homemade incense*

 reading nook

reading nook

I've always felt something like making homemade incense would be way too overwhelming for me.  I admired creations like that from afar, assuming it wasn't simple enough for me because I crave simple these days.

When I woke yesterday morning a few hours before my boys, I noticed the light coming through onto our reading chair was so ethereal and all I wanted to do in that moment was sip coffee and read through something that would infuse life into me for that day.  I looked through a part of our home library in my husband's home office that I haven't delved into for a while.  I found this book that I completely forgot we had: Celebrating the Great Mother: A Handbook of Earth-Honoring Activities for Parents and Children.  This book is so gentle and beautiful and intentional and not at all complicated to read, which is what I am needing not only for me but also to share with my son.  I love reading with him because he craves it, especially spiritual books honoring the earth, moon, sun and sky, which he connects to on a deep level.

I turned to the chapter on Spring and found a few simple recipes for Incense.  One in particular caught my eye.  It was called Safe & Loving Home Incense.

When Cedar woke, he crawled into the chair with me and I read this bit to him and suddenly he filled with so much life and asked if we could make some that day.  So off to our magical little tea shop downtown I went.  This shop's walls are covered in shelves of big and small jars of loose teas and spices and herbs.  Its the yummiest smelling shop with such healing energy.  We always go there for special healing teas for whatever ailment we are experiencing.  The two women working there are such gentle listeners and guides.  I was so geeked out to be making my first incense and she was so excited to gather all the ingredients for me.

I went home with all the goods and created a peaceful environment for Cedar and I to explore and create in the late afternoon.  It was raining outside, so it was the perfect day for this.  I played our Liquid Mind station on Pandora and sat near him and let him make a batch all on his own while reading it to him.

Safe & Loving Home Incense

Cinnamon, sandalwood powder, bay leaf, angelica and marjoram.

The spices were left in their natural granule-type state so we could grind them in our mortar & pestles.  That was the part that Cedar loved the most.  It felt really good for his body too because it wasn't easy and he had to push and twist really hard (especially the Cinnamon granules) to turn them into as much of a powdery form as he could.

What I loved the most about this ritual for me and Cedar was that as we were grinding up our spices, we closed our eyes and visualized our sweet home with a warm and loving glow around it.  In the photo of Cedar below, you can see him closing his eyes and visualizing.  My eyes filled with tears because he truly is able to meditate in this way so clearly and he was so very mindful about it...so very quiet in those moments.

 visualizing our home

visualizing our home

In the Incense portion of the Spring chapter, she talked about the energy of the child being infused into the incense and how powerful that is.  And its true. I felt it.  I felt it when we poured the incense on the lit charcoal and watched it burn.  Our home felt enveloped in so much pure love and we sat there watching it burn with so much joy that our hands had created something our home needed, we needed.

There are more involved ways of making incense (cones and sticks with resin, etc.) but this, this felt very attainable to us and within our reach for now and I am so grateful for it.   This whole activity left me feeling such a peace and calm vibration throughout the day.  

So simple, yet so powerful.

 

Sponsor Guest Post ~ Meghan Genge

Meghan is one of my very first internet soul connections.  A handful of us gals (some from the US, UK and Canada) met in Seattle for the first time in the flesh after a year of connecting deeply through our blogs and emails back when it all began for us in 2005. It was an intimate gathering at a friends house and I can vividly remember Meghan sharing with us her dream to write a story she knew she had ruminating within her.  When she spoke of it, I could feel the energy in the room pulsate.  I knew it would come to life at the right time for her (and those reading it) and I knew it would have a message that would touch lives in a way that is everlasting and healing.

Her book is finally here and I invited her to share about it on my blog because I wanted all of you to feel what I felt listening to her almost 10 years ago, curled up on a couch, knee to knee, soul to soul.

 photo credit: susannah conway

photo credit: susannah conway

Meet Meghan Genge...

When I find a book I love, I carry it with me through my day so that at any free moment, I can keep reading. I call these ‘gulping’ books, because I consume them so greedily! A few years ago I read The Alchemist for the first time and it was a gulping book. I remember reading it quickly, but having the vaguest sense of unease at the end. It was an amazing, life-altering book, but I felt like it wasn’t quite MY story. I wanted to read the woman’s version.

I originally started blogging to meet my soul mates and what I found was that I wasn’t the only woman who was searching for a connection with myself, my spirituality, my femininity, and to other women. I wasn’t the only one struggling with food and feelings of not-good-enough and grief and kinship. I wasn’t the only one looking for a campfire to sit beside, or a grandmother to tell me stories. I’ve always been drawn to the magical, the whimsical, the delightful and the mysterious. I wanted a book that would speak to all of these parts of my soul.

So what was a girl to do? And then a tiny voice in my heart whispered: write it.  

