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Month: May 2020

How to Build Your Spiritual Wellness Team

How to build a spiritual wellness team — another thing no one teaches us in school (!)

We grow up going to whoever our parents selected for us. But once we get into adulthood, we’re the ones responsible for finding our primary care doctor, choosing a therapist, and picking a gyno or whatever kind of specialist we need to see.

And that’s just concerning our physical and mental needs. Oftentimes in our culture, the needs of our spirit are never even considered.

This leaves us ill-prepared to find someone who practices energy work, reads natal charts, or communicates with spirits. And it makes us wary, especially if we’re not even sure why we might want to work with someone who offers those services in the first place.

As someone who is 1. frugal and 2. skeptical, I also wondered why these providers and these services might benefit someone like me. It’s hard to grasp paying $120+ for a Reiki session when you’re not even sure what it is.

So how do you go about finding a provider to work with? How do you even know which modality to choose?? I’ve put together a few ideas for you below (based on my own experiences of trial and error!):

Assess Your Needs.

I know, I know. We all want someone to just tell us what we need and where to find it (at least I do!). But the secret to finding the practice or provider that’s right for you, is by figuring out what you’re even looking for from the start.

In my last blog post I talked about an exercise called the Life Pie which I definitely recommend here, but I’d also recommend doing some journaling with the following prompts:

  • List all the questions you need answered. Trying to figure out your life’s purpose? Unsure if you should move? Wondering whether your side gig could become your main gig? Write down all your questions, big and small to identify the most pressing ones.
  • Next, list the areas of your life where you do feel supported, and the areas in which you could use a little more help. Maybe you have a great mentor who provides career advice, but you have no idea how to tap into your intuition. Or maybe you see a therapist who supports your mental health, but you’re still struggling to figure out your greater purpose. See what themes arise.
  • Finally, match the themes with the questions (chances are they will be very similar to each other) and then organize them by how urgent they feel. For example, my big questions were around my life’s purpose, and if a higher power actually exists (?!). No surprise that I was feeling very unsupported when it came to spiritual needs.

By knowing the questions that are knocking around in your head and the areas of your life that are feeling less than fulfilled, you begin to identify where you would actually like to find some support… And not fall victim to someone’s persuasive marketing copy that promises to fix every single problem you never knew you had.

Do Your Research.

Okay so you’ve identified your questions and the areas of your life you’d like to nurture. But there’s SO much out there, how do we even begin to find what might work for us?

One thing I want to make clear here is that wellness, and especially spiritual wellness is VERY subjective. What works for someone else may make you want to run the other way. So if you give something or someone a try and it doesn’t resonate with you, that is wonderful. You’ve gained very important information about yourself that will help you make future decisions, and you can always give it another go or never pick it up again, it’s completely up to you.

Alright back to the research. So I’m a little biased here because I created Three Moon Collective and our community membership to help with this exact problem (be the first to learn about it here), but I also recognize that we will not vibe with everyone, so I’m committed to offering you a range of options so you can find what works best for you.

For Finding Practices:

  1. Holisticism. One of my all-time favorite wellness resources & digital communities. Michelle, the founder, is one of my teachers and writes about all the different facets of wellness in a way that feels like it’s coming straight from an in-the-know BFF who wants to share all her secrets with you. She also has over 50+ FREE virtual wellness workshops hosted on their website right now, so it’s the perfect way to dive in and see what catches your eye.
  2. Head + Heart. A mindful calendar with a virtual wellness guide that includes their tried and tested picks. The founder Monica is a friend and collaborator of mine who always has the pulse on what’s going on in the wellness industry as well as super solid recommendations.
  3. Goop. It kind of pains me to recommend this, but I can’t deny the impact they’ve had on bringing fringe wellness practices to the mainstream. It’s also a very aesthetically pleasing site to explore, so feel free to click around… Just remember that you don’t need to buy any of their products to be “well.”

For Finding Providers:

  1. Kindred Medicine. A truly beautiful directory for BIPOC, this resource defines itself as a movement of healers & people of color, remembering and healing boldly in community and from the roots. Browse the directory, listen to the podcast, and see what might be awakened within.
  2. Three Moon Collective. I had to add us in here! We’ve assembled a trusted team of heart-centered providers over the past 2 years who I personally stand behind and recommend.
  3. Om Mama Co. A partner of ours who also has a wide range of providers hosted on their site. They specialize in supporting mamas, but almost anyone could benefit from the services offered.

