How to choose the media you consume

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how the media you consume impacts emotional state

Daily life can be full of trauma. Especially living in the crazy city of Denver at the moment I see people committing micro-aggressions on a consistent basis, through rudeness, crudeness, unkind words, and even physical aggression. A few months ago someone downtown was chasing people around hitting them with a PVC pipe…yeah. People be crazy.

There are times when we just can’t handle any more darkness at the end of the day. Noticing this is an act of self care. Yes, we need to be active members of society and stand up when bad things are happening instead of ignoring it…Like when a man on the bus a few weeks ago kept on shouting the N word and I told him it was not OK to say. He ignored me and kept shouting it. But at least I said something. Complicity is its own monster.

I have created a “No Dark Diet” in order to make more room for joy and laughter, and to limit the amount of stress and darkness that comes into my psyche. Even small events or activities cause stress to build up and become stored in the body as tension, discomfort, anxiety, and general dis-ease. Some “darkness” is of course necessary because there is no light without darkness, but most stress is unnecessary and it’s best to avoid it when possible.

This is the No Dark Diet:

  • No dark movies or shows. Often these disturb me or make me feel anxious while I am watching and after I have finished watching. Instead I make room for laughter and joy by watching comedies and feel great while I’m watching.
  • Not hanging around dark people. Shutting down negativity in conversation. Instead, talking about feelings, goals, improvements, solutions, celebrations.
  • Listening to uplifting music, because it makes me happy and makes me want to dance. Dancing always shifts my mood.
  • Reading uplifting books, because the media I consume creates and inspires the ideas and thoughts that go through my mind.
  • Tempering consumption of media- only reading news that is accurate, not sensationalized. Because I don’t care to hear about The Donald talking about his penis on the Republican debate. I know he’s ridiculous. I don’t need to know more about his ridiculousness. I’d rather debrief from a trusted source (e.g. NPR) than endure stupidity first-hand or listen to pundits argue about it.
  • Weeding out social media friends who are inflammatory or who trigger or annoy you. Because social media is supposed to be fun and inspiring!
  • Fixing things that annoy you (for example, changing a dead lightbulb, or getting a new bag when your zipper breaks). Every annoyance creates stress piled on stress. Instead, having things run smoothly cuts down on unnecessary stress and makes life easier. Also, automating annoying tasks (like paying bills automagically instead of having to remember the due date every month) is a miracle!

All of these tactics improve my outlook. The parts of our psyche that we feed grow. I want to feed myself loving and inspiring media and ideas. What’s part of your No Dark Diet?

Download the Sacred Magic Workbook to make room for the amazingness in your life!

Missing something doesn’t always mean you wish for it

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Usually when I say I miss something it means I want more of it. When I tell my far-away friends “I miss you” usually it means “I wish I could be in your presence on a regular basis.” It means that I am wishing for something other than what is.

But sometimes when we miss something it means that it was meaningful to us.

Sometimes I miss living in Seattle—I miss the plants, the rain, the Puget Sound…I appreciate all of the transformations I underwent while living in Seattle, but that doesn’t mean I should live there again.

That it was a meaningful experience doesn’t always mean we need to go back to being in those circumstances, but rather that we appreciate that it happened. It means that the experience or the circumstance shaped our lives in some way. It means we value those people, that place, that experience.

When we are living in the present moment instead of the past or the present, we have fewer things to be anxious about. We are ready to accept what happens more readily, we are flowing with what happens for us instead of trying to compare to the past or plan for the future.

When we approach each moment as just that moment rather than missing something that was (living in the past), we are more able to accept death. Not necessarily physical death of a body, but rather the natural cycles of life.

We are able to accept the death of that moment, as we move on to something else. We are able to accept when we are let go from a relationship, and we are able to see when it is time for us to let go of a relationship that is no longer serving us–That kind of death. It doesn’t matter if it’s the death of a relationship with a person, a job, a substance, a habit, it could be anything. Maybe it doesn’t serve me to stay up late at night anymore but now I won’t be able to read for hours each night. It’s time to let go of that habit and move on to something new. That is a small death.

When we live in this way we are subtly acknowledging the impermanence of our lives, our relationships, our circumstances. When we recognize the magic of the present moment and when we flow with what life is serving to us, we invite The Trickster into our lives.

