6 Ways to Invite the Shift of Summer Solstice Into Your Life

Simple Ways to Use the Earth’s Energy to Find Clarity

The summer solstice is here and marks our halfway point through the year. Here in the Western Hemisphere, we will welcome the longest day of the year. The point when the sun will rise to its highest peak in the sky. It may not feel like it here in Seattle, but Summer Solstice is the closest to the sun we will be all year.

Summer is finally here and a lot more is happening than just a seasonal shift. It also represents a time for change and new beginnings. Below are 6 ways you can honor this shift within you.

Celebration of Light!

During the summer solstice, we honor the illumination of light the sun offers the earth. If you think about it, that is what summer is about; Getting out and enjoying the beautiful weather brought to you by the sun. It is also a reminder of the light within us and all the potential we have to ignite that inner flame. Now is the perfect time to awaken new forms of enlightenment from within. 

  • Ask yourself: What am I ready to overcome? And how do I guide this darkness into the light?

Reflections

A change in season is all about nature. And nature is a reminder about our own journey through time. It also marks an occasion for inner reflection. Summer is a time to celebrate all of nature’s beauty. The fresh air, the long days, getting outside, family picnics, bird watching, whatever you enjoy, the nice summer weather offers us an opportunity to get outside and explore this great earth. Time in nature opens us up to seeing the world with new eyes. Celebrate your own cycles of growth and change.

  • Ask yourself: What season of life am I in? Can you see yourself as part of a grander cycle?

Review

Spring is about renewal. Summer is a time to take a break to notice all the work you’ve done. We are halfway through the year so it’s a good time to reflect on what seeds you planted over the spring and plan forward for what’s to come. As the season changes it’s a great time to review how the year is playing out. The energetic changes that come with a fiery intention remind us to fuel our own fire. 

  • Ask yourself: Am I on track for where I want to be this year? What can I start doing today that will help me reach my long-term goals?

Find Your Spiritual High

Every day since mid-December has been bringing more and more light into your day. Now, at the height of light, we turn towards the days steadily getting shorter once again. Summer Solstice is a spiritual high that is met before beginning the long march back to the darker days of winter. Now is the time to celebrate the sun. Take a break from planting to watch things grow and use this slow time to bathe in the abundance all booming life everywhere. Lazy summer days are great for getting in touch with your inner nature and taking inventory.

  • Ask yourself: Am I living my truth? And what changes can I begin to start living more true to my nature?

Goodby Negativity

It’s hard to feel down when the sun is shining but let’s face it, the past few years have been bonkers! We are all struggling with something. If you have fallen into a negativity loop that you are ready to break, summer solstice is the time. There are many activities and modern rituals that revolve around fire and the summer solstice represents fire in the sky. Use this time to reboot your thoughts by burning out your negative thoughts. 

Seriously. 

Write them out and burn them.

  • Ask yourself: What negative loops have I been practicing daily that I am ready to let go of?

Set an Intention

As you research the Summer Solstice you will find many festivals that symbolize the sun’s energy in all its radiance and power. Fire is used as a symbol for change, transformation, purification, willpower, courage, and strength. You can set an intention now that sparks action into your life and that is ignited by passion. Taking time to sit and breathe in the mid-day sun is a nurturing way to look within and meditate on where your energy is going. 

  • Ask yourself: What can I do to resharpen my focus? Where should I be putting my attention? 

Discover your inner strength this summer

If you move through each of these intentions and use the energy shift of the summer solstice as a catalyst for motivation, you may find the earth’s energy more open to receive your intentions. The sun is a powerful symbol and by using this season change as a guide you can do some self-inquiry that opens up new pathways for you this summer that can guide you to find more meaning in your life. 

In A World of More is Better, Choose Less and Find the Clarity You Seek 

Finding Clarity By Clearing Out the Junk!

Our breath is such a vital part of our health and yet we rarely stop to notice or observe how it’s affecting our lives. Oxygen is essential and how you breathe is directly linked to how you feel. If you are looking to bring more clarity into your life then it’s time to clear out the junk both in your environment and in your head.

Today we are surrounded by devices designed to hack into the way we think. Data collecting is so effective that computers know what you want before you do. Information is more accessible than ever before and we have endless knowledge today at a click of a button. A world where information is power has passed. Today the internet has us drowning in too much information and with so much knowledge at our fingertips, it can be hard to know what is true and where we should direct our focus. We have become a society of wondering generalities, making us the most depressed people in history. 

Everyone is vying for your attention, and yet we cannot seem to focus on anything for too long. Remember going to see a double-feature in the movie theaters? Who has time and attention for that these days?

If you want to separate yourself from the crowd, then get clear about what you want and where you’re going. Clarity is power. The more clearly you can focus your attention on where you want to go the more success you will draw into your life. 

It’s time to filter out the junk!

We humans like things. We save up and work hard to acquire things. We fill our lives with things. We fill everything!

  • Our homes
  • Our cars
  • Our offices
  • Our phones
  • Our minds
  • Our bodies

We have so much stuff that we have created a multi-Billion dollar industry just to store our things. We seem to think that all these things will fulfill us. Parting ways with something locked away in a storage unit seems like more work than paying for the storage unit to hold it.

In reality, all these things are doing the opposite. They are weighing us down and causing stress and overwhelm. 

It appears Tyler Durden of Fight Club was right when he said, “The things you own end up owning you.”

All of these things we are lugging around with us have a mental, emotional, physical, and even spiritual effect on our livelihood. 

  • Digital junk is scattering your brain in the form of thousands of unread emails, and too many apps on our phones.
  • Clutter around our home is piling up and being stuffed into the closet or room that you never seem to have the energy to go through.

All of these things are keeping you in a state of overwhelm and it’s preventing you from moving forward in your life. It’s time to start downsizing. The more you have to manage around you the more clutter forms in your thoughts. 

The more you let these piles and papers, and old tucked-away treasures eat up space in your life the less space you have in your mind to find the clarity you need to be productive and peaceful. 

Breathing out the Junk

Your nervous system is constantly sending messages from the brain to the body about what’s happening in your world. When you are caught up in a stressful moment your breathing changes. It becomes quick and shallow and your heart rate steadily increases. This causes you to tense up and affects your breathing pattern more. Now if you are constantly living in stress this short, shallow, tension becomes the norm and leaves you more susceptible to disease. 

One factor adding to your stressful life is that closet or room or drawer that we all have that we continually stuff things into that “one day’ we’re going to go through. It’s the emails you saved to read, and all the other lists of to-do’s that you are constantly putting off. It’s building up in your home and in your mind all the while affecting your health. 

By simply learning to breathe properly you can start to release 70% of the toxins currently running through your body. This will elevate your mood and invites in more focus and clarity.

