6 Ideas for a Daily Self-Love Practice

coffeeshophippieYou can see the value of learning to love yourself. You understand why it’s important. You know it will help you live a more joyful life, appreciate others more, and have more energy for pursuing your most cherished dreams. But how on Earth do you get there?

Like any skill worth having, self-love comes through dedicated practice.

In this case, learning to love yourself more is a matter of spiritual practice. What do I mean by that? Spiritual practice is something that you do regularly to get connected with the divine. Divine can mean different things to different people. For you it might be your concept of God or Goddess or the Universe, or concepts like love and compassion, or simply the all-pervasive energy that the cosmos is made of – the definition is up to you.

The goal is to feel more connected to that which makes you feel like an integral part of a loving whole. To feed your soul. To feel nourished and valued for who you are, as you are. Rather than looking outside yourself for validation, you’ll look within.

The goal of connection can be accomplished in many different ways. Here are your three main criteria for choosing a practice: 1. It feels good. 2. You’re willing to commit to it. 3. It fits into your daily life.

When you’re starting your self-love practice, make a solid commitment to it. Three weeks is the minimum for forming a new habit, so start there. You might already know what you want to choose, or you may have no idea.

Below are some suggestions to choose from. Pick one and adapt it, making it your own. Now make the commitment, and tell someone about it. Accountability will help you succeed in your goal; choose a trusted friend or loved one who will uplift and encourage you.

Don’t let resistance or doubt stop you from making a start. Begin today, and let the self-love flow into your soul.

Listen Within. Whether you’ve ever meditated or not, sitting in silence is a valuable practice for encouraging self-love. Stop and sit, listening carefully for the wisdom of your intuition, which is connected to your soul, and thus to the divine. Try 10 minutes every morning or evening, to start.

Affirm Your Worth. Create or choose some affirmations that are about loving yourself. Choose one each morning and say it at least 7 times to yourself in the shower. Or write your affirmations multiple times in your journal. Post them around the house, where you’ll see them often. Chant them as you exercise or clean the house.

Sweet Talk Yourself. You can unlearn the negative self-talk that comes automatically to the surface of your mind. Resolve to speak kindly and compassionately to yourself. Find a bracelet that slips on and off your arm easily, and dedicate it to helping you relearn self-talk. Whenever you find yourself speaking to or about yourself in a negative way (in your mind or aloud), switch the bracelet to the other arm. Now make a point of saying at least one kind thing to yourself.

Move Your Body. Exercise brings endorphins and smooths out your emotional edges. It will also help you love your physical form more. Find a fun way to move that you love to do: hike, work in the garden, walk your dog, make love, or dance around the kitchen with your kids. Show gratitude to your body for all the wonderful things it does.

Keep a Journal. Start a journal or notebook dedicated to loving yourself. Write in it every day. What should you write? Affirmations, intentions for the day, goals and dreams, things you’re great at, things you want to learn more about, places you’d like to visit. Doodle and draw. Use lots of colorful pens, and maybe stickers. Have fun with it!

Play, Play, Play! There are things in your life that you love to do, that feel like play to you. What are they? Do them more! It might be creating music, doing crafts, going to the movies, baking a delicious cake, walking on the beach, or redecorating your bedroom. Whatever lights your fire – do that. By regularly making time for play, you’re showing yourself that your pleasure and delight are worth savoring.

Now it’s your turn. Pick one of the above suggestions or create your own. Post a comment and share your new self-love practice. Blessings!

Gratitude Takes Over the World

amazingbookI’ve just finished reading a life-changing book. As a bookworm, I probably say that a lot, and I’m not making it up. But truly, this is a game-changer. I think you should read it. As soon as possible.

The book is Thank and Grow Rich by Pam Grout. I’m currently 10 days into the main practice of the book, which is mentioned in the subtitle: “A 30-Day Experiment In Shameless Gratitude and Unabashed Joy.” And it’s working. I mean, I’m already a pretty happy person. But I’ve been receiving amazing blessings, opening to more joy than ever, and acting like a kid in a candy store, just in the course of everyday life.

