Rising Strong – how to bounce back after a fall

Rising Strong - how to bounce back after a fall

Once in awhile, there comes along a book, a film or a moment that changes everything in your life. This one vital piece in the puzzle of life that makes all the others click in place and make sense. The first such book for me was Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. I read that when I was 15 and it forever altered my ability to overcome any obstacle in my life.

The most poignant lesson from that extraordinary account and analysis of life in a WWII concentration camp, came in one succinct line:

No matter what I have faced since I was first introduced to that concept, I’ve never forgotten that vital key to empowerment.

And now there’s another book that has grabbed me by the collar and forced me to look long and hard at all the times I’ve come up against those obstacles. A book that digs deeper into what Frankl was describing, a book illuminating how the strong rise again.

Rising Strong¸ by Brené Brown is her latest tome on the subject of her research on shame, resilience and the courage to continue to rise after a fall.

Her whole thesis, I believe, could be boiled down to this:

“When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don’t go away; instead, they own us, they define us. Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy ending—to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how this story ends.” – Brené Brown

Without giving too much away, I will tell you that The Rising Strong process, as she calls it, can be broken into three aspects of the journey. The Reckoning, the Rumble and the Revolution. To give a super brief explanation of each stage… the reckoning is first just becoming aware of what you’re feeling, which is oftentimes harder than you may think. The rumble is dealing openly and honestly about why you’re feeling that way and what’s contributed to it. And finally the revolution is choosing to deal with it in a different way than you have before.

You must go through all stages, sometimes repeatedly, in order to finally rise strong against whatever is happening. But once you take that first difficult step, you’ll already be better off than you were before.

Looking back at how this has played out in my own life is fascinating. When I first graduated from college, I moved to London. The original plan was to stay several years, but as I’ve mentioned in other posts, things didn’t go according to plan.

My temporary work visa ended and I have to leave. I went to teach ESL in Ukraine for a few months and then returned to England for another short while looking for a more permanent job to keep me there. After months of looking and trying I had to return back to the U.S., feeling like an utter failure. Ugh.

But I didn’t stop there. I tried once again to move to the U.K. and did my second master’s degree in Northern Ireland. Again, big hopes were dashed as once more I couldn’t find a permanent job to extend my visa. In a deja vu turn of events, I returned back across the Atlantic.Each time I tried and failed to stay in Europe, my ego and pride took massive hits.

Had I known about the rising strong process years ago, I would’ve saved myself a lot of pain and misery as I sorted through my emotional rollercoasters.

As it was though, I held on to a lot of anger, resentment and confusion for years after. It’s only been in the last couple years that I’ve allowed myself to heal after each of my major falls.

The rising strong process is a tough one, don’t get me wrong. It’s not for the faint of heart. Being honest and vulnerable is the bravest thing you can possibly do in this life. But the price of the temporary pain is beyond priceless.

“Integration is the soul of rising strong. We have to be whole to be wholehearted. To embrace and love who we are, we have to reclaim and reconnect with the parts of ourselves we’ve orphaned over the years. We have to call back home all of those part of ourselves that we have abandoned.” – Brené Brown

Once you’re fully whole again, nothing in this world can stop you from reaching your fullest most magnificent potential. And that’s the highest honor we can do for ourselves and the world.

Have you read Rising Strong? What did you take away from it? Or what books have changed your life? How did they do that?

The door only you can open – how to find hope within despair

The door only you can open - how to find hope within despair

When I moved to Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland to do a Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies, I had HIGH hopes. Which, I have to say were sadly not met.

In my mind, I was going to get the degree – along with three amazing trips sponsored by the school, of which we only had 1 and half – and then find a job in the conflict resolution field, earning a U.K. work visa that would allow me to stay in Europe for several years.

The reality was more like – get the degree, not get a job, struggle to make ends me without a full work visa, take care of friend who became increasingly ill, then move back to her home in the states and desperately search for a job to keep going. Oh, and in the midst of that have, not one, but two grandparents pass away while I was abroad.

Yeah… it was rough. So rough that some days I didn’t know how to keep going.

Sometimes our darkest days hold our greatest lessons. It’s in those times that faith in ourselves and the universe needs to be the guiding light.

