Sunday, December 1, 2013

Self-Care is Not Selfish by Ana Campos


 
Photo by Sarah McMurray

Sometimes things crumble. Other times, they completely shatter in an instant. Last month, I missed my deadline for the She Tribe Project - I was so caught up in a series of personal tragedies that I lost track of time and forgot responsibilities. I had poured my heart and soul into a big project, and it was pulled out from under my feet, suddenly and brutally. I felt exposed, betrayed, and discarded. It seemed insult was repeatedly added to injury as other things kept going wrong. But at the bottom of all the anger and hurt, there was the inkling of relief. I was relieved because the loss of this project, even though it meant the world to me, meant that I got to sever a relationship with an extremely toxic and abusive person. I got to walk away from the responsibility of constantly having to shield a group of people from this abuse. Ultimately, I found myself freed from a situation where I constantly had to place the needs of others above my own needs. 

A couple of years ago, I came across a post on the Etsy blog that really changed how I evaluate priorities: The Oxygen Mask Principle (https://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2011/the-oxygen-mask-principle/). This original post speaks in terms of parenting, and of making sure that you take care of yourself first so you can be a better parent. But this idea easily extends to all interpersonal relationships, whether family, romantic, professional, etc. 

We are taught from a young age that it is not okay to think of yourself first. We are programmed to always be self-deprecating. Our needs are to come last, lest we be thought of as selfish. 

Our accomplishments are to be downplayed, lest we be seen as egotistical and boasting. As adults, we then often find ourselves exhausted, resentful, and confused about these negative feelings. After repeatedly finding myself struggling with these feelings, finding that original article helped me find clarity. I was always taking care of others before taking care of myself, to a fault. I would let both my physical and emotional health deteriorate rather than say no to those around me.

Since then, I’ve made an effort to prioritize my well-being. This has been an ongoing journey, because it’s been accompanied with a constant struggle with guilt. The notion of taking care of others is so ingrained that my first reaction to putting myself first was a rush of guilt. It has taken constant reminders and logical arguments with myself to help shift my mindset. After several months, I started to see the benefits of applying the Oxygen Mask Principle to my life. Being better rested, healthier, and allowing myself time for the things I enjoy, I found myself also being a better partner, friend, teacher.

Earlier this year, I lost track of this personal journey. I got involved in a situation I was very passionate about, and suddenly found myself responsible for the best interest of a group of people. All of a sudden I was working hard to shield these people from the abuse of another, and putting myself in harm’s way in the process. In the moments when I was truly honest with myself, I knew that the best thing for my own well-being was to walk away. But I was so preoccupied with everyone else that I felt unable to put myself first.

The universe ultimately took the choice out of my hands. The situation crumbled, and rather than fight to stay in it, I walked away. While I am speaking in vague terms here, the specifics of the situation don’t matter; the important lesson was the undeniable reminder that I am primarily responsible for my own well-being.

Do you put the needs of others before your own? Are you doing so to your own detriment? I leave you with the challenge to pay closer attention to your needs and making sure that you have room in your life to nurture yourself. Sometimes it’s okay to be selfish.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Dark Months By Charyn Gant


Photo by Sarah McMurray
 During the holiday season, which started with Halloween for many of us, it’s going to be real easy to ignore the needs of our spirit and neglect answering inner messages and prompts. Needless to say, this would be no bueno.

I believe we are more emotionally fragile during the dark months of Fall and Winter than at any other time of the year. We have less light and many people get Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). Less light may also mean less motivation. Because the veil is thin, people are leaving and we are remembering those who have already departed (i.e.: Dia de los Muertos). Unresolved issues bubble up for us to acknowledge, address and transform. The dark months ask us to go within, harvest what we have sown for the year and then visualize next year into creation. Transformation is a must if we want to step into bigger, more bodacious shoes for the coming year. Then there are all the other daily choices, decisions and occasional dramas we have to deal with.

So with all those possibilities swirling around, we’re bound to feel ignored and depleted. Everyone has their own indicators as to when their spirit is low, fragile and in need of care. It is vital for us to pay attention to those indicators so that we tend to our spirits in a timely matter otherwise we may end up sick and dispirited before the holiday season gets into full tilt. It doesn’t take much to listen to your body and what it’s telling you; you just have to stop and listen.

