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Sophia Experience Palm Springs


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This past week I attended a beautiful retreat in Palm Springs where six women  gathered together to celebrate one another.  To find tools we already had within to heal past wounds SLOWLY.  To release negative self-talk and to awaken our inner Sophia.  AND, we had a ton of good old fashion girl time!

The Sophia Experience Palm Springs was just what I needed!  I reached out to Morgan a few months ago asking if she’d consider a state side retreat.  Wishing I could join her in Italy on her abroad Sophia retreats, but knowing that just wasn’t in the cards for me…I selfishly suggested Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs (remember when Geoff and I went when we found out we were pregnant with Jack?  If not, here’s the blog post).

To my excitement, Morgan agreed that Korakia would be PERFECT!  And voila! Sophia Experience Palm Springs was in the books!  I was so thrilled to know that I was getting the chance to finally meet one of my teachers in person (I’d only known about her through her online yoga videos and her teachings on Facebook).  Also, the chance to have a couple nights away with girls…in Palm Springs…AT THE MOST BEAUTIFUL B&B?

I was over the moon!

Once the day arrived I was so giddy!  Geoff took me to PS for brunch then we headed back to Korakia.  It was so sweet to have him drop me off at the retreat.  We reminisced on our time there before a couple years ago, he took pictures of me finding my room (which happened to be next door to the one he and I stayed in before), opening up my gifts from Morgan.  He had me pose outside on the patio and under the bougainvillea surrounding the suit.

Then he left…and I was alone without my family

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IMG_6012For the first time since having our son, I felt deeply saddened to be away from home.  I knew I had some heavy work to do over the next couple days at the retreat.  Even being away from them an entire week while doing my Holy Yoga training wasn’t this hard.  I had this amazing suit all to myself but soon realized I was going to have a lot of time..with myself.  Not by myself…but WITH parts of me I love and parts of me I don’t.

I remember someone telling me that sometimes what we learn from God, one on one with Him, should stay with us.  It’s not meant to be shared with the rest of the world.  It’s intimate and personal between you and Him.  I feel that way about my experience in Palm Springs.  Of course I’ll share some bits and pieces…but not all of it because it’s meant to stay there.

We did some of the best yoga I’ve ever done!  Jumping, dancing, laughing crying, we road the entire wave of emotions on our mats.  And some of us practiced in our undies and lingerie!  So freeing!  I did NOT wear a bra most of the trip! We exhaled sighs and SMILED at every part of our bodies.  We learned about the chakras and how they manifest or correlate to other parts of the body.  We soaked in the pool, ate great food together, got dressed up together, and had some EPIC girl time!  We talked about SEX and FEMININE WHOLENESS!!!  And it felt SOOOOO GOOD to be open about everything.  

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We need to be free.

I learned just how closed off I am at allowing myself freedom.  I entered the retreat feeling so confident in myself, but quickly realized just how quick I am to hide my true self.  Like I’ve been walking around with this persona of a strong confident woman, but inside I still feel like the 7 year old girl who was awkward with a short boy’s hair cut, huge ears, and freckles. The new kid in school because she moved away from her family due to divorce, with a stepdad who didn’t want to notice her.  She was a shadow in her own home.   And the attention she received was a lot of bullying or being made fun for the way she looked and dressed at school.  She felt unseen and no one wanted to hear her.

Hard pill to swallow.

Coming face to face with that girl made me realize that I’m still her…and that I need to comfort her and show her how strong she is now.  That she is important and WORTHY of being seen and HEARD.  She is beautiful.  And SMART.

SIGH……

I’m sitting on my couch writing this a day before my 5 year open heart surgery anniversary and WHAT A RIDE I’ve been on since then.  So much self-discovery.  And I’m thankful.  The Sophia Experience really couldn’t have happened at a better time.  There is a theme to every form of self-care I’ve been a part of, whether through counseling with my therapist, seeing a psychic, working with my friend through Theta healing, my church, yoga and my artwork, and now this experience with Morgan and the rest of the Sophias there.

