Can we please stop using retrogrades as a scapegoat for our discomfort and lack of preparation?
As astrology has become more mainstream over the last few years, there has been growing panic surrounding retrogrades because it seems like it’s a fun thing for media companies to sensationalize for clicks and ad revenue (from my perspective, anyway). Looking at some of the language being used in the last few weeks we see “a reign of retrograde confusion” that’s “coming for your relationships” and so many “survival guides” to get one through.
While astrological retrogrades have had a bad rap for centuries, and they can indeed shake things up, ultimately, we are the ones who are in the driver’s seat for this ride, and it doesn’t need to be a wild one.
What is a retrograde?
A retrograde is when the apparent motion of a planet from the perspective of someone on Earth appears to slow down and even move backwards for a period of time before appearing to move forward again. Here are two of my favorite gifs that show what it would look like if we looked at the same spot in the sky over the course of a few weeks.
As you can see, the apparent motion of Venus and Mars seems to slow down and move backwards.
Astrologically speaking, during this time when the planet appears to be slowing down or moving backwards, the energy of the planet also is said to slow down or be stalled.
This movement was not lost on ancient astronomers and astrologers. Vettius Valens was a Hellenistic astrologer born in 120 AD who wrote “The Anthology” — the longest and most detailed treatise on astrology which has survived from that period (thank you, Wikipedia!).
It is clear from some of his writing that even 2,000 years ago retrogrades were deemed unpleasant:
Even if retrograde energy is here to fuck shit up, we don’t have to let them overtake us. We can accurately predict retrogrades, so much like a hurricane, we can prepare for what is coming. The challenge is that this requires a bit of self-awareness and forethought which is seemingly more of a luxury in this post-capitalist hellscape we call life. The demands of merely surviving in this world don’t often leave everyone with enough time to reflect on the ways we move through and react to it.
Also, retrogrades can affect us in many ways. Most articles about retrogrades are only written based on how they might affect a Sun sign, which is about as much as general audiences know about their birth chart. But the placement of Mercury in one’s chart, as well as house placements come into play, as well. This article was written a couple years ago and does a great job describing the 3 ways to observe a retrograde based on the planets in your own chart. If you don’t have your birth chart, Café Astrology has a great one for free.
If this starts to feel overwhelming, just keep in mind that these are just offerings of different perceptions to observe during a retrograde! Remember: a retrograde is only the perception from our viewpoint, it is not the only source of truth. If we were to view a Venus retrograde looking down on the solar system like in the gif above, we would see Venus continue in her orbit as usual; it would not look like she’s slowing down or moving backwards. So, what we can do for ourselves during these times is seek out new perspectives and ways of thinking about whatever energy the retrograde is supposed to represent. For example, if this Mercury retrograde in Libra was “coming for our relationships,” what perspectives would be best to learn and understand?
Start each retrograde by being curious about at least one aspect and see what you notice!
You could have told me this a few weeks ago…
Both Jupiter and Mercury will go direct in the next few days, Saturn is already direct, so why mention saying any of this now? If I want to prepare, why not say something BEFORE it happens?
I’m glad you asked! This is the perfect time to reflect on what exactly did come up for you. Make some time to journal about the following events and their aspects from this year. You don’t need to through every single one of these, of course. They are just some of the available perspectives to choose from!
This Mercury retrograde in Libra, Sept. 27-Oct. 18, 2021
Think about anything regarding communication, such as how you communicate with others, methods of communication, and so on. Pay extra attention to anything related to your relationships. What went right? What went wrong?
Think about travel and transportation and anything else related.
Think about thinking, mental clarity, and types of thoughts you have been having, again paying extra attention to anything related to relationships.
Think about any physical feelings or ailments that appeared in your brain, nervous and respiratory systems, and thyroid.
If you have any planets in Libra, look up their aspects and home in on those.
If you have any planets in your seventh house, look up those aspects and home in on those.
Look at the sign Mercury is in on your chart and home in on those aspects, too.
Jupiter Retrograde in Pisces, June 20-Oct. 18, 2021
Think about anything regarding growth, healing, prosperity, and fortune that happened in these last few months, especially regarding your emotions, dreams, and creativity.
Think about any physical feelings or ailments that appeared related to your liver, kidneys, ears, and tongue.
If you have any planets in Pisces, look up their aspects and home in on those.
If you have any planets in your twelfth house, look up those aspects.
Look at the sign Jupiter is in on your chart and home in on those aspects, too.
Saturn Retrograde in Aquarius, May 23-Oct. 10, 2021
Think about anything regarding your career, authority figures, stability, and achievements, especially regarding individuality, intellect, compassion, and justice.
Think about any physical feelings or ailments that appeared related to your skin, hair, teeth, and bones.
If you have any planets in Aquarius, look up their aspects and home in on those.
If you have any planets in your eleventh house, look up those aspects.
Look at the sign Saturn is in on your chart and home in on those aspects, too.
The more you pay attention to the different aspects that exist, the more patterns will start to emerge, especially as you do it over time. Then you’ll be able to know exactly which areas of your life you need to pay closer attention to during retrogrades and other astrological events.
Have you ever noticed that some people don’t seem phased by astrological events when others do? These people might be prepared and ready to roll with them, but they might also have aspects in their chart that don’t get shaken up as much at the time. Observing these events and paying attention to the different aspects of your chart can help you learn what you can roll with and what you need to be more prepared for!
The upcoming Venus retrograde
The next planet to go retrograde will be Venus Dec. 19, 2021-Jan. 1, 2022, in Capricorn and will be the perfect time to practice seeking these new perspectives. Here are some things to observe during this time:
Anything regarding beauty, love, unification, and harmony, especially regarding the areas of work, stability, and responsibility. What might benefit from some extra care and attention?
Anything regarding your reproductive system, lower back, throat, or circulatory system. Take extra care of yourself during this time if you have any conditions related to these areas.
If you have any planets in Capricorn, look up their aspects and see what might benefit from some extra care and attention.
If you have any planets in your tenth house, look up those aspects.
Look at the sign Venus is in on your chart and home in on those aspects, too.
Being aware of the energies and possibilities at play will help give ourselves more a sense of control as we navigate our days and help us learn even more about the way we work and what makes us tick. Knowing how different energies affect us will also allow us to prepare for ones that are heavier or take advantage of the ones that can propel us further than we’d be able to go on our own.
If you enjoy exercises like this, check out my workbook for 2022! It will include prompts for each Full and New Moon to help you explore your psyche and get to know yourself better. You can find more at BookOfMyShadows.com
Hi there, loves! I’m Kristin and in 2020 I created a business in Kansas City, Missouri called Unravel Your Life. I create & take opportunities that allow me to help people de-clutter their homes & minds, making more space for them to stretch out their arms & be themselves. I do Akashic Record & Tarot readings, and I’m learning Reiki & energy healing. It’s glorious & I’m grateful because my life is rad. I let the Universe guide me on what to do next. I listen, I move forward, one step at a time, with Spirit by my side, receiving messages for myself and for my clients. I feel connected & fulfilled for the first time in my life.
Sounds beautiful & fun & easy breezy, doesn’t it!? Like I just woke up one day and became a magical mystical spiritual goddess. Like I just stepped into energy work & oops, discovered I could hear messages from Spirit for myself and others. Teehee, the fairies made me do it!
NOPE. HARD NOPE. NOOOOOOPE.
It’s been hard af.
I didn’t step into this life, into energy work, gracefully & with poise. It wasn’t an angelic ascension or a miracle enlightenment. It wasn’t perfection incarnate. It wasn’t love & light & laughter. It was so. very. human. And spoiler alert…being a human is gross. And heartbreaking. And messy. And smelly. And imperfect. And hairy. And overwhelming. And it hurts. A lot.
But for me, it was the only way through.
Shiny On The Outside
Because for decades, I had tried everything else. I was a rule follower & I listened to what society told me to do: “Stop crying. Study up. Climb the ladder. Buckle down. Hustle. Work hard. Keep moving. Buy more! Eat this. Lose weight. Improve yourself. Move on. Try harder.” Guess what? It didn’t work. I had a great career. I had a great life. I had everything they said would give me happiness. But I felt unfulfilled, burned out. And the world around me was still a mess.
