Self-Care Down There: audio-blog episode #1

Welcome to my first episode of my audio-blog series!  I have LOTS to say about so many different topics and I feel more comfortable speaking, rather than typing. So I'm excited to be sharing audio-blogs with you, each month! 

Self-care for our bodies can heal us from the inside out.  I thought I’d share a few simple tips for how to take care of your sensitive lady parts/ vulva. Take a listen and then if you'd like more resources, check out what's below!

Cleaning products

The skin that makes up the vulva is ultra-sensitive.  In fact, your body’s skin is just like an organ, so a good rule of thumb for using anything is that if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin. This applies to cleaning products as well.  If you’re currently using a cleaning product specifically for your vagina, take a look at the ingredient list. If there’s a word you don’t know, throw it out. Instead, use Dr. Bronner’s or another organic soap.


Period hygiene

Remember to use organic, non-bleached, cotton tampons or pads.  Another option is menstrual cups and menstrual sponges.  

I mentioned what I wear, Thinx period panties. You can find them here. Another option are reusable cloth pads. I like gladrags. You can find them here. 

* correction: ACTUALLY THEY SAY YOU LOSE BETWEEN 2-6 TABLESPOONS of blood on your heaviest days!


Personal lubricants

Remember* don't use coconut oil as a lubricant because it can break down the material of the condom. Click here to explore organic lubricants by Living Libations. Top of the line and amazing!


Vaginal Steaming

Click here to read my post all about steaming! It includes a list of my favorite herbs for steaming.

www.mountainroseherbs.com for organic dried herbs to create your own steam blend.


Underwear

Some all natural panties= blue canoe, wear pact, and remember to try cotton yoga pants!
 

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Pelvic floor

Read Dr. Christiane Northrup's article on the psoas. This is linked to your pelvic floor.

tight psoas leads to a tight pelvic floor; an overstretched psoas can be linked to a weak pelvic floor. 

 

 

Hormone Disruptors Are Hiding In Your Home...

And here's what you can replace them with:

Your endocrine system is made up of all of your hormone-producing glands.  It’s a big deal in your body as it determines your growth, sex drive, reproduction, aging and sooooo much more. It’s basically your body’s system of checks and balances. When a part of that system is out wack, your body tells you through dis-ease or pain. The endocrine system is especially important regarding women’s health since our hormones are the main decider of how we feel on a physical and emotional level, every single day.  

In the last 2 decades though, our endocrine system has been disrupted due to the rise of modern “conveniences”. Endocrine disruptors are anything (mainly chemicals) that throw that system out of balance, mainly by mimicking our natural hormones or by stopping their production all together. This manifests in women's body mainly in menstrual disorders including PCOS, endometriosis, irregular periods, early menopause, infertility and more. 

Common endocrine disruptors include pharmaceuticals, pesticides, plastics, metal food cans, and cosmetics.  

Endocrine disruptors are everywhere and we often can’t control when we come into contact with them. But there’s one place that we have almost 100% control; our home.  Here are a few common household items that are common disruptors of your endocrine system and entire hormonal system and some ways you can replace them!

Your Kitchen:

This is the first on the list because it’s the biggest impact on your health.  Take a look at what you’re heating your food up in; your cookware.  Is it plastic, or non-stick? Start with your utensils.  Are there plastics on your eating utensils; how about that spatula or slotted spoon? Most stores that carry our kitchenware are “big box” stores- they want to make things for ½ a penny and make a profit by turning them around quickly.  So, more often than not, your cooking utensils are made with plastic; they’re cheap to purchase and you just throw them away when they wear out.  If yours are plastic, consider switching to stainless steel or even wood. If you’re on a budget, you can get these at a thrift store for cheap, or yard sales for next to nothing!

What do you store your food in? If your tupperware is plastic, consider making the switch to glass. These will often come with a plastic lid but it’s okay for food storage since the lid doesn’t usually touch the food.  

