September 12, 2016

one musing on soul nourishment...

The (no-charge) challenge/program I'm currently hosting (through my Subtle Harmony site), 15 For Me, started last Thursday. And I am nourished, humbled, honored, and joy-filled to be on this 15-day journey with the more than 40 people who signed up. We have a small facebook group and a small number sharing on instagram (both are optional, not requirements for participating in the program) and I'm daily blown away by the way they are caring for their self and their soul.

I'm doing the challenge too, right along with them. I often have to re-read the day's email to remember the prompts and suggestions I gave for that day, but doing the prompts/suggestions aren't requirements either...  because the main thing is showing up for yourself, daily, for at least 15 minutes a day during the 15 days until the Equinox, and doing what you need for self care and soul nourishment. And sometimes that goes along with the daily prompts, and sometimes it doesn't, and either way it's all okay.

So... some days, I do one of the prompts/suggestions I've sent out in that day's email. Other days I choose something different for my self-care, soul-nourishment needs.

But I've been doing something caring and nourishing, taking time for myself, each day.

And sometimes I've been sharing my thoughts with this journey. Today is one of those times. The below is what I wrote, paired with the photo shown above:

For me, part of soul nourishment is noticing and appreciating what I already have. And that's not always easy for me. Sometimes I can get too caught up in wishing things were different and wanting something else (something "better"). I can get too caught up in the hard-money-stuff and wishing I was heathy enough for a "normal" job, and comparing what I see with others' lives, and focusing on the house repairs and worn furniture and non-working oven, and wanting to live in a town where I felt at home and had a tribe... Instead of focusing on what I DO have - right here, right now - that gives me what I'm seeking.

And then there are afternoons like this. When I consciously and intentionally focus on the good. The slow-cooked-chicken leftovers in the fridge, waiting for us for supper. The folding of the laundry while I listen to a recording and our kitty-girl naps on a pillow, in a room that feels like me in spite of the worn carpet and the windowframes that need to be replaced. The forgetting for a while about financial issues while I read and relax, sun shining into rooms and a fan helping the a/c on this hot feels-like-summer day... and then doing more of what sings to me: painting a bit, writing more prompts about self-care for people who opened themselves to give their email addresses to me, and writing fiction about a summer in 1984 and the healing of a family.

Soul nourishment.

Remembering, realizing again, I have what I'm looking for, if I'll accept what is in this moment instead of wishing for "other." It is enough. Some things are still scary - but there's beauty and joy in the mix too.

And grace. I am open-armed inviting in and accepting the grace.

September 6, 2016

what self care REALLY is...

A while back - maybe earlier this year, maybe before that - I started to notice is that there seems to be some confusion about what self care really is.

Self care includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health.

It's as simple as that, which means it doesn't have to be complicated or expensive, and it doesn't have to look a certain way.

(The paragraph above that's in bold is a definition I came across in a pdf put out by the Student Affairs department at the University of Kentucky.)

Self-care will vary from person to person - and for any one person, it will be different at different times.

Self care can mean being mindful of your diet, getting some exercise, getting enough sleep. It can be going to a meet-up on a favorite topic or spending time at a church service.
It can be cuddling with a special person or pet, listening to music, taking a long hot shower, relaxing in a candle-lit room, dancing for a few minutes in your kitchen, going to a spa, painting your nails, getting your hands dirty in the soil.
It can be sitting on a beach, or under a tree, or on the floor of your bedroom as you read a book or color a mandala.

The list is endless. It can be any or all of those things - and so much more.

And some things for self care involve money...
But there are so many self-care practices and activities that do not.

Self-care is caring for YOU. It's doing something that tends to you and what you need (on any/all levels - physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually).

And there's no shame involved in caring for and tending to yourself.

No one can give from an empty well, no one can run on fumes, no one can be a constant light without burning out.

Self care doesn't have to be hard.

It doesn't have to be luxurious.

It doesn't have to take loads of time.

Self care can be as simple as pausing throughout your day, relaxing your shoulders, and taking a few breaths.

Self care is anything that involves "any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health."

That's what self care really is.

July 7, 2016

you are not 'too' anything...

For many people (and I'm including myself in this category), there's been some hard stuff going on lately.

