There is NO Excuse for Neglecting Yourself (let me show you)

selfneglect

Your idea of self-care might be as simple as showering when you’ve got little ones crawling the walls. It might be as basic as drinking enough water or remembering to eat. It might be as nurturing as a massage or some quiet time to yourself. But how it looks is inconsequential to your willingness to make it happen. Continue reading “There is NO Excuse for Neglecting Yourself (let me show you)”

Wisdom for the Newly (or not so newly) Self-Employed

by Scott Biersack

I’m over on the always wonderful, Kind Over Matter, sharing some words of wisdom for those newly self-employed sisters.

I find that business – like relationships, like parenting, like our health, like Life – comes into our world for one true reason. Not to make us money. Not to make us happy. But to make us grow. To show us what we get to learn.

I got (and still get) to learn a lot. In all my adult years, I’ve only been self-employed. This means 13+ years of Spiritual Growth coming at me masked behind the costume of Big Ideas. It’s been intense, exasperating, liberating, enlightening, exhausting, exciting, and mind-blowing (depending on the day or the lesson or the way I approached it).

Anytime someone is starting a business, they tend to ask questions like “How do I find the right business name?” or maybe “What do you think about this color scheme for my branding?” Necessary questions, for sure.

But what I really want to do is invite them in for tea, show them to the nearest cushy seat, and share some hard-earned sisterly wisdom. Not to freak anyone out, or turn them off from business. But to help them see through the easy parts – the excitement and fun of getting started – to the real gift of self-employment: the ways in which you get to expand. And also to share with them the wisdom I wish I had had from the very beginning so they can move through it with more grace and fewer bumps or stalls along the way.

Where would I start? With these three words of wisdom:

Click here to read more.

 
 

The Spiritual Type-O-Meter: Which one are you?

What's your spiritual "type"?

Have you ever noticed certain spiritual “types” – ways in which people approach or navigate or experience their own personal development or philosophies or beliefs? I’ve been playing with this idea – not as another flipping way to create a label for ourselves – but as a tongue-in-cheek way to notice our own tendencies. Don’t take it too seriously, k? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Type 1: The Spiritual Doer

The Spiritual Doers are easy to spot. They take their drive in business and in life and apply it to their spirit. Their energy never stops. They devour Life and all its experiences with an insatiable hunger for more. They aren’t easily daunted by what they perceive to be their own work. They delve in, swim in it, play in it. They do the same with all of Life. They are most often the adventurers and I think they may be the ones to take the most inspiration from many different cultural beliefs, creating their own understanding of the Universe. Their curiosity helps them to explore and thus see the Truth in anything. They go after Enlightenment with a Bring It On approach. They are energetic, find the joy in Life and every experience it offers, and are contagious in their desire to release the negativity. They don’t have time for the bullshit; the Universe is too good, too breathtaking, too inspiring to get caught up in their fears or struggles for too long.

I find that most Spiritual Doers are attracted to the Law of Attraction, wanting to create their abundance and awakening through sheer will. I also find that many Spiritual Doers are hiding an inner control freak inside, and LOA appeals to that control freak by being misinterpreted as “If I DO this, I can get what I want”. (Come on, admit it. It appeals. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) This probably means it can become very easy to miss the bigger picture: that all of it is impermanent. Spiritual Doers are often challenged by the idea that even joy and happiness are impermanent human states of perceptions, especially if we go after them as something we can create or do.

Surrender is the biggest challenge of all, though. It feels like giving up, defeat, becoming passive and allowing anything (anything meaning “the worst”, naturally) to happen. With surrender, comes Trust which goes against the genetic makeup of a doer – doers often do because of what they fear might happen if they don’t. (“If I don’t grasp the opportunity, it’ll never come again.”) Or dammit, they just like to be in control! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Letting go is almost sacrilegious to those of us doers, until we’ve learned to confront that part of our self that moves unconsciously from our head, instead of our hearts, our core, our Truth. I find most Spiritual Doers are very, very, very challenged by the practice of meditation. Being still, “doing nothing”, makes us itchy to move. We think of a hundred things that need doing and so our meditation can quickly turn into a planning session with a To Do list on the floor beside us.

What Spiritual Doers Can “Do”

Cuz I know you’re asking. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Stillness is probably the most important practice for you if you find yourself to be a Spiritual Doer. With it will inevitably come what Spiritual Thinkers are so good at – self-inquiry. DIG IN and examine what is truly compelling you to move and what surfaces within when you consider the idea of not moving. Essential oils (Lavender, White Fir) may help you find physical stillness, calming the autonomic nervous system. While practicing this quiet space each day, also practice what comes naturally to a Spiritual Feeler – tuning in to your heart (another essential oil, ylang ylang, is really good at helping with this). Don’t just spend time noticing the emotions that arise, though. Instead, notice the way the air moves across your face. Notice the sensations in your hands. See if you can feel your eyelashes. And do a lot of observing – observing when you move, why you move, how you move, and from where. This will allow you to slow down enough to tune in more deeply and your movements will then be attuned to the natural flow and grace of the Universe.

Type 2: The Spiritual Thinker

Spiritual thinkers are obviously deeply thoughtful. They approach spirituality rationally, because it just makes sense. They devour books and ideas, and like Spiritual Doers are often curious about other cultures and beliefs, although they make not feel as adventurous or action-oriented. They simply like to learn, and everything and everyone carries a lesson for them. Spiritual Thinkers also tend to be very articulate, and can often help others through their own spiritual process by saying what that person might not be able to articulate, or offering the same wisdom in a new way that allows another person to sink deeper into the understanding within themselves. I see Thinkers as most often being spiritual guides for this reason, and we often love it because it furthers their own spiritual growth in the process. They are also very self-aware and can identify their core beliefs and triggers easily once they know how. This can lead to a lot of freedom from within, very quickly.

