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How to Love Your Sadness {rituals for honoring heartache}

After years of fighting against and wrong-making my darker emotions, I’ve learned to love and embrace my sadness.

Let me explain.

I come from a lineage of women who carry the weight of wanting to make everything okay.

Big smiles were plastered over heavy hearts, uncomfortable moments and mistruths. My New England born and raised great grandparents would much rather turn a bourbon-infused blind eye to their children’s suffering and teach them to pretend everything is just fine than give them permission to feel and express their feelings.

And, although I’ve seen my mother and grandmother take courageous steps to heal those wounds in their own lives, that lingering veneer of smile-through-the-pain made it’s way to me.

I recall waking up on some mornings in my teen years feeling a deep heaviness in my chest begging to be sobbed out. There was that time during my sophomore year in college where I would wear the same sweatpants for weeks at a time and it felt like the raincloud over my head would never move along.

…and I would think “What is wrong with me?! This is bad. I am bad. I don’t want to feel this.”

In my desperate attempt to shake my sadness off me like a pesky fly that won’t leave you alone, I learned to numb. I would eat, I would purge, I would binge watch television, I would drink, I would smoke.

But the funny thing about being a human….is that sadness always returns. It is as fundamental as breathing.

And, as the years have passed and I’ve been on my journey back to wholeness and reconnection with my inner feminine, I’ve surrendered to the fact that having an emotional range is a beautiful thing.

When you allow yourself to feel what emotion is coming up for you, you’re more easily able to move through it. {click to tweet}

Because happiness always returns, too.

A few weeks back, I woke up with a profound sadness flowing through me. What began as a conversation with Tim about whether we were ready to have children turned into a sadness so deep I knew it couldn’t only be my own.

Grief was pulsing through my system, my ancestors were moaning with melancholy, and I knew it needed to be honored.

So I crafted Becca’s Shadow Day – a day of making my sadness sacred once more.

Here’s what I do…

  • I give myself permission to be sad for the entire day. This is one of the most powerful actions you can take for yourself because we often don’t know if we’re allowed to feel sad or how long it will last, so giving yourself complete and total permission to feel the sadness creates a freedom for it to move completely through you. {If this feels too scary for you, set a timer on your phone for a short amount of time like 5 minutes and give yourself the permission to feel sad for that amount of time. You’ll feel a shift!}
  • I cry. A lot. I let the tears flow in a place that feels safe to do so (the car, the shower, my bed, in the embrace of a friend, etc). It feels soooooo good to release the pent up emotion that is brewing inside you during a time of deep sadness. Let it out, mama. {If you struggle getting yourself to have an emotional release through crying, try moving your body by dancing or swaying from side to side. I also like to use my voice by wailing, sighing, or grunting to move the emotion out of me.}
  • When people ask how I am, I tell them honestly that I’m feeling really sad today. If that makes them uncomfortable, I calmly let them know that I’m OK with it and thank them for their love and concern.
  • I get near or in water. Water is the element associated with emotion, which I love because it’s at its best when it’s flowing. I go to the beach and feel the power of the tides on the planet and also inside my body. I watch the waves crashing and feel them crash inside me. I also like to take showers or baths with my most special spa products as a way of creating ritual and being gentle with myself during a tender time. I turn off the overhead lights and light candles. I drop essential oils and crystals in the water. I harvest lemon balm and lavender from the garden and drop them in the water in a muslin bag to create a bathtub tea. I use the fancy soap and put a mask in my hair. I sip chamomile from my favorite mug and breaaaaaathe.
  • I call my mama and ask her to gently hold space for my sobbing and blubbering. {If calling your mama isn’t an option or a desire, then I highly recommend sending audio voice memos to your dearest girlfriends. I text mine that I’m feeling sad and there’s an incoming voice memo of sadness. When they give the thumb’s up, I press record and let it all out. It feels so good to get their voice memos or emoji texts of support, permission and love right back.}

As we women continue to wake up and reclaim ourselves as beautiful beings with a wide range of emotions and modes of expression, we give permission for the woman sitting next to us on the plane, living in the house next door, or even the one living in an emotionally suppressive community halfway across the world to do the same.

