Strategies for increasing self care and nurturance

July 24th is International Self Care day. What does this mean?  It is a day that reminds us about the importance of self nurturance.  A day to reflect upon and include a sacred practice that honours the Self, practices that become an integral part of your lifestyle which contributes to your well-being. Looking to increase your self care?  Self care is an ongoing process, a process that should be cultivated within each day.  A process that helps create calm and resilience as well as revitalizes your energy. Here are some ideas to that are all about taking time away from your day-to-day responsibilities in order to replenish your heart, soul, body and spirit —so that you can release stress and navigate your day with more joy.   1. Move your body. Why? Movement is medicine, it is one of the most effective tools for stress reduction. Physical movement boosts endorphins, a hormone that helps create a positive feeling in the body. Whether it’s dancing, kicking a ball around, running or biking. Find something that you like and just get moving!   2. Breathe!  This seems to simple, however if meditation seems challenging or if you are feeling a lack of time then focus on your breathing. Breathing with this focus creates a direct pathway to the heart.  After all the lungs cradle the heart.  With focused breath you can lower your heart rate and blood pressure as well as calm anxiety. Practice breath work - lengthening the exhale for a few minutes a day when in non stressful situations and trust that your body will know what to do when in a stressful situation.   3. Do not underestimate the value of a short nap or a visit to the nearest green space to just hang out in nature.  The benefits of either is that it gives your brain a chance to have repose.    4. Think positive thoughts.  When life is presenting lemons, try to get on the flip side of what is happening and make lemonade.  In other words, there are always creative solutions - enlist the help of a trusted friend if necessary - however know that talking it out with yourself and/or writing helps change perspective on the situation. Thinking positively helps recuperate from bad situations.  Affirmations such as those in my book Affirmations for Purposeful Living help to reinforce positive thinking.   5.  Unplug from your technology. Your phone can suck a lot of time and energy out of you. Having to deal with email and social media, is very demanding on your time and energy.   6.  Reduce your caffeine and sugar intake.  Caffeine and sugar can make the body feel constantly “on” and harder to relax, thereby creating a vicious cycle.  Ideally start to increase water intake.   7. Sit in silence. We live in a world where we are bombarded with extraneous noise.  Not to mention the noise in your head! Allow yourself to quiet the mind and to sit in silence and appreciate the peace of the moment.   8. Write a gratitude list throughout the day and review it before going to sleep.  You will soon notice that your mornings will be more joyful and your days will feel more centred.   9. Spend time with friends.  Social interaction with laughter is medicine for the soul.   10.  Spend time with self, take yourself on a playdate for at least a few hours a week.  A date without technology but just being in the present moment doing something enjoyable.  It can be a bath, it can be a good book or gardening.  We make playdates for our kids, or we had them when we were kids.  Now is the time to make them with ourselves.   These are just a few ideas.  Let me know in the comments below what you do to enhance your self care and nurturance. 

