It's time to create some SoulSpace

All summer, I've been deeply engrossed in the creative process of incubating and manifesting a long-time dream of mine, and I'm so stoked to finally be able to share it with you all! I'm super-excited to introduce you to the SoulSpace Series. (Really, I just clapped, here alone at my desk.) It's common knowledge that the relationship between the therapist and the client is the most beneficial and effective aspect of healing work. Way more-so than any techniques, tools, theories, training, tips, and tricks. So, as helping professionals, it is imperative (even ethically so) that we lovingly care for our most valuable tool -- OURSELVES! (Um, not selfish in the least.) If we enter into our healing work while suffering from burn out, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, lack of inspiration, lack of confidence/trust in ourselves -- then no one benefits. I want you to be the most clear, present, attuned, connected, and inspired healing practitioner you can possibly be -- the world needs more of that.

And this, in a nutshell, is why I created SoulSpace.

The SoulSpace Series is a super-accessible, guided online experience that reacquaints you, alongside a supportive cohort, with your creative, compassionate, inner healer and weaves a practice of rhythmic, micro self-care rituals unobtrusively into your everyday. (Think: sustainable, bite-sized, daily rituals vs expensive, annual vacations and retreats. We'll wither away waiting for those. <-- did you guys read that article?)

SoulSpace invites you into a deeply soulful and contemplative space that is also refreshingly playful, permissive, creative, and light. Over the course of the, 6-week, online program, you'll master simple, self-care rituals that nourish your practice and your day, walking away with concrete practices you can dip into in even the smallest moments you have between clients.

Whether you're a student training to become a psychotherapist, coach, or bodyworker -- or if you've been in practice for years in a setting where you're supporting clients emotionally/spiritually throughout your day -- I created SoulSpace for YOU.

Click here to more about SoulSpace, cozy up in your favorite blanket, grab a cuppa pumpkin-something, join a tribe of fellow healing arts practitioners this autumn.

Now is the perfect time.

Oh, and I'm giving away one free enrollment this week, only on Instagram! Hop on over to follow me and enter! (The winner will be chosen on Monday, September 21, 2015.) Giveaway has ended and SoulSpace is underway for the Autumn 2015 session. I'll offer it again after the new year, so stay tuned to my e-newsletter to find out when the doors open for enrollment.

Wellness rituals I love, Part 3: Yoga at home

Today's blog is part of the mini-series on wellness rituals I love. In addition to drinking golden milk nightly and dry brushing before daily showers, this is another simple, sustainable way I enhance my physical well-being: Practicing yoga at home while watching my fav YouTube yogini, Adriene Mishler. Sure, I love going to live yoga classes at my local studio. There's something about the energy of the whole room practicing together that helps to hold the space. Realistically though, as a business owner and a mom to a young child, I can't always make it to my studio for regular classes. I've been practicing yoga (off and on) for nearly 2 decades, so while I know my way around a sun salutation, I have trouble motivating my way through a session without guidance. Enter: Yoga with Adriene. She's a lifesaver!

Find what feels good.

Not only does she provide free yoga videos online, for all levels of practitioners, at varying lengths, AND targeting different needs (i.e.; 'Yoga for when you're sick," "Yoga for headaches," "Yoga on an airplane,") -- she does it with such charm! I love that her style is permissive, gentle, accessible, humorous, and rooted in the idea of self-care. Her mantra is FIND WHAT FEELS GOOD (and it makes a good t-shirt, I gotta say!)

Peruse her Youtube channel and find a video that speaks to you in this moment. I kicked off my relationship with Adriene via her 30-day yoga challenge, which was a perfect way to ease myself back into a regular practice and get into the ritual of doing it at home. The video below is her overview of the 30 Days of Yoga. See whatcha think.

For my home practice, I just have some basics -- a mat, a block, and a bolster. That's all you need, and you can generally improvise on those last two items with stuff you already have at home.

So, that's my third little tip for making wellness easy -- and in this case, actually fun! Namaste.

Wellness rituals I love, Part 2: Dry brushing

Care of the self starts with care of the physical body as a top priority, and the mental,emotional, and spiritual bodies follow closely. Last week I posted about a ritual I love, drinking golden milk each night. The second wellness ritual I want to share in this little mini-series on the blog is about a practice I began last autumn: Dry brushing.

Again: I’m not a medical doctor. Always seek the advice of your medical doctor before starting new regimens

Dry brushing is easy, takes just a minute, and has so many benefits (besides just brushing off dry skin cells,) including:

  • Stimulating the lymphatic system: eliminating cellular waste & toxins
  • Exfoliation: removing dry, dead skin cells, thus unclogging pores and helping you glow
  • Increasing circulation: encourages metabolic waste elimination
  • Reducing stress: The act itself is meditative and can relieve muscle tension and calm your mind, like a body massage might
  • Improving digestion & kidney function: Supports organ function by shedding excess water & toxins
  • It's invigorating: It simply feels good!

One very important thing to note is that there is a correct way to dry brush in order to reap the benefits, especially those involving toxin release and lymphatic drainage. The best how-to I found for this is this video. It's just over 11 minutes long, but its so thorough and informative that it's well worth the watch.

I like to dry brush just before turning on the shower. I purchased a soft bristle brush with a long handle, like this one from Amazon. I also bought a smaller version that's good for travel.

Enjoy! A third installment in this mini-series on physical well-being will be posted next week...

Wellness rituals I love, Part 1: Golden milk

I'm big on self-care rituals. (But you probably already knew that.) Today I'm sharing the first in a little series of blog posts about my favorite daily rituals that directly benefit my physical health, therefore my overall well-being: Golden milk!

Note: I'm not a medical doctor. Always seek the advice of your medical doctor before starting new regimens.

Oh you guys, this is magic in a mug. I've been drinking it nightly for nearly a year, and it is just so soothing to me and is working wonders for my health. There are so many wonderful benefits to drinking golden milk. The most potent part of golden milk is turmeric, which contains curcumin. Curcumin has amazing health benefits, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cancer-preventative properties. Additional benefits of turmeric are:

  • Anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antiseptic,analgesic,.
  • Boosts immunity.
  • Anti-carcinogenic.
  • Helps maintain cholesterol levels.
  • Promotes digestive health.
  • Liver detoxifier.
  • Regulates metabolism and weight management.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Memory and brain function.
  • Various skin conditions.
  • Neurological disorders.
  • Lowers Triglycerides

The recipe I use for my golden milk is from the wonderful instructional video below. I've written out the ingredients and recipe below (with some of my personal preferences) but I find it very helpful to watch the video tutorial, too.

First, make the turmeric paste:

  • 1/2c spring water
  • 1/4c turmeric powder (I like to get a large bag of quality organic turmeric here. If this becomes a daily ritual for you, you'll save money getting this big bag instead of small portions in your grocery store.)
  • Heat on med/low for 7-9 min stirring constantly
  • Store in glass container in fridge up to 14 days

To make the golden milk from the turmeric paste:

  • 1c milk (It can be cow, almond, coconut, etc. as long as it's unsweetened. Each lends a different flavor to the golden milk, and I've found that unsweetened coconut is my personal preference.)
  • 1tsp turmeric paste you made (above)
  • Honey or maple syrup or stevia to sweeten (Sweetening is optional. I like to add a dollop of manuka honey to mine.)
  • Heat on medium for 5 min
  • Add 1/4-1/2 tsp oil to mug - Udo's oil or coconut oil are my favs
  • Adding a dash of black pepper to recipes containing turmeric enhances curcumin’s bioavailability by 1,000 times, due to black pepper’s hot property called pipeline, so by mixing turmeric and black pepper together, you increase your body’s absorption of the turmeric by 2000% - and it adds a fun kick.

Other golden perks:

  • If you drink it at night before bed, it helps you to fall right to sleep.
  • It dyes the bristles of your toothbrush golden if you brush right after drinking it. (Um, yay..?)
  • If you google 'golden milk' you can get tons more info and variations on the recipe. There are turmeric juices and smoothies out there you can make, if warm drinks aren't your thing.
  • My 8 year old daughter even enjoys golden milk. She prefers hers made in the traditional way, with cow's milk.

Working with dreams

Dream images are a lot like art images in that both come to us from our unconscious mind to teach, reveal, heal, or process something. Today I'm sharing three easy ways to engage with your nighttime dream world in your waking life. First, if you are a person who has a hard time recalling your dreams once you are awake, it may help to add a peaceful ritual to your bedtime routine, whereby you turn off the lights, light a candle, and set an intention to bring your dreams into waking consciousness the next morning. You might even invoke a dream at night by asking for clarity around an issue in your life. In the morning, set aside about five minutes of quiet (even if this means waking before the rest of your household) to scribble down any notes or doodles about what you remember from the night before.

Ultimately dreams symbols are unique to the dreamer. For example, one person may think fire is destructive while another might find fire to be cleansing. Dream decoder books totally run with the idea that one thing equals another, which drives me bonkers because it doesn't empower the dreamer to interpret her or his own dream. In my view, the meaning the dreamer assigns to each symbol in a dream is the most important place to begin the exploration. After the dreamer's associations have been explored, it may then be enlightening to tap into what the collective unconscious views these symbols to mean, to see if it lends any wisdom. For that second phase, I like to look at archetypes, symbols, and cultural associations.

Recurring dreams often happen when we still have not addressed the issue being presented, so they come back to us, calling louder and louder for us to pay attention. With recurring dreams, sometimes the story or symbols in the dream can shift, but the emotional intensity, quality, and often the overarching meaning stay the same.

Three simple ideas of working with your nighttime dreams:

1) Tell  the dream to your therapist or a trusted person from start to finish without interruption. Re-experiencing the story in the present moment while it telling can allow you to gain mastery over it and give you a new perspective on it. This can happen with a therapist guiding you to be alert to your body's responses and wisdom during your retelling, and by having a compassionate witness for the process.

2) Express the dream non-verbally through art. You might choose to make a book or cartoon panels about the story or perhaps set up the scene in a sand tray, with the supportive presence of an art therapist. You don't always need to unpack the meaning of each literal dream symbol and bring it into consciousness necessarily; working with the emotional quality of the dream may be quite helpful in itself. You can bring out "loose" art materials -- meaning ones that are really formless and open -- like watercolors, fingerpaints, or clay -- and trust that what needs to be expressed will be expressed through the art. Loose art media allow the spirit the opportunity to process unconsciously. This involves a degree of just trusting the process since it won't always look like it's directly accessing the dream content or characters. You will likely experience shifts in the dream or your response to the dream as you engage in this process.

3) Take the dream further in your waking life by asking yourself what happens next. You might imagine what you would have needed in the dream in order to solve the obstacle in the dream, if it did not play out in your sleep in a satisfying way -- maybe a tool, a shield, a magic power, a special uniform, or a vehicle, etc. Enjoy creating this item as an art project, as it directly accesses your inner resources and allows you to spend time creating your own solution. You can get creative with ways to further the dream and access all of the things your waking mind has at its disposal. After accessing resources in some way, you can tell the new story with its new ending, either by journaling or retelling it to a trusted person.

Wishing you rich, juicy dreams tonight!