Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Soul Care from Within by Erina Patrick

Photo by Sarah McMurray, from Muse Camp 2013

 Soul Care is a subject that seems to be growing in importance and popularity. For far too long the spiritual aspect of existence has been absent from most people's lives, but there seems to be a growing awareness and concern for a balanced life that involves a deep spiritual dimension. A few of us are awakening to the sad fact that possessions (like shiny new electronic devices) don't bring us lasting happiness.  Instead of instilling a sense of peace or well being they only seem to further fracture the minds ability to focus. If the latest and greatest can't bring any sense of satisfaction, then all we are left with is that vague feeling that something is missing.  For some the spiritual quest begins as we search for a deeper meaning to our experiences and a larger frame to place global events and personal tragedies in perspective.

The more deeply one peers into the inner workings of their own heart and mind, the more clear it becomes that contentment comes from within and that our reaction to people, places and situations are simply a reflection or projection of our inner state of being. 

The point being that the external stimulus is secondary to contentment, so it follows that soul care is mostly a solo endeavor in the sense that it's "an inside job." That is not to say that you cannot have people in your life to provide a support network, or even a trusted guide who can share their experience, strength and hope.  Naturally these resources can be invaluable when it comes to healing core issues. Compassion and self-acceptance are really the key to unlocking your hidden potential and empowering the soul; by practicing unconditional love and acceptance with yourself first you are then able to do so for others. Since we project our inner state onto the world, how we feel about ourselves is how we feel about the world at large.  "Change your attitude and your whole world changes."

This axiom of the inner reality being reflected by the exterior also applies to the teachers who are only there to remind you of what you already know to be true within yourself.  This is why the Latin root of the word knowledge essentially means to remind, or remember. An astute teacher knows that they are simply a mirror reflecting your inner wisdom back at you, because the truth lies within you. That inner knowing is often obscured by erroneous assumptions, predispositions, predilections and ideologies.  This is why many of us need an outside source to help us sift through the illusions (Mya), the personal history and wreckage of the past (Karma), and the ego (Ahamkara) that obscure the clarity of the soul. Once you see yourself as an intimate and intricate part of the living universe that is the divine, caring for yourself, and in turn others, seems like the only sane option.  For any form of hatred or harm inflicted stems from unconsciousness or delusion.

      Real soul care involves rigorous honesty, humility and compassion, with regards to where we are on our spiritual journey at any given moment. You cannot rightly say you love someone (yourself included) unless you truly know them and accept them exactly as they are. Humility is the realization that we are no better, yet no worse than anybody else regardless of wealth, education, age, gender, ethnicity, or religion. And this is the very core foundation of all spiritual principles. For when we see ourselves as right sized (i.e. equal to our fellow human beings), all of that self-imposed sense of importance, disempowerment and competition vanishes into thin air.  All of this was never based anything real to begin with, since it’s the ego’s way to oscillate from one extreme to the other.

The hero/heroine's quest always boils down to self-discovery, and only when we learn to love ourselves first are we capable of giving or receiving love from another.   

By caring for your soul, you invariably come to truly care for others, as the other is just a part of the wholeness that includes you too. When we see ourselves as spiritual beings having a human experience, then it only follows that the same is true for all those around us. This is important because the world is no longer divided into friend/foe, even those we would choose to see as standing in our way are simply teachers presenting us with the opposite of what we seek, which in turn clarifies that which we are after.

I believe that the "great way has no gate and there are a thousand paths that lead to it." The spiritual journey is the path that leads you back to your authentic self; stripped of all illusions that separate and divide the self, the world, and the universe and obscure the wonder and miracle of all that is. I could create a list ad infinitum as to the various ways people seek spirituality, but I believe far brighter spirits have already written countless volumes on this subject.  So instead I decided to touch on the aim rather than the means and hint at the larger truth behind the individual varied quest for it. Acceptance, awareness and compassion is what soul care means to me.

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.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Can a Story Change the World?