A few days later I came out of a meditation with a voice, an opening line, and an entire story in my head, and Unfurl was born. If you read Unfurl, you will see that there is an author’s note at the beginning. It explains that when I was writing Unfurl, I felt l was writing it for someone specific. The more I hear back from women who have read it, the more I realize how many of our stories are similar – how many of us are looking for more – and how connected we really are.

Unfurl is the story of Melissa Owens. Melissa has everything she ever thought she wanted, so she can’t understand why she is now longing for more. The problem is that she really doesn’t know what that ‘more’ is. The other problem is that the longing has turned into an ache that has begun to get painful. With a few signs, and a little help and encouragement, Melissa takes a leap of faith that sends her on a magical, yet somehow familiar path.

Unfurl is about looking at who we are as whole and powerful women. It’s about the stories and the baggage that holds us back. It’s about roots and wings and connection and food. It’s about untangling grief and facing procrastination and listening to our hearts. It’s about letting go, and it’s definitely about believing in magic.

If you want to know more about or listen to the first chapter, please look here.

Amazon Links: US, UK, Canada

Meghan Genge is a writer, a teacher and author of the novel, Unfurl. She believes passionately in the power of stories, and knows that stories are the language the soul understands. Born in Canada, she currently lives in England with her husband. For more of her writing, visit her website here

painting eggs*

I am sitting here at a coffee house with a view of the ocean, a vanilla latte made with breve and the sounds of Brian Crain {Spring Symphonies with the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra} through my tiny earphones. My heart is swelling thinking about our weekend and the flow of this music is taking me back to it all.  

On Saturday I felt brave to try some fun designs while dyeing our eggs, inspired by images I saw on both Pinterest and Martha Stewart online.  I loved that Cedar was all for it and when he became bored (because it took longer than planned), he played with his trains on the table near me, commenting during the process on how beautiful it all was.  It was so sweet having him near me after he was finished dyeing his own while my husband was out and about doing errands.  We had the Weepies station on Pandora playing and incense burning and my neighbor coming in and out sharing stories of her life back when she "dressed like a Free People magazine in the 60's" after she saw a catalog on my table.

I wanted to share some of the things we tried.  Now do keep in mind that mine didn't come out as clear as the ones they showed online.  Perhaps I wasn't careful enough and I also may not have chosen the right leaves (they suggested leaves from herbs because they are less absorbent).  But rather than bummed, I was actually quite pleased because I am a lover of simple and subtle and subtle is how they turned out.

Natural dye from Natural Earth Paint...

Lace scraps & trimmings...

Botanical prints...

Brown eggs & white paint pen...

 this one is my husband's design.  both cedar's heart one and this one are most dear to me

this one is my husband's design.  both cedar's heart one and this one are most dear to me

The results...

leaning into it*

 self portrait wearing a shirt from my friend  Kerrie's  Instagram boutique  Shop Bonjour Moon

self portrait wearing a shirt from my friend Kerrie's Instagram boutique Shop Bonjour Moon

I've been working on a magazine article for a week or so and one of the questions asked of me was...

"What do you do when you feel uninspired?"

The first thing that came to me when I closed my eyes and thought about all the times I felt uninspired, was a vision of myself like the one above.  Me laying back, leaning into it: Leaning into the un-inspiration.  With most things in my life, I try not to force things.  Perhaps to a fault sometimes but allowing things to unfold slowly and organically has worked for me so far.  At least I think it has.  ; ) 

But for those times when I am working on a project or a writing piece or anything creative really, and I get stuck or feel uninspired, I just pause.  I take this time to not fight it but to embrace it and I do what I need to do to quiet my mind and let it go for a bit.  For me this could be going for a walk in nature or watching a film or show, reading, going to a place that carries beauty, touches me and vibrates throughout my being...basically removing myself in some way from what it is I am trying to make happen when its not happenin'.  Feeling uninspired can be scary, especially if it is something that someone is waiting for that is expected of you.  It can cause anxiety and self doubt in many layered ways and if we are not careful, we find ourselves giving up entirely.  

How would it feel for you to say to yourself...

"Lean into it..."

I just believe so whole heartedly that if we lean into it and accept it, that inspiration will return when its ready.  I can remember numerous times I've shared with a friend or alone in a prayer: "I don't feel inspired. At all..." and the conversation somehow led to a place where something, something revealed itself to me and I found my way back.  I can also recall numerous times I just gave myself space and time to do things that filled up my soul and quieted my mind and rested my body and all of that opened up room for ideas to come flooding in.

People are afraid to admit they are not feeling inspired.  Especially creative souls.  Just like anything else, self awareness and acceptance can be so healing, even if what you are aware of and accepting is that you're just not feeling inspired. One bit.

What do YOU do when you feel un-inspired?

spring vibrations*

 my dear camellias*

my dear camellias*

For 10 years my husband and I lived in a high rise, near loud freeways and next door to a football stadium in Southern California.  There wasn't much lushness surrounding our home and most of the flowers we had potted on our veranda died from the intense sun reflecting against the saltillo tiled floor.  Succulents were the only plant/flower that survived and I grew to really love them, especially the ones that trailed down.

