Gratitude across the sacred journey of your life

Maiden, Mother, Crone, and always, always, the Queen

This may be a bit of a stretch, but stretching is always good… let’s dive in

Maiden, Mother, Crone

I’ll get us started with these words from The art of blessing the day by Marge Piercy.

…the discipline of blessings is to taste each moment, the bitter, the sour, the sweet, and the salty….

Attention is love, what we must give children, mothers, fathers, pets, our friends, the news, the woes of others. What we want to change we curse and then pick up a tool.

The sacred journey of gratitude is powerful, and grows more powerful the more you live it, feel it, and express it

Let’s look at gratitude and how it may ripen as you ripen in your own life.

I know that I finally understood that there could be no conditions on gratitude when I was critically ill last summer, because every condition gets in the way of the big magic gratitude can bring to your life. Until my big hospital drama happened (ERs, ICUs, crash teams, the whole megillah), I didn’t realize that I had plenty of conditions on my gratitude. Yes, okay, I can be grateful for this, and this, and okay even this, but never that! I have finally learned that ever “never that” blocks me from being All In. And every block in the way of being All In keeps me stuck in a yucky victim space.

I don’t mean I’m a fully realized being; there may be more “never that!’s” to release in my life. (It’s a good bet that there may be more in store for me as I live, grow, and age.) But last year’s adventure left me with a big, fat, spiritual awakening to just what’s included in (as Piercy describes it) the bitter, the sour, the sweet, and the salty. I’ll add: And the life-threatening. And the embarrassing. And the difficult. And the “Are you kidding me? Seriously?”

The stages of a woman’s life — Maiden, Mother, Crone, and always, always the Queen

You don’t have to be young to be energized and free. You don’t have to have children at home to be nurturing. You don’t have to be old to know your sacred wisdom. You don’t have to have a (visible) crown to stand sovereign and regal in the space you create when you follow your heart and your dreams.

While the first three — Maiden, Mother, and Crone — may be traditionally seen as biological and age-related, I contend that the energy of the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone are always within, and can be accessed as needed throughout life. Tragically, our modern culture doesn’t know very well how to support and teach Maiden-Mother-Crone-Queen awareness any more, but luckily women can find each other (covens, support groups, business masterminds) for the necessary training and practice to develop and perfect this sacred access, knowledge, and understanding.

The Queen? Standing sovereign in your regality is the Divine Feminine energy made manifest. We are Queens from birth to death, just like we are Maidens, Mothers, and Crones. It just takes a combination of support from other women, life experience, and a dash of self-love to realize and take ownership of your regality.

The Maiden and her sacred journey of gratitude

The Maiden belongs to and answers to no one but herself. Her mission (and it’s so much fun!) is discovering her creative force, exploring pleasure, and learning how to take care of her self. She acts from desire, she follows her dreams, she has bold ideas, and she dances through life with abandonment.

How Maiden gratitude may be expressed:

  • I am grateful for the energy to explore the world, from inside myself to the farthest reaches of my interest and curiosity.
  • I am grateful that I am in charge of me.
  • I am grateful for the creative force that drives me to begin, and create, and begin again.

But wait, there’s more!

Posted on February 5th, 2015. Posted in these categories: gratitude, journey. 24 Comments

Healing and clear vision — what are you meant to be, do, and heal?

Prayers for healing and clear vision

Full Moon in Leo

Tuesday, February 3rd
14º48′ Leo
3:09 pm Pacific
6:09 pm Eastern

Imbolc

Monday, February 2nd

Mercury retrograde in Aquarius

continues through
Wednesday, February 11th

The Leo Full Moon rises this year just after Imbolc, the time when you can begin to really feel the first stirrings of Spring here in the north if you haven’t already — tree buds are swelling, and daylight is now noticeably longer. The first days of February are also known as Tu BiShvat — New Year for trees — in Judaism; and Groundhog Day in the U.S., symbolizing how animals are waking from their winter hibernation.

Where I live, in Northern California , the magnolias have already bloomed and brought their beauty and heady scent. My daughter and I did our annual photo shoot with the magnolias as a backdrop just the other day.