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I need to speak.  My block is my voice.  Allowing myself to truly be ME when I speak.  To own my words.  To not be afraid to be vulnerable and own up to not knowing what something means or sharing my point of view if it conflicts with someone else.  I’ve wanted to belong for so long that I’ve become a people pleaser and my voice got tangled up in it.  I also need to allow myself to listen to compliments.  To truths said over me…and own them as truths.  VERY, very hard, more so than speaking up for myself.

It’s a slow process, and that’ ok.  But in order for me to help others love themselves right where they are, I need to do the same.

I feel more FREEDOM already.

COREageous

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, thatis all.




Courageous Definitions:

Dictionary Definition

Cou·ra·geous : kəˈrājəs/

adjective

not deterred by danger or pain; brave.

“her courageous human rights work”

synonyms: brave, plucky, fearless, valiant, valorous, intrepid, heroic, lionhearted, bold, daring, daredevil, audacious, undaunted, unflinching, unshrinking, unafraid, dauntless, indomitable, doughty, mettlesome, venturesome, stouthearted, gallant

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Definition

Courage : kur’-aj:

Hebrew chazaq, “to show oneself strong” (Numbers 13:20; 2 Samuel 10:12; 1 Chronicles 19:13; 2 Chronicles 15:8; Ezra 10:4; Psalms 27:14; 31:24; Isaiah 41:6); ruach, “spirit,” “animus” (Joshua 2:11 the King James Version); ‘amats, “to be alert” (physically and mentally), “to be agile,” “quick,” “energetic” (Deuteronomy 31:6,7,23; Joshua 1:6,9,18; 10:25; 1 Chronicles 22:13; 28:20); lebhabh, “the heart,” and figuratively, “person,” “spirit” (Daniel 11:25); Greek tharsos, “cheer” (Acts 28:15). A virtue highly esteemed among all nations, one of the four chief “natural” (cardinal) virtues (The Wisdom of Solomon 8:7), while cowardice ranks as one of the mortal sins (Ecclesiasticus 2:12,13; Revelation 21:8).

Do any of these synonyms resonate with you?  Do you find it hard to believe that you ARE COREageous?  Sometimes it takes us being thrown into compromising circumstances, or even gentle gestures of lending a helping hand, that shed light on the courage we all have residing in our bodies and in our hearts.  You’ve been invited to discover, uncover, and reveal your own, unique COREage.  Whether you signed up for this mini 4 week course to strengthen your physical core (includes the trunk and lower torso), revive and grasp your CORE (who you are and are meant to be!), you will AWAKEN BOTH!

For 4 weeks we will focus on the CORE.  I use all caps when writing about the CORE because I want to hit home the message that our CORE isn’t merely our abs, torso, what holds us upright, but it goes much deeper.  We are human beings, and part of our life’s journey involves discovering our purpose, our mission, our true self.  And that’s the CORE.

An outline of how we’ll strengthen both our physical and personal CORE is as follows:

