I propose to you the self care sleepover as a tip toe into the retreat world. A weekender. You don’t have to go too far and you can still turn your phone off Friday and back on Sunday. Of course I encourage you to create your own ideal weekend. I’ve gone on solo adventures where I don’t talk, only write. I’ve gone on weekend retreats with all new people and made new friends. I’ve brought groups of people together who knew each other and created even deeper connections. The important thing is that you feel a sense of yourself. To go out in nature and be surrounded by the beauty of this planet and the power of the elements and allow them to inspire your being is quite invigorating for the spirit. The element of play and exploration are essential here so we may connect with the awe and wonder of the inner child. And speaking of children…..while it’s beautiful being outside with your family, I encourage this idea of a solo adventure, or as a part of a group where YOU are being taken care of. You stop doing. The idea of being witnessed, nurtured, seen, heard, held, kept safe are all a part of the retreat as well. These qualities bring about a safe bubble to discover those parts of you that need attention. The spaces within you that need healing will become apparent. The real deep work can begin, continue and evolve the more you allow yourself to let go and relax..stop worrying…taking care of others…and begin to take care of yourself. More and more. Until the Self Care Sleepover, the solo vacation, the long retreat, the sabbatical becomes a non negotiable because it’s such good medicine!
If you’d like to join a Self Care Sisterhood retreat, we have one coming up in Las Vegas January 3-5, 2020. You can register here.
Stay tuned for Spring So Cal Beach Sleepver and summer in Ontario,Canada!]]>
Read on magicians and find your answers!!
An altar is defined as a surface used as the focus for a ritual, offering or sacrifice in the religious (or spiritual) sense. Every church or temple has an altar. Every witch has an altar. Most yoga studios have altars.
So what exactly IS it?
Well this depends. Your personal altar should make sense to you. It should include things that remind you of the spiritual views that you hold. It is a check in with your beliefs and what you hold sacred every time you see it or sit with it.
I personally say my daily prayers/incantations/intentions at my altar. I find comfort in arriving there each morning to set my day. I even have a nice big rock on the floor beneath my altar where I often place a foot. I have a spot where I put prayer requests for myself + my friends/family/community as well. I include a vision board + a photo of baby me ~ so I always remember that little girl inside. Personalize it!
Some common things you might find on an altar are: photos of diety or persons, gemstones or sacred rock, natural objects such as pinecone, leaves, sticks; sacred personal objects or ancestral belongings, diety statue, tarot or other divination tools, sacred books or journals and elemental representation. For example my altar holds the elements via a cup (the cup I drank from on my wedding day) and a few shells for water, feathers and smoke (incense or burning herbs) and a blade for air, candle for fire and rocks + an old railroad spike for earth. I always make a center point of something bright and strong when making an altar. I also use black and white crystals, stones and candles to represent the Goddess and God or more simply the polarity of life.
If you are still feeling confused, stop for a moment and close your eyes. Breathe deeply and begin to imagine yourself sitting quietly at an altar. Begin to notice what is on it. Take your time and consider the items that would comfort you in times of prayer or reflection. I also keep an old, small pillow that my grandmother made for me when I was a baby. I sit with it in meditation at my altar. I invite you to be creative! If you’re wondering if you are doing it right…the answer is YES!!!
Do what feels right to you!
When I travel, I always bring a small travel altar to place near where I will sleep. It is my touchstone first thing in the morning and last thing before sleep. Those are the times that I visualize, create, reflect and rest. Having my personal, sacred items there reminds me of the power of intention AND the sacredness in everyday life. It reminds me that I choose to ritualize and honor myself and my life, my process. I choose to show up for myself day after day, trusting that by honoring life as sacred I am carrying on goodness in the world. I am pushing the beautiful life force and love vibrations out into my community. I am remaining curious and open to any failures or disappointments as moments to learn more about myself and grow into a better version of myself.
My travel altar usually has 5-6 pieces: 4 stones representing elements, a center stone or two + sometimes a candle. I like to hold Lemurian quartz crystals in each hand when I meditate, especially when away from home. They hold the message of oneness, of divine love. I like that reminder when I am away from my familiar surroundings. You will find what makes you feel at home.
