Nudges from angel numbers

When I began my spiritual journey, I awakened to the fact that there is a majestic fabric of wisdom and love connecting all of us with one another and with nature. I opened myself up to receiving information from my surroundings and got so much more present in my daily life.

One of the most incredible tools for receiving guidance I’ve experienced has been angel numbers, also known as number sequences. Joanne Sacred Scribes says, “Angels and those of the spiritual realm do their best to get our attention and to communicate with us. In this way, they help us heal our own lives. However, we often discount the signs that they give us, writing them off as mere coincidences or our imagination.”

Numbers can show up differently for different people. Some come across recurring numbers several times in a row; for instance, they’ll wake up at 6:24 am every morning before their alarm goes off. Or they’ll see the number 4230 show up multiple times in one day: what they owe for buying gas ($42.30), a number on a license plate and as part of a mailing address.

Typically, the angel numbers I receive happen when my cell phone lights up for no apparent reason, when my computer screensaver turns off even though I haven’t touched my computer or some other inexplicable technology phenomenon happens. I immediately look at the time and look up the meaning of the number. Joanne Sacred Scribes is my favorite source for angel number meanings, but try a few and find one that works for you. The numbers I receive typically are specific and tied to whatever I’m going through at that time; they offer support, guidance and advice.

I know this can sound completely far fetched if you’ve never experienced it for yourself, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being skeptical. Try it for yourself and see what you think. You can set the intention by sitting quietly and saying or thinking something along the lines of: “I’m open to receiving angel numbers in my life, and I’ll try to be mindful when I notice them. Thank you.”

Let me know if you try it and what you discover along the way!

5 methods for manifesting positive change in your life

Manifesting is the act of bringing something into your life simply by focusing on it. It’s also referred to as the law of attraction; you attract into your life what you think about and believe to be true. Anyone can do it. In fact, we’re all manifesting our life into reality all the time, whether we do it consciously or not. That’s an incredibly empowering thought: we can do it without even trying. But here’s the catch: manifesting cuts both ways. We can manifest both things that are good for us and things that aren’t, which means our thoughts, beliefs and intentions matter just as much as more tangible behaviors like daily routines, decisions we make and actions we take. The energetic sweet spot happens when we align what we think with what we do and focus all of our attention on one goal.

In our society, we place so much value on what we do and tend to ignore what we think. A friend of mine desperately wants to find her soul mate and actively takes steps to meet people. But the men she attracts are toxic, and she repeatedly feels disappointed. She’s attracting the wrong type of man into her life because deep down she doesn’t feel good enough to deserve love. Each relationship reinforces her belief that she’s isn’t loveable. The limiting narrative she believes about herself are blocking her ability to find a healthy relationship and keeping her in a pattern of unhappiness.

Manifesting can feel intimidating, especially if you’ve never mindfully done it. To make it feel more natural, try to find a method that works best for you. Below are a few suggestions to get you started. It’s also so important to remember that no matter what method you decide on, there’s a fine line between healthy manifesting and attachment; ultimately, you should embody your goal body, mind and spirit and then release your attachment to the outcome. This sounds counterintuitive, but there’s a big component of trust in the Universe and yourself at play. In my friend’s example, she could set an intention like “I want to meet someone who makes me feel unconditional love,” and then let go of attachment to the details like the timeline of when they’ll meet. Any attempt to control the process inherently implies a lack of trust and without full belief, manifesting doesn’t work.

Decision making. In The Real Magic Podcast (episode “New Year, New Witch” from January 17), Mallory Leone describes how she manifested her new home. During the months she was looking, she made every decision based on whether it brought her closer to her goal. For instance, the answer to “do I buy this new purse?” is “no, I want to minimize how much stuff I have to move.” I’ve never tried this approach, but it seems like a very logical framework and a good way to constantly bring your focus back to your goal.

Vision board. A vision board is a great method for manifesting your goals, particularly if you’re a visual person. There are so many variations you can try apart from the traditional poster board approach. You can decorate an entire wall of your home, create a digital version for your desktop wallpaper or phone lock screen. Pinterest is a wonderful source of inspiration. You can try creating it around the time of the new moon which is considered an effective time for new beginnings and manifesting.