Breathwork has become a mindfulness practice that is used worldwide. Intentional breathing helps clear out the mind-clutter and creates space for better decision-making. Numerous studies have found that conscious, slow breathing has a direct effect on the chemical levels in the brain. It has been shown to…

  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Decrease pain levels
  • Promote better sleep
  • Increase focus
  • Strengthen the immune system

There are a ton of practices out there that are used for a variety of purposes that range from better sleep to athletic performance, and even to induce a psychedelic experience. 

The act of controlling your breath helps center your mind. The calmer you feel in the mind the more receptive you are to notice the subtle body. As you relax you begin to make space for clarity. 

Linking the Internal and External World

One of the things about the breath I absolutely love is this give-and-take relationship it provides to your outer and inner world. Every inhale is accompanied by an exhale. You cannot give without also receiving. Your breath is constantly showing you messages about what’s happening inside and what’s happening outside. 

The less you have cluttering your mind and environment the more you can use your breath to focus on getting clear about your life. 

The truth is you don’t need more things. You need less. You need to create space for clarity to come to you. This is an inside job. Conscious breathwork will shine you up from the inside, and clearing your things away will shine your environment on the outside. 

You may not think that all the things are adding to your stress, but it is the micro stressors in life that add up to big issues down the road. We all know the importance of taking care of the big issues but it’s the subtle things that add stagnation to our bodies and mind. Subtle things like clutter. 

We all know that a clean environment helps soothe our minds and helps with production levels. So give it a go, and take it in baby steps. If thinking about cleaning up a whole room seems too overwhelming then start by clearing off a counter, or a drawer. Tiny steps that lead to big rewards. Accompany this by consciously breathing and directing your mind and breath into a space of more clarity. 

4-7-8

One of the more popular breathing techniques popularized by Dr. Weil is 4-7-8 breathing. It’s easy to see why. This is a great stress reliever that focuses the mind and promotes high levels of concentration and relaxation. I suggest practicing this method once a day just after tackling your baby step clearing of clutter. This method will calm you and give you a greater sense of clarity. 

One of the best things about 4-7-8 breathing is that you can do it sitting, or laying down. It’s a great way to put yourself to sleep and reset your nervous system. So how is it done?

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with your feet firmly planted on the ground and your back free from support OR sit in a meditation seat on the floor OR lay flat on your back in bed.
  2. Exhale completely 
  3. Through the nose inhale deeply into your belly for a count of four
  4. Hold your breath at the top for a count of seven
  5. Exhale through the mouth completely with a big whooshing sound as you count to eight
  6. Pause for a moment, empty of breath, and repeat for 10 rounds

That’s it. It just takes a few minutes for you to relax your mind and think more clearly. 

In a world of more is better, choose less and find the clarity you seek. 

A Lesson in Nature Photography with Matt Brashears

Learn Tips, Tricks, and insights from a Pro

Ever wonder what it takes to snap amazing photos in nature? Well, here’s your chance to learn from a pro using the tools you already have; your smartphone!

We all know that feeling of pure bliss and enlightenment brought to us by the intoxicating bounty of nature. She’s an elusive muse whose beauty is impossible to fully capture. Mother nature has a way of hiding her true essence from a camera lens. Even the most phenomenal moments captured on film are dull in comparison to the actual wonder of it all. Every once in a while you might get lucky with a picture you snapped on a mountain lookout or when the sun is reflecting off the water in the perfect way, but without an understanding of how to take good pictures, you will always be chasing that perfect picture. 

Matt Brashears is here to help. He loves nature and photography. He has spent years getting to know his camera and his iPhone as a tool to capture nature in its truest form, and this Sunday, June 12th, he’s going to share his tips with you!

Here in Washington State, we are surrounded by the world of nature. We are lucky to be home to 3 national parks, 124 state parks, and an endless amount of city parks and wildlife areas that include 19 marine life parks and 11 historical parks. For those of us who love the great outdoors, it doesn’t get much better. 

Explore with your IPhone

With our phones handy at any given moment you can snap a quick picture anywhere. As our phones advance, great photography isn’t just for the pros anymore. Matt is going to arm you with a few simple tips and techniques so you can easily snap beautiful photographs of wildlife and landscapes.

Cougar Mountain will be our setting for this photography lesson. A place close to Matt’s heart. He found solace in this regional park during COVID. Turning an incredibly hard time into one of the happiest years of his life. He vowed to hike as much as possible while figuring out the new norm that would last 18 months. He ended up hiking 1,500 miles, all on the trails of Cougar Mountain. He knows every inch of it and has seen it in every season. 

Not only did he use this time to keep a healthy mind and body, but he also witnessed and came to know the local wildlife. Including bears (and cubs). He even recalls a meeting with the same snail twice! He has photos of the shell markings in 2 photos of the snail taken a year apart. He came to know the owls and they allowed him close access to their personal space. He jokes about becoming so in tune with this mountain that he actually smelled a deer before seeing her. 

Matt says… 

“To me, nature photography is a celebration of nature, an attempt to capture and preserve a sliver of the joy it brings.”

He reflects how the happiest periods in his life correspond to the times he’s lived in daily contact with nature. Memories of nature flow all the way back to his childhood. 

What to expect

This 4-mile hike with Matt will be easily accessible and fairly easy to moderate. As with all Breathe in Nature events, we will begin with some breathing. Guiding your senses into the surrounding trees. We’ve located the perfect grove of cedars to sit beneath just off the trail’s edge so we won’t be disturbed. For about 15-20 minutes you will do guided breathwork that allows you to close out the world of responsibility and expectation and open up to the beauty of the moment.

Returning to the trail, all you will need is your smartphone (or an actual camera if you choose). Matt will talk about personal perspective and framing. Being clear on these two things will give you the most control over the quality of your photos. He will give a lesson on both. 

You will be challenged to identify your vantage point. 

  • Will you lie down? 
  • shooting straight up? 
  • straight down? 

You will be asked about framing 

  • What do you wish to include in the shot?
  • What are you leaving out?
  • What is your focus?
  • What is the best placement of the main focus?

Matt has a great one-pager of Photo Challenges that he uses when teaching photography at the Renton Community Center. It’s like a scavenger hunt for photos designed to help you think about options and make the right choice for your desired outcome.

Breathe, Photo, and Hike

During our time together you will awaken your senses to the natural world around you, and capture amazing photos while enjoying this hidden gem located in the Newcastle area. 

You can check out this hike and the remaining hikes at Breathe in Nature. 

Make Peace With Reality By Learning to Tell the Truth

The Practice of Living with Integrity

One of the quickest ways to propel your life in a positive direction is to get in the habit of telling the truth. And if the truth seems like too much to bear, then at the very least, don’t make false statements. Be mindful about the words you speak and learn when to hold your tongue. Truth is the ultimate weapon if you want to make peace with reality.