 

Your Bathroom:

This is a big area that’s prey to filling up with endocrine disruptors.  Many bathroom storage items are plastic (think bins, makeup bags, toothbrush holder, soap dispenser). Notice just how much plastic your hands touch each day.  Think about your shower; what are you scrubbing yourself with? You could switch from the plastic-y shower scrub to a natural loofa or a cotton washrag.  Notice your shampoo bottles.  I love the stainless steel shampoo dispenser from Hairstory. There are also great options on Amazon; even if your products come in a plastic bottle, that doesn't mean they have to stay in a plastic bottle. 

Speaking of bathroom; let’s talk about body and bath products. Make-up. This is a HUGE endocrine disruptor for women.  Your skin is your body’s biggest organ- if you wouldn’t eat it, you literally shouldn’t put it on your skin.  This goes for EVERYTHING. Take a look at your makeup bag.  Dump everything out and start with your makeup brushes.  Are the bristles plastic? Are the handles plastic? You can easily switch to wood and natural-bristle makeup brushes.  

Now, how about what you’re putting on your skin? This is a catch 22 for many women. They wear makeup to cover skin blemishes or uneven skin, when in reality, it’s what they’re putting on their skin that’s causing hormonal shifts that result in skin issues. Even what we wash our face with can be a detriment to our skin. Your skin, specifically your face, has natural oil spots and natural dry spots. Skin LOVES oil. When our skin doesn’t get to produce its natural oil, it over compensates, thus producing acne and blemishes.  Have you ever used a face-wash that has those micro-scrubbing beads? Those are plastic; you're literally scrubbing plastic into your face.  Not only that, but you wash that down the sink, it goes into the ocean, never breaks down, and is constantly being found in the stomach of deceased sea animals. Something to think about...

I invite you to go a week or two with washing your face with a product (a clay-based face wash) only every other day.  Skip the foundation and anything that goes on your skin (mascara and eye-liner are fine).  You’ll notice your skin will be softer and more supple as you go longer without letting those man-made ingredients soak into it.  You’ll also save a lot of money not buying makeup products!

Other places in your home:

Take a look at your living room and bedroom and find things that aren’t natural- what’s man-made? Here’s a list of common items that have tags so you can see what you’re touching every day:

Furniture (couch, coffee table, chairs, pillows, etc)
Rugs/carpet
Bedspread/sheets
Towels
Clothes
Underwear
Bags/Purses
Wallet

I could go and on but I’m sure you get my point; be intentional about what you are touching every day.  Imagine the span of your lifetime and how much plastic gets into your body on a daily basis.  It’s no coincidence that in our lifetime we’ve seen certain plastic items get BANNED, certain types of cancers rise, and infertility rates increase.  Your endocrine system determines how you feel on a daily basis so it’s no joke to asses what affects it, that you can directly change.

The quality of what we put on our around our bodies is a huge passion of my work and of Lunar Nourishment. In fact, it's a really big part of the Balanced Babes online training course.  In this 4 week long course, you'll discover not only how to reconnect to your body through your menstrual cycle, you'll learn all about endocrine disruptors and how they affect how you feel. Want to know more about the course? Click here! 

 

Life is a Ceremony

Without going into too many details right now, I have spent the last week understanding and fully feeling what it means to be alive.  I have taken part in a ceremony that opened the floodgates of my heart and showed me a truth that I feel I've been searching for, my entire life.

My sister, Marlena, writes songs that speak so much to the essence of what life is: 

"Each moment you wake up, the choice is yours to hold. Will you lay down in fear, or stand up and be bold? We have a choice to rise up and be a vessel for love. Sometimes there's boulders in our path; forcing us to slow down. Here we must face our pain, there's no easy way around. We have a choice to rise up and be a vessel for love. Can you see yourself as capable and divine? Treat yourself with reverence; and honor your life. We have a choice to rise up and be a vessel for love." 

It's true. When we go through our days, we can either fall down and let life run over us; being a victim to circumstance. Or we can stand tall and be the warriors; sending others our love as we trudge through our pain.

 Just as there are bad days and good days, each MINUTE of our lives is a constant current of energy. That's what we are; energetic beings taking part in this world in physical bodies.  Why do we do what we do? Is it all just a distraction from pain that needs to be pulled up and healed? Sometimes we distract ourselves by numbing our pain; sometimes we distract ourselves with drama as we become obsessed with the stories of our lives.

But sometimes, we get glimpses of our pain; we experience death or heartbreak or anger until we can't handle the intensity.