Mantra. A mantra is a statement or slogan repeated frequently like “I am worthy of love” or “I will find a career aligned to my purpose.” You can meditate on your mantra, repeat it to yourself first thing in the morning or during predictable times like while driving. You can write in on your bathroom mirror, your phone wallpaper, on a piece of jewelry, in your planner or use it as a password. If you’re also designing a vision board, include your mantra on it. Get creative and incorporate it into your daily life in multiple places for constant constant reminders.

The Circle. The Circle by Laura Day is an incredible step-by-step guide to manifesting, from beginning to end. The book addresses each phase of manifestation and includes a workbook to work through topics like inner and outer roadblocks, rituals that support your goals and making space for transformation. Laura’s language is so powerful and uplifting. She says, “For every internal part of you — each thought, wish, fear, experience — there is an external coordinate. When you change the message in your being, in your very atoms, this change affects every person and every event on the planet — and sets in motion the unlimited power s of the Universe. Miracles begin to happen for you.” I highly recommend this book for those at the beginning stages of making positive changes in their lives.

Daily writing exercise. I was in a job that made me very unhappy, and the message I kept getting from the Universe was “have faith and quit.” I knew that was the right approach, but I was stuck on the question of what I would do with my time once I quit. I wanted to make the most of it. I set a date in my mind of when I would resign and gave myself a month to come up with a plan. My mind was swirling with different scenarios, so each morning for a month, I pretended like I’d already quit my job and wrote a page or less on what I was doing with my time that day. I wrote in present tense and really explored each scenario as if it was actually happening. I tried to free myself from limiting thoughts and write about not only what I did, but how I felt. By the end of the month, I had 30 detailed examples of how I could use my time and felt so confident in my decision. You could try this process to write about anything — your next job, relationship, health goals, etc.

Postpartum healing isn’t linear

Before we had our first child, I became fascinated with the postpartum period: the personal transformation that’s possible if you’re nurtured, allowed enough space to sit with the changes and probably most important of all, open to surrender. Cultures around the world have recognized this critical juncture for centuries and emphasize the need to “mother the mother” to support her transition from woman to mother. In Ayurveda, the first 42 days is considered a sacred window, a time that defines the next 42 years.

I entered my postpartum days with a list of things I wasn’t going to do…things like worrying about how my body looked, hyper-focusing on keeping our house tidy and perfect, getting out of bed, entertaining and being active too soon. Despite a couple of setbacks, the first six weeks went beautifully. I felt physically healed, at peace and so deeply connected to our daughter.

Fast forward to today, eight months later. Over the past month, my emotions started to spike, and suddenly feel turbulent, seemingly out of nowhere. My nervous system felt unbalanced. I was having dreams about flooding water and rollercoasters, an ongoing theme in my dreams when I’m feeling emotionally overwhelmed in life.

I felt myself going off track, so I started focusing more on restoring balance to my body and recommitted to my spiritual practice. I also booked a psychic reading this week with Gina Fuschetto, She talked me through several visuals she saw of my emotional state, and we talked about what the symbolism meant to me. Through that experience, I was finally able to see my emotional landscape more objectively.

In my attempt to do everything “right” in my postpartum period (and let’s be honest, my life overall) I missed the bigger picture…the importance of letting go. I held too tightly to my ideal vision of what my postpartum period “should” be that I unknowingly managed and controlled my emotions throughout the process. As a result, my inner world felt only partially acknowledged.

That realization is so liberating. I haven’t appreciated how much pressure I’ve been putting on myself. The changes I’ll make are small but profound. I am determined to be more vulnerable with my loved ones and myself about how I’m really feeling. And I’m committed to being even more transparent about my own experiences on this platform, too.

