Photo I took in April of two of my goddess sisters- Sarah and Jaimie
What a year 2012 has been! I don't know about you, but I'm completely overwhelmed by the massive internal shifts that have taken place this year. 2012 has been huge for me! Today I did some pretty intense work- taking stock of what actually happened for me this year, and what it meant to me. As many of you know, one of the wonderful things I discovered this year is the absolutely inspired work of Leonie Dawson. Each year, she releases a workbook/calendar (and this year, she released TWO!) for dreaming up and then designing and creating your most gorgeous and vibrant year! When I discovered her 2012 Workbook earlier this year, I filled most of it out (even though the year was nearly halfway over already!) and watched as miracles occurred in my life. Actually, to be more accurate- I witnessed myself creating those miracles I most desired and needed! There is magic in these little things, I tell ya! 

Part of Leonie's wisdom is in the opening section of the workbook- it is devoted to honoring the lessons and magic of the year falling away, discovering what you want to take from it into your new year, and making room for all of the incredible, abundant things you will accomplish in 2013! Today, I took on the task of filling that section out- getting clear on what happened in 2012 and what it meant for me, letting go of the things that no longer work, choosing what lessons and beauty I will bring with me into 2013, and saying goodbye to what turned out to be a pretty epic year for me! I have to admit, it was so intense to actually look back and process through this momentous year, that afterwards I was exhausted and had to lie down for a while!

Want to know a secret? I was afraid to even begin looking at 2012. In many ways, this year pushed me to the very brink of what I could handle, and was filled with such deep pain and transformation, that I didn't know what I could possibly say about it. At first glance, all I could see was the heartbreak and disappointment and was afraid to look too closely at it. But I picked up my pen and got to work on it, and I found that the more I wrote about it, the more everything about the year (including and especially the pain!) felt very very inspired and purposeful. I finally started to see how everything connected- how the moments that cleaved me in two prepared me for the great work of this year- rediscovering and recreating who I was. The dark moments created the opportunities for the greatest light, and the things that I treasure most about this year would not have been possible if I hadn't been broken first. It very much reminded me of the lessons I learned during the Kali meditation I wrote about in August! The process was eye- and heart-opening, exhausting, and so deeply powerful. The only thing left to do now is to tell you all about it!

2012 was the year that I was broken apart. And 2012 was the year that I rebuilt who I am into someone stronger, more powerful, more inspired, and more vibrant than ever before!

This time a year ago, I was feeling small and stifled and not living with the kind of joy that I deserve. I was struggling. I WAS very much in love and living with my absolute best friend (of 15 years) and twin soul, Eric. I WAS experiencing love and beauty and kindness and sweetness, BUT- and I didn't see this until now- my soul needed so much more in order to feel fulfilled and in line with my purpose! I was happy enough, things were going okay, but I didn't have the room I absolutely needed in order to learn and grow at the rate that was necessary. I felt stagnant. I couldn't put my finger on it yet, but I needed so much more.

I got exactly what I needed. And it DEVASTATED me.

Early in March, my best friend and love ended our romantic relationship. I was crushed. This was someone I'd been in love with on and off for 15 years. This was my best friend in the world, the person I could tell anything to, share everything with, the person I loved seeing first thing in the morning and last thing at night, my partner in crime and the heart of my life. I'd had many dreams for our future. It's always a bit devastating when dreams die. He'd wanted me to continue living with him in the resort city deep in the Utah mountains where lived, but I knew immediately that I needed my own space in order to process through my pain and let go. So I chose instead to move into my parent's (quite spacious) basement- an hour and a half away- and they (quite generously) took me in. I couldn't afford the commute (financially or energetically), so in the move, I ended up losing the job that I'd had. My parents are allergic to some animals, so I had to leave behind my beloved pets. I lost so much during that time- a love, a home, a job, a way of life, a sense of self. I had no idea how to move forward. I was goo.