So love your sadness, brave ones, and appreciate your authentic truth in this one wild and precious life.

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How to Love Your Sadness {rituals for honoring heartache}

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This week, I’m changing things up a bit and sharing my heart through a video I recorded for you from my cozy cottage.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been really present to deep gratitude for my life and everything I’ve done to create it.

Tim and I are natural strivers. We’ve got big dreams and the drive to make them a reality.

But, as I say in the video below, being ambitious can sometimes put blinders up to all amazing things you’ve already created in life. When you’re focusing so much on the next thing you want to achieve, gratitude for all the blessings and gifts of the present moment can sometimes slip out of view.

So I’m telling this story, not only bring a moment of gratitude and celebration to what I’ve created in my life, but to also share it with those of you who are curious about the steps I took to manifest the warm, supportive, and creative local community I live and play in every day.

(Click on the video below to hear my story of how I cultivated my magical community, including both the esoteric and the practical steps I took).

As I say in the video, it took a mix of focused intention, courageous action, and opening myself up to signs to manifest the relationships and spaces I was desiring in my sleepy little suburban town.

Manifestion = Intention + Action

Bottom line is you are a creator of your own life and all it really takes to manifest your dream community and relationships is the decision to create it yourself.

If I can do it, you can too.

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment with your own story of what you’ve manifested in your life or state your dreams and desires to make them a reality.

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Fix Your Leaks & Find Your Flow

I was avoiding the little things.

Those itty bitty tasks and situations that were niggling at me like the tag on the inside of a t-shirt, but I could never make them important enough to actually resolve.

As a lifelong do-er, it’s the striving that often woos me. I want to accomplish the bigger things, so I naturally keep paddling furiously in the hope that I’ll make it to shore, victorious.

But you can’t paddle your boat to shore when it’s leaking.

Energy leaks – they’re something to pay attention to – because they make all the striving that much more exhausting. And you cannot create your great work in the world if you are exhausted and your boat is leaking.

Energy leaks are the small, annoying things that we tend to avoid because our attention is on accomplishing the bigger things.

But these smaller things add up to pretty big impact. Think about the power of the mosquito in society right now with the Zika virus…or the agony caused by a little sliver.

Every time you make repeated contact with that small aggravating task or situation, you are making a subconscious choice to endure it. And when you endure it, it triggers a leak of energy, resentment, and general bad vibes.  We direct our energy outward in blame or inward towards ourselves, when all we really need to do is address it.

When you acknowledge the things, people, projects, and patterns that are sucking your energy and take time to fix them, you are widening your vision and ability move forward with your great work in the world. Suddenly, you have more energy (and time!) to devote to your passion projects and creative dreams. The striving starts to feel less like work and more like joyfully doin’ the damn thing.

Energy leaks are usually really easy to fix – bringing near instant relief and freshness to help you focus on the big stuff.

 

 

Does the idea of fixing your energy leaks fill you with a sense of dread and a deep desire to avoid it at all costs?

Try this….

Grab a journal and make a list of all the energy leaks you can think of right now it your life.

Circle the energy leak that is having the biggest effect on you right now. You know which one it is.

Next to that energy leak, write out what that leak is costing you in your life.

For example:

For me, it was the back room/man cave/potential shared office space in my house. I kept saying I would get to it but the idea would overwhelm me and I never did. It was costing me my energy, feeling proud and inspired in my space, and my ability to feel in flow in my work and passion projects.

Now, on a new page, write out the specific actions you will take to fix that energy leak.

For example:

Clear out anything that doesn’t spark joy and recycle/donate

Consult a friend on Feng Shui and the best layout for the room

Go shopping for things to brighten up the space

Spend an afternoon organizing and placing everything in there

Then do those actions. Close the leak, girl!

I’ve created a handy-dandy download+print creative worksheet that will help you address the top 3 energy leaks in your life right now – expanding on the process I just took you through above.

You can download it right here.

Let’s witness each other in courageously fixing the biggest energy leak on our list this week. In the comments below, tell us what energy leak you are going to tackle head on and let us hold you lovingly accountable.

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Fix Your Leaks & Find Your Flow

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AHH Pre-Order Sale Email Image

Oh my goodness!

