Tag Archives: finding balance

Feeling the Extremes to Find Center

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This Is the heart of what she was trying to teach us. As we settled in, she let us know that this class would be different than the others. She would teach us a sequence and then we would be on our own to move with the flow of our own energy.

Do not worry about remembering the sequence. Be guided by your body, by how you feel.

And so we began. She led us through the first sequence and then handed the practice over to us. I felt almost immediately frustrated. I tried to remember. I questioned if I was doing it ‘right’ and I got so lost in my head. All of those things she had given us permission to let go of, I held onto tightly.

The tears that had been burning in my eyes all morning returned and I was deeply grateful when the time came to rest in pigeon pose.

The next time, I went immediately to child’s pose, giving my mind the break, and that’s when the tears began pouring out of me. I could feel that my body needed to move. I could feel that without the distraction of movement the emotion and tears flowed like a river. I felt stormy inside my belly.

I had found two extremes. I found movement that ignited frustration and anxiety. I found stillness that made me feel antsy and soaked in tears.

Sometimes we need to feel the extremes to find the Tao, or the Way.

In our final sequence, I gave myself the permission she had been giving us all along. I gave myself the permission Lao Tzu had given me when he said, “let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

I knew I needed to move my body. I knew I needed simplicity of movement.

I flowed through sun salutations, following my breath, reaching my heart forward, and tucking it back inside, until she guided us to come back to downward dog and then to rest.

She had said before we began that all the waves of the ocean are different, and together they make up the ocean. She likened watching us to this same image, sharing how powerful it was to see our bodies all guided to moving in the way that felt natural for us.

When we tear down the wall of resistance, when we give ourselves the permission to flow with our needs and desires, we not only perhaps catch a glimpse of the Tao, we catch a glimpse of the home that resides within.

With Love and Gratitude,
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How Ritual Can Get You through Even When It’s Not There

You know those times when it feels like your world suddenly flips upside down? And then things just keep coming at you from all directions, at lightening speed, and you don’t even have a moment to catch your breath? Much of my summer felt like that.

Even though July and August were an emotionally draining time, I managed to hear myself say the following to my husband the other day, “Despite everything, I feel happy and calm at my center.” And I do.

Here I am taking a moment to catch my breath.

Here I am taking a moment to catch my breath.

Many of my self care rituals got lost in the shuffle of a complicated summer. In August, I saw my meditation practice drop away. I barely did any yoga. I’m not even sure if my kitchen was stocked with lemons for my daily lemon water. There was a week there where I barely ate (some people eat emotionally when things are tough and I found myself doing the opposite, not even making time for food).

So much took a back seat in August, but the idea of ritual kept me going. I knew that when I was ready, I could return to it, and I did. Coming from a place of non judgment I was able to honor the space I needed and to recognize and accept that I couldn’t do it all.

Mantra stayed with me. Breath work stayed with me. Lots of restful sleep stayed with me. And that was enough.

One day in the middle of the month, I found myself in a yoga class. Almost immediately I could feel the healing that was happening. The familiar movements. The feeling of home that my mat always brings me. It was a reawakening to one of the most important rituals of all in my life, one that follows me on and off my mat – the practice of yoga.

Whatever rituals hold meaning for you, whether they are ones that you can easily tuck into your day (like lemon water when you actually have the lemons) or the ones that take a little more planning (like getting to a yoga class or getting a massage), know that they are always waiting for you. When you meet them from a place of non judgment, you’ll be able to get through anything.

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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The Womb to World Wellness Writing Process

#mywritingprocess blog tour

I was so excited when my friend Alison Marra of True North invited me to participate in the #mywritingprocess blog tour. Alison and I met through the incredible Hannah Marcotti and are deep in exploration together in the Magic Making Circle. Alison’s writing is soul stirring and inspiring, and you can learn more about her process here.

I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember (I still have stories that I wrote when I was 5), but the world of writing for others has been an interesting shift, and I’m excited to explore these questions and share my answers with you.

So here we go!

What are you working on?

This question makes me laugh because I could answer in so many ways. Concretely, these days most of my writing revolves around this space, my newsletter, and content for upcoming programs. I’ve also been doing a great deal of personal writing again recently, through morning pages and beyond, which always feels good to come home to.

The dreamy answer includes ideas for books that have been floating around in my mind for many years that have yet to come to fruition. I’d love to revisit the poetry I wrote in massive quantities when I was a teenage and either annotate it or take the best of it and polish it. That involves returning to that time in my life though, and I’m more of a forward thinker these days.

