Stand Upon Grace

Homesteading with heart~Cultivating the art of intentional living

Category: breathe

Everyday Sacred Living

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Yesterday was a big day for me.  One I had been planning and preparing for.  It was the culmination of my hearts desire and my soul’s work, both coming together quite beautifully.  Amazing what happens when you trust your inner guidance.  When you listen to the answers to prayers whispered.  There is an opportunity for miracles when we open to them.

A blessed gift gave me courage and comfort in this time of expanding myself and stepping fully into my rising soul while allowing others to accompany me on this journey.  Quiet driving into town, radio-less, left me space to think, and breathe.  In a moment when some doubt was creeping in around the edges, grace came through.

It came through a beautiful dove flying low right before my windshield, visible, but out of harms way, carrying with her a lengthy, supple supply of dry grass obviously to be used to build a warm, safe nest for her eggs.

In that moment I knew.

I felt that I, as the dove, am working to also build a warm, safe nest, expanding myself, flying through the discomfort, and diligently gliding toward a desire to create and build a beautiful, abundant, vibrant life for myself and my family, while also elevating and empowering others to do the same.

The dove was a reminder and affirmation that we are all sacred, and life is sacred.  We have an opportunity to seize it, and create it.  We only have to step outside of our comfort zone and learn to fly.

http://everydaysacredliving.com/

Awakening

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The day broke strong and bright signaling the beginning of the weekend.  Warm humidity of melting snow permeated the air, and stirrings within me suggested strongly the possibility of the maple trees awakening, sap running.  Gathering my brace, hammer, and a few taps in my vest pocket, I stepped out into the melting snow, feeling the crystalline crunch beneath the leather on my feet–sugar snow.  My pulse quickens my steps, as though I can feel the stirring within, rising up from beneath, a rousing in the roots that have lay quietly sleeping.

It is not a long walk on the path of the sugar trail to the first maple. I can feel the certainty of unseen movement beneath the earth, under layers, beneath bark and skin, as I move along,  curiosity stirring in my bones.  I whisper a prayer, blessing, an offering of gratitude on my breath as my feet step deeply through soft, grainy layers of retreating snow.  Approaching slowly, reverently, bowing from within before the regal tree, honoring the sacred connection between creation and me.  Gently my hands caress, bringing skin to bark, asking silently where it is that she is willing to give from, where it is I may receive.

I close my eyes, breathe deeply her essence, lean in, and feel to where she guides.  Her wisdom is deep, I trust her knowing more than my own.  I see with eyes, as well as heart, the space that she provides to nurture, share her lifeblood, her sap.  I feel her readiness to open, to receive, to offer and give freely, all that she has to share, her longing invitation to nurture deep those who are waiting.

It is with whispers of prayers from softly parted lips, deep gratitude, and genuine love, that I place the first tap.  I open her slowly with gentle hands and notice the wetness, the dampness that signals all that she offers.  With heightening energy and emotion, she brings forth from within, her gifts.  The sap runs freely, wildly, gently, pulsing life echoing the pulse under my skin.

The awakening has begun.

Yoga Coaching + Soul Mentoring

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It is my humble honor to announce that I am now offering through this sacred space, yoga coaching, guidance, and soul mentoring.  Allow me to accompany you on your soul’s journey to embrace the life you envision creating.  Together we will explore what it is that you desire most, learn to connect and nurture your authentic self, bravely break through any blocks or barriers that may be holding you back, experience your sacred soul and divine connection, all while learning the language your body is speaking, and uncovering the messages she is waiting for you to hear.

Listen to the voice within.

It is my desire to serve and uplift others through sharing my soul’s work and journey, to help lead, empower, and guide you to connect with your inner wisdom, experience your sacred soul, and unite you with the divine spirit that dwells within.

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You are sacred.

I believe in the sacred divine that lives within our hearts.  I believe that we are all sacred, that we are born sacred, and die sacred.  I believe that in order to fully experience life and our highest potential we must tap into the sacred essence that is us.