Can a story change the world? That was the question I wrestled with in the car on my way to Muse Camp, a women' retreat on activism, creativity and community where I was teaching a creative writing workshop for young muses. I began thinking about stories that had been highly significant in my own life - the film Hotel Rwanda,  young women's coming of age stories like Christy, Anne of Green Gables, Sue Monk Kidd's The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, and Mary Oliver's "Wild Geese" poem - stories that shaped my life in a big way.

This past weekend 100 women gathered in the woods of the high Cascades for Muse Camp - a retreat on creativity, yoga, activism and community and like much of life should, it started with intentions. We wrote our intentions on our hearts and verbalized them out loud to the the community. And then we jumped in to a weekend of writing, yoga, creativity and community.

What amazed me most was the bravery of young muses from a local boarding school for troubled teens who shared their stories, who fought for healing in a big way. Each of us has profound moments of brokenness, joy, adventures and mystery. Our stories are can change the world. Yes. Absolutely. What makes us stand out is how we choose to move forward and learn from our stories. That is what changes the world.

What story do you need to hear? To release? To begin?

Friday, August 23, 2013

The August Slow Down

Self-care is a challenge. I'm a woman who likes to be busy; I suppose I place too much of my self worth on what I accomplish. But when my doctor told me I had to chill just over a month ago, I finally took it seriously. I've almost made it a month in my quest to relax, heal my adrenal fatigue and adjust from my old job to freelancing part time for now. Telling a overly productive woman to slow down, rest and chill out is worth laughing at, but I'm learning. August has been a month of fun, play and rest. I went to antique markets with my mama, sat in coffee shops and read creative blogs and wrote, started working part time for creative venues as a content writer/photographer/teacher...let me tell you, it's hard to go from work 50/60 hour weeks to 20ish.

I took myself on a solo-camping trip and discovered just how hard it was to just be and not feel like I should be working on a million writing projects I'm dreaming up. (I did have one published on Elephant Journal.)

It rained but I still enjoyed it.

Then a week later my family went to the Oregon coast where we spent summers all of my childhood playing on the beach, exploring the small towns and window shopping.

We strolled, laughed and spent time together, and although it was only a few days. I came home feeling refreshed despite a few mishaps with food allergy issues. I'm learning to admit my weaknesses, and that rest is okay and letting go is even better. But most importantly, I'm learning that life doesn't always look like the vision you had in your head - yes, absolutely I could work my butt off to have the job with the fancy title, the cute home, or the perfectly assembled outfit, but is it worth it for me? No. (My adrenals tell me no anyway...I'll get there too.) Joy, community, rest and play far outweigh a big paycheck.

Today I leave for one more self-care adventure for this month - a 3 day creative/yoga retreat in the mountains - and after that I'll have to think more seriously about how to maintain balance while adding in some more work hours. But for now, I'm enjoying rest.

I hope you all practice great adventurous self-care this weekend.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Letting Go As Self-Nurturing by Heather Lindsay

**Welcome to the She-Tribe Project's first round of six month guest bloggers, an opportunity for women's voices to inspire, share and create community through the written word. Please be sure to stop by our guest blogger's links to their websites/blogs etc. You won't be disappointed! Xo - Sarah**

Photo from Sarah McMurray's garden

 Hi everyone!  It’s so wonderful to be given a “new voice” to share with what promises to be a vibrant community connected through a beautiful form of creativity: the written word.  This surely is one of the most steadfast and true ways to connect to the World.  I am so happy to be here with each of you!  I have started writing this post several times and it never seemed to be the right moment or words.  Then I happened to have the most unusual experience.  YES!!!  Unusual experiences are the best rabbit holes to go down! 

After brutal heat here in Maryland over the last few weeks we are experiencing the most lovely, cooler weather as I write this.  Perfect garden weather!  I was outside with the veggies and flowers - very far away from my pen and paper (or so I thought!).  I went to flip over my underused, adorable snail garden stake when off fell a luminous but dead dragonfly.  I was enthralled with this little fellow or gal!  I felt the immense need to hold this beautiful, lithe, once flying gem.  I examined her (we’ll say her).  After all - I’ve never held a dragonfly before!  She was tiny...  I couldn’t help but wonder if this is what a fairy looks like!  “Am I holding a fairy?!”  Her thin body looked like a ribbed reed.  It was a spectacular iridescent green.  Her big, black eyes looked as clear as if she could still see.  Her wings were lacy, black as night, and shimmering.  They folded delicately back against her body.  In my hand she was weightless - like the wind must be. 