I also have small altars throughout my house. I have a large, main altar as well as a small, more personal altar in my closet (my meditation chamber) and a work/higher good/goal altar in my workspace.
These are ideas and thoughts. Please do ponder and add your own special flavor!
Be well and have a beautiful day out there!!! If you can~ lift someone up today 🙂]]>
Aaah the heart. The Anahata which translates so beautifully to the “unstuck”. This is our air element, our heart center where the winds of love and compassion blow sweetly, softly.
As I dive more deeply into learning about the chakra system I realize the vastness of this subject as well as the difficulty in translation from the origins in the old Indian texts or Vedas. My intention is to share my journey as it unfolds and point out correspondences that make sense to me. I absolutely encourage you to step into the portal of studying chakras and seek out information from various sources. Most importantly, how does the information resonate with you? The information gathered comes from people’s experience of working with these points of focus.
It is said there are 108-114 chakras. There are 7 in body chakras (I like to think of these as meditation points) and the rest are within the aura of our bodies. They are a system that work together, a map of the mind body connection. The correspondences vary depending upon who/where you have studied. The bit that rings true is all of these things are connected to the whole and all of the qualities listed for each one exist within all of them.
Whew. Still with me? Let’s get right to the heart of the matter 😉
Firstly, the chakras can be visited as you see fit in meditation or comtemplative practice. It is nice to start from the bottom if you are beginning the journey as it’s much like building a house. You would start with the foundation and move upward from there. Once it’s been identified as a structure, it’s easy to visit various rooms within.
Consider my What Color Is Your Light? meditation to become aware of the chakra body overall.
The root, chakra 1, is discussed here. The sacral, chakra 2, here. The solar plexus, chakra 3, here. The lower three connect us to the outer world and our beliefs taken in. The upper three connect us to our divinity, our oneness, our self beyond ego. This is the destination for many who practice yoga. And we arrive to the heart, the bridge between the upper and lower chakras.
The heart or Anahata chakra is located in the center of the chest at heart level. It corresponds to the element of air, holds an abundance of healing energy and is the source of our innermost dreams and desires.
It associates with the thymus, lungs, heart, arms and hands in the body. Some physical symptoms of imbalance include allergies, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, high blood pressure or insomnia. Depending on which way the flow is misdirecting it could show up as relationship problems, codependency, care taking issues or addiction. This chakra governs life from 4 1/2 to 6 1/2 years. We begin to form our beliefs about relationships during this time based on our experiences. We learn about giving, receiving and hopefully self love. It holds beliefs from the time of 17-18 years old and comes through cycle again at 42-49 and lastly at 77-84.
If you have been feeling like a victim, judgmental, jealous, angry, shy, afraid or lonely you may need to bring balance into this area. Luckily, there are many ways! When the heart is balanced feelings of love, gratitude, compassion, passion and joy surface more often.
First and foremost~ always love yourself no matter what. If you need a starting point, give yourself a hug 🙂 If you can go a step further, try “I love you” in the mirror as many times as you can. (this practice is SO powerful and more difficult than it sounds) I created this self love meditation to get you into your heart space.
Common correspondences with the heart chakra are things one can do or bring in to awaken this energy center. Remember, where the focus goes the energy flows……..
I wish you the best on your chakra journey! Let me know how it’s going for you.
~in love and light ~ Mama Shoop]]>
I have been living and loving wildly!
I took a break from output and had an unexpected little hibernation period. I got the internal message that it was time to sit still….put my money where my mouth is if you will. After all, my business is called The Stillness. And so I practiced many things: meditation, yoga, magic, ritual, Spanish, relaxing, swimming, reiki , guitar, sound bowls, baking and tarot. I needed to let things settle and just live life. The big message here is that self care is a practice. Self love is a decision, a choice. When we decide to engage in a practice we must continue to learn, apply, discern, repeat.
Your daily practice IS the work.
I have been experiencing deep meditations with profound healing and releasing. It’s so fantastic to feel the power I have within myself, and also it’s exhausting! We need time to rest after we’ve done the work. The great news is there are many short practices that can really help. This is not to say you can short cut your way through it, but I know most people feel they don’t have the time. But we do. We choose how to spend it. YOU MUST BECOME THE PRIORITY! Remember, how we do one thing is how we do everything. If you half ass your self care, chances are you are cutting corners in life. This is not living life to the fullest or in my opinion, the happiest.