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I long to help other women recognize, understand and embrace their sacredness, their  worth, their value, and their inner divine beauty. 

Know that you are loved and supported, beautiful one.

It is time for us to all to rise together and acknowledge that we are sacred beings living connectedly on sacred ground,  bring that awareness into light, and explore what gifts we can courageously share with each other.  Allow me to help you uncover your sacred soul’s purpose, your heart’s calling, and your unique, divine connection for your life.

Rise and shine.

Through yoga coaching and soul mentoring, meditation, intuition, prayer, mantra, affirmation, journaling, and other healing modalities specific to your needs, I will support and guide you on a soul level. As I hold the sacred space for you, we will work together to cultivate an intentional life, acknowledge your authentic self, find your own true north, and experience your connection to the everyday sacred.

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Welcome home.

Now that you are ready to step into your sacredness, open to your life, experience bountiful joy, recognize your voice, feel your authenticity, and your uniquely beautiful brave bold, I would be honored to hold the sacred space for your journey as your sister guide.

 

Meet Me

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Breathing Room

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Because we all need a little breathing room.

Some days it’s hard to breathe.  We lose our way, our connection to ourselves in the midst of stress, of the daily to-do’s, in the momentum of living in this fast paced life.  Let’s take the time to s-l-o-w.  Set the intention of slowing our pace, creating an awareness of peace, a quiet center to return to when life pulls you away from your true north, and the beauty of who you are.

Come home to your quiet center, return to basics, return to your breath.  Allow yourself a few moments to connect, get grounded, feel the peace within by nurturing an awareness of your breath.  Peace is accessible to us, anytime, anyplace, all we need do is remember it is there comforting us and surrounding us, invite peace to envelop you as you breathe it in.  Hold peace gently in your center and feel the support radiating out to hold you back.

Breathe Peace.  Be Peace. Peace is within.

I invite you to enjoy this beautiful, gentle guided meditation to nurture peace within your soul.

 

Peace Begins With Us

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Giant snow flakes float gently earthward creating softness surrounding our little homestead house.  Quiet white envelops us in a peaceful blanket spread smoothly over the valley.  It feels comfortable, a warm welcoming back to center, back to home.

Things in this world can feel overwhelming, especially if you are someone who feels deeply.  It can hit you like tidal waves, crashing into you like a wall of brick, smacking hard stinging skin and cracking bone, rolling you over into tumultuous seas, plunging directly into the depths of an ocean you had no idea was surrounding you.  Clinging and clawing, struggling to breathe, find footing on solid ground, lungs searing hot and longing for breath can leave you washed up on shore with sand plastered into hair and eyes, bruised and battered broken wanting desperately to know what just hit you.

Tsunami. Tidal Wave.

I welcome the gentle, the fresh, clean white of newly fallen snow.  Crisp air fills lungs and brings you back to the present moment.  Back to your quiet center, welcoming you back to home.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could stay here, in this peaceful place where all is quiet and well within our souls?  What if I told you, you could?  Would you believe me, or say it isn’t so?

Our natural state is peace.  We want to live in love.  When we are aligned and centered, and all feels good, natural, energetic, and connected, when love flows through us we are open and loving, peace permeates our hearts, bodies, minds, and lives.

We all get blindsided, thrown off track every now and again.

Even the most devoted, the most intentional, fall prey to the human condition and the state of the world around us.  Stress hits us hard, taking its toll, making us irritable, and robbing us of joy.  We cope daily with the challenges and stresses of our lives.  Holding a job, raising a family, nurturing relationships, managing businesses, and just plain ol’ daily life, not to mention all the chaos and changes that are going on in the world right now throw us off balance and cast us far away from our naturally peaceful, loving state.

How do we find balance and regain peace?

