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anti-diet culture

How to Quiet the Noise of Diet Culture and Tune In to Your Body

As a nutritionist, I get a lot of questions about diet culture – what the perfect diet is and what I think about the latest fad diet. My answer is always the same and you can scroll to the end of this post to read it (psst it’s probably not what you think).

Now, first of all, I just want to say that I get it. It’s tempting to seek out that quick fix or meal plan that will get you to your goals ASAP. And to think that the secret to being healthy is about eating perfectly and achieving your ideal pant size. I know this because I too used to have these thoughts.

I used to believe that if I knew all of the secrets to healthy eating – the best diet, the right portions, which oils to use – I’d reach my ideal weight, balance my hormones, glow from the inside out and be the best version of myself.

Through a variety of diets, obsessing about weight and learning more about nutrition I only seemed to be moving further away from the calm, glowing image that I was trying to achieve. Basically, I was stuck in diet culture!

Diet Culture Defined

If you haven’t heard about diet culture yet, I recommend checking out this blog post by Christy Harrison. Christy is a Registered Dietitian devoted to dismantling diet culture, which she defines as a system of beliefs that worships thinness and equates it to health and moral value. Diet culture isn’t necessarily about being on a specific diet, but rather caught up in the culture of dieting and putting massive amounts of energy into shrinking your body.

Freeing yourself from diet culture and eating more intuitively doesn’t mean that you’re “giving up on yourself”. Instead it’s about fostering a healthy relationship to food. And creating space for both the salads and the brownies. It’s about not letting a number on the scale determine your mood for the day, but instead choosing an outfit that your current body feels good in. And most importantly, it’s about creating a nourishing life for yourself that you actually enjoy.

Shifting away from diet culture takes a lot of time and effort because its messages are everywhere! I want to share five strategies that I use on a daily basis to quiet the noise of diet culture and actually tune into my own body.

1. Bring awareness to the grasp that diet culture has on you and your goals.

Recognizing and acknowledging diet culture is the first step to dismantling it in your own life. I recommend doing some exploration by reading and listening to a few experts on the topic. Here are some resources to help you get started:

2. Quit the numbers game

Diet culture tells us that we must shrink our bodies in order to be worthy and beautiful. However, fixating on weight will only lead you further away from tuning into your body’s needs. If you’re in the habit of weighing yourself daily or even weekly, I recommend taking a break — or better yet, throw out the scale altogether.

There are countless factors that come into play with weight from water retention to where you’re at in your cycle to the time of day you weighed in. So why let the number on the scale dictate your perceived success? Instead, create a habit of noticing how you feel in the morning and making a mental note of how you’d like to feel.

For example, if you wake up feeling bloated and sluggish, make a choice to start your day with a large glass of water, a walk and a healthy breakfast. My guess is that you’ll continue into your day feeling a whole lot better than if you would have just hopped on the scale.

3. Less judgment more curiosity

When it comes to changing your habits around food and leaning into a healthier and more intuitive way of eating, it’s all about putting your detective hat on and getting curious! Diets tell us to follow a strict plan and ignore our hunger cues and cravings. Then when we eventually feel deprived and binge, we feel guilt and shame. And the cycle goes on and on!

But what if instead we got curious about these cues and cravings and observed them without judgment? Take notice of your stress levels, your eating environment and what’s going on in your week. And then take action to nurture yourself. To get started, choose a mantra to go back to whenever you’re feeling guilt and shame about food:

I listen to my body and respond to its needs.
I choose to eat foods that will nourish my mind, body and spirit.
I allow myself to indulge without guilt.
I am in charge of what I put in my body

4. Determine your true food joys

Another reminder for you that dismantling diet culture is NOT about giving up on your health and wellness goals. It doesn’t mean that you should only eat pizza and candy bars. Or that salads are off the table forever. Establishing a healthy relationship to food is all about finding balance and discovering the foods that truly bring you joy and pleasure. And creating space for them!

So grab a pen and paper and brainstorm the foods that you consider to be your favorite indulgences. For me, fresh homemade bread, chocolate chip cookies, and dark chocolate will always have a place in my diet. But everyone is different! Truly think about what YOU love and make room for those things. This way you won’t feel deprived and tempted to grab the donut just because it’s there.