To give you a glimpse of my mental state at the time this journal entry from September 2009 sums it up quite nicely:

“Still out of sorts within myself. Trying to fit together the pieces of the puzzle I feel is my life now. Been reading very slowly a book on metaphors and our construction of life. It’s interesting and makes me think – perhaps too much. Last bit I read was about the metaphor “life is a story” and the significance of “life’s a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” It discussed how we wish to see coherence in our life stories and often try to make the facts fit to make it so, whether it really does or not. That’s where I feel I’m at now. Trying to find coherence when there is none. Sound and fury. Signifying nothing. I’ve talked a lot about faith and trust recently. Maybe that is the antidote to non-coherence. Making things true because you wish them so desperately to be so, even though you know they aren’t. Sound and fury.”

However, the very next entry 3 days later, I wrote that every painful experience is a lesson to learn from and not meaningless sound and fury. Luckily I bounce back pretty well, especially with help from my friends.

Several of my dear friends and colleagues at the university knew of my plight. I even had to end up asking one of them for a loan, which she wisely refused and instead helped me find some other work to do to earn the money I needed.

But more than that she gave me the greatest gift – HOPE.

I know it’s cheesy as hell, but love the tv show Once upon a time. Any time I’m feeling low and starting to think there’s no point to anything in the world, I just need to watch one episode to remind myself that “there’s always hope.”

So how did my very wise and kindhearted friend remind me when I felt at my lowest? She simply gave me a postcard that read:

“There is a light in the dark. There is the door which only you can open.”

Breakthrough. Changing Planes.This postcard has kept my spirits up for years after the initial gifting of it. Not only is the image on the front perfect, including the name of the artwork – “Breakthrough. Changing Planes.” But the message she wrote made my heart open and break at the same time. I even changed the name of my travel blog to “Light in the Dark” for a time.

I’d love to say that all my days have been sunny since then, but that’d be a big fat lie and nearly impossible to boot. However, I am more aware of how I’m seeing things during those inevitable rough patches. I could sit and wallow and despair at the unfairness and general misery of the world, or I could find one little glimmer of light in the darkness. I chose the latter.

Choose to see the light. 

Late last year I started keeping a daily gratitude journal. I know, I know, it’s all the rage now, but they really are amazing. First thing in the morning, as part of my wake up routine, I write a few sentences about what I’m grateful for (recurring themes are the cat, coffee and nice weather). Even when I feel utterly lost and annoyed with life, I can still find one silly thing to be grateful.

For instance, on Monday I was “grateful for morning walks and warmer temperatures. For cheesy romantic comedies [had a binge fest the night before], and for inspiration.”

I recommend you try it, even for a week. And remember that writing it out is immensely more powerful than just speaking it out! Plus, you can go back and look at all your gratitude and it’s much harder to “forget” to have one moment of gratitude.

And if you need a little more guidance in your quest for gratitude… allow me to suggest Soulful Journals Gratitude Journal, Gretchen Rubin’s One Sentence Journal or any of these amazeballs journals that can be more than just for gratitude. Though you’ll definitely be grateful you have them!

Start today! – What are you grateful for right now? Me, I’m grateful I get to write and hopefully inspire others as my day job. Life doesn’t get much better than that. 🙂

The simple and quick method to declutter your mind

The simple and quick method to declutter your mind

When I was little I used to have major panic attacks, primarily at the end of the school year and before entering the next grade. It was awful and the only way my mother could calm me was by washing my face with a warm washcloth and talking me down from my fear.

But for the most part I’d have to ride out my attacks and just try to get to the other side. It was terrifying. I’d sometimes start to hyperventilate and could not catch my breath. Again, my mother just talked to me and tried to get me to take deeper breaths. Those attacks probably lasted mere minutes but they felt like hours to me.

As a child, I didn’t know why I was so anxious about school. I loved school. I love learning. So what’s the problem? I never figured it out. It’s hard when your mind and body are fighting a battle that you don’t understand and can’t explain to yourself or others.

Eventually I mostly grew out of these attacks.

Sometimes an event will trigger another episode, though luckily never as bad as before. I’ll find myself trying to talk my way back to breathing deeply and coming back from the edge. At least now that I’m older and slightly wiser, I’ve been exposed to many other tools and techniques for calming myself in the midst of high anxiety.