Now don’t get me wrong, if you saw me, you’d never know that I wasn’t happy. On the outside, I usually looked shiny & excited, and I always looked put together & accomplished & productive. That’s the persona I built my entire life. I was independent & studious & a go-getter. But inside, I was scared a lot. I needed to control all the things to keep the anxiety at bay. I was always moving, always planning, always thinking ahead. Running so fast that time (life) would just fly by me. I kept my mind either racing with distractions or numbed out with alcohol. Never just still. Never just present. Never just fully here. I pushed down anything that was scary or sad or dark or unpleasant or uncomfortable to feel, and leaned hard into safety, security, comfort, control.
In some ways it felt like living a double life. Super fine & dandy on the outside. “All good here! Livin’ the dream! Keepin’ busy!” And then under the surface I often felt…broken. A mess. Like I needed fixing because I did all the things & still wasn’t happy. Still wasn’t satisfied with myself and my life. Still didn’t know what I wanted. Still didn’t feel like I had a purpose. I felt far away from myself & had no idea who I was or wanted to be.
And all that stuff I suppressed, pushed down, ignored, denied? It had nowhere to go. It stayed inside of me because I wouldn’t let it out. It bubbled & boiled & lingered. And so every so often, always in the dark, always in private, I would break down & shatter into a thousand pieces. All the darkness I ignored would spill out & through me, I couldn’t control it any longer. Panic, paralyzation, disorientation. In those moments when I let it all loose, I felt completely batshit crazy. Like I was nuts for feeling so ‘fine’ most of the time (life is good! I have all the things!) and then for being completely blindsided again and again by this deep, dark horrible realization that living as I was, with high functioning anxiety & indecision & fear & control, wasn’t really how I wanted to live.
It was like waking up for a brief moment after being asleep for a really long time. It was like glimpsing reality for a brief moment after living in denial for decades. It was like realizing that I had been floating along, letting the current of busy life just sweep me away, getting farther and farther and farther away from myself. It felt fucking awful. It felt like I was so broken inside, so unfixable, that maybe I should just stop tryin’.
This happened over and over throughout my life, when I least expected it, when I thought everything was good & under control. Until I reached a point in 2016, hyperventilating (again) on the floor of my closet, after 6 MONTHS of debilitating indecision & anxiety over an impending break up, where I just couldn’t do it anymore. This cycle of living in the land of make believe and crashing into reality, over and over. 30 years of curation. 30 years of seeking perfection. 30 years of trying to control everything. I was tired. I was done. I wouldn’t put myself through that again.
Healing From The Inside
So in that moment, I made a vow to stop pretending. To start dealing with my shit instead of burying it inside of me. It was the only thing left I hadn’t tried. The only thing I had always been too scared to do. Facing myself. Turning inwards, instead of out there, to “find myself.” At the age of 31, I stopped pretending that I was “fine” & started wading through the muck of my life. Childhood experiences that made me build super strong armor around my heart & hide who I really was. Beliefs I had about life that were hurting me, not helping me. All the rules & the ‘shoulds’ I had accumulated over decades. For me personally, a big one was feeling all the things I never let myself feel when I was 13 and my mom died. At her funeral, I smiled & played with my cousins & was “totally fine, thanks bye!.” I never grieved. I never processed.
I unearthed everything within me that I had been pretending wasn’t there. I stepped into myself. And it was horrifying stuff. It’s dark in there, in the corners of yourself you’ve never dared to look. I got a therapist. I started digging & exploring within myself. Anything that came up, instead of suppressing it & running in the other direction, I faced it. Wrote about it. Talked about it. Shared about it. Read about it. Cried about it. Laughed about it. Raged about it. I let anything that needed to surface, surface. And I faced it. And it sucked.
But I also realized that it’s everything I came here to do. I’m here to LIVE, not float through life. I’m here to THRIVE, not settle for some mediocre existence. I’m here to be a messy human, not a perfect robot. I’m here to learn & grow & expand. And now I have enough room inside me to do that. Those things that I suppressed actually took up real estate inside of me. They blocked my life force from flowing. They kept ‘me’ hidden & small, when all I’ve ever really wanted is to be seen & valued & loved. They kept my mind spinning. For decades I hemorrhaged my personal power & energy trying to keep them quiet & hidden & secret.
“Finding myself” was not a process of adding new experiences, new skills, new jobs, new knowledge on top of myself. The accumulation actually made it even harder for me to see myself within all that junk. “Finding myself” was a process of removal. Digging deep. Exploring. Rooting around & removing all the junk that others had given to me. Expectations, shoulds, beliefs, stories, lies, inherited traumas from my family & ancestors….stuff that wasn’t really mine. And when I unraveled that mess inside myself, when I made space, all that was left was…me.
And what’s extra wild is that when the noise & clutter were gone, and I could hear myself clearly for the first damn time, I didn’t feel alone & small in a deep dark cave of nothingness. I felt…connected for the first time in my life to something bigger than me.
Where I used to spend so much of my energy curating and improving and perfecting myself, and caring what other people thought of me, and maintaining my image, now my power is free for me to use. The energy has always been there. The connection has always been there. The power has always been there. But I was always too busy racing through life to notice.
Maybe like me, you were told to leave your troubles behind & climb to the highest heights to find happiness. Those stairs lead nowhere. Trust me, I climbed pretty damn high. You are strong enough to feel all the things & to face all of you. Stop climbing. Turn around. And start stepping down into yourself. It will be gross, and heartbreaking, and messy, and smelly, and imperfect, and hairy, and overwhelming, and hard af, and it will hurt. A lot. But for me, it was the only way through.
Kristin Nelson (she/hers) lives in Kansas City, Missouri but keeps little pieces of her heart all over the world in the places she’s lived & loved. In 2019, burnt out by a 12-year fundraising career, she quit to fulfill a dream of leading biking tours in Europe with Backroads. That terrifying leap of faith changed everything, and in 2020 she started working for herself & created Unravel Your Life, LLC. A highly sensitive person (HSP) herself, Kristin understands overwhelm all too well & helps people move through clutter & the daunting home organization projects they dread. She also receives messages for clients from Spirit via the Akashic Records & Tarot, which makes her magic-seeking inner child insanely happy. In her Aquarian, Projector heart of hearts, Kristin really wants to use her privilege & power as a white, cisgendered woman to dismantle the racist & sexist systems running our world & to create a new paradigm of leadership that makes everyone feel like they are truly seen, “gotten”, and treasured.
One of the lessons I am learning since my breast cancer diagnosis back in early March, and through my current chemotherapy treatments, is the value & necessity of deep introspection. It has been a time that has forced my overly active performance based perfectionist ass to SIT. DOWN. Rest. Face my Shit. Dive Deep, and then go deeper still, excavating layers and layers of hurt and suffering and fear, and offering those precious pains of the past on the altar of Love.
It’s in these spaces of intentional, ultra-focused awareness when I experience some of the treasures that I coveted & previously sought out in all the wrong ways; treasures like Peace, Calm, Contentment, Healing, Strength, Resilience, Love, and Joy.
Such are the treasures that I had tried to find through partying, hookups, addictions, religions, escapism, numbing, avoidance, deflection, discipline, overworking, and high-vibe-only mindset bullshit. All of these were just more ways to punish myself for my perceived failures.
I am doing much less coaching these days in favor of offering my tarot-based Spiritual Clarity Readings, which is work that feels so much more nourishing to me instead of draining. I have made enough space in my practice to allow for serving fewer clients, in order to say Yes to my own need for physical and emotional healing. I have built extra time between clients so that I am serving within my capacity, not beyond it. Even this simple step is the result of some deep digging, and was arrived at by picking apart some residual bits of guilt/shame.
I know that I have come a long way and I celebrate this. I’m grateful for the healing that has taken place, for the goodness that has come forward. I know that the Love, Joy, Calm, Peace, Strength, Resilience, and Contentment that I feel now is beautiful, and that there is still more of it all to welcome in. So I will sit down, and meditate, and learn new things, and unearth more of me to be Loved. This is Healing. This is Transformational/Positivity.
