Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Review

July has been a whirlwind of events and stress. Of breathing in and letting go. Of surrendering and embracing. Of honoring myself and my strengths. It has involved long country drives, adventures in the woods, art festivals and wrapping up my job at the non-profit.

There have been women's circles and story telling events gathered in chocolate shops, and laughter with friends, selecting the guest bloggers for the next six months, .

And my mom and I went to Portland for the grand opening of Soul Shine Studio, where some of my favorite artists gathered.

At the end of the month I feel inspired; I know I'm in the right place for something new, for fresh energy and creativity.

I look forward to the next 30 days - a fresh start and wild creativity. What are you looking forward to in the next month?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Musings on birth and creativity...

There is no picture for this post. Only words. Thoughts. Potential. The sharing of stories. Over the past week I've had the honor of sharing stories with many women, in small groups and in women's circles - the taking in and letting out breathe to remind ourselves that we are not alone, that others share our understanding and we are forever witness to the beauty of she-tribe.

Here is one such story. May you find yourself exploring what you are conceiving in this season and what you will birth down the road.

We sank into the comfort of an old grey couch facing each other, passing her new baby between us for snuggles in my arms, then back to his mother to nurse. We caught up on the moments of our lives leading up to the birth of her new son, and the end of my nine month job, each relishing different births. Hers produced a child, an old soul with deep knowing eyes and mine brought forth a release of how I thought things should be, to embrace a life of creativity.

Birth is a magical thing. It's cyclical. I often find myself thinking in terms of 9 month intervals, perhaps my own internal clock asking the big question of will I mother children and how soon? That question becomes louder in the 30s, as the window of opportunity becomes seemingly smaller.

Pregnancy is an experience in waiting. In recognizing that we are never truly ready for the unknown, but leaping wildly into a nine month period of expectancy. There is the moment of conception when you know that change is about to start, your belly swells and grows and eventually you feel the movement of new life in the safe cavern of your womb. Esoteric births, or the kind where idea meets reality, are no different. You feel the transitioning start in the pit of your stomach, and it grows, carrying you through transition until you can't contain it any longer and you push your greatness into the world.

She held her baby to her breast to eat, while we read animal medicine cards across the cushion between us. I watched her comfortable knowing of motherhood, well practiced from her two older daughters, to her comfortable way of being in her body: her femininity exposed, authentic, raw and full before me, nurturing more than just the child in her arms. Would I be so comfortable with the addition of new life looking to me for nourishment?

We've read medicine together before, sipping on wine or kombucha and talking about what it means to be in community, offering our gifts to those around us, as she did to me last night. I'd talked with her before about the sacred art of knowing what the soul longs for - mine has longed often to use my gifts and passions for the creative to be a change maker, a community builder, a creative and I've shyed away from it for the safety of working for someone else, with a semi-secure paycheck and the promise of benefits. I'm no safer working for the corporate than I am working for the divine.

The promise of birthing soul work, of nourishing it from the core of my being with strategy and hope is building a community that not only celebrates soul work, but also honors self-care and our awareness of asking for what we truly need. I believe it's possible and it starts within. It starts by recognizing that tiny idea in the pit of your stomach and allowing it to grow, to be nurtured off your body, to labor to push it into the world and nurture it for life as a tender part of your family.

What if business was less mundane and more life-giving? What if society stripped away our facade of uniformity and allowed ourselves to live business, relationships, community differently? How would you change? Would you dare to step outside of the box that says life should look like xyz? Would you give in to fear and seek the same route, or would you be so bold as to walk away, a pioneer on the high desert, following rumors of another life?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I am Somebody...

Not only is Rita Peirson, an educator of 40 years, a champion of kids and the power of learning, but she is a inspirational role model for all of us. This is what it means to be in the She-Tribe: that we believe in the inherent value and worth of every individual, including ourselves.
She talks about the classes she had that were so low academically, that she began thinking about how to not only raise their self-esteem and their education. "You were chosen."
"I am somebody...I am powerful. I am strong....You say it long enough it starts to be a part of you."
What happens when we continually think we are less than, or lacking, we behave based on that belief, but when we think "I ain't all bad" something else happens: miracles are born. We begin to believe in ourselves, to walk with our head a little higher because we are somebody. That confident becomes self-love and before we know it, we are making our dreams possible.
What message do you tell yourself everyday? Start with I am somebody and see where it takes you.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Meet our Lovely new Guest Bloggers...

This weekend marked the beginning of new adventures, of bold and courageous (and fearsome) things. My job ends on Friday and I'm launching into dreams. I have wanted to be a full time creative for longer than I can remember. I'll be painting, writing, capturing the world in photos, teaching and gathering the tribe together online and in Central Oregon. I'm thrilled!

