My Hands

These galactivated hands,
I know to be divine
Bringing forth the patterns
Seen with my mind’s eye

Strong energy swirls
Like magnets in my hands
They shine the light of truth
When even I don’t understand

They push-pull with the moon
They whisper Cho Ku Rei
They create divine transmissions
Working as they pray

These hands are
healing hands, creative hands
loving hands, working hands

These hands were made
To celebrate
My God.

Women’s Work & The Rise of the Divine Feminine

15 years ago, a friend asked what my life purpose was. 

At the time I was in college full time while running a small eco-friendly cleaning company in Seattle. I served in the Air National Guard at least one weekend each month and spent my free time working out and volunteering as a coach with Girls On The Run, a non-profit organization whose mission it is to “inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.” I had also just returned from northeast Thailand where I had volunteered at a girls’ orphanage playing and speaking English with girls ranging in age from six or seven to late teens. My life was full of impassioned pursuits and adrenal-busting activity levels. I was doing all I could to sort out leftover pain and tortured emotions stemming from an abusive childhood, while seeking security and validation from the outside world.

I told my friend that I was here to “help young girls find their way”. I had made a lot of progress in my own life and naturally inspired friends and acquaintances along the way when I shared myself authentically. I was in my mid-twenties at the time and only felt qualified to help those on the path behind me find their way to a greater sense of wholeness and well-being. At the time these were “young girls” to me, like high school and younger. 

When my friend and client asked what I thought my purpose was, I was caught in the mire of a patriarchal paradigm that required full activation of my masculine side while suppressing my feminine. I lived in a competitive world where my business sense was valued while my intuitive sense was dismissed as “woowoo” or imaginative, while “facts and figures” equated with truth. I lived in a world that required a constant, high-energy output on a regular work-schedule regardless of the season, my health, or where I was in my cycle. I lived in a world where I was pitted against my peers and my drive was valued. I made spreadsheets instead of art. I thought training for marathons was an act of selfcare, instead of the start of an adrenal crash, as I see it now. I counted money instead of blessings. I was hustling hard to establish a sense of physical security without an opportunity to rest and restore. Because of this, my psyche was disintegrated and I was out-of-touch with my own gifts and passions. I have spent the last 15 years dismantling that world and moving into alignment with who I am at my core. And, who is that?

Yes, of course I believe that I am infinite source consciousness, one with all and nothing, one with the ineffable G-O-D. BUT, on this plane and in this reality, I am pretty identified with Stephanie who loves yoga, art, poetry, healthy meals, reading, writing, sharing, dancing, praying, animals, watching the moon and all of nature, nourishing and working with women at my retreats. And that is the life that I have worked to create for myself, a life built from the inside-out, in alignment with who I am. 

This didn’t happen by accident; I have been cultivating it for as long as I have been “doing the work” to search my soul and release old programming ~ misguided beliefs that kept me locked into a competitive mindset, led me to join the military, get a business degree, pursue a money and ego motivated career, date the wrong men, etc, etc. It took a lot of clearing to make space for more of my authentic spirit to emerge and I’m still clearing that space. Alignment is not a destination but a practice for living.

When I answered my friend about purpose, I didn’t have the words at the time but was searching for something along the lines of “women’s work”. Now that some time has passed and more of my life has unfolded, I’m beginning to see that my path has been typical within the rise of the divine feminine. 

Recently I have come across people, books, retreats, and workshops that keep pointing me to this energy rising within the collective conscious field that has been activating the minds and hearts of women everywhere, calling us to rebalance the masculine and feminine energies as they are manifesting in our own lives and among the larger collective of society. The rise of the divine feminine is also calling conscious men to look within and allow this softer way of moving through the world to rise up, as they honor and hold the space for this rebalancing. This looks like a shift from control, domination, and greed to freedom of expression, cooperation, and nurturance. This looks like wars ending and a less violent culture. This looks like healthy families thriving with plenty of quality time together. This looks like celebration of and respect for nature, the seasons, and all natural cycles. This looks like healthy emotional relating and communities where we are supported and celebrated for our natural gifts and talents, whatever those are.

Asheville is like nowhere else I’ve ever been. Knowledge of the chakras, archetypes, ancient medicines, and other dimensions seems almost commonplace here. My new circles are aware of and tapped into the same subtle energies and ideas that I am. These parts of my awareness and personality have never found comfort or acceptance as they were always considered “out there” by past friends and family members. 

When I answered the mysterious call to relocate to this area, I wasn’t sure what I was doing or why I was here but I’m beginning to see a bigger plan at play. I suspect that I was led here to learn, share, and develop ideas that will evolve my retreats to specifically serve women, bringing a nuance and depth that will spread these ideas and shift perspectives. They will ripple out to affect and help rebalance the energies all around them, serving the collective as well as those who join me on retreat.

I find purpose to be a loaded word and feel that my “purpose” can not be defined. It is simply the result of a life lived in alignment with spirit, a life where whatever work is accomplished comes from a place of inspiration, joy, passion, and synchronicity. But now that I’m really beginning to understand what women’s work is, I’m feeling called to spread the news… it’s time for a new program! It’s time to let the old patriarchal world fall away. It’s time to prioritize our own health, self-care, and expression! 

As we individually heal this imbalance within us and move into alignment with our true spirit, so does the world. I am here to hold space for this. I’m here to inspire and ignite. I’m activated and excited and I know there is more here to come.

Parting

It’s been a while since we’ve spoken
You’re going your way
And I’m going mine
It seems our world has broken
And it’s tearing at the threads of time
Life was never predictable
But we’ve never seen something
Like this before
And rather than holding onto the shore
I’m releasing into the flow
I know not when we’ll meet again
But I know you’ve been
A longtime friend
And though our paths are parting
I’ll love you in the end

Kitchari

We’ve been enjoying kitchari lately so I thought I’d again share my favorite food, the reasons I love it, and how I make it.

Kitchari is Indian porridge made from beans, rice, and spices that has been used for centuries as both food and medicine to nourish babies, elderly, pregnant and postpartum women, and anyone with compromised health. It is also used as a form of cleansing in Ayurveda (a system of health originating in India that truly uses food as medicine).
*So nutritious! The combination of rice & beans contain all the amino acids to form a complete protein as well as dietary fiber, anti-aging and cancer fighting antioxidants, & essential vitamins & minerals such as iron, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, folate, copper, zinc and various B vitamins. Spices involved reduce inflammation, flush toxins, increase circulation, boost immunity, helps digestion and absorption of nutrients.
*Easily Digested! When made with split yellow lentils and long grain white rice, it does not cause gas. It is often used as part of a mono-diet cleanse to give the digestive system a break so it can strengthen and flush toxins from the body without weakness.
*Easy To Make! Use all organic ingredients to avoid introducing new toxins. I don’t measure amounts of any of this. I recommend experimenting with the flavors, finding which spices & proportions are yummiest to you. You can add more at the end (except for fennel and mustard seed which need to be cooked in oil first) to bring up the spiciness. Over time, you’ll find the right combo for you.

*Recipe Outline

Ghee or Coconut Oil
Split Yellow Lentils
Brown Mustard Seeds
Fennel Seeds
Long Grain White Rice
Ginger
Turmeric
Coriander
Cumin
Black Pepper
Cinnamon
Salt
Lime
Cilantro

1. Heat ghee or coconut oil (if vegan) on medium low and cook brown mustard seeds & fennel seeds until they are “dancing” (jumping, reacting to the oil and heat), then add 2:1, rinsed yellow lentils to long grain white rice.
2. Add salt, water (double the amount of lentils + rice), and ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin, black pepper, and sometimes cinnamon.
3. Heat to boiling, then reduce to low for 30-45 minutes and cover the pan, adding water if necessary, and cook to a mushy consistency.
4. I like to add additional ghee and salt when serving, along with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.

Energy Body

I referenced the energy body in a previous post of mine and a friend asked me to say more. I’ve been wanting to write about some of my experiences for a while so I thought I’d put together a whole post about it. I made notes during my practice today and here’s what I’ve got.
The energy body is a system of the body as real as any other system such as the respiratory system, nervous system, digestive system, etc. It essentially functions as an interface between the mind and the body.
It is made up of energetic lines, like invisible circuitry in the body. These are “nadis” in yoga and “meridians” in Traditional Chinese Medicine. They are “subtle energies” because it usually requires stillness and awareness to feel them. Once you tap into them, you notice a lot of information is stored here through thoughts and emotions around your life experiences. When this energy is blocked through psychological hangups and physical ailments, the energy no longer flows freely. There is a lack of ease… a dis-ease… the beginning of disease.
My experience.
I practiced yoga for ~7-10 years before actually understanding the energy body. There were often vague and incomplete references to the chakras in my yoga classes, often accompanied by a lack of grounding or experiential wisdom so none of it really landed with me. Then I read Eastern Body Western Mind by Anodea Judith. She’s an expert on the energy body and marries eastern and western understanding of the body and psychology, leading to a more holistic understanding of the mind’s presence throughout the body and its effects. She has other books like Wheels of Life, which is simpler, but I think EBWM is her best.
While in Ecuador, I had a few experiences in meditation and also a more dramatic kundalini experience during yoga which I will share about another time. I was also learning reiki on YouTube (ha! :)) and became tuned into the energy centers of each hand. I will describe them as send and receive swirls with a magnetic-like pull.
In India, I spontaneously left my body, saw auras, had meaningful dreams and visions, heard messages, and more. I soon went to a vipassana meditation retreat and felt the actual vibration of each part of my body. (I wrote about this – if anyone has interest, I can find the link to that write up.) I was sober for all of this. Other people have also helped tune me in through healings and conversations. Fortunately things have calmed down since it was overwhelming but I’m still in touch with much of this. When I’m laying still, I can feel the subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle vibration of my body. It hums.
It does not have to take 7 years to understand this. Here is how I’d suggest connecting with the energy body:
1. Learn About It.
Prepare for it intellectually by reading or listening to teachers discuss it.
2. Invite It.
Engage in energetic practices like yoga, meditation, reiki, and other energetic practices.
3. Experience It. Knowing it in your body, first-hand.
Once you are intellectually prepared/informed, expect “aha” moments to occur in the experiential realm of learning.
Practice mindfulness of the body while experiencing strong emotions. Do this more and more often – check in with yourself.
You can feel the stream of energy in the movement of yoga or the stillness of meditation. You can actually feel it all the time if you’re tuned into it.