Page 1

SPRING

2017 |

ISSUE

NO. 04 

THE WELLNESS MERCANTILE

MANIFEST CHANGE WAYS TO HEAL THE HEALER

PLUS, RECIPES,

BATH

RITUAL

+

MEDITATION


CONTENT

03

THE MANIFESTATION GUIDE

06

HEALING THE HEALER

13

PEGAN PLANTAIN BLONDIES

15

LEMON JASMINE TEA SMOOTHIE

18

FOURTH & HEART CARROT BURGER

20

BLISS WITHOUT BOTHER

22

SPRING CLEANING

26

LET'S TALK ABOUT SEXUALITY

28

WHEN SELF CARE IS A STRUGGLE

31

YOUR GUIDE TO READING BEAUTY LABELS

32

DOULA DOS: 7 SAAVY TIPS FOR A ROCKING PREGNANCY & BIRTH


THE ULTIMATE MANIFESTATION GUIDE BY ANNE ESTLING @themanifestingclinic

Manifesting, a huge buzzword today, can be a confusing, albeit electric, topic. As the creator of The Manifesting Clinic, today I’ll give you a taste of a manifesting session, a unique 1:1 service I offer, which includes a step-by step manifesting process and a manifesting prescription. Manifesting is a process in which the law of attraction, which states that like attracts like, is used to create desires and dreams in the tangible world. The Manifesting Process I have developed and life-tested is an integrated and intuitive process which takes into consideration many thought-makers and influencers in the law of attraction work. Manifesting Process: 1. Have unapologetic clarity 2. Know you are worthy 3. Witness your resistance and reach for higher thoughts 4. Ask for what you want 5. Give off the right signal; take inspired action and be available ONLY for this or something greater 6. Surrender, receive and allow; live in a place of knowing it has happened in the non-physical world and is on its way to you in the physical 7. Enjoy, and give gratitude for what you've manifested


If you don’t think you deserve to have financial freedom, chances are you will not experience it. Self-love is a key practice for this step and can be supported by affirmations as simple as “I deserve the best,” or “I completely love and accept myself.” Work with rose quartz crystals and rose essential oil also assists with self-love and worth. After you’ve done some work increasing your self-love, it’s time to get check in with your money mindset. Do you love or hate money? What was the conversation about money in your house growing up? What scares you about having the amount of money you want? Where are you blocking your desires? It is important to get radically, intimately, and nonjudgmentally honest with yourself as you explore these questions, for manifesting relies on the art of allowing. You must know where you are in order to release your blocks and to reach for higher vibe thoughts, allowing abundance to flow to you.

While manifesting can be used in many different situations, a popular topic is money. For example, if you want to manifest more money in your life, the first place to start is to get a “heartbeat” on how you feel about money in general and money in your life. What do you want your money story to be? How near or far are you from that right now? Be unapologetic in what you want. Part of the manifesting and abundance movement is the tenant that there is enough to go around; you manifesting your dream does not take away from another.

Possibly the most fun part of the process is asking for what you want. How much money do you want? Why do you want it? In what timeframe do you want it to come to you? You can dream big, but a great place to start with manifesting is small and work your way up to larger goals, because remember, you MUST believe it. You must live in a place of knowing that it has already happened in the non-physical realm and like a package you’ve ordered in the mail, it is on its way to you in the physical world. That doesn’t mean that you don’t do anything. You take inspired action, which will be different for everyone. An inspired action that has become popular is changing your password(s) to reflect what you are currently manifesting, such as financial freedom. Or perhaps you are inspired to reach out for a sale, or look for a new job. Finding the edge of what scares and excites you will lead you to your own inspired actions.

The next step is knowing that you are worthy and worthy of your desires. Thoughts become beliefs which become reality. You MUST believe that you deserve what you are asking for.

Take action that feels intuitively right to you, but also surrender to the possibility that something even better shows up, or shows up in a better way.

3


Gratitude is also critical in manifesting. Gratitude vibrates at the same level as love and draws high vibe people, experiences, and things to you. Practice receiving (perhaps that compliment, perhaps that penny on the ground) and somehow mark it with gratitude. This can be through writing specific gratitude or simply saying it to yourself. Thank you is a powerful manifesting phrase. Manifesting is a practice. While miracles and quantum shifts can and do occur, often manifesting, like any other creation, takes time and patience. Be consistent with your manifesting practice, and you WILL see results.

TSEFINAM

A Course in Miracles states “Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait and wait without anxiety.� Surrender is not weakness, but trust. Perhaps the money you thought you would earn appears as a gift, or you receive a discount when you normally pay full price.

EGNAHC

Manifesting Ritual Bath *Rose essential oil and/or fresh or dried rose petals (Roses are high frequency and can help you instantly up your vibration to attract abundance with greater ease and swiftness.) *Calendula flowers (anti-inflammatory and helps draw wealth in its broadest sense) *Clear Quartz (master healer, amplifies other crystals) *Rose Quartz (stone of love; helps build self-love and love for others) *Citrine (manifesting stone) Place oils and flowers in bath. Step in and recline. Place clear quartz on your third eye, rose quartz on your heart, and hold the citrine in one or both of your hands. Say aloud or feel the affirmation: I attract and retain joyful abundance in my life.