Fear so easily holds us back from our dreams, but when we finally recognize that if we wait until we think we are ready, nothing will happen, then we find ourselves ready to launch!

Part of this launch is the addition of six incredible women who are adventuring with me into unknown territory here on the blog: guest blogger will write monthly for six months (from August to January) and I can't wait to learn from them!

Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to the She-Tribe Project's first round of bloggers.

Welcome Bloggers!!


Meet Ana:
  Ana is a pie-loving dream chaser. She owns a small creative business, Toil & Trouble, where she hand-dyes yarn and designs knitwear.  Currently, Ana is embarking on a new journey as a Studio Manager, working to develop a creative hub and empower artists to pursue their craft.  She was born in Brazil and traveled the world before settling in New England with her husband and two cats.' Read more about her on her blog:

Meet Charyn:

"Charyn Gant is the founder of the blog/site When We Listen to Trees: a platform to share information, stories and tolls of how we can improve our quality of life, especially our emotional health as it relates to our physical health. Charyn has been in the alternative healing arena for more than a decade. You can also find her on Pinterest and LinkedIn."

Meet Elinor:
"Elinor Predota is a heart-centred rebel who teaches people to find the sparkle in ordinary life and to embark on a new adventure every day. She's intuitive, nurturing, incisive, and lots of fun :-) She loves animals, chocolate, hugging, dancing, singing, laughing, nature, music, making stuff, vibrant food, breathing, magic(k), science fiction and fantasy,  and awesome people." You can also connect with her on Facebook and Pinterest.

Meet Erina:
"I am a thirty two soon to be thirty three year old woman, born and raised in Bend Oregon and current resident of Maui. I moved to Maui to pursue my yoga path and passion for teaching,  while helping people to practice self-care and guiding them on their personal journey towards wholeness. I love the way yoga engages my creative and spiritual nature, I am involved in other creative projects and interests as well, such as writing and creating hand crafted jewelry."

 Meet Heather:
"Heather lives in a cozy bay side town in Maryland with her boyfriend, Ryan, and their three fur baby kitties - Tigger, Ophelia, & Willow.  Heather's private practice, Natures Of Light Acupuncture, is the fulfillment of her dream to create a healing place for all in need.  She lovingly practices Acupuncture, is an Integrated Energy Therapy® practitioner and teacher, and incorporates the power of flowers into her sessions through the use of Flower Essence Therapy.  You can also find her on Facebook."

Meet Rosalyn:
"Rosalyn Fay is Founder and Producer of True Colors TV, an online inspirational video network for women. Over the past few years she has interviewed numerous women with extraordinary stories of healing themselves and transforming their health. Through that process she has been privy to leading edge information on holistic health, however, she has come to realize that knowing how to live optimally and living optimally are two very different things. So, over the next 6 months, she is committed to putting that knowledge into practice and adopting habits that will result in a holistically healthy lifestyle that is sustainable. "

I'm so excited to have these incredible women on the team! Please check out their links to their websites. Have a great day! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

On Being Open...

Photo by my sis, Bethany McMurray, of me
I've been overwhelmed for weeks, but in the last few weeks especially I began asking myself the question: what do I need?

My answers surprised me: Rest, creativity, community and joy. I had become so busy that I wasn't making time for those things in my life lately and thus was getting completely burnt out. I finally decided that it was time to open space in my life for something new and turned in my notice at my day job at the non-profit. I realized that if I'm going to invest in a start-up type situation, it would be less stressful to invest in the start-up process of my dreams.

I picked up a minimum of freelancing hours for local artists and plan to give my dream a serious chance. It's scary, but completely liberating at the same time.

I reworked my website and am over the moon am the potential of my dreams in the process of honoring openness and abundance.

“Life in abundance comes only through great love.”
~ Elbert Hubbard

When we choose to live out of love more often - of giving to others, loving ourselves enough to invest in our passions and dreams, communities support that and possibilities unfold. It's when we are stuck in our negative thought patterns and fears that we hold ourselves back from what we truly want.

How do we become more open?

I truly believe that becoming open is a choice. It means getting really clear on what you want so that you are not side-tracked, then letting go of the things that stand in your way - whether that's relationships, a job, a location etc., and then asking for what you want. 

How do you practice being open? 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Lassoing Dreams....

A photo from a weekend drive up Paulina Peak with my dad...8,000 feet toward dream level.

