Category Archives: Sacred Gatherings

The Story Behind the Magic of Growing with Gratitude

I’m sitting here, sweating, because I can’t make it any cooler, but I am grateful to be in clothes that are soft and comfy, sitting on my couch that is covered in a beautiful and vibrant tapestry, and trusting that we’ll return to the regularly scheduled fall weather soon.

I’m sitting here and thinking about how much I love Growing with Gratitude. I love it for the simplicity, for the community, and for the opportunity to slow down a bit and shift how we come into a season that tends to be pretty hectic.

I’m sitting here and remembering how Growing with Gratitude came to be. Do you know this story? It’s magic.

hannah-and-xandra-riFour years ago, the sweet Mary McConnell came to visit the States and Hannah Marcotti put together a visioning night. This ended up being a gathering of women who had become close in online community, but I had not met them before in person.

This was a huge edge for me – getting on a train to go to a city I’d never been to, to spend an evening with women I had not met in person. It may have also been my first time away from Chloe, probably so.

It was a night of visioning, of laughter, of vulnerability. I cried at Ruth’s feet as she wrote the word trust on my arm.

I gave myself the next day to explore Providence and the next night alone to myself in a hotel room. Even then, I knew I needed time to ease back into ‘real life’ after events like this.

I had come to Providence knowing there was an inking of a program in my mind. I may have even known it was going to be around gratitude. What I did not expect and could never have imagined was that within 36 hours I would have all of the content done for the month-long course. All the quotes, all the prompts, all the pictures, everything in order. It felt like a divine download, truly. I don’t know that I’ve experienced anything like it since.

Each autumn while I’m still in the gentleness of the season, I know the hectic time is just around the corner, and I know it’s time to share this offering again.

And so it is. We start again, for the fourth time, in just two weeks.

You’ll see me sharing some of my favorite parts of Growing with Gratitude, some of the why behind it, over the next couple of weeks. I just wanted to share with you right now the magic that began it, and invite you to come experience the magic that gratitude can gift us, if it lights up your soul.

The Power of Sacred Adornments

I used to wear rings on every finger, necklaces, bracelets and earrings – long, long, earrings – dangling from my body.

Over the years the styles changed. Sometimes a watch took up residence on my wrist and I felt naked without it.

When she was born, I learned what it was to have a baby and realized that it was time to shed the jewelry, preferring to preserve chains and intact earlobes. For a while, she was my sacred adornment and there were blessings in that amidst the nakedness I sometimes felt without the jewelry.

It took years to slowly find my way back to adorning myself and as I did so, I learned a lot about what it meant to me.

It was a way to express my creativity through the choices I made each day.

It was a way to carry comfort with me even when I went into the most uncomfortable situations.

It was a way to extend who I was outside of my skin, giving a little glimpse of the heart and soul of me.

img_20161005_202616I share this as a way to explain why I wear a mala almost every day.

For some, malas will remain on their altars and be used only for mantra meditation. And that is beautiful.

For me, I choose to carry my meditation with me.

I choose to wear the gemstones that I need as I wander out into the world, cloaking myself in patience or strength or groundedness or peace.

I choose to trace my hands from bead to bead in a short meditation while waiting for coffee, before getting out of my car for a meeting, before greeting the once baby now first grader at the bus stop.

Because I need the ability to drop back into myself through meditation whenever and wherever.

This is the same reason I carry a mini altar in my wallet and a tiny Ganesha statue in the pocket of my jean jacket.

What we cloak ourselves in – from our thoughts, our words, and our actions to our clothes and sacred adornments – are extensions of our hearts and souls.

I believe that I am a sacred vessel, and that you are too. And as vessels, we can carry our sacred adornments wherever we travel.

I Am Pursuing Subtle Threads

IMG_20160719_160333Each bead, like each part of the self, holds its own energy. Each bead is unique in color, in exact size, in design. Each bead is a reflection of what has come before and holds the promise of what is yet to come.