As I reflect on the past eight months of motherhood, my biggest surprise has been that the healing process (emotional and physical) hasn’t been linear…and I don’t think I’m alone in that experience. I expected the transition to be really hard for the first six weeks and then taper off in a predictable way once we got the swing of things. I focused so much on that sacred window that I really didn’t give myself permission to struggle after that. But I found that actually, there have been so many ebbs and flows…

Months 0-2 – physical healing, complete awe, crying because of deep love, not having a clue

Month 3 – feeling adjusted, starting to get in a rhythm

Month 4 – major sleep setback for baby, tired, depleted, anxious

Month 5-6 – deeper physical healing, finding a good schedule for us

Month 7 – loss of self, feelings of monotony, mild depression, disruption from teething leading to crankiness and lack of sleep

Month 8– return to balance and to self

As a first born and a perfectionist, I wanted make motherhood look easy. But I owe it to myself to let it look messy and complicated and exhausting, because it is! That’s not the lesson I expected to learn during my sacred window, but I’m so incredibly thankful that I see it now and that I can set the intention to let. it. go.

Validating your trauma

The term “trauma” gets thrown around a lot in the context of personal growth. When I first started on my journey, I believed that trauma resulted from a catastrophic event or unhealthy environment…that it was reserved for victims of extreme suffering brought on by poverty, physical abuse or being raised by a parent battling addiction. I struggled to see how healing from trauma could be relevant for me, because I didn’t believe I had any.

While extreme poverty, abuse and addiction are certainly examples of situations that can breed trauma, the human experience itself exposes us to trauma. Growing up in an oppressive household or culture. Getting bullied. Experiencing complicated family dynamics. Living in a misogynistic culture. We all have trauma, and a lot of it stems from our formative years as children. Just because other people might have more acute trauma doesn’t mean that our own is invalidated or unfounded. Like me, you can’t address trauma until you know it’s there.

It’s so easy to let that pain – whether we acknowledge it or not – fester as adults. We see patterns in our lives like finding ourselves in the same types of relationships, work environments or stagnant situations, but don’t understand why. Until we identify the culprit, the fear, the insecurity that’s become our inner compass, we will continue to attract and find ourselves in these unhealthy situations, time and time again.

If we don’t acknowledge our trauma and work to heal it, we find ourselves letting it dictate the direction of our lives. We give it power.

As new parents, my husband and I have been very conscientious about working on ourselves, not only because it’s healthy for us individually and as a couple, but also so that we don’t pass our trauma on to our children. If allowed, trauma will spill over into every aspect of our lives, including our ability to parent; the work we’re doing will help ensure that the cycle of patterns ends with us and doesn’t get passed to the next generation.

If you’re interested in starting or intensifying your own journey, I highly recommend The Seeker’s Manual by Arda. The book, along with Arda’s one-on-one teachings, profoundly changed my life.

Patterns in relationships & breaking free from “your type”

I spent 15 years dating men that were “my type” with the hope of discovering my soulmate. But I uncovered my childhood trauma instead.

Throughout my 20s and early 30s, I shared with my girlfriends how downright uncanny it was that so many of the guys I dated were basically carbon copies of each other.

Their careers, hobbies, family issues, insecurities – and their birth order. I noticed several specific patterns, including a brief phase of dating men who were first-born twins. Not just one, but several guys I dated, couldn’t whistle. You can’t make this stuff up.

Our culture teaches us that we’re born liking or disliking certain traits, as if our type is genetically ingrained in us. How many times do we decide the fate of a new prospect by answering the question: “are they my type?”

But as relationships came and went, I began to wonder: if this type of man is my destiny, then frankly why am I not happy in these relationships?

Finding a life coach

I felt confused and unable to find a path forward to happiness. I began to explain my frustration about feeling stuck in multiple areas of my life with close friends and colleagues. One day at work, a coworker pulled me aside and recommended that I speak to her life coach, Arda.

She credited Arda – and a lot of hard work – with helping her tap into her own power. He helped her dig deep and undergo truly life-changing personal work to imagine a new reality for herself. Her conviction was contagious. I immediately emailed him to request an appointment.

