NURTURING A WOUNDED HEART :: LAURELBOX

Johanna and Denise are the lovely souls (cousins and best friends) who came together to create laurelbox ~ a curated box of beautiful gifts designed to nourish the aching hearts of those who have suffered a loss.

 

Tell us about your mornings. How do you greet the day?

Denise: My day starts with 2 little people crawling into our bed before the sun rises and falling back to sleep with us. I cherish this quiet routine. We roll into the beautiful breakfast crazies of "I want a blue cup with a purple straw and a yellow bowl" and then all calms down again with full bellies and my coffee in tow. We have in-house help a few days a week, so those days, I am in the office working otherwise I have found multi-tasking work and "being present to my 2 little girls" is not healthy.

Johanna:  I have two boys, so mornings in my house are kinda fast and furious.  I am mostly at home with them, and this summer I committed to avoiding multi-tasking.  And let me tell you... multitasking is such a temptation when you own your own business!  But, I know it's not good for me or my kids if I'm distracted, so I try and segment out my time as much as possible.  So, while it's tempting to check in on work first thing, I try and avoid it if I can.  I'm also a total coffee addict, and I can't do much until I've got my Chemex pot brewed.  

Is there a sanctuary in your life, that makes everything fall into place? Somewhere, something, somehow?

Denise: I have 3 people in my life that are my dearest of best girlfriends. They are safe, honest and bold. When my mind begins to race, my parenting is feeling like a shitshow, my marriage feels like its unraveling, I reach out to these women who encourage me, remind me who I am and help sharpen my tools that I forgot I had. They know my ugly side and they still love me.

Johanna: My sanctuary is my girlfriends.   I can't imagine my life without my girls. This makes the difference for me... Friends who don't feed you any BS.  Friends who talk to you late at night when your world crumbles.  Friends who won't judge you if you want to run away.  And friends who will tell you the truth about yourself... the truth that you are doing a great job at this whole life thing and you just need to cut yourself a break.

What is the big dream for what you are creating? For you? For your beloveds? For the planet?

It feels scary to say this out loud, because it's such a big statement.  But, we believe that we can change the way people comfort the grieving.  We think there is something broken in how our country approaches grief, and that our company can help foster tenderness and compassion for grieving people.  

There is immense pressure on people to "go back to normal life" very quickly after a loss, and it can be very damaging to people's hearts.  There is also a misconception that grief follows a specific timeline.  But grief is extremely individual, and no two people grieve the same.  The cultural judgements that surround grief can give you a horrible feeling that you're doing something wrong, when you're not.  It breaks our hearts to see that so often grievers experience guilt and shame.

I think that most of the time, women truly want to be a support system for their friends. They just don't know what to say or do.   So, our company comes along and says... Let's give hurting people whatever amount of time they need to grieve.  Let's remind them that it's ok to grieve on their own terms.  Let's help their friends know what to say.  So laurelbox focuses on gifts that acknowledge heartache, that encourage women to slow down and process their loss, and remind them that they've got a friend standing firm at their side. 

How have you gotten started? 

It's been quite the journey over the last year.  We put up personal savings to start laurelbox, and we have invested every penny into growing and reaching more hurting women.  It's been the most challenging and rewarding thing either of us have ever done.  We work round the clock.  And every moment is worth it.

 

What were three big personal breakthroughs & lessons from starting your business? 

1. My personal life (Johanna here) was a wreck this year, and at a few specific intervals, I shared some of my struggles.  It was scary, but I learned that vulnerability can bring so much healing and community.  I would have never shared without laurelbox, and without the bravery and compassion of women in our community. 

2. At the beginning, I struggled a lot (Denise here) with the ugly and deep lie that I was inadequate and not the "right person" for this journey.  Because I have never walked the trenches of my own deep loss, I felt a lack of credibility.  I realize now that tenderness in my heart towards something I haven't personally experienced does not make me inadequate.  I remind myself that it would be easy for me to look away from heartache, but I don't.  I look towards it and throw my arms open to it.  Now I see that the softness in my heart for other pain I haven't personally experienced is my greatest strength.

3. We've also realized that our partnership was divinely appointed.  We are cousins and best friends.  And the longer we work together, the more we realize how well we compliment each other.  We are similar in many ways, but also quite different and our differences elevate the quality of the business.  Denise makes sure our gifts look good in person, and Johanna makes sure they look good on your computer screen.  

How about three failures?

1. We always fail to some extent when we design a new product.  Neither of us have ever worked in product development, so we sometimes have these big visions of how something will work, and the realities of putting a design on an item are more complicated than it seems.  But, we laugh about it, drink a glass of wine if we really mess up, and realize that a little money lost on a failure at the start is better than putting out a product that doesn't truly nourish a woman's heart after loss.

2. At the beginning, we made some pretty hysterical mistakes on inventory ordering amounts.  One time, we meant to order 5 pounds of sprinkles for our hand poured birthday candles, but we ordered 50 pounds! 50 pounds of sprinkles is a LOT of sprinkles.  Another time we got really excited about a great sale on the vintage buttons that we use on our handmade burlap envelopes.  But when we checked out, we owed $600 DOLLARS IN BUTTONS.  AH!  We mostly just laugh about it and pour an extra glass of wine.

3. Last year we had a product, and we woke up one morning to find our social media accounts bombarded overnight people who were upset about the impact of the product on the environment.  We had to quickly regroup and decide what we were about and who we were.  We stopped selling the product that very morning, and look back at that as a way we further defined ourselves.

Three things we should know about your products.

1.  Our products are handmade or small batch.  We believe firmly in the idea that women need to feel individually remembered after a loss.  We think that handmade or customized items convey the sense of being individually remembered, and it's a huge part of what we do.

2. laurelbox gifts truly nourish your soul after a loss.  We spend huge amounts of time and energy making sure that every element of each gift supports hurting women.  For example, our herbal teas nourish your body and support your soul after a loss, our jewelry acknowledges who you loved, and our commemorative collection help you remember your loved one on days where grief might be acute.

3. Every laurelbox is customized and hand packed in beautiful premium packaging.  We never cut corners.  Each laurelbox includes a handmade burlap envelope, a complimentary card, a fresh evergreen clipping, and is tucked beautifully into a kraft paper box.  The opening experience is truly special.

 

What do you need?  How can we all support you?

laurelbox is a small mom-owned company, and our funds are very limited.  As social media is changing (waaa the instagram algorithm!), it's gotten harder for us to expand.  We would love it if you could support us by telling your friends about our company!  But truly (and we mean this from the bottom of our hearts), the best thing you can do for laurelbox is love wildly on your hurting friend.  Our mission is more important than any item in our shop.

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Denise: Denise and her husband live in Ohio where they are raising their two toddlers and their two teens. When Denise isn't putting the perfect touches on laurelbox gifts, she enjoys indulging in guilty pleasures like wearing yoga clothes when she's not working out and sipping wine.

 

Johanna : Johanna lives in Florida with her husband and two boys.  When she is not working on laurelbox, she is gardening, failing at DIY projects, and hanging at the beach.  She has a love-hate relationship with her desire to live a natural lifestyle.  Mostly because of the cloth diapers.  So much is the fault of the cloth diapers.

 

website: www.laurelbox.com

insta: @laurelbox

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laurelboxgifts/

FREE FROM RATIONAL CONSTRAINTS- @MERAKILABBE

TELL US ABOUT YOUR MORNINGS. HOW DO YOU GREET THE DAY?

- MY MORNINGS USUALLY START WITH A QUICK STRETCH AND A CUP OF CHAI.  WHILE SHOWERING I EXPRESS ALL MY GRATITUDE OUT LOUD WHICH IS USUALLY ACCOMPANIED BY A TEN MINUTE DANCING SESSION IN OUR LIVING ROOM MOST LIKELY TO TECHNO BEATS OR MEDITATIVE CHANTING, IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE MOOD. BEFORE STARTING ANY WORK, I SPEND FEW MOMENTS IN THE YARD WITH MY CAT AND FINE TUNE INTENTIONS FOR THE DAY.

IS THERE A SANCTUARY IN YOUR LIFE THAT MAKES EVERYTHING FALL INTO PLACE? SOMEWHERE, SOMETHING, SOMEHOW?

-  NOT PARTICULARLY, BESIDES PEN + PAPER.  WHEREVER I GO I CARRY THIS SACRED MEDICINE WITH ME. IT MIGHT SOUND CORNY BUT I DON’T LOOK AT A SANCTUARY AS SOMETHING OUTSIDE MYSELF. I GUESS I DON’T HAVE A SPECIFIC PLACE LIKE THAT BUT RATHER LOOK AT SANCTUARY AS A FRAME OF MIND.

WHO SUPPORTS YOUR WORK? WHY ARE THEY AMAZING? HOW DID YOU FIND THEM?

 (MOSTLY) WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD SUPPORT ME AND MY WORK IMMENSELY. AS A SELF-THOUGHT ARTIST AND AN ENTREPRENEUR I AM FACED WITH CHALLENGES, LESSONS, AND A PLETHORA OF EUPHORIA ON DAILY BASIS BUT WITHOUT THE SUPPORT AND EMPOWERMENT FROM SUCH A BRIGHT ENCOURAGING COMMUNITY I’VE ENCOUNTERED THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE. IT’S INTERESTING BECAUSE I VIEW ALL MY CLIENTS FROM SUCH A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE AND LOOK AT US ALL AS FRIENDS. AND FROM MY EXPERIENCES SO FAR, THE FEELINGS ARE MUTUAL AND I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER TO HAVE CONNECTED WITH SUCH CONSCIOUS, MAGNETIC WOMEN! ABOUT TWO YEARS AGO WHEN I INITIALLY JOINED INSTAGRAM AND DECIDED TO GIVE IT A SHOT, QUICKLY ENOUGH I GOT CONNECTED WITH DORI VARGA CREATOR OF TRIBE DE MAMA THROUGH GENEVIVE SLONIM FOUNDER OF BIRTH OF A MAMA, AND STARTED ILLUSTRATING FOR TDM MAGAZINE. BOTH OF THESE POWERHOUSE WOMEN BECAME FRIENDS AND SUPPORTED AND PROMOTED MY WORK ON THEIR PORTALS AMONGST MANY OTHERS AS WELL. THIS REALLY PROPELLED MY VISIONS FURTHER INTO THE WORLD AND HELPED ME IN DISCOVERING MY OWN MESSAGE AND INTENTION. 

WHAT IS THE BIG DREAM FOR WHAT YOU ARE CREATING? FOR YOU? FOR YOUR BELOVEDS? FOR THE PLANET?

BY EXPRESSING MY THOUGHTS, FEELINGS AND LESSONS I LEARNED IN LIFE, I HOPE TO EVOKE INTUITIVE WISDOM DEEP WITHIN OUR UNCONSCIOUS IN HOPE TO STIMULATE HEALING AND EMERGE WIDER VISIONS OF AWARENESS INTO CONSCIOUSNESS. I WISH TO EXPLORE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE ALCHEMY OF WOMEN AND EARTH, TO CREATE SPACE FOR US ALL TO FEEL SAFE AND LOVED, AND TO EMBOLDEN ALL THOSE WHO COME IN CONTACT WITH MY WORK TOWARDS SYNTHESIZING A NEW LIFE LIVED IN FREEDOM.  I FIND WHEN I DRAW AND CRYSTALIZE MY VISONS + DREAMS, I OPEN NEW DIMENSIONS OF HEALING BY SEEING MYSELF FROM DIFFERENT ANGLES. EACH DAY AND EACH ILLUSTRATION BRINGS NEW LESSONS. SOME DAYS DRAWINGS ARE MANIFESTED WITHOUT EVEN ME UNDERSTANDING THEIR MEANING, BUT THE PASSAGE OF TIME ALWAYS RELEASES THE DARKNESS OF THE CHRYSALIS AND UNEARTHS AWARENESS OF OUR COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS. IN ESSENCE, THE BIG DREAM AT THIS STAGE OF MY LIFE IS TO HEAL AND THROUGH MY OWN HEALING OPEN UP A WAY OF EXPANSION FOR OTHERS AND GROUND US ALL WITH THE ENERGY OF MOTHER EARTH. WHEN WE REALIZE THAT EVERYTHING IS INTERCONNECTED WE WILL SEE EARTH AS A LIVING ORGANISM, NOT ALIENATE OURSELVES FROM HER, BUT INSTEAD REALIZE WE ARE HER.

