Posts tagged self-care
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.

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!

Jade Rolling for Natural Beauty

Introducing my new favorite beauty tool and skincare routine staple- the jade roller. Jade rollers have been around since 7th century China and were considered a skin care staple for elite women during this time. Jade is a stone renowned for it's healing, revitalizing and protective properties and is also lauded for staying cold when in contact with skin. Jade rolling has become a self-care ritual I look forward to every day- it feels pleasurable and relaxing, like a mini massage-and has also delivered noticeable changes in the puffiness and definition in my face! Hello, cheekbones!

Jade rollers are simple tools used to reduce puffiness, calm redness and inflammation in the face, aid in reducing under-eye circles, stimulate collagen, assist in lymphatic drainage and deliver anti-aging and skin smoothing benefits. When I use the roller in the morning and evening after moisturizing (sometimes after storing in the freezer for even more cooling effects) I notice an immediate tightness and brightening of my skin! It really feels and looks wonderful. This practice has become a mini-meditation for me to really take a moment, check in with myself and with my body, and feel completly present.

Working with a jade roller is easy. Simply use the larger side of the roller in long, upward stokes on your freshly cleaned face using light pressure. Roll over the whole face, jawline and neck. Use the smaller side for the eyelid and under-eye area, moving from the inside corner of the eye, outwards and at a downward angle towards the ears. Jade rolling can also be done after applying a moisturizer or serum to improve absorption. Make sure to clean the roller with soap and water regularly to clear away any bacteria that may have accumulated. Use morning and night for the most potent benefits. While rolling, focus on the sensations you feel and anything you are noticing with all of your senses. Use this time to mindfully practice intentional self-care!

Jade rollers are inexpensive and pack in many benefits, making it a low-investment tool to add to your holistic beauty routine. I found mine at Bodhi Basics and love it! You can buy it here

Have you tried jade rolling before? Are you excited to try it? Let me know in the comments!

Overcoming Holiday Self-Sabotage
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Oh, the holiday season- full of family, fun, food and festivities! It's a time to be grateful, jolly and joyful. But- let's be real- the holiday season can also be overwhelming.  We may be traveling away from home or all around town to parties and events and feel stress from the organization and planning that can be a part of the festive season. There are gifts to be bought and appearances to be made. We may also be faced with making choices around indulging in rich foods and drinks that make us feel sluggish, bloated or just out of whack. Maintaining balance during the holidays might be the last thing on our minds with everything else that is going on! 

Unfortunately, all these distractions, stressors and demands can be quite ungrounding, pull us into a vortex of mindlessness, and even a lead to "numbing out"- especially with the promise of a "new year, new me" right around the corner. 

When we are working on creating new, healthy habits, the busyness, expectations and social agenda of the holiday season can sometimes throw a wrench in our normal, healthy routines. When we are distracted, stressed, surrounded by our favorite comfort foods and with family (which can often bring up old programming) that may not help us feel aligned to our goals, we can slip into "self-sabotage mode".

Behavior is self-sabotage when it creates problems and gets in the way of long-standing goals. Perhaps we have been making an effort to cut down on sugary foods because it makes us feel sluggish and anxious, but during the holidays, the old programming about the way the holidays have been in the past and "should be" creeps in and leads to choices that no longer feel nourishing. Maybe friends or family even make this more difficult- for example, when we feel pressured into indulging in food, drinks or conversation that doesn't serve the healthiest version of ourselves. 

Interestingly, self-sabotage always has a positive intent. They are behaviors that we turn to in order to avoid pain or to gain pleasure. When we self-sabotage, our brains think they are protecting us from danger or from losing love and safety. Sometimes it feels easier to just eat the second piece of pecan pie than to feel as though by saying "no thanks", we are hurting someone's feelings, will be judged or will be seen as less lovable. Overcoming self-sabotage means facing these fears and coming forth as your most authentic self, firmly rooted in your goals and vision for your health and life.

Regardless of whether you are home or traveling, entertaining at home or going out, here are some tips for overcoming self-sabotage during the holidays (and all year long).

SET AN INTENTION Create an intention for this holiday season that describes how you want this time to be. Do you want this time to be a reminder of the gratitude you have for the blessings in your life? A time for connection and love with family and friends? A time for giving and receiving? A sacred time of mindful choices and self-care? Whatever resonates with you- write it down somewhere you will see it often or just create a ritual of reading and remembering your intention, daily.

