In Search of Gratitude: Start Here

“You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also
 in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.”
~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Recently, I witnessed with awe as a friend struggled through a year of grief, unexpected legal problems, financial distress and more…..alone. These three biggies can trigger depression and bring us to our knees. She felt the full gamut of expected emotions: sadness, fear, anger and loneliness.

And yet, with incredible grace and resolve, she faced her challenges and made her way through the most difficult period of her life. You see, my friend lives with gratitude. It isn’t something saved for when the going gets good. It is why the going gets good.

Every time we talk, my friend speaks of gratitude. And today, she has not only survived the accreditedgratitude-appreciation-articlepositivepsychologyprogram11-10-2016challenges, she’s thriving in ways she never expected. Her life is better than it’s ever been before and not for a moment does she take it for granted.

If you asked her today how she felt about her year of hell, she would undoubtedly answer “I’m grateful for it. Without those experiences I wouldn’t be where I am today.” … Read the rest

International Volunteering: Healing The World – Healing Yourself

“Some travel to see the difference. Others travel to be the difference.”

About ten years ago I was at work, staring at my computer, eating yet another, bland, microwaved Lean Cuisine lunch at my desk. And then my life changed with the click of a button. I was searching the web for something to hold my attention and stumbled upon an article about a woman.

A woman I wanted to be. She had decided to travel the world and volunteer with animals. image1 She had landed in Africa. And volunteered with lions. Several months later … I was doing the same thing.

International volunteering comes in all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to hang out with ferocious lions. You can teach English, play sports with kids, conduct environmental research and yes, hang out with wild animals. The possibilities are virtually endless.

What you do need to do is make the decision. Do your research. Buy your plane ticket. And get out there. Life is short. People and the environment and the animals need your help. But it’s really up to you to pull the proverbial trigger.

So what has to happen for this dream of yours to become reality? Read the rest

Lessons from the “Wild”

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile,
and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
~John Muir

 Many people are familiar with Reese Witherspoon’s role in the movie “Wild,” based on Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 memoir Wild. If you saw the movie, you know the journey she took was no walk in the park

I recently had my own “Wild” experience backpacking a section of the John Muir Trail injackiefoskett-johnmuir3 California for 6 days. And although it was nowhere near as theatrical as the movie “Wild,” it certainly contained many moments that caused me to reevaluate the drama happening in my own head!

Even though I trained and prepared for this trek with my husband for a good 6 months, I still was caught off guard at how much of a struggle it was for me. We were in high altitudes and doing lots of climbing on trails that were strenuous. I was surprised how labored my breathing got going uphill and was sure something was “wrong” with me!

It’s interesting where the mind goes in times of being out of one’s Read the rest

Giving My Epiphany a Window of Opportunity

“We need to work against that culture of always being busy and develop
more realistic expectations of what our brains and bodies can handle.”
~Ruth Wolever

A couple of short vacations over the summer months opened my eyes to the importance – no, the necessity – of resting my brain while experiencing a change in environment and routine, i.e., taking a vacation.

giving-my-epiphany-a-window-of-opportunityA recent bike ride through a beautiful, golden valley in Colorado provided the perfect backdrop for my epiphany.

After just a few days (mostly) disconnected from my laptop and connected to outdoor activities, I began to feel my shoulders drop, my mind open up, my worldview expand and creative energy building.

I heard the voice inside speaking very clearly. What both my body and mind want and need is time for rejuvenation.

Being a soloprenuer of this young business adds an additional layer of challenge in taking time off. There’s always work to be done. And, having grown up on a Midwestern farm where work was required 7-days and 52 weeks a year, work has been part of my routine since I was 8 years old. I know how to work. It’s not working that’s harder for me.… Read the rest

Opening to Our Deeper Presence

“We are the earth, made of the same stuff; there is no other,
no division between us and “lower” or “higher” forms of being.”
~Estella Lauder

When I first opened to the idea of talking to animals, I wasn’t afraid. Other people did this—I was simply an observer, a reporter. But, as I continued to ask questions, pondering how this communication thing worked, I felt my inner world responding. Part of me was stirring, and I grew nervous and excited at the same time. Deep down, something had been triggered—an ancient memory? A dormant skill?—and that something called to me, quietly, yet persistent and tempting. Well, this is not surprising; this is often how deeper awakenings begin.

