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Celebrating The Beauty of Your Ordinary – Today’s Sacred Task

ordinary“I ask for the wisdom to appreciate the sparkle of my child’s ordinariness… I ask for a reminder of my own ordinariness and the ability to bask in its beauty.” Shefali Tsabary – The Conscious Parent.

Reading this shot an arrow into my heart.  I struggled with eating disorders and an addiction to perfectionism for many years.  I was obsessed with being the best at everything I did like it were a drug that kept my sense of worth and value out of withdrawal.  I didn’t believe who I was was enough or quite frankly even important.  It’s not because I had bad parents its’ because we live in a culture that only celebrates success, achievement and accomplishment and when you are solely seen for your actions and endeavors you get a complex.  We all want recognition and validation.  We all want to be seen and heard and appreciated.  Why does it need to come in the form of a success?

Let’s change this for ourselves and for our children.  Let’s “bask in the beauty” of ordinary.  I love that!

We don’t celebrate the ordinary, simple, beautiful aspects of being.  Nobody celebrates your messy cooking process (which I call my creativity in the kitchen) or your sweet gentle soul rubbing the backs of your children before they go to sleep each night.  Let’s do that!  Let’s celebrate our ordinary ways of being.  Let’s even celebrate our mediocre skills.  It’s uniquely, wonderfully you.  I suck at laundry, and I can own it, laugh at it and just enjoy that fun, quirky fact.

When I was doing some intense healing work on myself I forced myself to step out of perfectionism box by having a goal to not try and be the best and I forced myself to not try my best because my best was full tilt, way past my limits and a give all to get all kind of approach. I’d lose my balance, my well-being, my marbles…just to end up on top and feel like I was enough.  I was foaming at the mouth for a sense of worth and esteem.  So I set my sights on a new target….I wanted to be middle of the pack.  I didn’t want to be the best, instead be average. It was freeing, I actually starting enjoying what I was doing.  I could take a run with no time limits or distance markers to accomplish, I could just move my body and run freely.  It brought me back in my body, in the moment, in the experience and not the outcome.  I could play baseball and drop the ball without feel ashamed or embarrassed, I could be gentler and laugh.  My success was no longer my lifeline and it allowed fun to move in.

But hoowahhhh! It was also tough.  It allowed my true wounds and holes to emerge so I could heal them, not soothe them with a medal or academic achievement.  That’s when true and lasting change happened.

So today, let’s celebrate our ordinariness, our average skills or aspects of the self. Let’s celebrate the ordinary things we do each day that perhaps are not celebrated or recognized and shift the idea that who we are is what we do.  Our beingness, our intimate connections, our soul connections are just as, if not more important, in the world than what we do.  People will remember who you were, how you made them feel, your qualities, not what you did in this life.

Today’s Sacred Task:

Celebrate your ordinary.  Own it like a beautiful new scarf and flaunt it for us.  Share what you’ve got. Find at least 8 wonderfully, beautiful ordinary things about yourself and shine the light on it:  Your beingness is just as important in the word, the unseen, unnoticed things that make the world go round.  Start celebrating for yourself and see what happens 🙂

Here’s a few aspects of my beautiful ordinary:

1) I try and paint beautiful pictures but truthfully, I’m not that great at it.  It’s fun trying!

2) I’m messy in the kitchen when I cook and have learned to call it my creative process and taught my husband to call it the same 😉

3) I thrive in organized chaos, my work desk is always this way.

4) I love going for walks in the woods with my son, it’s simple and ordinary and awesome.

5) I let my son beat me more often than not at Trouble or card games.

6) I’m romantic, I buy flowers and write notes to my husband on rainy days and Mondays.

7) I hate cleaning, I’d way rather cut the grass or shovel the driveway, heck even take out the garbage.

8) I pretend I’m a world famous singer and lip sync like a bat out of hell while I cook supper.  Pink has because my alter ego.

It’s your turn…

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This is Day 17 of the 30 Day Challenge 🙂

Crystal

xo

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Are You a Puller or a Pusher?

edgeYesterday I went to a Core Flow Yoga class.  My first in a long time as I’ve been hung up by my health condition.  I’ve been feeling stuck in an inertia lately and I know I need to move….move my body, move my emotions, move my ideas…move!!  So I pushed myself into a flow class to get the juices flowing.

Historically I loved Flow Yoga.  I craved the vigorous, sweaty nature of the class.  I loved being in tip top shape and pushed myself to and past my limits constantly and twisted into pretzel shapes my body was not yet ready for.  I’d adopt the cultural mantra and do more…and more…harder…faster…better.  So here I was once again  face to face with my old habits in a hard core class.  This time I was learning my new limits and exploring my new edge.  I feel like I’m having to learn how to live life with a brand new set of physical limits. Having a PICC line kinda forces you to honor that limit, particularly in a Yoga Flow class.

So there I was surrounded by hard core yogis and my intention was gentleness.  I wanted to find my edge and pull back from it, not push past it.  Let me tell you it takes more courage, more bravery and more vulnerability to pull back and do less than it is to push past.  It was like I was being challenged to see if I can be self-honoring in the company of others who are doing more than me.  Do I compare myself to others and push myself past my edge or do I honor where I am and just own it?  Can I accept where I am, as I am or do I feel the need to do something more to feel good enough or successful? So there I was having an internal battle on the mat and I let myself bow down into child’s pose and out of the vigorous flow.  Success by self-honoring.

Don’t get me wrong, there are moments when we are meant to push past our edge, otherwise we’d never evolve.  But there are moments too when we are meant to pull back from it and be gentle and graceful with ourselves.  It’s tough getting over an addiction to over-doing, and over pushing and I see women struggling with this all the time with our busy lives, full of responsibilities and schedules.   As I challenged myself to take a child’s pose instead of a sun salutation, I was awe struck in how much this pose was like a mirror to life.

How many of us do the “sun salutation” of laundry, cleaning bathrooms, volunteering, etc. etc.  instead of reclining into a “child’s pose” and resting or restoring our inner natures.  It takes some balls to rest.  It takes a warrior… a goddess… a queen to assert herself and say I am at my limit and I need to pull back.  And I don’t need to do something to be successful or worthy.  I am worthy for being, just as I am in this moment.  Yet we crave success and validation on the outside, because we have always been celebrated and validated in our doing and achieving.  Our worth and value is thus recognized in our accomplishments in what we do.  But it’s dangerous when we place how we feel about ourselves on external aspects or activities because those can be taken away in a moment, believe you me.

I’m not sure there’s anything more honoring and self-loving than listening and giving voice to your edge and limit.  This is what we should be celebrating, a woman or child who uses her voice and sets a limit.   Or a person who reflects, creates, writes or finds stillness.  Let’s celebrate and value the worth found in Being.  It is what is forever there, even in the absence of our doing or external success.  When we honor our needs and limits, we are allowing ourselves to fall into the arms of Great Mother Divine, supported, loved and feeling nurtured just by stepping into the energy of Being.  The heart erupts with gratitude as tears stream from our cores.  That is us uniting with the Divine…the art of self-love.  That is where we find true self-worth and value, by valuing and honoring ourselves and our edges.

And so it is…

Journal prompts…

How you can you pull-back from your edge?

What does that feel like to you…pulling back?

Please do share your thoughts and feelings.

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HOW A PAIR OF MUKLUKS HELPED ME CHANGE THE WORLD.

photo (4)Might as well face it, I’m addicted to… putting myself last.  Ugh!  It’s true. I have an automatic response pattern that causes  me to feel like I have to make sure everyone is taken care of  before I can take care of myself.  As much as I hate to admit it, I feel guilt when I tend to my own needs and wants.  It doesn’t mean it stops me from doing what I want and need, it just means I’m aware of the saddle bag of guilt that I lug around when I go and do what I want to do.  And I’m tired of it.

Things came to a head for me this past weekend.  For my birthday my husband bought me some luxurious Manitobah Mukluks.  You know the kind Prince William and Princess Kate were given for their son Prince George.  I loved them instantly.  They had the essence of me written all over them.  And then…I said, “I think we should return them.”  As soon as the words popped out of my mouth I regretted it.  Why would I say that?!

Well, I started thinking that I should (that damn word) return them and spend more money on others for Christmas.  It felt more natural to spoil others instead of myself.  I know, I know…yuck!  But I am just playing witness to this automatic response to take less for myself and leave more for others.  And as I observed it and poked it, I started wondering where this response pattern originated.  I wondered too if men have the same automatic response.  When you boil it right down, I wondered if it was because I’m culturally programmed to be more comfortable giving than to receive as a woman.   And yet biologically and traditionally it is women who are meant to receive and men who are meant to give.   Isn’t that a pickle!

I’ve watched my husband receive some pretty spectacular presents and his response…gratitude.  Not guilt, not an internal struggle to accept the gift of love but a simple acceptance and joy in receiving a beautiful gift.  So, what’s the difference here?  Is it a gender issue?  Is it a mother thing?  An image plays itself over and over in my mind of an exhausted, self-sacrificing woman who’s given everything to her family.  She cooks, she cleans, she nurtures and she tends to their every need.  She takes little to no time for herself or for her own pleasure.   She’s usually too exhausted.

If she’s cooking breakfast and one of the egg’s flops, she takes the dud and serves her family the “good ones”.  My question is why?  Why is motherhood or womanhood equated with chronic selflessness?  And better yet, why the heck is this celebrated?  Shouldn’t we have boundaries and limits for ourselves?  Shouldn’t we be on equal playing ground as our own family members?  Aren’t we worthy enough for a good egg?

I struggle in the fact that we celebrate and appreciate a woman who has given down to the bone and left little or nothing for herself.  Sometimes when I read obituaries and they tote about a woman’s selflessness, I feel a sharp pang in my gut.  I don’t consider that a good thing.  I don’t want to celebrate a way of being that I believe is self-harming and perpetuating a behaviour that basically speaks that she deserves less.

I think we must be both selfless and selfish as women.  But selfish is a tough word to swallow. There’s some negativity associated with that word.  And I don’t agree that having boundaries, limits, needs, wants and a voice is selfish.  It is simply a human right.  When I was exploring synonyms for the word selfish, I found the term self-interested.  Say it with me…self-interested.  Don’t you love it?

So, I’m proposing that in order for the guilt bag to empty itself out, we must adopt a new mantra as women.  We must be both selfless and self-interested.  And we must regularly be self-interested as though it were a life line to our sense of worth and self-esteem.  The reality is that when we tend to our own interests and desires, we feel more fulfilled and more confident and when we feel more confident we feel more able to use our voices and ask for what we need.  We are more able to set limits for what we can’t tend to when we feel fulfilled so we do not need to get a dash of “value” in the role of supreme giver.

And guess what, you can teach your daughter to love herself simply by setting your own limits, and being the receiver of your own energy.  In taking that time for you or taking the good egg or accepting a pair of beautiful mukluks, you are saying to the world I believe I am worthy of love and greatness equally to everyone else.  We teach them how to love themselves by loving ourselves.  We have an inherent right to be self-interested.  It is a necessity not only for ourselves but for the self-esteem of our young sisters, daughters and nieces.  We are their role models.

Being self-interested is a sacred spiral of fire, it ignites healing that starts within us and floats out into our family circle and then out into our communities and eventually the entire globe.  As the inner fires spread we build a repertoire for our young women who will also assert their needs, wants and voices into the world and they will have learned it simply by osmosis.  Imagine a world where women feel just as worthy to receive as any other being on the planet…a world where women feel confident enough to stand up for themselves and use their glorious voices no matter what the circumstance.  It’s starting…and the world is beginning to change and operate in a new manner because of it.  Changes, they are happenin’ and the bar is being raised.  We are not only waking up, we are standing up.   Can you feel it?

Imagine that, you are helping to change the world simply by being self-interested.   So, allow yourself to receive…receive help, receive love, receive gifts, receive time off and take it all in unapologetically.  Allow your own best interests to come to the forefront at least half the time.  Allow yourself to remember that as you receive, self-indulge and become more self-interested you are helping change the planet.  You are helping women restore balance simply by receiving energy, it is your birth right.  It is your biology.  And the more you receive, the more you’ll give so it’s a win- win and we all like win-win.

We are awakening as a women’s tribe and returning home into our feminine, fiery and receptive roots.    So go on, I dare ya’!  Indulge yourself with what you want.  Put on your “mukluks” and indulge proudly as a woman who is equally selfless and self-interested, giver and receiver.   You deserve it.  I deserve it.  The world needs it.  We are creating a new phenomenon for women.  My new mukluks are like a statement to the world saying that I am worthy of a wonderful, beautiful life.  So own it, be self-interested and change this planet.

women

You go girl!