A Handmade Holiday’s Pre-Order Sale is officially live.

#ChristmasInAugust just became a thing!

We’ve just kicked off 5 magical days where you can pre-order your own Holiday Gift Making Kit and access to this year’s full suite of gift making video tutorials… everything you’ll need to make this holiday season the most meaningful and least crazy-making yet.

…aaaand you’re getting it at an incredible discount for being so prepared!

I promise you…when your Gift Making Kit arrives to your door in November…you are going to pat yourself on the back for being sooooo organized with your holiday gifts this season and completely and totally inspired by the gift tutorials I have in store for you.

They are gorgeous, delightful, and downright magical! (oh, yes …and new!)!

Over 200 women can’t be wrong…A Handmade Holiday has the power to transform your entire holiday from stressed out to meaningful. Year after year.

If you’re not familiar, A Handmade Holiday is a program and community I run every holiday season that brings back the wonder and excitement of the holidays without all the pressure that typically comes with it.

The beautiful ritual of holiday gift-giving has been turned into an anxiety-fueled frenzy all about proving how much you care by how much stuff you buy or how much money you spend.

Instead, we can give beautiful gifts to our loved ones – something they’ll actually like and use – all while giving ourselves the gift of slowing down. By hand making gifts and truly being in the moment, you can give not only a tangible token of your love, but positive intentions to those you cherish most.

AHH pre-sale square image

I introduced the Gift Making Kit last year, and it was so popular that demand far exceeded my expectations and I had to close down kit orders so my team and I could fulfill and ship out in time. It pained me to turn away so many eager people, so this year, we’re doing this pre-order sale to ensure that everyone who wants a Gift Making Kit gets one.

So Here’s the Deal:

This year, let the Gift Making Kit do all the hard work sourcing and shopping for quality ingredients for your handmade gifts. I’ve chosen 4 beautiful, artisan-quality gift items (totaling over 20 gifts for your friends and family!) that will delight your loved ones when you proudly gift them this holiday season.

This year’s gift items are:

  • A Soothing Lavender Bathtub Tea
  • Moisturizing Scented Lip Balm (our most popular gift item!)
  • Herbal Sugar Scrub for Silky Skin
  • Wild Birdseed Pinecone Ornament for adorning your outdoor spaces

I’ve been playing with the ingredients and packaging for these gifts over the past few weeks and trust me when I say that the beauty and aromas that will fill your home when you’re making these gifts will snap you into a joyful, holiday gift giving mood in no time.

Goodbye Holiday Stress…Hello Inspiration, Magic and Ease!

You’ll get your Gift Making Kit plus access to an online program filled with video tutorials, teaching you how to make over 20 different gorgeous and artisan-quality gift items. Each gift and project is inspired by love and beauty – and can be done in minutes.

This pre-order sale snags you your very own Gift Making Kit (mailed straight to your door) and gives you access to the program tutorials and bonuses for just $175 – that’s 25% off the regular price come November (and less than $10 a gift!)

CLICK HERE TO SNAG YOUR GIFT MAKING KIT NOW

Remember this IS A LIMITED 5 day sale that ends on Monday, August 8th.

I really don’t want you to miss out getting in on this epic discount before the holiday season hits and the only way to get in will be to pay full price.

Get ahead of the curve this year and plan for a spacious, magical holiday season.

CLICK HERE to order your Gift Making Kit for A Handmade Holiday now.

Big Creative Love, Becca

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Giving Reverence and going for it

This past weekend, I made a drum.

I call her my moon drum – she’s made of buckskin and dyed with indigo.

It’s something I’ve been wanting to make for years but have been terrified of even attempting for various reasons.

Reasons like…

I would make the drum incorrectly and offend the spirits of the indigenous cultures who originated drum making. (yes, really)

That I was culturally appropriating a sacred art that wasn’t my of own lineage (being a white girl who is most likely descended from european colonists), therefore shouldn’t be allowed to do it at all.

That I wouldn’t properly honor the animal whose hide I would be working with.

That it was not cool to use a dead animal’s hide to make something for my enjoyment.

…or that I would mess up and my drum wouldn’t work because I wasn’t working with a master teacher.

Now, you might expect me to follow that up with a statement about how all that limited thinking is BS and that I am worthy of my creative desires and that I should take a dabblist approach to this project (like any other!) and simply begin.

But I actually think a lot of these reasons I gave are important ones to ponder. I’ve seen many well-meaning people around the world dive into indigenous crafts without being thoughtful about the cultures that originated them, the teachers who share their knowledge, and sustainability and sacredness of the materials used.

The key distinction here is that, while these concerns are important ones to ponder, they aren’t necessarily reasons NOT to do something.

Giving Reverence And Going For It

I have been wanting to make a drum for years now, and all those concerns I listed above turned into a belief that I, as a human being, wasn’t worthy of making one at all. Or that I would need to travel to a far off land and pay lots of money to work with an indigenous elder to do so (that sounds amazing actually…but not realistic for me right now).

So, after years of yearning, a few close girlfriends and I made the decision to gather and make drums together – and we committed to doing it with intention and meaning.

Giving Reverence And Going For It

This is how we did it…

We searched the web for medicine drum-making kits that was a sustainable source of hides and settled on this one.
We agreed to make it sacred and spacious by scheduling a whole day (so we wouldn’t feel the need to rush).

We soaked our hides (the face of the drum) the night before. I soaked mine in indigo to make mine a moon drum.  I filled a bucket with water and added the dye and the hide, making a little ceremony out of it with sage and setting an intention for the drum.

All the women brought food homemade with love to nourish us throughout the day. One of the women even made us a delicious elixir with cacao to open our hearts and calm our hands.

Before we began our drum making, we took some time to go around and check in with each other. Each woman had 5-10 minutes to share how she was feeling and what was going on in her life. It’s a wonderful way of including each other in what’s going on with us, to laugh, to cry, and to ground us in the present moment.

We lit a candle, put our hands on our hides and gave thanks to the animal (the deer, the elk, the buffalo) that this hide belonged to – to honor its life and set the intention of doing that with each beat of the drum.

We set intentions for each of our drums – speaking them aloud and writing (or drawing) them on the inside of our drum frames. My intention was for this to be my moon drum and to represent the soft roar of feminine leadership I wanted to call in for myself and others each time it beats.

Giving Reverence And Going For It

Then we began.

We had paper directions that got us started. Then we had to look up fuzzily shot tutorials on YouTube to keep us going. We cursed. We giggled. We worked in silence. We hummed along to our playlist.

Then it got hard.

We got confused, and a little paralyzed. We stopped. We texted our friend who had made 3 drums before and within 15 minutes she showed up at our doorstep with a drum (and some grapes) in her hands. She burned some sage and sang a song to us (with her drum) which immediately soothed us and had us diving in again to tie and tighten our drums.

“Ohhhh, this is the hardest part,” she said. “You’re getting close!”

We sighed, bowed our heads, and kept going.

She sweetly guided us back to focus and determination – having us pull harder, wrap tighter, continuously wetting the hide and sinew with a washcloth to prevent them from drying and hardening.

She kept saying “this looks amazing!’ whenever we noticed imperfections (like the mole on the buffalo hide, the way the indigo was smudging away and getting all over my hands, or the weird knot I had to make to salvage my sinew and move on to the next set of strings to tighten).

It was all perfect. We made our drums with our very own hands. It felt sacred.

And then we had to trust.

Trust our drums would dry and tighten enough over the next few days (they are a little flappy when you are finished). Trust ourselves not to touch them until they were dry. And to be grateful for the work, the toil, the sweat, and the joy of the whole process.

Afterwards, we stretched out our backs, hungrily ate more food, and drink hibiscus lemon honey tea to nourish ourselves after our long day. I went home and took a bath and crashed right into bed.

That was the sacred art of making in sisterhood. It felt like a beautiful way to honor, give reverence, feel gratitude, and also make my very own drum.

Have you ever stopped yourself from making something sacred because of the fears I listed? Or maybe there were other (somewhat valid) reasons? How did you deal with it? Let us know in the comments below!

And, if you’ve made a drum, I want to see it! Tag me @thedabblist on instagram with a picture of it.

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Giving Reverence And Going For It

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