Category Archives: Exploration

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!

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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

How to Be a Local Anywhere (The Techniques I Use Every Time I Travel)

This is a topic that I’m asked about very frequently, so I thought I’d do a video while I was traveling in Hawaii, staying with my sister and her family for a long Winter retreat!

This is the exact process I use when I’m doing research on a new place I’m traveling to. It involves layering a couple of techniques together and balancing them according to:

  • validity (You hate your mom’s taste in coffee, and she’s recommending a coffee shop. I love you, but sorry mom!)
  • quality (If it’s online research you’re doing, is it a reputable site? Are the reviewers or critics paid and/or reputable… or are they interns who haven’t visited the place they’re writing about?)
  • source (If it’s a person you’re asking, do they know a lot about what you want to experience or learn about?)

Check out the video for my tips and technique!

Also, I realize this is heavily restaurant/wine bar/coffeeshop based… but those are some of the things I love the most when I travel. Local food is at the heart of every vibrant place, and also at the center of social situations where you can really get to know the local culture. So, enjoy!

Video Show Notes

Make sure you watch the video above for elaboration on the following:

#1: Ask yourself: What does local mean to you?

You have to be specific. Do you want to go to a local dive bar or a local hip-hop club? It’s not really about gathering all your ideas and sticking to that itinerary, because you always want to leave space for your explorer mind to turn on and find magic.

#2: The Google guru.

Use the exact phrase you might be looking for—like “hipster neighborhood best coffeeshop Sao Paolo”— and you’ll likely find that someone has written about this.

Check your references: The New York Times writes decent “36 Hours in X City” pieces; Eater is a great place to find food “heat maps.”

Let’s say after this initial soft round of research, you’ve got five hot spots…

3) Yelp all of them.

Of course, do this with a grain of salt. Know why there are 1-star reviews—it usually has to do with the experience, especially if it’s a place that gets mostly 5-stars.

Another top tip: Stalk a reviewer that you like. If you agree with what they have to say, see what else that person has reviewed where you’re going.

4) Ask friends and family who live locally.

Again, note the grain of salt factor. But, be open to their suggestions after sharing with them a little about what you look for—they probably know of something that no one else does.

5) Ask the experts.

When I go anywhere, I ask my local barista at Ozo in Boulder, Greg, if he’s been to the location I’m going and if he knows of the best coffee roasters wherever I’m going. He inevitably has 1-3 recommendations for me, and they’ve always been solid.

 

Tie your research phase into your excitement about the trip! Use a tool you like, perhaps Evernote or TripIt, to organize your ideal activities. And have fun with it.

DIY: Luxurious Homemade Peppermint Cacao Face Butter

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I absolutely love making my own body butters and face creams in the winter.

My skin, especially in Colorado, needs to drink up more moisture than unrefined organic coconut oil alone can provide, which is what I use most of the year (this one in particular is my favorite).

But in winter, I notice that no matter how much coconut oil I put on, I still get rough patches particularly on my upper arms.

When this happens, I gleefully pull out all my essential oils, carrier oils and butters and fill up my kitchen counter with them.

(You may remember me doing this a bunch during my 30-Day Making Challenge last winter, when I made various delicious body butters and sugar scrubs on Days 6, 7, 10 and 24.)

Here’s my latest facial butter, designed specifically to:
  • moisturize my face more deeply with shea/cacao butters instead of coconut oil
  • heal and nourish my skin with Vitamin E
  • keep my skin acne-free with Tea Tree oil
  • purify and protect my skin with carrot seed oil (which is also anti-carcinogenic)
  • balance skin tone and reduce blemishes with rosemary oil

Peppermint Cacao Balancing Face Butter (w/ Vit. E and Tea Tree oil)

Makes 4 ounces.

  • 1/4 cup cocoa butter
  • 1/2 cup shea butter
  • 2 tbsps jojoba oil
  • 3 drops tea tree
  • 4 drops lavender
  • 1/4 tsp vitamin E
  • 3 drops rosemary
  • 5 drops carrot seed
  • 2 drops vanilla
  • 3 drops peppermint

Melt the shea, cacao and jojoba together in a clean pot on the stove on low-medium heat.

When everything is melted (don’t do a lot of coaxing, let it melt naturally), turn the heat off and remove the pot from the burner. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir lightly with a spoon.

Pour into a 4 oz. jar and refrigerate (you are also welcome to whip it with a mixer as well, though I don’t have one, and the consistency is just fine without doing so).

