What needs a little love and attention? Start with your chakras.

It’s the holidays, yo. Things get stressful.

I went to see one of my healers today and was prescribed some self-love and empowerment. She advised me to tend to my chakras, especially the third one (working from the bottom) so that I could feed and nurture my own personal power, and gently yet firmly welcome a more powerful version of myself in this Solstice season.

There are three really good things about this idea:

  • I’m reminded just how much focused meditation can improve my health. Yes, I’ve used this tool before, and yet I forget! I’ve done work with the chakras before and it feels just right to circle back to them again.
  • I’ve decided to be in my office very little the last two weeks of the month, which opens up space for internal healing (and more fun!).
  • This time of year, as I approach the Solstice, I can really feel the old wounds in my tender heart; how nice to be willing to reclaim my own power by being a force for love, ease, and healing inside and out.

Chakra affirmations for the holidays

Want to join me opening up chakras? It’s easy.

If you’re noticing any tenderness in your own self — any facets of your beautiful heart and psyche that are calling for some TLC — why not join me in this daily practice?

Chakra meditation. Start with the Root chakra and work your way up.

  • Get comfortable in your favorite meditation position. Do what works for you. Sit on a cushion or a chair. Lie down. If you can have your feet flat on the floor and your spine straight, allowing the energy to flow through you.
  • For each chakra, there are three steps. First step: take a few breaths imagining you are inhaling that chakra’s colors. Inhale the bright color you see in the image, and as you exhale imagine you are sending that color into the universe through the body part you’re working. Three to five breaths could work for this, although if you’re working a particular theme (like I am with empowerment), spend more time with that chakra and its color.
  • Second step: chant the chakra’s seed sound. (Each chakra has its own sound — some call it a seed syllable — and it’s right there under each picture. For the Root chakra, it’s Lam. And so on.) Inhale fully, and on a long, slow exhale let the sound vibrate in the chakra’s body part. Repeat the chanted sound five times for each chakra, and of course more times for those ones that are calling for special attention.
  • Third step: repeat the affirmation aloud three times. And now you’re ready to move on to the next chakra.

Other good stuff to do to support this working:

I’m looking at quotes about empowerment, because that’s how I roll — I respond well to visuals and to the lessons and blessings in others’ words. Take some time to support your sacred and sovereign work by finding the words that wrap you in purpose and ease. Let’s close with my favorite quote of the day:

“Cherish your solitude. Take trains by yourself to places you have never been. Sleep out alone under the stars. Learn how to drive a stick shift. Go so far away that you stop being afraid of not coming back. Say no when you don’t want to do something. Say yes if your instincts are strong, even if everyone around you disagrees. Decide whether you want to be liked or admired. Decide if fitting in is more important than finding out what you’re doing here. Believe in kissing.”  ― Eve Ensler

How did this land, dear one? I’d love to know what you think, what you find, what you learn. Talk to me in the comments. Blessed be!

Posted on December 8th, 2015. Posted in these categories: chakras, empowerment. 23 Comments

How to create engaging image quotes and protect your brand

I love all the beautiful ideas and quotes that people are putting in their blogs and websites

And I’m very fond of all the free ways there are to make these engaging and social-media–friendly images

You no longer need a copy of Photoshop to create engaging image quotes. Nor do you need to hire someone like me to make them for you. If you don’t have a list like this yet, here is a resource that lists 15 of the current free ways to create image quotes.

In case you haven’t tried this tool for yourself yet, here are three good reasons to add image quotes to your repertoire:

  • Image quotes catch the eye and, when well-crafted, can draw your reader right into the meat of your article.
  • Image quotes are shareable and pinnable and therefore can do wonders to increase your reach in social media.
  • People don’t always read all your words (welcome to the 21st century and information overload!). Restating your headline and main ideas in an image quote is a great way to know you’re getting more of your message delivered.

But are you protecting your brand when you create these so-important images?

The downside to using some of the free image-quote–creation software is that you have to take the time to find out how to adjust the colors and pick the fonts that best support your brand. I’ve researched a few of these apps, and in most cases, the ability to change colors and fonts is there and it’s well worth your time to find and use those tools. When your image quotes reflect your brand’s heart and soul, you are going to be so much more successful at getting your message to the people you are meant to serve.

[edited to add:] Please make sure to add a copyright line to each image quote you create — this is a critical step in effective brand protection. I prefer a small watermark at the bottom. [Thank you to my smart readers for reminding me about this!]
How to create engaging image quotes and protect your brand at the same time

Let’s look in a little more detail…

Step one. Find the words that will be useful or inspirational to your tribe.

