(almost) weekly letters from my heart to you
in the shop

Bowls of heart pocket talismans have been gathering in the studio filled with the words and phrases kindred spirits are holding close this year. What is your word? You can find the talismans right here.

stay connected


a morning ritual (how to smudge)

They walk out the door in a rush, in a flurry of "Please hurry and brush your teeth. You're going to be late. Daddy is waiting."

Some mornings I head to the kitchen window and watch them walk down the twisty steps, him carrying all the things, her chatting and chatting as she gets distracted by the colors of the sky or a tiny insect or the lines the fog makes against the trees.

Other mornings I sink to my knees in the living room and put my hands on the floor, stretching my back into chakravakasana. Breathing. Being. Coming home to me.

And then there are the mornings I plant myself on the red couch and dive right into emails and analytics and holding my heart out in my hand in a virtual invitation.

Lately, I've been adding in a simple clearing ritual to bring me back to center. Some days it's my practice. Other days it closes my longer practice. Always it feels like a prayer.

I stand at our often dusty sprawling family altar and begin to chat to Ganesh. As the words swirl in our little house, as Millie snores in her spot on the rug behind me, I light the sage. Watching the smoke begin to swirl, my voice gets louder. I gently move my hand, enveloping the smoke, and let it encircle me.

And then I begin to walk. Chanting. Clearing the space with my voice, with the sage. 

It's a whisper. It's a roar. It's one woman in her little home asking all that is greater than her to support her in this day, to clear space for all that is to come, to clasp us gently in its grasp.



How to Smudge

If you're new to working with sage or smudging, here are some simply steps to follow. I've included some links to supplies as well:

1. Light your bundle or smudge stick until it flames. It will usually burn out and begin to smoke. If needed, you can blow out the flame, but it should still be smoking. This smoke is what you'll use to smudge.

2. Smudge yourself by wafting the smoke toward you, getting your whole body and then step through the smoke. You can use your hand or a feather or feather wand. If you're smudging another person, make sure they turn around so you smudge both their front and back.

3. If you're smudging a space or your home, begin to walk around slowly, wafting the smoke into the space, being sure to direct it in all four directions in each room. Some traditions say you should walk around your space or home in a clockwise manner. As you're walking, be sure to also carry a small bowl or an abalone shell to catch any ashes. (Lately, I've been using my favorite heart bowls.)

4. As you're walking, think positive thoughts, even say a prayer, or sing or chant. The intention is to invite in what you most want to come into this space. You might even want to write a blessing that you say in each room (or to each person if you're smudging yourself and others).

5. When you're done, remember to gently put out the smoking smudge stick/wand. Do this by pressing it into your abalone shell or a fire-proof ceramic bowl. You'll want to make sure that it is no longer smoking and then leave it in the shell or bowl for a while.


There are so many great sources for sage and other smudge sticks on Etsy. You can often find it at Whole Foods and other natural food shops too. Moorea Seal (one of my favorite Seattle shops/sites) also carries some sage and other good things. The sage wand in the photo is from the wondrous Jennette Nielsen.

Using sage is something I first learned about from my teacher Laura Yon. She also taught me the Ganesha chant I sing daily (if you'd like to listen to it and learn it, here's a short audio of me chanting). Additionally, Pixie Lighthorse's teachings have invited me to deepen my experience with the smudging practice.

As always, if you have questions, share them in the comments.

With love and light,

All photos by Lauren Oliver Photography


get outside

It's that time of year where we begin to hover between winter and spring over here in my corner. Some days the rain just falls and falls and the grey can really start to get to you. 

But then the sun will appear. 

But then you'll notice the crocuses about ready to bloom.

But then you'll notice the tulips are starting to push upward.

And suddenly that fierce belief that spring will return appears again.

I've learned though that the only way I can stay connected to that belief is by getting outside.

You have to do the practice.

You can't just talk about how you're getting back to your practice if you dive right into email first thing in the morning and don't stop multi-tasking until you fall asleep just after checking email one more time.

You have to do the practice.

You can't just write articles about why people should start practicing self-care and mindfulness.

You have to do the practice.

You can't wonder why you feel so full of all the stuff that swirls around you when you know the very remedy that would help you feel connected to all that you believe in.

You have to do the practice.

So I stood outside breathing in my own backyard as someone used a jackhammer down the street (yes, a jackhammer on a Monday) and the cars whizzed by on the highway in the distance and the hummingbird chirped down at me from the plum tree and Millie the wonder dog sniffed in circles and the cherry trees preened under the sun's warmth and I realized I hadn't yet brushed my teeth and I started counting all the shades of blue in the sky and then I started counting my own heartbeats...

and I pushed aside the lists and the changes to come and the dream that won't stop tapping me on the forehead and the emails I need to answer and the realization that if I don't get in the shower soon I'm going to be that mom at the Valentine's Craft Fair who works from home and sometimes doesn't remember to shower...

and I stood outside and took five deep breaths and then five more. Just being right here. Noticing. Creating space within. Letting it all just be for a few minutes. Uncovering that connection to all that is greater than me for just seconds at a time.

You have to do the practice.

Yes, honey, I'm talking to you.


what's next

Over here, I'm in that space of figuring out how I want this year to unfold, especially for my business. Deciding "what's next." Getting things down on paper, onto the calendar, so I can get them out into the world to you.

And here's the truth: I wish it was easier. Part of me just wishes someone would come along and tell me what to do.

I'd love to know exactly when to hold my retreats and how to fill them and where they should be.

I'd love to know if I should turn One Move into an ecourse or an online group coaching program or a book.