And we fall apart.

And in that falling apart, we are broken open. We let our tears or an injury or our rage take that pain and pull it out of us. 

And we begin to come back together again.

Without the breaking open; the falling apart; the darkness, we cannot feel the love- the joy. They are one in the same.  There is no person that experiences the deepest love, that hasn't felt the deepest pain.  So, as Marlena sings:

"Life is just a ceremony. Full of ups and downs. We can learn to ride the waves and we will never drown."

What waves are you riding? Do you feel like the current of life is always trying to pull you under? Do you feel confident in your energetic body? Do you love your physical body? Are you spending your entire life, waiting for someone or something to save you?

We have the strength to heal ourselves.  It's only a matter of time until we decide to do the work. Are you ready to be a warrior and embrace your pain to get to the love? 




photography by Richard Casteel

 

 

 

May Manifestos

This month was INTENSE. I had a suspicion of this after reading the Power Path forecast but I don't think I expected the intense changes that happened. Many of you know how I post little microblogs on my Instagram and so I thought I'd compile a few things that I realized since the last New Moon.

I'm done listening to my mind, more than I listen to my body. 

I'm done ignoring what I want because I'm afraid of how it will look to others. I'm done trying to decipher between my heart and my intuition. I'm tired of thinking. I'm tired of justifying. I'm tired of being in control. I'm tired of THINKING I'm in control. I am ready to dive into what FEELS GOOD. I am ready to fly towards what my heart tells me to. I'm ready to swim in waters that support me, rather than trying to be alone to support myself. I love myself. I respect myself. So now it's time to treat myself. To nourish myself. To BE myself. ⠀


I am truly understanding the difference between Soul and Spirit.

For me, Spirit is pure perfection. It is meta and union with a higher power. It's perhaps unattainable or something I always am attracted to. ⠀
But my SOUL has been on fire since I stepped foot into this humid, loud, interesting town. ⠀
I'm realizing that my Soul needs tending to. She needs to be nourished with what makes her feel alive. ⠀
Quite honestly, I'm tired of Spirit. I'm feeling as if my quest to reach or preach or experience Spirit has white-washed my Soul. ⠀
My Soul wants heart and truth. I TRUST in Spirit but I still need to feed my soul. The more I let my Soul guide me, the better I feel. ⠀
Over the last year, I have extensively explored my mind "versus" my heart "versus" my body/gut/intuition. And what I've learned is that for me, my heart and body want to be linked. They want to move in succession, flowing with each other. ⠀
I believe my heart to be my Masculine- heated; external; Solar. I believe my body/intuition to be the Feminine- cooling; calm, internal. ⠀
Being here with the Heat of the sun and the cooling ocean waters has nourished the duality that I am. ⠀
It has allowed me to get out of my head and realize that I've never done anything wrong. ⠀
I am perfect, just the way I am. ⠀
My mistakes are not that- they are beautiful experiences. ⠀
When I close my eyes, breathe deeply, and FEEL into what I want- it is what feeds my soul. ⠀
And that, for me, is love. Pure, unconditional love.

I remember it well.

I remember when I no longer required, craved, needed validation from my parents. I remember feeling free when they picked me up from the airport and I saw them with more compassion and less admiration. I remember when I stopped beating myself up and began loving myself. When I no longer said negative things after each decision I made. I remember when I started feeding my Soul and trusting in my Spirit. My days go by in peace as I trust in myself. I love myself. I live for myself. I believe in Magic and I'm not scared to say it. I know what I like and it's taken me 27 years to realize that this is ME. I love driving. I love nature. I love teaching yoga. Reading books is fun and eating Cheetos makes me happy. I think deeply about most everything and I hate small talk. Like- REALLY despise it. I used to want to travel the world but now I feel best when I'm at home. The sun and the ground are medicine for me. I feel at peace with all that I am.

I saw myself as an infant.

