Full Strawberry Moon

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Tonight’s Full moon was named for the time of year when strawberries are ripening; ready for picking. It is an opportunity to reflect on what has evolved in our lives and honor the work that got us there.

A few years ago, I worked in the wine industry and part of my territory was in California’s Santa Maria Valley. I loved this time of year because I could drive through the vast strawberry fields. They seemed to go forever ala The Beatles “Strawberry Fields Forever” which I would play as I slowly drove through this part of the valley. The sweet scent of ripening berries would fill my car and last even after I passed them.

There was a stark contrast to the sweet smell as I saw laborers working hard to pick the berries, bent over at the waist. It made my lower back ache to think of the hours spent huddled over the strawberry bushes. Grateful for their hard work and for all the work and time it takes to harvest the food we eat.

Ripening is beautiful, but harvesting the fruit is laborious.

When a seed is planted, the water has to soften the seed casing in order for the plant to break through. Then the plant needs to push through the soil to find the light. After sprouting, growth takes place above and below the soil; leaves and roots take form. Then the bud breaks and blossoming begins. Eventually, the blossom creates the beginnings of the fruit. If the circumstances are just right, ripening can occur and the sweetness can be enjoyed.

A plant goes through months of work to produce a moment of sweetness.

There are definite times of struggle during a growth season. The same can be said for the sweet things in life. There are so many celebrations that we acknowledge: the birth of a child, graduations, a new home, a job promotion, retirement, weddings and so much more.

But there is also a lot of work that takes place before the celebrations are had. Pregnancy, studying, relationship ups and downs, saving money, the daily tasks of a job. All these tiny steps are necessary to get to the end result. Each tiny victory is a step in ripening. Each deserve a moment of gratitude.

Practicing gratitude can create even greater celebrations in life. Instead of waiting for the grand finale, make every day a celebration. Being present enough to notice the small things can cultivate more presence and gratitude when the fruit of your labor has matured.

During this full moon, take note of all your small victories. Offer gratitude for each of them. Then create an intention for what is ripening. What do you want to create? What are you working towards? Notice where your small victories have occurred and celebrate what you are becoming.

Ripening is only a moment in time; bring mindfulness to all the little moments leading up and celebrate.

Flow

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I recently traveled to Utah with my boyfriend for a quick weekend getaway. Days prior to the trip, I was laid off from a job that I used to help supplement income. Despite my efforts, it felt like a constant struggle and my soul was not at peace. I tried my best and remembered a lesson my dad taught me “Always do your best and keep your integrity intact.”

I created a deadline to leave in a month if the energy didn’t shift into alignment. Two days after I set that goal, I was called into an office and laid off. I was grateful for my renewed freedom, but disappointed with the way it ended. Although I did not see it coming, I offered gratitude for the manifestation blessing.

So, there I was in Utah about to embark on a hike. As we stepped onto the trail, we were welcomed by a rushing river tumbling through the valley. It was breathtaking. It had been a while since I had seen a river so swollen and rushing. The sound was meditative and never ending, staying with us until we made our way high enough to where the path became snow.

The snow was a surprise as we trudged our way through ankle deep snow trying to reach a lake that we were told was magnificent. Now, I am not a fan of being cold, let alone hiking through snow in summer clothes. But, I knew that I needed to keep going. I complained to my boyfriend who seemed unfazed by the new terrain. He encouraged me as I made my way up the icy hill.

After what seemed like forever, we made it to the lake. It was surrounded by snow and was frozen solid. I had a bit of disappointment because my expectation was a lake surrounded by a meadow filled with wildflowers. I sat down on a rock and meditated. I released my expectations. I released my fatigue. I released being cold. I sat there in the sun for 20 minutes with my eyes closed, just breathing in and out.

Off in the distance, I could hear a rock falling from up high. I was amazed at the silence of the scenery and the ability to hear a rock falling. The frozen scene created the stillness to be present. I felt at peace.

When I opened my eyes, I saw the lake through a different lens. It was absolutely beautiful. The mountains that surrounded us seemed to provide an expansive nature making me feel so small, yet very powerful. I made it all the way to 9000′ where the sun had not melted a lake yet. I breathed in gratitude for the newfound appreciation and smiled.

I raised my vibration at a higher elevation.

As we made our way back down, I felt renewed and accomplished. Halfway down, the river started rushing as the ground went from snow to mud to dirt once more. The river once again serenaded our hike and I realized that I needed to welcome flow back into my life.

I recognized for my life to flow freely, I had to let myself melt like the snow.

The rigid constraints that I had made to create security and certainty were blocking flow from occurring. I was in my own way. When I take things into my own hands with control, it never really works. I was pushed out of something that wasn’t allowing flow to continue into my life. I noticed what a tight grip I tried to maintain once again.

From experience, I know that the things I hold tight to are the ones that slip away. In this case, it was security and certainty.

The following week, I approached my business with a new-found focus and intention. I realized that when I let go and allow flow to happen, everything falls into place and it is — effortlessly and beautifully. The resistance and pressure I had created blocked the positive energy that was trying to flow into my life.

I was not expecting such a lesson from a river in the middle of the Utah wilderness. But I am so grateful for the raging river and frozen lake that taught me to change my perspective and release expectations in order to allow flow to occur.

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.  – Lao Tzu

Full Flower Moon

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I was 33 years old and terrified that I was leaving a career that was my dream 5 years previous. I wanted to work in the wine industry and learn everything I could about it. This job took me all over the world where I met amazing people and experienced culture and cuisine. For a wanderluster with a palate for pinot, this was a dream come true.

I was so grateful and in awe of all the opportunities BUT something just wasn’t right.

Deep down, I was miserable. I wanted to travel on my own terms and write. I knew that writing wasn’t going to pay the bills, but I knew I had to try it. This concept was terrifying. I had created such security and my soul was begging me to leap. I edged up to the cliff, looked down and went right back to work several times.

I decided to take 2 years off and calculated my freedom number; the amount needed to sustain my simplified lifestyle for my temporary hiatus from work. I saved until I had what I thought was enough to support myself. Then, I stepped back to the edge of that cliff and I still felt my knees tremble, unable to leap.

My soul was relentless and the misery transcended anything amazing that was happening. There were promotions, trips and raises but my resistance caused more pain and left me feeling helpless and depressed.

Then, I realized no matter how many times I crunched numbers or made excuses, this calling was going to pursue me until I let go of the security and resistance and opened to the unknown.

The day I quit my job, I was nervous and excited. I had prepared a letter and walked into the office of the company president. This man was responsible for all the great things that I experienced with the company as well as mentoring me along the way. I was sad to deliver this message to him. As we spoke, he was gracious and understanding. I was so grateful. That moment solidified that I was making the right decision.

Immediately following that conversation, I felt the resistance fade and relief took over. I felt light and happy and excited to embark into the unknown.

Suddenly, I had the freedom I had so badly craved but felt fear creeping back in.

I knew that if I didn’t squash the thoughts of scarcity and insecurity, I would not be able to enjoy what had happened. I combated the fear with gratitude. I sat in the feeling of relief and thanked God for helping me — prodding me — pushing me to harness my bravery.

This was a lesson in becoming. When resistance, fear and pride took over, I was not allowing myself the chance to blossom. I remained tightly closed for almost 2 years because I feared the loss of security. I needed to let go of certainty in order to fully open up to the beauty that wanted to unfold.

It wasn’t until I full released my grasp on the need to control and my craving for certainty that I was able to truly appreciate what was transpiring. When I let go, I felt my creative passion explode and writing became something I must do. I celebrated my bravery and embraced uncertainty like an adventure to a new land. My heart and soul opened and blossomed.

Tonight’s Full Flower Moon is the perfect opportunity to notice where abundance and gratitude are taking place in your life and confront and fear that may be holding you back. Address limiting beliefs and affirm your greatness. This is a time to showcase the beauty that has been carefully worked on and celebrate the growth that has occurred.

Open the floodgates of passion and infuse the areas of your life that have grown stale from neglect. Go after what you really want. Open up and bloom right where you are. Remember a time when you felt alive and excited and then ask yourself: “How can I bring that energy back into my life?”