Whew! Well Loves, this has been an interesting month, hey?
We’re entering the New Moon phase, which is all about rest, introspection, and new beginnings. It has me wondering:
•What does Rest look like for you right now?
•What have you been learning about yourself in the past month?
•What new beginnings are you preparing for?
I’ll start: REST for me has been very much about allowing my body to recover from the first round of chemo. It’s looked like saying “No” or “Not Now” to everything that I can, instead of my usual recovering Type A habit of pushing myself through to the point of collapse. (Hello, that’s not healthy in any circumstance!)
INTROSPECTION has been teaching me some pretty cool things about myself. Qualities like resilience, courage, strength, joyfullness, creativity, and wisdom that I have tended to overlook or diminish for fear of “what people might think” because let’s be honest- being judged sucks, and… it’s going to happen anyway so you might as well be true to yourself.
NEW BEGINNINGS well hot damn, as corny and cheesy as it may sound every day really is a gift. I am grateful for each new day that I wake up alive in this body, and- I still sometimes have to remind myself this throughout the day. Today, for example, if things had gone to plan I would be in Australia for the start of an epic, around-the-world honeymoon with my gorgeous husband. Instead, I am writing from our dining room table for a change of scenery. It’s not quite the same! 😂 And, it’s still pretty fucking great.
Okay, your turn! Tell me what’s what in your world today. I miss you.
What would it look like for you to take your relationship with your body to the next level?
What if I told you that you could love the body that you live in, exactly as it is? YES- without losing/gaining weight, changing your hair, or altering your external image in any way. Imagine what it would feel like to stop being angry at it, disappointed in it, embarrassed by it, afraid of it, or ashamed of it.
I am not going to pretend that this is an easy, 2-step process or that I have a magic potion that will instantly take you from Loathe to Love. You won’t be hearing from me that you have go through some hard-ass Boot Camp to break yourself down first in order to build yourself back up. I am also not going to bullshit you with the claim that “all” you have to do is change your mindset (HELLO, changing your mindset is not like switching a light on or off!) We are much more complex than that and our stories require us to move forward with nuance and care. But I will tell you the truth that it absolutely IS possible and that you CAN learn to truly Love the body that you live in.
It’s also true that you will still experience some highs and some lows; you will still have moments when you slip back into old ways of thinking before you catch yourself and get your booty back on your positive path. I sure do, anyway, and I’ve been practicing Whole-Self Love for more than a decade! It is a life’s work that is well worth every ounce of energy that you put into it, every tear, every journal entry, every layer of pain/drama/lies/ peeled away.
Knowing that… Would you be willing to trade embarrassed for empowered?
Could you dare to swap disappointed in for devoted to?
Can you see the possibility for you and your body to have a positive relationship with each other?
Hallmarks of a Loving Relationship With Your Body
Any strong relationship will have some hallmarks that make it stand apart from more casual acquaintances. It’s no different for cultivating a loving connection with your body. Here are 5 key areas to consider:
Awareness & Clarity
Awareness & Clarity
Who do you think you are? Awareness & Clarity points to having an honest, true understanding of who you are, what your body is, and how the two of you are going to move through the rest of your life together. One of my favorite tools for this is what I call the Look Deeper Mirror Experiment. This means having the courage to really see yourself as a Divine, sovereign, intelligent being, and your body as both a unique entity and as the temporary housing and vehicle through which you are experiencing life as a Person. To do this, Strip down to your bare-naked self and face yourself in the mirror. Start with your eyes; look into them- really get in deep! You may be tempted to look away, but don’t. What do you feel? Nervous, scared, sad, surprised? Don’t pull away from the feelings, notice them, acknowledge them, follow them. They are clues to Who you are, Where you need healing, and What your body most wants from you. Next, notice everything that you like about your physical body. Send some love, appreciation and kind words from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. When/If you start going down that tired old path of self-criticism and the list of bits and parts you wish looked different, STOP. Remind yourself then and there that you are on a new path now, and that you are learning how to Love yourself. Your WHOLE self.
If you want to experience the positive transformation and deep healing that comes from a Whole-Self Love practice, I recommend having a loving conversation with yourself every day, and a kind word for yourself every time you see yourself in the mirror. At the very least, how about no more actively hating the person looking back at you? That’s a good place to start!
Commitment is about making the choice to stay, stick with, and work at something. It’s having the quality of dedication, and it shows up in people who are trustworthy, loyal, honorable. Making a commitment to care for yourself and to love yourself, doesn’t mean that you are being narcissistic or selfish. Far from it. In fact, by committing to love yourself and the body that you live in helps to develop your autonomy and your ability to care for and love the people around you more authentically and with healthy boundaries.
Another favorite tool is writing a Love Letter to Your Body. If you’ve never tried this, you may be surprised by how powerful this can be! You can write it in any way that suits you, whether it’s a narrative or a list or a stream of consciousness or a sonnet. You don’t have be an eloquent writer and you don’t have to show it to anybody; it’s really just another way to reveal and encounter more of your truest self. For an example of one I wrote a while back, click here.
Developing a self-love practice takes some time. It takes some thoughtfulness and intention, and it takes a commitment. It takes some courage to break free from the negative scripts and internal dialogue, and to rebel against the culture of body shaming. But every bit of effort that you put into it is precious and creates a more positive relationship and connection to your true Self, which in turn leads to a more satisfying and happy life.
Having good communication is one of the most important components of any successful relationship, so now that you’ve taken steps towards Awareness, Clarity, and Commitment it stands to reason that having good Communication with your body is key to cultivating this positive relationship. Where are you at with this? How well do you pay attention to your body signals, and what do you do with them? For example:
FOOD– Do you eat when you’re hungry? Do you know which foods are most nourishing and supportive to your body, and which ones to avoid because they are causing you pain? Do you find food & eating in general to be tricky and triggering? This is a HUGE area of challenge for so many of us. Over the years I have worked with dieticians, nutritionists, health coaches, WW, etc and have had varying degrees of success. None of them have helped me to change my unhealthy relationship with food until I began Noom. For me, it was the exact kind of support that I had been missing. I have an affiliate link that will get you 20% off if when you sign up for their program: Click Here
SLEEP– Do you let yourself rest whenever you’re feeling tired? Do you give yourself enough sleep each day? When your head hits the pillow, does your brain fight with your exhausted body, or do you drift off into a blissful slumber? I have always been a vivid dreamer (good and bad) and since childhood have been able to remember them upon waking. For years, particularly after surviving some major traumatic events in my early 20’s I suffered from nightmares, night terrors, and insomnia. It wasn’t until I finally began to address the underlying stresses and traumas I was carrying (hello, therapy!) that I could return to giving my body good sleep on a regular basis. Now, whenever I have some unresolved issues that keep me up at night, I know how to handle them.
PAIN– How do you respond to pain in your body? Do you ignore it, numb it, push through it? Do you get mad at it, or get angry at your body? I recently shared through my Facebook group, Transformational Positivity, about a breakthrough regarding my response to injuring my back: “Whoooo am I working on this one for sure! I mysteriously injured my upper back yesterday morning and my first response was anything but loving. I was Mad! 😡 I was SO angry at it. 🤬 It actually shocked me how much rage I felt towards the pain in my body. So what did I do after the unhelpful yelling? • Slow, mindful, deep breaths • Concentrated on relaxing the seized muscle • Verrrrrrry gentle stretching • Let [my fiance] help me • Heating pad • Cold cloth • REST • Lots of water, juice • Advil • Recognize that being mad at my body was not a loving or helpful response to it being in need, but was instead abusive and a very old pattern that I am working to replace with kindness & support.”
These are just 3 of many areas where it’s valuable to be in good communication with your body. Essentially, what you want to do to cultivate better communication for a more loving relationship with the body you live in is to listen to your body and actively meet its needs. Understand that our bodies are designed to change throughout our entire life. Pay attention to when your body’s needs change, and adapt your care routine accordingly.