So when we moved to Washington and most especially when we could finally call the seaside cottage we lived in our hOMe, I was surrounded by plants, flowers, trees that I knew nothing about!

 spring droplet*

spring droplet*

Our home was once owned by master gardeners and during the Spring and Summer it is draped in blooms everywhere you look.  There are some spaces where we need to cut a path so we can get from one place to the next.

The first year living here, I felt so overwhelmed that I did very little.  I was so afraid to hurt any tree or flower and also, we did not yet own the house and I was very conscious of our landlord's master opinion.  Its just now slowly sinking in that this land belongs to us.  

As the sun is beginning to peek through our gray and rainy skies and we have a few dry days in a row here and there, the blossoms are surfacing one by one.  

We told each other this year we will pay attention and keep note of what it is we are growing and how to care for it...and what it is we need to let go of to begin our design.  We have such whimsical plans for our land and it will be so fun to share it here step by step as we go. 

 a few of my pots*

a few of my pots*

For now I will focus on potting some lovelies to scatter around our front yard.  Last Summer a dear woman that owns a nursery took me under her wing and graciously offered me wisdom about how to arrange various flowers in pots.  I am excited to try and do this on my own this year.

I can feel that after being so ill for a few months, that I am truly noticing so much more around me than I used to.  Just yesterday, I began to hear little sounds coming from one of our hanging gourds and saw that a chickadee was making a wee home in there.  I've never been so delighted about a bird in my life.  I waited patiently for it to appear so I could capture it.  Cedar was so thrilled about the whole thing and now talks to it when its in there.

My neighbor had a wonderful idea to hang tiny scraps of yarn in her tree so the birdies could make bohemian styled nests.  She inspired me to do it as well and I hope to spot one soon to share with all of you!

 yarn for the birdies*

yarn for the birdies*

...and here's an outdoor fae*nook I created today!

 Salish basking in the sun*

Salish basking in the sun*

This sun is lifting our spirits and we feel such vibrations of creation through our bodies!

fae-nook*

We still need sacred womb spaces earthside...

Cedar has always loved forts as all children do.  I notice for him, he builds them almost out of necessity.  A way for him to quiet and control his environment.  He builds them in our closets or under the tables or with all the pieces of our furniture moved about throughout the day draped in every blanket and pillow he can find.  Then he brings inside battery operated candles for ambiance.  These are the spaces he feels safe and where he can create world upon world and every once in awhile, we are allowed in with him.

For some time, I've dreamed about a fort we can all share as a family.  A cozy fae-nook where we could curl up and read or do his homework and tell stories.  I was inspired by this article I was included in on Apartment Therapy so long ago with this image of my bedroom in our previous house (fourth image across).  I'm in love with the dreamy affect of fabric and twinkle lights.

Rather than use blankets or sheets that we use on a daily basis, I thought it would be wise to go to Goodwill to purchase King size sheets just for this fort alone.  That way, we can keep it up as long as we wanted to.  I was planning on scavenging for big tree branches in our forest out back but the day before I planned on making the fort, a neighbor friend told me that another neighbor had cut down many of his willow tree branches and was giving them away.  She invited me to go look and then offered me a few of the most gorgeous twisted and curly branches.  This was such a very unexpected gift.  I have been wanting to decorate my hOMe in willow branches for so so long.

I had no idea how I was going to begin.  Truly.  I sat and stared at this corner of the living room for ages and thought how on earth is this all going to stay together?  Thank goodness Cedar was preoccupied upstairs and I tried to keep him up there as long as possible to surprise him.  I started stepping on a few of my old vintage stools and chairs to reach the ceiling and fell a few times and sliced my finger on a branch on the way down.  My husband finally suggested his sturdy old ladder we've had for years and placing one plant hook on the ceiling and then it all started coming together.  

I was amazed at how strong the willow branches were (the ones I chose were quite thick).  I am delighted how it turned out and now even more inspired to do some nooks up in our bedrooms.  

When Cedar came downstairs and saw it for the first time he gasped and said...

"Mommy, this is love."

I don't think I ever want to take it down.  Each of us have enjoyed it...even our sweet puppy and kitty.  There is something more special about the branches...bringing mama earth into what feels like a womb in this space.  Whenever Cedar comes in from his outside adventures by the sea or in the forest, he brings with him treasures from nature and hanging them from the willow branches is what he has in mind to do.

