Align With the Moon Cycles to Enhance Your Productivity

moon cycle productivity

Sept. 1 is the New Moon Solar Eclipse in Virgo, which marks the beginning of a new cycle.

“What is planted here can catch and grow in the waxing light to come,” says Laura Larriva. “Solar eclipses block the force of the solar radiation enough to reset our consciousness here on earth. We have space to intend anew, and what we intend, we receive. This is practical magic.”

Living and working in flow with the cycles of nature can help us reclaim and feel parts of our essence that might otherwise get lost in the day-to-day battle to get things done.

To honor this flow, I’m offering you my handcrafted Moon Cycle Work Flow sheet for free. (This sheet can also be found in my Holistic Day Design packet.)

Continue reading Align With the Moon Cycles to Enhance Your Productivity

“Forgetting” Your Period Is Not A Solution; Being In Tune With It Is

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This morning, a friend sent me a link to FLEX, a new “tampon alternative you can wear during sex.”

At first, I was intrigued. The design is beautiful, and the concept of not using tampons that are potentially toxic to our bodies is a good one.

However.

Their sales video goes something like this:

“Hey, don’t you hate your period?”
“Yeah!”
“Isn’t it so gross and smelly and awful?”
“Yeah!”
::Insert Our Brand as The Solution::

This, ladies and gentlemen, is NOT the solution.

The solution, at its root, is far deeper and more complicated than continuing to hate something so natural, essential and divine about ourselves and finding yet another way to suppress our connection to it.

I’m just now learning how to love, heal and embrace my cycle.

Somatic sexologist / sex educator (and my teacher) Lara Catone loves her bleeding time and no longer sees it as a “shameful inconvenience,” as society often frames it, but instead an incredibly powerful gift.

“One of my missions through my work at The Artemis School is to shift our menstrual culture,” she says. “I envision every woman and girl learning the physical and hormonal fundamentals of her cycle so that she can partner with her body and live out the innate magic that is her birth rite.”

Her birth rite. Sing it, sister.

FLEX’s angle, however, speaks to the typical and oh-so-tired societal dread of (and estrangement from) our natural rhythms.

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Above: Actual screenshots taken from FLEX’s marketing video. Did you really just write “smelly,” and also presume to be about “a world in which women love their bodies”? Are you f*cking kidding me?

FLEX ends their video with a testimonial from 28-year-old Lindsay:

“FLEX made me forget I was on my period!”

Excuse me? Why is “forgetting” and further distancing ourselves from our body awareness a thing to strive for?

Marketing that promotes this attitude as healthy is the furthest thing we need right now, in a time when accepting/choosing our bodies—whatever gender they are or we choose them to be—is so critical.

An actual solution starts with a mental shift. First:

Can we please replace “ew period!” with “yes creation!”?

Because for all of us who are all about “creativity,” consider that every month you or a woman you love is filled with the juice and power of the essence of it.

Stop turning away from it, shoving things up it, masking it with toxic perfumes, and ingesting chemicals to halt it.

Thank you.

Notes:
  • I realize I’m speaking to an audience of women who will feel strongly about this post. I invite you to let it sit with you, breathe deeply and look softly at your own reactions to it. <3
  • As far as “period-proof” inventions and technology that I love, try THINX panties, which allow you to free-bleed (no corkage fees here).
  • If you desire to learn and know more about embodiment practices, especially around women’s wellness, I can help you through my regular coaching practice.

Desire, Wild Movement and Not Holding Back

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I’ve held back from sharing this interview because I was afraid.

What’s beautiful about that is then I get to explore that feeling:
 
Why does it feel scary to me? Because there’s something here I don’t want the general public to know.
 
What do I want to hide? I want to hide the side of me that comes out around the topics of pleasure, sexuality, feminine embodiment, desire, the Goddesses.
 
Why? Because it’s a part of me that’s still being birthed every day, and it’s not whole and complete yet, and if I’m not a perfectly formed human then everyone will run away.
 
The answer I always get down to is: Share anyway. Share because it helps people. Share because it helps you. Share because that’s what you’re here to do.
 
Thank you, Raquel, for bringing this through me. <3
 

Timing note: Our interview starts at 8:17, but definitely listen to Raquel speak first to set the stage for all the things we talk about.

Show description: “Amy and I [talk about] self-care in the form of movement practice and how moving your gorgeous body can unlock hidden wisdom. We also talk relationships: what to do when you start eyeing someone other than your partner, and how to have constructive communication and conversation around your relationships as they evolve.”

The Flourishing Feminine’s Morning Routine: ENJOY

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I recently stumbled on Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning technique through my partner, who was on the hunt for a morning routine he could stick to. One of the main takeaways he received from Hal’s book is the concept of SAVERS to start the day.

SAVERS stands for: Silence, Affirmations, Visualizations, Exercise, Reading and Scribing. The idea is that you do each of these six things for 10 minutes every morning, for a total of an hour of activity.