Now is not the time to play small. Let go of anything holding you back. Celebrate all the goodness that is flowing into your life. Offer gratitude for the fruits of your hard work. This is the time to show off your big beautiful blooms and appreciate their glory.

It has been 3 years since I delivered that letter and I appreciate what took root that day and celebrate all that has blossomed since then.

“The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  -Anais Nin

Reclaiming Time

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I have been struggling with my relationship with time: I feel like there is never enough. When I think back to the days right after I quit my job to travel, I remember the immense fear of “What do I do with my time now?!” As I became more comfortable with my freedom, I felt like I could soar and had no limits. I couldn’t believe that I had created a reality where I could to write, travel and soak up as much sun as possible.

That lasted 2 years. And then I started to get busy with building my business and had to coordinate a schedule again. It was fun and exciting to create something from scratch, but it took up a lot of time. I found myself on the edge of overwhelm.

The frustration that comes from feeling like there is not enough time rob the joy from the present moment.

I found myself no longer enjoying the moment I was in and looked at the time wondering if I had enough to get to the next thing on my long list completed. Then my sleep started to suffer. I would wake up at 3am my mind decided it was the perfect time to think about my schedule and dwell on the feeling of not having enough time.

The feeling of time scarcity created even more fatigue and stress.

I was missing was being in the present moment and embracing what was happening as it was happening. I was spending too much time projecting into the future that I robbed the present moment of my attention. So I decided to break up with my relationship with time in order to rebuild a healthier one.

As I found a healthier way to approach time, I found these tools to help immensely:

  1. Meditation every morning: This grounds me and brings me into the present moment before the day’s events even have a chance to overwhelm. From this new grounded state, I am able to approach the day with focus and intent.
  2. Put the phone down: Having access to the internet, emails, calendars and even time keeps me from enjoying the present moment. I decided to put the phone away while interacting with people in order to fully appreciate their presence and the time we were spending together. I found my interactions became richer and time seemed to feel abundant.
  3. Prioritize tasks: To-do lists are very important to me, but now I make sure that each week, I only write down the “must dos” instead of creating a long list of tasks that aren’t as pressing. When I complete the tasks I set out to do, I realize that I have plenty of time to tackle some of the less pressing priorities.
  4. Make time for myself: All the running around and working made me feel guilty to take moments to myself. But, when I make time for myself, guilt free, I feel more energetic and joyful and time seems to slow down for me when I am not as stressed.
  5. Workout: There is always time to get some physical activity in. Taking walks, bike rides, trips to the gym…can all be fit into a busy schedule. There are apps that have been created to help you get workouts in. Prioritize physical health and the gift will be higher metabolism and more energy to tackle a busy schedule.

The feeling of scarcity that comes from being constantly connected fades when I make time for stillness.

I learned that when I treat time with respect, it doesn’t run out. I feel more abundant with time when I practice mindfulness and step into the present moment.  From this place, I can breathe deeper and notice my surroundings.

Full Pink Moon

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Tonight’s full moon is named after phlox,  a moss that covers the ground with it’s pink flowers. Spring is displaying all its glory. Notice the evidence of new beginnings and growth through flowers and trees. Now is the time to start fresh, clear clutter and let the air flow through your home and body

Every Spring I feel weighed down by stuff. I want to do a full clearing of clutter to clear any stale energy from the home. I notice all the things that haven’t been utilized in a while and want to let them go. If I haven’t needed it in a year, chances are I will not need it now. It is liberating to let go of things. Energy actually shifts when old or unused items are removed.

This year, I am struggling to find the time to do this deep cleaning I crave. As I reflect on what this block is, I realize that I really like where everything is right now. I don’t really want much to change. When I think about the past years where I went all out with my de-cluttering, I was ready for change…trying to manifest things quickly and willing to make big changes to facilitate movement.

This year, I find myself wavering on the thin line of attachment. I fell in love last year and wrote a book. These were 2 things my heart and soul focused on manifesting for a while. It is easy to fall into attachment in love and professionally when hard work bears fruit. But I don’t want to be attached to this time. I want to continue to grow and evolve.