Even as we roam earthside, our spirits, our souls, our little child within, still need a sacred womb space to come to and feel cradled and held and nourished and utterly safe.

my daily love verse*

 window gazing is full of healing for me

window gazing is full of healing for me

"The way to maintain one's connection to the wild is to ask yourself what it is that you want. This is the sorting of the seed from the dirt. One of the most important discriminations we can make in this matter is the difference between things that beckon to us and things that call from our souls." ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

As I sit here and type this, I hear both piano and violin pulsing through my ear phones.  Tears begin to fall at the beauty of what I am listening to...and I think to myself how much more I feel and see and appreciate so deeply, life these days.  Especially the simplest pleasures that we can easily overlook with the busy and mundane of our days.  I've been unwell physically for over a month as my pneumonia turned into Pleurisy.  When I received this diagnosis a few days ago, to be honest, I felt so much relief, so much validation...that this very strange and foreign pain in my lungs when breathing and exhaustion wasn't in my imagination.  It was so very difficult to describe to my loved ones what was happening in my body and after four weeks of pneumonia, I should have been feeling so much better, not worse and a different worse.  I am grateful I was guided to the right specialist and with clear answers and a treatment plan...I am on the way to healing.

 love bottles from my marmie

love bottles from my marmie

This.  This is why I've been so quiet in this space.  Words have not come, both the written word and spoken word.  But images, images have been flowing through me more than ever before.  Inspired by the simplest of beauty and nourishment that surrounds me in and around my hOMe.

 sunday morning coffee

sunday morning coffee

Truly, I sit here curled up on my bed in gratefulness.  Everything feels different after the last 6 weeks.  More intricate and exquisite to my eyes.  

 these ranunculus wanted to come home with me

these ranunculus wanted to come home with me

This time of resting has brought so much peace into my world and the world of my boys.  We've had no choice but to slow down and cocoon and to spend more time together, laying in bed cuddling, reading to candlelight with incense and oil burners.  Our home smelling so deliciously fragrant with oils that are healing to lungs and the soul.  

 i do love big lush blossoms but the tiniest most humble ones have my heart

i do love big lush blossoms but the tiniest most humble ones have my heart

I've allowed myself more window gazing and like the quote below my first photo, think about what I want:  What beckons to me and what calls to my soul and the difference between those two. I've had soulful exchanges with dear friends that have stayed close during this time, in spirit, about what living a simple life means.  I read this on a friend's image from her Instagram...

"Going back to a simpler life is not a step backwards."


 pausing after reading poetry

pausing after reading poetry

My life is so utterly simple these days.  Instagram has been such medicine for me in how to capture that simplicity that is around me.  Photography calls from my gentle & wild soul and pulses rhythmically through my veins.  Not only capturing what it is that speaks to me but also witnessing life through the lens of those that move me.  During this time of needing to lay oh so much, it has been a healing salve and has helped me to not feel alone in the stillness.  Words feel overwhelming.  Either reading or writing or speaking them but this, oh this...images enter into me with such ease and life.

 a blossom in our backyard in the midst of our swampy forest that I had no idea existed but was pointed out by my friend

a blossom in our backyard in the midst of our swampy forest that I had no idea existed but was pointed out by my friend

Today I received the most romantic of notes from a dear friend and she spoke of my images with such poetry and gentleness.  I am not accustom to seeing myself this way but how she sees me touched the truest part of my soul.  The soul that exists in this earthly body of mine that so patiently awaits the day I will know and see it in its entirety.

I love getting to know the wildly beautiful and free woman in you through photographs of your daily love verse. I always know it’s you when i’m scrolling through my feeds because there is no one else with hair as golden-dipped. There is no one else with hands covered in soft fabric placed against a window pane or table with warm dreamy goods. There is no one else with a soulboy child who knows the stories of trees and the thoughts of stones and the last memories of fallen feathers. There is no one else with a child who was born from God’s very sacred safe, who knows the ancient codes to the root of gentle and compulsive happiness. There is no one else who breathes in the morning sun like you and there is no one else who wraps her body over her womb and feels its poetic chemistry.
— Kerrie Moon of Moonologie
 a recent gift from a dear  soulfriend  made with love and intention by  jodi  of  whispered truths

a recent gift from a dear soulfriend made with love and intention by jodi of whispered truths

Take a deep breath with me.  Gaze outside your window in silence, even if just for one minute in your day and feel your body exhale  Maybe that little tiny petal on that little tiny flower has something you may need, a message, a memory, a feeling as you focus and gaze for a while.  

Perhaps in the quiet, it may be more simple to find what it is that calls from your soul.

 listening & writing this afternoon

listening & writing this afternoon

soulsigh in the spring*

"My four weeks with them was transcendent. To see the expansion of souls via words, pictures, growth, birth, {re}birth truly touched the soulsigh sisters deeply. I wish I had the magic touch these soul doulas possessed.They bleed creative divine feminine, they oooooze love and tenderness. They encourage gentle, soul bleeding expansion. Reading their words is loving kindness, deep respect, and utter soul seeing. They just see you, and continue to see. They see nothing but beauty and perfect, and they continue to see only light. Light. Love. Peace." Makenna

 by denise andrade for  soulsigh—a sacred blessingway

by denise andrade for soulsigh—a sacred blessingway

Loves, I wanted to let you know that Hillary Rain and I have had many sweet requests and inquiries about our Sacred Blessingway eCourse we created together. With Mother's Day approaching we thought it would be a perfect time to offer it again for those who were hoping to experience Soulsigh. Even if Mother's Day is not something you celebrate for yourself we feel that you belong because there is a sweet little girl inside you who needs your tender love and nourishment. This time our course runs April 14-May 12. 