Session after session, we began to peel back the layers of my type, the caricature that I’d unconsciously been seeking for most of my adult life. Arda taught me that patterns like the ones I’d noticed aren’t serendipitous signs from the Universe that I’d found my soulmate.

Quite the contrary. These patterns are cycles formed by fear, insecurity and trauma. When carefully studied, they can illuminate your past, delivering insights into a totally unknown part of yourself, your inner child.

With Arda’s guidance, I painstakingly examined my patterns. They exposed how I saw myself and revealed made-up stories that I’d believed about myself for as long as I could remember.

Believing the lies

These lies can be hard to detect because we have believed them for so long. So many people grow up believing they’re unlovable, that love is conditional or that they’re not smart enough to achieve their dreams.

These lies reflect our biggest fears. Whether or not we like what we believe, they are our truth, and challenging that truth is scary. But until we address them, we unknowingly seek out circumstances that reinforce our beliefs, allowing the lies to spread. Like many people, I attracted a type of partner who would allow me to continue to perpetuate my lies because it felt familiar and comfortable.

My patterns

For me, the pattern of dating men in finance reflected my need to live a safe, conventional life. As a child, I never quite fit in with my conservative environment, and I lived in fear of being exposed as eclectic and odd. So I made life choices that put me on the “right” path: a college education, a corporate job, health insurance – to find an equally stable and conventional partner. I attracted “normal,” successful men so that I would feel normal and successful.

I also exclusively dated firstborns. During the process of getting to know myself, I read The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are by Dr. Kevin Leman. As with most studies on human psychology, there are nuances to Dr. Leman’s findings, but in general, first-born and only children tend to feel the most pressure from their parents to be perfect. They also are high-achieving leaders. At the time Dr. Leman published his book, 28 out of 44 U.S. presidents were firstborns or functional firstborns. These children often adapt to the pressure they feel by becoming organized, reliable, type A perfectionists.

I am an only child – what Dr. Leman affectionately refers to as “super firstborns,” effectively a first born on steroids. As an only child painstakingly attuned to the needs of my parents, I am incredibly skilled at anticipating my partners’ emotional needs: preventing downturns and calming turbulence. Giving at all costs without taking. I see this pattern in so many of my female loved ones, too.

Because I was hiding my true self, I felt powerless and unknowingly sought out a partner to impart a false sense of power by association so that I could hide from my own strength. I could rely on someone else to be decisive, have a plan and take risks. I attracted leaders so that I wouldn’t have to lead.

The final pattern I noticed in my relationships was related to family trauma, specifically brought on by an overbearing, well-intentioned, hyper-critical parent. This upbringing yielded highly functioning men with anxiety and extreme emotional needs.

In the early stages of a relationship, because of my conditioning, this role felt familiar, comfortable and safe. “If he needs me,” says the fear, “then he won’t notice that I’m not loveable. He will rely on me to bring him stability. I will make myself indispensable.”

Then, like clockwork, I began to feel drained, unfulfilled, resentful and unseen. I attracted men who needed me so that I would feel needed. For me, this pattern was the most dangerous trap of all.

Breaking free

Now, many years into this work of self-discovery, I am married and in a relationship that is more expansive, joyful and deeply fulfilling than I could have imagined. My husband is my balance. He helps me recognize and address my lies and celebrate my truth. And while I see some of the old type in him, there’s one critical difference: he does his own work. I help him identify his patterns, but he doesn’t rely on me to fix him. I give a lot in our relationship, but I’m allowed to take a lot, too.

Lies don’t just show up in romantic relationships; you’ll find them at work, in interactions with friends, in your decision making and pretty much everywhere else.

Here’s where it gets tricky: society often rewards our coping behavior. You might skip a meal because you’re busy finishing a project at school or work. Or you might offer to host your extended family for the holidays even though you desperately don’t want to. Or you might fail to set boundaries with a toxic friend who’s going through a tough time. These transgressions, however minor, are warnings that you’ve lost your way. They are micro-indicators of more complex justifications, tradeoffs and prioritizations. Over time, they can erode your self-respect and deplete your soul.