5. Create a habit of showing up for yourself

Ok, lean in because this is the KEY to it all. Making room for non-negotiable healthy habits on a daily basis is so important for creating lasting changes in your health and well-being. It all starts with recognizing diet culture and becoming more curious about your eating habits. However, without the daily practices of feeding yourself well, tuning in to your body and speaking to yourself with compassion and care, nothing will change. I recommend starting with one small shift at a time and slowing build up.

Here are a few ideas to try out:

  • Take 3 deep breaths before each meal
  • Cook 1 new recipe each week
  • Practice enjoying your favorite indulgence without guilt
  • Start each day with a 20-minute walk

Circling back to my promise to share my thoughts on *the perfect diet.*

Eating well is all about finding what truly works for you and your body. Eating foods that bring you joy and energize you. Being present at meals. I also believe that a healthy diet should flow into all aspects of life – how you connect with others, how you talk to yourself, how you feel in your body, and most importantly, how you show up in your life. I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this and invite you to comment below with one way that you’d like to quiet the noise of diet culture in your own life.

If you’re excited to start moving away from diet culture and are looking for some inspiration in creating colorful, nourishing meals that you are actually excited to eat, you can follow me over on Instagram @the.wildflower.kitchen or sign up for my newsletter here.

Need help tuning in to your body? Download these journal prompts to rediscover your definition of nourishment!


Chelsea Fechtner is a Certified Nutritionist with a Master of Science in Nutrition who is on a mission to help the nurturers of the world learn to prioritize their own nourishment, one cozy home-cooked meal at a time!

energetic hygiene tools

What Is Energetic Hygiene?

The Basics

Energetic Hygiene is becoming aware of your energy field and developing a practice to tend to your energy. All living things have an energy field, and how we interact with this energy determines the quality of that vital life force that flows internally and externally. Most of us can’t see our own or other’s surrounding energy fields, but we can feel them.

There are several energetic layers in an energy field, including the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual layers, which can also be referred to as energy centers. Each of these layers holds information, experiences, and energetic imprints. These energy centers transmit energetic communication internally and outwardly. An energy field extends several feet around the physical body, which means that you can pick up energy from other people, places, or things just by coming in contact with different energies and being human. Before you even open your mouth to greet another person, your energy field greets them first.

How Energy Shows Up

What I often see in my energy healing practice are clients experiencing feelings or sensations that aren’t actually their own. If your energy field does not have proper boundaries and isn’t fortified with your awareness and intention, any type of energy can come in and take up space in your energetic atmosphere. A common example would be an argument that may have just happened and you walk into that space, and you can still feel that energy even though the argument is over. That argument energy can permeate your energy field even if the argument is over. This energy is so powerful that although the argument didn’t involve you, you might unknowingly take on those negative feelings and feel like arguing but don’t know why.

One key point I see missing in individuals who are new to energy clearing practices is accidentally clearing out the energy you like and want to keep. We do not want to clear out all of the energy in your field. We want to keep the energy we like and transform and clear the energy that is not serving us to our highest good. Your energy clearing practice and frequency is determined by how you feel and what resonates with you most. Also, keep in mind that energy clearing isn’t going to remove your feelings – those will need to be dealt with by you, but it will clear up space for you to process your feelings, and not get confused and derailed by other energies and feelings that are not your own.

How to Practice Energetic Hygiene

There are several ways to caretake and clear your energy field, including, but not limited to, herbal smoke clearing, sound clearing, crystal clearing, elemental clearing, and salt clearing. One of my favorite ways to clear my energy field is to lie down on the earth and invite the earth’s energy to absorb and transform any energy that is not for my highest good. Give it a try! Begin with letting the earth know you are opening energetic communication by offering gratitude, a blessing or prayer. Imagine and visualize all energy that is not the highest good melting off your body and into the earth. Thank the earth for supporting you and say a blessing, prayer, or affirmation or offering to close out the practice. Developing an awareness of your energy field and developing an energetic hygiene practice will support a healthy and vital energy field.

Want to learn more about Energetic Hygiene? Sign up to receive a mini-workshop with three tips to get you started on improving your energetic health and well-being – including how to create and work with a crystalline energy clearing spray!