The very first time I heard an animal speak within my mind, a thrill ran through my body. I felt myself tingling—energy quickening, thoughts evaporating—in a strange, still, moment out of time. There, on the other side of my window: a gathering of birds upon a bush. Window, bird, bush—it is not so much the surface thing that calls to us, but the deeper energy of life force, the deeper call of relationship. It is as if you finally realize that an invitation … Read the rest

Timeless Medicine From The Owl

“The owl offers the inspiration and guidance necessary to
deeply explore the unknown and the magic of life.”
~Native American Teaching

What are you are seeking in your life? Health – Direction – Inspiration?

Every aspect of nature has a unique gift that goes beyond the obvious food or materials each provides. In many cultures, visitations from animals or other creatures are considered “medicine.”

For example, an eagle, who is the national bird in United States represents freedom, power and keen big-picture sight. The mouse has the gift of sensitivity of vision and smell to find details in front of its path. Ants are revered for their great strength and remarkable unity with their colony. Plants, trees and stones also play a large part of “medicine” for us.

As humans, we also have special gifts to offer with our communication, creativity and healing. Each of us has the power and aptitude to connect to the natural world for problem solving, art, music and healing.

annie thoe w monkeysThroughout my life and practice in the healing arts, I’ve been blessed with medicine from countless teachers in nature: from domestic dogs and cats to a wide range of wild animals, including monkeys, gorillas, dolphins, coyotes … Read the rest

Stretching Myself: Body, Mind and Soul

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you
as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you,
and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

~John Muir

It’s the beginning of August and even though summer took a while to get here in the Northwest, I’m loving that it is finally here.

I am a summer lover and refer to its essence as “summertime mode,” which plays an important role in connecting into our innate playful nature; definitely a stress reliever!

This summer I decided to stretch myself out of my physical comfort zone and now am almost ready to leave for my long prepared John Muir Trail hike in the Sierras in California.

john muir trailI’ll be hiking about 60-70 miles or so of it. My amazing husband is planning on doing the entire 221 miles and more given some of the side trails he needs to take for re-supplies and rest stops!

I’m looking forward to it, but also am quite aware that I may have times of struggles.
I may wonder “what the heck was I thinking?”

That’s when I’ll need to STOPRead the rest

The Gift of Astrology – Guidance from the Stars and Planets

“Astrology is a language. If you understand this language, the sky speaks to you.”
~Dane Rudhyar

Astrology is our most ancient science and art dating back thousands of years. All around the world, ancient cultures have used the stars and movements of the planets to gain guidance.

planet mashupBeginning about 400 BCE, the first horoscope was developed. Until the past few hundred years, astrology was valued by almost all cultures. Most of our ancient myths are based on the movements of the planets and how they speak to our experiences on Earth. It is only in the last few hundred years, that we have separated ourselves from the wisdom of the sky and felt that we humans could understand ourselves as separate from the energies of the Earth and sky.

We are now rediscovering through quantum physics what was known in ancient wisdom traditions; everything is energy and everything is interconnected. We live in a holographic universe. The macrocosm reflects the microcosm. The movements of the planets and stars are mirrored in the energies on the Earth. With this understanding, there has been a resurgence and renewal of interest in astrology.

The gift of astrology is that we can gain guidance … Read the rest

Beyond the Horoscope

“I have been criticized and ridiculed for turning to astrology,
but after a while, I reached the point where I didn’t care.”

~Nancy Reagan

My interest in astrology began as a young reader when I wondered what reason you could possibly have for NOT being interested in what your horoscope revealed in the daily newspaper. The questions became more serious when years later, being a Leo, I wondered whether marrying another Leo was a good idea (turns out it was).

More years would pass before my search for life’s true meaning inspired me to look beyond my horoscope and toward the heavens for guidance. My first professional astrological chart reading was exciting and posed a question I’ve been thinking about ever since. My chart revealed that I was destined to share my gifts with the world in a manner that was very far from my then-current career. The astrologer posed the direct question: “When are you going to start doing what you came here to do?” Well. Alrighty then. Guess I had some course correcting to do.

Fast forward a couple years and I’d be strongly encouraged to again have my chart read by Heather Ensworth, a Ph.D. Clinical … Read the rest

20 Ways to Create More Happiness

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”
~ Omar Khayyam

If you have days where happiness eludes you, here’s a few tips from your comrades on the planet that may help shift your mindset for the day. It’s the simple things in life that tend to bring the most pleasure. Try one or more today!

