Free Heart

May a woman’s heart be a vast open field upon which wild horses can run.
~ Tibetan Buddhist saying


My New Year’s theme for 2017 is Free Heart.


While i knew clearly that this was my path for 2017, i needed time to understand more and to live into it before writing about it. In collaging this theme and then journalling, i have discovered some gems:

I am the One whose heart smiles and can meet and hold and include all things.

I am the One whose body dissolves into ease and bliss, and whose mind opens to accept and know all truths–even those different from mine.

I am the One whose smile breaks into blossom with the freedom in her heart.

I am the One whose life is a blessing.

I am the One who flies above all heartbreak knowing there is always deeper truth than suffering.

I am the One who sings and sings and sings for the tremendous beauty and truth and preciousness of life.

I the One whose unruly and wild heart serves the truth in all beings.

As we are practicing presence this week in my free 5-Day Online Practice Presence for Life Journey, i am reminded that the only way any of this is possible is when i am present.

My heart does not smile or feel wild and free, or able to to feel and also rise above heartbreak when i am not present.

This past weekend, i got to attend The Holy Ideas Workshop with Russ Hudson here in Minnesota. While the material is breathtaking and Russ’s teaching is exquisite, i had a hard time because of a difficult situation i’ve been managing for the past year or so.

Let yourself breathe and trust.
It is only by a courageous letting go that the heart becomes free.
This is called the wisdom of insecurity.
~ Jack Kornfield in The Art of Forgiveness, p. 160


I was able to be there and practice by breathing and trusting.

As i breathed and held myself in compassion for the hard time i was having, i also consciously felt the support of the floor, the chair, my body, the teachings, the whole community gathered together. This helped me to also trust and to free my heart from time to time to be touched by these wonderful teachings.

My path this last year is really inviting me into the wisdom of insecurity, as a place from which to be free instead of a place to fear.

It’s hard. My body, heart, and mind all want to grab on, to find secure ground–to know what will happen, when, and how…

And yet, when i am able to return to the groundlessness and re-member my wild and free heart, i am home.


There’s still time to join us through Friday:


And join my Spring Women’s Mini-Retreat Saturday, May 6th:



be amazed

Type One
Spring in Minnesota at the beginning of March!

How Lady Grey’s Garden tea never ceases to amaze and delight me!

Finding the perfect pink down sweater marked way down at REI.

The spark of new life as fire is created in the woodstove.

Getting bangs and opening my face to new freedom!

The bliss coursing through my body when I dance.

A girlfriend feeding me freshly-baked cornbread.

How my bodysoul loves to run full out!

The open wonder in the face of a child.

Birdsong arising out of nowhere.

Dave. Here. With me.


When I am able to experience this openness to life, this radical amazement, I am here. Present. Alive. Living my life.
Keep Reading!

New Year’s Ease

New Year's Ease 2016

This year I spent about three weeks really focused on learning from the past year and getting clear about how I want to live into this New Year.

I’m so grateful for this practice…there were many years I didn’t feel like I could take the time—or that it would make any difference if I did. I didn’t feel I could consciously influence the way my life would play out over time. I knew the value of practicing to change something in myself, but I felt at the whim of life’s unfolding events all too often…

As I reviewed, visioned, and felt into myself, over and over, a yearning in my soul arose—balance, ease, abundance, balance, openness, ease…

Ease, Work / Life Balance

I WANT this! And I’m struck with the fact that I only found out how much I want it by taking those 3+ weeks to settle in, to look at 2015, at all that I accomplished (or didn’t) and all that I had felt during the year…

As I was writing this post at my favorite local cafe, a friend I run into 1-2/month there stopped by to say hi, and as I showed him this New Year’s collage and talked about my theme for the year, he had an insight and spoke these simple and profound words:
Keep Reading!

letting go

practice makes perfectA couple of weeks ago I was having a really HARD time letting go.

We were innsitting for the first time in a year, so I was feeling a bit rusty on all the procedures and protocols necessary to run the Inn.

This new website was supposed to be live, but it wasn’t yet.

And I was under deadline—that’s always creates the most pressure—or my old website would quietly slide into oblivion without a new one to take its place…Ugh.

And it was my birthday, but the restaurant I wanted to eat at was unexpectedly closed and I had no bandwidth to enjoy it even if it had been open…I had been working all day. On. My. Birthday. I couldn’t let go. I had to work, to get the site done. Even on my birthday.

This created the most stressful experience I have had in a really long time.

