Nourish yourself, and please VOTE!
"It's a good life, honey, if you don't grow weary." This chorus from an Alexa Woodward song has been running over and over in my mind the last few weeks. Perhaps, my inner coach is encouraging me to keep going during these trying times. We've been living in the pandemic era for over six months now, and so much of the shadow side of our society has come up to the surface. We have been confronted with the opportunity to face the unsustainable, the orphans, the bullies. Doing the work to heal and shift into integrity takes attention and presence. Two things, that as we move through these collective traumas, can take even more effort to access. It is also clear that we need to think of the long game. The coronavirus, and systemic racism are not going to vanish overnight. But how do we keep learning, and doing the work that needs to be done without burning out? Have you been feeling weary? My intent today is to explore ways that we can nourish ourselves so we can continue to do what we need to personally and collectively to move through these times while staying sane and connected to our hearts.
Before we get to our regularly scheduled programming, I feel urged to call out what I saw on Tuesday evening while watching the presidential debates. Speaking of weariness, I know many of us are tired of what we have been experiencing. So perhaps, before reading on, take a few deep breaths, allow yourself to feel what is present within you, and offer yourself some compassion. These are trying times. The behavior of our commander-in-chief, was that of a cornered narcissist lashing out trying to regain ground and control. Coming to identify the behaviors of narcissism is something we explore in my Empowered Empath series, as there is a common tendency for empaths and narcissists to be drawn together, and recognizing what is going on, and how to not get tangled in the dynamics is important for staying healthy and sane. So for those of you who are not already familiar with narcissism, how it shows up, and how to protect yourself here are a few points.
Narcissism is a trait that exists on a spectrum. In those where it is dominant, we see these key characteristics: the desire for power and control over others; a lack of respect for other's autonomy, and who they really are; a fabricated illusion of grandeur to compensate for a sense of hollowness within; a severe lacking of empathy for others. Another term that is used for narcissists and other challenging personality types is "energy vampires," as these people "feed" on the energy of others to sustain themselves. In their woundedness (likely from early life) they have not learned how to maintain their energy on their own, while respecting others' sovereignty, so narcissists rely on others for "narcissistic supply." This can be other's admiration, bolstering of their ego, attention, even "getting another's goat," so to speak, and feeding off of their anger, and fear.
There are many different types of narcissists, but in Trump we see the type that is most often associated with the term, a grandiose or overt narcissist. Narcissists are highly manipulative, and we saw many of those techniques in Tuesday's debate. Expert gaslighting: distorting facts in an attempt to control the narrative and reality of others. The intent of gaslighting is to instill so much doubt in others that they question their reality, and turn to the gaslighter as their new authority on reality. When they are successful, the illusion of grandeur or perfection surrounding the narcissist is so thick that we deny anything we see to the contrary. When that happens we've bitten the hook. We see this in the way Trump tries to control the narrative around his handling of Covid-19, despite our experiences to the contrary. The incessant interrupting was also an overwhelming attempt to dominate and steamroll, not only Biden, but the moderator, as well, to have control. Narcissists go for the low blow. They stockpile information against you, and throw it out as zingers when they think your defenses are down or you're most vulnerable. We saw this in his callous remarks about Biden's sons, and without any regard or compassion for the loss of Biden's son Beau.
We are not dealing with the average human being that we can reason with, have a discussion with an intent to find common ground, and compromise for solutions. Narcissists who are not getting help (the vast majority don't because they are in denial that they need support) cannot meet you in the middle. Their agenda of control will always be on the forefront of their mind. If they feel like they are starting to lose that control or narcissistic supply, they will double down. That is what we are seeing right now.
I could go on... but I will say if you were feeling drained, angry, upset, etc. after watching the debate, that is because what we witnessed was not healthy. As a country we have been in an abusive relationship with this president, and what unfolded on Tuesday was one verbally and energetically violent episode. If you have had narcissists or abuse in your life you may have felt particularly triggered after that event. If this is you, remember to have compassion for yourself, and hopefully there will be something useful for you in the later part of this article. Please seek out support if you are needing it.
A few points that I share with my empath students to safely and sanely navigate these dynamics:
In Wisconsin, there is still time to register to vote absentee, or early. All the information Wisconsinites need is here: MyVoteWisconsin (One of the things I love is that if you vote absentee, they give you the ability to track your ballot to make sure it is received.)In another state and want to vote early, or absentee? Find all the details at Better Know A Ballot.
For registration and all other voter information visit: Vote.gov
Your Voice Matters!
Okay, now onto the good stuff: nourishment and dispelling weariness.