 


Sharlean Windus is a Reiki Master Teacher, Sound Healing Practitioner & Intuitive Development Coach based in Seattle, WA. She offers a variety of events, Reiki trainings, and educational offerings to help people develop their intuition. Find out more about her offerings here.

Listening to the Pings

How to Listen to the Pings: Your Personal Internal Signals

Many years ago, I heard about listening to the pings (your personal internal signal) that tell us when it’s time to move on. You hear about this more in the space of relationships: “listen to the whispers to know when it’s time to move on.” 

Following the pings, you never know where they will take you. I was in my twenties the first time I can recall listening to and embracing the pings. After a very tragic life situation, I had gotten a call from my cousin in Atlanta, who suggested I come to visit. In that instant, the ping was not to visit, but rather to move. Three months later, I moved across the country without knowing anyone other than my cousin. Listening to that ping was monumental. I cultivated new friendships and lived on my own for the very first time ever.   At that time in my life, I was sure that I would never live alone — I would have roommates forever. 

Years later, I experienced another life-changing ping. It happened during a time in my life when I was actually ready for a change. I knew I was not happy in Atlanta, but I was also not ready to return to the West Coast. During this time, I went on an unplanned trip to Chicago. The ping hit hard. I found my new home. That move led to my new career in human resources and to eventually meeting my husband. Yes, there was a ping involved in meeting him too, and I’m going to say that, while it took some time (okay, a long time), it was a good thing to follow…. 

My husband and I eventually ended up back on the West Coast. As years passed, and I settled into life, I didn’t realize that I had stopped listening to the pings. Work and life became stressful.  I was overwhelmed; I lost my way. I didn’t hear the whispers anymore, and quite honestly, all aspects of my life were drowning/ falling — I was no longer present for my own life. I was unhappy and disconnected at work, with my family and friends, and with myself. 

Your higher self is always trying to communicate with you.

By this time, the pings were so drowned out/so muted. I wasn’t listening to the whispers of what I was feeling, and I felt lost and disconnected. Personal and professional setbacks finally shook me to the core. I realized I wasn’t who or where I wanted to be. Slowly and subtly, the pings started to enter my life again. The pings for me were small, little things that were affecting me – spiritually affecting me, prodding me toward a new direction of my life.

I began to notice blog posts and articles that were about the shadow and the benefits of shadow work. (The shadow is based on Carl Jung, referring to the part of ourselves that we choose to repress, typically from childhood.) I thought this practice might be helpful in my attempt to address and manage the deep stress of my corporate and personal life. While the concept of shadow work piqued my interest, I did not do anything about it. 

That was until, on a weekend getaway with my mom, I met a florist — yup, that’s right. I was drawn into the most beautiful floral shop that I had seen in years. Here’s where the subtle pings really kicked in. I loved the florist’s work so much that I started following her on social media. One day, when scrolling through social media, I noticed that the florist had posted about a wedding that she was missing. This led to an uncontrollable urge (ping) to discover the person she mentioned. She happened to be a shadow worker. Simultaneously, I had gotten the ping to look into coaching and ultimately started down the path to become an iPEC certified coach.

How listening to the pings shifted my mindset.

As I started to listen to the pings again, I started to see shifts in my mindset, and I began to see possibilities. The truth is that it wasn’t a big jump — it literally was one baby step at a time. (I know it doesn’t seem like it was one baby step because I started doing shadow work and my coach training at the same time, but it truly was one step.) 

It happens by noticing the shifts. The stagnant and weighted-down feelings slowly begin to feel lighter. It’s beginning to see possibility, or that there is even a hope for possibility — beginning to feel excited about options and opportunities. 

For me, I started exploring and getting curious, doing research and uncovering the next step I wanted to take along the journey. That led to more momentum, which then contributed to clearing blocks and shifting my feelings of lack and self-doubt. 

Forward motion began. Coach training enhanced my understanding of limiting beliefs and deepened my knowledge of how to do the work to uncover my internal blocks. I knew that, before I could successfully coach others, it was vital for me to internalize the message of limitless growth and of self-actualization. So I worked to acknowledge my abilities and fully accept myself. I worked to manifest the person that could effectively be the coach that my clients needed, to step into who I am today.