How to create your Winter solstice ceremony December 21

There is something joyful and beautiful about this time of the year.  The stillness in the darkness, the peace and the calm.  A beautiful time for self reflection, completions and intention setting.  Nature speaks to us in beautiful ways.  Winter Solstice is about "Awakening the Magician"  - it is to slow down, allow deeper meditations, connection with intuition, formulation of ideas and dream work.  Early alchemists knew that illumination of wisdom and manifestation of magic was directly related to sun and moon energies, cycles in nature, union of the masculine and feminine energies as well as the union of the subconscious and conscious. This is the time of year to connect with the strength of the feminine energies - the energy which connects to the primordial waters of creation and source.  The energy of the potential of our Essence. The prelude to the creative action of Spring. The intention of the ritual of winter solstice is to stimulate dream activity, provide deeper connection to the spirit and cycles of nature, regenerate the body for self healing and to enhance intuition and creativity. Here are some suggestions for creating your own honouring of the Solstice this year. Preparation for the day:  Take the time to reflect on what you need to release from the 2019 year.  This can be done through journaling, speaking with a very good friend or even a pet.  Ideally, have a piece of paper to write down things that you are wishing to release. Go for a walk outdoors, bring with you the paper and some matches and head over to a park with a burning pit. When you find the perfect spot - give gratitude for the day and for the year.  Allow yourself to see these experiences in the light of non judgment.  Observe them as part of your evolution.  When you are ready to release, set the intention of gratitude and of letting go that which no longer serves you.  Light the paper on fire.  Allow the ashes to burn out. When you are ready, go for a walk and focus on all the beauty that you see.  Make a mental list and start dreaming of what you want to see, create and manifest for yourself in the coming months. Preparation for the evening meditation practice: Find a spot and time where you will be undisturbed. Light a white candle. (harmonic-medicine Archangel Gabriel candle is perfect for this ritual).  Place a white or red rose in a vase in front of you. You could also substitute a Christmas floral arrangement with pine.  Set the intention as mentioned above asking for the assistance of Archangel Gabriel. ( Archangel Gabriel works directly with the energies of winter solstice.) Meditation: Focus on the light of the flame. Close your eyes and remember how the flame looked.  Imagine the flame within your heart and solar plexus area of you body.  Visualize this flame within you - allowing it to gently expand and contract with the rhythm of your breath. Become the flame of light, allowing the soft glow of radiance to encompass your being.  Through the top of your head, visualize a beam of light moving upwards into the night sky.  Allow your consciousness to travel up this beam of light and feel the expanse of the darkness.  Focus your attention on a single star shimmering in the distance and float towards it.  Sit in the heart of the star, enjoy the energy and notice your surroundings.  It is a familiar place of long ago, a place of peace and contentment.  Sit in the feeling of it.  Notice with your inner vision that you are holding a rose. Observe the rose unfold petal by petal.  As each petal unfolds, golden light beams out - a brilliant light that engulfs your entire being - joining with the beautiful light of the flame within you. Light surrounds and fills and you feel yourself being cleansed.  Your mind fills with clarity and illumination.  Allow this energy to heal and nurture you. This is the temple of Archangel Gabriel, allow yourself to receive the touch of Gabriel's blessing upon your crown.  Feel the love that pours through you, overflowing into your heart. Sit in this healing energy until you know that you have received your fill. When it is time to leave this space, draw your attention inwards to the flame of light within your heart and solar plexus area.  Breathe deeply, each inhale drawing the light deeper into the physical body and each exhale anchoring the light into the earth through your feet.  When you feel that you are completely in the awareness of your body and physical environment, open your eyes. Follow through: Take the time to write down any messages/impressions that you receive. Keep the intention to receive the continual flow of healing energy for regeneration to actualize and connect to the potential of your essence. Allow this to incubate and start the practice of early morning stream of consciousness writing to capture the messages of your night time journeys. Enjoy the experience of the ritual and if you have other ways to celebrate winter solstice please comment below! Many blessings for a beautiful upcoming year.

5 Strategies for Positive Family Gatherings

Thanksgiving weekend in Canada marks the beginning of family celebrations and the added stress of work and school commitments as well as extra-curricular activities can tend to bring on feelings of overwhelm, stress and fatigue.  It is so important to take care of yourself during this busy season and here are some strategies to help.
  1. Focus on the positive and BE positive around the experiences that you enjoy.  Sometimes stress can bring to mind unpleasant memories from past family gatherings - counteract this with 3 positive memories as well as 3 gratitudes of the present moment.  The practice of consistently maintaining positive thoughts assist in creating a positive reality.
  2. Allow yourself to let go of the past.  It is not unusual to be triggered by certain family members, ex-spouses or partners. (Especially when children and custody agreements are part of your life)  When this happens remember that today is a new day.  Things have the potential of going very well, especially when you expect things to go well. By letting go of past wrongs, you are saying that they cannot hurt you anymore.  You are standing in your own self empowerment.
  3. Expect positivity however have realistic expectations.  If it is your turn to host the family meal, then let it be what works for you.  From the menu on - do what fits in your budget, and tickles your taste buds. If big dinners are your thing with your best china then enjoy every aspect of it and do not be disappointed if things do not go as planned.  Family meals are for good laughs, welcoming atmosphere and company, however they can go sideways  if the importance is on perfection. 
  4. Ask for help when you need it (and even if you don’t).  Many times we juggle so many tasks that we think that we can squeeze more in.  Take your time and breathe.  Decide what is important and a priority.  The rest is not necessary - or in the very least it can be something to delegate.   Include family members in the planning, everyone participates and everyone then becomes responsible in the creation of something memorable.
  5. Self Care is essential as well as stick to a routine as much as possible - it is too easy to let busy come in and rule the household.  You are always the priority.   As much as possible stick to your eating, sleeping and exercising routine.  Make time for yourself so that you can stay peaceful and grounded.  
These are just a few strategies to put in place.  Do you have strategies that work for you? Please share below.