I first heard of Emotional Freedom Technique, or Tapping, from one of my ESL students about 6 years ago. At the time it sounded intriguing, but I didn’t give it much more thought. I should have paid attention though as that was perhaps one of the most stress-filled times in my life. Strange how things appear right when you need them, right?

I next heard about it from a friend about 3 years later, who was taught to use EFT by her counselor. I tried it a bit then, but again didn’t really think it was useful for me at the time.

But the universe was giving me a chance to change my state and I still wasn’t quite ready for it then either.

Finally last year, I started using it frequently during a very difficult time at my former workplace when I needed a way to calm down almost daily. Since then it’s become part of my regular routine and helps me even when I’m not in panic mode, but acts as a sort of preventive care method.

So what is EFT or Tapping?

It’s similar to acupressure, where you simply tap on certain points on the body (called meridians). By tapping on these points and saying the affirmation,

“Even though I feel ______, I still deeply and complete love and accept myself”,

you begin to rewire your brain away from the fear, stress, panic, etc.

How can EFT help you?

I initially started tapping as a way to bring be back from the brink of major emotional outbursts, before I could get myself too far out in the land of overwhelm and panic. Since then, I’ve started using it to release old patterns and blocks that prevent me from growing my business or living the life I want. You can even use it to help you lose weight, since most of the issue with healthy living really comes down to feeling you deserve it.

There is a great deal of resources out there, so I won’t go into specifics here. There’s a video tutorial to demonstrate and explain the process or if you prefer to read all it about it, there’s that option too.

Tapping is one of the easiest, quickest and powerful tools to help with emotional turmoil. Try tapping today and tell me how it goes for you!

Simple Spells to calm your heart and clear your mind

Continuing on with the spring cleaning theme, we’re going to look at a rather unique way of clearing out emotional and mental clutter in your life.

Sometimes life becomes too overwhelming or a sucky situation doesn’t seem to want to end. I believe we’re never given a challenge that we cannot overcome. However every now and then something happens and you just want to toss in the towel and say, “That’s it! I’m over it. I’m done with this game.”

We all need a little help sometimes – Turn to the universe for support

I started praying when I was 10 years old and haven’t stopped since. Though my methods may have changed a bit, I still seek out guidance and support. In addition to nightly prayers I occasionally need a little extra boost. During those times, I turn to spells to help me get over the hurdle.

Spells get a bad rap but they are just prayers that rhyme

I was a huge fan of the tv show Charmed. I totally wanted to be one of the charmed ones, though maybe with less demon fighting. 🙂 What I loved about it though was how words were often more powerful then centuries old warlocks and demons. A few rhymes here, some candles there and then poof! Victory!!

Obviously spells in the real world don’t work quite that effectively and hopefully you don’t need them in a life or death situation, but I’ve found a few spells are super helpful in at least changing my present state and allowing me to face my demons on my own.

For instance, when I was working in a pretty toxic office environment, I’d come home and be completely drained. I couldn’t think straight or enjoy my free time in any real quality way. So I came up with a few simple spells to help clear away all the sh*t of the workplace and let me get back to myself.

I’ve finally put these spells together in a downloadable ebook, but I wanted to highlight one for you here. The spell below I use in the shower and say it while the water runs over me, imagining that it cleanses not just my body, but my heart and mind too. After saying this little ditty, I would get out of the shower and feel refreshed all around! No more sluggishness and despair, but feelings of hope and lightness appeared. Try it for yourself!

Shower cleansing spell

Mother Goddess,clapping hands in the rain
Father God,
Wash away all the _____________ (fear, pain, stress, frustration, etc.) of the day.
Let this water cleanse me,
Let your light refresh me.
Fill my heart with ______________ (joy, hope, strength, clarity, etc.),
So I may face the challenges before me.
With grateful heart and open mind,
Wash away all energy that binds.

Remember, it’s okay to ask for help. When you need a little extra support try a spell to ask the divine to get your back. I bet you’ll feel better and if nothing else, it’s a great placebo effect and you’ll realize you have all you need to succeed already. I hope the spell helps you as much as it did me!

Want more spells? Get your copy of my new Simple Spells for Daily Life ebook!

Want to see about working with me? Sign up for free discovery call!