MAKE YOUR INTENTION INTO A GAME We always win the game we are playing. Rather than playing the "screw my healthy habits and self-care, it's the holidays" game (or whatever story is your self-sabotaging equivalent) play a game that ties you to your intention. Some examples of fun games to play at your next holiday gathering: 

  • The "Deep Breathing and Mindfulness" Game
  • The "Radical Self-Care" Game
  • The "Meaningful and Genuine Connection to Loved Ones" Game
  • The "How Many Different Vegetables Can I Eat at This Party" Game ;) 
  • The "Give Every Person in the Room Appreciation or a Compliment" Game
  • The "Slow and Mindful Eating" Game

BEING "AT CHOICE" Being "at-choice" is the practice of making deliberate choices around who you are being and how you are being in every moment. Sometimes, we just want a cookie and eggnog- and that is great! But when we do this, rather than feeling guilty and "eating behind our own back", we fully own the choice, honor our desires and savor every delicious moment. Or maybe you love eggnog, but this year you choose to plan ahead and make a plant-based version with almond milk, spices and dates to share with everyone at the party. When we are "at-choice" we are empowered to own our choices and to mindfully participate in our lives.

WAY OF BEING Before each social and family holiday event, decide on your "way of being". This helps us to choose who we are being in each moment and to stay aligned with our long-term goals. Empower yourself to show up in the way that you want to show up! Whether it is as a health-seeking individual, or just someone who strives to bring positive energy to the space, this way of being will help you align your actions with the best version of you.

MENTAL REHEARSAL Before each event, go through a mental rehearsal of how well it is going to go. Imagine your way of being, and what it would look and feel like to honor your intention.

SET BOUNDERIES It is a fact of life- sometimes we have to deal with difficult people or social situations. Remember that is is ok to say "no", and it possible to do so with kindness. Sometimes when we make healthy habits, our families and friends don't understand our goals and may try to offer us (or even force upon us) foods and drinks that don't fit in with your lifestyle. A gentle "no thank you" may be sufficient, but if someone is questioning or taunting your choices, a "I could eat/drink it if I wanted to, but I am choosing not to at this time" creates a stronger statement.

 SAVOR THE MOMENT This is a beautiful time of year, filled with the energy of giving, love, joy and celebration. Remember to savor and fully enjoy each moment. The more we are enjoying ourselves, the more others will follow suit. Be the example of a mindful holiday for others- they will surely appreciate your calmness and presence!

The Holistic Woman Series: Kim of Bodhi Basics

I am so excited to announce the launch of a Stellar Shift interview series, The Holistic Woman. This series will focus on women in the St. Petersburg community and beyond, who inspire balance, self-care, inner and outer beauty and living their truth fearlessly and authentically. They are makers, movers and shakers, shining their light on the world through service.

I had the honor of talking with Kim Vorperian, owner and maker behind the beautifully botanical handcrafted soaps and skin + body care products of Bodhi Basics. Not only does BB sell products at market, online and through other retailers, but Kim has now set up shop in the Fringe District with the most magical storefront and workshop full of plants, gorgeously-packaged and lovingly-made products, killer vibes and a full apothecary.

What sets BB apart from other skincare companies is the commitment to ensuring that each product is not only of the finest quality, but that they "support and cultivate the sacred connection between body and nature" with only natural, organic ingredients. Each product is handmade in small batches and feels truly special! Her creations are an invitation to cultivate beautiful moments that transform a mundane routine into "an invaluable self-care ritual for mind, body and soul". Kim is truly a holistic woman with a radiant soul bringing natural beauty and holistic care to the lovely people of St. Pete and beyond.

Can you tell me a little about your journey thus far?

The journey is kind of a weird and bumpy one- I wanted to be a baker-I was in the food industry for a really long time. I moved up to Chicago, got a pretty awesome baking gig, then developed Celiac disease. This threw a wrench in everything I had been working towards at that point, and at the same time I developed another autoimmune thyroid disease. So my body was totally out of whack and I ended up moving back to Florida, closer to my family and where I went to school.

I was in Sarasota working as a studio assistant to a jeweler and a painter and so I was living in my friend's living room, like sleeping on a weird futon couch, trying to figure out what I was going to do now that my baking dream hadn't worked. I had always had sensitive skin and my body was going kid of crazy from not treating it well for so long. And I have always been obsessed with plants and plant medicine. I was looking for skin products I could use without insane breakouts and gnarly rashes so I started making my own soap and realized it was really similar to baking. A lot of the processes used are similar, and you use a lot of similar ingredients. I got to use a lot of the plants I loved and focused on only making organic, natural soap.

And thats how it started- in my friend's kitchen. So sweet- letting me use that as my laboratory. So that kind of turned into Bodhi Basics. I wanted to work for myself, start my own thing. And Bodhi is my dog and I love him so much. Bodhi is the Sanskrit word for knowledge, all knowing. I was obsessed with him and that kind of a path and working with natural ingredients. So that has blossomed into this- it seems huge- soap company, type thing.