However, and I hate to break it to you, but of all the spiritual types, if you’re a Spiritual Thinker you might have the hardest time maintaining that freedom. That love for helping others can easily turn into your own persona-creating and ego-stroking identification. You can get lost in your own ideas and most especially get lost in your own thoughts or daydreams (which quickly turn into worries and fears). Inner fears (you know, the ones that sound silly, irrational, or embarrassing when you say them out loud) are thicker for you, because you tend to live in your head more than most, which can unconsciously feed your primal thought processes (think: survival, fear). You can easily drive yourself to the brink, just as naturally as you can drive others back from it. (I often wonder if Spiritual Thinkers and really Spiritual Doers without all the physical energy. We just do it all in our heads.)

Something for Spiritual Thinkers to Think About

Your job is to get out of your head. When you do DIG IN, do so carefully and with intention, and don’t stay in there too long. Only self-examine to bring about a new awareness; never to turn the same damn thought over and over. Take on the motto, “It’s just a thought” and practice assigning less value to them. Spend more time in your body. Go for a walk, practice yoga (which will move your body in order to still your mind), cook a meal, watch a light-hearted movie, smile and really feel the sensations of it. Say things out loud that you’ve been dwelling on in your head to diminish some of the enchantment they seem to have when you keep them hidden. Plant a garden and make it a daily practice to hand-pick the bugs (talk about meditative). And every time your mind starts to spin into its bullshit, immediately stop it in its tracks and state the Truth as you know it (even if you’re not feeling it). Practice connecting to Love and Trust in meditation, using ylang ylang or marjoram to pull you out of your head and into your heart. And practice moving from your heart – volunteering time at a shelter, performing random acts of kindness, anything to get you into that presence of beauty all around you.

Type 3: The Spiritual Feeler

Spiritual Feelers tend to be the most deeply convicted in their values and beliefs. How can they be anything else when they sense and experience things on such a deep, instinctual, and emotional level? These are the people who deeply feel their Truth, down to the bone, to the cell. They don’t often argue or debate about it, because that would be as strange to them as arguing about the color of the sky. They just believe. They know. And they know what they know because they’ve experienced it in a way that surpasses the understanding and limitations of the mind or the eye. It simply IS.

Spiritual Feelers have the greatest capacity for empathy and compassion. They are the ones wrapping their arms around the wounded and show them their own value. They see, they understand, and they feel a deep draw to be present for others in order to show them what they need to see in themselves. They can connect most easily with their own Presence, with a residing sense of Love and peace, with Spirit. Meditation start to come easier because it feels so good.

But Spiritual Feelers have an easily tragic pitfall. They tend to feel everything deeply, including what they perceive as pain and suffering in the world. Feeling the violence around them, sensing the disconnection, touching the sorrows of the world, they can often fall into their emotions so deeply they don’t find their way out. Nonattachment feels like an insult to them, heartless and cold. And that inability to be unattached can lead to feeling overwhelmed, too small, hopeless, depressed, maybe even angry, and often eventually apathetic and shutdown. In fact, I often wonder if this currency of apathy and vacancy we see in our culture is the effect of Spiritual Feelers becoming so overwhelmed with the state of the world without the tools to navigate it safely that they are left with no other option but to shut it off completely. When they become too overwhelmed with the world, or too battered by the experience of it, they disconnect from their own heart, or they get so lost in their emotions that they can no longer feel that overriding Presence they used to in meditation, and that’s if they even find themselves in meditation or prayer at all anymore. They shutdown to Love, shut down to their own gifts, and at worst, the only thing they feel is a dull ache from what they’ve buried.

A Practice for Spiritual Feelers

Spiritual Feelers are probably feeling every word written here, and hopefully feel this wave of warmth and love I’m sending, too. If you’re a Spiritual Feeler, it might be your practice to create boundaries around yourself, and time in your day (yes, every day) in which to simply breathe. Don’t call it meditation, especially if that feels too big right now. Just take a walk, watch the birds hopping around for seeds, and let yourself find some stillness away from the world. You need some time to reconnect to something bigger than your own desire to help heal others, something that whispers to you that it’s okay to Trust the process of Life.

Movement and choices – like the Spiritual Doers – are going to give you a little more space from everything you feel so acutely. Try applying some essential oils to your solar plexus or heart, like Frankincense essential oilย (to help you ground yourself – especially when everything is overwhelming and leaving you feeling scattered) or Wild Orange or Lime essential oilย (to raise you up out of the depths when it all seems too heavy). And try breaking the heavier energies with water. Drink water, take a swim, take a shower, wash your face (maybe not take a bath if it just ends up feeling like you’re stewing in your own stuff).

I’d also recommend you try on the role of a Spiritual Thinker and DIG IN, examining some of the emotions you feel – especially things like obligation and hopelessness. Ask where it comes from and how you can best do what you’re called to do. Most importantly, spend time with the spiritual principle that the only way you can make an impact on the world is through nonattachment, by not seeing and judging something as “negative”. Stop watching the news. At least for awhile. Practice viewing the world through the eyes of deep awareness, and viewing the Light in others, instead of viewing only their hurt and darkness. Lastly view your own reactions with some distance as well. Step back and simply observe yourself. Create some space between You and your emotional perceptions so you can see the world and those in it from that love-centered, grounded place again.


You are here.

Whichever type you are I can almost guarantee that reading all this brought up a myriad of conflicting responses – laughter as you recognized yourself hopefully, indignation or resistance as you recognized yourself perhaps, and quite possibly, self-judgment or even a sense of self-doubt, as though you think you’re stuck in this place.

The truth is our Spiritual Types change constantly. Each is an experience we move through to allow us to have the fullest understanding of Who We Are. But Who We Are is none of these things. You are not truly a doer, a thinker, or a feeler. Those are more like “habits” we can identify ourselves as having.

If you noticed, the practice is similar for each: self-inquiry, observation, stillness.

