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: Susannah Conway

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.

2017: The Present

"Illuminate" - Gili Air, Indonesia

"Illuminate" - Gili Air, Indonesia

Twelve months ago today, I honored my tradition of the last six years in which I select a word to inspire my year. I literally danced and chanted my way into 2016 while in Bali, setting out to illuminate the last 366 days. Illuminate served as a beacon and she will be remembered for inspiring my decision-making, casting light upon shadow and encouraging massive healing and release. This year, I desired to reflect upon the year's past and prepare for the coming year in a bit different way. 

"Release" - Oceanside, CA

Writing, creative endeavors and retreats invited me to sift through the travel, transitions and resources that emerged throughout this past year. The deep dive into Susannah Conway's Unravel your Year 2017 over the last couple weeks has furthered my examination of the challenges and my embracing of the gifts and has encouraged additional processing of the happenings of 2016. Susannah's thoughtful prompts such as, "what did you embrace in 2016?" combine with visioning exercises, such as describing my favorite moments of the year or imparting forgiveness upon myself and others for certain instances, offered catharsis. Yesterday, on New Year's Eve, I created a ritual in which I set fire to that which still needed to be illuminated, releasing the last remnants of clinging and giving final gratitude to the Year of Illumination. All these efforts were also aimed at making space for 2017. 

"Present" - Oceanside, CA

Working through the rest of Susannah's workbook today, I unravelled the year ahead, confirmed my word for 2017 and powerfully envisioned dreams, plans and possibilities for the next twelve months. Excitingly, I used one of my favorite spiritual tools, Kyle Gray's Angel Prayers Oracle Deck, to draw my monthly forecast, as well as my theme for 2017: New Beginnings! I concluded my year-end-year-beginning rituals in my absolute favorite place - at Mama Ocean.

My word for 2017 is present. I will explore the gift of the present through practice and intention and will surely share more in the coming months about how the present unfolds. ♥ 

Perhaps you feel called to choose an intention to guide your 2017? If so, my favorite resources include:

  • Susannah Conway's Find your Word for 2017

  • Find the time and space to sit quietly and ask for guidance. Spend time in prayer, meditation or journalling and ask, "what intention or word would best serve my highest good in 2017?" This process may take you days or you may intuitively happen upon the perfect word. Provide yourself with time, space and grace to be led to your Word for 2017.

  

Seven Months of Illumination

It's hard to believe it's almost August! I've been working with illuminate, my word of the year, for nearly seven whole months. Actually, she has been working me. As I take a step back to reflect, so much has been illuminated. My word of the year has revealed herself little by little, with each passing day, casting light upon light and light even upon the shadows. It is all beautiful. 

From the very first day of 2016 where I was serenaded by Michael Franti as I danced and practiced yoga in Bali to being lovingly celebrated for my birthday last week in the most uniquely-me ways in crazy Las Vegas, this year has been filled with incredible light thus far. Though it seems daunting to sum up the 7 months of life between in just one post, I'm ready to illuminate and reflect.

"Red Rock Asana" - Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas, NV

Bouncing back from 9 months of travel in Southeast Asia wasn't easy. The highlight of the return home in January was reconnecting with some of my favorite beloveds.

In February, the month of love treated me to both highs and lows. Settling into a home that felt furthest from the bliss I'd just experienced in Bali was a rude, but necessary, awakening. Evading the homelessness I'd unexpectedly found myself in was buffered by the beauty of community, the offering of the beautiful seva practice of Love from Mother Bali sessions to nearly 40 people, Sharon Salzberg's Real Happiness Meditation, a synchronistic silent retreat and a powerful healing session which released ancestral pain. These supports illuminated my heart, mind and spirit, allowed me to realize my gifts, still enough to listen the supportive voices of the Universe and open to the prospect of moving across country to sunny Southern California.

Immense healing occurred.

Love prevailed.

March rushed in with a scouting trip to find a new home, the Purpose Fairy's 21 Day Happiness Challenge, reflections on my own healing, Deepak and Oprah's "Shedding the Weight" 21 Day Meditation experience, my "Lovefest 2016" experienced through reconnections and goodbyes throughout the country as I relocated to the West Coast. I completed my application to the Peace Corps on the last day of the month, potentially opening a new chapter of my story beyond even the immediate next chapter here in California. I received great clarity with each connection, practice and reflection in March.

April heralded two opposing energies, settling in and uprooting. As I was settling into a new home and establishing roots, I received word of a Peace Corps interview in May, fruition of a dream I've held for half my life. These opposing energies brought forth many feelings. My regular daily practices aided in sifting through and illuminating the feelings within me, inspiring me to create and share the Journey of the Breath in May. 

The Journey of the Breath illuminated my own patterning and introduced me to new ways of breathing and new ways of being. May also brought illumination through connection via technology, volunteering and travel. Technology gifted me with the Shift Network's "Inspiring Women with Soul" Conference and the Hay House World Summit growing my wisdom and perspective. Service opportunities including volunteering at Wanderlust and taking part in a local Reiki Circle that lit me up in May. A visit from my sweet cousin and a new friend invited me to explore and fall in love with my new city. My first visit to Joshua Tree for the ShaktiFest allowed for unexpected reconnection with friends from previous chapters of my life. An invitation to join the Peace Corps in South Africa issued an introduction to the potential next chapter of my life.  

"Illuminated Dancer" - Las Vegas, NV

To welcome June, I signed up for Mama Gena's Self Love Challenge, affording me a gentle means of self care during the anniversary of my mom leaving her body. I illuminated my own resistance to receiving during the proceeding Mama Gena's Receiving Challenge, which I'm continuing to sit with. Sounds True's Meditation Summit, a joyful visit from my college roommate and dear friend, a Nahko show, seeing the Dalai Lama and becoming an active part of my new community through more volunteering and activities imparted sweet medicine as I reached the halfway point of this year of illumination. 

My birthday month opened with an illuminated bang that included a labyrinth walk through a volcano, my first local ecstatic dance gathering and a front row seat for the fireworks. I introduced the Monday Minute, live Facebook videos sharing tidbits of connection, which are a big feat for this introvert! Sandcastles, bike rides, ocean time and birthday freebies have made July a true delight. I hadn't planned to participate in Deepak and Oprah's "Getting Unstuck" Meditation Experience, but I'm on Day 17 and have gratefully revealed many hidden corners of my own stuckness. 

As I look back upon these seven full months of transition, travel and vast illumination, I revel in all the fullness.

I am grateful for each moment.

I rest in the present moment. 

In August, I will honor life through the lens, slow down and participate in The August Break. Might you feel called to join me? ♥