Self care, or a mindfulness for one’s well being, is so important for one who is working through trauma of any sort. Processing is a process. It takes time, energy and some good old fashioned resting to work through stuff.
The only constant is that I show up. Every day I greet myself, find stillness and see what needs to happen. Some days I meditate for a very short time and feel as if nothing happened. Others I will sit for the longest time and feel great calm afterwards. I will come up with excellent ideas and thoughts inspired during these meditation. Some days I can go deep fast, uncover something huge, sit with it, cry it out (or laugh or growl or whatever) and then it’s gone. Do a little journaling, asking higher self what I can do to continue this healing & BOOM it’s been like 20 minutes and I’m so much lighter.
My point is every day is different, and some days suck. You still have to show up consistently to achieve results. It doesn’t mean you messed everything up if you skipped a day or two. Sometimes life gets in the way and I forgive myself in those moments. Then I keep showing up. Meditation works in mysterious ways. It will show up in a moment of drama or emergency, when you need your breath the most in order to stay calm. It can surface for someone else experiencing crazy, and you become the grounding rod of the situation. It can help you step into your stillness and greet your higher self, work with your energy body, discover more about your physical body as well as your surroundings. Your intuition and psychic abilities grow stronger. You will start making decisions based on the true you, not the you that became an image of a parent, lover or societal norm.
A daily practice of stillness, of consciously surrendering the physical body and going inward is a wonderful start. If we can slow down the breath, we slow the mind and the body so they can get connected. In the stillness we can hear, notice and witness ourselves. This is powerful. To just allow yourself to be, and love whatever is. To hold yourself every day and remind yourself that there is love and that you are never totally alone.
I share these things with you because we are all in this together. I do this work to help the world be a better place…..to help us heal ourselves and make the most out of this thing called life. THIS LIFE NOW.
If you’d like to dive deeper, head on over to Patreon and check out the community: https://www.patreon.com/PortaltoSelfLove
If in person time is what you crave, there are many options with me including one on one sessions, yoga classes, Reiki & Sound Meditation Experience and the all new Self Care Sisterhood Sleepover~ a 24 hour session of nurturing and gal time. You can check the calendar for retreats, head over to my website for session info &/or follow along on FB or IG.
Everything you need is within you.
I can help you find the bravery to look inside and love what you find.
Now let’s get to work!!]]>
I have been a busy bee creating content for all on my feed over at Patreon. There are many free practices available in audio, video & writing form. I have guided meditations in various forms as well as short pep talks, yoga and prenatal dance practices.
For those diving deeper, there is an opportunity to subscribe monthly and request the healing you need. I encourage you to hop on over and follow the feed. There may just be a valuable nugget there waiting for you. In other news the Self Care Sleepover has arrived! Check the retreats section as the 2019 dates are added.
As always, I love you!!]]>
Oh lustrous gem, shine bright so that I may grow in your light and transform in the heat of your fire.
The chakras are points of light, energy centers within the subtle, energetic body. It is a Sanskrit term meaning “wheel of light”. There are many chakras oustide the actual physical body and 6 (some say 7) within the body. They run in a column up the exact center (in front of the spine) of the body and have fronts and backs. I like to imagine them as a round lotus. The lower three connect us to the outer world
Chakra 1, the root or Muladhara is near the base of the spine and represents our survival and physical earth connection. You can read more about balancing the root here. It is essential to work from the bottom up when starting this journey, as each informs the other. Chakra 2, the sacral or Svadhisthana in the lower abdomen is our desire, emotion and flow/water. More on this here.
The stability of the root dances with the water of the sacral and enters the fire of the chakra 3 where our will & power reside. This is the realm of action…the arrival of intellect.
The solar plexus, or Manipura chakra is located between the solar plexus and the navel in the physical body. It corresponds to the element of fire and it’s purpose is transformation. It associates with the pancreas, adrenals, musculature and digestive system. Some physical symptoms of imbalance include ulcers, diabetes and hypoglycemia. Depending on which way the flow is misdirecting, one may feel angry, overpowering, manipulative and power trippy *or* weak willed, low energy and easily manipulated. This chakra governs life from 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 years. We begin to form our opinions about power during this time based on the responses we receive from the world around us. There is a need to be seen here. Think of that age 🙂 It’s very “look at me” “watch this”. It holds beliefs from the time of 16-17 years old and comes through cycle again at 35-42 and lastly at 70-77.
If you have been feeling like a victim, sluggish, angry, insecure, frustrated, afraid or a lack of focus, you may need to bring balance into this area. Luckily, there are many ways! The first and foremost thing always is to love yourself, no matter what. If you need a starting point, give yourself a hug 🙂 If you can go a step further, try “I love you” in the mirror as many times as you can. (this practice is SO powerful and more difficult than it sounds) Other ways to nourish your solar plexus chakra include:
I wish you the best on your chakra journey!
I hope you get to bask in the sun today both outside and inside. May the inner smile activate and the inner sun shine upon you.
May you always be happy & free!
Love ~ Mama Shoop
This post is here just to remind you of a few things that deep down, you already know.
YOU are perfect just as you are.
YOU are loved, loving and lovable.
You have access to all that you need in perfect timing, you need only to sit still, ask and listen.
Everything in your life is unfolding in perfect, divine timing.
This lifetime is one small step in a much bigger journey.
One moment can change the trajectory ~ you are one decision away from whatever you visualize.
Life is sweet, short, long, hard, uplifting, downtrodden, perfect, unjust, peaceful and horrific all at once. Nothing is permanent. Breath, inner knowing and trust will guide you. This too shall pass. Please remember to enjoy the ride while it’s happening.
All of my love ~ Mama Shoop]]>
Flow with me through the water, constantly changing, transitioning and emerging.
The chakras are points of light, energy centers within the subtle, energetic body. It is a Sanskrit term meaning “wheel of light”. There are many chakras oustide the actual physical body and 6 (some say 7) within the body. They run in a column up the exact center (in front of the spine) of the body and have fronts and backs. I like to imagine them as a round lotus. The root, or Muladhara, is near the base of the spine and often called Chakra 1. You can read more about balancing the root here. It is important to tend to the root when embarking on the chakra healing journey, as it holds a strong foundation for the rest of the work.
The sacral, or Svadhishthana is located in the lower abdomen and often called Chakra 2. Spring is the season of the sacral chakra, everything is blooming and procreation is in the air! It represents our water, creativity, emotions, pleasure and procreation. It associates with the intestines, abdominal organs, genitals and womb. A sacral imbalance can show up as frigidity, impotence, low libido, cramps, irregular bladder &/or menses, co-dependency, addictive behaviors, depression, lack of desire or emotional overreactions.
So it is here that we begin duality, the one realized self of the root chakra becomes aware of the external world and it’s affect on us. We experience emotion, senses, differences and motivations for movement and change. It governs life from 6 months to 2 1/2 years, so if you lived in a healthy environment during this time it’s a great start. Although, as sensitive young beings we can feel disappointed in ourselves even after a discussion with a loving parent or teacher. It’s tricky! The sacral chakra is in cycle again at age 15 to 16 (oh boy!) and 63 to 70 (looking forward!). The good news is you can work on balance whenever you feel the need.
A great gentle reminder is to always love yourself no matter what as a starting point with any type of self work. If you don’t know how, it’s ok. Think of how you would like to be loved, and start there. Be kind to yourself. 🙂 Mirror work is excellent. Simply look in the mirror and repeat “I love you” to yourself 5 -10 times a day, or until you believe it. It’s harder than it sounds!
Other ways to nurture the sweetness of the sacral chakra:
I wish you the best in your chakra journey! I have a sacral meditation available here.
Yoga set coming soon……
Please let me know how the journey is going for you 🙂 Feel free to join our Facebook group for inspirations and other sisters around the globe to chat with and/or sign up for email notification if you’d like to know about future chakra events, retreats or posts here.
I hope you get out there and find some moon time tonight!