Just recently at work, I started feeling that feeling. I know, so vague. Unfortunately, words are a poor substitute for our emotions and often misrepresent what we really feel. Sometimes descriptive statements are better. My description: I felt like I had been tossed one too many times in a tiny boat and was getting bruised and battered. My body and spirit felt gray and heavy. I was also sensitive and a bit weepy. It would take me another week for me to sort things out. I was bunched and had too much on my plate. I was spinning and discouraged from the feeling of running in place. I had old issues bubbling up to be acknowledged. I could go on but you get the idea.

An “inspired suggestion” came to me that would apparently provide a balm to my overstretched spirit: give myself a foot bath. Eh. Okay. But just thinking of that soothing hot water and lavender had me salivating. And oh yes, it absolutely did the trick. It would have been very easy for me to ignore what my spirit was telling me a just keep plugging along; but I bet you dollars to donuts, I would have paid for it later on.

So it’s time to ask: what care has your spirit been urging you to do that you have yet to pay attention? What are the indicators you receive when your spirit is low and in need of tending? Do you answer or ignore them? There is no such phrase as “I can’t” or “I don’t have time”; the real reason is: “I don’t want to”.

If I had not listened to the call of my own spirit, I would have in fact been telling myself that I’m not important, not worth my own time, not worth my own love. The sad fact is that I do it far too often and I know I’m not alone.

If you have been pulling the same stuff with yourself, it’s really time to change. You are important, worth treating yourself kindly and lovingly. Answering the call of your spirit when you get those indicators IS an act of self-love. It’s time to realize that when we listen and honor the call to care for our spirit FIRST, everything else can fall into place… and we feel good.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

At Home in the World by Erina Patrick


Digital art by Sarah McMurray
Home is more than a residence.  For me, it represents not only hearth but heart as well.  The idea of home has a certain emotional comfort ingrained within the concept.  Hence the phrase, "feel at home" is used to express feeling relaxed and comfortable. I believe that there is also a sense of security and sanctuary associated with "being home."
I keep the physical space in my home free of clutter in order to maintain a Zen-like feeling within. I have added personal and spiritual touches throughout my home: there are pictures of nature, mythic creatures and depictions of several deities grace my walls. I also have three vision boards that I have made. A vision board is a collage with careful intention behind each image word or phrase contained therein. It is designed to help inspire your vision of what you would like to manifest in your life; think law of attraction powered poster. My refrigerator door also doubles as clip board for inspirational quotes, prayers, poetry and a variety of magnets.  I like to consider it organized chaos hinting at mild O.C.D. with random bits compiled in an orderly puzzle like configuration.
In a psychological sense home and family are closely linked in my mind. There is the home I was born into comprised of the members of my family, and the central Oregon County and community I was raised in. The actual house I was raised in is gone now. There is a Welsh word that conveys this bitter sweet loss of a one time home:  Hiraeth.  There is no direct English translation, but it loosely means, “homesickness for a home to which you cannot return.”  Instead of looking back at loss I look forward to what the present has to offer.
It has been almost three years since I set sail for Maui but still feel a close connection to my roots.  I regularly converse with family over the phone and walk the steps of my old stomping grounds in my dreams.  And from time to time, visions of snow swirl in my head as I sleep without so much as a sheet in the Maui heat. I remember my past, but don't dwell on it; as I take steps towards creating the future I desire.  Each step makes my dream clearer and closer at hand as I work to find my niche in the world.
I find that I feel at home whenever my heart is open and I allow myself to let go of trying to control things.  I simply go with the flow of life and immerse myself its endless river.  As a single woman, I have yet to form a family of my own.  However, I find that I am far from alone as I have fostered friendships with many wonderful women and a few great men; one of whom is particularly special to me.  
I believe that love is the truth unveiled and the greatest human achievement. I believe family includes more than just my family of origin.  It’s also the family I find as I make my way through the world; the kindred spirits that I have shared interests and close connections with, my local community and the global community. If indeed "home is where the heart is," how large of a range is your home?  Does it span multiple time zones?  Could you extend the borders to encompass the globe?  Life evolves as should we and love is the way we grow beyond our limitations, love is the motivating effort behind extending ourselves towards others and expanding our understanding of ourselves, the world and our role in it.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