With hard stuff - and good stuff too, actually - there can come big feelings, lots of emotion, some expressing-out or drawing-in.

Sometimes, when this happens, others might call you too sensitive.

Or too emotional.

Or too dramatic.


But know this:

It is okay to feel what you feel and be who you are.

Let me say that again...

It is okay to feel what you feel and be who you are.

You are not 'too' anything - even if some people might try to tell you otherwise.

And part of self-care, part of loving and caring for you, is honoring your feelings and your expressions and your truth and your edges.

(disclaimer: photo is an affiliate link)

May 26, 2016

if you have restless creativity...

Sometimes I just want to create.
I might have an inner itch to write some fiction. Or it might be a nudge to pick up a paintbrush. Or to pull out some crystals and beads and craft something, anything...
But I feel stalled.
Not stalled in the sense of feeling inertia.
It feels more like I'm restless.

My creativity feels restless.

The creativity is there (sometimes so close it's just right-there) but I can't seem to settle down, I can't decide which project to work on, I can't focus.

And then it's as though I pace restlessly.

This pacing isn't literally pacing a room, but it's mental pacing.

My thoughts jump around as I wonder what creative project to do, or I distract myself online or on Netflix, or I tackle the laundry.

Does this ever happen to you?

This creative restless can actually be part of the creative process.

There are times, of course, when the restless feeling itself can become a way to distract yourself from creating. And there are times when the restless feeling is the signal that it's time to stop mentally (or otherwise) pacing and get to work.
Being aware of exactly what the restlessness means - and when it might signal a shift needs to take place - is important... and the awareness comes the more you look at and understand your own process.

So how do you know the difference? And what can you do when you're experiencing restless creativity?

Here are a few things to try...

Do an internal check-in with yourself. Is the restlessness really procrastination in disguise? Or is it part of your creative process that, in the big picture, moves you closer to creating what's wanting to be birthed? Is there something that honestly needs to get taken care of (scheduling an appointment, dealing with a problematic situation, etc.) before you get to work on a creative project?

Get grounded. Take some time to ground yourself and ground your energy. Close your eyes and just breathe quietly for a few minutes. Go outside and touch the earth. Hold one or two grounding crystals (black tourmaline, smokey quartz, red jasper, garnet, and snowflake obsidian are a few). Ground and center your energy so that you feel less restless in general. And then see where your creative energy leads you.

Ask your body. If you're trying to decide between one or more creative projects to work on, pick one of them and see how your body feels. Do you feel constricted inside, does your body feel pulled-in too much, does your heart sink a bit because you really wish you were working on "that other project over there"? If so, that can be a clue to devote your time and energy to one of the other creative ideas calling for your attention at this time. (But it's also possible that the feeling could be a form of resistance instead of true guidance - so, again, awareness and honesty with yourself is key.)

Just start. Give yourself a mental push or physical shake, pick up your pen or paintbrush (or put fingers to the keyboard or sit down with crafting/creating supplies) and simply start doing something. You can tell yourself that you'll this for for just 5 minutes - sometimes putting a (short) time limit on the activity can help your mind overcome the restlessness long enough to start... and then if you continue past that time, it's icing on the cake! Sometimes starting can be the most difficult step when it comes to creating.

These are just a few things to try - the important thing is to find what works for you.

April 5, 2016

feeling free...

Last week, Danielle LaPorte's #truthbomb decks arrived in the mail. The decks were 50% off for a short time last month and my temptation was too strong to resist. I'd been wanting these cards for quite a while.

I decided to keep one deck in my workroom and the other in the bedroom. I've been pulling one or two cards each day. Messages to myself. Reminders.


A few days ago I pulled a card from the deck in my workroom.

But do you feel free?

This caught my attention in a big way (for too many reasons to go into in one blog post).

I immediately decided to pull another card, this time from the cards in the other room.

feel free

Message received.

I've been keeping these two cards out, keeping them in easy sight, for the past few days. As reminders. Truthbombs.

Because the truth is, I haven't been feeling free.

The why of that feeling involves life choices, health issues, financial stuff, and more.

Some of these things aren't completely in my control (because, despite what some simplification-explanations of law of attraction say, or what's sometimes said in new age or metaphysical or spiritual circles, not everything is in our control - life is way too interconnected, in too many ways we can't begin to even see or understand, for us to be able to control or create every.single.aspect of the life we experience).