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“Have You Become the Woman You Want To Be?”

womaniwnat tobeI was up early this morning and got a chance to watch the 6 am Super Soul Sunday air on the OWN channel.  One of my favorite author’s Sue Monk Kidd was her guest, what a treat!  If you haven’t read any of her work I highly recommend you do.  My favorites are Dance of the Dissident Daughter and Traveling with Pomegranates.  Although, she is most known for her novel, The Secret Life of Bees, my favorites are still her more autobiographical work and reflections.

Anyhow, in the interview Oprah asks her, “Have you Become the Woman You Want to Be?”

Jolt!! That question stunned me into paralysis like a gun to the temple.

And so I share with you the question and encourage you to make a journal entry answering Oprah’s stun gun of a question.  Just let the pen ride and let her take you to where she needs to go…flow….just flow.  Follow the tide inward and let Her emerge…  Put your timers on for a glorious 8 minutes and go!

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Here’s my entry….

For me, this past year was quite something.  I have been off sick from work for a year now, low energy and with a blood disorder.  It literally forced me to sit in beingness not doingness.  I went from living a fast paced life as a single mother with a full-time job, a two-hour commute, and a to do list a mile long while running full speed on a quarter tank of gas, to stopped in my track stillness.  Stopped…almost dead… into sit and rest stillness.  I’ve been turned upside down, flipped around, turned inside out and it is there, in that place, upside down, dangling from the rope of my old life, feet up to the sky, swaying with uncertainty and the unknown that I came face to face with the woman I want to be.  She’s tribal, primal, naked, raw, alive, loud, vivacious, emotional, colorful, reflective, intuitive, in union with herself, with the Creator and with her tribe.  She’s fierce and soft, gentle and bold. She’s marked with tribal lines across her face and her hair is long and wild.  She’s confident and assured in herself and its beautiful.  She’s in union with her Feminine nature, allowing her tribal DNA to emerge and express itself in her life and she follows her tribal, primal instincts. As I hang upside from the overturn of my life, our eyes meet as we look to each other face to face, me upside down hanging and her looking up from the inward life of my inner cave.  I have reached my hand to her and she’s reached hers to me.

I have always got a sense of worth out of my doingness, that’s the culture we live in.  I’ve got ego strokes from my job titles or sport accomplishments, or my superwoman mask who has overdoing super powers and does life and a high pace velocity. But, this year, I can say in doing almost nothing because I couldn’t, in sitting and being, writing and creating emotional expressions, I am on my way to becoming the woman I want to be.  I was brought home to my own original nature, pure, and feminine, inward and reflective.  I am far more authentic, real, and honest to myself because I have nothing else to do but listen, learn, and experience what it is.  I feel like I have taken off the final mask and finally showed my real face.   As I removed it I felt vulnerable, even fearful, ready for rejection and humiliation.  And yet, I am just sitting here, mask removed not really caring about how another feels about but instead, how I can continue to create my life so I can live without it for good.

I can say I am less people-pleasing and more able to tend to myself and my own needs first while actually being okay with that.  I am in the nitty, gritty of my emotions and they are honest and real and I tend to them…usually.  I’ve been stripped down from all I have known, all titles, roles, activities and into my Feminine Core where my intuition, emotions and creative needs have been sitting and waiting for me and I have bravely and sometimes reluctantly tended to them.  I wouldn’t make the space for them in my life, so they made space for me in my life to tend to them.

So here I am meeting myself in the raw.  I watch as my heart’s needs and desires show up and I can choose to reflect or turn away from them.  I can choose to release them or deny them.  Have a wine or write.   I am a woman in process, a woman working hard to be authentic by being present to her inner world and daring to walk in union, not separation, with that world. It takes guts and it ain’t easy!  I have been trained to sell myself out, to flick the switch off to what is occurring within to get shit done or because it was easier to say yes when I really wanted to say no.  I instead want to live in honor to myself by honoring and expressing my needs and emotions, using my voice, saying no and doing what I want to do simply cause I want to do it.  I don’t want to reject and deny myself anymore because others are more comfortable when I do.  I want to make space for the whisper in my gut that says I want more.  I want to live more wildly, more freely in union with my tribal, primal roots and play way more often.  I want to be less serious and more silly.  I want to make and take my own sacred time for myself, my own inner union and not abandon that time because somebody else needs me.   I’m on my way to becoming that woman…still practicing to keep united and not abandon the inner sea just for the comforts of validation and acceptance from another. What a ride, what a process.  Here I am still wavering at sea, riding the tides and looking less at the shore.

Aho! And so it is.