HOW HAVE YOU GOTTEN STARTED?

-  I FEEL THAT EVERYTHING EVOLVED IN A VERY LONELY, SAD, UNKNOWN SPACE.  I’M STILL CONNECTING ALL THE DOTS, BUT ABOUT SIX YEARS LATER AND NOW EVERYTHING IS FALLING INTO PLACE. IN 2010 AS MY HEART WAS ACHING DEALING WITH DIVORCE, LOSS OF MY IDENTITY, AND MOVING BACK WITH MY PARENTS…I FELT AS IF MY WHOLE WORLD COLLAPSED. INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, IT WAS THE BEST THING THAT HAPPENED TO ME. DURING THIS TIME OF DIFFICULTY, I DISCOVERED BLOCKAGES, LIMITATIONS OF MY EGO, AND INHIBITIONS WHICH I HARDLY GAVE ATTENTION TO IN MY LIFE. I’VE DECIDED TO STEP INTO THE FIRE OF SELF-DISCOVERY, RELEASE THE OLD PATTERNS AND DIG DEEPER WITHIN MY MIND. I PUT MYSELF THROUGH SCHOOL, BECAME HOLISTIC PRACTITIONER AND REALIZED MY PASSION FOR LIFE, LOVE AND HEALING. IN HARMONY WITH MY AYAHUASCA PATH AND THE ART OF THE ANCIENT THAI MASSAGE HEALING I STARTED TO DRAW MANDALAS AND SYMBOLS OVERFLOWING FROM MY UNCONSCIOUS. NO MATTER WHAT I WAS DOING I COULDN’T WAIT TO ARRIVE HOME AND MEDITATE, REFLECT, WRITE, AND DRAW MANDALAS. I HAD ONLY A TINY FRAGMENT OF AWARENESS OF WHAT IT ALL MEANT, BUT THERE WAS A NEED TO DO IT MORE THAN ANYTHING, AND SO I DID…. I FOLLOWED MY INTUITION.  LONG STORY SHORT, I QUIT MY JOB, OPENED MY ETSY STORE AND EVOLVED MY VISIONS.  THIS MONTH MARKS 1 FULL YEAR OF RUNNING MY BUSINESS FULL TIME AND SUSTAINING MYSELF BY IMAGINATION.

WHAT WERE THREE BIG PERSONAL BREAKTHROUGHS & LESSONS FROM STARTING YOUR BUSINESS?

-  ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS I LEARNED IN THIS FIRST YEAR OF RUNNING A BUSINESS IS TO SAY NO, NOT TO DEVALUE MYSELF AND TO SPEAK MY TRUTH NO MATTER HOW ONE MIGHT INTERPRET IT. I ALSO REALIZED THE VALUE OF HAVING CLEAR VISONS AND GOALS IN PLACE FOR MY BUSINESS AND FOLLOWING THROUGH WITH THEM DAILY. ANOTHER LESSON THAT KEEPS ME CENTERED IN LIFE IS THAT OF IMPERMANENCE. EVERYTHING CONTINUALLY FLOWS IN THIS STREAM OF LIFE, AND THE ONLY SURE DEATH IS ATTACHMENT. ATTACHMENT TO IDENTITY OF ME AS AN ARTIST, PERSON, PEOPLE, EXPERIENCES…ETC… SO FLEXIBILITY IS VERY IMPORTANT IN ALLOWING LIFE TO MOVE WITHOUT INCESSANT CONSTRICTIONS AND RESTRICTIONS.  I DO WHAT I CAN, WHAT I KNOW AND WHAT I LOVE NOW, BUT AM OPEN TO AND WELCOMING THE UNKNOWN AT ANY TIME. 

- VALUE OF FREEDOM IS ALSO SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT TO ME, SO THIS LESSON CONFIRMED EVERYTHING MY HEART ONCE YEARNED FOR.  

- EQUALLY IMPORTANT A LESSON I AM STILL ACTUALLY GETTING A GRASP ON, IS THAT RUNNING A SMALL BUSINESS IS HARDER THAN IMAGINED. BALANCE IS REALLY THE KEY IN LIVING PRESENTLY AMIDST THESE INFINITE MOVEMENTS, AND MAKING MISTAKES AND LEARNING ALONG THE WAY IS THE ONLY WAY TO FLOURISH. 

 

HOW ABOUT THREE FAILURES?

- AT TIMES I CAN BE ASTRONOMICALLY IMPULSIVE, AND IN TERMS OF FAILING IN BUSINESS I CAN SAY I INVESTED FINANCIALLY IN A LOT I COULDN’T AFFORD WHICH LEFT ME CONFUSED AND IRRITATED. ALSO, WORKING WITHOUT STRATEGIC GUIDELINES AND BUSINESS PLANS IS SOMETHING I’M CONSISTENTLY WORKING ON, BECAUSE LAST THING I WANT TO BE THINKING ABOUT IS MARKETING, BUSINESS ASPECTS, AND LOGIC WHEN CREATING ART. ON THE OTHER SIDE, I LOOK AT FAILURES AND HARDSHIPS MORE AS OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT THAN ANYTHING ELSE. 

THREE THINGS WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUR PRODUCTS + WHAT DO YOU NEED?  HOW CAN WE ALL SUPPORT YOU?

MY CREATIONS ARE A BRIDGE BETWEEN MY HEART AND MIND AND THROUGH EXPLORING THE MULTIDIMENSIONALITY OF OUR EXISTENCE I CAN ONLY HOPE TO REMIND US ALL OF OUR OWN BRILLIANCE AND POTENTIAL AS WELL AS OUR UNITY WITH NATURE.  MY INTERESTS IN THE MYSTICISM, PRIMITIVISM AND THE COSMOS PUSH ME TO CREATE AND LIVE PASSIONATELY WITH EACH BREATH SO KNOW THAT EACH ONE OF MY OFFERINGS CARRIES A HUGE PIECE OF ME WITHIN.  

IT’S HARD FOR ME TO EXPRESS MYSELF THROUGH SPEAKING, SO KNOWING THAT THROUGH ILLUSTRATING AND WRITING I CAN REACH OTHERS IS THE MOST FULFILLING GIFT AND SUPPORT I CAN RECEIVE. THANK YOU.

PHOTO CREDIT: LIAT AHARONI

VANJA VUKELIC IS A POET AND AN ALCHEMIST FROM THE BALKAN PENINSULA, CURRENTLY RESIDING IN TORONTO.  HER MINIMAL SURREALISTIC VISIONS CAPTURE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE MYSTERY, ALCHEMY, WOMAN AND EARTH. THROUGH REPETITIVE SYMBOLISM IN HER WORK SHE EVOKES INTUITIVE WISDOM DEEP WITHIN THE UNCONSCIOUS IN HOPE TO STIMULATE HEALING, EMERGE WIDER VISIONS OF AWARENESS, AND GROUND YOU WITH THE ENERGY OF MOTHER EARTH.

BE BRAVE, BE KIND, BE LOVE. KRISTA SARTIN OF KANTHA BAE.

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Tell us about your mornings. How do you greet the day?

TO BE HONEST, I'M NOT A MORNING PERSON, BUT... WHEN I DO GET UP (BEFORE MY KIDS) I AM TRULY REFRESHED AND READY TO GREET THE DAY. I START AT 7AM AND OPEN MY SCRIPTURE APP AND READ FOR A FEW MINUTES TO FOCUS ON THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FIRST. THEN, I RUN. RUNNING IS MY OUT, RUNNING IS WHEN I DREAM, RUNNING IS MY RELEASE. I GO 2.5 MILES, 6 DAYS A WEEK. THEN... OF COURSE... COFFEE. BY THIS TIME MY KIDS ARE STIRRING AND WE HAVE BREAKFAST TOGETHER. WE HAVE CHOSEN TO CLASSICALLY HOMESCHOOL OUR KIDS WITH A CHARLOTTE MASON APPROACH. A LOT OF THE HOMESCHOOL MORNING IS GUIDED PLAY AND A LOT OF READING. EVEN THOUGH I'M NOT A MORNING PERSON ON PAPER, I REALLY DO LOVE HAVING THIS LITTLE ROUTINE EVERY DAY.

 

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Is there a sanctuary in your life, that makes everything fall into place? Somewhere, something, somehow?

I BELIEVE EVERY WOMAN WAS GIVEN A GIFT BY OUR GOD, OUR CREATOR. IT IS A JOURNEY TO DISCOVER IT. IN WALKING IN THAT GIFT, I BELIEVE THERE IS FREEDOM. THERE IS NO GREATER JOY THAN BEING WHOLLY WHO YOU WERE DESIGNED TO BE. MY SONG IS MY GIFT FROM JESUS, MY SANCTUARY TO BE USED FOR HIS GLORY. I LOVE TO SING. WHEN I SING OR WRITE, THE WORLD AROUND ME DISAPPEARS. WHEN I'M HEAVY HEARTED, I SING. WHEN I'M HAPPY, I SING. WHEN I WORSHIP, I SING. I CANNOT EXPLAIN IT OTHER THAN THAT, IN PAIN OR IN JOY, I FIND PEACE IN MY GIFT OF SONG. 

 

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WHO SUPPORTS YOUR WORK? WHY ARE THEY AMAZING? HOW DID YOU FIND THEM?

MY HUSBAND, LANDON, IS MY SOUL-MATE AND THE LOVE OF MY LIFE. HE HAS BEEN THE GREATEST SUPPORTER OF ALL MY DREAMS. HE CHALLENGES ME TO COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES AND DREAM BIG. HE TAKES THE KIDS TO THE PARK WHILE I SEW. HE CHANGES DIAPERS. HE HOMESCHOOL'S EVERY FRIDAY SO I CAN WORK. LANDON IS THE COMPLETION OF ME. WE ARE ONE...TRULY, WITHOUT HIM, I WOULD NOT BE THE WOMAN I AM TODAY. 

MY DEAREST FRIEND AMANDA IS MY SOUL SISTER, FRIEND, AND PARTNER IN MY WORK. SHE WAS AN ANSWERED PRAYER FOR ME AS MY BUSINESS STARTED GROWING. SHE FILLED THE GAPS FOR ALL THE AREAS I AM WEAK. SHE BREATHES LIFE ONTO MY VISION FOR KANTHA BAE. SHE SHOULDERS THE NEGATIVITY WE FACE AS A BUSINESS, AND SHE SHEDS A WEALTH OF POSITIVITY AND HOPE IN EVERYTHING WE DO. WE DO LIFE ARM IN ARM AND HOLD EACH OTHER UP. SISTERHOOD CAN BE DEFINED BY US. AMANDA AND I MET THROUGH INSTAGRAM AND STARTED SWAPPING MAMA STORIES. WE STARTED CHATTING DAILY AND THE CONNECTION WAS SO STRONG. EVEN THOUGH WE WERE THOUSANDS OF MILES A PART, WE WERE ABLE TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY FRIENDSHIP. HER JOURNEY HAS BROUGHT HER CLOSER TO ME AND WE GET TO DO LIFE TOGETHER NOW IN THE SAME TOWN. KINDA AMAZING!!! 