Magnolias 2015As we celebrate the growing light in the Northern Hemisphere, those of you in the South are approaching the first harvest. Some of us are opening to the light, and the others are seeing the coming darkness. We are all doing our dance around the wheel.

As the light increases, you may feel pulled to focus on your vision for the year ahead.

Accept this invitation, open this gift, lean into the new life and light that was sparked at the Winter Solstice.

Who will you be, what will you do, and what will you heal this coming year? In addition to setting goals and intentions for the two weeks, as you usually do at the Full Moon, look at the year ahead as well. What is being called forth? What will you share of your time, treasure, and talents with the people you love, and those you serve?

Ribbons for healing at ImbolcAsk for a blessing for healing

Imbolc is the Goddess Brigid’s festival. She is a triple Goddess, a healer, a poet, and a maker — no wonder she’s so dear to my heart! It is believed that at Imbolc, she blesses people and livestock. This is a great time to hang pieces of ribbon or cloth out on a bush or a tree for Brigid to bless and imbue with healing properties.

I have done this today. I wrote on pieces of ribbon the names of those I want to be blessed and healed. I walked my neighborhood and found a lovely bush on a corner where there’s a community garden. I hung my ribbons there. I also made smaller versions of my ribbons and glued them in my journal. Because why not?

healing ribbons in the journalMore about the Full Moon

Leo is the sign the represents your individuality, creativity, and leadership. Is there a moment you can step around your fear and step fully into the spotlight? Leo also invites you to nurture those you love and your own beautiful self. Are you making enough time for fun, rest, and adventure?

We are still in Mercury retrograde (Rx) until February 11th

All three of this year’s Mercury retrogrades occur in air signs (this one is in Aquarius), inviting you to re-examine your thoughts, your limiting beliefs, and your social interactions. Mercury Rx also opens the way for you to re-lax, and turn your attention within and listen closely to your Divine Feminine, your inner creative voice. Honor your emotional intelligence, your instincts and your intuition.

Listen to the whispers that resonate in your heart, and open you up to healing and clear vision, as we turn the corner into Imbolc and the Full Moon. What are you meant to be and do and heal in the coming year? How will you step into what is calling you? I’d love to hear what lands for you — talk with me in the comments. Blessed be!

Posted on January 29th, 2015. Posted in these categories: Full Moon, healing, Imbolc, wheel of the year. 28 Comments

I’ll be the designer — you get to be the diva

My manifesto as a designer — You get to be the diva

It’s all right here in the graphic »

You get to be the diva

I support you in being the diva in our collaborations

I get how hard it can be to claim sovereignty over your brand. You are in business, in your practice, because you are driven to be of service. You give your all maybe not all, but you give a lot — of your time, your energy, and your talent — to your own clients. You are passionate and committed to your clients’ success.

It’s no wonder, then, that when it comes time to hire a designer to develop your brand, to craft the logo that will visually represent your passion and purpose, to help you craft a website that will be the inviting entry point for your own ideal clients, that you may find it hard to step into making yourself a priority, to now being in service to your own beautiful self.

This is not weird. This doesn’t only happen to heart-centered healers and changemakers.

There are plenty of designers who inhabit the diva space, who claim ownership of what your brand should look like, and don’t leave much room in the conversation for your vision. Designers like this make it very uncomfortable for you when you state your wishes and your opinions. One result of this pervasive mindset about designers is that you as a client can feel intimidated, and even shamed, when it comes to taking a stand for what your heart and soul are craving to express — in the visuals, in the words, and in the flow of your website.

I’m working with a coach right now on her brand and logo, and just finished a website for an author-teacher-healer. During both of these collaborations, I heard my client requesting changes in a timid way, asking me permission to state her wishes and to express what she really wanted to see developed. One of them said “Forgive me if I come across as interfering with your creative space.” And I got it.

I’m working out how I want to express this (yes, thank you for helping me beta test this manifesto, beloved), and you’ll soon see this reflected in everything I write in my Unmask Your Brand pages. I am making this crystal clear: We are in collaboration. Your voice and input are critical to the process and to the success of the final product. You get to be the diva.