Whatever you’re blogging for: to grow your list, or fill a program, or sell a product…. Take a look at your outline, or your rough draft as you’re writing it, and come up with a key message. Today I outlined the three steps I’m writing about here. Other times I find an inspirational quote (quoting other healers and teachers and sometimes just quoting myself!). I almost always repeat the headline (or a shortened version of it) in the image itself. This is very good for search results and social sharing. When your image is pinned or shared, and the key words are in the image, the connection to your article is clear and inviting.

Step two. Combine your words with a meaningful, or provocative, or simply beautiful image.

You want your reader to stop at your image. So pick or create something beautiful. Or meaningful. Use free stock photography (I love Pixabay), or low-cost stock photography (right now I use Shutterstock and Deposit — I just grab deals as they come around), or an image of your own. Or find an image that will cause your reader to stop and wonder, or even get irritated or curious (maybe irritated or curious enough to engage with you by leaving a comment).

Step three (and this is the one I just realized needs to be spoken about). Protect your brand! Use your own colors and fonts to carry your message.

Because I’m a designer and because protecting my brand and my clients’ brands comes as naturally to me as breathing, it’s taken me a while (too long!) to talk to you about this. But it’s never too late. When I make an image, I will change the colors to match my Magnolias West palette. I did that today. I used the Magnolias West red, gold, and gray in the brain, heart, lightbulb, and symbols. When I use a photo in a image quote, I color-correct it to harmonize with my colors. You do not have to get this fancy to do a good job of getting your important message across and protecting your brand at the same time. Start here:

  • Do you know your brand’s colors? If your designer/web person hasn’t given you a library of logos to use for print and web, plus a style sheet that shows you your colors and how to achieve those colors in any medium, then ask for your style sheet now! I’ve said it before. It’s your heart, your soul, your passion, your mission all represented in your brand, and you own all this information. Most of the free apps that allow you to create images will ask for hex codes for colors. Plus in a complete style sheet you’ll have specs for printing (Pantone or CMYK colors) as well as the hex and RGB spex.
  • Do you know your brand’s fonts? This is a bit trickier, because not all apps for creating image quotes contain all the fonts in the world. But with a little research you can either find an app that has your headline font available or you can find something close and stick to it — which then makes it an integral part of your brand. Consistency is key!

Are  you wondering why protecting your brand is important?

Glad you asked! Think about the word “brand.” Yup, it means to burn something into something permanently. What does that mean for you today when you work so hard to create and sustain a brand that is the visual representation of your mission and purpose? It means you want to have your words, your image, your message, your passion permanently entered into the heart and memory of your readers so that you and your business come to mind easily and often. As a designer I work my magic so that each client’s brand creates a beautiful foundation and home for all of her awesome work and service.

Your brand has many components: Your logo. The fonts you use in your marketing materials. Your color palette. Your product names and descriptors. If you don’t have all of them within easy reach, get your designer to give you what you need. And when you have this information, use it and protect it.

There are a million more questions I could try to anticipate and answer now, but I have a better idea — ask me! What did I leave out? How can I help you leverage the tools you have to get the best results for you and your beautiful and oh-so-worthy-of-protection brand? Talk to me in the comments. Or book a free Discernment Session with me to see if you’re ready to do some work on aligning your passion and purpose with your beautiful brand.

Posted on December 1st, 2015. Posted in these categories: branding, creativity. 22 Comments

The year is winding down. Are you feeling the pull to review and set intentions?

It’s getting darker and darker here in the north in this last month before the Solstice.

This is the time when your thoughts and your heart may turn to setting intentions for the year to come.

2015 year-end review. Completion. Release. Intention.

I’ve always thought that it’s more than just “resolutions” that are needed to make effective and lasting changes. I’ve written about resolutions and how by themselves they just don’t have enough energy attached to do the job. As you can see when you compare the crowds in the gym or at your local 12-step meeting in early January and a month later. Yup, resolutions in action. You can read a few of the articles I’ve written about this very thing here and here and here.

There’s so much to see every time you look back

  • You see and celebrate the good stuff: everything you completed and every risk you took.
  • Then you can assess what didn’t get completed: What needs to change to make this happen?
  • What needs to be released?

Once you have done this completion and release work, then your intentions (and resolutions) have a much stronger foundation and a much better chance of sustained success.

2015 Completion, Release, and Intention-Setting workbookI created this Year-End Completion and Release workbook a few years ago, and this year instead of selling it I’m giving it away. Because my birthday. Because I’m grateful. Because of you!

Every subscriber to my weekly loveletter will receive a free download link to the updated and revised workbook starting this week and going until the end of December. I’ve given a lot of gifts away this birthday month, and I’m closing it out with this gift from my heart to yours. It’s a beautiful and useful book. Set aside an hour or so and do some work that will help you set the foundation for changes for the coming year.

Look for the link in your copy of my loveletter in the coming weeks, and if you are not yet a subscriber, you can opt in right here.

I’m turning to three quotes from Mary Oliver to close this post. Because she really says it:

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”

“Sometimes I need
only to stand
wherever I am
to be blessed.”

