A Year Of Grace

“The first year is always the hardest.” It was something I heard countless times, mostly in reference to what a marriage/partnership goes through during the first year with a new baby. And while I’m not entirely sold that the first year with a new baby is the hardest year — I grew up with myself and am quite sure I was way sweeter and more easy-going as a newborn that I was at 16 — I absolutely think that it’s a challenging season of transition. For me, pregnancy and birth kind of threw me off my internal axis. Pre-baby, I was taking the best care of myself that I ever had. I was meditating and moving my body daily, nourishing myself well, stay super hydrated, and actively working towards my goals. In all honesty, it’s probably one of the reasons why I got pregnant in the first place! By the time I was about eight weeks pregnant, though, I was too sick to do anything. More than once, I’d be teaching a class and leave mid-meditation to throw up in the bathroom. I did my best to keep up with my sadhana (my daily practice), but most days it was all I could manage to move from bed to couch. One evening, I remember waking up in a panic and realizing I hadn’t completed my sadhana that day. When I checked the time and saw that the day was entirely over, I felt simultaneously relieved and disappointed.

After the first trimester, I was able to get back into my daily practices and took better care of myself. But in the back of my mind, I was consciously aware that this season of life would come to an end when Juniper arrived earthside. Because I’ve struggled with perfectionism and it’s resulting self-hatred throughout my life, I decided early on that I would give myself a year of grace from Juniper’s birth. Instead of allowing my own inner critic to judge all of the things I didn’t or did do (or how well I did them), I would offer myself grace and honor where I was at in this point in my life. I tried a few times to get a forty-day practice going, but never made it past a week. And these cycles are truly hard to break, so I did find myself with the internal dialogue of “I’m not good enough”. Yet, having already set the boundary of a year, it was easier for me to find my way back into that space of self-compassion. 

photo by Austin Ferguson

photo by Austin Ferguson

Something that kept cropping up for me during that first year was the idea that I needed to keep up my practice because Juniper would see how well I was taking care of myself and learn how to care for and love herself as a result. And it’s not untrue — our kids one hundred percent take in everything that we do, say, and our general energy/disposition. But the reality is that it doesn’t matter if we take thirty seconds or two-and-a-half hours to practice some form of self-care if we can’t hold onto that grace (for ourselves and others) once we come out of the practice. So it was more important for me to be soft and loving with myself, even if I wasn’t keeping up with a consistent practice, than it was for me to practice daily from a headspace of perfectionism and self-hatred. Contrary to what my mind might tell me, I am still good enough, still worthy, still strong, still connected with myself even if I don’t have a devoted daily practice in the traditional sense. 

Maybe you think that’s crazy, but we as humans attach our ideas of self worth to some pretty wild things. For me, practicing daily was that. In a way, not having a consistent daily practice was a practice in itself. I learned to lean more on the most practical, efficient, effective, and simple tools in my toolbox instead of putting all of the pressure on a single part of my day to carry me through. Now that my year is up, I’m excited to finally start investing more time and energy into my own consistent, devoted practices! At the same time, I feel less internal pressure than ever to seek perfection in my daily practice. It is called practice, after all — the point is that it isn’t perfect. That’s why we’re doing it. 

photo by Austin Ferguson

photo by Austin Ferguson

The Birth of Juniper Leigh

It was just around 9:30 PM on the winter solstice when we finally installed our carseat. After waiting almost a month for it to reach us due to a shipping mix-up, we were grateful that it had arrived before our baby girl. Standing in the kitchen afterwards, we stroked my belly and told her that she could come now, that we were finally ready. 

For the majority of my pregnancy, I said that she would arrive on the winter solstice. Call it wishful thinking, intuition, or just my personal brand of crazy, but I loved the idea of her coming on this auspicious day. Every time I envisioned her birth, it was then that I saw it happening. At the same time, however, I’m not big on creating expectations that may lead to disappointment, so I kept myself open to the fact that she could come anytime — her due date was December 31st.  

We went to bed around 10 PM that evening and at 11:55 PM, I woke up to pee. Except, I realized half-awake, I had already peed. I waddled to the bathroom and felt myself getting wetter. In retrospect, I remembered hearing a small “pop” when getting into bed that night, which I barely even acknowledged in the moment. Austin, my husband, called out to make sure I was okay — I guess I’d moved to the bathroom with more urgency than usual. 

“I think maybe my water broke?” I said, voice wavering. Even though we took classes and read a ton of books, I couldn’t quite believe it or wrap my mind around it. We both were hesitant to admit I was in labor — it was the point of no return. I called my mom, who, thankfully, stays up much later than I, and told her what I was experiencing. During the call, I felt my first contraction. That’s when I knew — it was happening for real. 

I asked Austin to draw me a bath and we started timing contractions. They grew with intensity so quickly and I struggled to hold onto my breath before I knew it. When I wasn’t having a contraction, I listened to and chanted mantra, breathing deeply, and doing my best to stay present and excited for what I was experiencing. The contractions themselves felt at first like menstrual cramps, but quickly evolved into intensely overwhelming and painful. Going in, I’d already decided to be un-medicated if possible. But if I had been at a hospital, I don’t know if I could’ve turned down an epidural.

