connective elements healing

honoring creativity - restoring balance - embracing wholeness

By observing nature, ancient traditions explained all of existence through five elements.  

Connective Elements Healing aims to restore you to your true nature through five healing offerings -

BodyTalk, Coaching, Meditation, Reiki and Yoga. 

Filtering by Tag: Spacious

On BEing

2018 was complicated. In the first few weeks of the year, several of my friends passed away, others struggled with major illnesses and still others with catastrophic relationship issues. After a security incident, I was removed from my village at 3am one day at the end of January and facing my own set of medical challenges shortly after and another series three months later. As the months of 2018 passed, I felt a sort of anger building as the losses continued among people in my circle. Adding to the external experiences in which I felt like I was increasingly losing parts of myself, the resulting medication I was provided in June distanced me from positive emotions and prevented me from feeling joy for the remainder of the year. 2019 is the first year in the past 8 in which I haven’t started with a word or theme.

It wasn’t until three days ago, when I finally finished the 2018 portion of Unravel your Year that I realized the feelings I was grappling with and the difficulties I was having in letting go. Interestingly, when I reflected further on 2018, a different story was told.

In looking at my day planner at the events of the year, I recognized a bit more of the light 2018 had to offer including assimilating into a new community, a myriad of successful projects from Roots Tribe Yoga, Mother Bear, aerobics classes, a World AIDS Day event, gardening, a poultry project, trips that included travel to 4 new countries – Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique and visiting so much of South Africa. I suppose my 2018 Word of the Year, spacious, had one more gift to impart, to encourage me to take a step back. By making space, I was able to gain perspective and give myself, and 2018, a little grace and breathing room.

Susannah Conway’s Unravel Your Year and Find your Word are insightful tools I’ve used for the last four years. They’ve been a cathartic way to reflect, let go and intentionally step forward into the new energy of each new year. When I selected spacious as my word for 2018, I said, “I want[ed] to make space for the brave woman who is slowly rediscovering herself, her value and her place in the world.” Spacious was like a helpful friend reminding me I had choices, options and tools throughout these last twelve months.

In my 2017 writing about present, my word of that year, I unknowingly connected my words of 2017, 2018 and 2019 and provided sound advice that bears repeating: “I must allow myself to let go of the past to make space for the gifts of the present. I must stop clinging to the stories, to past achievements, hurts, relationships, traumas and histories to truly empty my cup and make room for the present. I must allow the feelings and emotions from the past to dissipate in order to be present for what’s here, in the present. It is so much more than mindfulness. It’s so much more than awareness of the present. It is about the ability to be, to truly be in the moment – to truly be present - to surrender to what is without expectation, without stories, without clinging to the past, without obsessively planning for the future. There is ease here, in its purest form. Once we empty ourselves of the clinging, of the constant energy of doing, of the gripping, the striving, the proving, we can truly rest, I can truly rest, and be open to the present.”

Illuminate served as “a beacon, inspiring my decision-making, casting light upon shadow and encouraging massive healing and release” in 2016, the first year I engaged in Susannah Conway’s Word of the Year.

The previous two years, Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map coached me to identify courageous, ease and happy as my core desired feelings inspiring healing and uprooting my entire life to travel through South East Asia. In 2013, balance and harmony encouraged my self care and provided me with necessary grounding through the unexpected loss of my mom, a scary diagnosis and the preparation for surgery the next year. 2012 was the first year I selected a theme for my year. I stretched physically and emotionally as I explored sewing, creative writing, photography, glass blowing, hip hop, aerial yoga and African drumming classes during the Year of Creativity. Choosing a theme or word for the year has been a powerful practice that I’m eager to continue.

BE : Connect with the photo - Susannah Conway’s Find your Word provides this mandala as an effort to commit to your word. I needed it ;)

BE: Connect with the photo - Susannah Conway’s Find your Word provides this mandala as an effort to commit to your word. I needed it ;)

As this next year will be one of transition in navigating my return to the States in a few short weeks, I crave many things from homemade pierogies to poke bowls, but what I crave most is to exist. I want to consciously reclaim lost parts of myself and construct new facets of me. Though the energy upon return to the US will be very yang and focused on doing, I just want to BE. My word for 2019 is BE.