When you can allow yourself the practice of quiet observation of these traits, they will begin to fall away and the You that is true (not to sound like Dr. Suess or anything) will be all that’s left. And that’s where the freedom and joy is truly found. In Being and allowing your actions, thoughts, and emotions to organically move from that Being.

 

The Four (Biggest) Mistakes of Personal Growth Junkies

Do you know how hard it was to title this post? I almost called it “The Four Mistakes of Seeking Self-Awareness” but vague and noncommittal woo-woo jargon only sometimes float my boat and never for titles. Anyway, what I hope you know I’m talking about is those of us that are committed to rising up out of the habit of sleep-walking through our lives to grow spiritually and inter-personally in ways that fulfill and satisfy our desire to experience all that Life is offering and asking of us.

I’m talking to those of us who want to be awake and embracing Life. Those of us who already live pretty unconventionally, even if it’s only vicariously right now. Those of us who want more.

I’m talking from experience, too. Experience in my own life. Experience with clients who stumble with the same things.

These are the four biggest mistakes I see us all make:

1. We try to work on others as much as (or more often than) we work on ourselves:

Some people call this projecting. I look at it like a Fix It mode. We’re trying to “fix” our lives and we do so by meddling in what other people “should” be doing in their own lives. We (and by we, I also mean I) constantly think the problem is someone else’s, and if we can only fix our partner or our child or that really annoying neighbor who keeps triggering our desire to get all stabby THEN we will be able to reach personal enlightenment. (Essentially, we make our joy the responsibility of someone else.) OR we have to tell everyone we see with a “problem” about this new, great technique or practice we have. We essentially try to coach people we’re not meant to coach, instead of practicing the love and acceptance we know we’re called to practice.

The answer: That person or thing outside of yourself that you’re trying to fix or help or change is there only to reflect back to you the internal work you need to do. Take what is it they are bringing up in you and DIG IN to it. Bite your tongue or take a walk every time you’re tempted to “help”. The greatest gift you can give them is your own best self in full presence, love, and acceptance of where they are, with the trust that they don’t need fixing or changing.

Quotes by Mooji from www.theorganicsister.com

2. Sharing too much, too soon (or with the wrong people):

I’ve found there is an incubation period with both our dreams and with our healing/growth. There is a time to share and there is an even greater time (especially in the beginning) to hold our Inner Work Cards close to our chest. There are also spaces in which to share that are safe and can hold you in gentleness and nonjudgment and there are spaces that will be too much, too bright, too harsh, too upfront, too cold, or too out of alignment. We sometimes like to blame the people or the space, and call them rude or harsh, and hold onto that hurt we felt for years to come instead of seeing the truth of it: that it wasn’t a right fit. There are also people who just won’t get it, won’t understand where you are, and if your inner work is in its infant stages, they can easily knock you right back down. But none of this is the fault of the people or space; they may be perfectly what you need at another time in your “journey”. They just aren’t right now.

The answer: You wouldn’t subject a just-walking and wobbly baby to a Black Friday sales crowd. They aren’t near ready for that kind of crazy movement. Neither is your heart while it’s stretching itself and still wobbly in its beliefs and practice. Find safe and sacred spaces with people who have been where you are or are there now, places that hold you and nudge you, but not before you’re ready.

3. Not going deep enough:

Oh this one is sort of a pet peeve (and yes, I DIG IN to that!). I can’t tell you how many people I meet insist they only need to repeat their mantra more, or go to yoga more, or change their diet (again), or latch onto that new shiny Fix-It-All Machine. They keep themselves BUSY so they can avoid the real inner work they need to do. They don’t want to DIG IN (hell, who really does? It’s a mess in there and our survival instinct likes to keep us safe from pain) so they try to Build Out…they ignore what’s happening beneath the surface and pile more answers over it to keep the real stuff really hidden. It usually leads to feeling really manic and scattered and we see the same patterns resurface and the real problem never really, finally heal itself.

The answer: Slow the eff down. Stop latching onto something new. Instead allow most things to drop away. Pick one thing – probably the book or practice or person who calls to you the most but likely freaks you out a bit – and focus all your energy on that. Don’t let yourself stop when it starts to get messy or uncomfortable. Know that that is when the good stuff happens: when you clear out all the yuck keeping you from it.

4. Staying too deep, too long:

You know the difference between Digging Deep and digging yourself a grave? How long you stay down with the muck you’ve dug up. It WILL get messy and there are PLENTY of opportunities to feel like total shit, depressed and hopeless, or not good enough. The difference between feeling like a failure that can’t change your own patterns and the person who finds themselves in freedom and joy and Wide-Open-Arm-ness to Life is the person who at some point STOPS digging and stops swimming around in their head and all the junk that our heads are capable of creating (and making us believe is true), and starts planting and nurturing other seeds.

The answer: Get out of your head! Get moving instead.

And because that’s a catchy little rhyme, I’ll just leave it at that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

9 Steps to Break Free, Live Deeply, and Experience More Life in 2013

9 Steps to Break Free, Live Deeply, and Experience Life in 2013

Happy New Years to my sisters in spirit!

If you’re at all like me this time of year has you at least a little swept up in the intention-creating, reflection-inducing, hope-nurturing energy of it all.

Are you wondering how to have the best year possible? How to actually meet your goals and create your experiences and swim in that deep sense of fulfillment and joy and peace that you’re so hungry for?