We sat like smooth cups of coffee with Bailey's stirred in: creamy, comforting and reminiscent of holidays. Our conversations lapped at my soul like tides against creamy beach sand, the kind your toes sink into like velvet against skin, or dipping fingers into the jar of rice on my grandmother's kitchen counter. Something about it was comforting,  family and soul and hearth and home. We sat in the courtyard, a little band of artists carried away with possibilities and reality; an innate knowing that this was the season of leaping, of casting lines onto stars and swinging from open windows into the vast abyss where universe meets sky and landing on plush pillows of clouds where possibilities roam free like Oregon cattle.

We rested our backs against Ponderosa pines and sipped whiskey from flasks tucked in jacket pockets on riversides. Surely this was what summer nights were for. Artists, thinkers and vagabond sinking into blankets of this could work, making safe little harbors to launch from, and casting nets wide into ocean and dreams.

This is the place where dreams rumble up from the earth's core, hot and molteny with the decadence  of chocolate lava cakes, that taste so rich you look around to see if anyone notices you surrendering to a slice alone in candle light corners of cafes. Dreams have become luxuries, a fear many reluctantly let slide through open fingers like sand to be scattered in the wind.

Dreams were never meant to slip away like that, but to hold hope on the wings of sparrows, and cause us to pioneer like our great grandmothers across the Oregon trail with her grandmother's hollyhocks seeks tucked in the hem of her skirt. To plant in new soils, new places...a reminder of legacy and lineage and a tribute to the journey we can never know for certain will extend to the promised land.

I pick my dreams from amid thorns in the furthest recesses of my mind, guarded by doubts and nay-sayers who assure me: it can never be done. I cry a loud "fuck you" to the residual hauntings of "it can't be done" or "success must be traditional."

In brick-walled courtyards and tipis on the shores of deep lakes, I stretch and break the boundaries that have contained me thus far, pushing past walls and roots and wounds to expand beyond the stuck places toward freedom.

Crows caw their songs overhead swooping in to dive bomb my head in a reminder to skip playing safe for the wild adventures of chasing dreams, swirling them overhead like lassos until they catch and take hold.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dreams About the She-Tribe...

One of the July Photo prompts is dream and I chose to take a picture of my feet in a field of wildflowers for two reasons.

1. One of the biggest dreams I've had in my life was to go to Africa. In 2007 I spent the summer teaching English to adorable little kiddos in the Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya.  It was life changing and taught me that community is one of the greatest gifts we ever give or receive. That tattoo is an outline of Africa with a little red heart over Kenya and the name my host family of the first three days gave to me: Naserian - it's good and beautiful. Somewhere I even still have the slip of paper that my host mama wrote the name on, enscribed with "Naserian LaSadalla", meaning they saw goodness and beauty in me and I forever, now, have family with the Samburu tribe of Kenya.

2. Tribes have become very important to me (hence the She-Tribe). They ebb and flow, flux and change as we grow and change ourselves, but what I love most about tribes is that where ever you are, you can find kindred spirits. The kind that swoop in when the going gets tough to remind you who you really are, to fill your belly with nourishing food and to make you pause and enjoy the moment. When life becomes too busy for tribe connections, something is seriously out of whack. I'm there right now. This picture of my feet standing still in wildflowers is to remind me that no matter how busy I am running from one thing to the next, I must always make time to stop, ground myself and inhale the beauty that is growing up around me. The challenge of busyness is that you often miss the tiny treasures growing underfoot.

So my big dream now is all about community, the She-Tribe, collaborating with wild women who are willing to be authentic, follow their hearts and inspire one another with our truth.

Will you join me?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ten Things (or What would I tell my 20-year-old self now?) by Veronica Funk

* I first met Veronica through an online community we are both part of and was quickly drawn to her art and her stories. She has written for the quarterly She-Tribe publication and I just love her wise words, her inspiration to women to take a chance on their dreams and how to incorporate art into your life on a regular basis and I am thrilled to have her as the first guest blogger here on the She-Tribe blog! Welcome, Veronica!!


Recently I came across this photo from art school and wondered, 'What would I tell my 20-year-old self now?'...and these ten things came to mind:

1.  Don't hold too tightly to anything...letting go allows you to let other, greater things in.'ll learn this to be true.

2.  Enjoy the process...seriously.  The work is so much fun, don't worry about what you 'should' do or how to do it, just have fun in whatever you do and it will all fall into place.

3.  Nothing happens takes time to build a portfolio, and more importantly, to build your character.

4.  The tough stuff, both personally and professionally, usually precludes the good stuff.  Those 'dark nights of the soul' are necessary for growth and's true!