In the book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz says “Be Impeccable with your word.” He suggests that you never use your words to gossip about yourself or others. We all know how a simple lie can turn against us. Feeding into more lies to keep the original lie in tack, only to end up betraying ourselves in the process. 

Spreading emotional poison is one way we dig our own graves. Your life will become simpler, and less anxiety-filled when you take gossip out of your life. Gossip is poison, and the more you do it the more you and others begin to see an altered view of a situation or an individual. 

Rumors and gossip are a way of taking your truth and manipulating the world to see your perspective to get results that benefit you to the detriment of others.

By keeping your mouth shut instead of involving yourself in untrue or altered opinions you will notice a sense of lightness. No more trying to keep stories straight or manipulate people to get what you want. You will feel more grounded in reality and reality is the common place where all paths cross. 

Some people are so used to lying and manipulating by way of gossip that they believe their personal opinions to be the entire truth. You cannot manipulate the world, and even if you do get ahead by this method, karma will come back for you. 

We’ve all been there: caught up in a lie that we can’t get out of, and things never work out great. 

Listen to Your Body

Our bodies know when something is true or not. If you listen to how your body feels physically when you say something you will know if your words are true for you or not. 

Pay attention to your gut. 

  • Do you feel grounded in the truth of your words?
  • Do you feel disconnected?
  • Do you feel weak?

Clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson suggests that in all his years of work he has never seen anyone get away with anything, EVER. He says, “Everything you do to manipulate or hurt another for your own benefit will absolutely come back to haunt you and usually in a magnified way.”

Truth and Reality

You might be thinking about your own experiences, times you gossiped or manipulated others to think your way to fit in. You might be thinking of times gossip was used against you and how terrible it hurt. These experiences are put in our path to remind us to strive toward truth. We’ve all hurt and have been hurt by lies, gossip, and the manipulating power they hold. We can reflect on these incidences in our own lives whenever we catch ourselves about to speak unkindly about another. Experience is our teacher. When looking to lessen stress and anxiety plant your words in reality; the collective truth of many. 

This doesn’t mean to not speak your own truth. We certainly must in order to grow. It means knowing when you are about to say something untrue or to the detriment of another. 

Practice this and you will see positive changes occur in your life. 

Truth and Love

We are all seeking truth and we are all creatures of love. We want love so badly that we do deceitful things to attain it. This, we know, never works. You need trust to build love. Love is trust. They go hand in hand. Practice telling more of the truth and you will inevitably start to see more love surround you. 

We are all flawed, and it’s easy to point out the damaged parts we see in others. Somewhere along the line, we found this as a way to perverse our own ego. It didn’t work in the past, and it won’t work now. We do no good for ourselves and those around us by throwing black magic around with our words. We can do so much more for ourselves and others by speaking words of hope and transformation. 

We can manifest a brilliant reality by pouring out love through our words. 

  • Wouldn’t you want to live in a world ruled by people courageous enough to speak their truth from a place of love? 
  • How nice would it be to disagree with another without dirt being flung? 

Courage to Speak the Truth

We all tell little white lies to keep others safe, but we also want people to be honest with us. Life can be cruel and we all go through times when it feels like the world has turned against us. During these times it’s easy to see the bitter side of us come out. It’s easy to look at someone who seemingly has it all and want to tear them down. It takes courage to continue to be grounded in truth. 

When you are given the option to join in gossip and continue the spread of lies or have the courage to not get involved, you will find taking the high road will guide you out of your own misery much faster and with much more support from the universe. 

In any situation where you choose truth over lies, you will always have reality on your side. 

The moment you choose to fall back into gossip, reality will turn away from you. Making it much harder to find forward momentum in your life and you will find yourself back in a place of self-loathing and drinking from the cup of arrogance. 

Being honest with yourself and others is the fastest way to change your current circumstance. Until you are willing to be honest with your life and all of the good (or bad) that surrounds you, you will never change anything, and your life will continue to unfold in the same way. 

Your words can either bind you to others or tear you away from them. When you have mutual trust with another and know they will always be honest with you, you can get a lot of work done. When trust is missing, things get really hard. No one knows what you’re up to and what your motives are. You will feel alone and continue to corrupt the truth to your advantage. 

Integrity

A trait that we all look for in others is integrity. Those who have successfully used their voice in a way that speaks to many with being manipulative or dishonest. These are the type of people we strive to be like. The type of people who push us to be better. 

Integrity comes at a price. You must be willing to let the ego rest and serve others. Be honest, follow through with our words, and share compassion towards everyone…Including yourself. 

How much would your life change if you started talking to yourself as though you cared about yourself?

Self-Love is Self-truth

A big factor in the gossip and lies we spread has to do with how much we love ourselves. When you’re living in love you aren’t thinking about hurting others. When your mind is filled with thoughts of abundance you’re not noticing the lack in others. As the saying goes, “hurt people, hurt people.”

When others have what you want you have two choices…

  1. Live in resentment and use your words to hurt them
  2. Stand behind truth and ask yourself the right questions to figure out how you too can have those things.

Finding your truth requires deep inquiry into your life. This may feel uncomfortable, so you much show up as though you love yourself and ask the hard questions.

  • How did I play a role in my circumstances?
  • How can I live with more integrity?
  • How can I choose to show up for my family/ relationship/ job?
  • How can I fall in love with my career?
  • What tools can I put into place to resist my temptations?
  • What can I be doing every day to optimize my happiness?
  • What is my life vision?
  • What do I truly want?
  • What am I doing to take care of my mental and physical well-being?

Instead of spending time worrying about others and being drawn into the dramas of other people’s lives, try and focus on cleaning up your own dramas. Get honest with yourself. See reality for what it is and begin to lay out a strategy to move you towards a brighter tomorrow. 

Keep yourself grounded in reality by stepping into truth and away from a false sense of who you are. 

Here’s a breath practice that helps you know when your words are not in alignment with your true nature.

In Search of Your Person? They Could be Closer than you think

The Time Has Come to Reframe How We Look for “The One”

A friend of mine is going through her second divorce. Ugh. What an incredibly hard thing to witness: This beautiful soul is broken. Feeling like a failure, unsure, ungrounded, and embarrassed. She has put so much pressure on herself to be a perfect image of happiness and success. All the while dying silently inside and scared to reveal her hand to the world. Now she is at a crossroads once again. 

Last time was a fight and no love was lost in the battle of all things as they separated the kids, their lives, and possessions. This time is cordial, there is a lot of love, and things feel amicable. 

She said to me that she loves this person, she’s just not sure if it’s her person

This got me thinking…

  • Am I with my person? 
  • Do I have a person?
  • What if I don’t have a person?
  • What does it mean to be someone’s person?

I’ve never thought of my relationships in this way. It suddenly felt like a lot of pressure. The more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t breathe. Is this how my friend feels? Spending time wondering if she is with the right person instead of enjoying the person in front of her? 

