A stillness point on the Wheel of the Year

Solstice wishes and gratitude to share

Stillness pointMoving through the points on the Wheel

A really interesting conversation came up in the comments on last week’s blogpost, about how even though we celebrate all the points on the Wheel of the Year, the wheel never really stops. I have some more thoughts to add to the conversation.

Today is the Solstice, the point where the Sun appears to stand still — a stillness point — and then begin to change direction. Here in California, where I live, we celebrate the return of the light today, on Yule.

I love celebrating each stillness point on the Wheel of the Year, because it’s a time when I can take a breath in the sacred moment I get to celebrate on that day. A breath of recognition, of awareness, of commitment, of gratitude. But as I get more connected to my spirituality, as my practice gets more seasoned and more real, I find myself pulled to connect in a deep way to every single day of the year.

It’s like tai chi, yo.

I’ve been a tai chi student for 40, maybe 41 years (I don’t remember much of the ’70s, honestly). Years and years and years of classes and practice and more classes. Studying the form. Learning all those moves, those positions, where you arrive — body, arms, legs — everything arrives at once. Chunk — arrive at ward off left. Chunk — arrive at ward off right. Chunk — arrive at the press, the push, single whip. Chunk. Chunk. Chunk.

And then after a few years of learning all the chunks, I started to learn a deeper lesson. There are no chunks. Yes, everything arrives at once in ward off left, and ward off right, and every other “position” in the form. But you don’t stop. You arrive at an opportunity to check in, but it’s a breath that you are moving through. No stopping. Just movement. One continuous movement like a silken thread being pulled from a cocoon.

Wishes and gratitude

  • I hope you enjoyed your Solstice today, and that you continue to enjoy all the sparkly holiday gatherings you choose to attend, or throw for others. (Yes all those twinkly lights come from ancient traditions; in the darkness we celebrate the light, and remind ourselves that we will plant, grow, and reap again).
  • Here’s a wish: Enjoy your holiday, whatever and however you celebrate. And enjoy the days before, and the days after, and the days in between. Move through every moment with ease, awareness, and love.
  • I thank everyone who took the time to download the 2014 Completion and Release workbook. It’s not too late to get complete with everything that happened in 2014 and set a powerful foundation for the year ahead.
  • I fervently pray that the 13 recipients of my homemade gifts get them with no breakage or other mishaps. Yes, I am that one — crazy enough to mail out glass bottles with homemade skin toner and mosquito repellent. I wrapped them in bubble wrap and shoved them in a box. Then I decided that just one layer (all that would fit) of bubble wrap wasn’t enough, so I wrapped the boxes themselves in bubble wrap and shoved those in a mailer envelope, held in place by crumpled paper. Oy, I hope they all make it in one piece. Off to the post office in the morning, and at lease Mercury is not in retrograde right now.
  • I am grateful for the antibiotics that I took to help me heal from this lingering cough. No more fever, that’s a good sign.
  • I am grateful for the turn of the wheel and the return of the light, in case I hadn’t made that clear enough.
  • I am grateful that I have learned how to choose love, to choose positive thought, to wish everyone well. Life gives me so many opportunities for me to make that choice!

How was your Solstice? How was your day? Do you have some wishes and gratitude to share? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Posted on December 21st, 2014. Posted in these categories: gratitude, solstice, wheel of the year. No Comments

What’s waiting for you on the other side of the stillness point?

Sunday, December 21st

New Moon in Capricorn

0º06′ Capricorn
5:36 pm PST, 8:36 pm EST

Sun enters Capricorn

The Solstice
3:03 pm PST, 6:03 pm EST

Right before all the change, take some time in the stillness

Yes, change is coming on Sunday. If you haven’t been feeling the year-end bustle yet, you certainly should be by then. On Sunday, we have another in the series of zero-degree New Moons, the third of four. How have you been moving through these? Have they been landing like clean sweeps? Have the changes taken you by surprise, because you didn’t get any time to feel the energy of the Sun in the sign before the New Moon arrived? That’s how it’s felt for me.The Stillness Point

Before all the changes on Sunday, you have a celestial, spiritual invitation to be still

2014 Completion and ReleaseAccept the invitation. Set aside some time on Saturday the 20th, and reflect. Have you downloaded my 2014 Completion and Release workbook yet? If you haven’t, Saturday is the ideal day to do this stillness point working. If you have gone through the workbook already, bring it with you into your stillness point time and review it, you may get some new and deep insights that didn’t show up the first time you looked at this.

