Category Archives: Self-Care

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.

Align With the Moon Cycles to Enhance Your Productivity

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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

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

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.

Swing Dance Your Way Out of Shitty… And Then Plan Your Magical 2016

I was feeling really shitty today.

“Do you need solutions or cuddles?” my partner asked me. I mrar-ed and squirmed into his shoulder, but when he went back to his work, I went back to shitty.

Seeing me continuing to mope, he got up again and twirled me around to a swing song.

Round and round I went, and with each turn the smile on my face got wider. Whether it was the vertigo or the thrill of avoiding the scattered objects we’re packing to move him to Colorado in nine days, I’m not sure. But, it pumped invigoration into my heart.

So, I sat down and started to dive in to Susannah Conway’s breathtaking (and free!) Unravelling the Year Ahead: 2016 guide.

It’s beautiful, unique, feminine—and exactly what I need right now.

While I’m still kind of feeling kind of shitty, it’s a hopeful-shitty.

And maybe, I can keep chopping off what makes me feel “itty,” until just the calming, watery sound of shhhhhh is left, to mother me back home to myself.

(Thanks, Susannah. And thank you to my love, infinitely, for all the times you scoop up my heart and fill it with bubbles.)

P.S. Once you’ve gone through Susannah’s (or another person’s) 2016 planning, check out my 28-page Holistic Day Design atlas. It’s an all-year-long packet full of checklists, to-dos, day blueprints and intentional planning tools. Use it once you’ve found your honing words for 2016 and make the year magical.

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