how to be with difficult emotions

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Thank you to Diana & Whitney for inspiring this article with your healing wisdom, love and brilliance.  When dark thoughts cloud the mind or spiky tension arises in the body, we tend to want to run in the other direction. That extends to physical pain, as well. When stuff hurts, we want to be anywhere else but right in the moment with it. Its totally natural to have this impulse; in fact, its human nature. That’s why we meditate — to not only bring us closer to painful, uncomfortable emotions or situations, but to train ourselves to find space, peace and love within those moments. When difficult emotions, anxiety, or sadness arise within the mind or body, don’t fight them. Sink into what is happening, the truth of the experience, and honor them. Give yourself love, attention, and just simply be with what is. This act of extreme self care is the key to freedom and healing from these emotions. When we offer these deep, dark places in us attention and love, it opens us up and we find relief. 1. Treat yourself exquisitely – Sometimes when anxiety or difficult emotions rise up in us, its not ideal timing. We might also have a tendency to beat ourselves up because we don’t believe it should be arising, or we believe we shouldn’t be having these thoughts. Release the “second arrow,” as Buddha states, and just be with the reality of what is. Treat yourself beautifully in these moments, because if you could help it you would. Intend to be with the emotions with patience, kindness, and love. Place your hand on your heart, take a bath or shower, nap, anything that makes you feel good. 2. Surf, don’t plunge – If something intense arises, just focus on the physical sensation, not … Continue reading 

self-love practice: create sacred space

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A huge part of growth and the spiritual path is self-love. There are innumerable ways to express love of the self, but one of my favorites is to surround myself in spiritually meaningful endless beauty. To create a sacred space is to create accessible healing in your home, whenever you need it.  There are innumerable ways to create this space for yourself, and regardless of how much space you have, these tools for peace + easy, lush living are always available to you. By immersing yourself in beauty you proclaim your worth, welcoming in all the universe has to offer you.  In this space we can remember our divinity, our right to joy, and our power to manifest our hearts’ desires. Having plants in the home is imperative for so many reasons (oxygen, cleansing, nature in the home) but in this context it’s nice to remember the old adage of speaking to your plants! These green creatures carry soul, and allowing yourself to meditate near and care for plants connects you to the earth, to yourself, and opens the root chakra There is nothing more beautiful and peaceful than a candle-lit room.  At the end of every day I turn off all the light, and put away all the screens, and just sit in sweet silent candlelight.  Seeing how beautiful your home is, creating a special ritual for yourself, and welcoming in the spirit of fire are all beautiful ways to remember your divinity. The beautiful, calming sound of wind chimes helps to create a space that feels ethereal, peaceful and even tropical.  Sound plays a huge part in our ability to stay mentally healthy—from the words we speak to the tone of voice we choose to use.  Keeping wind chimes around is a wonderful and easy way to let … Continue reading 

berry breakfast pie!

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Okay, I know, I know. I know what you’re thinking. Pie. For breakfast. Insanity! Maybe on “binge days” or mornings after Thanksgiving — but not on a normal day, right? Yes, on a normal day! Okay, well pies take forever to bake. Won’t this? Try under an hour. Try the easiest thing you’ve ever made. With only three ingredients (not including the crust), no artificial or refined sugar, no preservatives, no animal products and available to you in infinite, delicious varieties. And I would never lie to you about this (I take my baked goods very seriously) — you will never, ever know the difference between this pie, and your favorite traditionally baked fruit pie. How? One little magic word: Kudzu. Kudzu root, or japanese arrowroot, is the secret to this pie, and its about to be your new best friend. Its a starch with properties that make it the vegan form of gelatin. You add this baby to any liquid, it will thicken it. Its great for not only fruit pies, but for sauces and soups. Its also been known to be an excellent digestive aid, and is extremely effective against tinnitus, vertigo, headaches and upset stomachs. Its a miracle root, pretty much. And you can get it online or at your local Whole Foods or health food store with ease. Might even be in your standard supermarket! But first lets talk about the crust. I am not a baker of any real skill or talent, and pie crusts are in no way a skill I’ve mastered yet. But good news: you don’t need to have crust game to make this pie. I used an organic vegan pie crust from Whole Foods for my first pie a little under a week ago — the other day, I tried an … Continue reading 

