Monthly Archives: November 2013

Hitting The Midway Mark in No Sugar November!

Honestly? It’s been way easier than I expected. For me, at least.

My husband has had some twitchy moments.

He estimates his diet is usually made up of about 30% sugar, so he’s been feeling pretty hungry and cranky much of the time. He also just made the transition from working in a kitchen with access to snacks all the time, to packing a lunch. Without the ease of his go-to sandwich (there’s sugar in bread), finding things to pack has been a challenge.

I’ve actually been surprised  with my experience. It’s actually been quite easy!  Turns out, I really don’t eat a lot of sugar normally anyway!  I’ve cut out the few processed foods that were still in my diet, like the odd piece of gluten free bread, and I haven’t had my normal amount of chocolate, but other than that little has changed.

I have made 4 batches of my secret weapon though, the things that are keeping Jeremy sane (along with Zevia pop).

Coconut Manna Cookies!

Nutiva Coconut Manna is basically the nectar of the gods. It’s creamed coconut in a jar.


The cookies I make are a variation on a recipe on the back of the jar:

1 part manna

1 part coconut oil (I use Nutiva as well)

1 part shredded coconut

1 part hemp seeds

Just mix together and drop onto some parchment or wax paper covered baking sheets.

Top with dried goji berries, almonds or raw cacao nibs (or whatever you like, those are just my fav).

The actual recipe calls for 1 part raw honey, but I’ve always omitted that one. They have a delectable sweetness as is.

They’re also hella-filling and full of amazing fiber, protein and loads of good fats. They’re amazing even for breakfast and keep you full for ages. They aren’t low calorie by any stretch, but they’re nutrition powerhouses, so I don’t really worry about it!

I’m going to need to make another batch tomorrow before work. The only issue with these cookies is that they really don’t last long in our household! I’m sure I’ll be making a few more before the end of this sugar free month.

Desire and Destiny- Another 21 Day Meditation Experience

Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey
Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey

So Hum.

Our first mantra in this 21 Day Meditation Experience with Deepak and Oprah.

While it might sound like a statement of boredom or existential ennui, this mantra was more like a rocket ship to inner space exploration.

I’ve used it before, as have millions of people for thousands of years, meaning that those two little words carry an incredible power within them.

It means, I am.

The centering though Deepak offered as an additional layer of focus was: I am my deepest desire.

Then he asked the question ‘Who are you?”

He offered us a moment to consider this before introducing the mantra, and the very first thing that popped into my head was ‘I am that which is love’.

As Deepak mentioned, there is no right or wrong answer to the question of your own personal identity, but I know it’s something many of us have struggled with. Sometimes we use the labels we have in our lives to answer. I know as a teenager I liked to use the Meridith Brooks song Bitch with the lyrics “I’m a bitch, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m a mother, I”m a sinner, I’m a saint, I do not feel ashamed!” I love the song because it sums up our unity with all that is within all the messy contradictions contained in a human life.

As I was listening to Deepak’s introduction, I had immediately started sinking into a meditative state. It was like my whole being just couldn’t wait for the meditation to begin. By the time we officially began, I was already deep into altered state of consciousness.

I’m not sure what meditation feels like for anyone else, but once I’ve dropped in, quieted and focused my mind, I feel electric currents of energy running through me. There is a feeling of pressure on my third eye and crown, and I feel warm, tingly, fuzzy and incredibly alive.

As I repeat the mantra, So Hum, gently, slowly, just speaking the words in my mind, I begin to feel I am the witness to what is occurring in my mind. My consciousness is not what is repeating the mantra, my mind is, and I am observing it, yet I am in control of it as well. I keenly feel the difference between my mind (which is the unique combination of my physical brain and my soul) and my eternal spirit.

With many years of experience working in these altered states of consciousness, I have a few tools to take the meditation deeper, to another level, fusing it with energy work and personal healing.

I began running energy though my body in a microcosmic orbit. At first I have to consciously move the energy with my breath at first, but then it takes on a life of it’s own and my concentration on it is no longer required. This practice is used in all kinds of energetic disciplines, like reiki, chi gong and tantra. This accumulates energy within the body, and I believes it cleanses and cleans out your physical form.

I can feel my consciousness expanding outside of my body, and my awareness is sitting about half a foot above my head. I can feel myself inhabiting my whole auric field, and I bring my focus to my light body. Since my LBL hypnotherapy, I can easily connect with my higher self  and feel the sparkly blue, purple and white energy that radiates from my core. Sitting in my light body, I feel tangibly connected to my whole self.   I know who I am. This human body is a part of me, as I am part of it, but it is not all of me. It does not define me or limit me. I am here, inhabiting it in order to have a human experience. In order to feel the joy, pain  and freedom of expression of being in a physical form on this plane, at this time, in this dimension.

I am what I am. An eternal being of light, who came from the divine source which is only love in order to be an individual unique expression to add to the beauty and complexity of all that is. I exist to learn, grow, play, experience and to love. I choose to be here, right now in order to do those things on Earth.

My deepest desire is to love and to serve using my talents and gifts. These are to help you remember who you are, and to support you on your mission. In order to do that, I want to help you take very good care of yourself, because you are also an amazing, radiant being of light here on a mission to love, learn and grow. I want you to know without a shadow of a doubt just how awesome you are. This is my destiny.

So Hum.

I have been repeating the mantra in my mind as my consciousness has been playing in layers of mysteries and understanding.

That is the beauty of meditation. It’s not just about focusing the mind, that’s just the first step which quiets the mind so you can hear your soul, feel the universe speak, see the spark of divinity that resides within you and know who you truly are.

Photo by Cadencia Photography

Sacred Circularities Sedona 2013

My Sacred Circularities experience in Sedona was so jam packed with amazing transformational experiences, I don’t think it can be properly conveyed with mere words. To give you a real sense of  how I feel about it would require enthusiastic hand gestures, jumping up and down and a few funky dance moves thrown in. Maybe some fireworks and an orchestra playing in the background as well. So, as I share the experience with you,  imagine a symphony accompanying my words and maybe a choir of angels, or castrato altar boys. Maybe some explosions too, just at the dramatic parts.

Ok, now I feel like maybe I’ve built it up too much. Instead of the symphony and chorus of heavenly host, imagine Djembe and Hang drums with African rhythms, Native American Flutes, sacred mantras sung in harmony, the crackle of a roaring bonfire and the whoosh of a fire hoop. Oh, and coyotes cackling in the not so far off distance.  Also, imagine being in the Arizona desert in the fall, so the air is cool but the sun is warm,  on acres of incredible desert terrain, surrounded by the stunning red rocks on land dedicated to meditation and spiritual enlightenment, surrounded by vistas like this:

Mago Retreat Center, photo by Beth Lavinder
Mago Retreat Center, photo by Beth Lavinder

The Mago retreat center is gorgeous!  About half an hour from any other developments, down a red dirt forest service road, it feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere.  As you drive in, the first thing you’re greeted with after the gate is a figure like this friendly Taoist master, who I keep thinking of as a wizard. Definitely sets the tone for the magical feeling  you get from this land.

Taoist wizard staff spinning statue at Mago. Remind you all of anyone we know?
Taoist wizard staff spinning statue at Mago. Remind you all of anyone we know?

Everything about the retreat center exudes peace, serenity and healing. After checking into my casita, home for the next week, I wandered the grounds to find my bearings. I came across the swimming pool and a very epic tribute to another Taoist master.  The weather was perfect and I was so happy to be there with a little time to myself to soak it all in before loosing myself in the upcoming spiritual shenanigans.

As I approached Earth Hall, our venue for the week,  a giant globe popped up out of the desert, surrounded by statues of children playing. In a half circle around the kids were giant golden statues of spiritual masters; Jesus, Mary, Confucius, Chief Seattle, Mohammed, and a Taoist master, all beatifically looking down upon the children and the earth, holding space for all of our work this weekend.

Photo by Beth Lavinder
Photo by Beth Lavinder

Our first official event was a meet and greet which of course turned into a hoop jam. Just seconds into playing with my Synergy hoop I fell into the absolute bliss that I had been longing for. The swirling vortex energy coming from the earth had been calling me to dance in it for years.

After a delicious first meal together where we may or may not have honored the mindful speech posters peppering the dining hall, we returned to Earth hall for a Sacred Cacao  opening ceremony.  The energy within our circle was so vibrant and alive! Looking around at all the bright shining faces I knew some radical transcendence was going to transpire over the week. Our night was punctuated by the laughter of coyotes outside the hall, and many of us could feel the presence of something bigger than us descend into the room. Perhaps it was the Sacred Circularties oversoul, along with all our guides, ancestors, spirit animals, totems and friends, along with all the elementals, devas and nature spirits, the energy of the divine source, and all other beings of the highest vibration who were there to support our journey. We called it all in.

There were so many amazing classes, and moments after that I’ll have to just share a few highlights, but every class was worthwhile and appreciated. I loved starting my mornings with Qi Gong with Shelly White Light. The first session I went to was great,  but it was the second day when we had a smaller, intimate group journey with the same warrior’s breath exercise that was really incredible for me. The emotion and energy that moved through the group brought us individually and collectively to tears. It felt like a deep lineage healing and clearing on behalf of all women, as well as a profoundly personal healing.

The dream workshops with Jane Carlton were also incredible for going deep, deep within yourself. The shamanic drum journeys were vivid and wild.  First I journeyed into a wolf’s den with my spirit animal, where he accepted me into his pack, only to play a horrible prank on me (spirit has a wicked sense of humor). Then I wound up shifting my perspective to several other creatures’ points of view,  from the wolf, to an ant walking between giant blades of grass, all the way down to an amoeba.

On a second shamanic drum journey in a subsequent, more intimate workshop with Jane, we journeyed to find our healing pools. I found mine in a different, very exotic dimension. That was another journey with aspects shared by our small group, many of us seeing elements of each others’ dreams, like phosphor-luminescence, canopy beds and a representation of our divine masculine consort. So much fun to know you’re traveling as a pack in dream space.

The Theta Healing with Jocelyn Gordon was another profound group meditation journey. We connected up to divine source energy and came back down together, healing and downloading new programs of thought and belief systems to upgrade our lives. I’ve done many of these journeys alone, but I find the energy of the group really heightens the experience. After our journey, I could feel how we were all vibrating at a higher frequencies.

There were of course, many great hoop classes over the week. I learned some super badass new breaks from Ann Humphreys  and appreciated core hooping all over again with Anah Reichenbach (Aka Hoopalicious). Anah also had us plank, do jumping lunges and dance as weirdly as we possibly could. Fantastic fun was had by all (except during the lunges, those were hard!) Rainbow Michael blew our minds equating Anti-spin to planetary movement and cosmic alignment. Jocelyn Gordon kicked our butts and reminded us that LIFE IS AWESOME! (Oh yes, it is!) in her HoopYogini classes and Julia Hartsell unlocked some amazing spiral movements in her sustained spinning workshop.

A major highlight of the week for me was playing with texture and possibilities in Beth Lavinder’s workshops. She equated hoop dance and movement to textures in fabric, saying when she watched someone hoop, she could feel the texture of their dance. Such a beautiful, apt metaphor that I completely understand as a very tactile person. Watching Beth dance feels like silky smooth satin, and dancing with Beth feels like magic.

There were a couple workshops that really combined spiritual and transformational aspects with active movement, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Julia Hartsell’s ecstatic spin jam was the first, and it was so easy to drop in and bliss out with her spectacular play list. Khan Wong’s two movement classes involved deeply witnessing a partner’s soul essence through movement and art. I feel as if you can’t help but fall in love with the person you witness when you see them move authentically. My partner (whom I was so deeply moved by and honored to witness) said we need to get the whole world to do this with each other. Imagine that… to see the authentic soul essence of a stranger would be to suddenly know them intimately. How different the world would be.

The Five Elements Ecstatic Dance and African dance classes with Malaika were so incredibly wonderful and powerful. In all of them she created such a community feel, inspired by African villages… We danced, sang, laughed and moved together as one tribe, one entity. I also had the privileged of booking a Lomi Lomi massage with her, a Hawaiian spiritually based body work modality that was one of the most wonderfully holistic healing experiences I’ve had to date.

There were also two amazing Yin yoga/sound healing classes lead by Rainbow Michael. The first was so relaxing, we were all puddles of blissfully resonant ooze at the end. There was a spin jam scheduled for afterwards, but I think we all just went to bed instead (at least my wonderful roommate and I did).  The second class was just before the  closing ceremony. Rainbow was careful not to melt us into puddles again, but the long, relaxing poses stretching all the fascia, ligaments and connective tissues in our bodies was the perfect way to end the retreat.

It wasn’t until the last full day that I wandered into the healing garden, but I’m sure it was perfectly timed. I may have spent too much time there if I had known about it earlier in the week. It’s a vortex site with a beautiful lake, with many a spot to sit and meditate and soak in the energy.

My blissful waterfront meditation. Photo by Beth Lavinder
My blissful waterfront meditation. Photo by Beth Lavinder

That might have been the most relaxing part of the week, although our trip out to Boyton Canyon and dinner at the Chocola Tree were right up there as well. Did I mention they provided a smoothie service to us in between classes? YUM! Then there was also the divine Hoop Kirtan experience and the ridiculously fun talent showcase where we saw talents of all kinds explode from our friends (SO MUCH TALENT!) I also can’t forget our full moon fire ceremony where we popped quite a few fire hooping cherries! I had the opportunity to briefly double fire hoop for the first time, to live drumming. It was indescribable to have the chance to play  and dance under the full moon in ceremony with  my Sacred Circularities tribe.

I want to give huge props and a million thank you’s to Jaguar Mary, the Divine Creatrix of Sacred Circularities.

Her royal purpleness, Jaguar Mary. Photo by Jessie HoolaHoops McGee
Her royal purpleness, Jaguar Mary. Photo by Jessie HoolaHoops McGee

The schedule was absolutely perfectly made and she was able to hold such a safe, peaceful container for all of us to shed our skins, open ourselves up, be transformed and taken to the next level. I can only begin to imagine the intricacies of throwing such an event, but she handles it all so gracefully. She also had a few wonderful, radiant volunteers who I thank deeply, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you’s also go out to every single person who was there. Thank you for being so profoundly authentic and willing to share your experience and transformation with us all.  You each have a piece of my soul and I will hold space for all your hopes and dreams in my own heart.

Photo by Cadencia Photography
Photo by Cadencia Photography

More Gentle Reminders From The Universe

Just days after my remedial manifestation lesson, I’ve been reminded of a truth about myself and self care.

I need to move and dance in order to be happy. I really learned this lesson when I had a broken foot and couldn’t dance for 2 months. Over the years, I’ve made movement a part of my daily life and I make sure I dance a few times a week at least.

A shoulder injury I sustained while sleeping (how lame is that?!?) the day after I returned from my epic journey to Arizona has kept me pretty chill for the last 2 weeks. I have only hooped when  I needed to, when performing at and rehearsing for the Fierce Woman Awards last week. I also had to pare down my daily yoga routine to just a few simple stretches to keep me from seizing up. Today was the first time I was able to chaturanga without too much pain.

I was actually surprised my ability to keep it together even without my daily routine of movement. I thought I had become dependent upon it to function, addicted to it in lieu of coffee in the morning. I was fine though. More than fine, my mood since I’ve been back has been as high as it’s ever been. Joyous really. I felt amazing. My cup was filled up to overflowing in Sedona and everything just kept being awesome. That is, until yesterday.

Yesterday, by the afternoon, I felt cranky with no real reason. My husband was cranky as well, and I blamed it partially on him… I tend to have a hard time being happy when he’s cranky. The no sugar thing has been hard for him, since he doesn’t actually like bitter tasting foods. I should have been prepared for this. He even warned me.

But I just couldn’t get into anything yesterday, and felt vaguely frustrated and disinterested in all things even when I went to bed.

I woke up feeling better today, but still not quite my shiny, happy radiant normal state. That is until I put on a grizmatik track as I was making coconut manna cookies in the kitchen. Coming through my new nifty Bose speaker it sounded SOOO GOOOD and it was SOOOO FUNKY I couldn’t help myself. I had a dance party in my kitchen. My shoulder did not feel awesome but the rest of my body and soul had outvoted it.

After 5 minutes of getting down, slip sliding, popin’ and lockin’ and booty shaking in my fuzzy slippers lifted my soul up and into the stratosphere.

OH YEAH, I remembered. I need to move. If I don’t, energy gets stuck in my body and interpreted as frustration. I knew this from experience, and it was confirmed during that hypnosis session. I’ll wonder what’s wrong with me and the world, when I all need to do is shake my groove thing. Dancing is one of the most healing and transformational activities on the planet.

I can’t believe I forget that sometimes.

The beautiful icing on the cake was sitting down, moments later to the beginning of my creation coach class only to find the topic was ‘Transforming Energy Through Dance..’ Thanks for the gentle reminder universe!!!

Remedial Lessons In Manifestation

My cats Moo and Q  have been driving me crazy at night ever since I got back from Sedona. Actually, it’s been for longer than that, but maybe the 10 days of blissfully uninterrupted sleep has made me notice how annoying it is to be woken several times a night by a cat meowing at my door.

The problem developed when they were wee little kittens.

Moo and Q, being odd
Moo and Q, being odd

They were way too crazy at night to sleep with when they were little. Not only would they get into everything in the room and make lots of noise, but they also would attack toes and faces while we slept, so they were always eventually kicked out of the bedroom when we went to sleep.

When I inevitably woke up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, Q would be waiting for me by the door. She’d be adorably affectionate, purring and rubbing against my legs. She’d even follow me into the bathroom and try to jump on my lap for cuddles. Since she’s not an overly cuddly cat during the day, I was suckered in by the show of affection. I would pet her and tell her I loved her and probably said a lot of really dumb things.


What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was being woken by her teeny tiny meows that were barely audible. As a kitten, she barely squeeked. Someday, probably when she was a teenager, she found her voice and her meows were now loud enough to jolt me out of my dreams. At this point, I found it far less cute, but I was still too much of a softy to punish her. I would just tell her to stop. Sometimes I would chase her. Sometimes I would spray her with water, but nothing seemed to deter her.

I’m pretty sure she would put her face right down into the crack of the door and HOWL!

Unfortunately for women every where. A cat’s meow sounds a lot like a baby’s cry. They manipulate our weakness for poor helpless infants. Sadly, many men seem immune to the sound.

I could hear these meows right though my ear plugs and white noise machine. Sometimes it got so bad that I would hear phantom meowing while I was trying to fall asleep.
On Friday night, she got me up 6 times. Sadly, I just couldn’t really get mad at her (I told you, I’m a sucker). She just wants to be with me and the only reason she can’t is because her brother meows if he’s in the room while we’re trying to fall asleep.

That’s right. One meows when he’s in the room with us. The other meows when she’s outside it.

GAH! Silly part Siamese cats. Sometimes I wished I didn’t love them so much and I wasn’t such a pacifist, because I felt like doing them harm would feel so good!!!!

You can see I was getting a little desperate.

A turning point happened the other day when I read the phrase “What we resist persists” and something clicked.

I realized that in many ways I was resisting them being in the room out of  sheer stubbornness. I wanted to know what might happen if I decided to welcome them into to room instead, shifting my perspective.

I also realized that I had been begging them to ‘Stop meowing!’  In my sleep deprived haze, I forgot the primary rule of manifestation. State what you intend to create in the positive, not the negative.The universal laws of manifesting work like computer programing. You can’t tell a computer not to do something. You can only tell it to do something.

When I commanded “Stop meowing!”, all it and they (and the universe) heard was “Meowing!”

I changed my language to the positive desired outcome.

” Be quiet, kitties and you’ll get to stay in the bedroom!”  I may have also said please. Good manners never go out of style!

So on Saturday night,  after setting my intention to “having  quiet, undisturbed sleep” and having a small talk with my cats, I kept the door open and went to sleep.

The only time I heard a meow was when Jeremy kicked Moo.

Fair enough.

I make sounds when people kick me too.

This new arrangement has worked beautifully so far. I have hear the occasional meow, and been stepped on once or twice by a cat, but by and large I’m getting far more sleep.  I’m also shaking my head that it’s taken me 2 years to figure it out. I’ll leave you with another strange picture of my dear, sweet, strange cats.

Moo and Q, being weird.
Moo and Q, being weird.

Sugar Free Novemeber

I have been challenged to a duel.

My husband stated that there was no way I could go a month without sugar.

I’m can’t quite remember what prompted the statement. I think we may have been discussing my love for chocolate.

“Ha!” I scoffed. ” Me? The one who hasn’t had a drink in over 10 months? Mrs. Willpower??? I’d be fine, YOU would be the one who couldn’t go a month without sugar!”

Suddenly, it was on like Donkey Kong.



We decided it would be too hard to enforce while I was traveling in Arizona and Jer wanted to wait till after his birthday. The logical time to start was just after Halloween, on November 1st.

That’s today.

I had my last chocolate bar (ok, two chocolate bars) at 10pm last night. I felt slightly sick afterwards, which is a great start. It’ll make it easier to keep the monkey off my back.

Our rules are simple. No processed/added sugars. Naturally occurring sugars in fruits and veggies are fine. I argued to keep raw local honey as I think there are lots of health benefits, but since he doesn’t like raw honey that didn’t really go over too well.

I’m not a sugar fiend by any stretch. I don’t like candy. Really, the only sugar I crave is in chocolate, but I can be satisfied with raw cacao. The trickier part for me will be avoiding the convenience of things like gluten free bread. We’re going to wind up eating a lot of unprocessed whole foods and I’m pretty stoked about it, but by mid-November, I’ll probably be jonesing for some Udi’s Chia Millet bread toasted with natural PB.

Should be an interesting challenge though. I think the healthy competition might be a fun way of spicing up our relationship. Maybe. I can’t say I’ll be a gracious winner. There might be an “In your face!” or “Suck it!” that slips out, much to my chagrin. Mostly because he started it. This whole thing was his idea and I don’t think he’s ever really seen my super competitive side. Hopefully he finds it cute and endearing.

Let’s DO THIS!