Quester actually asked me to tone it down a little yesterday. That made me laugh!

The book did, too. If you’ve read Pam Grout’s books before, you’ll know that she’s pretty hilarious. Her stories are fun and easy to identify with. She’s definitely one of those spiritual leaders who can dance, if you know what I mean. I enjoyed her book E Squared, too, but for some reason this one just seems especially powerful.

It might be partly that I’m really ready for it. But I think so many of us are. We’re so ready to ditch the old patriarchal, limitation-filled, what-you-see-is-what-you-get, materialistic world. Enough, already! By opening yourself to the magick and blessings that are all around you, you truly are opening yourself to further blessings. With those blessings – the ones you recognize that you already have and the new ones that keep flooding in – you’re living in a positive state, rather than being constantly stressed and worried. From that place, you can much more easily be of big service to the world.

Gratitude is the practice. It’s the quickest, most effective way to open yourself to the channel you really want to be tuned into as you walk this Earth. Grout’s sound advice, sprinkled with fascinating research and wonder-invoking anecdotes, will help you get onto the frequency of gratitude in a big way, in just 5 minutes a day.

It can’t hurt to try it, right?

I most highly recommend it. I’m thinking that even after the 30 days, I’ll keep my new gratitude practice up and running. It’s powerful stuff.

Starcat’s Favorites: Abundant Harvest

Happy Autumn! And Happy Spring to those of you in the southern hemisphere! It is the time for harvest, and the gardens and farmer’s markets are full of abundant vegetables and fruits. Delicious! It’s also time to take a look at what we’re harvesting in our personal lives, and to share our gratitude for all the many blessings we receive all the time.

goddess-awakening-cover-smallWhat are you receiving at this sacred harvest time? What are you most thankful for? I’m thankful for my wonderful community of family and friends, both near and far. I’m SO thankful for the overwhelmingly positive response to our new e-book, Goddess Awakening: The Rise of the Feminine Divine (get your free copy here). I’m especially thankful for the contributors who shared their gems of wisdom. I’m thankful for my home, and for all the delicious food we create. We just got back from NYC, where we attended the Life Without Instructions unschooling conference. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to travel and to hang out with such inspiring people of all ages!

My personal focus lately has been on expanding my business and being able to contribute more meaningfully to our family’s financial needs. Thus, several of the links below center around that topic. I’m so very grateful for all of these resources, for being lovingly supported, and for learning new ways of being.

This is my favorite prosperity resource so far. I’m loving the 30-day experiment! I’ve also started a Pinterest board for my prosperity studies if you’d like more ideas.

Here are 16 habits of the rich – and they might not be what you’d think.

Lessons from a self-made millionaire (swear word alert!). I’m reading one of her books and I just love her.

Looking at your work day and productivity in a whole new way – especially great for entrepreneur, work-at-home types.

On ethical leadership.

Last but not least – and just for fun – the power of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

I hope you’re enjoying the bright crisp days, tasty apples, and pumpkin spice everything – if that’s your sort of thing. I’m looking forward to having some apple cider cake tonight, thanks to my Mom. Blessings!

Gratitude to Yemaya!

Last weekend I posted, among other things, a link to an article about the Feast Day of Yemaya, the Mother of Oceans. On Thursday, I gathered with three witchy friends at my favorite beach, and we did a ritual offering to the Goddess Yemaya. It was beautiful, profound, and such a delight.

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We gave offerings to Yemaya, said prayers to Her, and made wishes. Then we swam in the ocean, getting tossed around by the cold waves, laughing and shrieking. It was amazing.

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Early this morning, I visited another beach, in the company of BlackLion, his Mom (who is our official photographer), and ElvenTiger. We did the book cover photo shoot for our two upcoming books. Yemaya was with us there, too.