I once asked a teacher of mine this question.  It always felt like I would get a little taste, or a glance at what peace would look and feel like, then like a whitetail deer, that fleeting moment of an eyeblink, a flicker of tail, springing of muscle and flash of white, the feeling would be gone, elusive.  I will never forget what she told me.  She said, all you have to do is ask.  Peace is always there.  It sits quietly waiting for us to want it.

Huh.

I didn’t understand her answer with the depth that I do now.  Peace is permanent.  It is a part of who we are, our soul, whether we have experienced it or not.  Peace is ours.  It surrounds us, it’s visible and accessible in creation.  We can see it, feel peace, experience it in a quiet moment on a beautiful beach looking out over the vast expanse of the ocean, or a stillness that wraps around you at the peak of a mountain. Peace is snow falling gently enveloping our world in a softness that speaks by saying nothing.

So how do we cultivate peace in our own lives, in our souls, especially when it feels like the world around you is spinning out of control?

 

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First stop.  Ask for peace to become accessible to you.  Create an awareness of peace.  We cannot create or accept something that we do not acknowledge.  Practice peace.

Find a still place.  Slow your body to slow your mind.  Turn off electronics, and your phone.

Come to sitting in a chair, in a comfortable position with your feet flat on the floor, your spine straight, sitting up tall.  Feel your feet firmly connected to the earth below you, while the crown of your head reaches gently up toward the sky.

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Place your hands on your abdomen, fingers spread across the lower belly.

Close your eyes or find a focal point, soften your gaze and relax your eyes.  Relax and release your lower jaw, allowing the molars to part a bit creating space in the back of your mouth, and your tongue to settle into the base of the mouth.

Bring your attention to your breath.  Breathing in and out through the rings of the nostrils begin to gently deepen your breath, drawing the breath into the abdomen allowing your belly to round and expand as you inhale.  Feel your fingers spread gently across your abdomen as the breath fills your belly.  Allow your belly to round and expand filling with breath. Pause and hold the breath with gentle awareness.

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Exhale slowly through your nose, contracting your abdominal muscles to gently squeeze the breath out of the belly.  Feel your hands on your belly, fingers come back together as the air slowly releases from your lungs.

Inhale gently again through the nose, allowing the belly to round and fill with breath.  Bring your attention to your hands feeling them expand over the abdomen.  Pause the breath when your belly is fully rounded, filled with breath.  Count slowly to three.

Exhale slowly to release the breath through the nose, drawing the belly toward the spine to gently squeeze the breath out of the belly to exhale fully.

Continue to breathe slowly and intentionally in this manner.  As you begin to feel comfortable with the breath, cultivate an awareness of peace.  This may be an image, a feeling, or an experience to help you connect with the peace that surrounds us.  With each inhalation breathe in peace.  Allow peace to expand with your muscles as you inhale.  Hold that feeling of peace gently in your center with your belly rounded and expanded.  Allow the feeling of peace to expand outward from your center.

As you slowly exhale, release anything, thought, feeling, image, or idea that is not peaceful.  With each inhalation continue to breathe in peace, allowing the feeling of peace to permeate you, envelop you, support you, and become part of your being.  Feel fully surrounded, supported, loved and connected to peace.  Continue to exhale and release any stress, negativity, and non-peaceful ideals that you may be holding onto.

Breathe and let go.

Breathe and receive peace.

Peace is in us.  Peace surrounds us.  We are peace.  Peace begins with us.

 

 

The Sacred Everyday

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Sunshine dances across diamond dunes outside the homestead kitchen window.  Late afternoon stretches across shadows as light plays fairy-like ascending into ether. Sparkling crisp breezes call my soul out of doors, while my mind and body tend to the bread rising and baking in the oven.  Comforting wisps of fragrant ferment permeate the air and tickle nostrils, reminding me to slow, and allow the process.  The sunshine pulls on my heartstings, as I know how fickle it can be, yet I breathe in the smells of fresh bread baking in our homestead kitchen and know in my bones, that the unfolding of time for sunshine will come.