The history major in me has had plans for more than 5 years to write a book about one of my favorite places in the world, but other passions have pushed that project to the side too.

So there’s always something going on, both on paper and in my mind. 🙂

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

There’s so much fear and overwhelm out there, and I try not to be part of that. I strive to come from a place of love and ease because I feel like that’s where you can really discover what works best for you. I don’t want to scare you into change – I want you to want it so much that you see no choice but empowered action.

So much in the health, wellness, self-care and baby-making world is direction based (do this, don’t do that etc) and I really don’t see my message fitting into that. I see myself as a guide for women, helping them to explore and uncover what they need most. Sure, I could fill my newsletter and blog with the top 5 foods to eat for fertility and the top 10 things to avoid when preparing to conceive, but that’s just not my style. You’ll get that information, but in a more heart-centered way. You might notice that my opt-in gift is currently 30 Tips to Boost Your Fertility, so that might seem contradictory, but that’s just the title. It’s really a beautiful little e-book filled with ideas to inspire you. So many of us like lists, but we like to find ourselves in those lists, not feel directed to what we’re “supposed” to. My hope is that my writing encourages you to discover the choices that feel like deep yeses in your soul.

I’d say just about everything that comes through my writing has come directly from my own experiences (how could it not), so it’s constantly evolving because so I am, and so is Womb to World Wellness. Just as I seek to support the women in my community with this, I am also constantly journeying towards a more empowered and authentic version of myself, and that journey shows up here.

Why do I write what I do?

This question had me at a full stop for about 24 hours. I’ve been thinking about it during that time and I don’t know that I’m any closer to being able to put it into words – funny for a writer, isn’t it? I write what I write simply because I do. There is no other choice. There is no other way. Like I mentioned in the projects that live only in my mind – I can’t write those right now because this is the writing that is bursting out of me in the present moment.

Writing to me has always been a way for me to communicate what usually lives hidden deep within us. Whether I was sharing it with anyone or not, writing has been an outlet, a friend, that I can always count on, and I see this space a bit like that sometimes.

I aim to write to the Womb to World Wellness community as if I am writing to a friend, because I believe I am. I am writing to each and every woman who holds the dream of a baby in her heart, and I am here to create sacred space for her desires to bloom and grow. So why do I write what I do? I guess it’s to open up that conversation, and to let women know that it’s a safe and important conversation to have.

How does my writing process work?

For a long time, my newsletters, which go out early Tuesday mornings, were being written late Monday night. It wasn’t that I didn’t try to write them sooner, I did. Sometimes they would be completely written and formatted days before and then bam at 10pm (almost always on the dot), I would get the idea and I’d find myself starting from scratch and staying up much later than I wanted to.

I’ve tried to train my brain to get that hit of inspiration earlier, but here’s the thing – you can’t control the inspiration. When I try to write, whether it’s a newsletter, a blog, or even just an email, it takes so long. It feels like struggle. When I release the expectation of when, I always manage to find the flow, usually just in time.

I was like this in college too. I remember in my senior year I was taking two classes with the same teacher and a few us of convinced her to let us write one longer paper combining the themes of the two classes instead of one. Capital by Marx and Colonialism. Through many discussions, with just a few days left until the papers were due, it became clear that I had one amazing paper, if I cut out the colonialism piece that I was trying to fit it. So now I needed to come up with another paper topic and get it all researched and written. She offered me an extension. I got both papers in on time, and I aced them. I guess that’s just how I roll.

It also depends on what I’m writing. A change of scenery always does me good, and this piece is a perfect example. I was getting there, but wasn’t quite in the flow until I left my house and came to a coffee shop. Sat down with my tea and the flow found me.

I think finding flow is the most important element to my writing process, and what brings me to that flow often changes, but here are some ideas that I can usually count on to get me back into the flow. May they serve as inspiration for the writer in you.

  • A hot shower
  • A change of scenery
  • Free writing (often starts with, “I have no idea what to write but I have things to write so here I am….”)
  • Visioning (I often start cutting things out of magazines and pause the visioning process because an idea strikes)
  • Writing from the heart (works every time)

I hope you’ve enjoyed taking this journey with me through a bit of my process and I hope that you’ll continue to return and see where the flow takes me in the future. I’d love to hear what you enjoyed most while reading this, so be sure to leave a comment below!

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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I am excited now to share 2 more amazing friends and writers with you so that you can learn more about their work and writing processes.

