As we enter into the holiday season, it can be easy to have a list a mile long of all of the things that you have to do…. buy gifts, wrap presents, visit family, clean the house, go here and there for special events~~ but do you have a space on your to-do list, for taking care of you?With the extra stress of the holidays, it’s important that you take some time out for yourself, to focus on what it is your body needs. Think you don’t have time? Think again! Here’s 7 strategies so you can enhance your self-care regimen at home!
No one is expecting you to do everything. (Except you!) Hand out tasks to others for them to complete, so that you have that bit of extra time on your hands. Get your husband to wrap the gifts, older kids to do baking, younger kids to fill out Christmas cards. You don’t have to do everything. Make a list of everything that needs to be done, and then assign tasks to those in your family that feel capable (note I didn’t say, that you feel are capable) of getting the task done. And don’t stress that it’s not the way you want it to be done!
Even 5 minutes a day can be enough to bring some peaceful calm into the hectic-ness of the season. Give yourself that 5 minute break to center your mind and heart, and release that which is no longer serving you. Can’t get your mind to quieten down? Try a guided meditation instead. There are tons available on youtube for free!
Honour your emotions. The holidays can be tough. They bring up memories of loved ones who are no longer with us, they bring up old family issues and dysfunctions, they bring up loneliness of holiday seasons past. Don’t get pulled into the notion that you need to be a cheery elf; rather take some time to sit with your emotions, honour them and then move forward. When we try to repress them, they can grow bigger and bigger. By honouring them, you are giving yourself a way to release them.
4. Get a treatment.
De-stress by booking a healing treatment with an energy practitioner in your area. Massage, Reiki, reflexology, Access Bars, and IET are all great ways to relax and de-stress over the holiday. Click here to book a session with Catherine.
5. Have a break.
Book some time off to grab coffee with a friend, schedule in a lunch, or simply just be together. Friends can help to bring laughter into your life, when it feels like everything else is too much.
6. Protect yourself.
All too often, we pick up on the energies of people around us. If others are feeling holiday stress, it can be easy to pick up on that energy, and feel as though it is our own. Protect yourself from picking up this energy by putting a shield around you (imagine a giant disco ball that reflects the energy back to the person, use the image of a filter around you that filters out any negativity). You can also ask yourself, ‘Does this belong to me?’ If your immediate thought is no, simply ask that it be returned to sender.
7. Do Something You Love
I am a bath lover. When I am feeling stressed, there is nothing like a long soak in the tub to get me back to feeling like myself. Find one thing you love and do that, whether it be reading, baking, painting, singing, dancing or relaxing in the tub. By giving yourself a ‘joy moment’ you are filling up your energy reserves, so that you have more to give.
I really wasn’t sure what I was in for when I signed up for a Sacred Bean Cacao Ceremony. All I knew was that it made me feel excited, it was connected to the Mayans, and I would be drinking a cacao drink~~ it sounded like a great evening for me.
And let me say, it went beyond my expectations, even though I had none to begin with, for how the evening would play out.
Peter, our shaman for the evening has been working with the cacao bean for years, and was told, prior to even knowing what these ceremonies were all about, that he would be doing them. And I can see why. His energy is calm, and knowledgeable and he holds a wisdom in his aura about what each person will experience.
The evening started off with some scientific backing as to why this stuff works. Basically, it enlarges your heart; it opens you up to feeling your heart center, and removing any blockages. This strain of cacao bean is the only one that is able to do that, as it is not processed, or heated past a certain point that takes it’s properties.
Peter let us all choose our own cacao bean. As soon as I had mine in my hand, I felt my energy begin to shift. I rubbed it, I held it, and I wanted to taste a bit of it. We had been told that they can be quite bitter (especially compared to what we are used to) and so I hesitated in tasting mine. The bean looks no different than I would expect it to~~ small, smooth, very little smell, however it was much smoother and lighter than I would have thought.
As our ceremony began, we called in the energies from the West, North, East and South. As we activated the West, I fingered my bean, and thought how I would like to taste it. A piece literally crumbled into my fingers, and so I put it in my mouth, and was pleasantly surprised at the taste. I found it to be almost tasteless but enough sweetness to make it enjoyable… and that’s where my journey began.
