Homecoming

Almost two years ago, I heard a call from within, and even though it was a scary one, I answered. This was a very clear call to shift the way I offer my medicine and gifts to the world. It needed an update, a refresh, and to realign with my authentic Self - a Self who had been changing all along, who was waking up into a new chapter of her life. I paused the part of my work that involves in-person private psychotherapy clients, and followed my gut and heart into a soul searching expedition.

This time has been (& is) a gift — rich with quiet, deep self inquiry and fiery, raucous dances with my inner teenager. I’m catching up to who I’ve been becoming on the inside over this past decade when I was keeping my head down in parenting-a-tiny-human mode & in career mode. This discovery time precipitated my family’s upcoming move to Boulder and juicy personal developments. Since last June, I've been part of an ongoing council and ceremony designed to take a deep-dive into how I can walk as my medicine. It has become so clear to me, through that experience with a tribe of soulful women, how much we need each other's reflection in order to adequately see ourselves.  

I am relearning how to value BEing as much as (or more than) DOing. At a dinner party, wouldn’t we all rather be asked “who are you?“ than “what do you do?“ Sure, I’ve got artsy side gigs here & there, I do some remote supervision and consulting work, and I’m momming nonstop, but without clients walking into and out of my office, “work” has been less visible. A few weeks ago my daughter asked, “Do you even have a job anymore?” Honestly, the question struck a nerve... likely because of my own accidental indoctrination into & expectations about work/worth culture, and also that she may have already absorbed some of that bullshit just by breathing the air. So, I took the opportunity to talk about the importance I place on reevaluating, reinventing, recreating — on BEing. On aligning, centering, and getting into right relationship with the Self. How it’s a socially unsanctioned and radical act in our current culture. How it’s the opposite of glorifying busy-ness. And how slowing down to listen is an extreme privilege I absolutely recognize and for which I feel immense gratitude. While putting “work” on hiatus to explore myself (& as a biproduct, how I can most authentically be of service in my next “professional” incarnation,) I hope I’m inadvertently modeling for my daughter the supreme value of simply walking as one’s medicine in the world.

I feel so much more ME, and it is only from that place that I can know what is mine to offer, and offer these gifts wholeheartedly. I’m trusting that the service/doing part will unfold, once I’m settled in my new Boulder digs, and with divine timing. And for now, I gotta finish packing up my studio and dusting off my wings... almost time to fly!

Making Mabon Magic

The upcoming autumnal equinox (in the Northern hemisphere,) or Mabon, is a perfect opportunity to create a ceremony to mark a seasonal transition. Ceremony is a sacred and active prayer that opens communication with spirit. It can be as modest or elaborate as you'd like, as long as you infuse your ritual with clear intention and heartfelt meaning. Here is a loose guideline for a very simple, personal autumn equinox ceremony:

1) Gather materials: You'll need your journal, a piece of scrap paper, pen, candle, lighter, favorite scents (oils, smudging plants) and any other objects that speak to you in this moment (stones, bells, photos, jewelry, flowers, etc.) 

2) Carve out a sacred space. It can be in your home or yard, the forest or beach -- anywhere! You may wish to create a small autumn altar on a shelf, table, or near your yoga mat or meditation space. If outside, you might use a stone or tree stump as an altar, or create a beautiful spot at the base of a tree. Place your special candle on your altar. You might also include seasonal objects you've gathered, such as leaves, acorns, stones, fruits.

3) Set your intention for autumn. Reflect on what you want to manifest by writing or making art in your journal. Then write a your intention statement on a small piece of paper to use in ceremony. You may wish to flow with the energy the fall equinox offers naturally, such as:

  • Recognizing and honoring the balance of the light and dark within you, as there are equal hours of each on this special day.
  • Harvesting, expressing gratitude for, and celebrating the bounty and abundance from the seeds you've sewn earlier this year.
  • Soulful planning for the cooler, darker, introspective months ahead. The seed you plant now can bloom next spring.
  • Making a commitment to open your inward eye during these darker months, discovering more about your unfolding, authentic self.
  • Replenishing yourself - mind, body, and spirit. As reflected in the plant and animal life around us, we are also moving into the time for dormancy, hibernation, rest, and renewal. 
  • In this season of roots, spend time honoring your ancestors, calling on them for guidance or protection. 

4) Open the ceremony by marking the time as sacred using a symbolic act. This can be done any in any of the following ways: Crossing a threshold; lighting the candle on your altar; sounding a bell, gong, drum, or rattle; using a scent to bring you into the dreamtime (diffusing or anointing with essential oils, lighting sage or palo santo, misting rose water, etc.)  

