summary2

Ritual Ceremonies for Daily Life

From the first moment we’re born, until the day we die, we all take part in some sort of ritual or routine. Most of these rarely get a second thought, like brushing our teeth twice a day.  But other routines help connect us to the deepest parts of ourselves. Have you ever felt stressed after taking a nice shower or bath? Probably not. This is because repetitive behaviors, that we grow accustomed to, actually ease tension both mentally and physically.  So whether you’re trying to hit the yoga studio every day, or wanting to write down your goals each month, it’s time to take your first step towards establishing rituals! If you find it difficult to maintain rituals in your life, or need help beginning a ritual practice, here are the positives to starting routines!

1. Reduce Stress and Anxiety.

Many of us, without knowing it, spend our days in fight or flight mode- our sympathetic nervous system kicks into gear when we wake up and without ritual, it can be hard to navigate from this into our more calm parasympathetic nervous system. The stress hormone, cortisol, is found in our bodies at its highest point in the morning so we literally wake up feeling stressed. Our ancestors used cortisol for survival but we store this extra stress in our bodies and it builds up over time. Sure, many of us have the ritual each day of going to work, but what if we can incorporate repetitive behaviors into our days that reduce our anxiety, and allow us to have more control over how we feel? Routines do just that. Studies have shown that repetitive behavior in humans greatly reduces our stress levels by allowing us to feel more in control. When we can start to think of routines as a form of relaxation, they become easier to do day in and day out.

2. Stay Grounded.

We’ve all gone through certain points in our lives, where we concentrate on things other than ourselves; work, family, or social lives. But have you ever said “no” to going out, or to working late, and instead used that time to take care of yourself, such as cooking a nice dinner, watching your favorite show, and going to bed before midnight? Chances are, you felt better the next morning, both mentally and physically.  Taking care of ourselves in this way, is one of the most grounding things we can do. We’re often distracted by technology, the media, our peers; and it’s hard to feel like we’re walking on solid ground sometimes.  When we embrace routine, we are helping our bodies and our minds to stay “fit” and stable.

3. Connect To Your Inner Self.

Ages ago, there were no training classes on on how to take part in ceremonies, there were no coaching programs on how to create a ritual for daily living; this was all intrinsically connected to being Human.  Our parents, their parents, and their parents before them lived every day, every moment in ritual.  By hunting, gathering food, creating fire; they got the grounded feeling of connection through ritual on a daily basis! When was the last time you stared into a fire? It’s one of the most simple ways that we can truly feel what it means to be human.  It’s one of the rare activities we can do that doesn’t seem boring; something about the ritual of fire lights up the most basic parts of ourselves. 

4. Stay Healthy.

 The most healthy times of your life are probably the times when you had a lot of self discipline.  Food, exercise, drinking; all of these aspects of our modern society can very quickly turn gluttonous.  By establishing routines we can learn to live in moderation.  One of the biggest areas of our society that we have lost ritual in, is eating.  Until very recently, meals were considered a sacred and special activity.  Families participated in meal-time together.  Before the rise of the nuclear family, women learned to cook from their mothers; meals were shared with larger groups and everyone chipped in.  The very ritual of eating was enough to keep entire villages busy during the day. With the rise of fast-food and convenience meals, we have taken ritual out of eating and replaced it with empty calories.  

5. Create Harmony and Embrace Creativity.

When we take the guesswork out of parts of our days, it frees our brain space and allows more room for creativity to flow.  Imagine waking up in the morning and having no clue how you were going to get to work.  Rather than relaxing during breakfast, you’d be thinking about how you were going to make it into the office.  This works the same for routine; when we embrace ritual and take part in it each day, our minds and our body’s muscle memory begins to expect and relax in knowing the outcome of situations.  Just as children thrive on discipline, we too flourish creatively when we return to ritual.  This is especially important in relationships. Establishing “rules” keeps relationships healthy whether you are single or have a family.  Set some time aside with those you have close relationships with; create time to relax together and see your relationship blossom.

Create a few rituals this week!