This felt constricting and left me with a sense of abandonment. I began reflecting back on the past loves and romances of my life. Forgotten dreams, broken expectations, and a young heart unaware of the beauty in it all. For me, the truth is I could have made it work with any of these humans. Some felt hard and heavy, some felt light and fun, but ultimately I always felt as though finding my person was a choice. 

The wonderful human who I share my life with today is a gift. A gift I understand only because of the broken dreams from my past. And after almost 15 years together I do, on occasion, lose sight of the big picture and wonder what the heck?! No doubt that sentiment goes both ways.

It’s even true to say that the person I expected to be spending my life with is not the person I am spending my life with. 

He is but a dream.

A dream that I like to fantasize about from time to time. Wondering what he’s up to and how I could have been so blind to let him go. But then the fantasy dies and I remember the hurtful words and life choices that feel so unforgivable. 

But for a time, he was my person. And so I understand. 

Your person is who you choose it to be. And if it doesn’t work with this person you can go and find another, but at the end of the day, your person is you. 

You cannot truly be open to loving another if you are not willing to love yourself. 

Our society puts a lot of pressure on us to find our person, when the answer is, that person is within. The answer is slowing down to connect to your breath. The answer is learning to fall in love with yourself. 

Then whoever you decide to bring into your life can accentuate your beauty and love, not define it. It’s time to take the pressure off. 

Ask the right questions

Committing to sharing your life with another human is a huge deal that we often rush into because of lust or infatuation. We get so lost in the feeling of new and exciting love that it’s hard to step back and see a picture of what the future may be. During this time in a relationship, everyone is showcasing their best selves, and you can only see the positives about this glorious person before you. You start to dream about your life together and what it will be like. 

Then you find yourself a couple years into a relationship and you start focusing on what your partner isn’t doing and a cycle of external validation begins. But it’s not about the relationship, it’s about you. It’s about what you see as missing. This might be a sign that it’s time for your growth or change and you might not want to take that action so you throw it on your partner and your partner does the same thing in response to you. It’s time to stop expecting your partner to meet your every need and time to start meeting your own needs so you can show up wholly in your relationships.

What if instead of concentrating on finding that perfect person (just to be let down) you started asking yourself more insightful questions. 

  • Who have I been as a partner?
  • Who do I want to be as a partner? 
  • How am I choosing to show up in my relationship every day?
  • How do I want to show up for my partner?

Make the journey about you! Ultimately it is anyway. Both staying in a relationship and walking away from one are hard choices that come with their own times of growth. But before you give up or walk away from a relationship simply because you’ve lost sight of that wonder and magic, ask yourself what are you truly walking away from?

Disagreements are good, it means you are growing and willing to argue. But in order to do that effectively, you need to be able to open your heart and assume your partner has something of value to offer. Only then can you decide if the relationship should be maintained. 

Breathwork is a tool that helps put you in your body. 

When relationships are new and fresh you are breathing from an open heart and the potential is endless. It’s during this state of blooming possibilities that we strive to be better, and it is in the striving that we come alive. Maintaining relationships takes more work because the shiny exterior has worn off in the attainment of the relationship. Now, in a time of growth, you need to decide to keep loving from an open heart. The goal is no longer securing the relationship, but alleviating suffering for another human being by loving them. Not creating more strife. And your breath can guide you to understand what your next best step should be. 

You know when things are off. You can see the way your ego plays games to make any situation feel the way you want it to. 

If you are constantly looking to be saved, found, or rescued then you are missing the opportunity to breathe into your own power and save yourself. 

Right now you can decide to own your relationship, your job, your financial situation, Anything! You can decide to place gratitude there. You can decide to act like you have it all when you don’t. You can shift your lens to see what you love about your situation and own the story you’ve been telling yourself. Simply by using your breath.

Belgian psychotherapist Ester Perel says…

“The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives.”

And the quality of our lives can drastically change by how we breathe. 

When you are frustrated, living in blame and resentment your breathing is fast and shallow. You are not fully nourishing your cells. This affects your thinking, decision-making, and energy levels. Pile that on top of all of the other daily stresses and it’s easy to see how the person we share our lives with can become a target for our own sense of lack and uncertainty. 

When it comes to finding a partner I’ve tried them all on. The rebel, the partier, the much too good looking, the romantic, and the unique. They were all just a reflection of myself. 

Today I can 

  • Sit with my breath and be the rebel of solitude in the face of hardship.
  • Use my breath to bring energy to the room and reflect on the party girl inside.
  • Be still and breathe deep into the beauty of who I am.
  • Control my emotions to say what needs to be said and be the vulnerable romantic I am.
  • Express my unique spirit without worrying about what others may think.
  • Inhale my truth and exhale my fears. 

I can breathe out all of this because I am my person. Nobody gave these qualities to me. Romances of my past just allowed me to find them in myself. 

My friend is lost in the external search and has lost control of her breath. Her power has been put into the approval and expectations of others. She has forgotten that she is the person she is in search of. 

My friends, I invite you to look inward. Be your person. 

Fall in love with yourself so fiercely that the love you hold inside attracts only that which you are. 

***Interested in learning more about connecting to your breath as a way to make conscious decisions from an open heart? Watch Maintaining Positive Relationships One Breath at a Time on my youtube channel and check out my 4-week online course, Breath Mindset, to start using your breath as your greatest tool.

Tune Your Frequency to a New Vibration Using the Law of Attraction

Energy Flows Where Attention Goes

Have you ever been in the market for a new car? You catch yourself spending time on cargurus.com and weighing the pros and cons of each model until you finally find the one. The purchase of this car is now central in your life. You’re thinking about it, you are figuring out the budget, and a strange thing starts to occur in the world…

You start to see this car everywhere you look. One just drove by you, another one is parked next to yours at the grocery store, and then another one at the stop sign. You never realized how popular the car was. 

You have probably noticed this in other ways too. Like my friend gave birth to a beautiful little girl, Lucy. Suddenly I see little baby girls named Lucy everywhere. 

These are examples of the universe reflecting back to you this powerful law: The law of attraction. It cannot be escaped. We get what we focus on and see what resonates with our understanding of the world. This is a wonderful thing and it is always present. 

The law of attraction is always working whether you believe in it or not. 

The law of attraction is the reason why successful people take ownership of their success while unsuccessful people do not. 

Unsuccessful people are victims. They’re the people who blame everyone around them for the troubles in their life. They have lost sight of the fact that everything in their life was created by them, and only them. 

This is a hard pill to swallow. 

Everything in your life, even the things you are currently complaining about you created. 

Everything, EVERYTHING in your life is a reflection of the thoughts you’ve been thinking. Everything. 