We were graced with a gorgeous sunrise and perfect weather. The official book cover pictures will be shared later, but here’s a pre-dawn photo I took when we first arrived on the beach.

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And this is BlackLion’s shot of the sunrise, with our favorite model, ElvenTiger.

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I’m so thankful for my family, my friends, the gorgeous place where we live, and the Goddess Yemaya’s blessings. I love this life. Blessed Be!

Starcat’s Favorites: Labors of Love

Purple FlowerHappy Labor Day weekend, if you’re in the U.S. If not, well, happy weekend anyway! The list of resources I want to share with you this week certainly reflects my own recent labors, working on my two book projects. The Heart of the Goddess book in particular has had me following the trails of some interesting topics I needed to research. I love my work.

Today, though, I took some time off from writing and spent a lovely morning with my Mom, visiting a craft fair in a local seaside town. My friend from high school and her band were playing, so we got to say hello to her and enjoy the music. We shared some yummy quiche and a carrot cake muffin for brunch, caught up with another friend we encountered there, and had fun looking at all the cool items for sale. Mom treated me to a beautiful owl pendant! We stopped at a farm stand on the way back and got a few things, too. I’m so blessed – my Mom is an awesome person and we love to hang out together.

So, here are the links I’ve been saving up to share with you.

The Feast Day of the Goddess Yemaya is coming up in just a few days, on September 7th. I’ve been really connecting with Her and with my mermaid roots, this summer. And yes, She’s in the book!

Happy Birthday to my Virgo sisters and brothers! Here’s a cool write-up on our sometimes misunderstood sign.

Examining – and embracing – the word priestess.

Why we do spiritual practice – from the lips of the Dalai Lama, no less!

A hearty YAY to this list of ways to love a self-employed person!

I’m soooo excited to put together my bullet journal for 2017. I know, geeky, right?

“Maybe a massive global groove is all we need to break free of the patriarchy!” I love this article on dance as meditation.

This was one of the fun rabbit holes my book research led me down: the metaphysics of music. A long but fascinating read.

I’m studying up on prosperity, and so I created a Pinterest board with related resources.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and a blessing-filled week as well!

A Summertime Thing

Oh, dear neglected blog! I’ve been off enjoying the summer weather and lots of fun events with friends, plus working on more books. I recently read that blogs aren’t as popular as they once were, and that perhaps their time has passed. I disagree! I still enjoy reading and writing blog posts, and I’ve just refreshed my own blogging plans so that I’ll be here with you more often.

Kids at GolfSo, what have I been up to, exactly? This summer has included the usual round of birthdays and family reunions. I’ve been swimming a lot, and spending time with my kids, who are now nearly grown up. Here’s a picture of them with their partners when we all went mini-golfing – ElvenTiger (age 17) is the redhead, and Dryst (just turned 20) is on the far right. They are both in love, and their partners fit in well with our family. I’m so blessed. My kids are awesome. By the way, my son got me playing the new Pokemon Go game, and it’s really a blast!

Other than that, fun events from this summer have included an Indigo Girls concert, attending the Bonnaroo music festival with Quester for our 25th wedding anniversary, lots of beach time with friends, a little bit of performing (though not as much as in previous years, by choice), and visiting with friends and family from out of town who come to this lovely vacationland in the summer months. There were a couple of hospital visits (my Mom and a friend), which fall into the not-so-fun category, but both of them are doing better now.

I’ve also been busily writing my next book, which will come out in November. It’s called The Heart of the Goddess, and is a bigger project than I’ve tackled before. I’m really excited about it. A close friend asked me a few months ago when I was going to write something that went deeper than the introductory-level books I’ve been writing so far. Well, it’s now underway!

BlackLion and I have been working on a very exciting collaboration, which is also related to the subject matter of my upcoming book. We interviewed 14 community leaders about the awakening of human consciousness and the resurgence of the Goddess and her values. They discuss their callings, how they live their values in everyday life, what they do when they get off track, and how they stay focused in a world that’s outwardly way off-balance. The resulting e-book, which will be free to anyone who requests it, is called Goddess Awakening: The Rise of the Feminine Divine, and will be available on September 12th. I can’t wait to share the gems of wisdom offered by each of the contributors! I know you’ll love it.