20 juicy ways to love yourself + a heart chakra smoothie

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Last year during this time, my heart chakra exploded open after years of being shut very, very tightly.  It was so closed, I didn’t even realize it. It wasn’t aching, or causing me harm that I was aware of — but when it did open up, it was akin to floodgates breaking. It was only when the doors of my heart had been flung open that I saw immediately how deeply disconnected from it I was. My heart was full of sadness, aching, longing and anger. It had been right there, just living behind closed doors. Now I actively honor my heart on a daily basis. I listen to her, I’m aware of her, I care for her. And how do I do this? Daily self care.  Sweet self care is deeply transformational and deeply healing. Its absolutely alchemical. It makes us remember who we truly are.  Don’t wait until you’ve lost the weight, don’t wait until you have forgiven yourself, don’t wait until you have a significant other. You are perfect right now.  You are ready and deserving right this moment.  May these 20 beautiful acts of love and self care serve to open your heart in a way that is joyful and delicious. (PS! There’s an amazing Heart Chakra Love smoothie from me to you at the bottom of this post!)   1. Buy yourself some flowers 2. Purchase or hang out with some rose quartz 3. Orgasm 4. Take a long, hot shower or bath 5. Sip a cup of rose tea (this is my absolute favorite!) 6. Use lavender body oil before bed 7. Take a walk in the sunshine 8. Write in a journal 9. Meditate 10. Take a nap with your favorite PJs, under a million cozy blankets 11. Create an altar 12. Adopt a plant … Continue reading 

release shame + unchain your heart

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When we shame ourselves we give away all of our power. When we shame ourselves we let it be known inherently in every cell of our body that we are not worthy of feeling better, that we are not worthy of compassion, that we are not worthy of growth.   I’m nuts I’m angry I’m a jerk I’m a cheater I’m a drug addict I’m annoying I feel guilty I shouldn’t have done that What’s wrong with me? This other person doesn’t need what I need   All of these thoughts rob you of yourself.  You are none of these things, you are a human being having an experience or releasing an old experience that has caused you suffering. These shadows we are told be ashamed of are just little hisses of the demons escaping.  So many of us are so intent on shoving the shadows away and judging them that we never allow them to simply be released. Sitting in this place, instead of judging it unkindly, allows you to hear and to see what needs to be learned, so that you can move in peace and wisdom. If Lindsay and I hadn’t gone through (and sometimes continue to go through) deep pain we would never be able to help others. If we had still gone through that deep pain but allowed the voices of certain people in our lives to rob of us our experience, our right to the pain, our right to acknowledge it, sit with it and release it we would never have grown to this extent, and we would never be able to help others change their lives. Shame is just bullshit -plain and simple.  Shame is to say I hate myself, there is something wrong with me, I am not like the others. When … Continue reading 

how to communicate kindly & clearly with loved ones

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Sometimes someone we love very much does or says something that upsets us deeply. It is difficult to know how to handle these situations in which we need to speak our truth, but do not want to create a rift in the relationship. However, holding the upset in is what will really begin to create cracks in our hearts; our anger and frustration at whatever has been said or done will fester, grow and manifest into unkindness, an explosion or passive aggressive behavior that benefits no one. Instead, if we learn to communicate clearly and kindly with those we love, we can express how we feel, prevent a similar situation from happening again, and grow even closer to the person that means so much to us. I’ve created a list for you of my go-to practices that always allow me to communicate clearly and kindly with a loved one, even about sticky stuff. Like my mother has always said, “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” 1. Remember you love each other, and mention it often.  This is someone whose relationship, heart and time you value. Let this be known from the get-go, and continually repeat it throughout the conversation. 2. Know what you want to say-do not have this conversation when high on emotion. Allow the wave to pass, and then in clarity figure out least a guideline of what you want to say. 3. Do not put them on the defense–acknowledge again that you love them, and you know they do not intentionally mean to hurt or upset you. Let them know you know they do the best they can, and that because they love you so much you know you’re able to express your truth to them. Thank them for showing up and hearing … Continue reading 

five easy ways to energize your morning!

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How we wake up in the morning is a really beautiful indicator of what might need adjustment in our lives, our health, and how we care for ourselves. And during this cold time of year, waking up exhausted and with very little energy can seem par for the course, but it doesn’t have to be. Mornings used to cause me enormous suffering. As soon as I woke up, my eyes would fly open, my stomach would lurch, and my anxious thoughts would begin swirling. Winter mornings were even worst; all of the above plus zero energy and total lethargy. I would stay in bed until the absolute last minute, then rush around in a painful, harried daze to get to work (inevitably late). At the time, that routine felt like what I needed to survive — and in many ways it was — but what I truly required was a shift, a change in my routine and the way I cared for myself at the start of my day. Once I made this great shift, life became a lot softer, sweeter, and my experience with mornings did a 180. And perhaps for you, there’s nothing plaguing you other than a general feeling of blah/lack of energy. Try these four simple changes, and I promise that within a week, your mornings are going to feel unrecognizably different and infinitely more wonderful.   1. Stretch! – Nothing energizes me faster than a good stretch session in the morning. Its a great option for those who hate working out in the morning, or who simply lack the time to do so. A good, juicy stretch session is life changing for your morning. It gets our blood pumping and makes our bodies feel great. 2. Dry brush before your shower — Dry brushing is … Continue reading 