I’d love it if you’d chime in in the comments; how’s your year-end ritual shaping up?

Solstice image courtesy Danny Pivato from NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day website
Posted on November 24th, 2015. Posted in these categories: completion, intentions, release. 19 Comments

The empty step — a tai chi teaching you can use in your business

Tai chi practice teaches you so much

The lessons you learn and use in martial arts have application in your life and in your business

Practicing tai chi can be a lifetime journey. No lie, it nearly is in my case; it’s been over 40 years now. They call it “practice” for good reason.

  • Can I slow down and soften?
  • Can I hold each posture a bit longer today?
  • Can I move from my center and let everything else follow?

Every single repetition, every single practice, invites you to focus on the moment, on what you are doing right now. Not on what you can’t do. Not on yesterday’s form or tomorrow’s challenge. But This.Now.Moment.

When you focus on and practice what’s in front of you, you move toward mastery with every breath. Mastery of the movement. Mastery of the interaction. Mastery in your work. Mastery in your business. Reminder: It’s moving toward mastery I’m talking about here, not necessarily achieving mastery. How would you know you got there, anyway? And then what would you do for fun?

The empty step

Pushing handsHow do you win in tai chi?

  • By being more relaxed than the person with whom you’re sparring.
  • By listening, really listening, so you can sense the other person’s disbalance and then guide her to a clearer understanding of where she was stuck and a way to get what she really needs.
  • By getting out of your head and into your body and your heart.

And then there’s the empty step.

When you step with an empty foot, you can feel through your foot to the ground below. You can feel stability or the lack of stability. You can feel safety or not-so-safe. If the ground isn’t stable or safe, you can place your foot elsewhere before you commit. The tai chi form when you see it practiced is fluid with no stops. It’s beautiful. Guess how it gets that way? A zillion or so hours of practice. I wonder how many hours I personally have drilled this in practice.

Step empty.
Pick the foot up — did you rock with a weight shift or are you steady, stable, supported?
Put the foot down again.
Pick it up  — count to …three-four-five, sinking all the while; okay.
Step empty, then shift your weight.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
And repeat some more.

Think about your business. Compare the times you have moved hastily to get something done, or launched, with the times you have slowed down, and taken time with each step of the process. Some examples of empty steps in business might be:

  • Running an idea or content by a coach or a mastermind or a friend for feedback.
  • Trying something out small scale before going big.
  • Taking a little more time than you think you need. With everything.

What empty steps have you taken in your business? What heavy off-balance steps? What have you noticed? I’d love to know; please leave a comment.

Posted on November 10th, 2015. Posted in these categories: business, empty step, tai chi. 22 Comments

Sharing birthday and Day of the Dead happiness — a gift for you!

My birthday, and Day of the Dead, were Monday November 2nd.

And I got to have an altar at the Berkeley Day of the Dead (DotD) festival.

I want to tell you how amazing this evening was. Even though I was freezing; even though there was thunder, lightning, and rain for two hours during and after set-up; even though it was a long long day; it was amazing!

Day of the Dead

Here’s how the amazing Day of the Dead event went.

I went and dug up some graveyard dirt (why yes, I am a witch) and placed it in the bucket with the sign on it at the table. I had paper and markers. I expected that maybe a few people would stop by and, in DotD spirit, write the names of their beloved dead on paper and throw it in the dirt. What I offered was clearly more resonant than I thought it would be — I almost ran out of the slips of paper I brought with me. After a while you couldn’t even see the dirt in the bucket. People were moved, and thanked me, reverently. Some asked what I would do with the names, and I told them I would burn or bury all the paper this week, respectfully — “Your ancestors deserve no less.”

In the lulls as people walked by I thought about whipping out my phone — y’know, play a little Words with Friends, or otherwise entertain myself. Most unusually for me, I never did. I just sat there and held space for the depth and reverence available in this interactive offer — because I felt called to do so. My presence made the connections I had with people (from little kids to older folk) throughout the event deep and hella sacred. I thanked people when I feel so grateful and so blessed! Once or twice I found myself saying “Thanks for playing” in a way that was totally in keeping with the joyful reverence.

My birthday — a gift for you

I have a birthday gift to offer you!

I’m giving away six free coaching sessions, want one?

If you’re a woman passionate about the work you do, and you’re ready to step out of whatever is holding you back from the magnificent expression of your heart’s vision and soul’s purpose in every aspect of your business, please accept my heartfelt invitation to a complimentary conversation with me:

Discover how you can beautifully integrate your most sacred mission and purpose in every aspect of your business — Unmask Your Brand and Share Your Magic.