Let's take another moment to pause, close our eyes, and breathe. Allow space for whatever might be coming up in you physically or emotionally. Whatever you are experiencing is just energy and information. As we practice sitting with it as we breathe, and offer compassionate witnessing, healing begins to happen. Stay with this as long as you need to.
Now, reflect upon what has been working well for you over the last several months. (I've created this worksheet for your ease in following this exercise if you like.) What has brought joy, comfort, relief, and constructive outlets for you as we move through these times? Maybe you are going for regular walks, having virtual game nights with friends and family, making tasty meals, writing poetry, meditating, puttering in the garden, napping, or snuggling with your pets or children. What new or old habits have been helping you sustain? Make a list of what has been filling your cup, how often you have been able to participate in those activities, and star the ones that have been particularly impactful. Now considering one activity at a time, with the changing of the seasons, is there anything that can, or needs to be tweaked so you can continue to enjoy it into the cooler months? Allow this to be a time for your creativity to emerge. If you can't find a solution for how to adapt a certain outlet, make note of it, and what needs it has been meeting for you (connection, movement, play, rest, support, learning, hope, inspiration, etc.).
Now, are there any new activities that you could incorporate to replace any that you will no longer be able to do? Focus on the needs that were being met, and brainstorm what other ways you might be able to meet those needs. For instance, if you were gardening and it was helping you feel grounded and inspired by beauty, maybe you could dream and plan for your garden next year, learn about the plants and wildlife in your area, study ways that you can preserve food, do grounding meditations, or paint picturesque landscapes. Perhaps there are some needs you haven't been able to meet at all during this time. What are they, and how could you prioritize them?
There may be things that have been bogging you down that you need to let go of. For example, obligations to relationships that are draining or not reciprocal, guilt about resting or taking care of yourself, or habits that keep you busy or distract that don't actually nourish you. Ask yourself, what don't I have to do? What can I let go of?
Sit with your list. Star your highest priorities to maintain, integrate, or release. Then narrow it down to 1-3 that you can focus on in the next couple months to support your well-being.
What did you come up with? Share with us in the comments .
Take good care of yourselves!
Lighten your load.
So much is going on in the world right now, between navigating the pandemic, facing ingrained racial injustice, and all the other happenings. It's easy to get swept up in the fear, anger, grief, uncertainty, dissonance, and as well as the hope, desires, and outpourings of love that are present right now. Mix it all together and it can feel quite jumbled. Between what is unfolding in the collective, and our own personal world there is so much for each of us to process. This moment is demanding a lot of us. As such, it is natural to not feel like you are at your "peak performance." If you find yourself being hard on yourself for this, please, friend, be kind, gentle, and patient with yourself. We are each doing the best we can, and that is enough. If you aren't already, try to set aside a little time each day to turn off distractions, be with yourself, and breathe. Practice gratitude for your life. Surrender your burdens to the Earth. Allow her to support you. Invite yourself to see that beauty and love are here with you always, even when it is painful, even when it is hard. It might not look like fairy tales and roses, but that benevolent presence is here with you all the same, even when we forget or can't perceive it.
If you are an empath, feeler, or Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), this time can be particularly overwhelming, exhausting, and confusing. Not only are you having your own response to these events, but you are also picking up on those from the people around you, in your home, neighborhood, and the whole world. Because the entire planet is facing this pandemic, and much of the world is also grappling with racial disparities, the collective energies are particularly heightened right now, in a way that has been unrivaled (at least in my lifetime). It's like we are swimming through a thick soup of energies. If we are not mindful, we can easily drown in this collective cocktail, and lose clarity about what we are responsible for, and can control: ourselves.
To support us in this endeavor, I will be offering one of my cornerstone classes online: The Empowered Empath. This class is designed for people who pick up on the energy of others, by feeling it emotionally or physically in their own bodies. It will help you liberate yourself from carrying the burdens of others, get clarity on where your energy and that of others begins and ends, practice energetic boundaries, nourish yourself, reconnect with your power, and support others with an open compassionate heart without taking on their "stuff." As the tools that are presented are put into consistent practice overtime, they have the potential to dramatically change how we feel as we relate with the world. We can feel empowered, and solid while still engaging with our gift of sensitivity. Even though this class is tailored towards empaths, if you are struggling with some of the themes I mentioned above and you don't identify as an empath, you may still benefit from the skills in this course.
This five week series will be offered online via Zoom starting Tues July 21st. Even online, this course will remain interactive with teachings, meditations, exercises, reflection, and sharing. No matter where you are in the globe, you are welcome to join us live, or catch the recordings later (they will be available for a month). Due to this platform, I am also able to accommodate a larger group. Feel free to invite your loved ones to join you.