Having a strong Support System is vital to the health of your new, positive relationship with your body. After all, up until now you’ve likely been firmly ensconced within the destructive, oppressive body-shaming culture that is fueled by the diet industry, fashion industry, cosmetics industry, the social media & entertainment industries, pharmaceutical companies, Westernized religion and the patriarchal, puritanical system that rules it all. Having the audacity to radically love yourself is to effectively stick your middle fingers straight up at it all. That kind of courage requires that you have people in your corner who get it, who understand and can hold space for you to learn, process, and grow in your healthy, positive relationship to your Self and your body.
You need to have people in your life who support you as a person, people you can turn to when you need advice and guidance as well as when you want to celebrate. Ideally, you want to have people like this who you can connect with in person as well as through phone, text, email, or even public & private social media groups. I would love to be part of your support team, whether through my 1:1 Soul-Mirroring Sessions, Spiritual Clarity Readings, or as part of my free Facebook group. If you’re not already on my mailing list, join today and get a free gift as well as a Weekly Positivity Boost from me, straight to your inbox.
The last area I want to look at is that special not-so-secret ingredient that makes successful relationships stand out above all the rest: FUN! It’s the same with your relationship with your body.
FUN can look like anything from adrenaline-pumping sports and high-energy physical activities to quiet meditative walks in Nature or relaxing on a sunny beach. It can be found through artistic expression, creativity, dance, making music, writing poetry or enjoying your favorite shows. FUN can be sexual intimacy with your partner or a private, solo exploration of what feels great and turns you on. FUN can be hanging out with a few good friends, playing with your kids or grandchildren, walking your dog or watching funny cat videos. This is obviously not an exhaustive list- the point is that FUN is something that every human desires and deserves to experience. Also, it’s good to note that what may sound like a great time for me might be either too wild or too tame for you, and that’s perfect. You do You, Boo.
You could go through your life being miserable and not having any fun whatsoever, but why do that when you have a world of opportunities to explore?
Like Before Love
If you’ve read all the way through and feel as though Self-Love is still a little too far away for you, but you are willing to try something– start with a Like List. A “Like List” is a list of all the things that you like about yourself. It should include as many positive attributes about yourself that you can possibly come up with in each of these 4 categories- physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. The Like List is something that you can add to at any time, or make a new one anytime you want to.
If you find that you don’t know where to start, ask your best friends to help you. ONLY ask the people who you trust and who have proven themselves to be kind, not critical! You may be very pleasantly surprised at the good things that others can so easily see in you. With a little practice, you can begin to start seeing, appreciating, liking and even loving these qualities that all help to make you You.
What are some of the first things you do when you come home to rest at the end of a long, stressful day? Do you kick off your shoes, drop off all the things in your hands like your keys, the mail, purse/handbag/briefcase, your phone, an old coffee cup, a bag or two of take-out food and/or groceries and make a beeline to the toilet? (Okay, I admit that I am most definitely taking my phone in with me to watch TikTok or Instagram Stories while I’m *taking a seat* to pee.) Maybe you also hop into the shower or draw yourself a bath and just let the warm, soothing water do its magic.
And WOW- how great does it feel to finally shed those work clothes [read: BRA] and slip into something soft, cozy and comfy?
All of these actions are signals to & from your body that it’s time to take things down a notch. To relax. To quite literally release the excess that you’ve been carrying.
Releasing Creates Space for Positivity & Healing
On the path to Whole-Self Love, one of the most important skills we can develop is the art of releasing our negative attachments.Hurt People, hurt people. This can become some of the most powerful work that we do for ourselves, as it frees us from some of the deeply held pain of our experiences of being human. As we release and heal, we shed our old patterns of negativity and create more beautiful new ways of being in the world, which is what is often referred to as the “Higher Self” or the best versions of ourselves.
Releasing our baggage aka negative attachments is not an easy-peasy, one-and-done flip of the switch; it’s more complex and nuanced and layered. It’s an evolutionary process that requires us to actively face and address the things that we may have spent our whole lifetime trying to avoid, hide from, or cover up. AND… it is through this process of enlightenment where we heal ourselves, and in turn help to ease and end the suffering of others by not perpetuating harm. It may or may not involve forgiveness, it may or may not involve therapy, but it will definitely involve support.
So what are some of the things that we may want to work on releasing? What are some of the negative attachments that we may be needing to face? Whatever you choose to release, will create space for something else to fill it so it’s important that you take a mindful approach moving forward.
There are many different ways that negativity shows up in our day-to-day, and it’s not necessarily all bad. Sometimes finding yourself in a “bad mood” is just an indicator that your body needs more rest, or something nourishing to eat. Sometimes it’s connected to a family member or loved one who is experiencing struggles. Maybe there’s an important or difficult conversation that you need to have with someone, or perhaps a personal boundary has been crossed. Shitty things happen, and we are not immune to them- it’s when it goes unchecked that negativity can develop into something much more serious and require the help of trained professionals. This can look like:
Negative self-talk, scripts of our unworthiness, a shame spiral
Patterns of self-sabotaging behaviors, unhealthy personal relationships, cycles of abuse or neglect
The good news is that no matter where you may be on your Whole-Self Love journey, you can begin to make progress, you can begin healing, you can begin releasing whatever is not serving your higher self today. There are resources available to you, and if you’re not sure what they are or where to look, schedule a free call with me and let’s get you started in the right direction. If it’s something that I can help with, I will, and if it’s something that is beyond my scope (such as clinical diagnosis), I will refer you to one of my many expert colleagues or point you towards additional resources. Even one tiny step creates space in your life for more positivity, and every tiny step forward is evidence of your positive transformation that you can build on. Let your one tiny step towards Whole-Self Love be the act of learning the art of release.
The 1st Pillar of Transformational Positivity is Whole-Self Love. It’s the beginning of your personal revolution, a shift in positivity that leads to your most empowered, on-going transformation. Why?
• Because it invites us to daily disrupt our old patterns of negative self-talk and allows us to begin seeing who and what we really are in our wholeness. We develop a loving & supportive way of relating to ourselves that is personally healing and breaks the cycles of negativity.
• Because it allows us to question and rebel against the negative messages that have been sent to us about our bodies from the industries that benefit from making us feel like shit. We discover & create inspiring new communities of radical acceptance that feel like a celebration and a homecoming.
• Because it requires us to push back against and break the oppressive systems designed to keep us small & muzzled. We begin to take back the control that we didn’t even realize we were giving away, and create a powerful new paradigm of true equality as sentient, autonomous beings.
Some things I must acknowledge
Changing behavior is uncomfortable. Changing paradigms is uncomfortable. Facing our inner sh*t is triggering as f*ck. It’s often a bit messy and clunky and awkward and imperfect, until it isn’t, and we find ourselves finally moving forward little by little by little.
I think it’s important to acknowledge that doing the personal work of Transformational Positivity has some common factors that almost everyone will relate to, and there will also be very specific factors that are going to be unique to the individual. Especially within the 1st Pillar of Whole-Self Love,we will each come to the work with our own biases and lived experiences in tow. Some things to consider:
Am I a member of the dominant culture? Do I hold certain privileges based on that? My self-love practice and self-care rituals will look differently than someone who has been systemically marginalized because of their race, gender, economics, etc.
Did I grow up experiencing a supportive family structure? Did I experience any forms of abuse as a child? My self-love practice and self-care rituals will look differently than someone who has also had to overcome a difficult upbringing and/or adverse childhood experiences.
Am I able-bodied? Am I generally in good health? My self-love practice and self-care rituals will look differently than someone who also has to navigate within our ableist culture. My self-love practice and self-care rituals will look differently than someone who must also manage a physical health crisis and/or mental health issues.
Before I steer too far out of my lane, let me be clear in saying that there is room for ANYONE and EVERYONE to do this beautiful and empowering work of Whole-Self Love. For some of us, we will need to do some deeper healing (yes please). We may need to work with a qualified therapist to help us get past our old patterns of recreating pain (I have and I do).
The point of looking at these considerations is NOT to create more shame. It is to acknowledge that each one of us has a story that is beautiful (even the ugly bits), powerful (even in our failings), and worthy of love.