I thought, I will never forget this moment... this clear, pure, fine moment.  I could actually imagine how this dragonfly just let go.  She simply let go.  No whimper, no cry, no regret.  Her spirit, soul, whatever you want to name it - just one moment left! 

Completely let go. 

Wow...  if only we could all let go this easily of the daily irritants available to each of us.   Then everyone would be able to glimpse and ultimately experience what a grand World we inhabit together.  Let go of hurt, pain, judgment, sadness, distress, anger, grief, distrust, and onward.  On a near daily basis I see these stuck emotions in my clients.  I KNOW these emotions personally! 

Why do we let all our unhappiness get in the way of ourselves? 

This is only an answer each person can find within (and jeez it’s a constant practice!).  BUT if you even have the awareness that you CAN let go, this will begin to unravel all that has been pent up inside you.  Try this the next time a similar experience happens to you.  Smile, just smile!  Smile at that person who just blew their horn at you “for no reason” or someone who just had unkind words to utter.  INSTANT freedom when you chose that smile instead of reacting.  Instant letting go!  That distress is not yours and you hold the space for the other to let go too. 

It begins with giving yourself permission to experience any and all emotions, but then to know you have the freedom to let them go.  Here’s another powerful thought - letting go is the ultimate of self nurturing.  As you let go and this way of life opens up more and more to you, distress and sickness will loosen their grips on you and you can finally release.  Though this method is not all that should be used in the event of illness, it’s possible to greatly dislodge disease due to the fact that at its root disease is very stuck emotions.    Hummm...  Let me know how it goes.  Please share other ways you “let go” too.

In ending, I had a little funeral for the dragonfly.  I was planting a pink vinca vine so I buried her beside the flower in the pot.  I had a brief moment of sadness, and then I thought, “That is enough.  This lovely insect didn’t even know grief.  How beautiful to be free instead.”  A little while later I looked over at the porch plants near where the vinca was and saw a gorgeous, yellow butterfly!  A fine thought followed.  “Wow. That was fast!  Perhaps it’s her in her next movement of life.”  When we let go anything is possible.

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.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Thrive or Bust! My 6 Month Adventure To True Health by Rosalyn Fay

Author's own photo.
There I was proudly pushing my loaded shopping cart of colorful, organic produce through the isles of Whole Foods wearing sunglasses and getting the occasional quizzical look from other shoppers. Next stop, the supplement isle! As I scanned the rows of bottles looking for Milk Thistle and Vitamin E, a clear voice sounded in my head. “When you thrive, your body will thrive.” Whoa... I stood there looking at my stocked cart, and my heart sank. It was one of those rare Voice of God moments of truth that shake you to your core. The words continued to echo in my head. “When you thrive, your body will thrive.”

The truth was, I wasn’t thriving in my life. Far from it. The sunglasses were hiding a bad case of hives that I’d been battling for months. The itchy, red welts were concentrated around my eyes and spreading. The swelling was so bad some days I could only laugh, then cry, at my resemblance to a beluga whale. I’d tried numerous over the counter creams, ointments, essential oils and herbal supplements. Not only were they not working, many of them aggravated my skin. My next line of defense was my diet. I had nearly finished a 10 day cleanse and was certain that if I kept up a strict diet, clear skin was just around the corner. But toward the end of the cleanse, the hives flared up again. As I researched obsessively, I discovered that hives could also be triggered by stress, anxiety, depression and sadness. Sigh…It resonated.

Intuitively I knew my emotional and mental state were the cause. The stress had been building. My dance instructor had just asked me to perform a complicated choreography the following week, solo! My relationship with a soul mate was coming to a tumultuous end and my bank account had fallen into the red. I was experiencing signs of hormonal imbalance and adrenal fatigue. The combination was too much. My body was rebelling. The hives were my body’s way of saying, “Things have to change…now! 

