Posts in Inspire
Cyclical Living: Summer Notes

Just as I teach clients to sync their lifestyles with their own internal monthly cycles, I also practice and teach syncing with the cycles of the Earth for healthier, more connected, and more meaningful living. Today (June 21st) is the Summer Solstice- the longest day of the year and the first day of Summer! I will be celebrating the occasion by watching the sunrise and the sunset today, reflecting on all the ways I have grown up until this point, and thinking about what I desire to both let go of and to cultivate in my own life.

Because the Sun is our source of energy here on Earth, you may notice the abundance of energy that you feel during Summer months. Summer is marked by the element of Fire and the emotions of joy! Between longer days with more sunshine, warmer temperatures, more time spent outside, and maybe even some vacation time planned, we feel the vibrance of life in full swing. We have gone through the cleansing and awakening of Spring and now we are ready to fully enjoy the abundance of energy we naturally feel during Summer months. Below is your guide for food, movement, self-care and ways of being for living cyclically this Summer.

EAT

LIGHTEN UP Due to the abundance of natural energy we feel during the summer months and the extra heat outside, we crave lighter, fresher, juicier and raw foods during this time of the year. Because so much is in season, it is a wonderful time to experience a variety of colors and flavors or nature. Fruits and veggies cooked on the grill or with lighter cooking methods such as steaming and sautéing will hit the spot.  Also, be sure to HYDRATE to compensate for the extra heat this season. Add in fresh lemon, cucumber or fresh mint for even more refreshment. My favorite snacks during this time include chilled quinoa salad with EVOO, cucumbers and bell peppers and fresh watermelon drizzled with Myer lemon juice.

VEGGIES IN SEASONS Beets, bell peppers, butter lettuce, corn, chayote squash, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, garlic, green beans, jalapeño peppers, lima beans, okra, peas, radishes, shallots, sugar snap peas, summer squash, tomatillo, tomatoes , zucchini.

FRUITS IN SEASON Apricots, blackberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, currants, figs, guava, grapes, lime, honeydew, mangoes, melon, nectarines, plums, peaches, papayas, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon.

MEATS During summer months, we may feel as though we need fewer animal products and fats to feel satiated. Try eating lighter meats such as fish an poultry. Or go meatless for a season and see how you feel! 

GRAINS Lighter grains such as corn, farro, millet, amaranth and quinoa tend to be favored by our bodies in summertime. A little grain goes a long way during the summer months.

MOVE

We can take advantage of the long days and abundant energy of the season to indulge in joyful movement we love, spend more time outdoors and move with friends!

JOY is key here- this is a wonderful time to observe whether the activities you participate in bring you joy, and if not- find something new! We can utilize this peak of vitality to have fun with movement and nourish our souls with our daily practices. Think of those activities you loved to do during the summertime as a child! Playing as we did as children is a great way to connect to our inner joy.

OUTDOORS EXCURSIONS such as hiking, biking, walking, kayaking, swimming, etc. are fun ways to get fresh air and can even be done with friends to scratch our itch for more social activities this time of year. Walking near a body of water and then jumping in when you get nice and toasty is a fun activity to celebrate the cooling properties of water!

HYDRATE it's important to take extra care to hydrate this time of year, especially if you are being active outdoors. Aiming for 64 oz of water per day is a good estimate. Try drinking a glass or two of water first thing in the morning to jumpstart hydration for the day.

BE

INVENTORY + CELEBRATION Summertime is a time when we reap the harvest of the seeds planted in the Spring. As the "peak of the year", it is a chance to take inventory of all the ways we have grown over the past seasons and celebrate where we are. It's a wonderful time to take inventory- what's working? What's not working? The Solstice is a powerful day to set new intentions to carry us through the rest of the year and let go of anything keeping us from moving forward.

GRATITUDE lots of sunlight means higher moods and happiness levels during this time of the year. We are primed to feel more cheerful and grateful when there is more daylight, so using this season to flex our "gratitude" muscle is a great way to turn this into a habit. If you don't already have a gratitude practice, this is a great time to start one- simply writing down 5-10 things you are grateful for each day!

