Magic is All Around Us... Just Turn Left

We have a field behind our house.  It's not a particularly scenic field in and of itself.  But sometimes in the morning mist or the evening light magical things happen.
I've learned to glance out first thing in the morning and see if there was heavy dew, when the first rays of sun from the other side of the house are making their way across the field.  And check right around dusk, before the proper sunset, when the light is all golden and streaming and then checking in with each stage of the sunset.

Sometimes I grab my camera and run out to catch an image.  I know just the shot I want.  
very few years in the spring some creature spins thousands of webs overnight across the whole field and in the morning they glisten and glow with dew.  I got the top pictures 2 years ago so when I woke up last week and saw all the webs I headed out just sure I'd get some great shots of the webs.  But no matter what adjustments I made and where I knelt down they just weren't turning out the way it looked to my eyes.
rouched down in the wet grass I happened to look left and found this right at eye level:

 

Delicate and beautiful, looking crystallized in the dew.  But not at all what I set out to find.
Another evening I headed out to capture the sunset and met the same frustration.  Nothing looked quite right on the camera as I walked around.  And then I looked to my left:

And met a new tree that I have no idea how I'd missed before this.  With gorgeous heavy scented blossoms and bees happily buzzing.  All glowing in that evening light.
I think this theory applies to more than just my picture taking adventures in the field.  If things aren't turning out the way you planned or hoped or imagined, maybe it's time to look to your left.....or your other left.  Maybe you're finding yourself in this place to do or see something you didn't even know existed or meet someone new.

Alchemy Circle is starting up again this fall. Participants will learn about the Wheel of the Year and begin to more fully see and embrace the Divine within the "busy". This is for any woman who desires more grounding, more rhythm, and more ways to invite the Sacred Feminine into her experience. This work is subtle, sometimes quiet, but profound. 

Dive deep into your own magic with the guidance, support and encouragement of other women as well as a knowledgable and kind mentor. Begin to harness the magic in the everyday. And begin the practice of turning left. 

CLICK HERE TO JOIN

Dream League

I’ve always been a dreamer, a star gazer, an optimist, an idea machine. My ideas have little idea babies, and all they want to live. It can’t be easy for my husband, Bernie, a pragmatic realist, to have Doc Brown from Back to the Future for a wife. He heroically endures my dreaming and all the cryptic, scribbled notes left around the house that come with it. I won’t let him throw them away, and, yet, I don’t know exactly what I meant when I wrote, “website for dentists/candles” either. I’m sure it will come back to me.

Some of my past dreams even made it to trial phase. My favorite was a recipe for organic dog popsicles called Muttsicles. They were fantastic. I poured them in real Popsicle molds for freezing but instead of the traditional wooden stick – a rawhide. Boom. Dogs went nuts for them. Poor Bernie would come home and smell what he thought was a delicious pot roast only to find another batch of beef Muttsicles on the stove. My downfall was retail freezer capability and/or having no business plan. We didn’t even have a dog.

So, it was fitting in 2011 when I started watching this web-series called Failure Club. Produced by Morgan Spurlock, the documentarist who made Supersize Me a few years prior. The show followed eight New Yorkers who each committed to making a secret dream come true over one year’s time. Its intent was to take the stigma out of failure – which is, really, a ridiculous thing that sort of dictates our entire lives. I needed that. Besides a freezer full of Muttsicles, I didn’t have much to show.. Having dreams feels lovely, doesn’t it? Attempting them, though, taking them beyond sticky notes, that is terrifying stuff.

At the time I was also reading a lot of Thich Nhat Hanh (“Because you are alive all things are possible.”), and Pema Chodron (“To be alive is to be continually thrown out of the nest.”), and Brene Brown (“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”). Even though no one on the show was talking about it, to me, it was so poignantly clear that the participants weren’t simply taking chances: they were absolutely redefining their relationships with fear, uncertainty, and the Universe itself. In that group accountability setting, Failure Clubmembers were practicing the brave work of being vulnerable, big, and playful with life. “Everything you want is on the other side of fear!” Jack Kornfield and I yelled at the screen.