May you always be happy & free~ love you! Mama Shoop
*additional, not so light, reading*
Wheels of Light by Anodea Judith
The Complete Book of Chakra Healing by Cyndi Dale]]>
What the heck is it?
Reiki, the word, via the Japanese Kanji translates generally to
Rei = universal Ki= life energy.
A more refined or esoteric meaning of Rei is that of higher self, divine consciousness or all knowing God, and Ki the non-physical universal/vital life force. So basically the energetic state which contains all of creation past, present and future and lives in all things at all times…..a non-linear type of energy that just always and everywhere IS.
The practice of energy healing is many centuries old and has been found in various cultures. Reiki (with a capital R) as a healing modality was born in Japan in 1922. It is seen as the transferring of this energy by becoming a channel. In 1938 Reiki arrived in the U.S. Most practitioners use the hands, although it can be sent through feet, eyes, breath and thought.
I think of it as an ocean or bubble of energy that we exist within, and we are either floating around in it, or we are actively doing and transforming by being connected to it and channeling the flow. It is an awareness of energy & the power we hold to channel it. It connects us to the oneness of all life. Reiki is an awesome act of self-care, which in turn contributes to global healing.
When we nurture ourselves we are healing the planet.
I started using Reiki in 2004 after I had an experience of energy transference. I came into contact with a very energetically sick/depressed person and I immediately took it on. I felt the actual moment it entered my body. A friend recommended Reiki and I haven’t looked back. I use it daily as a self care tool for healing and protection, and I send it out to friends, clients and family members as well as use on my space, plants and animals.
What does it feel like?
Most experience it as a sense. Some feel a temperature shift while others may notice a tingling sensation. Many clients claim to feel as if the practitioner is still (for instance) near the head when they have moved to the feet. It leaves an awareness of the energy body and our energetic connection to all things.
Reiki is a sense of feeling held. Some experience it as pure love. It is a very healing energy. It has the ability to go where energy is out of balance and bring flow. I have honestly never heard of anyone having a bad experience from Reiki.
One may report more of a neutral experience or not “feel” anything happening, however there are always subtle shifts that may go unnoticed to those not in contemplative practice.
Can Reiki heal anything?
Reiki can ease anything. If someone is sick beyond a cure in their current physical form, Reiki can provide comfort and nurturing. It is something that will give you a more complete experience of yourself, becoming intimate with your own energy. I have had clients uncover emotional trauma and release in the comfort and stillness of a session. Some come to deep revelations about their lives in these moments.
Once you’re interest is piqued by Reiki an introduction class, session &/or healing attunement with a practitioner can be a great way to discover the work further. If you feel called to the Reiki path, finding the right master to study with is the first step. There are many Reiki styles. My classes incorporate chakras, meditation, natural laws, psychosomatics, restorative yoga and shamanic tools because these are essential elements of my practice. Deciding to receive a level one attunement is a sweet act of self love. Level one is all about self care. It initiates healing in those areas of your life that are out of balance. It suggests a more introspective time for you to work in those areas, allow space for healing to take place and discover new ways of being. It is suggested to add a cleanse as well as contemplative practice to your daily ritual when embarking upon the Reiki path. It can be intense as these things come to the surface, yet the rewards of this process are simply astounding. The happiness and freedom you will find from simply loving yourself and nurturing your soul is just the beginning!
It is only when we have tended to ourselves that we can best tend to others.
Reiki is a path. You are coming into a lineage, a way of being that honors all life and the truth of one’s soul. You will have guidance and protection. You will experience profound shifts as you become more aligned with your true identity. You will most likely take better care of yourself. 🙂
Using Reiki in daily practice is also a wonderful way to protect yourself. It puts you in the rhythm of cleansing your energy and being intentional with it.
Continuing with level two is excellent for those who give care such as parents, health care, teachers and anyone working with people or animals. (So basically everyone!) In this level you meet guides and learn symbols for giving the healing to others in presence and distance. It’s a nice way to send healing prayers to loved ones afar.
Beyond this is master level after which you may begin to pass on this knowledge as a teacher. If you think of Reiki as the energetic martial art, this would be your black belt.
