The Nature of Change: Finding Peace with the Process

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Today feels like a perfect day to connect.
The weather is crisp and beautiful.
The wind is shaking loose the first of the changing leaves. 


Fall is a wonderful reminder of the cyclical nature of change. It is a time to surrender, reflect and connect with our innermost self in preparation of what is to come. 

One of the most beautiful gifts of my healing practice is the opportunity to witness the communal experiences we share at various times of the year. Lately, I am hearing over and over from people ‘feeling stuck’ in a state of suspension.

Many people are feeling a pull of change. But without clarity around what the change may be or how to bring about the change they desire, there is a general feeling of disconcertment that accompanies this transitional time. 

It brings to my mind the concept of liminality which Megan Divine writes about in her book, It’s OK That You’re Not OK. Liminality comes from the Latin word limen, meaning ‘a threshold’. Megan writes -
 

Liminality is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs when a person is no longer who they once were and has not yet become someone entirely new and solid.

This is one place where that commonly used transformation of a butterfly is helpful: we could say that while it’s inside the cocoon, a caterpillar-butterfly is in a liminal state, neither caterpillar nor butterfly.

In the same way, we are neither one thing nor another.

 

Much like a caterpillar is internally compelled to prepare its cocoon, perhaps we too feel the pull of the thresholds of change in our lives. Learning to surrender and trust the natural process of this can alleviate some of the anxiety that surrounds these suspended states of being. 

If you are finding yourself in a liminal state, rather than resisting or feeling anxious by the unknown, view it as a calling to cocoon. Use this time as an opportunity to practice self care. Quiet your ‘need to know’.

Instead, pause to reflect and to accept where you are right now. Listen to your quiet internal voice. Visualize what you’d like to welcome into your life.

Lastly, above all else, practice self compassion during this time of change. 

In gratitude, 
Dana 

Calming Fear or Anxiety with Tree Visualization

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When feeling overwhelmed, try this simple visualization technique.

Sit comfortably with your spine lengthened and your head up tall. 

Let the back of your neck lengthen and reach upward while your lower body remains steady and relaxed.

Visualize your favorite tree and ponder its strength, stability and deep rootedness.

Visualize its ability to draw nourishment up through its root system. 

Feel how it’s anchored in place yet its branches and leaves bend and move with fluidity. 

Release any tension and anxiety while mentally repeating the affirmation -

I am grounded and secure.

I draw sustenance from the world around me.

I have the strength to endure the challenges of life.

Sit silently with these affirmations and follow your natural breath for 5-10 minutes or until you feel grounded and at peace.

Healing with the Elements: Water

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Water is a wonderful healer and teacher. Water reminds us to move fluidly and in harmony with the present moment, which allows us the freedom to see things naturally, as they truly are...temporary and in constant flow.

In allowing yourself to flow freely with the nature of things, you begin to release the desire to attach to your every thought or emotion. You begin to recognize that you can not control situations or others.

By staying in the flow of ‘what is’, you also learn to trust in the collective energetic flow of the universe. Trust that it carries and supports you as you move fluidly through life. 

Creativity, passion, dreams and emotions all spring forth from our sacral chakra - which is associated with the energy of water.

We can find balance and healing within ourselves by simply flowing in accordance with the nature of things. 

Spend some time out in nature near water to feel it’s rhythm, soak in herbal baths to cleanse your energy field and care for your physical body by staying hydrated.

Crystal Healing Spotlight: Black Tourmaline

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Fear is a natural, instinctual response. Fear in its purest form alerts us to danger and can trigger heightened senses and responses. 

However, a sense of generalized fear or anxiety or ongoing fear of things that are not life threatening can cause you to feel stuck in place, unable to move forward on your path. 

Black Tourmaline is an excellent stone to use when working with generalized fear and anxiety. It helps calm the root chakra and absorbs and transmutes negative energy. It’s a wonderful stone to wear or carry throughout the day. 

Root Chakra Healing

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Focus on your root chakra whenever you are feeling anxious, insecure, fatigued or not present. 

The root chakra is the foundation of our energy system and overall well being. A strong and healthy root chakra enables us to feel grounded, safe, secure and at peace in our life. 

Energetically, the root chakra is associated with basic survival needs, the physical body, our community & family structures and our overall sense of abundance & security. 

Physically, the root chakra is associated with the adrenal glands, immune system, bones, prostrate gland, joints, legs and feet. 

To support and ground energy into the root chakra, spend some time outdoors - take a walk, get your hands in the garden and allow yourself to play outside. 

