Mother Spruce, A Story by Erin McCaffery

Smoke hissed and bled into the air, it was dark and the rain clouds covered the stars. Massive, swaying evergreens stood comfortably spaced for miles around, careful to leave room for one another’s roots and branches to unfurl. If the rain picks up I’ll have to take cover beneath one- it isn’t safe to continue without a torch in these wood. And if I allow this one to become very wet I’ll have to wait a day for it to dry before I may continue.

A second large drop hit and the flame sputtered more dramatically, as if to emphasize my realization. Very well, here I am meant to rest. A large, blue Mother Spruce some paces ahead whispered my name, called me to her soft and sheltered bed. I blew out the torch and climbed into her lowest branches, drawing my legs beneath my cloak.

My eyes closed, with Mother Spruce supporting my head and coaxing me to dream. I felt her mighty, tender heart guide the energy of my mind, and she fashioned for herself a body mimicking mine. She approached with her arms open in greeting, steps as mesmerizing as the movements of her boughs in wind.

“My child, how do you seek?” All I could fathom was the reverence of her ethereal form, dancing like smoke, the grace in her voice like sunshine itself. She took my hand and led me to a forest far from where she held creature and I alike safely through the storm.

Men dripped sweat, their burly arms hard at work cutting down and apart every tree within sight, to be carted away. I felt the sorrow that screamed its soft and heavy tones hanging in the air, the confusion that called out against the senseless and selfish act. I felt no anger, no hate. The men cleared away the years upon years it had taken to build in a week’s time, taking the land for themselves who see not the sacredness of fertile soil.

She wiped the streams of tears down my cheek and led me again to another forest. This one was ablaze and self destructing, catalysed when lightning had struck a standing corpse. Animals evacuated past us as we walked further into the inferno. Here there was no sorrow, there was a peculiar sort of celebration, of hurry but no rush. The air tasted how it had when I said farewell to my hometown, melancholic and hopeful all at once. I found no tears, but rather a small smile of trust.

Her elysian gaze acknowledged mine and at once I felt what she had meant, recognized the wisdom she desired to bestow upon me- my smile widened. I knelt and kissed her feet. She hummed and stroked my hair, holding me to her chest in the harmonic space between spirit and body.

Dawn awoke neatly, igniting the fire behind my heart as the ritual prescribed. The ground on which my feet reunited with my journey was welcoming. I touched my head to the roots of Mother Spruce, and thanked her with all of my heart before continuing onwards.

Nutrition Cheat Sheet

Your blood PH is naturally around 7-7.4, as it is neutral-alkaline. Your body will constantly work to return to this equilibrium.

What you fuel yourself with can have effect on your bodies PH level. A diet heavy in dairy, highly caffeinated beverages, alcohol, and meat can cause a heavy acid buildup in the body. This allows diseases to begin and thrive. This is also where inflammation can begin running rampant throughout the body. This can be balanced by eating alkaline foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Ever wonder why lemon water is so popular and energizes you? Lemons are one of the most alkaline things you can put in your body (10 PH!). This is why many people who eat a heavily acidic diet report much more energy from lemon water than their cup of 5 PH coffee.

By making your body more neutral, you are able to prevent diseases from forming, reduce inflammation, clear skin, improve energy and digestion, and maintain a healthy weight. To achieve a more neutral diet, the best thing to do is experiment! Try out different foods that are in the 8-10 PH level and take note of the ones you like. It is important to make the bulk of your diet focused around these foods.

An emphasis on dark leafy greens is the easiest way to make your diet more alkaline if you are eating a more acidic diet.

You can get more greens by enjoying a green juice as your midday pick-me-up instead of that coffee and by adding them to smoothies. You can also try eating a salad made of mostly greens every day (baby greens are easiest to chew).

As stated earlier, the body is neutral, so it is important to balance it with some foods on the more acidic end, such as beans and legumes, grains, and fermented foods. Animal products and byproducts can be a part of a healthy diet when kept to a minimum. If you eat meat, lean meats such as turkey, chicken, and fish are your best options. Keep these products to a palm size portion (3 oz) and fill the rest of your plate with alkaline vegetables to balance the acidity.

