“Start a conversation with your body,” my yoga teacher suggested when I asked a question about the meaning of where we hold tension in our body and why balance comes easier on one side rather than the other at times.
“Does your belly feel happy?” A question I overheard a mama ask her son in a coffee shop. I love that she asked him this!
It’s the self inquiry that we so often shy away from, as if we fear what messages we’ll uncover.
When you begin to tune in and listen to your body wisdom, you learn so much about yourself, and life starts to shift into place with a little more ease.
When I’m in pigeon pose in yoga class and I notice that my left hip feels more filled with tension I can make a mental note to go online and look up what energy held in the hips represents and see if it resonates with me. Or I can breathe into that space and notice what comes up for me in that moment.
There was one point in time a few years ago where a very specific situation filled me with emotion while in pigeon pose and I found myself realizing, “Oh, that’s where I hold all of that energy.” From that awareness, I could breathe into it and begin to release it with compassion.
The same goes for figuring out how to nourish your body in the way it desires. You can fill it with junk or with the healthiest of food but if it’s not what your body is asking for, it’s not going to land well.
Sometimes bread makes my belly feel full and unhappy. Sometimes yogurt brings a rash back to my underarm. Sometimes coffee makes me jittery. So I back away from them. Sometimes a salad just doesn’t do it for me.
Sometimes a croissant is exactly what my body wants. Sometimes yogurt and fruit is the perfect way to start the day. Sometimes coffee gives me focused energy. Sometimes those greens feel like the best gift in the world. So I enjoy them.
I talked in a recent e-letter about how different our bodies are. They are different from each other, but perhaps more importantly, they are different moment to moment. When you listen to the messages of your body, you become open to the shifts and changes that are happening within, on a cellular level, and you can invite in that wisdom.
What messages does your body have for you? Are you open to listening to them and learning from them? Please share in the comments below!
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
We fight ourselves so hard. We make things more complicated and more difficult than they have to be. We do this with the little things (what to eat, doing dishes and laundry) and with the big things. But it’s the fighting with all of the little things that really gets us stuck because it’s happening all the time. It’s the pattern so many of us run constantly, like music in the background that is always playing. So how do you stop it, or at least practice quieting that fight?
First, you recognize that it’s happening. This alone can create huge shifts, because this type of message from your inner critic is often so ingrained in how you function that you don’t even notice it anymore. Cues that it’s happening include negative self talk like:
“I can’t do anything right”
“I messed up again”
“I don’t deserve…”
“I don’t have enough time”
“I have other people whose needs have to come before my own”
Sometimes the cues come in your behaviors more than the self talk:
These fights can go on for so long and when they do, they start to influence who we are at sour core. Quieting the fight allows you to grow into your authentic self.
When you recognize that you are fighting yourself, you open the door to learning more about what you really want.
In this place of possibility you can ask yourself a simple question, “What do I want right now?”
The question is certainly easier to ask than answer much of the time, but the next step is asking the question and listening for an honest response.
I’ll share an example of a situation that comes up in my life because it serves as a good reminder that this is all practice and that there is not some simple quick-fix that is going to work 100% of the time.
It gets to be dinner time but I’m rushing around trying to finish things from my day. I begin to notice my hunger so I go into the kitchen to see what I have to eat. I open the fridge, and then close it deciding there’s nothing there that I want. I open the cupboard door. Same thing. I check the counter to see what’s out and none of that really appeals to me either. I’ll do this many times, sometimes taking a break to check my email as if somehow, magically, new food will appear in my kitchen and it will be exactly what I want. Each time that I go back, my hunger (and my frustration) is rising.
Many days, I’ll stop myself at some point and say to myself, “Wait. What do I really want right now?”
Sometimes the answer will be “I don’t know” and the loop of frustration will continue. Most of the time though, when I can step away from what I have and don’t have, what feels easy or difficult, I can tune into my body and discover what it is I want, whether it’s protein, salad, a refreshing smoothie or one of my easy go-to meals.
The recognizing and asking are keys to quieting the fight, but the foundation of it all is in creating ritual.
When you create ritual within your day to day life, all of the little places start to be infused with ease instead of overwhelm.
You create ritual in your closet by filling it only with clothing that you love. Then getting dressed each morning becomes an act of self-love, everyday.
You create ritual in your eating habits by filling your kitchen with nourishing choices, so no matter what you choose to eat, it fills you on many levels.
You create ritual around the seemingly mundane tasks and suddenly the dishes, the laundry, the cleaning up the clutter become ways to care for your environment, and by extension, yourself and your family.
Ritual does not have to mean whatever you have been taught by others that it means. Ritual is yours to create and define.
In the month of October, we will be gathering as a community to explore in the Sacred Ritual Everyday. If you join us for this journey, by the end of October, you will have taken great strides in quieting the fight within you.