As we went from each direction, I had animal spirits coming forward…
a lion (As such, lions symbolizes emotions that are difficult to manage, such a anger or fear.)
a wolf (Wolves are wild animals that are not easily domesticated and when they appear as spirit guides, they could be an invitation to look at what supports your authentic self and the true expression of yourself. The wolf totem is a reminder to keep your spirit alive and trust your instincts to find the way that will best suit you.)
and a bear (The spirit of the bear is a strong source of support in times of difficulty. It provides courage and a stable foundation to face challenges. When the bear shows up as a spirit guide in your life, it’s perhaps time to stand for your beliefs or your truth. This power animal will provide for support and strength. The bear is also a guide to take leadership in your life or in other people’s lives. This animal is feared and admired for its strength. Its presence inspires respect. Its strength and powerful stature will inspire you to step into a leadership role in your life and take action without fear. Interestingly, in Siberia, the name used to designate women shaman is the same as the word “bear”. In Northern America, in the Inuit tradition, the bear spirit animal is also connected to the shamanic tradition and women.
As we went to the higher world, I had a woman’s face in a star show up and smile at me, and as we invited in our ancestors, another woman, this one much older, wiser, and familiar came forward. She smiled at me and her eyes crinkled…. she was so joyful. At this point I was overcome with emotion… pure gratitude for those who were coming forward for me.
At the beginning of the session, we were invited to play in whatever way Spirit led us to do. We were given markers, pencil crayons, oil pastels and paper. There were instruments of all different kinds to make music with, crystals to hold onto, and smudging materials to cleanse ourselves with if we chose.
I drew and wrote a lot. Spirit continued to come forward with many messages for me. I started off with my hands tied behind my back, my heart closed to anything and everything that the Universe had to offer me. The song, ‘Sweet Caroline’ started humming in my head, and I keep thinking of the ‘Bon, bon, bon!’ that everyone loves to join in on. What I realized in my journey into my heart, was that this closed off heart, the one that is afraid to love fully, to connect deeply with others, simply needed to reach out, to connect with others, to break the chains that have been binding me (the chains being there because I created them) It seems I have spent many lifetimes alone, as connecting with others would only bring hurt. This time around I have filled my life with so many, and yet, don’t always feel the connection…. because I won’t allow it to happen (with myself either)
As we continued to journey forward, I found myself being transformed like a butterfly, stepping into my power, and embracing my full feminine divine. I was reminded of the wisdom that I carry within me, and the wisdom that the feminine divine within me carries as well. I (like all of us) am a Creator in my world. I am able to create that which I am wanting to see, into my life. The only thing that will stop me, is myself, if I allow it.
As my journey came to an end, I was greeted with an Owl, sitting at a desk. He had a book for me, that was locked, and then handed me the key, and told me that the book was now mine to use and implement whenever I was guided to. The book was a Book of Wisdom. As I came home and read what the animal message for Own is, it only makes sense that Owl showed up.
( The owl spirit animal is emblematic of a deep connection with wisdom and intuitive knowledge. If you have the owl as totem or power animal, you’re likely to have the ability to see what’s usually hidden to most. When the spirit of this animal guides you, you can see the true reality, beyond illusion and deceit. The owl also offers for those who have it a personal totem the inspiration and guidance necessary to deeply explore the unknown and the magic of life.)
This was the perfect gift to end the ceremony and I felt as though my journey was completed. I received answers that I needed to hear, while also shedding layers of fears, hurts, angers and disappointments that I no longer wished to carry with me.
Every person that attended, had a unique experience… some drawing, some dancing, some chanting and singing, some playing music~~ but one thing that remained the same was the childlike joy and wonderment that we all felt at the end.
If you haven’t had a chance to do a Sacred Bean Ceremony yet, I highly suggest you do~~ you won’t be disappointed with the love you receive.
Ahhh, the dog days of summer. I am sitting on my back deck, listening to the kids splash in our 3ft pool, I have my laptop in front of me, a book beside me, and a cold glass of water to drink. This is what my summer has looked like… my feet up, and simply relaxing. Sure, I have times when ‘things’ need to get done~~ the laundry, washing the floors, playing personal taxi cab service~~ but for these 2 months of summer, I have taken time off, to hang with my kids, and to simply just ‘be’.
In the hustle bustle of life, I often forget to allow myself to just ‘Be’. There’s a mountain of things that need to be done~~ laundry, dishes, floors washed, emails read, client bookings~~ I could go on forever.
But this summer, I have decided (and more or less guided by Spirit) that it would be important for me to take a time out… to let myself lay around a bit, and just enjoy my time. At first I thought it was because my youngest was starting school, and it’s my last summer with him before he turns into a big boy.
And with only three weeks of summer vacation gone by, I know that it’s a bit true, but even more true, is that my Soul needed this. My Soul needed me to turn down the volume of the ‘to do list’, and just rest a bit.
In her book, ‘Soul Vows’, Janet Conner states “God spoke the world into existence for 6 days, and then exhaled and rested on the 7th. But we humans, with our endless to-do lists and bottomless sense of self importance, keep ourselves in full go mode all day long, all week long, all year long. And then, we wonder why we’re weary right down to our Souls. I think God has it right, take a rest already’.