 

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WHAT IS THE BIG DREAM FOR WHAT YOU ARE CREATING? FOR YOU? FOR YOUR BELOVEDS?

A YEAR AGO, A SHOP DESIGNING AND SEWING WAS DEFINITELY NOT ON MY RADAR. I WAS PRAYING AND TOLD THE LORD ONE DAY, "I DON'T WANT TO BE AFRAID, I WANT TO LIVE WITH MY HANDS OPEN." LITTLE DID I KNOW WHAT HE WAS PREPARING FOR ME. A FEW MONTHS AFTER THAT PRAYER, THE OPPORTUNITY FOR ME TO OPEN A SHOP SHARING MY DESIGNS WAS PRESENTED TO ME. I DECIDED TO JUMP IN AND GO FOR IT. I WROTE A SONG AT MY SEWING MACHINE CALLED, "DREAM BIG, LIVE BIGGER" THAT WILL RELEASE THE END OF THE YEAR (WWW.LANDERSROAD.COM). THIS SONG IS MY MANTRA. MY DESIRE FROM THE BEGINNING OF MY KANTHA BAE JOURNEY HAS BEEN TO SUPPORT THE WOMEN WHO EMBROIDER MY FABRIC. IT HAS BEEN A YEAR OF DISCOVERY AND HOPE AS I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO PARTNER WITH AN ORGANIZATION CALLED BASHA WHO IS RESCUING WOMEN IN WEST BENGAL AND OFFERING A HOUSE OF HOPE FOR THEM. BASHA MEANS "HOUSE OF HOPE." THEY PROVIDE DIGNIFIED WORK FOR THESE WOMEN AND LIFE TRAINING AND CARE FOR THEIR LITTLE ONES (WWW.BASHABOUTIQUE.COM). KANTHA BAE HAS BEEN ABLE TO SEE THIS ORGANIZATION GROW AS WE GROW. MY DREAM IS TO SUPPORT THESE WOMEN AND THEIR STORIES AND TO SEE KANTHA BAE GROW SO I CAN SUPPORT MY OWN LITTLES AND SEE THEM "DREAM BIG, LIVE BIGGER" TOO. I USED TO HIDE BEHIND MY KIDS, BUT THE LORD TOLD ME, "I HAVE EQUIPPED THEM WITH WHAT THEY NEED, SO YOU CAN BE WHO I'VE CREATED YOU TO BE." I'M STILL LEARNING, BUT HE IS NOT FINISHED WITH ME YET. I JUST WANT TO BE OPEN TO FOLLOW HIM WITHOUT BEING AFRAID AND LIVE THE ABUNDANT LIFE HE PROMISES ME IN HIS WORD.

 

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HOW HAVE YOU GOTTEN STARTED?

I STARTED WITH SOME KANTHA EMBROIDERED FABRIC I FORGOT ABOUT IN THE BACK OF MY CLOSET AND A SEWING MACHINE FROM WAL-MART. I WAS PREGNANT WITH MY FOURTH AND I HADN'T FOUND A BABY WRAP THAT I JUST LOVED. THE WRAPS I HAD WERE HOT AND DIGGY. I LOVED KANTHA AND IT'S LIGHTWEIGHT DURABILITY AND OF COURSE, IT'S BEAUTY. I DID A LOT OF READING AND TRIAL AND ERROR AT MY SEWING MACHINE AND CREATED THE FIRST EVER KANTHA BABY WRAP. IT WAS JUST FOR ME, UNTIL I WENT TO TARGET, OR THE PARK, OR THE GROCERY AND EVERY MAMA WANTED TO KNOW WHERE I GOT IT. MY HUBBY AND MY DEAREST FRIENDS URGED ME TO OPEN A SHOP. SO, I TOOK A LEAP AND A YEAR LATER I AM JUST IN AWE OF THE RESPONSE. KANTHA BAE IS GROWING BEYOND WHAT I COULD HAVE EVER IMAGINED AND THE LIVES OF THE WOMEN BEING CHANGED THROUGH THE DIGNIFIED WORK OF EMBROIDERING OUR KANTHA CARRIERS AND QUILTS IS JUST OVERWHELMING. I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE WHAT IS IN STORE IN THE FUTURE.

 

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WHAT WERE THREE BIG PERSONAL BREAKTHRUS & LESSONS FROM STARTING YOUR BUSINESS? 

AHHH, HOW DO I NARROW IT DOWN TO 3. THE BIGGEST PERSONAL BREAKTHROUGH WHEN I STARTED THIS JOURNEY WAS OVERCOMING FEAR. FEAR IS MY GREATEST WEAKNESS. ALL MY FAULTS STEM FROM IT....BUT IT DOESN'T WIN ANYMORE. I MADE A CHOICE NOT TO LIVE IN FEAR, BUT TO LIVE WITH MY HANDS OPEN FOR THE LORD TO FILL WITH LOVE AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE IT. NOT TO SAY I DON'T STRUGGLE ANYMORE WITH INSECURITY OR DOUBT, BUT IT NO LONGER HOLDS THE REIGNS OF MY DREAMS.

SECONDLY WOULD PROBABLY BE LEARNING TO BE CONFIDENT AND STEADFAST IN THE VISION FOR MY DREAMS. NOT EVERYONE WILL JUMP ON BOARD WITH MY VISION AND GOALS. OVERCOMING THE NEGATIVITY AND "THIS HASN'T BEEN DONE BEFORE" HAS BEEN A DIFFICULT HURDLE FOR ME AS I TEND TO AVOID ALL CONFRONTATION. I HAVE SUCH A DESIRE FOR PEACE AND HATE CONFLICT. IT HAS BEEN A JOURNEY TO LEARN TO BE STRONG IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY AND HOLD TIGHT TO WHAT I BELIEVE IN. 

THIRD I WOULD HAVE TO SAY IS LEARNING TO LIVE IN TODAY. I'M ONLY ONE PERSON TRYING WITH ALL MY MIGHT TO CHANGE THE WORLD AND I TEND TO SPREAD MYSELF TO THIN. LEARNING BALANCE AS I JUGGLE BEING WIFE, MOTHER, ARTIST, BUSINESS OWNER, FRIEND IS LIKE TRYING TO CONTROL THE WEATHER. ONE DAY AT A TIME, TODAY IS ALL I CAN HANDLE, TOMORROW CAN WORRY ABOUT ITSELF THE BIBLE SAYS. I'M TRYING TO LIVE THAT DAILY..."TRYING" THE KEY WORD THERE.

 

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HOW ABOUT THREE FAILURES?

I THINK IT WOULD BE EASY TO COME UP WITH SOMETHING TO SAY HERE AS TO NOT SHARE THE TRUTH, BUT THAT IS NOT HOW I CHOOSE TO LIVE. I SHARE MY DAY TO DAY STORY @THEDOORPOSTS AND THE TRUTHS I LIVE BY. THE DOORPOST IS AN ILLUSTRATION IN SCRIPTURE THAT STANDS FOR THE BANNER OF YOUR HOME. IT'S WHERE YOU COME IN AND GO OUT. SCRIPTURE SAYS TO WRITE THE LORD'S WORD ON THE DOORPOST OF YOUR HOME AND SPEAK OF THEM TO YOUR CHILDREN AS YOU WALK WITH THEM. I OFTEN THINK, WHAT IS MY DOORPOST? WHAT IS MY TRUTH? BECAUSE I SO LONG TO LIVE AND SPEAK THE TRUTH TO MY CHILDREN. THE "DOORPOST" IS WHERE I FAIL THE MOST IN ALL THE AREAS OF MY LIFE BECAUSE I AM HUMAN AND IMPERFECT AND IN NEED OF A SAVIOR. I DON'T ALWAYS RESPOND TO CIRCUMSTANCES THE RIGHT WAY AND OFTEN SPEAK HATEFULLY TO MY BELOVEDS. I THINK NEGATIVELY ABOUT MY LIFE WHEN I AM SO BLESSED. THESE FAILURES AND SHORTCOMINGS IN MY LIFE I KNOW MY KIDS WILL REMEMBER, BUT THAT'S NOT ALL I WANT THEM TO REMEMBER. I WANT THEM TO REMEMBER THAT WHEN I WAS UNKIND, I SAID, "I'M SORRY." WHEN I FELL DOWN, I GOT BACK UP. WHEN PEOPLE WERE HATEFUL TO ME, I RESPONDED WITH KINDNESS. THAT LOVING PEOPLE AND LOVING GOD IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. I HAVE 3 HUGE WEAKNESSES THAT I HAVE NARROWED DOWN IN MY JOURNEY AND THEY ARE THE THINGS I SPEAK TO MY KIDS EVERY SINGLE NIGHT BEFORE THEY GO TO BED AND I HAVE THEM REPEAT THEM BACK TO ME..."YOU ARE KIND, YOU ARE BRAVE, YOU ARE LOVED." IF I CAN HELP THEM LEARN TO BE THESE THINGS, I CAN SAY I HAVE LIVED TRUTH AND LOVE BEFORE THEM.

 

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THREE THINGS WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUR PRODUCTS.

 

HANDMADE: BY WOMEN WHO HAVE BEEN GIVEN HOPE THROUGH DIGNIFIED WORK EMBROIDERING KANTHA IN WEST BENGAL.

OOAK: EACH PIECE IS DESIGNED BEAUTIFULLY AND UNIQUELY WITH CARE AND CANNOT BE REPLICATED.

BEAUTIFUL: THE COMPLETELY SOFT AND DURABLE COTTON KANTHA YOU FIND IN OUR DESIGNS ARE UNMATCHED IN THEIR COLORS AND DETAIL.

 

Kanthafam2

 

WHAT DO YOU NEED?  HOW CAN WE ALL SUPPORT YOU?

IT IS DIFFICULT TO EVEN SHARE NEEDS BECAUSE I FEEL SO SUPPORTED AND LOVED BY THE WOMEN I HAVE MET AND BECOME FRIENDS WITH ON THIS KANTHA BAE JOURNEY. SUPPORT ME BY SHARING MY STORY AND THE WOMEN'S STORIES IN WEST BENGAL THAT HAVE HOPE NOW. WEAR YOUR KANTHA WRAPS AND SLINGS AND TELL THE STORIES OF THE WOMEN WHO CRAFTED IT. JOIN ME IN THE JOURNEY OF OVERCOMING FEAR AND SHARING TRUTH TO YOUR CHILDREN @THEDOORPOSTS AND WE CAN STAND ARM IN ARM TOGETHER ON THIS LIFE JOURNEY.  BE KIND, BE BRAVE, BE LOVED....THEN YOU CAN BE LOVE TO OTHERS. 


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My name is Krista Sartin. I am a homeschool mother of 4 and wife to Landon. We are musicians that travel as the band Landers sharing Jesus and truth in song. I love to create and sew and I get to share my designs via my shop Kantha Bae. I love sad music, rainy days, and a good book. My daily journey can be found @thedoorposts. Most days you'd find me juggling life as a wife and mom in yoga pants and a top knot...