Ideas to start leading a healthier lifestyle:

  • Lemon water first thing in morning (drink half your weight in ounces every day!)

  • Fruits for breakfast or snacks

  • Keep a veggie tray in the fridge

  • Keep nuts and seeds in your bag while travelling

  • Surround yourself with healthy options

  • Don’t like greens? Put Chlorophyll in your water

  • One salad a day

  • Keep coffee to one cup, then switch to green tea

BONUS INFO:

Chlorophyll is essentially plant blood and gives plants the deep green pigmentation.

Benefits include helping fight cancer, improving liver detoxification, speeding up wound healing, improving digestion and weight control, and protecting skin health (This goes for all green vegetables, too!)

The purpose of chlorophyll is to help plants get energy from light.

Hemoglobin and Chlorophyll have similar structures. The main difference is that hemoglobin is built around iron (Fe), whereas chlorophyll is built around magnesium, (Mg). Chlorophyll helps to build hemoglobin. This will in turn increase red blood cell count, improve circulation and cleansing of the body, as well as increasing the transportation of oxygen throughout the body.

The magnesium in chlorophyll is also utilized for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heart beat steady, and helps bones remain strong. It also helps regulate blood glucose levels and aid in the production of energy and protein.

Greens are very important!

Another beneficial tip as you work towards optimal nutrition is to keep a food journal, and be sure to list ingredients along with portion sizes. This can help you to see where imbalances lie and where some changes can be made.

Nutrition is meant to be fun! It will offer no benefit to stress over it. As long as you are fueling your body with whole foods and eating a wide range of nutrients, you should be just fine.

How do you walk?

Recently I joined a women’s workshop that holds the intention of helping females tap into their divine feminine energy. This past Wednesday was the first meeting. There were several exercises we did to ground ourselves in the moment, one of which involved walking very slowly.

By slow, I mean slowwwww.

Taking several seconds to take a single step, and feeling each part of your foot as it meets the floor. We were told to have no destination in mind. Simply walk.

During this exercise, the teacher guided us in turning inwards to bring awareness to our bodies. This is when she asked a question that particularly struck me: “What are you leading with?”

As I stumbled about, trying to keep balance while walking the pace of a turtle, I began to take notice of my posture.

As I naturally moved through the room I noticed my head was pushed forward. In fact, my whole upper body seemed to be leaning forward as if it were trying to tell my feet “hurry up!”

Recently as I have been experiencing each day I noticed I am always preparing myself for the next moment. It has always been difficult for me to finish one thing to the fullest before moving to the next. I rarely finish books, I’m up and moving before I swallow the last bite of food, I trail off on another though in conversations before I finished the first.

This simple walking meditation allowed my awareness to be fully saturated in this particular habit o have been carrying. It allowed me to see how it was affecting me, and preventing me from remaining stable in the present moment.

After this realization came upon me, I was able to adjust. I gently pulled my head and shoulders back, and with the next step allowed my heart to lead the way. It now felt as if I was being guided by a force unseen. I became stable in my slow walk. I even had, dare I say, pep in my step. I was able to gracefully glide through the room, change direction, and do 360 turns without faltering.

I share this with you now because this moment was very impactful, and I feel it could offer great benefit to you.

Next time you are walking, bring awareness to your body. What is it you are leading with? How stable are your steps?

When I first began walking, I was leading with my mind. I was allowing the thoughts about the action to guide me. After the adjustment, my heart took the lead and I no longer had to question where I was stepping or how the nature of that step should look. It happened organically.

By bringing awareness to simple things like how you walk, you gain insight into deeper things, such as how you walk through life itself.

I encourage you to try this next time you have a spare moment, and feel free to share your experience in the comments.

I look forward to hearing from you.

4 Ways to Welcome the New Year

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

As we rolled into 2018, a few intuitions came to me about what is to come and how to prepare.

First: This year is going to be… amazing. We have been through so much craziness, we deserve a break, don’t you think? This year will deliver just that… sort of. It will be a break from all of the lower energies that have been swirling around, but we have a lot of work ahead of us! *rolls up sleeves*

This year we are being called back into ourselves and being thrown into action. It is time to stop ignoring the skeletons in the closet, and bring them out to be dusted off and danced with. We had better hurry though, because if that closet isn’t cleaned out in time, then all of the goodness coming our way will not be ready to be received.

It is also time to set action steps to help us reach the goals that have been swirling around in our minds. You may have already been doing a lot of hard work this past year, and that is great! The fruits of your labors will be delivered ripe and juicy soon enough.

If you put in the work now to release the old and start moving towards the new, you will see your dreams manifested in what seems like no time. Don’t get me wrong, it will be hard. It is work after all. However, once it is all said and you get the ball rolling, you will quickly adapt to this new positive lifestyle change and watch it snowball.

What can you do now to prepare for this new amazing life headed your way? Let’s get started:

 

Clean House

What better way to start off a new year than to make room for the new to appear? This is the perfect time to declutter, donate, dust and vacuum, reorganize, and anything else that needs to be done to make your space a sanctuary. Try burning some sage to clear out the negative vibrations and opening the windows for awhile, to allow the old stagnant air to get replaced with fresh air.

You can also take this opportunity to pamper yourself with a long shower, face mask, abhyanga (self-massage using warm oil), and any other practice you enjoy to feel the self-love!

As it is also after the holidays, this is a great time to start a gentle detox. Drink a lot of water (with lemon, preferably!), eat copious amounts of fresh fruits and veggies, and limit the consumptions of heavy foods such as meats and dairy. Make a commitment to yourself to cut out the refined grains and sugars, and anything heavily processed or fried in oil. Remember: eating healthy is a part of self care! By eating clean, you are cleaning yourself from the inside! Remember the saying “you are what you eat”? Your body utilizes what you put in it to create itself. Would you rather be made of fresh produce taken straight from nature, or heavily processed and genetically modified “food?”

 

Journaling

I can not imagine where I would be today without my journal. It has helped me the most out of any introspection practice I have tried. It is the perfect environment to release fears and start digging deep into what it is the soul has to say. Try out this guided introspection questionnaire [Found Here] to let go of the past and  set a foundation for the year to come:

  • Am I who I want to be?
  • Have I released the anger at my parents, my ex, myself?*
  • Do I worry too much what other people think?
  • Am I where I want to live?
  • What do I really want to do with my life?
  • What am I avoiding or afraid to look at?
  • Am I prioritizing my health?
  • How do I want to be remembered?
  • What’s something I have always wanted to do, but haven’t given myself permission to?

*Note: The new year is a perfect time to tie up loose ends. What words were left unsaid? What has been weighing on your tongue, but you never could get the words out? Consider writing letters to people or calling them to release any pent up emotions.

Invest in a planner

A planner is a valuable tool to keep the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life mapped out and manageable. Without a planner, I would lose control! Having one of these- and using it! – takes off a load of stress. It can also help to keep you accountable to yourself and your goals.

 

Consider a Health and Accountability Partner

How many times have you set a goal and fallen short? Are you passionate about your resolution this year, but can’t seem to find the motivation to follow through? This is something we all experience. It is not always an easy task to start new habits or projects. This is where a Health and Accountability partner could come into play. By partnering up with a certified coach, the mountain of to-dos seem less, and the life you want may be seen over the horizon. As a Health coach, I am trained to help people set reasonable goals to achieve their dreams. We also have the chance to dive deep into what could be holding you back from personally moving forward. Through looking into these fine details, you will have a clearer picture of where you are now and the ability to transform into who you are meant to be! More info here.

 

Good luck!

Cosmic Dance of the Wild Nature

I do come off as pushy.

I realize this.

I seem egotistical and selfish,

As if I think I know what is best.

Hear me now:

I do not know what is best for anyone.

I do not claim to know anything.

However,

That will not stop me from speaking my truth.

Go ahead, prove me “wrong.”

The darkness is meant to be explored 

 And I wish to dive deep.

 Until one is enlightened, 

 There is always self work to be done.

 I refuse to settle.

 I will kick up dirt in an eternal dance through the cosmic Inferno.

 The fire of life and death, 

creation and destruction, 

 And every other contradiction living in harmony.

I will rage like a lunatic 

in order to find peace.

I will scream in the name of divinity 

 To the very heavens, 

 Regardless if people care to listen.

 Shed your light 

 Shed your light 

 Shed your light 

 This Inferno is inside my heart 

Shed your light

Shed your light

Shed your light

 I am a spark 

 Growing in depth and magnitude 

 Shed your light 

 Shed your light 

 Shed your light

Ever-expansive;

Burning to be known at the core

Shed your light

Shed your light

Shed your light

The larger it grows,

The further away

The rest becomes.

Renounce

Renounce

Renounce

Strip it all away

To the very bones;

Dance on the ashes.

Renounce

Renounce

Renounce

Burn the ego with its

Fear, hate, and desires;

Dance on the ashes.

Renounce

Renounce

Renounce

Clarity reveals itself.

Freedom follows.

God is Alive on a Cold Winter Day

The kingdom of heaven opens
During a long cold winter.
The light
Has never been brighter
As it reflects off a sea of white.
From ground to sky,
All I see
White.
May the angels be heard
In the chirps of birds
Who didn’t fly south for the season.
May God be known
In the green shown
Through the cotton candy covered trees,
And as the sun sets its warm pastel palette across the Earth;
Playing on the canvas presented…
In morning And night
God is Alive!
And on this cold winter day
I follow your tracks through the snow.

Natural Deo for your B.O.

As more and more people of the world are becoming conscious of what they are putting into their bodies, so are they becoming aware of what is going on the body. I was recently sent this wonderful article by Review on natural deodorants, and it made me realize how important it is this information get out to the public. We are constantly taking in toxins from out environment, possibly food we eat, the air we breath, and if you aren’t careful and conscious: what you are putting on your body! (Note: I was not paid to do this. It was just brought to my attention and I found it to be vital information that needs to be shared!)

Everyone knows by now that you are what you eat, but what if your skin has the ability to eat too? What you put on your body gets absorbed into the skin and begins circulating in the system (prime example: nicotine patches). It is just as vital to be aware of what is going on as it is what is going in.

I will be sure to cover other areas of the natural product world (shampoos, body washes and lotions, facial care products, etc), but today we are going to focus on one that gets attention on the daily: your armpits.

You may have dipped your pits in the world of natural deodorants already and had mixed results (or no luck at all). I was in the same boat when I started. From Thai crystals that are activated by water to Tom’s deodorant, nothing seemed to work quite the way I needed it to. Some things seemed to work great in the beginning then slowly lost potency over time with extended use. This was very discouraging at the start of my natural body care journey and I quickly switched back to my beloved Secret Deodorant until something good came along.

Why is switching to a natural deodorant so important in the first place?

There are several toxins lurking in your average store-bought deodorant. This includes chemicals such as aluminum, parabens, TEA (not the drink) and DEA, and artificial colors. These compounds are known for acting as estrogen within the body and have carcinogenic properties. For more information see this lovely article.

Now for the good stuff!

A few years past and I began working at a health food store where I had access to many more lovely options. I tried several and still was having tough luck… until!

schmidts-naturals-facebook-opengraph

Photo Cred: schmidtsnatural.com

Schmidt’s Deodorant. By far my FAVORITE deodorant I have ever tried. I own both Rose + Vanilla and Lavender + Sage and found them to be phenomenal. They last for hours, don’t leave clumps, and even act as a perfume if I forget to spray some in the morning. They are free of aluminum, artificial fragrance, and common irritants.

There are still many other options out there besides Schmidt’s that work just as well, or even better! There are 5 more well-tested options highlighted in this article you may feel free to check out and start experimenting with.

Have you tried natural body care products before? What was your experience? Do you have any favorites? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

 

Featured Image Cred: https://www.reviews.com/natural-deodorant/