Incorporate clean, lean proteins into your diet - including beans, nuts and high quality dairy. Include root vegetables and seasonal fruit into your diet as well. 

Take a few minutes daily to tune into your body. Using your natural breath, send your energy deep into your root chakra (located at the base of your spine - pelvic plexus and perineum), down through your legs and out the soles of your feet. Envision that energy going deep into the earth like roots of a tree until you feel physically anchored and secure.

Planting Seeds of Growth in 2019.

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Let Go & Grow.

If 2018 was a successful, breezy year for you, congratulations! Truly. Breathe a personal sigh of relief because, let’s be real...2018 was ROUGH for a lot us!

Astrologically speaking, it was a year of very high energy and planetary arrangements that can produce anxiety, personal turbulence and feelings of chaos. Many people endured personal experiences that produced a lot of pain and fear. Things felt upside down in many ways. We saw this on a national and global scale as well.

The good news? All of that turbulence compels us to look inward and do deep personal growth work. And that is what 2019 is all about! It is a year to PAUSE, REFELCT and RELEASE.

Think of it as time to catch your breath and PLANT YOUR SEEDS OF PERSONAL GROWTH before the next major planetary shift occurs in 2020, ushering in a fresh twenty-year cycle.

Our first wonderful opportunity to do just that occurs this Sunday, January 20th with the Super Blood Wolf Moon. Just a few hours before the peak of the full moon, a total lunar eclipse will be visible as the Moon passes into the shadow of Earth, causing the moon to appear red (hence the “Blood Moon”). Additionally, the moon will reach the point in its orbit where its closest to Earth, making it appear larger and brighter (hence the “Super Moon”).

Full moons are a fantastic time to focus on releasing things that no longer serve you — emotions bound to past experiences, negative thoughts about yourself, attachments to people or things that are keeping you stuck in place, etc.

Doing release work is vital to personal growth. It releases you from the past (or future) and firmly plants you in the fluidity of the present moment. By staying present, you open to growth.

If you don’t plan to stay awake to gaze at the beauty of this event, be sure to simply set aside some time on Sunday to pause, reflect and release.

If you are inclined, you can create a ritual to support your intention. Rituals are a lovely way to bring the formless - our spiritual beliefs and intentions - into physical form. This engages all of our physical senses (sight, touch, smell and sound), which deepens the connection to our spirit.

Take a bath with fresh herbs or essential oils, set aside time to meditate or journal, light a candle and listen to soothing music...do what feels best for you.

The only vital component is that you take the time to PAUSE and REFLECT on what you, ultimately, need to RELEASE.

Cheers to your personal growth in 2019!

Be Well,

Dana

Gratitude. Superfood for Spirit.

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Gratitude. Superfood for Spirit.

Life is an unfolding, creative process that requires our active engagement. The perspective and attitude we embody is shaped, primarily, by our internal lens. Whatever we choose to focus on, we empower.

If we experience our lives as disagreeable, overwhelming or dull, our inner lens needs to be refocused. We need to shift the lens from empowering the negative in our lives to the positive.

The good news is that we have a refocusing tool at our disposal.

We have an inner key that - when turned again and again - will help us refocus our internal lens. It will help us reshape our perspective; allowing us to live a more vibrant, meaningful life.

That key is GRATITUDE. Gratitude is the superfood for our spirit.

By choosing to interact with all aspects of life with gratitude, our inner lens becomes laser focused on the nourishing, supportive and enriching elements that surround us. The positive becomes empowered.

This shift of perspective and empowerment helps us nurture and reclaim a feeling of satisfaction and security in our lives.

Of course, it’s fairly easy to be grateful for something positive in our lives. It is much harder when something difficult or painful arises.

Approaching difficulty with gratitude is not denying or dismissing the painful or challenging reality one is facing. Instead its about expanding the view and looking for the light - however small it may seem - that shines through the cracks. It could be as simple as being grateful for a restful sleep in a time of grief.

According to an article in Psychology Today by Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist and TedX speaker, gratitude research shows that -

  • Grateful people report experiencing fewer aches and pains and are more likely to care for their overall health and wellness.

  • Gratitude enhances empathy and sensitivity to others and reduces the likelihood of aggressive or retaliatory behavior.

  • Gratitude reduces toxic emotions like envy, resentment, frustration and regret. Studies show that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.

  • Gratitude promotes healthier sleep habits. A 2011 study suggests that writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep quality.

  • Gratitude improves self esteem and reduces social comparisons.