 

Shop:

www.kanthabae.com

@kanthabae

 

Music:

www.landersroad.com

@landersroad

 

Personal:

@thedoorposts

 


CHAOS GIVES BIRTH TO A DANCING STAR

chaos:

“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche
Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Prologue, 5

chaos arises from the all of the everywhere.  my thinking self spinning in circles chasing the tails of the shoulds and have to’s.  the tasks with no end, the thoughts with no end.

you know, the yard needs to be cleaned up, the dog fed, the laundry moved to the dryer before it gets that musty smell, the toilet scrubbed, kids need shoes that fit, bills need to be paid on time, sweep the kitchen, reply to texts, find time to look at the sky, write a poem, don’t get too lost in the swirl…

the chaos.  such is life.  sometimes i fight it, sometimes i submit like i am falling down, sometimes i surrender like i am starting to get it — the gift of full spectrum chaos life force.

chaos may not be the enemy at all but the birthing fires.  the swirling dervish of mystery and the unknown and the known all dancing together and asking me to cradle both my will and my action into being.  so i root into the vibrant life.  i ride the chaos.  i find my way to my practice, my words, the work i get to engage with in my luminary transformation sessions, the plants that want to thrive on my tiny little piece of land, the joy of my kitchen, my thousand avenues of love and exploration.  i move into deep relationship with chaos, the relationship of open curiosity and a capacity to wonder at all ways with love.

then i lose it again and fight back.  then i remember again and soften into.  

i am a cycle.

 


space/calm:

for me the space is practice.  the practice comes in many forms.  

slowing down.  starting with my morning routine, where i might choose to chant as i hand grind my coffee.  two deep breaths every time i open the fridge door.  watching for any sign of nature or moment to connect to the great mother.  who flies past my window?  what size is the sun?  how does the wind move today?

embodiment.  i invite myself into the safety of deep connection with this body, in this moment in time.  i invite myself to land deeply and fully in my body.  again and again and again.  this is supplemented by walking barefoot in nature for as long as i can (the backyard counts!), free-form balance work, and movement based meditation practices.

the having.  a simple shift in focus from what i am striving for to what i contain already.  striving can build and build into an energetic feeling state of lack.  i want to live from the fullness.  reconnecting to the energy of having builds on my slowing down practice and also, unexpectedly, seems to move me into a clearer and cleaner state of “doing.”  i experience less blocks and avoidance.

kitchen alchemy.  for me, my kitchen is a place of instinctual movement, creation and calm.  i chop, season, saute, mix, ferment, bake and alchemize from deep within an art of layering memories and being guided by my own desire and pleasure.  always grounding and heart space increasing, i sometimes also manage to accidentally solve problems i couldn’t see my way through when i am immersed in my kitchen.

feasting.  allowing my life to seen as a gathering of moments.  a piecing together of small circles of beauty and in-balance feasts.  a glass of water with a sprig of fresh sage and nasturtium from my garden is a feast.  a two minute foot rub with lavender infused oil is a feast.  a cucumber sprinkled with sea salt is a feast.  i accept the invitation to gather all the small essential beauty of my life in consciousness.

trifecta.  i work with a daily practice.  my daily practice is always made of a collection of three invitations to engage that i find bring me home to my self in the most important ways.  when i recommit to trifecta i always begin with a 43 day commitment.  right now my practice is movement, chanting, poetry.  

discipline.  within the commitment to cultivating spaciousness and calm through a practice i always ground into my understanding of discipline.  this is - that discipline is forgiveness.  i will aim for, i will mess up, i will forget, i will make careless decisions that get in the way of my practices, i will forgive myself instantly, i will begin again.  repeat.  repeat.  repeat.  daily practice is an eternal game of remember/forget that wants only to be bathed in love.


guides:

three things i have grounded into recently to help support clarity in my daily life.

“i decided to cook only something that comes straight from my heart.”  - Alex Atala, Chef’s Table Season 2.  i simply cannot say enough about the Netflix series “Chef’s Table.”  yes, food inspiration but so much more — inspiration for living and life.

Katy Bowman who i first discovered through her book Move Your DNA. i then became addicted to her podcast Katy Says and lastly began to dig through her website Nutritious Movement.  again, a deep source of inspiration around movement specifically but also so much more, soaking into all manner of engaging with life.

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery - a book i grabbed at the airport on a whim and fell deeply in love with.  


create:

my creative heart is always in the kitchen and playing with movement.  right now i am actively falling back in love with writing ten minute poetry as well…

i wake tired.
tired of fear,
tired from dreaming,
tired of the way my tongue searches around the backs of my teeth.
tired in the curve of my own forehead.

but i don’t want to rest.
i want to turn whatever corner awaits.
i want through the pull of
this thin membrane
and on, into the light.

perhaps i need ancient tongues whispered silent in the clouds above.

perhaps i need to go back away,
to the centers of life,
to the body of the beast
at the heart beyond my heart
and ask her to return here with me.

at the edges of jealous and rage is expansion.  the fire lick of anger is just a last grab at my skins.  

i have no use for being small.
but small doesn’t want to be left behind.

not to worry sweet one,
i am akin to the mother.
i scoop her up - trembling and fearful,
ignored and undernourished, 
tear streaked face long since dried and eyes wide

here is a long strip of silk.
a hand to hold.
here are my arms.

i don’t have to escape without you.
i don’t have to heal anything into becoming.

the heart of perfection is just gathering you up.

here, lets be in the roaring winds together.
here, lets gaze at the void.
here the beast body beats at the centers,
here all the light and the stars
and the space and breath and my own
fiery sun and each phase of everything.

here together.  it all.  

there is nothing for weary.
there is not at fight
there is no evacuation or denial

gather here - big small home -
we will join like one and
have truth for breakfast and
go about our days
like a radical light.
like peace.
like all the space in the world.


ROBIN E. SANDOMIRSKY

MOVEMENT EXPLORER. LUMINARY HEALER. TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANNEL. NEW ENGLAND DWELLING SINGLE MAMA TO A TWO & FOUR LEGGED FAMILY OF LIGHT BRINGERS. WORDSMITH, FOOD ALCHEMIST, AND DAILY FREEDOM GRANTER EQUALLY UNAFRAID OF PRIMAL COFFEE, GREEN SMOTHIES AND WHISKEY STRAIGHT UP. ROBIN LIKES TO HOLD SPACE FOR QUIET AND LOVE LIFE LOUD. SOYALA :: LUMINARY TRANSFORMATION SESSIONS. CO-CREATOR OF LIBERATED LINES. CO-CREATOR OR INTUIT & INSPIRE RETREATS. WWW.ROBINESANDOMIRSKY.COM/LUMINARY-HEALING/
WWW.LIBERATED-LINES.COM                       WWW.INTUIT-INSPIRE.COM

A LOVE-LETTER TO THE WOMEN ON THE GROUND

To the woman making lunches and dinners day after day, bring awareness to your breath, bring yourself back to this moment, this mundane regular everyday moment, and know that within this moment is church.

— Carrie Anne Moss

Carrie-anne moss, by denise andrade-kroon

Carrie-anne moss, by denise andrade-kroon

Hi beauties!

Every Monday I share with women on Annapurna Living. Some days, stories just spill out of me and, on others, I have very little to say. I have been in that summer mode of lazy, not wanting to look at the clock, ice-cream-cones-once-again mode.

Today I took my youngest to her “day before first day” of first grade. As I braided her hair in the particular way she demands, I sensed all of the women who have come before me—all the women who have brushed their daughters' hair and all the mothers who will come after me doing this everyday routine. Through this simple act I felt the total grace and deep presence of connection. Braiding her hair felt like an honor I had been entrusted to do. It was a quick moment—honestly, it was pretty straight-forward—but I had this sense that, long after I am gone, the way it feels for her to have me brush her hair will live within her forever. And as the mother of three children, I know how soon she will not ask me do this...

So today, even though I'm really tired and weary, I lean on the basic premise that the vibration of who I am will live on. I choose to see this, not to force perfection into myself but to inspire the blessing of this divine life I have been gifted.

Here are some thoughts I have today...

To you, the women on the ground, the women doing the hard work of the everyday, I feel you.

To the woman walking through life nose to the ground, look up and notice the sky.

To the woman making lunches and dinners day after day, bring awareness to your breath, bring yourself back to this moment, this mundane regular everyday moment, and know that within this moment is church.

To the woman missing your mother, your father, the baby that never was, bring them into your heart and feel the truth of their soul.

As you epic fail, day after day, pick yourself up, give yourself a pat on the back and the heart, and keep on keeping up.

When everyone around you looks like they have it all figured out and you are tempted to give your power away, stop and connect to your soul, and know that you KNOW...

Listen to your body—it will give you all the clues you need.

Be creative because, if you aren't, you will feel tired and blue.

When you feel overwhelmed by the trials of the world—the despair of children and human beings everywhere—don't get paralyzed; do something.

When the moon is new, make a wish.

When the moon is full, dance under her and give thanks for all.

WITH LOVE,
CARRIE-ANNE

 


CARRIE-ANNE MOSS

Mother. Wife. Actress. Yogi. Fierce Woman Inspired.

“My desire is to live in a world where nourishment is valued. My wish is to inspire others to create honest and satisfying lives. I find immense satisfaction in my role as a wife and mother, seeking deep and truthful connection with my husband and children. I am passionate about education, not just of the mind, but also of the soul. 

I advocate for sacred motherhood by encouraging other mothers to connect with their families. Keeping an open heart is key in cultivating a life of grace.” 

@CARRIEANNEMOSS                ANNAPURNALIVING.COM                 FIERCE GRACE COLLECTIVE

SPIRITUAL ACTIVIST. RIOTESS HEART. ANCESTRAL WOMB. @MARYBETHBONFIGLIO

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chaos.

Mostly in my heart and mind. Also, my bathroom counter. I think the chaos comes from too loose of boundaries. I am feeling the universal confusion when birth happens, people and words and energy coming at us from all directions. This affects my heart and mind. My body feels blurry. Also, boundaries with my kids. My daughters love my bathroom. I have a hard time with the firm and loving no, because, come on, who wouldn’t want to play with mama’s oils and fancy tubes, and loads of jewelry. But I am working on allowing myself to have some space that is all mine. To say no. And to let some of the chaos release. 

 

practice.

I use my practice {yoga, meditation, tarot, nature communion} to balance it all. I am a mother of three daughters, all wild, all beautiful, all edge walkers. The oldest is now walking into young maidenhood/goddess-hood. The grief of her growing and the excitement of her unfolding is a bit overwhelming! And also showing up for the needs of my younger two as well. It’s intense! And a blessing. But shit. It’s a big dance of balance.  I hold space for numerous small business that are actually working themselves into being just One {the whole of me and my path on earth} and commit to showing up daily as a spiritual activist, someone who is not going to back down in the merging of sacredness with social issues and justice. My life is full. But it isn’t easy. And truly it’s the practices, whatever they are that day, that root me and calm me. Maybe it’s just tea by the window. Maybe it’s hours of yoga with kids climbing. Maybe it’s a solo walk in the forest. Maybe it’s catching 20 minutes of meditation. Maybe it’s just chopping the vegetables with a quiet mantra of calmness.

 

We all can pick something. And we root into it. And allow space to be created. Honestly, just opening up our arms, extending them out to our sides, lifting our chests to the sun up high, and breathing in and out- this is enough- to create spaciousness. It takes 2 minutes. It can be this simple. 

I also create space by learning to say yes to things that are a definite YES. I was taught to be a yes girl growing up. I am learning the power of the feminine NO. This is a constant practice. And it’s not about being negative, or being scared to say yes. It’s about saying NO so that you free up space for the True Yes.  

 

calm.

Mostly in bed. At night. When they are all asleep. Or. In nature. Alone. Against a tree. In the garden. Hands covered in dirt. In my breath. In moving my body with my breath. In remembering my womb and the moon. Closing my eyes and exhaling. Cuddling my littlest on the couch when we should be doing something else. Rose tea. A massage by a lover. Baking something delicious. A clean swept floor. A wild field of flowers. Floating in the river. Nature, mother earth, this amazing planter: she calms me.

 

clarity.

Staying off the Internet. Remembering all the good and beauty in the world by staying awake and keeping my eyes open. Laying off the coffee.  Paying attention. Looking people in the eye. Making a fresh juice. Writing. One word after another. Chanting peace.peace.peace while I am stuck in traffic. 