5 Elements of Chinese Medicine By Heather Lindsay


 
Photo by Sarah McMurray

Chinese Medicine is based very much in the natural elements of our World.  This way of looking at life can cross the boundaries into any culture, religion, and way of life because it is what we physically live in - nature. The five elements illustrate the movement of life, all of which we are a part of. These elements - Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water - are represented in each of us. However, one element tends to guide us most. Examples of what each element embodies are seen through color, seasons, movement, aroma, and emotions. Which one resonates most with you?
Wood
            Imagine the springtime - everything is suddenly alive! What stands out to you after a long winter over the barren land? Is it the sudden vibrant burst of blossoming trees and flowers of every color imaginable accented by the emerald green background and sharp smell of new growth? Do new ideas come to mind in how to accomplish your desires and needs? The gifts of this element; clarity, vision, and creativity; give rise to how to move onward and upward with life. How will you frame and design your life’s path?
Fire
            Ahhh Summer... A time for friends gathering together. Or the offerings of summer may be cuddling in the arms of a loved one and giggling about shared memories on the porch as fireflies light up the sultry evening sky. Both scenes bring up the gifts of this element - partnership, passion, and love. Are you aware of how everything is connected? This element reminds us of the relationship of everything that passes through our lives. Do you know this interconnectedness with yourself to the one sitting beside you - and to the world?
Earth
            There are five seasons in Chinese Medicine. Late summer is the additional one. Yet, this season is still quite known to us. Outside it is humid and dense. It is the time of the first harvest. When all that you have been working for bares fruit. The gifts of both Earth and mother are synonymous in that they bring forth and nurture all we have sown to move forward through life. What do your thoughts turn to when you seek sustenance? How can you ripen and then harvest your greatest needs?
Metal
            The crisp, pureness of autumn... A brown leaf crinkling in the wind... Grief in letting go. The breath outward ~ inward to the vast space of self’s’ residence. A time of recognition. The gifts of this element are found in the space created through surrender and release. As you fall into the temple of self ask - “Is there anything I can let go of? Can I learn from the gems that remain?”
Water
            Winter... ssshhhhh... Snow falls silently. The barren landscape conceals the depths below where much waits to happen. Winter’s truth is in not rushing around as we often do but in being still, quiet, and restful. This is the time within. Perhaps much seems unknown and fearful as we wait. The gifts of this element lay in the depths of darkness where knowledge can become known. Here is where we can explore, reflect, and find our true self. This time of peace can you rest in your deep self courageously and find your own inner light to guide you onward - and soon upward into spring?
            This is a way of looking at life through cycles.  It is very healing as you begin to identify with yourself in this deep way. Sometimes just getting outside and taking a walk is the BEST thing you can do, or try turning the t.v. or music off while you wash dishes or do housework so you can listen to the quiet for a few minutes, or maybe call your best friend and have a real heart to heart with them, or maybe just maybe write your story of who you are and where you hope to go would help bring healing answers.  Anything you do differently then you usually do will open a new door to exploring your elements of who you truly are.  You never know what may come tumbling out.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Gratitude Project 2013


"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend." - Melody Beattie

Fall is one of my favorite times of year - the colors, the change in weather, the abundance of gatherings with family and friends; what could be better?

With the seemingly overwhelming struggles and sadness we see everyday on the news, and in the lives around us, sometimes it's easy to take things for granted and forget just how beautiful life still is.

The Gratitude Project launches November 1st and invites us to notice, celebrate and honor the little things in life...we'll take photos of what we are grateful for for 30 days and share them on Facebook and label them "#thegratitudeproject2013."

I can't wait to see your pictures!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

October Updates


Photo by Sarah
We are having one of the most beautiful autumns in Central Oregon this year! Warm 60 degree weather, blue skies and gorgeous colors! October feels like a blur - I got strep throat the end of September that lasted a good 10 days into the month, followed by a week of trying to catch up on things, before getting sick again for about 4 days. Needless to say, October kicked me on my butt which was a great reminder for self-care. There was lots of quiet reading and daydreaming this month...

Even with it being a month of only a few really "productive days" I hung a whimsical art show at Barnes & Noble for the month.



I made it to World Pulse's 10 year anniversary in Portland with my dear friend Padma.


I got to play in the leaves with Christina.

I taught a digital story portraits workshop at The Oregon Art Educators Conference in Sisters which was really fun!

And I was awarded a grant through World MUSE for a photography project I'm launching in 2014!

I just sent off the photos for my next photo exhibit that opens November 1st.

So for the 15 productive days of October around being sick, I'm realized that I actually got quite a bit of great stuff done! Whew!