How do you use your unique gifts in your offerings?

It's been funny- I've really had to dive deep to figure out what my gifts are. When I first started I just thought, "Oh, I'm a maker, I can make things, like that's what I do". And I thought that was my gift. I think that the more I get to know myself and the more I understand what I love and what my unique gift is, it's more like an intuitive way with working with plants and people- i've kind of combined those two things. So figuring out what someone needs-maybe it is a skin care product, but maybe it's not, you know. So being able to have that conversation with somebody and be there for them, and know I actually care, and combine that with knowing the plants and knowing what they want and need and who they work best with. That's kind of been- it's been kind of "hippie dippy"- but that little tiny part is what my gift is.

What role do you think intuition plays in your life and how do you stay true to your inner guidance?

It plays a huge role in first of all, creating the products- figuring out what will go with what scent and ingredient-wise and all that. Also, what products are needed. There's not really a guide on what a skin care company should have or carry so that intuition really goes into that area. As far as staying true to inner guidance- I was actually thinking about that this morning. It's just trying to figure out that feeling inside of "What's wrong, something is wrong- what is it?" and trying to get to know myself well enough to find that balance and know when I have it and when I don't have it. So I use that as a guide.

What are some of your staples for maintaining a balanced life- in mind body and soul?

Mediation is huge. Self-care rituals every morning and night- I base it around my bathroom ritual because that is the easiest for me to maintain and because sometimes I'm all over the place and don't have a set schedule. I know I wake up in the morning and have to brush my teeth, wash my face, try and smell kind of good, so with those basic things I try and make it kind of special. I am not only focusing on not just going through the motions but letting myself know "I'm taking care of you right now. Nothing outside the bathroom door is there- right now this is what we are doing"-and try and be in the moment. And having products that go along with that. Whether they are for a specifically for a skin thing I'm working on or if its more of a whole-being kind of product, that helps a lot. 

What are your favorite ways to cultivate inner and outer beauty?

Inner beauty- this is the thing-those things are so intrinsically connected to me. Ive never been a makeup person, I've never been someone to "do myself up" or whatever- sometimes it's fun- but what I really focus on is- sounds hippy- but being the best person I can be and trying to treat myself like I would treat other people. Like, "You're amazing! How come you don't see how amazing you are!"

I'm just, so recently, trying to really focus on that for myself but I do feel kind of new to it. I've had kind of a rocky road and am just now trying to cultivate that inner beauty, or to appreciate it. So the ways I do it- with patience, with kindness to myself and quiet. Just being quiet with myself. Outer beauty- obviously I use Bodhi Basics, that's what I do. I just try and treat everything on the outside as minimally as possible and with kindness and appreciation for the earth and what goes into it. 

What are some of the habits you think have contributed to your success on this journey so far?

Those habits have been an insane work ethic-sometimes a little too hard working. Perseverance- all the typical things with starting a business. "You gotta work hard, you gotta be smart, you gotta not blow all your money in one place"-all that boring stuff which is unfortunately kind of true but the other thing is passion, and just being flexible. I will totally honest- I have hated Bodhi Basics- like this company is 7 years old now. I have gone through periods of absolute darkness with is- like "What is this monster that I've created?. It's eating my life, it's totally taken over". At one point it had totally taken over my home- stacked to the ceiling with soap and stuff and I would really break down like everyday.

And then the thing that I learned is that you can stop at that point and be like wow- wow, you really messed up- even when everything is going great. Bodhi Basics was doing great! But I wasn't doing great. And thats the thing that I have had to learn- that balance is so important in everything I do. Like the work-life balance that everyone talks about is so freaking important, especially when you are the owner and the only person working at that time. So figuring out how to get out of that dark place and make it into something that I really love again. Like you asked me earlier, how do you know when you're balanced, and that was a slap in the face that "you are freaking off-balance". Like this is not what you want, so switching it up and making the tweaks to make me enjoy it again, and obviously that made it more successful because I was actually enjoying it again. 

what is next in your vision for bodhi?

So workshops are in the future, and the future is hoping that we can bring in more native Florida plants and products. It's really hard- I don't know why Florida is so hard. Some of the medicinal plants grow here- like mugwort, but its not native. It's harder to find that stuff so I'm doing some research on the Seminole people- their plant medicine and what they used. Trying to identify more stuff out in the wild and more ethical practices. Also more of the self-care thing-it's huge. I want to start donating to an organization that promotes appreciation and understanding of our bodies- empowerment in that sense.

To purchase Bodhi Basics products, visit her site, follow on Instagram or pop into her store in Downtown St. Pete (240 9th Street North, St. Pete, Florida 33705).