I took a journey the other night and saw myself as an infant. I saw light pink colors and soft textures. I saw cream lace and a tiny bonnet. I saw a baby who needs nurturing. And I was her and I was her mother- at the same time. So why am I afraid to care for her? Why am I scared to step into that role? I am quick to serve others- just the other day I had decided to eat toast for dinner, then my parents called to stop by and I literally roasted a whole chicken and made a salad to feed them when they arrived. Did I not think that I deserved that comforting meal? Do I punish myself for unnecessary guilt by not giving myself what I need or want? How can I truly serve others if I give myself the bare minimum? I cannot take ANYONE'S advice anymore. I have to, must, give myself what I need- no matter how it looks to others. And right now, my SOUL needs to be fed. She's starving.
 

Life will always present us with a lesson.

I'm finding myself seeing the bigger picture. I am less quick to feel rage, disappointment, or annoyance. I understand that, for me, I tend to see the negative first- even if only for a second. But life happens in stages; every aspect of our lives can't all be perfect at once. We have chances to grow in each area- at different times. 

For the past 6 months I have found wisdom in being alone- in not giving my heart to anyone but myself. I feel like that time prepared me for a trip over the ocean that sent waves of realizations up my spine. 

As soon as I realized I was afraid to be alone- I felt okay being alone. I finally let go of a love I thought I couldn't handle. And as soon as I realized I could survive without that love, from someone else, I found myself seeing that I did indeed deserve it and could handle it. 

Now I am finding wisdom in seeing myself from the eyes of a partner, and from the eyes of a child. I am finding wisdom in understanding that sometimes things just...are. Sometimes you see other people suffer and have to look away- because you know you can't help them. You remember how you used to suffer and the only thing that brought you to the light was yourself.

Success isn't defined by how much money I make.

It's not defined by how "big" my business is or how many social media followers I have. Success, to me, doesn't mean working long hours or having a thousand clients.

Success is when I have freedom to do what I love. It's when I get to see REAL changes in the women who are a part of the Lunar Nourishment tribe. I feel successful knowing that I haven't sacrificed ANY of my beliefs & values for my business. Success is knowing that every client or customer who supports my business is literally helping me put food on my table.

I feel successful in the fact that my tribe is steadily growing & I am able to keep up with that growth. I am still able to personally answer all emails and messages.
I remember the faces (maybe not the names!) of every woman who has been a part of Lunar Nourishment for the past year and half.

I don't measure success in terms of how much money I make each month or how many women sign up for my offerings. Success is that I get to do what I LOVE, every single day and I get to be AUTHENTIC and true to myself.

photo by Andrea McArdle

photo by Andrea McArdle

 

 

Self-Parenting: for the baby in all of us!

Self-Parenting; this topic has been coming up for me extensively in the last few years but seems to be on my horizon when I need it the most.  And apparently, right now, I need to really get back to treating myself like a baby.  In a good way…

We are all children; innocent and malleable, but strong and stubborn.  Can you close your eyes and see how you feel, deep down? Does the infant inside of you feel safe and secure and nurtured? Or is she tired or frightened or lonely?

Photo by Victoria Lucia

Photo by Victoria Lucia

Reality check: no one can be there for us, like we can be there for ourselves.  I’ve learned this the hard way throughout my life as I’ve TRIED to rely on boyfriends and my family to supply needs that are nestled so deep within me, they can’t possibly be met by anyone other than me.  When I first learned about the concept of self-parenting, it was in the form of mothering.  It was 2014 and I was in the midst of a 9 month period of choosing not to be in contact with my mother.  It wasn’t a decision with forethought but rather the culmination of a life-time of little to no boundaries and a lack of awareness around why my mother triggered negative emotions in me.  As I discovered during this period of separation with her, even our own mothers didn’t parent us in every single way that we needed- from infancy to adulthood.  They just did the best that they could at that time. Once we “grow up”, it’s time for us to do the best WE CAN, for ourselves.  

There comes a point in life when it is time for us to take the reigns and lead ourselves to freedom and pure self-love.  I chose to take the reigns that summer, in 2014.  I learned how to treat myself like I was a baby- making sure that my basic needs were met, and then nurturing myself. For me, I did it by asking myself (constantly) what I needed.  I literally nurtured myself with everything that I was aware that I needed. I cut off friendships, jobs, and hobbies that I felt weren’t in my best interest as I went through a very reclusive and sensitive time.  