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
When Sheila Pai of A Living Family asked me to participate in her Nurturing You Virtual Retreat, I was honored. I had the pleasure of coaching her for the first half of 2014 and it is so exciting to see everything that she was working towards during that time come together – her book, her retreat, and the community that she is growing with such love. She is a beautiful example of what it means to not only find but live your passion in an authentic way.
The idea behind Nurturing You is one that resonates deeply with me, and you know that if you’ve been part of this community for a while. I wrote about it here where I shared this photo that sums it up well:
We are so good at convincing ourselves that we must put others’ needs before our own, but it’s simply not true. When we do that, we’re actually doing a great disservice not only to ourselves but to those we love because we are coming into those relationships feeling drained, resentful, and with the message that we don’t deserve to be taken care of.
On September 15th, you’ll get to hear me share with Sheila’s community about Clearing Toxins (both mental and physical) and Creating Space so that you can step more fully into your dreams. This is one of many ways that you can begin to more deeply take care of yourself and your family. I am looking forward to this chance to connect with others and to be part of an incredible line up of speakers who will be sharing their wisdom about mindful self-care, what it means to them and how you can begin to incorporate it into your life.
I hope that you’ll join us!
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
A few months ago in a group that I’m part of, someone asked what conscious conception was.
Here is what I said:
“To me, conscious conception is about approaching the time before you start trying to conceive as a sacred time of growth and preparation.
As your baby’s first home, there is much you can do to ready yourself – emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
So often the conversation begins once you are ready to start trying to conceive, or even more commonly once struggles arise or you become pregnant.
There is so much beautiful and transformative work that can happen before that point that can open up the entire experience on an even deeper level.
It’s a really magical time.”
This is my invitation to you to get curious about what your journey could look like if you brought consciousness and awareness into your life starting right now.
What would you keep exactly as it is?
What would you tweak so it felt just right?
What would you want to completely overhaul?
How could you be okay with where you are right now?
How could you make this moment the place of shift?
How could you see yourself now as this sacred vessel?
Your future baby is already growing in your heart. Why wait to create the perfect first home for her?
I’d love to hear what conscious conception means to you. Please join the conversation in the comments below.
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
Whether we love the pose or we try to avoid it as much as we can, each pose in yoga has something special and important to offer us. I was recently at a yoga teacher training info session and when this topic came up in conversation, she assured us that it is in leaning into the poses we like least where so much growth happens.
In a recent early morning home practice, I found myself re-discovering a lesson from one of the poses that is most difficult for me – savasana, or final resting pose. I was revisiting a similar lesson that I learned many years ago (that I wrote about here). Savasana brings up a conflict for me between my expectations and my reality. This happens a lot with me, and so it is no surprise that it plays out on my mat.
In savasana, when I want my mind to be still, it starts dancing. My asana practice acts as a great distraction from thoughts as I’m so tuned into what my body is doing in the present moment and how it feels. When given the chance, my mind activates again.
Savasana, I realized on this recent morning, offers a great gift. It allows us to experience something we often forget to give ourselves – it allows us to be held.
Sometimes, amidst all the craziness that comes in and out of our lives, that’s all we really need – just a few minutes to be held.
Embrace that gift when you give it to yourself.
What’s your experience with savasana? Please share with us in the comments below.
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
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,
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.
This weekend was going to be about leading a visioning workshop, spending time in the woods eating healthy food, practicing yoga and mediation, and connecting with a group of women. Instead, it ended up being about trusting my intuition, practicing intimacy, growing connection, creating space, middle of the night epiphanies and spending time outside but at home instead of in the woods.
In the end, it was a soul-filled weekend, but it was a long road to get there and the path looked completely different than my calendar told me it would.
It all started a month or two ago, and it was felt full-force last week through a series of panic attacks that served to bring me back to center in what felt like a painful, confusing, and roundabout way.
This lesson had a $368 price tag that I agonized over, but in the end, what I learned was priceless and it’s important for you to understand on your journey, wherever you are as you travel closer to your dreams.
Here’s what $368 got me in the end:
A reminder that it’s sometimes important to say no
When my friend asked if I’d be interested in leading a visioning workshop to kick off her yoga retreat, I thought it sounded like an incredible opportunity, and while I thought about it a little bit before saying yes, I now realize, I didn’t spend enough time listening to myself while I was trying to make my decision.
A visioning workshop is a big and heartfelt yes for me. A retreat in the middle of the woods with mostly women I don’t know is a big and heartfelt no. As I came to realize during last week’s panic attacks, there were many possible reasons that I was feeling anxiety, but the bottom line was that the event itself wasn’t lighting me up inside.
I love the yoga teachers who ran the retreat, they are two of my favorites, but the atmosphere was not conducive to me being me.
If it doesn’t light you up from head to toe, it’s okay, and probably best, to say no. Tweet This.