 

 

home.

Awakening The Spine by Vanda Scavaletti

Matrona Midwifery Training with Whapio {an amazing teacher of the divine feminine + birth + womb wellness}

Women, Food + God by Geneen Roth 

Rachel Pollack who teaches tarot like it’s literary, like it’s magical, like it’s a story. Because it is.

Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The moon and her rhythm.

My three daughters + their births.

Mother Earth.

And to be honest, myself and my body and the constant dance I do to connect myself, to embody and inhabit this body- my body is one of my greatest leaders.

 

more practice.

Yes. To put it simply it’s yoga + ritual. To open up the layers, it’s listening to what my body needs the most. I am ultra-sensitive and a hyper creative. I tend to feel so much. And then radically throw myself into creation. Both of those things are amazing and yet they can take a toll on the body. And so my practice really is to be in this body and on this earth. Yoga, which in so many ways has become this weird and cheesy marketed “thing” - is actually this profound action for me where I allow my spirit and bones to intersect, to come together, to celebrate that I am here, on earth, being held up by this planet. Sometimes I am just so “high” as in “not rooted” - I am spacey, I am floaty, I live in other realms, and I love it, but I want to be more on the earth, in a real way, practicing a movement and a language that allows others to be here, to enjoy here, to do their good work and healing here, to connect with their wombs, their blood, their breath, their bones and their flesh. Dig feet into soil. Lift arms up into air. Sing around fire. Burn down what no longer serves. It’s all practice, really, it’s all ritual. Intention. 

 

begin.

right where you are. Listen. What do you need? Take one action step towards that. It’s not always easy to say yes to what you need. We have been conditioned to put others first. But we must, if we want a practice, devote our being to showing up for ourselves. It does not matter what your practice is. As long as it feels good, and it’s of wellness, and it brings you peace, and you love yourself more afterward. Today, just say yes to the one thing, and take one step closer. 

 

making.

So much. Sometimes I think too much! I make a lot of bread. Because this brings me back to my old ways, to the ways of my grandmother. Do you know how much creation comes in the form of yeast, rising, kneading and allowing? Whoa.  I am also writing a couple books. Books I wanted that didn’t exist. One is around investigating the wild ways of our feminine bloodlines- which is truly personal- because we all come from different lands and traditions. I am creating my business around the healing ways of my Mediterranean grandmothers- this involves writing, movement, womb work, tarot, plant medicine.  The second book is for young girls, for those ready to bleed, a place for them to map and track their cycles, to write and explore their feelings, and to feel held and honored as they grow and bloom- to take the “gross” out of their moon blood and help them realize and actualize their powers as young as possible. Creating for me is like breathing. I look around: where can I make something more fun, more beautiful? Where can my voice be used to plant seeds? What color needs to be brought in on my dining table? What will bring healing into my girls life? What kind of dance party can we all have right now? What will the music be? 

 

Life is creation. We all have the fire in the heart and the water in the womb and all we need to do is own our creative powers… and most everything after that will be an act of art. 

 


MARYBETHBONFIGLIO.COM

 MAMA TO 3. UNTAMED WRITER. TAROT STORYTELLER. MESSY ARTIST. REBEL YOGI. RIOTESS HEART. ANCESTRAL WOMB WELLNESS.
MARYBETHBONFIGLIO.COM/THELIVINGTAROT @MARYBETHBONFIGLIO              @UNTAMED_WRITERS

PLANTSTRONG. COMMUNITY ICON, BEACON & ANGEL @JESSICANORWOOD

 

chaos.

I've been taking some time to be. Just be. No bra. No makeup. No smiling if I didn't want to. No superficial conversations. Just be.

Folks often think that because you are always on the go, or that people see you in a leadership role that you don't need to be taken care of too. 
They imagine that you couldn't care, that your heart couldn't break and that you couldn't get tired. But it happens. Self love means that while its nice to have others offer support and love, you have to keep your own peace. 
I honor myself with good food. I honor myself by saying no. I honor myself by forgiving. I honor myself with patience and compassion. It's a way of life, not a hashtag. 
Try this:
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup of fresh mango
1/2 cup of crushed ice
1/2 cup of coconut water
Blend and sprinkle nutmeg on top. Sip slowly. And sit in the sun or sunny room if you can. 

 

All the blues  but these are happy blues! I'm always more at home by the water; it's my sanctuary. Water is everywhere which means I'm always covered, fortified and restored.

calm.

Stillness • I get so worked up trying to figure things out. I'm reminded that all I have to do is show up for the conversations and the opportunity will reveal itself. Not because I am brilliant but because I am in service to what is wanting to happen in the world.

Seasons • Received the word that we are in a season. We are shifting. Confusion and chaos are a part of this but take comfort in the knowing that one season is ending and a new one is upon us. It's already determined in the universe that this will happen, how it will happen and what the outcome will be.

 

Morning Juice • Watermelon+Lime Agua Fresca takes me back to Mexico.

love • I don't think of the past hurts as much anymore. They happened and yes they shaped me but they didn't break me. I mostly think of what's possible. And I keep my eyes and my heart vulnerably open to love. Here's the thing, I don't do this for the other person. I do it for me. Because giving love is a great gift and it makes me feel more alive and more powerful.

 

 

creativity.

bhindi • or you can call it okra. i put my own spin to it. the spices are rubbed on which makes a smoky crust like a blackening rub.

/// crusted okra • bhindi blackened
1. Slice the okra length wise. Lay slices on a paper towel, seed side down. 
2. In a shallow bowl or plate, mix the following spices: cumin powder, garlic powder, salt, turmeric, black pepper, curry powder. 
3. Mix the spices together with a fork. Add in olive oil, fresh lime juice and lemon juice. Add in a hot pepper sauce if you like a little heat. I use scotch bonnet pepper sauce. 
4. Dredge the seed side in the spice paste. Wipe off excess on the side of the bowl. 
5. Cook in a medium heat pan until done. Maybe about 5 min per side. Depends on heat setting. 
#vegan #blackvegan #food #okra#plantbased #bhindi #plantmade#plantstrong #plantbased

 

clarity.  I slay. All day.

Black Women • I looked back at the picture of the black woman standing heroically, calmly and with complete knowing as police officers and riot gear charged her for no justifiable reasons. 
I am reminded just how much black women, across the globe, hold this world right side up. We are loyal. We are fighters. We are truth tellers. We are givers. We are beautiful. We are the worlds mother. We are most feared. We are most esteemed. 
Black women save lives; always have and always will.

 

 

Investor • My first film investment is focused on the $1.2 trillion annual spending power of Black Americans. If we were a country we would be the 16th largest in the world. Can we redirect this money to making our communities safer, create more jobs and build more wealth? 
The films director, John Guydon, @Guydonspeaks gifted me with a book of stills from the film when we met up during my trip to LA.

#blackwealth #communitywealth #bankblack #buyblack #wealth #communityinvesting

 

 

Everything good, returns. Trust this.

 


JESSICA NORWOOD

PLANT STRONG FOODIE
COMMUNITY FINANCE CHANGEMAKER
VISIONARY
SOUL HEALER
SEXY MOFO
@JESSICANORWOOD 

EMERGECHANGE.ORG

STRETCHING OUT INTO SPACE. ASTROLOGICAL COUNSELOR DANIELLE POLGAR

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:: The Beauty of Chaos :: 

Three weeks ago my husband and I uprooted from the Bay Area and replanted ourselves in my soul home of Santa Fe, New Mexico. We're both adjusting, adapting, expanding, growing, and flourishing. We're finding a place for every 'thing', and finding our sense of place here, together. It's been 6 years since I've called this place home, and I return as if on a journey in the wilderness. I return with the healing wisdom and medicine I brewed inside of me while I was away. My flavor of chaos is no longer sitting in traffic, it's figuring out how I can channel all the inspiration and enthusiasm flowing through me right now.

:: Stretching Out into Space ::

Before our big move, I proclaimed, "I need more space!", and viola, my wish was granted - six-fold. We're now stretching out of our 600 square foot life into a 3,200 square foot home in the mountains of Santa Fe. There may be less oxygen up here in the mountains, but the air is cleaner and I'm breathing deeper. I'm less worried about time because everything moves a bit slower here. The mountains cradle me in my small humanness and offer me a place to stand so I can see the world from above. 

 

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:: Sensing Calm ::

Calm is around every corner these days. It's in the smells of pine needles under my feet, in the feeling of the dry heat of the high desert on my skin, when looking out at the world from atop a mountain. I taste calm in a glass of red wine alongside a home cooked meal. And, calm visits me at night when I moon gaze through the trees and wonder at the stars. Calm is so much easier to tap into now that I am surrounded by nature everyday. 

 

:: Clear + Connected ::

Mornings are my time for pure presence and gratitude. Each day my mind is like a blank canvas awaiting a new creation. I bathe in the crisp, clear, sunshine and invite the endless possibilities. 

 

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:: Wisdom Teachers ::

A few books that brought me home were: Shakti Woman, Nature and the Human Soul, and Women Who Run with the Wolves. I've also learned so much from and deeply respect Danielle LaPorte, Marie Forleo, and Bruce Lipton.

 

 

:: Ritual + Practice ::

Coffee. I am deeply in love with it. I savor the smell of the beans and relish in the taste and the ritual of coffee. I subscribe to Northbound Coffee Roasters in Mt. Shasta, and each day I grind up the beans, pour two shots of espresso for me and my husband, froth some almond milk, and add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg to each of our mugs. We sit and chat and share intentions for the day. It's our little morning date with each other.

Tips: If you use an espresso machine like I do, the key to a good froth is cold milk. I keep our frothing pitcher in the freezer. 

 

:: Creations ::

Living in a new home has inspired me to create many new dishes: specifically those of New Mexican cuisine -- and, we've been into homemade sauerkraut and pickles. I'm also writing my e-book about the Saturn Return.


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D A N I E L L E   P O L G A R,  M. A.  
A s t r o l o g i c a l   C o u n s e l o r   +  
S a t u r n   R e t u r n   S p e c i a l i s t

"Nothing can be understood in isolation - only by its relationship to other things" - Howard Sasportas

W E B S I T E   
F A C E B O O K   
I N S T A G R A M  
P O D C A S T

ROMANCE MY*SELF. @FAESOUL


Today I was outside pulling weeds deep into my flower bed with my Rainbow sandals on. When I was finished, my feet were smothered with soil and covered in prickly buds from the tall stems of Forget-Me-Nots.  Usually, I would take a washcloth and wipe my soiled feet so that I wouldn't track it all over our wooden floors but this time, I felt a need to feel water falling on them to soothe the itch from the prickly buds.  I sat on the side of our bathtub and turned on the faucet to find the perfect temperature and mmmm...my feet fell under the water's spell.  I know this is so very simple, yet I had never thought of doing it before with my dirty garden feet.  I noticed that I was taking time for myself that felt nurturing and suddenly, I had an urge to create a ritual in that moment.  I stood up, ran on my wet tippy-toes outside into our garden and pulled down a few tiny roses from our trellis and then tip-toed back inside to scatter the roses across the tub.  Mmmm...now THAT felt romantic, like a treat and my whole being felt lit up from within.  It was only 10 minutes of calm in the chaos of Life but 10 nourishing minutes that had a lasting effect on my mood for the remainder of the day.  

My son asked;

 "Why are there roses in the bathtub mommy?"

I told him that mama needed to wash the dirt off of her feet and I wanted to romance mySelf while doing so.  He laughed with me but about 30 minutes later he asked; 

"Can we put flowers in the tub for my bath tonight? My body wants romance too!"