All this reminds me of the inner conversation I have been having with myself, the unfolding of a new awareness, a new pattern, an expedition inward to find what I hold sacred, what I am coming to know are non-negotiables, the everyday sacred, and how to create the space  to hold them with intention.

We are all souls living a very human experience.  Our physical body is the home for our soul, our temple, our link to our source.  Our connection to God.  How we view and care for the body we were given for this trip around the sun, refracts into our soul, and reflects in our lives.  Learning to live this takes time, more so for some than others, and intentional action.

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Self-care does not come naturally to most, especially in this age of fast paced technology.  The energetic drain is like a slow leak, a dripping faucet, that slowly depletes both body and soul.  Joining the drops of water from a slow leak are tributaries of energetic rivers moving at mock speed, especially if you just so happen to be a type A personality, a people pleaser, a go-getter, a hard worker, a driven to the point of cracking your own whip over a bruised and bloodied back.  Rather than a slow leak, dripping constant, you now have a raging river, whitewater style, an outlet of energy rushing away from you.  So where do you begin when you realize you need to stop the leak before it sweeps you out to a tumultuous sea?

Creating calm waters within your own soul, and in your life takes practice.  It requires you to take inventory, size up what makes you feel connected, peaceful, content, and joyful.  What brings you energy, and what is draining you.  What in your life are you ready to let go of to make space for something new.  Whether that newness is of spirit or manifests itself in a new choice, decision, or pattern matters not, they are both one in the same.  Most often creating the space for the waters to calm, opting for peace, choosing more of what feeds your soul will allow things to slow, time to appear, and energy to renew.

For me, these are becoming my non-negotiables.  The everyday sacred that I need to be the best me I can.  When I make time to do the things that I need to do to care for me, time and space open up to give more of my best self to those I love, and even to those who I meet on the street, or in the grocery store.  When I  maintain my everyday sacreds, the blocks are lifted, stress is released and relieved to free and open my heart, so love can flow through me nourishing myself, and others around me.

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I have long held the pattern of caretaking.  Making sure that everyone’s needs are met, but not so much my own.  I always put off the shower when the babes were in that stage of needing constant care, I put off my own feeding to nourish others, grabbing whatever I could in between, never being conscious of feeding my body, let alone nourishing myself. Recognizing and understanding this pattern helps me to remember to take care of me as well.

My yoga practice was my sacred everyday through the season of babies, and still is my lifeline, my self-care routine, my soul care.  Time on my mat combat the stresses and the exhaustion that can come with mamahood, and open me instead to the joy of being present as a mama.  Time spent in nature has always soothed my soul, left me with a deep peace and connection to the divine presence that is creation.  Meditation, prayer, and devotion allow me to fill the well, deepen my faith and trust that the entire universe is supporting me, lifting the weight of the world from my shoulders.  And when all else fails, music sings my soul, dancing motivates a deep release, reminding that we are here on this earth for a purpose, to connect with each other, to experience and share joy. I continue to need the routine of intentionally and repeatedly choosing peace, embracing love rather than fear, creating space to breathe, and consciously releasing that which is no longer serving me.  This sacred act of choosing frees me to elevate and uplift myself and others.

I believe that we are always learning, healing, and revealing new layers or levels of this expansion of expression into our lives.  Sometimes to learn something deeply, we must experience a depth that may be uncomfortable.  God guides us to the healing, into the light, allows us to choose peace, or fight against it.  Sometimes life happens and we forget  the sacred everyday holds us together, makes us who we are, completes us, and we let it go in ways that trickle downward eroding away the solid foundation we have built.  The trickle builds and soon giant waves are crashing down, washing away everything we thought we had.

This is when I remember and cling to the everyday sacred.  Those practices that hold the space for healing and renewal.  For me, I have come to know, and am coming to know with greater depth of certainty, that these are the things that calm the raging waters, slow the leak and buoy me through the day, elevating me above just surviving, but allowing me to thrive.  Find joy.  Breathe peace.  Serve with love and compassion.  They allow me to participate fully, body, mind, and soul with the moment at hand, and be the best most lovingkind self I can be.