4 steps in making Affirmations work for you

How to manifest your full potential with these beautiful statements. Affirmations are positive statements that serve to bridge a physical reality and experience with the activity and consciousness of the higher mind.  The expression of an affirmation activates processes within the field of consciousness of the mind which will then initiate connection with a larger field of soul consciousness.  Affirmations have a powerful impact in strengthening your ability to manifest positive change within yourself which will ultimately lead to change within humanity. The key to their success is your willingness to believe in the new idea expressed in the affirmation.   First step:  When reading a new affirmation, just sit with it.  Let your body feel it.  Is there an emotion attached to it?  The emotion is the key.  Does it fill you with joy? anxiety? sadness?  Where in your body do you feel the emotion?  When the emotion is what we judge as positive, then we can feel expanded, joyful and inspired.  That is what we would like.  What do we do when the emotion is less than positive?  That is not necessarily a bad thing, it means that we have some personal work to do.  Identify the root behind the feeling and transform the belief behind that root.  Common beliefs are “I am alone” “I am unworthy” “I am not loved”. Look at these beliefs and realize that they are self judgements.  Second step:  Look at your list of self judgements and re-write them in a positive present tense statement. Use these new statements as steps to connecting with the energy of the affirmations that made you feel “negative” in the above step.  The more you repeat your new statement followed by the given affirmation the more you will consciously connect to a higher “positive” feeling.  (more information on changing limited beliefs are taught in the workshop - Building the Luminous Body) Thirdly: Find a consistent time of the day to say your affirmations.  Ideally as part of spiritual practice such as journaling or after meditation.  This creates mindfulness. In fact, re-writing these positive statements followed by the affirmation as part of a gratitude journal at the end of the day, sets intention for restful sleep - which of course will lead to a great start for a positive life experience the next day. Fourth step: Practice anchoring the affirmation with your breath.  This means to focus on the part of the body that felt uncomfortable and focus the breath and sound of your words into that spot.  Ideally take the time to focus on positive feelings.  For example if you felt your heart expand or if you have a memory of joy, lift that joy into your heart space and breathe the words of the affirmation there.  Remember the universe breathes, we breathe.  The universe has rhythm and so do we.  Know that the flow of breath helps transform the energy between the two poles of opposites. For as much as we can connect to discomfort - we can connect to ease and joy. Using your breath helps to focus the energy on what we want to create - in this case feelings of positivity when saying your affirmation. The mindful repetition of affirmations helps to re-wire the unconscious mind for better acceptance of new unlimited beliefs.  They create higher vibrations for the manifestation of joy, gratitude and abundance.  Limiting beliefs can be locked up in the body eventually causing pain and disease.  Connecting to the emotion behind the belief can be felt in the body and an affirmation directed consciously to an acupuncture point can be used to unblock that emotion - allowing it flow and heal.   For affirmations specifically written for the body please check out my latest book available through amazon and chapters/indigo  Affirmations for Purposeful Living - Manifesting Health, Wholeness and Joy.

5 ways to use sun energy to bring forward your potential


For people living in the northern hemisphere where cold and darkness seem to last for a very long time, the lengthening of daylight hours is always a reason to feel joyful. Renewed vitality, renewed freshness, the sky seems more blue and clear.  It may still be cold and it is still January - but the sun holds a promise of completion of the dormancy of nature to rebirth into freshness and new creations.  Winter is an important time for rest, regeneration and nurturance of potential seeds of growth however we know that spring is coming.   So how do we help this rebirthing process along?  Here are some tips to help bring in sun energy - the light - to bring forward your seeds of potential.