I am excited to witness the ways in which this simple word works me and the means by which I will embody her. Susannah asks in Unravel your Year, “What could you do this year to bring more of your Word into your world?” I answered, “breathe more Ÿ pause more Ÿ trust.” Here’s to breathing, pausing, trusting and BEing more in 2019 ♥

 

Thank you for joining me as I write the closing chapters of this journey as a Peace Corps Volunteer here in South Africa.

 

 

 

The content of this website is mine alone and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government, the Peace Corps, or the South African Government.

 

 

 

 

Making Space in 2018

I was brought up to equate being alone with feeling lonely. My recent trip over the holidays dispelled that myth. I spent the last days of 2017 fully living my Word of Year for 2017, present, during my first solo trip of my life. I ushered in opportunities to stretch, exploring my own boundaries, experiencing sights, sounds and tastes here in South Africa and connecting with delightful souls.

I dined alone in a sit-down restaurant for the first time in my life. I spent days gallivanting around Cape Town with strangers who quickly morphed into friends. I carved out time to restore, reset and refresh.

As an only child, I was skilled in the art of entertaining myself. I recall one lengthy session of making faces at myself in my mom’s bedroom mirror. As my mom entered her room, she looked at me, rolled her eyes, laughed and said, “you are weird”. I giggled in response and continued with my merriment. My ability to be self contained at an early age contributed to the resilience I required to brave my adolescence.

As I entered my turbulent teens, I sensed my mother’s light dimming. Awaiting her knight in shining armor to rescue her from her life, my mom’s loneliness increased as I moved to college. At University, I shed layers upon layers of my identity and became the most self-assured I’ve been in my adult life. Slowly, over the last 20 years, as I jumped from relationship to relationship, I lost parts of myself. From one relationship in which I was criticized for being “too damn happy” to the next relationship where I was decried for being too negative, I started to believe that I was not enough. I started to believe that I needed someone to fill my gaps, to complete me. As I furthered my spiritual practices, and discovered silent retreats, I craved more and more time to myself. I peeled back the layers of enmeshment and revealed that I’d subconsciously woven my mom’s rescue fantasy into the fabric of my belief system.

Don’t get me wrong, I dream of great love. I love love. However through my spiritual work, I admitted a need to be present to my life, to myself, first. Though difficult, I had to let go.

I’ve endured a tremendous amount of hurt and trauma throughout these last 38 years. Stories and relationships have seemingly bogged me down. I’ve clung so tightly to the past. I am trying to remain gentle to myself as I continue to let go.

This Peace Corps service is, in part, about letting go, making space, acknowledging my needs and dreams and being very much present to myself and my life.  

Peace Corps outlines three official goals of service to be: 1) helping the people of countries around the world to meet their need for trained men and women; 2) promoting a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served and; 3) promoting a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans. Peace Corps Volunteers freely discuss the unofficial “4th goals” to include personal aspirations. From the onset, I identified my fourth goal to be standing confidently on my own two feet in the world. Though firm about my goal, I doubted I could achieve it. However, in the last two weeks, I feel more comfortable in my own skin, confident of my place in the world and excited about upcoming solo adventures.

Last Present : Cape Town, South Africa

Last Present: Cape Town, South Africa

I started Susannah Conway’s powerful Unravel your Year, using her thoughtful prompts like, “where did you practice bravery in 2017?” and “did anything happen in 2017 that needs to be forgiven?” to examine the preceding year while atop Table Mountain on Christmas Day. Susannah encourages participants to visualize their ideal day in 2018 and ask themselves questions such as, “what would saying YES to your life look at feel like?”

Saying yes to my life in 2018 includes desiring flow, realizing ease, implementing my tools for balance and wellness and utilizing my unique gifts and talents to give back and be of service. I realized that I want to make space for possibility and magic in 2018.

The Rediscovery -  Atop Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

The Rediscovery - Atop Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

My Word for 2018 is spacious ♥

I want to make space for that little girl inside who knew joy through simple things. I want to make space for that fierce woman in her late teens that spoke with conviction. I want to make space for the brave woman who is slowly rediscovering herself, her value and her place in the world.

 

Susannah Conway’s Unravel your Year and Find your Word 2018 are a gift to us all. I invite you to explore these free and delightfully precious resources to inspire the year ahead.

 

I bow in gratitude to you for joining me as I process the emotional and spiritual 27-month journey of Peace Corps Service here in South Africa.

 

The content of this website is mine alone and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government, the Peace Corps, or the South African Government.