5.  Don't be afraid...I know that at 20 you think you feel infallible but fears do arise.  Let them go.  Just breathe.

6.  Be kind and gracious to others.  And when you aren't, because there will be those times, apologize...and mean it!

7.  Don't complain...don't fall into the trap of's not becoming.  You always, always have a choice...whether that is to change your attitude or your circumstances.  It's not someone else's fault or job to make you happy.  It's up to you.

8.  Keep working.  Whether that is caring for yourself, your home, your family, your job.  Apply yourself and do your best.

9.  Do it your way.  There is no one-size-fits-all method of success.  Trust your heart.  If you want to teach, teach.  If you want to write, write.  If you want to do many things, do them.  If you do what is true to you, you will find joy.

10.  Keep talking to others, reading, taking classes.  Even if it doesn't feel connected to what you do, it will trigger ideas.

When I was 20 would I have listened?  At that stage in my life I had a few resentments that I had to work through, but I do know that everything I've experienced, even those things I've regretted, has helped me to be the person I am today.  Hopefully more compassionate, and definitely more content.

Veronica Funk

Here is Veronica at Red Deer College where she studied art in 1986.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Submit Your Writing, Your Art & Your Story on Creativity by August 1st!

What happens when women own up to their wisdom, honor their truth and collaborate in big ways? A She-Tribe project is born!!

The third issue of the project is still seeking submissions. The theme is on creativity - how does creativity shape your life, what is creativity's place in your life, has creativity saved you etc.

I would love your words, images and how-to's on creativity!

Submissions are 500-600 words, and should include your picture (so we can see your smiling face), links to your blog/website and so on, and 2-3 sentences about who you are! 

Why you should submit to the She-Tribe e-book on creativity:
1. The world needs your voice.
2.  The Tribe needs more inspiration and you are just the person we're looking for!
3. Creativity is something to be shared.
4. Sharing our story takes courage, gumption and bravery. You're looking for a reason to be brave, right?
5. It's a great way to draw more people to your website/ Etsy store/ blog etc.
6. A deadline can ignite your creative mojo to get you working on that project you've been putting off.
7. You think it sounds fun.
8. You think it sounds scary (and you're bucking up anyway. You go, girl!)
9. You've always wanted to write publicly.
10. You get all excited when you think about seeing your name in print (I get it).

What's stopping you? Send your submission to me by July 15th, 2013 at 5pm PST to 

Monday, July 8, 2013

On Seeking Joy

Somewhere over the last few months I had misplaced joy. I won't say I lost it because deep down, I know joy is always there, it just gets covered up and buried under heaps of busyness, overwhelm and forgetting to practice self-care regularly.

I've been lost deep in my new job as an Executive Director of a non-profit that inspires kids to find their spark, their passion and find ways to use that to change the world.

Isn't this what I've wanted for years? A job where I could impact change in my community, with a safe pay check and benefits so that I could heal? But somehow, healing has been the farthest thing from me lately. I feel the pressure to do my job so well that it has become all-consuming. Where is the balance between working hard and being successful at your job and having a joyful, healthy, abundant personal life?

There is a saying that goes: make a life, not just a living (perhaps it's even a Jason Mraz lyric...).

So how does one change the world in a corporate setting, while maintaining radical self-care? Here is what I'm thinking about it lately:

1. Define what's really important to you. Then examine your life - does it match up? If what is truly important to you doesn't have much presence in your life, something needs to change. If I claim that what is most important to me is: my family and friends, health and creativity, but spend most of my time working, stressed out and frazzled, it's time to reevaluate.

2. Create boundaries. Once you have declared what is most important to you, create boundaries to keep you sane and focused. Create time for what is important to you, even if it means turning off your phone after work, or unplugging from the computer after dinner to ensure you have time to connect with your soul's purpose.

3. Start each day with meditation to ground yourself. Even 5-10 minutes of meditation can help you stay calm and focused on what's really important to you and serves as a check-in to make sure you stay on course and don't fall back into patterns that keep you from your focus.

4. Honor yourself. Knowing what you value, having a plan to make it part of your life and keep you balanced is a radical act of self-love and self-care. It's not a luxury, it's a necessary part of your health, sanity and soul-care.

5. Let Go. If you discover that you are regularly out of balance, and that your life doesn't reflect your values, then it's time to let go. Letting go doesn't mean that you are weak, impractical or selfish - it means that you know yourself well enough to know what you need to thrive and succeed at life and are willing to make sure you give yourself the care you need to bring your best self to the world.

So the question now is, are you living well, or simply getting by? Seek your wildest joy and you'll be amazed at how beautifully life comes together!