One of our sweet participants, Drucilla, shared this with us following our time together:

"Letting my soul sigh was an all-important and oh-so-pleasurable act of self-care.  and not just one act, but continued enactment, with indulgences that felt as critical to life as water and bread, unfolding week by week as the fae soul and soul doula led us down to the bottom of the garden, through the wildflowers and weeds (to see that they are one), and back to the home to our own secrets and sisters.  Just being with them as they shared so exquisitely of themselves, and gently, lovingly witnessed our whispers to them and each other --  it created such healing, intimate community that I am still basking in, remembering and longing for... they have shown us what all of life should be." —Drucilla, through tears  

about soulsigh—a sacred blessingway

Our course is designed to offer an intimate Blessingway abounding with loving rituals of gentleness, tenderness, wildness, nurture, connection to earth, and adornment to honor our re(birth) and coming h(om)e to ourselves, and to share this journey within a safe cocoon of sisters. We come from a story of not being able to conceive and carry a child (yet) the way our bodies were designed to, and what emerged from our healing and being drawn to one another is honoring our bodies as capable of birthing. Birthing ideas, dreams and even ourselves + souls over and over again as we move throughout life. We then had this epiphany that all women could benefit from such compassion for their souls + bodies, and ritual through the process could be a gentle way to honor it. We would like to gently invite you to join us for this sacred journey together in honor of the mother within you and your creative feminine. It's such a safe and cozy circle and we have so many nurturing prompts and experiences waiting for you. If you would like to see a little behind the scenes to tantalize you, here is a post I wrote last summer sharing the emotional tenderness I felt with my friend who so generously allowed me to photograph her for our course.

Will you circle with us? We'd love to have you. And as a gentle peek to entice you, here is our opening welcome video shown to our beloved moon sisters who walk alongside us.

soulsigh—a sacred blessingway begins april 14

a kind stranger*

bumper3.jpg

Earlier today I was walking out of Trader Joes with a cart full of bags on the way to my car.  Two older gentleman were in front of me doing the same and I noticed them stop behind my car and read my bumper sticker (in image above).  They both smiled and nodded their heads and exchanged a few words and continued onto their car parked a few away from mine.  As I opened up the back of my car and loaded all of my groceries, one of those gentleman approached me and said "May I bring your buggy back to the store along with mine?"  Firstly, I was charmed by the fact that he called it a buggy rather than a cart and secondly I was completely taken aback and filled with such gratefulness I could burst. "Of course, that is so incredibly kind of you!"  I said with my hand on my heart and a shy nervous giggle.   But he hurried away, with a warm smile, blushed face, head down and with such humbleness.  I am guessing he was in his late 70's.

I don't think I stopped smiling for an entire hour.  When I slipped into the drivers seat, my eyes filled with tears and I said out loud "Humanity, its good...its still so good."

As I drove away, I really thought about what had just transpired.  The two men were moved by what was on my bumper sticker and rather than just exchange a few words, one of them put what moved them into action.  What may to others seem like a simple gesture, I felt what he bravely did was really profound.  So much so, that I wanted to share it with you.

sinking deep into gratitude*

 resting place

I have been quieter in this space than usual.  Three weeks ago, pneumonia swept into my lungs with a fierce force and I had no choice but to completely surrender to laying my body down.  That was not at all easy for me or my two boys as each of us in our hOMe occupy an energy that makes our rhythm flow with a completeness.  That rhythm allows the space between us to be filled up as we give each other what we can offer and feel cared for to the depths.  Both of my boys had to give more than they were used to and perhaps more than they thought they were capable of .  I had to release any guilt or shame or worry that I needed anything more than what was usual. For many days the only energy I had was to walk from the bedroom to the bathroom and back again.  For many days all I could muster to think about was whether or not I could breathe a full breath and then onto the next breath.  It was intense and it feels like an utter miracle to be slowly surfacing from the vortex of it all.  When I posted about what was happening on my Instagram, it was this response that breathed life and hope and purpose into this time of so much laying down, so much quiet, so much slumber, staring at walls and out windows...  

"Blessings and well wishes, sister.  As you are down, may you touch your depths, sink deep into your gratitude, and allow this deep layer of clearing to move through you with grace and ease. Your body is so brilliant and beautiful and knows what it is doing.  You are honored and held, woman."   ~ Lindsay

It was these words that helped me trust there was reason for this time.  That perhaps I needed to fully slow down and quiet my mind and listen intently to my body and my soul and to trust that its possible my boys can live without the all of me in our space and maybe I needed to witness that for some reason.  Maybe I needed to trust that I can leave for a time and all would be alright because up until now, I wasn't fully secure in that.