But the beauty of the work of self discovery is that once you notice your patterns and you let them reveal the lies you once believed, then you begin to surrender from the grip they have on your life. Your knowledge is freedom.

In this over-programmed, frenetic world of ours, we don’t always make time for yoga, meditation, journaling, wellness retreats or even quiet reflection. But surely we can make time to notice our patterns and listen as they whisper our truths. The journey of self love begins there.

Parenting for highly sensitive people

Last week, I wrote about a new commitment to reimagine my every day rituals to better meet my needs. One of the three pillars of this goal is my spiritual practice.

I want to say at the outset that I’m going to be very honest here, and my intention is not to complain but to normalize talking about the hard parts of parenting. My friend Hana Raftery’s amazing vulnerability in sharing her experience with mothering as an HSP opened my eyes, and my hope is that by sharing my experience, I can help empower others. If we don’t take care of ourselves and our mental health, we can’t take care of anyone else.

Becoming a mom has been the single most soul-expanding, heart-filling, incredible experience of my life. But as a highly sensitive person, the sensory overload I’ve started to feel over the past month or so has been a struggle.

I’ve found that many of the aspects of motherhood are triggers for highly sensitive people (HSP); according to the Highly Sensitive Person Test, qualities of HSPs include:

  • Becoming easily overwhelmed by strong sensory input like loud noises or bright lights
  • Being affected by other people’s moods
  • Needing to withdraw for privacy and to avoid stimulation
  • Finding it unpleasant to have a lot going on at once
  • Feeling your nervous system become so rattled that you need time alone

Motherhood hasn’t been the only life phase that’s been a challenge for my sensitive nature. When I worked in an office, we had an open floor plan with literally dozens of people working at cubicles within earshot of my desk. The sounds of people on the phone, the frenetic energy, stressful deadlines and bright florescent lights made it difficult for me to concentrate and impossible to not feel overwhelmed and drained. At least once a day, I booked an empty conference room and sat alone with the lights off to just breathe, feel my feet and try to ground myself.

But the difference between my office job and motherhood is that now there are very few breaks. I can’t step away, put on headphones and turn off the lights whenever I feel overwhelmed. It’s harder to detach myself from feeling my daughter’s energy and moods as I did with coworkers, because I’m responsible for her wellbeing…and she’s literally part of me. The sound of her playing and laughing is so joyful, but the sound of her unhappy, tired, frustrated or in pain from teething hurts me in a way that’s experiential and deeply upsetting. The combination of these new stimuli plus less sleep plus giving so much of my physical and emotional energy to look after and entertain her has resulted in an emptiness in me.

Like so many things we struggle with in life, just naming it can bring healing. I’ve known I was an HSP for a decade, but I didn’t put it through the lens of motherhood until Hana started sharing her experience. Having that understanding helps me know where my feelings are coming from and explain them to my husband. So many of my friends have confided that they regularly feel a sensory overload as parents, so I know I’m not alone. Neither are you.

I’m still testing out healing spiritual practices that bring grounding, connection and insight and that work with my new lifestyle. Life my office job, I know I’ll find new ways to adapt and grow.

A friendly PSA on clean beauty and pregnancy

I’ve used clean beauty and personal care products for years. Once my partner and I decided to try to get pregnant with our first child, I committed to using clean products, including cleaning and other household products, exclusively. During my current pregnancy, I’ve gone a step further by educating myself and becoming more selective about what classifies as “clean.”

I love that brands like Sephora offer a clean label to make it easy to find safe products, but turns out, their standards aren’t always as discerning as I’d like. Instead, I now rely on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. It’s an incredible resource for finding out how clean your products actually are; you simply search for a product or brand, and the results include a 1 out of 10 overall rating as well as detailed categories for cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, allergies, etc. It might sound like information overload, but it’s actually extremely user friendly. Look for the label EWG Verified which is their highest stamp of approval.

I’ve been so surprised by the results of my searches, and it’s really helped me make decisions about where to spend my money. (For the record, Beautycounter and Honest Beauty are the safest brands I’ve come across.)