HEALING THE HEALER BY SSANYU BIRIGWA

@ssanyu_letgoandletlove How can we restore, balance, and renew our mind body and soul’s energy? Taking care of ourselves is essential to our health and the health of those we work to serve. The community of healers is broad and expands to advocates, physicians, Social workers, nurses, therapists, community organizers, law enforcement professionals, spiritual leaders, along with many others, all play an important role in helping survivors of traumatic events address and heal from their experiences. The repeated exposure to the stories of trauma, illness, pain, death does not come without a cost. It often begins to affect our sense of self and our view of the world. This is what causes burnout and stress. I have found through experience the importance of mindfully releasing old, stale, and often times stagnate energy that which stress leaves behind, through drawing

DEFINITION: HEALERS INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE DEDICATED THEMSELVES TO BEING OF SERVICE TO OTHERS. on the wisdom from a variety of spiritual texts such as the Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching, the Bible, Bhagavad Gita to meditation, practicing kriya and taking pause; resting to strengthen compassion and healing for myself. This requires boundary setting, which I notice at times I have difficulty maintaining. However, it is when I do not self-care on a daily basis, I feel overwhelmed, boundaries get blurred, my body starts to ache, my energy levels decrease, my patience wanes and I am all around uncomfortable in my body. This is what we call in Narrative Medicine, the “self-telling” body. 6


Many of my colleagues have expressed great comfort in drawing in on their community of healers for support. One way that has been so affective to my self-care practice have been healing exchanges. But when time does not permit, I must attune to my rituals of self-reiki, meditation, mindfulness, mantra and movement. I personally found that when I take a moment in the morning to gently leave my bed, after reciting affirmations and practicing self-reiki on myself I instantly move into a mindset of an open and receptive mind and heart ready to be of service. The path to healing is different for everyone and will only be effective if it is informed by the awareness of our individual struggles, our own stories of trauma, triumph and opportunities for self-care and resilience. In many of our healing practices, we must be attuned to the complex ways in which we are called to support others in their healing journey. Each of us must create and commit to travel our path to sustainability so we can continue to be of service to others on their healing journey. Thus, mindfulness is the energy that we harness; it is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in every moment of our daily life. To be mindful is to be truly alive, present, and at one with those around you and with what you are doing as we bring body and mind into harmony. A practice of resting both the body and mind, the practice of gentle attitude, and an open mind and an receptive heart will bring us to the space of pause, where we will always feel supported. In this space, we are reminded of the joy and peace that is within us so to help others heal and cultivate this peace and joy, to free themselves from fears, misunderstandings, and suffering.


Self-care practices to activate healing for ourselves 1. Make time away from the work, a peaceful one Create a sacred space in your bathroom by lighting candles, or burning incense like myrrh to cleanse and clear the air. Run yourself a bath and add essential oils like rosehip, frankincense to calm and ease the body. Add a half-cup of Epsom salts to detox and a tablespoon of coconut oil to moisturize while in the tub. If you prefer showers, allow the steam to fill the bathroom before you enter and take your time in there. In each moment, take in deep breaths to slow your heart rate down and give thanks for this moment that you chose to give to yourself. Afterwards, take your time to dry off. Dab vetiver oil on the souls of your feet, right on the ball of your foot and run your hands up the sides of your legs up to your pelvis, three times. This is helpful in grounding and restoring. Rub your hands with the excess oil and rub on your thyroid. A ritual I do often. I carry vetiver oil with me everywhere and use in times of feeling the ciaos around me, like riding the New York subway system!

2. Re-engage with your meditation practice If you are not meditating start now! A great way to start the practice is to listen to a guided meditation. I teach beginners “the training wheels” to meditate through giving gratitude, setting intention and forgiving. I call it the G.I.F. I ask those I work with to list five things they are grateful for silently to themselves and set their intention for the moment they are taking to be still. To follow, set an intention for this segmented time and starting with the letter ‘A’, going down the alphabet, think of people that may have mistreated you, disappointed you and forgive them. In this practice, when done everyday, you will start to find yourself listing more than 5 things you are grateful for, almost as if you are entering a trance. Soon, you will find yourself wanting to close your eyes and little by little, your breathing begins to slow down and before you know it, you are at peace. Your breathing aids as your guide. Allow the thoughts to enter, and pass. Be here with yourself. Allow the divine source energy of your Being penetrate the thoughts floating about. This source energy is calling you – it’s your liquid love.


6. Be still and relax, treat yourself with kid gloves Be gentle and relax! Make yourself a cup of African mallow also known as hibiscus flower tea. Make the process a decedent one where each step of making this cup of tea becomes slow and mindful. African mallow leaves have a medicinal property to it and many antioxidant benefits. It is great to ease stomach pain (a symptom I get when I’m stressed). This flower can protect the liver, stimulate the appetite and help reduces fevers and soothe coughs and is high in vitamin C. A study in 2008 found that drinking hibiscus tea can significantly reduce high blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes. 7. Disengage with social media; it can be taxing on the spirit! Realize when you are falling into the deep black hole of comment thread hell! Disengage Now. 3. Take yourself off of news feeds, and news App’s. 8. Create energetic balance Whilst educating yourself on the latest Worldly affairs is important, this can be taxing on your mind and spirit. To stay informed, buy a newspaper and enjoy the process of turning the pages, close reading articles that you may have otherwise skipped over when reading from an App.