Sparks of Joy: How to really Declutter your Life

Sparks of Joy- How to really Declutter your Life

As much as I love the winter, even I get sick of it after a while. I’m not a fan of the sun so much, but now that the days are lengthening I’m feeling more and more energized. And I am loving the days when I can sit out on my balcony and watch the sunset (when it’s not a random spring blizzard).

Another happy consequence of this growing energy is the desire to spring clean my home. After several months of keeping windows shut, I’m pleased to be able to throw them open to the fresh air and clear out the remnants of winter’s sluggishness.

So this month’s blog posts will be dedicated to cleaning up and clearing out all that no longer serves you. Whether it’s that sweater that worked for a while, but is now too big and ratty, or negative energy and tired old thought patterns that hold you back from creating your best life, we’re going to get rid of it! And I’m starting with the physical stuff that’s everywhere in my life right now.

It’s Spring Cleaning fever! Time to come out of hibernation and prepare for the growing seasons, both physically and mentally.

20150826_155542Last fall, my grandmother passed away and I, being the mild hoarder I am (obviously inherited from her), brought home a lot of things from her house. Now, some of these possessions were amazing finds – such as the huge container of old family photos I’d never set eyes on before. Score! And then other things… well, let’s just say no one needs 5 different sets of measuring cups.

 

Usually my version of decluttering is moving abroad to Europe. Nothing helps clarify your priorities like moving across an ocean! However, I’m a little tired of that game and I’m planning on staying put in one location for a while longer. So I have to figure out how to declutter without the outside accountability of airline luggage restrictions.

Decluttering is the New Black – Tips from your mother’s aunt’s cousin’s barber on how to declutter

20160310_182409Around the time of my grandmother passing, a friend gifted me with the latest craze in decluttering world – The Life-changing magic of tidying up, by Marie Kondo. If you haven’t heard of this book yet, then I don’t know where you’ve been hiding. It seems to be on everyone’s lips of late.

Without getting into all the details, Kondo’s main premise is that all your possessions should bring you joy. And that’s the easiest way to clear the clutter from your life. Basically you need to look at every single object, in your home and ask “What things will bring me joy if I keep them as part of my life?” Sounds intimidating, right?

Marie goes into great detail about how to go through all your things and is very systemized about it, so I’m not going to try and summarize that. But I want to touch upon a few of the broader points that she explains are the “magic” behind tidying up.

Decluttering isn’t just about getting rid of “stuff”, but about balance and harmony

20150907_161945She says that, “tidying ought to be the act of restoring balance among people, their possessions, and the house they live in.” I love this idea since I’ve always had what I call the “Velvetine rabbit” syndrome. Ever since reading that famous children’s book when I was a kid, I can’t help but think all possessions have emotions and I can’t get rid of a lot of stuff because I’m afraid it’ll feel abandoned. (I also can’t watch Toy Story for this reason.)

That’s why she focuses on keeping objects that bring joy. If all your possessions make you happy and bring you joy then the space you live in will naturally be more peaceful and comfortable. So now instead of feeling sad for the objects that no longer bring me joy, I can let them go so they can find their new home and thus fulfill their purpose of being joy-bringers. Kondo has a lovely goodbye ceremony you can do for letting go of objects. 🙂

Decluttering is about choosing who you are and how you want to live

20150914_115939This next point is key. By keeping only things that bring you joy and letting go of the rest, you’re really choosing who you are, and how you want display that to yourself and the world.

For me, I’m a bibliophile. I LOVE books. When I went through my bookshelves, I got rid of maybe a half dozen. The rest, I’m keeping because – they all bring me immense joy! (It’s really rare when a book doesn’t bring me joy, not a really terrible problem to have though except for my overburden bookshelves.)

Sometimes letting go of things is also a way of moving on from a particular time in your life. One of Kondo’s clients said, “I realized for the first time that letting go is even more important than adding.” I hear that! Every time I moved across the Atlantic, I had to let go of a lot of things. Some I missed, some I didn’t even really notice were gone. But it was always a good way of closing that chapter of my life.

Transform your home into sacred space 

20150829_112100This last point is one of my favorites. Any time someone visits my home, they mention how peaceful and calming it feels. That’s not because it’s clutter free or because it’s immaculately decorated. It’s because I think of my home as a sanctuary and try to keep that energy cleared at all times. (More on energetically clearing a space will come later in the month.)