CONNECT TO MASCULINE ENERGY The focus on the Sun this season helps us connect to our empowered masculine qualities. the Sun rules the masculine energy of our planet (the Moon being the feminine). Masculine doesn't mean the male gender- rather, it is that energy that is responsible for taking action, setting boundaries and orienting towards goals. What action do you need to take? Maybe action that you have been putting off or waiting until the "right time"? Now is the time! What boundaries may you need to set with yourself and with others to be in alignment with your Highest Self? What goals are asking to be set? Now is a great time to get our your calendar and begin setting dates and deadlines for projects over the next few months. Connect to the solar plexus chakra (a gorgeous bright yellow color) and explore your own personal power. How do you take action to use your power as a creator? This is great theme to explore throughout the Summer months.

INNER LIGHT reflect on the ways in which you shine your own inner light! When we shine our light we heal ourselves and this world. Connect to what is is that brings you joy and how you can share this with others though your words, thoughts and actions.

Self-Care

WAKE UP WITH THE SUN It feels easier to wake up early this time of year and make the most of our daylight hours. Why not start a new morning routine or re-vamp and existing one to bring more JOY into your life? Think about those things you wish you had more hours in the day to do, and try scheduling them in during the fresh morning hours.

SOAK UP SOME LIGHT Sunlight is crucial for our health and wellbeing. This is a great time of year to start a practice of getting 10-20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure every day (depending on how fair your skin is). The aim is not to burn- simply to allow your body to soak up precious Vitamin D and regulate circadian rhythms of sleep and waking through sun exposure.

SWEAT Heat is detoxifying! Don't be afraid to sweat. Sweating is our body's natural purification system and a healthy way our gently assist our bodies in detoxing. Be sure to hydrate!

CONNECT TO NATURE with a higher motivation to get outdoors this time of year, it's the perfect opportunity to begin or strengthen your own practice of connecting to nature. Try going on a walk in solitude without any electronics to distract you. Focus on your senses- sight, sounds, smell, touch, taste- and truly soak in the experience of being in nature.

COLD SHOWERS sounds awful, feels awesome! This is a great time of year to experience the many benefits of cold showers- glowing skin, balanced hormones, and total invigoration! Begin by dry brushing your skin and then applying a body oil such as almond, sesame or coconut. Stand in the cold shower (as cold as you can handle) and begin rubbing your skin vigorously starting at the feet and working your way up. You will being to notice you no longer feel cold! Step out of the shower and pat dry, admiring your glow.

Why I Ditched Hormonal Birth Control

It's about time I wrote about this topic, seeing how it's been a decision that's completely changed my life and the lives of many women who are finding this information! I have been honored to teach on this topic and have witnessed a movement happening around the world of women reclaiming the power held in our natural monthly cycles. It is beautiful to watch and to be a part of! Letting go of hormonal birth control and bringing new awareness to my cycle has transformed the way I feel in my body,  has increased my feelings of connection to the rhythms of nature and to my authentic self, and has inspired me to use the power of my feminine energy to be a creator of my life. Yes, it's that transformational!

This story is not to say hormonal birth control is "bad" or "good"- my aim is to bring awareness to a choice that is available to us (that your doctor might not tell you about). I have heard stories from many women that resonate with my own story of feeling completely uneducated and dis-empowered around our hormonal health and our periods. Through my journey I hope to educate, inspire and empower women to make a choice about hormonal birth control that feels right for them. 


When I first was prescribed birth control pills at the age of 16, I wasn't given another choice to help ease the extreme pain of my period. I was told that as long as I took the pills and didn't allow my body to have a cycle, that I wouldn't have to worry about my period interfering with my life ever again. The problem with this approach is that this teaches young women to view their cycles as problematic and a dilemma to be solved rather than a source of sacred empowerment. Birth control put a bandaid over my hormonal imbalances that were at the root of my pain for the next decade of my life. Throughout this time I was completely disconnected from my body and from the power of my feminine energy.

There were occasions during this time of suppressing my natural cycle that I suffered extreme depression, anxiety and even suicidal thoughts while trying out different pills. These are side effects of artificial hormones that affect thousands of women- and these women believe it is a problem with who they are! More research is emerging linking mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression, to hormonal contraception. Unaware that birth control pills might be a source of my own internal disconnection, I continued to take them religiously and went without a cycle for my entire early adulthood.