Finally, due to these trying times, I will be offering this course on a sliding scale. See the details below.
The Empowered Empath Virtual Series
Essential wisdom and practices to move freely, and compassionately with your gifts
What is an Empath?
Tues July 21st
Know & Love Thyself
Tues July 28th
Boundaries, Boundaries, Boundaries
Tues Aug 4th
Immune to Energy Vampires
Tues Aug 11st
Being an Empowered Empath
Tues Aug 18th
You will receive handouts that you can download/print before each class. Each class will include time to reflect on how you operate as a unique empath, and live guided meditations and exercises.
Held online via Zoom on Tuesdays, July 21st–August 18, 2020 from 5:00–7:00pm CST (6–8pm EST, 3–5PST)
Can't make a class? They will be recorded. You will have access to the recording for one month after the class.
Cost for Entire Series:
Sliding scale of $75 — $100 — $125 — $150 — $175
Generally, I offer this course for $125 total when it is in person. Though this is the baseline price, I am offering this series on a sliding scale given current challenges. I trust you to look into your heart and pay what feels like a fair exchange for you, given your situation, and what is being offered. If money's a little tight, pay $75 or $100. If you have more cushion, and want to pay it forward, you can give $150, or $175.
Last day to register is Friday July 17th.
Series must be paid for in advance, your space is held once payment is received.
Call 608-335-1934, email, or book online to register.
Have questions? Please don't hesitate to reach out!
If you feel inspired to jump in, I look forward to working with you!
Embracing the darkest time of the year.
Here we are... we have entered the darkest, coldest months of the year. I will admit, this is one of my favorite times. Perhaps, it's because I'm part Norwegian, or that I'm a bit crazy. ;) But as I look out the window, I feel embraced by a blanket of clouds, and imagine nature is saying, "Dear one, rest with us, daydream with us, relish the quiet. Replenish your reserves. Soon we will be exuberantly moving again, but, for now, rest."
For many, perhaps you, I know this time of year can be trying. Especially if you have Seasonal Affective Disorder, or, frankly, don't enjoy the snow, and cold. This may be a time that you hope to get through as soon as possible. I get it. We are all wired differently. No matter what your feelings are about fall and winter, I invite you to explore with me how we can make the most of it.
Imagine what is instinctive for us to do (or not do) this time of year. What knowing is carried within your bones, and tissues? Knowing passed down from your ancestors, who at some point were living closely with the land. The instincts of the human animal within you. Outside of the pressures, and expectations of our culture, what feels natural for you this time of the year?
Though we live in a culture with electricity, and technology that is ever-changing and grasping for our attention, our instinctual roots run deep. We often are so distracted by the buzz of modern society that we forget that these roots inform so much of who and what we are.
How can you honor the shift that is natural for us to make this time of year?
Perhaps you may remove some things from your to do list so you allow more time for rest and sleep. You may replace certain activities with more contemplative ones like meditation, or journaling. Meaningful community connections may draw you, much like the hearth fire and stories our ancestors would share helped them remain tightly knit and nourished during the winter months. Cherished daylight hours may beckon you out for movement to balance the dark.
No matter what you choose to include, surrender, or shift this season, I encourage you to contemplate what will nourish you, help you integrate the past year, and support you in feeling full and ready to face our next season of activity that will come in the spring and summer.
I'd love to hear what insights come forth, and any shifts you decide to make this season. Feel free to comment below.
P.S. Does receiving healing and energetic support fit into how you would like to be nourished this winter? Email, or book online.
Remembering our humanness is where our freedom lies.
Spring is upon us here in the Midwest. After the twists and turns of this past winter, I hope all of you are getting a chance to welcome the return of light and warmth.
Today, I want to speak to the trend of valuing productivity, efficiency, busy-ness, and impeccable performance that we've been seeing in our culture for some time. How do you notice these themes showing up for you in your life? Do they effect the expectations you have of yourself, and those that others have of you?
Many of the aforementioned qualities are valuable things, of which our society is well aware. But what happens when we forget to hold these values in relationship with other qualities? What happens when those values hold dominion over others like connection, rest, play, and humility?
As our culture has become more rooted in productivity and performance, and our fascination with technology has grown, I wonder if, on a certain level, many of us have forgotten what we are. Many of us are trying to stay competitive so we work long hours without rest or nourishment. When we feel grumpy, sick, or impatient, frustration with ourselves mounts because it gets in the way of our "to do list". I mean, "Why can't we just get over it already?!" So we often push through the feelings, tiredness, or pain, hoping it will clear up on its own. We tell ourselves, if only we do better, the "problem" will go away.