1. Mealtime

Try creating more ritual around mealtimes, such as cooking one healthy meal from scratch every week, and pay attention to how that food tastes, how you feel while eating it, and how you digest it later.  Chances are, it’ll be your best meal of the week!

2. Personal Care

Think of a self-care activity that you really enjoy but never take the time to do.  this could be taking a bath, getting a massage, visiting a sauna…etc. Set aside 2 times a month that you can do this for yourself!

3. Setting Intentions

One of my favorite rituals to take part in is setting my intentions or my goals each week.  Set aside a few minutes before your week begins (for most, this is on a Sunday) and write down your intention for the week. It could be broad like “I will find peace” or “ I will relax” or more specific like “ I will be kinder to my boss” or “I will be more patient with my kids” .  Write this down and keep it by your bed. Take time each night before bed to glance at it. Learn to manifest your dreams by seeing or speaking them out loud.

Try not to have gigantic expectations for setting routines; know that some days you may falter. Embrace the fact that this is a process of gently incorporating new (or old) habits into your days to bring in more freedom and creativity!

Want to learn more simple rituals you can do every day to find balance and reduce your anxiety or depression? Click here to access my Natural Cycles ebook!

My #1 tool for self-care...

“Smoke is prayer. Silver curling smoke seems to lift me closer to the Great Spirit.”  -Lynn Andrews

I was at Barton Springs yesterday (if you’re not from Austin, Barton is THE meeting place for souls looking for repose in cooling spring waters) and as I walked down to take a dip, I stopped and closed my eyes as the smell of sage smoke entered my nose. I felt like I was home.  After 2 months of travel and work and a busier-than-usual schedule, I have realized that the one thing that I must do, no matter where I am, is smoke. I’m not talking cigarettes or mary jane, I’m talking about the ancient art of smudging.  This simple act, of lighting a specific herb or grass or wood, has changed my life for the better.  There are many reasons to use smudge wands, and many different types of wands- I use a few different ones throughout my day and have incorporated it into my rituals for a balanced spirit, each morning, afternoon, and night. 

I smudge to release energy.

This is the type of smudging that I use the most often. As a healer and teacher I often work directly with those who are suffering- it’s important for me to release both my energy and theirs before and after we work together. Before I work with a client, or teach a yoga class, I smudge both myself and the space with White Sage.  You’ll often see White Sage smudge sticks as they’re the most popular.  This herb is cleansing both for physical spaces and energies.  When I used to work a desk job for someone else, smudging myself with Sage when I got home allowed me to fully decompress and release any negative emotions I had about the day or about those I came into contact with.  Each time I have guests over to my house, whether I love them or not!, I smudge my home when they leave- releasing any energies they left behind.  Pro Tip** White Sage is seriously AMAZING for getting rid of smells. So if the spiritual uses don’t resonate with you, you can still use this herb to get rid of any smells in your home, A/C vents, car, closets, etc.  Smoke the space and once the smoke leaves, the smell goes with it!

I smudge to adorn myself. 

Smoke has a way of seeping into the soul, leaving pieces of it behind.  I use Palo Santo to adorn myself with positivity and with confidence.  This smell is a favorite of my students; I burn it during Savasana in my classes.  Palo Santo is both uplifting and mysterious.  The smell stays behind and leaves a Cedar wood scents that feels clean and rich.  As Palo Santo has become increasingly popular as a smudge tool, illegal harvesting methods have increased.  Palo Santo is supposed to only be cultivated from fallen branches of the trees (in Peru) if it’s wildcrafted.  Since it’s hard to determine if wildcrafted Palo has been cultivated ethically, many folks (like myself!) purchase this sweet wood from specific farms in South America that plant Palo Santo trees to make sure there is a future supply.  

I smudge for clarity.

Seeing clearer through the smoke may seem counterintuitive.  But people have been using sacred smoke for centuries, for that exact reason: clarity.  My favorite tool for a clear mind is Mugwort.  This musky smoke was traditionally used for lucid dreaming and I find that smudging my bedroom at night allows me to see the stories and lessons in my dreams.  I had a client come to me last week and I had a feeling that I should give him a Mugwort smudge wand.  Before I handed it to him, or told him why, I asked him to tell me his intention for the session and for speaking with me.  He said, to gain clarity.  That is what Mugwort helps with- before we can really start to move towards our desires or goals, it’s important to first be solid and stable in what they are.  By using this ancient herb, we can see through our ideals and hardened beliefs, into what Spirit wants for us- and what our Souls know is best.  