5) Now call your guides into the space. Your personal guides might be your spirit guides, angels, gods/goddesses, animal spirits, ancestors or any un/seen entity that feels good and clear to call on in support of your highest good and your intention.

6) Cast a circle, calling upon all directions. You can do this however you prefer. I like to speak the following:

Facing east: "Spirit of the east, great spirit of air, cleanse this space."

Facing south: "Spirit of the south, great spirit of water, bring peace to this space."

Facing west: "Spirit of the west, great spirit of fire, energize this space."

Facing north: "Spirit of the north, great spirit of earth, ground this space."

Directed upward: "Great father sky, protect this space from above."

Directed downward: "Great mother earth, nurture this space from below."

7) Say your intention aloud and/or meditate on it like a mantra. Allow the intention statement to flow through your body in both directions -- inhaling the earth's energy up from the bottom of your feet (or base of your spine if sitting) from root to crown until it ascends from the top of your head to the heavens. Then exhale it down from crown to root, grounding your intention into the fertile soil of the earth.

8) Place the small paper with your intention on your altar. I often place mine under a candle or a stone to ground and enliven it. 

9) Close the ceremony circle by offering gratitude to your guides. Also you may want to repeat or reverse the act you chose for opening your ceremony, such as snuffing the candle or herbs, sounding the bell, or crossing back over your threshold. 

10) Allow the ceremony live in you as you move through the season ahead. Interact with your altar and/or journal, revisiting your intention and noticing the ways you are actively manifesting it in your life. 

Art, chakras & self-inquiry, oh my!

Oooof, what a year it's been so far, huh? For me, lately it's been more essential than ever to stay grounded and in touch with my body -- to listen deeply, to be nourished, and to express (literally meaning "press out") what I am feeling and carrying within. That's why this new offer comes at a perfect time for me, and I hope for you, too. 

I am thrilled and honored to be among the soulful artists and teachers in the next cycle of the inspirational 21 Secrets online workshop which will explore the theme: EMBODY. I am one of 21 teachers you'll hear from in this course, each offering a uniquely artistic approach to embodiment.

In my 21 Secrets segment, you'll join me on a colorful journey across the rainbow bridge of your chakra system. Oooo, one of my favorite topics to study and teach! We'll walk through the chakras as a developmental timeline, from womb through adulthood. You'll gain insight into how each chakra's qualities manifest in your life, and express your findings through art! Healing, honoring, and celebrating your body in your own artistic way will help to keep you connected to and caring for yourself in a time when it's imperative. And you all know how I feel about self-care!

EARLY BIRD SALE starts TODAY! Here's what's included:

  • A downloadable 150+ page eBook that contains 21 art journaling workshops packed with videos, photos, templates, and clear instructional content that is yours to keep and refer to again and again. This will be delivered to your inbox on March 27th at 9am Pacific, and it'll be yours forevermore.

  • Unlimited access to all workshops at once! You pick and choose which ones you do and when. There is no time limit or deadlines to meet — these workshops are yours to keep.

  • Membership to the private 21 SECRETS Facebook community where you can share, be inspired, and receive warm, supportive feedback.

  • The opportunity to learn a variety of art journaling approaches and techniques from the comfort of your home/studio.

  • Belong to a supportive online artist community that has been growing strong since 2010! 

Pretty awesome, huh?

The whole package is priced amazingly at $98, and you early birds can get $10 off using the code: emBODY when checking out between now and midnight Pacific Friday, February 11th.  

For more information & to register, click here.

 

New moon, new web site

It's nearly Halloween, and I'm all dressed up as myself in this shiny new web space. I've been spiffing up my web site, bringing it into modern times after having had the same look for the past 12 years. While I'm not completely settled into these new digs, I still decided to have you over for a little housewarming tea, because I'm exercising the muscle that doesn't have to make things all perfect before sharing them. So, welcome. Come in, and have a look around. Let me know what you think.

I'm really feeling today's new moon in Scorpio. The smoke from my palo santo is swirling across my desk as I write this tonight, with the veil between worlds thinning, the leaves and rain falling. 

Today I read Mystic Mamma's post about this new moon, and these words spoke to me: 

New moon in Scorpio heralds in the witching hour of magic and mystery and the depths of our soul. 
The spirits of our ancestors are with us. As we call forth their wisdom, they remind us to awaken to our fullness before we shed these skins. 
Scorpio brings her alchemy of transformation and reminds us to shed outmoded forms of being, so that we can shapeshift ourselves into a new reality and our eagle spirit can soar to new heights.

I am living these very sentiments at the moment, as I am dreaming into what these new heights will be for myself and my business. I'm certainly in a transformative space and trying to cherish the mystery and possibility of all that's brewing. Stirring my cauldron and listening deeply to what I'm called to make. do. offer. be. You'll be the first to know.   

Saying goodbye

carryyourheart

Saying goodbye to someone we care about is difficult, and it's never, ever perfect. As a culture (or maybe as a species,) we're just not that good at it because it doesn't feel great, and we're pleasure-seekers by nature. We all handle goodbyes differently, in ways that might have been modeled for us by early caregivers or ways relationships may have ended without our having a choice in the matter. Almost all of us have some degree of woundedness around goodbyes, whether they've left us with feelings of abandonment, anger, confusion, and/or grief. So when we say goodbye as adults, we might protect ourselves (often our younger child selves) in subtle ways that are not entirely conscious. We may belittle the meaningfulness of the relationship, skip over or avoid the goodbye by ghosting, say a breezy or empty goodbye because our true vulnerability is too difficult to show (or may be unsafe to show, in some cases.) We may be in denial of the goodbye, using a "see you later" mentality even when we won't actually see them later. We might linger, delay, or hold on in small ways so the goodbye isn't final. We might focus on unpleasant memories of the relationship, place blame, express anger, or unconsciously need to make the other person 'wrong' so we can emotionally withdraw so the ending doesn't hurt as much. We might drop a bomb (aka - big piece of news or big new emotion) at the end of a relationship on our way out the door so there isn't time to process it together. We might feel all of our real goodbye feels, but avoid eye contact or even the in-person parting. Some of us prefer to write a heartfelt letter to express our feelings about the ending. We may put the other person on a pedestal of admiration or shower them with compliments or gifts when parting. These are just a few examples of the limitless ways many of us defend against the pain of parting.

Let me be clear: None of these behaviors are "bad" or "wrong" -- it's just how we human beings self-soothe around something really, really hard on our hearts. They are all brilliant adaptive strategies we've learned and practiced in order to cope with something difficult, unpleasant, raw, or sometimes threatening. Whichever strategy you've used in past relationship endings, it is okay because it has served and protected a vulnerable part of you -- likely a younger part. Honor your inner wisdom around it, while also examining it to see if you still want and need to do goodbyes in the way you have historically.

As a therapist, goodbyes are something I think about a lot, because therapists tend to experience them a lot when it is time to end with a client. Our goodbyes ethically and legally need to be complete closure of the relationship. In the field of therapy, a goodbye between a client and a therapist is called "termination," though many shudder at that term, mostly due to the connotation around death. (Death is another type of goodbye our culture still has a hard time talking about, but that's another blog topic for another day.) Therapists aim say goodbye to our clients intentionally, and model what a healthy, conscious, authentic goodbye can look like. As therapists, we sign up to hold space for and honor whatever emotions, defenses, or projections (mostly unconscious) the goodbye brings up within each client - each scenario so unique and uncharted.

Therapy is a microcosm for how a person does their life outside the therapy room, as well as a safe rehearsal-ground for what might be possible in future moments outside therapy. In the spirit of personal growth and rehearsing new ways of being, when a relationship between a therapist and client comes to an end, therapists can invite clients to engage in an ending experience that hopefully feels honoring and real - even if this way of being feels new, weird, and perhaps pushes against a growing edge.

Sure, even the most intentional, conscious, healthy goodbye can still create a degree of longing, awkwardness, sadness, discomfort, or disappointment. That goes for both sides -- therapist and client -- because we're all human and sensitive and evolving. The difference is that therapy (and the ending of it) is in service of the client, and it is the therapist's job to process our own issues, in our own healing space and time, around endings and perhaps around the personal impact of what we're being asked hold in the service of each client. This is why self-care for healers is an ethical imperative. Even when co-creating a conscious goodbye experience in therapy, old habits may still play out, perhaps depending on a person's degree of readiness for change or the degree of woundedness around endings. In my therapist and human heart, I genuinely welcome and meet this with deep empathy, and I express it when given the opportunity. Growth can be so clunky and beautifully human for all of us, and we're all here to help each other grow. When closure is done with presence, authenticity, gratitude, vulnerability, intention, openness, and even ritual and celebration, goodbyes can be tremendously healing.

The next time you are putting closure to a relationship of any kind, it's an opportunity to engage in a conscious goodbye, whether you have always done so, or whether you just wish to do it differently this time. At the very least, it's a chance to explore your relationship to "goodbye" and what your mode of operation has been around endings. To be authentic and frank in expressing your feelings when parting ways, and honoring the shared time and space of a relationship, is healing to the heart.