Kondo calls this a “power spot.” A place that is comfortable, feels good to be in and where you can relax. Can you claim your home as a power spot right now? What’s making it feel uncomfortable or constricted? What would make you feel more relaxed and at peace?

Your home, your choices

In the end, Kondo’s advice is “only you can know what kind of environment makes you feel happy.” I have friends whose homes have barely changed for 20 years, and know others who need to change it up every 6 months. The only question you should keep in mind when decluttering is “will this bring add joy to my life and help me become the women I want to be?” All else is fluff and clutter.

What’s the best tip/advice you’ve ever received about decluttering? Bonus question: How many photos above has my cat Leo appeared in?

 

The Best of All Possible Worlds – Lessons from Candide

The Best of All Possible Worlds - Lessons from Candide

When I lived in Northern Ireland, my roommate and I were so similar we could’ve been twins. We loved the same shows, listened to the same music (for the most part), and laughed at the same silly jokes. Just one thing was vastly different between us – the ongoing debate on whether the glass was half full or half empty.

As I declared elsewhere, I’m an eternal optimist. I’m a Pollyana. I admit it! I prefer looking at the world in a half-full light.

My friend on the other hand had a decidedly more Chicken Little view of the world. Not to say that she was super melodramatic, it’s just that she erred on the side of a realistic, dare I say skeptical, perspective in life.

Now, I’m not declaring one better than the other. I’m just laying out the facts here. I believe both viewpoints are useful and necessary at different times.

And either one, when unbalanced can lead to disastrous consequences.

One of the many interesting books that I had to read in high school embodies this concept perfectly – Candide, by Voltaire. Written back in 1759, this is the satirical tale of an overly optimistic young man, Candide, who suffers outrageous misadventures and misfortunes, all the while proclaiming that everything is for the best and he lives in the “best of all possible worlds”.

Though it’s only a little over a hundred pages, this isn’t an easy book to read. Partly due to the 18th century language and partly due to the absolutely ridiculous and terrifying catastrophes Candide and friends endure. However, I do recommend you read it at some point, if only for the hilarity in which Voltaire mocks the ever-persistent optimism of the hero and his mentor, Dr. Pangloss.

But more importantly, what I remember most vividly from this tale of blind positivity is the final scene. After finally settling down again with his true love, his mentor, and other comrades, Candide is walking back to his home with Dr. Pangloss and they begin discussing all the disasters they experienced the last several years. Dr. Pangloss keeps insisting it was all for the best of all possible worlds and everything was meant to happen in just the way it did.

woman on bench looking awayFinally, Candide has enough of this philosophizing and says simply, “we must cultivate our garden.”

To me, this line represents that moment when all the thinking and optimistic rationalizing is no longer useful and needs to be put aside for the very real and necessary act of cultivating the garden. As I mentioned before, I sometimes have a hard time stopping my overactive mind. So whenever I get in that state of wondering and “what-if-ing” myself to death, I stop, remind myself about the practical tasks at hand and get to work.

I feel like the issue of overwhelming positivism comes up often in the world of new age spirituality. Sometimes the belief that everything happens for a reason can lead to stress, trying to figure out what that reason is and how it fits into the bigger picture. There’s so much pressure to keep your “vibrations high” and always thinking positively – because any negative thoughts will just increase themselves – that it naturally leads to negative consequences, since you’re not being true to yourself.

I believe in the Law of Attraction and that everything does happen for a reason, but sometimes things simply SUCK in the moment. By admitting that things are tough in the present, it frees you to release that negativity in order to let in the positive beliefs which you DO want to manifest. Yes, what you think you create, but if you ignore how to really feel and try to “fake it until you make it” the universe won’t be fooled. Balance is necessary in all things in life. That means good times and bad times.

Happy moments and dreadful moments. Denying one side is an injustice to both.

Go ahead and wallow for a few minutes. Get upset at the shitty situation. Cry out all your sorrow. And then get up, give yourself a huge heart-felt hug and go and cultivate your garden!

Your turn – what phrase or memory helps you to remain balanced? Let me know in the comments below!