I read these words last week for the first time, when I was feeling as though I should be doing work, and yet I couldn’t be, because the kids were home. And as I read them, I realized just how important this gift was that I gave myself.
In hindsight, I can say, I have actually gotten a lot more accomplished by doing ‘nothing’ than I have when I have had a full schedule. I have begun a large portion of a book that was in my mind for some time, as I was able to connect with spirit in my ‘nothing-ness’, and hear what needed to be written. I was able to get a large chunk of a class I will be teaching in the fall written, when I normally procrastinate until the last minute.
In my ‘nothing-ness’ Spirit has been able to reach me in new ways, speak to me in the silence, and help me continue my work in a state of Being rather than Doing.
And as an added bonus, I have been able to spend more time with my children, playing, colouring, running, walking, swimming, driving them to different destinations~~ all with a clear mind and no ‘set schedule’ of what needs to be done.
Have you had a chance to slip into nothing-ness yet? I hope you join me, and find the peace that lies there waiting.
Imagine this. Your life has been disrupted. You found out you have a disease. Or there was a death in the family. A divorce. Childhood abuse is coming forward as an adult. And you are looking for help. You are vulnerable and afraid. You need someone who will help you work through these emotions, someone who has a strength that you have forgotten you possess; someone you can trust, and tell your fears to. Where do you go? Who do you seek?
This is the first time I have talked about an experience I had last summer on a public forum. I have spoken to girlfriends, and some healer colleagues of mine about my experience, and now I want to share it with you.
On a trip to the grocery store, a man waved at me from his vehicle. I gave a half wave, not recognizing who he was and parked my vehicle. As I walked into the store, he pulled up beside me, and asked if I was married. I replied yes, and he said, yah, I knew it. Can you give me a moment of your time. I have some things from Spirit to share with you.
Being a healer, a psychic, I was kind of excited. I was going to have my own little ‘Theresa Caputo’ moment, a reading from a perfect stranger. I followed him to his car. He was a good looking man~~ dressed in white spiritual garb (flowing clothes) with a rose quartz around his neck. More crystals hung from his sun visor, and he had a guitar in his front seat. He told me he was on his way back home after doing a spiritual retreat.
Claiming that he didn’t have enough room in his own vehicle, he asked if we could move to my vehicle so he could give me a reading. A few alarms went off in my head, but I thought what could possibly go wrong? He is a spiritual man, as I am a spiritual woman.
When we got into my vehicle, he started telling me some personal stuff about my relationship with my husband. He was quite accurate, and I found myself relaxing, thinking ‘this is good’. He then brought up my trust issues. They stem from childhood sexual abuse, and reoccurring patterns that have come into adulthood.
He claimed that the only way for me to trust, would be to touch him in the most intimate place a man has. I paused for a second and then put my hand on his heart chakra. This annoyed him, and he said again, ‘If you want to learn to trust, you MUST touch me in the most intimate place a man has’. He pointed to his crotch. I told him ‘No’. After some more pressure, and my continually saying ‘No’, he asked me ‘Why I didn’t want to move forward through my trust issues’.
I told him if my Guides wanted me to learn my lesson, they would find another way to bring the lesson forward to me. And then asked him to get out of the vehicle. He slammed his fist into the dashboard and got out.
I breathed a sigh of relief… I was safe, and the situation could have been worst than what it was.
Why am I bringing this up?
Because this could have been you. Or anyone, really. And you may not have been strong enough to say no. I know I wasn’t strong enough to walk away when he first approached me. And I know that I am not the first woman to fall prey to a ‘spiritual man’ claiming to be able to ‘heal’ through sexual measures.
This is the dark side of the healer. The one who represents themselves as being able to help others, but only preys on their vulnerabilities. The ones who tell you they will cure your cancer for X amount of dollars. The ones who say that they have gifts that no one else does, and so you must perform XYZ with them, in order to be healed of all of your problems.
While healing energy treatments can play an important role in one’s self care, for physical, spiritual and emotional wellness, it is not the cure. Healing comes from within, and a healer is only there to ‘facilitate the healing’, meaning the energy is flowing through them, into you (through hands-on energy transfer, on a fully clothed body). Everyone has their own healing abilities within them, and therefore, none of us ‘need’ anyone to ‘heal’ us, regardless of what some may claim.
Just as there is a balance of light and dark in the skies, and within ourselves, so too, is there light and dark among the healing world.
A ‘true healer’ will never pressure you to go further than you want to go. They want to help you, in a way that is comfortable to you. They may give you suggestions on healing treatments to try, different ideas to think about, etc. BUT they will leave the ball in your court as to how much they are willing to do. Yes, they will ask to be paid for their time, however, most will work with you if you can’t afford their services. They may also suggest other healers in your area that would be able to help with your issues, to give you more choices.