Dip Your Toes In.

Now you might have an idea of the practices or people you’d like to explore working with. I’d recommend writing them all down in your journal (you could even get real nerdy and create a google sheet), so you have a starting point to track from.

Pick a practice that feels like it could serve your most pressing need. Let’s say it’s Reiki because you want to cultivate your connection to your spiritual team, and from your research, it’s the practice you’re the most excited about. Maybe you’ve also identified a few Reiki providers who seem like your kind of people. Here’s what I would do next:

  • Start following these providers on Instagram and browse their websites. See if they have any blog posts or free content where you can get a deeper understanding of who they are and how they practice.
  • Tune into their IG lives or attend one of their workshops. This will give you a pretty clear idea if the provider is for you or not, and you’ll get to benefit from hearing their knowledge either way.
  • Reach out to them and ask questions! Most providers are so excited to share the practices they are passionate about and love being able to connect with curious people. As long as you aren’t asking them how you should solve your problems for free, this is another great way to create connection.
  • If they offer mini-sessions, take them up on it. This is an easy way to try on working with someone at a lower cost and time commitment.

spiritual wellness is personal

Be an Empowered Client.

So you’ve finally landed on someone to work with, congratulations!!!!

Now the question is, how do we prepare? I think it’s always a good idea to enter a session with a very open mind and little to no expectations. Especially if we’re new to a practice.

Journaling before your session or taking time to set an intention of what you would like to work on or receive can be helpful prep too. Accompanied by the understanding that the outcome of the session might not always be what we want, but instead what we need.

For example, the first time I tried breathwork I did NOT like it. I knew it was intense and I was going to have feelings, but I was caught off guard by my emotional response and didn’t totally connect with the facilitator.

I ended up feeling worse after doing it and swore it off… Until my therapist pointed out to me that it had caused a major mindset shift (that I would have never realized without his reflection).

Recently, I gave it another go with facilitator Brittany Wilson, and I’ve not only found a new healing practice, but a teacher I will return to over and over again.

The moral of the story? Approach it all with an open mind, but if something or someone ever makes you feel bad, unworthy, or broken, you have permission to draw your boundaries and walk away.

Reflect, and then Spread the Word.

After your first session, I again recommend journaling. It’s very cool to look back at the thoughts I had or the messages I received from my sessions that ended up resurfacing in my life later on. Here are a few quick prompts:

  • Describe the overall experience, from beginning to end.
  • What messages did you receive from the provider or your spiritual team?
  • How did you feel after the session?
  • Is it something you would want to do again? How often?

Everyone is different when it comes to frequency. It could be quarterly, monthly, or whenever you feel like you need a tune-up or extra guidance. I used to be very sporadic when it came to booking sessions, but I now prefer consistency so I can work on things over time and be able to track my “progress” (which is never linear).

Finally, if you loved your session and the provider you worked with, spread the word! Post about it on social media and tag them. Share your experience in the group chat. Write a glowing testimonial and post it to Google, their Facebook page, Yelp, or send it to them so they can use it on their website or social media.

Everyone is an “influencer” these days and your recommendations matter. Plus, you just went through a lengthy process to find someone amazing, so make it easier for the rest of us and shout it from the rooftops!

So there you have it, my guide to building your spiritual wellness team!

Lucky for you, my personal faves are featured on our Collective page as well as in our downloadable virtual wellness guide. Know someone amazing to recommend to us? Still have questions about how or where you should start? Send an email to hello@threemooncollective and I will personally follow up with you!

How to Create Community (When You Feel Like You Don’t Belong)

Growing up, I never quite felt like I “belonged.” This is partly a personal problem (hello therapy!), but it was also the result of being in spaces and around people who had very different priorities and interests from my own.

It wasn’t until I became an adult and felt like I could choose who and what I surrounded myself with that I came to understand the concept of community… and that I most definitely did not have one.

Joining a hot yoga studio was my first introduction to having a “community,” and for a while it was enough to sweat with the same strangers and be on a first-name basis with the teachers. I even became a teacher myself to dive deeper into this practice that was changing my life and feel like I belonged to this world.

Unfortunately this studio’s definition of community was money-motivated, and the more we were pushed to encourage our students to join our ranks (and fork over cash), the more I found myself becoming disenchanted with what I had thought we were building.

So I tried other studios, began going to workshops, started to meet new like-minded people, and… still felt like I was grasping for something out of reach. Something that I had yet to earn my place in.

