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Maternity Leave for Graduation

I can't believe I haven't posted a blog in over a month now! If you saw this social media post, you know why. If not, here's what I said:

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"I’m taking a maternity leave.  I need time and space to process this transition called graduation.   

This maternity leave means being fully invested in mothering the last month of this era. Not only my family, but myself! You can catch me at a Maroons game, planning and attending graduation parties, pulling out photo albums and keepsake boxes, and generally trying to hold it together. And hold Nate tighter. 

You might not catch me in a new podcast episode or on the blog. And that’s ok for now.

You will catch me in my yoga classes, as they and the students ground and support me as much as I do them.  We ROCK at transitions together. And there’s lots of wise women there who have gone before me. 

To all of you who’ve had your babies graduate, I see there’s really no way to prepare. We...

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Something's Blooming

I am back from an AMAZING retreat experience at Blossom & Bliss Women's Yoga Retreat. We really couldn't have asked for better weather, better hosts, or better connections. The whole weekend was about what's blooming in our lives, and we discovered something that I found quite interesting:

 

Something is always blooming, but it's not always joyful. 

 

When I was planning our intention for the retreat, I had thought to focus on what's blooming, as in what's good and going well. And we did do that. But it turns out we were more confronted by things that occupy our mind and need our attention. The things that are making us stop and inhale for a moment. For some of us, change and transition was in bloom, for others it was recognition of sadness, or that it's time to move on from something. These experiences lend their own bouquet to life, and they are as a part of life as the joy and celebrations are. 

 

As I was driving home from our weekend, I couldn't...

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What is eclipsing your self-esteem?

 

For those of us here in the path of totality of the upcoming eclipse, things are getting pretty exciting. People are traveling from all over to get a better glimpse of the moon covering the sun, giving us a rare experience of a celestial expression of darkness covering the light. It occurred to me that, of course, we have a microcosm of this macrocosm right within us at the third chakra of Manipura

 

Your “inner sun,” the energy center surrounding your solar plexus, is your own fire of transformation and will. Just like the sun in the heavens affects the Earth, the energy of your inner sun gets you up and going, helping you make things happen that you feel good about doing. It’s your “master manifester” super power chakra!

 

But sometimes, it’s covered in a shadow…

Sometimes, it’s eclipsed…

 

The bright light of chakra three is a healthy self-esteem. When your inner sun is vibrant and shining, your...

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Loving Through the Darkness

Holy bluebonnets, ya'll! It's CRAZY out there! If you are anywhere near the Texas Hill Country, you know what I'm talking about. These days I'm super thankful to Ladybird Johnson for making sure our highways were lined by wildflowers, because as she said, 

 

"Where wildflowers bloom, there's hope." 

 

For many around the world, this week is a testament to that hope. Nature provides us with the cycles of life, death, and rebirth, as you see in any patch of wildflowers, and as you watch the changing of the seasons. During the Christian Holy Week, this cycle is celebrated through the observance of Palm Sunday bringing Life, Good Friday bringing death, and Easter Sunday bringing rebirth. 

 

As timing would have it, in this week's podcast episode, Primal Wisdom and Pleasure Activism,  you can enjoy my conversation with Scout Chavers, a doula and midwife here in Austin. She is very familiar with the cycles of life, and she beautifully describes what it...

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Delight in Letting Go

Happy Equinox and first day of Spring! Is it just me, or did this come up quickly this year? I am enjoying the longer days and Varsity Baseball games that end with the sun still up.

 

In fact, I had the first whispers of Spring Fever today, which has me DOUBLY excited for my Springtime retreat next month! There's still some great accommodations available for you, so if Spring Fever is hitting you and you want to pause and soak it all in, come join me April 12-14 in Marble Falls. According to the Farmer's Almanac, the weather will be fantastic! www.jessgoulding.com/blossom

 

This season, this year, for me is so much about letting go. And although the process can be tough, the results are quite delightful. In this week's podcast episode 35, Delight in Letting Go, we continue with our seasonal theme of delight, and this one is spot on, as it's the Chakra Two episode. 

 

We hold so much within us, and letting go is a practice that leads to openness, freedom and space...