So if you are looking to better your life or a circumstance then it’s time to take a closer look at the thoughts you’ve been thinking. 

We live by a set of patterns. Every day you get up on the same side of the bed, you brush your teeth, check your phone, make the coffee, drive to work, and play out a series of programs that you do day after day after day. The moment your feet hit the floor in the morning your mind begins to run through the usual dramas and stories you’ve been running for days and days and days. And here’s the secret…

Nothing changes if nothing changes. 

Ask yourself this…

What is it that you truly want?

  • Better health?
  • More money?
  • A dream job?
  • A perfect partner?
  • Travel?
  • A home in the country?

Are you even clear on what you want? And why you want it? Most people aren’t, but let’s say you are. Now ask yourself this…

What are my habitual thoughts around this want?

  • Abundance or Lack?
  • Possible or Impossible?
  • Realistic or Unrealistic?
  • Worthy or Unworthy?
  • Selfish or Unselfish?

Most of us throw layers of limiting beliefs on the things we want most in life. We see them as easy for someone else but not for ourselves. We want the big house, the beautiful partner, the dream job, but something in us is telling us it isn’t possible. A limiting belief. 

If you aren’t sure what limiting belief you have that’s holding you back, just take a look around your life: What do you see as missing? This is the easiest way to see where you have a scarcity mindset. Perhaps it’s a pattern, like being stuck with an unfaithful partners. 

Once identified you can investigate. But be careful to not fall into the cozy conditioning of the victim. Yes, you have a stream of disloyal partners, financial setbacks or yo-yo dieting, but what is the common denominator? 

YOU!

You are, and people from all over the world, people just like you, people with less resources, connections, and stability have found a way out of those patterns and so can you. 

Next time you start to see yourself as a victim of circumstance, close your eyes, take a few deep slow conscious breaths and begin to visualize yourself as the most powerful magnet on earth (because…FYI, you are the most powerful magnet on earth). Now thinking of yourself as a victim seems risky. It’s best to use that magnet energy to focus on what you do want. Use the power of thought to think about all the things that could go right.

Even when this feels silly or like a lie, keep going. If you have 50 pounds to lose and you keep thinking about how much weight you need to lose, the universe is going to keep giving you an opportunity to have 50 pounds to lose. Your thought is stuck in repeat on losing weight causing you to be more worried and anxious about losing weight. You might even start saying things like, “I can’t lose weight” or “dieting doesn’t work for me” or worse, you might start making jokes to cover your pain and shame around it by saying hurtful things about yourself and your perceived appearance. 

This mindset is attracting more of what you don’t want.

I know, I know, this is a hard concept. I get it. I’m asking you to own everything in your life. Even the trauma you didn’t ask for and you certainly didn’t deserve. I’m asking you to think differently about the circumstances in your life. Instead of dragging misery around and playing the blame game for the lack you see in your life, I’m asking you to use it as a sign to help guide you to where you do want to go. 

Fuel your life by owning your circumstances

We all see parts of our life that could be better, and the good news is you absolutely can start to create a reality worthy of you simply by changing your focus. 

This can seem hard at first, so I suggest thinking of it as a game. Start small and begin attracting small things into your life like a free cup of coffee or flirty interaction with your cute neighbor. Let it be light, let it be fun. 

As your vibration grows in the field of attracting what you do want you can get bold with your mindset and turn towards more meaningful things. 

You are a vibrational being and like attracts like, so you will never attract a faithful partner if you are always emitting a vibration of catching them being unfaithful. It’s like tuning your frequency to see what you like and what you want.  

Just like a radio dial; if you want to listen to R&B you are never going to align with it if you are tuned to a folk radio station. 

Repeating the same story of what you want in your life will begin to vibrate louder the more you are tuned to what you are trying to attract. You are the creator of your thoughts and energy flows where attention goes. It is super powerful and you are in the driver’s seat. 

Life is happening no matter how you choose to think

It’s important to remember that no matter where your thinking is, life will continue to unfold. You might still get a flat on the side of a highway on your way to the biggest interview of your life. The difference will be played out in what circumstances happen around the event. 

In one scenario…

  • You might scream and think “I knew it! Things never go right for me.” It might start to rain and the tow truck doesn’t show up for 6 hours while you stew.

Or in another scenario you might think…

  • I’m lucky I’m safe and no one was hurt. You send thoughts of gratitude for being stuck under an overpass shielding you from the rain, and the handsome tow truck driver and you totally connect and are planning to see eachother again. 

The universe and our place in it is a mystery not meant to be solved. But at the same time, there are universal truths guiding us to experience a more joyful existence.

Everyone goes through a hard time, but the quickest way to move through it is to check in with your thoughts. 

  • Where are you putting your energy? 
  • Where can you practice more gratitude? 
  • Where are you playing the victim? 

We ask these questions to guide us, not to shame us or place judgment, but to grow. 

Breathe in Gratitude

Here’s a practice in gratitude that can be done in 5-10 minutes a day. Whenever you catch yourself focusing on the negative or what could go wrong, stop yourself in the moment and think about what you would rather experience. 

Then take a few moments to visualize and feel into this new experience. Notice how your breath changes when you switch your thoughts from what you don’t want to what you do. Notice the tension melt as you envision yourself experiencing a vibration of prosperity rather than scarcity.

Now let’s breathe into this new feeling:

  • Find a long straight back either sitting in a meditation seat or by moving to the edge of your seat so your feet can plant firmly into the floor.
  • Soften or close your eyes.
  • Place your hands over your heart (this releases oxytocin into the body, promoting a more compassionate vibration).
  • Take a deep inhale in through your nose, slow and steady.
  • Hold for a moment as you reflect on your new thoughts of abundance.
  • Exhale out through pursed lips, slow, steady, and longer than the inhale.
  • Repeat for 5-10 rounds. 
  • Inhale in thoughts of abundance.
  • Exhale out tension, lack, and negativity.

Let me guide you through a breath meditation here

Immerse Yourself in a Full Moon, Lunar Eclipse Gong Bath

Treat Your Senses to a Full Spectrum of Sensation

If you love the great outdoors, then you don’t want to miss this rare opportunity to get under a full moon during a lunar eclipse to experience a soothing gong bath. 

There’s no comparison to the healing elements of Mother Nature. Few things are as relaxing as sitting under a canopy of trees, feeling grounded to the earth, closing your eyes, taking a couple of slow deep breaths, listening to the water streaming by, and allowing all your senses to open to the healing powers of nature.

With all your senses heightened and relaxed, you open up space to connect deeply with the world around you. 

This event is designed to be a totally immersive experience. Jill Mattern will be our guide and she’s prepared every detail. Allowing you time to unwind and engage in this stress-relieving gong bath. 

This is an event for those looking to find a deeper sense of mindfulness through a variety of sensory experiences focusing on deepening your connection to the ever-present now. 