My husband floored me as he took on a very stressful few weeks working from home while navigating our son's meltdowns and extra neediness all while coming in and out of my room making sure I had what I needed and was comfortable.  Every time he would gently close the door of the bedroom after checking in on me, I would put my hand on my heart and look up and speak out loud my gratitude for this man in my life.  And each time I had to release any guilt I felt for being unable to give back as I usually do.  

Our village neighbors circled us, brought us soups, teas, homemade popsicles and checked in constant.  Nannies cared for my son for a handful of hours during each day so my husband could work. My parents and mother in law adorned my home with flowers from afar.  Friends on Instagram cloaked our family in prayers and positive thoughts and candles lit.  My sister and niece sent me love texts.  My tribe sent me voice memos to listen to so I wouldn't feel completely disconnected and lost.  I was given to at every moment and I had no choice but to revel in being given to without being able to give in return.  It was a very deep practice for me.

And Lindsay's words...were the root of my healing...because she spoke the heart of all of what this time offered me.  I touched my depths when I often do not have the time, energy nor the reserves to.  I sunk deep into my gratitude for things I took for granted; Just the littlest things (and also the big things like the enormous love I have for my husband and son).  And there was indeed a deep clearing of not only my body (I was unable to eat, so I was sort of forced into a juice cleanse) but also my soul as I am brought back yet again to embracing slow and simple and what brings me life.  And again Lindsay was right about my body.  It is brilliant and it does indeed know what it is doing as I literally felt it speak to me when I was doing too much and needed to lay down.  I listened and am still listening.  I am again reminded to listen to and honor my body in a deeper way than I have been allowing.

resting place

I know as my lungs heal, it will take time for me to feel fully myself again.  Before pneumonia swept in my head was full of all these expectations on myself (and perhaps others) and now, now it is full of gratitude for the simplest things: breathing, body movement, nourishing pure food, the nature that surrounds me, the deep love and laughter in our home.  Perhaps what some may consider mundane but what I am rediscovering I simply cannot live fully without.

Oh I am so grateful for the depths I've been taken to through all of this.  I am also grateful that food is tasting fabulous again because I love love love to eat. ; )

 

what aging means to me*

littlegirl4_sm.jpg
And it was at that age …
poetry arrived in search of me...

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry void,
likeness, image of mystery,
felt myself a pure part of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.
— Pablo Neruda

Mmmm....this poem sent shivers down my whole body the other day because I've been thinking about age and aging and the words "felt myself a pure part of the abyss"...sort of defined what has been happening to me as I grow older.  I have always had such a wandering spirit and have questioned why I never really felt like I belonged anywhere.  Bits and pieces of me, yes but not the whole of me in any one place.

What I've come to grasp in the last two decades of my life is that there is finding in the (un)finding...belonging in the (un)belonging...that we are all part of this grand Universe, this "abyss" and our very (be)ings and the ripple effect we have on each other is important, each of us deeply important...spirit, soul, earthly connected.

Aging isn't what I imagined it to be for me.  I thought I would be utterly consumed with my body changing and wrinkles and gravity on what surrounds my bones.  And there are moments when I do gasp at these changes but they are fleeting.  What I'm loving so much is the wisdom, from all of the achy parts of life, sweeping me up and moving me through what is my now.  I feel more comfy in my skin than I ever have and I know myself deeper.  I see my body as a being carrying my spirit and I listen deeper to it, I honor it and find it precious: The Keeper of my Soul.  Like right now, I've had pneumonia for two weeks and where before I would push myself to please others, I am listening to what my body needs, I am speaking up about what my body needs and realizing that me being unwell is not good for the loves in my life.  There is a ripple effect, always.  If I take better care of me, I can take better care of my loves.

Perhaps what comes with aging for me is being deeply intimate with all the layers of myself, which then guides me in what I can offer to this Grand Abyss called Life.  Perhaps what comes with aging is less of a desire to impress and more of a desire to BE myself completely without need of recognition.  Perhaps what comes with aging for me is learning what matters most and pouring my reserves into those people and things that fill me up rather than deplete me.

15 years ago, heck maybe even 10 years ago I may not have posted this image of me (above) because of the not so flattering angle of my short and muscular legs.  I wanted to be something different, perhaps longer and leaner than I was and today, I love my short and muscular legs.  They carry me and they help carry my heavy son up and down the stairs and they wrap tightly around my husband and hold him close.  It feels good, so good to feel this way and what I see in this image is the woman I have become and the little girl that still lives within me...feeling connected, intertwined, accepted, embraced.

20's, 30's and now my 40's...I feel so blessed to even be here to write these words about aging and yet I know there is so much more, so much more wisdom to gain. 

My dear friend Susannah reached out and asked some of us to write how we feel about our age or aging, in light of her 41st birthday that is today.  I'm honored to be part of this sexy collaboration.  It speaks very deep to me.  Her post and others listed here.