Melissa Mulligan is a vocal coach who believes in passionately creating the lives we are meant to live. She is a permission-granter of unbridled dreams and a believer in the healing power of self-expression. Melissa is the owner, lead vocal coach and head of Artist Development at MMVS: Melissa Mulligan Vocal Studio, LLC in Connecticut, NYC, California, Boston, and online. mymmvs.com Facebook : MMVS Vocal Coaching Twitter: @melmulligan Instagram: @melmulligan YouTube: MelMMVS

You can check out Melissa’s blog here, where she’ll be sharing her own process next week.

Dawn Renee Webster is a natural born decorator & organizer. She strives to ‘reclaim your space’ by providing you with some soul food to nosh on. Are there certain styles of design that you are drawn to, gorgeous meals that you want to re-create or do you yearn for tips on organizing your home life? Trust her. She is a mother of 3 and enjoys the delightful challenge of making each day more beautiful for the environment that surrounds her family. Dawn notices the details and believes in the simple things. Her talent is in repurposing what you already have within the bones of your abode and listening to the whispers of your heart. You can do this. Visit…her door is always open. You can learn more about Dawn and her writing process at www.SassafrasElements.com. Got questions for her? She loves receiving your emails at SassafrasElements@gmail.com.

What’s Holding You Back from Your Dreams?

Vantage PointAs I write this, I’m looking out my window onto a beautifully sunny day – no clouds, and the trees are beginning to bloom. We live on the 6th floor of a building, and I often joke about how this is the closest I will ever be to living in a tree house. Although there are times when I long to feel more grounded and connected to the earth than I do from the 6th floor, I am grateful for the vantage point that I have from here as well. It’s a reminder that while staying grounded is important, so is soaring towards our dreams.

In our lives, it’s really important to remember that we have the ability to view our current situation from various vantage points, and we can learn lessons from all of them.

Have you ever noticed that your energy feels different in these situations…

At night versus in the morning?

After a yoga or exercise class versus after you’ve been sitting on your couch all day?

After eating a nourishing meal versus a big bowl of ice cream?

These are all different vantage points, and they can tell you about the situation you are facing, as well as what is most supportive to you as you navigate what’s coming your way.

Recognizing how a situation looks from various vantage points is only part of the journey though – the next step is figuring out from which place inside, from which version of yourself, you want to respond.

Will it serve you to respond from a place of anger? Probably not.

Will it serve you to respond from a place of resentment? That’s not likely the best choice either.

Will it serve you to respond from a place of empathy? Possibly, but you have to be mindful of your own boundaries.

Will it serve you to respond from a place of compassion? Absolutely, especially if the compassion is for yourself.

Here’s the thing – if you’re anything like me (and most people I know), you make most of your decisions based on what others think – or might think, even if this is happening subconsciously. Sometimes this works out okay, but most of the time it leads to hurt, frustration, and a lot of negativity.

Especially when you are preparing yourself for conceiving a baby (but also when you’re conceiving anything in your life, even if it’s just your plan for tomorrow), it is so important to surround yourself and engage with positive energy. This is the energy of growth and creativity. When you focus on the negative, or you allow the negativity to seep into your life, it can stifle you. It can actually keep your dreams from growing.

When you begin to make decisions from a place of compassion and positivity, those feelings expand, and you will find yourself manifesting what you’ve most desired.

Here’s my challenge to you – find one place in your life where you know negativity is seeping in, and fill that space with something positive instead. Be part of the community by sharing an area where you are ready to release the negativity in the comments below.

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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Releasing Expectations So You Can Flow Instead of Struggle

release expectationsExpectations. We all have them, for ourselves and for others. Mostly, they lead to frustration, disappointment, anger and miscommunication.

When you are thinking about starting a family (or you are just dreaming of it for some time in your future), these expectations can be painful.

You have expectations about what needs to be in place, how long it will take you to get pregnant, what pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood will look like for you.

At each point on this journey, there are numerous opportunities for not meeting these expectations, these high ideals that you have come to believe must be true.

What if you could flip this? What if you could shift your expectations so you are open and receiving instead of closed off and fighting?

Shifting expectations continues to come up in my life, so I know that it is a lesson I have not yet fully learned. As I have been hit on the head with this lesson a lot this week, I realized something – it’s not about my expectations of others but of myself.

As I have worked on shifting my expectations, this has meant accepting that I need support to make my dreams, passions, and desires flourish. I reached out for this support, invested in myself, and I can feel the shift.

It has taken some of the pressure off of me and helped me create space to put my focus to where it needs to be. I am able to focus on what flows naturally, while getting support with the pieces that feel more difficult and tend to cause a lot of frustration and stress. This is invaluable!

Are you ready? Release those expectations so you can flourish and grow.

