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5 Ways to Transform your Lunch Break into a Mini-Retreat

I admit it - I am totally guilty of not giving myself a proper break in the middle of my work day.  Sometimes, my to-do list is so long that I find myself working on a project or answering emails while I eat my lunch, or doing the ever-addicting scroll through social media as I chew my food.

And then...the end of the day comes and I feel absolutely exhausted.  When I am on the go non-stop all day, I can feel my adrenals energetically begging for a break, and my mood can be a little...cranky?

So, in order to serve myself, feel better throughout the day, and stay connected to my spirituality, I make it a point to schedule out at least a 30 minute block of time in the middle of the day to eat and take a break.  A break totally disconnected from distraction - no scrolling through social media, no crossing things off my to-do list, no texting...just 100% me time.

And you know what?  When I make that time for myself, I find that I am more productive and in a much better mood at the end of the day.

Whether you have a job where your lunch breaks are scheduled, or you work for yourself, it is essential to take some time just for you, step away, and nourish yourself on all levels - physically with food, but also emotionally, mentally, and spiritually with a little break.

Or as I like to call it...a mini-retreat.

Here are 5 ways to transform your lunch break into an actual pause:

1.  Connect with nature and get outside for a walk:  This is one of my favorite ways to take a break during the day.  Getting outside and moving my body feels so good - not only am I connecting with the earth and my environment, but I am also physically removing myself from my computer and my workspace.  In this way, I feel like my mind gets an actual break.  I also get to absorb a bit of sunshine and boost my vitamin D levels, which is a great mood-boosting bonus.  If it's warm enough, sometimes I'll bring my lunch outside too!

For a little extra spiritual element, you can see your walk as a walking meditation.  Really focus on how each step feels within your body, and walk slowly, with intention.  Another favorite thing of mine to do while on a walk is to work with a mantra.  Lately, I've been reciting my Lakshmi mantra as I walk.  (PS - My Lakshmi course is a great way to learn more about this goddess!)

2.  Connect with your Tarot deck and give yourself a reading for the day or week:  If you feel uncomfortable about doing this one at work, you may wish to keep a deck of cards in your car, or use an app (the Wildwood Deck is the app that I use) to connect to your intuition on the sly.  To go deeper, bring your journal and write down some thoughts about what the cards brought up for you.  You can also do this with an oracle deck if Tarot isn't your jam.  For me, Tarot is a tool that helps me to get perspective, move forward with goals, and cause an energetic shift.  When I pull a few cards in the middle of the day, it helps to give me guidance for the rest of the day.

3.  Read a couple of pages from a spiritual text:  To dive deep into a spiritual text, even if just for a few minutes, really opens the doors to invite in a moment of contemplation.  I havebeen reading and re-reading The Heart of the Universe and just can't get enough of it, but I also really like to dig into the Yoga Sutras or my Jivamukti Yoga book.  Reading an actual book and not reading something online helps me to really disconnect from my to-do list and emails, but if you don't have a book on hand, you may wish to read some inspiration on your favorite blog or spiritual online magazine.

4.  Close your eyes for a short meditation:  Give yourself 10 or 15 minutes out of your lunch break to recharge yourmind and soul with some time for meditation.  If you work outside of the home, you may wish to go in your car or to a quiet space outside for this.  Meditating has been proven to reduce stress, boost the immune system, improve cognitive function, and provides an overall spiritual connection.  Need a little direction when you meditate?  My upcoming meditation album, Aligned, might be just what you need (and it's digital so you can bring it anywhere with you!)

5. Roll out your yoga mat:  When it's rainy outside (which happens a lot in the Pacific Northwest!) or when I feel like I really need to move my body and find focus, 10-15 minutes of yoga provides a great energetic release.  Sometimes I go free-style, other times I watch a video on Cody (Meghan Currie and Kino McGregor are my favorite).  

If there isn't a space for you to do yoga when you work, perhaps try yoga for the hands (also known as 'mudras').  Here's a link to my favorite mudra, but there are dozens upon dozens of mudras to work with.  

Whatever you choose - give yourself the time and space to recharge.  Allow this time to feel luxurious and be totally free from distractions.  If you allow this to be a regular practice, you'll notice an improvement on all levels - physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

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To practice IS perfect.

They say "practice makes perfect."

I have been thinking a lot about the words practice and perfect within the realms of  my spiritual work.

And I've come to realize - I don't want to be perfect.

My spiritual practice is never perfect, nor will it ever be.  And I wouldn't want it any other way.

I love the lack of perfection.  That's what fascinates me the most about my path.  It will never be perfect.  There will always be bumps in the road.  I will always have further to go.  There will always be little side trips that will teach me something along the way.  

What I love the most about this spiritual work is that I will never know everything.

I don't practice to become perfect. I practice because I am curious about what lies within me.  I practice because I love to learn.  What absolutely excites me is that I will never know all there is to know.  I am always finding out new connections with the Tarot, learning about new crystals, or having new spiritual experiences.  

I practice because it is all I can do.  There is no perfect.  There is only what is.

I don't practice to become perfect.  I don't yearn to do things the right way.  I don't need to find the end result.

I practice because it's like coming home.  I practice because I am curious as to what I will discover.  I practice because it is what my spirit craves.

I believe that practice doesn't have to be sitting in silence.  To sit, to find the silence within - yes, that is practice.  But practice can also be something simple and ordinary.  It can be talking a walk, or taking a daily dance break.  Practice for you can mean carrying a crystal in your pocket, and checking in with its energy throughout the day.  Your practice might be a daily Tarot card draw, or reading a different poem out loud every day.  Your practice can just be breathing.  Your practice can just be being.  Just show up, however you choose to.