There is no one right way to self-parent but for me, I needed a lot of alone time and self-care rituals.  It was that year, 2014, that I began setting intentions on the New Moon and releasing negativity on the Full Moon.  I started leading New Moon gatherings for women and thus- a year later- Lunar Nourishment was born.  I truly believe that if it weren’t for my extreme form of self-parenting, I wouldn’t have had the guts or gumption to release parts of my life that were no longer serving me in order to make room for new endeavors. 

My self-parenting looked like this:

  • Constant check-in's with how I felt emotionally and physically
  • Feeding myself the best and most nutritious foods
  • Slowing down + pretty much stopping my yoga practice and most physical exertions
  • Spending a lot of time in nature and in the sun
  • Quitting my job and working for myself
  • Living alone
  • Not drinking alcohol or being very social
  • Only doing things that felt like a HELL YES 
  • Saying no to things that didn't feel good

But lately, there’s been a shift.  Self-parenting looked like those things that I listed above but now, I can feel my Soul asking me to “level up”.  I had a conversation with my sister, Marlena, about this the other day and she shared that sometimes what used to serve us, is no longer ENOUGH.  For the last few years I have needed rest and alone time and a very light workload mixed in with some time in nature and the sun.  Now, I feel a call to rest in a different way. To sit in silence when I want. To practice yoga and move my body more. To work smarter, not harder.  But most of all, to keep parenting myself.  

On this Scorpio Full Moon, I invite you to explore your inner child and your inner Mother. How you can you be both and treat yourself the best way possible.  On this Full Moon, embrace letting go of old ways of being that aren't truly nurturing for your Soul. 

Do you parent yourself? How do you give your body and your soul what it needs? What does your practice look like? Do you feel guilty about treating yourself like an infant?  Comment below and see who can learn from your story. 

 

Needing to heal doesn't mean you're weak.

I received a massage last week, in my home, and as the sun shone in through my windows, all I felt was guilt.  Even though I was able to soften my body, I had a thought, “I am a spoiled woman receiving a massage at 10am on a Tuesday. Why do I deserve this?”  After a few minutes, I let myself sink into it and I remembered that I deserve everything. I deserve self-love and self-care.  I am not selfish for wanting the best for ME.  When do you find yourself feeling guilty, even though it's unwarranted?

As I learn how to be a better receiver, I am learning how to be a better giver.  My livelihood is dependent on the services I provide to others and the space that I hold for them.  If I don’t care for myself, I can’t truly give to others.  For the last few years, I have found myself giving everything that I’ve got until all I am is a watered down version of who I truly am or want to be. 

At our New Moon Circle last month, a very wise woman said that she realized she is no longer responsible for others’ feelings.  She no longer wants to carry their burden, their heartache, their sadness.  Why do we so often feel drawn to the pain of others, while we ignore our own pain? I believe so much of it is inherited. Somewhere along the way, we lost our capacity to (know that we can) heal ourselves.  We lost our ability to feel the energy in our body and to realize when it’s off balance. We began listening to others more than we listen to ourselves. 

My own mother says that “in her day”, you only complained about pain if you were close to passing out from it and that her generation has an engrained sense of the word HEALING meaning WEAKNESS.  But just because you have something to heal from, doesn’t mean you’re weak.  In fact, it’s just the opposite. The brave ones, the strong ones, the courageous ones have the ability to look and feel within themselves to become aware of an imbalance.  The Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang speaks to the fact that humans were born from the chaos at the center of the planet.  That without chaos, harmony does not exist.  

It’s true; think back to a time in your life when everything was going perfectly.  When you were flowing through life and each day was amazing. Those times, while great, don’t offer us growth.  Evolution, change, transformation and growth come from CHAOS. They come from the messy.  It’s when we’re in a fetal position crying on our bedroom floor that we are growing.  It’s when we want to crawl out of our skin that we are evolving. It’s when we leave work early and drive out of the city to cry in a field that we are becoming wiser.  