Sometimes, just realizing that you got the big things done is enough to remind you that you don't have to push yourself to extremes to make some magic. :)

I hope October has been refreshing, creative and filled with soul-care for you too!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Gift of Life by Ana Campos


Life is sometimes amusingly serendipitous. As the season's started to change, with summer fading into fall, my life went through massive shifts. A lot happened in the last month: I turned 30, went apple picking for the first time, started drawing and painting again, and left my job. In my husband's words, I gifted myself a new life. I walked away from a traditional office job to become a full-time creative entrepreneur.

Phrased like this, it sounds like an easy, wonderful transition, but it was sincerely a very long, very difficult process, filled with tears and excruciating decisions. While it may seem like my entire life changed in the span of a month, this is something I first thought of a few years ago, and then spent a year and a half working hard towards.


Photo by Ana

We often hear people telling stories of leaving their day jobs to pursue a passion, of throwing caution to the wind and embracing the risk. They do sometimes speak of the struggles and difficulties of relying on a creative business for an income, but in this online world of Pinterest and carefully filtered blogs, I found myself wondering if some transparency was lacking. There are so many stories of women deciding to leave the workforce to happily sell their crafts while staying home with their children, but I feel like these stories paint an incomplete picture. They often don’t address the financial reality of making this transition.

The truth is I am absolutely broke, counting every dollar I spend, and I couldn't be happier. I left a job with a mediocre but stable paycheck, because it made me absolutely miserable. I did not make the decision to do so lightly, and I did not do it thinking I would make more money (or even match was I making). I chose to pursue my creative business because I reached a point where I could not be happy if I didn't - and that is when the risk became absolutely worth it. But running a full-time handmade business is full of challenges.

Photo by Ana

In a world with Walmart prices, it is difficult to compete with handmade goods. This is a fundamental truth of making a living from a creative enterprise. I went from knowing that I was getting paid for each day I went to work, to anxious wondering if I will make any sales in the coming day. I carefully watch all my expenses, and have made considerable adjustments to my budget. It is undeniably stressful to rely on an income that fluctuates so drastically.

For those of you considering taking a similar step, I offer a few suggestions. Write a business plan. Really, write a business plan. It’s intense and complicated and often feels at odds with the creative flow of what you want to do, but it’s so important to set goals and metrics for yourself. Really get to know your business and set up realistic expectations. If you need help, find the support you need. I signed up for Tara Swiger’s Starship, a support system for creative businesses, to get myself on track. Be honest with yourself through the whole process: about whether you really want to turn your passion into a business, about whether you can be disciplined enough to work for yourself, and about whether you’re willing to take the risk. And most importantly: believe in what you are doing.  








Ana is a pie-loving dream chaser. She owns a small creative business, Toil & Trouble, where she hand-dyes yarn and designs knitwear.  Currently, Ana is embarking on a new journey as a Studio Manager, working to develop a creative hub and empower artists to pursue their craft.  She was born in Brazil and traveled the world before settling in New England with her husband and two cats.' Read more about her on her blog: toiltroublemade.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Home by Charyn Gant


 
Photo by Sarah McMurray

These four simple letters can convey so many emotions. Home, seen in the most ideal light, is the center and the heart of our life. It represents OUR space, OUR sanctuary, the place we (hopefully) feel safe and secure. It is where we entertain, birth and raise families, comfort each other, tend to illness, and dream the future into now. Home is our connection to past, present and future.

However, when we lose the home we knew, there can be a great hole in our heart and spirit. Seven years ago and 2 years before my mom passed away from complications of Alzheimer’s, my sisters and I had to sell the house we had called home for 22 years. When mom was diagnosed, I didn’t realize at the time that it was the beginning of the end since I was the one still there with her, not wanting to leave her alone. Only when I had to move out did the reality hit me in a horribly hard way: the home I had known and the woman who had anchored it was no longer available to me. As with many others who experience this loss in varying ways, the outcome is the same: You can never again go home.

The place we called home, the aura, the scents, the objects, the people, holds a plethora of memories and experiences. Yet there comes the time when we must search, find and make our own homes. Where we consciously create sacred space for our selves and the life we envision in that place; where home becomes the very foundation to gather in celebration, in heartfelt community.

You are the center of your world and when you do not have a home to claim as your own, a deep sadness or depression may exist. Maybe you have a place where you reside but you don’t call it home. Maybe you have a new home but have not yet released the old one. Maybe you live alone and don’t always feel safe.

There is a Goddess I invite you to meet to help you seek and ensure that the place you eventually call home attracts good times, good love, good food and a good life. She came to me to introduce her so here she is!