Jaimie, Sarah, and I in April, 2012
One thing the move did do for me was to bring me closer to my tribe of female friends- my "goddesses"- and THAT was the turning point. As I opened my heart to receive their wisdom and feel that surge of powerful feminine energy in my life, I was transformed. I began to take notice of the things that I most admired and respected in others, and began to find those same qualities in myself! I did everything I could to enhance and build on those things- and thus began the slow and arduous process of recreating who I was! I sought out wise women online and learned all I could think of about how happiness worked for other people- and began experimenting in my own life! I did deep soul work at this time, uprooting belief systems and ideals that were no longer in line with the kind of life that I wanted, letting go of things that no longer worked for me, and digging deep into the heart of me to discover what was truly important in my life. It was intense work, and so worth it, and it would not have been possible had my life not been so drastically altered. I finally had the freedom and the room I needed in order to grow.

Me with Audrie and Maria in April, 2012
And massive changes started taking place! I finally found a new job in my new city, which enabled me to finally join Leonie Dawson's Goddess Circle! This is when I filled out the 2012 workbook and began to plan out the magical things I would create during the rest of the year! I allowed myself to dream big and let the magic of the universe do its part, and together, we co-created an incredible year! I started my blog, and over the months, hundreds of gorgeous souls have visited this site! A good number of my friends and family members have been enormously supportive of this endeavor- leaving comments, offering kind words of guidance, sharing this page with their own friends- it's blown me away. I created an online Facebook group where incredible, strong and wise women gather to offer each other love and support! We now have 120 members! (If you would like to join, please message me on Facebook! I'd love to have you there!) I co-planned and celebrated what we call "Goddess Days" with my local tribe of inspiring women- celebrating the moon cycles and solar sabbats, gathering in ritual, engaging in meditation and song, sharing our hearts and insights as we learned and grew in harmony together! Thank you to Jaimie, Maria, Sarah, Karen, Katia, Delphi, Chandra, Brittanie and ALL the goddesses for sharing these special moments with me! I explored my creative and crafty side, creating (and selling!) cozy knitted and re-usable coffee sleeves, and super-charged magical chakra bracelets, and other cute and useful knick-knacks! I opened my own Etsy Shop where I offer my lovingly created and magically charged wares! Many of the goddesses in my local tribe also create beautiful and meaningful products, and I had the idea to gather all of us together and sell them at our local Pagan Pride Festival in Salt Lake City this summer- and we made it happen! We spent months preparing, and then offered our wares (and tarot readings) to our community! What a powerful accomplishment for us, and one that I learned immensely from. 

JayC and I performing in "Don Juan Casanova"
For those of you who don't know me in person, among the many things I do, I am sometimes an actress. Often a frustrated one, as time and energy restraints often keep me from this beloved "hobby" of mine. But this fall, I was given the opportunity to give an emotional performance in a play written by a friend of mine entitled "Bob Juan Casanova." I had a fantastic time creating this theatrical experience with very dear friends, and actually gave a performance that I feel good about (a rare feat)! I pushed myself, and found that I was capable of more than I'd ever known before! This became true of all aspects of my life, in fact. 

I made new friends with some of the most inspiring and gorgeous souls I've ever met, and spent time cultivating my dear and treasured friendships with people that I've known for years. I read amazing books, listened to amazing music, saw amazing movies and had a blast spending time with my loved ones! I spent quite a bit of time alone as well, getting deeply in touch with my heart and soul's needs. I began taking better care of my body, getting on a healthy sleeping schedule for the first time in my life and starting to learn about the importance of self-care! I explored my spirituality, got in touch with the love and wisdom of my spirit guides, and learned many fascinating and life-changing things... I opened my heart and my mind wide enough to let in miracles, and they came flooding in! Don't get me wrong- the year was intensely challenging and filled with many moments of pain and doubt, moments when I was sure I wasn't going to make it- but then I'd get through it anyway and choose to learn from the pain, and the universe richly rewarded my perseverance.

Me with my very best friend, Eric
And then, when the time came that the things that had been working STOPPED working, and I lost my job, and found myself on the brink of my sanity... I was no longer afraid to let everything go and start all over... AGAIN. And so it was that roughly six months from the time that I moved away, I found myself living once again with my best friend- this time as a platonic support system for each other. We had remained close (15 years of friendship isn't something you just throw away because the romantic aspect of your relationship didn't work out) and through all of the hardships that we'd faced throughout the year, we'd been able to be there for each other. And when things fell apart for me and I felt like I was going crazy and didn't know where to turn, he offered me his home and reminded me that everything was going to be okay. That was a dark time, but his friendship and belief in me was one of my greatest sources of light, until I could find it for myself again. After months of searching unsuccessfully for a job throughout two counties, he helped me find a job nearby within weeks, and I slowly began rebuilding for the second time. And so it's been for the past few months... slow and steady rebuilding. 