Here are my best tips, learned from hard-earned experience, total successes and painful lessons:

  1. Make a List of Everything You Wanna Do (big and little): Call it a Bucket List or a Life List or whatever, but dream big and dream a little SCARY. If not you’ll find another year has passed by without anything to remark on. You will NOT get it all done in a year (or you’ll drive yourself crazy trying), but it will keep you centered on what matters to you.
  2. Make a List of Things You Are Ready to STOP: From the internal (“stop caring what others think”) to the external (stop drinking soda), bring some awareness to what IS NOT serving you. Then make a list of HOW EXACTLY you’re going to stop doing it. Again, you may not “accomplish” this in one year but that’s not the point. The point is awareness and forward movement, rather than unconsciously recreating the same patterns in your life.
  3. Take A Good Hard Look Within: It’s not the shit in our life that keeps us from growing or creating change. It’s the shit each one of us hold within ourselves. Until you get honest and DIG IN to those things, they will continue to throw you off-kilter. Digging Deep is a long process, but it’s a powerful one that will help you overcome the stuff that keeps popping up when you set your intentions.
  4. Make Some BIG Changes Now: There is an energy around this time of year that is important to jump on and ride out. Putting some action to your intentions helps to actualize those things, setting the tone for the year. So go ahead and get a radical haircut, throw out your entire closet, or take some other REAL BIG, maybe even SCARY step right now. (Not a step towards a step that you’ll be doing sometime in the future, hopefully, if it works out that way. None of THAT.)
  5. Schedule Your Dreams Right Now: When I make my business plans or my life plans, I schedule things in my calendar WAAAAAY ahead of time. I already have entire weeks crossed off for quarterly evals, and appointments scheduled for yoga, and down time scheduled for quiet space or transitions I know will occur. This way I treat it like a real appointment and don’t let anything else nab that spot on my calendar. (Yes, Life will throw curveballs and things will change, but your conscious creation of your year will help you stay in alignment with what you need.)
  6. Challenge Yourself: Whether it’s a 365 Days challenge, a 52 Weeks challenge or a 31 Days challenge, find what you want to stretch yourself by doing and challenge yourself to do it. Sex every day for a month? A selfie each day for a year? Finally drinking enough water? A date night once a week? Try it. What freaks you out the most? Go with that one. (Don’t try for perfect. And don’t quit when you miss some days; it’s inevitable you will. Just keep checking off boxes for each one you complete and celebrate how far you have come, instead of the how far you haven’t.)
  7. Make Space for You Time: For me this looks like quiet space, stillness, meditation, Nature…this is where I reboot, realign myself, check-in. How do you do those things? Are you making them a part of your “resolutions”? I think the biggest reason we lose sight of our goals and never see them through is because we fail to create this stillness in our life to bring the important things back into view.
  8. Choose a Guiding Word for the Year: And don’t make it something like “money”. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Make it a way you wish to experience the year, a way you want to feel. If you’re a part of the Sisterhood Tribe (or you’re ready to join!), download the free Digging Into 2013ย ebook to find your Guiding Word. ๐Ÿ™‚
  9. Surround Yourself With the Right People: People who will encourage you. People who will call you on our bullshit. People going where you’re going (instead of criticizing where you’re going). Every single person who loves their life, meets their goals, and creates amazing things in their world will tell you you can’t do it without support.

And One More For Good Reason

Create Your Own Damn Steps! ๐Ÿ˜‰
Ask yourself what you really need to do, try, accept, release, change….I can only get you started, and I’d love to help you keep going, but ultimately YOU are the only person who can guarantee anything will happen this year. Get engaged with your heart and soul. What do you need to do for you this year?

I know a lot of us – myself included – are looking back and looking ahead and reevaluating with the best of them this time of year. It’s a strong energy that pulls us in.ย I also know how much more powerful of a year you can finally have if you reach out.ย So if you’re looking to reach out, I’d love to connect with you.

We can connect over the phone, one-on-one for 20-30 minutes and see what might support you.

It’s free. No obligation.ย But I can only create 6-7 of these free spots each week.

Click here to read more about it or click the button below to grab your spot.ย And let’s work through the baggage and the beauty of what’s going to make this next year yours.

Here’s to your beautiful, organic year ahead. ♥

2012: 60+ Highlights of The Big, Scary, Wonderful Things I Did (and What It Did To Me)

I read a blog post awhile back about the things the blogger had done in a year and was pretty floored. Then a girlfriend challenged me to reflect on what would go on my own list. Challenged accepted, the hubs and I sat down and scribbled it out.

{I thought about putting these in categories, or at least in some sort of order, but then I thought about my sanity. ;)}

  • I read 34 books. – And they weren’t kids books or manuals or pamphlets either. ๐Ÿ˜‰ What feels the best is that over half of those were honest-to-goodness, sink-in-deeply novels. Stories. The kind you can’t wait to get back to (if you can bring yourself to put it down in the first place).
  • Underwent the Elimination Diet – That’s not something I want to do again, but it was a big step forward for my body.
  • Completely converted to a grain-free and dairy-free diet – This was HARD. It’s HARD to radically change your kitchen. I think I should get bonus points for this.
  • 2012-1

  • Ate clams from our own “backyard” – We stayed in this incredible little campground in Maine where the tide would recede hundreds of feet and leave clams to dig up in the mud. We ate them with friends, but honestly…I’ll pass next time. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Started enjoying Foodie-ness – To a degree anyway. Duck-fat fries, lobster pizza, caramelized onions (my new favorite food)…I also made a FRITTATA and it was awesome, and I tried my hand at homemade mayo (fail).
  • 2012-2

  • We added 18 states, plus DC to our map! – Some places had been on my Travel List for a long time: Washington DC, New York, Maine…some of those amazing places and sights:
  • Drove the Skyline Drive in Virginia at Sunset
  • Visited Jamestowne, Williamsburg and other national landmarks
  • Hiked in Bar Harbor
  • Visited the Smithsonian (been on my Bucket List FOREVER)
  • Walked Bourbon Street in N’Awlins
  • Had the best grass-fed burger in Asheville
  • Ate lobster in Maine!
  • Snorkeled in the Keys!
  • 2012-3

  • Went whale watching in Maine!
  • Hiked the gorges of Ithaca and fell in love
  • Experienced the Autumn Equinox in New England
  • Went to Mile 1 in Key West
  • Sat 10 feet from an ALLIGATOR IN THE WILD – That was cool.
  • Launched the Mastermind – Loved supporting these women in Digging In to their passions
  • Redesigned my website to be more reflective of my style – I’m still not happy with it though. I think more changes will come this year.
  • 2012-4