Early on, Austin was massaging my back and snuggling me. As the intensity grew, though, I didn’t want to be touched much at all. While I labored, Austin juiced fresh oranges for me, gathered food, prepped our bags for the birth center, timed contractions, and made sure the bath stayed warm (I was in and out). Every time I felt that I was becoming ungrounded, carried away by the intensity of it all, he brought me back, reassuring me with his presence and words. 

Around 6 AM, we finally gathered ourselves and began heading to the birth center to meet our midwife, Cherie. I wanted to labor at home for as long as possible, and when we arrived around 7 AM, I was just at 6cm dilated. It was raining out, so Cherie had me walking in circles around the birth center, which is actually a historic, Victorian home. Austin escorted me around the house, making sure that I held onto my breath and kept my eyes open and shoulders relaxed through each contraction. After a while, Cherie checked my cervix again and we moved to the bathroom. I labored through a few contractions on the toilet, bringing baby girl down and getting ready to push. At the end of the last contraction spent on the toilet, I made a noise that indicated to Cherie that I was ready to push, so we moved to the bedroom.

With my feet on either side of the bedpost, my hands holding the post, and Austin behind me, supporting my weight, I squatted deep and began pushing. I focused on my own exertion so as to not become overwhelmed. After fifteen minutes or so of pushing in this squatting position, we moved me up onto the bed where I felt my baby girl’s crowning head, lightly stroking her hair. I kept pushing with each contraction, so ready to finally meet her. All I remember from this time, outside of my pushing, was Cherie saying aloud that my perineum was resistant, but that baby girl would be here very soon. Finally, she slid almost entirely out of me and I glimpsed her tiny body. The cord was around her neck, so Cherie calmly untangled her and then, with one last push, she was out entirely and in Austin’s arms. Immediately, everything calmed — I so thankful that she was really here and that the pain of labor had come to an end. They placed her on my chest, Austin crawled into the bed next to us, and there we lay as a family for the very first time. 

It wasn’t long after that when they began asking me if I was ready to push again. Blissed out, I shook my head and jokingly said, “I don’t need to push anymore, I already had my baby!” But I knew I needed to deliver my placenta still. That part, however, I don’t remember at all… I was too caught up in the presence of our baby girl — Juniper Leigh.

Photo by Austin

Photo by Austin

Because I had a couple of small tears, I received stitches while Austin and Juniper snuggled each other. In retrospect, this was the hardest part of the entire birth for me. It was mentally challenging for me to go through it. Physically, it was not so bad, as I was numbed beforehand.

After about an hour after birth, I asked Juniper if it was okay now for Austin to cut her umbilical cord. Once he did, we packaged it up and handed it off to be encapsulated. We all were fed, my feet rubbed with lavender oil, and slowly cleaned up to head home. Juniper went through the routine tests and measures, then was deemed perfect (which of course we already knew) and we were cleared to return to our nest. 

Austin drove us home so gingerly, and when we arrived, we were greeted by my mama and sister as well as Austin’s mama and sister. After cooing over how unbelievably amazing Juniper is, we headed into the bedroom to get cozy and rest. 

It makes perfect sense that we would enter into labor after the longest night, the Winter Solstice, and that her arrival would mark the start of lighter, brighter days to come. She is sensitive, strong, sweet, attentive, yet a deep sleeper, and loves to snuggle in bed between Austin and I. Her name, Juniper Leigh, means the eternally youthful spirit of healing. And its fitting, as her presence here is like a sweet medicine that brings us joy unlike anything else we’ve ever known.

Photo by Austin

Photo by Austin

Juniper Leigh Ferguson: Born on December 22nd at 8:43 AM after 8 hours of unmedicated labor and thirty-ish minutes of pushing. 6 lbs. 15 oz. and 20 1/4” long. 

A Perfect Journey

I have always said that my Sadhana “challenges” are just for fun. Not to diminish the power of a daily practice, but to say that there are more important things to focus on in life than hitting a forty day, ninety day, or one-thousand day practice checkpoint. However, I can also be really hard on myself — it’s a subconcious thought/behavior pattern that tells me I’m a failure, or that I’m not good enough. In April, I had a nasty head cold that left me bed-ridden and unable to breathe out my nose for days straight, making my pranayama practice impossible. Then, as the sickness faded, I found out I was pregnant and the nausea + fatigue sat in. I did my best to practice some semblance of my Sadhana for the next eight weeks, but felt worse by the day. At that point, I hadn’t yet given up my weekly class or my client practice. I wasn’t even really present for my Sadhana anymore — my body so tired and my mind so foggy that I was 100% phoning it in. All so that I could add another day to my count. I even had to go to the Emergency Room one evening because my nausea was so intense that I was unable to eat or drink anything for almost twenty-four hours. Still, everyday I would see that growing number. The bigger it got, the more afraid I was to stop. So I kept phoning it in for the sake of my ego. One evening, as I lay down to sleep, the realization that I hadn’t practiced yet that day. I wanted to jump up and go practice, but my body begged me not to. Luckily, in the quiet of night, I was able to let myself listen to the whisper of my heart, asking me to S L O W  D O W N, to stay in bed, to allow myself to rest because the truth is: I am growing a whole human inside me! It’s no easy feat. 