  1. Place symbols of the sun in your immediate environment. One of most important symbols is the candle.  Candles symbolize light in the darkness.  In a deeper way, they are the symbol of illumination.  Connection to your spiritual essence, the spirit of truth and your connection withdivinity.  The components of the candle in themselves have meaning: the wax is the symbol of humanity, the wick representing the soul and the light represents love and  divinity, the flame represents fire of the Godhead, our connection to it in all our humility as well as the mysteries of the Gods. Lighting candles were a part of prayer practice and meditation to receive illumination, vision and connection to purpose. In ancient times candles were also the source of light and heat in a shelter. Blessing your candles is also a powerful practice to help keep the light in times of  darkness which may occur in the upcoming year.  Other symbolic elements include: Bringing elements of the colour gold/yellow into your environment. This can be clothing, decor, flowers, gemstones. Incorporate the circles and curves.  Sun energy can be very masculine in many traditions. Bringing in the symbol of the circle balances with the feminine.  In Japan - the beautiful flag represents the sun.  The symbolic representation of a female deity - Amaterasu.
  2. Take time to reflect internally.  When is the last time that you allowed yourself to dream?  What is your vision? Write it down.  What do you wish to manifest and create?  Many times we are so busy we put it off. Nothing is too big of a dream, connect to the light inside of you.  With a grateful heart make a list your gifts and talents and what brings you joy.  Use this illumination to power desire.  
  3. Take action.  Make your vision into a reality.  This means setting goals.  However, the key to setting goals is actually using them as a touchstone for purposeful action.  Every moment in every day is purposeful. Choose actions that are relevant to your life and what you want to create. All steps then become meaningful, whether they are small or leaps.  Then the goal is transformed, it is not about the goal it becomes about the journey.  
  4. Respect the rhythm of nature.  What does this really mean?  It means to flow with time, take the time to rest, time to play and time to work. The rhythm of nature is represented to humanity as time. The sun rises the sun sets. Respecting the rhythm of nature creates balance within our self and will affect how we navigate life. We see this evidenced in nature.  Small imperceptible day to day changes, such as the lengthening of the daylight hours,  we may not notice from one day to the next, however we certainly can notice the difference week to week.  It is the opposite of forcing or trying to control.  When you actually trust in the most benevolent outcome instead of placing conditions or trying to control the outcomes it goes much smoother. 
  5. Repetition and practice are key, (ask any musician).  Consistency and perseverance. Repetition creates rhythm. Small purposeful steps in action from tip number three above begin to layer and create momentum. A momentum to which the outside world would see as a leaps. Using affirmations or positive statements and saying them rhythmically will help fuel your actions towards your vision. Saying affirmations help transform your thoughts.  Thoughts are things, and thoughts create your reality.  Affirmations help to penetrate into the subconscious, and to re-pattern your thinking.  This brings the potential to influence your outlook on life.  Repeat affirmations and positive statements out loud at first, then mentally. Allow the words to become absorbed into your feeling life, there they will make way into your subconscious mind.  The actions that you take in alignment to these positive statements will bring transformation to your conscious state and become a part of your integral being.

This time of year is exciting because the return of the sun heralds the energy of the spring to come - where what we vision manifests in a very quick way.  Use these suggestions on how to use sun energy to flow your potential in these upcoming months and let me know other ways that you use the sun energy to radiate and live your potential.


Michèle Marie

7 tips for radiant skin

Having youthful soft skin can be a challenge in the winter months.  How do we keep skin in balance when faced with winds and fluctuating temperatures let alone the stresses of the day? Here are some facts and tips to keep skin healthy. 

 Skin performs 6 vital functions:

  1. Protection - a barrier to protect the body’s tissues from dehydration and to prevent invasion from harmful organisms.  
  2. Sensation - the skin contains nerve endings that make it sensitive to heat and cold, as well as to pressure, vibration and injury.
  3. Temperature control - the skin regulates body temperature.  In cold weather for example blood vessels contract to conserve heat and the hairs on the skin trap a layer of heat to provide insulation.  In hot weather, the blood vessels dilate to allow heat to escape.
  4. Storage and synthesis - stores water and lipids (fatty compounds) it synthesizes vitamins B and D when activated by the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
  5. Absorption - small amounts of important gases are absorbed by the skin - oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. As well as healing substances found in lotions and ointments.  **As well as harmful substances such as chemicals added to lotions, cosmetics, clothing etc.
  6. Waste removal:  Sweat glands in the skin function to control body temperature and to remove toxic substances from the body.

So how do we nurture this vital organ?  We start by nurturing ourselves.  Self love, self care.

Stop smoking.  This advice has been given by health practitioners for many years.  Studies show that smoking destroys collagen and elastin, vital components for the structure of skin.  

Exercise. Regular exercise increases blood flow and carries more oxygen and nutrients to your skin.  Exercise helps the skin to breathe.  The skin is marvellous when you think about the function of breathing.  This is one of the ways that body temperature is regulated and that toxins can be released. 