4. Take time to go to the Museum. Sitting with a painting can be extremely relaxing. Making time for this engagement with yourself creates space to discover which, if any, elements of the art work elicits reflection of who you are, stories of the past that you may have not thought of in a long time. In the practice of Narrative Medicine we call this process, close reading, which encourages emotional well-being and reflection.

5. Seek clarity from your elders. Somewhere down the line of being the expert, we sometimes forget the older generation has much wisdom to share with us. Make time to speak to someone in your family or community that has more time behind them then they do ahead of them.

For those working with energy medicine, balance is a pivotal concept to harness. This is when we are in a state of internal stability and harmony with other energies. Our bodies are always adjusting the energies available to it to restore its balance and in modern life; it can be difficult to find this energetic balance. In some instances what manifests are tension headaches. Tools to activate balance within and rid yourself of this tension. 9. Take your shoes off when you enter your home This simple practice slows us down. Our homes are sanctuaries. In many cultures, taking your shoes off literally allows one to keep their floors clean. When you think about it, how good does it feel when you take your shoes off and walk on clean floors!


11. Nurture that creativity within Making homemade cards are a great way to be creative and stay in alignment with which you are, a giver. When is the last time you received a card in the mail? This can be quite easy. You can recycle the paper you already have laying around your home. I personally love going to the paper store and buying handmade recycled paper to make my cards. When I don’t have pretty paper, I make my own with old newspapers, magazines and colored pens. A quick tip; buy stamps in advance and keep in your wallet. This ensures you mail the card! 12. Walking Getting out into the fresh air can make a difference in your attitude, and give you the space to daydream and just be. 13. Healing exchanges with other healers This is a great way to experience other healing modalities that can help balance and restore your energy body. Be bold, ask and you will receive. 14. If you don’t already have an Alter, create one. Add personal photos of loved ones, talisman, stones, flowers, and crystals – whatever you hold sacred to your heart, and are connected to. An Alter is a perfect place to call in love into your space. It's a space in your home to remind you to take time to pray and meditate. Creating ceremony around this energetic area reminds us to hold space for Spirit – the Divine in us, which is to be fiercely celebrated everyday! 15. Spiritual practice defined as a time for you to take pause and connect with your heart Breathing exercises are a great way to begin a spiritual practice. Sudarshan Kriya, a specific natural rhythm of the breath, which harmonize the body, mind and emotions to create the embodied pause we need to move forward in the expansive space of healing


16. Clear and bless your home with Palo Santo or Sage. This practice cleanses and clears your home or place of work and leaves it vibrating with the highest of positive energy.

17. Tracing your meridians. This is a simple way of supporting your body’s energy transportation system that may sometimes get its lines crossed and may deliver too much energy to one organ or not enough to another. Tracing your meridians is one of simplest and most effective way of correcting this mismatch of your genetic programming and your environment. I focus on the Heart Meridian and Bladder Meridian. In Chinese medicine, the timing of this practice is as important as applying it as the times represent when the meridian’s energies are at their peak.

Heart Meridian (11am-1pm): Place your open hand underneath the opposite armpit in alignment with your little finger and trace straight down inside the arm and off the little finger. Do both sides

Bladder Meridian (3pm-5pm): The time where most people get tired during the day Place both hands between your eyebrows; go up over the crown and down the back of your head and neck. Remove your hands from your neck; reach them back underneath your arms and as high as you can stretch onto your spine. Trace your hands down either side of your spine to below your waist, jog in and up toward the waist, and then in and around your gluteus Maximus. Leave the meridian there and come up onto your shoulders, go straight down to the back of your knees, in at the knees, down to the floor, and off your little toes.


Recipe Stars:

Pegan Plantain BlondiesÂ

Plantains contain a ton of potassium and magnesium. They act as both the binder and sweetener in this recipe making them as versatile as they are delicious! Flaxseed meal add in great nutrients like: Omega-

BY ALISON MARRAS @FOODBYMARS

3's, fiber, plant protein, and more! Magnesium, manganese, B vitamins are among them. They are a great egg substitute if you're sensitive or just plain ran out of eggs.

These "pegan" (vegan + paleo) blondies are moist, chewy in the middle with a light golden crust on top and naturally sweet from yellow plantains with NO added sugar at all. Eat these for dessert or breakfast - they're that good and nutritious!