It wasn't until a few years ago that a co-worker began speaking to me about how she stopped using hormonal birth control and the immense impact this had on her life. She was (and is) one of the most magnetic, magical and feminine women I know and I had always wondered what her "secret" was for being so connected to her femininity. She told me all about ovulation, and how during certain times of the month she feels like she has superpower energy that helps her smash goals at work, push herself during workouts and feel sexy and magnetic in her skin. "I WANT THAT!" was the thought pulsing in my mind and soul. As I began to research the process of ditching brith control, I knew that this was my next step in my own healing journey.

I was amazed to read and discover the information I found about cycle-syncing- using your monthly cycle to align your energy levels with your life- and about unlocking the magic power of the feminine through having a natural cycle. I knew I had stumbled upon a whole new awareness that would change my life. One day I just decided that I was done with birth control and threw it away. I purchased a Daysy fertility monitor to help me track my cycle and began using the WomanCode protocol and herbal remedies to support my body with my lifestyle as she worked hard to bring hormone levels back into balance.

The first few months were transformational- even though it took a year for my period to return, I felt like a fog was lifted. My energy levels skyrocketed, I felt truly sexy and comfortable in my body and I felt like I was discovering a new magnetism that I had felt and experienced from other woman. My skin cleared, bloating and water retention dissipated and I felt a glow of my being that was brand new to me. For the first time ever, I felt like a woman in the full majesty of who I was born to be! I even began to feel more connected to my personal values of natural living as I began to live in sync with my own body and the cycles of the Moon. I even attracted in my soul mate partner during this time!

Cycle-syncing to align my energy levels with my daily life has given me the tools to show up fully in my full feminine power in both my work and in my life. Re-claiming my feminine power through ditching birth control supported me in accessing the wholeness of who I am- both the masculine and the feminine. Getting to know my body throughout each of the four phases of my cycle has brought me new and profound self-awareness that has translated into living more authentically and aligned with my truth! 

I now support women who are ready to claim the sacred and transformational power of their cycles. Cycle-syncing supports hormone healing, self-awareness, self-connection, natural living and is even a tool for showing up as your most aligned self at work, at home, in your relationships and in all facets of your life. If you desire support in your journey of living in sync with your cycle, let's set up a call and discover what is possible for you!

Stay tuned for more cycle-syncing information and resources for your own empowerment!

 

Accessing Your Intuition

Yesterday, while walking outside in the gentle post-rainstorm mist, I came upon a tree bearing flowers of majestic, otherworldly beauty. I had noticed this tree before in passing and each time it seemed to beckoning me to come closer. As I walked up to the tree I noticed there was one flower perfectly within my reach. Over the past couple of weeks I have been studying the art of flower essences- medicine made by imprinting the energetic makeup of a flower into water using sunlight- and knew in this moment, this flower was my medicine.

Gently asking the flower for permission and receiving a positive feeling, I gingerly picked the flower (a Royal Ponciana), said a prayer of gratitude and returned home to meditate with the flower and create a positive mind-space with which to prepare the essence. Upon researching this flower, I learned that this flower's medicine is confidence, clarity of purpose, and supporting laser-focused action to move forward. My heart began to dance with joy- this was MY flower! My intuition moved me to this medicine as a nudge forward in bringing to life all of the ideas and concepts floating in my mind and my notebooks lately.

This story is less about the flower and more about the process of intuitive guidance. In the moment it is easy to think that we just have random urges to do things, but looking back we often notice the dots that connect and lead us to a moment of truth, discovery or clarity. Our intuition is a system of inner guidance located in the consciousness of our bodies. For some, it's a "gut feeling" or a twinge of energy in the heart. For others it's a soft whisper, a "hit" in the sacral chakra or an energetic reading from the environment. Think of a time when you walked into a room and felt intuition about what had just transpired- is the energy tense after a heated discussion? Is it joyful with celebration? Is it awkward as though you are not welcome? That bodily sensation is your intuition speaking through energy.

Intuition is not "one size fits all", which is why science has a difficult time wrapping it's evidence-based head around the concept that we each have our own unique, subjective experience of very real energetic signal. Discovering and connecting to our unique sense of intuitive guidance is a thrilling adventure. The more we begin to tune in, the less random life feels. The more we listen, the more guided and supported we feel on the path to our most authentic self. The quieter we get, the easier it is to sense the messages that emanate from within. The more we trust, the easier it is to care for our physical, emotional and spiritual form. Intuition is both our connection to ourselves and to the greater intelligence of life.