The journey still continues, and I embrace the truth that it will always continue, as I learn and continue to integrate and grow. 

Listen to the pings – you may be surprised where they take you.

In my younger years, the pings literally moved me, pushing me to move cross-country twice, taking huge leaps of faith when it came to even having a place to live. But, as I have grown older, the pings have changed direction, so to speak. They have nudged me toward a more fulfilling career as a coach and simultaneously pushed me to do the deep work of becoming a more enlightened, integrated, and joyful person. While my journey used to be a physical one, taking me across the country, it’s now an internal one, but the momentum continues to build. Life has become an adventure again!

How do you start to listen to the pings when you are feeling lost and out of touch? Download this workbook to start listening to your unique pings and begin to understand how they show up for you. 

 


Mari Roberts is a psychic coach, life mentor, and healer with over 15 years of experience in the corporate and nonprofit world. Her intention as your conscious consultant and empowerment coach is to bring her gifts to help you in your transformation to live in a more joyful, purposeful, and expansive way. 

My Inner Critic & Me

My Inner Critic and Me 

Years ago, when I did my coaching training, our group of aspiring coaches would repeatedly discuss the relevance of the Inner Critic to us and most of our future clients. My response was pretty much, pfft. Plus some eye-rolling. Unobtrusive, but dismissive nevertheless and full-on judgmental in nature. So it’s a bit of an irony that I should be teaching Inner Critic workshops these days. But I’ve always found that the Universe has a pretty wicked sense of humor. 

Why was I so dismissive? Did I not have an Inner Critic? Oh, I did—just like everybody else, and when I say everybody, I literally mean every single person. Mine was a sneaky bastard: It made me believe that it was super-helpful and a great motivator and, given that, there was no reason to object to its efforts. Ever. 

The voice in my head usually asks me to do better and work harder, and not in a nice way. What’s your lazy butt doing on the couch? Do you think your work is doing itself? is pretty typical for my Inner Critic’s conversation style. But there’s nothing wrong with that, is it? Shouldn’t someone remind me that I could be perfect if I just put in a little more effort, say 120 percent or so? Never mind that it’s Sunday afternoon. 

There are as many Inner Critics as there are people, but certain types are common. Mine, as you may be able to guess at this point, is predominantly a mix of Perfectionist and Foreman or, as I tend to think of it, a mix of Martha Stewart (sorry, Martha!) and a prison guard: Ms. Martha Martinet

Do you see where I got tricked? I spent years and years—decades really, who am I kidding—working my butt off, burning the midnight oil, going above and beyond in everything I did. All in hopes of reaching the promised land of Perfectistan where I would lean back and breathe freely because there would finally be no reason to work harder or do better. 

Guess how that worked for me! Perfect, it turns out, is not only unachievable—but undesirable as well. Because perfection does not allow for personal growth. But go ahead and share this intel with an active perfectionist. I can tell you from experience, the voice of reason won’t be heard. So my body and mind, fed up with my stubborn insistence to cooperate with Ms. Martha Martinet, pulled the emergency break and pushed me into a major depression. 

You can take it on trust or you can find out the hard way. I was in for the hard way. But this very dark cloud truly came with a silver lining. Depression may not have felt like a gift while I was going through it, but it helped me experience and accept the truth about the Inner Critic: That b**** is not helpful at all, no matter how convincing its voice may sound. 

During this time, Ms. Martha Martinet turned into the worst drag in my everyday life, criticizing everything I did or did not do in the meanest way possible. Eventually, I got myself help in the form of a therapist. But I had a strong feeling—don’t ask me why— that I had to do more than that. And while I was depressed and low on energy, I was still a coach. So I decided that I had to do my best to coach myself out of the funk. 

And guess what turned out to be the best starting point to initiate serious change? Yep, my frenemy Martha. I set out to face my Inner Critic, understand that this voice comes from a place of fear within me, and accept that it’s neither rational nor right. From there, I went back to the tools and strategies I had learned—and ignored—all these years back. 

