Category Archives: Health + Vitality

Stuck In A Suffering-Healing Cycle? Here’s What’s Really Going On

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I advocate for taking 100% responsibility for our realities and relationships.

However, this belief has sometimes had the interesting effect of causing me to accept behavior that feels truly emotionally abusive and narcissistic.

In fact, these “spiritual” beliefs, when misunderstood, can actually disempower people and encourage them to stay in relationships that are unhealthy.

Our “conscious” wisdom tells us we should stay in partnerships that trigger us because they are good for us.

Because through them we can heal our primary caretaker wounds, our attachment issues, our childhood traumas, our [insert your favorite self-help term here].

Because we should be able to accept and love what’s showing up for us, and if not, well—we’re not “doing our work.”

(But wait—don’t say “should!”)

I am here to say: Fuck. That.

Elizabeth DiAlto speaks to this more eloquently when she distinguishes between resistance vs. dissonance.

“In the self-help and personal development world, there is so much emphasis on owning your side of things, noticing your triggers, etc. And we sometimes internalize and put pressure on ourselves to get okay with things or to lean into things that just simply aren’t healthy for us. And we override knowing better for ourselves,” she says.

“Whereas resistance begs inquiry, dissonance does not. Dissonance says: ‘not for you, move on.’ When something is healthy for you, it’s useful or productive in some way. Which means in no way is it punishing, self-sacrificial nor does it constantly trigger you into coping or dissociative behavior.”

So, guess what.

You don’t have to suffer to heal your issues.

Hardship? Sure.

Feeling and inquiring into your pain? Of course.

Conflict that results in discovery and deepening and doesn’t diminish your light and life? Yes!

But, staying in continual patterns of suffering to “heal your wounds” is simply another form of self-punishment.

This can be threaded back to unhealthy societal patterns we learned through religion, our parents, instilled “martyr” syndrome, etc.

You might think you’re being super spiritual and strong, but you’re actually buying into the same Type-A, aggressive, overly masculinized culture we were raised in—your ego has just tricked you to think it’s for the sake of “evolution.”

It’s a trap.

You don’t have to suffer to heal your issues.

Unless you believe that you do.

Then, fuck. You definitely do.

P.S. This is something I have to relearn over and over again. Sending you hugs if you’re in it. 💜 Let me know if I can help get you out of it.

Fresh Ideas For a Flourishing Feminine Morning Routine (Update to ENJOY)

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A while back, I’d written about my morning routine called ENJOY; a structured but free-flowing way to start your day with ease and grace—while also remaining on task and not in a space of stagnation.

Many women have reflected to me how much they love ENJOY-ing their way into their day—but, as time has passed and I’ve practiced this more and more, I now have fresh ideas for how to ENJOY.

Continue reading Fresh Ideas For a Flourishing Feminine Morning Routine (Update to ENJOY)

Harness Your Body Wisdom, Part 1: The Four Phases of Your Cycle

harness body wisdom phases menstrual cycle

While attending The Artemis School in 2016 to become a certified women’s sex educator, I learned a lot about how women can deeply tap into our cycles for creativity, nourishment and greater alignment in our entire lives—from work to play, and everything in between.

I want to share this with the ladies (and gents, yo) who don’t know.

First: We don’t just “have our period,” and the rest of the month is a steady “not on our period” time.

We actually have four distinct phases in our menstrual cycle—and they are characterized not only by bleeding/not bleeding, but hormonal shifts, bodily shifts, energy shifts and cervical fluid (to name a few). (Interested in how you can tap into your cycles for greater creativity? Scroll down to download my FREE Moon Cycle Work Flow sheet.)

Continue reading Harness Your Body Wisdom, Part 1: The Four Phases of Your Cycle

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

amy reflection mirror

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

Year in Review: My 7 Most Popular & Beloved Posts of 2015

I love flowing with the energy of people around me.

I love the static charge of Mondays, the crisp walk into the start of September, using both to nudge me into my work day/s.

In May, I follow the energy of play bubbling up, going on solo road trips to festivals before doing 100-Day workout challenges in the summer.

And this time of year—I’ll admit it—I adore the energy of the end-of-the-year transition into the new year.

Resolution-haters be damned, I love reviewing the past year and making intentions in the clean landscape of a blank slate. So, I took a look at Live All of You’s 2015 stats and decided to share with you what I found.

Google Analytics, thank you for helping me figure out my most popular 7 posts!

Here are Live All of You’s Top 7 of 2015:

Continue reading Year in Review: My 7 Most Popular & Beloved Posts of 2015

How Lara Catone Lives All of Her: Revitalizing Sex Education Through Embodiment

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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.

When I first heard of Lara Catone, I was about to head out on a road trip to connect with my gravity-bound self again. I had been traveling by plane way too much, and I’d been feeling a deep need to commune with the earth.

I wanted to root, not route. I wanted to flow, not fly. I wanted to be humbled by gravity, not scanned for metal, put in metal and spit out in a different time zone.

And I wanted to touch in to my divine feminine—my creative force, my inner Shakti, my innate wisdom. And so, I headed to Shakti Fest, a festival that honors the divine feminine.

I spoke with Lara briefly via email beforehand, and I felt very called to attending her workshops at the festival. She defined the divine feminine to me as pleasure incarnate, as a dancer, as holy and irreverent. She is deeply well studied and interested not only in the spiritual aspect of things, but the scientific and historic. These dual aspects of her nature resonated with me.

Having experienced her exquisitely strong, soft, wise nature in workshops multiple times now, I am so happy to introduce you to her in the Live All of You Interview Series.

Lara is a somatic sexologist and sex educator who supports women in healing and coming into wholeness. As the founder of The Artemis School, the first and only educational institution weaving sex education with embodiment and nature-based mystery traditions, Lara believes that our sexual energy is the vital life force behind everything we create.

And… I have an announcement!

Finally, after having this in my heart for months… I’m delighted to share that in 2016, I’ll be attending The Artemis School!

I feel spellbound thinking about this journey toward becoming a sex educator and practitioner of women’s holistic sexuality—and even more so, about connecting more deeply with my self and other women in this context.

And now, I present to you: Lara Catone.

Continue reading How Lara Catone Lives All of Her: Revitalizing Sex Education Through Embodiment