After that, I struggled with feelings of failure and shame. How can I inspire consistency, commitment, and devotion to daily practice when I let my own slip away? I had reached 484 days of consecutive practice. Would I ever be able to reach it again, especially with a baby on the way? I felt like I could never share it with my clients, let alone my entire community. I saw myself as a total fraud. 

And yet, I knew exactly what I’d tell a client who was going through what I was. So after letting the feelings of shame and failure bubble up and pass, I reminded myself that 484 days is a heck of an accomplishment. I reminded myself that it was just for fun; that the number wasn’t really the end-goal, but rather a tool for me to get even more invested in the journey. I reminded myself that I hadn’t lost anything, that the experience I had was mine forever. The self-mastery, wisdom, and understanding I gained was not only still there, but had deepened through the experience of dropping my daily practice and surrendering myself to what was most needed in the moment. 

photo by Austin Ferguson

photo by Austin Ferguson

Moving forward, I see that perhaps a twenty-minute poem recitation isn’t the most conducive to the transformation my life is taking on. I still interact with the sound current daily, but have decided to select a new daily practice that can be as short as three minutes and as long as sixty-two — this way, I gain flexibility and will no longer absolutely require twenty minutes each day. In six months, when I’m caring for this gorgeous soul outside of the womb, I know finding just those three minutes each day will be a miracle. I find myself most drawn to pranayam techniques, as they can be practiced anywhere, anytime and the effects are immediate. Funnily enough, this is exactly what I tell so many of my clients to do! 

Now that I’ve jumped back on the wagon, I can see that this was all part of my perfect journey. I am a better student, better teacher, and better human for it. I have more compassion for my humanness than ever before. 

. . . . . . . . .

"It is very graceful, very essential, very human, and very divine when you accept yourself. What is this game you play? You want to be perfect? What is perfect? Perfect is dead. Seen/unseen, existent/non-existent; when all the polarities come to the neutralized Self, that is perfect. We are vibrating people. We are perfectly imperfect and imperfectly perfect." Yogi Bhajan

As I navigate this journey of pregnancy and motherhood, I am shifting slightly the way I offer my one-on-one sessions. Moving forward, I am only allowing a maximum of four clients each month. Each session is sixty minutes long: the first thirty minutes spent practicing hand-picked Kundalini Yoga practices to serve your intentions, lifestyle, and needs, while the last thirty minutes are spent in dialogue as we create your daily practice and go over any questions or concerns you may have. Following the session, you have access to me daily via text/email for forty days as you begin your own journey to self-mastery, prosperity, and radiance. You also receive a FREE COPY of The Sacred Self-Care Journal, a powerful tool to help you deepen your commitment, focus your intentions, and connect with yourself throughout this transformative experience. The Sacred Self-Care journal includes writing exercises for manifestation, 30+ other Kundalini Yoga practices for you to try, special Full and New Moon spreads, as well as daily, weekly, and monthly check-ins. To book a session, email me at RITUALRADIANCE@GMAIL.COM.


A Valley Of Hardship | Thoughts On My First Trimester

The first trimester was, for me, quite rough. As grateful and excited as I was to embark on the journey of pregnancy and motherhood, I couldn’t deny the fact that I felt like crap from the moment I awoke until I drifted off into sleep. I knew about fatigue and morning sickness, I was aware that it didn’t only occur in the morning. Yet I hadn’t ever imagined that it would be a persistent nausea and dizzying lack of energy that lasted all day, everyday, for two-and-a-half months straight. I tried to romanticize it in my head, telling myself that it was a luxury to lay around all day. The truth was, I missed getting to work. I missed doing hours of yoga and meditation. I missed cooking, going on hikes, even cleaning my apartment. I missed eating the way I used to, before nausea saturated every meal and the moments in-between. Listening to my body’s needs, I stopped taking on clients, stopped teaching my weekly classes, and stopped sharing on social media. It was good for me, this level of slowness and stillness. Even still, I battled against it almost-daily, guilting myself for being so lazy, leading to me feeling bad about guilting myself in the first place. I was intensely grateful that I had a life flexible enough to accommodate these crazy body shifts, but beyond ready to move past all of this and begin feeling like myself again. 