 
Him saying this made me realize how very powerful those 10 minutes were; for him, for me and how just one simple act of nurturing our Self gives to others and doesn't feel selfish at all.
 

I think it is important to remind each other that when we take gentle care of ourselves, it inspires our loves around us to do the same for themselves.  So many times we as caretakers can feel selfish for taking time out for for nourishment but truly, we are still giving and nurturing and teaching ways of Love to others by doing so.

 


DENISE ANDRADE-KROON

GENTLE & WILD
~ SOFT & SILLY ~
SLOW & SAVORING
🌸COTTAGE DWELLER🌸 


WWW.FAESOUL.COM 
@FAESOUL 

 

chaos as magic. chaos as life-giving.

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Chaos

“All great changes are preceded by chaos” -- Deepak Chopra

There is always a least a little chaos going on in my life -- chaos that feels unsettling. Chaos is a word that generally carries a negative connotation, understood as an undesirable state of not knowing or understanding what will happen next -- feeling overwhelmed and unable to predict the future. But I like to think of chaos as magic. Chaos brings about the new, the unexpected; it is life giving. (Sounds a little like motherhood, right?) Magic is generally a situation in which our expectations are challenged, things do not go as planned, but we view the outcome positively. Since I can’t control the universe, but I can influence my own perspective I try to bring a positive, open outlook to each day and each situation. When I am open to the chaotic unknown as potentially beautiful, fresh, new and positive I welcome chaos as everyday magic. This doesn’t mean that having two baskets of laundry to fold and a sink full of dishes feels magical, but it does bring a pleasant mindfulness to the chaotic mundane

 

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Spaciousness

White space. A blank slate is a world of possibility, all the space for thought, new direction and beginnings. I love a blank piece of paper, a white wall, a bare table top. Being outdoors is also my spaciousness. The big wide open. The moving air, the open sky, the grounding, the connection with infinite expansion.

 

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White space and the outdoors are part of my everyday. They are my go to for calm and creativity. For connecting inward and connecting outward.

 

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Calm

Calm is always breath. Inhale. I connect with the present. Exhale. I am here now.

 

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Clarity

Clarity is simple for me. I look at my children, I observe their energy and intentions and everything that is important, that is vital, comes into stark clarity. I have never felt such confidence in myself and my decisions as I have being a mother. My children gave me this gift. Children’s needs are so simple, so few. Love, care, nourishment, shelter. They give themselves so purely and generously to others. This is my clarity. All I need for myself and all I need to create from myself is love and nourishment with pure and generous intentions. My children gave me my clarity and therefore true purpose. When days are hard and exhausting, when I’m not sure what to do next, I come back to my children and to the present moment. This grounds me.

 

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We don’t need to be parents or raise children to find our clarity, that is just how it came to me. Living simply, travelling far and wide, meditation, yoga and other journeys can take us there.

 

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Practice

Walking. I practice many things, but nothing as consistently and persistently as walking.

 

“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts.” -- Soren Kierkegaard

 

In high school I wrote a biographical paper about Soren Kierkegaard and in researching his life I learned that he spent around 8 hours a day walking. Walking was his way to think and solve problems. I remember thinking this practice sounded quite luxurious and attractive. I later learned that many great thinkers have been avid walkers. (Many are also quite sedentary…) When I moved out of home and into the downtown of our city I no longer had to rely on car and bus wheels to get me places, I could walk to work and school. It felt like such a freedom to me. Freedom from a public transit schedule, freedom from a pre-determined route, freedom from monetary exchange. A simple action was filled with so much freedom. I got completely hooked on walking, like a child taking my first steps again. Since then I’ve made walking for the sake of walking a core part of my life. It brings me calm in the chaos of work and motherhood, clarity in moments of overwhelm, space for my heart and mind to open.

 

 

Books / Thought Leaders / Inspiration

The Dalai Lama for his commitment to kindness in the face of any situation. Kindness is always possible. Kindness is the way.

 

Viktor Frankl is a Holocaust survivor, author and psychiatrist. His book Man’s Search for Meaning shows us in unequivocal terms how we can overcome the worst circumstances imaginable and continue to live with gratitude each day.


Diaper Free, by Ingrid Bauer, is a book that I picked up in my midwife’s office by chance. Sitting in her office on my “due” date, the spine of the book caught my eye and my intuition told me to take the book home and read it. While the book is about how to raise your child/ren without the use of diapers, at the core it is really a book about communication, close connection and the power of intuition. As someone who doesn’t generally recommend parenting books, I recommend this book to everyone even if they have no interest in doing diaper free or elimination communication with their infants, because the book teaches so much more than that. It empowers individuals to recognize and hone their intuitive powers. It was life changing for me.

 

Creativity

Life is creativity. I am creating life and lifestyle - a style of life - everyday. My life, as I create it and guide my children, is my message to the world. As I share on my website, Hippie in Disguise, I am creating a nature-inspired life of art and adventure, based in an ethos of slow, eco, minimal living.


Known as Hippie in Disguise, popular Canadian blogger and Instagrammer Danielle Chassin is not only a Contributing Editor for Enfants Terribles, a European children’s fashion magazine, but she is also the mother of two and a full-time policy strategist for the Canadian Government. Danielle grew up dancing and then shifted her focus to yoga after high school. She is passionate about creative arts, the environment, and compassionate, kind and minimal living. Danielle’s photography and writing focus on the little things that make life beautiful and inspiring. Art, adventure, nature, slow, eco, minimal are words she lives by. That, and love.

www.hippieindisguise.com | IG @hippieindisguise |  P Hippie in Disguise | T @hippieindisguis | VSCO: HIPPIEINDISGUISE “Wanderlust and Minimalist Fun” | FB Hippie in Disguise

FOX. AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR.

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On June 24th, 2016: a new life is born into the world.  Chaos + calm and clarity perfectly envelop the proceeding minutes, hours and days as a family moves from three spirits to four.  Roles, hearts and souls are forever stamped by the divine and brilliant orchestration of a family coming into bloom.

 

Calm  ///  9 months ago these lit up the wedding that made a family of two into a family of three.  9 months later they lit the way for a new soul’s landing… and then there were four.

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Chaos /// Head in water, body on land: a SUN is born.  Before a wild summer downpour on a warm June’s day, on a family heirloom rug in the heart of the home.

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Clarity /// It was You all along. The birth dust settles and a blended family becomes the perfect union of hope for everything that once was, all that is, and everything that could be.

 


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ELIZABETH G ERICKSON 

 ❉ OLIVE + PINE FLORAL DESIGN ❉ MAMI TO OLIVE & FOX + WIFE + PETAL PUSHER IN SEATTLE, WA : | : (ON BABY LEAVE) : | : ✉️ ELIZA.GAUDET@GMAIL.COM : @OLIVE_AND_PINE :WWW.OLIVEANDPINEFLORALDESIGN.COM

 

BUILD THAT NATION: OUR PARENTING + MOVEMENT BUILDING MUSE JIDAN KOON

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

 

WHEN IT COMES TO BEING CREATIVE & ON PURPOSE, I LOOK TO MY FRIEND JIDAN, AN ARTIST,  STRATEGIST & GRASSROOTS COMMUNITY BUILDER. IT'S ONE THING TO CREATE BALANCE IN OUR LITTLE NESTS, DOING OUR THING. AND IT'S ANOTHER THING TO TAKE ON CHAOS AT THE COMMUNITY LEVEL - ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE A LOVE, & LITTLE ONES. HERE'S HER TAKE... {XX, MAYA}

 

"Becoming a parent is a doozy for anyone. And it plays out in specific ways for folks who have made their life about progressive social change. Consciously or not, most of us have fallen prey to one of the biggest movement lies around: the belief that parenting makes it hard to be an effective activist.

Living with this belief, I’ve been waging an inner battle that pits my social change work against my family building, feeling like I can’t effectively do both. That’s why I – and a dozen activist mamas and a baba – joined a monthly sharing circle led by Mimi Ho and Rebecca Aced-Molina. In this circle we parents were invited to try on a radical idea: what if your role as a parent is making you more effective in social change, not less?

 

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

 

For a month I embraced this mantra. Now, I can wholeheartedly attest that I am absolutely more effective as a warrior for social change through being a mom. The level of long-term strategic thinking and compassion building that comes from mothering is severely undervalued in our world, as well as in most of our social change efforts. While mothering isn’t the only way to develop these movement skills, here’s how becoming a mommy has made me a more effective social justice warrior.

Priorities. If I thought 25 hours in a day was the Holy Grail before kids, 30 hours wouldn’t begin to cover it after kids. Ultimately, if nothing came off my plate, something would break: my health, my marriage, and my job. To keep sane, the only thing to do was to shave down dramatically on my commitments – on the work side as well as the family side. After several unsuccessful vacations, I’m now totally committed to Keep It Simple for holidays, parties, and the like. I am adamant about keeping my workweek to 40 hours. I rarely do meetings in the evenings and weekends without taking comp time in the regular workweek. The result is what the Social Transformation Project calls strategic disciplined work, rather than busyness. Every day I learn to shape my life around goals and priorities, saying no when I lack the capacity to be truly present for either work or child. I am lucky to be at a work place that views this as modeling good work planning, rather than a lack of commitment.

 

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

 

Negotiation. I believe the racial justice movement is coming out of a narrow view of self-interest as defined solely by most impacted communities. What I am seeing now is racial justice leadership around what is better for everyone – led by impacted communities. It’s what Movement Strategy Center calls a “movement pivot” we are making from marginalized thinking to powerfulness grounded in people, community, and history. In the most basic sense, it means seeing 99% of folks as allies and finding ways to engage them in working for a larger vision that includes us all.

Finding this win-win perspective lies at the heart of negotiation. My daughter, who is in her two’s, is my biggest teacher. Often, when I make a request she doesn’t want to go along with, I feel like she has to lose for me to win, which makes for escalating battles. Now I’m trying a new approach, framing my requests using her self-interests, connecting to her goals and aspirations. When she won’t leave the park I ask, “Do you want to close the park gate by yourself?” Instantly Mila comes to the gate, remembering how she insisted on opening it when we came in and avoiding the anger that would have resulted from “I’m going to count to 5; if you don’t come now, you can’t watch videos.” These are small moments but I’m confident that I’m getting better at breaking out of confrontational dynamics, seeing what another person finds meaningful, and making win-win propositions.

Honoring Life. The best warriors love life and avoid inflicting pain needlessly. As I am pregnant again now, I am reminded how close we mothers can be to the beating heart that everything comes from and returns to. Somehow war, Trayvon Martin, and all the horrors inflicted on children and communities seem even more tragic, while my emotion turns from anger to profound sadness. While I don’t judge the use of violence for self-defense, I am more determined than ever to wage peace in my home and in the world. And I have deeper compassion for those who need to protect themselves and their families by any means necessary. The mama bear in me can relate to that.

 

one of jidan's mixed-media altars

one of jidan's mixed-media altars

 

The Long View. Soon after I learned I was pregnant again, a radical minister told me, “Go and build that nation.” Oftentimes I forget that raising children is nation building: political and human evolution work.

Parenting is the long term, multi-generational conduit of ancestral memory and culture, of fulfilling dreams and struggles begun millennia ago. When I look at the generations of my family I can see clearly that the arc of history truly does bend towards justice.

My maternal great grandmother had bound feet and my paternal grandmother was the one surviving child of 13 in agrarian China. My maternal grandmother was college educated and taught in a Chinese school in San Francisco’s Chinatown and mothered five children. My mother was a part of the Third World Strike and became a doctor after having two children.

