the center of the universe

“Today most scientists would agree with the ancient Hindus that nothing exists or is destroyed, things merely change shape or form…the cosmic radiation that is thought to come from the explosion of creation strikes the earth with equal intensity from all directions, which suggests either that the earth is at the center of the universe, as in our innocence we once supposed, or that the known universe has no center.”

–Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard

Brought to you with sherpas and a good GPS tracker, by Journaling as Sacred Practice: An Act of Extreme Bravery. Available now on Amazon.

Gifting Books

santa

I recently read some Christmas gift-giving advice: give something to wear, something to to play with, and something to read. What a fabulous idea!  Years ago, when my first hubs and I were young and poor, we agreed that our entire Christmas budget would be an extravagant $100. We scurried off to get our creative best, and I headed down to Acres of Books in Long Beach, CA (a wonderful world of  new/used books). I blew half of my $50 budget on fabulous used books that I bought at a fraction of the cost of new, and that I new my young husband would love. And he did. It is one of the best Christmas memories ever, filled with love and joy.

Now lo, these many years later, I’m still giving books for Christmas. Nothing is more rewarding, tantalizing, or generous than the gift of a book. These days, I do love my e-books, especially for travel, but my home is still filled with stacks and stacks of delicious books — and thanks to me, so are my friends’.

If you love books too, and if  you’re looking to shop for books with meaning, you couldn’t do better than to check out our friends at Green Tara Press.  A small press, Green Tara specializes in books with meaning and depth, lovely tombs filled with poetry and wisdom.

This holiday season, you can shop the big box stores, or you can shop online with the giant online retailers. Or, you can make a stand for the arts, and buy a book from the indies. We love that idea, and we love our readers. Support the Arts: Buy a Book!

Wishing you a merry and jingly gifting and receiving season.

The Girls @ Sephs Salon

Bring the Spa Home

 

Persephone

Winter is the time when we turn inward, stay indoors, feather our nest. This morning I was enjoying the amber morning light and feeling a little witchy, and a little under the weather, so I whipped up an at-home spa treatment to help loosen a stubborn chest cold. My little alchemical brew worked so well, I had to share it here.

When you can’t get away to a “traditional” spa, there’s no reason you can’t transform your bath into a luxurious spa with a little aromatherapy magic! Try this little goddess-girl two-step alchemy to chase away the winter blahs.

First, make a cold-care chest balm to slather on before bed, bath, or shower time. It’s pretty potent, and that’s the idea, so you won’t want to take this treatment before heading off to the grocery or office holiday party.

Step One.  THE BLEND:

  • ½ cup organic coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon jojoba oil (optional)
  • 30 drops organic peppermint essential oil
  • 20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • Dash cayenne pepper, if desired

Heat the coconut oil to soften and ease the blending process. Combine all ingredients to form a smooth paste. The peppermint and eucalyptus oils lend cooling high notes to the recipe, which will help open airways and ease breathing. Pepper adds a little heat. Jojoba will make the blend more creamy, but the recipe works as well without it. Mix all ingredients and then pour into a jar for storage. This yummy, bright, cold-care chest poultice is guaranteed to chase away any lingering winter blahs!

Step Two.  THE BATH:

To make an amazing spa treatment, draw a hot bath. Add 2 cups Epsom salts to the water. Light a candle if you feel like channeling your inner priestess. Add some music to lend atmosphere. Set an intention for a healing bath. Add unscented bubble solution to the water if you are fond of a little froth. Add 10 drops peppermint oil to the water. Rub a little of the cold-care poultice on your chest before slipping into the peppermint-scented bath. Breathe deeply. Let the essential oils do their magic. While the Epsom salts draw toxins out of your body, notice how the cool peppermint contrasts with the hot water. Imagine healing whatever ails you. Go to your happy place and stay there until the water begins to lose its heat. Drain the bath, then shower off. Afterward, apply your favorite body lotion and savor the sensations of cool and warm that will continue for 30 minutes of more. Repeat as desired.

There you have it. You just brought the spa, home. If you give this recipe for bliss a try, let us know how it goes!

 Yours Sincerely,

The Girls at Seph’s Salon

 

(Fair warning:  Be a smart goddess. Do NOT touch your eyes with any of these blends on your hands. Do NOT apply undiluted essential oils directly to your skin. When in doubt, test on a small area on the inside of your arm.)

 

 

 

 

relax, baby!

peac of mind

One of the greatest gifts you get from yoga is that it gives you permission to relax, to really really let everything go as you sink into a yummy pool of bliss. What’s not to love! At the gym where I practice yoga we end our sessions with a sweet period of savasna. Most times, I grab a towel to drape over my eyes because I can’t truly relax under florescent lights. What could be better than relaxing after a healthy workout. . .unless it’s being bathed in the sweet fragrance of lavender blossoms?

Our friends at Oregon Plum Brand have developed an aromatherapy eye pillow filled with a blend of lavender and flax seeds and are offering it for a limited time to our WordPress friends. Be one of the first 25 people to order an Oregon Plum all-natural lavender eye pillow, and get a deep discount on your purchase!  Bonus: these make a great gift — get a jump on your holiday shopping and give the gift of relaxation.  Click here to order.

Namaste!

2OPpillo

 

suspended in blue

bellinghamWhen I meditate, the big things fall into perspective. When I sit and let my body relax, I can feel my bones and muscles, my blood and tissue, letting go of all the big ideas, the big worries, the Big Bad (as Buffy would say). My breath deepens, my shoulders drop. I would like to say that I let my worries go but it is really the other way around. When I fall into the sweet relaxation that mediation opens in me, worries let me go and my consciousness expands and rises up into the sky like a soap bubble. From that high-deep place the “big things” that occupy so much of my waking life seem as small as marbles in the dust and I wonder how they ever seemed important at all.

It took a couple of whole-day meditation retreats to reach this place. I like to think that I have meditated for years, but now I realize, I dabbled. I would do it when the timing was right or the moon was aligned or if I had not hit the snooze button and rose naturally, and meditation was a yummy doorway between dreaming and awake. But I never did it for more than 20 minutes. Tops.

I began attending a weekly Satsang in Napa and got to practice 30 minutes sessions. They were challenging, but I got the hang of it. Then, I did a couple of full day retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre.  These took a little more concentration, a little more physical discipline. I struggled at first, but when I stopped efforting so much. . .and when I forgot to try, it happened.  The world and everything in it (including me) simply expanded and I found my mind floating in a sparkling pool of iridescent blue. I call this feeling Suspended in the Blue and it is completely, utterly, and deeply delicious. I won’t pretend that I get there every time, but now that I know how, it has become an unfolding, and I appreciate the practice as much as the experience.

Big worries? Meh. I breathe in, I breathe out. Everything else is optional.

 

stop::drop::breathe

Two weeks into my extended vacation, I am meditating. Every. Day. No more excuses, no more hitting the snooze button, blithely squeezing available meditation time down to “maybe” and “not quite enough” before dashing off to the office.

Now, I’ve got time. Lots of it. And yet, meditation can still be an illusive tease, dancing just out of reach. I’ve tried all kinds of tricks to get my mind to stop racing, to slow down enough to actually follow my breathe in, out, in, out. Sometimes a guided meditation helps. Sometimes music helps. What mostly helps. . .is just doing it. You follow the breath in, follow the breath out, and before know it, like Alice, you’re down that rabbit hole. Namaste, baby!

peace of mind

So there I was, planning my big, fat fundraiser, and I knew what I had to do. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that all the planning, all the wheeling, dealing, and organizational faits accompli, take a toll on body and mind. And so, into every event strategy, I insert one very important task: the post-event treat. Sometimes its a spa treatment. Sometimes it’s a couple of days away. This time, it was both. I booked myself into a yoga retreat in the breathtakingly beautiful Sierra foothills. I meditated three times a day, walked, breathed, and did a little yoga. Now I’m all calm and ready to take on a whole new adventure. PS: the event was a huge success!

peac of mind