Photo by Sarah McMurray
Hestia is the Greek Goddess of Home & Hearth. A quiet feminine figure, she tended to stay out of the drama of all the other Greek gods/goddesses, which is why we generally don’t hear about her so much. So if you’re the type of woman who wants a drama-free home, and I hope this goes for all of you, this is definitely the Goddess for you!

By invoking Hestia, she can help you find a home or to set the energy in place for one as it is she who presides over all domestics. She is the essence of community, family, food, cooking, feasts and fire of the hearth. She is a lovely protective Mother Goddess, which is especially helpful if you are a single woman living alone or in a questionable area of safety.

Hestia is a Goddess who chooses honors her heart and happiness by only doing those things that make her happy, a quality that could stand to be embodied deeply by every woman on the planet. If we all did this, we would probably have world peace by the end of the week! Hestia is the embodiment of peace, groundedness and centeredness. All of these qualities will anchor your home in light so that when you walk in the door at the end of the day, you gratefully leave the outside world and its dramas behind!

Ultimately, you are the creatrix and the gatekeeper of the aura in your home, including the energy and people you allow inside!

You have the freedom and right to limit or refuse entry to those whom you deem negative or unsupportive; those people can leave a residue behind that may compromise the loving energy of your home, including family and friends.

Choose every day, to fill your home with love, gratitude, joy and honesty and only those qualities and those who embody them, will enter.



Charyn Gant is the founder of the blog/site When We Listen to Trees: a platform to share information, stories and tolls of how we can improve our quality of life, especially our emotional health as it relates to our physical health. Charyn has been in the alternative healing arena for more than a decade. You can also find her on Pinterest and LinkedIn.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Like Walking on the Beach by Ana Campos


I sat down to write this post many times, and kept drawing a blank. My life is rushing by at warp speed right now. I'm in a huge moment of transition and change, and I'm juggling a LOT of things. This means that my always over-active mind is in over-drive right now and I had a very hard time getting it to quiet down enough to write something cohesive. 

After many false starts, I found myself thinking about my father. He is the slowest walker I know, which used to drive me nuts. No matter where he is walking, no matter how pressed for time he might be, he always walks at a glacial pace. This is where I should note that he doesn't do it because of any physical condition, he does it by choice. 

I am very accustomed to always being in a rush, and I find myself having to revisit my routines when my father visits. The ten minutes I factor in to walk to the train station have to double. The sight-seeing trip I know will take me about an hour will take at least twice as long with him. One day while walking in his neighborhood, I asked him: "Why do you always walk so slowly?" I was feeling irritated at having to slow down my usual pace.

Photo by Ana
He smiled and said, "I always walk as if I'm walking on a beach." He told me that life is always moving too quickly. We are always in a hurry to get where we are going, and don't take the time to enjoy the journey. So he makes a point of making every walk an event of its own. He pretends he is walking long the beaches of his childhood.

Photo by Ana
While I appreciated his perspective, I never internalized it until a few days ago. I was running an errand, and caught myself slowing down to enjoy the sunshine on my face. "Like walking on the beach," I found myself thinking. The lesson I learned is that living in the moment means trying to experience every moment, no matter how seemingly trivial. My goal had been to get to the hardware store, but the shift in perspective allowed the process of getting there to become something enjoyable. I had always thought of the time I spend getting to places as time lost, but now I know it doesn't have to be. Rather than agonizing over that time, I'm going to take more "walks on the beach."

Photo by Ana
(Photos from a trip to Antigua by the author.)




Ana is a pie-loving dream chaser. She owns a small creative business, Toil & Trouble, where she hand-dyes yarn and designs knitwear.  Currently, Ana is embarking on a new journey as a Studio Manager, working to develop a creative hub and empower artists to pursue their craft.  She was born in Brazil and traveled the world before settling in New England with her husband and two cats.' Read more about her on her blog: toiltroublemade.blogspot.com

Letter from the Editor & A Giveaway

Hello loves!

This month has been a crazy one of deep thoughts, transitions and learning. I've been reading about business, entrepreneurship, money and thinking through how I want to show up in the world. Change is on the horizon. As you'll notice, this blog is under transition...I'm playing with new branding for the blog, for my website.