The flours used in this recipe combine to be easy on the stomach and are grain-free. Using 100% dark chocolate in this recipe was an easy fit since the blondies are so sweet already from the plantains. When you're consuming chocolate without the dairy and sugar, you get all the benefits such as: increased blood flow and blood pressure (improving heart health), disease prevention (thanks to the high antioxidant content), cholesterol control and more.Â

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Ingredients 1/4 cup coconut cream 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 2 Tbsp coconut butter (manna) or 1.5 Tbsp coconut oil 2 flax eggs (2 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal + 6 Tbsp water) 1 large yellow plantain (heaping 1 cup) 1/2 cup tigernut flour 1/4 cup coconut flour 1 Tbsp arrowroot flour/powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1/3 cup 100% dark chocolate, shaved/finely chopped (unsweetened or stevia sweetened)Â Directions Preheat oven to 350f degrees. Prep flax eggs by combining flax seed meal and water and refrigerating for 15 minutes. Line a 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper (the paper can be hanging over sides). Add wet ingredients to a mixing bowl: coconut cream, butter, vanilla, flax eggs and slicked and mashed yellow plantain. Mix well together with a whisk. In another bowl or in a stand mixer, add all dry ingredients: flours, baking powder, baking soda and spices and mix well. Add wet ingredients into the dry, mixing well until you have a smooth batter. Add chocolate to the mix and using a silicone spatula or spoon, mix the chocolate in. Then spread the batter evenly with a spatula into your lined baking pan. Bake approx. 35 minutes until center is cooked and there is a golden crust on top and a fork comes out clean when pierced in the center. Let blondies cool out of the hot pan on the parchment paper, on top of a cookie drying rack if you have it. Let cool by a window for 10-15 minutes and then you can cut into squares. Serve and you can store out to keep the crust intact on top or seal to keep more moist (like a banana bread).


BYÂ ALISON MARRAS @FOODBYMARS

Lemon Jasmine Tea Smoothie Ingredients 1 cup double brewed jasmine tea, chilled (I used Pique Tea Crystals) 1/2 frozen banana handful of fresh spinach 3/4 cup coconut milk 2 tsp raw honey 2 tsp chia seeds Juice from 1 lemon

Directions Double brew 1 cup of tea and store in the fridge for 20 mins or so, just until it's cooled. Add all other ingredients to a high speed blender and lastly add in the brewed tea. Blend on high until smooth and serve right away!

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Preparation:

Carrot Burger PRESENTED

BY

FOURTH

Place diced onions between paper towels to remove excess moisture. Cut off the carrot tops Scrub carrots well, no need to peel if washed well and preferably organic and cut into quarters

&

Ingredients: 1 pounds Medium Carrots Roasted 1/2 Onion finely diced in a food processor 2 tsps Coriander 2 tsps Garlic Powder 1/2 cup Cornflower 3 tsps Himalayan Salted Ghee

HEART

Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and wash the carrots and wrap them loosely in aluminum foil and sprinkle with oil Place the carrots in the oven for 30 minutes (check every 10 to ensure they aren’t over or undercooked) Remove from oven, then remove the foil and allow to cool. Place carrots and minced onions in the food processor with a regular blade. Add the remaining ingredients. The mixture should be able to form into patties without falling apart. You may need to add more cornflower if they don’t stick. Once you get them to form molds make a 2½ inch patty that is ½ inch thick. Heat a medium sized pan and add the Himalayan Salted Ghee Place the burger carefully with a spatula in the pan and cook slowly on medium until you see it’s cooked about half way through then carefully flip it to its other side Once you see the other half has cooked through (about 2-3 minutes) then remove onto a plate with paper towels

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e h t e se d l r o w

Bliss Without Bother is a wellness retreat planning service that offers wellness activities for private and corporate clients and supports yoga and meditation instructors plan the wellness retreat they envision.


BLISS WITHOUT BOTHER MARIA CHRISTODOULOU, FOUNDER OF BLISS WITHOUT BOTHER, PROVIDES A BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK ON HOW TO PLAN A WELLNESS RETREAT AND WHY THEY ARE SO IMPORTANT TO OUR HEALTH AND WELLBEING. There is usually never enough time do everything we intend to do. But that can be true in our personal lives, as well. Event planning can appear overwhelming, but with a bit of organization and focus, it can be an enjoyable and community-building experience. One of the first things I do when a client contacts me to plan a retreat is to draft a timeline. This helps us determine how much time there is to execute all the necessary steps and provides a roadmap for us to keep us on track. For weekend retreats, I prefer 3-4 months lead time to ensure extra planning time is available if we need it. The most important step is choosing a date and contacting retreat centers for their availability.

Most centers can be booked up from six months in advance, so if I have a client who wants a particular weekend for their retreat, I need to prioritize this request. In addition to the date, the other factors in choosing a retreat include location, amenities, and service. Is it near public transportation? Are there activities offered on site? Are meals included? Contacting several retreat centers can help narrow down the search for a location that matches the requested criteria. If I have never been to the retreat center, I like to visit to meet the staff and get a feel for the property to determine if this will be the right fit for my client. 20


During my time working in the nonprofit field, we typically had a staff activity once per year, which is far from sufficient given all the hours that employees work. Stress develops over time and can cause debilitating symptoms that lower happiness and productivity. Personally, I had repeatedly suffered from adrenal exhaustion because of the demands of my job, but there were no wellness services to support me. Wellness retreats, which typically offer a combination of yoga, meditation, healthy meals, community, and nature, are a way for people to unwind and unplug without having to plan any of the details. It is crucial that we rest the body and mind from accumulated stress every few months and focus on our health and wellbeing. We don’t realize how tired we are until we slow down in an environment designed to support us. The Harvard Business Review reported that “taking time for silence restores the nervous system, helps sustain energy, and conditions our minds to be more adaptive and responsive to the complex environments in which so many of us now live, work, and lead.”