I smudge for healing.

Last year, I moved into a new place with a partner and my kitty. The situation was very wrong for me, although I didn’t know it at the time, and only a few days after we moved in, my kitty- my best friend of 14 years, died. I immediately got bronchitis from the stress of the situationand needed some deep soul healing.  So I went into the forest and gathered Juniper.  With my Juniper smudge wands I created ceremony for myself.  I let go of any anger I had about the situation. I asked for healing and peace and a centered heart.  I inhaled as the sweet scent of Juniper wafted around my body.  I exhaled the sadness and the pain and the fear.  Juniper was a spiritual safe haven.  Now, I needed to heal my body and the terrible infection in my lungs.  So I turned to Osha root, a very traditional Native American herb. This root is found in both the Rocky Mountains and the Southwest of America.  The root of this herb is used for respiratory ailments and is amazing at fast healing.  I both smoked and smudged Osha root for a few days during the worst parts of my illness. There is a cooling sensation that comes from this smoke and the smell is both like celery and vanilla, but also smells medicinal at the same time.  By using both Juniper and Osha root, I was able to take care of my body and soul in the most mindful and mysterious way.  I was alone for the 10 days after kitty died, and the smell and Juniper and Osha still bring me back to the feeling of pure self-care and healing.  

Mother Earth provides so much for us- we just have to use what she gives us.  There is a freedom and a rebelliousness that comes from healing ourselves using ancient rituals.  Whether you are new to smudging or want to continue your practice, I hope that you do so with an open heart and a loving spirit.

Interested in your own smudge wand? 

Try a few out! Click here or the image below to get a wand, or try all four (White Sage, Palo Santo, Mugwort, and Juniper) in a sweet ritual bundle.  

 

Manifesting Your Dreams

Does your life look exactly like you want it to?  Probably not. Have all of your hopes and dreams played out exactly to your expectations? Probably not. But does that mean we should give up trying to live the life we know we’re meant to lead? I don’t think so.  Does that mean we should forget about our true desires and just accept everything that falls into our laps? I don’t think so.  Can we cry when we don’t get our way? Yes. Can we throw a fit and scrape and claw to climb the mountain towards our biggest dreams? Yes.  What does dream life-design look like in real-life? It involves some planning, some action and some imagination.  Before we can really start to move towards our dreams, we’ve got to get clear on what exactly they are.  

I’ve compiled some steps below to help you on your journey towards living the life you desire while accepting the life you have! 

1. Brain Cleanse

Have you ever woken up with a to-do list that feels like a novel? An amazingly effective practice is what I call a “brain cleanse”.  This short but powerful practice involves that insane list snaking its way through your mind.  Upon waking, or whenever you feel the urge, purge! Write down every single thing that you are worrying about or that’s taking up space in your mind.  You could do this with pen and paper, type it on your computer, or even as a Note in your phone! Simply list out every single thought that is on your mind more than once.  It could be thoughts as minute as “set up email reminder to pay bills” or as big as “I have no idea what I want my career to be” …

This is your list so the more you write, the more clear you’ll get.  Nothing is too small, or too big, to be included in your brain cleanse! 
 

2. CATEGORIZE & COMPLETe

Now that you’ve got your brain cleanse list, you can separate things into categories.  My usual categories are the order of how I need to get things done.  They are: Immediately, Near Future, and Long Term Goals; yours may be different! Once you put things into categories, you can start analyzing each item.  If you notice that most of your list is in the “Immediately” category, you may want to take it easy on yourself and pause on the big dream items until you get more urgent things done.  For instance, I had a friend who had big goals and even bigger dreams, but her finances were wrecked. “Money” was in her “Immediately” category, so we took some to create a budget plan for her.  That freed up A LOT of mental space and relief for her to get back to dreaming big!  
 