I'd love to know if my one really good idea I've been holding onto for almost two years is one I should really, finally do.

I'd love to know if my idea to hold very small retreats here in Tacoma is one people would respond to.

I'd love to know if I should look for a studio outside my house, if I should live into reality that dream of a space where women could gather.

I'd love to know if I should expand the Soul Mantras products I offer or pare them down.

There is so much I'd love to know...

But I can't know. I can't predict. I can't see the future. And spinning in all that wishing never helps.

What I can do: I can listen to the wisdom within me and listen to my gut and make a choice and go with it.

There's that saying about a dream being a goal without a deadline. And there's also that truth about how brainstorming and dreaming can be a lot more fun than actually getting to work on a project - brainstorming is a place where I can get stuck because it is so juicy and interesting and fun. Combine that with almost everything I put into the world being some form of me holding my heart in my hand and saying, "Would you like a piece of this?" and I can start to slip into what my mom calls analysis paralysis. 

And then all I want to do is read romance novels and watch shows on Netflix because doesn't Nora Roberts have a new book out and shouldn't I probably rewatch all seven seasons of The West Wing so I can pretend I'll be voting for Jed Bartlett later this year...

But here's what I'm making the choice to do instead:

First, I'm writing these words to you, mostly so I feel less alone in it and to hold myself accountable too I suppose.

Second, I'm putting big pieces of white paper up on the wall and taking out my idea notebook writing down a few lists like: All the ideas. What my heart most wants to share. What people write me about the most - or seem to respond to the most. The boundaries and self-care parameters that my family and I need. 

And I'm asking myself some questions: What ideas have the most "heat" for me? How could this year feel gentle? How can there be more time for living the life I write about? 

(The photo above is the last time I did this when I dove deep into my business about 8 months ago.)

Third, I'm sitting in meditation. I'm listening. I'm trying to stop that inner chatter to create space for peace, even for just five minutes at a time.

Fourth, I'm calling on my guides. From dear friends I trust to a circle that's been forming inside (and around me) during meditation to writing letters in my journal to Mister Rogers (yes, that one). I'm calling on my guides, and I'm listening. 

Fifth, I'm making a commitment to get outside this week. To get out of my head and back into my heart by spending time with the birds and the water and the starting to peek up crocuses. 

Going back in to figure out where to go - this is how I find my way. This is how I figure out what's next. 

There's so much I want to say about all of it - about the way 2014 unfolded into 2015 and how last year was in many ways about rebuilding combined with big growth but how I somewhat feel like I'm still staring at a set of Lincoln logs wondering what to make. 

I suppose there are seasons for knowing and there are seasons for building and there are seasons for really getting quiet to find your way. And perhaps I'm in a season where those all happen at once in their different ways. So my task is to keep going in so I can move from a place of centered knowing even when I don't really know. 

Deep breath.

And the juicy part is that once I get through this part (which is so often easier than it seems like it will be - it already feels easier after getting all of this down on the page - you just have to start), then I get to dive into using my own "One Move" steps to make it all happen. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Thanks for coming along beside me. I'm so grateful you're here.


i'm thinking about...

I'm thinking about the way rest is so often something we avoid, but something we deeply need.

I'm thinking about how sudden blue sky lifts my spirits and reminds me to always create space for hope.

I'm thinking about the seasons of so many words and the seasons where the words swirl inside me but can't find their way to the page.

I'm thinking about how delicious a really good cup of coffee tastes.

I'm thinking about how grateful I am to be able to do the work I do.

I'm thinking about how I can continue to let this year be more gentle every. single. day.

I'm thinking about how to set down the rules and the shoulds and the invitations to have things be a certain way and just live. really, really live.

I'm thinking about the fragility of life.

I'm thinking about the sound of Eleanor's giggles and how her hand feels when she reaches for mine and grasps tightly as we walk together.

I'm thinking about the moments of uncertainty and wishing it was easier.

I'm thinking about what it would feel like to pause even more before I speak.

I'm thinking about the way Puget Sound laps against the rocks and wondering why I don't stand beside it more often.

I'm thinking about how to create more space for friendships and hugs and girls' nights and date nights.

I'm thinking about the warrior me, the magician me, the ninja me, the gentle me, the sacred me, the woman finding her way and reaching out her hand to you me.

I'm thinking about creating with paper and photos and color and how it feeds me and how I must commit to more of it this year. (Join me?)

(photo is a peek of the Alchemy Deck I'm creating in Mindy's current class.)


words and talismans

For the last three weeks, my assistant Bonnie and I have been busy every weekday in the studio hammering and packaging and singing along with Mumford and Sons and Adele and soaking up all the stories that arrive with the word of the year orders.

This year it's been all about the hearts

The pocket talismans I create are one of my favorite things because they invite you into the mindfulness of having a mantra or word that guides you. You can hold them in your hand, put them next to your bed, place them on an altar, and even have them at your desk at work.

They become a tangible connection to your word.

And they've become one of the most popular items I've ever created.

This. Makes. Me. So. Happy.

I'm working on a little project that will be all about the talismans and I can't wait to tell you about it soon. It's one of those ideas that's been brewing in the back of my mind for more than a year. During the last few weeks, it keeps tap tap tapping at me, and I'm listening. I had so much fun with the This Is My Year packages (just 9 left!) and this idea come from the same place of excitement and deep connection for me. 

For now, you can find the customizable talismans here and the other phrases I carry regularly right here.

I hope your 2016 is continuing to unfold with light and love.

Yes. Yes. Yes.