Of course, I also love traveling to a beautiful place in nature. Bliss Without Bother has a growing network of retreat centers all over the world, which deliver the quality of hospitality and a variety wellness experiences that we seek for our participants’ rejuvenation. Once the retreat center is booked, I finalize the retreat program with the wellness instructor. What will this retreat offer? Who are my target audience? Are we planning enough activities? Are we scheduling enough personal time? This is the fun, creative part! Curating an itinerary that offers unique and blissful experiences will spark interest and make promotion much easier. Now that the retreat is scheduled, I start marketing on the Bliss Without Bother website and social media outlets. Most people plan their weekends a month or two in advance, so I like to start promoting as soon as the details are finalized. I often reach out to my personal contacts, as well, with a genuine invitation to join the retreat, especially when I know they might benefit from a weekend getaway. According to the Global Wellness Institute, work burnout is worsening and most companies are unprepared to address or even acknowledge the wellness of their employees.

Last year after developing adrenal exhaustion working in yet another stressful office environment, I realized that I needed to shift my life and create my own outlet for wellness and community. I wanted to create a lifestyle that was sustainable and supportive, not demanding and depleting. I launched Bliss Without Bother as a way to manifest these experiences for myself and others. Planning wellness retreats can be rewarding when they are well organized and follow a timeline so that last minute planning can be avoided. When the day arrives, I am able to focus on the present moment and support the instructor and the attendees enjoy their experience and feel the bliss that they deserve. Bliss Without Bother is a wellness retreat planning service that offers wellness activities for private and corporate clients and supports yoga and meditation instructors plan the wellness retreat they envision. Join us this month for a Beauty Blending Bar at Blender workspace on Wednesday, May 17. Additional wellness events to be announced shortly on our monthly newsletter, including yoga and hiking retreats upstate, NY, and aromatherapy events in the Hamptons.


SPRING CLEANING TAKING A CUE FROM THE REAL SPRING CLEANING EXPERTS (NO, IT’S NOT GWYNETH) BY: MIKA VAN WINKLE @MIKAVANWINKLE I still remember the anticipation I felt every April as a primary school student in Japan. It was the beginning of the new school year, and we came ready to broaden our minds along with the awakening of nature’s new cycle. I remember vividly the sharp contrast of the navy blue school uniforms against the pale pink showers of cherry blossoms swaying gently in the wind. Although I moved to the US shortly after, perhaps it is because of this association that I still resonate with spring as an opportunity to start fresh. Looking back over the years in my life, it’s no surprise that some of the more significant changes in my life have taken place in the springtime. As I mulled over this thought, I began to wonder how to practice of spring cleaning came to be as ubiquitous as it is today. As ubiquitous as the practice of spring cleaning is today, many are unaware that the origins of this practice are rooted in Eastern culture. The roots of spring cleaning rituals date back as far as 2000 BC. On the first full moon after the spring equinox, Babylonians of ancient Mesopotamia would hold a festival called Akitu. During Akitu, statues of Gods were paraded down the streets as a metaphorical cleansing of past sins. The ancient Persian holiday Nowruz meaning, “New Day” also falls around the spring equinox. Though the holiday has evolved over time, a thorough cleaning of house and evil spirits known as Khaneh-Tekani still precedes this New Years 22 celebration.


The Jewish tradition of Pesach is based on the cleaning of chametz, which represents the ego. Replacing chametz with matza is a symbolic reminder to stay modest and humble. In Thailand, the Songkran New Years festival in April includes various water rituals to purify and “wash away” negative influences. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the spring season is associated with the liver organ. As the body’s largest internal organ, the liver provides essential support to all the vital organs. It is involved in everything from the storage and distribution of nutrients, filtration of toxins from the blood, the regulation of blood sugar levels and the digestive and metabolic systems. The liver is also the main organ associated with stress and the flow of qi (our vital energy). In Chinese medicine, it is believed that physical and emotional stresses can cause “liver qi stagnation”. Some stressors include inadequate sleep, emotional stress, environmental toxins, processed foods, alcohol and drugs, caffeine, and lack of movement. Spring is also associated with the element of wood, which represents growth. Much like a tree with strong roots, a human body must be supported by a proper foundation in order to thrive. An imbalance of wood destabilized our bodies. If you’re experiencing fatigue, hormonal imbalances, mood swings, headaches, nausea, allergies, bloating, irregular digestion, vision problems, or stiffness in the bones and joints, this may be a sign of an overworking liver and wood imbalance. If you want to incorporate these Eastern principles in your spring cleaning, here are some ways to refresh your mind, body, and spirit as well as your home.