  • Monday 6-7am-Weekly Wellness Practice (the yoga/yogalates/movement portion):
    • I am a Holy Yoga teacher, therefore the yoga practices will be influenced by Holy Yoga. Even if you consider yourself a non-believer, YOU ARE WELCOME!  And if you are a believer but are afraid of the practice of yoga along with faith, please feel free to read more about Holy Yoga.  For more information about Holy Yoga and their mission, go to their website at https://holyyoga.net/about/why-holy-yoga
    • Participate in a 30-40 minute Yoga/Yogalates practice with me! We will be participating in these practices together every Monday.  I will be jumping on FB Live in our closed COREageous group between 6-7am PST.  I chose Mondays because this will allow you to come back to the practice multiple times a week. I encourage you to practice 2-3 times, or more, a week.  Of course we will be focusing on our CORE physical strength, using yoga flows (vinyasa) and incorporating Pilates pelvic floor and core moves to build up momentum and muscle.
  • Weekly Lectio Divina- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    • The four movements of Lectio Divina: Lectio (“read”); Meditatio (“meditate”); Oratio (“pray”); Contemplatio (“contemplate”).
    • Christianity, Lectio Divina (Latin for “Divine Reading”) is a traditional Benedictine practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God’s Word. It does not treat Scripture as texts to be studied, but as the Living Word. Traditionally, Lectio Divina has four separate steps: read; meditate; pray; contemplate. First a passage of Scripture is read, then its meaning is reflected upon. This is followed by prayer and contemplation on the Word of God.
    • We will be focusing on one passage a week. Every week the focus will be on Courage, or COREage, if you will.  This is a great practice to incorporate into your physical practice.  Life is about balance, so if we’re constantly moving (vinyasa flow), then we need to balance it out with being still, quiet, and prayerful (yin, meditate, pray, slow down the breath).  I will introduce the weekly Lectio Divina during the Weekly Wellness practice (saved for the end during Savasana).  Throughout the week I will also be popping on FB Live to read the scripture with you (some mornings and some evenings).
    • I encourage you to just sit, and be, while we participate in Lectio Divina. If you feel moved, have a revelation, or want to jot down your experience after, PLEASE journal.  But save the writing for after.
    • I encourage diffusing essential oils during the weekly Lectio Divina readings (even during the Weekly Wellness Practice). I will suggest specific oils for the practice, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.  Even a candle works.
    • Have your Bible handy if you’d like to write or take notes in it after the prayer/meditation next to the verse.
  • Thursday 6-8am (20 mins)- Art Therapy:
    • Why Art Therapy? Why Thursday?  Well, Therapy and Thursday start with “Th” so I thought it just worked organically.  You might be wondering “I thought this was a yoga course? Why are we doing art?”  Let me explain below for you why I think it’s important:
    • Art therapy helps us to express ourselves. It takes some really DEEP COREage to share ourselves with others.  Being able to express some of our inner most thoughts, secrets, concerns, joys, dreams…whatever we have hidden inside…allows us to become more open, more free, and to be who we are meant to be.  This allows us to find our truest CORE strength.
    • Health/Art therapy mediums:
      • When I speak of health, I’m referring to our mental health. I’m sure you’re also thinking “Heidi, I am NO artist! I can’t draw to save my life!” I’ve heard every excuse my friends.  Being an art teacher for over 7 years now I get it.  Art therapy for this course DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PAINTING.  Friends, being able to express ourselves artistically and creatively means having the freedom to express!  So I encourage you to pick a medium that makes you come alive.  Examples can be:
        • Painting, drawing, photography, sketching, watercolor, pen and ink, printmaking (all visual arts).
        • Dance, movement of some sort (maybe you enjoy taking yoga or other “fitness” classes)
        • Singing, playing an instrument, composing, creating playlists
        • Writing, poetry, short stories, writing books
      • The list goes on! And if I didn’t mention something here that doesn’t mean it’s off limits.  In order to release some things that hold us back from strengthening our CORE, we must shed some extra layers that haven been building up around us, within us, in order to reveal who we truly are.
    • I will have a prompt for each week that will inspire our Art Therapy Sessions (20 mins). We will be compiling our Art Therapy notes, sketches, whatever it is you are working on throughout the 4 weeks. On the Final Week, we will reveal these artworks to the rest of the group through either photographs or FB Live.  I know this can be scary and uncomfortable.  I’ve been through this myself in my own therapy sessions through the years.  But I also know the weight that lifts off of me and the freedom I feel after sharing my work with others…This is key to finding our CORE.  It takes COREage.  And you can do this.
  • Daily 6am Beauty/Self-care
    • I will post a prompt on our FB COREageous group in the morning about one way you can incorporate beauty and self-care into your day. These prompts will focus on very simple and attainable steps concerning make-up, your #ootd (outfit of the day), skin care, hygiene, etc.  I am a firm believer that feeling good on the outside plays a role on how we feel on the inside (and vice versa).  Plus it’s fun to get dressed up and feel beautiful, even if we only swipe on some red lipstick and throw our hair up in a top knot, right?
  • Materials and equipment needed for COREageous
    • You will need only two items:
      • Yoga mat and sketchbook/notebook.
    • Additional items:
      • Bible, essential oils, candles, towels, a quiet space to practice at home
  • Dates:
    • The course will start on Monday, April 3rd, and end Friday April 28th. We will not meet on weekends, but feel free to practice Saturday and Sunday!  I will more than likely pop on FB Live throughout the week unplanned to chit chat and see how things are going/checking in with you all.  Also, if I feel inspired or moved to do so, I might add to the course as well.  Even with an outline, allowing room to organically grow this course is my way of honoring this ministry that I have been given.
  • The Price: $50 a month
    • Breakdown of $50
    • Onetime payment of $50.oo. That makes it $12.50 a week (includes guided Yoga/Yogalates practice, guided Lectio Divina 3 times a week, guided Art Therapy Thursday, weekly beauty/self-care prompts).
    • You are participating in the first round of COREageous, so therefore you are a BETA group. This is a great way for me to be your teacher, but ultimately you will be teaching me!  This is a course that I plan on teaching monthly, with different themes for each month.
    • Payments will be made through my PayPal account.  See link below.