As I pick them up, hold them gently in my hands, begin to place them side by side, I begin to see the story that they tell together.

This one pulls out the color of that one. Contrast can sometimes create powerful energy, and sometimes more consistency allows for a sense of calm.

Each one of us is made up of many parts, whether we label them or not. The stories of who we have been, of who we think we are, of who we are becoming, are similar in a way to the beads. They can feel similar to one another, they can feel separate, they can lead us to feel like we are struggling to find a way to hold it all together, to see how all of these pieces fit.

There are the beads, and then there is the thread.

The thread that holds them all together while still allowing each bead space to breathe, to contribute its own energy to the whole.

And it makes me wonder sometimes about the thread that holds all of my parts together….

“I’m searching for the thread that holds it all together,” I said recently to some friends. In the days that followed I realized that I am that thread. All the parts of me are held together by the essence of who I am, that which is beyond the labels.

I am mama. I am wife. I am daughter. I am yoga teacher. I am writer. I am coach. I am mala maker. I am friend. I am all of this and more. These are the beads of self and I am the thread.

Why We Practice Sacred Ritual

Ritual ImageAs you begin to rewrite your stories, to shape your future, to step into your sacred becoming, you can often feel uprooted and ungrounded. Everything around you can feel as if it is changing all at once and that can leave you feeling out of control.

These are the moments that show the importance of ritual.

If nothing else, ritual can give you a place to land, an opportunity to catch your breath, a reminder that there is some steady ground underfoot.

When you look back over history, you see rituals during times of transition all the way from birth to death.

To me, Sacred Ritual is about calling forth the rituals that ground you, that bring deeper meaning to your days, that allow you to have a connection that feels like home when the world is swirling around you.

Knowing that each morning, with rare exception, I begin my day with morning pages and lemon water, gives me at least something each day that I can count on, that can make me feel sacred, that allows me to take deep care of my needs.

Knowing that when I feel stuck and overwhelmed I have rituals I can turn to that have pulled me out of a funk before, I am reminded that this moment is just another part of the cycle and it will ease.

Knowing that when I can feel myself stepping into a new iteration and the fear and doubt begins to creep in, I can turn to my rituals to guide and reassure me.

Knowing that when something must come to an end – a project, a situation, a life, I have a place to rest in comfort and to rebuild that feels like home to my soul.

We practice Sacred Ritual Everyday so that the loops life throws at us don’t unhinge us quite so much.

We practice Sacred Ritual Everyday so that we can gel the rhythm and flow and be guided back more quickly when we fall off course.

We practice Sacred Ritual Everyday so that we are reminded constantly that we are sacred vessels, that this journey is powerful though not always easy, that there is a cycle and a flow to all of it.

Will you practice with us? We begin April 11th.

Support, Community, Love

I had a fantastic 4 days at a conference this weekend for holistic practitioners, and I just had to share one of my big aha’s with you! Be sure to check out this video to see some great highlights from the conference.

I often go through my day to day life with a lot of things on my mind, and many things on many to-do lists.  I get to check off some items, but some things, often the ones that I know deep down are most important, get pushed to new lists and are left for another day. This was even the case with the changes that I wanted to make towards living a healthier life for a while.

Does this sound like you?

I experienced the secret to moving the most important things to the top of the list and getting them done when I was at this conference this weekend, and I want to share it with you.

This may sound obvious to some, but I didn’t really grasp the importance until I experienced it – support and community.  There is something very special about being in a room with 250+ people who you just know love and support you and will do anything they can to help you realize your dreams.  In an environment like this, it’s easy to become clear on the path that you want to take and it’s even easier to feel that you can actually make it happen!

I don’t have a community of 250+ people to offer you, at least not yet, but I want you to know that I’m here to support you and cheer you on as you tune into what you are ready to make happen as you journey towards your sacred becoming.  Sometimes all we need is someone who is there to cheer us on and stretch us when we need it, and we can make big things happen!

Join the community on Facebook here.

Peace, love, and wellness,

Xandra