The Truth in Embodiment

It never ceases to amaze me the connections I make between my art journaling journey and my life; and how it can be used as a tool to express all of the lessons I learn along the way and to practice new ways of being.

Most recently, my path has led me to karate of all things. After almost two years of watching my kids train, I decided to jump in myself... and it has been so fascinating to sink into the unexpected self-growth lessons and to notice how it connects to art journaling!

The Truth in Embodiment

One of the biggest benefits and most awakening Aha's (so far!) I've received from training in martial arts is total embodiment and the true meaning behind it.

For many years I've used the practice of movement to get present before diving into my art journal (in fact, moving your body and activating your senses is one of the suggested rituals in my Roots Class). I've also talked about how getting back in touch with my senses was the beginning of my journey back home to myself.

But I'm starting to see that those short practices were only just the tip of the iceberg. As I explore and stretch the boundaries of what my body is capable of, feel the soreness in new muscles I never even knew existed, and marvel at the magic of muscle memory... I find myself on a journey towards true embodiment and of learning how to be in relation with my body.

Before, my body felt more like a tool - something that just helps me do things. Now, I feel it becoming more a part of me as my mind and body begin to merge on the mat, on the page, and in life.

Embodiment is not just about being aware of the body as a thing, but of being aware AS a body.

...just as we were all born to be. As infants, we have no ability to make sense of the world through thought. Rather, we are aware of everything around us through our senses, and are highly in tune to what our bodies need. But as we grow, we move away from our sensory knowledge and begin to rely solely on our minds.

I'm beginning to think we have it all backwards.

As we all know, the mind can get easily cloudy or confused. It makes up stories that are far from the truth. It can misperceive events and even how we look and feel. It's not always a reliable source of input. The body on the other hand, never lies. It offers the unfiltered truth of what you need and of what you're experiencing.

What if instead, we switched their roles - living from the body and using the mind as the incredible tool it was intended to be only when we needed it?

How much simpler would your life be then? And how much easier would your creative process flow?



Always in curiosity and love,




Better Than Self-Love?

It’s that time of year again – where hearts and cupids are everywhere we look, and the self development world is plastering quotes on self-love. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for love. But why does it have to be centered around buying more stuff, and what the heck does self-love mean anyway?

Love can mean very different things from one person to the next. And the road toward self-love can be long and hard, and is very personal. Yet, self-love is often spoken of as if it were a switch that could be simply turned on. And even more so, we often paint the picture that self-love is an idealized state where we only feel positive feelings towards ourselves.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Loving ourselves does not mean our inner critical voice is suddenly shut off, or that we never suffer, or that we don’t become disappointed in ourselves.

And from my experience, you can’t just decide to love something or someone and immediately have it be so. It takes intention, nurturing, and most of all time. Trying to force an end result without first focusing on the steps to get there can be disheartening.

What happens when you fail at something, or don’t meet your own expectations? What happens if you kind of hate a part of yourself? What happens when you decide to love yourself, you struggle with it, and then perhaps you start to think thoughts like: “Why can’t I? What’s wrong with me?” What happens when you think overly critical or hateful thoughts, then turn it around and say something loving – but it only makes you feel worse because you don’t truly believe it?

It’s exactly in moments like these where telling ourselves to be more loving might actually backfire.

So what then?

What if instead, we focused more on being compassionate toward ourselves?

Doesn’t that already feel oh so much lighter? Self compassion doesn’t ask us to judge ourselves, it’s simply a way of relating to ourselves kindly. It allows us to embrace ourselves as we are right now, flaws and all. It gives us permission to feel the way we feel without shame. It gives us a more solid sense of self worth because it’s there for us when we fail. It deeper connects us to others because it reminds us that to be human is to be imperfect.

You already have the roadmap and the skills to be compassionate. I can bet that you at least try to be compassionate with your good friends and loved ones. So there’s nothing more you need to learn; it’s simply a softening in to include yourself in the encouragement, understanding, empathy, patience, and gentleness you offer others.

I believe that once we stop treating ourselves so differently and show ourselves the same compassion as we do others, we will come to truly acknowledge our shared nature of our imperfect humanity – thus opening our hearts even wider to others and ourselves, in turn creating a more loving world all around.

Much love to you!!