Then, when the pot is sufficiently cooled down but still warm, dive headfirst into it and rub the warm oil all over your body, or offer to give your partner a warm foot massage with it like I did and win brownie points forever.

Take the container out of the fridge in the morning before your shower, then afterwards… voila! Instant happy.

The Holidays With Loved Ones: 15 More Questions Worth Asking at The Table

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Since my last post, Thanksgiving and Gratitude: Four Real Questions Worth Asking at The Table, turned out to be wildly popular, I decided to post more questions to help you go deeper with your loved ones during the holidays (or any time!).

It is my belief that through self-inquiry and self-expression—in both solitude and community—we can learn to thrive as our whole selves in the world.

Here are 15 questions to help you do that.

Of them, some are sourced from the If: Gathering and spiced with my own flavor, and some are purely from my own inspiration.

Enjoy!

1) If we could pull up one more chair at the table, who would you invite? Why?
2) What is one thing we don’t know about you that you hold sacred?
3) What is trying to be born through you?
4) What are you learning about yourself right now?
5) What are some words that you want to describe this season of your life?
6) Tell a story about an answered prayer or desire that felt magical to you.
7) What makes it easier for you to connect to the Divine?
8) What is one thing that keeps you from being truly authentic with others?
9) What are you believing right now that you know isn’t true?
10) What is one area of your life where you need more strength and support?
11) Share a time when someone else’s honesty gave you permission to be honest.
12) What are you avoiding right now that is important to you?
13) What one thing in your life do you feel like quitting?
14) How have you loved someone in the details of their life lately?
15) What’s one thing you sense the Divine is asking you to do?

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How Sara Avant Stover Lives All of Her: The Value of Connecting With Our Darkness

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This is part of the Live All of You Interview Series! For more on what this is all about, head over to the intro post and make sure to sign up to find out who I’ll be interviewing next.

October is Boulder, Colorado month! The Live All of You interviews featured during this month are all with people who call Boulder home.

Boulder is a wondrous place. I came to live here through a serendipitous car accident in June 2007, in which my ex and I flipped over three times going 90 mph. We were both fine, and I don’t regret it one bit.

Boulder is my soul home—I can be all of myself here, every wacky, gratuitous, painful, electrified cell of me. There is a quote I love by Stephen Elliott: “There is no new leaf; turn yourself over.” That is what Boulder did for me; it turned me over, literally, and in the most important ways a human can be.

This week, I’m proud to bring you my interview with fellow Boulderite, Sara Avant Stover.

Sara is a yoga and meditation instructor, author and founder of The Way of the Happy Woman. She teaches wellness and spirituality for women; after a cervical cancer scare in her early twenties, Sara moved to Thailand, where she lived for ten years and embarked on a decade-long healing and spiritual odyssey throughout Asia. She has since gone on to uplift tens of thousands of women worldwide.

I was attracted to Sara’s first book without even knowing she lived in Boulder. I felt enamored with her work, her insight and her way of expressing in it. It was more than an appreciation—I felt like when I read her, it was filling my soul with something it had been aching for.

Now, she’s out with a new book, The Book of SHE, and I have been deep-diving into it daily, completely enthralled.

Sara has this way of elucidating things that is spacious but also contained—a juxtaposition that allows the receiver to feel safe and expansive at the same time. She holds your hand gently, while letting you explore your own way.

Let’s hear from her now!

Continue reading How Sara Avant Stover Lives All of Her: The Value of Connecting With Our Darkness

Get Ready to Light Up 2016 With Love, Bliss & Abundance

2016 is right around the corner. Are you where you want to be in your business, life and relationships? Are you even close?

If not, you’re far from alone. And I want to help.

If you want your New Year’s resolutions to stick or you need a clearer blueprint or strategic push toward expanding your life, love and business—come revive and strategize with me in ‪Boulder‬.

I’ll wine and dine you, and help you get back on track in a big way.

Continue reading Get Ready to Light Up 2016 With Love, Bliss & Abundance

The 12 Nonfiction Books That Have Changed How I Live In the World

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As I was purchasing the Kindle version of Big Magic today (note: everything Elizabeth Gilbert writes/says/does should be on an artist’s priority list of conscious consumption), I realized I hadn’t written about my own list of books that have changed my life.

So with no further adieu, here they are!

These books have completely helped me upgrade my communication, relationships, business and health in the last few years, and I’m super grateful for them.

Continue reading The 12 Nonfiction Books That Have Changed How I Live In the World