  • Relaunched the Tribe into an annual membership – This felt good to bring more into the Tribe and make it more accessible. I think this year will bring more wonderful changes but I can’t tell what yet.
  • Launched three small products – One for parenting through food triggers, one for bloggers, and one for helping women to thrive when surrounded by a conventional mindset/environment
  • Completed and launched the Organic Parenting e-course – This was HUGE. So much went into it – heart, soul, hard work, planning, creating. I’m really proud, and really exhausted.
  • Gained the title of Headline Speaker – This was exciting and fun and also, in hindsight, not something I want to do again. I don’t like speaking TO people, I like speaking WITH them.
  • 2012-5

  • Facilitated two women’s circles – These were SO MY THING. I loved the deep, heart-centered connections, the ability to hold space for one another in tenderness and Truth.
  • Hit my first $10k month – And in only 18 months since starting my business! It was exciting and crazy and deep in ways such a milestone will inevitably take me.
  • Launched OrganicHomeHealth.com – This is a collaboration with my cohort, Rachel, and a team of incredible, centered and vibrant men and women. It was a lot of fucking work too, no joke. This next year will bring a shift in its role in my work in ways I can’t quite see yet, but can sense.
  • Saw the Facebook page hit (and surpass) 5,555 – This was a personal thing for me. So thankful to all you who share your energy over there.
  • 2012-6

  • I! Jumped! Off! A! Cliff! – This was exhilarating, scary, crazy, brave. Bursting through physical limitations and ideas of Who I Am, finding the courage to just leap into the frigid water below. Holy goodness. It was amazing.
  • Went boogie boarding – I’ve always been the one ot stay on the sidelines. But catching that wave was like finding a playmate in Mama Ocean and in myself.
  • Started living with the moon cycles – Allowing it to pull me out, pull me down, balance me, unravel me and put me back together. The New Moon and the Full Moon have become mainstays in my world.
  • Burned my dreads – This final release felt good. Some was done with friends, the rest on my own.
  • 2012-7

  • Made Date Night a regular thing – And it’s been so extremely good for us. ♥
  • Had countless Mama-Son dates – Also extremely good. ♥
  • Skinny-dipped with soul-friends under a full moon – Laughter and silliness and sweet connection. I love you guys.
  • Watched my baby boy turn into a Man-Child – He’s taller than me, his voice is deep and he’s officially a teenager. It’s been a turbulent transition for him (and us), and bittersweet as well. But this person who is emerging is truly wonderful.
  • 2012-8

  • First underground train – Zeb and I geeked out a bit over this one.
  • Took on Turtle as a guide – Still unraveling it’s meaning in my life, from the first time it appeared (birth) to now
  • Watched Walking Dead on the big screen – For those of you that love TWD, you know why this is going on this list. Epic.
  • Overcame vertigo – This year was seriously ungrounding for me, doing so much, going so many places…it started to manifest as some really terrible vertigo, a feeling like I was toppling over and over and over. Balance essential oil, deeper time in Nature, slowing down, and food all helped me find my center and my footing again.
  • 2012-9

  • Started an art journal addiction – With a side order of Too Much Pinspiration. But I’m over-the-moon in love with them both as tools of excavation, healing, and surrender.
  • Found a new groove – The Flow Wand. I still have to be careful not to overdo it with my back, but the flow and dance helps transport me.
  • Got my braces off – My whole Smile Bigger intention a couple years ago, manifest. ๐Ÿ˜€
  • Found real connection with real women – IN THE FLESH connections with clients, sisters (and brothers) in spirit, friends that help me remember my completeness, campfire companions. Connection has been a big theme this year for both me and Justin this year. The internet just doesn’t cut it like it used to.
  • Traveled with the Conscious Caravan for 6 months – This was so wonderful and so deep and so guiding for us all in so many ways. We learned how deeply we need community and how it challenges us to open up and trust and reach out. ♥

    2012-10

  • Interviewed some of my biggest inspirations – Naomi Aldort, Peter Gray, Brad Yates…all for the Organic Parenting e-course. Freaking EPIC and amazing and unbelievable at how Life brings us around and around.
  • Hiked a 2.5 trail in 90 minutes – AND felt GREAT! This was a big huge accomplishment for my body and done in large thanks to giving up grains and diary.
  • Let go of some Should’s – Like using my Canon (I prefer the iPhone now), taking long breaks for social media, how I “should” dress, or “should” relate to others. I gave myself permission to sit things out when I knew they’d be too much for me, and to reach out when I needed it.
  • Purged my closet – Also a personal thing for me, it felt so good to release and make space for ME. Along with it I’ve been bringing in more things that reflect me with deeper consciousness of what those things are than ever before.
  • Let Mama Ocean wash over me – This was an experience I’ll never forget. Mama Ocean just played a big role in my year.
  • Applied for a passport – Cuz really, it’s about TIME we get off this continent!
  • 2012-11

  • Bleached, colored, and gave myself a sidecut – I feel like a Spiritual Badass. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Watched my baby sister marry her best friend – This brought so much joy and peace to watch them come together.
  • carley

  • Truly stepped up my self-care – Like most of us, I can get good at self-neglect. This year I embraced the No Bullshit, No Apologies mentality to self-nurturing. With a learning curve of course.
  • Met (and fell in love with) my GREAT-niece – This was just so amazing to hold this precious soul.
  • Watched SIX GENERATIONS come together – Seriously, so incredibly blessed to witness this.
  • Granny's Fingers

    Six generations

    Kisses

  • Wide Sky Days! – A week vacation, connecting with new and old friends, leading a circle, playing, breathing…it was so, so, so wonderful.
  • Celebrated two years of being 100% debt-free – Never going back.
  • Spent Thanksgiving with family – Vegas still doesn’t feel like home and the trip was challenging, but it was good on a deeper level.
  • Went to Porch Fest and Apple Fest in Ithaca – These people love their festivals! And I do too. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Body painting bitches! – This! Was! Awesome! In ways I can’t even describe. Huge thanks to Ren and Keith for their talent.
  • A_032

  • Discovered Yin Yoga – This is very recent and it’s already radically shifting me.
  • Had more fun – Watching Justin juggle in front of the Oscar Meier Weinermobile, goofing off with friends, letting go of inhibitions, climbing trees, hiking and just PLAYING.