{Creative} Soul Truths #3: Breaking Through the Stuck


A creative block can show up in many different ways... Sometimes it's avoidance or procrastination. Or the opposite - getting caught in the research trap, constantly watching YouTube videos or tutorials. Or maybe you start buying all the new supplies, gathering so much that you feel overwhelmed by the choices. Perhaps you have a loud inner critic that's telling you that you aren't good enough, so why bother. Perhaps you approach your journal tentatively, so afraid of messing things up or doing it "wrong".

However you experience your stuck, if you try to force through it or yell at your inner critic to 'shut up' (or ignore it!), you're only digging yourself deeper into the rut.

Look, we live in a world where the logical mind is King. Our culture, especially here in the US, relies so heavily on the mind and the "left-brain" way of thinking. We honor logic, structure, speed, control; so much so that we often let our minds run on auto-pilot. Your mind is used to being in control. To let go, so that you can create freely, is really scary and threatening.

If you're feeling like there's a force field between you and your art materials, you're probably right. Your mind (aka ego, aka inner critic) will do anything to protect you. It will do anything to stay in control, the way you were taught to. It will do anything to protect your inner child or inner artist from getting hurt again. So yelling at it, or trying to force it to stand down so your intuitive, creative Soul can lead the way, will only make it stand firmer in place.

Your mind is only doing it's job. And it's scared to let go. The only way to loosen its grip, is to face it bravely with compassion. (The climax scene in Disney's movie Moana comes to mind!)



Much love to you!!



P.S. You don't have to go it alone. We'll be facing our inner stuck with compassion, together in the journey ROOTS, starting September 28th. In the meantime, try this: Start practicing compassion with yourself in the little daily moments. Then, start exploring: What would help your mind to feel safe enough to play in an art journal?




Our Important Reminder…

For the last few weeks I was feeling overwhelmed, overworked, uninspired… all my focus was on meeting deadlines, checking things off my to-do list, getting things done. I was nearing burn out. Struggling to find joy in my day. And in the midst of it all, I didn’t know what was wrong. I just new I was feeling like crap. Until, this came in the mail…

Soul Journal

My first print copy of my upcoming journal series. (Yay!!) It reminded me of all that I had forgotten… to breathe. to pause. to check in. to come back home to myself in the present moment and see the beauty of now.

Even though my whole livelihood is centered around reconnecting with your self, I still often forget when busyness settles in. Between being a mother to three young kids, nurturing the relationship with my husband, running a business, laundry and keeping the home clean, cooking, preparing for the holidays, and whatever else I’m forgetting that’s on my to-do list, how can one not loose their way sometimes and forget to make time for themselves? This modern world doesn’t leave much room for that.

But it’s something I’ve been working hard towards for the last couple years. I’ve learned that making time for myself, if even just 5 minutes a day, is not only rejuvenating, but it’s literally ESSENTIAL. Else I face burn out and eventually depression.

But I forget.

Often.

That’s why I continue to write about it. That’s why I create e-courses that I fully participate in alongside my students. That’s why I create interactive books that I enjoy myself. That’s why I create cozy nooks in my home that invite me to pause. That’s why I often go back and re-read my own blog (especially this post in particular). That’s why I’ve been dreaming up a women’s circle for support in remembering ourselves. And that’s why I felt the need to bring this new Soul Journal series to life for the new year – I need tangible reminders. And I’m betting you do too sometimes.

Life is busy. Life is full. Let’s remember to enjoy it. To slow down and take it all in. Will you take a deep breath with me now? (Yes, right now. Do it!) Feel the air moving into your body, nourishing you. Notice yourself. You are a magnificent, beautiful creature (whether you believe that now or not!).

And if you’re like me, and feeling the need for an inspiring daily practice to check in and remember what you already know about yourself, you may just fall in love with this Soul Journal as much as I have. It should be available next week on Amazon!

But for now, why not try setting a reminder on your phone to take three deep breaths every afternoon. Or set up a cozy corner of your home that will invite you to sit and pause every so often. Or start a practice to free-write every morning. Or, use your shower time to really get present and be with yourself.

How can you fit in a few moments of reconnection in your day? Choose it. Do it. And set reminders for when you forget.

Much love to you!!

Finding Balance – Inside and Out

Finding Balance - Inside and Out

Lately, I find myself getting frustrated more. Feeling overwhelmed by the quickness of life and the constant moving. As I put my phone down, I feel disgusted by how much time it has just sucked from my life and the emptiness I feel. I promptly pick it up again. But this time, not to check another app, but to delete them. Goodbye Facebook. You’ve never done much for me anyway.

