finding your tribe

I thought this email was really fitting given my current journey and soul work…

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from DailyOm

We all desire to find our tribe, a community of those that feel comfortable to us and nurture our journey.
Part of being human is the search for an individual identity. Bound to this strong need to establish a unique persona, however, is an equally intense desire for acceptance. It is when we find our individual tribes that both are satisfied. Our tribe members are those people who accept us as we are without reservation and gladly accompany us on our journeys of evolution. Among them, we feel free to be our imperfect selves, to engage unabashedly in the activities we enjoy, and to express our vulnerabilities by relying on our tribe for support. We feel comfortable investing our time and energy in the members of our tribe, and are equally comfortable allowing them to invest their resources in our development.

The individuals who eventually become members of your unique tribe are out there in the wide world waiting for you. You are destined to find them, one by one, as you move through life. Sometimes your own efforts will put you in contact with your future tribe members. At other times, circumstances beyond your control will play a role in helping you connect with your tribe. If you look about you and discover that you are already allied with a wonderful and supportive tribe, remember that there are likely many members of your tribe you have not yet met. On the other hand, if you feel you are still living outside of your tribe, broadening your horizons can help you find your tribe members.

However your life develops after you come together with your tribe, you can be assured that its members will stand at your side. On the surface, your tribe may seem to be nothing more than a loose-knit group of friends and acquaintances to whom you ally yourself. Yet when you look deeper, you will discover that your tribe grounds you and provides you with a sense of community that ultimately fulfills many of your most basic human needs.

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my next adventure

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Over the past couple of years, I’ve been doing some soul searching about my own purpose.  I am amazed by people who know they have a singular purpose that drives them.  I have never quite felt that, and it’s been a source of confusion for me.

At some point, I realized that worrying so much about having a purpose was maybe just me getting in my own way.  I decided I’d just welcome more flow into my life, to go with my instincts and use my gifts in ways that felt meaningful.

I started organically planning gatherings for women – spaces for being social, learning, tapping into something larger than ourselves, celebrating the wheel of the year.  It felt natural, and important for my own heart and soul.   That was my norm for a few years, with some lovely times!

By chance, I ended up attending a yoga+soul retreat over the summer with a group of maybe 12 other women.  I expected to relax and to love the yoga – I didn’t expect to find so much goodness in the gathering and holding sacred space with other women.  It was lovely.

When I returned from retreat, I missed that connection, so I attended a new moon circle for women. I had no real expectations, but sort of fell in love with it.  Sacred space, astrology, oracle cards, meditation, journaling, heart shares…what an amazing thing to have in your life on a regular basis.  What a great space to meet other people who may be a part of your soul tribe.

After the evening, I researched the organizer, and saw she’s part of the Wild Woman Project. My eyes immediately landed on “Wild Woman Project Leader Training” – the opportunity to be a part of it, to build these circles and help others connect.  yes!  a chance to use gifts, to give back!

And yet…I didn’t say yes.

and really, for good reason.

Some people struggle to be “yes” people. I am generally ALWAYS a “yes” person – even when it’s impulsive, not thought out, or super fast – I just go.  That’s not always a good thing, and I am learning to sit with things, to let them evolve organically.  To let things flow instead of forcing action everywhere.

So, I let it ride.

I attended a few more circle events.  Within hours of the most recent one, I had a text from a friend asking if I had considered leading circles.  I had.  And, somehow, in the moment, I knew it was just time.  I was in the flow, and the universe was nudging me. Synchronicity.  It simply was, without having to ask again.

I did it. I signed up.  For someone who signs up for new experiences often, you’d think I would just feel like it’s another notch on the belt, but it doesn’t.  It feels important, and meaningful, and powerful.  It feels like something that matters.  I am a bit nervous.  What if no one comes to Circle?  What if people don’t think I do a decent job?  What if I can’t help them connect, after all?

And yet, it excites me.  So I follow the fun.  Even though I’m a bit afraid, I want to do it, to put myself out there and do something a little scary.  Even if it’s a total bust, I am learning a lot about myself, and connecting to my own heart, so it wouldn’t be anything to consider a failure.

But if my hopes align, women with big hearts and open minds will be drawn to the space.  We will share, and build, and learn, and grow, and make soul friends, and celebrate great things, and express sad things, and maybe even dance.  The current circle gathering is on the south side of the city, and I am hoping this one can build on the north side, so we’re surrounding the city in some terrific wild woman love.

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So, that’s my next adventure.  On we go…

I train through late November, and circles will be scheduled around each New Moon in 2017 at that time.  If you feel called, I hope you will join one…

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new moon love. for you, ladies.