Many people love it (including one of my heroes, Pat Flynn), but when I tried it, I found it to feel too rigid.

“DOMINATE YOUR DAY BEFORE BREAKFAST” is just not my flow, y’all.

Being the creative feminine that I am, I wanted to design a morning routine that felt more… Open. Flowy. Receptive. Yin.

So, allow me to introduce you to ENJOY.

ENJOY is my feminine answer to the morning routine.

It’s a gentle, nourishing practice you can do in 30 minutes to ground you in your body, activate your mind, tune into your heart and feel your soul’s cravings.

It even has two tracks, depending on how you’re feeling and what kind of day you’re having (a work day vs. a play day, perhaps, or an ambitious day vs. a wandering day).

  • E is for Embodiment
  • N is for Nourishing
  • J is for Journaling
  • Y is for Yielding

However, O can be modified.

  • O can stand for Organizing or Orienting

If you’re hungry for more, read on!

E is for Embodiment.

Embodiment gets me so creatively juiced up, and I believe it is truly an important way to access stuck emotions and unblock new, creative information that wants to get through to us.

This might mean simply getting on your yoga mat and doing some stretches or downward-facing dog; if you’re on your menstrual cycle, it can be doing slow, hip-sip movements on the floor or massaging your womb. If you’re feeling really vibrant, you can jump on your goddess pole (what, not everyone has one?), play with hula hoops outside or do a more hardcore workout blitz.

The main intention? Wiggle parts of you around, and see if they have any information for you.

Let your hands flow all over your body if you like. Personally, I usually find I need to liberate my pelvis and lower back in the morning, so doing cat/cows, bridges and just moving my hips in slow circles while kneeling on the floor works really well for me.

Kathlyn Hendricks says that by simply moving, we can free up space for expression and conversation. “Deep, delicious embodiment,” she writes, “is not only pleasurable, it contributes to better health, a longer life, stronger relationships—and even more creativity!”

Ask your body what it needs, and let your movement be the response.

Models for inspiration: Elizabeth DiAlto, Lara Catone, Kathlyn Hendricks

N is for Nourishment.

This step is about nourishing the digestive system to get it working optimally for you.

Step into your day with either a mug of hot lemon water or nourishing tea (I love a combination of nettles, red raspberry leaf and oatstraw, as they all build blood and contain so many nutrients for the body).

In the hot days of summer, I love the practice of squeezing half an orange and half a lemon into a 24 oz. mason jar and filling it with fresh mountain water.

Nourishment can also mean noticing and digesting what came up for you during your movement practice. How do you feel today now that you’re connected to your body?

As you make and sip your morning elixir, notice if you’re feeling lighter about your day, more free in your body… or if you just aren’t feeling your morning practice today and want to rush through it. It’s all okay.

Models for inspiration: The Conscious Cleanse ladies, Marysia Miernowska, Kimberly Snyder

J is for Journaling.

This is essential for me. It’s so essential that, when I get into an avoidant, downpressed state, this is the #1 thing that I avoid.

And yet, writing just for myself—not for a blog or magazine—is what allows me to access the deeper discoveries I need to continue living a path that’s most authentic to me in my work and relationships.

Writing helps me drop into a soft, still space inside myself from which to pull gems or ashes or weeds, depending on the day.

I recommend dedicating a specific journal to your morning scribbles, deep-dives or conversations with yourself. Find one that sings to you and make music with it.

If you want to cultivate journaling in a consistent way: Be aware of your Writer Life as an entity. Writing is a practice in the way that worship, yoga or religion can be. You can go to your place of worship or practice—you have the faith, you believe in the deity or guru. But, you also have to perform little rituals to keep the faith: put on your Sunday best, pray, meditate, do half-moon pose. These daily practices help you maintain the faith, connection and fire.

(Want more on this subject? I was interviewed on a podcast with the exquisite Raquel Alexandra where we talk in-depth about the connection between embodiment and writing.)

Models for inspiration: Amber Rae, Julia Cameron, Susannah Conway

O is for Organizing or Orienting.

Now we begin thinking about our day ahead.

If you’re orienting, you might simply ask: What direction would you like today to go? What do you have on your plate that you really want to keep there? And: What do you have on your plate that really doesn’t nourish you, but keeps being served to you anyway?

Keep your journal handy for this one (or your to-do list if you’re organizing). A question I love to ask is:

What are three things that will make today magical and memorable?

If your day is jam-packed and ambitious and you’re really needing some space to drop into it all, organizing your day (notes, to-dos, creating space in your calendar for you, etc.) might feel better to you. 

Models for inspiration: Holistic Day Design (my way of planning)

Y is for Yielding.

If you have time for nothing else, make sure you do this final step.

Yielding is surrendering to the divine. This can look like meditating, sitting in silence, visualization or just sitting in a wonder-space, dreaming up what feels right.