The archetype of The Trickster smashes the structures and the lifestyle that we have created for ourselves. The Trickster will bother with us when we can recognize him at work, and see that he is breaking into our subconscious to trip up what we have systematically created for ourselves.

If we weren’t able to accept the little deaths before; if we are missing something or wishing for something, or even forcing something, rather than simply accepting how things are, The Trickster will help us as he smashes and kills our well-laid plans.

For example, sometimes we wish a circumstance would arise that just isn’t happening. We’re forcing it. Instead, we can recognize that this isn’t going to work and isn’t serving us, and let go of the idea. When we let go, another door opens.

The Trickster will remind us that we are not always in control; we can’t force something to happen that we are wishing for. The Trickster will remind us that there are possibilities in our lives beyond what we have considered for ourselves. The Trickster is a pain in the ass…but he is very wise.

It is a special strength that we demonstrate when we are able to roll with The Trickster’s punches, to see the impermanence of everything, and to move through life’s cycles with grace, appreciating what we have experienced instead of wanting something back…and accepting what is. Where has The Trickster been showing up in your life?

It’s a hot mess back here

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We all compare ourselves to others–it is human. With social media, we are all able to highlight the amazing parts of our lives. This is a beautiful thing because we are grateful…but it also gives us an unrealistic view of life when we scroll through Instagram or Facebook and see only the beauty in peoples’ lives.

At lunch last week with a business consort and sister-friend who always seems to have it all together, she confessed that she has been stressed and wanting to get a backup source of income. I observed how we never know what is going on with someone behind the scenes, and she said that people often are impressed with all she has accomplished lately. They tell her how successful she is. She said, “I think, ‘Really? Cuz it’s a hot mess back here.'”

Recently fellow business owners have been reaching out far more in collaboration. How can we work together? How can we make things easier for one another, support one another in our zones of genius, complement one another’s skills? Many of us have similar missions to be of service in the world and it is far easier to do so together.

If we are willing to admit when “it’s a hot mess back here” instead of pretending it’s all gravy to seem successful, we can ask for help and get the help we need.

When we are up front about what we are healing or working on, discussing what we are in the process of learning can often spark someone else’s self-discovery. Now that is being of service to the world.

Here’s to truth telling!

What were your kid dreams?

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What did you dream you could be as a kid? An artist? An archaeologist? A secret agent?

What did you dream of doing while you were in college, preparing to enter the “real world”? Have you “gotten there” yet?

It’s a trip to look back and remember what your plan or your dream was…because often our plan doesn’t work quite as we hoped. The destination that we dream of tends to have a winding road that leads there. Or perhaps the destination changes throughout life. Mine has evolved more than I can count so far in this lifetime!

A friend of mine was telling me how excited she was that her new house is so “fancy”…it even has a washer and dryer in the house! She said, “If 15-year old me heard me saying this, she would say, ‘what happened? You’re excited about a washing machine? Where’s your erotic novel writing career?’…And I would tell her, ‘that has to wait.’”

Would your 15-year old self be happy about who and how you turned out to be?

The “real world” can be challenging—with the need for a steady paycheck, health insurance, car insurance, grocery bills, gas bills, doctor bills, 401k savings…The list goes on. But we can choose how we spend our time. We can choose who we spend it with. We can choose what parts of ourselves to feed and develop. That also means taking action and chasing our dreams, even if it’s only 5 minutes a day at first.

And we can choose how we see ourselves and how we see the world. This journey is sacred, and everything is happening for you. Even your greatest pain. It is part of you, and it is carrying you somewhere. Your soul came here to evolve, and you are being divinely led from one adventure to another, even if you can’t see it now. We are all on a soul-journey, and each lifetime helps our soul learn new things about being a human. You are being led to what your soul needs to learn next in its evolution during this lifetime.

We choose to enjoy the journey, and we continue to evolve and develop our dreams as we grow throughout life. What is your soul learning?

To Embody Your Sexual Essence

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I was chatting with a single male friend about dating recently and he recounted his recent experience in his office building scoping out the women. He said that he finds the women around him to be cold and focused on their work, and that this is unattractive to him. It does not draw him in, and keeps him away.

I have been these women. Focused on where I’m going. Doing anything to NOT make eye contact with a man.