One morning after waking up with my eyes nearly swollen shut, I called a dermatologist for an emergency visit. She prescribed cortisone cream. I had really wanted to heal the hives naturally, but I was desperate. Feeling a bit defeated, I applied the cortisone. In three days the hives were gone. While my hives had healed, I knew that the root causes were still very present and that if I didn’t get a handle on those, the hives would resurface, or worse.

Through this crisis (blessing) I came to deeply understand how intimately linked our emotional, mental, spiritual and physical health are. Something that I understood intellectually suddenly became very real and I was forced to apply that knowledge in my life. I knew that if I was going to truly thrive and create the kind of life I really wanted, I could no longer allow my negative thoughts and beliefs to run the show. It was time to face my fears of rejection, of not being good enough and lovable enough, and beliefs that my productivity and bank account balance somehow defined me.

I began the deeper work. I sat down and asked myself… “If I truly loved myself, how would my life change?

Soon after I ended my relationship and I opened myself up to another man (whose love has been immensely healing), and I committed myself to creating and following a plan of self-love and true, holistic health. I came up with the following list of 5 tools and practices and plan on integrating them into my life over the next 6 months with the intention they become a permanent part of my life.

Adopting a daily yoga and meditation practice
Adopting a greener, more alkalizing diet
 Expressing myself more creatively and playfully  
Making self-love, self-care a daily priority
Getting business/financial coaching

So, for the next 6 months I invite you to join me on this adventure! I can use all the support I can get and perhaps it will inspire you to make changes that will help you stress less and thrive more. Please leave me a comment and let me know where you are at on your journey to thriving and whole health!  

 "Rosalyn Fay is Founder and Producer of True Colors TV, an online inspirational video network for women. She is passionate about women's stories of transforming their lives and how those stories can inspire change in others. 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. She is very excited about sharing her journey to true health with you."

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What's your Road? By Charyn Gant

 **Welcome to the She-Tribe Project's first round of six month guest bloggers, an opportunity for women's voices to inspire, share and create community through the written word. Please be sure to stop by our guest blogger's links to their websites/blogs etc. You won't be disappointed! Xo - Sarah**

Photo by Sarah McMurray

At the heart of all that hides our light is us: a multifaceted, multidimensional diamond. Just as much as we have issues stuffed inside, we also have the false identities and labels we have used to cover us up on the outside. If you are a seeking woman, you probably spend quite a bit of your life essentially cleaning house and uncovering your light. Not for ourselves, rather for the work we are to do in the world. Yet in order to do that work, we have to meet the truth of who we really are rather than who we think we are. “Think” you already know? Think again.

Surrendering a preconceived view of ourselves is a difficult task to undertake because we have accrued so many identities and labels. Some of us see a stranger in the mirror. I’ve had more than a few instances over the years of not recognizing myself and wondering why at times I looked so strange. It would be years before the voice emerged to help me figure it out. Just recently, in fact. I would have to go on journey. Again. Shit. The heavens laugh.

Innocently we embark upon journeys in our lives without full awareness of what’s in store for us. Again, we “think” we might be able to figure it. And yet, have no idea what our souls have in store for us! When we start the journey, we become the seeker or the fool; the “0” card in the Major Arcana of any tarot deck.

We, by default, embark upon a new road to meet the woman we may need to become in order to fulfill our work on the planet. We must give up control, perfectionism, resentment, anger, bitterness and everything else that has created weight in our life journey so far.

Some of us are already traveling, have traveled, or are standing at the beginning.  And still others are
contemplating whether or not to go through with it. You must dump all expectations, controlling the outcome or how the journey will proceed. You don’t get to determine the process. You must be willing to reposition your perception of who you thought you were or even release the life you are currently living in order to switch roads.

For example, when she started thinking about writing The Color Purple, author Alice Walker knew she had to change everything in her life to write it. She left her husband, sold her house in New York, and moved across the country. She ended up in Northern California to have the quiet and solitude needed to write that book. Now, this may not be your fate; however, you must heed the clarion calls that come. To do less would be to thumb your nose at the universe. Keep in mind: your Soul will win in the end. As a Trekie, I totally have to quote: “Resistance is Futile”.