But, in 2012 my mom died. She was 54. It was excruciating, and I stopped dreaming for a long time. There was no heart left for it. It took everything just to walk through the grief pit and still make mac and cheese and find my kids matching shoes before preschool. Man, that was a dark stretch of road.

If there is, however, any silver lining to deep grief, it’s that when one finally does start stepping out of it, back into the light, what used to be scary seems laughable. One’s threshold for discomfort and unknowing grows tenfold while in its throes. There is freedom in that, certainly, and promise, too.

And the impermanence of all this! Of everything! As I healed, my sadness was replaced with bafflement: I couldn’t wrap my head around why we all aren’t running towards what we want like our hair is on fire. “Your problem is, you think you have time,” whispered Jack Kornfield. I decided that if I was going to really come back, be myself again and carry on, I was no longer willing to just daydream. It suddenly felt ludicrous to ever let fear boss me around again.

So, in 2015 I opened Source, a real business that is not in my freezer. We provide onsite meditation and yoga classes, soul-play workshops, gypsy-esque merchandise, and lots of woo-woo services like astrology and tarot readings. It makes my heart sing. And, yes, it was scary to start. In the first few months when I was bombing I remember thinking, “Holy crap, I’m in Failure Club!”

Which, of course, gave me another idea.

That same year, I started Dream League, a women’s circle/coaching group/adventure club for all the dreamers, star gazers and optimists out there. Every fall I accept a handful of women, of all ages and stages, who each commit to making a secret dream come true. This will be our third year and it gets better and better each time.

While structured a little like Failure Club, Dream League adds extra layers of intent and support as we talk about the real work being done: how can we be more joyous and brave in this one life we have? How can we redefine our relationships with failure, success, desire and curiosity? We learn about the cycle of a dream, how to get past ego and fear, how to hold space for ourselves and other women, and, more importantly, why we should hold that space.

It’s wonderful. The women are wonderful. The dreams are wonderful: getting published, learning to dance, saving the environment, being a stand-up comic – we’ve seen it all and look forward to more. I can’t promise any of the dreams will come true, but I can promise it changes one’s life to try. And I don’t feel so much like Doc Brown anymore. There are a lot of us. Closet dreamers, secret optimists, come out! Life wants to play.

Sarah Bernstein is a certified life coach, business owner, high school teacher, writer, mother of three and wife to a realist. You can learn more about Dream League by going to dreamleagueadventure.com. If anyone in Traverse City has an office, even a little corner or cubby, where Sarah can take a nap, let her know directly at sourcetcsarah@gmail.com

 

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WILD WOMAN CIRCLE STARTING 8/15!

The first Wild Woman Circle is happening soon! We will meet 3 consecutive Tuesdays: August 15, 22, and 29 from 7-9pm. We will study Chapter 10 of Women Who Run With the Wolves – Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. The introduction and the chapter has to be read before we meet.

I had the honor of going to a training with her that allows me to lead circles using her book. This book is rich and deep. Every time I read it, I notice a new concept, I see another perspective, I always understand myself better and understand what needs to be done to honor who I am and the Wild Woman within. I want that for you too!

More specifically, the Chapter we will study is about our creative lives:

“Creativity is the ability to respond to all that goes on around us, to choose from the hundreds of possibilities of thought, feeling, action, and reaction and to put these together in a unique response, expression, or message that carries moment, passion, and meaning. In this sense, loss of our creative milieu means finding ourselves limited to only one choice, divested of, suppressing, or censoring feelings and thoughts, not acting, not saying, doing, or being.”

– Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves, Chapter 10 – Clear Water: Nourishing the Creative Life

In a safe space, and through inquiries, sharing, and witnessing each other, we will explore:

- How the story relates to our own lives,

- In what state our creative life is,

- What is preventing us to create and the impact it’s having on our mental, emotional, and

physical health,

- Clear, concrete actions to take to nourish and honor our creative life.

Each meeting, if you desire, will provide:

- A deeper connection with yourself and other women.

- A better understanding of who you are.