I want my writing to bud new growth. I want my relationship to find a new level of connection. I want my friendships to grow deeper. I want my work to help more people.

All of these things require me to let go of anything that is no longer serving me. There is also a realization here that clearing out clutter does bring new and lovely things into my life. This practice must continue. I have no idea what is on the horizon, but now more than ever, I trust that universe hears.

Sitting with Gratitude

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I spoke with a dear friend on the phone about dreams come true. She had just received my book and was living in her new home. We had shared our dreams and struggles over the years and she mentioned how awesome it was that we both had manifested our desires.

I agreed, “It’s amazing, now we have to figure out what we want to manifest next.”

She replied, “I think I’m gonna sit in gratitude for a while with this one.”

I was blown away and humbled by her wisdom. She was so right. The work is done, and instead of continuing to strive, I need to take a breath and sit with the feeling of immense gratitude. My deepest desire of becoming an author has finally come to fruition. It’s time to give thanks and really feel the power of gratitude.

Gratitude is a daily practice for me, but stopping and sitting with it, is not. I am constantly striving, reaching and pushing. I am always looking forward and tend to forget to be present and really dwell. Mindfulness is an ongoing practice and as a recovering perfectionist, I try my best to stay present.

As far as I can remember, I have pushed myself against myself. I was always competing with myself in my mind and striving to achieve. Learning to sit in stillness began 10 years ago after my first bout with anxiety. The effects of the anxious spiral I allowed myself to enter were wearing heavy on my mind, body and soul. I was achieving, but very unhappy. Mindfulness and gratitude have changed my life and brain chemistry.

When the results of hard work occur, it is important to sit in gratitude for yourself, the process and the result.

Everything is an opportunity to be grateful. Taking the time to be still and really feel gratitude is a gift you can give to your heart.

As I take my dear friend’s advice, I am in awe of the opportunity and process that just took place. Now that I stand on the other side of this beautiful opportunity, my heart wells with gratitude. This is an awesome feeling and I definitely want to sit here for a while.

Worm Moon

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Spring is soon arriving! As the ground thaws after a long winter, the soil begins to aerate thanks to the movement of earthworms. Underneath, where no one can see their work, worms are creating a healthy environment for seeds and roots to take place.

Even before the eye can behold the plant, important inner work is being completed.

Tonight’s Worm Moon highlights the work that needs to be completed in our souls. Allow the light of the full moon to illuminate the places where you would like growth to take root. Clear out the soul clutter that has accumulated and create room for movement.

Soul clutter can look like the following:

  • Hurt Feelings
  • Resentments
  • Attachment
  • Expectations
  • Bitterness
  • Obsessive Thoughts

When we hold on to things that no longer serve us, we stunt our own growth and healing. Vibrancy radiates from the inside outward. Letting go revitalizes and gives space where restriction once occurred.

There have been several things in my own soul that have accumulated as clutter. I realized that I was unable to focus on the amazing things that are happening because I held on to single events that caused pain. By holding onto the new pain, I wasn’t being present for the new joy flowing into my life. I was caught off guard by the whirlwind that persisted through the calm of joy.

I had to decide to embrace the joy and let go of what was no longer serving me to fully appreciate the magnitude of what was happening in my life.

Soul clutter will numb the joy and even the sorrow. We can get so attached to the feeling of clutter that we don’t even realize we are holding on to something negative. It is like hoarding negative emotions; the more we ignore them, the more comfortable they become. In stillness, we can discover the places that need to be moved and aired out.

Here is a good way to locate the places that need clearing out:

  1. Sit in a quiet place and write down how you have been feeling lately. Notice how your body, mind and spirit feel. Take note on how your relationships have been functioning and how you relate to your physical environment.
  2. Write how you would like to feel in each area.
  3. Then note what keeps you from feeling or experiencing what you want to feel or experience. (These are the things you need to let go of.)
  4. Choose 1 or 2 things to let go of tonight. Allow yourself the next month to focus on letting go.
  5. Watch for new growth where there was once stagnation.
  6. Offer gratitude (every single day).