How many of us are willing to truly surrender to a higher purpose that is seeking to push forth from
within? It can be an awesome or absolutely frightening prospect. As I write these words, I am struggling to let go of a path I thought I “was supposed” to follow. This was an unexpected revelation; a fast pitch to the head I didn’t see coming. I honestly didn’t know what to feel. When I look back on it, just a couple of weeks ago, I wondered why I didn’t throw a tantrum. Relief perhaps? And an unexpected bonus graced me after being dormant for years: my poetry muse came back. What was happening? I was beginning to clear away the layers of false identities that covered me. I was giving my diamond light an opportunity to reemerge. The journey is producing unexpected gems.

So where are you? Are you contemplating? Are you at the beginning of the path or already on the road? Have you already traveled and are taking a break before you begin again? No matter where you are, know that you are in the place you need to be in this moment. If the road is beckoning you, heed the call and let it tempt you on to the path.

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.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Manifesto for Living A Life Worth Writing About

Today I had my first article published on Elephant Journal, a publication I've admired for some time.  I wrote a manifesto for living a life worth writing about - it's something I've been thinking about a lot lately. Writing is only as good as the life of the writer. Living well is what provides the inspiration for writing, to inspire the reader to pick up your project and share the adventure with you. Without the gumption to create a life full of experiences and adventures, relationships and community, what does one write about?

It's easy to fall into the routine of our lives, of going to work, being a regular at the local coffee shop or bar and doing the same thing on the weekends. But what if we challenged ourselves to try more new things - new events, meet new people, try new foods and explore new groups? Boom! The creative muses have something to stir in your mind into a new article, book, song, piece of art, or community builder.

We are a voyeuristic culture - we watch celebrities and successful business people's lives in awe of their habits, routines and the seemingly effortless way their lives appear more magical than our own, when in reality, our own lives could be just as fascinating if we wanted. Think about it - it comes down to living with intention and knowing what you want. For me, if I wake up everyday meditating on the fact that I want to develop and grow as a writer, that means I'm intentional about how I spend my time - where do I go, what people I hang out with and what I read (a girl needs inspiration, you know) and I'm intentional about getting my butt in the chair everyday to write - whether good or bad, but simply to practice the habits I want.

In my small city of 85,000, I could go to different coffee shops every day of the week, if I wanted. I could walk a new trail just as often and I could find new people to chat with about their lives no problem. How adventurous are you?

Will join me in this week's adventure of trying new things all week and being intentional about it? Share your latest adventures!!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Earth & Creativity...(My working retreat in the mountains)

The view from my resting place...
Week two of freelancing and dreaming. I took myself to the lake in the high Cascade mountains for solitude and a working retreat to writing for my upcoming deadlines without distraction.

 From the moment I set-up camp I noticed the earth was humming. I couldn't figure it out. There were no motor boats on the lake, and I wouldn't be hearing engines from other lakes this far into the mountains. The humming continued.

The first night I slept hard. Dreams were vivid. In the morning I took my journal, camera and chair up the path to a tiny patch of sand below a large tree. I moved my chair from the edge of the woods onto the sand and suddenly noticed the earth was vibrating ever so slightly beneath my feet, and the humming was louder. It didn't worry me, and I headed into the water for a swim - only to be disappointed by the shallowness of the lake as I walked the length of it, only ever getting hip deep in the warm water.

I noticed wild blueberries lining the shore around the lake, clear waters and soft clouds reflecting in the still lake knee deep.

Upon returning to my chair, and feeling the earth still trembling, I couldn't help but think of Pele, goddess of fire and volcanoes, although the high Cascades are far from the Pacific Ocean, the earth here is similar, built on relics of volcanoes and lava. But the energy of the earth below my feet was more than that....ground bees.

Finally I saw a few yellow bees come spilling out of the rocks lining the edge of the lake where I was sitting. There must be thousands of them to create such a rumble in the earth! They never bothered me and I went about my day shooting images for the article I have due next week.

I toured a few lakes in the past few days, capturing sunsets and sunrises, clouds and landscapes all with the goal of being able to articulate the magic that occurs when creativity is inspired by nature. In the past few weeks my dream of creative freelancing has evolved bigger and wilder than I ever imagined! I'm working on some exciting projects that I'll share in the months ahead...all geared toward writing!