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Here is a list of my Sacred Everyday.

Yoga

Meditation

Prayer

Spiritual/devotional reading

Outside Everyday, movement in nature.  Skiing, walking, snowshoeing, breathing.

Heartfelt time with my hubby and kids.  Screen free, looking into eyes, speaking soul to soul.

Nurturing myself and my family in the kitchen.  Passionately cooking and creating together.

Creativity.  Writing, crochet, sewing, creating.

Music.  Sings my soul, elevates and unites.

Dancing.  Movement creates spontaneous joy and allows me to fully experience my physical body in a creative and healthy way.

I invite you here to reflect, make a list and acknowledge, What is your Sacred Everyday?  Those practices that hold the space for healing and renewal?  What would you like to cultivate in your life, more peace, more love, more joy, more quality time with friends and family, health or wellness, or more creativity?  What sings your soul, fills your well, and elevates your spirit?

Creating an Intentional Life

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What is it that you desire?  What brings you joy?  What would you like to spend more time, and energy on, or what would you love to spend your time doing?  These are some of the questions we should ask of ourselves, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly perhaps as we begin a new cycle again.  Taking regular inventory of where we are right now, in this very moment, and what it is we would like to create, live, and be.

Creating an intentional life does not happen by accident.  It takes time to gain clarity, focus, and purposeful planning to create the space to make the changes that you would like to see and live.

Maybe there is something whispering to you that you would like to do, to pursue.  You have heard the quiet call, your heart and body answers, “YES!”  by lighting up when you think of it, a zing of energy rises up within you and you think, ” THAT would be AWESOME!!!!”

……ah but maybe someday…..

I don’t have time right now.

I don’t have the energy right now.

I don’t have the money right now.

I don’t know how right now.

Maybe when the kids are older.

OOOOooooo, and my personal favorite….what would people think?

And on it goes.

The list of impossibilities that run through your mind, that limit your beliefs, your actions, your potential, your life.

LET’S STOP RIGHT THERE.

Take a moment to consider how you would feel if you were doing, or taking steps to creating what it is you would like to do.  Let’s remember that when something lights you up and brings you joy it is a part of who you are, and why you are here.  It is a part of your soul’s purpose, your calling, why you are here at such a time as now.

You have something to contribute.  Often it is the case that what we are being called to do, or try, or create, is directly linked to enriching our own lives and the lives of others.  Even if it seems unrelated, or unimportant.

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If you are feeling compelled to try a yoga class, it may be calling to you at a soul’s level to help you heal your body so you can have the strength and stamina to pursue your true calling, or you may learn that helping others to heal and rise up to their full potential is something you would love to do.

Homesteading may be calling you.  Learning about what it is that is you value in this lifestyle may help you find a starting place.  Perhaps having access to fresh, organic, Non-GMO food is the catalyst for you.  Plant a garden, or take a class on making fermented foods, and see where that leads.  Learn about raising chickens, sharing fresh eggs with neighbors may create connections that otherwise may not have been realized.

You may have dreamed of being a writer.  Your story, your message, your light is waiting to be shared with the world.  Begin today.  Start a journal, a blog, write daily, devote yourself to the practice of writing.  Join a writer’s circle.  Actively seek your dream.

Maybe that knitting you would like to do will lead you to teach a meditative movement class, or donate hand-knit baby items to those in need. You can nurture yourself and others with woolens made from the heart.

Perhaps you would like to teach.  What is it that you are passionate about?  What would you like to share with others?  Remembering that if you truly want to learn something, teach it.

Is there a new recipe that you would like to try, or new approach to cooking that you would like to learn?  Gather ingredients and gusto, find a class, or a friend to help you on your path, it may nourish you and your family in unexpected ways.