1. Create a physical environment that makes you feel at peace. Depending on the individual, this may involve a full-on KonMari intervention or at the very least a thorough tidying up of your space. To clear any remaining stagnant or negative energy, try smudging. Smudging is the ancient cleansing practice of purifying a space with smoke from burning dried sage. 2. Meditate to clear your mind of old thoughts that don’t serve you and make space for inspiration and intention. Conscious breathing promotes the flow of qi and relaxes the nervous system. Focus your meditation on thoughts of gratitude and let that feeling guide your perspective going forward. 3. Along with negative thoughts, take a break from or eliminate the negative relationships in your life. Perhaps it’s your relationship to your work, a partner, or a vice. Distancing yourself can shed new light on old habits or relationships that you may not have seen before. 4. Yoga also aids in the flow of qi and has many physical, mental and emotional benefits. Twists are especially great for the liver. Some powerful poses such as Warrior II and half-moon are also great for Spring. For a new perspective, orient yourself upside down in an inversion pose such as headstand. 5. Drink ample water. Make sure it’s the first thing you drink in the morning to flush the digestive system and rehydrate your organs. Try to increase your intake in between meals, rather than during. Those of you coffeelovers like myself, make sure that water comes before that divine but dehydrating cup of joe. 6. Include fresh, seasonal foods and eliminate processed and heavy foods. Seasonal fruits and vegetables include dandelion, asparagus, carrots, fava beans, fennel, artichokes, arugula, beets, strawberries, and more. Sour foods are said to be especially beneficial to the liver, as they increase bile production. Citrus fruits, sauerkraut, and apple cider vinegar are some great options. 7. Get outside and reconnect with the earth. Breathe in fresh oxygen. Take a walk, maybe even barefoot. Soak up that vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D plays an important role in bone health and immune function, which is especially important if you have a wood imbalance. 8. Instead of reaching for the medicinal cabinet, try some medicinal herbs. Nettle leaf is a great herb to combat those spring allergy symptoms. Dandelion root aids in the detoxification of the liver. Calendula is great for skinrelated ailments.


Let's Talk About Sexuality BY MARINE

SÉLÉNÉE

Are you finally ready to release what’s been holding you back from true pleasure?

AND

CONNIE

DASILVA

Most of the time, this cycle of shame and guilt is connected with a lack of healthy boundaries that should have been set up during our childhood

Sexuality is the source of life, the basis of our

through our parents or the adults that were raising

existence. A gift of love and deep, meaningful

us.

harmony between two people, who decide to create a deeper connection using their two bodies, which

Sexual intimacy is a privilege. When we share the

can even create a new human. It is also a way to

details with our children, family or friends, we lose

express our vulnerability with someone. Indeed,

this privilege. We break this silent contract that we

sexuality can be seen as an expression of our true

made with our partner. This damages respect, not

self. We are naked emotionally just as much as we

only between the speaker and their partner who

are physically. We surrender our self in this union.

they share the sexual relationship with, but also in

We trust our partner. We unveil our main essence

the speaker-listener relationship. Of course, we can

without a filter or safety net. It’s us, fully as we are,

have fun with our friends sharing funny anecdotes

perfect in our imperfections. For this reason, we

but we just need to understand where the limit is

have the right and choice to be with someone who

and stop there. Otherwise, it creates another

is from the opposite sex or the same as ours. There

dynamic where boundaries are breached and

is no good or wrong way in sexuality, only one: the

people who are not part of the relationship are

way of love. As soon as we find someone else to

included unwillingly.

share our inner sanctity with in pleasure and joy, this act will be always magical.

If we are a parent, we have to respect the sexuality of our children. We can’t interfere in their process.

However, we often find it difficult to talk about it

During their childhood and adolescence, they will

openly. We've completely disconnected from our

discover and adapt through knowledge of their own

bodies, desires and passions getting stuck in a

sexuality.

cycle of shame and guilt around sexuality.

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They will become aware of their own sexual

This is directly tied to our second chakra. Our

preferences and through this awareness; they will

second chakra represents our creativity, power and

find their true self. Their sexuality might be different

sexuality. When it is well balanced, we are powerful

than ours but in any case, it needs to be accepted.

beyond our own expectations and we can move

By welcoming them fully as they are instead of

through life feeling grounded, safe and strong. As

judging them, our behavior reflects respect toward

soon as we have discovered this, we are literally

them. Adults’ respectful decisions allow our children

capable of everything. The best aphrodisiac is to

to feel more grounded. No matter what our sexual

show up as we are.

preferences are, everyone in the family system is essentially connected or plays a role in it. Everyone

If you are looking for a deeper healing regarding

has an equal value in the functioning of our

your sexuality and body, Marine and Connie offer

sexuality. Beside the fact that there are a

The Healing Our Sexuality workshop in a safe space

multitude of preconceived ideas about sex (thanks

to tune in with our bodies and reconnect to our

to porn!) that tend to keep us away from it, the

natural essence as sexual beings. Through

importance of considering oneself worthy

meditation, movement, and family constellations,

and capable of experiencing passion and desire is

they will guide you through a gentle and unique

vital.

experience. You’ll leave feeling empowered by your sexuality. The next workshop will be at Shaktibarre

Our sexual strength gives us an incredible inner

in Brooklyn on Friday, May 5th from 7:30pm to

force and is the basis of our creativity, vitality and

9:30pm.

spirituality in life. It is only by feeling what happens in our body, letting love and compassion

Marine Sélénée, Coach specialized in Family

guide our emotions and knowing exactly how we

Constellations for private clients and corporation

want to feel in our sexual life that we are able to

Reiki Practitioner www.marineselenee.com

channel our sexuality in order to use this energy to bring us closer to our purest truth.