But when it comes to some of the reasons I wasn't feeling free, I did have control and a choice. I could make a different decision. I could take a new direction.

And even with those things I can't control, I can choose to find a sense of freedom even while I'm in those things. It isn't always easy for me to do that - and I'm far from always being successful at it - but it's possible.

When it comes to feeling free, I listen to my body.

I place my attention and awareness on my heart space and my gut. My heart chakra and solar plexus chakra. For me, those areas in my body tell me.

Does my heart feel open and spacious? Or does it feel tight and constricted?

Is my gut telling me yes or no? Is my breathing easy? Do I feel tied in knots?

Paying attention to my body can help me make a decision that moves me in the direction of feeling free.

The body is an amazing truth-teller.

But do you feel free?

feel free

February 3, 2016

more root chakra work...

All chakras are important, and I work on all of my chakras... but a chakra that's needed ongoing and long-term support is my root chakra, the first chakra, sometimes also called the base chakra.

A few months ago, I wrote a post about some of the current issues impacting my root chakra, and I shared some of things I was doing to give special attention to balancing and boosting this area.

My equilibrium problems still continue (no diagnosis yet, more doc appointments coming up) - and the physical issue is literally like not being fully rooted to the ground. (Hello, root chakra stuff!)

Also, this and other life-happenings require me to do things to keep anxiety in check... which, for me, is very connected to my root chakra.

So the root chakra work continues.

In addition to the things I mentioned in the earlier post - working with crystals, essential oils, meditations, grounding techniques, creativity - I'm amping up the focus on this chakra in other ways.

I'm doing more mantra work. Not only repeating mantras to myself (silently or out loud) but also putting them in writing.

Whether it's combining chakra-and-mantra work with practicing lettering, or simply writing a mantra again and again and again...

I've also been incorporating more color therapy into my day.

Since red is the color associated with the root chakra, I'm connecting to that color more often.

Even something like drinking water from one of my red mugs helps bring in the all-important root chakra energy and vibration.

Balancing a chakra isn't a one-and-done deal. Our chakras are continually shifting and in flux, being influence and impacted not only by things from our past but also in response to what's going on in day-to-day life.

And one chakra doesn't exist in isolation - our chakras influence each other and work together, and an imbalance in one can affect others.

That's why it's so important to do overall chakra work and chakra balancing, even if focusing more intently on one of them for a while.

That's why the goal is energetic - subtle - harmony.

And that's why the work continues... always a process, always in process.

January 29, 2016


For several reasons, comfort has been on my mind lately.

Maybe it was the lazy weekend of snowy days (snow doesn't happen very often here) and the cozy comfort of the warm indoors.

Maybe it's the ongoing physical challenges that still sometimes stir my anxiety.

Maybe it's the financial worry, or the sudden grief that can still come in periodic waves, or the desire to escape when I feel overwhelmed or over-tired.

Comfort, for me, can take a variety of forms.

I turn to self-care practices. I turn to certain friends and loved ones. I spend time with our kitty.

Painting and creating in general can provide comfort for me... and for quite a while, painting has especially been my go-to for being a creative outlet, a way to "lose" myself, and fabulously helpful at reducing my anxiety.

Prayer, resting, binge-watching Netflix - all can bring different kinds of comfort to me at different times.

And although I wish I didn't do this, sometimes I comfort-eat.

(I ate the whole thing, not only the one bite (and it was soooo good) - it had been ages since I'd had a sprinkled-covered doughnut... but I am reducing my sugar intake, so this was a special treat.)

And then there are the cards.

In addition to doing card readings for others, I also pull cards for myself. In two fairly new-to-me decks, the first cards I pulled for myself after getting each deck were both messages of comfort.

(Mother Mary Oracle by Alana Fairchild)

(Rumi Oracle by Alana Fairchild)

For me, the oracle is a tool that connects me with my intuition and also my spirituality. The messages are often affirmations, confirmations, validations... and reminders that I know what I know.

I know I'm never alone - but sometimes I forget for a while.

I know help is always available - but sometimes I forget for a while.

I know I am Divinely loved and ultimately safe - but sometimes I forget for a while.

The reminders provide comfort.

And in the comfort, I find grace.