Things are changing. This month in Pixie Campbell's class I was taking, I realized entrepreneurship isn't about working more necessarily, but working smarter - getting clear on what you really want. After coming down with strep throat and spending far too much money on a doctor's appointment for antibiotics after 3 days of toughing it out, I'm finally willing to admit some other things are changing...it's amazing how being in extreme pain can help you get really clear on what you want.

This has been a big decision...I'm letting "The Wild She-Tribe Project" quarterly e-books slide to the back burner until further notice because it's more work than I have time to give right now - but I'm going to revamp this blog into a space women's voices are heard, where community is built and where we become a family. I'm excited about it! The blog is already  a great start to that with the six incredible guest writers we have through January! They are truly a gift!

I'm getting really clear about what I want - community, creativity and a life that lets me do what I love...it's coming! Be a part of it - there will be more opportunities for connection, for you to share your story and to be part of this adventure. Thank you for being a part of it!



As part of building more connections with readers, I'm giving away 6 spots for women to share their website, their blog, their Etsy shop right here on the blog! Winners will get a square spot (see the orange box example on the right side of the page) - a $25 value!

To enter, jump on over to my Facebook page, "like" the page if you haven't already, then share it and tag me! (Example: "Be sure to check our @Sarah McMurray Studios where creativity, pleasure and wanderlust meet!")

Winners will be selected based on sharing my page AND linking it to me so I see it and will enter you in the drawing on October 10th. Your promotion on the blog will last for one month starting October 15th! YAY! Who doesn't love supporting the She-Tribe?! :)

Get Involved:
I'm also looking for guest posts for the blog on abundance and community for the month of October. Learn more about submitting a guest post here.


Thank you so much for being part of this adventure, and I'm excited to share it with you as it unfolds and we create continue to create something truly beautiful together!

XoXo,
Sarah

Monday, September 30, 2013

Yoga: My Roadmap Home by Rosalyn Fay


There I was, standing in a forward bend watching tears drop on my yoga mat below my head and glad they were indistinguishable from the drops of sweat around them. It seemed like I couldn't get through a yoga class without crying. I wasn't sure why but the simple act of doing yoga would bring up waves of pent up emotion.

“Crying is one of the highest devotional songs. One who knows crying, knows spiritual practice. If you can cry with a pure heart, nothing else compares to such a prayer. Crying includes all the principles of Yoga.” ― Kripalvanandji

My decade long marriage was ending and marriage counseling wasn't working. My recent discovery of yoga was a godsend. Yoga became my therapy; a safe place to go inside and feel what was true for me. The truth was I didn't know who I was anymore. I felt I'd passively handed over a decade of my life to a man I had little in common with because I was young and scared and he was older and wiser. I was turning 30 and I wanted my life back. I'd allowed the safety net of our marriage to close around me. All I could think about was getting free. That freedom came in the form of my daily yoga practice. My body and spirit craved it. On days my mind felt lazy, my body picked me up, grabbed my mat and drove me to class.

Just like the cliché, I told my husband that I was leaving to "find myself." I had no idea what that meant or where I was going. All I knew was that my marriage felt dependent on me staying the same woman and wife I'd been, and that was no longer possible.

Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means "union with the divine." During my marriage I had lost touch with my spirit, my divinity. Yoga reunited my body and mind with my spirit and has guided me back home to my soul countless times since the end of my marriage 10 years ago. What on the outside appears like a simple sequence of stretches can become a profound spiritual experience and metaphor for life.  Every time I practice yoga I’m reminded of the truth of who I am. I’m also shown what I'm resisting, trying to muscle and control, and where I can relax, allow more space or surrender to in my body, and in my life.

“Yoga is not a religion. It is a science, science of well-being, science of youthfulness, science of integrating body, mind and soul.” ― Amit Ray

 In a society of shiny objects, instant gratification and comfort seeking, I find it paradoxical that yoga studios are popping up in every town and people are flocking to them, eager to be with their discomfort-- hungry for a reminder of what's real and true.

“Every soul innately yearns for stillness, for a space, a garden where we can till, sow, reap, and rest, and by doing so come to a deeper sense of self and our place in the universe. Silence is not an absence but a presence. Not an emptiness but repletion. A filling up.” ― Anne D. LeClaire

 Although I’ve always been drawn to yoga for the spiritual aspects, there are numerous health benefits worth mentioning. Yoga improves your posture, increases your flexibility, strength, and balance, and lowers your blood pressure, I’ve recently been using it to manage stress, and calm my nervous system and adrenals.