Getting your home organized, cleaned and sorted, leaves you with space and energy to open yourself up to other creative opportunities, a clean slate, a fresh start.

Homeschooling may be whispering to your heart, calling you and your family.  Make a connection with another homeschool mama, and over coffee explore the possibilities that this path may hold for you.

Perhaps it is self-care that is calling to you.  Maybe it is time to prioritize your health and wellbeing and schedule that weekly massage, start a meditation or yoga practice, a spiritual practice, join a church group or a gym, get out in nature, spend time reading, knitting, sewing, or nurturing yourself through cooking.  Make that phone call or meet with a beloved friend for coffee.  When we take time to acknowledge the needs of our own selves, and tend to our souls, rather than over-caffeinate, ignore, and push through until exhaustion or sickness sets in, we have more time and energy to love and care for others, and to create an intentional life.

Creating an intentional life, a purposeful and creative life that fills you up, and allows you to expand and grow takes action steps.

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Ask yourself these simple questions.

What calls to me deeply when I am in a quiet space?  What whispers to your heart when you find a calm and quiet space to listen?  Just be clear and open to listen.  What is it that you could do, where could you go, who could you help, how could you serve?

What dream is it time to realize?  No matter how crazy, far flung, or intangible it may seem, taking steps toward that dream is the only way you will live it.

What brings me joy? What Lights me up with energy and enthusiasm?  (Joy is different than momentary happiness and or comfort…Joy is deeper, it comes through you, and connects and aligns you at a soul level.  Joy feels like you have come home.)

Once you are clear on what it is you would like to create in your life, it is time to take action.  Make it a priority.

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Action Steps

What can you do today, right now in this very moment to pursue your creation?  It may be as simple as making a phone call, a connection to open the path to where you would like to go.  Do some research, see what it is you need to do to start.  Transfer money into an account, (even if it is $10 dollars),  designated to realizing your dream or goal.  Find a class.  Start learning.  The important thing is to just breathe and begin.

After you have taken your first step, plan the next.  Carve out a plan to help keep you moving forward toward your goal.  Be intentional.  Schedule time and make it a priority.  Use a planner, an app, or a post it, the important thing is to find a method that works for you to keep you motivated and moving. It is easy to allow other things to take up the time and energy you would like to spend on creating your intentional life, you must create the space for it in your life, the space will not magically appear.

Starting and creating take devotion and a willingness to show up and dedicate yourself to what it is you desire.  Plan a minimum of 10 minutes a day to doing what brings you joy and moves you forward on your path to realizing your goal.  Commit to 21 days, and see where that leads you.  I am willing to bet that in that time, you will have begun to create some unbelievable connections, pathways, feelings of wellbeing and purposeful energy, and be on your way to creating an intentional life.

So friends tell me, in the comments below, how do you plan on creating an intentional life?

 

 

 

Surrendering All

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Morning dawns long and slow these days of deep fall.  Overcast skies have kept us quiet in the early morning hours longer than usual.  The bustling energy of the season is shifting to one of drawing in, drawing close, layers of quiet blanketing our old farmhouse enveloping us all in a gentle embrace.

Mornings are my time for quiet, welcoming stillness both within my own heart, and in the space that surrounds.  My predawn rhythms include time for me to do my own inner work, self-care, for my mama’s heart.  Devoting to ritual for prayer, meditation, yoga, and journaling, I begin my day aligned, connected, peaceful, and inspired.  I am a better mama for it.  I am a better human being for it.

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Journaling has become a sacred part of my morning routine.  Writing it out helps me gain perspective, and being a writer, it’s always been about the words and how they flow through me.  My creative process becomes cyclical when I pray, meditate, and write down inspiration, as I open my heart and mind to what really needs to come through, rather than the rattle-trap noise that overtakes my brain when daily stress takes her toll.  It keeps me grounded, when fears, or the day, spiral out of control, I can return to that place of peace that I have cultivated, the written word that brings me back to center, the connection to divine love that I experience as a result of opening to receive.