It was interesting, though, to observe my thought patterns during this time. I realized that I still equate my success with my level of busy-ness. As someone who has been actively building a business for over two years, laying around all day made me feel like a total failure. Unable to cook or clean, fears arose that my husband saw me as a burden and was secretly resenting me.  My silence on social media brought up worries that others would forget about me and my work, that when I did return, no one would care or be interested in me. Of course, these thoughts and fears weren’t rooted in reality or the truth, they were rooted in my own insecurity and ego. So I allowed them, observed them, and opened up an opportunity to heal. When a limiting thought pattern came up, I let it. Fighting the thought pattern or trying to stop it was more draining energetically than letting it happen. But then I also countered it, lovingly, with the expansive truth: that I am successfully growing my first child in my womb, alongside my gorgeous, heart-centered business. My husband loves me more deeply than ever and actually wants to keep me nourished, comfortable, and healthy. My work is needed in the world and those who resonate with it will do so regardless of how often I post on social media. 

photo by Austin Ferguson

photo by Austin Ferguson

Gratefully, the last several days have seen a gradual shift towards normalcy. My energy levels are rising, I’m working once again and earning more than I imagined, I’ve enjoyed cooking and hiking again. I even completed a course that I’ve been slowly working on for a year now, earning my certificate in organic skincare formulation and skin science. Truly, this is all with a newfound level of gratitude for my able-body, this journey into motherhood, and every single miracle life blesses me with — big or small. As difficult as this first trimester has been is equal to the strength I have gained as a result of it. We have these experiences not so that we can be defeated, but so that we can be victorious. And today, I feel absolutely victorious. 

 “For every beautiful thing, you have to pass through a valley of hardship. There is no liberation without labor.” - Yogi Bhajan

The Sacred Self-Care Journal

Sat Nam, kindred spirits! I am wildly excited to share this new offering with you all. THE SACRED SELF-CARE JOURNAL is a guidebook of over 30 potent, yet simple practices and writing exercises to carry you through every single day of the lunar cycle! Beginning with the New Moon, you'll have new writing exercises and yogic practices to use daily. 

This offering is perfect for anyone who is looking to cultivate a deeper connection to their soul + Spirit through devoted, daily practice. 

My vision for this offering was ACCESSIBILITY. I want everyone who wants these teachings to have them! I've made The Sacred Self-Care Journal a "by donation" offering, meaning you decide how much you want to invest in it. 

In celebration of this rich new resource, I'll be documenting my own experience using the journal daily, beginning this Wednesday, April 26th on the New Moon. Join me by downloading and printing your own copy! If you feel inspired to share your experiences on social media, I invite you to use the hashtag #THESACREDSELFCAREJOURNAL so that we may all witness and love on you!

Grab your copy and get ready for a truly transformative month! 

Singing | Shifting

photo by Austin Ferguson

photo by Austin Ferguson

I stood in the dark, familiar wings of the stage and waited for my name. It was 2009 and I had mustered up all the courage in my being to audition for the school musical. For three years prior I had been taking theatre classes. At the time, it was my passion and my dream to be an actress. The only thing stopping me was the fact that I didn’t really feel talented. I certainly didn’t feel beautiful enough to stand on a stage and be stared at. And yet, there I was — on a stage, waiting to be called so that I could get judged for my worthiness and ability. 

When I finally heard my name, I felt frozen. Somehow I made it to the center of the stage. There were only a handful of people in the audience, most of them friends. The music started and it was all I could do to squeak. I sang as loudly as I could without crying, I was so nervous. I finished the song and retreated to the wings yet again, adrenaline rushing and feeling proud of myself. You didn’t do that bad, I thought, you’ll at least get a part in the ensemble. Afterwards, I questioned my friends for feedback. 

They reluctantly told me that they couldn’t hear me at all. 

And when the cast list was posted for the musical, even my most tone-deaf friend made the cut — but not I. I remember walking away from that tiny piece of paper taped to the wall, realizing I would never be an actress. That I just wasn’t good enough. I immediately gave up any dream of a career in theatre and placed myself behind the camera. Gratefully, I fell in love with photography — but that’s a story for another journal entry. 

Growing up, my mom was the singer in the house. She encouraged us all to be musical, but, as I grew older and developed self-consciousness and anxiety, I felt like there was no point in my singing because she was so much better. Why would anyone want to listen to me when they could listen to her? I often sang only very softly if at all, unless I was alone. 

Fast forward to a couple years ago when I first practiced Kundalini Yoga. I was being asked to chant mantras I’d never heard or seen before out loud in a group setting, with people I barely knew. When practicing alone in my home, I would chant with fullness and depth. In class, I struggled yet again to be at all audible. I didn't understand it then, but I was totally resistant to being seen or heard out of fear of reliving my rejection from many years ago. 

And yet, gradually, something in me shifted. As I kept up with my personal, daily practice of singing/chanting, I became more confident, secure, contained, and radiant. I could finally sing in class without becomingly overwhelmingly nervous and self-conscious. It felt so freeing to be fully expressed in a way I’d always wanted to be.

photo by Austin Ferguson

photo by Austin Ferguson

Of course, as with all things, it is a practice. Despite how far I’d come, I experienced a fresh wave of insecurity when I began working with clients and teaching classes. It was one thing to sing along with the group, an entirely other to lead the group with all eyes on me. The first few times, my voice shook. But I still saw it as a victory and I kept going. Kept singing. Kept expressing. And again, it was a gradual shift. But it was a real shift, not a temporary or superficial one. 