Eat consciously.  Feed your skin nutrition by choosing foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as cold water fish (salmon, tuna and sardines) and nuts and seeds.  (flaxseeds, chia seeds) Eat a diet high in antioxidants.  A good general rule to follow is to pick foods with a wide variety of colour.  This can include lots of berries, leafy green vegetables, bright orange carrots ….make it a personal challenge to find things that are purple, or a colour that you know you haven’t eaten in awhile.  Avoid alcohol,  excessive caffeine, and sugars which can dehydrate the skin.

Drink plenty of water. Hydration is important in any season.  Water keeps our brains clear, strengthens vitality and endurance, improves quality of sleep and removes toxins from the body.

Get your beauty rest. Your skin repairs itself while you sleep, so a good night’s rest is crucial to good skin health. So how to get a good night’s rest?  Prepare yourself ahead of time.  Turn off technology at least an hour before bedtime.  Do quiet activities.  If you have a busy mind, then write a list of what you need to do so that your mind can relax and rest.  Most important is to get to bed before 11:00 pm. 

Skin care products. Look at the ingredients on all your products.  If you cannot pronounce some of them - keep them off your skin.  Feed your skin with products that contain nutrients and healing qualities such as you would find with essential oils, and seed oils.  Look for skin care with peptides to help rebuild collagen.

Facial rejuvenation.  Did you know that the health of your body organs are reflected in your face?  Through  acupressure, massage, yoga and reflexology your can learn to identify imbalances in your health which show up as wrinkles, discolouration, fatigue and puffiness.  These alternative healing practices are non invasive, calming and assist with whole body balance.  Find a practitioner near you, or learn techniques for yourself through courses such as we offer through 

Remember this, self care and your self love will affect your lifestyle. Generally speaking, your lifestyle will reflect through your skin.  Allow yourself time for self care, to make little changes which over time become healthy habits. Your love of Being IS the greatest beautifier and regenerator.

6 Keys for Manifestation

Manifestation is a forgotten art form.  We talk about positive intention and what we would like to see in our near future, however the art is to actually bring about these visions into physical reality.  This article will give some suggestions of what you can do to bring your desire into your life.
  1. Prayer  What is prayer?  Prayer is communication with your inner divinity.  As you know, you are a microcosm of the macrocosm.  Therefore to understand what it is that you truly desire and wish to create - you must connect to your inner divinity.  Connecting to the divinity within,  connects you to the Divinity of the macrocosm.  Through prayer we align to Divine Will, and from here we encounter power.  The power of desire, the power of words, the power of emotions.  Connection to what brings us joy, what brings us healing.   The first key of manifestation is to ignite the power of desire within us - to feel the emotion of it.  This first action builds the bridge of trust in the success of the Divine plan.  
  1. Visualization  Spend time everyday visualizing what you desire as if it has already materialized.  What does this really mean?  It means noticing the abundance around you, the beauty that surrounds you, the laughter you hear.  It means being fully present and engaged in the world around you.  Like children, they play all the time, they imagine - they are princesses, super heroes, astronauts…..they play.  So as you visualize - think of the joy and playfulness in the abundance.  Soak it up in your eyes and all of your senses… the smells, the touch, how things feel on your skin.  Experience the world through the eyes of the child.
  1. Gratitude  Do not underestimate the power of gratitude.  Gratefulness for a bill - because you had hot water.  Grateful for the little things.  Why is this important?  Gratitude helps negate the energy of longing.  Longing means that something is missing from you life.  Longing blocks you from receiving because it is feeding the energy of lack.  Gratitude also neutralizes and releases the energy of fear.  Imagine and visualize that you are able to receive a bill free from fear, connecting to the emotional energy of being financially sound.
  1. Intention  This is where positive affirmations are truly helpful.  If your intention is to be healthy, vital and strong.  Then say “I am healthy, I strengthen my vitality every day”  Intention is always connected to an action.  Therefore, if using the above affirmation as an example, then your actions will be more in alignment with the affirmation.  You may choose foods which make your body feel healthy, you may sign up for a gym class that strengthens your cardio or increases your flexibility. You may simply make one step as simple as going to bed a little earlier.   Affirmations help you live your intentions, firstly they help connect to an emotion of joy in your heart.  If you do not feel an emotion at first, do not worry, connect to step 2 above, visualize, feel and play. The experience might be smooth and pleasant, or exhilarating and exciting. You will notice that your motivation and joy soar. Link your intentions with  emotions of  joy and gratitude to fuel the creation process.
  1. Repetition  Repetition is the action of constantly bringing an action, thought or emotion into conscious awareness  It serves to re-pattern the brain.  The creation of new neural pathways, with affirmations of wellbeing, happiness and joy.  Repetition allows for the creation of new habits and new ways of thinking and allowing them to solidify in action and reality.  
  1. Ask for the most benevolent outcome  This is a lesson of trust.  Know that you are supported when desire, will, purposeful present engagement  in life are in alignment. Learn to let go of the specific outcome, allowing that something even better than what you imagined will be experienced.
Remember this, when you desperately want something, you concentrate on the fact that you do not have what you want. You put your emotional energy into the experience of deficiency. As any command sent to the universe manifests what you are focusing upon, even more lack turns up in your life.  Using the above tools can help transform your thinking, your actions and ultimately your life into the amazing life that you are meant to live.   Blessings for a wonderful week! Michèle Marie PS: To learn more tools of manifestation register today for our Manifestation workshop on January 12 facilitated by Larisa Boyer.  For more info [email protected]