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The Power of a Stable Root Chakra

Do you ever stop to consider the sources of support in your life, and ways you are a cornerstone for others? It’s a question that presented itself in my meditation yesterday morning, so it became the theme for class in OYM

 

Support is the main quality of Chakra One, Muladhara, located at the base of your spine. It means “root support,” and is where we consider all the things in our lives that are foundational to our safety, security, and stability. Relationally, we are supported by family, friends, healthcare providers, teachers, communities, and other experts we hire to help us in business and life. You are also a source of support for others in myriad ways like these. 

 

The yantra, or drawing, of Muladhara, has within it a square, representing a stable base or foundation. You can use this as an image for grounding and meditation, whether seated, standing, or reclining. The color associated with Muladhara is red, so when you visualize the...

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Letting Go of the Plan

I hope you're feeling well today. I just returned from a delightful weekend in Mexico City with Nick and the kids. We had mostly beautiful weather, and we immensely enjoyed the food, the architecture, and the people we met and saw.

 

Not all vacations are delightful, as I'm sure you know. Beyond the things out of our control, I think a lot depends on our attitude. To each his/her own, but I like trips with lots of space for nothing. For example, we had lots of plans to see different sites and get to all the museums you're "supposed" to see there. But when Sunday morning presented us with a beautiful day where everyone took to the streets and the parks (MANY on roller blades--what a sight!), we decided to slow ourselves down a bit as well and just enjoy the city like those who live there. We watched groups rehearsing for a TikTok (we think), young couples practicing for their first dance, toddlers chasing soccer balls, and percussionists providing a background beat to the whole...

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A Practice for Peace

When I was around 10 years old I received First Holy Communion. (This is when Catholics learn the meaning of the Eucharist and how to take it during mass.) We had to learn some prayers and traditions to go with the sacrament. It was at this time that I received a little white book with a plastic cover and a rosary. I don't remember what the book was called, but I know it had the instructions for the rosary prayer beads.

 

And, like a devout little Christian, I remember kneeling at my bedroom bay window and learning the prayers of the rosary. I was amazed at how simple it was. It was a couple prayers I knew, plus Hail Marys, which I did not. But once you've recited it 50 times, you've got it. There was something about this simple repetition that I loved.

 

From that time through my mid-twenties, there was a rosary under my pillow and the prayers were the last thoughts going through my head every night as I fell asleep. It was a beautifully peaceful way to fall asleep. The...

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Get Out of Your Own Way

Have you ever had one of those days that started out as one thing, then ended up taking you in a very surprising, and exciting, direction? I certainly did this week!

I was digging into my plans for the Blossom & Bliss women's retreat, and I realized that we have a campfire! And what goes with a campfire, but songs? So I started to make a list of songs I know that might be good contenders for our group...and then I realized: I can't sing, and I've never led songs before. Bummer.

BUT I REALLY want to have a sing-along. There are so many great benefits to communal singing, like 

~ reduced stress hormones.

~ increased cytokines, proteins that can boost the body’s ability to fight serious illness.

~ lessened anxiety.

~ stimulated memory.

~ increased lung capacity.

 See The Washington Post article

and more! Singing stimulates Chakra Five, which houses our ability to communicate our truth and be a good listener. Creating sound through buzzing, humming, singing, and...

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Your Energy and Vitality That Comes From Within

 

Now that we are back in action in Monday Morning Yoga, I'm again reminded of something I love to see in a group practice: the generative energy of asana!

Since asana simply means posture, you are actually in an asana right now as you sit (or stand) and read these words. And how is your seated posture? Do you succumb to gravity and slouch, or is there a lift within you that, at first, takes effort, and over time gets easier?

When we forget that we can be our own engines of energy, we tend to shrink down and collapse a bit. Our breathing gets shallower as our diaphragm has less space to move and pull oxygen into our lungs. We get tired, even sad. Then core muscles grow weaker and aches and pains ensue.

But you are generative! You have "the power or function of generating, originating, producing, or reproducing." ~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

 

Just try this with me:

~ Whether you're sitting or standing, interlace your fingers on the crown of your head.

~ Now pull down on...

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