The Pervasiveness of Body Shaming
Like 9/10 people reading this, I have experienced body shaming and I have struggled with my self image. For me, it started pretty early on in childhood at school- by kids and by teachers- and then again in church, and later on in my intimate relationships and even in my professional life- especially when I was working as an exotic dancer and a model, but even when I was working in corporate office jobs and non-profit organizations my body was somehow offensive.
There is a common language of shaming and degrading that seems to be inescapable. It’s a destructive narrative continuously amplified by the media: Too Much, while at the exact same time, Not Enough. To which, I call Bullshit. Among the many damning comments I’ve received for simply existing:“Too Fat. Too Skinny. Too White. Too Freckled. Too Old. Too Young. Too Curvy. Too Narrow. Too Wrinkly. Too Bumpy. Too Slow. Too Fast. Too Slutty. Too Frumpy. Too Loud. Too Quiet. Too Opinionated. Too Bitchy,”…and on and on and on. If it’s a crappy thing to say to a person, I’ve had it said to me, and I must admit that at different times on this journey I’ve said it to or about someone else. If the comments weren’t directed at me, then they were directed at or behind the back of someone else. When I wasn’t personally reeling from hearing the poisonous words, I was either feeding them back to myself or flinging them carelessly at someone else. Ugh.
It’s no wonder that we struggle with basic self-care skills, let alone the practice of Whole-Self Love. But that’s why it’s so important to me that we have the awareness, that we have the knowledge, and that we have the tools to experience our life in these crazy-amazing human bodies as the whole, complete, brilliant beings that we truly are. Whole-Self Love teaches us how to tap into a level of Positivity that can truly transform our old stories of pain into masterpieces of healing love.
TRANSFORMATIONAL POSITIVITY is a set of healing tools and positive practices used to form a framework for manifesting, experiencing, and supporting our Deep, Personal Transformation within these 4 key areas: Self, Community, Nature, and Spirit. Each of these 4 key areas is supported by it’s own pillar.
The 4 Pillars- in a nutshell
The 4 Pillars of Transformational Positivity represent the most important relationships of our human existence, with each one relating to and supporting one of the 4 key areas. The 4 key areas are Connection to Self, Connection to Community, Connection to Nature, and Connection to Divine Spirit.
The First Pillar: WHOLE-SELF LOVE
[Key Area = Connection to Self]Who are you? How do you see yourself? How do you talk to and about yourself? What makes you YOU? Do you like yourself? Do you love yourself? How well do you take care of yourself? How do you relate to the body you live in? Do you know, understand, realize, accept, see, believe in who and what you really are at the core of your being?
Most of us get so tripped up in this first key area that we waste years, decades, lifetimes focusing the majority of our energy, attention, and hard-earned cash only on our physical appearance while neglecting to gain an intimate understanding, appreciation, and genuine Love for who we are inside, aka The Real Us. And/Or, we have to unpack so many layers of bad programming and painful lived experiences that the idea of “Self Love” seems like a bridge too far.
This is one of the first areas where many people meet me. Typically, they are looking for some Positivity tools & training to supplement the deeper healing work they are already doing with their therapist.
How Can I Help?
I’m not a therapist, or a psychologist, or a psychiatrist so I am not qualified to diagnose or treat any medical, mental, or emotional health issues. What I can do for my clients is provide additional support, spiritual guidance, and teach positive practices help assist in strengthening your relationship to Self.
[Key Area = Connection to Community]Which communities do you most identify with? What are some of the various roles you have played or are currently playing in your different communities? What do you need in order to feel like you are seen, heard, and a valued part of your community? How are you contributing? How are you receiving? Where are you serving with the most Joy?
“Community” includes all of the other humans we interact with outside of ourselves. Some of these relationships are knit closer to us than others- family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, colleagues. While other relationship threads are going to be much thinner and stretched over a greater distance, it is important to recognize that in the most basic sense we are all connected in some way.
If we can understand that the First Pillar is about Who We Are, then we can recognize that the Second Pillar is about Why We Are Here.
Whenever clients come to me looking for guidance in this area, it’s typically because they are struggling to find meaningful ways to connect in their communities. Their “Why” isn’t showing up in ways that feel in alignment with who they are and how they are seen by the people in their communities. They feel unfulfilled because their is no reciprocal Joy that they are experiencing.
How Do I Help?
I help my clients to look for opportunities that they may be missing. I guide them through shifts in their mindset to see a new perspective. We work on actions that they can take to create new, more positive connections in their various communities.
[Key Area = Connection to Nature]How do you most like to connect with Nature? Which of these natural settings makes you feel the most energized, relaxed, peaceful, or awestruck: Ocean, Mountains, Forest, Desert, Prairie? When was the last time you spent the night stargazing? Are you an animal lover? Tree hugger? Aspiring gardener? Rock-hound and crystal wearer? Where is your nearest green space, and how often do you visit?
The modern era that we live in with its many conveniences and high-level technology has in many ways caused us to dramatically disconnect from the natural world. On a global scale, the push for more more more shows that we have all but abandoned our stewardship of the earth and instead are continuing to consume her vast and varied resources at an unsustainable rate, wreaking havoc on ecosystems, pushing fragile and necessary plants and animals to extinction. Life does not simply begin and end with us; we are part of something much more and we all share a responsibility for the health of our planet.
When my clients are seeking help in this area, it’s typically because they have lost touch with ways to unplug from the daily grind.
[Key Area = Connecting with Spirit]What does your current connection to divinity look like? How does spirituality play out in your daily life? Where do you experience the Divine? Are you able to separate religion and doctrine from spiritual practices? If you could SEE your own Spirit, your life-force, your essence- how would you describe it? What does she/he/they look like? Do you know the guides and energies on your spiritual support team, your Spirit Council?
After all, we are so much more than just our physical flesh and blood, more than what we can see and touch;we are magnificent spiritual beings having a human experience. We ARE each an expression of divinity! This is especially powerful when you consider the positive characteristics that are commonly ascribed to the Divine:
This is probably the most “woo woo” area that people find me to begin work together, and I FREAKING LOVE IT. This isn’t about rules and religion; this is about exploring the ultimate in healing energy. Connecting with Spirit allows us to have a deeper understanding of the divine traits within ourselves, so that we can embody and express them in our human experience.
We get to do this today, in this lifetime- not just in some faraway afterlife. Whether it is connecting with and sharing messages from your Spirit Council during a Spiritual Clarity Reading, or helping you to create more positive connections with the divinity within and around you, this is some of my favorite work of all.
How Do I Help?
I support your exploration of sacred and spiritual practices, and help you to develop your own intuition. I help my clients to differentiate the freedom of spirituality from religion.
Positivity improves our connections to self, to community, to nature, and to spirit. When any of these connections are weak, damaged, or removed we experience collapse in the relationship. Therefore, it is vital to the health of our relationship to each of these 4 key areas that we do the work of examining where we are at, where we want to be, and what if anything needs to change.
For some of us, it means doing some deeper work of healing old wounds, rewriting our old narratives, and learning how to do Life in a whole new way- or even just a slightly different, more empowered, satisfyingly positive way. One thing is for sure- we won’t be engaging in any toxic positivity. No spiritual bypassing. And definitely no gaslighting.
Wherever you may be on your journey, whatever level of awakening you are in, you can find guidance and support from me that will help you to cultivate Positivity in any or all of these 4 key areas of connection.
How To Get Started
Soul-Mirroring Session & 4 Pillars Assessment
The way we begin our Transformational Positivity work together is through a Soul-Mirroring Session. This is a 1:1, deep-look together in which we talk about where you are, what you want, and where you want to go.
I have an incredible gift of being able to truly see YOU, and will share what I see from a spiritual energy perspective. We will do a 4 Pillars Assessment and create a plan for ways that you can begin to cultivate & integrate Transformational Positivity in the area(s) of your choosing.
During the month of December, my birth month, I set out to share one positive social media account each day. The goal was to introduce some of the people & organizations who have inspired me this year; 31 folx & groups who are examples of Transformational Positivity in action. I invite you to check out the work they’re doing to make the world a better place. I’ve included links to their websites, just for your convenience (I do not receive any commission).