I was doing everything right—working hard to get all the myriad details needed to get my site live. And I kept running into roadblocks. Unexpected outcomes. New things to learn. More support to ask for…and support people not as readily available as needed—at the same time that I was managing guests checking in and out, cleaning guest rooms, feeding guests, and trying to have a relationship with myself and my husband…

It all came to a head the night I was planning to make my site live, when the software I was using to build the site became really glitchy.

I was going over the last details to make sure all the pages were really ready, and I found I needed to add a period—one small period.

I opened the page, added the period, updated, and took a look.

And ALL of the paragraph breaks were gone on the whole page! Even in sections that I had not opened! ALL of them!!! My page was one huge chunk of text, unreadable, and certainly not going-live ready…

Over the next hour, I patiently added the spaces back. And each time, while one space would be there, another would disappear. It was a nightmare! It literally took an hour to fix all the mess that adding one period created!!

And then I had to go on to other pages and the same thing kept happening…

I was using all my mindfulness practice tools. Sensing my tense body, noticing my thoughts, feeling my anger and frustration…I even got up and jumped up and down yelling out my anger, shaking, punching, and letting it course through me. Dave held space and witnessed this for me. (Thank you, honey!)

By the time I got to the last page, there were still a few spacing problems, but most of it was OK. It was late and Dave was headed to bed. I told him I had to stay up and finish it. I had to fix this page. It had to be perfect…No matter how tired I was, no matter how tense my body felt, no matter…

And he challenged me on this. This is the beauty of conscious relationship!

Dave knew that I have a completion compulsion. It’s part of my Enneagram type One personality, I’m afraid…It serves me well in many ways, but following it in search of the ever-elusive perfection of this page was potentially opening up a huge can of worms, perhaps even another hour of fixing (and jumping up and down)…

My ego personality SCREAMED internally that I HAD to stay up and fix this before making my site live. I couldn’t make it live if it weren’t perfect!!

And instead of listening to this habitual message, I took a deep breath and agreed with Dave. I could live with that imperfect spacing. I could let go of needing the site to be PERFECT before making it live.

I made it live. I did not announce it quite yet, but making it live and imperfect gave me a chance to let go even a little more. I could breathe more deeply. I could get more rest. I could stop filling every moment inbetween guests with computer work.

I. Let. Go.

Of something that felt so familiar, so seductive, so comforting in its own way.

And it created space. Space for me to experience more life, more ease, more joy. More, not less.

It’s like instead of continuing to toil around the outside, I quickly jumped into the center of the collage. (If you click on it, it will expand so you can see the details.) All that perfecting and perfecting wasn’t getting me there, even though I was efforting like crazy. Letting go dropped me there. In that openness. In that bounty. In that ease.

How do we let go?

I have often argued that we can’t do it with the will alone, which is why it can feel a bit crazy-making when someone tells us to just let go…If we could, we would have already! But realizing it would be healthy to let go and actually being able to are totally different things.

I love what my Diamond Approach teacher says about this—we practice so that we can be available to grace. I think it’s grace that allows us to be able to let go, not will.

I have been practicing for many years to open to grace. In this case seeing my perfection pattern over and over again, allowing more imperfection in small ways, feeling the pain of the perfection push, feeling the ego distress of not perfecting something, feeling healthier and happier when I don’t let perfection rule my life…

These years of practice allowed me to be open to the grace that Dave reminded me of in that moment—to relax my ego’s grip and drop the perfection pattern, to let go.

Fall is a season for practicing letting go. As we look back at what we’ve grown since the Spring, and consider what we want to bring with us, we also discern when it’s time to let go. For me, it’s a long-held habit, a way of knowing myself that needed to go. What is it for you?

If you’d like to practice letting go with me, I have a few beautiful opportunities for you:


Nourish your Brain, Nourish your Life!

hidden wholenessDid you know it takes more than studying, memory games, and mental gymnastics to have a happy, healthy brain—and a healthy life?

We need nourishment in our lives and mental practice is only one form.

Do you think more clearly after a good night’s sleep?

Are you less reactive after your meditation, Qigong, or yoga practice?

Do you have more insights and awareness during or after a relaxing vacation?

Or perhaps you notice more clarity and concentration if you avoid that sugary dessert or snack?

Have you ever noticed that your memory is better for the times you were present in the experience you are remembering?

Everything we put into our bodies, consciously or unconsciously, affects the functioning of our brain. This includes your thoughts, the information you take in, the food you eat, the air you breathe, the well-being your bodysoul feels…they all affect the blood flow needed to keep your brain happy and healthy.

