of truth and light."

 

2. The 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

This book came to me at the perfect time. The first time I read it I was in my early twenties and had just finished my yoga teacher training. I LOVE how simple it is! It's a super easy read but the lessons in the book just seem to stick to the mind and body and heart.  This is a simple book for simple living and is great for anyone wanting to communicate more honestly with other.  I recommend reading this book when you're in transition and growth.

"Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love."
 


3. Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith

My personal life, my yoga teaching, and my work with women is heavily influenced by this book. It's a book for everyone but is especially good for wellness practitioners.  Anodea Judith weaves together psychology,  somatic therapy, metaphysics and so much more. This book is truly a gem for anyone wanting to learn about the chakras and your own experience. Highly recommend for wellness coaches or yoga instructors! 

"Arranged schematically, the book uses the inherent structure of the chakra system as a map upon which to chart our Western understanding of individual development. Each chapter focuses on a single chakra, starting with a description of its characteristics, then exploring its particular childhood developmental patterns, traumas and abuses, and how to heal and maintain balance. "

4. Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life by Claudia Welch

This book is what really fueled my passion for women's health and wellness. Reading this book really helped me learn how to balance my hormones, mainly through the foods I was eating. This is great for anyone wanting an introduction to ayurveda, your endocrine system, and how to enhance your health.  I recommend this for older women as well; she really speaks a lot to aging and how to gracefully do it.  

"In clear, accessible language, internationally renowned doctor Claudia Welch explains hormones from A to Z, specifically how they relate to each other, how and why they become imbalanced, and how women can restore that balance."

5. Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Ohhhh... this book.  Wow; I could probably write an entire blog series about this book.  If you're a woman, you should read this.  CP Estes uses folklore to explore women's lives.  I can relate to pretty much every single thing that she mentions in this book. It's a really big book but super easy to read because she breaks it down into the tale, then the explanation.  It's GREAT for a bookclub or to read with a friend. I cannot recommend this enough! 

"Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés unfolds rich intercultural myths, fairy tales, folk tales, and stories, many from her own traditions, in order to help women reconnect with the fierce, healthy, visionary attributes of this instinctual nature. Through the stories and commentaries in this remarkable book, we retrieve, examine, love, and understand the Wild Woman, and hold her against our deep psyches as one who is both magic and medicine."

What are your favorite books? Comment below! 

For more books regarding women's health, join the Balanced Babes online training! I share knowledge from some of the top leaders in women's wellness.

Fire Cider: My Fav Immune Boosting Tonic!

I love winter.  

Okay, well I love parts of it. I love the snow (which we don't get in Austin and I miss it!) and I love the silence of ice storms and the crunch of cold leaves.  I love pink noses and warm drinks.  

But my body doesn't love winter.

Each year, since 2013 I have gotten a flu or cold or bronchitis. It's really becoming quite annoying.  It typically happens either when fall comes or when winter hits head on.  If you know anything about me though, you know that I have a thing against taking traditional medicine. I haven't been to a physician in 3 years and the only medicine I've taken since then is the occasional ibuprofen.

I also love to make my own herbal teas, tinctures, and tonics.  So when I discovered Fire Cider a couple of years ago- I knew I wanted to make my own! 

Fire Cider is basically your grandmothers KA-POW, knock down the cold, immune booster. It's a tonic made from basic kitchen staples; garlic, onion, ginger, horseradish, peppers, and the mother..... apple cider vinegar. 

It boosts your immune system and gives viruses a kick in the butt.

Now that I've made several batches over the years, I wanted to share with you what works for me! I will say though that not pictured** are chili pequins; these tiny spicy buggers are native to Austin and my sister, Marlena, first introduced them to me when she started adding them to her fire cider. You always want a spicy element in your cider and I love using as many local foods as possible! We pick ours straight off of the land that she lives on.

Another note** don't let the word "cider" confuse you. This shit is spicy and not sweet at all and tastes like a really strong spoonful of soup.  

Okay, on the to process....

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I start with the freshest and most organic/ local ingredients as possible. The more of these you can get from your farmer's market- the better! 

Ingredients

ginger
garlic
onion
chili peppers, jalapeño, or chili pequins!
horseradish root
turmeric root (this is my own secret ingredient!)
apple cider vinegar
raw honey (for later)
fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano


How to make it

I typically make one batch per season, enough that can fit into a pint-sized wide-mouthed Mason jar.  

1. To start, I peel the garlic, onion, turmeric horseradish and ginger. I use 1 whole head of garlic (that's anywhere from 10-15 cloves) and a fistful of ginger (makes 1/2 cup grated) and the same amount of horseradish root.  For the turmeric, I usually just do a piece about the size of my thumb.

2. I throw all of that in the jar along with the peppers that I chose. Then, add enough vinegar to cover that and almost reach the top.  

3. Before you screw the lid on, put a piece of parchment or wax paper underneath; otherwise the vinegar will corrode the lid! 

4. Screw that baby tight and let it sit in a cool dark place for a month! Shake it up at least every day!

Then wait...

5. When it's ready, strain out the liquid and mix with at least 1/4 cup of raw honey or more if you need it so it goes down smoothly. Write the date on the top, put it in the fridge, and treat yourself to a spoonful every day on an empty stomach.

Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!

Here's my latest batch... ready to strain...

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Have you ever tried Fire Cider? Comment below!