Gala Darling puts out awesome stuff, and this whole post totally resonated with me. I did and loved the goals and letter to myself and feel its power already.  try it!

New Moon Magic: January 2016

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Here’s to an extremely exciting and magical 2016! We might be smack-dab in the middle of Mercury retrograde right now, but the energy of this first New Moon in Capricorn makes it feel like we can achieve anything if only we put in an intelligent, concerted effort. And it’s true! We can!

That’s what Capricorn is all about. It’s traditional and it can be a little stuffy, but there is always a method to the (tightly controlled) madness. Capricorns are anything but haphazard or unplanned. My father is an archetypal Capricorn, and from him I learned the joy of writing lists, how to set goals, and strategies for, well, everything. A good dose of Capricorn energy in your life can teach you how to rule the world!

To help you make the most of this New Moon in Capricorn, Mystic Medusa has the astrological overview, and I’ve got suggestions for how to use the energy to your advantage. Let’s go!

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NEW MOON @ 19 CAPRICORN

L.A. – Saturday 9th – 17.31
NEW YORK – Saturday 9th – 20.31
LONDON – Sunday 10th 01.31
DUBAI – Sunday 10th – 05.31
HONG KONG – Sunday 10th – 09.31
SYDNEY – Sunday 10th – 12.31

IN THE SKY… (Mystic Medusa)

Forget about Mercury Retrograde being a pain. Sure, it might still make for slow deliveries and random texts from people who belong to another era of your life. And it’s still not the optimal time for signing a contract. But Mercury is support player to this New Moon. The lead role? That would be Pluto, Change God and Explorer of Psychological Depths. That’s not exploration where you take some retreat or navel gaze your way to an infinity consciousness (though a few early nights would not kill you) — this is a rebuild. And the foundation is your newfound realisation of your genuine values.

The Retrograde makes this a new beginning off the back of something you have or you are revising in January. You reclaim your Awesome, even if it does mean sacrificing an aspect of yourself or some outworn habit. New Moons always have an element of this but Pluto makes it super-strength, Mercury Retro brings in the reform aspect and Capricorn means business. Key insights revolve around such themes as Money –- you don’t attract or manifest wealth -– you BUILD it –- And Power –- you don’t wait around for someone else to “give” it to you, it has to be seized. You may never get validation from certain people and the very machinations you have to go through to try and coax it out of them only take you further away from where you want to be.

More in the Horoscopes! Also, I have a brand new, more flexible membership structure now.

Happy New Year – overall theme? We’re all about the delusion busting and new empire build.

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ON THE GROUND… (Gala Darling)

“Nearly all rich and powerful people are not notably talented, educated, charming or good-looking. They became rich and powerful by wanting to be rich and powerful.” — Paul Arden

The new year is stirring and now that the confetti has been cleared and the champagne glasses have been put away, there is an element of seriousness hanging in the air. Do not take it lightly. This is the time to strike. This is the time to start putting down serious foundations and structuring your empire with intelligence and a solid plan. This is the time to focus, to knuckle down, to brush off distractions and diversions and make some major strides.

Most people are still dilly-dallying their way into 2016. Not us, witch babies. January is loaded with magic and we would be foolish not to seize that opportunity and run with it! Here are a few ways to do it…

THINKIN’ OF A MASTER PLAN
It’s impossible to capitalise on this energy if you’re not sure what you want to create, where you want to go, or who you want to do it with! It’s time to get crystal clear about your goals. Spend a day (or two) with a big pad of paper, and divide your page into seven sections: Family / Love / Spirituality / Friendships / Work / Finances / Fun. Under each heading, write down your goals over the next six months. Most of these categories are self-explanatory, but just so you know, Fun is the category for things like travel, taking classes, or personal creative projects that excite you.

Now, here’s the kicker: you will inevitably end up with more things written down than you can possibly accomplish. Once you can see it all in front of you, cut out the things that don’t truly light you up. Be ruthless! Scribble and re-write and ask yourself if you really want to devote your energy to this or that.

Once you feel like your piece of paper makes sense, get a fresh sheet and write it up again. Add due dates to every single item — this will help to keep you accountable. Decorate it with markers and doodles and stickers if you like. Then hang it above your desk so you see it every single day. You’ll know exactly what you need to work on next, and therefore unstoppable!

WRITE YOURSELF A LETTER
It takes six months for the results of a New Moon to come to fruition, so why not write down what you want to achieve in the form of a letter that thanks you for all you’ve done?

It might start like this.