- A feeling of nourishment and support.

- A judgment free zone

- An opportunity to claim yourself as a creative being!

“So what is the point of this reclamation and focus, this calling back of the hawk, this running with the wolves? It is to go for the jugular, to get right down to the seed and to the bones of everything and anything in your life, because that’s where your pleasure is, that’s where your joy is,  that’s where a woman’s Eden lies, that place where there is time and freedom to be, wander, wonder, write, sing, create, and not be afraid.”

– Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves, Chapter 10 – Clear Water: Nourishing the Creative Life

Wild Woman

There is a Wild Woman living in each and every woman.  Wild here means “to live a natural life” and not “out of control”.  Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes says in her book Women Who Run With the Wolves: “These words, wild and woman, cause women to remember who they are and what they are about.  They create a metaphor to describe the force which funds all female.  They personify a force that women cannot live without.” 

The first time I heard these words, it was like I was on the receiving end of a defibrillator.  My inner wild woman was jolted back to life just because she was finally named.  The recognition was instinctual and yet I didn’t know anything about her, at least not intellectually.  Now I know she was never dead, just buried very deep in the underground of my psyche.

Are you aware of her?  Have you acknowledged her and made her a conscious part of your everyday life?  Have you learned to give her space in your life?  Have you learned to listen and to trust her?  How would life be different if you were allowing her to be an integral part of you?

Since I connected with my Wild Woman, I noticed all kinds of changes:

1- I listen to my intuition a whole lot more and I learned to trust it.
2- I can easily know the difference between my intuition and my inner critic.
3- My creativity is flourishing.
4- My relationships are deeper, more meaningful and healthy.
5- I honor myself, my needs, my emotions, my dreams.
6- I serve from a place of love instead of a need to be loved and recognized that left me drained.
7- I know that I am not alone.  I know that I have access to guidance at all time.
8- I have a better sense of knowing when it is time to let go and allow.
9- My capacity to give and receive is more balanced and has increased.
10- My confidence and self-love has increased dramatically.

You also have access to all that and more!!!  If you would like to set your Wild Woman free or if she is free but would like to deepen your understanding of her and yourself, join me in August (15, 22, and 29) for the next Wild Woman Circle.  We will study the 10th chapter of Women Who Run With the Wolves: Clear Water: Nourishing the Creative Life - La Llorona. 

I have the incredible honor of being part of the first ever 5-year training offered by Dr. Estés that allows me to teach and lead circles based on her book.  For more information, come here 

Source: https://www.sourcetc.com/circles/

Charlotte Says, "Kapow!"

Boing!  Pflipf!  Schwoosh.  Twingle.  Thwing, thwang … schoooof.  These are my imagined sounds of an idea blossoming, or of a refreshing new perspective peeking into the consciousness of a sacred soul evolving on this beautiful planet Earth.  I love assisting people in this regard!

I’d say, I AM a weaver of sorts … of paths that lead towards the renewal of one’s passion for living.  It is part of what, I believe, I was created to do:  give what I have been gifted … the ability to collaborate with people in their own healing as well as in their own awakening (or re-awakening) to their purpose for being.  It’s kind of like midwifery for the already born. Ha!

I, creatively and intuitively, guide my clients toward their own supreme well-being utilizingcombinations of Reiki, Foot Reflexology, Aura Reading, Cellular Memory Release and more.  

Every session is embraced in the belief that the client, in that specific moment, is the entire universe … nothing else exists for me except them, AND … the techniques used will be tailor-made to that appointment.  Practically everyone … in any situation or stage of life, as well asthose in acquaintance with that person, stand to benefit.

Within the walls of my eclectic and comfortable studio in downtown TC, a person has the opportunity to participate in and receive any or all of these services.  It is a deeply relaxing way to take charge of one’s own well-being, to feel better, and to experience hope and renewedbvitality!  The potential benefits really are endless.  There is no limit.

It will be an absolute joy to participate in this rejuvenating awakening process.  It’s time to celebrate this grandiose potential! Learn more about what I do HERE

Tune in, Gemini!

