Welcoming Fall

Autumn Equinox was
last Monday, September 23rd
at 12:50 am PT.

This is the time when the dark and light hours are approximately even and marks the turning into more darkness as we head toward the Winter Solstice.

Why mark this transition at all? In a busy life, it can seem like just one more thing to remember, one more thing to do, to fit in…

But since taking on the practice of living with the seasons, I find myself more in touch with life, more in touch with Soul, with True Nature (God / Goddess / Great Spirit / Higher Power / Truth / Love), and more in touch with Eairth (Earth + Air = Eairth).

The seasons reflect not only the changing light and weather, but also the plants that grow, and the felt, energetic sense of life. Fall feels different from Spring or  Summer or Winter. There’s no getting around it, even in places without dramatic seasonal changes!

This amazing, shimmering, fierce, luminous, creative, mysterious Eairth has been developing over billions of years, creating more and more complex forms of life and consciousness. Its precise seasonal rhythms are simply one more expression of the universe’s creativity in earthly form.

These days, I can’t distinguish True Nature from Eairth.

And I love that this way of naming the Divine includes nature. Our nature is True. Nature is True. We are of God/dess, Love, Great Spirit, Higher Power. We are of Eairth. That is True Nature.

The creative unfolding of the mystery is One, experienced here in physical and energetic form as Eairth. And as such, it, and we, are sacred.

We humans embody the flowering of Eairth’s consciousness. As we are an expression of this consciousness, so are we intimately connected with the seasons. Why would we not want to align with Eairth’s seasons as they are also our seasons, affecting us energetically whether we know it or not?

So how do we align with
the season of Autumn?

What does this season invite us into?

On the physical-energetic level, plants and animals (have) come to fruition as we enter this season—they fruit/flower and seed. And then they prepare their dens for hibernation, conserve their energy, or die back, moving toward Winter. All of Eairth’s inhabitants partake of Summer’s abundance in Fall, completing their maturation, coming to fulfillment, harvesting food and putting it away for leaner days. And we get to celebrate this harvest! It is a time of gathering in and feasting, in preparation for leaner and darker times.

On the psycho-spiritual level, we also assess and feast on our interior harvest as we transition from Summer’s light to Winter’s dark. We slow down to contemplate, to truly face and embrace the outcomes of our lives. Did projects, plans, practices, desires come to fruition? If so, we acknowledge, appreciate, and celebrate. If not, we look with clear eyes and warm heart to understand what happened. Perhaps we need to grieve and/or re-calibrate, releasing hopes to make space for something new. Or perhaps simplification and re-prioritization is necessary before taking our next steps.

While nature’s season of Autumn comes predictably once a year, I learned from The Way of the Happy Woman work that we move through the seasons regularly in our lives, not always in alignment with Eairth’s seasons.

Women have a chance monthly with their hormonal cycles. The moon moves through every 29 days. We all move through the seasons of our lives from youth to elder. And each project we take on, in its wholeness, takes part in each of the seasons as well.

In Dave’s and my big project to move
to the Pacific NorthWest,
you can see all the stages clearly:

We first had the idea of moving here, talking with my parents about their next steps as the house got too big for them to manage easily. And we thought about it, planned, got the soil ready for new things for a few years. (Spring—new beginnings, new ideas, freshness.)

Then for a good year, we moved into an ever more intense Summer mode of doing the work, of accomplishing—renovating, packing, working hard to meet our goals and deadlines for house sale and move.

After landing in mid-July, with boxes in the basement and a temporary home in the guest room, we entered into the Fall season of our big project. We are here, enjoying the fruits of our labor, noticing regrets—loss of friends, place, community—and celebrating being in this beautiful, new home. We are also in the midst of this huge transition. How will we make this our home—find new community and friends and place? How will we make our livelihood? How will this be to accompany my parents as they age? What do we need to prioritize now? How do we need to adjust our plans to meet this reality?

Once we get more settled, Winter ‘s invitation to slow way down, to go within, to dream, and vision will give us plenty of time to live with and dream with all of these questions, to be ready for a new Spring, which may or may not coincide with Eairth’s season of Spring.

This way of aligning with the seasons gives hope!

So far, as Eairth’s seasons continue to model for us, after Winter always comes Spring. We can rely on this orderly and integral progression, plan for it, and be ready when our Spring arrives, just as we are ready to plant and be outside and welcome Eairth’s Spring.