The realization that it’s always important to trust your intuition
As the first wave of panic came over me last Monday, I just felt a big no in my body. Has that ever happened to you? Even if you don’t know why, you can feel that something is off. For me, it felt heavy and restricting, and as the panic attacks kept recurring throughout the week, I kept trying to figure out why.
As one of my coaches reminded me recently, I tend to over think things, and this was a perfect example of that over thinking in action.
What I eventually realized as I rationalized my fears away one by one was that the why didn’t matter. What mattered that there was something within me saying no. Once I listened to that inner voice and surrendered to its message, the panic attacks ended and peace and calm returned.
Sometimes you just need to create space
The decision to stay home this weekend, despite already having paid for the non-refundable retreat created space in a variety of ways that would not have happened if I had been away for the weekend.
I created space for open communication and flow with my husband as I gave up my “me time” for the weekend to allow him to accept a great opportunity, and in return, I got that much needed time for myself and my creativity rescheduled in a way that feels much more authentic to what I need right now.
I created space within my home as my daughter played a new game, “From Wall to Window” in which we completely cleaned part of our living space and created an environment that truly feels like home, and that gives us space to be present with one another in ways that we couldn’t have been previously.
I created space in myself by getting to practice trusting my intuition and to honor and care for myself even when I was coming up against feelings of shame, embarrassment and confusion. I also created the opportunity to realize that my needs are valued at much more than $368. That is no easy lesson.
So what does this have to do with your journey through conception, pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood? Everything.
It comes back to the idea of trusting yourself, your intuition, your body. When you learn to use your body as a tool to deeper understanding of yourself, you can release a lot of unnecessary anxiety, but you have to be aware of it.
I had to go through it to be reminded of that lesson this week, and I hope that in sharing this part of my journey with you, when you notice your body saying yes or no, you will be able to honor that, release the why, and let it guide you.
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
Yesterday was a bit of a rough day for me. I had a quick bite of leftovers before a call with a prospective client (brown rice noodle stir fry, yum!), but since I’d eaten most of it for dinner the night before, there wasn’t much in the way of leftovers.
A couple of hours later I found myself craving something that I haven’t had since freshman year of college – Cinnabon. Before you run out and grab one, I want to share what I ate instead of a Cinnabon.
Here’s the thing about emotions – especially when we are dealing with difficult situations – it’s the perfect opportunity to fall back into our old habits and think it can be done in a guilt-free way.
The problem with that thinking is this:
– you end up feeling guilty anyway
– you feel physically unwell if what you ate does not serve your body
– you continue to spiral in a bad mood because you didn’t give yourself a way out
I want to share with you how I let my emotional eating guide me in a positive direction, and I’m going to share the recipe for what I ate too!
So I found myself in my kitchen, taking a bite of the fruit leather Chloe and I had made the night before, wondering what it was I really wanted. The fruit leather wasn’t bad, it was strawberries, pineapple, banana, and chia seeds, but I knew even before I started to eat it that it wasn’t what I wanted. “I have those salad greens,” I thought to myself, and I started to convince myself that I didn’t want a salad either.
Then I was struck by inspiration.
I tossed the baby salad greens into a big white bowl, added some sprouted sunflower and pumpkin seeds, sliced some avocado, forked on some sauerkraut, and then I created an awesome new dressing to pour on top:
Approximately 1 tbs each of sauerkraut brine, olive oil and hummus, mixed together with a fork until the hummus is all mixed in (admittedly, I used more brine and olive oil than that but had a lot of dressing at the bottom of the bowl).
For good measure, I added a dollop of hummus to the side of the bowl, and I sat down to an amazing, filling, and nourishing meal.
So how did I get my brain to go from Cinnabon to Salad?
– I didn’t have a Cinnabon in my kitchen (that’s important – stock your kitchen with what nourishes you)
– With my kitchen well-stocked, I was able to allow my body to have healthy choices to contemplate
– I didn’t over think it, I just let myself create, taste, and enjoy
When you can learn to trust yourself, you can start to differentiate between the cravings that don’t serve you (Cinnabon) and those that do (greens, kraut, healthy fats), and that can put you on the fast track to a better mood.
The salad broke me free from my bad mood just in time to go to the playground with my daughter. I couldn’t ask for more.
I’d love to hear what foods your body craves (both the good ones and the not so good ones). Share with us in the comments below!
Recap of the recipe:
For the salad:
Salad greens of your choice (baby greens are delicious and tender and recommended)
2 tbs sprouted sunflower seeds
2 tbs sprouted pumpkin seeds
1 tbc hummus
1 large forkful of raw sauerkraut
For the dressing:
1 – 2 tbs olive oil
1 – 2 tbs sauerkraut brine
1 tbs hummus
squeeze of lemon juice
Place greens in a bowl, add sliced avocado, seeds, kraut and hummus, top with dressing and enjoy.
Peace, Love, and Wellness,