Today, I still have an Inner Critic. Ms. Martha Martinet continues to tell me I need to work harder and do better, and that’s okay. Because today I can see the voice for what it is: one voice of many that I have, but that’s not me—not even half of me. A voice that might at times be a valuable warning system, but that I will no longer allow to push me toward citizenship in Perfectistan. I hear the application lines are still long, but I’m telling you it’s not worth it. You can take it on trust or find out the hard way. I hope you’ll have it in you to trust me on this one. 

Would you like to turn down the volume on your inner critic? Download the free Affirmation Workbook with over 30+ affirmations to change your mindset in any situation!

 


Micha Goebig is a life coach and author. With Go Big Coaching, the focus of her work is on empowering women to master the personal aspects of transitions and form habits that have the potential to take our quality of life to the next level. She teaches her workshop on the Inner Critic, “I AM ENOUGH”, frequently at different locations throughout the Seattle area. Originally from Frankfurt, Germany, Micha received her master’s degree from the University of Munich and trained as a coach with one of Germany’s leading executive coaches, Monika Scheddin. She is currently based in Seattle, WA.

Moving Beyond Hashtags: What To Do Now That #Blacklivesmatter Is No Longer Trending on Social Media?

A Guest Blog Post from Christina Malecka, MA LMHC, founder of Unplug. Reconnect. Restore: Digital Mindfulness Retreats:

Hello.  Take a breath.  How are you?  

If you are like me, you have spent a LOT of time on your screens over the past month. This global pandemic still has us spinning and we are in the midst of a transformative cultural uprising led by Black Lives Matter.

We can’t look away, nor should we. But it’s also time for some respite from the constant flow of information, and to step away from our screens to integrate new information.  

As someone passionate about tech-life balance and off-screen wellbeing,  I have a love/hate relationship with social media.  

Over the the past month I have been immensely grateful to brilliant Black women like Nicole PearsonSonya Renee Taylor, and Ijeoma Oluo. They have challenged me to more deeply interrogate systemic racism, and my responsibility to dismantle it.  

There is no denying that social media has been a major catalyst for the Black Lives Matter movement, and for that I am deeply grateful.  
 
At the same time, I am skeptical about the powerful corporate interests working tirelessly to keep us addicted to their products, and the racism, sexism and other biases imbedded in digital platforms.  Platforms that are overwhelmingly created and maintained by White men.  (To learn more about this, I urge you to read Safiya Umoja Noble’s book Algorithms of Oppression.)  Can social media really be a foundational tool for systemic liberation in the long-term?  I have my doubts. 

The very nature of social media is that topics “trend” and then fade over time.  What will we do now that Black Lives Matter is no longer front and center on social media?  

I will be continuing to follow Black leaders, activists and thinkers to stay engaged for the long term. The brilliant Ijeoma Oluo warns us to “be wary of things that are purely symbolic and anything that allows you to do something that isn’t actually felt by people of color.

She says: “I always ask myself when I’m trying to do solidarity work, can the people I’m in solidarity with actually feel this? Can they spend this? Can they eat this? Does this actually help them in any way? And if it doesn’t, let it go.”

One of the dangers of social media is that our actions on it are often purely symbolic.

I am not saying that agents of oppression should not demonstrate accountability to, and solidarity with targets of oppression on social media.  But it can’t stop there. We must make a regular commitment to inquiry and action, even after Instagram stops reminding us to do so. But I’m preaching to the choir here.  We’re part of a Collective that leads with accountability to BIPOC communities and I see you out there doing the work.  

We are also allowed to rest.  

I’ve been thinking a lot about humility and the freedom that comes with it:  pausing, listening, reading and learning. What a relief to not have to cling to the White habit of striving for “expert” status.

We know that dismantling institutional racism is a marathon, not a sprint.  It needs to be integrated into our lives along with our work, relationships, hobbies, leisure and spiritual practices.  I love this incredible google doc compiled by Bryanna Wallace and Autumn Gupta that offers daily actions to support the Black Lives Matter movement while maintaining physical distancing in the time of COVID-19.  Whether you have 10, 25 or 10 minutes a day, this resource will help us maintain momentum when BLM is no longer in the fickle social media and news cycle.  

Are you craving a reminder of what it feels like to have more spaciousness to reflect on what you’d rather be doing with the 4 hours a day you scroll social media?  (Hey, we all do it…even me!).  How do we make the most of our off-line time in the age of socializing from a distance?  I have an idea….