How do you align with
the season of Autumn?

Letting Pattern Keeper Guide

In preparing for my upcoming SoulCollage Facilitator’s Training, I have been rereading SoulCollage Evolving by Seena Frost.

She includes a long list of archetypes that may be guiding our individual lives—Great Mother, Warrior, Creator, Healer, Compassion, Shaman, King, Dreamer… There are so many unconscious patterns that weave our lives into the Greater Story!

In this list I found one new to me—one that I realize has been a primary guide for me as an Enneagram type One:

Pattern Keeper

This archetype, when in shadow and overdone, forces me into rigid rules about how things should be done—from organizing clothes, to making beds, to where to put the dishes, to how to behave…

But that’s just the shadow side.

When she is allowed to flow freely, she is very creative!

  • She intuitively knows how things fit together.
  • She sees, honors, and respects how things belong.
  • She constantly looks for and apprehends the deeper patterns, the natural harmony of things together, of beings together.

We are getting ready to move to the Pacific Northwest this summer, so this is a perfect time for her to come out to play!

Recently, she’s been helping me to dance these patterns:

  • The patterns of how to pack, let go of, and move things so that we can set our Minnesota house up for staging;
  • The patterns of understanding in what order things to do things so we are ready for each contractor to come in and finish up the home reno work in time;
  • The patterns of the new ways of living we will be moving into, so I can let go of things we won’t need.

If I let her,

She helps me to keep, to see,
and to participate in weaving
the patterns while staying in touch
with the greater pattern of life.

She helps me to understand how this moving pattern we are in exists side-by-side with the pattern of my relationship with myself, with Dave and friends, with my work, with my greater living and wholeness.

If I forget this, other fragmented parts like the Pusher or Perfectionist or Inner Critic run the show, without seeing the wholeness, hyper-focusing only on one pattern right in front of them!

And when they do this, there can be some rough-going… (Just ask Dave! 😊)

I realized the other day, that one way to keep the pattern and stay with the wholeness of the full tapestry Pattern Keeper weaves is to keep connected to the natural, rhythmic pattern of my heart.

According to HeartMath, the heart is the pattern keeper for the whole body.

The body and brain rely on the beating of the heart. In fact, the heart will keep beating with no input from the brain at all!

When we experience uplifting emotions such as appreciation, joy, care, and love, the heart rhythm pattern becomes highly ordered, looking like a smooth, harmonious wave, a coherent heart rhythm pattern. 

It sounds to me like this is the rhythm of emotions belonging together…

So, if I stay connected in love, gratitude, and appreciation, instead of pushing, criticizing, and perfecting, my heart prepares the soil for Pattern Keeper to work through me, synchronizing the autonomic nervous system and the body’s systems for greatest harmony and functioning. YAY!

This is also the secret of Feminine Flow!

If we stay with our heart, with our relatedness, with our loving connections to ourselves, our friends, and our family, everything works better, and the patterns we follow and create reflect this awareness of the whole.

If I follow the PIG (Perfectionist-Pusher-Inner Critic Gang), I cut off from my heart, moving into a wounded Masculine, head-centered, rigid or idealized structure instead. A far cry from a living, breathing, beating, weaving pattern.

Staying with Pattern Keeper’s heart-relatedness can also open me up to the “things” I am handling—sorting, organizing, packing—as not just “things,” but forms of existence in their own right, in different physical expressions.

What I usually think of as “things” or non-sentient objects, are also forms of being. While I usually take them for granted as simply useful items for housekeeping, life-management, auto-repair, etc., they are also made of the stuff of the universe.

And as I sort, pack, or find a new place for each of these items, I understand that each has its own need to belong to the greater pattern.

When each has its own place of belonging, its own home, it’s not out of place. It is part of the greater pattern of home, and, right now, of moving.

So, as I continue this intense process of sorting and moving,

may I stay connected to Pattern Keeper—

within my beating heart, within my creative hands, within my kind and loving eyes, within all my relationships,
within the whole universe.

How is Pattern Keeper manifesting in your life?

Happy Spring Equinox 2019!

Spring Equinox is Thursday March 20th at 4:59 pm Central Time.

The earth has received the embrace of the sun
and we shall soon see the results of that love.
Every seed has awakened
and so has all the animal life.
It is through this mysterious power that
we, too, have our being.
~ Sitting Bull

This year, I am celebrating Spring Equinox away from the land I live in–in Mexico on vacation!

When we left Minnesota last week, all of a sudden, Spring rains had begun, melting our 2 feet of snow and creating a treacherous, icy landscape, with very real threats of flooding.

The embrace of the sun is being received by the atmosphere, creating rain instead of more snow. The trees are receiving this information and sending it down to their roots, and the buds are counting the hours of daylight until it’s time to pop. This love between sun and earth is beginning to awaken seeds and animals.

How can you let this mysterious power of being awaken you?

This is a question I have taken with me to Mexico.

In the meantime, I offer you practices and rituals from past blogposts so you can align yourself with this great turning of the seasons.

Choose something to support what you need right now in your life to allow this mysterious power to awaken (in) you:

How will you let this mysterious power of being awaken (in) you?

Practice: Haiku-like Mindfulness Verses


One way to nourish yourself in your life, whether you are carrying something difficult with you or just wanting to connect more deeply with yourself, is this practice I learned from Sara Avant Stover on SHE Retreat last year, which we also enjoyed a few weeks ago on this year’s retreat.


Writing in short, Haiku-like verses can catch the moment
with fresh eyes, and give perspective
about your life in the moment.


You can practice Haiku-like verses any time, but it’s especially helpful when you are processing, working with, or integrating something. I found when my brother passed away unexpectedly in August, that it was extremely helpful to put my feelings into these short verses. It gave them form and beauty, and revealed deeper meaning. It helped me express myself to myself succinctly, hearing and receiving myself with mindfulness.

This past SHE Retreat, I found myself writing them more in the flavor of capturing moments during the silent retreat. You can read those on my blogpost Retreat Practicing.

In this practice, we are not counting syllables like traditional Japanese Haiku verses, so don’t worry about making them 5-7-5! If it pleases you, you might want to make the 1st and 3rd verses shorter than the middle verse, but it’s more important that you follow your own flow. You can read a lot online about writing Haiku—we’re doing something simpler and more intuitive here.


Try this on:

  • Pause and sense into your body and feel into your heart.
  • What’s here in the moment? It could be something outside you or inside you or a combination of both. Often Haiku verses combine something from nature with some internal state, capturing feeling and image.
  • Write one short, pithy phrase.
  • Write the 2nd, perhaps juxtaposing it to the first.
  • Write the 3rd, perhaps showing their relationship in some way.

Here’s one for you that arose as I wrote this practice:
Writing, thinking, clarifying
The trees turning a delicious yellow outside my window
They need no thought to ripen.

Enjoy!! I’d LOVE to read some of your haiku explorations if you’d like to share.


Looking for more practices?
Sign up for 10 Simple Ways to Welcome the Sacred into Your Daily Life!


A Recipe for Joy

joy and gatefulnessNotes

First things first.

Clear your counter—or if you have a well-used space that has everything you might need nearby, at least make some room for the mixing bowls and other utensils needed!

We’re mixing up Joy, so consider the ingredients you need for the recipe today. You can make another version another day. What do you need right now?

My Ingredient List

Sacred Time
Spiritual Practice


Creating Sacred Space

  1. Create sacred space for this time in your kitchen. You may want to light a candle or say a little prayer or intention for creating Joy. It could be as simple as taking a breath and saying, “May I open to Joy.”
  2. Take a look at your ingredients. If you want to mix these particular ingredients together, what mixing bowl will you choose? Make sure you choose one that has MORE space than you think you need. You’ll need room to stir the ingredients together—and, who knows, there may even be some kitchen magic from the combining, so you’ll want to save space for that!

Preparing Your Joy
Keep Reading!

spring clean–in and out…

fresh life vision 2013-crpdFeeling musty?
Need to be aired out?

It must be Spring!!

The warmer weather, the buds and birdsong, even the gentle rain (finally!) call us out, outside into the fresh, new air.

It’s time to declutter.

  • Your heart…
  • Your home…
  • Your energy…
  • Your life…

How do I want to feel? What are my core desired feelings? (An invitation from creativity maven Danielle LaPorte.) Brainstorm all the ways you want to feel and then narrow it down to 3-5 core desired feelings. How can you bring more of that into your life? How can you process any anger, fear, or grief to make room to align your life with your core desired feelings? Be simple. Focus on that and don’t get distracted…

How do I want my home-nest to support me? What changes are needed to bring in Spring? How can you freshen, renew, revitalize, clear, and clean? What brings you joy, comfort, and life? Keep that and let go of the rest. Start a giveaway box or a bag in the attic or basement and routinely put things in that you aren’t using and anything that doesn’t contribute to a home that feels supportive and fresh.

How do I want to live? What food will nourish me and make me ready for more outside time, more movement, more energy? What relationships will support my healing, growth, and expansion? What activities will enliven and nourish, my life energy? Be ready to really look at this and choose for you—for your life, your healing, your growth!

It’s Spring! Choose life, choose vibrancy, choose freshness, choose lightness!

Create some open space in your life to invite in the new, the unknown.

Make space for growth.

Make space for newness.

Make space.

Space for Spring to enter in…

I’d love to support you in inviting Spring to enter into your life:

Cracking Open

Buried Seeds by Mark Nepo

All the buried seeds
crack open in the dark
the instant they surrender
to a process they can’t see.

This innate surrender
allows everything edible
and fragrant
to break ground
into a life of light
that we call Spring.

As a seed buried in the earth
cannot imagine itself as an orchid or hyacinth,

neither can a heart packed with hurt
imagine itself loved or at peace.

The courage of the seed is that once cracking,
it cracks all the way.

MovementIt’s late Winter and especially in the North, we are yearning for Spring—for more sunlight, for more opening, for new growth, inside and outside…

Wintertime offers us the space to surrender, to return to our inner ground, to gestate our bodysoul’s wisdom so that we can soften enough to crack open and be ready for the invitation of another Spring.

Spring is almost here—at least here in Minnesota, the Spring Equinox is almost upon us! Spring Equinox is midway between the longest night of the year, at Winter Solstice, and the longest day of the year, at Summer Solstice. This year, the Spring Equinox occurs at 5:45 pm on Friday, March 20th. On the morning of the Equinox, we will have a solar eclipse with the moon covering up the sun, blocking out up to 98 per cent of its light. And the evening before, the Earth and Moon will be as close together as they possibly can be, giving rise to a so-called Supermoon, but because it’s a New Moon, we will be lucky to see the hint of a very large sliver in the sky.

Here in Minnesota, Spring suddenly blew in for a week so that we are finally consistently above zero and even melted! Even though more seasonal temperatures are coming in now, we are officially dreaming of Spring. Everything that has been underground, that has been composting and preparing for new growth, within and without, is getting ready to break ground into Spring’s new life.

Nature can be our teacher in this process of cracking open. Many plants have been dormant all Winter, hibernating, their energy pulled back into their roots or stored in seeds. Others literally died and returned their fragile plant bodies to the earth, where they mixed with other surrendered plant bodies, and dissolved into the ground becoming compost. Now these plants—both the dormant ones and the dissolved ones are getting ready to regenerate and send forth new growth—sprouts that will turn into plants that might bloom or even bear fruit come Summer and Fall.

We, too, have had a chance to surrender, to return to the ground during Winter, to let ourselves dissolve and re-form. We, too, have been like buried seeds, surrendering to the dark unknown possibility of cracking open. From this darkness, from this openness, deep wisdom can arise, which Spring invites us to put into form in the world.

So, this is the time to get ready to nurture your soon-to-be sprouting seeds. To prepare for the regeneration of your energy, for the sharing of your vision in the world…

What seeds are buried deep within you? What is yearning to come alive in you? What wants to arise from the compost of your life, to be re-formed and lived into this year? What new learning or new growth might sprout from the regenerative compost of your suffering? What has been cracking open, ready to sprout and come into the new life and light of Spring?

Choose one thing you’d like to nourish, to nurture like a new seed, just beginning to reach toward the surface of the earth. How can you fertilize the soil so this new part of you can begin to grow? How will you tend this seedling—what support and nutrients does it need? What practices do you need to put into place to assure mindful, steady growth?

Remember, no matter how dark your Winter has been, no matter how unknowable the new life of Spring feels, there is at least one seed within us that wants to grow and awaken and come into greater and deeper contact with Life, that wants to crack open all the way.

Listen to that. Trust that. Nourish that.

If you’d like some support listening, trusting, and nourishing your seeds, check my calendar and join me.

Cave-Time and Dream-Time

No, I’m not talking about going all Paleo and living in a cave! 🙂

But I am curious: Are you are you taking time to dream this winter? The darkness and coldness offer the perfect opportunity to follow nature’s call to slow down and crawl into your cave.