Dear Kate, Woohoo! Happy July! I’m so excited for us that we were able to create so much magic in the first half of 2016. I’m delighted to be living in this beautiful new apartment, to be in love with an incredible girl, and to be kicking ass in my (newly-promoted!) role at work! 

You get the gist. Write it as if your goals have already happened. Feel the words as you write them. Take your time, close your eyes, visualise it and write about what your true emotions will be when you accomplish these things. Then sign off the letter with lots of love, put it in an envelope that says “OPEN JULY 2016″, and pin it above your desk. It’s just another way to put those manifesting wheels in motion. Mmmmm YES. So powerful and good!

START CULTIVATING A POWER-COVEN
One of the most essential pieces of building your empire is cultivating a power-coven of badass babes around you. No witch is an island, after all, and we are so much more powerful when we work together.

Firstly, you can only achieve so much with one brain and two hands. When you add a few other brains and perspectives into the mix, your vision can expand and grow exponentially. But it’s not just that. The more people you invite into your universe, the more your network will grow, and the bigger and richer your life becomes. And when you treat the people in your world with love and affection and respect, they will take care of you too.

Secondly, you need people around you who encourage you to be better, grow faster, and dream more wildly. You need friends who can pick you up when you stumble, and who will hold your vision in their hearts. These people are more precious than all the diamonds in the world. When you find them, hold them close, and give them all your love.
This New Moon is going to be truly magnificent. When I close my eyes, I can see every single one of us sowing seeds and planting the foundations of beautiful things, all across the world. Can you see it too?

“When a woman rises up in glory, her energy is magnetic and her sense of possibility contagious.” — Marianne Williamson

Love always,

What Your Menstrual Cycle Says About Your Health

Readers beware: lady stuff here!

Did you know that your period can be the biggest and clearest window to what is going on inside your body? Yes, that once a month call from nature can be extremely revealing if you become keenly aware of its subtle shifts, even if you consider your period to be normal and healthy.

According to Ayurveda, a healthy cycle is one that occurs once a month, is bright red without clots or mucous, and is pain-free, bloat-free, and mood-swing-free. Variations from this are the body’s way of demonstrating subtle imbalances.

There are three main categories of these variations. Look for them in your monthly cycle and use it as an opportunity to guide you to optimal health. You’ll notice a shift in how you feel during the rest of the month!

1. The Painful and Bloated Period

Surveys show that 50 – 90% of women have pain with their menstrual cycles (and, unfortunately, most think this is normal). Chances are that you also become gassy, may have a day of spotting before a regular flow that perhaps is darker and has some clots, may experience more fear and anxiety during your period, and likely have some constipation with your cycle.

Uterine pain during your cycle is caused by intense uterine contractions that lead to periods where the tissue does not get enough blood flow. In Ayurveda, this constriction is the cold quality (what we call vata in Ayurveda) at work. All of the above symptoms can be traced to the vata qualities of cold, dry, light, and mobile. If they are present in your cycle, they are most certainly also disturbing the rest of your body.

You may even be experiencing dry skin, sleep disturbances, sciatica and low back pain, or joint pain. So, bring the opposite qualities back!

Try these tips if you identify with any of the above symptoms:

1. Increase your hydration (try ginger teas!) and supplement healthy fatty acids (omega-3s).
2. Eat warm and cooked foods, with plenty of root vegetables and warming spices, such as cinnamon, ginger, and clove.
3. Slow down and have a good routine (which means going to bed on time before 10 pm and getting 7 — 8 hours of sleep).
4. Bring warmth and flow to your body with gentle exercises (yoga is perfect!) and to your lower abdomen with castor oil packs and yoga hip-openers.

2. The Tender and Angry Period

Do you experience painful breasts or get pretty bad acne around your cycle? Do you become irritated, short-tempered, angry and/or frustrated? Perhaps you get nauseated and have looser stools.

You can thank the heat and sharp qualities (called pitta in Ayurveda) for all of the above. Look at the rest of your body for traces of these qualities elsewhere. Do you experience reflux or acidity, migraines, hair loss, stress, challenges with your skin, excessive competition or perfectionism?

Try these tips to cool your system down and soothe the pitta:

1. Try a daily cooling drink with cucumbers (either a juice or as a milkshake), especially as we make our way into the hotter seasons.
2. Sit in a relaxed posture, roll your tongue (or simply grin really wide with the teeth gently clenched together) and suck in the cool air. Practice this for five minutes daily.
3. Meditate. Calm the mind, let go of stress and the need to control all outcomes (in other words, cultivate some faith).
4. Avoid oily and spicy foods.