At the Winter Solstice, I did a beautiful online ritual with the talented and inspired Sage Goddess and, in meditation, my spirit guides told me that the time for being goo in a chrysallis was over- now is the time for me to step outside into my full power and become the goddess-woman that I'm meant to be, strong enough to share my gifts with and begin to bless the world! 2013 is going to be another epic year for me, and I know already that it will push me to the brink of what I can handle, BUT this time I know going in that I will only discover that I'm so much stronger than I'd ever imagined and that I have the capability to learn from darkness and emerge with more wisdom and compassion- that these are part of my gifts. An excerpt from my 2013 workbook: "I learned that I am truly a goddess with gifts to share and a purpose for being on this earth! I learned deeply the power of positive feminine relationships- how they can heal and inspire! I learned that I can have my heart broken apart and lose my entire sense of self and still live and learn and become even more!" I feel ready now to step forward into a beautiful future and to create my incredible and magical 2013!

To you, dear readers, thank you for being part of this incredible journey that I've been on- through darkness and light, you have been there, offering words of support and encouragement and being my inspiration for sharing this crazy road that i'm on. You have shared your thoughts and your stories with me through comments and messages, and I could not be more honored to share this space with you. Here's to honoring the year that has been- and here's to celebrating the amazing year to come! I hope you'll continue to check in with me to see what comes next, and I hope that you'll share YOUR journey with the rest of us as well! Remember, who you are is a unique and beautiful gift- don't be afraid to shine and share it with the world!

With so much love and good wishes for all of us, and with more gratitude than you will ever know,


PS- If you would like to learn more about the Create Your Incredible Year Workbook and Planners (Life and Business editions!) by the inspired Leonie Dawson, please click here!  You will find pages and pages of gorgeous, inspiring questions that will guide you to create your most vibrant and soulful year yet! (The link I posted is an affiliate link, which means that if her work resonates with you and you feel called to get these books for your own, I will receive a portion of the proceeds- and everyone wins! However, if for some reason affiliate links rub you the wrong way, please instead check out: http://leoniedawson.com/shop/kits/incredible-year-workbook-calendar/ . I'd hate for anyone to miss out on this remarkable opportunity to learn more about yourself and your power to create the life of your dreams! Here's to a gorgeous 2013!

Friends, how is this winter treating you? 
Are you rushing around, trying to find the perfect gifts for family and friends, decorating your home and workspace, baking cookies for neighbors, dressing up for holiday party after holiday party? December is a unique time of year with so many holidays occurring for so many of us, and our days tend to be filled with lots of lights, gifts, tinsel, cookies, demands on our time, and a good amount of stress. This time of year calls for a LOT of energy, and ironically, most of us have less than normal.

It is winter now, and for many of us that means MUCH colder weather, and less and less sunlight to energize us. For me, deep in the Utah mountains now, it means lots of snow and ice, cold winds, and a distinct lack of motivation to accomplish things. I often find myself battling bouts of Seasonal Affective Disorder in the wintertime as well, as I know many of us do. It's a tricky time, especially when so many of us are being called towards our purpose now. What do I mean by that?

Astrologically, the sun has moved into Sagittarius, the sign ruled by Jupiter, planet of expansion; with the archer's arrow pointed towards the sky, directing us towards ideals and higher thoughts. Sagittarius is mutable fire, which gives weight to our desires, and in fact unites our desires with those of the rest of mankind, resulting in the communal "Christmas Spirit" (or Yule Spirit, if you prefer ;) ). Additionally, revolutionary Uranus just turned direct in cardinal fire Aries, which gives us the drive to act on our desires and make our dreams come true (Sagittarius can have a tendency to talk and talk about dreams without actually taking action- there's the mutable fire for you). Combine all of that with the energy of the New Moon in Sagittarius, which is the perfect time to begin new projects, especially ones with regards to our higher purpose in life, and it makes sense that I keep witnessing so many goddesses in my life who are stepping into their true power and purpose (seriously, it's happening a lot, folks).

