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A simple practice to shield yourself energetically when you’re feeling vulnerable

During yesterday’s solar eclipse here in Williamsburg, VA, the moon covered about 80% of the sun at the peak. Fortunately, a friend had given me an extra pair of eclipse glasses, so I was able to watch it safely. This got me thinking about all sorts of tools we can use for protection, including the subtle energetic tools …

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Spring daffodil

Here’s a spring spiritual practice: ask a flower for advice

Here in southern Virginia, it’s all about buds and blooming and growing green things. The daffodils have been blooming for weeks now; the forsythia joined in about a week ago, and the redbuds are out now too. So in honor of spring, here’s a spiritual practice I invite you to try. It’s very simple: That’s it! I tried this …

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My dog resting as I work

When you’re working so hard, you actually forget to rest (my dog does not have this problem!)

When you’re doing any kind of creative work– whether it’s writing a novel or painting a picture,  or solving complicated technical problems,  or raising children,  or working hard on your own personal growth and development, or anything else that stretches your mind and spirit and body– it’s so important to take breaks along the way …

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A stick on the pavement

What if you want to change, but you’re not quite ready?

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been noticing a funny little stick on the pavement on my daily walking route. See the photo above: doesn’t it look like a person setting out on a walk? With a little swing in their step, even!

Only, day after day, that little stick has sat on the pavement and has not budged, through all kinds of weather, sun and wind and heavy rain and sun again. That stick person is stuck!

Now, this is not a problem for the stick. It’s just hanging out and being a stick.

But here’s the thing: that little stick person is also reminding me of myself when I’m trying to get moving on some kind of change I know would be good for me, but I just feel stuck.

Like the time a few years back, when I suspected I needed to cut back on the amount of caffeine I was drinking. I was dealing with really bad insomnia, and I’d tried just about everything else. But I really, really didn’t want to give up my afternoon cup of black tea!

Or the time I knew I needed to speak up about something bugging me in a close relationship. It felt scary to speak honestly about what was bugging me, because I wasn’t sure we’d be able to resolve it. So I put off the conversation for weeks.

In each case, I was pretty frustrated and down on myself for not making faster progress. Or any progress, really.

How about you–does that sound familiar?

Laura eating kimchi

Trust yourself: what eating kimchi can teach you about trusting your own boldest, weirdest ideas

Trust yourself! We hear that all the time, but what does it actually mean? Here’s an example:

Last Friday, my husband John and I went to visit his mom, who lives one town over in Newport News, VA. And like we almost always do on our way home, we stopped off at our favorite Korean market, Jung Ha, for fresh kimchi (spicy Korean pickled veggies, sooo good!). We got three different kinds and went home happy.

That night, we made some rice and opened up the kimchi. It was all delicious…until a few bites in, when my mouth started burning. Whew, these batches were way, way hotter than usual! I could barely finish what was on my plate. It was still really good, but the red pepper level was just too much for me. 

The next day, around lunchtime, I had an idea. What if I rinsed off some of the pepper? Like, put some in a colander and literally ran some water over it? Would that be too weird?

Path through evergreen forest

Why have a regular spiritual practice? (Practical reason #2: it helps you let go of the stuff you don’t actually have to do)

Last week I shared 3 tips for how to slow down and listen to your soul, even when you’re really busy. This week, I want to loop back and talk with you about why you might want to do that.

Like, seriously, why would you actually set aside structured, consistent time to check in with your soul? What’s the payoff?

Wait, is that a weird question?

I mean, isn’t it obvious?

Or is it? Personally, when I try to explain exactly why I do my regular shamanic journeying practice, I get a little tongue-tied. It’s hard to get at the heart of it.

But let me try.

I could start by saying, my spiritual practice helps me feel better–mentally, emotionally, and physically. That’s definitely true. For example, every night, I do a little clearing ritual with my rattles where I imagine myself releasing any energy I picked up during the day that isn’t serving me, and replenishing myself with fresh, healthy energy. If I forget to do that daily clearing, I tend not to sleep as well.

I could also say, it helps me figure out problems and confusing situations in my life. That’s also true. If I’m unsure what to do about something, I’ll often do a quick journey to ask for some guidance.

Here’s a small example…

Lit water lily chalice

My top 3 tricks for slowing down and listening to your soul, even when your to-do list is way too long

I’ve heard from a few people recently that they want to get better at slowing down and listening to the voice of their soul……but it’s really, really hard when there is just so much else to do!It’s understandable! If you’re like many people, you have a ton on your plate. You have long lists of stuff that has to get done, and not enough time to get it all done–let alone mindfully savor each moment, like you feel like spiritual people out there somewhere must be doing.

Can I let you in on a secret?

Most of those “spiritual people” struggle with busyness and overwhelm, just like you. I know I do! I’ve been committed to near-daily spiritual practice for decades, and even now, the whole being-mindful-of-each-precious-moment-of-existence thing does not come easy. I’m someone who tends to prioritize whacking through the to-do list each day. Slowing down is hard for me too.

But after years of experimentation, I’ve found a few tricks that really help me slow down and check in with my spirit. This week, I thought I’d share my top three with you, in the hopes that at least one of them might help you too.

Outstretched hand above city street

Do you find it hard to ask for help? Here’s a way to move through your fears and ask for what you need.

Is it just me, or do you ever find it hard to ask for help?

Some time ago, I found myself struggling with whether to ask an acquaintance for a favor. (Let’s call them Robin.) It wasn’t life-and-death or anything like that, but it was something that would make a big difference in my life.

And I knew that, because of their connections, it would be really easy for Robin to do the favor–like 10 minutes, easy-peasy, done and done. Seriously, it would be a piece of cake, if they were willing.

So why was I so nervous about asking?

Well, I knew I was afraid they’d say no. But what consequences would that bring, exactly? As I sat with the possibilities, two separate fears emerged….

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