Today, I actually enjoy singing with fullness, depth, and projection, both in class and in life! I still have the self-doubting thought patterns arise, I simply choose not to subscribe to that channel, so to speak. The wonderful thing about chanting/singing mantra is that you’re using a mantra, which is a tool to retrain the mind. Allowing the mantra to cut through any block and staying devoted to my fullest, highest expression gives me the energy to keep up when my mind tells me that I’m not worthy of being seen and heard. 

The truth is — your voice, your light, your presence, your medicine is needed now more than ever. If you are feeling called to create or offer something, know that it is because there is someone out there praying for it. Kundalini Yoga allows us to access and activate our infinite energy, highest potential, deepest radiance, and the destiny of our greatest fulfillment so that we can be of service to the world and manifest success on all levels. If you’re looking for support and guidance in creating your own daily practice (Sadhana), I look forward to connecting over a session.

From Skin-Picking to Self-Love

I remember my first pimple so vividly, even though it was over fifteen years ago. It sat on the right side of my chin, communicating from an early age that I was dealing with hormonal imbalance. Yet, instead of addressing that, I was schooled on how to deal with acne in an entirely different way. I was told to “pop it until it bleeds, then put an alcohol-soaked cotton ball on it for a few minutes. In a few days, you can just pick it right off!” Easy enough.

And so began my over-a-decade-long habit of picking my skin. 

From my point of view, picking away the scab was the necessary last step to getting rid of acne. After all, that’s what I had been told. Never mind that it didn’t actually work for me. Over time, the habit turned into a compulsion. I would catch myself running my fingertips over my skin, searching for a scabbed pimple to pick away. In my disillusionment, I felt like I could just pick away all of the acne. I remember getting my eyebrows waxed for the first time — the assistant joked that it would be great if they could wax away the acne. You have no idea, I thought. I had tried everything, even burning my skin with a lightbulb, to get rid of it. Everything except loving myself and letting myself heal. From my food choices, to my thought patterns, to my relationships, to my skin care — everything was toxic. And I just kept picking.

Of course, it didn’t work and all I gained from the picking was a scarred face. Not only had picking not cleared my skin, it had created a seemingly permanent reminder of the acne. I hated myself more than ever.

When I got really serious about my daily practice, I also committed to being real with myself about all of the ways I was engaging with self-deception. In this time, I realized that my habit of skin-picking was really a way for me to engage in low-grade self-hate. By picking my skin, I was both expressing my self-hatred and creating the sequence for more. 

Rewiring my brain not to subconsciously pick at my skin hasn’t been easy. Like I said, I’d been doing it since I was ten years old. It wasn’t enough for me to just decide to make the change. Even with all my conviction, I would still catch myself thoughtlessly picking at my skin throughout the day. I realized that I would have to first heal the part of me that hated myself, that caused the urge to pick at my skin. I would have to totally transform my relationship to myself.

photo by Austin Ferguson

photo by Austin Ferguson

My path was a winding one — first delving into nutrition, experimenting with different diets, and learning how to eat intuitively and in joy; then moving into organic/biodynamic farming and understanding how to align myself with the earth and access my strength in service to the earth. Next came my dive into herbalism, which led me to stone medicine, and then parlayed into creating my own skincare. The big one, for me, however, came after all of this when I discovered kundalini yoga and meditation. When I took a break from mastering my studies and instead turned to mastering my self, everything began to shift in a very real, very quick way.

These are just a couple of the practices that have stuck with me and given me practical, grounded results. 

A devoted, daily practice (Sadhana).
Keeping a Sadhana will completely change, transform, and upgrade your entire life. I credit everything in my life to my Sadhana. It provides a cornerstone for my entire being and spiritual journey. It always brings me back to a state of pure, unconditional love for myself and all that is. 

photo by Austin Ferguson

photo by Austin Ferguson

Not to mention, there are also some really incredible kriyas (yoga sets) and meditations within the Kundalini Yoga lineage that specifically address beauty, skin issues, and self-love! One of my first forty-day practices was a meditation said to make you radiant and beautiful. I didn’t fully believe it going in, but after forty days when I was noticeably more beautiful to myself and others at all levels of being, I was hooked. And not that we practice to receive compliments from others, but every time I did, I knew it was an opportunity to really cement that vision of myself in my mind that is so used to seeing myself as not good enough. 

Kundalini Yoga works directly with the nervous and endocrine systems to bring the body, mind, and spirit into balance. My acne largely was a result of hormonal imbalance and anxiety, so Kundalini Yoga addressed it immediately. Not only that, but it gave me the space to explore my own divinity, infinity, and oneness, which naturally led to feeling more confident in my own skin, supported by the universe, and connected to my inner beauty. 