Ahh, spring! Real spring! The sun is (finally) shining, the birds are chirping, the road work is underway, the jackhammers are slamming against the sidewalks, the newspapers are atwitter with bombshells, all the friends who went MIA during the winter are pinging our phones full of emails, text messages, invitations to social events—life has woken up again and it’s NOISY.

Yes, as of May 20th, we are in the wacky, multi-tasky throes of Gemini season, in which we all run around like chickens with multiple heads on the hunt of airborne birdseed.

If Gemini is your birthday (Sun) sign, this is where your superpower—an experimental, everywhere-at-once approach to life--comes out to play. Who needs sleep when there’s so much going on? You’re charming and playful when the people around you start talking. Your role in the zodiac—what makes you feel most fully awake—is to relay these messages in your own words, stimulating new ideas and connections.

The rest of us can learn a thing or thirty from our Gemini friends. Since the Sun entered Aries in late March, we’ve been launching and fortifying new plans and projects. We may even have gotten a little tunnel-visioned in the process, plowing forward (or freezing in place) based on an initial impulse (Aries) and reinforced by our value-system (Taurus).

From now until June 21st, the big blue sky is telling us to lighten up! The people we interact with every day—who make our coffee, bag our groceries, live in the house behind us or the apartment above us, the siblings we, okay, don’t always listen to—are our best sources of information. Soak up casual encounters (and even the news) without overanalyzing. Keep calling Congress even if you worry nothing’s coming of it. All you need to do this month is be a good radio tower: bring signals in, send signals out. (There will be plenty of time later to filter the good, bad and ugly.)

Art Journaling 101

What is Art Journaling? By Amber Coulter


An art journal is a place where you use words and images in any medium to express your feelings. We all have a need for creative expression and an art journal is a perfect place for that. It can become both an extension of the self, and a place to play and experiment with art materials. Enjoy the process and listen to the art. It may be speaking to you.

My Story
"I found I could say things with colour and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for." -Georgia O'Keefe
I have been keeping an "art journal" on and off for over twenty years. It was never a consistent practice, and never enough that would lead me to consider myself an artist. Looking back, I now realize that it was always a place that I went to when I needed to express myself in a way that words just wouldn't allow. Scribbling my thoughts, covering it all up with paint, and then gluing down images that felt good. These practices are what help get me through a lot of my anxiety. When I am struggling through hard things or big emotions, I go to my trusty journal for some release.
At the beginning of this year, I committed to creating on a daily basis. Though I don't get to it every day, it is definitely a more regular practice for me that brings so much joy. Through this daily practice, I have also found an amazing community of wonderful people. I never could have imagined the incredible people that would come into my life through art journaling!
What I love so much about this practice is that there are no rules, and in it I get to create freely, experiment, meditate, and find stress relief! If you have never tried art journaling, give it a try and see what it brings up for you. Happy creating!

Learn more about Amber's upcoming class here!

4 Tree Movement

Science tells us that global warming could be halted and reversed if each person planted six trees. That's all Jamie Kramer, founder of Tree Network, needed to hear. The woman has been in her garage for weeks, sawing palets, ordering tree babies, making them lovely little bags out of upcycled fabric. She hasn't seen the light of day for weeks, all so you plant your trees, baby.  100 homemade boxes, 400 darling baby trees later, here we are. 

Isn't this perfect for Mother's Day? 

She gave you Roots and wings. This Mother's day give her the “Tree Movement” tree box.  Four trees, appropriately dressed to save the world, we call it Arbor Couture. A stunning Red Maple, wise White Oak, yummy Saskatoon Berry, and the Tree of Peace (White Pine).  All boxes are completely made of upcycled materials and filled with a ton of love.  Plus, with every purchase four MORE trees will be donated to the world's youngest superheros for local school and conservation efforts.  Mom will be so proud!

Sale $55 : Click HERE to learn more.

Order by 5/11 and Jamie will personally deliver your beautiful box if you live within the Grand Traverse, Wexford or Leelanau counties. Mama Earth says thank you.