Ahh that feels good. What else can I simplify in my life?

This question rolls around in my mind for days as I navigate my daily life… almost to the point of complicating it more. Should I wake up earlier in the morning? How can I change my work projects to simplify them? What else can I change in my life?

As the weekend arrives, we gather up our towels and supplies to head to the beach. But it ends up not being so simple. The kids aren’t listening. Each task becomes a chore. We have three kids plus one friend. The house becomes a whirlwind of confusion. Get your bathing suit on! No, not outside! Where did your sister go again? Wait, your shoes! Where are your shoes!? Stop playing, I thought we were leaving!?

By the time we make it to the beach, my head is pounding. Why does everything seem to be so difficult? Is it just my expectations? The way I think about things? How can I simplify this? Am I thinking too much? Get over here, I’m trying to put sunscreen on you!

Ugh, I need some actual quiet time. I stand up, tell hubby I’m leaving, and off I go. The beach is busy today, but I know if I keep walking, it becomes quieter. I start my trek in search of silence, still pondering ways I can simplify my life.

Finding balance on the beachCan I really get up earlier than the kids? I’m always so tired. I’d have to go to bed way earlier. But then I lose out on my nightly quiet time. Which doesn’t seem to be much these summer days. That article says you should do the most important thing first thing in the morning. Maybe I should try. I should meditate. Yoga, I’d like to do yoga. I need more exercise. Man, I should really eat healthier too. Morning smoothies sound good. How hard can it be? I haven’t done much art lately. I can never find alone time to actually do anything. Creating with my kids is hard. I always end up helping them instead of being able to focus on my own art. Just one more year. One more year and they’ll all be in school. I can wait. How can I simplify my creating? I guess just continue in my sketchbook. That’s quick and easy. But not so satisfying as paint. Oh how I miss paint. Ouch! That rock was sharp.

I pause to look around. Not a person in sight. The sandy beach gives way to thousands of rocks. I breathe in the warm air. Listen to the waves hitting the earth. Yes. This. This is what I needed. I start to move slower, balancing on the larger rocks so I don’t hurt my bare feet. With arms stretched wide, and a smile across my face, my mind calms with each careful step I take.

Finding Balance

I stop when I could go no further. My feet are sore. But it feels so good. I rest myself on a nearby boulder and look out over the sea of rocks, enjoying the absence of the everyday bustling noise. My eye catches an odd shaped rock. I meander over to pick it up. It looks almost like a moon. Or perhaps a croissant. No, not a croissant. It feels sacred.

It feels warm in my hand, like it’s radiating love, or some mystical energy I yet to understand. It feels wrong to toss it back into the sea of rocks. To be lost again. Suddenly I know what I must do. Visions of balancing rocks dance through my memory as I rummage around looking for just the right rocks to hold this sacred piece of earth.

Finding BalanceMy mind and body become completely engrossed in turning the rocks this way and that, finding just the right weight and balance to make them stand upon each other. When three are in position, I gently pick up the sacred piece and carefully place it on top. It stays without fiddling. It rests upon those rocks like it it knew it was meant to be there. I breathe out a long exhale, realizing I’ve been holding it.

Breathing deeply in again, my body automatically turns to climb down the boulder to gather more rocks. I know just what I’m looking for… Round ones. With somewhat flat sides. Interesting color. Check. I grab as many as I can carry and head back up.

The edge of urgency is gone as I slip into a quiet, playful trance turning the rocks until they fit perfectly. And somehow, each rock I’ve chosen finds its place.

As I climb back down for yet another arm load, I realize… this is simplicity. Me. The earth. The quiet.

This is all I need to bring balance into my life.

Simple as that.

Later, as I slowly made my way back to my family, I felt like I had a treasure in my pocket. A secret to hide, or maybe to share. A few photographs and my memories of this day. Of the realization that I don’t need traditional meditation, or yoga, or smoothies, or hours of alone time to find peace and balance in my life.

All I need is me,

and the earth,

and a few deep breaths.

Psst! Our exploration in Earth is coming soon! Be sure you’re signed up for my mailing list to get the free Earth E-book which will be released on Sept 6th 2016. You can find AIR Here and WATER Here!