Mindful Tea

This cup of tea
In my two hands
Mindfulness held completely
My mind and body dwell
In the very here and now.

This is a gatha—a mindfulness verse by the Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. He has written many verses about daily, ordinary life, all of which are calls to be mindful, to be present in the life we are living.

I’ve always loved tea in its myriad forms! I drink it black—straight up, flavored, or with heavy cream; green—from genmaicha to plain to green mango (a favorite); white or oolong—both plain or with flavors; and all the many flavor profiles and subtleties of herbal teas (sweet, clarifying, floral, rich, fresh, spicy, malty, grassy, fruity…).

I bought my first tea pot and cups when I was in Vienna on a study-abroad program in college, I inherited some of my grandmother’s lovely collection (see yellow flower cup below), and the rest is history!! I seem to keep collecting… 🙂

nana's tea cup-2

There is something so satisfying about making tea and pouring it out of a beautiful pot into a beautiful tea cup. This beauty is a call to presence, just like the mindfulness verse above.

Keep Reading!

what are you harvesting?

frostbitten zinnias

While innsitting here in the country at the beautiful Journey Inn, we had the first frost of the season—every night the last week—each frost flattening the gardens a bit more.

The vibrant red zinnias fading to a rusty orange, the bright green leaves browning and losing their vitality…the cantaloupe wilting so much that the vines are fading into the earth, and the basil completely shrunken and withered.

I mentioned to Dave that I wanted to go pick what I could of what was left, to save the last fruits of the season. We’ve been so busy tending to the guests and the running of the Inn that I hadn’t had time, but the desire was there and each morning when I looked out the kitchen windows at what remained of the garden, it arose freshly within me.

Dave’s response that it wasn’t necessary—that it was surplus and wouldn’t be missed—did not satisfy me.

As I’ve been sitting with it, I realize that harvesting what is ripe feels like a kind of sacred calling to me. Keep Reading…

simplify and savor

Wednesday early morning, as the Autumn Equinox officially marks the beginning of this new season, we, here in Minnesota, have already been grieving, in fits and starts, the end of Summer. We’ve had such extreme temperature shifts this year—from 90s one day to 50s overnight to cloudy and in the low 70s the next…

It’s certainly given us practice letting go of our grasp on Summer!

The Autumn Equinox occurs at 3:22 am CT on Wednesday, September 23rd.

This year, I feel this seasonal rhythm calling me to simplify and savor.

We’ve been visiting my parents in Port Townsend, Washington twice a year as we plan our move out there in 2019. Realizing that we will be moving, feeling the reality of this decision finally sinking in is part of this pull.

The next four years are about getting really clear about what to let go of, how to simplify the load. I find myself looking around me every day with new eyes.

What do I love, what do I want, what is truly important to me
—and what can I let go of?
What is extra, not essential to how I want to live,
to how I need to live?

I intuitively started a fun process! I put a box on the dining room table. As I see things I feel like I can let go of, I put them next to the box. This is a signal to Dave to take a look at the object and see if he has a desire to keep it. If not, in the box it goes! (The boxes will eventually go to Good Will.)

I’ve always loved the “comfortably cluttered” look as long as the objects are all ones I felt connected to. (Dave called the cottage I lived in when he met me my “Hobbit Hole” if that gives you a sense.) I’ve never been into the spare and open look—and we’re nowhere near that—but this feels good! I feel lighter, cleaner, fresher. Simpler.

Spring is often thought of as the season to clean and simplify, but Fall is also a perfect time. I feel as if I am looking back at my life, at the things that I have filled my life with, and assessing my harvest, determining what I need to live the life I want to live, and letting go of things that don’t contribute to that vision.

The other beautiful part of this is that in looking around with new eyes, I am also giving myself a chance to savor what I truly love.

Even if I can’t always remember who gave me something, I can revel in its beauty, in the soft, glowing light that globe tea-light holder gives off, especially on these darkening evenings. I am getting a chance to enjoy my belongings, too—to take in their particular shape and service with deep appreciation as I go through this process of choosing what of my harvest to keep and what to let go of.

Savoring is a way of living your life so that you take in its full nourishment, in all its different forms. You can do it anytime, anywhere when you mindfully engage with any one or a combination of senses.