I’ll be frank, though.

2012 was a hard year. It looks all fun and exciting up on stage like this, but behind the scenes was exhausting and overwhelming at times and full of a lot of deep, often painful, inner work.

I started out with the Guiding Word of “Shine” and feel as though I went through a long process of discovering every single thing that KEEPS me from shining, every single thing that is NOT a fit for me. It was a year of trying things on, stretching myself, and finding my Ego challenged and shattered again and again.

There’s a thing I’ve learned about that shattered feeling, though.

You can only shatter the walls or hard layers you build around yourself. Your Truth and authentic Self can never be shattered. It’s painful, this shattering, don’t get me wrong. Much like re-breaking a bone in order for it to set properly. But the pieces that fall apart are actually those that fall into place.

I’ve spent the last 3 months in a place of allowing those pieces to fissure, break away and leave what is there to be exposed. {You might have noticed the shift in my words or the energy of my art, my absence on the web, or my stillness.}

Life allowed me to run my own course for the first nine months, to exhaust myself so completely I could do nothing else but surrender to what She/It was requesting of me.

“Surrender” is my word for 2013.

Surrendering to stillness. Surrendering the things I thought would be a fit for me, but aren’t. Surrendering the ideals I’ve long held and have been humbled to release. Surrendering to the quiet space of being alone – in meditation, in art, in Nature. Surrendering to the Earth and to the moon and to the ocean, all the places in which I find Source/Spirit/God. Surrendering to the choices that fill me with fear and total certainty. Surrendering to the idea of what Life may ask me to surrender this year – people, places, things, ideas.

Surrendering to the invitation to love and be loved, to see and be seen more intimately.

Surrendering what must be surrendered to embody the grace and mindfulness and joy I seek to practice, and to do so in ways I hadn’t planned for, can’t fully see now, but sense in my bones are ahead of me.

There was a lot of fear in this word for the two months it conversed with me.

Now there’s mostly ease. A relaxing. That allowing of the riptide to take me out to sea. I’ve fought long and hard enough. Like I said, just long and hard enough to wear myself out, to give myself no other choice but to let go, to sink into the current of Life.

It’s not about our plans, our goals, even our intentions.

It’s about playing a part in Life, but only one part. And allowing Life to play out the rest.

This year has been a wild ride of wild successes and deep Truths and deeper connection. I’m honestly glad it’s coming to a close.

Here’s to the next year…to sinking in, to rediscovering that *organic* flow I’ve been missing, to listening deeper and loving more intimately and touching my own heart against the hearts of others in those quiet spaces between our doing and our working and our trying and our fighting and our Busy.

I can’t promise what it will look like around these parts as this shift takes hold of my life and my work, but I can tell you it’s going to ultimately feel so beautiful. It already is.

Peace and Happy New Year’s to you, sweet wonderful sisters (and brothers!) in spirit.

May you create your own wonderful list, recall the blessings and triumphs and pangs of this year with more wisdom than before, and may you step into 2013 with intention and your own version of Trust for what is coming your way. ♥

8 Ways to Turn Off Blog Readers (or just never turn’em on)

Hard at work with borrowed wifi

First of all, I want to add a caveat to this post.

Be less concerned with attracting blog readers, and more concerned with adding value to the world.

This post isn’t about a sense of approval.

It’s about allowing others to see through the shenanigans to absorb the real value you have to offer the world.

Ignore this entirely if:

  • Your blog is your personal space, and you don’t need ANYONE bring turned on but you *snapsnapsnap*, mmmm’kay?
  • You have found that any of these things work for you.

This list is only one perspective, but if you want it, here’s what I’ve found that most of us blog readers will be turned off by:

8 Things That Turn Off Blog Readers

Play That Funky Music:
It could be my favorite song ever, but if it’s unexpected I’m not going to search out the stop button. I’m closing the tab pronto. There might be someone sleeping nearby, or I could be working at the library, or just have my speakers up too loud. Point is, if you were to survey your Facebook friends, over 90% of them would say “No thanks”.

Whine, complain, or vent in every other post:
I want to know my favorite bloggers are real people. I want them to be real. And I certainly don’t want them putting on a mask for approval. But I’m hoping for some depth in what I’m reading too, some reflections on the writer’s challenges, some inspiration at their courage. I don’t even like attending my own pity parties. Let’s throw a “This is how we grow” party instead!

Drown Your Message in a Sea of Text:
Most of us are visual to some extent. If we’re not we at least don’t like beating around the bush. Say what needs to be said in the most powerful way possible with as few words as necessary.

Write a post just to apologize for not writing in awhile:
I’ve done it. It’s silly. And usually no one noticed you were gone but you. Or if they did notice they are hoping your absence is going to mean some good CONTENT coming their way.

Enable Those Annoying Fade-in Popup Opt-In Boxes:
You know the ones. They fade out what you were actually enjoying to offer you a free something or other. Even if that free something or other is something I want, you just interrupted something I was interested in. Isn’t there a better way to call my attention to it? (Answer: Yes.)

Obnoxiously Offer Things Your Readers Don’t Want:
I like offers. I like to find things that are going to help me or make my life more awesome. So PLEASE point out your stuff or the stuff you know about, especially if it will benefit me, as well as you. But if it’s not stuff I love I’m going to assume I’m not your ideal audience and bounce. Know your audience. Give them stuff they like.