Suggestions for you — what you can do to make the most of this stillness point

  • Take some time alone. I will do this working in darkness, which makes sense here in California, since we have so much darkness right now, and since Sunday is the turn of the wheel, and the beginning of the return of the light. In the Southern Hemisphere, you might want to do this working in bright daylight.
  • Create an altar. Whether inside or outside, all you need is intention and maybe a sacred object or two to make a space sacred.
  • Get quiet. Invite the stillness. Allow the stillness to help you to turn away from the world, from your thoughts, and from your worries. Sink instead into your heart.
  • Take some time to look back at the year that’s almost ended now. Accept what was challenging, give thanks for what worked. And here’s the big magic: give thanks even for what didn’t work out as you hoped it would. The more you can get grateful for everything, the better. On every level. Accept it all, get complete with it, give thanks for it, and release it. Now you are ready to move on.
  • After some time in this deep and sacred reflection, end your stillness time with celebration. Celebrate the New Moon that is coming, and the New Sun, and the New You!!!

Now you are ready to start looking at your goals, intentions, and visions for the year ahead.

I’d love to know how the stillness point lands for you. Please talk to me in the comments below.

Posted on December 14th, 2014. Posted in these categories: completion, New Moon, release. 10 Comments

Stop! Wait! Before you start visioning and writing goals, do the completion and release work first

This post was originally published in December of 2012. It’s been completely updated and brought up-to-date.

This is the time of year when your thoughts start to turn to your visions, goals, and intentions for the year ahead

It’s December, a natural time to start thinking about plans, and set intentions, to get clear about your visions for the coming year. You may even be thinking about those things right now.

2014 Year-End Completion and Release WorkbookBut before you start writing those goals for the coming year…Stop and breathe. There’s work to do first!

Honor yourself in the most sacred way and allow for closure for all the beautiful actions you took in 2014. Take the time to look back, and acknowledge your magnificent accomplishments of this past year. Give yourself the gift of completing and releasing the year that’s coming to an end before you begin looking ahead — when you do, you’ll be creating a firmer loving foundation for your intentions and visions.

Introducing the Magnolias West 2014 Completion and Release Workbook.

Here’s how to create a strong, workable, sustainable foundation for your vision, goals and intentions for an amazing 2014! In this workbook you can make note of what challenged you, and what may still be incomplete. Celebrate yourself for all the new, audacious, brave, risky things you’ve taken on, tried, and manifested. The actions that worked out as planned (or better!) and the ones that didn’t. Everything that was wonderful, everything that was challenging, and everything in between. When you get to gratitude for all of it, you are lovingly cutting the ties to what may hold you back from your magnificence in the New Year.

Read what a client, Christine Scudder, has to say about the Completion & Release Workbook

CSheadshot“When I started the workbook, I was feeling pretty down on my year that was ending, but in the process of reviewing the questions, I found that I actually took more risks — and some significant ones at that — in the past year, and that each risk, each action, was deserving of my mindful attention and gratitude. I found the overall “taking stock” to be helpful. The language was at once direct and empowering, serving as an invitation to reflect upon this year in a way that was forthright, yet kind to myself. This is new for me — previously I’ve found “year in review” type activities to bring out a serious amount of harsh, critical self-judgment. I left this activity with a sense of clear renewal.” —Christine Scudder, MSW.

Even when your efforts fail, gorgeous, as long as you’re trying, you’re making progress.

They call it failing forward. I promise you, taking the time to do this completion work will remove the weeds and undergrowth from your path, so that your new start  —the goals, visions, blessings, and miracles you will bring to 2015 — will germinate, root, and flower beautifully for you.

How to buy the 2014 Year-End Completion and Release Workbook

It’s easy! All the information you need is right here.

Pricing, purchase links, more information, more testimonials, the whole megillah (yup, that’s Yiddish again — means the whole story). Check it out. Put yourself high on your gift list.
But wait, there’s more!

Posted on December 7th, 2014. Posted in these categories: completion, goals, intentions, release, resolutions. 16 Comments

How do you discern what’s true and glean useful knowledge and wisdom?