Connie Dasilva, Confidence and Sexuality Coach Founder of Whole Clarity (Skin Care Products)

When our sexual force is freed and liberated, a fearless and authentic strength takes its rightful place in our lives.

www.conniedasilva.com


WHEN SELF CARE IS A STRUGGLE BY ASHLEY BERRY @HELLOATASHLEYBERRY

Most of us know more or less what we need to do in order to feel happy and healthy, and even though the details look different for each of us, the broad strokes are fairly universal: A safe place to call home, nutritious food and fresh water, regular movement, experiences that enrich our minds and spirits, and healing, supportive connection.

As tempting as it may be to gloss over how you’re feeling with an “I’m fine” or to take the mind-overmatter route and simply go through the motions of your self-care routines without really feeling nourished by the practices at all, it’s important to create some space to connect with yourself and explore what’s coming up for you.

In an ideal world, we would always find it easy and even joyful to tend to these needs regularly and in a loving way. We would make sure to stay hydrated, eat the foods that help us feel vibrant, and avoid the ones that create dis-ease in our systems. We would give our bodies exercise and make sure that our minds are being stimulated and developed. Spending time with loved ones and engaging in activities that light us up would be a priority.

What areas of your self care present the greatest challenges and what internal dialogues come up around this? Are there belief systems in place that lead you to feel like you aren’t worthy of having your needs met? Is there an issue that you’ve been avoiding that might be triggered if you acted in ways that are loving to yourself? Are your expectations for yourself so unreasonably high that you feel defeated before you even begin? Whether it’s with diet and exercise, work habits, or relationships, almost everyone experiences challenges around making choices that serve them at some point in their life, and for each person the reasons are completely unique. Taking the time to understand your own heart and mind will deepen your relationship with yourself and help you determine what you need in order to move back towards an approach to self care that feels sustainable.

For many of us, these choices are easy enough to make at least most of the time, but what happens when you’re having an off day, week, or month and making healthy choices feels more like an obligation than an opportunity to do something truly nourishing for yourself? When you feel like you don’t have the time or the energy to care for yourself as lovingly as you would like to? Or maybe, when you feel like you lost even the desire to do things that support your own health and happiness? What do you do when practicing self care is a struggle?

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Well, first things first. If you want to create shift in your life, you’ve got to start by acknowledging where you’re currently at.Getting clear about what’s coming up for you and giving it your compassionate gaze paves the way for you to be able to release the blockages that are keeping you from showing up for yourself in the ways that allow you to feel vibrant and well. There are many tools that can support this release; breathwork, dance, journaling, and meditation can each offer incredibly powerful support in shifting old energy, orGbeliefs. A L I Fthoughts, E CHAN ING EXPERIENCE

M O V I N G M O U N T A I N S

ONCE YOU’VE GOTTEN CLEAR ABOUT WHAT’S COMING UP FOR YOU, THE NEXT STEP IS TO HONOR IT COMPASSIONATELY.

It can be so easy to get trapped in the shame cycle of making choices that aren’t serving us, judging ourselves for not doing better, then making the same choice again as a form of punishment or rebellion, feeling shame around the choice once more, and on and on. The key to breaking this cycle is replacing judgement with compassion. It’s important to remember both that you are human and that there is no such thing as perfection when it comes to navigating the often challenging experiences of moving through life and the world. If you’re having a hard time giving yourself a break, try to imagine how you would regard a loved one who was struggling with the same issue. Connect with the tenderness that you would offer them and then allow yourself to receive that same loving acceptance. It can be so easy to get trapped in the shame cycle of making choices that aren’t serving us, judging ourselves for not doing better, then making the same choice again as a form of punishment or rebellion, feeling shame around the choice once more, and on and on. The key to breaking this cycle is replacing judgement with compassion.

AS TOLD BY ANDREW SIMMONS If your intuition is nudging you toward another outlet, listen. Your being has a deep wisdom and if you tune into it, you might be surprised to find that you know exactly what you need to heal. As you process your experiences, be gentle with yourself. Healing takes place in so many different forms from crying to laughter to an increased need for sleep. Allow things to come to the surface in as many waves as they will and then release them through whatever forms of expression feel most supportive to you. As you begin to work through your blocks, you may begin to feel more open, lighter, and more inspired to be loving towards yourself. This is a good time to start slowly bringing self care practices back in. Start small by finding ways to offer yourself little gestures of love. They can be incredibly simple things like making yourself a cup of tea and really savoring it, spending a few extra moments in the shower simply enjoying the feeling of the hot water running over your body, or taking a five minute break in the middle of your work day to stretch. Really dig into the nourishing quality of those moments and send yourself some gratitude for taking the time to care for yourself. These may not seem like huge accomplishments, but every time you do even the smallest thing to take care of your mind, body, and spirit, you are sending yourself a message that you are loved and that you are worthy of caring attention, and little by little, the message with be received.