  1. Assume positive intent of others
  2. First thing in the morning, be grateful for all the blessings in your life
  3. Get more sleep
  4. Share the best thing that happened during the day with your partner/family first thing when you get home at the end of the day
  5. Random acts of kindness — randomly pay for someone’s drive-thru order behind you
  6. Think of something you use everyday, make sure it is the best quality you can afford, and take the time to really and care for it
  7. Walk at least 30 minutes a day
  8. Stop comparing yourself to others
  9. Remove advertising from your life
  10. Get a pet
  11. Smile at yourself in the mirror, smile at others – especially strangers
  12. Give more and expect less
  13. Help the people around you
  14. Spend time outside and breath fresh air deeply
  15. Give yourself and others permission to change
Read the rest

The Frequency of Love: Interview with Paul Selig

“What you align to is an accurate reflection of yourself.”
~Paul Selig,

The Book of Knowing and Worth: A Channeled Text*

This thoughtful conversation between Paul Selig and radio host, Adelyn Tvoflove, explores dictated messages from non-physical guides through Paul Selig to help shed light on a new paradigm for raising our personal and our collective consciousness. It is a timely conversation for us as humans, and a reminder that we, as the inhabitants of our planet, must take responsibility for how we operate in the world.

It is a call to action in the most powerful way – from a place of love and compassion – to acknowledge that we are in agreement with whatever it is we are focusing on, and that we empower the energy of thing we are focused on. So pay attention to your thoughts and words and remember that we are what we say we are.

Paul Selig’s Channeled Texts include:

I am the wordthe book of knowing and worththe book of masterythe book of love creation






* Channeling is a natural form of communication between humans and non-physical entities, similar to a language translator. They receive non-verbal communication from a non-physical being and translate it into human words.Read the rest

It’s Time for Summertime Mode!

“Summer, summer, summertime time to sit back and unwind.”
~Will Smith

As a hypnotherapist specializing in stress relief, I recently did market research interviews with busy professional women to delve deeper into their pressing problems and what stresses them out. I wanted to learn more about what keeps them up at night, what their most pressing worries and concerns are and what would they like to disappear in their lives.

A lot of what I heard, I already knew were stress issues for women, but I also learned so much more.

Some of the questions I posed revealed how pressured most busy professional women feel today. They are scheduled from dawn until the lights go out and find they have no room for any free time to just relax, to just “be,” to play!

When asked to create their perfect day, most women described a very unstructured relaxed “let the day unfold” type of day. They imagined walks outside either alone or with loved ones, family time playing together; time to read a “fun” book, all without any of the so called “normal” pressures they currently experience.

In response to the results they would celebrate if their lives were better … Read the rest

The Dog and the Wolf

Æsop. (Sixth century B.C.)  Fables.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.

A gaunt Wolf was almost dead with hunger when he happened to meet a House-dog who was passing by. “Ah, Cousin,” said the Dog. “I knew how it would be; your irregular life will soon be the ruin of you. Why do you not work steadily as I do, and get your food regularly given to you?”

 “I would have no objection,” said the Wolf, “if I could only get a place.”

 “I will easily arrange that for you,” said the Dog; “come with me to my master and you shall share my work.”

So the Wolf and the Dog went towards the town together. On the way there the Wolf noticed that the hair on a certain part of the Dog’s neck was very much worn away, so he asked him how that had come about.

 “Oh, it is nothing,” said the Dog. “That is only the place where the collar is put on at night to keep me chained up; it chafes a bit, but one soon gets used to it.”

 “Is that all?” said the Wolf. “Then good-bye to you, Master Dog.”

Better Starve Free Than Be a Read the rest

Walk Your Way to Health and Happiness

“Walking is Man’s best medicine.
~Hippocrates, the father of Medicine

I’m a believer. What a great time of year to “step” into (or back into) the pleasurable practice of walking outside. Watch and experience the rebirth of your natural surroundings as you awaken your body through movement, one step at a time.

Here are some tips for starting a walking practice and why walking, particularly outside, is good for body, mind and spirit:

  • Walk outside. Did you know we spend 80-90% of our time indoors? Enough is enough. Walking outside and spending time in nature feels good and promotes mind-body health. It beats going to the gym, where the air is stale, it’s noisy, smelly and, let’s be honest, swimming in bacteria. Being outside allows you to experience the natural rhythm of the day and the season while soaking up a healthy dose of Vitamin D. You’ll find that walking outside lifts your spirits and releases stress like nothing else can.
  • Walk alone.Nothing against a social walk; they’re good for you too. But, developing a personal practice of walking alone will take you to an entirely different place. It is a fantastic form of mindfulness meditation and will
Read the rest

Celebrating Growth, Energy and Possibility

“The month of May was come, when every lusty heart begins to blossom,
and to bring forth fruit.”

~Thomas Mallory

May presents the first signs of summer in many parts of the world, including the Pacific Northwest. Life is in full growth around us, resplendent with greens of all hues, blossoms, and filled with lively, baby animals. Life bursts forth with its great push towards the Sun. This is the time of the Green Man and Green Woman, the Lords of all Life.