3. Accountability

Growing up, most of us were held accountable by our parents or guardians. Whether it was chores, cleaning your room, or saving your allowance, someone was checking in.  As adults, we still crave this accountability; and it often helps with those of us who have big dreams!  Find a friend, a coworker, a random acquaintance, a friend on social media- someone!- that can check in with you each week or each month to see if you’re continuing to complete some of your items from your brain cleanse.  You get what you ask for so ask for what you need; you’ll probably be surprised at how many folks in your community are willing to help you out. Take some time to think about what you want to be held accountable for. Perhaps you lose sight of the bigger picture often, or maybe you need someone to make sure you’re getting the small things done. Whatever it may be, know that we can’t be on this journey alone. It truly does take a village! 
 

4. DREAM BIG

This is one of the simplest concepts but often the hardest action to take.  DREAM BIG.  Perhaps you grew up in a society that only gave you a few choices of what you could do or who you could be. Oh, the times they are a changin’…  You can create your destiny now. YOU have the power and the passion to manifest your dreams.  But first, you’ve got to know what your dreams are.  A beautiful way to plant your seeds of desire, and to figure out what they may in the first place, is to work with the rhythms of the Moon. This is a huge part of my own life journey and the work that I do with others.  Over the years, I’ve seen the magic of the Moon bring dreams to reality in a very tangible way.  A powerful time, that happens once a month, is the New Moon.  During this time, the Moon is in its darkest phase and the energy is ripe for setting intentions. Click here to learn about how to set your own New Moon intentions as you start to create your dream life! 

Now that you’ve got some action steps you can take, it’s time to put the pedal to the metal and keep on dreaming.  It’s okay to have an imagination. It’s okay to daydream. These things are the beauty of life! You are a Spirit living in physical form and it is up to you to take your dreams to the next level.  With the awareness that you have, and the strength of your passions, it is with no doubt in my mind that your dreams will become your reality! 

You are your dreams. 

 

 

 

 

The Art of Self-Care: Vaginal Steaming

I talk a lot about the art of self-care.  My own self-care practice became so important when I was at a point in my own journey where I was moving away from focusing on others and external things and focusing more on myself.  Learning about self-care, and taking part in daily, monthly, and yearly ritual as become such a potent piece in my own story of healing.  

Years ago when I was in my Yoga teacher training, I learned about one of the limbs of Yoga, called Niyamas.  These are personal observances that are practiced intentionally, in a Yogic way of life.  My favorite Niyama is saucha.

Saucha translates into English as “cleanliness” but it is so much more than that. For me, saucha is about intentional purity in the way that I live my life, specifically in how I take care of my body.  

Among some of the rituals that I practice to invite saucha into my body and spirit, is Vaginal Steaming. 

This is a centuries old mechanism of cleansing the body from within using specific herbs and steam.  Vaginal / Yoni steaming cleanses the uterus and can be used for a variety of issues (or for purely practicing saucha!) such as:

Painful periods
Infertility
Pain during sex
PMS
Bladder issues
Endometriosis
PCOS
Sexual Trauma
+ so much more 

Just as we clean our hair, and our skin, the inside of our bodies need to be cleansed too. We often only think of cleanses in the form of a juice-cleanse, or exfoliating body scrub, or even a neti-pot.  But it’s so important to put the focus on our womb-space as well.  Vaginal steaming, for me, is just as much about the physical as it is about the spiritual. When I practice this art of self-care, I feel closer to my body and my womb.


My body truly is a temple and this ancient ritual is a cleansing of my temple space.  

 

If you have pretty pain-free periods (say that three times fast), you only need to steam a few times a year.  The steam and oils from the herbs rise into your Yoni space and into your uterus to help dislodge accumulations of menstrual fluid that haven’t been passed with your monthly cycle.  

Do you ever have dark red blood during your period, especially at the beginning or the end? This indicates the presence of “old” blood; this could mean that you have a slower menstrual flow or poor uterine circulation, causing blood from previous cycles to be left behind from clotting.  According to the Birth Institute, the dark blood “…means that your uterus needs to be cleansed from within. The dark blood at the onset of your period is what did not flush out the last cycle and the dark blood at the end of the period is from many months, even years of accumulation on the uterine membrane.  The accumulation hardens, darkens and thickens which makes the uterus work and cramp harder to expel the indurated material.”