Yielding is what we do when we ask the question that matters, which is: “What do I want to come through me today? What would my highest Self have me do today?”

Here are the various ways I’ve practiced yielding:

  • feeling all the love in my heart expand
  • admiring whatever song is playing
  • visualizing what I’m craving as something I already have
  • breathing and focusing on where I can move breath in my body

Models for inspiration: Marianne Williamson, Julie Dickinson

Music for your 6-minute intervals:

I find that the timing goes much more smoothly for me if I’m not setting five 6-minute alarms on my phone. Just set up a playlist of songs that are close to 6 minutes; then, it’s easy to choose the ones you like that day and move them in the order you desire (or else let it be random!) and hit Play.

6-minute (ish) songs I have on my playlist:

  • Angel by Massive Attack (6:20)
  • Egyptic by Beats Antique (5:50)
  • Secrets by Goddess Alchemy Project (6:11)
  • Between Two Points by Glitch Mob (5:33)
  • Light by Dr. Toast (5:34)
  • Cinder and Smoke by Iron & Wine (5:44)
  • Rondeña by Antonia Gomez (5:45)
  • Timelapse by Ludovico Einaudi (5:32)
  • Saraswati by Desert Dwellers (6:39)
  • Hayling by FC Kahuna (6:48)
  • Up All Night by The Waifs (5:53)
  • Slip by Elliot Moss (5:04)

Combine some of the short-of-6-mins ones with the longer-than-6-mins ones and you’re golden.

This isn’t about being a stick in the mud to the 6-min rule, either. If you’ve got more time, do each for 8 mins for a 40-min practice. Not a lot of time? Do each for 3 mins for a 15-min practice.

Let me know what you think over on the public Facebook post!

Photo credit: (1

The Key to Feeling Empowered in Conversation (Even If It’s One-Sided)

world connection

Some friends and I were watching a dance performance at the Boulder Theater when a friend-of-a-friend arrived. During an intermission, she began to talk about her recent breakup, and the texts she was now sending him that he wasn’t replying to.

“I told him he was beautiful, and he didn’t say anything. All I need is a ‘thank you.’ Just a ‘thank you.'”

She proceeded to mention a couple of other messages she was “needing” replies from.

When she said it, it knocked me back to the person I am when I say things like this, which is a self that doesn’t quite feel like my full Self. It’s something I’m acutely aware of, and it inspires me to write about how we can start conversations that empower us—even if we never get a response to what we’re expressing.

When we have something to express, how can we communicate what’s truly in our heart?

Often, if we think we need a specific thing in return, it means that we are communicating from a state of lack—that we’re waiting for a response or reaction to fill us up or help us decide what to feel. To need in this way can feel very disempowering.

Continue reading The Key to Feeling Empowered in Conversation (Even If It’s One-Sided)

Ladies: We Need to Stop Relating This Way

women talking

I’m eating lunch at a delicious ramen noodle place in Denver (so trendy), and I overhear a woman talking to her two female friends about a breakup.

“I just put his stuff outside the house. And, of course I couldn’t do it without tequila.”

They sighed knowingly.

Then, an interesting thing happened. The other two women started taking turns offering up something their husbands do that they despise.

“Ryan plays video games for an hour after work and I’m like, can I have the TV back please?”

“Totally! Mark does that with football and I can’t stand it.”

Ladies—we need to stop relating this way.

Continue reading Ladies: We Need to Stop Relating This Way

The Very Best, Scrupulously Vetted, Green-Beauty Cosmetics

It all began with the $100 Sephora gift card.

Back in February, I found it lying in a pile of space-hoggers I’d plucked out of my wallet in frustration. It must have been there for a year, and likely from my mother (hi, mom!). I’d never used it because, honestly, I didn’t know much about Sephora except that when I wandered around blankly perusing the products, I started to cough from the perfume and my lungs propelled my legs to the exit.

Since then, I’ve probably gone from Sephora Boulder’s favorite to least-favorite customer. Why? Because I purchased probably $400 in products in February/March… and then returned them all, one by one, in March/April.

As my interest in makeup as a beautiful temporary art form peaked, my tendency to examine and research ingredients (something I’ve done with food for the last seven years) caught up to me—and once it grabbed hold, it wouldn’t let go.

During my research, I learned that there are more than 10,000 toxic ingredients allowed in conventional cosmetics, hair products and body/face creams, according to celebrity makeup artist and natural beauty expert Katey Denno.

Continue reading The Very Best, Scrupulously Vetted, Green-Beauty Cosmetics

3 Things I Need in My Workday: Making, Managing & Magic

There are three things I need in my workday: making, managing and magic.

Here’s how I weave them all in—or better put, how they weave together to create me and my expression every day.

1) Making

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Making something every day is vital to my life force, health and sanity.

Continue reading 3 Things I Need in My Workday: Making, Managing & Magic