Here are five simple tips taken from Dr. Amen’s Brain research:

  1. Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle—8 hours or more of sleep per night, no or limited caffeine and alcohol, regular exercise and regular relaxation, reduce stress, avoid toxins, drugs & smoking…
  2. Eat a Healthy Diet—No refined flours and sugars, limited additional sugar, lots of veggies, enough water, protein, healthy fats, and regular meals. Your brain uses 25% of all the nourishment you take in—give it the nutrients it needs to function well! In addition, all diseases lower blood flow to the brain.
  3. Manage Your Weight—As weight goes up, brain function goes down. Obesity is linked to Alzheimer’s.
  4. Engage in Personal Growth Work—Whatever works for you to untangle the stories and beliefs that keep you limited. You can start with a simple practice of accepting all of your feelings with compassion. Depression is linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s, and lack of emotional well-being affects our brain’s ability to think clearly.
  5. Engage in Spiritual Practice—Prayer, meditation, yoga, qigong, gratitude lists…anything that brings you a deeper sense of meaning, purpose, and connection. Research shows that we can’t sustain our mental health without this.

In my understanding, all of this is important because we need to nourish our whole bodysoul, not just one part. Your body, heart, and mind are all completely interwined with your soul. Your soul is in them and they are in your soul. Read more.

Nourishing your body, heart, and mind nourishes your soul and nourishing your soul nourishes your body, heart, and mind. So, these tips are not just for your brain—they are for your overall well-being, for the nourishment of your life.

The good news is that Dr. Amen emphasizes that we can change the trajectory our brain is on at any time. Work with the tips above that need support in your life, surround yourself with others who are living the lifestyle you want to live, and support each other. You can find more free tips and practices on my site.

Nourish your brain, Nourish your life!

If you find yourself needing support to work with any of these 5 ways of nourishing your brain, I’d be happy to offer you a free Discovery Session.

You might also be interested in finding out ways to work with your sugar cravings by attending my Sugar Blues workshop on October 17th.


**Collage is an exploration of Enneagram type Five. Read more.

dancing with summer



Everything greening and growing and blooming and blossoming!

Nature is exclaiming her fullness, her lushness, her LIFE!!!

(Exclamation points seem to be called for here. My fingers can’t help but type them.)

Sunflower turns its face toward the sun, smiling, drinking in its warmth, its radiance…and shines its beauty, its smile, its full-on radiance into the world.

The Buddha, grounded sitting peacefully, surrounded by lacy green ferns, cool and calm in the midst of heat, of flame, of fiery summertime.

And so is my life. Always a balancing of fire and earth, of flurry and ground, of blossoming and releasing, or accomplishing and resting…

I am here. Supported, surrounded, summoned…to be here. In this summer.
I am here. Supported, surrounded, summoned…to be here. In this body.
I am here. Supported, surrounded, summoned…to be here. In this life.

Where are you? What is your dance of summer summoning forth?

If you’d like to practice this celebration of summer, I’d love to have you join me on August 2nd for The Way of the Happy Woman®: Summer Yoga, Meditation & Life Balance Mini-Retreat!

And if you find you could use a little help balancing these energies, please sign up for a free Discovery Session to see how my Women’s Holistic Health & Wellness Coaching might support you.

Fall Equinox: Letting Go

One of the ways I am simplifying and letting go this season is by not posting a long Seasonal Blogpost at the Solstice and Equinox. I hope you enjoy this simpler, seasonally inspired reflection.

Bidden or Not

This collage feels appropriate as we walk through the doorway into another season. What will Fall bring to us? To walk with the earth into this turning into Fall, we can be mindful of the themes of simplifying and letting go. Summer coming to an end, the school year starting, harvest being gathered and stored, leaves falling, the days getting shorter…

What is our harvest? What can we strip away to focus on the bare essentials most necessary to our lives right now? As one of my teachers, Sara Avant Stover, asks in her book, How gracefully can you let go? How much can you give into the way things are? How well can you honor yourself and that which is passing?”

I recently posted about Vivian, my inner teenager self—collaging her and giving her a voice is part of my practice of letting go. Including her in my life allows me to let go of the ways I have unconsciously acted out her feelings and needs.

Today, as I finish this, in the middle of a trip to New York State and Vermont, I am letting go of over-productivity and focusing on the bare essentials—in this minimalist blogpost, in resting a lot to heal (a head cold is trying to re-establish itself), in doing only the minimum necessary so I can focus on connections with dear friends (not keeping up with all my emails or facebook, not visiting too many friends or places)…

How can you re-orient with the Fall season and practice letting go, holding on only to that which truly feels necessary and nourishing in your life?