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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Taking Care of Your Future Self

self care for healthy pregnancy
I make my bed in the morning so it is there to welcome me into restful sleep at night.

I make a week’s worth of granola so nourishment comes with ease.

I get the sleep I need so I feel ready to take on the next day.

I choose my clothes and set them out so the morning has a sense of ease.

I wash the dishes so my kitchen is a clean canvas ready for my next creation.

I email myself tomorrow’s to-do list so I can dive right in.

I vision to prepare myself for what’s coming next.

These are some of the ways I take care of my future self.

This concept, first solidly introduced to me by Hannah Marcotti, seems simple, seems obvious, but it can take practice.

I wake up late and when I am ready for sleep, my sheets are a tangled mess, and one more thing keeps me from rest.

The morning moves quickly and I wish I had a simple breakfast at my fingertips.

I am groggy and wishing I could close my eyes before trudging through the day.

I struggle to find what feels right on my body, for this moment, for my now.

I am too tired to clean the kitchen, so dinner becomes a rice cake with almond butter.

I don’t know where to start, and I feel overwhelmed that all that is yet to do.

I find myself lost in my way, in what dreams I am guiding myself towards.

That is what it can look like, can feel like, when I don’t take care of my future self.

Messy. Groggy. Struggling. Overwhelmed. Unguided. Hurried.

The magic of a few moments can completely shift your day, your life.

That’s right, all it takes is a few moments:

Make the bed – 2 minutes

Make granola for the week – 10 minutes, plus inactive time waiting for the baking

A slightly earlier bedtime – that takes no time, just shifting priorities

Choosing tomorrow’s clothes – 5 minutes

Doing the dishes – 15 minutes to fully unload and reload, yes really, I’ve timed it.

Emailing my to-do list – 10 minutes max

Visioning – okay ,that can be more than moments, can be hours, can steal sleep, but it’s this.

How can you take care of your future self today? How will she thank you tomorrow?

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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New Beginnings Aren’t Always What You Think…


I roll out my mat, set the stones beside it, put on some music and begin, again.

Each time I complete 5 sun salutations, I move one of the stones with my toe. How else could I keep count?

It is New Year’s Day, and I am aiming for 54 sun salutations. 108 calls to my heart, but I know to ease back into this practice.

As I relax into savasana once all the stones are moved, I feel the bliss that I missed. I feel it in my body, in my soul, and I am reminded of the power of new beginnings.

New beginnings do not need to mean new practices. Tweet This

They can be a return to what we wish we had never left. They can be an old experience with new eyes. They can be what we did yesterday but now as the person that we are today.

As I’ve lived the first week of 2014, here are some of my new beginnings:

A home yoga practice – I am trying
A return to morning pages
Reading reading reading
Breathing life back into my writing
Witch Camp
Stepping into relationships & conversations with fresh perspective and an open mind
Living each day so I feel fulfilled each night

What new beginnings are surfacing for you?

Share with us in the comments below.

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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Why Gratitude?

Growing with GratitudeThis is the time of year when the idea of giving thanks comes up, but the idea of gratitude gets lost in the mix of pumpkins, turkeys, and either looking forward to or mentally preparing for time spent with family.

This year, let’s make it different. Let’s carry that idea of gratitude not only through the entire month of November, but let’s keep it going as we move forward through the holiday season and into the new year. If you’re intrigued and ready to get started, click here. If you’re curious but still wondering why gratitude, keep reading!

You know that feeling you get when you do something for someone and they respond in a way that makes you realize that they truly appreciate you?

You know that feeling you get when someone does something for you and even if it’s something little it makes your day?

You know that feeling when you sit down and realize that you don’t have to anything other than just be, even if only for a minute, because you decided that’s what you need?

You know that feeling when something truly awful happens in your life, but you realize that you’re still breathing, and you realize that above all else, that matters?

Gratitude is a doorway to joy, to happiness, to abundance, and to comfort amidst the difficult situations that we all face in life.

Gratitude is a simple practice. It can be done mentally in seconds, and if you begin to keep a gratitude journal, it can be just minutes a day.

Throughout the week, I’ll be sharing in more detail why gratitude acts as self-care, as forgiveness, as connection, and as growth, so be sure to check back each day this week (or sign up in the box to the right to receive new blogs posts in your inbox).

Are you ready to join us now? Register today.

Got questions? Leave them below and I’ll be sure to respond.

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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Are Your Trying to Do Too Much? I’ve Got Solutions!