There is a lot of information flying around

The upcoming Full Moon in Gemini, which is ruled by Mercury, may be bringing a wide array of information to your attention. Mercury will be only one degree away from the Sun in Sagittarius during this Full Moon, intensifying the information load (and potential overload), if you’re not mindful.

Full Moon in Gemini 2014

Full Moon in Gemini

Saturday, December 6th
14º18′ Gemini
4:27 am PST, 7:27 am EST

It’s a good time to be flexible yet discerning as you go; check all facts before making assumptions and decisions.

Not everything you are told will be useful or reliable, and not everything has to be fixed right now. Gemini’s twin energies can be scattered, and may prefer to go after the quick fix or the hard-to-resist temptation to make hasty decisions. Stop. Breathe. And breathe again. Allow the commitment to the truth that Sagittarius brings to help you discern what’s useful, what can and should be acted upon now, and what can wait.

Believe me, a lot can wait.

Resist impulses, spend some time in the waiting, so you can discern in your sage heart what’s really useful to you and your business at this time. There is useful knowledge and wisdom for you — take the time to get clear.

How liberating is it when you allow yourself to choose what actions you will take!

This is the last Full Moon before the Solstice

The light will begin to change.

Here in the Northern Hemisphere this Moon has been called the Long Night Moon, the Open Moon, and the Cold Moon. Wherever you are, whether the light will begin to return or begin to wane at the Solstice, we are coming up to a turning point. If you can take some time during the Full Moon weekend, some ritual work around communication, expression, and discernment can be really useful. Useful for you and your beautiful heart, and useful moving forward in your business as the calendar year winds to a close.

  • Do you have a special pen, and/or a journal? I have two fountain pens that I use pretty exclusively. One has green ink, for all matters financial, and the other has purple ink, because of course 8-) . I will place my pens outside on Friday to charge overnight with the energy of useful and accurate and loving information (received and given) under the light of the Gemini Full Moon.
  • throat chakraAre you expressing everything you want and mean to say? I like to do some chanting to clear any expressive energy that may be blocked. You can clear the throat chakra by sitting in a meditative posture, and chanting Om 9 times, then Ram 9 times, then Ham 9 times. Stretch out the sound gently, easily, without strain. As you chant, focus on the center of your throat, and imagine the blue image to the right. When you have done your three rounds of chanting, repeat: “My thoughts are positive, and I always express myself truthfully, clearly and with love.”
  • Could you use some support in discerning what’s useful for you now? What I’m going to do is to put a bowl of filtered water outside next to my pens on Friday night to be charged. I will cover it with a cloth or a dish to keep any schmutz (Yiddish: dirt of unknown origin) from landing in the bowl. I will drink the water on Saturday, as close to the actual Full Moon as I can.

What do you have planned to mark the energy of this Full Moon?

I’d love to hear from you! Please talk to me by leaving a comment below.

Blessed be!

Posted on November 29th, 2014. Posted in these categories: Full Moon, wisdom. 10 Comments

Are you honouring your authentic introversion (or are you just hiding?)

This is a guest post, by the beautiful Tanja Gardner. She lives in New Zealand, although she spells like she’s British, and she’s an amazing writer who’s taking a powerful stand for introverts stepping regally into the full expression of their purpose in business.

There’s a difference between honouring your introversion and playing small

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone dismiss introversion as an “excuse to play small”, I’d… Well, I’d probably invest it, live off the interest, and offer my coaching services for free.

Seriously, the myths around being introverted — that we’re all just shy, poorly socialised, or just too selfish to make an effort — are mindboggling. Errr… no actually, there’s a growing body of scientific evidence for genuine physiological and biochemical differences between introverted and extroverted brains. (In everyday terms: we really are wired differently!)

That said, introversion can make an incredibly convenient excuse to avoid stretching beyond your comfort zone. So how can you tell whether you’re being true to who you are as an introvert, as opposed to hiding your light?

It’s a complex question, and without getting to know you, I can’t say for sure. But here are a few things to consider that might help you figure it out for yourself.

FreedomLet’s start by defining what introversion actually is

Before we talk about whether you’re honouring your introversion or not, it might help to check that we’re all talking about the same thing.

Being introverted (or extroverted) is basically about how your energy levels tend to respond to interacting with others.