Intuition guides many aspects of our lives if we allow it to: Finding our "medicine" (plants, dance, meditation, art, stillness, tea, friendship, nourishing food...anything that feels healing), navigating relationships, finding our meaning and purpose in life, knowing if a loved one needs help or healing, choosing the right foods for our bodies, living a creative life, perceiving the energy of our surroundings, knowing when to exert energy and when to rest, feeling into making decisions of our "next move"...when we learn to access our intuition in daily life we may begin to notice ourselves "feeling into" life as much as or more than thinking about it! 

In a society that praises the power of the mind and generally ignores the wisdom in the body, re-connecting to this source of intelligence is an empowering act. Balancing the mind, body and spirit brings us into our wholeness, allowing us to access the entirety of who we truly are. Below I have outlined a few tips for getting out of the mind and into the body to deepen your access to your own intuitive guidance for more clarity, health and direction in life!

Exercises for accessing intuition

1. CREATE TIME FOR STILLNESS. One of the simplest ways to begin accessing our intuition is by sitting in stillness and allow whatever thoughts, messages and feelings to arise and float past your awareness. I find some of my best creative ideas and inspiration come during or right after my daily meditation. Set a timer for 5, 10, 15, 20 minutes- whatever feels accessible to you- and simply be still and breathe. When time is up, take a moment to write down any thoughts, ideas, feelings, urges, images or messages that came through during your time of stillness.

2. WALK WITH NO DESTINATION. This practice is easy and fun and allows your intuition to guide you on an adventure. Go out on a walk with no planned route or destination and allow your intuition guide you. Maybe you intuition says "go left" or "keep walking straight" or "go stand under that tree". After your walk, take a few minutes to journal anything that felt significant, enjoyable or interesting about your adventure and the ways your intuition guided you.

3. START AN INTUITION JOURNAL. Begin a journal to write down moments of intuition and the ways these messages were expressed for you. Where in your body did you feel it?  Was it a voice or a sense of "knowing"? Was it in a dream? While walking? Driving? Meditating? What was your intuition trying to tell you? Did you take action or wait it out? Did you trust the feeling or question it? If you followed the feeling, what was the outcome? Getting to know our unique expression of intuition is a powerful way to feel more guided and supported in our choices and our life path. Approach this with a sense of curiosity rather than judgment!

4. CREATE A HABIT OF TUNING INTO THE BODY. It is common to be so conditioned to stay in the mind- this is exhausting to our energy and cuts us off from some of the most important guidance and messages we have access to in the energy of our bodies. These messages can often come in the form of restlessness, contentment, anxiety, discomfort, pain, and other physical sensations such as hunger, cravings, thirst or fatigue. These messages helped our ancient ancestors know to take care of a need, to change their environment or move to a new one, to pay attention to something or to follow the thread of an instinct. To create a habit of listening to and understanding the messages of the body, set an alarm to go off every hour one day a week and check in with yourself during each alarm. What do you need in that moment? Maybe you are content. Maybe you need a healthy snack or a glass of water. Maybe you need to get up and stretch. Maybe you need to explore an uncomfortable emotion. Maybe you need to take a moment for gratitude! Whatever it is, honor the message and trust that whatever comes up is exactly what was needing to be noticed or seen.

An excellent resource for developing many aspects of intuition through clear information, guided exercises and journaling prompts is the book "The Intuitive Way" by Penney Pierce. Whether intuitive living is a new concept for you or you have been exploring this way for many years, there is wisdom there to be gleaned!

Interested in receiving 1-on-1 support for connecting to your intuition and natural intelligence for health and wellbeing? Head over to my Health Coaching Programs to learn more about how I could support your unique journey of health and wholeness. Schedule a free call with me to experience the power of coaching and find out if one of my programs is the perfect solution for you.

MESSAGES FROM PLANTS: The Sunflower

Plants have been a source of comfort and wisdom for me throughout my life. Always captivated by their beauty, intelligence and humility, I have gleaned many simple yet profound lessons by simply staying open to their messages. I truly believe plants are our allies for healing- in mind, body and spirit!