If you’re seeking a devoted, daily practice but aren’t sure where to start, I would love to connect over a one on one session

A consistent, simple skincare routine.
For ages, I was obsessed with trying out every cream and cleanser I could get my hands on. I might’ve tried between one and three new products each day! It’s really no wonder my skin was in a constant state of inflammation, as it was always having to react to the next, new chemical concoction I was slathering all over it. Not to mention all of the toxic crap I was ingesting through food products, conventional body care and cleaning products, makeup, and more. Our skin really loves and appreciates simplicity and consistency. It gives it a chance to calm down, find balance, and move from reacting to regenerating. However, to really push through the blocks of self-hatred that come with skin-picking, I had to deepen my skincare routine past just the physical. What this means for me is that I recite affirmations and smile anytime I’m touching my skin during my skincare routine. I use a special rose quartz Gua Sha stone to massage my skin, activating it’s natural healing ability while infusing the entire ritual with love. Each day, I close my skincare routine by saying, “I love my clear, radiant skin!”. I say it with excitement, with joy, and with gratitude. I say it whether I am broken out like crazy or have a totally clear complexion. 

I also really suggest finding one or two really high-quality, multi-purpose products that jive well with your skin. People ask me all the time why I only make one skincare product right now when I used to make so many more. The truth is, I only need the one. And the same goes for many of my clients. I could make the other stuff and make money off of it, but there is something truly special about my Frankincense Beauty Balm that goes beyond the ingredients — although those are incredible, too. My skin has never been calmer, clearer, or brighter since I began using my balm consistently. It’s my cleanser, moisturizer (so important in the dry Colorado air), flyaway tamer, sometimes-perfume, scar healer, dry skin savior — my everything. And my skin loves it! Find what your skin loves and stick with it. 

PS: My Frankincense Beauty Balm was formulated to heal scarring from skin-picking and it definitely does! My skin no longer bears the scars of my past, which I am forever grateful for.

Moment-to-moment self check-in’s.
There are still times when I catch myself, lost in thought, picking at my skin. In times like these, I practice great compassion for myself. I don’t get down on myself or berate myself for the potential damage I’ve done. Rather, I tune in with myself and follow the thought pattern that led me to subconsciously start picking my skin so that I can be fully aware and begin shifting the sequence. Almost always, my mind will wander into self-consciousness and self-doubt right before I begin picking at my skin. When I become aware of the pattern and consciously subvert it, I then shower myself (and the spot on my skin I was picking at) with love. I bless the spot. I tell myself how beautiful and loved I am. I anoint the spot with some sacred Frankincense oil I love. I flip the script from self-hate to self-love. And over time, it becomes easier and easier to do so. 

Above all, may you experience yourself as truly, innately, purely beautiful and loved — because you absolutely are. Sat Nam. 


Setting Ourselves Up for Victory

I speak often about how important commitment and devotion is in my own life, so I naturally attract clients who are seeking to create more of this in their own lives and practices. The honest truth is: commitment and devotion can be incredibly difficult to cultivate. We are not alone, but no one else can do it for us. We must access and activate the strength, energy, and determination from within. Luckily, I have a few tips that I use on the daily to set myself up for victory.

photo by Austin Ferguson

photo by Austin Ferguson

Create a Sacred Practice Space
Having a space of our own that is solely dedicated to practice is quite powerful. This area will be quickly charged up with all of the high-vibration frequencies of the mantras and the radiant energy we’re generating during our practice. Even if there isn’t a whole room, or even a corner to spare, you can still create a sacred space to practice in. Currently, I live in a one-bedroom apartment. My sacred practice and altar space is a corner in my living room. Despite the fact that it’s not a separate space and is actually moved through many times throughout the day, it holds its charge and feels more cozy and sacred than any other spot in our little home. This space can be transitional and it can be tiny! 

For parents of both children and animals, consider how accessible the space is to others in your household. I’m not bothered by others joining me in meditation but everyone is different! Create that boundary if it serves the practice. 

What should your space contain? Anything that taps you deeper into yourself and into the divine. There’s no formula for sacredness. All is sacred. My personal space includes a sheepskin, yoga mat, a marble altar with stones, feathers, and plant matter, and incense/candles. I keep it simple and minimal, as my space may need to be utilized at other times of the day.


Choose Only Practices That Excite You
This is a huge one. If I am excited about a practice, I can’t wait to get up in the morning and do it. During the day, I find myself thinking about it and how it’s shifting my reality. If there’s a mantra, mudra, or breath pattern that particularly resonates, I find that I naturally carry it throughout my day.

Before discovering Kundalini Yoga, I was a total flake. I couldn’t commit to anything for more than a day. And even after beginning to practice, my commitment wavered. It wasn’t until I found the practices that most resonated with my journey and intentions, the practices that set my heart on fire, that I discovered how devoted I could be. Many of my clients tell me that the more they practice the meditations and yoga sets from the sessions, the more they want to practice. It’s my favorite thing to hear, because it means that we’ve discovered a practice that is truly resonant and aligned with their path. Then, it becomes quite easy to keep up!