5 Power foods for vitality and health this holiday season

One of the keys to maintaining good health and vitality is to pay attention to what we are eating.  This may seem like a challenge during a busy holiday season, so here is a quick guide of healthy choices that are quick and easy to add to the day. 1. Eat Berries.  Lots of them.  Berries are considered a super food.  For one thing they are loaded with antioxidants.  Antioxidants help keep free radicals under control.  What are free radicals? Free radicals are toxic byproducts of oxygen metabolism that can cause significant damage to living cells and tissues in a process called "oxidative stress.” Excessive amounts of free radicals can damage your cells. Antioxidants such as anthocyanins, ellagic acid and resveratrol  - found in blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries  can help neutralize these compounds.  Berries also contain fibre, which may help decrease your appetite (as well as binge eating)  2. Eat high fibre foods.  We know that dietary fibre is important.  It helps normalize bowel movements, and the key to elimination is a healthy bowel.  Choose foods high in fibre: Wholegrains, vegetables and fruit, beans and pulses. When rushed in the morning? Eat a high fibre cereal with a handful of berries.  3. Eat foods that fight inflammation.  For example increase your servings of green leafy vegetables, fatty fish like salmon, tuna and sardines. Use olive oil for your dressings.   4. Eat your broccoli.  Your bones are continuously changing — new bone is made and old bone is broken down. This green veggie packs vitamins A, C and K, which helps with bone health, as well as folate. Bones are the structure of our body, they protect organs, they anchor muscles and store calcium.  Folate is a B-vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. Your body needs folate to make DNA and other genetic material. Your body needs folate for your cells to divide. Broccoli contains sulforaphane,  which is thought to help stimulate the body's detoxifying enzymes. 5. Drink tea.  Is tea a food?  Tea is rich in a class of antioxidants called flavonoids  You can maximize the power of its flavonoids by drinking it freshly brewed. In order to preserve the flavonoids and drink your tea throughout the day just add some squeezed lemon or lime.  Flavonoids  reduce pain and inflammation.  Teas high in flavonoids are black, green and white tea.  If you are concerned with caffeine, then choose green or white tea.  Herbal teas are always a good choice, they are not high in flavonoids, yet they contain other beneficial antioxidants. Chamomile tea for example has antioxidants may help prevent complications from diabetes, like loss of vision and nerve and kidney damage, and stunt the growth of cancer cells. Bottom line when dining out or at Christmas parties - choose the fruit and veggie trays. Load up on as many different colours of fruits and vegetables as you can so that you have a variety of antioxidants. Meal planning?  Choose whole foods, fatty fishes, whole grains and include 3 vegetables per meal. The more colour you can find in a white winter season, the more healthy and energized you will feel.

