Uncovering Joy: it's bubbling right under the surface

I have been reminded this summer that joy is not something to cultivate or to "achieve". Joy is a state that is inherent in all humans, accessible at any moment in time. 

Joy v. Happiness

We live in a culture obsessed with happiness. There are many self-help-y books, courses, etc which aim to increase one's happiness. While I am not opposed to happiness, by any means, it is a state that relies on external circumstances. "If only I had that car/ house/ relationship... I would be happy". Most likely you are familiar with the voice inside your head that tells these stories. Each of these are things that, once gotten, will eventually lose hype. And then, the quest for that thing that brings happiness begins again. 

So joy. Joy is an internal state, something that is not altered by external circumstances and is inherently primal in humans just like anger and fear. Joy is a state of being. So, I have come to understand that we uncover joy.

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Motherwort: a plant for the Lion Hearted

Motherwort is a common plant seen in backyards and along sidewalks here in West Michigan. I first came into contact with her in my backyard about four years ago. The latin name for Motherwort is Leonurus cardiaca - Lion Hearted. Now this is what got me, even though I didn't know it at the time. As I look back over the past few years, I can see the thread that has been illuminated by this plant. 

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Seasonal Support: 4 Simple ways to support your Body this Spring

"Worms will not eat living wood where the vital sap is flowing; rust will not hinder the opening of a gate when the hinges are used each day. Movement gives health and life. Stagnation brings disease and death."

-Proverb in Traditional Chinese Medicine

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Navigating Your Emotional Awakening

Over the past few years, I have found myself in the process of learning to feel and observe my emotions. Something that was so natural when I was young, had become obscured as I got older and learned push uncomfortable emotions away. Years of stuffing emotions into the nooks and crannies of my being created a lot of discomfort that eventually called for my attention. I could no longer ignore that all emotions are a normal part of the human experience. And so began my process of awakening to these emotions that had been stored, some of them for years and years.

A common question that comes up with clients when we get to working with emotions in general and particularly with difficult emotions is this:

"Why is it important to feel my emotions?

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Living in Harmony with Nature

I have had an image of a way to work with plant medicine floating around my brain for the past few months. The image is of a plant and human side-by-side. The plant (say a flower) has roots, stems and leaves, and a flowering top. The human looks just like you would imagine. What if we worked with plant medicines in a way that reflected this image? Plant roots to nourish our arms and legs, our root chakra, to ground our energy. Plant leaves to support the internal organs, the fluids like blood and lymph, the bones. Flowers and tops of plants serve to balance the head, the mind, the emotions, the energetic system. 

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Healing Modality Highlight: Flower Essences

Flower essences have quickly become one of my favorite healing modalities both for myself and in my practice. They are a less-well-known botanical medicine than herbs, but are just as effective. They differ in preparation than herbs and work on different levels of the body, which I will touch on briefly here.

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Breathe into Being

Have you ever taken a moment to stop on a busy day only to realize that you weren't breathing?  Or maybe you were breathing so shallow that there was no rise and fall in your chest or abdomen.

When I was a nursing student we had to observe the breathing of our patients as part of an assessment.  A fellow nursing student was observing my breathing and found that she had a very hard time counting my breaths because there was no noticeable movement in my chest.  That was the first time my conscious awareness was ever drawn to my breath.  At the time, I didn't think much of it, other than to notice this phenomenon.  I thought, well breathing is automatic so it doesn't matter much what is going on as long as it is still happening!

Over the past ten years, I have become much more conscious of my breath and the connection that I have with it.  Through mindfulness and learning meditation, it has become an anchor into each present moment for me.

I have come to understand that the breath is one of the most central parts of our being.  It can be one of the fastest ways to drop out of racing thoughts into the belly and Being.
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