Yesterday's morning tea and meditation (with the most gorgeous organically grown sunflowers by my side) ended with a channeling of lessons from the noble sunflower. 

The sunflower's existance is literally characterized by a quest to find and drink in the light. Growing above all the rest of the plants, sunflowers have created a life of continually seeking how close they can be towards their source of energy- the Sun. They have even developed a massive surface area for which to absorb and transmute this coveted light.

Sunflowers love light so much they have intelligently designed their entire being in reverence and response to the Sun. During the day they actually follow this light source, always seeking to be connected to and energized by the light. We see divine beauty in the sunflower because yes, they are aesthetically beautiful, but they also hold for us a subtle lesson in following our own Truth, our own source of Light.

The sunflower teaches us about a life of seeking, responding and growing towards our "Light"- anything in life that gives us energy. This Light can be those things you love and feel most drawn to, the habits, attitudes and behaviors that feel life-giving, our sense of connection to divine/spiritual guidance and the guidance we feel from following our intuition.

APPLYING THE SUNFLOWER'S WISDOM

SEEK WHAT GIVES YOU ENERGY IN MIND, BODY, SOUL.

MIND What thoughts, beliefs and intentions fill you with positive energy? And those which drain you of energy- is there a way to change them to be more life-giving? The sunflowers asks us to keep our thoughts about ourselves and other positive so we may stay in the growth-giving powers of the Light.

BODY What foods and health habits give you the most energy? Foods vibrate at different frequencies, some holding more energy than others. Foods fresh from the Earth are filled with the pure energy of the Sun and are life-giving! Processed foods have been altered so drastically that their energy content has been compromised. When you choose foods, do you choose mostly high-energy or low-energy foods? When you choose the habits and activities that make up your day, do you choose those that add to your energy or drain your energy? The sunflower asks us to choose our habits and behaviors based on how they align us with the life-giving qualities of our brightest Light.

SOUL Do you regularly allow yourself to listen to the subtle messages of the heart and soul? The light of the sunflower is the Sun- our own Light is our unique form of inner and divine guidance and our truth. Following our Light means taking heed of what lights us up and responding to what make us feel most alive. When we are aligned with our Source of Light, we feel a sense of trust in our personal quest. We know, deep inside, that our Light will not lead us astray.

REMEMBER THAT LIGHT STILL EXISTS EVEN ON THE CLOUDIEST DAYS.

On overcast days the sunflowers does not shrivel up and become despondent. They keep their heads up high, knowing that behind the clouds the Sun is still shining. The sunflower teaches us to continually seek the Light, even during those times when it may feel difficult or impossible to see and feel it.

The sunflower knows that they have a connection so deep with the Light that they have become a reflection of the Light. This Light runs so deep within them that they can actually brighten a cloudy day with the radiance of their very being!

Channeling the wisdom of the sunflower, we remember that by simply seeking the Light, we become the Light. The yellow of their petals corresponds to the Third Chakra- the solar plexus. This chakra is the source of our Light- our personal power. This chakra asks us to "radiate our power into the world". The more Light we seek and allow to shine onto us, the more we become a powerful Light both for ourselves and for others.

Any time we feel in need of inspiration to connect back to our Light, we can simply call on the energy and wisdom of the sunflower as our guide.

Below is a meditation based on the energy sunflower to open and activate the personal power of our Solar Plexus Chakra.

Simply lie down comfortably, close your eyes, listen with headphones in and relax!

ARCHETYPES SERIES: The Maiden
31590568_10216885658880673_935807355856093184_o.jpg

My fascination with Jungian psychology, ancient wisdom, feminine empowerment and holistic healing all perfectly intersect in an exploration of the four feminine ARCHETYPES that empower us in our monthly menstrual cycles.

Archetypes are symbols, motifs, and patterns of energy that reside in the collective unconscious and transcend time and culture with their wisdom. Examples of universal archetypes include The Hero, The Witch, The Villain, The Magician and The Damsel in Distress. The feminine archetypes are embodied in ancient myths, in modern examples of influential women, in goddesses from different cultures and within each one of us.

I view these feminine archetypes as portals to accessing our own inner power. Their descriptions awaken within us energies and inspiration and allow us to see and understand our strengths and pains as both sacred and universal. For me, working with archetypes is a medicine for our human experience that transcends any limits of time and space perceived by the human experience. When we embody archetypes of the feminine, we gain access the most sacred experience of being a woman. Archetypes give us a tool for quickly "stepping into" the energy of the empowered feminine in any moment!

In this four part series we will be taking a look at the feminine archetypes present in each of the four phases of our monthly cycle. Our menstrual cycles can be seen through the lens of four distinct phases of energy- ebbs and flows- that empower us with unique superpowers and strengths throughout the month. We will be discovering the energies of The Maiden, The Mother, The Wild Woman/Enchantress and The Crone to better understand ourselves and the expansiveness of feminine energy.

My cycle currently follows a "Red Moon" cycle, meaning I bleed on the Full Moon and ovulate on the New Moon. Maybe you are reversed or maybe you have your own timing happening with your cycle. These archetypes apply no matter where your cycle falls in relation to the lunar cycle, however you might feel additional layers of energy depending on the phase of the moon!

The cycle phase I am currently in, the follicular phase, is the first phase after bleeding and holds the energy of THE MAIDEN. The follicular phase is the "springtime" of the feminine body, emerging from the winter of menstruation. This phase is marked by increasing energy and outward awareness, motivation to make the changes in our lives that will allow our dreams and desires to manifest, taking action in our personal growth and standing in our power as a unique, beautiful, empowered individual. 

THE MAIDEN archetype represents our pure, vibrant, youthful, uncorrupted nature. She is living from her heart, un-jaded by the pain of the world, and feels empowered in her unique gifts and strengths. This archetype shows us how to stand in our authentic magnetism- our power to attract our wants and needs that are for the highest good, and to graciously repel all that has not been serving us.

THE MAIDEN finds her strength in her individuality and invests time and resources into her personal growth. This archetype has wrongly been called selfish and shamed for giving to herself, but in our modern times we are embracing the need to first give to and take care of ourselves so that we may then serve and nurture others.

For me, this cycle phase feels particularly potent at the moment- enhanced by the bright energy of Springtime in the natural world and the celebration of the Beltane holiday!

For me, embracing the Maiden looks and feels like:

  • EMBRACING AND LOVING ALL ASPECTS OF MYSLEF, my gifts, quirks, ideas, desires and those things I hope to work on. My maiden practice includes journaling at least 5 qualities I love about myself or am proud of before bed each evening.
  • ACCELERATING MY GROWTH, spending time with my mentor, coach, inspirational books and podcasts and embracing all of the changes that have occurred since letting go of old patterns, beliefs and habits during the last Full Moon.
  • TAKING ACTION to create or make changes from a place of divine inspiration- this blog post series is born from Maiden creative energy!
  • ADMIRE THE SPRINGTIME OF THE NATURAL WORLD- collecting flowers and herbs to bless my home and sacred spaces with the gifts of the Earth, and observing the wild animals in my neighborhood to connect with their Springtime energy! There are baby ducks everywhere <3
  • CELEBRATE the successes of other women and freely praise the women I admire most.
  • DRESS IN WAYS that make me feel most beautiful and powerful and anoint my body with the natural energies of beauty and power, especially the oils of rose, geranium, sandalwood and frankincense.
  • MEDITATE on the solar plexus chakra, the source of our personal power and self-esteem.
  • PRACTICE HIGHER-INTENSITY MOVEMENT that makes me feel empowered such as resistance training circuits and long bike rides.
  • DANCE AND CELEBRATE LIFE with the energy of my body, moving in ways that feel good and move energy from the root chakra into the solar plexus and higher chakras.
  • EAT LIGHT, FRESH, VIBRANT FOODS (I cannot get enough green smoothies right now) that complement the abundance of energy I feel in my body.
  • KNOW WHEN I'VE SPENT ENOUGH ENERGY and honor that though I have an abundance of energy, rest is always a necessity.

Do you desire to connect to your feminine power of your monthly cycle in a personal, deep and transformative way? My Sacred Cycles Coaching offering is designed to provide one-on-one support for women to step into their most empowered feminine self and most radiant health. You can learn more about the ways I support women in connecting to their scared cycle here.