Wow! What a simple way to put it; and it makes so much sense! From the day that I began working with my own specific blends of herbs for menstrual health, I have noticed a profound difference in my menstrual cycles; specifically on the color, amount, and texture of blood that my body passes.  You'll need to really listen to your intuition and your body to discern if this is a ritual that will serve you right now.  This is a "quick fix" or a one stop shop for all of your menstrual issues, but done over time, it can significantly reduce some symptoms.  Try it out and see what you think! 

When NOT to steam: During your period, if you think you have a vaginal or bladder infection, if you are pregnant or think you are pregnant, or if you have open wounds or sores. 

How to steam: 


You’ll need a large glass or stainless steel bowl, a cup of dried herbs (see herbal suggestions below) and boiling water.

  • Place your bowl in your toilet with the lip of the bowl hugging the sides.  The bowl should fall into your toilet bowl but should just fit in. 

  • Place a cup of herbs inside the bowl.

  • Pour enough hot water over herbs to just cover them.

  • Cover with a top or lid and let steep for about 10 minutes.

  • Then, remove your clothing from the waist down. Make sure the steam isn't too hot, and then sit down on your seat and wrap a blanket around your waist, so that you can contain the steam. ( I typically put a small towel over the toilet seat edges so it’s more comfy.) It may take you a few tries to see what you like!

  • The steam lasts for about 20 minutes.

  • Use this time to retreat into yourself. If you can, light some candles in your bathroom, dim the lights, play some relaxing music and soak in this practice of self-care.

  • Once finished, be sure to stay warm and cozy; it’s optimal to practice steaming before bed so you can get under the covers right after, to lie down and stay warm.

 
 


Herbs for steaming:

 

  • Yarrow: reduces very heavy bleeding at menstruation and reduces cramps. This herb is also used for protection and courage.

  • Mugwort: stimulates the uterus to restore a natural monthly cycle. (do not use if pregnant). Mugwort is also the herb of dream-time, allowing us to remove the veil between spirit and earthly world.

  • Rosemary: increases circulation and helps with pain relief. This herb is used for purification of the body and the spirit.

  • Calendula: initiates rapid healing of vaginal tissues and reduces cramping. Calendula also pulls in positive, fresh energy!

  • Rose Petals: this a very gentle astringent that will eliminate bad bacteria. Rose is also the herb of self-love and uplifts your spirits!

If you have experience with herbs and know the medicinal properties of your favorite herbs, you might decide to make your own blend. I have created a limited amount of Yoni Steaming blends with the herbs listed above. Click below to order yours.

Have you ever steamed? Comment below with your favorite herbs to use! Questions? Ask away!

Happy Steaming!

 

 
 

New Moon Ceremony

R I T U A L 
W I S D O M 
I N T E N T I O N 


The New Moon time is the most potent day of the month to set intentions. If you cannot attend a New Moon Circle, create your own! 

New Moon Ceremony

Find a space free from distraction. Bring any crystals, gemstones or special jewelry that you may have and create an altar space.  

With a journal and pen, write down your intentions for the coming Moon cycle.  

If you feel it, let your intentions center around creativity.  

This could be about a new work project, a new phase of your life, an art piece or a new relationships. When you think of your intention, let it be something that you're ready to bring into your life. Think big and don't hold back!

Save your paper so that you can look at your intention each day or each week. 

To close your ceremony, place your hands on your heart.

Take a deep breath in, respecting that intention and your awareness. 

Take a deep breath out, releasing your expectations around your intention.  

Meditate on your intentions for as long as you'd like.

loka samasta sukhino bhavantu...

May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.

There's No Such Thing As Failing

Hi everyone! We are continuing our Inspiration blog series where we feature guest posts from women all over the world who have deeply inspired us. I am so excited to share this interview with one of my dearest friends, Shay Spaniola. Shay is an artist, designer and owner of bunglo  - a home decor company that creates Fair-trade, high vibe products to keep your home shining! 