In this session, I’ll help you identify exactly what you want your thriving, impactful, successful business to look like a year from now. We’ll look at least three things that are blocking you from envisioning, manifesting and sustaining a business that is a reflection of your passion, mission and purpose. Or… we’ll look at your brand and website and identify what’s blocking your heart’s mission and soul’s purpose from being clearly and invitingly and compellingly communicated. We’ll also identify the most powerful action(s) you can take right now to move you forward in the direction of your dreams.

You will leave the session with a personalized action plan and full of the excitement and energy that comes from knowing what to do next.

I’m giving nine sessions away. Grab your free sesssion here!

Posted on November 3rd, 2015. Posted in these categories: birthday, Day of the Dead. 26 Comments

Inspiration roundup

Under this bright Taurus Full Moon, I’m moved to share some inspiration with you.

A quote, an image, and a question. Times three.

I’d love to read your answers to the suggestions and questions in the comments below.

#1. How do you show up for your interactions?

"Great work comes out of interactions with the people you see to change."

“Great work doesn’t come out of nowhere. It comes out of interactions with the people you seek to change.”Seth Godin

Try this: For the next 24 hours, set your internal mindfulness meter. When you’re out doing errands, waiting on line at the checkout, driving around town, dealing with interruptions, how are you showing up? What do you notice? What have you done — what can you do — to narrow the gap between the way you show up in your life and the way you show up for your clients and prospects?

#2. What’s not getting done? What are you telling yourself is just not possible?

"Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible.'!"

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!” — Audrey Hepburn

Try this: That thing you’ve been thinking about/dreaming about/trying to do but it seems too big/too hard/too out of reach? Take a step, one more step than you thought you could, in its direction today. What opens for you when you think of this? What opens for you when you try?

#3: Are you feeling tender, embarrassed, ashamed, of decisions you’ve made and risks you’ve taken that haven’t panned out?

"...you might as well laugh about it now."

“If you’re going to be able to look back on something and laugh about it, you might as well laugh about it now.” — Marie Osmond

Try this: Whatever that thing is, right now, that you wish you had done differently, the one you’re embarrassed about, share it with a friend, or post it here in the comments, and ask to be helped to see the humor in it. Betcha you’ll be smiling before you’ve finished asking the question. I know I am just thinking about it.

So, love, what inspiration landed for you? Please let me know; write a comment.

Posted on October 27th, 2015. Posted in these categories: inspiration. 22 Comments

The Deep Dive — so much to learn in the stillness

The Deep Dive is ready, and I’m so glad to share it with you.

You get clarity about the big picture for you and your business when you turn away from the to-do list and turn toward your heart.

Putting the Deep Dive together has been quite a journey for me.

Today I’m thinking a lot about what happens when you actually stop, turn away from the to-do list, and allow the magic that happens when you sink into stillness. Check out the video; in it I lead you in a small 90 seconds of quiet be-ing with yourself just to share the flavor of the shift that can happen when you allow it, when you open to it.

Of course, what you’ll get on the Deep Dive is more than just the quiet, but I wanted to start there with you. Now that I’ve overcome my video shyness (by some miracle), I’ll be sharing more of what I’m learning as I dive deeper and deeper.

Here’s some of what I’ve learned as I’ve taken my own Deep Dive into developing this retreat for you

  • Take a Deep DiveOn the surface, the word “retreat” might connote something negative, like you’re operating from fear. Stay with me here, there’s more to see. If the Deep Dive retreat is about retreating from anything, it’s about retreating from the attachment to your busyness; retreating from the belief that you don’t need as much love, support, and sacred reflective time as you offer your clients in your heart-centered work. And it’s retreating toward your own stillness, retreating toward your own highest good, and retreating toward the completely audacious and completely necessary idea that in order for you to sustainably give of your heart, your soul, and your passion, you need to give to yourself. Early and often — oftener than you’ll probably ever feel capable of doing without support.
  • Heart-centered women in business are really really good at DIY-ing, but sometimes DIY just doesn’t cut it. You’re probably an amazing multi-tasker, you probably rock the details, and you give your clients 110% of all you’ve got. Do you get stuck — like I have too many times — thinking that since you’ve learned so much, and know so much, you oughta be able to do the deep work necessary to keep your business fed, watered, and fertilized so that it can support you as well as you support it; so that it can grow and shift and change when the time is right? Yeah sister, some shit we just can’t do alone.
  • Videos are not so scary! I swear I don’t know how I got here, but I’m so glad I did. If you’re smart lucky enough to have a Mac, the combination of QuickTime and iMovie and YouTube is pretty easy to use. I’ve done about four now and while there are a lot of steps, they’re easy to follow, and the answers can be found online by asking simple questions. (I think it helped that I have had an really good hair day today.) I applied my “do it fast in order to outrun your inner critic” approach that I use when I make art. A little preparation, post-its strategically applied near the camera, and boom. If I can do this, I promise you you can too!
Posted on October 20th, 2015. Posted in these categories: Deep Dive, retreat. 23 Comments