An Autumn poem to close by Joseph Stroud, from Of This World: New and Selected Poems:

Home. Autumn. The Signatures.
Let the day begin with its light.
For once, let the mothers and fathers sleep late.
Let the chickens in the mud
scratch their own inscrutable chicken poetry.
Let the clothes hang from the line
in the rain.
Allow the crickets under the woodpile
one more day of their small music.
Soon everything will be clean
and bare, a fine inner blazing as the leaves
drop, and the air is tinged with oak
burning across the fields.
Let the skeletons of cornstalks
scrape in the wind
and sunflowers droop heavy heads
spilling their crowns of seeds.
Let the dew on the webs
gleam a thousand pearls
as the sun hazes its light
around everything we must lose.
Let the night build its darkness,
and earth close once more
and, at last, become quiet.

Seasons Blessings of Letting Go Gracefully, Katy

p.s. If you would like some support in the lifelong process of consciously letting go, I’d be honored to meet with you for a free Nourishing Wholeness Discovery Session.

Vivian Speaks


Include me.

Include my fear.

Include my confusion of not knowing how to be when mom told me at 16 that it looked like my eyelids were growing mold when I first tried eye shadow—blue to go with my eyes, whose color and size I was always praised for.

Include my self-imposed banishment from the circle of other teenage girls who knew the tried-and-true steps to becoming a woman in the society I found myself growing up in.

Include my innocence that was broken by his unwanted touch in the night, and my subsequent frozen withdrawal from his heartfelt apology, from his owned ignorance, from his unintentional hurt of me—and from my own budding beauty.

Include my disordered eating—my attempt to know and control and stuff my feelings deep down where no one else, especially me, could find them so that I could go on living a good life.

Include my yearning for something more—to live for, to grow into, to speak, to sing, to embrace, to be.

Include my sadness when I cannot express what is in my heart, when my words hurt another, when I feel unseen for who I am—whether I myself can give voice to it or not.

Include my willingness to dive deep to uncover these stories, to turn them over and over again with loving curiosity, to understand, to offer them to myself and you.

Include my resting into myself, my leaning back into my sensual bodysoul in the perfect form she is expressing right now.

Include me.

Include life.


**Vivian is the name of my inner teenager.

**Image Credit: Dive Deep is the top blue painting of a woman diving, from the beautiful artwork of Leah Piken Kolidas: Used with permission.

life practices: summer solstice 2014

My intention is to blog once a season about Life Practices in order to share what I am practicing in my life, and to suggest opportunities to join me, as well as ideas to use in your own practice.

floweringSummer Solstice is almost upon us! The daylight hours have been growing since Winter Solstice, each day becoming slightly longer until now, when seen from the North or South Poles, the sun reaches its highest position in the sky and appears to stand still (Latin “sol” or sun and “sistere” or to stand still). In 2014, the Summer Solstice occurs at 5:15 am CT on Saturday, June 21st.

Here in Minnesota, we’ve had a long cold Winter and a very unpredictable Spring—cool, hot, windy, thunder-stormy…but everything is growing and really green!! It turns out that the earth knows how to grow and follow her natural rhythms regardless of how crazy the weather is…

Summer’s gloryblooming radiance—abounds, with a new flower coming into bloom almost every day. We’ve passed from Spring’s early blooming bulbs to Lilacs, to Azaleas, to Lilies of the Valley, to Peonies, to Poppies and Clematis, and more…and now Evening Primrose and Daisies are smiling their sunny faces just in time for the Solstice!

How are you preparing or being prepared to bloom this Summer? What are some ways you can support yourself so that you, like the earth, can flourish this Summer?

You may want to write in a journal, or try a short ritual alone or with friends that could include the following:

  • Sitting outside, on the earth if possible, light a candle, red or orange in color.
  • Take a few deep breaths into your connection with the earth—into your feet or bum or legs, and breathe that connection up into your belly.
  • When you feel grounded, look around you and find one beautiful thing—it may be a flower opening or the light or something else that moves you.
  • Say gently to yourself “Beauty sees beauty.” Feel yourself, as beauty, seeing beauty. Own this, breathe it in…be beauty, breathing in beauty…
  • Continue to breathe as you look around, acknowledging and welcoming more beauty within and without. You might also want to try a different verb—”Beauty sees/hears/touches/senses…beauty.”
  • When you feel filled and beauty-full, say thank you and blow out the candle.

Remember that as this day comes to an end, the days will very slowly become shorter, until at Autumn Equinox, the day and night will be balanced, and by Winter Solstice, we’ll be back to the longest night. Savor and enjoy your own flourishing and beauty with that of the earth this Summer season! May you welcome and find grace in this changing of the seasons.

Being Woman-crpd2Collage as a Practice. My collaging has slowed down recently as I pour more creative energy into my studies (more about that below), my daily practice, the garden, creating healthy meals and new recipes, and other projects.