I met Shay, I think almost 2 years ago, through a mutual friend and I will never forget our first conversation.  We had an instant connection and chatted about health and meditation and following our passions. Shay deeply influenced me to quit my desk job and follow my own dreams! So it is with this that I am excited to share a bit about her inspiring story, below. 

photo from bunglo.co

photo from bunglo.co

  1. I know who you are and what your business or passion is, but what do you say when people ask "What do you do?"

    I would say I'm a designer + photographer and own www.bunglo.co; a home decor company based out of Austin. I work with socially responsible factories in India to produce my home goods for stores such as Neimans, Anthropologie, Bloomingdales and West Elm!

  2. Was there an "aha" moment that made you feel like you just had to follow your dream?

    I've always followed my passion for art, my work tends to shift mediums always which I like. Right now, bunglo is a series of work to me. I'm already seeing new changes in my work and welcome the path as it keeps it fun! I think my biggest 'aha' moment was realizing that to follow my dreams, I must trust in the changes along the way.

  3. Who are your biggest inspirations?

    My biggest inspirations? I'd have to say traveling. It always gives me a child like wonder, I enjoy capturing color palettes with my camera, meeting new people, wandering... I make it a big priority to travel and I never regret the results for inspiration!!

  4. What does a typical weekday look like for you?

    Every week is so different. If I'm in Austin, I try to workout in the morning, spend some time outside - Some days I'm at the computer in emails and others, I'm photographing bedding collections, designing the next season or on long hikes trying to clear my mind!

  5. What are you most passionate about?

    I'm very passionate about healthy living! I'm a big fan of raw foods, meditation, living in rhythm with nature and the importance of practicing creativity!

  6. What has been the least favorite job and the most favorite job/ career you've had?

    I've had many boring and draining jobs... but they taught me what I didn't want to be doing and pushed me to search for what did make me happy :) My favorite job was truly amazing. I was hired as a photographer to travel to 14 countries in Africa, South America, Caribbean, and Asia. I spent my days following students that were studying abroad or working on their masters abroad, learning about their research deep in the Costa Rican rainforests to working with non-profits focused on clean water, micro financing and spent time in orphanages and exploring colorful towns in Mexico. It was also nice staying at fancy hotels with the best meals - it was a big leap from my usual hostel stays on a budget!

  7. What would you want to tell other women who are feeling ready to take the leap and follow what makes them happy?

    Just do it! If you really love it enough, everything will work out. There's no such thing as failing, only giving up so have no fear, stay true to your passion!


Interested in learning more about Shay? Follow her daily adventures on instagram @shayspaniola  and @thebunglo . To purchase her amazing home products, check out www.bunglo.co

This Is My Story

I shared this on Instagram last week and so many reached out and encouraged me to share it with ya'll.  So..this is my story.

It’s written on my face some days when I speak. It’s constantly in the back of my mind.  When I was 19, I was diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder. I was unhealthy; I was tired and had no energy. Each morning, I woke up with my heart beating so hard I could hear it in my ears and felt like I could barely breathe. 

My days were spent trying to tell myself not to freak out about the smallest things. I had no spiritual life, even though I had grown up involved in the “church”. I had no direction and no attachment to myself. I didn’t know who my SELF was. I wasn’t awake; just going through the motions. Every day, I wanted to feel good. Every day was a struggle. The smallest thing would feel like the end of the world. I was in a total fog.

But it changed when I stopped. And asked for help. I received help in many forms; through therapists, medicine, a break from school, home-cooked Lebanese meals from my father. This helped, I’m sure. But my life truly changed when I made the decision to change from WITHIN. I changed the foods that I was putting in my body. I changed the way that I was breathing every breath. I changed my social activities and the way I moved my body. I became one with myself.

I started to learn about my own body; it’s cycles of ups & downs. Through classes and trainings and research and books, I learned what it means to truly be a woman. I learned how to EMBRACE my cycles; how to go with my flow in a holistic and healthy way. I truly believe that through nutrition, ritual, and patterns, we CAN re-member where we came from. We can re-write our future. We can re-wild ourselves.

Nature... has everything we need

We sat down with our friend Ashley, of Irish Roots Witchin Remedies, an Austin-based shop of handcrafted botanical concotions for Wellness, Harmony, and Balance.  I met Ashley through Instagram and loved the inspiration that I got from seeing her living out her passion for plant medicine.  I asked Ashley if she would share some words of wisdom on what she does and what inspires her to follow her dreams.  

If you'd like to see Ashley's creations, check out her Etsy shop or follow her on Instagram @irishrootswitchinremedies

Read below for her beautiful words of inspiration! 

When people ask me what I do, it is a simple response. I practice within the healing arts that connects us to nature, wellness, balance, and sacred space.

Nature in fact, has everything we need. She offers her medicine of nourishment and solitude, two essentials to mind and body balance. She encourages us to recognize her gifts of plants, flowers, leaves, roots, trees, seeds, rhizomes, seaweeds, fresh air and sacred energies. She offers her beauty, grace, and tools for incorporating healing rituals within our everyday life. With this, we are rewarded with the gift of putting our hands to work with one of the most heart-stirring crafts, creating herbal medicine; also known as the people's medicine.

Practicing herbalism is an artful craft that requires patience, compassion, activism and mindfulness, passions that I am naturally drawn to. So it is no surprise I connected so deeply with this art. I think it is pretty safe to say it is almost like having a profound love affair with nature, constantly craving more wisdom and a deeper connection to it's electric energy. Practicing and making herbal medicine is an exhilarating passion and journey! There is nothing as empowering as creating your own plant based concoction to nourish your body. When one realizes they have the ability to heal themselves and then share that with others, it is truly a beautiful awareness. Not only are you nourishing your body and others with delicious plant love, you are also putting your creative self expression to use while tapping into the real magical offerings of Mother Nature.

To create a sacred space and nurture your inner creative nature is what makes crafting herbal medicine so fun and unique. It is a mind / body / spirit waltz that leaves you elated and inspired. It is a special, transformative meditation that allows you to slow down and create a very meaningful relationship to our plant allies. I am sure anyone who has welcomed this craft into their life can attest to the aliveness one feels with their hands and heart while delicately harvesting, garbling, decanting, and then bottling a handcrafted medicinal potion. And that really is healing all in it's own. The herbal arts also has a very special way of honoring and reconnecting us to our ancestors and our roots, while recognizing our birth-rite to carry on these wonderful traditions. It truly is a gift that continuously gives. We all have the skills to welcome Mother Nature's medicine and nourishment into our lives; for the plants are our food, friends, medicine and teachers! 

As my green path of an aspiring herbalist continues, I know without a doubt my hands and heart are committed to forever deepening my connection with the plants, herbal knowledge and earth wisdom. I am very grateful to our teachers, both plant and human on all levels. I cherish their knowledge and wisdom they so graciously share. By continuing to immerse myself in the world of herbalism, I foresee a life fulfilled with good company, wholeness and gratitude.  
 

Full Moon Balance

The Full Moon will greet us on Wednesday with a Lunar Eclipse in the morning! Both eclipse times and Full Moon times can be filled with high energy; channel yours in a positive way by taking part in ceremony or ritual.  This Libra Full Moon is all about balance; within ourselves and others.  When we can live in moderation, as a lifestyle, we find that it's easier to see that same balance in others and in external situations.  

Everyday Example of Balance: Choice 1= Eat healthy during the week but splurge on weekends or vacations.  Do a cleanse or special diet every few months to "rid" your body of toxins.  Choice 2= Eat healthy all throughout the year, relying on routine and ritual to feed your body the nutrients it needs, without shocking your system. 

 
 

Full Moon Balancing Ceremony:

Supplies: A piece of fruit, crystals/rocks/gems/feathers, flower petals.
Take part in this ritual either the day before, the day of, or the day after Wednesday's Full Moon.