Springtime and new growth – The Birth of SpirWitchuality

birth of spirwitchuality

When I was little, I loved created graphics using Print Shop. (Anyone remember that oldie but goodie?) For a few years I would print out homemade calendars and color them in on New Year’s Eve in a solid, yet still unsuccessful attempt at staying up to midnight.

There was one graphic that I kept for many years, lasting on my wall all the way through high school. It was of a little rose in a vase. This time I didn’t color it in, but left the dark black outline to contrast against the white page. Then in pencil I wrote:

To: Heaven
From: Dacia

Yes. I gave heaven a printed out clipart rose. I’m such a sweetheart. <3

I tell you this story not to boast about my cuteness as a child (though I was damn cute!) or to brag about my mad computer skills even back in elementary school, though they were pretty mad for the time. No, I’m telling you so you understand that spirituality ran deep for me even then.

I’ve always been connected to divinity and found ways in my life to express it, even as a young child.

Some paths seemed more natural than others. For instance, I knew when I was young that I’ve lived many lives. It was clear to me that my soul was much older than my little body. I was also intuitively drawn to the tarot and thus my aunt gave me my first tarot deck when I was 14.

Then there were some paths that didn’t seem to fit all that well. I went to Catholic mass for several years, was very involved in the choir and even when to a Christian summer camp. (I have to say that the adult summer camp I went to last year was much more exciting, but that’s probably because we had happy hour every night.) Although I loved the ceremony and ritual of Catholicism, I couldn’t get behind the doom and gloom, sin and evil part of it all.

So I melded my natural inclinations and beliefs with whatever I found that resonated with me through the years, be it the story of the Good Samaritan or the tale of Buddha’s enlightenment and peace loving principles. Eventually, I came to claim Wicca as my predominant spiritual practice, though I still mix it up with anything that fills me with divine wonder.

And what does all this mean to you? Why am I blathering on like this? Because, just as spring is beginning to peek it’s head out, my business is blooming and growing into its fullest expression.

I’m so pleased to announce the birth of SpirWitchuality! The home for alternative spiritual exploration.

SpirWitchuality is my term for discovering and living a spiritual life in harmony with “witchy” principles. Such as a respect for nature, communion with divinity on your terms, opening up to guidance by the universal powers and trusting your own intuition and inner knowing.

It’s become increasingly evident lately that all things “woo-woo” are being more widely explored and all sorts of people are turning to new age-y ways to help deal with the modern day stresses of the world. I’m thrilled to see this trend and can’t wait to help all those spiritual seekers find the truths that resonant with them best.

I have great plans for upcoming classes, freebies and workshops, oh my! Lots will be unfolding as the year progresses, so keep an eye out for updates. And if you’d like to find out more about my services now, come on over here and read more! Until then, love and light to you all!

Oh, and don’t worry, I’m not going to go too crazy like this new age sister. 🙂

A Quick Full Moon Ritual to Release Unhealthy Energy

full moon ritualLast month I wrote about how creating New Moon intentions can help you focus energy and manifest what you desire. This week’s post is about what to do during the Full Moon to help along your journey around the wheel of the year.

Though it’s not quite spring yet, I’m ready to start clearing out the clutter and letting fresh air and light back into my life. How about you? If you live in a colder climate, I bet you’re itching for the light and warmth to return right about now.

Beyond the physical clutter and dust that’s been gathering in homes all over for the last few months, there’s also the mental and emotional clutter to take into account. Winter is the hibernation time for many animals. According to the 2016 Witch’s Datebook, the January full moon is called the wolf moon because this is the time “when prey animals die of cold and hunger, thus making good hunting for the wolves. Wolf energy deals in survival.”

Although humans don’t stick to their caves for months straight thinking only of their survival (though it is sometimes tempting), there is definitely a change in the energy around this time of year. It’s softer, less active and more introspective. Honestly, I think a lot more midday naps are taken in the winter than the summer, but then again I’m a big advocate of the power of napping. 🙂

So how can you take this quiet, dormant energy of hibernation and use it to create change in your life? Simply by releasing all that doesn’t serve you.