Oftentimes we pick up a new practice because it’s trendy or someone we look up to is doing it - which is completely doable and I definitely encourage experimentation. But if our reason ends there, then we likely won’t keep up with the practice. This is why I love offering Sadhana Sessions - in a single session, we learn and practice multiple different yoga sets and meditations to really feel into which ones are exciting to us. The practices that we love, we commit to. The ones we don’t absolutely love simply fall into our toolbox, should we wish to return to them later.

Something to consider here is the definition of an “exciting” practice. We have to keep ourselves (our egos) in check. My most beloved practice, reciting a Sanskrit poem called JapJi Sahib, has been going for 419 days. When I first started learning this long poem, I spent an hour every morning doing this practice. Now that I know it by heart, it takes me just twenty minutes (it’s a long poem — 40 stanzas!). There have been many, many days that I was not bouncing-off-the-walls excited to do this practice. But when I tap into my infinite self and see the temporality of that boredom as well as the potential shifts these practices can bring into my reality, I tap into my devotion. I tap into my determination. I tap into my grit. Which is powerful, transformative, and infinite. So, yes, we want to be excited about our practices. But we also want to be understanding of the human experience and see that boredom will come and we must push through it. It’s just another level of self-mastery that we’re working with. I love this quote about yoga, “The pose begins the moment you want to leave it.” That’s how I feel about my Sadhana. The times I really, really don’t want to practice, those are the times that I’m really practicing! And the choice we make in that moment has the potential to totally shift and upgrade the trajectory of our lives. So it’s worth it to stay committed. 


Prep Yourself
Morning person or not, it’s insanely helpful to get yourself set-up the night before. I’ve been doing this since I was a kid, pulling out my clothes for school the next day, prepping my lunch, getting my backpack together. It just makes the morning flow so much more smoothly! Nowadays, I prep for the morning by laying out my sheepskin with a cozy blanket (I love to get a wrapped up like a burrito for my Sadhana), set out the supplements I take in the morning, pull out the tea I’ll drink during meditation, set out the clothes I wear for my Sadhana, and anything else that feels relevant. If, for any reason, it feels messy or cluttered in/around my practice space, I clean it up the evening before. Doing this makes the morning feel easy, light, and fluid. 


Enlist a Friend
Having a friend hold us accountable can make all the difference! I offer to all of my clients to contact me daily upon completion of their Sadhana. In fact, this is one of the most valuable aspects of the offering! Those who do contact me daily after their daily practice get so much more out of it. Even when I can’t respond immediately and share in their victory in that moment, the simple act of sending me the message reconfirms the commitment and strengthens your drive. It’s all just reinforcement. 

I find that this works best for both parties when the person who is committed to a practice contacts the person who is holding them accountable and not the other way around. This means that your friend won’t be texting you daily to ask whether or not you’ve done your practice, as this only displaces your responsibility and keeps you from cultivating true self-reliance and commitment. Like I said, it often doesn’t even matter whether or not the person you contact gets back to you or not. The important thing is that you strengthen your commitment through sharing your victories with others. If my clients don’t text me one day, I won’t be emailing them about whether or not they’ve practiced. Again, this work is 100% up to us. No one else can do it! If a client misses a day, it generally only happens once. Because once it happens, once we fall off, we absolutely never want to have to start from scratch — again. And so we tend to keep up. Ultimately, I always respond to my clients and check in from time to time with those who aren’t contacting me daily, but that’s not so much a tool for strengthening commitment as it is for strengthening community.  


Have a Non-Negotiable
Setting a “non-negotiable” is something I truly believe in. A “non-negotiable” is simply a practice that we do, every single day, without fail. It is the cornerstone of our entire spiritual practice. It is meant to be simple. It is meant to be short (though we can always extend it if we so choose). This is because we will do this practice even if our home burns down. Even if we get sick — or if our children/partners do. Our “non-negotiable” practice is usually associated with an aspect of our experience that we are working to shift or master. The poem I mentioned above, JapJi Sahib, is my personal “non-negotiable”. In the last 415 days, I have traveled, I have gone through hell, I have been sick, I have been bored, I have been crazy busy like you wouldn’t believe. Through it all, I have done my daily practice. Now I see that it is always possible. If I can do a twenty minute poem daily, then anyone can do three minutes of breathwork or chanting. Because I really and truly was the flakiest person I knew, once upon a time. It’s almost impossible to put into words what happens when we practice a consistent meditation for an extended period of time. The best way for me to explain it is that it feels like home. It feels like warmth. Like infinite, divine grace. Like golden light showering my entire being. In this age, however, you must experience it for yourself to know it truly. 


If you’re desiring to create a Sadhana, a daily spiritual practice, but aren’t sure where to begin or what practices would best serve you, I would be honored to work with you one-on-one in a Sadhana Session. Find more information here. 