There are many reasons we don’t listen to this call…

  • The fall and winter holidays tend to be so extroverted. We ignore the dark and the cold, dress up and drive around to spend time with friends.
  • We might be on a roll, living busy lives, full to the brim with work, family, social life, exercise, home chores, etc.
  • We might be extroverted people and really used to spending most of our time with others, finding our sense of self that way.
  • Or we might even be filling up our lives in order not to touch into what is below the busyness, what might arise if we went into the darkness, into the unknown.

The mama bear knows how to do this. Our ancestors knew how to do this. Indigenous cultures still know how to do this…how to live in connection with nature’s rhythms, to follow the call of winter into the cave.

Wintertime, cave-time, is a perfect time to let go of outer distractions and tune into your own inner world, to stop listening to the “shoulds,” and open yourself to the quiet, still embrace of the vast, deep, mysterious dark. This is an invitation to envision how you want your life to be. When you’re curled into yourself, listening to your self, what do you dream up?

Most of us can’t take enough hibernation time—though I sure wish I could sometimes! So, how to we make time to connect with these qualities of Winter?

  • Start a dream journal, keep it by your bed, and write down your dreams as soon as you wake up. It doesn’t matter if they don’t make sense to your logical, daytime brain. Just write them down.
  • Try spending more time journalling, especially first thing in the morning.
  • Try engaging in some form of creativity in which you ask for vision and stay open to not knowing the answer, to be shown what you need in your life right now. Collage is an easy one to start with if you don’t already have a specific practice.
  • Take more breaks, rest time, or retreats in which you have unscheduled time. (See my post “Are You Listening?” for more ideas about this.)

Here’s a cave-time practice we can do anytime—try it with me now:

  • Breathe deep into your belly.
  • Feel your feet on the floor, your seat in the chair, your back resting on the chair.
  • Imagine you could breathe all the way from your belly, down your legs, through your feet, into the floor. Feel roots growing down into the earth, rooting into the earth.
  • From this rooted place, breathe into the cave of your belly. If you are a woman, imagine this cave as your womb.
  • Breathe into your cave and feel/see/imagine its cozy embrace.
  • Continuing to breathe deeply into this cave and into the earth, imagine yourself curling into yourself and crawling into this cave.
  • Imagine yourself finding a comfortable place in this cave to lie down in for a little rest.
  • And let yourself stay here for a few breaths, a few minutes, or longer. Breathe, allow yourself to be held, allow yourself to not know, to open to any visions or dreams that might be waiting here in the darkness for you to receive.
  • Close your eyes.
  • When you open your eyes, move slowly. You may want to write down any insight, intuitions, or feelings.
  • Bring this more centered presence with you as you move into the rest of your day, knowing that you can return here to meet yourself and your dreams, even just for a few breaths anytime.

If you would like to explore your own inner dreams and desires with me, please post a comment below, or consider:

Happy cave-time and winter dreaming!

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: http://www.bluetreeartgallery.com/dive-deep.php. Used with permission.

Retreating—An Act of Self-Love

Christine CenterI’m just back from our weeklong Diamond Approach Retreat and trying not to scramble too much as I catch up, so that I can be with myself as I land home again.

I so appreciate retreat time to really hunker down and focus on my spiritual practice, without the distraction of daily work, food preparation, clean up, or even the daily choice of when to meditate and do my spiritual practice. It’s all decided for me on retreat, which gives my mind a chance to calm down and let go of control more than normal.

It’s also so restorative and supportive to be retreating in a beautiful place in the country. Just being there, taking in my surroundings with all my senses, is a coming home. I feel myself slow down and land more in my sensual self, in my own inner sense of wholeness, beauty, groundedness.

And all of this, of course, invites my heart to come online a bit more. My mind is calmer, letting go of control, and I am here, grounded, solid, present in my body, which makes my heart feel safe to open, to feel more, to love more, to simply be more available. I had a few really beautiful heart opening experiences, in which, for longer periods, my heart remained really present—there was a sense of intimacy with my heart, of fullness, of impressionability, of deep equanimity, and of self-love. My heart was with me—or more likely, I was with my heart! I feel this now as I write about it, and I am so grateful.


How do you make space in your life for a deeper landing in yourself?
Are there ways you support your mind to let go of thinking and controlling for a bit?
What helps you to land in your body with more presence?
When does your heart feel most available?