It never ceases to amaze me how dreams evolve, change and push us past the boundaries of ourselves. What dreams are you watching evolve right now? I'll give you a hint...mine involves publishing. ;-)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Money & Value vs. Guilt & Shame by Elinor Predota

Artwork by Sarah McMurray
 **Welcome to the She-Tribe Project's first round of six month guest bloggers, an opportunity for women's voices to inspire, share and create community through the written word. Please be sure to stop by our guest blogger's links to their websites/blogs etc. You won't be disappointed! Xo - Sarah**

Last week the ever awesome Rhiannon Llewellyn (she of the many f-words) was talking about love offerings in her Love & Money Revolution community. Love offerings are services that would normally have a fee attached, but are offered instead on a pay-what-you-can or pay-it-forward basis.   In theory, I love love offerings. It's such a beautiful expression of generosity and overflowing gratitude, right? I've offered them in the past in my own business,  but faced with taking up such an offer for myself, as a paying (or rather, non-paying) client, I hit a huge block. 

As beautiful as love offerings are, I feel weird about asking for a service on the basis of paying it forward, or offering a non-monetary exchange, or receiving it as a gift.   There's a great deal of complex and sticky emotion bound up in it. It feels vulnerable. The lack of equal or equitable exchange means that I am, in my mind, in the giver's debt, and thus they have power over me.  It feels shameful, too, to get something for nothing. It triggers beliefs that I have nothing of value to offer, and that my own pay-it-forward gifts will inevitably be worthless in comparison. And how, if there's no monetary value attached, could I possibly know if or when I'd done 'enough' to pay-it-forward 'properly'?  

These are the kind of hamster wheel tracks my mind gets stuck in around money and value. I know, in my heart, that money and value are different things, but I get so confused in the relationship between my heart and the world. That's why business is my soul's training ground right now.  When I step back and look at the big picture, I realize that all my life I have received and appeared to accept what is offered me, but that apparent acceptance has always been accompanied by guilt and shame.   

It goes deep, right down to the original gift, the gift of life which I received from my mother's body and will, and from Life Herself. Deep down, I hold a fear that I can never do enough to justify my existence.  Isn't that ridiculous? As if such a thing were even possible.   Fear and guilt and shame are ridiculous. They have an important role to play in our lives, as alarm signals and pointers that something's not right. But when the same fear and guilt and shame come up, in non-life-threatening situations, again and again and again, no matter what we do, it's time to call a halt.  So how can we do that?    

In the area of my own fear and guilt and shame around money and value, those feelings are pointing to a lack of trust. The fearful part of me doesn't trust someone offering pay-what-you-can, or pay-it-forward, not to hold the power of debt over me. It doesn't trust me to have sufficient value within me to be able to pay-it-forward sufficiently, ever. And at base, it doesn't trust Life to support me and my existence unconditionally.  So what can I do to turn this fearful part of me around, to enable it to trust? I could dig around in my past, excavate the source of those fears, guilt and shame. I'll do a bit of that, certainly; it can help to know which part of me is holding onto things.  But excavation of the past won't change anything by itself. 

There are two things, both aspects of love, which I find, together, help me to navigate and melt these issues when they inevitably arise.  First is tenderness. Facing myself, my past, my fears and my unloving beliefs about myself and others with tenderness and acceptance is deeply transformative. Healing tears flow. What was tightly held gently dissipates. I can breathe again and see more clearly.  Second is gratitude. Opening to gifts and those who offer them to me with a heart full of thank yous enables me to receive without fear, guilt or shame. It enables deep connection with others, and between the parts of myself.   

How about you? Can you relate to these issues of money and value, in your life or your business?

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.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Inspired By Creatives...

In my new freelancing world I get to work with highly creative people in The Old Ironworks Arts District of Bend. This part of town is home to many artists, creatives and a unique community of entrepreneurs and dreamers - the kind of people who can take empty buildings by the railroad tracks and turn it into the local art hot spot. Earlier this year I had a studio in The Workhouse, a creative collaborative space of makers, doers and inspirers.

