We're halfway through 2019 - can you believe it?
This summer has been off to a quick start - full of adventures and new experiences - and just like that we're into July. I never understood the need for a giant whiteboard calendar for everyone in the house to see, but it's becoming more and more appealing these days. Ha.
The summer season can bring up a lot of movement and so it can be helpful to consistently check in. And I'm not talking about the polite "How are you? Good." check in, but a deeper "How is my heart?" check in. You can look at this as a time to turn your attention internally and to get really clear and honest with whatever it is that shows up. From there, maybe you'll experience a little more clarity or connection as you march forward into the hot and sunny summer days ahead.
So, how is your heart today?
I'm coming to you after a week of R&R at Kripalu Yoga and Health Center.
This center is a retreat space at its core. It's nestled deep in the Berkshires in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, filled with mindfulness, daily yoga and meditation with some incredible teachers, hiking trails, zero phone/technology distraction, delicious food and silent breakfasts. It’s lovely.
Although I did spend my final night here on the treadmill, blaring Lizzo through my AirPods and sweating up a storm (phew humidity, I’ve missed you) because sometimes a kick in the pants is what’s needed on a quiet and reflective getaway. Not sure if that’s the point?
I am so grateful to have had this time (and more to come in the future on this magical place), but I've certainly been curious since being here... how can I sustain these practices that I've learned here in the "real" world.
What do I mean? There's a metaphor from psychologist and meditation teacher Tara Brach, that I read in Deep Listening by Jillian Pransky, which feels true from this moment of observation. "It's like we're in a motorboat noisily zipping around, trying to find a place that is quiet, peaceful, and still. We're solving a problem, responding to demands, preparing for what's next, improving ourselves. But we're just making more waves and noise wherever we go. It counters all our ambitious conditioning, but true freedom comes when we throttle back the motor and come naturally to stillness."
So where can we throttle back the motor and resist the urge to 'seek' the stillness by making more waves? We live in a fast paced world, pulled in many directions with a lot of distractions. But there are always moments to pause. And maybe the pauses can become more about being, rather than doing. If there's one thing I take from this experience, it's what I leave you with today:
a little + often = a lot
KRIPALU DAILY ROUTINES
As recommended here at Kripalu, I've experimented with these Ayurvedic inspired principles, some of which I've already practiced for years, and wanted to share them with you, too. Maybe you chose one or a few to begin and consider how you feel.
Moment of truth.
I was either pregnant or nursing from 2014 - 2018 and in major avoidance of bra shopping from 2018 - 2019 as pregnancy and nursing both came to a close. While easy to avoid, this resulted in ill fitting undergarments and a lack of self confidence.
Why the heck did I care so much about my bra size? I feel fairly confident about my body elsewhere and in truth, I have a personal dedication to being in love with my body as a whole, because I've spent much of my life beating my body down and wishing is was different.
The more I thought about my bras, the more this became a more and more ridiculous. So I decided it was finally time to go in and trust in the experts with the tape measure. To get measured, to try on some new undergarments and start fresh.
The result? It was what I expected - my body has changed. And in truth, I stood in front of the mirror in my new under garment for many moments nit picking, feeling uncomfortable and still unsure of what the big deal was. I even asked for the sweet sales associate's opinion...
And then it sunk in. "Celebrate, Bailey. This body (YOUR body) has birthed and nurtured two healthy little boys. It has carried you through the past 33 years and will continue to carry you through the many years that lie ahead. Who freaking cares what bra size you wear? And inside... be happy with what is. Contentment. Santosha."
So there I was in the fitting room, in my new under garments, repeating the niyama "Santosha" over and over in my head. I took a deep breath, I smiled and I chose to move forward in celebration with this body.
What is Santosha? It's the second niyama (self-dicipline) and part of the second limb of the Eight Limbs of Yoga from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. Santosha is an inner practice of peace and acceptance to what is. It is believed that from a practice of Santosha, happiness can become a choice we make.
What we have is enough. Who we are is enough.
I know I don't have all the answers and I'm certainly not perfect, but I'm hopeful that this story helps to guide some inner light into areas where the practice of Santosha can show up. Where the choice of happiness and your journey of inner peace can come alive, because I'm right there with you, in my own practice
LEMON, LAVENDER, PEPPERMINT
The trifecta. Did you know there are more than 101 WAYS to use these three essential oils? I know many of you have essential oils at home, so this month I wanted to share this sweet little guide that gives some easy, simple uses of these oils.
WHY • It started in 2005. I was in my junior year of college, not living my healthiest life by a long shot, but enjoying the moments the best I knew how to at the time. And then I went to the OBGYN for a routine visit and received my 2nd positive pap. It was time for what they call a LEEP procedure (a treatment which prevents cervical cancer and removes abnormal cells from your cervix). All cells came back benign (!) and I went about my early 20s, with the direction from my OBGYN to keep exercising, quit smoking and start using unscented body wash. What? Why did my body wash matter? No clue at the time, so I let it slide.
Every 6 months, I went back to the Dr. Some tests were negative and some were positive, but we kept monitoring without much action. In that time, I kept exercising, stopped smoking, but never changed my body wash. During that time, I also experienced an enlarged lymph node in my neck that needed to be removed. Lymph nodes act as filters to remove germs from the body and they help fight infection. Though the nodes removed were also benign (!), I started getting curious about WHY this stuff kept happening.
Fast forward to 2012 and two more positive pap tests in a row created the need for a 2nd LEEP procedure. How could this happen again?! We had just moved to Denver, so I entrusted in a brand new Dr to perform the procedure. All the cells came back benign (!) but I was now on a trek to put this to an end. I was about to be married to the love of my life, after all! I kept remembering my OBGYN's comment about switching to unscented body wash, so I got back on the train. I began learning about the ingredients I put in and on my body and stood to make a change for myself.
I'm happy to say, two natural, healthy childbirths and ZERO positive tests have come back since making this choice. I'm not sure WHAT exactly changed to stop the trend, but SOMETHING did. And research now shows us the relation to some of those harmful body wash ingredients (ie: FRAGRANCE). And for that, I will continue to advocate for everyone in this world to know what they put into and onto their bodies and to have access to safer options 💗
True or False?
TRUE TRUE TRUE TRUE! And if you don't yet believe this to be true, I'm here to tell you that now is your time to start believing it. And if you're still questioning it, repeat it to yourself every single day until you know it to be true.
We are living in a time that makes it so easy to question our worthiness, our success and our reason for being. We can choose to get stuck down the rabbit hole of limiting beliefs or we can choose to get back in our rhythm.
I have recently been gawking over the SuperSoul Conversations Podcast: Your Own Truth episode. Not only because I think Oprah is an incredible spirit guide, magic maker and woman, but because this episode reminds us each of the things we need to hear. It gives us the permission to be ourselves and the reminder we need that we are here on purpose. Period. Our being here matters.
And with that, we each are designed with a flow and a rhythm that is all our own. It was designed just for us. And when things get stuck, feel out of sorts and against the flow, it's because they are. And it's our job to listen to these reminders and to get back into our flow and our divine rhythm.
So my ask of you, is to listen to this podcast. And then to listen to it again. And then do yourself the favor of reminding yourself every single day, that your being here matters.
CITRUS UP YOUR CUP
So I've been having a love affair with Green Mandarin citrus oil in my water lately, so I wanted to share it with YOU (of course) and also understand WHAT this oil is helpful for.
May help soothe the nervous system when taken internally.*
Incorporate into your oral hygiene routine to promote healthy-looking teeth.
Take one to two drops to help support healthy immune function and response.*
Diffuse with Basil, Sandalwood, Lavender, or Spearmint to experience the positive emotional benefits
All citrus oils, like Wild Orange and Lemon, have similar properties to Green Mandarin, which is a fun new spin on your H2O and super simple!
I have been recently going through a slew of old photos, calendars, year books, memory boxes, you name it and it has surprisingly brought up some deep compassion for my younger self. You know that feeling when you take a step back into how you felt in certain moments of your life? These were the moments I've been connecting to.
While I've explored some personal work with my younger self, as guided by dear mentors, this particular exercise of "tidying up" 3 copies of the same disposable camera photo, mini wallet photos of my middle school crushes and spring break memorabilia, I felt an overwhelming sense of compassion for the girl I was at those moments.
It got me to thinking, if I could, what are some things I'd tell my younger self? Many different things have come to mind, but five things specifically keep coming up.
1. Make your own decisions.
Looking back, I feel like more often than not, I was worrying about what other people thought of me and if I was going to fit in. I worried if my clothes would impress the kids at my new school, if anyone would notice my weight, if someone was talking about me behind my back... the list of worries go on. Many times this swayed the decisions I made.
Dear Bailey - Do what you want. Follow your heart, do what you love and lead your own life. You are the only one who will be there with you through it all. Don't let other people make decisions for you or pressure you into something you don't believe in.
2. You can do hard things.
I remember many times when things got hard and I didn't feel like I knew the answers, so I'd quit. Even if I loved what I was doing, it seemed easier to quit. I quit cheerleading, tap dancing, basketball, track & field, the list goes on. This is no way to experience the fear - instead I ran (hard and fast) from it all.
Dear Bailey - See the fear in front of you? Move through it. You will make it through this because you are far stronger than you give yourself credit for. You can do hard things. Believe in yourself and know that your growth and strength will meet you on the other side.
3. Be grateful for what you have.
I know for certain that I took many of my experiences, my health and privileges for granted. It wasn't until MUCH later in life that I have realized the power of gratitude.
Dear Bailey - Take time to relax and reflect, every day. One the things that you are grateful for and allow yourself to feel the gratitude in your heart and in your body. This will forever change your outlook on life.
4. Cherish your healthy relationships.
I see, as an adult, that it takes far more effort to build relationships than it did during my school years. I also know that the people in my life, now, are here with great purpose and because I want them to be.
Dear Bailey - Only let people into your life who lift you up, who are cheering you on and who believe in you. All the others will find their own path. And the people who you choose to keep in your life, let them know often just how much they mean to you.
5. You are loved, more than enough and extremely special, JUST as you are.
Dear Bailey - You are loved, more than enough and extremely special, JUST as you are.
Bailey (33 years old)
Alright friends, this is literally the EASIEST laundry soap recipe to make and it lasts a long time! I love that there are simple, clean and effective ingredients that get out the deepest layers of snot and dirt from #toddlers.
1 cup Castile soap
1 cup baking soda
1/3 cup coarse salt
20 drops essential oils (I love On Guard + Citrus Bliss)
7.5 quarts of hot water
Whisk all ingredients together in bucket
Pour into storage containers
Use about 1/2 c per load
Shake & Wash
*I like to keep a shakeable juice container as my "active" container and then I store the remainder in glass covered containers; original recipe courtesy of HOL:FIT
What does it mean to live your legacy? It's special, unique and different for each of us, but as I've come to realize there are ways we can more consciously go through our days with this in mind. I often ask myself, "how do I wish to show up in this world?"
You know the people in your life who leave an imprint? The ones who lead by example. The people who inspire you, make you feel good and hold a special energy when they walk into the room. These are those living their legacy. It's easy to get caught up in the details, to feel stuck, to think small. But it's in moments when we dream BIG and when we tap into what's greater than ourselves that the clarity emerges. The inspiration surrounds us and the momentum draws us forward.
So as the saying goes from Ms. Maya Angelou, "At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel."
After having just lost my close grandfather, who lived his legacy for 97 years, I've been in a state of deep reflection. Curious about what it is about him that left such an imprint on not only my own heart, but so so many others. What it is about him that I remember most, admire most and hold with me the most. He was strong willed, quick witted and loving until the end and for that I know to be what he leaves behind.
Why think about what you want to leave behind? Because it's been proven to impact the here and now in yourself and in your relationships.
Living your own legacy gives you strength. When you believe in something greater and larger than yourself, you are stronger with that than you are alone. When facing the doubts, fears or uncertainties, your strength, belief and trust in that greater power pulls you through.
Living your own legacy gives you a solid ground to stand on. This connection and sense of grounding gives you great strength and purpose. Connection and belonging contributes towards your overall well being and happiness.
Living your own legacy provides you with clarity and direction. Your own clarity guides your decisions and your choices. This is something we all could use a little support with, right? We know that change is the only constant and when there is clarity and direction the obstacles act more as detours in the right direction. We give ourselves a little more grace and face each situation with a little more kindness.
So, how are you stepping into the day today? Or better yet, how do you want people to remember you?
FRUIT + VEGGIE WASH
Whether you choose to follow the Dirty Dozen when buying your produce or not, there are many different things your fruits and veggies can pick up from farm to table. Pesticide residues, toxins, insecticides and fungicides are all things I assume you don't want to consume with your food. This super simple wash/soak is a favorite of mine, mostly because you can SEE the results, which is instant satisfaction in my book.
2-3 drops dōTERRA Lemon Essential Oil
Metal or Glass Mixing Bowl
Fill bowl with the produce you're going to prepare
Add 2-3 drops of Lemon
Cover with water
Soak for 5-10 minutes
Remove produce from the water bath and rinse in a colander
*Lemon oil is used for its natural cleansing properties and also because it also cuts through the wax layer that is sprayed onto many different fruits and vegetables to give them that shine and shimmer
But that doesn't mean you need to start over, or change who you are...
You can start exactly where you are, and be exactly who you are...
Healing will always be non-linear,
The mistakes you've made, will only lead you to growth.
So whatever pressure is looming over you,
Don't let it fool you into thinking you're not enough.
You are MORE than enough, just are you are.
-inspiration from on being in your body
Happy New Year, Happy Holidays and Cheers to Finding What Inspires You Each Day!
Whether diffusing oils in the air or using them in a spray, using essential oils aromatically can help to uplift your mood and emotional response, while also cleansing the air. I love this blend for the New Year, especially! Want to sample it? I'll be using this blend in my studio classes all month long!
3 drops dōTERRA Lavender Essential Oil
3 drops dōTERRA Motivate Essential Oil
3 drops dōTERRA Wild Orange Essential Oil
Combine all oils in your diffuser
Combine oils and water into a 2-4oz glass spray bottle
Shake & Spray
You have taught me ________________
You have opened ___________________
I am celebrating ____________________
I've shared before, but 2018 has been a year of personal discovery, change and peeling back layers. It has opened up new discoveries and strengths within me that I hadn't had the willingness to access in the past. I am celebrating the courage and openness it has taken to seek out what I needed. While the journey is never truly "complete", I am so grateful to Graham for being by my side through it and for the excitement of what lies ahead. I rested into the hands of powerful mentors around me (thank you Leslie Huddart and Jenny Glick) and am thankful that I did.
A wise poet and author, Mark Nepo, said "Whatever it is that opens us is never as important as what is opens". Powerful perspective, right? And how many of us have experienced this? So I'm curious, what are you celebrating this year? What is it that has opened up?
Let's step out of 2018 and into 2019 with CELEBRATION of what the past year has brought us. In closing from this newsletter and from 2018, "What are you willing to give up, in order to become who you really need to be?" - Elizabeth Gilbert
FUMIGATION CLEANING SPRAY
I'm a major fan of easy, simple cleaning tools. And while I use the On Guard Cleaner Concentrate throughout our home on the daily, I stumbled upon this deep clean recipe (plus a few tweaks). The original recipe calls for Dawn dish soap, but in an effort to remove fragrance, sulfates (SLS/SLES), parabens and other toxic ingredients from my home, I opt for Honest brand dish soap. I also added dōTERRA Lemon Essential Oil because it's naturally anti-viral and anti-fungal.
When my little petri dishes bring home all the funky stuff, I'm wiping down every surface with this combo.
1/2 c. White Vinegar
1/2 c. Honest Free & Clear Dish Soap
15 drops dōTERRA Lemon Essential Oil
8 or 16 oz. Glass Spray Bottle
Place the vinegar in a measuring cup and warm in microwave
Add dish soap to warmed vinegar in spray bottle
Add essential oils
Shake & spray down
**you only need to warm the vinegar when mixing with the soap, not every time
Your alarm rings and what's the first thing you do?
Check your email? Run through your to-do list? Hit the snooze button until the absolute last possible second? What if I told you that your morning is sacred and it has the ability to impact your entire day ahead? Would you change anything about your routine?
I have read time and time again that a common thread amongst successful leaders, entrepreneurs and influencers is a consistent morning routine. While we may not all be striving to be the Oprah's of the world, there is value in creating consistency and setting intention.
So maybe you don't classify yourself as a "morning person", but what if you took just a few small steps to invite a little more intention into your day? I speak to this practice because it is close to my heart. Don't get me wrong, I have fallen off the wagon many times... be it because I've been up all night with a newborn or because I simply didn't make it a priority. But every time I fall off, I notice it in a major way. So I choose to pick it back up and I commit to it again and again. What I've learned is that it's not about perfection, but instead it's about practice.
1. Write a gratitude list - write down at least three things that you are grateful for. Whether you use a dedicated Gratitude Journal or a notebook, getting your thoughts down on paper and processed through your brain can shift your outlook on the day ahead. You're beginning from a place of gratitude within your heart and your body.
2. "I AM" statements - write down 30-50 (yes 50) "I AM..." statements and keep them by your bedside. Each morning, pick them up and read them to yourself (especially on the grumpy days). These statements can be ever changing, based on what you're personally going through, but let them be powerful affirmations. "I am open. I am willing. I am learning to listen to what I need deep down..." etc.
3. Move your body - I love to go through a gentle sequence to wake my body up, while still lying in bed. Here is an example, but choose any movement that works in your body, to get the blood flowing and circulation active:
4. Avoid technology - REALLY avoid it for at least 30 minutes. Give your brain and your body a chance to wake up, before introducing blue light and technology. This not only allows you to stick to your morning practice, but also lets you intentionally move into your day without distraction of email, social media or the news.
5. Meditate & Breathe - I have recently been practicing Kapalabhati Pranayama for 3 minutes each morning before meditating. It's invigorating and warming first thing, which I love. Morning is a sacred time for meditation. Your mind has been influenced by very little and is still quiet from rest. You can choose to sit in silence or in a guided meditation - anything that gives you an opportunity to drop into presence.
So, are you open to creating an intentional morning practice? I'd love to hear how your morning begins! Small steps, consistently.
STUFFY NOSE STEAM CUP
We're deep into the season of runny noses and *snot*. This steam cup is a favorite in our house to help clear the sinuses and any funk living inside.
1 drop dōTERRA Oregano Essential Oil
1 drop dōTERRA Frankincense Essential Oil
1 drop dōTERRA Peppermint Essential Oil
1 drop dōTERRA Lemon Essential Oil
1 drop dōTERRA Melaleuca Essential Oil
Place the essential oils and boiling water into coffee mug
Place a towel over your eyes
Lean over the coffee mug
Breathe in the steam for a few minutes
Repeat throughout the day as needed
**for little ones: eliminate Oregano, place oils into a diffuser in your bathroom, seal the door with a towel, turn on the hot water in the shower and sit on the floor of the bathroom for 10-15 min. in the steam