This feeling led me to create a community of my own. A place where intimacy and connection reign supreme, prerequisite knowledge isn’t required, and you immediately feel seen for who you are and what you bring to the table (which is a lot, I might add).

But I didn’t jettison all my college friends or completely reinvent myself to do so, and I wanted to share with you a few of the ways I created the community I’d been dreaming of and continue to cultivate it:

1. Get clear on what you already have, and what you’re missing.

There is a really simple way to do this using an exercise called “Life Pie” from The Artist’s Way. In the exercise you draw a circle, divide it into 6 pieces of pie and label each piece with the following titles: spirituality, exercise, play, work, friends, romance/adventure. Then, place a dot in each slice at the degree to which you are fulfilled in that area (outer rim indicates great; inner circle, not so great). Finally, connect the dots! This will show you where you are lopsided in your life, and also where you could develop new relationships or dig deeper with old ones.

For me, spirituality is a piece of my pie that has always tended to be unfulfilled. That changed (very recently!) when I began working with a mediumship development circle and sparking conversations with friends who had strong spiritual practices that I admired.

You could change out any of the segments as well to fit what you are looking to cultivate more of in your life and network.

2. Have a purpose.

Decide on what topics you would like more community around and the level of involvement you’re hoping to both give and receive. Do you want a buddy to hit a virtual yoga class with? Are you hoping for a monthly zoom date to dive into systemic racism and what you can do to help? Maybe you would like text support and accountability as you build a meditation practice? Develop a plan for the topics you’d like to get deeper into and the amount of engagement you can realistically provide so that when you meet someone you resonate with, you already have an invitation in mind.

3. Put yourself out there.

I complained about not having a community and the Seattle Freeze for a long time before I realized that I was perpetuating it myself. I know you probably already know this, but it’s true: to have a community you must be IN community. I’m naturally introverted, but everything changed for me once I started showing up to events, engaging in small talk, and following up on coffee dates or phone calls.

If the thought of going to an event by yourself makes you break out in a cold sweat (been there), then this is the perfect time to start thinking about the community we can cultivate online… because it’s kinda our only option right now. It’s way less creepy to follow people we want to get to know on social media these days, and I love when random people reach out to me to spark a conversation about a shared interest (as long as they are not trying to secretly sell me something!).

There are also SO many virtual communities out there right now that I can guarantee you’ll be able to find one with a mission and members that you resonate with. Even though I tend to be a fly on the wall in online groups, they have sparked and facilitated some very deep connections with people I’ve never met IRL!

4. Let your intuition guide you.

When we begin to claim our interests and create connections, some interesting things can come up. We might run into people who share our interests, but who we don’t actually resonate with. We might join groups that seem right up our alley until we get a little deeper and realize that we don’t share the same values. We might become part of a community where nothing is glaringly wrong, but we always leave feeling a little depleted.

Whatever you encounter as you search for your people, listen to the feelings in your body as you navigate these interactions. Embracing the understanding that we are not for everyone and everyone is not for us is essential in finding a community where we can fully be ourselves.

5. Create your own community.

If you continue to find that nothing feels quite “right,” maybe it’s time to start your own! Here are a few ideas:

  • Start a weekly (or monthly!) newsletter about your favorite things. It could be the books you’re reading, the recipes you’re making, or the most picturesque walking routes around where you live.
  • Create an Instagram account dedicated to one of your interests. You could fill this with your favorite work from home hacks, your new macrame projects, or all the outfits you’ve come up with during quarantine.
  • Set up a monthly zoom chat to have the conversations that are on your heart. Whether it’s talking about body neutrality, how to navigate grief, or maybe just holding space for people to share their roses & thorns—there will be people out there who are so ready to participate in these conversations.
  • Build a Facebook or Mighty Networks group to gather people around a collective passion. Maybe you share your favorite rockhounding spots and the treasures you’ve found, or rally support and ideas for a local cause.

The most important thing to do with any of the above endeavors is to invite people in to engage with you, and make sure you’re engaging with them too! Sign up for newsletters on the topics you love, follow accounts that make you smile, and drop in on virtual events you vibe with. Community is circular, and not mutually exclusive. The more communities you are exposed to, the stronger your own will be.

What kind of community will you create or become part of? You can find a few of our favorites on our Community Partner page and be the first to find out about our virtual community launch by providing your info here.

Written by Hannah Exner, Founder of Three Moon Collective. Reach her via email at hello@threemooncollective.com