Category Archives: Writing

What Breaks Your Heart Is A Clue To Your Purpose

I love noticing what breaks my heart lately.

What makes me feel deeply and intensely shakes up my inner compass, giving me information that leads me deeper into my sense of purpose.

Today at a café, I watched a little boy tell his mom that he felt sad about an interaction he just had. Her response was to tell him to “toughen up” and that he “needed to get over it” immediately.

He whimpered for another few seconds as she continued to berate him (while also tapping on her phone), then he stood up and said, “Okay. I’m over it.”

He was clearly not over it. He just shoved it down.

Why do we have to tell our kids (our boys?) to toughen up, to suppress, to not feel their feelings?

Now, this is all said with the caveat that I have no idea what was going on with this mom/son dynamic—maybe he does this all the time and the mom is fed-up, maybe there are a thousand other elements to the situation that meant that yes, this was the best response she could have had.

What is important for me to know is the response it stirred in me.

And that is:

I want to live in a world where we don’t suppress our feelings.

I want to live in a world where it’s safe to share, have and feel them deeply, alone and with others—and where we are taught this from a young age.

I believe this leads to true connection with ourselves and others, and ultimately less fear, loneliness and violence in the world.

So: What’s breaking your heart lately? How can it lead you to healing—whether for yourself or for others?

Apprenticing with Grief: Writing Poetry for Healing

A beautiful exercise I’m doing as I move through a period filled with dark nights of the soul is to take an evaluation of the work and creativity I want to bloom into.

While I find it close to impossible to focus on work, I can zero in on themes and topics that I STILL feel passionate about even when everything else is falling away—those are the true gems.

Those are the ideas, businesses and stories that stick with me at both (incredibly valuable) ends of my emotional spectrum: when I’m bubbling over with happiness AND when I’m doubled over with grief.

Those speak to my core values and what is meaningful to me in the world, no matter where I sit, bounce or writhe emotionally.

Do you know what those gems are for you?

One of mine might surprise you.

It’s: Writing poetry.

I’ve written a lot of poetry and poetic prose that I keep private. But now, as I’m feeling into an incredibly raw, vulnerable and alive state in my life, I’m being called to share some poems here.

Here is what Grief called me to write, for and through me:

————————————————————

What am I up to? cannot be answered
on the same planet on which
you asked.

I am becoming intimate
with the fabric and texture of
grief—

from its wild hair to its
tender belly, its raging waters
and swollen fires—

the dance of it in
every part of my body
every part
attracting her own healing

I am up to this,
to flying and floating and
falling in and out of every
hollow carving I made
inside myself

I am exploring them all
and look! I am finding
Selves
humming in the dark.

Why have you been hiding?
I ask them.

They quiver.

You put me here,
they tell me.
Can we come out now?
We have songs for you.

Yes, yes you can.

—Amy Segreti

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

How to Write a Query Letter in 2016 That Gets a Response (Also in 2016)

how to write query letter LAY 2016

The query letter is the gatekeeper of publishing at higher-tier magazines and respected online journals and websites. It’s also the bane of some writers’ existences—because it’s not quite writing, and yet it is.

The query letter is about pitching without sounding sales-y, representing yourself without coming off arrogant, and offering your unique touch and personality—but not too much.

It’s you offering yourself, your ideas and your inspiration up for judgement. And it can be really terrifying.

I’ve coached writers who would rather write thousands of words and spend hours of time researching their article or manuscript than write 200 words to an editor explaining what they’re up to. And sometimes, they never even write the query letter, because they’re too scared of rejection.

Trust me, I’ve been there many times. I’m actually there right now, in that I’d rather write this article to help people than write a query letter for the piece I just spent two weeks traveling around the country researching and immersing myself in. (At least I’m honest.)

In fact, I’ve been on both sides of things. As an editor for everything from quarterly print magazines to websites to weekly newspapers, I’ve deleted or not responded to more pitches than I can count. (Well, someone’s counting, because since I became primarily an independent writer and entrepreneurial journalist, karma has returned the favor with handfuls of un-responded emails.)

Based on more than a decade of experience on both sides of the fence, I’m going to give you a simple formula—but not too formulaic—to write a query letter that gets read and responded to by editors. And by “letter,” I mean “email,” because 2015.

Continue reading How to Write a Query Letter in 2016 That Gets a Response (Also in 2016)

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

sara avant pic

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