If you find yourself grappling through a similar process, I'm here to remind you today that you are NOT a robot! There is so much more to you than how much you can accomplish, and how "good" you are at what you do, and how few errors you make. We are not designed to be productive. We are meant to live.
We are human. To be human is to be dynamic. We feel. Some days we are in a funk. Some days we feel so much joy we think we might burst. There are days where we can fly through the things we wish to accomplish. There are days when we lay on the couch and binge watch Netflix, or just goof around with the kids, eat pancakes, and nothing gets done.
I say all this, so you remember its okay to go easier on yourself. Maybe we are more efficient, and effective, when we allow ourselves the room to experience the messy, and beautiful aspects of life that don't fit neatly into our box, that sometimes throw the whole agenda askew. Perhaps, it's worth finding out.
How are you going to embrace your humanness today?
P.S. Share about your experience with productivity, expectations, and honoring your humanness below. I look forward to hearing from you.
May we nourish our collective heart this holiday
As we honor Thanksgiving this year, whether gathered with loved ones or resting in solitude....
May we feel safe to be as we are, in our bodies, minds, and souls.
May we acknowledge the provision that life has offered us, and allow ourselves to fully receive that which nourishes and feeds our spirits and flesh.
May we shrug off with grace that which would diminish our light. Allowing it to roll off us, untarnished, and view it through the eyes of compassion and a desire to understand.
May we be fully grounded in our hearts and feel this capacity grow.
May we honor our roots, our personal ancestry, and that of our communities, country, and planet. May we remember that we wouldn't be here without those who came before.
May we honor their love, courage, and hope. The beauty they planted that has flourished through time and strengthened through adversity.
May we also acknowledge their shortcomings. The moments of misstep, and misalignment with deep Truth and Love. The old wounds, personal, and collective, that have yet to heal.
May we recognize this humanness within ourselves too. That we all have these capacities for love, fear, connection, and confusion.
May we find tenderness as we see these places where our souls and communities still ache. May we witness the pain and not turn away. May we say, "I am here with you, brother, sister, friend. We will heal this together."
May we be willing to forgive, and to practice it until we feel it in our bones.
May we have the courage to move into inspired action. Led by the heart, to offer greater healing to ourselves, our families, and the world.
May we trust that our love and joy ripples out into the universe, and serves those who need our gifts the most. May we remember that the choice to live from this place elevates us all.
We Are One.
Thank you for existing. We need you.
With so much love,
P.S. Have a blessing you would like to share with our community? Post it in the comments below.
During my work with clients over the last month, I have been noticing a theme that many (including myself) have been facing particularly strongly—our relationship with the unknown.
The uncertainty, of course, is always there. Though some of us may be becoming more aware of its steady presence as we face weather extremes, the upcoming elections, or the unique details of our personal lives.
The question is, as we remember that we are part of larger systems unfolding on a course all their own, how are we relating with ourselves?
Are we freaking out with anxiety, fear, rage, or sadness? Are we scrambling for control, some way to escape, or blow off steam? Are we able to access a sense of faith, and able to ride the waves that are washing in? Maybe you vacillate between these realities depending on the moment.
No matter what your experience is, I would like to invite you to offer kindness, and compassion for yourself. We all want to be safe, loved, healthy, and happy. When we sense these qualities may be in jeopardy, it is natural to respond in effort to preserve them. We all have this instinct.
Sometimes, I wish I had a book that could tell me the details of everything that is to come, and the best way to face it. I would reference it in these times of uncertainty, and share it with you all. But, alas, we all know no such thing exists.
Yet, as I look to the trees during this change of season from summer to fall, it is as if they are guiding, "Gather your resources. Soak in all the nourishment you can. Let all the goodness you have encountered infuse into your being. Fill up your reserves—the deep wells within you—with all the love that has freely washed over you. This has been there, and still is (in case you had any doubt), just like the light from the sun that shines indiscriminately on all of life on Earth.
Then, my friends, shake off the empty shells. The vessels that once were vehicles of life that are now hollow. Shed the old skin, the fading coat, the crumbling leaves. Let the winds of change carry them effortlessly away. You don't need them any more. They served their purpose. Honor them for what you experienced through them. Then let them rest. They will be renewed in their own time in this web of life."
I look to the trees, and this I remember.
What unknowns are you facing right now? How are you working with them? Share your experience with us below, or send me an email.
Wishing so much love, freedom, and trust for each of you.
P.S. Tired of facing the uncertainty alone? Reach out, and we'll walk the path together.
Reiki Master Teacher and Owner of Embrace Your Essence