soul submersion: diving into the depths of painful emotion

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Galaxies are created when a star gets so hot, so full of pressure and pressed into itself that is has no choice but to explode into a supernova (resulting in a brand new galaxy). We are the same.  But it’s not always easy to keep this cosmic grasp. Painful, gross, uncomfortable, traumatic feelings cause us to want to run to the hills because they scare us.  We don’t understand that they are only visitors, and that our heart and soul have a very big say in how long they’re welcome to stay for. I build my teaching and personal yoga practice on fearlessly and almost joyfully submerging into shadow emotions, befriending them and hearing them so that my students (and I!) may learn from them, expel them and move forward. The other day I had a student break down, freak out cry.  My response? Good! Good! GOOD! Let it come, don’t run, don’t fear—let it escape. The beauty of letting an intense wave of emotion leave the body is that one its out, its out. We are energy—the emotion is energy and it simply needs somewhere to go. Of course, we don’t send it to another person—we take a moment  (however long that lasts) to be alone, and we allow it to be expelled. You are deeply powerful and you do not have to fear the depths of your emotion. The more you run the longer it lasts—sometimes, if we are fearful enough, this inability to press through the molasses of deeply painful emotion haunts hearts’ entire lifetimes. It might take a year or more to clear the residuals of an entire life time (that is, up until you have chosen to fall into practice) of wounding, but it still will bring you greater relief and joy than trying to … Continue reading 

our wisest teacher

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“The body is not meant to be prayed for, it is meant to be prayed to…” — Sonya Renee, “The Body is Not an Apology“   All of the wisdom, teachings, and answers we could ever hope to gain in this life can be found in our bodies. We are such a head-centric culture; no one is taught to seek answers from the body. Our mothers and grandmothers weren’t taught either. In ignoring the body in service of the mind, we not only cut ourselves off from our instincts, but we perpetuate a notion that we must be quiet our bodies in order to be loved, accepted and even liked by others. In this context, quiet means stifled. It means silenced. It means saying yes when our bodies are saying no, or vice versa. It means eating until we are bursting, just to quiet that tiny voice inside that is whispering for us to pay attention to her, please. We are born making noise. We are born knowing how to take up space, to make it clear when we aren’t happy, or when we are hungry, or uncomfortable, or hurting. There should be no judgement surrounding the fact that we’ve all forgotten. Life is a process of remembering — and we should all feel welcome to remember the wisdom of our bodies. And we all do or have done this: rationalize our bodily feelings in service of staying small, silence or stifle our gut instincts, our anxieties and stomachaches, all in the name of not making too much noise with ourselves or others. The real price we pay is the hurt we feel, and the emotional injury it does to our bodies. What is the gift of waking up and remembering that wisdom of ourselves? We begin to feel more … Continue reading 

five easy ways to stay healthy, happy & energized during the winter

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Winter is such an intense season, no? Getting sick, feeling freezing, low or no energy, breakouts, weight gain, and as of today, dealing with 6 degree temperatures outside! (some places way lower!) Both winter & summer are the most extreme seasons in our year, and they both require the same degree of respect and attention for the sake of our health and wellbeing. And just as you wouldn’t walk around with a hot coffee on a 100 degree day, the same goes for cold juices and excessive raw fruit & veggies during the winter, which cool the body down dramatically. The keys to staying healthy, energized, and glowing during the winter aren’t complicated or difficult to attain — its just about honoring what is seasonally sound. Right now, the body needs roots, protein, and grounding, spicy foods & drink to keep the warming fires burning. Why? Those kinds of foods heat the body, keep the immune system up, and keep our blood flow circulating (especially with the help of the spices). Here are just a few of many easy ways to feel better during the winter right now! 1) Eat more good fat: Our brains are essentially fat and water, which is why omega 3s and hydration are so crucially important for balanced moods & healthy brain function. During the winter, when we are most inclined to be seasonally effected by the cold and lack of light, good fats can help in preventing the blues and keeping our mood bright. Avocados, walnuts, and fatty fish are great options! 2) Get spicy!: Pepper (haha) in some spice to your food and drink whenever possible during the winter to stimulate blood flow and promote warmth. A cup of homemade ginger tea is amazing and easy (as well as a cup of hot water … Continue reading