  • I will lead you through an Unmask Your Brand process to get us started, which helps me get many important ingredients from your conscious and unconscious to throw into my design cauldron. That unmasking process is just the beginning, though. As we proceed from the initial concepts through refinement and revisions, more is always revealed; you’ll probably have ideas and thoughts that weren’t available to you at the beginning — it’s an unfoldment. The more I get from you as we go, the better the results will be. Talk to me!
  • I may in fact get so inspired by a design idea that I will argue its merits with you. But I always remember whose brand it is, and once I have my say, I always always make sure your take on it — your vision — is the one you go home with.
  • My goal is for your brand to represent your passion, mission, and purpose in a beautiful, elegant, and compelling way. I am honored to help you create a visual brand that lands — and sticks — in the eye, mind, and heart of your ideal client. There is no way I can accomplish this if I am only engaging myself in the conversation. And there is every chance I can go a darned good job of it when we are in sacred, trust-based collaboration.

How has it gone for you when you’ve hired a designer? What has made you feel fully expressed and heard? What has left you feeling like you just bought something that doesn’t really match your vision? I’d love to hear what you’ve experienced; talk to me in the comments.

Posted on January 24th, 2015. Posted in these categories: branding, design. 10 Comments

Aquarius: innovation and exaltation

I am feeling a big opening and invitation right now

An easing of tension, a freeing of constraint

Maybe it’s because I’m starting to feel better, after six weeks of coughing, and fevers, and the effects of two rounds of antibiotics. And better in my body, now that nearly three weeks have passed since the car accident. And maybe it’s an opening in the energy in more than just me and my body. The upcoming astrological shifts are inviting innovation and exaltation in some very lovely ways.

I think this invitation is an opening for you as a person, for you in your business, for you in your community, for you in the collective, and for us all. And isn’t that lovely!

Aquarius — innovation and exaltation

New Moon in Aquarius

Tuesday, January 20th
0º09′ Aquarius
5:14 am Pacific
8:14 am Eastern

Sun enters Aquarius

Tuesday, January 20th
1:44 am Pacific
4:44 am Eastern

Mercury retrograde in Aquarius

Wednesday, January 21st
through
Wednesday, February 11th

An innovative New Moon and an exalted Mercury retrograde

The Aquarius New Moon — Innovation

Another zero degree New Moon, this one is barely in Aquarius, only a quarter-hour out of Capricorn. (We also will have rare second Aquarius New Moon on February 18th, the Lunar New Year, more on that soon.) Each of these Aquarius New Moons will have its own flavor, though, enhanced by the sign it’s so close by. This week, Capricorn’s energy will play its part, adding determination and skillfulness to the innovation and inspiration that Aquarius brings. For this New Moon, the Sun, Moon, Mercury, and Venus are all in Aquarius — it’s an innovation party! Expecting the unexpected can be helpful, especially with the Mercury Rx (retrograde) beginning the next day.

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius — Exaltation

More good news. No, really, I mean it! Okay, okay, calm down. It’s just not true that every Mercury retrograde is the time to crawl into bed with chocolates and Netflix on your iPad (or whatever your safe nest looks like) and wait for it to be over. Yes, it’s good to be a little extra mindful, careful, and prudent during a Mercury Rx (especially at the very beginning and end). It’s also good to allow for a little more time to get things done and to get to your destination.

But relax! This time, the whole retrograde dance takes place in Aquarius, and Mercury is exalted in this sign — comfortable and functioning beautifully. Expect things to go well. Intend the awesome, know you’re going to bring the awesome with everything you do, and enjoy it!

avocadosI also feel this energy all around me, I can feel the season begin to shift

I love being a wheel-of-the-year, season-minded woman

When I lived in New York, this time of year was frigid, and icy, and slushy, and hard to endure. Even in the insane cold, I was attuned to the slightest swelling of the buds on bare branches. I would watch for, and celebrate, the first tiny tip of green to appear in the cracks in the sidewalk. Harbingers of magnolias, snowdrops and daffodils on their way.

magnoliasAnd now here I am in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the magnolias are blooming everywhere around me. And the first local avocados of the year were at the farmers market yesterday. Barely bigger than an egg, but woot! I expect the first asparagus in a week or two.