Give it a try with food to start:

  • Choose a small piece of fresh fruit that you love.
  • Sit down and first look at it very carefully, noticing all its particularities of color, shape, texture…
  • Imagine breathing into your eyes the colors, shape, and texture of the fruit.
  • Next, bring it to your nose and smell it—see how many adjectives you can find to identify the aroma.
  • Then touch it slowly and sense its texture and temperature. You might want to close your eyes for a deeper experience.
  • When you’re ready, place it against your lips and notice those sensations.
  • Now take a small bite but don’t chew. Roll the bite around in your mouth and notice how it feels and tastes before chewing.
  • When you’re totally ready, slowly begin to chew and savor that burst of flavor, this amazing, sweet nourishment from the earth.
  • Try chewing each bite 25 times. This invites your bodysoul to actually receive the many different layers of nourishment instead of just filling your stomach up.

Now let’s try the same process in a simpler form looking at the outdoors or around a room.

  • Find something your eyes want to look at, and let yourself fully take it in.
  • How much can you discern?
  • How many different colors are actually there?
  • What about textures or patterns?
  • How is the light landing on this object?
  • Is there any movement?
  • Drink all of this in with your eyes, letting it fill your heart and body, your whole bodysoul.
  • Sense any feelings that arise in response to this mindful slowing down of your attention.
  • Any when you’re ready, let your focus go, allowing the effects of this contact to linger with you.

This Fall, I will continue this practice of savoring and simplifying, as I look back at the fruits of Summer and what I want to take with me to nourish and support me in Winter.

Which things will I place, with gratitude for their service in the box?
And which will I place in the basket of belonging to keep,

at least for this next season?
How about you?

Nourish your Brain, Nourish your Life!

Did 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.

Nourish your brain, Nourish your life!

**Collage is an exploration of Enneagram type Five.

Your Body–Refuge? or Refugee?

Take a moment right now and sense your body.

When you sense your body, what arises?

Perhaps it’s “I feel fat.”
Or “Ugh—feeling gross.”
Or “I don’t sense anything.”
Or “Ouch, that hurts.”

What’s your version?

Most often, the women I work with sense their body and judge her. (Yes, if you’re a woman, your body is a “she”! Please make the appropriate substitutions if you’re a man.)

She is never quite right—too fat, too thin, not fit, not comfortable, not satisfied, too hungry, craving unhealthy food…she is just plain wrong.

How do you think your body feels with all this judgment?

Here’s a hint: When you feel judged, how do you feel? Hurt. Sad. Angry. Confused. (And probably more…)

Your body is you. She is intimately intertwined with your soul, part of what I call your bodysoul. When you judge her, you are judging you.

Would you judge your girlfriends this way? Probably not.

Imagine living with an intimate partner—your body is about as intimate as it gets!—and all you ever hear is about how messed up you are, over and over again.

Would you feel good, happy, resilient, vital? Your body doesn’t either.

In fact, in these conditions of persecution, she is kind of like a refugee. She can’t really leave very easily, but she can check out. Perhaps you don’t sense or feel very much because she’s in hiding. Or perhaps she’s trying to escape, on hyper-alert, running on stress, but unable to go anywhere, causing you to feel anxious, upset, frazzled…

If she’s checked out or on high alert, she won’t be comfortable, and she won’t be able to focus, find well-being, make nourishing choices, or make changes easily.

Just like your friend, she doesn’t want to be shamed or coerced into change. She wants to be accepted as she is. Loved as she is. Understood as she is. Then, perhaps, she could easily make nourishing choices, or consider making some changes for her well being.

What would it take to welcome her home?

Imagine your body as a place of grounding, grace, and gratitude. Imagine feeling her support, her love, her exquisite attunement to your needs. YES! This is possible.

What if you could find refuge in your body instead of forcing her to be a refugee? Sense that in your bodysoul.

Breakfast as Spiritual Practice?

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

What and how we eat affects everything!

Not only our tastebuds and digestion,
but also the wellbeing of our cells,
which create our organs and tissues,
which keep our body alive….

And without an alive body, our spirit would have no vessel to animate!

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know I refer to the body as the bodysoul. We can’t separate our physicality from our spirituality. The soul lives in the body and the body lives in the soul. Read more.

So, what and how you eat breakfast affects your entire bodysoul!

Do you pump your bodysoul full of caffeine and sugar in the morning, wreaking havoc on your adrenals and blood sugar levels?