Happy Birthday, Sus! 

life of pleasure*

 choosing the seat where the sun beams are draped over it with my coffee with breve.

choosing the seat where the sun beams are draped over it with my coffee with breve.

Recently, I was remembering long ago when a dear friend and I were both on a journey to conceive and trying out all these different ways of eating, we continued to make a pact that we would not let go of that which brings us pleasure. This has stayed close to me since: This awareness that pleasure in my life is interwoven into the fabric of my being.

I'm not just talking about food or love making.  The other day we were taking down the Christmas lights off of our house and I felt this deep sadness.  Not because Christmas was over but because twinkly lights bring me so much pleasure.  So, as I was about to pack them into our Christmas box, I looked around the inside of our home and wondered if I could hang them in a space where my boys and I gather every day.  The living room!

That got me thinking.  What about twinkly lights in other places?  I've hung lights in various rooms throughout my life but there was something different about this choice, this time.  I had a deeper awareness of the effect these lights have on my soul. Oh how romantic the light is.  Oh how it puts us at ease and inspires deep exhales.

 twinkle lights and the coziest  sweater  that i could wear every day

twinkle lights and the coziest sweater that i could wear every day

So it got me thinking even more about things that make life pulse through my veins.  Plants draped throughout my home, incense always burning, snuggling with pets and those I love throughout the day, breve in my latte, saying poetry out loud to myself while laying on my bed, handmade gifts around my home, hanging fabric in a doorway rather than a door, lighting candles for prayer, intention and for those in need, burning sage, lazy mornings in bed in my husband's arms, documenting my life through images and words...

oh so many things.  And even if I do all or one of these things each day, even if for just a few minutes...it brings such pleasure to me.

I've been discussing this with a friend and this morning she left me a message saying she was on her way to seek pleasure and get herself a red lipstick that she can wear around the home with her babies.  Just the word "pleasure" has taken on new meaning for her, for me...and added some fun and light we needed.

Life of pleasure.  What brings you pleasure that you want more of in your life?

yummy burlap garland/flags*

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My sister Darlene made these yummy burlap flags for me as a Christmas present and when I opened them, my eyes filled with tears.  It was a complete surprise.  We had talked about her making me a garland of crocheted flowers for my living room window but life moved on and we both forgot about it.  At least I thought she had forgotten about it.  When my niece was getting married a few years ago, I had sent my sister a few photos of burlap flaps because I thought that would look gorgeous hanging in their almond orchard where the wedding was going to be.  Their wedding was full of handmade beauty.  My sister ended up making fabric rather than burlap flags to rope off the section in their orchard leading to the ceremony.  My sis must have tucked away the idea that I loved.  So what she ended up doing was combining the burlap with the crocheted rosettes AND antique buttons...all things that I love so very much.  I knew she was busy making my son a pile of gorgeous fae-pants (with fabric from my friend's local shop Texture) but had no idea she was making me something too.

So I held them to my chest with tears going down my cheeks while my whole family witnessed such a very special moment between my sister and I across the room.  Look how perfect they look in my kitchen window!  Sigh.  They are hOMe and I love them deeply.

What I am REALLY excited about is she said she would take custom orders from my blog readers and Instagram followers!  This is VERY rare folks, so if you want a handmade yummy for your home made by my sis, now is your opportunity. ; )  She typically only makes things for family and friends so I am wildly happy about this!  So many of you have emailed me asking if she was selling her stuff. 

Here are the details:

  • Cost: $60

  • Includes: 5 burlap flags, grosgrain ribbon, crocheted rosettes, antique buttons

  • Custom: Colors, ribbon and accessories all can be unique to customers desire

If you are interested, please send me an email at denise@faesoul.com and I will direct you to my sister to begin discussing the design!!

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vancouver, bc*

 chillin' in the passenger seat

chillin' in the passenger seat

 i call it Glass City

i call it Glass City

We had a lovely trip to Vancouver, BC last weekend.  It was a very spontaneous idea and I love so much that we are close enough to Canada to take day trips like this.  And since my husband is Canadian, it fills up his cup each time we go.

We had planned just going to the Aquarium but we stopped in Stanley Park so our dog Salish could go for a run and we could soak up nature.  It so magical there.  I feel the fae-spirit there deeply.

 movement in the midst of the forest

movement in the midst of the forest

 fae pup, a wood nymph and some fae-shroomies.

fae pup, a wood nymph and some fae-shroomies.

 his christmas gift(classic short bomber ugg) that i find so sexy on him!

his christmas gift(classic short bomber ugg) that i find so sexy on him!

 grandmother tree

grandmother tree

 moon & star pants made by his auntie dd

moon & star pants made by his auntie dd

Many of my readers live in British Columbia.  I would love to hear of any places we need to venture to that you think we may love.  We plan to go again this weekend!

holding space and what it means to me*

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I was listening to a voice memo that a dear friend sent to me via text message this afternoon and as she always has, she offered me so much mind nourishment.  Mind nourishment.  That feels better in my bones these days than "food for thought"

Speaking of phrases that feel good in my bones...lately I have found myself pulling away from phrases that I hear in abundance.  I think sometimes I feel over saturated with phrases or statements and my concern is that they begin to lose their genuine meaning to me and because when I first heard them, it meant so much, I don't want that to happen. 