What changes are you noticing around you where you are? What shifts do you feel in the season? How will you embrace innovation and exaltation as the Aquarius energy opens for you? I’d love to know what you’re thinking…. please talk to me in the comments!

Posted on January 18th, 2015. Posted in these categories: exaltation, innovation, New Moon, wheel of the year. 14 Comments

Eisodus or exodus? Where is your heart headed?

Eisodus or exodus?

Eisodus or exodus?
A little disclaimer, first

There’s a whole lot of Old Testament stuff connected to these two terms (exodus and eisodus), including some that I have a lot of trouble with — cultural appropriation, genocide, and more. But as with many spiritual teachings, when I can be still, and receptive, the goodness, the universal teachings, rise to the top. That’s what I’m sharing with you today — the good stuff, the good questions, from my heart to yours.

Eisodus and exodus

I heard a talk from one of my spiritual teachers during the holidays, and he shared a concept I had never heard before — eisodus. What landed and resonated for me is the idea that, in any moment, you are either headed away from something or you are headed toward something. I felt that distinction viscerally. I felt it as two questions: Where is your heart headed? And how will you get there?

When you are in exodus, when you are headed away, you are motivated by fear in one way or another. It could be in reaction to something that someone said, or something that happened. You could be trying to find a place, or situation, where you feel safe. You could be sure that Anywhere But Here would be more comfortable than your present circumstances (kinda like the Geographic Cure that’s talked about in 12-step recovery).

When you are moving in eisodus, you are moving toward, you are connected to faith, to your heart. You are finding direction and taking actions consistent with your intentions. You are present to what is, in deep acceptance. You are connected to the Divine (however that manifests for you: God, Goddess, nature, spirit) and cloaked in the courage and safety that connection gives you.

This distinction — eisodus or exodus? — raised some loving and powerful questions.

Take some time this week with these questions. You can do some journal writing, and of course, you are invited to share what comes up for you in the comments.

  • How do you deal with unexpected upsets? How do you get past reaction and reconnect with your sacred intentions?
    In your business, this could be loss of revenue, or a client deciding to complete their work with you. Or a computer failure, or your website going down. In your beautiful life, this could be a relationship that you see is not working for you. Or it could be illness. Or you could get in a bad car accident! What works for you to move you from reaction to intention?
  • How do you soothe your tender heart when you are upset? How do you release the impulse to defend and soften into acceptance?
    In business, and in your life, when you’re upset, do you notice impatience? Do you snap at others? Or yell and scream? (If you don’t yell and scream, you probably didn’t grow up in a rageful household, lucky you!) What do you do to connect to Divine compassion and forgiveness, for yourself first, and for others?
  • When you are tempted to kick it all to the curb and leave, how do you re-ground, and re-center, and connect to your breath, to your courage?
    In your business, especially when you’re just beginning or in a revenue ebb, it can feel just too hard, and too scary. Same with your relationships, and your health and self-care. How do you make friends with what is?

The answer to all three of these questions, for me, starts with gratitude. Because of course.

When I can reconnect to gratitude, in this now moment, no matter what, I’m in a better place. Grounded, connected to the Divine, in acceptance. This allows me to see with love everything that is on my plate in this moment. Car accidents, chronic illness, the financial state of my business… all of it, yo.

I’d love to hear how this lands for you. I know, it’s a unusual set of concepts for me to discuss, but I’ve been feeling them in a deep way since I heard them, and I thought you might find this useful. Please do share what you think in the comments.

Posted on January 11th, 2015. Posted in these categories: acceptance, awareness, compassion, gratitude. 16 Comments

New beginnings — guess I needed a swift kick in the rear

On the next-to-last day of the year, I was rear-ended. Hard.

Rear-ended, new beginnings

It was varying degrees of awful, and it could have been much worse.

My job is to rest my body and my tender heart this weekend, so what I’m going to do is share with you what I posted on Facebook on the night that this happened.

Here we go.

It’s time to connect to my gratitude. ‘Cause if I can’t I’m stuck feeling like a victim, and feeling sorry for myself, and feeling scared.

After taking a beloved friend to lunch, and giving her some cash because she’s in financial straits, I went to the grocery store, and as I left, I got rear-ended — hard. My car may be totaled. I’m sore.