I know this time of year can be stressful and emotional and sometimes tricky, but I also absolutely love the energy of POSSIBILITY. Standing now on the edge of a new month, a new year, and a new decade with all the hopes & promises that holds, it feels important to share supportive, inspirational resources- even ones as simple yet powerful as social media accounts. I hope that this is as inspiring to you, as it has been to me. I Love You & I am so grateful for you all.
#1- Together Rising is a non-profit organization that I have been following and supporting for a couple of years now. They are bold and courageous and non-discriminatory about who they offer tangible help to, anywhere in the world. Fierce advocates & activists, year-round givers & connectors, they embody LOVE AS A VERB as humanitarians and what it can look like to create & care for the global COMMUNITY.
“HOLIDAY HANDS UPDATE! YOU DID IT!!! Today, through our Holiday Hands program, you met the needs of 550 families in less than 2 hours. You are unbelievable. We at Together Rising are overwhelmed, filled up, exhausted, and mostly – grateful. Grateful for the courage of the askers and grateful for the character of the givers. Grateful that we are able to create the world we live in. Grateful that today, you showed up and created a more beautiful world.
Isn’t it wild? We spend so much time looking at the world with our hearts broken – wishing it were different. Wishing people cared for each other. Wishing people would be kinder, live bigger, think beyond themselves. And then one day we find ourselves jumping in and MAKING IT SO. These 550 families will go to bed tonight in a kinder, bigger, smaller, better world. THANK YOU!”
I want to introduce you to the amazingly powerful, deeply healing work of Tanya Markul aka @thugunicorn Over the past 2 years, her words have reached layers of my hidden (and not so hidden) pain with the precision of a surgeon and the love of a healing goddess. Her collection of poetry, The She Book, is my bible, and I had the great privilege of her as a guest on my Transformational Positivity Summit this year.
“I used to absolutely dread this time of year. The holidays would drop me off at the door of an intense emotional blackhole. I’d visit aunts and cousins for Thanksgiving, but I’d never stay for more than a couple of hours.
I was the odd girl out with a pocket full of worthlessness.
On the other side of the family, I’d meet my mom at my grandma’s for an hour, then I’d head back to school (she couldn’t stay either). I was alone. I’d stuff my tear-stained cheeks with Taco Bell in my car on the 3.5-hour drive back to campus.
During the holidays, I’d take every waitressing shift possible, and I’d return to my quiet apartment every night. I didn’t like living alone at all. I was scared and full of fear. (No one knew how lonely I was.) The holidays were hard. I have forever wanted intimacy, hugs, and conversation.
So now, and forever, there will always be a part of me that grieves this time of year, even though it’s different now, and I feel for all who are lonely and don’t have nurturing company this time of year.
So I want to reach out.
Today I’ll light a candle and it will be for anyone who wishes to have more warmth and company in their lives—for those who are calling in community, family, intimacy, and conversation into their lives. Join me if you’d like.
Blessed be. And so it is.
If you’re feeling it now and it’s tough this year, you are welcome to write to me. I’ll hold your message in a sacred space and I won’t share it. I may not get to write back, but I want you to know that every message I receive will be read and I’ll say a prayer for you.
To peace in all human hearts and to peace to all “
I am thrilled to get to introduce you to another remarkable woman. Tracy Neely is a healer who has overcome significant challenges in her life. Losing part of her jaw led to her finding her true voice, one that speaks incredible Strength, Clarity, Courage and Love. She’s not afraid of the dark anymore because she has faced it head on, unblinking, with a gentle determination and disarmed it.
I had the immense privilege of meeting Tracy as a guest on my Transformational Positivity Summit earlier this year. She is such an inspiration!
“To only welcome the light side of me is doing a dis-service to the mystery that lives in the dark. I welcome it all!”
I want to share the good work of @imperfectfoods (formerly known as Imperfect Produce). I have been a huge fan of their work and their mission to reduce food waste, support local farmers & growers, and help provide fresh, nutritious foods at greatly reduced cost to people with low income. I’ve watched as their network has grown and expanded across the US this past year, and feel good about supporting their work with each box of food we purchase.
I remember the times when I was too poor to afford enough food for my son and myself, let alone provide decent, healthy foods and fresh produce. I remember what it felt like to go to bed hungry and wake up hungry, sacrificing my own meals so that at least my kid could eat. I would have LOVED to have had something like this available at the time! The truth is that far too many people are going hungry, while far too much good food is going to absolute waste. I love that Imperfect Foods is doing SOMETHING to make a difference!
“We pride ourselves on reducing waste, but equally important to us is making nutritious food more affordable and accessible to everyone. One way that we invest in this part of our mission is through our Reduced Cost Box program. Anyone who qualifies for SNAP benefits can get a reduced cost box from us that amounts to getting groceries for 50% less than grocery store prices. We’ve delivered over 295,000 reduced cost boxes to date and are so excited to continue to grow this program. Your support is why we can invest in making nourishing food more affordable and accessible for everyone. Thank you!”
I love the passion & dedication of the brave young climate activist, Greta Thunberg. Her voice in the conversation regarding climate change is undeniably powerful, and her grace under immense pressure is the sort of thing that makes my heart stand up in awe. To hear her speak to heads of nations with crystal clarity & such conviction is magnificent, and to watch her live hr life with such high integrity is inspiring.
The fact that Greta is a person who is not neuro-typical is equally important, and draws attention to the sad truth that many people like her are far too often ignored, discounted, abused, bullied and targeted for being different, for speaking up, for existing. I find myself often heartbroken when I read some of the hateful comments directed towards her; people being the absolute worst. It reminds me of how cruelly my own sweet, non neuro-typical brother was often treated in public school and from neighborhood bullies when we were kids. Y’all, I got in lots of fist fights defending him. 👊🏻 #noregrets
We simply MUST do better. For the health of our planet, and for our very humanity.
“School strike week 68. They say more than 500,000 people showed up tonight in Madrid!”
Andrea Ranae is a gifted coach and facilitator of fostering positive change. I had the immense privilege of meeting Andrea and learning from her/them at an intensive retreat designed to increase my leadership capacity. She/they absolutely blew my ENTIRE mind. Trust this: their work is not for the faint of heart. It’s Deep AF. She/they have one of the most powerful presences I have ever encountered, and wisdom well beyond their earthly years. If you let them teach you, if you let yourself be opened up to their inquiry, they will reveal a space in you where your deepest Truth resides, and she will show you how to allow yourself to be at once broken apart by the terror of it and held together within the pure Love of it.
“1- Responsibility isn’t about blame, obligation, fault, duty or burden. It’s about being able to respond. 2- Questions that are more vital than “am I doing enough for the world?”: Are you doing what you want to do? Are you doing what you’re here to do? Are you tending to your needs? Are you using what you have available to you to create the life and world you want? 3- It’s not your job to carry the burdens of the world on your shoulders. But it is your response-ability to show up for the issues of our time with your unique gifts, skills and perspective.”
OMG, the Love I feel for Elephants! Did you know that these majestic creatures are sentient beings with complex family structures run by strong females? 🐘
Another strong and inspiring woman is Sangduen “Lek” Chailert, the founder of Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She has been rescuing elephants from abusive captivity and giving them a life of love & freedom on her sanctuary. Read more by following the work of @elephantnaturepark and learn the rescue stories of these beautiful animals. I can hardly wait to visit this amazing sanctuary during my honeymoon!
“Our big girls really enjoy drinking the water from a garden hose. Look how much fun they’re having.”
From surviving cancer to creating non-sappy greeting cards to healing a whole lot of folx with her wisdom, people like Emily McDowell (@emilyonlife) are brilliant beings whose work teaches me, informs me, challenges me and lights me up.
“Personal growth! It sounds so fun! Who doesn’t love growth? TURNS OUT the process of growth is actually not that fun and in fact, often feels like: pain, confusion, failure, loneliness. It’s hard as hell to identify and dismantle all your defense mechanisms and habitual thinking and basically everything you believe has kept you safe for your entire life. It involves doing a whole lot of stuff you don’t want to do (which is the point, because what we think we want is often the thing keeping us stuck in a place of suffering). But! Eventually you start to feel the growth. You notice you’re triggered less. Your inner critic shuts up every once in a while. You make different choices. Your relationship with yourself begins to shift. That’s the good part. Keep going.”