  • If you’re introverted, you’ll generally find that spending time with other people drains your energy levels; and you recharge from being blissfully alone.
  • If you’re extroverted, you mostly get your juice from being around other people; and you start to feel flat when you’ve been too long by yourself.

Note the terms “generally” and “mostly” there. That’s because introversion and extroversion aren’t absolute characteristics – most of us experience a little bit of both in different situations. So instead, the terms refer to what you tend to experience most often.

(Not sure which “-vert” you are? This fun, free and totally unscientific quiz might help you figure it out!)

Plenty of introverts “play big” — but that doesn’t mean you have to

But wait, there’s more!

Posted on November 21st, 2014. Posted in these categories: guest post, introvert. 13 Comments

The zero point — recalibrate, renew, restart

The New Moon in Sagittarius is at zero degrees

It’s the second zero point New Moon in a series of four — let’s look at this; what can we learn?

New Moon at the zero point — recalibrate, renew, restart

New Moon in Sagittarius

Saturday, November 22nd
0º07′ Sagittarius
4:32 am PST, 7:32 am EST

They say that zero degrees of any sign is a jumping-off place.

Look, I don’t wait for the stars and planets to align to inspire me to recalibrate, renew, or restart, and I don’t advise you to do that either. You get to make those transformative, empowering, and liberating decisions in any moment, in any breath.

Paradoxically (on the surface, anyway), as a woman who lives connected to and respectful of the cycles, of the wheel of the Moon and of the seasons, I take each New and Full Moon as a special and sacred invitation to stop and connect with the energy of the season and the planetary positions and alignments. I consider each Dark Moon a perfect time to intentionally go inside, to go deep, and to do the clearing and releasing work that will let me set achievable intentions for this next lunation (Moon cycle).

Life hands out opportunities to claim sovereignty over how you react to the challenges, surprises, joys, and tragedies that can come at any time. In your business life, too, right? In the face of the unexpected, or the seemingly unendurable, how amazing does it feel when you plant your flag in faith, and take the time to stand in the zero point? They taught me in 12-step recovery that I can start my day over again as often as I need to do so. A zero point New Moon (and this one is the second in a series of four, so we will get to look at this for a while) invites you to take a quiet moment and ask:

  • What do I need to do to restore balance and harmony (recalibrate)?
  • What commitment can I make now (or make again) that will help me reconnect to the joy and inspiration that got me here in the first place (renew)?
  • What small action can I take today to get my stalled project back into action (restart)?

But wait, there’s more!

Posted on November 16th, 2014. Posted in these categories: astrology, New Moon, zero point. 14 Comments

Three reasons not to have a do-it-yourself website

I get asked about this all the time, and everything I’m about to share with you could fall under the heading: “You deserve support!”

And because I know that every one of my clients, and every one of you, is different, none of these bits of advice that are coming in this article are absolutes.

Your website: three reasons not to do-it-yourself

  • Some of you will be able to take on all of the techy stuff with ease, and some of you will be driven to distraction by it, and many of you will land somewhere in the middle. I’m extremely techy, I spend a lot of time studying WordPress and web design and development minutiae, and WordPress and css and html and all the other things involved in creating and launching a website can drive me nuts — often when I’m on a deadline!
  • Some of you are designers, you know your brand inside and out, and you know just how your website should look, and what words you should use so that your website (and all your marketing efforts) will appeal to the heart of your ideal client, so that she or he sticks around, tells others about your awesomeness, and buys your products and services. You’ve got the words, you’ve got your colors and your logo, but that doesn’t mean you automagically know how to make a workable, nimble, and reliable website.
  • Some of you are held back from getting the support you deserve because your business is brand-new, or not yet financially sustainable, and you believe you can’t invest money in this part of your business. I hear this a lot: “I need to make more money before I can hire someone who does what you do.” I am not now, nor would I ever, suggest to anyone that they put themselves in financial straits for their business. At the same time, I know from experience that part of what we get to do as passionate, mission-driven soulpreneurs, is to step out of our comfort zone, and invest funds along with our investment of time and energy. (Another part of this, of course, is to revisit your fees and make sure you’re charging enough, but that’s a topic for another article.)

Three reasons not to have a do-it-yourself website

But wait, there’s more!

Posted on November 8th, 2014. Posted in these categories: branding, Unmask Your Brand, web design. 16 Comments