I hope your summer (or your winter, if you’re in the southern hemisphere) has been full of fun and blessings! I’m stepping into a whirlwind of a busy fall, but I’ll be here more often, checking in and sharing my favorite insights and discoveries. Cheers!

Starcat’s Favorites: Water and Sky

SeaAndSkyI know I’ve mentioned about a hundred gazillion times that I love summer. Not really a popular opinion this week here in Maine, when the temperatures are in the mid 90s. Most people I run into are complaining about being too dang hot. But I love it.

My favorites this summer are swimming and watching the sky. Yesterday I saw gorgeous clouds, dozens of dragonflies converging on our yard at dusk, a deep-yellow half-moon, and two shooting stars. And that’s just one day! I’ve been swimming in the ocean, the river, and a couple different lakes. I’m satisfying my mermaid longings, and storing up the delicious sensations for when it’s too cold to swim outdoors. It’s feeding my soul. I’m so thankful.

Here are some links to enjoy, perhaps beachside or in the hammock. Enjoy being outdoors as much as you can. If it’s too hot for you during the day, a nighttime walk will get you out under those amazing stars. Have fun!

Retrain your mind to shift from negative thinking to a more positive outlook. It’s not as hard as you might fear!

Why we bother to do regular spiritual practice. Want more on how to do this? Click here.

This intense and powerful article is for those who are unsure how to deal with their feelings about all the violence and hate crimes we’ve been hearing about. It’s something many of us have been struggling with lately.

Christine Kane has been offering some really great articles lately, with topics ranging from emotions and success to how to host a retreat. Terrific stuff!

I hadn’t heard of a commonplace book before, or not by that name anyway, but this sounds really intriguing. It reminds me of reading Experience Curating by Joel Zaslofsky, which I loved.

Enjoy these gorgeous summer days!

Finding Your Place

mybeachspot1I remember reading the Carlos Castenada books back in the early 1990s. One of the things that stuck with me was when the teacher asked his apprentice to find “his spot in the room.” The student didn’t understand the assignment at first, and picked a place at random, but Don Juan wasn’t buying it. Over time, the student learned to find his “power spot,” the place where he was at his best, and his energy system was operating at full capacity.

We all have these places.

Usually, your home is one of your power spots, or at least a certain space in your home. It’s where you feel most at ease and comfortable, where your energy flows smoothly. It might be your bedroom, your favorite chair by the window, or a particular spot in your garden. You know where yours is.

There are also power spots in the world, places where we feel at home and profoundly relaxed, perhaps even energized. I was born in Maine and grew up here, and my favorite spot in the state is Acadia National Park. The energy there is profoundly healing for me. Still, I live in the southern part of the state, and this special spot is over 3 hours away, so I don’t get there as frequently as I’d like.

A good friend of mine has a favorite beach, right here in southern Maine, about a half-hour from my home. She grew up in the neighborhood, and knows the area like the back of her hand. As a child, I’d visited another beach just across the peninsula from this one, but I hadn’t been in the area for years. In the last year or two, I’d been to my friend’s favorite beach for a couple of beach parties she’d hosted, and had fun, but hadn’t thought much about the place itself.

mybeachspot2This year I’ve absolutely fallen in love with this beach, and now I consider it one of my power spots. The energy there feels so sacred and renewing. The second time I visited this beach this summer, it was to celebrate the Full Moon with a small group of women friends. We swam in the sea while the moon rose, impossibly huge, over the horizon. It felt like the most magickal spot I could imagine.

We’ve watched for shooting stars, drummed around the fire, body-surfed in the cold waves, and meditated, on this special beach. We bring snacks and kids and we laugh and sing. I walk the beach searching for treasures, and sit still to admire the sunset. I can’t wait to go back again.

I feel so blessed to have discovered a new sacred spot, and that my sweet friend shared it with me. We already have plans to be there next week, to celebrate the Full Moon once again.

What are some of your favorite power spots? Have you found any new ones lately? If you did, what would it look like? Feel like? How would it sound and smell?

Research and Poetry

This new book I’m working on, The Heart of the Goddess, has me doing research. Well, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that I’m gathering research that I’ve been doing for years, and filling in the gaps as needed. I have stacks of notebooks on a shelf by my bed, filled with notes from my years of reading and studying.

I was looking through one of them this morning for some information on HeartMath, and found this poem that I’d written in 2009 and since forgotten all about. As it happens, I do have a section on Kali planned for the book, too. I love fun synchronicities like that!

In the Garden I Am Kali

I tread through life with gentle steps
Wanting to help others touch their joy.
Genuinely I yearn to nurture life –
Having no effect is better than harshness.
Yet in the garden I am Kali,
Tearing up weeds with calm abandon,
Scattering colonies of earthworms
With rarely any apology or regret,
Simply tucking them back into their beds
And proceeding forth with my destruction.
Order is born from chaos.

gardenfaeLongtime readers will know that I’m not much of a gardener – I pretty much have a “brown thumb.” But this was during a time when I was helping BlackLion in the garden pretty frequently.

His gardens are doing well this summer, without any interference from me! I did give him this faery statue for the herb spiral garden, and she seems to be helping the plants to thrive.

I hope your creations are thriving and that you’re having a fun summer!

Starcat’s Favorites: Highs and Lows

strawberriesThis month has been really weird for me thus far. Not just nationally and internationally, although the news we’ve been getting lately is certainly horrific. But also on a more personal level. On July 4th weekend, we had planned a visit from some close friends, and a cookout with them and my extended clan. We picked some strawberries, stocked up on grillable foods, and cleaned the house. Then we ended up visiting both my friend and my Mom in two separate hospitals on Sunday, and with BlackLion grieving the sudden death of a friend who lived in Hawaii. Um, yeah. Not exactly a fun holiday weekend.

Even in the middle of the crises, though, I’ve been working on my book and a related project, and feeling really creative and inspired. It is, as Quester says often, “high and low all at once.” Here in my 40s, I’m no longer willing to allow the difficult things in life to pull me under. I’m committed to doing the work I love, even as I help my tribe and cope with my own feelings about all that’s going on around us. I’m surfing the waves, moment by moment.

It’s not easy, but I believe that keeping a hopeful and positive attitude is key. Yes, feel those overwhelming feelings of fear, sorrow, and frustration – and then let them go. Crying is a good release, and self-care is essential. Then, keep on following your passions. Don’t, as they say, let the turkeys get you down. Or not for long, anyway (mixed metaphors anyone?).

Several of the links I’m sharing this time reflect this theme of attitude making a difference. You can receive the ongoing stream of life events and resist or fight against them, or you can accept what is and do your best with it. No, none of us is perfect at surfing the waves of our emotions, but with practice, we can keep getting back up on the surfboard.

Elizabeth Gilbert on perception: “The point is: If you feel like you’re constantly being robbed, then you live in a world that’s all about constantly being robbed. And if you feel like you’re constantly being blessed, then you live in a world that’s all about constantly being blessed.” This is brilliant.

What kind of world are you dreaming up?

How our beliefs affect our genes, and thus our physical health.

This article has some useful ideas, and the title made me giggle. I want to be “ridiculously successful” – by my own definition, of course.

What does it mean to “do your Work?” This article is one person’s attempt at defining it.

Here are some sacred sites to visit in the United States. Who’s up for a road trip? I’m ready for a metaphysical tour – and I won’t have to go far to visit the Maine site!

I can never resist a good summer reading list. If you’re more into crafts, this summer bucket list craft looks like a lot of fun.

Enjoy your hammock or beach time!