Screen Time Lifeline! A Rescue from Smartphone Fixation in a Time of Uncertainty

Starting on July 5, I am offering a 5-week I am guided mutual support experience called Screen Time Lifeline to support you to find tech-life balance – not by rejecting technology – but by embracing evidence-based practices designed to help you make the most of your offline hours, calm your nervous system and buoy your emotional health.  Something we could all use right now. 

This will be my second cohort of Screen Time Lifeline.  After leading magical in-person Digital Mindfulness retreats at The Whidbey Institute pre-COVID, I was skeptical about building community on Zoom.  But with only 6 people and plenty of space for everyone to participate, we co-created something truly special.  Most importantly, when participants logged off after our Sunday gatherings, they were all able to use the tools and support I shared, to become more mindful about their relationships with technology, and to find balance.  

I’m not here to guilt or shame you; I’m here to throw a party to celebrate your humanity, presence, and capacity to connect with others!

We’ll be meeting on Sunday evenings from 4 – 5:30pm PT between July 5 and August 2, and together we will:

  • Create community to support you to set intentions and goals to stay electronically connected on your own terms.
  • Set you up for success to enjoy a screen-free Sunday evening after our online gathering
  • Learn how mindfulness is the opposite of distraction – and the key to a healthier relationship with technology.
  • Meditate, ground, move, laugh and learn
  • Empower you to rediscover your passions, values and priorities. Because why would you spend less time on your phone if you’re unclear about what to do?

Fun fact: Hannah encouraged me to start this group and was a participant in the first cohort.  Here’s what she had to say: 

“I always love working with Christina, but our group dynamics were really special too. I felt like our group was especially thoughtful and empathetic due to the number of therapists and people within the wellness industry. The biggest take-away and change by far has been creating a conscious relationship with my technology. When I choose to binge out on it, it’s a conscious choice to absorb info, zone out, or connect with others. Christina has an innate ability to read the room and create containers for real change to happen, which makes every experience feel uniquely tailored to the needs of each individual and the group as a whole.”

Three Moon Collective members and fans: you are my ideal audience for Screen Time Lifeline, so I’m offering you a 10% discount off the $200 registration fee if you use the code THREEMOON at check-out.  

Let’s unplug, build community,  and rest for a while. Join me!

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

How Can We Practice Virtual Inclusion?

Hi. I hope this finds you well. ❥

In this brave new world we find ourselves in, we’ve been able to witness right in front of our eyes just how quickly it’s possible to move even more of our lives online. (Wait, weren’t we just talking about digital detoxing?) But, here we are.

For many of us in the wellness world, this has meant shifting almost overnight into hosting our classes and clients remotely, either for the first time or just a lot more often than before.

This has definitely not been without its challenges, but I see you all out there figuring it out, and I really admire it. It’s been truly inspiring to see the innovation that’s come out of all this, from the virtual meditations and dance parties popping up all over the place like the spring crocuses outside to Dolly Parton reading bedtime stories online, making one thing very clear — the desire to maintain connections, show up for and be held by community, and hold space for each other is so real, and thank goodness, because it’s so needed at this time. If there’s anything social distancing has taught us, it’s just how much we need each other.

In between all of our efforts to become intimately acquainted with video platforms and transform our living rooms into makeshift studios, one question that’s maybe been harder to answer is, how do we do this inclusively?

Of course, virtual sessions are nothing new, but their ubiquity is, and there are still not many guidelines on bringing inclusion to this realm. Knowing that, Hannah and I wanted to put this out there as a way to start a conversation on what it means to be inclusive in the virtual space. We’ll offer a few ideas below and would love to hear yours as well.

Inclusive Considerations for the Virtual Space

Mobile friendliness: Not everyone has a computer, but more and more people do have phones. Making virtual offerings mobile-friendly is one way to help to make them more accessible.

Time friendliness: For people who are busy working and taking care of their households, or who don’t have wifi always accessible, the timing of a class may be the only thing holding them back. If you can offer them a recording of a class, they can have the option of attending at their convenience.