As a kid visiting New York City, my mom would tell me “look straight ahead” “don’t make eye contact.” This is great advice if you don’t want to be cat-called by randoms in NYC, but not so great for relating to the men around you in your office building, your gym, on the trail…in your community. I have found myself trying not to make eye contact with men because I don’t want to be seen. I don’t want to be approached rudely. I don’t want to deal with crudeness which I have experienced in the past.

On top of that was a layer of masculinity that I acquired while working in corporate offices. “Just keep your head down and get your work done.” This is our culture, this is how our society works. We value strength and independence.

These patterns that women live in daily life become ingrained in us. We become masculinized. We have our focus on where we’re going. We fear being too vulnerable (one of the essences of femininity). It’s often not welcomed in the workplace. And thus we lose trust in our feminine radiance and what we have to gift in the world. We are merely surviving in a masculine world.

What if we take off the corporate masculine armor, and shed protection mechanisms we acquired as vulnerable children and adolescents? Try making steady eye contact with a man at the gym or on the street. It is so uncomfortable, but it feels good to connect; to notice and to be noticed. Often I realize that people are noticing me much more than I ever thought they would.

We can also consciously walk around open-hearted. Become aware of the womb and the heart, and the connection between them, breathing into them and settling into these spaces as you walk. This way, we have taken off the armor and we are vulnerable and ready to connect with both women and men who come our way.

Although we are more vulnerable to being hurt this way, it reinforces the belief that we are courageous and willing to risk being uncomfortable on an edge when we would prefer to retreat. It is dangerous to be so open-hearted at times, and I notice when I need to zip up, but I have seen more meaningful connections come to me when my body is relaxed and I am in my feminine essence.

Meanwhile, many men are kind of wimpy. Perhaps they don’t approach women because they don’t feel welcomed by the feminine radiance. They lack direction in life, they are not committed to their purpose…or in intimacy. They are toning down their masculinity so as not to appear macho; to treat women equally; to be politically correct. But to treat a woman equally doesn’t mean a man needs to treat a woman like a man.

I explained this to my friend, and he asked, “How do you reconcile the modern roles of men and women with being masculine?”

By embodying your sexual essence: your masculinity or your femininity (note that some women have a masculine sexual essence and some men have a feminine sexual essence).

In these modern times we rediscovering and recreating what it means to be a man, and what it means to be a woman. This definitely does not mean going back to a traditional power struggle. Instead it is a new paradigm. The balance between masculine and feminine is a delicate balance, and we honor one another. We balance one another and support one another, giving our gifts in different ways and approaching life in different ways.

Tuning into our own bodies can guide us. Old myths, stories, and archetypes can help us. Discussing in community can help us. Testing new ways of showing up in the office or in the community. Circling with other women; with other men can help us as we step into a new paradigm of relating between the sexes.

Come learn more about the feminine at one of our monthly Womb Wisdom Workshops in Denver!

Why write a love letter to yourself?

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how to write a love letter

You know the saying “You can’t love someone else until you love yourself”? It is true! We’re all in a process of falling in love with ourselves, and there is not really an “arrival.” Like any loving relationship, there are good days and bad days. Hopefully the good days greatly outweigh the bad days. Sometimes we get angry at ourselves, sometimes we are so pleased with ourselves.

What are the ways we can show ourselves appreciation? These are some of the simple ways I show myself I care: I like to buy myself flowers on a weekly basis. I always keep chocolate in the house. I work to make things easier for my future self. I have a strong sense of smell, so I engage my senses and use oils and lotions that smell amazing.

I came across the love letter below and it touched me. It truly sounds like a love letter that one could receive from her beloved. It is written with such poetry and care and love.

Dearest My Lovely Anat,

Your smell, your touch, your light warms my heart. You are divinely beautiful and gifted. I enjoy every moment that we are together. Thank you for taking such amazing care of yourself during the past 2 months. I wake up loving you and wanting to cuddle with you. I go to bed watching you fall asleep. Every breath you take…I take. I feel you…I feel your joy, and I feel your pain. I am am hear to love you through your healing. I am so grateful for your commitment to me and look forward to our journey together, together with the Divine. If you ever feel sad or doubt your beauty and grace, just know that I adore you, I love you, I cherish you. You have nothing to worry or fear, I will walk through any darkness with you to the light. Our future in bright, our present is the light and you are my glowing goddess.