Thank you so much for inquiring and showing interest in joining this course with me.  It has been a dream of mine, and maybe even a calling, for many years now to create a program that combines my passions for serving others.  Yoga, psychology/art therapy, and beauty are all very near and dear to me.  I look forward to sharing my heart with you and discovering alongside you our COREageous spirit.  Let’s do this together.  So happy you’re here.

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Finding Your Morning Rhythm

Mornings can be the hardest for many of us!  That feeling of being rushed to get ready before running out the door to work, or waking up extra early to fit in some “me time” before the rest of the house wakes up, can leave you feeling a little anxious and, let’s be honest, dreading that alarm in the AM hours.  I am with you if you are someone who doesn’t enjoy waking up at the butt crack of dawn…but still yearn for some time to connect with yourself before the rest of the day takes over.

Becoming a mom and now working from home, I’ve learned the importance of allowing myself at least an hour before the rest of my world wakes up.  Granted, there are rare occasions Jack decides to start his day early, too, but for the most part we’ve been blessed with a heavy sleeper.  I wanted to share with you all what my morning schedule looks like.  I am a firm believer of waking up early…even if I don’t WANT to…but I need to in order to set myself up for success for the rest of the day.

5:30am Wake Up.  Yes, that’s early if your kid sleeps in until 7:30-8am.  When I wake up this early it allows me to LEISURELY get my act together.  No stress running around the house getting coffee going or unloading the dishwasher.  Usually, I wake up, heat up some water for a glass of water with mineral salts and the French press (or sometimes I have leftover coffee from the day before so I just heat that up).  I either roll out my mat, catch a Holy Yoga prayer call, or what I usually do but am working on this, get the computer up and running so I can start work right away.  And don’t forget to diffuse some oils around you!  Aromatherapy really comes in handy to help motivate you in the early morning hours.  I’ve been loving Inner Child and Release. 

5:30-6am Make my coffee.  I ordered decaf coffee from my friends Arcade Coffee Roasters to try to give my adrenals a break!  I love using the Bulletproof method, or some raw organic creamer with honey and cinnamon…and some Vital Proteins collagen peptides (my hair and nails, even skin, are healthy and stronger!).

6-7am Yoga, Holy Yoga prayer calls, work.  My yoga practice at home is very simple.  I usually teach others on FB live and we mostly practice a nice slow flow/yin combo.  Always holy yoga.  This is my time to be with God.  Holy Yoga prayer calls are 30 minutes long and are typically in the morning throughout the week.  If I’m feeling behind in my work, I’ll get started on that right away.  I’m trying to work on spending time with God first thing rather than jumping right into work.