3. The Puffy and Heavy Period

The heavy, slow, and thick qualities (known as kapha in Ayurveda) bring about sensations of sluggishness and swelling, traces of mucus and a heavier flow, and depression, along with some emotional eating.

If this is the case for you, you may also note slower metabolism, difficulty losing weight or gaining weight with the same lifestyle you had before, sinus congestion, allergies, greed, and maybe even attachment issues. Strengthening your digestion and metabolism (digestive fire or agni in Ayurveda) will help both your menstrual cycle and your overall health.

So try these tips to counter the kapha qualities:

1. Eat a diet with more fruits and veggies, and low in oily foods and sugar.
2. Eat your last meal before sunset.
3. Eat a pinch of grated ginger before and after your meals and drink ginger tea to stoke your digestive fire.
4. Exercise. Stimulate the movement of and bring warmth to the blood and lymph (when you are not on your menstrual cycle).

As you pay more attention, you will begin to become aware of these subtle shifts based on what your previous month was like (if you ate more sweets and dairy you may notice more mucus, or if you have traveled more you may notice more pain and a shorter cycle).

To learn more about your menstrual cycle and for more tips on what you can do, read this free Guide to a Healthy Cycle that I wrote.

From MindBodyGreen.com

Goddess Oracle: Artemis (Selfhood)

For some reason, this week’s card feels RIGHT and I am drawn to it: Artemis – Selfhood. 
How can we look at, learn from, and work with her energy this week?

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Mythology:
Artemis, another multidimensional Goddess reduced by the Greeks to the domain of moon, virgin, huntress, and childbirth, really represented the Feminine in all her aspects.  She was the huntress who protected animals and the virgin (whole and complete unto herself) who made love in the woods. When Artemis was a little girl, Zeus, her father, wanted to give her a gift and asked her what she wanted. Artemis replied: I want to run forever wild and free with my hounds in the woods and never, ever marry.

Meaning of the Card:
Artemis has shot her arrow of selfhood into your life to help you focus on yourself. Have you been too much at the service of others without making sure you get what you need for yourself? Has it been too long since you had time to yourself or a space of your own? Do the boundaries of your selfhood seem blurred and indistinct? Do you feel you have no right to a self of your own, but must always be thinking of others, putting their needs first, until you don’t know who you are or what you want? Now is the time to come into yourself. Now is the time to pay attention to the whispering voices of your own needs. Now is the time to take yourself back and celebrate and strengthen who you are. Artemis says that wholeness is nurtured when you honor, respect, and give time to yourself. She also asks how you can expect to hit any targets if you don’t have a self from which to shoot?

Ritual Suggestion: Taking Yourself Back
This can be done at any time and in any place. You may choose to do it alone or in front of the person or people to whom you have given pieces of yourself.
Sit, stand, or lie with your spine straight. Close your eyes.  Take a deep breath and release it.  Take another deep breath, breathing into your womb, your center.
Look at your body.
Ask yourself if there are any missing pieces.
Open to allow yourself to get a sense, image, or feeling of where those missing pieces are.
For example: did you give your lover your joy piece and now can’t experience joy without him/her?  Did you give your children a large chunk of yourself and now that they’re grown you feel lost?
Call those pieces home.
Sense, feel, or see those missing pieces coming back to you.
Let them reenter your body and, as they do, feel yourself grow stronger and more vital.
When you are finished taking yourself back, you may want to reinforce your boundaries and name your pieces.
Thank your pieces for returning, and open your eyes.  Welcome back!

Take care of yourself this week, dear reader!

Goddess Oracle: Amaterasu

This week’s Goddess Oracle card: Amaterasu Omi Kami – Beauty.  Fitting for this time of year – anther sun goddess!  Plus, the ritual suggestion is a “bath”, which goes perfectly with the sun’s energy in Cancer right now.  Let’s look at her energy and how we can use it this week, shall we?

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Mythology:
Amaterasu Omi Kami is the Shinto Sun Goddess of Japan.  When insulted by her crude brother, Susan-o, the Storm God, she withdrew into a cave and refused to come out.  Distressed by the withdrawal of the sun, Uzume, the Shaman-Goddess, did a comical bawdy dance to entertain the Gods and Goddesses and to provoke Amaterasu’s curiosity.  When Amaterasu opened her door to peek, she was dazzled by her own beauty, reflected to her in a mirror the Gods and Goddesses had installed, and came out.

Meaning of the Card:
Amaterasu is here to tell you to bask in the radiance of your own beauty.  Do you know your unique beauty or do you feel you can’t be beautiful because you don’t look like a model or movie star?  Are you in your crone years and feel that age is ugly?  Perhaps you are afraid to express your beauty, afraid that you will attract unwanted energies.  Amaterasu says that all women possess the light of the Feminine and that light is beauty.  She advises you to let go of your preconceptions about what beauty is and allow your beauty to be.  Wholeness is nurtured when we celebrate all our aspects and being female means that we are beautiful.