A Path to Self-Love

Growing up, it always felt easier to hate myself than to love myself. I was just a little too pudgy. My face constantly broke out. The boys I liked rejected me. I had only a few close friends. I was always desperately trying to change myself into someone who would be more lovable. I devoured books and took on the personalities of the main characters, looking for myself in each of them. I enjoyed studying theatre because it meant I could be someone else entirely — someone, I thought, who was much better than me. It seemed to come down to my appearance — if only I was more beautiful, everyone would like me and I would be happy. I picked at my face daily trying to scratch all the acne away. I coated myself in cover-up and accentuated my breasts in an effort to distract. But it never worked. I was keenly aware of my flaws and had a feeling that everyone else was, too.

As I got older, my acne calmed down some but never went away entirely. I became very cynical about love — I didn’t actually believe it existed, never wanted to be in a committed relationship, and used sex as a way to garner attention. I definitely didn’t love myself. College was the first time I was ever actually pursued by guys — which back then was my personal measure of my self-worth. Even though my confidence was boosted, it was still only barely there. I couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror, oddly grateful for my near-sightedness as it kept me from getting a detailed look at my face. And of course, that extra fifteen pounds never seemed to go away. But I was dating my now-husband at the time, who took a nutrition course and insisted we shift our eating and exercise habits. I agreed, reluctantly at first, but the Capricorn (overachiever) in me took over and, eventually, I was treating my body better than I ever had. Because I was really into weight training, I stretched often. Everyone told me that I’d love yoga but I never could muster the confidence to go. I also knew deeply in my soul that I would love meditation (having suffered from anxiety through my teens) but just couldn’t get around to doing it — for no reason at all, except my own laziness. And so I worked on my physical body for a couple years, ping-ponging between loving myself and hating myself. A cleaner diet and regular exercise cleared up my skin a great deal, though I still broke out horribly on my period and from time to time. Even with the somewhat clearer skin, something always felt like it was missing. I didn’t know it then, but it was the self-love. I had been practicing the “fake it until you make it” method for self-love and confidence so long, I didn’t realize that I still didn’t really, truly love myself. It was entirely conditional and still largely based on my appearance.

Luckily, I wound up working on an organic farm as part of the tomato crew. All Summer long, amidst harvesting tomatoes for ten hours a day, we talked. I learned about manifestation, reiki, Wayne Dyer, moontime rituals + practices, yoga, and so much more from my co-workers. We listened to podcasts, shared books, and ate every single ripe-on-the-vine tomato there was to eat. At the end of the season, I began practicing asana yoga regularly. And very, very reluctantly, I attempted to meditate. I started with a twenty minute manifestation meditation from Wayne Dyer, but just wasn’t excited about it and, because of that, it didn’t work for me. Looking to invoke abundance in my life, I stumbled upon a three minute Kundalini Yoga prosperity meditation and felt a strange pull. At the time, my husband and I were back in Texas, living with my mom. I made very little money from my Etsy store, was killing myself doing volunteer work for an online community in hopes of someday earning money for it, and spent my days bored. I figured I had no excuse not to spend three minutes of the day meditating on increased prosperity. So I did. 

Within weeks, I had an opportunity to attend a Kundalini Yoga retreat and, through the meditation, I manifested the money to make it happen. After the retreat, spending a week steeped in the teachings, I had accessed enough energy within myself to commit to a Sadhana, a daily spiritual practice. I chose a practice that was well-known to make you radiant, and, with hopes of becoming beautiful, set out on the path that has led me to this moment. I didn’t become beautiful, because I realized that I cannot become something I already am. Instead, I cleared away all of the subconcious, self-sabotaging, programmed bullshit that had been blocking my light and keeping me small for my entire life. And today, I absolutely experience myself as more beautiful as a direct result of this practice. But, like I said, it didn’t make me beautiful. It made me me — which is inherently beautiful. Learning to see my own true beauty was the path to loving myself for real, no more faking it! Witnessing my own divinity, grace, beauty, magnetism, radiance, wisdom, strength, intution, and vibrancy on a daily basis (through my Sadhana) has given me this gift, the one thing that was missing for so long. Of course, like all things in life, it’s a practice that I work with moment to moment. Thankfully, though, I have the tools, wisdom, and energy to stay on this golden path and in love with who I truly am. 

“Your wealth will increase, your values will increase, your projection will increase, if you simply love to live, just love yourself and live yourself.” Yogi Bhajan


I particularly love this powerful mirror meditation practice. It works to self-hypnotize into a state of compassion and love for our divine, complex beings. We are already hypnotized by our past experiences, familial and societal conditioning, and media — this practice allows us to break that spell and re-wire ourselves to see the inherent beauty we all possess. 

PRACTICE :: Stand naked, in front of a full-length mirror. Stare into your own eyes. Repeat the mantra, “I am bountiful, blissful, beautiful. Bountiful, blissful, beautiful am I.” Practice for one to eleven minutes daily. I personally use this practice in my skincare ritual, repeating the mantra whilst massaging Frankincense Beauty Balm into my skin with a Rose Quartz Gua Sha to promote radiance, healing, and self-love at all levels.

"If you feel just one thing in your life—that life is nothing but the gift of God—you are divine and the most courageous person. Try it! Try it as a thought. The moment you feel that life is a gift, you’ll become prosperous." Yogi Bhajan