I have yet to complete my journey and have so many choices that my foremothers didn’t. Mila is a magnetic, joyful, and creative Blasian child. We are so blessed to live in an area where grannies of all colors greet her, give her snacks, and call her “smart,” “cute,” and “beautiful.” While many things, including income inequality and climate change, have gotten worse, many other things have gotten better. I can rest in that faith, knowing that all parts of my life add up to one unified political project. My contribution is a very small but truly precious part of the great turning. This can take some of the pressure off when I’m dealing with short-term losses and frustrations.

There is nothing like the long view to maintain our inspiration and keep our eyes on the prize."

 

This post is the second in the Let’s Talk series “Movement Lies We Tell Ourselves.


Jidan is a second generation Chinese American, born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. As an artist, organizer, and community builder for the past 20 years, she brings commitment to building grassroots power, love for creativity, and conviction that short term reforms can serve radical change. She is particularly passionate about centralizing spirit in movement building, networked organizing, and motherhood as warrior training. Since January of 2014, Jidan has been the Deputy Director for Mobilize the Immigrant Vote, California. MIV builds the capacity of partner organizations to activate and engage low propensity New American voters to transform the political and policy landscape of California towards social and economic justice. Jidan's field experience encompasses grassroots organizing, service provision, and institutional reform in low-income people of color communities. As a service provider, she founded mentoring and enrichment programs for under-represented youth through Reach!, the East Bay Asian Youth Center, and Stiles Hall. Through Youth Together, she launched a multi-service youth center in Oakland that engaged the school community in education reform campaigns and had over 20,000 service contacts per year. An avid proponent of inside-outside organizing strategies, Jidan has also held positions in public institutions as the Special Assistant to the Superintendent in Oakland Public Schools and consultant to its Meaningful Student Engagement Initiative. Over the course of 7 years as a consultant, Jidan has provided curriculum, strategy, planning, and organizational development support to dozens of organizations and alliances including Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, California Fund for Youth Organizing, Young People For, San Francisco Immigrant Legal & Education Network, and the Climate Justice Alliance. As a former Senior Fellow at the Movement Strategy Center, Jidan focused on movement building through providing alliance building support, facilitation, and training. Jidan has a BA in Political Science and a minor in Education from the University of California at Berkeley and a Masters of Public Policy with a certificate in Urban and Regional Planning from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

forever FAMILY: master lifestylists LINEN ROCKWELL

While our sweet muse, nurse, & photographer Janice Lopez rests from her recent surgery, her sweetheart, uber-creative sculptor, coach, & photographer Al shares a glimpse into the joy of two master lifestylists...

 

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Our #brownwaldorfkids rock the basket lunch & gather eggs from the 3rd-grade coop.

 

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Manbun-Boybun. Daddy-made Drop-Crotch Harem Pant Joggers from Mommy's Old Green Nursing Scrubs. Hair Tied back while we try out some violins and some cellos. Waldorf Kid looking to rock-it no matter what he's up to...and he's PRESENT.

Lighting candles to remember the death of a significant elder in our tribe. Practice ritual. Practice Playing with fire with reverence and love and guidance and no home shall be burned down by accident. Here our Kaleo & Kaile are modeling for Amelie a loving way to light the path of remembering.

 
 
 

 

Amelie & Bruno (Mars) having an out of this world experience. We're dog lovers and animal lovers for that matter but especially our littlest one.

 

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Our kids innately turn to nature when they've been cooped up inside for too long. You can see the pure joy on their faces as they feel the wind in their hair while they ride their bikes. Shrieks of laughter as they chase each other making silly faces. We turn to nature when we seek clarity and calm. It can be as simple as stepping out into our backyard to soak up healing sun rays while we sit on the grass. Sometimes, we need step farther out where there is no cell phone reception to commune with Mother Earth and each other. This is how we balance ourselves and we return rejuvenated.  Sometimes, many times, all the times things are meant to be...especially when you craft it to be.

#thisislove


JANICE + ALVIN | LINEN ROCKWELL

PHOTOGRAPHERS. HEALERS. MASTER LIFESTYLISTS. LET'S CAPTURE LIFE AS YOU WANT IT, THEN MAKE IT REAL. #LASTINGTRANSFORMATION  LINENROCKWELL@GMAIL.COM @LINENROCKWELL

CREATING A WHOLE NEW LIFE. #costarica

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chaos.

Just over a year ago, I quit my job, my husband and I sold or got rid of almost everything we owned, and we bought one-way tickets to Costa Rica. We knew we wanted a drastic change and that we wanted to create a life of creativity and freedom, and we knew it wasn’t going to happen in England. Costa Rica came up in one of those divine inspiration moments, and after a lot of research and thinking, we knew that it was the place for us.

I’m telling you this, because my answer to the question about chaos is that these days, chaos is coming from absolutely everywhere. Every single thing in our lives is new and intense and vibrant and somehow in need of our attention and is in another language! So these days I am spending a lot of time practicing calm on the inside in an attempt to balance the intensity on the outside.


spaciousness.

When I looked back at my previous vision boards or dream boards, I found that on nearly every one there was an image of a woman with her arms wide open. So now when things start to shrink and get tight, I stand outside in front of the best view I can find, fling my arms open wide, smile as big as I can, and ask for more of that feeling. 

I also write. I walk. I find trees to talk to. I fast. I clean. I leave hours open on my calendar. I pray. I find water. I stretch. I move whatever needs moving.


calm.

I struggled for a long time because I felt like I had to have A Practice to find this mythical place of calm that other people spoke of. What I’ve discovered is that when I am in a place of overwhelm, I always neglect or forget any practices anyway! So now I’m learning to just bring myself to the present. I simply stop and breathe a few deep breaths while I focus on the air that is going past the tip of my nose (sometimes if you are really out of sorts, it helps if you put a drop of water on the tip of your nose first). I do this until I feel all of myself arrive in the present. If that doesn’t work, I do something else small and physical to bring my energy closer, like a quick comedy mudra or a self-hug, and then I try the breathing again. It’s all about being in this place at this time. I believe that's the ultimate lesson.


clarity.

Today clarity looks like the beach. When we get all wrapped up in our problems and the crazy-making of building a house and a life in another country, we drop everything and go for a walk on the beach. As soon as my feet touch the sand, I remember why we are here and what we are doing. Every single time we go there, we see something wonderful. It’s magic.

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guides.

Women Who Run With the Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes was the first book that showed me what women’s writing could be. It gave a voice to the deepest longings of my heart – longings that I didn’t even really know were there. It opened me up to the dirty, wild, unexpected path through my soul, and I will be forever grateful.

Writing Down Your Soul by Janet Conner was a big turning point for me. I had been doing Morning Pages (The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron) for years, but was getting very tired of just hearing my own voice. This book turns the practice of morning writing into a conversation with the Divine. It was this practice that helped me realize that everything can be a conversation with the Divine – so it continues to influence my work to this day.

Finding Your Way in a Wild New World by Martha Beck found me at about the same time as Janet Conner’s work. The irreverent reverence in this book combined with the conversations I was having with God and the magic that was appearing in my days filled me with such wild delight and such a belief in magic, that I haven’t been the same since.


practice.

This is the tricksiest piece of the puzzle for me. I am naturally really rebellious, so I spent years creating or finding practices only to rebel against my own ‘rules’ and not follow through. Showing up for a practice is actually my biggest practice!

Right now wake up, have a cup of tea or a juice, and then I listen to a guided meditation that I recorded for myself. It incorporates meditation and visualization and reminds me of my sacred and secret missions. When that’s done I focus on what else needs moving. It could be morning writing or moving my body. It all about me doing what feels right and choosing to support myself,  and it is absolutely not about giving myself more rules to judge myself against. 


creativity.

Right now I am writing my second novel, which is all about women and the importance of the balance between light and dark. I am also developing plans for a medicinal garden - mostly for teas! - and helping my husband design a trail system through our land. Our vision is that this land be a creative and healing centre complete with trails, sculptures, labyrinth and an art studio/ gallery. Truly, in all ways, right now I am creating a whole new life.


I believe that we have no idea of how powerful we are. I believe in magic and miracles and laughter and that we are all tiny pieces of the Divine, having a human experience. I also believe – to my soul – that circles and community are vitally important. I am drawn to the essence – of a person, a thing, a feeling – and I know that it is where the real truth lies.

I am the author of the inspirational novel Unfurl – which you can find more about here.

I am a writer, a seeker and a finder of magic. My writing is about seeking truth through story. The screen has replaced the fire as the centre of our lives. My mission is to inspire you to find that sacred flame within yourself.…and I believe that a good story has the power to change this world.

blow the clutter out of my brain. an artist.

chaos.

Currentlly, my chaos is coming from being surrounded by moving boxes. Lots and lots of moving boxes. Moving (and if I’m honest, change in general) is really unsettling for me. We’re on the tale end of our move …. we’re out of the old house and into our new one …. but the whole process has really thrown me off my game. I’ve missed calls & appts in the past couple of weeks, and I almost NEVER do that. Eek! Working on self-forgiveness while I continue to unpack boxes.

 

 

create spaciousness. find calm.

Creating spaciousness and finding calm are tied pretty closely together for me. I’m an introvert, so both of these can be elusive if I’m not scheduling in time for quiet and being alone. Also, a change of scenery really helps. Recently my husband and I jumped in the car spontaneously and headed out of town for the day. There is something about looking at different scenery and people that is like a breeze that blows the clutter out of my brain. I love how I feel afterwards!

 

clarity.

Today clarity arrived when got a mental snapshot of the fact that I CAN homeschool both of my children and run our business simultaneously. Initially just the idea of this brought on waves of panic because I know first hand how much TIME both of those endeavors requires. But then a prayer was answered and I realized that things are only difficult if I decide they’re going to be. If I CHOOSE to be open to something being streamlined and ease-filled, then it can be. Then it WILL be! Oh, beautiful clarity.

 

 

 

books that brought you home.

 

The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. – I adore this book. I will always be deeply grateful to Steven Pressfield for choosing to break the content into small, digestible chunks. It’s how I absorb things, but so few books about pursuing a creative life are organized that way. It’s a gem and should be required reading for all humans.

 

The Book of Qualities, by J. Ruth Gendler – I have been carrying this book around with me through every move since college. Recently I realized I had misplaced my dog-eared copy (lent it out? No recollection.) and so I gifted myself a brand new copy. Self care is where it’s at.

 

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practice. what does it look like? 

In the summer my practice is an early morning walk, before it hits 100F outside. A few minutes of moving, head-clearing and deep breathing. Fall and Winter bring me inside, where I’m more likely to start the day with a sitting meditation & hot tea.

As for a tip…Once I let go of the idea that a practice needs to look a certain way and tuned in to what works for ME (ie. a practice that shifts seasonally) I became a lot happier overall.

 

creativity. 

We’re 3 years in to creating a business and life that allows both my husband and I to be home if we choose to be. It’s a work in progress, but every year brings us closer AND we’ve been meeting the MOST amazing people along the way! And maybe that’s the point. Honestly, the journey alone has been worth it.

 


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An early career as a park ranger led Waldorfish co-founder, Robyn Wolfe, to her love of illustrating and education. Trained initially as both a public school and Waldorf teacher, she has been involved in art + education for over 20 years, including homeschooling her two children. Working out of the premise that life is short (but sweet!), she empowers soul-filled teachers & families to (re)find their JOY in teaching and making art.

the distance between values + discovery

In this realm. Motherhood is not something I ever wanted, yet it is something I fully chose during my own Saturn Return. Thus, in this new reality, I'm trying on ways of being. Sometimes they are awkward and clunky and others they just fit right. But this is the path to self-knowing, and I walk it with gratitude.