1. Gather your materials and go under the light of the Moon or near a window.
2. Set your fruit aside.
3. Create a mandala  using your supplies.  You can create this as big or small as you'd like. With flower petals as part of your decoration. This mandala is all about balance. Each time you place an item on one side of the circle or near the center, place another item evenly across from it. Take your time, making your mandala as intricate as you'd like. 
4. As you build your mandala, think about areas of your life that you'd like more balance. Each time you think of one, speak it aloud as you place another treasure on your circle.
5. Once your mandala feels complete, place your fruit in the center and allow it to soak up the Full Moon light and energy overnight. Let it nourish you in your morning breakfast.  

Note*  If you set any New Moon Intentions at the beginning of the month, take this time to reflect on where you can use balance in your life to help bring your intentions to fruition! 

This Invigorating Feeling Of Joy

We recently sat down (virtually) with some incredible women who are making their living doing what they love. 

Each woman featured in this series is following her dreams, and listening to her heart and her intuition. I hope this inspires you as much as it did us!

Missed our first guest post? Click here to read it!  Second up in our series is a woman that both Marlena and I are happy to say we know in person! Kate Freeman is an artist from our home state of Mississippi. Her work is dreamy and lively.  Each new painting she does gives us a glimpse into another talented Mississippi artist and what inspires her!  Follow Kate on Instagram at @katefree_ for daily inspiration of art and travel photos! 

1. I know who you are and what your business or passion is, but what do you say when people ask "What do you do?"
Ah yes, the "What do you do?" question! Whenever someone asks me that, I typically just say, I am an artist! I like to keep it simple when someone asks me such a broad question, you know? 

2. Was there an "aha" moment that made you feel like you just had to follow your dream?
When I was in 9th grade, I started doing black and white paintings of bands and people I admired. It was then and there that I was like "aha" something I can do for hours and not get bored! Aha! I want to do this for the rest of my life. I am so glad I decided to keep pursuing my dream after school. It's been incredible seeing how my art has grown over the past years, since the first "aha" moment. :) 

3. Who are your biggest inspirations?
My biggest art inspirations are Frank Stella and Hans Hoffman. I live in a town full of artists that also inspire me! I am so lucky! A few are; Ginger Williams Cook, William Goodman, Kristen Ley and my boyfriend, Justin Schultz. I find inspiration every time I walk out my door. I look at color, form, texture and flow when I get inspired. It's the most amazing feeling! 

4. What does a typical weekday look like for you?
On a typical weekday, I wake-up, snuggle with my cat, slowly walk to my kitchen and heat up the kettle for warm lemon water. I then get dressed and drive (or bike) the 2 miles to work. My main day-to-day job is working at a letterpress/design studio, called Thimblepress. It's FILLED with inspiration, on a daily basis. The vibe is so colorful in our studio! Then after work, I exercise to give my brain a rest, drive or walk home, then cook dinner and make ginger tea. While my tea is brewing, I get my paints ready and I paint all night until I can't hold my eyes open any longer. Then I sleep! 

5. What are you most passionate about?
I am passionate about SO many things. Obviously, I am passionate about art and always will be. I am also passionate about healthy living. I am a vegetarian ( I do eat fish) and I feel amazing. I really try to be conscious about what goes in my body. I also try to take really good care of my skin! I love looking up vegan skincare and all the new brands developing. I am passionate about interior design, fashion, music and cats! It's hard to narrow this question down!  

6. What has been the least favorite job and the most favorite job/ career you've had?
My least favorite job was working as a manager in corporate retail. I worked a corporate job for 9 months and then made a switch! My most favorite job is the job I have now! I work as the Online Sales Manager at Thimblepress and I try to help/learn as much as I can with the marketing side of the business too! I have the freedom to be myself in an environment that doesn't judge. Thimblepress is full of laughter, color and lots of studio animals! 

7. What would you want to tell other women who are feeling ready to take the leap and follow what makes them happy?
Oh love, DO IT! It's scary at first but that fear will turn into this invigorating feeling of joy. The harder you work, the more it will pay off. It may take you a while to take that leap and succeed, but once you do.. it will be life changing. Follow those dreams, you are only you once.. so go for it! 

To purchase Kate's art, visit her website: http://katefreemanart.com

DISCOVER OUR OTHER INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN AND READ WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY!
#1: VANYA VUKELIC
#3: MADISON PERRINS