The work James-Olivia of @inquisitive_human does is to help with understanding, cultivating, and living within Right Relationship. With Self. With Others. With the world we live in. Dig in, Loves, it’s juicy work.
“Every relationship you have is a relationship *you are in* …unless you aren’t. How do you diminish, hide, or avoid yourself to manage someone else? What would you rather do instead?
In Right Relationship, there is room for you.
The past week’s theme seems to have been how we try to manage other people’s perceptions, judgments, actions, feelings, accusations, opinions, emotional states, behaviors, and responses by making ourselves slowly (or quickly) disappear from our most important conversations and relationships.
What if you showed up as the real you—all of you—and trusted yourself to safely navigate the consequences of your authenticity?”
I cannot say enough about the beautiful, utterly transformative work of Tanya Geisler. She is a wonderful coach, to be sure, and so much more. When she is holding space for you while you are working through your own Imposter Complex issues, you are held in such grace, power, reverence, and deep caring. You are truly Seen. You are allowed to BE exactly, wholly, completely, YOU. And it is simply magical.
“I’m always amazed when a new client apologizes for being emotional in a session. Worrying about what I’ll think. It’s an epidemic – worrying about how we’ll react to each other. . People… I’m a professional. . THIS is what I do. This is what ALL coaches do. All that deep-listening and ideation and strategy and compassion are God-given gifts that I nurture and tend to. No doubt. SELF-MANAGEMENT is the skill I paid tens of thousands of dollars for and spent thousands of hours mastering. . So bring it. Bring the mess. Bring the tears. Bring what you think is a shit show. . I’ve got it all. I’ve got you. That’s my job. That’s ALL coaches’ jobs. . We’ll find your way forward. Because we are going to need your voice, at top level. We’re going to need your arms, your heart, your soul and all that you have got if we’re going to turn this thing around. . With only love and zero judgment.”
I know that I am not the only person who dreads conversations centered around food/exercise/health/bodies. When I began following accounts like @theunderbellyyoga it was such a relief to see all bodies normalized! As a queer, black, plus-sized yogi, Jessamyn Stanley’s work is so empowering and life-affirming for so many folx around the world. Soooo much Love for them.
“Stop assuming someone’s health based on the way their body looks 👏🏻👏🏽👏🏾👏🏿💯💯 #everybodyyoga” 🎨: @handsomegirldesigns
I am so happy to share my friend Chef Jeff with you! We met on a plane leaving Orange County for the East Coast sometime last year while we were both flying solo. He was just about to launch his own cooking channel and I was just about to launch my public speaking career. We became fast friends and I promised that I would look forward to being able to share his passion for cooking & wine pairing. Well hooray, that day has come! I hope you will check out all of his videos and try out some of his yummy recipes! I love how REAL he is. His tutorials feel like I have the nicest private chef teaching me how to make amazing meals. And, since he also has his own vineyard, he knows his stuff when it comes to great wines.
Cristina Mittermeir (“Mitty”) is an incredible photographer and activist whose images have been featured on National Geographic, Sea Legacy, and in fine art collections. Her work is both life-affirming & heartbreaking, all in one breath. She reminds me of the awesome beauty, power, and fragility of Nature and our place in it.
“When I set out to be a photographer, before the internet and social media, I simply wanted to share my experiences. Now, in the digital age that mission remains the same. The main goal of my work is to build a greater awareness of the responsibility of what it means to be human. The beauty of our planet is endless and knows no bounds. On every expedition something new takes my breath away and fills my heart with hope. My fine art is a culmination of my favorite emotions and experiences, and I am overwhelmed by the support and warm response you have shown it. As a thank you, I am gifting my book Amaze, as a special gift, with any fine art purchase in the month of December. For more information on my fine art work, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org”
This year I also became a big fan of Canadian digital artist Lindsay (Linzy) Kokoska, aka Infinite Mantra. I feel like I am stepping into another realm when I look at her artwork. It’s so mysterious and ethereal and makes my heart flutter. I love it! In fact, I love it so much that she and I are collaborating to embark on a special project: a gorgeous new Oracle card deck! YAY! If you’d like to know more about our project as it develops and be one of the first to own one of our decks, be sure to sign up for my Positivity mailing list.
I am happy to share the work of Yung Pueblo whose book “Inward” is a wonderful exploration of the journey of healing. Written with a very Zen-like perspective, I often find his words to be comforting in their simplicity and powerful in their precision.
“Moving forward with awareness. Sending love to all beings. May we all be happy and free.” -yung pueblo
I started following Stacy Nai’s work with Anapo Energy a couple of years ago and first connected with her over one of her gorgeous Reiki-infused malas. It’s still one of my favorite pieces of jewelry to wear. Later, I invited her to share her story on my Transformational Positivity summit earlier this year. So powerful! Now, she’s emerging as a healer and I’m here for it.
“So many times I get asked by Clients what their Purpose is. Actually every time. Every single Soul desires to know its Purpose. To feel something Bigger. To feel Connected. I’m here to tell you, I too was longing for this same feeling of Fulfillment. And that I have found it. But where might surprise you. It might shock you and you may dismiss it’s simplicity. And that is why it eludes you thus far. Because we’ve been led to believe it’s a Destination or somewhere outside of ourselves. A job or passion. Even a life of Goodwill. Yes it can be all of them. It can also be so much more. It is You. You are your Purpose.
Whatever that means for you, we can explore the nuances together. There is nothing bigger than You. Coming into yourself and the Truest You is the Key. The TRUEST YOU. Whatever your Truth is. That’s your Purpose. Occasionally we are disappointed by this Truth in a Session, for a brief human moment. Then it Arrives. The feeling of Peace, Calm, Release, Relief and Home. You are home. And then Know you can make Whatever you Want with it. Make it mean whatever, experience whatever, be whatever. So if you desire a life of Goodwill, be that. If you desire a life of Service, be that. If you desire a life of Exploration, be that. On and on. Be that. You can DO anything. As long as it is You doing it. And For You. Get it?! The True you and not what someone else wants or forces onto you. What lies in your heart and aches to be Lived. That’s your Purpose. Following You. This is how you Save the world and find your Purpose. Coming into YOU. “ -Stacy Nai
It should be no surprise that I have so many brilliant artists who inspire and influence me; so much of the world is in chaos and pain, and seeing & feeling it (deeply) every day can become overwhelming, debilitating. We must also be able to see what is Good if we hope to move together towards it. By sharing the beautiful art of some of my favorites, I feel an honor of helping to usher in some measure of healing along the way. For myself, this means to include the incredible Beauty found in Nature. Photographer Altug Galip, better known to his millions of Instagram followers as Kyrenian, captures to most stunning images around the world. Pure Beauty.
I adore the artwork of Lisa Congdon for all of its quirkiness, vibrancy, and honesty. Whether I am oohing and ahhing over one of her color family collages, or gently touched by a truthful sentiment like the one pictured here, I can always count on a moment of gratitude whenever her work comes across my feed.
“This time of the year can feel hard. Take care of yourself.” -Lisa Congdon
The next spotlight for my #hellodecember series is the AMAZING body-positive (actually, Body Neutrality) work being done by @i_weigh & @jameelajamilofficial
Jameela Jamil has created a space where a community in i_weigh that is springing up that is overflowing with positivity, confidence, acceptance, inclusion, and empowerment. It’s so inspiring and it lights me up every day. 💖🦋 #theblessingsbutterfly
“Amazing 👏🏼 Your weight does not define your value ✨. | Art by Manchester based artist @ferncooke #iweigh#bodylove
Please meet my friend Montine Rummel, the lovely, witchy soul behind Book of My Shadows (who is actually quite a brilliant, beautiful Light). I had the honor of meeting Montine earlier this year at an intense exploration of self & service in the South of France. She graciously gifted all of us with a copy of her Book of My Shadows, which is filled with astrological insights and self-healing wisdom practices. It’s magic, y’all!