Sounds like a perfect storm for making all of those holiday dreams come true, right? Right?! 

It can be a bit more complicated than that. Winter is, from a nature standpoint, not typically a time of action and adventure. It is a time of hibernation, of rest and renewal, a time when we take a step back to assess what we've accomplished in the past year, look at what worked and what didn't, and begin preparing ourselves for our goals in the coming year. It's a time of reflection, the direction of North, under the wisdom of the bear, who takes all winter long to rest his weary bones before the return of spring.

So, while we're being inspired to take action towards making our dreams come true, we're having to struggle with our natural instincts towards calm, comfort, and quietude. We're being driven to do more, with less energy to accomplish it all. Is this true for you? How does this time of year affect your energy levels?  For many of us, this calls for a balancing act of grounding and revitalizing, both exquisite acts of self-care. At this time of year, with so much emphasis on pleasing, caring for and meeting the needs of others in our lives (whether it's our boss, our extended family, our friends, or loved ones), that we often don't take the time we need to get in touch with ourselves, with our own needs. How do we do that? 

One method is GROUNDING- the act of connecting with Mother Earth by centering your energy in your body, getting in touch with your roots, your rhythms, with nature's healing energy and your own earthy nature, giving you a sense of of security and centered-ness, and of oneness with nature and humanity. When you feel frazzled and out of touch, or if you suffer from anxiety or stress this season, grounding is an excellent way to reconnect to your own power, giving you the strength and energy to accomplish more without pushing yourself past your limits. There are many methods for grounding, and I'll list some here. Keep in mind, however, that you are your own best teacher and that you will benefit most greatly from following your own instincts.

One of the best and most obvious ways to ground is through nature herself. When possible, get outside in the sunlight (if the sun is shining!), take a walk in the grass (barefoot, if it's warm enough where you live), put your hands on a tree, physically connect with the healing energy of our mother earth. Of course, for many of us, all of this simply isn't possible this time of year, with the snow, ice, and cold air keeping us indoors for much of the time. If this is true for you, there is a method that works well indoors too. Sit cross-legged on the ground, or in a chair with your back straight and feet flat on the ground. Close your eyes, take deep breaths, and imagine that you are a tree, with roots extending down past the floor and into the earth beneath you, reaching way down into the ground. Focus on sending any excess energy, fear, anxiety, or stress down into the earth, much like compost that isn't of use to us, but can be transmuted into nutrition by the earth's healing power. The earth can take any negativity and knows what to do with it, so feel free to send it all. You are safe and will not harm anyone with this act. Once you are ready, imagine that the earth is sending you the nutrients you need up through your roots and into your body. The earth offers you love, balance, peace, and light, and any other energy you may be in need of. She has plenty, so don't feel guilt in accepting what you need. When you feel revitalized, offer thanks, and give yourself a hug. Do any other action you feel called to in order to complete the energy exchange.

Another way to ground is to get in touch with your own body. Eat, drink- engage your physical senses, and nurture your body. Take a walk or hike, practice yoga, and remember to breathe. Breathing is vitally important to our well-being, and most of us rarely get the oxygen we truly need. Take long, deep breaths through your nose and fill your diaphragm, hold for a few moments, and exhale deeply through the mouth, making any sound that feels natural. Take the time to move and stretch your body, and learn to recognize its needs. Give yourself the rest you need, even and especially when that means more than is usual. Thank your body for the gifts that it gives you, delight in the senses of smell, taste, and touch, and practice exquisite self-care.

A great way to ground, particularly if you enjoy meditation and energy work, is to activate and balance your base or root chakra. If you are not familiar with chakras, they are energy centers placed throughout your body, each addressing different issues and concerns. The root chakra is located at the base of the spine and is known in Sanskrit as the Muladhara Chakra. To activate, get into a comfortable position, close your eyes, and begin breathing deeply. Concentrate on the energy center at the base of your spine, opening downwards. Imagine that it is a four-petaled lotus flower of vermillion red. Breathe and see the lotus flower slowly spinning. As it spins, it opens to reveal a ruby-red crystal shining brightly within. Continue to breathe and feel the chakra spin at a pace that is right and comfortable for you. Repeat to yourself this affirmation: "I balance my vital energies and establish my Karmic purpose on Earth." When you feel balanced and revitalized, take your hands and place them over your head, then sweep them down over your body, picking up any excess energy and then grounding it in the earth by placing your hands flat on the floor and sending the energy into the earth. For a daily reminder, or to activate your chakras using gemstone beads, try wearing a chakra bracelet, which I sell in my Etsy shop: Boho Goddess Garden (shameless self-promotion! Yay!).