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It is an added bonus when another mop-top bed head joins me on the mat in the early waking hours, connecting our heart, mind, body, and soul together through gentle touch, deep rhythmic breath, and a collective mindset of peace and love, opening the way to  share a few beautiful moments that belong only to us, mama and child.

Surrendering all in the early morning light.

 

Revolutionary

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A quick update on the 2016 Food Revolution Summit.

IT.  IS.  AMAZING.

Pure and simple, I am blown away by the vast amount of knowledge and empowerment that this summit is bringing forth.  It is nothing short of revolutionary, even for someone like me, who feels pretty well read and informed.

I have been studying holistic health, nutrition and healing for well over 10 years intensely, and wading in the shallow end of holistic lifestyle for over 20 years.  The wealth of knowledge that these first few days of the summit has offered is beyond compare.

I also love that the summit is audio, so I can listen while I work, and not be distracted, or need to carve out a large chunk of time to devote to sitting down and watching a video of a speaker.  These are informative, conversational talks on how to improve your health, wellness, vitality, and overall quality of life.

If you are ready to deepen your knowledge, affirm your faith in your homesteading lifestyle, get the inspiration you need to start, or take steps deeper into your holistic, healing journey, the summit is the place to be.

Get ready to be inspired folks, become a part of the movement, and join the revolution.

The time is now.

 

http://summit2016.foodrevolution.org/broadcasts/

 

Embrace Yourself, and the New Year!

breathe

January is a wonderful time to embrace new beginnings.  The month physically signifies the start of a new year on our calendar, and the season is a great time for cleansing; both the physical body and the spirit.  Out with the old, and in with the new.  January can be a time for fasting after the feasting of December.  If you choose to cleanse or fast, please do it in a way that honors your body, and your body type.  Some people choose to fast from a particular food, for example, refined sugar, for a set amount of time.  Others may fast for a day or two, choosing to take in teas, and broth.  Please take into consideration your lifestyle.  If you are a busy, mama, or working adult, honor yourself, by cleaning up your diet, and maybe choosing to fast from heavy foods for a day or two.  Soups, broths, and tea are very nourishing.  You need to be sure that you can maintain your energy levels as you fast.  Remember, that we cannot always stop life to sit on a mountain top for a few days.  Life goes on around us, and we need to care for ourselves as we care for others.  Fasting from television and media can be very renewing as well.  Spend your extra time reading, praying, doing outside activities in nature, and nourishing your spirit.  January is a time of renewal to prepare for the new year.

Many people make new year’s resolutions in January.  I am not one of those people.  I think that resolutions can be a useful tool, but often times they are used in a negative way.  Resolutions can set us up to fail, as we may resolve unrealistic, and unreasonable goals for the new year.  Rather than make lofty resolutions, I prefer to set my intentions for the coming year.  Intentions differ from resolutions in a few ways.  A resolution is more like a goal, with a finish line, and an intention is a way of moving through life, one day at a time, one breath at a time.  I find this a much more positive, and healthy way to live.  With my daily intentions clear, I can become more awake, aware of what sort of goals I need, rather than something that is beyond realistic expectation. I intend this year to live in gratitude for all of the blessings life has offered me, to embrace each and every moment as the gift that it is, and to embrace myself and my family with the grace and love God has offered me.  I stand by my intention to stand upon grace, walk by faith, live in love, and accept the abundance of Grace and Peace flowing from above.  This is my wish for all of you as well.  May you be blessed with love, and allow the joy of life to blossom into a new year.