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A personal creed

Photograph by Claire Houston

Photograph by Claire Houston

For the past month or so, a question has been guiding me into a state of contemplation during my meditation practice:

What do I believe?  

I feel it is liberating to dive deep into the soul and discover exactly what it is that holds true to you.  There is power in claiming your faith, magic in honoring your own inner belief system.  

Here is what I know to be true:

I believe in kindness.  I know that at the deepest level, our souls radiate with kindness and compassion.  It is our natural state of being.

I believe in love.  My heart beats to the rhythm of love, my pulse purrs poetry through my veins.  Love sings in harmony with kindness: they walk hand-in-hand together.

I believe in the power of silence.  In that space between the thought and between the breath, a door opens.  When we are silent, we can truly listen to the wisdom of the universe.

I also believe in the power of using one's own voice.  Words carry energy.  We need to speak, we need to be heard, we need to let our truth be known.  This is how healing can begin.

I know that the body carries its own language.  The body speaks through aches and pains, through muscle twitches and butterflies in the belly.  When we listen to our body and honor its knowledge, we can heal not only on a physical level, but on a spiritual level as well.

I believe in energy.  I can feel it.  It flows up and down my mid line.  It swirls in colorful wheels.  We can send and receive energy, there's an exchange that is possible when we are open to it.

I see deities, goddesses, saints, archetypes, and even Tarot cards as holding  certain energy. When I chant om gum ganapatyi namaha, I harness the obstacle-clearing energy of Ganesh. When I feel the presence of  Kwan Yin, I know my heart is opening up to compassion and healing.  When I meditate on the High Priestess, I become her on a spiritual level, and our energies mingle and dance.

I believe in my intuition.  I know it is there because it has never lead me astray.

I believe in the power of thought and intention.  Intention can turn a candle from mundane to sacred to romantic to a guiding light.  Thought can transform fear into love.  Our minds are powerful things.

I admire the Buddha, the bodhisattva, the witch, the medicine woman, the priestess, the shaman.  I see the light in them and I honor that same light that I carry within myself.

I know that I do not have all the answers...and I think that is the most beautiful thing.

Tell me: What do you believe?


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What is sacred?

I stand under a muted moon.  She is hiding beneath the veil of clouds and the mist of cold rain.  The pavement glistens under the artificial lights on the streets, and I yearn for the glow of the moon to be shining down instead. 

This standing, this yearning, this observation:  it is sacred.

Sometimes I go to the ocean to watch the moon rise or set.  My eyes follow her as she lifts or lowers, making her cycle around to look down upon all of us.

This watching, this cycle:  it is sacred.

Sometimes I wear the ocean.  Salty streams down my cheeks, smeared on the back of my hands.  Within the water, grows seeds that I have planted over time.  An iris.  A hazel tree.  I dive deep.

These tears, this letting go:  it is sacred.

When I hear, I am moved.  Vibrations travel and bounce:  a bass, a tempo, a beat, a pulse.  He sings like he has memorized the lyrics of my spirit, my past and present. 

This music, this dance:  it is sacred.

I sit in front of my altar, wrapped in the softest white and heather pink blanket.  My spirit is wrapped in white gold and yellow sapphire.  I close my eyes and I can see far and wide.  I breathe and remember the joy of being alive.

This meditation, this practice:  it is sacred.

I intend to see my body like an altar.  To kneel before it, to light incense around it, to offer it flowers and sweets.  I dedicate my practice to my body.  My breath is my mantra.  My pulse is my prayer.  I commit to living.

This intention, this body:  it is sacred.

There's magic in the knowing.  When we met, I knew I had to give him my heart.  I handed it over when he took my hand and we danced for hours on end.  Our energies shifted and flowed.  We warmed up the winter night.  There was a fall.  Rosy cheeks and wide pupils, my cells swelled with love. 

This love, this partnership:  it is sacred.

I pull a card and I know:  I am surrounded by wind and air.  These are the things that make up my Gemini constitution:  I inhale and exhale with sound.  I notice that my arm hair is really owl feathers and I can fly through the woods with my all-seeing eyes.  I am on a journey for wisdom.  She who sees what cannot be seen.  She who feels what cannot be witnessed.

The tarot, the elements, my totems:  they are sacred.

Then, you begin to realize:  every thing is sacred.  This life, this breath, the now, the past, the future.  It is all about how you approach things. 

Tell me: How would life shift if every action was a sacred ritual?



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Under the light of the full moon, I write


Under the light of the full moon...

I wonder about my ancestors' ancestors.  How did they mark the full moon?  What did they do to honor the brightness, the fullness, the radiance of this moon?

I wonder about my soul in the past.  When I look at the moon shining in her full light, I feel connected to her.  She and I convene.  I feel the need to gather herbs under the light.  I set out my crystals and imagine the moon bathing me in her light.  I feel my inner tides rising.  I honor my ebb and flow.

I think about my own cycle.  How it dances around the full and the new, how it never stands still in one place.

I remember my intentions.  I look back and I look forward.  I make lists and plans.  I am full of gratitude.

I meditate.  The moon's light permeates through my chakras, she balances, she spins, she aligns.

I speak of Selene.  I am looking for her details.  I know there is more to her than her flowing hair.  In my conversation, I say, "let's make up our own myth.  We can be story tellers, too."

I tell the story of Chang-o, the Chinese goddess who liked to move around.  From the heavens to earth to the moon, she traveled.  She decided to settle on the moon, and when it is full, her love visits her.  Her rabbit companion can be seen in the moon, if you look closely. 

I know she is there, beneath the clouds.

I intend to pull one card, but The Hermit and The Moon come out together.  They know.  I'm wrapped up in my mister's robe, I'm bowing under the light.  I'm aware of the lunacy that lingers.  I'm diving into the subconscious, hibernating. 

I am always drawing within.

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