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The count-down to Thanksgiving and Black Friday is on, dear Sisters, and I am just wondering how you are all doing. Is the stress of your to-do list weighing upon you, or are you sailing through the week with happy anticipation and grace? Are you looking forward to time with family of origin or family of choice, or are you feeling the singular loneliness that comes this time of year for those without close connections and nourishing traditions? 
This is a time of great expectations for many . . . which can lead to great fulfillment, or intense anxiety. 
Wherever you may find yourself along the continuum of holiday experiences, I invite you to remember to keep your practice of self-care at the forefront of your mind this week.

Give yourself permission to take breaks as needed.
Connect with your breath often. 
Honor your boundaries. 
Protect your children's boundaries.
Move your body. 
Connect with Nature.
Focus on what nourishes your body and spirit.
Remember that you are enough. 
Accept love from your Future Self.
Channel your gratitude.

Wishing you a lovely week, my dear Sisters. 
xo
A


 
 
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"Just because someone throws you a ball doesn't mean you have to catch it."

I heard or read that quote so many years ago that I no longer remember where it came from, but it is wisdom that has stuck with me, and I do believe it is one of life's greatest lessons. 

Every day, people are throwing balls of energy at us. The kids are whining, or demanding, or fussing about something. Our partners are wanting/needing something, or question a choice we made, or say something that sounds hurtful or inconsiderate. Friends may unknowingly try to overstep our boundaries with requests or desires. People in the world are just rude and inconsiderate.
Every day, a thousand times a day, these balls come flying at us! And our reaction, of course, is to catch those balls. 
But do we have to?
Do we have to *react*? That is the operative word here.
We have the choice in every situation as to whether we want to catch that ball and throw it back, or whether to just step to the side and let it sail right on by.
It takes practice. It takes A LOT of self-control and grounding and awareness. But I have found that the more I do it, the easier it becomes. 
It definitely helps to have your toolbox of side-stepping techniques. With the kids, I try mirroring their feelings with "I see that you're angry/disappointed/frustrated." With Jason or friends, I use, "I don't feel ready to talk about this right now," or "I need time to process this," or "Let me ponder that." With rude and inconsiderate people in the world, I have learned to just walk away from conversations that I might have otherwise engaged in.
Doing quick little visualizations helps too. I sometimes imagine myself in a bubble, and see the balls of energy bouncing off, like a force field. (Magic!) I also imagine my private emotional/psychological space as a forest, with a gate across the access road. On the gate, there is a big "NO TRESPASSING" sign. No one is allowed in without my invitation!
Catching and then rethrowing balls takes A LOT of energy. It drains our psycho-emotional well more quickly than anything else. Given that we already have such limited resources, it makes sense to protect our valuable energy reserves and use them for positive interactions that help to build relationships rather than damage them. 
One easy first exercise is to just say, "I give myself permission to NOT catch this ball."
Today I invite you to notice every time a ball is thrown at you. Notice how that ball of energy feels. Notice how YOU feel in response to that ball. Do you catch it? What does catching look and feel like to you? Do you immediately throw it back? If you chose not to catch it, what would that look at feel like to you? What tools do you need in your toolbox in order to sidestep when it's coming right toward you? 
How would consciously choosing which balls to catch or not catch change your practice of sacred self-care, my dear Sisters?



 
 
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Well, I can't even believe I am going to type this, but it's officially The Holidays, Sisters. (How is it November 2nd already!?!)
This time of year brings myriad emotions to the surface of our awareness, related to our families, our to-do list, our past, and for many women, our relationship with food. 
(I can almost hear the collective groan of dread at the thought of holiday eating, or perhaps the impending stress of holiday food deprivation.)
Anticipation, anxiety, guilt, celebration, shame, self-hate, joy, comfort, apathy . . . 
Where does your compass land when you think of the upcoming holidays and your relationship with food? 
Today, as we ramp up for the coming eight weeks of revelry, I invite you to take a moment to check in with yourself regarding your physical, spiritual, and emotional perspective on holiday eating. Do you allow space in your life to enjoy the foods we typically associate with winter gatherings, or do you feel the constant tug of the shadow-side? Do you consciously tune in to the loving kindness of your Inner Wise Woman, or is Her voice drowned out by the voice of our controlling patriarchal culture?
Let us hold space for each other, here, Sisters, in acknowledgment of the many truths we experience during this time of year. Let us open to possibility of UNLEARNING the lies we've been told about what eating for enjoyment must mean about us. Instead, let us hold space for the beauty and joy of community feasting, breaking bread with our loved ones, celebrating the turning of the year, and, most of all, nourishing our bodies with acceptance and self-love.