Tech friendliness: How can you accommodate folks who might be new to the tool or platform you’re using? Some ideas are including usage instructions to help people navigate tools that may be new to them, inviting people to ask questions, and taking time to give brief virtual tours/tutorials at the beginning of sessions (“here’s where to find the chat box”).

Financial friendliness: With so many people unemployed and underemployed at the moment, it’s an especially worthwhile time to ask, is there financial accessibility to my offerings? Some ways of doing this are making some offerings donation-based or sliding scale, if it’s feasible for you while still meeting your needs. If you don’t feel able to do this for all offerings, you might consider shifting to this structure for one to see how it goes. And don’t forget, there are other forms of energetic exchange outside of money! For example, for those who elect to attend a donation-based class for free, you might ask them to “pay” by spreading the word to friends. If you’re able, you might also consider donating a % of proceeds to an organization offering Covid-19 relief.

One Day at a Time…

As we move through this, let’s acknowledge that each and every one of us has essentially been thrown into a new and different realm where maintaining our personal connections and our livelihoods has to happen in virtual reality. This is unprecedented, so wherever you find yourself in this process and however you might be feeling about it is completely valid. We’re here to listen if you need space to talk through your challenges, and we welcome your ideas for ways we can continue to navigate virtual reality in ways that feel welcoming to all. Please send them to emily@threemooncollective.com.

*Virtual hug.*

How To Help: A COVID-19 Guide

There are a myriad of detailed lists and round-up’s of where to donate and how to help, below are some of our favorite local outlets and the resources we’ve seen mentioned across the board:

Local Outlets

  • The South Seattle Emerald is always a great resource for local news and information, but their recent COVID-19 coverage and how it’s impacted our communities has been especially enlightening.
  • Crosscut is another insightful local publication, and I appreciated their recent piece on how social distancing is impacting people living with addiction and mental illness, and the groups they depend on.
  • One of my favorite daily newsletters is The Evergrey which has been putting together content that is informative, uplifting, and centering the experiences of marginalized communities.

How To Help

If you possess financial resources:

If you possess other resources:

Have something to add to this list? Send an email to hello@threemooncollective.com

Virtual Wellness Offerings For The Times

Below are a selection of virtual offerings from our Collective members, designed to support the community during this difficult and ever-evolving period of time. Most of our providers can adapt their work to be offered virtually, so feel free to browse the Collective for the support you’re looking for if you can’t find it below.

Movement

  • Virtual 1-1 pilates sessions with Tiffany Lodes. Explore her services here and book by sending her an email (discounts available for venmo payments)
  • Virtual yoga sessions with Brenda Umana. Explore her offerings and book here, sessions start at $35/hr.

Mindfulness

  • Intro to Meditation in 8-weeks with Brenda Umana. This has been the curriculum she uses with her in-person one-on-one clients, and she’s offering it exclusively online now. Prices are reasonable with 3 different tiers, explore them here.

Guidance

  • Free 45-minute Mom’s Strategy Video/Call sessions with Aga Lawrynowicz to support mothers and caregivers with some useful tools and ideas to get through these uncertain times. Schedule a session here.
  • Virtual Astrology readings with Trista Dedmon. Learn about the different types of readings she offers and book with her here (use promo code TMC30 to get 30% off your reading!).
  • Akashic Record reading with Hannah Exner. Learn about the Akashic Records here, and book a reading by sending her an email. $30 for a 30 minute reading (3-5 questions), free for hourly workers and those in the service industry.

Nourishment

  • Holistic Nutrition Coaching ($60/hr) or Menu Planning ($45/week) via Zoom or phone call with Chelsea Fechtner. Book a free 30-minute clarity call here.

Energy 

  • Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy (One-on-One) with Emily Wittenhagen. A heart-centered hypnotherapy session is meant to help you explore your subconscious — where 90% of our emotions, long-term memories, beliefs, habits, patterns, and intuitions reside — helping to reshape, rewrite, and reframe emotions, beliefs, and patterns to serve yourself in kinder and healthier ways.  (60-90 minutes by video chat.) Suggested donation = $40.
  • Intuitive Coaching or Reiki Energy Sessions with Maria Muñoz. Tune inward for guidance, with support of energy medicine tools and techniques. 60 minutes by phone/video $60 with coupon code: COMMUNITY – Discounted rate through April 3, 2020.