  • If so, your bodysoul may have a hard time feeling balanced—being jerked around from caffeine creating stress and sugar causing nutrient depletion and energy drop.
  • It’s hard to stay present, meditate, have good relationships, or be the best person you know you can be when your bodysoul is affected in this way.
  • I could go on and on…but I won’t! 🙂

So, how could you choose to eat breakfast as a spiritual practice?

  • Start by checking in with your bodysoul to see what you really want/need to eat.
  • If you’re having caffeine, drink at least 1-2 cups of water first. And then drink your caffeine while eating protein.
  • Lessen or drop the added sugar altogether—unsweetened fruit is a great way to enjoy healthy sweet, and consumed with healthy protein and fats, you’ll find you have a sustaining meal.
  • Skip juice—it’s so concentrated that it’s pretty much as harmful as eating sugar! (Think of it as dessert for breakfast.)
  • Consider adding veggies to your breakfast! This was a revolutionary idea to me years ago, but now I often include veggies in some way. Find recipes for Find recipes for, Green Breakfast Bowl, and one of my current faves, Summer Breakfast Bowl. Berries and cucumber make this simple breakfast fresh, juicy, and nourishing—perfect for starting your day with your bodysoul in mind!
  • Once you have your food chosen, take a moment to savor it before you begin to eat. This is a way to mindfully take in your food with all of your senses BEFORE and while you are eating it.

Enjoy starting your day with a super-charged bodysoul spiritual practice and see how it affects the rest of your day!

How do you make breakfast part of your spiritual practice?
I’d love to hear about it!

spring clean–in and out…

Feeling 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…

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.

Summer 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. 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?

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.

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

life practices: spring equinox

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.

Spring Equinox occurs midway between the longest night of the year, at Winter Solstice, and the longest day of the year, at Summer Solstice. It is called an Equinox from the Latin “equal” and “night,” but in reality, the equality of day and night is only approximate and depends on your geographic location! In 2014, the Spring Equinox occurs at 10:57 am on March 20th.

We’ve had a long, cold Winter this year—the ground covered in snow and the temperatures lower than usual, for longer than usual. It’s hard to believe that under the snow cover, under the frozen ground, new life is stirring and will surge forth into Spring, but this seasonal miracle is coming, even here to Minnesota!

The dark womb of Winter provides the fertile ground that invites us to dream ourselves into a new seasonal cycle, in which new life will spring forth. From the deep dive into the unknown darkness of the dreamtime, new visions for our life take form. The Cailleach, or Winter Queen, completes her rule anytime between Imbolc (Brigid’s Day: February 1st) and Beltaine (May 1st), depending on when the first signs of Spring are evident. This is also the Chinese New Year of the Yang Horse, which strongly calls in the energy and vitality of Spring. The Yang Horse embodies the element of fire, bringing warmth and energy to the land. Rooted in the inner vision and intuitive knowing the Wintertime brought us, the Yang Horse surges toward freedom, helping new growth to push up through the soil and reach into the light of day.

The light is lasting longer, the days are warming, people are coming out of doors, and nature is beginning to send forth new life. Following her rhythm, it’s time for us, too, to grow the new shoots of our lives, to allow the dreams to push up through the warming earth, to grow leaves, and move toward our own manifestation. Brighde, the Summer Queen, will soon return to tend our visions until they have fully ripened into maturity. What are you dreaming into new life? What shoots would you like to nurture, tend, and grow into manifestation this year? How would you like to answer Spring’s beckoning to move into fresh, new growth?

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

  • Light a candle, yellow or light green in color;
  • Place nearby a symbol of Winter’s dark dreamtime and a symbol of Spring’s fresh, new, forward-moving energy.
  • Get really comfortable and cozy, maybe even sipping a warm drink.
  • Sense / feel into your dreams, your visions for your life—the ones that arise deep inside the dark warmth of your own bodysoul. What in you wants to move from dream to manifestation, to grow and be expressed in the world this year? How can you commit to nurturing this growth?
  • Breathe each awareness in, receiving it, saying “yes” to each even if you don’t know how it will unfold.
  • When you are ready, say thank you and blow out the candle.

After the Spring Equinox, the days continue to grow longer, until at Summer Solstice, we’ll be back to the longest day. May you welcome and find grace in this changing of the seasons.

Advent Singing Meditation image largerLent & Easter Singing Meditation. As we transition from Fall to Winter and continue our inward turning, I invite you to gather four more Friday evenings with me to deepen your Lenten and Easter journey with sacred chant and silent prayer/meditation. Learn and sing music from Hildegard of Bingen and from the Gaelic tradition. No prior singing experience necessary. Suggested donation $5-$10 per session.

Fridays, March 21st & 28th, April 4th & 25th, from 5:15 to 6:15 pm, at Our Lady of the Presentation Chapel atrium, 1890 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul

More Information: Jennifer Tacheny, jtacheny@csjstpaul.org (651) 696-2872, Hosted by the CSJ Membership and Association Offices (Celeste’s Dream, Consociate Services, and Sister Membership).

We are exploring interest in a Sacred Chant Choir that would come together regularly to sing various sacred chants. Please let me know if you would be interested in participating.

with azaleaIntimacy Day Retreat with the Enneagram (and Yoga), Saturday, May 3rd. Dave and I aren’t teaching as much recently, so jump in to this Retreat if you’d like a taste of our Enneagram teaching. You can attend just the morning Intro or just the afternoon Couple’s Retreat, and add on a different date experience with your beloved by staying for Date Night Yoga!

Getting to know oneself is the first step toward living a full, connected, and satisfying life. And yet, oftentimes, this is the last place we want to pay attention. We will use the psychological and spiritual map of the Enneagram to guide us home to our deepest essential selves, to further our own self-understanding, and to work out our relationships with other people. Understanding our own and our loved one’s Enneagram types opens our eyes and heart to truly seeing ourselves and others with less judgment and allows for greater empathy, love, and authentic connection.

9:00-12:00: Personal Intimacy Workshop, $40/ individual, $70/couple. Deep relational intimacy is grounded in our ability to be truly intimate with ourselves and with our own experience. Spend the morning growing intimacy with yourself by exploring the Enneagram through guided experience, presentation, poetry, and music.

2:00-5:00: Personal Intimacy Workshop, $70/couple, $85/couple with Date Night Yoga. Join other couples to explore: 1) How the different Enneagram types experience their needs and desires within relationship; 2) How they typically communicate their needs and desires; 3) How to work together more lovingly and effectively around these sensitive issues. You will gain appreciation for the differences between you and your partner and begin to see them more clearly for who they really are.

5:00: Community Potluck or Dinner Out

7:00-8:30: Date Night Yoga, $15/couple with afternoon workshop

Held at The Yoga Sanctuary in Minneapolis (in the Solomon’s Porch Building). To register, contact Shelley.

What helps you develop intimacy with yourself and with others? How do you practice?

Katy's Marilyn Monroe pic-crpd lngr2Nourishing Wholeness: I’m Studying to Practice as a Holistic Health & Wellness Coach and Way of the Happy Woman Teacher! This is why we’re not teaching much—it is a really big year of transition for me. I’m so excited to be studying with both The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Sara Avant Stover’s Way of the Happy Woman Certification Program. Both of these programs are a result of finally finding a way to live into and offer my passion in the world!

All my life I have been playing with food and health and nourishment..I LOVE to cook and create fun, healthy, YUMMY food to nourish myself and others. I LOVE to mentor people and support them with practices to live more fulfilling and meaningful lives. I LOVE the process of becoming ever more deeply embodied in my own Feminine wisdom and not only living that in my own life, but supporting that journey for other women. And, of course, I LOVE the Enneagram as a beautiful map of the human soul and a perfect accompaniment for this process.

So, I’m spending a lot of time studying this year… If you’re interested in checking out my new Holistic Health & Wellness Coaching for women, I am practicing free 30-45 minute Health History sessions now. These can be done in person, via skype, or on the phone. A Health History session gives you a chance to take stock of and talk about your own health and well-being and to discover what your priorities and desires are. In April, I’ll be able to start working with clients at a discounted rate, and in September, I’ll graduate! My new website should be up in a month or two, too!

I started out as a participant in Sara’s online women’s circle, the Red Tent, in May of 2012, did personal mentoring with Sara, and then in May of 2013, I renewed my membership in exchange for being an Assistant Mentor in the group of Red Tent women. I also deepened my experience of this Sacred Feminine embodiment work by attending a weeklong SHE Retreat in Thailand in December of 2013, and now I am entering into the WOHW Certification Program from May through October. Once I’m certified, I’ll be offering workshops that feature Sara Avant Stover’s grounded, practical, and introspective Feminine embodiment work. Practices include living in alignment with the seasons and lunar cycles, yin yoga, meditation, nourishing foods, and more, and will be based on her beautiful book, The Way of the Happy Woman. Let me know if you’d like to hear more about this work in the future.

How are you nourishing your passion this year? What brings you more wholeness, more meaning, more fulfillment?

Fresh Spring Blessings, Katy

Nourishing Wholeness

spacious passion

this is my intention for the 2014 New Year: Spacious Passion. in my life, i have often not allowed one or the other of these words, and certainly not both together, holding each other…

i have tended to get involved in too many things, leaving very little room for Spaciousness of any kind in my life—my thoughts full of too many things to do/plan/sort out, my feelings all mixed up or set aside in a closed box, and my body moving too quickly, living a too-structured and bounded life…

and Passion? on the outside it may look like i have been following my passion, but mostly i have lived my life not really in touch with my true passion, making attempts to follow it in small ways that feel better than nothing, but don’t completely resonate or awaken and enliven me. i think in some ways, that has felt safer…not having to give up something that’s supporting me to follow a deeper, more anarchic pull that is unknown and might not work out… i have used the energy of passion as fuel for focusing my attention on something. i’m actually really good at that, so good that i have been accused of being fanatic over the years…i’ve also channeled it into my Oneish* obligations—the shoulds, duties, responsibilities that i must take care of—so that my true desires (passion) are strangled, suffocated, and stuffed down. all the naturalness of this energy, all the power, all the fuel has been harnessed for being a “good” person.


  • spaciousness holds and allows all things—it is the container of openness within which all things arise
  • open space, lack of boundaries and structures and rules around my life
  • openness to BE any way that is arising in the moment, space/room for all of me, nothing too big
  • invitation to expand, to open, to be unbounded, unlimited in my expression, my attention, my life
  • Sacred Masculine quality that includes stillness, silence, vastness, unknownness


  • life force energy that fuels, directs, and creates all life
  • a combination of the belly’s instinctual energy and the heart’s calling—heart-force
  • desire, “want life,” pleasure, heart-force, flame
  • leads/draws/invites us toward our dreams, towards what will fulfill and satisfy us deeply
  • Sacred Feminine energy of life surging/emerging/dancing into existence

Spacious Passion: putting the two together is where the magic resides! in 2014, this is about following my passion for health and wellbeing, for food and cooking, for embodiment and women’s work, for learning to deeply love  my life, myself, my man, my friends, this world… and at the same time allowing each of these passions to unfold in their own way, staying open to the experience, not rushing or forcing or pushing to get anywhere i think i should be. the spaciousness and the passion support each other in an ever- balancing, sacred union.

The Collage. holding the phrase Spacious Passion in my bodysoul, i chose images that attracted me, and then laid them out to find deeper meaning. the colorful pictures all represent forms of passion necessary in my life—from passion for my spiritual practice in the Tibetan Goddess Tara, in the person with prayer hands, and in the robed Buddhist monk Pema Chodron, to the passion of the uninhibited, delighted and innocent Magickal Child, to the passion of owning and shaking my sexy booty, to the passion of loving and reaching for my dreams, to the passion of living my life with no time to lose…and there is open space holding the pictures—open vistas, black space—each picture has some contact with an unknown support and holding, with the void out of which all form arises—spaciousness. there is a great freedom to BE—no restraints, no constraints…the mystery of manifestation in so many forms, no one right form—child, sexy woman, prayer, practice, goddess, love…all necessary, all good, all unfolding…

another theme arose: there are many hands—hands, the extension of the heart, that can physically manifest passion in the world. Tara’s hands offering protection and receptivity, the woman reaching for her desires, the sexy woman flinging her hands out in devotion to the expression of her life- and heart-force, the Magickal Child holding lightly to her pinwheel of delight, Pema’s hand holding her robes, symbol of her devotion to awakening in her body, praying hands, acknowledging the True Nature in us all.

*Oneish refers to type One on the Enneagram, a psycho-spiritual map of the soul.

how does Spacious Passion express in your life? do you make room for it? how do you recognize it?