Mastering the Mind

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The last time all of my siblings were home in June, we had a book club. One of my brothers had read THE FIVE REGRETS OF THE DYING by Bronnie Ware and he decided to gift each of us a copy to also read and discuss when we were together next.

The book was really good and contained lots of lessons on how to LIVE life well (I recommend it!). It was interesting to also have a conversation with my family about it afterwards, to hear what struck them as thought-provoking, what resonated, and to talk about how we each wished our death to be. Not casual dinner conversation that we regularly have, that’s for sure!


One thing that has stuck with me from our conversation was a question one of my brothers posed to each of us about our mind and meditation process. The author shares different life examples of times in her life when her thoughts were a little unhealthy and how she found a daily practice of meditation or creating art or finding routines that helped manage her mind, rather than getting carried away with worry or anxiety or fear or scarcity or a plethora of other monkey-mind thoughts that can take you in a downward spiral.


So I’ve been contemplating this question over the past month… what do *I* do to master my mind??


Of course, as you probably already gathered from following me thus far, BREATHWORK is a huge tool for meditation for me. I also find WRITING and JOURNALING helps me process my thoughts and tap into my inner truth rather than my inner critic. BUT! I don’t do either of these things on a daily basis. And yet, I feel more grounded, balanced, and in tune with my intuition than I ever have in my life so far. What else is it that might be helping me to sort through all the mind’s voices?

And the answer hit me:

Nature.

Pretty much every day, I’m out in NATURE. Because I have a dog who needs a certain amount of exercise each day, I’m at the dog park every day, every week (except for on the weekends when it’s my man’s turn!). Rain, snow, or shine… we are outside. And because Minnesota has AAAAAAMAZING dog parks, I’m in beautiful locations with lots of trees and paths and bodies of water and earth to tap into.

THIS is my daily meditation practice that brings me back home to my center.

Of course, just like meditation, not every day is easy and blissful. Sometimes the bugs are bad or it’s super hot and humid or the wind is raw or I still get caught up scrolling through my phone or Moon rolls in something dead (yuck). But when I return home, I’m still more connected to myself than I was before we went and I’m grateful for it.


On Wednesday this week, we had a new moon - the time of the cycle where it’s helpful to go inward and re-evaluate or tune into what new things you are ready for. Take a moment today to inquire about your own routines and rituals that you do daily that help you to ground and center. Are they working for you? Do you need to tweak them? Re-devote yourself to them? Give gratitude for them? Try something new for this moon cycle?


Here’s your new moon reminder to set little structures for yourself - little touchstones - in your day that guide you towards working WITH your mind and thoughts. These routines don’t need to be complicated or long-winded. It could be 5 minutes everyday for prayer, meditation, singing, writing, sipping tea while staring out the window, feeling your feet on the ground, walking outside, moving your body, breathing, doodling, knitting, etc etc etc what makes you feel centered?


Happy August friend. Here’s to our daily practices that bring us in collaboration with our minds rather than at odds. xo!

Breathing Myself Home

It had been several weeks since I intentionally laid down to breathe. Sure, I had done the breath technique for a few repetitions while at the dog park or out and about when I was feeling anxious or stressed or full of emotions. But I hadn’t done a full breathwork session until I did a one on one last week with my friend and fellow breathwork facilitator Amy. And as soon as I started breathing I said to myself, “ooooooh yeah. This is why I love this work so much. How did I forget about it?!”


As I was breathing, it felt like I was coming back home!


So today, when I was feeling stuck and restless with all this full moon eclipse energy, I knew I had to make time for my practice with breathwork. I put on an old playlist, grabbed my eye pillow, and laid on my bed to breathe with Moondogg next to me.

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And here’s the musings: we know what is good for us. We know what our soul food is. Some of us can be really good at making sure those nurturing gems are integrated into our routines and that is amazing. Some of us need reminders and structures, especially if we experience resistance to the work. So schedule the appointment. Sign up for the group or class. Ask a trusting friend to set up a date. Put it on the calendar.

For me, THIS TIME, it’s fitting in more opportunities for a full breathwork session where I can scream really loud and then feel the energy of pure potential flood my system. Or to cry those tears or bust through the indecision to more aligned clarity.