  • Gratitude increases mental strength and resiliency - and could play an important role in overcoming trauma.

Develop a Gratitude Practice.

Developing a gratitude practice is simple. Everyone has the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. It’s one of the easiest ways to improve your overall satisfaction with life.

Developing a gratitude practice is simple. Everyone has the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. It’s one of the easiest ways to improve your overall satisfaction with life.

All you need to do is begin. Don’t wait - start now.

An easy first step is to practice present moment gratitude. Whenever you are waiting in line, running an errand or exercising - take a moment, look around and reflect.

Gratitude can be appreciated in something as simple as the smile of a stranger, the beauty of the sky or the strength of your breath. Explore the present moment deeply and you will find a nugget of gratitude waiting for you.

Another tool to strengthen your personal practice is to keep a gratitude journal. Make it a goal to write down at least five things you feel grateful for each day. You can keep the journal with you throughout the day to spontaneously jot down your gratitude or you can set aside a specific time of day, like the morning or evening, to write your reflections.

Begin and end each day with gratitude. Take an extra moment in bed before you start or end your day to reflect on the positive in your life.

It’s okay if, at first, you don’t physically feel the gratitude. It might even feel silly, foreign or awkward when you begin your practice. Be open minded, playful and roll with it.

The most important thing is to commit to regular reflection and to be kind to yourself in the process.

With time, your gratitude practice will help you cultivate a deep internal sense of satisfaction, trust and peace as your inner lens focuses on the beauty, love and support in your life.

Holiday Event

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'Walk with Me' Documentary featuring Thich Nhat Hanh

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Join Me.


Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, ‘Walk with Me’ is a documentary featuring the world famous monastery of Zen Buddhist master, Thich Nhat Hanh. It captures the life of a monastic community who have given up all their possessions for one common purpose - to practice the art of mindfulness. 

Spread the word. Spread the Love.

Grab your friends for an evening filled with Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings on mindfulness, love and compassion. 

Hurry - this is a special showing with limited seating - only 20 left! Seats must be reserved online in advance. 

 

 

 

Dig Beneath the Goal: Discover the Root of Intention

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Hey goals, we have a problem. 


Starting in January, you are bombarded with reminders to set goals. Lose weight, find a perfect mate, discover your dream job. You are motivated. You can do this. You think to yourself, “Goals are great!” 

Until, of course, they aren’t. 

That fresh enthusiasm starts to wane. Negative thoughts creep in. Your goals feel hard, insurmountable. You quietly give up. And you feel like you failed. 

Sound familiar? 

The problem isn’t you. The problem is the goal. 

More and more, we are discovering that the pervasive culture of goal setting has unintentional negative side effects. Neuroscience research tells us that our brains are wired to seek rewards and to avoid discomfort, pain and fear. 

According to a recent article in Psychology Today, “When the fear of failure creeps into the mind of a goal setter, it becomes a demotivator, triggering a desire to return to known, comfortable behaviors and thought patterns.”

So why do our goals often trigger the very things our brains are wired to avoid? The issue is we often set goals that are unrealistically far from our current state of being, without examining what is motivating us to create the goal in the first place.

In our social-media saturated culture, we set goals fueled by glossy images of perfection. Content intended to be uplifting and inspiring can instead feed into our subconscious fears of not being good enough, smart enough and beautiful enough; encouraging self judgment instead of motivation. 

Focus on intention, not goals. 

So what to do? Instead of setting goals, go deeper. Dig beneath the surface. Find the root of the goal; the inner reason you set the goal in the first place. Ask yourself why, again and again, until you find the simple, inner truth of the matter. 

And then set a clear, simple intention from there. 

If you aren’t accustomed to vigorous exercise, but you set a goal of running a marathon this year, dig deeper. You might discover your true intention is to develop your inner athlete, to challenge yourself both mentally and physically, to push your limits. 

By using this as your guide, you can say yes to a wide variety of opportunities that support that intention - taking you to places beyond running.

By saying yes to experiences and activities that support your intention, rather than a specific goal, you might discover a passion for things you hadn’t dreamed. 

Focusing on intention allows you to be fluid on your journey. It pulls you along to unknown areas of growth and potential. It reduces the risk of being demotivated by fear, while providing you with a touchstone to align yourself.

When faced with a decision, simply ask yourself, does this support my intention? If yes, proceed with confidence, give it a try and learn from the journey. There is no right or wrong.

If something doesn’t connect, flow to the next experience that supports your intention until it takes you where you want to go.

Above all, practice compassion for yourself and enjoy your unique journey.