Summer for us tends to be really busy, especially in August, which always seems to creep up on us. We spend almost 2 full weeks away between our family reunion and the Philadelphia Folk Festival (this will be our 14th year!).  This year, I set myself up with a plan to keep the stress and overwhelm at a minimum and I was proud of myself for that. Then something happened – I had an idea.

If you’re anything like me, you like to take an idea and run with it, even if filing it away for the future would be the less stressful thing to do. So here I was, sabotaging my own plan for a relaxing summer by putting more on my plate than I could realistically manage.

ganeshaHere’s a little secret – most of the time when it feels like there’s too much on your plate, there’s an easy way to take something off of it and give yourself some breathing room.

Today I want to share 5 tips with you that helped me reclaim my summer and that will help you release the feeling of overwhelm even when you have a lot on your plate.

Ditch the “should, must, have to, got to, and ought to” way of thinking (this one comes courtesy of the amazing Angela Heather)

I’ve just started doing this recently and let me tell you how empowering it is! I find myself really thinking about why I am spending my time in certain ways. Of course you might feel like you “have to” wash the dishes, but really, you want to have clean dishes to put your food on, right?

This simple shift can help you feel more excitement and energy around the things that you do in your daily life, and you’ll be shifting away from a negative way of framing things (this is very important always and especially when planning for a baby).

Fill your to-do list with things you love

When you fill your time with things you love, even if there are lots of things, you’ll be more likely to be in a happy and joy-filled place. And, you’ll start to crowd out the things that feel like time and energy sucks, because why clutter your life up with that? This is so important because you have to take good care of yourself before you can truly and deeply take care of others.

What’s more, you’ll start to understand the deeper intricacies of what constitutes a “should” on your list. Even if it’s something you love, if you start to feel more stress around it than you can handle at the moment, chances are it’s a good thing to put off for another time.

Honor all that you are accomplishing

It can be really easy for all of the little awesomeness to fall through the cracks. Then you get to the end of your day, week, month, or even year and feel like you didn’t get much accomplished and that doesn’t feel so good, does it? Appreciate all that you have done and how much those little things count. I remembered to water my plants today, I made time for yoga, I did a load of laundry. These things matter!

Be patient and compassionate with yourself

Even when you do all of the above, you’re going to hit moments of overwhelm (I had one just a few minutes ago!). You’ll feel like there’s too much to do and not enough time, and you might want to scream or put aside all responsibility and watch a movie or read a book. Do it and here’s why – you have to take care of yourself and be open to the flow. If something isn’t flowing, take a break from it. Forcing it will not make it come sooner or more easily, even if you’re on a deadline.

Give yourself permission or find someone who will

Sometimes you just have to let it go.  That idea I mentioned? It was the awesome video series that I started putting together for you. I couldn’t give myself the permission to let it go, but I was talking to a friend the other day and she made it okay for me. I realized in talking to her that as excited as I am about this series, I am also excited about the other event I had planned (a great call that you won’t want to miss). “Do the video series in the fall and enjoy your summer,” she said. She was right, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do!

This is a perfect example of not noticing that something was a “should” on my list. Sometimes we need someone on the outside to help guide us to what will serve us best.

So I’m doing these things and remembering to breath. I focus my energy on what I’m most passionate about and I trust that I will make everything that I want to happen. Sometimes making a lot happen without overwhelm also means reaching out for support. I’m getting very good at that – are you?

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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Listen to Your Body…

Listen to your bodyThe other night, I was asleep by 8 o’clock.  I woke a few times, briefly, for the things that hadn’t gotten done before my body chose rest — I fed the cats, put on my pajamas, slipped under the covers.

At any of those moments I could have decided that it was too early, that there were other things I could do, that although I aim for 10, 8 just didn’t feel like bedtime.

That night, it did. I wasn’t hungry. I didn’t feel the need or desire to clean, to work, to write or to read.  My body wanted rest.

For a moment, I worried that I would wake around midnight, unable to find sleep again.

I decided to chance it, to listen to the innate wisdom of my body.

Amazingly, I woke at 7am the next morning. My body knew.  I was tired.

When you tune into your body, when you allow its truth to trump your expectations, your assumptions, and those of others, you give yourself the opportunity to heal and grow.

Learning to listen to your body now will help you for the rest of your life.

Some days will be easier than others – it is a practice that you must continue to cultivate.

Honoring and trusting your body is the beginning of growing a strong relationship with yourself — the one person you can always count on no matter what.

Are you ready to take that step?

Creating Fertile Ground begins on May 6th, and I would love for you to be part of this incredible gathering of women.  You can learn more and register here.  Got questions?  Feel free to ask by contacting me here.

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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