One example that feels so very tender for me to confess is "holding space" for someone.  I hear that everywhere within my community (both online and in person) and its such a beautiful sentiment and concept.  It truly is and the first time I heard someone tell me they were holding space for me when I was going through (in)fertility, tears fell down my cheeks and I felt so heard and understood and validated and also surprisingly empowered

But now...gosh, now I feel it is said so so much (I hear myself saying it to), especially online, and to me personally, its lost something for my heart.  I don't want to receive it with skepticism (or worse judgment on myself or anyone) because I know the intention is just so soulful and healthy for relationships. I'm doing some real soul work around it because the idea of holding space for someone moves me deeply but I really wonder what that means to each individual and if we truly are holding space for people when we say we are. 

I was sitting on a couch with a friend not too long ago and she was sharing a very deep part of her heart and tears were falling and I reached out to her, held her hand in mine and tears fell from my cheeks as she shared.  I held back the urge to offer advice or to fix it for her and just listened in silence. I felt down deep, I was there, holding her, and in that moment all she needed was her unraveling to be held gently and nothing else.  Part of my tears were because I am an empath but also because this awareness washed over me that this...this is what holding space was to me personally.

So I struggle.  Because when we tell a friend through email or Facebook or Instagram or even on the phone that we are holding the space for them and then we go about our daily lives and our minds drift from them to what is in front of us, are we still holding it?  Do we hold it temporarily? Are we just saying it because it sounds beautiful? Or because its cool and the thing to do in spiritual communities?

I read this article yesterday and it helped.  What stuck with me in this article is that holding space for someone means you are...

  • Letting go of judgment

  • Opening your heart

  • Allowing another to have whatever experience they're having

  • Giving your complete undivided attention to the situation/other person

Another article says the same thing in a bit of a different way.

"It means when someone is going through something, you hold down the ground for them to have their own time and space to work out whatever they’re going through. 

You provide stable, solid ground for them to be completely where they’re at, without judgment, criticism or blame. A neutral territory for the other to just... be. You have faith in their intelligence to figure it out of their own." 

All of that is pretty big.  Holding space for someone or a group of people is such a sacred thing to do and mostly not a natural thing for us to do because it takes heart work for the one sharing and the one holding to be intentional about allowing the holding space process rather than the "fix it" process. Perhaps part of me fears the idea of holding space will become similar to how we in this culture say hello...

"Hi, how are you?

I'm good, how are you?

I'm good."

...and we move on and go about our day.

I realize this conversation above is a time issue.  Most of the time we all in a hurry or have somewhere to go and really don't have time to stand there and share how we are REALLY doing but if we are somewhat aware that we are not being genuine, I find it curious that we still continue to do it.  

I have another friend who rather than answers "good" to the question "how are you?", she says something specific, like...

"I'm hungry and am craving some raw food because I binged on carbs all day yesterday, you?"

She inspires me to practice this.  For me, its a practice in being genuine and mindful about what comes out of my mouth and the times when I'm feeling so distracted or tired and I forget and catch myself saying "good, how are you?"  Because just a few moments ago when I ordered my coffee at this cafe where I am writing this, I did that very thing. I giggled at myself when I walked away because I realize how very deep it is ingrained in me, in our culture, in all of us, really.

So part of my intention for the new year is to be mindful of what is spoken from my lips, what I offer with my words in both light and deep conversation because its important to me that I am genuine and it is important to me that the person I am connecting to feels heard and seen and its important to me that I am being authentic and honest about what I can offer someone.

I know its not an easy task and I am not fooling myself thinking it is.  I am gentle on myself about such things.  I have to be as a mama to a child with special needs because I'm pretty much tired all the time. ; )

The last thing I want is to become a skeptic that when someone tells me they are holding space for me, I am not turning around feeling triggered or rolling my eyes because I heard it 5 times prior that day and don't believe them.  I want to trust those beautiful words again and other meaningful sentiments. 

All part of my own soul work, which is why I'm starting with me.

Something that helps me loosen up and free myself a bit from being hard on myself about it is my few confidants.  A few friends that know I struggle with this phrase, so they purposely leave me messages singing the words "I'm holding space for you!!" or text me with complete sarcasm and goofiness on the topic.  Or they send me this pic...

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I think I peed my pants laughing when I first was sent this.

So while I am working on being intentional about what I say to people this year, I will also allow the humor of not taking myself too seriously, which helps the whole being gentle on myself part. ; )

Regardless, confessing this here is a really big huge tender thing for me.  I'm using all my braves.