 

**Chaos**

I think chaos comes in the distance between knowing your values and still discovering them. It's a process in choices and discernment. It is something that is refined by putting yourself in play over and over again. Like water, it changes form with environmental pressures yet is elementally stable in its make up. Chaos exists for me now in the moments between "the good mother" and "the one who belongs to herself." I'm still sorting out my values in this realm. Motherhood is not something I ever wanted, yet it is something I fully chose during my own Saturn Return. Thus, in this new reality, I'm trying on ways of being. Sometimes they are awkward and clunky and others they just fit right. But this is the path to self-knowing, and I walk it with gratitude.

 

**Space**

On the more clunky days I make it a priority to go to a place with a long view. And I don't mean this metaphorically. I literally need to see into forever. A hike into the canyon lands of the desert, a river scape that looks toward the mountains, an ocean that feels never ending. I'm not sure why this is important for me. It might have something to do with some high physical sensitivity and big feelings reverberating off of everything and coming back into my field overwhelming me. It might just have to do with a proclivity for nearsightedness. In any case, the farther and bigger I can see into the expansiveness of nature, the more spacious I can feel in my day to day.

 

**Calm**

On the more fiery days, calm is the dance party. When emotions are high and to-do's are overwhelming, I have to throw it all into motion. Movement brings my body in alignment with truth that can't be spoken or written. It gives my head a rest and puts my heart in charge. It changes the way air is moving around our home and saves us all from drowning in the heat.

 

**Clarity**

On the more cloudy days, it's a cup of tea and my favorite blanket wrapped around my shoulders. In the circles I dance in clarity is often called authenticity, integrity, and a myriad of other fun new-agey terms. I call it wholeness. Whatever words you use, it's not really heady. It's soul led. Something you feel. Something in the body. For me, it's the thing I fight for every day. Not a yearning or a striving, but a choice to battle fiercely for that which emotes my physicality into beingness that is driven by my soul not my ego, my head, or even my heart.

 

**Guides**

I'm so lucky to have been sheparded by so many wonderful people in my life. It's hard to say who has brought me home. I feel like so many lanterns have been held for me on the path. At this particular time in my life, these are the folks whose message I am deeply feeling into. Joanna Powell Colbert. A real life goddess. She leads with the heart of the Blessed Mother and the fire of Brigid. She has awakened the knowing of the feminine divine with me with her embodied life. As an elder and a leader she has shown me the struggles and rewards of being refreshingly transparent, true, and honest. Terry Tempest Williams. A truth-teller and activist for the wild. She reminds me of what my heart beats to, where my voice is most powerful, and how to listen. Sheila Belanger and Anne Hayden. Guides on the journey to soul. They offer wordlessness, spaciousness, and invitation to that which is not named but felt. They too are fiercely transparent truth tellers.

 

 

**Practice**

I practice noticing. Every day I walk on the land to hear who has a story to tell. My senses guide the conversation and I find a shared language with the plants. On the more spacious days, I bring my loupe and my phone. I take photos of what I see and jot down what I notice in a text message to myself. On the more chaotic days, I just walk outside and breathe with the trees. Noticing the distinct cadence in every fluttering leaf.

 

**Creativity**

Oh the makings of an herb farmer in summer! There is so much stewing and stirring and crafting going on around here. But it is the words and stories I most love. While herbs hang from the rafters and potions cover the counter tops, a Plant Spirit Stories oracle deck and book is brewing nearby.


Latisha Guthrie is a folk herbalist and creator of HerbCamp, an herbal based rewilding nature camp for adults. As Herbmother, she has taught folk herbalism both online and in-person for ten years. She took a break from teaching to move her family to a small property in the PNW where they are now building an enchanted food forest and herb'n learning sanctuary. She is homeschooling her two daughters and shares herbcraft as a pathway on the journey of the soul with her local community.

Herbmother.com

awareness of my inner climate

The chaos came flooding into my life when I started worrying more about what other people thought, than about what my heart knew. My mind began spinning between listening to my own heart, and then listening to both the real and perceived judgments of others. The connection with my heart got a little lost in the process.

I create the spaciousness necessary to create a clear connection to my heart by disconnecting from the world a bit, and reconnecting with the practices and the people that have the power to reel me back to my heart. I write, I listen to music that pulls on my heart-strings, and I call my best friends who know how to lead me to my heart, even when I forget the way. I find calm by taking deep breaths to bring myself back into presence, through meditation and prayer, through “writing it out,” by going outside in nature for long walks or mindful moments, through playing with my kids, and by finding ways to put it all into perspective. Today, most thankfully, clarity looks like trusting my hearts inner-wisdom. It looks like crying it out, and moving forward lighter, and yet with a much stronger foothold on the Earth. Clarity looks like acknowledging the fears and concerns of well-intentioned loved ones, but moving on the energy of the love that guides me on my path. The Seeker's Guide by Elizabeth Lesser is most definitely a book that brought me home, opened my awareness to the mind-body-heart-spirit connection, and gave me a treasure chest full of meditations and tools to integrate into my daily life. B-School, an online business course created by Marie Forleo has brought me home by giving me countless tools to grow my business, while staying 100% true to my heart and my creativity. And the book, “Saved by an Angel,” by Doreen Virtue brought me home by validating my experiences with the spiritual world, as I read the stories of how countless others had experienced and encountered the spiritual world.

 

 

My spiritual practice that centers me and brings me home to myself is always a writing practice. I write each night, and the focus on how I write varies depending on what I need at any given time. For the last five months, my writing practice has centered around love. I ask myself the question, “how can I love myself through this?” And this, is whatever it is I’m going through at the moment that is challenging. My writing practice helps me gather an awareness about my current inner-climate, and helps bring my focus on love and restoring peace. My meditation practice varies a lot, sometimes it’s breathing deep and playing with my kids, sometimes it’s laying down on my bed and setting the timer for 15 minutes while I practice deep breathing, prayer, and opening myself to sacred guidance and clarity, and sometimes it’s yoga. Tips I can offer for creating a daily practice of your own? Choose a daily practice that connects you with yourself in a loving way, choose a practice that gives you the tools to work through the tough stuff that shows up for you, and choose a practice that reminds you of your connection to what you deem as holy. Make it a practice to evoke your natural expression and your creativity. Let your practice be fluid, and allow it to evolve over time to whatever it needs to be for you. And finally, be ever so gentle with yourself as you move through this incredible journey we call life!

 


ALEXANDRIA ROMERO

ILLUMINATION. INSPIRATION. INTENTION. JOURNEY INTO WHOLENESS THROUGH TRANSPERSONAL PSYCHOLOGY. AWAKEN YOUR CONNECTION TO MIND, BODY, AND SPIRIT. @LUNASOULSPEAK
ALEXANDRIAROMERO.COM

forgiving what has been, embracing what is

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When I was a little girl I didn't feel that anyone believed in me. I was pushed aside, I felt small and insignificant. Any light that I had inside didn't belong to me because I was only allowed to shine when someone else was benefiting from it. I was taught that things were to be taken from me and that's just the way it would be - to give up myself for the enjoyment of others. Never to belong to myself. I remember being told by my Dad, "shut up, you have a big mouth". I was always told my mouth was too big. When I laughed out loud or played with my brothers or got into arguments with others, my mouth was too big. So I learned to keep quiet, to quiet my voice for the sake of not being called, big mouth. I learned to quietly give myself over to the judgments of others. It became a practice I learned to master very well. I don't remember at what age I made that agreement with myself but I know I had to be a little bitty thing. (How amazing of me to have made that decision at such a very young age) Over the years I learned that if I got it right, if I kept my voice inside, if I did what they wanted, I would get the love I was desperately looking for. I learned the meaning of conditional love.

 

"If I do this this way, if I didn't do it that way, then I would get love."

 

 

I learned what it felt to have love withdrawn from me, the pain of being shut out, put down, alone. It was the worst feeling I ever experienced, one I couldn't make sense of. But I knew what to do and what not to do in order to get it. It became the way I survived.  Conditional love became the language I spoke out of survival. If I wanted love I had to do something in order to get it. All of my relationships were based on this condition. Even if the other person didn't know it, I made sure they knew. I would find out what they like and wanted me to be and I would be that. Forcing myself into their image in order to have their love and acceptance. Love was something I knew I didn't want to live without so I did what I had to do. The men in my life only knew the woman I tried to become for them. They never knew, me. I experienced pain in their arms as I sought to find my father in them. How I longed for his unconditional love and acceptance. I became them, always in their shadow, doing what they wanted in order to get love. I gave these men my voice, willingly, as we shared beds, and shared our hopes and dreams for the future. Meanwhile, I was in the background, buried up under myself. I know I'm not alone. Women like us know deep down that there is value in our voices being heard. Value to us, and to the hearer. We know that we have magic on our tongues and everyday it's a fight to believe that instead of listening to the voices of our past. And, we keep moving forward in spite of the voices that tell us to quit and give in.

 

 

When my babies came, it wasn't any different. With each one I willingly gave over my voice. Each holding pieces of my value as hostage in order for me to get love. My children became my blanket to soothe away the pain of loneliness and isolation from love. I cried inside during the day and at night, within the lonely walls of my shower. The little girl who's pain from yesterday followed her everywhere she laid. I built patterns within these walls of mine that led the pain of my past to follow me every step of my way. I didn't know when things began to change for me, but they did. They changed little by little through the tears. I cried, "God help me. Help me". Beneath the lies, beneath the pain, was the truth and I knew it. I felt it even when it was faint, I still felt the truth. The more I prayed the more I believed it wasn't supposed to be this way. I was trapped in a cycle I thought I had to give life to and play a role in. But I knew I wasn't made to swallow my voice. I wasn't made to dim my light. I believed in God and I believed in miracles. I knew that much, so I continued to pray for a miracle. I prayed to be well.

 

Today I wake up and I give thanks for my voice, for my willingness to come out of the shadows, daily, and be heard. I get it now. I get that giving thanks today moves me further away from remembering and reliving my past. I get that staying here in my present delivers me from my past pain and keeps me safe and free. Each day I forgive what has been, and embrace what is. I say this when I see myself wanting to close my mouth, become small, and hidden. I hold on to these words so that the past won't swallow me up and overshadow my present light. Everyday I give thanks. I begin anew. In moments of tears, anxiety, fear, I whisper those words to myself, over and over again - “I forgive what has been, and embrace what is.” There is nothing more gratifying then knowing my past isn't who I am or who I have to be today. I can choose to be free and create the love I always wanted to feel. We all can when we forgive the past and embrace the gift of the present.

 


✨LISA RENÉE CHARLES✨

 ENCOURAGING YOU TO SEEK YOUR BLISS ✨🍃🌸 RADIATING LOVE 💓🌊⭐ LOVE&LIGHT BEARER 🌟 SPIRITUAL MIDWIFE 🙏💜 SENSUAL HEALER 💫🔮💫 BUDDING HERBALIST 🙏💗 @LISARCHARLES
WWW.TWITTER.COM/LISARCHARLES

*love, ALOHA + WELCOME*

 

Welcome, Welcome, Welcome.

What does it mean to be Saturn*s Sister? It means you meet chaos, & crisis, with creativity, clarity + calm. Maybe not all the time. Probably you freak out at least once a month! That's actually part of your creative genius. So not all at once, but ultimately, in your life, you use all three. You rise. A creatrix of exquisite beauty. Self-led. Solid.

We welcome your creativity, your culture, your intuition, & your resourcefulness. We welcome your chaos, your unclarity & your highest hopes for yourself. While we started here, California moms of 6, we have longed to cast the circle of our family wider, to learn from you, & those you've learned from. So you, here, are a dream come true. We hope you make this circle your own, sharing your days, circling, & generally becoming epic. We are gathering resources with all our hearts. Come in. Sit. And then, let's move. Can we support you, to embody your innate glimmer? That's what we most want. The rest of us need your conscious creativity, clarity & calm,  as much as you do! 

All love. Tiff, Mai, & the Muse Collective