I’ve been yearning to return to Hawai’i. I’ve been there exactly twice in my life, and each time I felt like I was visiting one of my heart’s homes — a feeling that permanently resonates in my heart. You know what I mean? Those places where you feel like you’ve already lived, where you feel like you belong, where you feel like you could thrive. Hawai’i is like that for me. Provence as well. And always and forever Brooklyn. But I digress…
I’ve traveled almost not at all since I got so sick last year. And wasn’t really planning to do anything any time soon in the way of travel besides local road trips, for health reasons as well as financial reasons.
And then my friend — I’ll call him Walter because it’s his name — surprised me with an amazing gift. Walter goes to Hawai’i to golf eight times a year and has a timeshare plan where he gets a condo each time he goes. I asked him once, after meeting up with him on the Big Island last time I visited, if he ever had a guest room in his timeshares. He said “Yes!”
In order to accept a week on Kaua’i I knew I would have to ask Walter some questions that made me very uncomfortable. Questions about expectations, and questions about sleeping arrangements. A very big part of my monkey mind would have been much more comfortable, thank you, if I just said “No, thanks,” and moved on. The conversations Walter and I had in response to my questions were amazing!
Check this out: Walter told me that he had begun to wonder how he could share this bounty with others. Right about that time, I asked him if I could stay with him. Amazing how the universe works sometimes. Seren-freaking-dipity! Would never have happened if I hadn’t asked. Would never have happened if Walter hadn’t already decided to open things up.
In order to be a “Yes!” to the offer, I would have to look at my fear about my health and my finances. Do I have the bandwidth to fly, to pack and schlep luggage, to step out of my comfort zone, to figure out things like “What do I do with my phone and rental car key when I’m snorkeling?”
I’ve been a solo traveler a lot in my life, and I’ve learned how to lower the bar. I have nothing to prove to anyone. As I learned long ago from Jen Louden, I can set “conditions of enoughness” and meet myself exactly where I’m at. I can rest as much as I want, walk as much as I want, snorkel as much as I want (I will figure out what to do with the phone and car keys!), and then rest some more.
I said “Yes!” I fly to Kaua’i on May 3rd.
What comes up for you when you read this? I’d love to hear your thoughts; jump into the conversation in the comments section below. And if you have a foolproof way to snorkel solo and protect your possessions, for the love of the Goddess, tell me!
How have you manifested your creativity and your passion since the New Moon? The Full Moon is the time to celebrate what you have created, completed, and launched. It’s an auspicious moment to express gratitude for what has blossomed and borne fruit from the seeds you planted at the previous New Moon, make note of what is still left to do, and to set your intentions for the coming lunation.
The Virgo Full Moon is the last Full Moon before the Equinox. Virgo brings healing, nurturing, and organizing energy. Decluttering and spring cleaning starts to be a thing in the northern hemisphere around this time. I’m guessing that in the southern hemisphere the Virgo New Moon six months later (when you approach Spring) will bring the same impulse. Let me know if I’m right.
You may find yourself moved to declutter — the Virgo Full Moon is a great time for cleaning out closets and donating to a meaningful charity or friends-in-need. Go for it!
In addition to recycling, or donating, though, I invite you to consider repurposing. Could that beautiful silk shirt that got stained be cut up and used in a quilt? Or those boots that are too old to wear could be made into planters!
Use the nurturing Virgo energy to take exquisite care of yourself, your business, and your loved ones. Complete what you started, get organized, and dive into the details. I always schedule my tax preparation in the two weeks following this Full Moon. Luckily I have an accountant that can handle receiving my numbers late in March!
Let me know how you go. What questions arise for you? Where is letting go easy? Where is it a challenge? Let’s talk in the comments.
This is the first in a series of occasional articles in which I’ll share practices, recipes, and more from my vast wellness toolbag. My health journey has been a big invitation for me to be more and more present to the choices I make. Maybe something I share will be useful to you. You don’t know unless you try. So, bubbeleh, try.
It’s your choice what you do with every minute of your precious life. Fill each moment with the things and the people you love and cherish. Change yourself and by doing so, watch how it ripples out. You will change your family, your clients, your friends, your community. You will change the world.
Today I’m sharing with you three game-changing practices (okay, two practices and one recipe) that can help you maintain fitness and flexibility and a positive outlook.
The only way to sustain a self-care practice is to actually put it in your schedule. (You do use a calendar, right? If you don’t, we should talk. Seriously.) When you elevate self-care to a commitment, and put it in your calendar, you are much more likely to be a Yes to your own precious self.
I have made a big shift here. Since my health crisis last year, I now begin my workday at 10:30, three hours after I get up. I use those three hours for a bath, my daily walk, my tai chi practice, my lifting and yoga workouts, my art journal, time in the garden, and whatever kitchen activities might be on the agenda. Sometimes I invite a friend along to walk with me. Sometimes I connect by phone with a friend. Sometimes I get a massage.
To make up for my later workday starts, some days I work a bit later, and I often work on one of the weekend days. Totally worth it!
You may not be ready for three hours a day of self-care time. But I know you’re ready for some time every day to honor your body and your sacred self. Give yourself this gift.
I started this practice last autumn, when I began to wonder if I would ever get my strength back after the two hospitalizations and the long weeks on the couch or in bed processing serious infection and medications through my body. I started by walking around the block. Or maybe just to the corner and back. But I kept at it daily. Now I average 25–35 minutes each day. I walk in my gritty urban neighborhood most days, and love the wide streets and big sky available to me just a few blocks away. Some days I get in my car and drive to the bay. Some days I walk by Lake Merritt. Some rare and precious days I actually walk in the redwoods or at the seashore.
I love that my phone tracks my movements, tells me how long I walked, how many steps I took, how many stairs I’ve climbed. Many people say that 10,000 steps is ideal; others say that a 30-minute daily walk will prolong your life. I’m not near the 10,000, and I don’t know how often I will make that number of steps, but I am near the 30-minute mark nearly every day, and that is such a gift to my body!
It’s said that your body is not yours, that’s it’s just borrowed. That at the end of your life, you have to leave it behind. Treat it with care, yo. It’s precious. Treat it generously and impeccably, so that it will serve you well.
I’ve been a daily drinker of bone broth for quite a while, and have really perfected my recipe. I’ve had a serious chronic digestive situation for over three years, and bone broth is one of the first remedies suggested to me. It’s healing, and strengthening, and delicious.
I use three vinegars, because why not? I use brown vinegar (brown because there’s molasses added; this should be available in Asian markets, I get mine at Berkeley Bowl), raw apple cider vinegar, and kombucha vinegar that I make (if you’re a brewer, let a batch of kombucha overbrew by a week or so and you will have vinegar!). You can do a fine job with just the raw cider vinegar. The vinegars help extract all the goodness from the bones.
Quantities of everything depend on the size of your soup pot. I buy 3–5 pounds of bones, I use a spaghetti pot for my broth, and I end up with three quart-size canning jars of broth when I’m done. Your mileage will vary.
I’d love to know what practices are at the top of your own best life list, and if you have any questions. Please join the conversation in the comments. I love to hear from you!
Create, complete, and launch. This is a rare second Aquarian New Moon in the same month. While the first one was at 0º (and therefore integrated with the energy of the preceding sign, Capricorn), this one is only in Aquarius for a couple of heartbeats. The New Moon comes at 29°59′ Aquarius, and then enters Pisces ten seconds later (with the Sun right behind).
Aquarius and Pisces combine their energies to inspire you to create, complete, and launch the things that have taken priority as you mulled them over during the Mercury retrograde (Rx) that has just ended. You are now invited to nurture your vision, to innovate, to dare to move forward!
When the New Moon appears in an Air sign, as it does here, the two-week period that follows is a wonderful time to communicate and inspire; combined with the end of the Mercury Rx, now’s the time to release the brakes (on whatever you were prudently postponing) and go for it!
The apparent docility of Sheep can hide toughness. Sheep can survive severe conditions and are stronger than they appear. The Sheep can be very focused and determined. A Sheep won’t be told what to do, stay at a job they dislike, or be forced to compromise.
The Sheep year celebrates creativity. Another invitation! Let your artist out. Get some paint and some paper. Play with color. I’ve been wildly happy since I began my art journal in the beginning of this year, since I moved my art supplies out of the closet (see what I did there?) and started using them. I’ve begun to post some of what I’m creating here.
What are you called to create, complete, and launch? I’d love to know — talk to me in the comments! Blessed be.
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.
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?”
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 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:
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.
As 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.
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?
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?
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.