I'm also freelancing for Stuart's of Bend, an artist, jewelry-maker and recent retro swimwear designer.

Being around so many creative and inspiring people helps me get my butt in the chair everyday to create. Last night I submitted a piece to an online publication I've admired for a long time and spent the evening redesigning my home studio after finding a beautiful metal industrial style shelf at a flea market yesterday (pictures coming soon).

Creativity stems from amazing places, including kayaking on the lake, or being part of a creative community. How are you nurturing your creative self lately??

Friday, August 2, 2013

I Choose You, A Poem

I want to sit with you
and free write our thoughts across night skies
to share our memories until wee hours of the morning
and stay awake to watch the sun crest over the horizon
all dewy, like fresh melons dripping, juicy and lush on the mountains

I want to sail the ocean of your body until I know your tides,
your ebbs and flows
the way your body reacts to the first snow of winter
and the thawing of spring earth

I want to stand completely naked with you
our hands caressing each others skin,
tiny boundaries between souls
and laugh wild belly laughs that stir from the ground up
until they reach the heavens with joy

I want to hold your hand until we turn 92 years old (or more)
to race in our wheelchairs down hospital corridors
because we know that happiness and love are a choice
and I choose you

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Give Yourself Permission by Ana Campos

**Welcome to the She-Tribe Project's first round of six month guest bloggers, an opportunity for women's voices to inspire, share and create community through the written word. Please be sure to stop by our guest blogger's links to their websites/blogs etc. You won't be disappointed! Xo - Sarah**

Squam 5 Photo by Ana, via Flickr

One of the most important moments in the last year was when I packed my bags and headed off into the woods for my first Squam Art Workshop. This was very hard for me - and if you've heard of "Squam," I know you're thinking to yourself that hanging out by a lake for four days making art doesn't sound scary. But to me, it was much more than that. 

I am a homebody, an introvert, and a cynic. It was a big leap for me to leave my home to spend four days living in the woods with a rather large group of unfamiliar women. Frankly, it sounded downright terrifying because it was so far out of my comfort zone. But I felt inexplicably drawn to it, so I signed up. When the day came to drive up to New Hampshire, I procrastinated. I took forever to pack my bags. I called my husband at work a bunch of times. Then I ran out of excuses, took a deep breath, and got in the car. I'm so glad I did.

I could go on and on about the many wonders of Squam, but in this post, I want to talk about the biggest lesson I learned there: giving yourself permission. This past June, I went back for my second Squam retreat. I stayed in a cabins with nine other women (a truly petrifying idea to this introvert, trust me) who have become wonderful friends. It's easy to bond at Squam because it draws a like-minded crowd, and it breaks down even the biggest of introverts. Now, we email each other reminders to stay "Squam Calm."

I recently found myself wondering, what is the essence of Squam Calm? Obviously being at a gorgeous lake taking creative classes all day produces a wonderful state of well-being, but it's more than that. It dawned on me that it's about giving yourself permission. Taking the time, and making the investment to go to an art retreat is a big act of giving yourself permission to do something for yourself. It's a chance to nurture yourself, and do exactly what you want. You can take your classes, or not. You can skip breakfast. You can go to the night events, or stay in your cabin by the fire. The whole time, you're encouraged to do exactly what pleases you and not feel guilty about it.

Photo by Ana, via Flickr

When you get back to the real world, there's a sense of guilt that creeps back in. You could spend an hour painting, but shouldn't you be doing the laundry, or balancing your checkbook or something? We get caught up in having to be "productive" or "responsible," and we stop giving ourselves permission to do the things we want to do, just for the sake of doing them.

So I am bringing Squam Calm into my life by continuing to give myself permission - to skip the laundry sometimes, to sit around watching bad movies while knitting myself another shawl, to sign up for a painting class, to take on too many sewing projects. I am giving myself permission to bring creativity for the sake of creativity back into my daily routine. And you know what? Every act of giving myself permission is completely energizing. It infuses me with new inspiration, and maybe I'm even a little less cynical. Calmer. Squam Calm.

What are you going to give yourself permission to do?   

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: