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My intention is to blog once a season about Life Practices in order to share what I am practicing in my life, and to suggest opportunities to join me, as well as ideas to use in your own practice.

floweringSummer Solstice is almost upon us! The daylight hours have been growing since Winter Solstice, each day becoming slightly longer until now, when seen from the North or South Poles, the sun reaches its highest position in the sky and appears to stand still (Latin “sol” or sun and “sistere” or to stand still). In 2014, the Summer Solstice occurs at 5:15 am CT on Saturday, June 21st.

Here in Minnesota, we’ve had a long cold Winter and a very unpredictable Spring—cool, hot, windy, thunder-stormy…but everything is growing and really green!! It turns out that the earth knows how to grow and follow her natural rhythms regardless of how crazy the weather is…

Summer’s gloryblooming radiance—abounds, with a new flower coming into bloom almost every day. We’ve passed from Spring’s early blooming bulbs to Lilacs, to Azaleas, to Lilies of the Valley, to Peonies, to Poppies and Clematis, and more…and now Evening Primrose and Daisies are smiling their sunny faces just in time for the Solstice!

How are you preparing or being prepared to bloom this Summer? What are some ways you can support yourself so that you, like the earth, can flourish this Summer?

You may want to write in a journal, or try a short ritual alone or with friends that could include the following:

  • Sitting outside, on the earth if possible, light a candle, red or orange in color.
  • Take a few deep breaths into your connection with the earth—into your feet or bum or legs, and breathe that connection up into your belly.
  • When you feel grounded, look around you and find one beautiful thing—it may be a flower opening or the light or something else that moves you.
  • Say gently to yourself “Beauty sees beauty.” Feel yourself, as beauty, seeing beauty. Own this, breathe it in…be beauty, breathing in beauty…
  • Continue to breathe as you look around, acknowledging and welcoming more beauty within and without. You might also want to try a different verb—”Beauty sees/hears/touches/senses…beauty.”
  • When you feel filled and beauty-full, say thank you and blow out the candle.

Remember that as this day comes to an end, the days will very slowly become shorter, until at Autumn Equinox, the day and night will be balanced, and by Winter Solstice, we’ll be back to the longest night. Savor and enjoy your own flourishing and beauty with that of the earth this Summer season! May you welcome and find grace in this changing of the seasons.

Being Woman-crpd2Collage as a Practice. My collaging has slowed down recently as I pour more creative energy into my studies (more about that below), my daily practice, the garden, creating healthy meals and new recipes, and other projects.

Being Woman explores the luscious, life-giving, instinctual, ever-renewing, deep Feminine ground that not only supports us but also gives birth to our many human expressions. We arise from and return to Her.

How does She live and arise through you?

KatyNourishing Wholeness: My New Holistic Health & Wellness Coaching Practice! I am so excited to be starting to practice as a Holistic Health & Wellness Coach—it feels like the fulfillment of my life’s journey thus far! Studying with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I also bring my years of practice and training as a Certified Riso-Hudson Enneagram Teacher, an ordained Interfaith Minister, a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader, a Diamond Approach Student, and an Assistant in Sara Avant Stover‘s Red Tent, as well as a Student in her Way of the Happy Woman Certification Program.

I will be taking more clients—both in person and via phone or skype—in September. Please check out my new site: www.NourishingWholeness.net, sign up for my newsletter there, and be in touch if you’d like to set up a free discovery session to talk about your dreams and desires for your health and well-being. I would be honored to support you on this path!

dandelionsFun, Healthy Eating as a Practice! How about instead of battling with the dandelions in your yard, you picked them and ate them instead? Over on my new site, you can read about how to prepare and enjoy dandelion flowers as part of your fun, healthy eating practice! You can also read more about healthy eating and lifestyle tips.

Are there wild things growing in your yard or on your property that you can harvest and eat? I’d love to hear about it!

poppy-tpWomen’s Practice. As women, there’s something we rarely talk about. We pretend it doesn’t happen. Some of us are ashamed by it. Some wish it would simply go away. Even in the most “evolved” and “spiritual” communities, it remains taboo.  Have you guessed what it is?

That’s right: it’s our moon cycle. (Or period or menses or whatever your favorite word for it is.)

Last year, with the guidance of my teacher, friend, and yogini, Sara Avant Stover, a group of really brave women began changing this conversation. This “Moon Tribe” got real and raw about how their moon cycles affect them, their work in the world, and their relationships. It was edgy. Real. And especially valuable and healing—for thousands of women across the world.

If you missed I {Heart} My Moon Cycle last year—or if you’re ready for a booster shot of feminine empowerment—this is for you!  I {Heart} My Moon Cycle is now available as a free, 28-day online immersion. Treat yourself to it, right here: https://bg156.infusionsoft.com/go/moon/a15. Read more on my Nourishing Wholeness blog.

Poetry as a Practice.

Bare branches and silent winter days
are but a memory
as we near summer solstice.

Shades of white snow and crystal blue
have given way to relentless green.

From dormancy rises
a summons to grow
that keeps us on our toes.

No longer shoveling
instead we mow, pull, whack,
and make our choices
around what to trim and tame
and what to let grow wild.

What we know
most especially this time of year
is that everything and everyone
shares this boundless call to grow.

Seasons and cycles give us
quiet reflective times
and periods of busting out.
A pull toward green sprouting
boisterous courageous steps
further in and further out
in this world.

If its inspiration you seek
as you feel the push / pull inside you
of steps in perhaps frightening new directions,
look to the grace of branches
swaying with the weight of vibrant leaves
heavy from new growth and recent rains.
See the way buds stretch skyward
readying for bloom
as if extending a cupped hand
to hold the sun.

You can trust the trees, the flowers,
the bursting green of this season.
Just as you can trust your own yearning
to set your wild spirit free
and grow in directions that call to you

Chris Heeter, Leadership Speaker, Wilderness Guide, Poet
The Wild Institute

 

Blooming and Flourishing Summer Blessings,
Katy Taylor, Holistic Health & Wellness Coach

Nourishing Wholeness

nourishing wholeness

Being Woman

Being Woman-crpd2

She is always here, beneath the surface of our lives
living in bone, in flesh, in blood, in cells, in our human embodiedness

She is that which we spring from, that which we rest into,
that which holds, supports, and sustains us

She is ancestral woman of us all, of the earth’s knowing,
of nature, of the elements, of the seasons

She is the ancient, embodied wisdom of living, of surviving, of thriving,
of tribe, of pleasure, of wholeness

She is pure, natural, healthy instinctualness—
instinct to rest, to relax, to savor, to be
and when needed—instinct to arise, to spring forth, to engage in life

She always returns to Herself, to Beingness

She loves to be enticed into the flowing expression of life—
as daughter, friend, maiden, mother, lover,
nurturer, worker, enjoyer, queen, crone, wildish one
—always remaining true to Her Being nature

From Her, in Her, through Her springs forth all life
To Her, in Her, through Her returns all life
She is Being Woman

 

Do you see Her in this collage? Do you know Her? Do you rest and arise in Her? How does She live through you?

 

Note: I was exposed to this idea by Zsuzsanna Budapest who calls her Sloth Woman in her book The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries

My intention is to blog once a season about Life Practices in order to share what I am practicing in my life, and to suggest opportunities to join me, as well as ideas to use in your own practice.

buddha in snowSpring Equinox occurs midway between the longest night of the year, at Winter Solstice, and the longest day of the year, at Summer Solstice. It is called an Equinox from the Latin “equal” and “night,” but in reality, the equality of day and night is only approximate and depends on your geographic location! In 2014, the Spring Equinox occurs at 10:57 am on March 20th.

We’ve had a long, cold Winter this year—the ground covered in snow and the temperatures lower than usual, for longer than usual. It’s hard to believe that under the snow cover, under the frozen ground, new life is stirring and will surge forth into Spring, but this seasonal miracle is coming, even here to Minnesota!

The dark womb of Winter provides the fertile ground that invites us to dream ourselves into a new seasonal cycle, in which new life will spring forth. From the deep dive into the unknown darkness of the dreamtime, new visions for our life take form. The Cailleach, or Winter Queen, completes her rule anytime between Imbolc (Brigid’s Day: February 1st) and Beltaine (May 1st), depending on when the first signs of Spring are evident. This is also the Chinese New Year of the Yang Horse, which strongly calls in the energy and vitality of Spring. The Yang Horse embodies the element of fire, bringing warmth and energy to the land. Rooted in the inner vision and intuitive knowing the Wintertime brought us, the Yang Horse surges toward freedom, helping new growth to push up through the soil and reach into the light of day.

The light is lasting longer, the days are warming, people are coming out of doors, and nature is beginning to send forth new life. Following her rhythm, it’s time for us, too, to grow the new shoots of our lives, to allow the dreams to push up through the warming earth, to grow leaves, and move toward our own manifestation. Brighde, the Summer Queen, will soon return to tend our visions until they have fully ripened into maturity. What are you dreaming into new life? What shoots would you like to nurture, tend, and grow into manifestation this year? How would you like to answer Spring’s beckoning to move into fresh, new growth?

You may want to write in a journal, or try a short ritual alone or with friends that could include the following:

  • Light a candle, yellow or light green in color;
  • Place nearby a symbol of Winter’s dark dreamtime and a symbol of Spring’s fresh, new, forward-moving energy.
  • Get really comfortable and cozy, maybe even sipping a warm drink.
  • Sense / feel into your dreams, your visions for your life—the ones that arise deep inside the dark warmth of your own bodysoul. What in you wants to move from dream to manifestation, to grow and be expressed in the world this year? How can you commit to nurturing this growth?
  • Breathe each awareness in, receiving it, saying “yes” to each even if you don’t know how it will unfold.
  • When you are ready, say thank you and blow out the candle.

After the Spring Equinox, the days continue to grow longer, until at Summer Solstice, we’ll be back to the longest day. May you welcome and find grace in this changing of the seasons.

Advent Singing Meditation image largerLent & Easter Singing Meditation. As we transition from Fall to Winter and continue our inward turning, I invite you to gather four more Friday evenings with me to deepen your Lenten and Easter journey with sacred chant and silent prayer/meditation. Learn and sing music from Hildegard of Bingen and from the Gaelic tradition. No prior singing experience necessary. Suggested donation $5-$10 per session.

Fridays, March 21st & 28th, April 4th & 25th, from 5:15 to 6:15 pm, at Our Lady of the Presentation Chapel atrium, 1890 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul

More Information: Jennifer Tacheny, jtacheny@csjstpaul.org (651) 696-2872, Hosted by the CSJ Membership and Association Offices (Celeste’s Dream, Consociate Services, and Sister Membership).

We are exploring interest in a Sacred Chant Choir that would come together regularly to sing various sacred chants. Please let me know if you would be interested in participating.

with azaleaIntimacy Day Retreat with the Enneagram (and Yoga), Saturday, May 3rd. Dave and I aren’t teaching as much recently, so jump in to this Retreat if you’d like a taste of our Enneagram teaching. You can attend just the morning Intro or just the afternoon Couple’s Retreat, and add on a different date experience with your beloved by staying for Date Night Yoga!

Getting to know oneself is the first step toward living a full, connected, and satisfying life. And yet, oftentimes, this is the last place we want to pay attention. We will use the psychological and spiritual map of the Enneagram to guide us home to our deepest essential selves, to further our own self-understanding, and to work out our relationships with other people. Understanding our own and our loved one’s Enneagram types opens our eyes and heart to truly seeing ourselves and others with less judgment and allows for greater empathy, love, and authentic connection.

9:00-12:00: Personal Intimacy Workshop, $40/ individual, $70/couple. Deep relational intimacy is grounded in our ability to be truly intimate with ourselves and with our own experience. Spend the morning growing intimacy with yourself by exploring the Enneagram through guided experience, presentation, poetry, and music.

2:00-5:00: Personal Intimacy Workshop, $70/couple, $85/couple with Date Night Yoga. Join other couples to explore: 1) How the different Enneagram types experience their needs and desires within relationship; 2) How they typically communicate their needs and desires; 3) How to work together more lovingly and effectively around these sensitive issues. You will gain appreciation for the differences between you and your partner and begin to see them more clearly for who they really are.

5:00: Community Potluck or Dinner Out

7:00-8:30: Date Night Yoga, $15/couple with afternoon workshop

Held at The Yoga Sanctuary in Minneapolis (in the Solomon’s Porch Building). To register, contact Shelley.

What helps you develop intimacy with yourself and with others? How do you practice?

Katy's Marilyn Monroe pic-crpd lngr2Nourishing Wholeness: I’m Studying to Practice as a Holistic Health & Wellness Coach and Way of the Happy Woman Teacher! This is why we’re not teaching much—it is a really big year of transition for me. I’m so excited to be studying with both The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Sara Avant Stover’s Way of the Happy Woman Certification Program. Both of these programs are a result of finally finding a way to live into and offer my passion in the world!

All my life I have been playing with food and health and nourishment..I LOVE to cook and create fun, healthy, YUMMY food to nourish myself and others. I LOVE to mentor people and support them with practices to live more fulfilling and meaningful lives. I LOVE the process of becoming ever more deeply embodied in my own Feminine wisdom and not only living that in my own life, but supporting that journey for other women. And, of course, I LOVE the Enneagram as a beautiful map of the human soul and a perfect accompaniment for this process.

So, I’m spending a lot of time studying this year… If you’re interested in checking out my new Holistic Health & Wellness Coaching for women, I am practicing free 30-45 minute Health History sessions now. These can be done in person, via skype, or on the phone. A Health History session gives you a chance to take stock of and talk about your own health and well-being and to discover what your priorities and desires are. In April, I’ll be able to start working with clients at a discounted rate, and in September, I’ll graduate! My new website should be up in a month or two, too!

I started out as a participant in Sara’s online women’s circle, the Red Tent, in May of 2012, did personal mentoring with Sara, and then in May of 2013, I renewed my membership in exchange for being an Assistant Mentor in the group of Red Tent women. I also deepened my experience of this Sacred Feminine embodiment work by attending a weeklong SHE Retreat in Thailand in December of 2013, and now I am entering into the WOHW Certification Program from May through October. Once I’m certified, I’ll be offering workshops that feature Sara Avant Stover’s grounded, practical, and introspective Feminine embodiment work. Practices include living in alignment with the seasons and lunar cycles, yin yoga, meditation, nourishing foods, and more, and will be based on her beautiful book, The Way of the Happy WomanLet me know if you’d like to hear more about this work in the future.

How are you nourishing your passion this year? What brings you more wholeness, more meaning, more fulfillment?

Fresh Spring Blessings, Katy

Nourishing Wholeness

spacious passion

2014 spacious passion3-crpdthis is my intention for the 2014 New Year: Spacious Passion. in my life, i have often not allowed one or the other of these words, and certainly not both together, holding each other…

i have tended to get involved in too many things, leaving very little room for Spaciousness of any kind in my life—my thoughts full of too many things to do/plan/sort out, my feelings all mixed up or set aside in a closed box, and my body moving too quickly, living a too-structured and bounded life…

and Passion? on the outside it may look like i have been following my passion, but mostly i have lived my life not really in touch with my true passion, making attempts to follow it in small ways that feel better than nothing, but don’t completely resonate or awaken and enliven me. i think in some ways, that has felt safer…not having to give up something that’s supporting me to follow a deeper, more anarchic pull that is unknown and might not work out… i have used the energy of passion as fuel for focusing my attention on something. i’m actually really good at that, so good that i have been accused of being fanatic over the years…i’ve also channeled it into my Oneish* obligations—the shoulds, duties, responsibilities that i must take care of—so that my true desires (passion) are strangled, suffocated, and stuffed down. all the naturalness of this energy, all the power, all the fuel has been harnessed for being a “good” person.

Spacious:

  • spaciousness holds and allows all things—it is the container of openness within which all things arise
  • open space, lack of boundaries and structures and rules around my life
  • openness to BE any way that is arising in the moment, space/room for all of me, nothing too big
  • invitation to expand, to open, to be unbounded, unlimited in my expression, my attention, my life
  • Sacred Masculine quality that includes stillness, silence, vastness, unknownness

Passion:

  • life force energy that fuels, directs, and creates all life
  • a combination of the belly’s instinctual energy and the heart’s calling—heart-force
  • desire, “want life,” pleasure, heart-force, flame
  • leads/draws/invites us toward our dreams, towards what will fulfill and satisfy us deeply
  • Sacred Feminine energy of life surging/emerging/dancing into existence

Spacious Passion: putting the two together is where the magic resides! in 2014, this is about following my passion for health and wellbeing, for food and cooking, for embodiment and women’s work, for learning to deeply love  my life, myself, my man, my friends, this world… and at the same time allowing each of these passions to unfold in their own way, staying open to the experience, not rushing or forcing or pushing to get anywhere i think i should be. the spaciousness and the passion support each other in an ever- balancing, sacred union.

The Collage. holding the phrase Spacious Passion in my bodysoul, i chose images that attracted me, and then laid them out to find deeper meaning. the colorful pictures all represent forms of passion necessary in my life—from passion for my spiritual practice in the Tibetan Goddess Tara, in the person with prayer hands, and in the robed Buddhist monk Pema Chodron, to the passion of the uninhibited, delighted and innocent Magickal Child, to the passion of owning and shaking my sexy booty, to the passion of loving and reaching for my dreams, to the passion of living my life with no time to lose…and there is open space holding the pictures—open vistas, black space—each picture has some contact with an unknown support and holding, with the void out of which all form arises—spaciousness. there is a great freedom to BE—no restraints, no constraints…the mystery of manifestation in so many forms, no one right form—child, sexy woman, prayer, practice, goddess, love…all necessary, all good, all unfolding…

another theme arose: there are many hands—hands, the extension of the heart, that can physically manifest passion in the world. Tara’s hands offering protection and receptivity, the woman reaching for her desires, the sexy woman flinging her hands out in devotion to the expression of her life- and heart-force, the Magickal Child holding lightly to her pinwheel of delight, Pema’s hand holding her robes, symbol of her devotion to awakening in her body, praying hands, acknowledging the True Nature in us all.

*Oneish refers to type One on the Enneagram, a psycho-spiritual map of the soul.

how does Spacious Passion express in your life? do you make room for it? how do you recognize it?

My intention is to blog once a season about Life Practices in order to share what I am practicing in my life, and to suggest opportunities to join me, as well as ideas to use in your own practice.

Winter Solstice RitualWinter Solstice occurs this year on December 21st at 11:11 am CT. This is the first day of Winter—the shortest day and longest night of the year. Every day thereafter, the days grow longer until Summer Solstice, when we have the longest day and the shortest night.

But first we have to make it through the Winter! Fall’s inward turning is the gateway to the deep surrender into Winter’s dark mystery. It can be a little confusing that we first have to make it through a bunch of celebrations—Thanksgiving at the end of Fall and then Christmas and New Year’s at the beginning of Winter, events that ask us to be more social and outer-directed—when nature is slowing down, releasing, and dropping her energy into the earth…

Nature herself can be a steady companion for this transition into Winter. Most trees are stripped naked, down to their skeletons, allowing their simplicity, their bare bones to be seen. Plants are dead or in deep dormancy. This is what we, too, are invited into. What would it be like to drop our external ways of knowing ourselves—the face we show to the world—and to simply be ourselves, with no frills, no airs, and nothing to hide? What if we allowed unnecessary parts of ourselves to die or go dormant? Underneath our smiles, our helpfulness, our good ideas, our appropriate clothes, who are we anyway? This inquiry is Winter’s invitation to dive deeper into the mysterious dark, the great unknown, “the dark hours of [our] being” (Rilke).

Here’s a starting place for a journal exploration, or a short ritual alone or with friends:

  • In the dark, naming this intention: “I am ready and willing to drop into the dark hours of my being.” With each breath in the dark, feel yourself rooting down, dropping your energy into the earth, like the dormant trees and plants, dropping into “the dark hours of [your] being.”
  • When you are ready, light a single candle. As you take that light in, feel back into your connection with the earth, with the fertile darkness of your being.
  • Name out loud or in your journal the parts of yourself you would like to drop, to allow to go dormant, to rest for awhile.
  • Then name out loud or in your journal who you might be without these self-images, behaviors, or activities. Who is resting in the dark hours of your being?
  • When you are done, acknowledge your gratefulness for this inward time of listening and being, and blow out the candle.

Please join us for the Winter Solstice Celebration on December 21st at 7:30 pm at Unity Church Unitarian in the Parish Hall. May you welcome and find grace in this changing of the seasons.

Advent Singing Meditation image larger Advent Singing Meditation. As we transition from Fall to Winter and continue our inward turning, I invite you to gather one more Friday evening with me to deepen your Advent journey with sacred chant and silent prayer/meditation. Learn and sing music from Hildegard of Bingen and from the Gaelic tradition. No prior singing experience necessary. Suggested donation $5-$10 per session.

Friday, December 20th, from 5:15-6:15 pm, at Our Lady of the Presentation Chapel atrium, 1890 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul

Singing Meditation will also be offered during the Easter season. More Information: Jennifer Tacheny, jtacheny@csjstpaul.org (651) 696-2872, Hosted by the CSJ Membership and Association Offices (Celeste’s Dream, Consociate Services, and Sister Membership).

Is music a part of your life? Try singing alone, with others, or even with a recording and then dissolving into silence. What do you notice?

Katy & Amy MirabilisWelcome Brigid—Mirabilis in Concert on St. Brigid’s Day, February 1st! In ancient Irish mythology, Brigid is the Celtic fire goddess representing the aspect of divine femininity.  Her feast day, February 1st, celebrates the arrival of longer, warmer days and marks the start of Celtic Spring. Come celebrate with me and my singing partner, Amy Fradon, the early signs of returning spring!

We will perform original, Gaelic, and medieval chant and song that weaves Celtic ornamentation with haunting, mystical chant and prayer. Specializing in the music of Hildegard von Bingen, a capella and simply accompanied, Katy and Amy’s purity of tone and musical depth inspires and transports. Includes some participatory singing.

Community Potluck at 5:30; Concert at 7:00. Admission is $15, pay at the door. For more information, contact Carla at (763) 479-4396 or sundogfarmconcerts@gmail.com.

We will also be singing all three services at Unity Unitarian Church in St. Paul on Sunday, February 2nd, and may be offering a concert in the Twin Cities Friday, January 31st as well, TBA.

A few love notes from audience members: “Thank you for an incredible evening. You really have the ability and power to bless—truly bless people with love and spirit through your song, voice, and music.”

Your angelic voices blended so well that I was in a special odyssey of sound. I love your spiritual Celtic melodic harmony of prayer ad gratitude to the Big Boss, whoever! May your work continue to lighten the hearts of many earthly souls.

with azaleaThe Enneagram is one of the main maps of the soul Dave and I find helpful to understand the unfolding of our lives, individually and as a couple. It is an amazing system that helps us to see the deeper, purer roots of our behavior—how most of our less savory behaviors are simply misguided attempts to reconnect with a more loving, whole, and good self.

Dave and I are facilitating an Introduction to the Riso-Hudson Spiritual Enneagram on February 8th from 1:00-5:00 pm at The Well in St. Paul, and a Couple’s Retreat March 7th-9th at our favorite B&B, Journey Inn, in Maiden Rock, Wisconsin.

Introduction to the Riso-Hudson Spiritual Enneagram. Ever wonder why the types have the specific traits they do? Or why our traits can look so different when we are under stress? How come the types seem to want such different things from life? What can the Centers teach us about type? If you’’re new to the Enneagram or just want to explore the Riso-Hudson Approach, join us for an afternoon overview of the types that emphasizes their spiritual roots and natural unfoldment. Includes teaching, exercises, music, and poetry. Fee: $75, with $10 off if first time at the Well, or if you bring a friend, or for early registration by 1/27/14. More information and register here.

Cultivating Deeper Contact: A Retreat/Workshop for Couples. Even in a relationship grounded in love and open communication, we often yearn for deeper contact with each other. The Enneagram illuminates many of the structures that stand in the way of such contact, as well as others that actually invite us toward a deeper contact with ourselves, each other, and the moment. Early registration (by January 15th) is $600 per couple, and after that, $650. For more information, see our calendar. We hope you can join us!

What maps of the soul do you find useful? Do you spend time with your soul, honoring his/her rhythms, thus learning to more deeply support your own  psycho-spiritual growth?

A Poem for the Season: Before Jesus by Alla Renée Bozarth
Before Jesus
was his mother.

Before supper
in the upper room,
breakfast in the barn.

Before the Passover Feast,
a feeding trough.
And here, the altar
of Earth, fair linens
of hay and seed.

Before his cry,
her cry.
Before his sweat
of blood,
her bleeding
and tears.
Before his offering,
hers.

Before the breaking
of bread and death,
the breaking of her
body in birth.

Before the offering
of the cup,
the offering of her
breast.
Before his blood,
her blood.

And by her body and blood
alone, his body and blood
and whole human being.

The wise ones knelt
to hear the woman’s word
in wonder.

Holding up her sacred child,
her spark of God in the form of a babe,
she said:

“Receive and let
your hearts be healed
and your lives be filled
with love, for
This is my body,
This is my blood.”

Deep Winter Blessings, Katy

practice loving kindness

My intention is to blog once a season about Life Practices in order to share what I am practicing in my life, and to suggest opportunities to join me, as well as ideas to use in your own practice.

veggies

backyard harvest with new cedar fence

Autumn Equinox occurs midway between the longest day of the year, at Summer Solstice, and the longest night of the year, at Winter Solstice. It is called an Equinox from the Latin “equal” and “night,” but in reality, the equality of day and night is only approximate. In 2013, the Autumn Equinox occurs at 3:44 pm CT on September 22nd.

Autumn Equinox marks the noticeable giving way of the full, abundant light and energy of Summer to a slower, simpler season. We have much to celebrate with the harvest that Summer has produced—dreams and projects have been accomplished, blossoming flowers, bushes, and trees have nourished us with their beauty, and life has grown fuller and more verdant, bearing fruit. Now is the time to gather in and take stock of our harvest. What flourished and what failed? What bore fruit and what did not? What can we celebrate and what needs to be reassessed? And most of all, can we give way to things being exactly as they are?

Writer Edward Hays, in his prayer to Autumn, says “As a child of my culture, I am seldom truly at peace with what I have. Teach me to take stock of what I have given and received, may I know that it’s enough, that my striving can cease …” As we take stock of our harvest and prepare for the slower, more inward time of Winter, can we be at peace with what we have? At peace with our efforts and their outcome, even if it’s not quite what we had hoped? At peace with the fruition or lack thereof of plants and ideas cultivated? At peace, knowing that the time for striving and intense productivity has passed?

This is a time to honor ourselves and our efforts as well as to let go of that which is passing. It is a time to know that what we have done, what we are, is enough. To explore this transition more deeply, you can write in a journal, or try a short ritual alone or with friends. You may want to include the following:

  • Decorate with yellow, gold, or autumn colors;
  • Light a candle and sit quietly. Breathe in yourself sitting there, breathe in the candle, breathe in your feelings of the moment, and with each breath, say inwardly, “This is enough.”
  • Nourish yourself with bread, apple cider, nuts, squash, corn, or any local, freshly harvested food;
  • Reflect on your harvest, naming or making a list of each undertaking, and with each one, regardless of how it turned out, say inwardly, “This is enough.”
  • When you are done, sit quietly, placing your hands over your heart, and say three times inwardly “I am enough.” Breathe that in.
  • Say thank you and blow out the candle.

After the Autumn Equinox, the days slowly become shorter and shorter, until at Winter Solstice, we’ll be back to the longest night. Local Minnesotans, there will be no Autumn Equinox Celebration at Unity Unitarian Church until 2014—please plan to join us for the Winter Solstice this year. May you welcome and find grace in this changing of the seasons.

fresh life visionCollage as a Practice. I finally found time and inspiration to collage again! Yay! Fresh Living is a collage to celebrate my decision to go back to school to become a Holistic Health and Wellness Coach. It feels like a fresh start and a continuation of a way of living that I have been exploring for a good 35 years. Coming to this decision has been an amazing process of learning to listen to and follow my desire, something that is still developing in me…

How do you relate to your desire? Do you listen? Do you follow what you hear? What do you learn from your desire?

instinctual body2.1Harvesting, Celebrating & Taking Stock: A Half-Day, Summer Women’s RetreatAlign yourself with the seasons, a Feminine form of spiritual practice. Autumn invites us to slow down, to gather in and take stock of our harvest, of our lives. What bore fruit and what did not? What can we celebrate and what needs to be reassessed? And how can we be satisfied with things just as they are? Listening to the wisdom of all three Centers—body, heart, and mind—we will engage in practices such as ritual, reflection, movement, and inquiry. No prior knowledge or experience is necessary.

Saturday, November 23rd from 1:00 to 5:00 pm in St. Paul. For more information, see our calendar.