  • So I tenderly say to my victim thoughts: No, honey, it’s not linear. You’re not being punished, nor does your generosity to your friend exempt you from life happening, from shit happening. Life surely happened today. The woman behind me wasn’t looking and drove right into the back of my car. With gusto.
  • And I lovingly say to my self-pitying thoughts: It could have been so much worse. You could be in the hospital, or dead. Your car could have hit one of the people in the crosswalk for whom you had stopped. You made it safely to the side of the road, you are insured, and you’re driving a 2015 fancy-ass Impala while the fate of your old Camry is being processed.
  • And to my fear thoughts, I say: Oh sweetie, you’re okay. You’re safe. You’re fed. You’re loved. Just keep breathing. Even if the insurance company totals the car, you’ll be okay; you’ll get the transportation you need. And, yes, darling, why not watch just one more episode of The Wire before bed? (My self-soothing may seem really weird, but it works for me!!)

I got such incredible love and lessons from my tribe on Facebook! Like….

  • A rear-ender means a good kick up the backside to get you moving in life… Where are you stuck and and needing to move? It is opportunities to grow further… Look to 2015 as extra special New Beginnings… Have a fantastic journey this year and keep moving forward…
  • Having this end 2014 is better than, say, starting off 2015 with this incident. This is annoying, but not tragic and though you may know that intellectually, it’s always good to review it. On the plus side, things can only go up right?
  • Way to stand plunk in the middle of compassionate power and say, well, wow, a day in the life…

I am so happy to have gotten to acceptance and gratitude in such a short time.

It was all in the same day, yo. It was about four hours.

That’s the whole game, isn’t it? Life happens. Life happens in wildly unexpected ways (and from directions you can’t even see), right?

It all comes down to this: When can you let go of resentment, and fear, and self-pity, and get to gratitude? What do you choose to do about it? All of it? What do you choose to think? What do you choose to say? What do you choose to do?

I got the kick in the rear I must have needed, kicked me right into the new beginning of a new day, and a new year (and maybe a newer used car!).

How are you choosing to accept what life has offered you today? What new beginnings (sought or not) are you facing? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Love and so much gratitude for you!

Posted on January 3rd, 2015. Posted in these categories: acceptance, gratitude. 29 Comments

What’s your theme for the year ahead? I’m All In….

Just a few days left to get complete with 2014.

Have you taken some time to review, complete, and release all that happened in 2014?

The good, the bad, everything? I have a handy workbook that will help you do just that; thanks to everyone who downloaded it!

All In in 2015

Once you’re complete, look forward and find your theme — your keywords — for the year ahead.

I’m All In.

This last year brought new challenges in my business and in my health. I got sicker than I’ve ever been, had two hospitalizations. My business, of course, slowed down as I recovered and learned in entirely new ways how to manage my resources and meager reserves.

What wonderful opportunities for acceptance, and surrender, and gratitude!

I’m All In for 2015.

Even though I now know in a deeper, completely unexpected, and very profound way that I don’t get to choose what it is I will get to deal with, process, and accept. What is given to you to walk through is your jewel, your gift, your treasure, no matter what. And when you stop resisting and get to acceptance, you can even end up in sincere gratitude for everything, even the really hard stuff. Much to my surprise, I got grateful for the tough and scary stuff, and that gratitude — as it always does — changed everything.

What is your theme for 2015?

I’d love to know, please share with me in the comments.

Full Moon in Cancer

Sunday, January 4th
14º31′ Cancer
8:53 pm Pacific
11:53 pm Eastern

Some call Sunday’s Full Moon the Quiet Moon, or the Moon After Yule. It’s the first Full Moon of 2015, and it’s in Cancer, which is ruled by the Moon. Emotions, your heart, all are going to be tugged by this Full Moon.

Complete 2014 with love, acceptance, and intention; and release everything — even what was incomplete. Name and embrace your theme and keywords for 2015. These are the best rituals you can do this week. Allow Sunday’s Full Moon to meet you standing in your sovereignty.

Posted on December 28th, 2014. Posted in these categories: gratitude, theme of the year. 14 Comments