I wanted to share a short yoga sequence to help you to embrace the new year, and to embrace yourself!  When we physically move our bodies, our mind and spirit moves as well.  This little practice is a great reminder to embrace all that is, all that was, and all that will be.  We also need to show ourselves, our own personal being, love and gratitude.  Often, we become caught up in not being enough, or giving all the love and nourishment to those we love and care for, and forgetting to pause and take a moment to renew our own spirit and inner strength.  This little practice gives pause to that cycle, and allows room for a new cycle of love, gratitude, and spiritual growth to begin.  If we cannot first love and care for ourselves, or if we are continually caught in a negative thought cycle of who we are, we cannot love and care for our families, and those who need us, as deeply as we would like to, or that we have the ability to.  Give yourself the gift of a few moments to embrace yourself, then share this great practice with your family.   If you have kiddos at home, grab them and begin a new tradition.  Little ones naturally love yoga, you may be surprised at the fun that you have together in these few short moments!  Have fun with it, and go with the flow. Get ready for a New Year, and a New You!

inhale

Inhale your arms wide open.  Open them as wide as you can get them, with your palms turned up to the sky.  Lift your heart and your ribcage up, as though your heart is a beautiful bird longing to escape its cage and fly freely up into the clouds above you.  Take a few deep, conscious breaths here.  Feel your breath moving in and out through the rings of your nostrils as you stand with your feet firmly rooted into the earth below.  Take a moment to open yourself up to new possibilities, to new beginnings.  Continue to uplift your heart.  Set it free.

exhale love

 As you exhale, cross your arms in front of your body to form an X with your arms, palms still facing upward toward the sky.  Inhale another deep, loving breath, scoop your hands upward toward your shoulders.  Allow the hands to rest on the shoulders, or upper arms, wherever they reach without pushing or forcing them.  Placement is not all that important, what matters is that you embrace yourself.  Give yourself a hug.  Keep your heart lifted.  Breathe here for a few breaths, drawing the breath deeply into the belly.  Allow your belly to round, and inflate like a balloon with breath, and as you exhale, gently press your belly back toward your spine to press all of the breath out of the lungs completely.  Send yourself a little love as you stand embracing YOU.  Breathe in love as you inhale, and breathe out love as you exhale.  Let love flow through you.

inhale

 When you are ready, inhale deeply, un-cross your arms, and open them up wide again, as before.  Lift up your heart, and open yourself up to give and receive love.  Open and expand with the breath, allowing anything that needs letting go of, anything that is causing heaviness or weight, to fall away.  Bring your attention back to the breath.  Breathe deeply into the belly again for a few moments.  Be ready for new beginnings.

exhale love

When you are ready to exhale, cross the arms again, this time with the opposite arm on top.  This may feel weird, but just go with it, it is just your non-dominate arm.  Embrace yourself once more.  Give yourself a squeeze.  Send love out through your arms and hands back to YOU.  Breathing deeply, send some love straight to your heart.  Root yourself deeply in love, and feel your feet grounded firmly into the earth.

inhale

Inhale your arms open once more, opening yourself up to love and new beginnings. Feel yourself surrounded by, and uplifted by, love.

blessings

Upon your exhale, scoop the palms of the hands toward each other, bending at the elbows.  Gently, bring the palms of the hands together to touch in front of your heart center, thumbs gently resting against your sternum.  This is prayer pose.  Take a moment to pray a blessing for your day, for your year, for yourself and your family.  Continue to feel love filling your heart, allowing loving energy to overflow, and spill out into your life, your family, your community, and the rest of the world.  Let your heart become a beautiful vessel for divine love to flow through.  Nourishing not only you and yours, but healing all others you may come into contact with, joining a universal divine flow of love.  Take a moment of gratitude and give thanks for taking the time to embrace yourself.

~Blessings~

May You Stand on Grace, Walk by Faith, Live in Love, and May Grace and Peace Be Yours in Abundance.

~1 peter 1:2

* I would like to give a photo credit to my son William, who did an amazing job taking these photos for me.  Will is eleven years old, and loves photography, and videography.  He is an artist with a keen, and creative eye.  I look forward to helping cultivate a shared passion with him.  I am so proud of him….Thanks, Will!

william

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