A ‘dark healer’ will pressure you, even when you get uncomfortable. They may ask for large sums of money to perform healing on you, that they claim, only they can do. They may get angry or berate you if you choose not to go through with their services, or they may pressure you to believe they are the only choice.
If you are looking for a healer, for what ever you are going through, I ask you (perhaps beg you) to follow your heart and your intuition to guide you to the perfect fit for you; to find a healer who is compassionate, understanding and caring, and has your highest good at heart.
My birthday was last month, and I was surprised with a trip to the spa. My husband did really good this year, and had planned out a ‘spa day’, complete with a Hawaiian hot stone massage, facial, mani/pedi and a luncheon that he picked out just for me. It was a wonderful day of relaxation, and rejuvenation. Being a mom of 7, running a business, being a wife, a friend, a sister… I am the first to tell people to take care of themselves, and one of the last people to actually do it.
It was in the moments of having a mixture of hot stones and cool sea shells rubbed over my back that I started to think of this ‘Self-Love’ thing that I like to talk about so much.
When is the last time you said that you love yourself?
Many equate love with relationships~~ their partner, children, parents, siblings, friends. Very rarely do we look at ourselves and ask, Do I really love you? Do I give you enough attention, admiration and adoration? Do you give yourself compliments? Or do you just complain about all of the shortcomings that you feel you have?
Our relationship with our Self is the very first relationship that we have. We are there at the moment of conception, to the very moment we take our last breath. You are the only one who was there for the first step, the first bike ride, first loose tooth, first kiss, first job, and so on. Only you have known your pain, your self judgments, your relationship ups and downs. And yet, you are also the first person to turn down that second piece of cake, the great opportunity that fills you with fear, or a potential relationship that you are afraid of.
So I challenge you now, to put yourself first~~ to love yourself for the Being that you are.
In a world where putting yourself first is seen as selfish, or even cocky, I ask you to put yourself at the forefront of your life. After all, you are the one that has to live it.
Not sure where to start? Here are 5 simple steps for you to incorporate into your day.
Be aware of yourself. Know your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Know where you stand. By understanding where you are coming from, understanding what you are feeling, you open yourself to truly loving (and forgiving yourself.) At first, you may have a difficult time understanding the feelings, however, give them a name. Are you happy? No? Excited? No? Proud? Yes~ explore that. Be honest with yourself.
Make sure you are taking the time every day to take care of yourself. There are the norms~~ washing, brushing your hair and teeth~~ but there’s also some things that we may not think of~~ going for an energy treatment to let yourself relax, or going for a massage. Take time for the little things, and let someone else take care of you, if only for an hour.
LOVE YOURSELF FIRST
When you look in the mirror first thing in the morning, rather than taking in the wrinkles, a gray hair, or the sagging skin, find 3 things you love about yourself. Too hard? Find 3 things that you think are okay about yourself. It doesn’t have to be appearances, it can be based on your Soul’s appearance as well. Start the day off with a compliment, and then focus on that for the day.
(Would you want to be best friends with someone who constantly put you down?)
LISTEN TO WHAT YOUR HEART WANTS
Do you really want to watch Janet’s kids this weekend? Do you really want to help Jimmy out at work? Or are you doing these things because you feel obligated to, or are wanting appraisal for doing it? Before saying yes to anything, ask yourself whether it’s something that will bring you joy, or if it will simply be another task to add to your to do list. By listening to what your heart wants, rather than what your mind tells you you should be doing, you are staying true to your authentic self.
LET GO OF TOXIC PEOPLE AND TOXIC THINGS
One of the most popular books of last year was The Joy of Tidying Up. This book has the reader hold their belongings and decide whether or not they are bringing joy or not. If they are not bringing you joy, you are to throw this out, gift it, donate it, etc. This has been my motto for years. If it isn’t working, throw it out. This is true for relationships, jobs, and stuff. The more you clear out the energies that are taking you away from your True Self, the closer you can become with your True Self. Allow yourself to let go. Holding onto it will only bring you down and give you more reason to not like yourself.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE!
A funny human condition that I learned of a few years ago is how easy it is for us humans to stop doing the things that we love in favor of doing the things we don’t love. For example, we may love to paint, and yet never make time for it, while we hate doing PTA meetings and constantly sign up for the next one to prove ourselves to someone. Stop it! Allow yourself the time and space to do what you love~~ painting, singing, knitting, gardening, working out… whatever it may be that gets you feeling good about yourself and your life. Create. Learn. Live.
Many of us want to experience love, and the easiest, and best way to start that, it to love yourself. When you can practice that daily, you have love to give out to the world, and we all know we could use a little more of that.