I invite you this month to EMBRACE THE MESSY. To not be a chameleon (click that link to read an AWESOME post about this topic!) and mold ourselves to what others want. I invite you to "level up" your life by not feeling guilty about what you deserve.  Guilt is pointless; Eckhart Tolle explains that there is no need to feel guilty about anything in our past that we've done because we are now operating at a higher level of consciousness.  Past "mistakes" aren't mistakes- they are actions that you took at the highest level of consciousness you could, at the time.  So let's move past our guilt and star to live in the NOW.  

be true to you; receive what comes your way with grace and gratitude.  give only from the heart, not from obligation. 

I invite you to stop settling, and start living from your place of truth.

Nature is my Medicine

Most of my earliest memories are filled with the lush, green visions of forest in Mississippi and Arkansas.  My parents took my sister and brother and I camping in the falls and summers; we would venture to the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas where we played in streams, dodged water moccasins and climbed over rocks and boulders, to get a better view.  

As I grew older, nature continued to call to me.  The biggest reason that I chose the college I attended was because it was nestled in a valley of the same mountains I grew up playing in.  I've gone white water rafting on the Ocoee river in the Cherokee National Forest,  canoed down the Buffalo River in Arkansas, camped in the dry heat of Santa Fe, and slept in a van in Yellowstone.  So many adventures are lodged in my memory as many of the best times of my life. 

When I moved to Austin, Texas 5 years ago, I thought less about nature and more about living in a city for the first time.  Regular excursions in the woods turned into biking adventures to the city downtown.  Camping trips became replaced with weekend yoga workshops and networking events, as I familiarized myself with my new home.  However, my love of nature has always beckoned me.  

I have found my special spots off the beaten path in Austin; of which I will keep to myself for reverence to their untouched nature.  I have foraged for mushrooms and eaten wild onions right from the ground.  I have discovered a southwest-style nature that I never saw growing up, save for yearly road trips out to California where cacti dotting the landscape always seemed unfamiliar.

I want to share with you my most recent outdoor excursion; a simple 2 hour walk on the greenbelt to forage for wild edibles, just the other day.  On this trip, my goal was to find Wood ear mushrooms (a meaty delicacy!) and gather Cleavers (a detoxifying herb) and spring onions.   

Wood-ear Mushrooms

Wood-ear Mushrooms

Whenever I go foraging, the energy around me seems to shift into something quiet, and still.  I feel that I must be alone, and silent so that I can listen to where each plant may be hiding.  Cleavers are extremely prominent and weren't hard to find; but it's the mushrooms and wild onions that call for that stillness.  

I first happened upon a small batch of Cleavers but they were nestled amongst poison ivy, so I let them be- for obvious reasons.  I knew I would stumble upon more.  Next, I found what I call "my mushroom log" - a trusty fallen branch that seems to always grow Wood-ears after a heavy rain.  I hit the jackpot on this day! I was able to forage 2 handfuls of these earthy treats- I always leave a few, out of respect for this Earth-offering.  

wild Cleaver 

wild Cleaver 

Further down, I made it to my favorite spot by the water- white rocks that make me feel like I'm in a tropical grotto. I spent some time meditating before I journeyed back.  I happened upon an enormous Cleaver crop. I only needed a handful so a handful is all that I picked.  

As I made my way to the end of my adventure, I spotted a beautiful batch of wild spring onions.  You have to be careful when picking onions; there is a look alike but toxic plant. If it smells like onions, then it is onions.  I picked just a few to put into some soup I will be making this week.

When I got home, I began the process of drying the mushrooms. They'll last for ages, once dried, and can then be rehydrated in soups or stews. The texture of them is truly amazing.  I made a tincture with the Cleavers and Gin to help with PMS, breast tenderness, and to flush the lymphatic system.  I also made a facial toner by covering them with witch hazel. The final thingI made with the Cleavers is a drinking vinegar, with apple cider vinegar. Each of these tonics will need to rest in a cool, dark place for at least 4 weeks and then they'll be ready to use! 

For me, my body has no choice but slow down when I am immersed in nature.  The sounds of the birds, rushing water, and the breeze on my skin brings back home to myself. I feel like we can all return home to ourselves when we put on feet on the bare ground.  Each time I go for a hike, I always take off my shoes and feel my toes on the dirt. 

There is nothing more satisfying than spending a few hours with no distractions except lush greenery and butterflies.