This share is extra special. I want to introduce you to my soul sister, goddess, shero, mentor, chosen friend, business bestie and dearest cousin. Nicole Lewis-Keeber is Alchemy in action. Her work of healing and guiding folx through their shadows caused by trauma (and for us entrepreneurs, how that also shows up in our business) is nothing short of transcendence. She’s a no bullshit, “call a thing a thing” leader and incredibly gentle & loving at the same time. I love her so dearly. She’s changed my life for the best.
“This week in my Love Your Business School TM program we have been talking about the importance of values. We have gotten it down to 3 Values that we have that can be the anchor for our business. The discussion has been so rich and I know that this is such a hard exercise to do but they are really digging deep and getting clear. My 3 Values are Authenticity, Freedom, Consent. How about you? What values direct your business?”
Subscribing to Being Boss was probably one of the smartest, most-boss moves I ever made in getting my grown-up entrepreneurial feet wet. Following the work of Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon, the co-founders of the wildly popular podcast and co-authors of the book Being Boss led me to finding the confidence, skills, structure and community that a creative soul like mine desperately needed, all while giving me the permission to be exactly who I came here to be. Even watching their partnership and the business brand change, evolve, and weather some serious burnout this past year has been tremendously positive, and helpful in watching what it can look like to let go gracefully.
Emily Thompson of Being Boss is also the queen behind one of my favorite candle and crystal shops, Almanac Supply Co. I love how she has found the perfect way to support her passions of curating rocks & crystals, hand pouring amazing candles, and finding harmony with Nature by living more seasonally.
“To truly#embracetheseasons, you have to live a practice of work and rest. And since Winter is here, the season of rest, we’re settling down for a long Winter’s nap. What does that mean? We’re taking an Instagram break. You can still shop our website. We’ll still be around slinging candles and crystals. But we’re going to go quiet, until the quickenings of Spring emerge.” #livewithnature
One of my very favorite Instagram accounts to follow is Elizabeth Gilbert’s. She has been inspiring me with her work since Eat, Pray, Love (as she certainly did for millions of us) and I love how she continues to be curious, open, loving, honest, beautiful and bright. Thank you, Liz. Merry Everything.
“Here’s a simple holiday prayer that I made for everybody this morning, offering COMFORT (to those who are suffering) and JOY (to those who are celebrating.) However you are doing out there today, I love you all so much. ❤️LG”
One of my favorite uplifting feeds to follow is from the brilliant young creative light that is Donte Colley. It has been amazing to watch his star rise this year! His simple, effective combination of energetic dance moves overlayed with positive affirmations, hilariously empowering messages, and emojis has created an ongoing series of viral videos that spread hope & joy.
My next share is from @wildwomansisterhoodofficial and @taraisisgerris whose posts have helped me over the year to release some of my fears of being seen in my truest Nature: a wild, untamable and beautiful essence of Truth & Powerful Energy.
Over the years, I have resisted identifying with any of the goddess archetypes for fear that people would judge me, dislike me, avoid me, disown me… but honestly, some people are going to do those things anyway and the truth is that’s their shit, not mine. So this year I really began to look into WHO and WHAT really makes me, Me. She’s a beautiful weirdo, a badass, a goddess of love & abundance, and a keeper of wisdom, Magic, healing and mystery. I cannot wait to reveal more and more.
“Christmas is a state of mind. It’s not about the food or the presents. It’s about creating a loving and warm atmosphere. To cherish Peace and Goodwill. That’s the spirit of Christmas. – Tara Isis Gerris
Hopefully you had a Christmas that blessed your Heart♥️” WILD WOMAN SISTERHOOD Embody Your Wild Nature
I love the work of Tara Isis Gerris. Her teachings have been so beautiful to read this year as I have allowed more and more of my own unfolding, and my own deepening into the power of Transformational Positivity. You know I love a positivity ritual! 🙏💖🦋
NEW YEAR’S EVE RITUAL “I use to feel some kind of void on New Year’s Day. A shallow hollow feeling. I never quite felt that sense of new beginnings. I did not really feel the blank clean sense of a fresh and brand new start the way I wanted to.
But then, a few years ago when I was pregnant of my youngest son, I started ringing in the New Year with Ceremony and Ritual.
If you are open for and feel drawn to create your own simple Ritual to consciously wave the passing year farewell and intentionally welcome the New Year ahead, here is a personal guide for you.
1. LIGHT A CANDLE The flames of a candle unites us with our inner Sacredness. It symbolizes the power of light that burns so bright it drives out any form of darkness, even the most dark dusty corners. It takes only a moment to light a candle. Take all the time you need, your loving intention is what matters.
2. SAY FAREWELL AND EXPRESS YOUR GRATITUDE TO THE PASSING YEAR You can write a love letter to yourself and the passing year analyzing every single precious shift and gift this year brought you.
3. WELCOME THE NEW YEAR AHEAD You can keep it short and simple as opening your heart and arms or dive in the Ocean to experience a fresh vitalizing boost for body and mind or you can put your loving energy and focus into creating a New Year’s moodboard or writing a list of wishes and intentions for the New Year while building a ceremonial fire🔥 and dancing naked under the moonlight! Just let anything you do be motivated by one guiding question: “What would make my Soul dance?” The passing year and the New Year require nothing from you. They are here to support you and allow you to find whatever you need to find. They are your teachers and your guides, opportunities and time to evolve as a human being.” -Tara Isis Gerris
I absolutely adore all of the #fabfive stars of @queereye and the individual good work they each are doing. The irresistible and ultra-fabulous Jonathan Van Ness has a phenomenal podcast called GettingCurious with JVN and it’s brilliant. UGH. i die to see him live and in person on tour.
“As #2019 comes to a close, here at #GettingCurious we thank you all for tuning in, listening and staying curious! Special thanks to all the incredible guests and experts who joined. To #2020 and feeding all of @jvn ‘s curiosity!”
Few shows this year have had as much of a positive impact on me as the reboot of Queer Eye. The “Fab Five” offer SO MUCH MORE now than a physical makeover as they offer truly inspirational, transformative experiences that span culture, self-care, mindset, And yes, some great fashion & grooming advice too. Do yourself an enormous favor and binge-watch for a fully therapeutic ugly-cry.
I have to share the awesomeness that is The Sparkle Hour. This is the personal development podcast that my dear cousin Nicole Lewis-Keeber and I created and hosted for 3 years, in which we shared 10 seasons of amazing content, found our voices like never before, and interviewed some of the most life-changing badass womxn from all over the world.
“We have so Loved our time with y’all! Catch up on all of our episodes and get all of our free Sparkle School™️ materials by visiting our website.” -Michelle & Nicole
#31- Blonde Lady and Bald Guy
I’m getting MARRIED! My sweet husband-to-be and I created an Instagram account @blondeladyandbaldguy so that we can share the amazing AROUND THE WORLD trip we are taking for our Honeymoon. AS IF my life couldn’t be more amazing, suddenly, it is. Practicing Transformational Positivity has changed my entire life.
OKAY, that’s my 31! I hope that you have enjoyed this comprehensive list of some of my favorite social media accounts! If you haven’t yet joined my Positivity email list, I invite you to do it today and step into 2020 with me! I am excited to support you moving forward with Clarity and Confidence.
Transformational Positivity has taught me that I am not about The Hustle. I am not on this planet to constantly be grinding away at meaningless tasks of my own making (or anyone else’s).
I’ve learned how to get everything done that I need to, with ease, and even a fair amount of joy, by tuning into the rhythms of nature & managing my energy accordingly.
On this final day before the New Moon phase, I am mindful of gathering up & tending to any loose ends, making note of what can be handled now, and what can wait. Not trying to add more to my plate, or begin new projects- just finishing what I can of what I started this month in preparation to fully release August and relax into the next cycle. With Ease, and Joy. It’s like next-level Self Care.
If you are starting to feel energetically scrambled, I invite you to resist the external push for MORE MORE MORE and do some gentle reprioritizing of your own. You’ll find the things that truly matter most. 💖🦋
Need some help sorting through your to-do list, or separating yourself from everyone else’s demands on you? Schedule a Spiritual Clarity Reading or a Soul-Mirroring Session with me!
#theblessingsbutterfly #transformationalpositivity #spiritualclarity #soulmirroring #empowermentcoach #moonphases #selfcare #naturalrythms #endofaugust