Ritual Suggestion: Beauty Bath
All you need for this ritual is a mirror and the willingness to see your beauty.

Find a time and place when and where you will not be disturbed. Sit or lie comfortably with your spine straight.  You may remove your clothes or do the ritual with your clothes on, which feels appropriate for you.  When you feel ready, take a deep breath and release it, letting everything go.  Take four more deep breaths, focusing on the rhythm of your breathing.  If at any time during this ritual you feel uncomfortable, just take a deep breath, experience the feelings while continuing to breathe deeply, then slow down and continue at your own pace.

When you feel relaxed and ready, pick up the mirror.  Look at your face.  Just look.  If judgements or criticisms come up, acknowledge them, and let them go.  Focus on the uniqueness that is you, reflected in your face.  Look at your face and allow yourself to feel compassion, tenderness, acceptance, and love.

Next, look at your eyes.  Say to yourself: “My eyes are beautiful.” Look at your nose and tell yourself: “My nose is beautiful.”  Then your forehead, cheeks, mouth/lips, teeth, ears, skin, bone structure.  When you are finished enjoying the beauty of your face, go on to the rest of your body.  When you have acknowledged your entire body, take a deep breath and look in the mirror.  Tell yourself: “I am beautiful.”  Say it over and over.  Allow yourself to bathe in your appreciation of your own beauty, till you feel a tingle of appreciation and delight.  Continue for as long as you wish, till you are filled with your beauty.

When you feel ready, take a deep breath and exhale to the sound of “ahhhh”.  Take another deep breath and bring your attention back to this time and place.  Welcome back!

Things that Sparkle (literally): new Alex & Ani pieces

For my recent birthday (big 32!), I ordered a few things from Alex and Ani.  If you’re not familiar, check them:  http://www.alexandani.com/our-story

“We create meaningful, eco-conscious jewelry and accessories to empower the light in you. We share a passion for the well-being of our planet, our communities, and our individual paths.  ALEX AND ANI products are infused with positive energy. Ancients referred to this precious energy as “chi” and “prana,” whereas modern science refers to it as vital force. It is the natural energy that supports life.

We embrace the power of positive energy as our core company belief. Each product is infused with positive energy in three important ways. First, the products themselves are manufactured (and infused) with positive intention in carefully selected American factories. Second, the symbols featured in our designs carry their own energy and are accompanied by thoughtfully crafted and meticulously researched meaning. Last, each design is positively intended to empower the wearer and reflect the unique qualities of the individual. Some pieces carry sentimental meaning; others are talismans of protection, power, or intention. The beauty of each collection is that you are the designer. Mixing symbolic pieces with your own alchemy makes ALEX AND ANI completely and uniquely yours.”

Jewelry with meaning and energy!  Love it.

So, I collected these gems, as they felt right:

OM earrings & bangle

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This cool Mayan-design piece, in bracelet form…

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These crown chakra energy earrings…

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Fun, right?  I love everyday items that I know have meaning, even if just to myself – but these being designed with these energies in mind makes me even happier!  Wearing some for Litha this weekend…

Let’s talk about menstrual cycles, ladies.

If you don’t want to talk about periods, tune out now.  Warned you!

That being said, this really isn’t gross. I am interested in how to time my fitness activities with my cycle – I just feel totally different throughout the month and wanted to know when I should do various types of workouts.  So, I boiled down the information I found online via various sources to this:

Our menstrual cycles consist of ever-changing hormonal profiles that can impact our strength, flexibility and endurance throughout the month. Creating a training plan that takes into consideration the impact of our hormones will lead to greater effectiveness, as well as a greater connection with our body – it is an act of honoring our body.

1. Day 1 is the start of your menstrual cycle – normal bleeds are 3 to 5 days.  This is time to lay on the couch. 🙂  OK, maybe stretch. Maybe.

2. Follicular phase (roughly days 5 – 14, varies among women): usually you’ll feel upbeat and outgoing; consider experimenting with new classes and new movements

2. Ovulatory (days 7/10-10/14): you’ll often feel a surge in energy, a great time to do some HIIT training or go for a personal record!

3. Luteal (days 10/14-28): your energy steadily decreases and you may feel more introspective – yoga, walking, and Pilates are great options for this phase.

So, there you have it – that’s easy, right?  I’m going to test and see if my body likes these guidelines this month.