A Women's Moon Ceremony

Each month, for the past 2 years, I have gathered with women under the dark of the New Moon to create intentions, take part in ritual, and meditate on what it means to be a woman during this time of great change.  Last Friday, 25 women gathered in my small space and the energy in the room was completely palpable, intense, and beautiful.  

 
 

I wanted to share with you the behind the scenes pictures of what goes into creating these amazing gatherings! 

The day of ceremony, I always feel a little anxious. 

I know it's because I'm thinking of the night ahead, wondering who will show up and who won't, and hoping that it's an evening to remember. I tend to be quite hard on myself so on "Moon Circle Days" I rest a lot and slowly prepare throughout the day, rather than close to the gathering.

I start by setting up the space. This means LOTS of pillows, floor cushions and rugs; gotta keep it cozy!  After I set up the cushions, it's time for me to start to build our altar!

I always have fresh flowers, and something from each of the 4 elements: earth, water, wind and fire.  

Each woman is invited to bring something something special to place upon the altar. Some have brought rose quartz hearts, giant selenite wands, letters from grandmothers, special pieces of jewelry, talismans and so much more. After everyone places their items on the altar, it's truly magical! 

I always sit in silent meditation before everyone arrives.  I smudge my space and myself and set an intention for holding space for the women who come.  Some women come alone; some bring a friend.  Some women have been coming for years, and others are brand new.  All are welcome and all are amazing. I truly feel that each woman who shows up, was meant to be there. 

Have you thought about coming but haven't yet? 

What's stopping you? We are in great times of change and these circles are a way to come together in ceremony, as well as create your own ritual of self-care and setting monthly intentions.  

Want to see when our next gatherings are?

What other women are saying:

"I enjoyed that I was able to share my intention with everyone, plus I was really grateful to see so many ladies come together for healing and growth."- Pam

"It's so powerful and wonderful and empowering." - Erin

"It's intense and beautiful and even during intros everyone was so supportive of where each woman was."  - Victoria

"You seem to have a real way of guiding people with your voice. I was resonating with everything you were saying during the guided meditation." - Amanda What other women are saying:

 

I Am Selfish.

I cannot tell you how many times I have been called, by my mother: narcissistic, selfish, and self-centered. I’m sure that surprises many of you (hell, it surprises me every time!) as you know me as someone who is loving, kind, and hopefully there to support and help you on your journey.  I’ll let you in on a secret: 

I wouldn’t be able to help you, if I wasn’t so selfish. 

That’s because, contrary to what many of us grew up believing, in order to serve others we must first serve ourselves.  I know countless women, and men, who give and give and give themselves and their time to others without taking care of themselves. I have known the run-down teacher who cries herself to sleep every night. I have known the haggard young activist who doesn’t give himself the time to eat a decent meal.  I was once the passionate employee who took on so many jobs that I couldn’t do any of them to my best ability.  All of these people have one thing in common: they aren’t selfish. They live to serve and please others.  But they also neglect their own needs and wants.  This is unsustainable and believe me, I know. I was that person for most of my life. But the moment I realized that I needed to build love for MYSELF, my life changed. 

When I asked my mother why thinks I’m selfish, she told me “because life doesn’t revolve around you.”  But guess what? IT DOES! Life completely revolves around you; because you are the only one living your life. You are the only one in compete control of your life. You are the only one can truly make the right decisions for yourself. You are the only one who can change your destiny.  So what would happen to this planet if we all started making ourselves happy, first?

Osho writes, “What is the meaning of being selfish? The first basic thing is to be self-centered. The second basic thing is always to look for ones blissfulness. If you are self-centered, you will be selfish whatsoever you do. You may go and serve people but you will only do it because you enjoy it, because you love doing it, and you feel happy and blissful doing it – you feel yourself doing it. You're not doing any duty; you are not serving humanity. You are not a great martyr; you're not sacrificing. These are all nonsensical terms. You are simply being happy in your own way – it feels good to you. ⠀

A self-centered person is always seeking his happiness. And this is the beauty of it, that the more you see your happiness the more you will help others to be happy. Because that is the only way to be happy in the world. If everybody else around you is unhappy, you cannot be happy, because man is not an island. He's part of the vast continent. If you want to be happy, you will have to help others who surround you to be happy. Then – and only then – can you be happy. You have to create the atmosphere of happiness around you. If everybody is miserable, how can you be happy? You will be affected. You're not a stone, you are very delicate being, very sensitive. Misery is as infectious is any disease. Blissfulness is also infectious as any disease. If you help others to be happy, in the end you help yourself to be happy. A person who is deeply interested in his happiness is always interested in others happiness also, but not for them. Deep down he is interested in himself; that's why helps. If in the world everybody is taught to be selfish, the whole world will be happy. There will be no possibility for misery.