Let Nature Be Your Guide

Connecting with nature is as simple as getting outside, but Jill is aiming to guide you deeper on this journey so you can fully experience all the benefits.

The grounding sensations of nature have a profound effect to tune you into your own wisdom. 

On Sunday, May 15th, Jill will work with the elements by engaging all your senses

  • Hear the sounds of nature working in perfect harmony
  • See the ancient wisdom flowing naturally as one
  • Smell the essential tree oils, and healing river essence
  • Taste the natural freshness that surrounds you
  • Feel the perfect unkempt soil beneath you

Jill’s guidance will have you soaking in all the flavors of the forest so you can become one with the joy and calm inside you.

It is in this stillness that the restorative sounds of nature begin to mix with the elusive gong. Bathing you in the mix of deep resounding vibration, running water, rustling leaves, and opening you up to the wonder of it all. Reminding you that you are indeed a part of a larger whole.

An Inviting Invitation

This awakening experience has the potential to inspire new ways of being and connecting to others. Helping you to see the world beyond your current experience and expand how you think about your place and purpose here.

Universally nature is seen as a way to enhance our health, but there are other benefits as well. Add the healing sounds of the gong and you have entered a new form of meditation. 

Sound is an ancient form of healing that can aid in…

  • Relaxation
  • Emotional Release
  • Thought Processing
  • Sleep 

Sound healing allows your brain to move into slower wave states. In these more theta states your brain has space to process in a way that promotes a more parasympathetic nervous system response. Better known as “rest & digest”.

Opening Your Subconscious Mind

Bathing in nature paired with healing vibrations can stimulate an altered state of consciousness. Creating a trance-like state can be extremely healing when you are fully absorbed. 

This may feel a little woo-woo at first, but once you give yourself over to the power of it all you will feel the harmonics of the gong move through every inch of your being and like a wave of release stress slowly disappear. Leaving you calm, balanced, and mentally clear.

After about 45 minutes of gong therapy under the full moon, Jill will guide you back to body consciousness. This is a rebirth into the sights and sounds surrounding you. The journey will end as everyone makes their way to the warming fire. In silence, we will arrive together, and just like people have done throughout time, we will share in our experience collectively while enjoying hot tea. 

Your Innate Knowing of What is Needed to Uplift and Clear You

This can be a moving and powerful experience. Shining our souls from the inside is a fantastic way to detox the negative energy stuck in our minds and body. Each individual is likely to have a personal experience ranging from deeply emotional to extremely energized. 

About your Guide

When Jill Mattern moved to Washington State from the Midwest for a service year with AmeriCorps. It was during this time that she sought the question: what does it mean to be free and to live a life of purpose and joy? 

With this question in mind, she started a journey. 

  • She sought mentorship by Indigenous Women while studying and taking part in Native American rituals, including a Vision Quest
  • She studied and worked with Civil Rights activists, earned a certification in Kingian Nonviolence
  • She developed and facilitated mindfulness practices for elementary-aged students, becoming a certified Kid’s Yoga Teacher
  • She worked at the university level focusing on social justice, and in elementary schools serving diverse populations.

But it wasn’t until the summer of 2017 during a solo 100-mile hike that she realized the answer to her question was inside all along…

True sovereignty comes from within, and we all have the internal resources to tap into our own joy and potential. 

Jill’s yoga practice was instrumental in this realization. Finding her own inner peace, she began studying this ancient technology eventually becoming a certified yoga teacher and outdoor mindfulness guide. She is thrilled to be able to share the practice with others. 

Her workshops weave together ancient yogic traditions with modern science to give students a holistic understanding of the mind and body connection. Being in nature, immersed in sound, postures, and breath, students will strengthen their nervous system allowing them to feel more vibrant, alive, and ultimately, free.

What Jill has to say about this event

You’re invited to experience the healing vibrations of sound and nature. Blending the power of nature to renew and restore, and the gong, an ancient ceremonial instrument used to heal the body and mind, you’ll enjoy a powerful sonic and sensory experience.

We will meet during the full moon total lunar eclipse, just before sunset. An eclipse is known as a Full Moon on steroids and happens when the moon is opposing the sun, and the earth’s shadow is cast upon the moon. During a lunar eclipse, the shadow of the Earth falls across the face of the moon bringing unconscious feelings to the surface. Lunar eclipses are culminations of emotional cycles that have run their course, and they encourage us to let go of emotions and attachments that are no longer serving us.

Endings are necessary in order to make way for the new and a lunar eclipse is like the final purge or cleaning of an emotional cycle, if something needs to come to an end, an eclipse can help you set the intention of completion in concrete.

After a year of Trauma, we have a lot stored in our system.  Let’s use this auspicious day to release what is no longer serving us by using nature, breath, the moon’s energy, and sound.  There are numerous scientific benefits to spending time in nature including increased feelings of well-being and lower stress and anxiety. This healing is enhanced through the use of a 4ft foot gong. Laying in nature, under a full moon, the deep tonal frequencies of the gong ease the mind and physical body into a state of total relaxation. The gong tones allow for inner exploration and self-guided healing and can help reset the nervous system to its optimal function. 

The session begins by setting an intention, gentle stretching, followed by breathwork, a guided meditation eventually leading into a gong bath meditation.

The full moon energy is used for releasing old habits, patterns, behaviors, and energies. To support your healing intentions or release and renewals, participants will be gifted a curated set of gemstones to supercharge the evening’s intention. 

Looking for more information. Check it out here. It is the second of 6 in a series called Breathe in Nature. 

Happening Sunday, May 15th.

5pm meet-up

6pm start time

9pm wrap up

Undisclosed location along the Snoqualmie River

Spring Clean Your Breath With These 3 Breathing Practices

Detox Your Lungs to Feel Refreshed

Spring is in the air! A time to emerge from the stillness of winter, pull back the blinds, and watch as new life takes form. As the sun shines its light on us we feel refreshed. There’s a sense of connection that is undeniable between us and nature. And just as we find ourselves de-cluttering our home so too must we cleanse our internal space. Detoxing ourselves of unwanted emotions that became stagnant over the long cold winter. 

Winter is a time to slow down, be still, and reflect on days past. It is also a time of imbalance due to the lack of sunlight, outdoor activity, and an excessive amount of sitting. This can cause…

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Loneliness

Add the effects piling up from the pandemic and it’s easy to see why so many are burdened with the stress caused by SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Your breath is a built-in source of connectivity; Helping you to feel revived as the dark clouds part for more sunny days ahead. 

Below are 3 simple breathing techniques to help you connect to a deep full breath. Making room inside for you to clear space to breathe into a new season of life. 

  1. Breath of Fire

This is a popular breathing technique that shows up in many yoga classes. Doing this for 7 minutes will completely cleanse your bloodstream. I always suggest doing this deep cleansing breathwork in the morning. It helps get you up and moving because it stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. The quick sharp exhales help move energy and detox any stagnant air that has built up in the lungs. 

To do this technique…

  • Find your seat, either cross-legged or hips to heels.
  • Back is tall and eyes are closed or fixed on one point.
  • Place hands on your thighs, lap, or against your ribcage to feel the sharp movement.
  • Inhale through the nose, allowing the air to move deep into your belly.
  • Without pausing, exhale forcefully through your nose as your abdominal muscles contract in.
  • Keep doing this action at about one exhale per second. 
  • The inhales will happen naturally, just focus on the exhales.
  • Continue at this rapid pace for about 30 seconds to start. 
  • Practice daily in the morning and increase the time as you grow. 

The challenge with Breath of Fire is to start in small increments. There is a tendency to move your shoulders with your breath and go too fast. You want to maintain control over your breath so start with 30 seconds of focused exhales. Shoulders remain still and keep a pace of one exhale per second. I like to set a metronome on my phone to help me keep the pace. 

Because this is stimulating breathwork, it is not uncommon to get dizzy, light-headed, or feel nauseous. You are moving energy that has been hanging out in the bottom of your lungs for a long time so this is to be expected. Also because of the intense pumping of your stomach muscles, I would avoid this one if you are pregnant or on your moon cycle. 

Breath of Fire is sure to set your day in a more positive direction and is a fast, effective way to stimulate and regulate your nervous system. 

  1. Alternate Nostril Breathing

This is a fantastic way to balance the right and left hemispheres of your brain. It can be done at any time that feels most natural to you. Because of its balancing nature, it can be used to help bring your energy up if you’re feeling low, or calm you down if you are feeling anxious. Not only does this breathwork balance you out but it helps you find focus, too. 

If you are new to Alternate Nostril Breathing I recommend keeping a tissue handy. This work can get a little snotty and might feel impossible at first. If you are sick or congested you might want to hold off until you can better access your breath equally through both nostrils. 

This is a fairly simple practice, but it does take time to get all the moving parts down correctly. I do recommend watching a video on how to perform this one correctly here

As you balance your brain, there is a lot to think about:

  • Keep your breath pattern slow and smooth. 
  • Focus on your breath and hand movement to remind you where you are in the cycle.
  • Your breath should feel controllable throughout the practice.

You will be forcefully directing air in one nostril and out the other using your right hand. There is a hand mudra performed here that we will not be getting into today. For our purposes, of just learning the technique, you will keep it simple. Using just your thumb and pointer fingers. 

To practice alternate nostril breathing:

  • Sit in a comfortable position.
  • Place your left hand on your left knee or in your lap.
  • Exhale completely.
  • Use the right thumb to close the right nostril.
  • Inhale through the left nostril.
  • Pinch the left nostril with your pointer finger.
  • Open the right nostril and exhale through this side.
  • Stay here.
  • Inhale through the right nostril.
  • Pinch closed this nostril.
  • Open the left nostril and exhale through the left side.
  • This is one cycle.
  • Continue for 5 to 10 rounds.
  • Always complete the practice by finishing with an exhale on the left side.

If you are left-hand dominant feel free to reverse the whole pattern. Traditionally you wouldn’t do this, but I say if it helps you breathe, then go for it. 

Once you have the pattern down add a count to help your breaths be slow and steady. 

  • Inhale for a 4 count.
  • Hold for a 2 count while you pinch and switch from your thumb to your pointer.
  • Exhale for a 4 count.
  • Short pause.
  • Inhale for a 4 count.
  • Hold for a 2 count while you pinch and switch from your pointer to your thumb.
  • Exhale out for a 4 count.

Alternate Nostril Breathing is one of the best ways to balance out your nervous system and anchor you into the moment. Leaving you feeling relaxed and cleansed.

  1. Stop and Smell the Flowers

Here’s a fun one you can do with the kids. Exploring your breath is fun and inviting. In many ways, it is a game to be played that brings you closer to a deeper understanding of self. Encouraging kids to get involved and become aware of how their bodies work is something that they can use their entire life. 

Stop and smell the flowers guides you through a simple visualization that encourages deep full breaths.

  • Find a comfortable seat where you feel relaxed with a straight spine.
  • Soften or close your eyes.
  • Begin to visualize yourself running through a field of the most beautiful wildflowers.
  • Take a moment to discover all the colors, sizes, and shapes. Notice how each one is unique.
  • Let your eyes come to rest on the most beautiful flower you’ve ever seen. Visualize every detail about it as you move in closer to observe.
  • See yourself sitting eye to eye with it. Taking in the color, size, and shape.
  • Bring your nose right to the heart of the flower and take a nice smooth deep inhale.
  • Hold it in at the top of your breath and feel the essence of spring. 
  • Open your mouth and exhale it all out with a nice refreshing sigh.
  • Smile.
  • Stay with the same flower letting your imagination explore the field as you continue to breathe in the aroma and exhale with a sigh. 
  • About 5 or 6 rounds will have you feeling calm, clear, and rejuvenated.

Naturally cleanse from the inside out with Conscious Connected Breathwork

Focusing on your breath for as little as five minutes a day helps release tension carried in the mind and the body. Mentally, emotionally, and physically you can begin to detox naturally with every exhale. At the end of five focused minutes, you will feel more relaxed. Your blood will be cleansed, your mind clear, and your nervous system balanced. 

I help clients breathe through all kinds of issues:

  • Help restore balance to the stress response systems.
  • Bring calm to an agitated mind.
  • Relieve symptoms of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Improve physical health and endurance.
  • Elevate performance.
  • Aid in sleep deprivation.

If you are interested in learning more, I am here to guide you. 

Whether you are local to the Seattle area or looking for assistance remotely, I can help. Allow me to guide you in this experience of transformative healing.

Learn more about my in-person and virtual offerings HERE.

When Standing Up For What’s Right Leaves You Feeling Like The Bad Guy

The Hard Reality of Doing the Right Thing

We all know that the right and moral thing to do when becoming aware of the injustices of the world is to speak up. Do the right thing. Don’t sit by and watch it happen. This is something we universally feel is right. But what we don’t talk about is how vulnerable and often alone one feels when speaking up. We forget that the witness is often tossed into a situation that they would rather not be associated with. And how speaking out for what’s right is often at the price of stepping away from something you love. 

It’s probably fair to say that we have all witnessed something along our journey that didn’t sit well within our souls, yet we remained silent. 

  • Silent because we feared being called out ourselves. 
  • Silent because we were trying to fit in. 
  • Silent because our jobs depended on it.
  • Silent because we felt powerless to do anything.