In my opinion, every person on earth would benefit from reiki. The non physical realm has been under investigation since the beginning of time, and we are finally beginning to see it in the mainstream. We are also just coming to learn as a culture how important it is to take care of ourselves, and the power we hold within us to heal. We are finding out how connected we all really are, and that by taking care of ourselves we indeed take care of those around us.
This is one step in that journey, one portal you may feel called to step into.
If so, your Reiki family awaits you.
Love you~ Mama Shoop]]>
Self care is about *deciding* to take care of yourself fully in mind, body and spirit.
It’s a great idea because you feel good and grow when you are nurtured. It is a basic and preferred need of humans and animals. Not to mention it is a prerequisite for taking care of anything else in life.
The laws of nature & neuroscience suggest that what we put out comes back to us, that what we create in the mind manifests in our reality.
So it really makes sense to give this some thought. What am I putting out? Is that true to me? When is the last time you sat and had a good conversation with yourself?
Once you make the *decision* to jump on the self care train~ then what? I like to trust that the things we need show up. They were always there, that friend who does sound healing or that meditation class on the schedule at the gym, but now you feel more drawn to them. By following that guidance things will continue to feel good, grow and nurture your soul.
So what will you decide?
I like to suggest starting simple and asking yourself questions.
What do I want? Who do I want to show up as? How can I set myself up to win?
Well, the truth is you are many things. You are all of the emotions at various times and the key is to gather tools for this adventure, Learn to take care of yourself and love yourself at ALL times. Set realistic expectations. This makes it so much easier. Acceptance, mindfulness, a willingness to fail, feel insecure, selfish, judgmental etc. all become a part of the overall experience. You hold the power and wisdom to know these things are teachers and you can breathe through them.
Oh yes my loves breath. It’s THE TOOL.
A great relationship with your breath = great connection with emotions.
A good place to start is deciding and developing mantras that reflect your daily intentions. These can be used every morning to start your day. Think of it as a prayer or power statement to the universe or whatever feels *alive* for you. I like to list the things I intend for the day. It might go something like this:
I, Mama Shoop, am a brave, powerful, guided, protected, compassionate woman who attracts only those situations and experiences for my highest good and learning.
It can be nice to make a few power statements to go along with it. For example:
Add things & people as they come up and you are working on them in your life. Sometimes I need to add: Today I will notice my breath. Today I will notice my posture. etc. Some of these things might seem like Duh! but I like to list them to remind myself, because remembering to remember is THE hardest part of it all.
It’s also about learning to listen. Your *self* (the body, the mind, the soul) will tell you what it needs. Some things are easy to address like hunger or being tired, but others are difficult to notice until you learn to listen to your needs. Self awareness is cultivated in stillness, contemplative practice and in love.
We begin by loving the self. That’s right, I love me!! You love you!!
The first step can simply be looking in the mirror and repeating it to yourself “I love you”. Do this as many times as necessary until you feel something, maybe even believe it. 🙂 This is a powerful practice which I recommend doing daily. I do it always when I get out of the car before I am going to meet with someone, see a client, deliver healing or any interaction. I say it to my love each time I depart, so why not myself each time I leave our alone time together?
A daily practice of stillness such as meditation, restorative yoga or a conscious relaxed state will bring you to closer intimacy with your true self. The desires of your soul begin to arise and answers to your heart’s questions become clear.
This is the power of stillness, of listening.
A simple way to start right now is to sit comfortably (or lie down if you prefer) and soften the body. Slow the breath and let go in the muscles until you feel your skin is gently draping over the skeleton. Notice the breath and it’s connection to the body, the way it is received and surrendered. If thoughts arise, simply go back to the breath. Do this as long as you like. A timer is wonderful in this practice. Start small and work your way up, even if you only have 1-5 minutes it’s something! (Insight Timer App is pretty sweet)
It is important to remember this is a process. The daily practice is the work and the journey. Forgiveness is key, especially of self. Things we’ve experienced or participated in come up, and they’ve occured to us as wrong, but if you can look at it as a teaching you will find gratitude for that lesson and let it go.
Onward and upward.
You’ve got this!
I’d love to hear from you what your self care practices are as well as what you’d like to know more about. As always, I wish you happiness and freedom 🙂