Sensationalize! Every! Single! Thing!
I like a little hyperbole. I’m not afraid to see some waves being made. But only if it’s for a real purpose. Not just for ratings. It’s like drama for the computer screen and aren’t we all ready for a drama-free world?

Be Unremarkable:
The opposite end of the Sensationalize Spectrum? Never say anything that might offend someone. Never take a stand for your values. Be Switzerland and neutral and you’ll never have to worry about rejection. But that will be because no one’s attention has been caught in the first place.

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6 Signs of a Truly Happy Woman

Years ago I use to look at so many women and think they were so happy.

I’d wonder what their secret was to having that much joy.

Mama break in the jacuzzi. Love my tribe.  <3
Jacuzzi break with my spirit sistahs. Some deeply happy women, these ones.

As I grew to find and experience my own joy, I took another look at those women I had admired and was surprised at what I saw. From a different vantage point, there was a hollowness in their life and an emptiness in their words. I suddenly saw the harshness of their jokes or comments (about themselves or other women) and the lack of peace that I found comes with real joy.

Then as I began coaching, I spent a lot of time helping women DIG IN beneath the surface to find that ability to thrive.

And as I watched them rock things out in their lives I found a few things to repeat themselves, patterns of happiness and consciousness and confidence and the ability to truly thrive.

If you were to ask me what real happiness, serious joy, true thiving looks like, this is what I’ve seen.

6 Signs of a Seriously Thriving, Happy Woman

  1. She has space in her life for her own sadness, anger, frustration, sorrow: Women who seem “up” all the time are the ones I’ve come to worry about the most. Some of those women are battling with a belief that no one wants to hear from them unless they’re happy, and so they put on a mask in an attempt to gain approval. Others need to stay “up” all the time to prevent their world from crumbling. But truly happy women embrace their experiences of sadness, anger, frustration, sorrow or pain with authenticity and gentleness. They don’t hide how they feel, although they don’t project it onto others either. She doesn’t blame her emotions on others, or expect others to fix it for her. She simply sits with what stirs within her, examining it when necessary, trusting the ebb and flow of it without worry that it will overtake her. She knows that to experience deep joy she must learn from deep pain without drowning herself in it, without attaching to either, but simply trusting the process of life.
  2. She celebrates the beauty of others: You won’t find a truly joyful women with a critical eye towards others. No snarky remarks about other women; no judgment. Honesty about her experience of others, yes; but only in how she is experiencing it and what it is meaning to her. Criticism and negativity toward others is a poison that kills joy in mere moments. A truly joyful woman shares concern and compassion and naturally notices and celebrates the beauty, not the mistakes (or what she perceives as mistakes).
  3. She automatically assumes the best in others: A really happy woman doesn’t spend time taking shit personally. She knows it’s not always about her; in fact, it’s rarely about her. When someone says something or does something, she doesn’t take offense. She takes a stance of curiosity, assuming good intent and quieting any negative thoughts her mind sputters out. She asks genuine questions and continues to offer compassion and a desire for connection. She doesn’t spend a lot of time stewing over the incident, but simply addresses what she senses needs her attention and releasing all else.
  4. She only sees comparisons in terms of inspiration: No jealousy. No sense of competition. No criticism. And no self-judgment either. This goes back to #2, seeing and celebrating the beauty in others. But when that beauty stands out, she also tends to use it to inspire herself to her own greatness. She turns it into a reason to celebrate what she CAN do, instead of feeling guilty or less-than over what she’s yet to do.
  5. She dwells on what is and sees the beauty of the moment: Shit happens and she knows it. She doesn’t go into denial (see #1), but she does amplify the good wherever she can see it. She knows her energy is fullest when she is ready to turn her intention and attention to gratitude.
  6. She speaks her mind and with honor towards others: She doesn’t hold back her convictions or her heart and soul. She speaks what’s on her heart, and listens to the deeper experiences of others; she’s willing to have her mind changed, but only if it’s Truth that is resonating with her. And she doesn’t take it personally when someone disagrees, or even gets upset. She just keeps shining in her Truth with kindness and compassion, unapologetically. She doesn’t argue because she has nothing to prove and she knows when to walk away and when to stand her ground.

The more conscious I became of these patterns, and my own painful patterns, the more I began to practice them.

Because that’s the other thing I’ve found: These signs were not symptoms of already being happy.

They were practices to choose and create happiness.

Ask Yourself: Which of these resonate with me?

 

6 Tips to Get More Blog Comments

I had a question several weeks ago about how to get more blog comments. I’ve talked a bit in that post about my experience with blog comments, why I turned them off and on again, and how it’s important to DIG IN to our reasons why we think we need them and how they affect us.

Comments
Photo Source

Now, let me preface by saying I don’t think it’s beneficial to focus on the number of comments you’re getting (or not getting) on your blog.

Tracking comment stats is one of the worst indicators of a thriving blog.

In fact, since turning my comments back on, I get very few comments compared to previously. And if you’re on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll likely find you get more interaction there since those sites are meant to be more social anyway.

So before we even look at any tips to get blog comments coming in, I want to talk about INTENTION.

It’s important to know yourself and know why this topic matters (or if it really matters). Do you:

  • Hope it will increase readership?
  • Want to experience more connection with readers?
  • Wish to facilitate connection in others?
  • Use it to bolster your own sense of approval?
  • Just think a successful blog “should” have lots of comments?

Examine your deeper reasons and align yourself with an intention that resonates with you, hopefully one based on something other than “should”, “have to”, scarcity or fear in any other form. Question any assumptions as well, because you’ll always find exceptions to the “rule”, which means this really can be done in any way that feels like a beautiful fit for you and your higher intentions.

Once you feel aligned then move through these tips to help you meet your goals.