These experiences help us find our courage when another opportunity is shown. Yes, it will still feel scary. You may be shaking as you speak or lose your train of thought. After all, you didn’t anticipate being faced with a moral dilemma today. But you do know what right and wrong feel like, so you can sleep better knowing you had the courage to speak up. 

It seems that in today’s world there are a lot of opportunities to get involved and rally for change, equality, and freedom. The trouble is it is equally as easy to sit behind a computer and judge everyone else without any repercussions. It takes courage to stand up and say something, knowing it would be easier not to. But at what cost are we keeping our mouths shut?

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” Albert Einstein

Over this past week, a colleague of mine did something that ruffled my feathers! A direct violation of conduct was breached. I was immediately upset and clearly was able to communicate the harmful indecency of the matter. At the time I thought that it went without saying that what this person did was wrong. Being a witness to something that breaks a barrier of human decency and left a fellow colleague embarrassed, belittled, and defeated.

I soon began to realize that others were looking at me as the problem. The organization involved was anxious to sweep this bad behavior under the rug, not wanting to bring too much attention to it, with an attitude of “we all lose our tempers now and again.” They were willing to allow this bad behavior because of this individual’s role within our community. They didn’t want HR involved because of the paper trail it would create and how it could harm this person’s relationship with the organization. 

I was shocked! I knew I couldn’t let this go, and I couldn’t understand how they could let this pass without any kind of repercussion. 

It felt scary to stand up to those telling me to calm down. I began to question myself, and wonder if I really was the problem. 

Thankfully I have my breath practice to help center me when under this kind of pressure. 

One of the things I talk to my clients about all the time is using their breath to stand in their truth. Our breath is so powerful, and because each breathing pattern is associated with a different emotion I was able to discern the strong unsettling emotions I was feeling through a pattern of short tight breaths. I knew this wasn’t normal or right for me, and the more this organization tried to silence me the tighter my breath became. 

I knew that keeping silent to please those around me was the easy path, but that it would start a war within me that I would have to live with for the rest of my life.

Using my breath to center me was my guide. It gave me strength to allow the situation to be uncomfortable. It kept me calm where I could have easily back-pedaled to keep the peace. It allowed me to speak my truth and keep pushing for something to be done or at the very least documented when I could sense the irritation from those in power who would benefit from my silence. 

Before I found my breath my reaction to this situation might have looked very different. I would easily fold at the first sideways glance that I might be causing trouble. I’m a peace-keeper after all, but now, through age and wisdom, I know that sometimes keeping the peace for others can cause years of turmoil within my soul. 

The situation hasn’t been resolved, but steps are being laid to assure prevention of this type of violation of trust and conduct. I believe this path will be long and uncomfortable, but my heart and breath are moving with more ease for sticking with it. 

That’s the thing with breathwork. You never know how valuable it is until you find yourself in a situation where balancing yourself is necessary to proceed. 

If you are interested in using the power of your breath to center and control your emotions in challenging situations, contact me to learn about my one-on-one sessions, or join Breath Mindset. An online course and community designed to help you recognize your own truth being centering into your breath. You can also read up about breathwork in a bunch of my past blogs, like this one, Breathwork is the New Meditation.

Foraging with a Pro

Exploring the Natural World with Alissa Allen

Have you ever wanted to feel more connected to the natural world around you? Have you ever found yourself on a hike wondering what tree you were looking at or whether or not a berry was edible? We are so blessed here in the Pacific Northwest to be surrounded by the wonders of nature. Most of which we know little to nothing about. Alissa Allen is aiming to change all that. 

Connecting With Nature

I had the opportunity to go for a walk in the woods with Alissa over the weekend. Her energy is welcoming and calm and there is a sense of wonder that fills the space. As we begin our short hike through Flaming Geyser State Park she immediately starts pointing out all the wonders that lay at our feet. Fields of Nettles, the first of the season’s Salmonberries, and patches of ground filled with Cottonwood. In the two hours we spent exploring Alissa was able to point out about a dozen varieties of plants and trees and their healing, or medicinal properties. 

Alissa shared with me that she grew up knowing this stuff. Her Mom taught her as a little girl and she’s never stopped discovering in the woods. In fact, she’s made a career out of it. Her love of the great outdoors guided her toward teaching about regional mushrooms and lichen dye palettes. She founded the group Mycopigments and teaches the skill of mushroom and lichen dyeing to fiber arts and mushroom enthusiasts all over the world.

Alissa’s has been featured in publications for both fiber artists and mushroom lovers alike. She discovered this passion in her 20’s and she continues to offer information workshops today. Her foraging has brought her all around the world, including Yosemite where she discovered a new mushroom species. The fungus is named after her: Pouzarella alissae. How totally cool is that.

Alissa is on a mission to inspire people to engage more deeply with nature. This is why I have chosen her to be the opening guest in this season’s Breathe in Nature Series. A series of outdoor adventures geared towards connecting with our breath and nature. Alissa will be joining me on Sunday, April 10th at 9am for the first of 6 adventures. 

Here’s what Alissa has to say about it… 

Wild harvest for a happy heart

Come take a peaceful stroll through the riverside woodland as we slowly take in the natural beauty that surrounds us. Engage all of your senses with the sights, sounds, and fragrances of the forest.

We will talk about forest ecology, healthy habitats, ethical harvest, foraging safety, identification, and processing our finds for use.

You’ll take home recipes for nettle soup, dandelion pickles, balm of Gilead, and more!

Nettles Unmistakable by their leaf shape, prickly appearance, and ability to elicit a painful sting, nettles are one of the most nutritious plant foods found in the spring. Their fiery mechanism is quickly neutralized with bruising and or cooking, which renders them a harmless, luscious green vegetable. Nettles make a comforting emerald soup, a distinctive pesto, and they can be used as a delightful substitute in any recipe that calls for spinach. They are high in iron and other minerals and nutritive when used as tea. 

Balm of Gilead Cottonwood resin is the fragrance of spring. We will be on the lookout for dropped catkins to make our own oil infusion. This oil can be made into a salve, used as a soothing massage oil, or worn as a subtle yet intoxicating natural perfume.

Dandelion with their cheerful yellow glow and friendly association with bees, dandelion flowers are harbingers of warmer days to come. In April, their tightly packed buds are just starting to unfurl. We will look for these hidden gold nuggets for making lacto-fermented pickles. Each chewy bud is a little flavor bomb, packed with vitamins and probiotics – a delectable pickley treat! 

We hope to fill our bags with other tasty nibbles such as spicy watercress, fiddlehead ferns, Japanese knotweed shoots, chickweed, minors lettuce, and more. There are so many wonderful morsels to be collected in the spring months!

Join the Fun

After Alissa, we will be joined by Jill Matterns for a Lunar Eclipse Gong Bath on the full moon of Sunday, May 15th. 

Head over the Breathe in Nature to hear about all the awesome upcoming adventures and to join before it’s too late.