Loving you every moment more and more,

Anat

Would you write a love letter to yourself? Here are some prompts that you could use: 

-Use a nickname that you like to go by, or that you call yourself

-“Thank you so much for…”

-“I deeply appreciate your ability to…”

-“I will be here for you through ____ and ____”

-“I know that our journey has just begun and I can’t wait to explore ______ and ______ with you.”

-“I am so grateful that…”

Perhaps you could write it on beautiful paper, sprinkle glitter in the envelope, and send it to yourself in the mail. When it arrives, savor the moment of opening it and read it slowly as you would a love letter from your beloved.

Mother Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe

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I went to Austin, Texas a couple of weeks ago with my girl friends and loved it! It is a beautiful city with lots of swimming holes, live music and dancing, friendly people, and of course amazing Mexican food.

The Mexican influence is clear and I loved seeing the beautiful little shrines and altars for the Holy Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe. For a long time growing up Catholic I had an aversion to the Blessed Virgin Mary because she represented oppression to me. I never liked how she was portrayed or how the bible and the church spoke of women.

After reading Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ Untie the Strong Woman last year, I have been reconnecting with the Blessed Mother, and she is now a close ally of mine. It’s all about your perspective and the stories you tell! I now like to call her Mother Mary, the Blessed Mother, or Our Lady because these names emphasize her femininity and that she is a mother to us all. I don’t like “Virgin Mary” because who cares if she’s a virgin or not?! As a child and teenager, the idea that a woman needs to be a virgin to be “good” and “pure” was very oppressive. This doesn’t seem like it should be my business. Besides, sex is sacred. Using the word Mother instead of Virgin gives me a much stronger connection to Her. Our words–how we refer to things–matter so much.

This is how I perceived the word “virgin” and how I still perceive it. However, I recently learned that there’s another meaning to the word Virgin which has nothing to do with sexual purity. In the Goddess traditions, the word Virgin means whole unto herself. A woman can have sex with man or woman and remain whole. Instead sex is a sacred spiritual ritual and a celebration of two beings coming together in ecstatic union. Instead, becoming a virgin means a woman is embodying her spiritual essence. It means a woman whole unto herself, belonging to no man, a complete and powerful person independent of the needs and desires of others.

To me, Our Lady represents femininity and she is a representation of The Goddess. She gives comfort, endless compassion, unconditional love, and protection. She comes to us in many forms and many stories. She is whole and humble yet she will not be suppressed.

How to replace cooking time with YOU time

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how to reduce the amount of time you spend cooking

For working women, new mommies, and mommies-to-be, it sometimes feels like there’s not enough time in the day to even feed yourself! And if you’ve done Body Bliss Bootcamp with us, you know that we are all about delicious and easy meals so we can make time to do the things that bring us bliss…unless cooking is what does it for you!

Running around in the morning to get ready; morning commute; then come home and the last thing you want to do is cook. Maybe there’s a book you want to read, or a project you want to work on, or someone special to enjoy.

With kiddos in the picture, you want to spend time with your family, or even make some luxuriously precious moments for yourself.

Yes, cooking can be fun and is a lovely way to show your family that you love them, but for many it’s not realistic to do this every evening. The good news is that there’s still a great way to do that WHILE leaving enough time and energy leftover for yourself. The answer is: CASSEROLES! Yes, I said casseroles. I even made a Pinterest board for you. 

In the morning after your routine, just grab your casserole lunch out of the fridge, grab your smoothie that you made the night before (with a TOP or else you will spill it on the passenger seat of the car—yes, that happened to me), and you’re ready for the day! You can also set out what you need the night before so you’re not running back and forth between the closet and the bathroom and the dresser…it is more like an assembly line.

For the casserole: Buy a bunch of ingredients and make 2 casseroles for the week (I don’t think that one is enough for more than one person), chop up salad veggies that you can put in tupperware for lunches or serve with dinner, and you are good to go. It is a life-maker!! Here are my favorites:

Enchilada “Lasagna”: I get a bunch of enchilada ingredients and layer them like lasagna. It is SO GOOD.

Actual lasagna with the noodles that you cook in the lasagna

Vegetable and rice casserole

Breakfast casserole (also known as frittata). Only good for about 2 days.

Mexican cauliflower casserole

What’s your favorite casserole recipe?? Tell me in the comments! 