During a full moon, it is important to notice what no longer serves you. Think of the amount of light the moon is reflecting. Use this time to see all the places where clutter has been stored, release it and allow the moon’s light to illuminate the new space so what is meant to be there will find its way.

Stillness

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My mind goes a mile a minute. At any time of the day, I have at least 3 things going through my head. I am constantly trying to figure out, fix, plan or contemplate something. I used to pride myself on my brain’s capacity to multi-task until I realized that I was actually less effective in each task because I wasn’t giving each one the full attention it needed.

This whirlwind of activity also caused stress and anxiety when I couldn’t figure things out or when my plans didn’t go as expected. I knew something needed to change and this is when I started to recognize the power of stillness in the form of prayer, meditation and visualization.

I grew up in a home where prayers were said daily at the dinner table and at church. I knew that prayer was supposed to be my direct line to God. Although I thanked him for my food daily and asked for forgiveness for my mistakes, I never really felt connected. There were certain rules and a structure I was told to follow and as I prayed, I remember going through the checklist in my head to make sure my prayer was complete and all the boxes had been marked.

As an adult, I found my prayers becoming less structured and more free flowing. I left the checklist behind and allowed myself prayers of ecstasy to flow through me when I came upon something beautiful that took my breath away. I allowed prayers of desperation, full of run on sentences and tears when I felt at the end of my rope. I allowed prayers of gratitude that welled from my heart and gut when I just knew that sometimes the most normal things were the most amazing things.

The more I allowed myself to veer from the structured prayers of my youth, the more I felt connected to something greater than me. 

Connection was what I was craving. I wanted to know that I wasn’t alone. I wanted to know that there was purpose to my existence and that my desires, worries and emotions were validated. The more I prayed, the more I felt connected to something greater than me.

Then, I started to practice meditation to calm my mind even deeper. I knew that prayer was effective, but I also wanted to learn how to still my mind and just allow my breath to course through me without the interruption of words.

At first, meditation was difficult for me to learn. I thought that I needed to get my mind completely still and that I would have mastered the practice once I could sit without a single thought or word enter my brain. But, I was wrong. I learned that meditation provides the space and time for stillness. Thoughts will come and go, but the key is to let them go.

Mediation taught me that thoughts will never cease, but my attachment can dissipate with practice.

Attachment to outcome and expectations is where a lot of pain is rooted. There is a myriad of possible what if and maybes but the important thing is coming back to the present moment. Meditation is a tool to bring presence into each day.

I enhanced my practice by visualizing the things that I wanted and the feelings I wanted to feel. If something was very important to me, I spent time seeing it as if it had already happened. This practice exercised my trust in the universe and brought a sense of peace. When I was able to see and feel what I prayed for and meditated on, I let go of my need to control and allowed whatever was meant to be happen in its own time.

Visualization released the vibrational energy into the universe saying: “I am ready to receive.” 

When I regularly practice stillness, my mind slows down and calm arrives. The need to control falls away as well as the anxiety attached to it. In fact, on the days when I don’t create stillness, I am off and quickly recognize the correlation. For me it is important to begin each day from a place of centering stillness. Stillness sets the stage for a dynamic day and calibrates the mind and body to be present and react less.

Here are some of my favorite meditation tools to jump start or end each day:

Calm (an app with lovely graphics, guided meditations and soothing sounds)

Headspace (another mindfulness app with options to focus on certain areas of life)

Deepak Chopra 21-Day Meditation Experience (free 4 times a year)

Moonlight Gratitude (my meditation book coming March 15th)

Introducing My First Book: Moonlight Gratitude

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“Your book has a birthday. You don’t know what it is yet.” -Cheryl Strayed

I’ve had this quote above my desk for over 2 years. I would see it every day as I sat at my desk writing my heart out. I would visualize my book in my hands and seeing my name in print. I would go into bookstores and stand with my eyes closed imagining seeing my book on their tables and shelves.

My creative gestation clock was ticking loud and clear…I wanted to give birth to a book!