5 tips for making it through the holiday season

The holiday season can bring up many stresses as well as conflicted emotions.  Follow these tips to help keep you present and less stressed this holiday. For some people this is the favourite time of the year, for others, it is a time of stress and pressure with extra busy-ness.  While it can be a time of great celebration and merry making there can also be some deep grieving, or the unearthing of childhood wounds and patterns triggered by family gatherings.   Here are some suggestions to help navigate the next few weeks: 1.  Do things in moderation. Plan what parties and functions that you really want to go to.  You do not need to show up at them all.  It is very easy to drink and eat too much at special events - so everything in moderation.   If you know you are going for office drinks after work, order a healthy appetizer as well.  As much as possible choose foods that are nourishing.  If it is a late night gathering, eat your normal supper before going so that you can moderately eat the hors d’oeuvres.  Also you do not need to be the last one to leave the party.  Your body and spirit will thank you.  2.  Keep to a regular routine. While this may seem odd to suggest when there are so many commitments and functions out there (work or family), it is very important to remember that routine is very grounding.  If your routine includes a spiritual practice every morning, do not skip it.  It will help set the tone for your day.  If you have a regular workout time, honour it.  It is very important to look after your self care.  If you have a regular volunteer day, keep your schedule with it.  Stick to your normal diet as much as you can.  Go to sleep and wake at the same time as much as possible.  Bodies like rhythm, honour your body. 3.  Stay connected with the people who lift you up. You do not need to be alone nor do you need to be around people who are toxic to you.  Make sure that you take the time to connect with the people who value you.  These are earth angels. They will ground you.  Remember to ask for support if you need it. 4.  Eliminate the “should of”  “need to”phrases. Also on the list to eliminate:  I have to. This leads to unnecessary guilt.   Remove those phrases from your vocabulary.  You are a person with free will and choice.  Do not place unrealistic expectations on yourself. A lot of our extra stresses are actually self imposed. If you feel obligated about doing certain things, ask yourself why? Then empower yourself to make a different choice and to take a different action.  Try not to over analyze things, perhaps it is something as simple as having a date with yourself to do something that you really want to do, or something completely different. 5.  Be with people if you tend to find yourself alone. (and don’t want to be) If you find that you are usually alone for the holiday, try to volunteer somewhere.  There are many people who are alone - some because they want to be, but some because they are truly feeling alone  and unable to change their situation.  Volunteer in a facility for the elderly, or check out your local community centre or library for holiday programs.  Sometimes you need to be outside of yourself in order to feel better about yourself.  But more importantly, the opportunity to make a new friend or bring a smile to a neighbour is rewarding in itself and will do much to lift your spirits and self worth. You may discover a gift within yourself that you never knew that you had. Generally speaking take the time to be good to yourself.  Do what feels good .  Take the time for self care. Set your boundaries, you are allowed to say no when asked to do more than you can.  Remember to ask for and accept help when you need it.  Stay in the present moment.  It is easier to see the beauty and gift of the experience if you are looking after yourself first.   Try these suggestions and let me know how they work for you! If you have other ideas to share on what helps you please comment below.

Change of Season – Stay in Balance

Change of season, change of being. The sun is dipping lower on the horizon in this part of the world and with the change of summer flowing into the fall, our bodies naturally flow and prepare with the tune of nature to become more introspective in preparation for the transition from the summer sun and fiery activity to the winter tranquility and coldness. Autumn becomes the time of in between, a parenthesis filled with warm days and cool evenings, sweet scents of abundant harvests and the earthy smells of the decay regenerating the soil. A season filled with activity of a different nature. In Classical Chinese Medicine, the season of autumn is associated with the lungs and large intestine. It is through the lungs that one connects with the concept of Ch’i. What is Ch’i? Ch’i is the breath of heaven. The ancient Chinese believed that heaven initiated life.  Ch’i is energy, an energy underlying life. It is the awareness of this energy that forms the basis of Classical Chinese medicine. It is this basis in partnership with sound vibration and music theory that has evolved Soundtouch therapy. When the flow of Ch’i is disturbed, there can be imbalances in the body leading to dis-ease. This autumn take the time to nurture your Ch’i by bringing awareness to your lungs and large intestine. The lungs receive inspiration, connect with spirit and discover what inspires you. The large intestine allows you to let go the inessential. What is it that you need to let go of in order to act upon your inspirations? Practice breathing. Pay attention to the process of breathing without judging it, just be aware of it. The purpose is to clue into the state of our well-being through the breath. Are we calm? agitated? distracted? focused? Continue this awareness, feeling the rhythmic flow, notice that the heart centre and the mind become steady and more calm. Finding balance in the midst of a transitional season.