1. Quit Taking It Personally

Why is this first? Because if you’re feeling triggered or upset in any way you’re going to create an experience based on yuck and funk, instead of one based on love and trust. And yuck and funk don’t serve you and your goals.

For a number of reasons, most people won’t comment and it has nothing to do with you or what you’re writing. (It’s not all about us after all, ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

People are busy. They may love your stuff but in order to have time to read it at all it means they don’t have time to reply. Some just don’t like commenting, others don’t feel they have anything to add, a few think it’s dangerous, a couple don’t know how it works or even know they can, and more have even more varying reasons.

There are things you can and probably will want to examine in order to increase blog comments, but for the most part…

The people you have the biggest impression on may never say a word.

This is okay. All is still well in your world.

My Suggestion :: Before you write, connect to your Truth, your purpose, your authentic voice and the intention you set above. Lean into Trust that your words will reach the right people in the right time. Release all else.

2. Make It Stand Out

Lots of people write blog posts that are interesting or inspiring to PERUSE on a Sunday afternoon but don’t exactly leave an impression.

If your blog posts aren’t remarkable, they won’t be remark-able.

This is one part Taking a Stand (mixed in with a fair amount of Not Afraid to Ruffle a Few Feathers), one part Saying Something New and one part Making a Real Impact. Not fluff or wave-making for the sake of filling space or getting reactions. But honest-to-goodness words that will intrigue, inspire or help someone in some way. Things that make you go hmmmm or Aha!

(Don’t go overboard on sensationalizing every blog post you write. Just ask yourself “what makes this post remark-able?”.)

My Suggestion ::ย As you write, connect to your core and allow the words to flow from you, leaning into the Trust that it’s safe (as well as important) for you to speak from your heart on important and sensitive topics.

3. Make Your Blog Posts “Legible”

Obviously, I don’t mean your handwriting style. But your style of editing matters in getting readers and thus to get blog comments.

  • Is your blog post giant paragraphs of words or do they alternate in their number of lines so as to create a flow for the eye?
  • Do you use photos, blockquotes, bullet points, sizes and colors too much or not enough?
  • Is your font fancy and hard to read, or do you have light-colored fonts on dark background?
  • Is it too small or too large?
  • Are your colors reflective of you without being too overwhelming (primary or neon colors can be too much for a lot of eyes)?

Basically, is your post easy to read AND visually appealing?

A possible way to judge this is by finding out of whether people are even staying on the page long enough to read the content by installing Google Analytics. Check for the average time spent on a page (for a blog post, it should be a couple minutes). This will tell you if people are hanging around or jumping ship as soon as they land – if this is something like 10 seconds than they probably aren’t liking the first impression they are getting or the visuals they are seeing (or music they are hearing – seriously, turn that thing off. I’m going to pull a number out of thin air and say that about 97% of people hate the surprise of music, even if they love the music).

My Suggestion ::ย Do a blog assessment from a reader’s point-of-view, and from your Analytics point-of-view, or ask for some gentle feedback from someone you love.

4. Make commenting easy to do.

Spam filters are a must to make it easy for you. Captcha is good too. Moderation is good if it works for your schedule and doesn’t keep them waiting for days to see their comment go live. (WordPress allows you to only moderate first-time commenters, which is very helpful.)

But make it easy for readers:

  • Can they find comments or is the placement of the “comment here” link complicated?
  • Is it complicated (like Disqus or RealID)?
  • Would they like or dislike Facebook comments instead?
  • Is your Captcha a total butthole and difficult to read?
  • Do you have to be logged in or can it be anonymous or custom (specifically talking to Blogger users here)?
  • What about the words? Is it the plain “Leave a comment” or something more clever?
  • Is it so clever it doesn’t make sense to others?
  • Is it too wordy?

Remember that the options will look different to you if you’re logged in, as well as if people are trying to access it from their smartphones.

My Suggestion ::ย Do a comment system assessment and look for alternatives to anything less than easy-breezy.

5. Ask for and create engagement.

Asking for engagement might be a simple “I’d really love to know you’re out there; please say hi” or it might be a question you ask at the end. Keep in mind that the post has to be something worth commenting on (see #2).

Creating engagement is usually done through answering questions or adding your own replies to theirs. (Be genuine with this.) Another way to create engagement is to share your post on social media mentioning the conversation happening in the comments and asking for more viewpoints. (Again, be genuine and aligned with your intentions.) You can also ask readers to share any remark-able posts, since it seems to be new readers that often do the most commenting.

But I’d also recommend asking yourself some questions.

  • What kind of comments do you want?
  • What kind of person would you like to comment?
  • And what kind of things do you feel if you get no (or no positive) comments? (DIG IN to those feelings so you can be free of them and continue to do what you do authentically.)

My Suggestion ::ย List a few possible ways to ask for and get the kind of comments you want from the kind of readers you love, experiment with your ideas one at a time, and watch your feedback (comments and analytics) to see what works for you.

6. Stay focused.

If your blog is new, remember that there are a gazillion bloggers out there trying to get their start too. It takes time, and an investment of your energy to bring in the right people and then only about 20% of them will actually EVER comment.

Be patient and connect to your intention again and again.

If your blog is also your business, keep in mind that comments do NOT equal success. Very financially UNsuccessful bloggers have TONS of comments. And there are very successful businesses that are making 6-7 figures and getting no comments at all. Your blog comments have nothing to do with your success (unless of course you’re spending all your time trying to get comments instead of actually doing the things that will support your business – oh snap! Yeah, I called you out!).

My Suggestion ::ย Put your energy into the projects, tasks and areas that matter first – creating something worth consuming and getting it out to the right people. Trust the process of all else.

And let me add a seventh…

Experiment. Try new things. Keep track of the results. Do what works for your spirit first and then what works to get blog comments.

What about you: What’s your perspective?

Do you comment or rarely comment? Do you feel like no one is listening if you get no comments? Do you have a comment policy or a tip of your own you could share?


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