Simply stepping inside a yoga studio feels luxurious and nourishing-- the warm, beautiful open space, the music, the encouraging and inspiring words from the teacher, the time you’ve allocated just for you, away from work and home. There is also a feeling of fellowship knowing everyone else is there for similar reasons-- to go inside, find some inner peace from the outer world and their monkey minds, to give themselves undivided attention, to heal their bodies and find their center again.

“Yoga will always be transformational, even when it stops being cool.” 
― 
Victoria Moran

As I embark on this quest for holistic health, yoga is a constant companion, a dear old friend and integral part of my physical and spiritual well-being. Yoga has gifted me with an aligned body and these questions that serve me daily: Where am I feeling resistance? What outcome am I trying to control or force? What would happen if, rather than avoiding the pain or resisting it, I created more space, surrendered the outcome and accepted the truth of the moment? 

The answers are where you’ll find yourself.


Rosalyn Fay is founder and Producer of True Colors TV, an online inspirational video network for women. For the past four years she has been interviewing women with extraordinary stories of healing themselves and transforming their lives. She brings diverse women together for raw, bold, juicy conversations on her talk show True Talk and hosts powerful live events. Rosalyn grew up on farm in Opportunity, Montana but found her home in the San Francisco Bay Area where she has worked as an alternative radio host and video producer. Visit her website,and twitter

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Home and Change by Heather Lindsay


Photo by Sarah McMurray
Hello everyone!  Here in the Mid Atlantic we are enjoying the most lovely last month of Summer...  chillier then usual evenings are leading to lovely cool mornings.  Autumn is slipping ever so lightly in on the breezes suggesting the time of seasonal transition will soon be with us.  Sitting outside I see leaves already showing the slightest sign of yellowing on our cherry tree’s green canopy and the massive family of “beneath our house siding” grackles have already changed their warm weather plumage to their spotted, feathery, puffiness of the cool seasons ahead.  Crazy early! 

            
Change is inevitable...  always occurring, never ceasing, and often a surprise that can seem terrifying or ever so welcomed.  Who doesn’t know that?!  I know I do! 

            
So how do you handle change?  Many of us dread this “C” word, or stand still to let it pass by.  This is harmful to our soul’s true expression, which becomes bound to a monotonous, stuck life that can lead to supreme unhappiness and fear that we may never truly live our desires.  And then the worse thing happens.. we FORGET our desires in the effort of fighting or ignoring change.  This is death to the Soul. 

            
Yes, all of us surely have experienced some element of this in our own lives or even know people completely bound and gagged within their misery of stagnation. 
 
But there is always a “gift” in the mud.  A gem so to speak... glistening within all depths.  See.. allowing change to move through your life will give you the gift of Home. 
           
Home can be a physical place.  But it will never be anywhere unless Home first resides in you.  Home is where your heart is.  You only  have to be aware that your heart is your Home because in it’s expression (whether happy, sad, stricken, or at peace) is the ever shifting you.  

So you see, riding with the flow of life allows you to embody change.  Changing with life’s opportunities gives you the key to your Home within yourself.  Wouldn’t it be grand to feel at Home in any situation life throws your way?  It’s a practice.  This doesn’t mean life will always be easy, but it will be your true expression (which makes it easier!).  With more practice in allowing change into your life you will learn whether this key will unlock challenge and strife or whether you will glide up the staircase of transformation to your happiest of Homes’ within yourself.

            
I can’t help but think of Dorothy’s ruby slippers carrying her along the yellow brick road on an ever altering, grand adventure after being uprooted and dumped amidst, what at times, was absurdity, fear, and beauty.  It was only in recognizing intelligence, heart, and courage all lied within that she was able to return Home again. 

            
 “There’s no place like Home”.  Each of us are here on our own adventures.  Some awake, some asleep, some offering a hand, yet, all here awaiting the next change to come knocking on the door.  Is your door bolted shut with padlocks?  Is it unlocked?  Or are you slipping on your ruby slippers and swinging the door wide open singing.. “Hello change!  Where are we going today?



Heather lives in a cozy bay side town in Maryland with her boyfriend, Ryan, and their three fur baby kitties - Tigger, Ophelia, & Willow.  Heather's private practice, Natures Of Light Acupuncture, is the fulfillment of her dream to create a healing place for all in need.  She lovingly practices Acupuncture, is an Integrated Energy Therapy® practitioner and teacher, and incorporates the power of flowers into her sessions through the use of Flower Essence Therapy.  You can also find her on Facebook.