One of my favorite and easiest rituals is a Full Moon Release ritual. It takes only a few minutes at minimum, or you can make an evening of it if you want. This simple ritual clears out the old and unhealthy to make way for the new (i.e. the New Moon energy coming back around). By releasing old patterns and habits, you feel lighter and renewed, like a wonderful massage for the soul.

To perform a Full Moon Release ritual, all you need is a pen and paper, candles and a fire-proof container. I prefer to do this outside, but in winter months, that’s not very ideal. But don’t worry, whether you’re standing under the light of the full moon or inside a crowded apartment complex, you’ll still feel be able to release just as well.

  • First, be sure to center and ground yourself by taking several deep breathes. Then imagine roots coming out from the bottom of your feet or your seat, if you’re sitting down, and see the roots digging into the earth. You’re connected deeply to the earth. You’ll also want to smudge your vicinity with a sage stick or incense. This clears any negative energy that may be around you and creates a sacred, protective space. (More on smudging and grounding to come!) 
  • Next, light a candle and sit with yourself for a moment thinking of all the things you want to release this moon cycle. And write them down on slips of paper. It can be anything from fear and anxiety to debt or unhealthy eating habits. (Remember though, for those more action based releases, you will still need to DO your part after the ritual. You won’t lose any weight or decrease your debt by simply “releasing” it during this ritual).
  • Finally, the fun part! Say the word(s) on the paper out loud. I usually like to say something like…

“I release fear from my life.” Or…

“I no longer need these unhealthy eating habits, I release you now.”

  • And then put the paper to the candle and burn it, being sure to drop it into the fire-proof container. Once you’ve burned all the pieces of paper. Breathe in deeply again and imagine the weight of all that you’ve let go of lift from your shoulders, or heart. Wherever you feel the tension of those negative patterns in your body.

That’s it! Easy peasy and feeling free! If you want to make it more ceremonial, take a soothing bath before, while thinking of all the things you want to release. Then imagine them going down the drain as you get out.

The first full moon of this year is Saturday, January 23rd, so go try out this quick and easy ritual and see how you feel after.

And of course, come back and tell me how it felt to release all that doesn’t serve you from your life!

Daring to Desire: A Revolution in Planning

daring to desireLast week, I wrote about how I’m breaking away from old-school New Year’s resolutions and choosing a theme word to represent my year. This is the year to TRANSCEND. It’s big. It’s bold. It’s uplifting and challenging and all around inspiring for me. This week we’re going to go a step further and talk about desire.

And discover how desire can lead you back to yourself.

Desire is such a powerful word. We often think of it in terms of secrets. Like, my secret desire to meet my verra own James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser (preferably in the 21st century) and be swept off my feet. Well, maybe I’ll just keep that one to myself. 😉

But desire doesn’t have to be a hidden source of inspiration. In fact, one gorgeous soul is bringing back the power and usefulness of desire, in her groundbreaking book – The Desire Map.

“Feelings are magnetic. Each feeling is a beacon that attracts a reality. Love attracts love. Generosity elicits a generous response…what we focus on expands. So choosing to focus on life-affirming feelings is the surest way to create the experience you want.” – Danielle LaPorte, The Desire Map

Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map, is a mind-blowing new approach to planning and activating goals. This is a heart-centered method designed in reverse from what most modern women are used to doing. See, we’ve all be taught to create the goal line or benchmark objectively and then do everything in our power to achieve it. But what if our goals aren’t truly aligned with our hearts?

What if you want to be successful in work, but really don’t want to climb the corporate ladder to get there? Or you want to be healthy and athletic but deeply, intensely hate running and would rather stick toothpicks under your fingernails instead of getting up at 6 am to train? What do you do then? Enter… your desires.

“You need to have Soul-centered goals. You need to go about fulfilling those goals in life-affirming ways.” –The Desire Map

When you choose how you want to feel first, it makes achieving your goals so much more enjoyable and frankly much easier as well. So, you want to be healthy? How about a daily yoga routine that makes your body strong and your mind calm? You want to earn the big bucks and still contribute something meaningful to society? Start your own enterprise and begin making an impact while making your dough!

But how do you begin? Start with deciding which feelings you want to create or build upon for the next year and then mapping out the objective goals flows much more freely. And don’t worry if this sounds difficult, The Desire Map does a wonderful job walking you through figuring out your Core Desired Feelings, which you then use to plan the rest of your year.