7-8:30am Jack wakes up.  It’s always a guessing game in the mornings to see when Jack will wake up.  It’s commonly around 7:30am.  And when he’s up I am all his!  This is usually around the time I start making breakfast for us.  I love to make oatmeal with cashew butter, berries, grass fed butter, and AVOCADO.  Yeah, that’s right.  I LOVE avocado on oatmeal!  Try it sometime.  For Jack, I’ll sometimes share my oatmeal with him, or I make him scrambled eggs with avocado, or his favorite, protein pancakes (two eggs, one banana, and a generous dash of cinnamon mixed together and fried in coconut oil on the stove) topped with cashew butter…and avocado usually makes an appearance, too.  We go through quite a bit of avocado around here.  Geoff will often times wake up around the time we’re eating breakfast so he’ll make himself an omelette or cereal.  Weekends we usually eat breakfast together.

8:30-9:30am Curious George!  For 3o minutes every morning for the last week or so Geoff and Jack and have sat down on the couch after breakfast to watch Curious George (Jack’s absolute favorite!).  While they enjoy their bonding time over what George is getting into that day, that is my chance to get myself ready!  Sometimes I’ll get ready before everyone else wakes up, but I tend to wait for this time because I know I have the opportunity for 30 minutes of “me” time.  I get dressed, I put makeup on, do my hair, BRUSH MY TEETH (moms…don’t forget that step..oh and DEODORANT…I make my own!). When I’m done Geoff starts to get ready for the day while Jack and I talk to him.

9:30am and beyond!  Jack and I like to leave the house in the mornings (his best time of day) to run errands, go to the park, take a walk, grab a coffee, go to the Y, visit a friend, whatever is on the agenda for the day.

Having the discipline to allow myself that chunk of time for me in the beginning of the day insures that I won’t get upset if plans don’t go as planned, or I don’t end up having that opportunity to fit in a business call or yoga practice.  Starting my day with little rituals (my salt water, coffee, Holy Yoga prayer calls) sets me up for success and less resentment towards others if I’m feeling at my wit’s end.

What are some of your morning rhythms?  I’d love to know!
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The Little Green Dress


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When it comes to special events, I love to indulge a little bit and find pieces that are unique, stand out, and make me feel beautiful.  My friend girlfriend, Justine, decided to celebrate her 30th birthday in Palm Springs this last weekend!  Knowing that the weather was going to be perfect (in the low 70’s) and we would be eating outside at one of the best brunch spots in town, Cheeky’s, I knew which direction to go towards in term of the outfit I was looking for.

I knew I didn’t want to bring a jacket with me…come on, it’s Palm Springs!  So I jumped online and found a dress that would work perfectly for an outdoor brunch occasion in the desert.  Light and airy, with sleeves that can be pushed up to the elbow or kept down near the wrists…and flowy so I could enjoy as much brunch as I wanted!

And you all know how much I LOVE to wear black (I wore a black wedding dress!).  Although at first glance this dress looks black with a floral pattern, it’s in fact a deep hunter green, hence the title of this post.  I was drawn to the dress first because I thought it was black, but really fell in love with the green, something I don’t typically gravitate towards when I’m looking for wardrobe pieces.  And once I had it on in person I knew she was a keeper!

I also wore my favorites from Beautycounter that I’m loving right now: Scarlet Lip Sheer, Dew Tint Moisturizer in #2, Color Pinch Cream Blusher in Hibiscus, and Color Shade Eye Duo in Oyster/Amethyst.

unnamed (1)The excitement of driving to Palm Springs BY MYSELF…blasting 90’s music and jamming out in the car!
FullSizeRender_2Found these beauties (cactus and car) outside of Trio walking back to our car.
FullSizeRenderBefore the rain found us, checked out Arrive coffee and the sweet hotel connected to it.  Possibly a stay is in our future for the Traveling Pasleys?IMG_3481Enjoying a sweet brunch celebrating my friend and a chance to spend some time with Geoff as baby-free parents for an afternoon!IMG_3457

Here’s the link to get your hands on the Little Green Dress!  Have a fabulous weekend everyone.