To go deeper into your practice of grounding, try utilizing the wisdom of stones and herbs. This is by no means a comprehensive or exhaustive list of such tools, but instead, gentle encouragement and ideas based on what works for me and those I love, in the hopes that you will find what works for you! 

How to utilize the wisdom of stones: You may want to try holding a stone or crystal in your hands as you meditate, or place them under or on your feet as you relax or practice other grounding actions. You can also choose to keep them with you for an extended amount of time- in your pocket or a special place in your purse as you go about your day, or even in a pouch around your neck if the stones are small enough! You can also find beautiful stone and crystal jewelry all over the internet or at your local health and wellness store. 
Which stones to use: One of my goals here is to promote a healthy balance of grounding and revitalizing energy to help you through the winter months. To that end, I've chosen some stones that I believe serve that dual purpose: Garnet and Red Tiger's Eye. Both are (usually) a vibrant and gorgeous red color, stimulating the root chakra and bringing to mind our connection with the earth. Garnet in particular is highly grounding and protective when found in the red varieties (there are also black green and orange varieties, but I prefer red for our purposes here), and is the stone I chose to utilize when creating my root chakra bracelets. Red Tiger's Eye is a new discovery for me, and I am loving the effects! It is beautiful, with its bright bands of shimmering red, highly motivating, powerful, and stimulating for a sluggish sex drive as well! Some other stones to try for pure grounding and protective energy are Black Tourmaline and Smoky Quartz. If you find that you are too grounded and are feeling slow and sluggish, try some of these purely energizing stones- Citrine, Carnelian, or Sunstone.  Also, while discussing this with a friend, she mentioned that she felt really called to recommend Ammolite, and I'm beginning to see why! It is referred to as the "Seven-Color Prosperity Stone" and contains hues of the entire rainbow, each color representing something different and all together, stimulating each chakra. This stone certainly packs a punch! See if it calls to you.

How to utilize the wisdom of herbs:  There are many ways to use the wisdom of herbs, and not every practice is suitable for every herb. Do your research, experiment, and see what calls to you! Some favorite practices for me are to infuse the herbs in a tea (ALWAYS check to make sure that the herb you are using is safe for ingestion), or steep in a bath. I also will keep the herbs with me in a pouch in my pocket or purse, or burn as incense on a coal (keep in mind that herbs smell differently when they burn). 
Which herbs to use: The first herb that comes to mind is Sage, as it grounds and protects, but also clears away negative energy. Native Americans will burn Sage in a bundle called a Smudge Stick and waft the smoke towards whatever needs cleansing energy. Often bundled with Sage is Lavender, which has the added benefits of peace, relaxation, and healing. Another great grounding herb to try is Sandalwood, which is renowned for it's lovely fragrance, and has very protective, powerful, and courageous properties! Cedar is another tree herb known for it's fragrance, and aids in purifying, protecting, and enhancing psychic abilities. Lastly, I want to mention Mint, which has long been used in healing potions and mixtures- it is said to relieve headaches, cleanse the energy of a room when burned as incense, and has very potent healing properties. Any of these herbs alone could be utilized in your grounding practices, or try combining them for extra potent effects!

What are your favorite grounding practices? How do you stay healthy and happy in the winter months? What can you give to yourself this season to help you feel your most vibrant and beautiful self? Remember that you are precious and valued and your gifts are needed in this world! You are part of what is worth celebrating this holiday season, and who you are is the true gift that you offer to those you love! Don't hesitate to ask for assistance when it is needed, but also keep in mind that you are stronger than you realize, and fully capable of realizing your dreams! 

Happy holidays to you, friends! Thank you for being part of this life-changing year for me, and for supporting me as I pursue my own dreams. I will write a post soon updating my progress! Hope you and yours feel the love this season!