The first part of the book describes the concept and helps get your feet wet in this incredible new system of goal setting. Then the second part of the book (my favorite) is a workbook where you journal out all the things you want or don’t want and eventually come to claim your Core Desire Feelings.

“Constant racing for success creates habitual and unconscious goal-setting. We need to re-learn how to move toward our dreams – with the trust and well-placed devotion.” – The Desire Map

I’m a big fan of CDFs now because it gives you something to reach for but takes the pressure off achieving it. That may seem like a contradiction but it’s really not. Say you want to break into a 6-figure income (which seems to be all the entrepreneur world talks about these days!) but you can’t seem to bust through the last barrier. With traditional goals, you start to feel like a failure for not reaching your dream. You start to doubt, fear, and berate yourself for not being a better businesswoman.

Now look at it from another angle. Say you’re desired feeling is CULTIVATE. And you’re bringing that CDF into your work, cultivating relationships, cultivating your skills and learning every day, or cultivating your services to make them the best they can be. Now, if you’re feeling that growth and expansion that Cultivate entails, and you’re still shy of the big 100K by a few thousand, will you still feel like a failure? Or like a woman who’s marching to her own drum at her own pace and building a solid base to grow from?

“Feeling good increases your flexibility, resiliency, effectiveness, and magnetism.” – The Desire Map

Who wouldn’t want to feel good about their life? Suddenly doors will open for you to bring more of those feelings in and success will become inevitable. And any perceived failures won’t set you back, but merely show you the right path to grow into your CDFs. You start working in tandem with the universe instead of trying to force your life into what you think it should be. In the end, you become more fully YOU. And that’s a glorious thing my dear.

Today, I encourage you to get a copy of The Desire Map and start feeling your way to abundance and bliss.

Have you already figured out your CDFs for 2016? If so, tell me in the comments below.

How tarot transforms old enemies into new friends

tarot cardsSince high school and more so in college, I’ve known what a party pleaser it is to have my tarot cards with me and that many people love to have their cards read, whether they “believe” in them or not. When I went to Russia, during my junior year of college, I made the mistake of leaving my cards at home in Denver. I was luckily able to find another deck in St. Petersburg, and although I couldn’t really read the booklet at the time they were a beautiful deck nonetheless.

When I moved to Ukraine after college I was smart enough to bring one of my decks with me. And I also picked up a another more complex deck during my time in London, which is the one I still read with today. I read the cards a little bit in England, but when the cat got out of the bag in Ukraine that I read tarot, that was pretty much my extracurricular activity for a while.

The twist?… I had to do the readings mostly in Russian.  **Please note: I lived in eastern Ukraine where they speak both Ukrainian and Russian, so I was able (mostly) to communicate with the locals.** The most frequent requests for readings came from Kostya, the night security guard (whose day job was a history teacher at a local secondary school) and Sergei Ivanovich, the financial director of the school I taught at.

Sergei Ivanovich and me in Crimea
Sergei Ivanovich and me in Crimea

Although Kostya knew English well enough to have some normal, basic conversations, the vocabulary for tarot was a little more complex than he could handle. Therefore I had to resort to some Russian to try and explain concepts. Kostya and I got by with our special form of Russlish, but with Sergei Ivanovich, who learned his limited vocabulary from the film Madagascar (he really liked to “move it, move it!”), I had to attempt to explain it all in Russian.

As exciting as that sounds it’s actually could get rather difficult. Case in point – one day I was telling Kostya that he fears feeling oppressed but I didn’t know the word oppressed in Russian then (it’s угнетать, in case you were wondering the same thing). 🙂  In order to explain the feeling, using various other words and phrases I could muster, I said something to the effect of “like how the Soviet Union oppressed its people”. Kostya stared at me and asked “Why the Soviet Union?!” I told him that’s what we learned in school in the United States of course. He laughed and said, “We learned that the United States oppressed its people!”

So there you have it… all the world really needs in order to understand each other and dispel misinformation is a little intercultural communication via the Cards. Or at the very least it makes for a great story to tell later on. 🙂

Are you ready to learn more about tarot and start reading for your friends and family? Then check out my new course Intro to Tarot… The Journey Begins

intro to tarot graphic