Welcome to Open Heart Wellness

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This picture above SCREAMS confidence.

I can shout at the top of my lungs “This is Heidi!”  Yoga pants and all!

And it’s taken me a very long time to get here.  I’ve been here before…and I’ve fled from this place.  It’s hard to find a place in my heart where I can say and feel and BE…CONFIDENT.

But I am.  I am confident.  And I’m confident where I’m at.  I am not in the best shape of my life (that was Spring and Summer of 2014!)  I fail every day at least 100 times.  BUT, I am confident.  I feel insecure, but I am confident.

Yoga has helped me be more accepting of who I am.  And it’s helped me to learn how to handle the joys and the struggles, the twists and ups and downs that life can throw my way.

Therapy has helped me dig deeper and heal, whether it be through creating or teaching art and using art as therapy, and incorporating  essential oils throughout the day as aroma therapy to help my amygdala associate scents with positive emotions (hello Psychology and Art degrees!)

Beauty as a way to let what I feel inside shine BRIGHT AND VIBRANTLY for those around me to see.  I allow myself the creativity of dressing to feel good about myself.  I wear makeup and use skincare products that are healthy and safer using Beautycounter.  I try to shop second hand or thrift as much as possible to create less waste and find a unique style all my own.  How we feel about our outward appearance has a huge effect on our confidence…and I believe or belief of how beautiful we are on the outside plays an important role on how we feel on the inside.

These three modalities- Yoga, Therapy, Beauty- are a trio to finding holistic wellness.  I have been reflecting and praying lately on what the heck am I supposed to do with my life?  What is my purpose other than being a wife and mother?  These are beautiful gifts I have been given…but how do I serve those around me, my friends and family, community, maybe even people I’ve never even met?

The answer has been shown to me through my experiences.  I love how God works.  When we feel like we’ve been wasting our time, spending thousands on an education we believe we’re not using to the fullest, when we experience something that seems so far left field we can’t even comprehend why we have to go through it (open heart surgery in my case)…God is good to give us circumstances to build our character, to reveal His purpose for us.

And my purpose is to teach others to become wholly self-confident through yoga, therapy, and beauty.  Yoga was the first class I took in college and here I am teaching it 15 years later.  Art therapy and art education were what I went to school for and have become pivotal to my self discovery and expression.  Essential oils have helped me keep a sense of calm throughout my day.  And spending time on taking care of my skin, giving myself permission to LOOK beautiful, has carried my journey full circle.

This is my purpose.  I ache to help women feel confident right where they are.  No excuses, just be right where you are…and own it.  NO apologizing.  NO what ifs.  Just be the beautiful woman you are right now.  You’ll never get to be her again.

Holy Yoga has planned a tremendous role in me discovering this purpose.  And although I focus on these three modalities- Yoga, Therapy, Beauty- God is at the center of it all.

I am planning a 4 week Open Heart Wellness Lifestyle course, beginning in late March, early April.  I would love to have you join me.  We will be using yoga (Facebook Live once a week, Art Therapy Projects (this can be any medium of art such as poetry, singing/music, visual art, cooking, whatever gets your creative juices flowing and a medium that can be SEEN or heard by others), incorporating essential oils into your every day routine, and using beauty prompts to motivate you to feel beautiful throughout the week (makeup, fashion, self care).

This will be a Beta group.  So you will be my first lucky souls to be a part of this dream that has been placed on my heart.  More to come on the outline of the course and pricing.  Would love to get an idea of how many would be interested in joining me (yes, I’ll be doing the course right a long with you).  Comment here or on Facebook and let me know if you’re interested.  Or email me at abercrombie.heidi@gmail.com.

Lets help one another find confidence, lift each other up, and enjoy the journey.  Nothing is ever wasted.