How to be frugal

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best money tips

We all know that being careful and practical with our money is important…it will keep us out of debt and other money issues. But sometimes being careful, practical, frugal just seems really boring. But like all things, it’s all about your perspective and what you are prioritizing.

Did you know that FRUGAL does not necessarily mean being a penny-pinching cheap-ass? Actually it means being economical, wise and cautious, saving, avoiding waste, and careful about providing for the future. 

Now that sounds like something I want to do! Avoiding waste, being wise, and providing for my future…these are all things I already strive for. What about you?

If you can get excited about any of those things, you’ll be looking at money from a place of abundance, excitement, and having more to invest in your financial freedom (which doesn’t have to mean winning the lottery and not working ever again—it can just mean being able to live life on your terms).

I now approach my lifestyle and expenses as “If it’s not a FUCK YES, then it’s a no.” Of course there are plain living expenses that I need to pay, but I carefully weigh and plan out the courses I take, trips I take, and what I do with my free time. I consult with my guides, my intuition, and the i-ching to find out if it is the right thing for me at the time. This frugal approach helps me prioritize what I want with both my time and my money.

I got my mind on my money and my money on my mind.

Here are some additional frugal money tips that are no-brainers! 

  • Make your tea or coffee at home or at the office
  • Make your lunches
  • Make a list of your favorite happy hours in your area complete with the happy hour times. I so love this idea I got from my Dad!
  • Shop from the grocery story flyer (I am obsessed with buy one get one free sales!). When you see non-perishables or products you love on sale, stock up!
  • Put all of your coins in a jar and bring them to the Coin Star once per quarter. It adds up!
  • Grocery shop once a week instead of each time you need something.
  • Plan your meals on a weekly basis.
  • Get rid of your cable bill.
  • Sometimes if your shoe soles are worn out, you can get them re-soled for a fraction of the cost of buying new shoes.
  • Cut down on buying and drinking alcohol (when you order at a restaurant with your meal it can be up to $10 per glass! When you buy a bottle of wine or 6-pack of beer it is $10 a pop.)
  • Pay down your high interest credit card debts, or transfer the balance to a 0% interest card with a special such as Discover Card. Interest is monthly and REALLY adds up! For example, if you have a $1,000 balance on a card with a 16% interest rate, that’s $160 per month of interest!!
  • Pay your bills (toll bills, credit card bills, doctor’s bills) and avoid late fees
  • Set up all of your credit cards to automatically pay off the balance in full on a monthly basis so you don’t miss a deadline again.
  • Get all the loyalty cards you can find! At restaurants, movie theaters, cafes…it never hurts to ask if they have a loyalty card.
  • Only go to the ATM for your bank to avoid paying fees.

What are your frugal money tips? I would love for you to share in the comments!

Shamanic Skills Workshop for Connecting with Your Guides

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Open Inspired Living in Boulder, CO

You’re invited!!

Shamanic skills workshop 

Sunday, January 31 @ 11 A.M.-1 P.M.

Open Inspired Living: 1655 Folsom St (across from McGuckin’s)

Boulder, CO

Register for the Workshop!

We’ll discuss our connection with the land, healing ourselves, and working with the guides who have been with us since we were born.

Shamanism is an ancient spiritual and healing tradition, found on nearly every continent. There is evidence of its existence dating back almost forty thousand years. Indigenous people in North and South America, Africa, Asia, Australia and surrounding islands, and Europe developed healing practices with uncanny similarity, despite lack of contact with one another. This is because these techniques are from the other realms. A shaman is one who has access.

Shamanic skills give you access to your guides, your intuition, and ancient, often-forgotten healing techniques. Shamanism is a holistic practice which cultivates physical and spiritual wellness.

A shaman journeys into other dimensions and brings medicine back to the person or collective who needs healing. A shaman is close with the land, and works with plant and animal medicine to heal the self or the community. Journeys are a divination tool that give you robust information and medicine to heal and choose your path.

5 essential steps in the workshop:

1. Work with divination tools and sacred tools

2. Create an energetic clearing practice

3. Develop a journey question that will get you a relevant answer

4. Drum journey to work with the medicine and guides

5. Embody your journey answer in your life and take action

6. Tap into your higher self and intuition with daily meditation

Register here!

See you there! XO