May is ruled by the sign of Taurus, whose ruler is Venus. This is the country of the Hierophant and the Empress. We see Venus wearing the robes of the Empress when we look outside at the beautiful natural world at this time of year. Birth has occurred, and this is the time of growth, development, and expansion.

Each season of the solar year has its job to perform, its work to accomplish before the next door swings open on its great solar hinge timed to the turning of the earth as it performs the annular passage around the Sun. There is no resistance to this passage, happening like clockwork, year in and year out.

leaf on a treeFollowing this … Read the rest

Stand Tall— It’s Good for You

You can tell a lot by someone’s body language.”
~Harvey Wolter

The way humans’ express victory or celebration is universal: we throw our arms up to the sky; we leap into the air; pump our fist or do a happy dance. Body language can tell us a lot about other states of mind, too. If someone is curled into themselves, head in hands, slumped—it doesn’t take an intuitive to see the person is sad, depressed, feeling powerless.

According to Harvard social psychologist Amy Cuddy, this physical expression of a mental state can also work in the other direction. Cuddy’s research has established that simply adopting a posture can induce a predictable emotional state; our bodies can change our thoughts and feelings. Standing tall, with your arms raised in victory, causes a spike in important hormones that make you feel more powerful and comfortable. Adopting a powerful posture for even 2 minutes can begin to re-wire your brain; fake it ‘til you make it turns out to have scientific justification.

amy cuddyAs Ms. Cuddy points out, this is a great way to prepare for a stressful situation—like a job interview, or a speech— where you want to feel confident and in … Read the rest

Inspiration … Found in an Unlikely Place!

“If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable,
you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.”

~Robert Fritz

I’ve been spending the last eight weeks on the opposite side of the country basking in the Florida sunshine rather than rusting in the Seattle rain at home. It’s glorious. It’s also amazing how quickly a new external environment can spark a very fresh internal query and conversation. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this; years ago I left Chicago to move to Hawaii where everything in those new surroundings also proved to be the catalyst of rapid change and positive growth.

footprints on the beachAs I wander the beach I find myself again taking a curious look at myself to honestly evaluate how I got to where I am now, and then put my stake in the ground for something more that leads to even higher levels of happiness and fulfillment. Just like on the beaches in Hawaii, I am again finding inspiration, this time on the Gulf of Mexico.

In order to find inspiration, we have to hustle for self-awareness asking courageous questions to understand the status quo and stories we … Read the rest

Mindfulness: Why Every Day?

field of grass“Making a time for formal practice every day is like feeding yourself every day.
It is that important.”
~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

Because mindfulness is normal; it is not something special, limited to Buddhists, mystics, academics or psychologists. This is a simple process that any human being can undertake. Mindfulness is not always an easy thing to do, particularly if you have never experienced anything like this before or if you are going through intense pain or strong emotions. But the techniques required to cultivate greater mindfulness are incredibly simple and are available to any human being free of charge. As time progresses, mindfulness becomes easier and easier to develop and being in the present moment becomes as much of a habit as our normal state of distractedness.

Reposted with permission from the rest

Luminary for Emergence: News For the Soul

listen feel your wayCreating Space for Creativity and Intuition

Honoring oneself through self-care can create space for creativity or intuition to come through freely in an otherwise stressful cluttered world. In the February Luminary for Emergence radio show on News for the Soul, Suzanne Ragan Lentz explores how deep self-care accesses intuition.

Read the rest

March Full Moon Eclipse

“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”
~Mark Twain

Chiron with the South Node. What do you have to learn, what can you teach others?

moon over cloudsThe March 2016 Full Moon is a lunar eclipse, so the Moon is partially hidden; a penumbral lunar eclipse. This takes place when the Moon moves through the faint, outer part of the Earth’s shadow. This type of eclipse is often mistaken for a normal full Moon.

Routines, well-worn trails and patterns are concealed, so one must seek a new path, and follow subtle signs that hold personal meaning. The dark side of the moon is hit with the Sun’s light, which translates in metaphor as those archived ideas, where memories are awakened.

Aries Sun asks that you put yourself first. Wake up to the importance of self. Aries is ruled by the action-directed planet of Mars, which has recently moved into broad minded, truth seeking, Sagittarius.

Mars is part of that mutable muddle that occurred at the recent New Moon. Now, we have a new recipe, which includes cardinal energy. Cardinal energy is the “me first” energy of the zodiac. Those endowed with it, initiate, path … Read the rest