Do you regularly take stock of your harvest? What does this look like in your daily life?

katy laughingLaughter as a Happiness Practice! Come explore the art of laughter to invite more joy, play, and wellbeing into your life! Because of the deep pranayamic breathing exercises, this form of practice is also called Laughter Yoga, but it does not include any physical asanas and can be practiced by people of all ages who are willing to be a little bit silly. It was started in 1995 by a family physician in India and is now widely practiced in over 65 countries around the world. Medical research supports its physical and emotional health-giving effects.

I am a Certified Laughter Yoga leader, and I lead the Summit Hill Laughter Club, which meets the 3rd Wednesday October – December 2013 at St. Paul Yoga Center: 10/16, 11/20, and 12/18 from 7:30-8:30 pm. No registration required, donations for use of the space accepted.

I am also partnering with WomanWell to offer Laughter Yoga on a Tuesday each month, starting on September 24th, from 7:00-8:00 pm, for $5. They are at 1784 E. Lacrosse Avenue (White Bear Ave/Lacrosse). To make sure this Laughter Yoga session is held, you need to register two days ahead of time and you can find directions here.

Please contact me if you have any questions—I would love to laugh with you!

How often do you really laugh? How do you consciously bring more happiness and joy into your life?

with azaleaThe Enneagram. Dave and I embrace the wisdom of the Enneagram as one of our many life practices, both as individuals and in our relationship. We are especially happy to offer these teachings to others, too!

We will be offering an Authorized Riso-Hudson Workshop this Fall: Journey of Growth (Levels) Workshop: Using the Enneagram to Develop your Soul, October 18-20, Friday evening through Sunday afternoon,  at WomanWell in St. Paul.

In this Workshop, we will explore how to use the Enneagram as a map for the growth and transformation of our souls. Harnessing the powerful transformational potential of the Levels of Development and the Direction of Growth for each type, we will learn to identify the triggers that send us into stronger type-reactivity, as well as how to “wake up” to greater Presence and freedom within our type. Includes presentation, meditation, music, poetry, experiential exercises, and practical recommendations for growth. Read more.

$250 earlybird or couple’s rate before September 30th, $295 after. Overnight rooms available onsite for an additional fee. For questions and registration, contact Katy. See our calendar for more offerings.

Rev Katy Blowing BubblesReverending/Ceremony. I absolutely love performing ceremonies that bring more honoring of our intentions and love into the world! This picture and the above laughing picture are from a wedding I performed, and I facilitate the Seasonal Celebrations at Unity Unitarian Church.

On July 28th I served as Worship Leader for Unity Unitarian Church, offering a service entitled What’s Up With the Goddess? You can read more and listen here.

I’ve performed two weddings this Summer and have two more to go—it’s such a blessing to help couples find a way to honor and celebrate their relationship! Let me know if I can assist you in honoring any transitions or special moments in your life—Weddings, Baby Blessings, Seasonal and Transitional Rituals, Memorial Services… You can read more about my practice of ministry.

How do you nurture your connection with the sacred? How do you find blessing in your life?

Bountiful Harvest Blessings, Katy Taylor, Wholeness Mentor

Nourishing Wholeness

nourishing wholeness

fresh living

fresh life vision

about a month ago, i was wandering around in my kitchen–
bringing fresh veggies in from the garden for my lunch,
fermented veggies in jars on the counter,
experimenting with new recipes for eating a raw diet,
doing some dishes,
planning a nutritious meal
,
–and loving every minute of it!

all of a sudden i realized–this is my PASSION! this is what i LOVE!
maybe i could actually earn my living doing what i love!

so i started looking around and immediately found
the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
one of my girlfriends back East is an IIN-trained health coach.
we always share recipes and excitement about healthy eating
and play in the kitchen together,
and quite a few other friends had been through or were in the program.

then one day, after calling IIN to get my questions answered,
i was consulting with a client, and the subject of food and cooking
wove itself so seamlessly into the Enneagram
and embodiment teachings we were exploring,
that i had no doubt that i could follow
what i really wanted to do with my life,
that it really was my own sacred choice–
that i could free myself from my own limited beliefs
and actually choose to live what i love!!

so, i am!

in a year i’ll officially be a practicing holistic health and wellness coach,
helping others make nourishing choices
to live a happier and more whole life.
looking back, i see that this is what my entire life has been about,
and i’m so excited to deepen my knowledge and be able to share it!

this is how i live brightly.
this is how i am awakening to love.
this is mindful, pleasurable, fresh living.

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