BEAUTY, LIKE FOOD, HAS BECOME A HEALTH CHOICE. What we’re putting on our bodies is becoming as important as what we’re putting inside of them. We want to use effective ingredients and products that are also safe for our health. The FDA very loosely regulates cosmetic ingredients and many household beauty brands continue to sell products that are bad for your skin, health and the environment. There is a long list of harmful ingredients to avoid but let’s start with the worst offenders Sulfates found in our cleansers, Parabens used as preservatives are a known carcinogen, Formalydehyde / Urea used as a antimicrobial, Petroleum / Petrolatum derivatives Dimethicone/Silicone suffocates our skin pollutes our environment as it is not biodegradeable, Oxybenzone/Octinoxate found in our sunscreen, Diethanolomine used as an emulsifier to list just a few. Sonäge offers consumers a complimentary Pocket guide which is a great reference guide when making purchases.

Don’t be fooled by deceptive organic labeling, if a brand has organic in their name it does not make the product organic. Look for seals and understand what they represent. The “don’t touch it if you can’t pronounce it” philosophy that keeps you eating clean does not always carry over to cosmetics. 31


DOULA DOS: 7 SAVVY TIPS FOR A ROCKIN' PREGNANCY & BIRTH BY LATHAM THOMAS @glowmaven

A new day has come where many hospitals are now welcoming a fleet of skilled and well trained birth professionals called, “the doulas”. Doula is a Greek term meaning “woman who serves” it was appropriated to describe the women who lend themselves to serve birthing mothers. A once marginalized profession, these birth workers are now increasing in numbers and popularity. When I was pregnant with my son Fulano nearly 12 years ago, I didn’t know what a doula was, today I am one of the most sought after doulas in NYC serving clientele from the fashion, entertainment, beauty, and sports industries through my maternity lifestyle company- Mama Glow. Our practice is booming with blossoming bellies, and new newborn babies. What I’ve learned over the years is that women just want to feel like someone is holding their hand through the process and that is our goal at Mama Glow. Your pregnancy is a unique experience and a rite of passage- and your birth is a celebration. I’ve been around the (hospital) block a few times and now I’m dishing my top tips for a fabulous pregnancy.

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Once you’ve made the plan- the key is letting go and learning to go with the flow. Birth is unpredictable but it’s nice to have a map of where you are going- even if you detour. Play with toys- This is not what you think. Spice up your bedroom magic with a trip to the “toy store.” I’ve sent numerous clients to Toys in Babeland and Kiki de Montparnase to purchase a special adult toy of their liking as vibrators serves a really great purpose. Believe it or not, vibrators are great to use during childbirth. The pleasurable sensation shuts off the pain receptors. During contractions a woman can use a vibrator for relief, to take the edge off the contractions and experience a more pleasurable birth. Just another interesting thing to pack in your birth bag. Be Selfish- Make time for your own self care. This is mandatory. “Please put on your safety mask first, before assisting others” does that sound familiar? When you take time to relax, get a massage, have your hair blown out, take a warm bath by candle light, read a good book, it’s like like hitting control, alt, delete and rebooting! Recharging the batteries is so important when we are taking care of everything and everyone else. Remember- mother yourself first!

7 Savvy Tips for a Rockin’ Pregnancy & Birth Hire a labor doula– A doula or birth coach is an enriching part of your birth team. She offers continuous support for the laboring mother and these coaches have deep wisdom, comfort, and encouragement to offer as well as some nifty tricks that come in handy like nipple stimulation, acupressure, and medicinal herbs. Doulas help liaise between the doctors, nurses, and your partner during the birth process and serve as educators, advocates, and cheerleaders for the laboring mother. Doulas help facilitate an easier birth. In fact, having one present at your birth can cut your laboring time by 50 percent! Make a plan- then scrap it! One of the most informative exercises is the birth plan/birth preferences exercise. This allows you to get clear on what you want the birth experience to be. You and your partner can envision your ideal scenario and communicate that to your doctor and doula.

Find your Sister Circle– When you have a baby one of the biggest challenges for moms is asking for help. Identify the women in your life who can serve as your main support team after birth. Who is going to wash dishes, cook meals, help you learn to change those dirty diapers, watch over the baby while you take a shower? Your partner will appreciate this support because both of you will be overwhelmed and overjoyed at the same time and every little bit of help and guidance goes a long way. Pack a mobile Pantry- Always carry a stash of snacks with you. During the late second and third trimesters you require an extra 300 calories and most mommies get hungry. You want to be sure you have access to good quality, nourishing foods so you don’t settle for the vending machine or deli options. Having nuts, seeds, fresh and dried fruits, sliced veggies, hummus, on hand can help stabilize your blood sugar between meals. Breathe Deep- So simple and yet so many of us aren’t maximizing our intake of oxygen. Deep breathing floods your body with oxygen which keeps your cells thriving. When you close your eyes and take 10 long full deep breaths you bring increased blood flow to your pelvis and growing baby, reversing the effects of stress hormones that on the body. You also calm your brain waves and relax your mind creating a sense of ease- this comes in handy during labor. The more relaxed you are, the smoother the birth.


The Wellness Mercantile Vol. 4