Being Woman explores the luscious, life-giving, instinctual, ever-renewing, deep Feminine ground that not only supports us but also gives birth to our many human expressions. We arise from and return to Her.

How does She live and arise through you?

KatyNourishing Wholeness: My New Holistic Health & Wellness Coaching Practice! I am so excited to be starting to practice as a Holistic Health & Wellness Coach—it feels like the fulfillment of my life’s journey thus far! Studying with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I also bring my years of practice and training as a Certified Riso-Hudson Enneagram Teacher, an ordained Interfaith Minister, a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader, a Diamond Approach Student, and an Assistant in Sara Avant Stover‘s Red Tent, as well as a Student in her Way of the Happy Woman Certification Program.

I will be taking more clients—both in person and via phone or skype—in September. Please check out my new site:, sign up for my newsletter there, and be in touch if you’d like to set up a free discovery session to talk about your dreams and desires for your health and well-being. I would be honored to support you on this path!

dandelionsFun, Healthy Eating as a Practice! How about instead of battling with the dandelions in your yard, you picked them and ate them instead? Over on my new site, you can read about how to prepare and enjoy dandelion flowers as part of your fun, healthy eating practice! You can also read more about healthy eating and lifestyle tips.

Are there wild things growing in your yard or on your property that you can harvest and eat? I’d love to hear about it!

poppy-tpWomen’s Practice. As women, there’s something we rarely talk about. We pretend it doesn’t happen. Some of us are ashamed by it. Some wish it would simply go away. Even in the most “evolved” and “spiritual” communities, it remains taboo.  Have you guessed what it is?

That’s right: it’s our moon cycle. (Or period or menses or whatever your favorite word for it is.)

Last year, with the guidance of my teacher, friend, and yogini, Sara Avant Stover, a group of really brave women began changing this conversation. This “Moon Tribe” got real and raw about how their moon cycles affect them, their work in the world, and their relationships. It was edgy. Real. And especially valuable and healing—for thousands of women across the world.

If you missed I {Heart} My Moon Cycle last year—or if you’re ready for a booster shot of feminine empowerment—this is for you!  I {Heart} My Moon Cycle is now available as a free, 28-day online immersion. Treat yourself to it, right here: Read more on my Nourishing Wholeness blog.

Poetry as a Practice.

Bare branches and silent winter days
are but a memory
as we near summer solstice.

Shades of white snow and crystal blue
have given way to relentless green.

From dormancy rises
a summons to grow
that keeps us on our toes.

No longer shoveling
instead we mow, pull, whack,
and make our choices
around what to trim and tame
and what to let grow wild.

What we know
most especially this time of year
is that everything and everyone
shares this boundless call to grow.

Seasons and cycles give us
quiet reflective times
and periods of busting out.
A pull toward green sprouting
boisterous courageous steps
further in and further out
in this world.

If its inspiration you seek
as you feel the push / pull inside you
of steps in perhaps frightening new directions,
look to the grace of branches
swaying with the weight of vibrant leaves
heavy from new growth and recent rains.
See the way buds stretch skyward
readying for bloom
as if extending a cupped hand
to hold the sun.

You can trust the trees, the flowers,
the bursting green of this season.
Just as you can trust your own yearning
to set your wild spirit free
and grow in directions that call to you

Chris Heeter, Leadership Speaker, Wilderness Guide, Poet
The Wild Institute


Blooming and Flourishing Summer Blessings,
Katy Taylor, Holistic Health & Wellness Coach

Nourishing Wholeness
nourishing wholeness

Being Woman

Being Woman-crpd2

She is always here, beneath the surface of our lives
living in bone, in flesh, in blood, in cells, in our human embodiedness

She is that which we spring from, that which we rest into,
that which holds, supports, and sustains us

She is ancestral woman of us all, of the earth’s knowing,
of nature, of the elements, of the seasons

She is the ancient, embodied wisdom of living, of surviving, of thriving,
of tribe, of pleasure, of wholeness

She is pure, natural, healthy instinctualness—
instinct to rest, to relax, to savor, to be
and when needed—instinct to arise, to spring forth, to engage in life

She always returns to Herself, to Beingness

She loves to be enticed into the flowing expression of life—
as daughter, friend, maiden, mother, lover,
nurturer, worker, enjoyer, queen, crone, wildish one
—always remaining true to Her Being nature

From Her, in Her, through Her springs forth all life
To Her, in Her, through Her returns all life
She is Being Woman


Do you see Her in this collage? Do you know Her? Do you rest and arise in Her? How does She live through you?


Note: I was exposed to this idea by Zsuzsanna Budapest who calls her Sloth Woman in her book The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries