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Ash Wednesday 12/13

What I’m reading – I was turned on to the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard and his unique journey to becoming a ‘businessman’. I just ordered his book “Let my people go surfing” which I can’t wait to read. Here is an article on him: Yvon Chouinard Interview

Also, this is a great short live interview with him: NPR Yvon Chouinard Interview

Music – I’ve been building this playlist for over a month now.. it’s pretty legit.

What I’m watching – How the economic machine works by Ray Dalio. This is a super short and simple breakdown that I came across when looking into Ray’s new book called ‘Principles’.

Word of the week – Creativity. I never used to think I was creative or artistic in the slightest but I’ve come to realize that everyone is uniquely creative, you just have to do it! I started drawing this week and I’ve quickly become obsessed. Ask yourself, “How do I express myself creatively?”

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Product I’m loving – I’m not a big makeup girl but when I do wear it, I make sure it’s all natural with simple ingredients. This time of year I find myself putting on a bit to brighten up – I’m loving this eye palette from Pacifica.

Quote of the week – 

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big hug,
ash

Ash Wednesday 12/6

What I’m reading – Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

Music I’m listening to – The New Basement Tapes

What I’m watching – This video I saw on Instagram reminded me of the power of MUSIC. I’ve watched it a million times. I only wish I was there..

Word of the week – Action. It’s so necessary to get out of the busyness of the mind and just start putting things into action. There is no right or wrong, it just is. I’ve been practicing sticking with the following steps: feeling, knowing, acting, surrendering, trusting. I have a tendency to get stuck at the knowing step and then stopping there but am moving past this, BUH-BYE uncertainty and stagnation!

Product I’m loving – Satya Palo Santo Incense sticks. Palo santo is burned to invite a sense of sweetness ❤ ((We sell them at Golden Buddha Yoga!))

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Quote of the week – 

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Ash Wednesday 11/29

What I’m reading – I’m still enjoying Reflections on the Art of Living by Joseph Campbell

Music I’m listening to – Chris Stapleton. I’ve listened to Tennessee Whiskey more times than I want to admit this past week 🙂

What I’m watching – The Tale of the Hero’s Journey on YouTube. This is a great inspirational video going through the Hero’s Journey as written about by Joseph Campbell.

Word of the week – Pleasure. Last week I was recovering from a small surgery I had, my body felt so foreign and like every part of me was crying out and aching. This week I’m dedicated to bringing back a general state of ease and full-bodied pleasure. How much time a day or week are you dedicating to being in a state of pleasure? Circulate and breath it throughout your entire body. Allow it to heal you!

Product I’m loving – My ukulele. I’m just starting to learn some cool songs but it’s been so fun to learn something new. When’s the last time you picked up a new hobby?

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Health tip – I recently HAD to take antibiotics. I’m really grateful for them as I know they kill the bad stuff but unfortunately they also kill the good bacteria in your gut and digestive track. Gut health is the absolute key to overall health (and beauty!). If you ever find yourself having to take antibiotics I found it really helpful to take (really high quality) probiotics 2 hours before my morning antibiotic. Eat a half cup of fermented veggies with lunch and drink some raw kombucha late afternoon (or two hours before your evening dose of antibiotics). My stomach and digestion feel really good and normal (which usually does not happen after a full round of antibiotics).

To health and pleasure,
Ashley

Ash Wednesday 11/22

 

Hey all!

I decided I want to start doing a weekly post about different things that are inspiring me. So here it is:

What I’m reading – Reflections on the Art of Living by Joseph Campbell

Amazon: Reflections-Art-Living-Campbell-Companion

 

Music I’m listening to – Jeffrey Martin. His songs are like this beautiful mix of folk, poetry and soul. I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.

What I’m watching – I have a huge crush on (Chef) Francis Mallmann. He does everything in such a romantic way, really makes love to life. He’s wild and free and I think so many can feel the same call to the wild that he has built his life upon.

Check out his episode on Chef’s Table or check out this article: VinePair – Francis Mallman Interview

Word of the week – Mystery.
So often we need to know everything (or have the false sense of knowing). I think it’s a coping mechanism to avoid the discomfort from living in the moment. From what we’ll be doing this weekend, to where we go when we die, we try to plan it all out. I’ve been asking myself, “where in my life am I leaving space for mystery?” I’m learning it can be a big pill to swallow without trust to wash it down! 

Product I’m loving – Paine’s Log Cabin Incense Burners. I’ve been burning the Pine scent the most.  Shop Herepaine-products-log-cabin-incense-burner

Health tip – Drink more water!! I’m just now realizing why this is so overstated. When I used to hear this I would always think to myself, duhhhh! But now I realize first hand just how devastating dehydration can be to the whole body. Water is life. Drink more than you think you can.

 

Spread the word,
Ash

Are you tired of living asleep?

Do you remember that feeling as a teenager when your mom would wake you up for school? The feeling like you could sleep forever and it still wouldn’t be long enough? The pain of getting out of your warm bed and into the cold morning was almost unbearable. Showering, drying your hair, deciding what to wear, dressing yourself, eating breakfast, being on time – the work required to get ready for the day seemed almost endless.

Similarly, in the religion of Islam, the earliest morning prayer (before dawn) is considered the most sacred. Beyond committing oneself to the communion to a higher force, it requires a specific degree of action, an action of consciously choosing to wake up from a sleep filled comfort and into the duty of devotion. This is often not a painless task.

These incidents are similar to what one might experience on the path of awakening and living alive. Waking up from the safety of our numb sleepiness is uncomfortable. Choosing to let life in feels risky because life is full of change and change is always unknown. Waking up is not something that is done one time and then checked off the list. Just like high school and morning prayer, it is a daily calling. Awakening is a continuous choice available to us in every moment.

In a society where anxiety is THE most common mental ‘dis-ease’ and depression affects more than 15 million people (in the US alone), our bodies and our spirits seem to be communicating with us in ways that it never has before. The call to wake up has never been stronger. The pain we feel physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually is the felt difference between the life we are choosing to live and the life that is possible for us – beyond our comfort and closure.

Do you feel like there is more to this life than what you have been choosing? Can you feel it inside of you? Can you hear the small voice that has been gently guiding you to your heart all along? So, you may be wondering, “how do I wake up”?

Tips for staying on the path of wakefulness:

Friendships
Deep and meaningful connections. One that cuts beyond the surface level drama of life and allows you to feel deeper into yourself and the heart of life itself. You can feel when a relationship drains you or fills you up. Choose wisely.

Meditation & Mindfulness Practices
Meditation is a powerful tool for awakening. Trust that even amidst the stillness you are moving great lengths. Beyond formal meditation, other mindfulness practices are available in every now moment. Jon Kabbit- Zinn says, “Mindfuless means moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness. It is cultivated by refining our capacity to pay attention, intentionally, in the present moment, and then sustaining that attention over time as best we can. In the process, we become more in touch with our life as it is unfolding.” Think nature walks, deep breathing, mindful listening or body scans.

Asking the right questions, inquiry
We are where we are because of repeated unconscious choices made day after day. If we want to understand why and how we created our present day reality, all we need to do is look at the choices we made in the past. By asking radical questions that, when answered with complete honesty, change the way we see ourselves and make decisions – ultimately moving us toward the life we desire. I’ve come to realize that the truth never lies in the answers themselves but in the questions we seek them in.

Express your creativity
In what ways do you express yourself creatively? The outlets are absolutely endless. It doesn’t matter what you do, only that you find what works for you and you do it! You are an instrument; let the divine play you.

Have fun, play
Nothing keeps you stuck in your slumber longer than taking life too seriously. Go have fun, let loose, and don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks. It’s almost impossible to feel anything but alive when you’re in a state of play. As George Bernard Shaw stated, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

Believe it or not, living alive is rare. Even after discovering how to wake up, we will often refuse. We may blame our world for being too difficult and painful or the universe for denying us things or experiences. We may blame our family or professional life for requiring too much of our time and energy or our partners for not supporting us enough. We may even blame ourselves for being too tired or not strong enough. Convenient isn’t it? That we long for the aliveness that we never seem to have the time to offer. We complain about our life and blame others, until we realize that right now, we are either choosing to live awake or we are asleep. Over and over, notice if you have fallen back into bed, then consent to your awakening once again. Nothing and nobody is stopping you, but yourself.

In the end,
although your eyes
will close
I hope you’ll find that your heart
is open.
-a.a

Conscious love

Love is easy, relationships are hard work. They take practice, communication, patience and commitment (to name just the very tip of the iceberg). I’ve found myself at the age where all of the sudden friends and siblings are getting married, having kids, buying houses (all beautiful things! Don’t get me wrong). Like anything else, through witnessing other peoples experiences, we start to question our own. As a young women with my partner for over 5 years we often feel societies expectations creeping in on us. Like we have something to prove to the world to assure people that we are committed, we are happy, we are in love. Little did I know how much of a gift this tension would prove to be for our growth. It’s forced us to have some really open and honest conversations about our future that may not have happened otherwise. Instead of being committed to fulfilling societies ideals, or committed to “monogamy” we want to be committed to each other and to our growth. There’s a big difference! So we’ve found ourselves asking our hearts, what does that mean? What does that look like for us? What do we yearn for when the fears of judgment are taken away?

The truth is that the way that humans relate in our current day and age is completely different than the way that we related only 50-80 years ago. Marriage used to be a economic institution, where people were a part of marriages (sometimes arranged) in order to gather assets. We wanted security, children, family, property and social respectability. It’s fairly new that we marry for love, we now actively choose our partners and we expect them to fulfill us in ALL ways. As Esther Perel says, “Contained within the small circle of the wedding band are vastly contradictory ideals. We want our chosen one to offer stability, safety, predictability, and dependability. And we want that very same person to supply awe, mystery, adventure, and risk. We expect comfort and edge, familiarity and novelty, continuity and surprise.” We now ask one person to fulfill us in a way that a whole community once contributed to.  It seems that we are outgrowing the old institutions that determine how we relate with each other. This is made even clearer to me with the 50% divorce rate in the US, 65% in subsequent marriages. I find myself asking, is marriage necessary anymore? Is it causing people more harm than good?

Luckily, conscious love is on the up and up. It requires being awake and alive in our relationships. Being active in the decisions we are making, both alone and together as couples, instead of mindlessly going through the typical monogamy checklist. I’m not sure what the future holds for how we as humans relate (or rather the institutions we label them as) but I do know that instead of it frustrating me, it excites me. I think we are starting to wake up to the old ways that are no longer working for us and are instead tuning into our truths, expressing our desires, owning our shit. I hope you will join me as we commit ourselves to this ongoing practice of realizing and living out our TRUTHS as they are now and as they evolve in the future.

** If you are interested in the topic of conscious love, non-monogamy, desire and healthy, committed, new-age relationships I have excellent sources of knowledge and inspiration for you! Here are (just a few) of my suggestions:
Esther Perel – Rethinking Infidelity
Esther Perel – The Secret to Desire
The 4 Qualities Of A Conscious Relationship
Esther Perel – Successful Relationships
Amazon Books – More Than Two

Waking Up – 5 Morning Rituals

Everybody is different, duh. This is not a list of things that you SHOULD do every morning but merely a list of things to help inspire you to find what works FOR YOU. Perhaps some mornings you meditate or go for a run or surf or just drink a cup of coffee. The secret is that it’s not the actual activities that are so special, it’s the intention behind them. It’s the meaning that you infuse your actions with.  I wanted to share some things that I’ve found helpful in creating an internal and external environment rooted in presence and direction. Thus, here is a glimpse at my morning routine. I hope it will give you some ideas to try and inspire you to find what works for you.

1.Say THANK YOU

The very moment you wake up. Say it. Out loud or to yourself, it doesn’t matter. Let the vibration of gratitude fill your body and give thanks for another opportunity to experience the gift of a new day. Wow, what an opportunity.

2. Make your bed

This is something that I’ve just recently added to my morning routine. It’s not something that I naturally find important or necessary and I’m typically the type to never ever make my bed. But I have to say, it’s been a real game-changer. To me this small act is a reminder of the importance of the little things. This one small act is the first completed task of the day. It helps me separate my night self from my day self and it gets me going with more verve than I would otherwise.

3. Meditate

If you’re new to meditation start small. Give yourself just a few still minutes to follow your breath in and out. Let it be simple and don’t overthink it! Pick the same spot to sit every morning and just observe yourself, your surroundings, everything that makes up the moment that you’re in. There is absolutely no way to meditate wrong. There is no effort wasted!

4. Write it out

I think the power of pen to paper is so massively underrated. There is something so therapeutic and powerful about taking thoughts, concerns, beliefs, stressors, inspirations, dreams, goals, ideas and/or to-do lists, etc. etc. etc. and putting it down on paper. This doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process. If you’re not into free writing, make some categories: grateful for, non-negotiable activities today, to-do list etc. Although this allows me to get really clear on some tangible tasks for the day, more than anything it keeps me in a state of connection and inquiry to a deeper part of myself. It wold be easy to get thrown into the day doing the many different things that ask for our time and energy but by consciously making a list you insure you’re spending your time on things that are in alignment with your deeper purpose.

5. Nourish yourself

By now, I’m starving and ready for breakfast. I won’t say much about what you might want to consider eating but I will suggest that there be one question you ask yourself: will this food fuel or deplete my energy? Whatever beverage or food that you decided on, savor it! It’s becoming a part of who you are. Pretty big deal, right?

When you make a habit out of laying your foundation with gratitude, intention, connection and direction, you’re set up to build a really powerful day for yourself, and for others around you.

To waking up,
Ash

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