And so it is.  

Guilt-free Chocolate

5 years ago, I decided to quit eating sugar. 

I had been experiencing panic attacks for a couple of years prior, I was highly anxious and my blood sugar levels were completely unbalanced.  I was hypoglycemic and would get dizzy spells often.   When my twin sister, Marlena, and I made the move from Mississippi to Austin we were both taking a little white pill each day that reduced anxiety (for me) and depression (for her).  Even though we’d traveled around the world and the continental US, we had never lived in a city and Austin quickly became our new home. It was so easy to live here and follow a healthy lifestyle.  So it was no surprise that a few months after we made the move, we decided to drastically change our diet in order to wean ourselves off of medicine.

FOOD is medicine and I knew that if I could control my body’s stress levels internally ( by balancing my hormones) that I could also be less reactive to my external situation.  

So my first step was to quit eating sugar. I first wanted to know an average of how much of that white powder I was consuming. It was around 10 tablespoons a day! The average for most is around 15 TB a day.  The first thing that I did was replace white table sugar with organic cane sugar.  My body could barely tell the difference but for me to make this change, I knew that I had to do it gradually.  So for about a year I made my sweets (like zucchini bread and cookies) with raw organic cane sugar. I very slightly cut down on the amount of sweets I was eating each day.  That helped.

Fast forward one year and I was ready to take it to the next level. So I replaced all cane sugar with honey.  Whenever I would bake a dessert, I would switch out the sugar with half the amount of honey, and desserts were always still sweet enough! I felt like I’d discovered a secret! I did this for about 7 months and REALLY noticed a huge change in myself. I gained a sense of clarity, my blood sugar levels were starting to stabilize and I felt more energized throughout the day.  I did this for about a year. 

My own foray into changing my diet led me to learn about the science of Ayurveda and our energy system.  I discovered that my dosha is Vata; I have A LOT of energy and so for me, sugars that get into my system too quickly, make me feel anxious.  So in my quest to reduce my sugar consumption, I discovered dates. My father is from Lebanon and they would eat dates growing up; I grew up eating a lot of Lebanese desserts that were based around this delectable fruit. So it was only natural that I began to replace all sugar with dates, or honey. 

Over the last couple of years I have relied solely on dates and honey for any sweeteners in things that I bake and create. It has led me to formulate some extremely tasty concoctions and I am so excited to start sharing them with you!  

I wanted to start with CHOCOLATE. If you’re interested in weaning yourself off of sugar, but you do have a sweet tooth, this is a a perfect place to start. You can make these little chocolates, keep them in your fridge, and snack guilt-free! 

High in healthy fats and antioxidants, these sweets are a guilt-free treat! 

 

 

Chocolate Recipe 

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (liquid form)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cacoa powder
  • 1/4 cup roasted unsweetened almond butter
  • 1.5 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon himalayan sea salt
  • pinch of cardamom and cinnamon
  • chopped pecans or other nuts (optional)
  • OPTIONAL: to make this a superfood, add 1/2 teaspoon of maca or lucuma powder!

In a food processor, or blender, combine all ingredients EXCEPT nuts, and blend on high speed until it's combined and smooth (about 20 seconds).  
Stir in nuts if you so please.
Transfer chocolate to small silicone molds (or tiny paper baking cups) and set on a tray. Chill in the freezer until solid (at least 20 minute).
Take the chocolate out of the mold and store in a container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks! Serve it cold; it melts fast! 

chocolate-4-.jpg

Comment below if you make them, and let me know what you think! 

Want to learn more about nutrition and how to eat right for your body? Click here or send me an email at connect@lunarnourishment.com and let's chat!