I spent most of 2015 sending book proposals out to literary agents and publishers with no luck. There were some responses. One even asked me to send the first 50 pages. That year was spent in a whirlwind of hoping, anxiety and creativity. By the end of the year I had felt rejected more that I cared to feel and put my manuscript away. I realized that I had lost the joy and passion and needed to take a break.

So, on January 1, 2016. I took a break from trying to get published and just focused on coaching and writing blog posts. I was happy to find my passion reignited and excited to spend time creating once again.

Then one day, January 27th to be exact, I received an email from the contact form on my website:

Hello I am an editorial director…I am looking for someone to work with to create a moonlight meditations book. If you would be interested in a project like this please email me at the above address. From reading through your website it seems like you would be a perfect fit.

I read it over and over. Was this real?! I googled the publisher and sure enough they were real. I couldn’t believe it!

My book’s birthday is March 15, 2017. It is beautiful and filled with words that came alive right below that quote that kept my hope alive. Snow Seychelle illustrated the cover and parts of the book with her beautiful underwater art. I am obsessed with whales and the moon and when I saw that the art included whales and the moon, I could not believe how perfect the pairing was. Everything came together so beautifully.

I wrote parts of the book in the desert, in mexico, at home, by the ocean and among the trees in Washington. I carried a notebook with me everywhere to capture inspiration as it came. And then one day, I had a finished manuscript and sent it off to be created.

My hope with this book is that at the end of the day, it can bring some calm and mindfulness. I suffered from insomnia throughout college and remember the anxiety of sleepless nights. I am grateful for that time because it gave me the empathy to write each passage.

Our trials can blossom into beautiful things.

I remember the day I saw my book on Amazon. I gasped. It was actually a real book. Then, last week I received an advanced copy. Finally holding the book was exciting and seeing my name on the cover was surreal. After so many years of dreaming, my dream came true and was in my hands.

You can find it on pre-sale at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. If you or anyone you know deals with daily stress, anxiety or lack of sleep, this book is meant to bring calm and mindfulness into your day. Please pre-order a copy today and share with friends.

Love and peace,

Emily

Snow Moon

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In the depths of winter, a stillness takes over. Snow falls, covering the ground like a blanket. All is white. Even sound is muffled by the snow’s insulation. Layers are worn to protect from the cold and keep warmth inside. The snow remains as long as the temperatures stay low. Winter is the time for shorter days and colder nights.

Snow provides a beautiful stillness.

Tonight is the full snow moon. The cold of winter has lingered and many of us have gone inward; into our homes and into our thoughts. We have put on layers to protect ourselves from the cold as well as emotional walls to keep others out. Some intentionally and other without a thought. Our defenses go up and keep things from getting in, muffling the voices and emotions that want to get through.

The snow moon is the time to notice where these walls are taking place, where the cold lingers and as a few important questions…

What is being muffled, muted or quieted?

  • Is it your voice trying to say the things your heart is dying to articulate?
  • Do you keep up a wall in order to protect your heart from being hurt?
  • Have past hurts caused a cooling down of your desires?

The beautiful thing about the snow is that underneath, growth is still occurring. In the spring, melted snow reveals that life goes on despite the cold. No matter what layer you have put on to insulate you from pain, growth is still taking place.

In order to recognize the transition, melting has to occur. Sometimes this can look like forgiveness, understanding or love. We may need to offer these to ourselves or to others. When forgiveness and love takes place, something melts. Hearts are opened and free to express. All the thoughts that swirl in our heads can lay to rest. There is no more room for bitterness, cold or judgment.

Understanding comes from opening the heart and mind.

Tonight is the perfect time to set an intention to allow melting to occur around the walls you have built. If there are emotions that need to be expressed, express them. If there are words that need to be said, say them, or journal them if your voice can’t find it’s way yet. If your desires have been quieted, do something to add heat in that area of your life and let the melting surface the buried passion.

Growth takes time. Beautiful, strong and vibrant plants are the ones that take root despite the hardships. Spring is coming and the snow is slowly melting. Allow growth to take place and feel the warmth permeate all areas of your heart.