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For you, the activities or practices that feel like you’re coming back to yourself might look like something else and something different each time and that’s great. It might be time in the garden. Taking an art class. Writing in your journal. Working out and breaking a sweat. Gathering with friends. Dancing, drumming, cooking, sleeping, praying, singing, hiking. Putting your feet in the grass. Gazing at the moon.


My full moon eclipse wish for you is that you schedule time for what makes you feel like you are coming home to yourself. xo!


PS if being creative is what makes you come alive and you’re looking for a sacred container to birth a new project, my soul sister Meredith has created an amazing program to guide you through the creative steps. I’ve worked with her as a coach and has inspired me tremendously. Her program closes tonight - use the code HELEN for 30% off! Check out the Conscious Creative Incubator here!

Lovable Already

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About six months ago, my man and I got married in a small, special ceremony surrounded by family. Little did I know this milestone would also be an opportunity to practice reprogramming my brain pathways!



Let me explain: a few weeks before the big day, I started to have a bit of a freak out… like I wasn’t ready to get married. This felt odd at first glance because I was actually feeling SO READY to officially wed my sweet man, but this anxiety was arising in me that felt like time was moving too fast. Looking a little closer to what was going on in my emotional world, I realized that with all the trappings, expectations, and “rules” that can surround a wedding, I wasn’t feeling ready because I hadn’t hit those ridiculous checklist items I had created for myself at some point: my income wasn’t big enough yet, my career not advanced enough yet, my muscles not sculpted enough yet, my invitations out too late... yada yada yada.



Bringing this into the light allowed me to have some compassion for myself and I reminded my inner critic and my brain of a truth that my spirit and heart already knew deep down: I am already LOVABLE EXACTLY AS I AM. I don’t need to prove my worth through productivity nor do I have to accomplish this or that in order to be loved. One of the greatest things about my now husband (and the reason I chose to marry him) is that he already loves me as I am right now and is willing to grow with me through all of those checklist items and cycles of life. And I get to gift myself that joy of loving myself as I am and growing with myself too.


{photos by @caitlinnightingale}

{photos by @caitlinnightingale}


As we get ready to throw our summer party bash soon to celebrate the seasons of Love, I can feel the shadows and whispers of this old programming hanging out in the back corners of my ego and so I am grateful for the reminder to continue reinforcing: I AM LOVABLE ALREADY.



So here’s your little reminder for yourself as you make your way from spring into summer, from new moon to full moon (on the 17th!):

YOU are lovable right now. You already are enough.

Shed those expectations and obligations you’ve picked up along the way that don’t actually resonate with who you actually are. You can start that project anytime, wear that outfit (or bikini) whenever you want, take time off or make space for rest when you need it, that you don’t have to DO anything right now in order to be loved. You already are. It’s your birthright.

Remind yourself of this when you need. And if you need help remembering your lovability, I’m here to remind you. xo

Witness the Contrast

I’m back from the desert full of inspiration, discoveries, and a heart so big with love for the community of new friends who I met on retreat. I’ll be sharing bits and pieces of that experience as I move further into this “yawning” period of coming out of my winter/spring cocoon. I was reminded by how much COMMUNITY is so important for our well-being and healing and living a vibrant life. And I’m really grateful for this little community right here. Thank you for being here to witness my heart and hear my stories!


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One of the things I’ve found surprising about the desert is the contrast. At first glance you see the sharpness of the cacti, the hardness of the rocks, the dryness of the soil. When I looked closer, I spotted the softness of the bunnies and the flower petals, the lightness of the bees and butterflies, and the wetness of my own body fluids (sweat and tears! 😂).



In those moments of witnessing contrast, I was able to hold space for all the dimensions of myself in one breath.


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This is much like the full moon. While we get to gaze at the beauty of her bright, full light, there’s also a whole other side to her that’s washed in shadow. There’s a part that we don’t see with our eyes that’s still present in each moment.



My full moon wish for you is to witness the contrast. To see the grey area. To feel the shadow and the brightness. To allow the clear clarity of knowing exactly what you want and who you are while also giving space for the unknown magic of mystery. To know that you can be “this” AND “that” at the same time, in the same moment, even when it feels like opposites.



Like nature, you are a multi-faceted being with cycles, rhythms, heartbeats, pulses, and breaths. Here’s to you. ALL of you.