Needless to say, I’ve been phasing out some of my old products in favor of cleaner replacements recently. As I’ve been reading labels on the new products, I noticed something that makes this process even more tricky: just because a product is clean, it’s not necessarily safe during pregnancy. For example, I ordered Honest Beauty’s Vitamin C Radiance Serum, which is EWG Verified, but after getting it in the mail and reading the packaging, I realized it contains Gallic Acid, which is considered unsafe during pregnancy.

I’ve written before about product categories and specific ingredients that are unsafe (or questionable) during pregnancy. From that list, I’ve found that two categories tend to be the most troublesome:

  1. Any products that are smoothing or brightening tend to contain either alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). Most alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are considered unsafe during pregnancy, except for glycolic acid (7% concentration or lower) and lactic acid (5% concentration or lower). AHAs that shouldn’t be used during pregnancy are mandelic acid, malic acid, and tartaric acid. Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) is the category of acids that classifies salicylic acid, which you should avoid during pregnancy.
  2. Sunless tanner. Some sources say that sunless tanner sits on top of the skin and isn’t absorbed, so it’s safe. I’ve found other sources that say dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, could penetrate the skin. Most of the “cleanest” sunless tanners I’ve found contain DHA, so be on the lookout if that’s an ingredient you’re hoping to avoid.

Admittedly, finding conclusive information on this topic can be a confusing and frustrating process. When in doubt, look it up or check with a dermatologist or another expert you trust.

Pregnancy recipe: leafy green soup

Leafy greens vegetables like kale, spinach and collards are packed with vitamins and minerals (vitamins A, C, K and E along with iron, fiber, calcium and folate) that pregnant moms and babies need.

This soup is one of my favorite ways to consume a ton of vegetables in one meal. It’s easy to make and modify based on what vegetables you have in the kitchen. You can eat it warm or chilled.

Serves 4.

  • 5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
  • 1 pound fresh English peas, shelled (about 1 cup)
  • 8 ounces spinach, tough stems discarded (about 6 cups packed leaves)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  1. Heat 4 teaspoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, celery, zucchini, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Add stock, and bring to a boil.
  2. Add peas, and return to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until peas are tender and bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in spinach. Cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach has wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Working in 2 batches, puree pea mixture in a blender, filling no more than halfway and adding up to 2 tablespoons water to each batch to achieve desired consistency. Stir in 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Spinach and Pea Soup.

A healing visualization: expand your heart & reduce anxiety

In January, a six-month old baby was shot and killed by stray bullets at 3 p.m. on a Monday in Atlanta, about 30 minutes from where we live. Gunfire erupted when two adults got into an altercation outside of a grocery store. The baby was riding in the car with his mom, and their car was struck as they drove by.

The reality of the world we live in can be terrifying, heartbreaking and disgusting. This crime is so senseless and avoidable and yet deeply complex at its root. As parents, my husband and I have been shaken to our core by this news. Yesterday evening, we had a long discussion about fear, loss, generational trauma and how a community can and should respond.

Last night, as I was falling asleep, I started to feel my mind racing about COVID and whether or not we’re taking too many risks; I replayed our afternoon walk from that day and our outside interactions with a few neighbors. I stopped my chattering thoughts long enough to realize that this anxiety wasn’t about COVID at all; it actually stemmed from our discussion about the shooting. In an effort to create a false sense of control over my family’s safety, I started obsessing over something I can control: exposure to COVID.

In that moment, an image came over me that immediately soothed my fear and transformed it into its original state….love. This only takes a few minutes, and I hope you’ll try it if you start to feel overwhelmed.


Close your eyes and take a few slow, restorative breaths.

Check in with your body and identify where you’re holding anxiety. (I felt mine in my stomach.)

Let one of your fears come to mind. Once you’ve identified it, picture it as a black string inside your body. Now imagine pinching that string with your fingertips and pulling it out of your body to remove it. Do that again and again until you’ve collected all of the fears bothering you in this moment.

Look at your handful of strings and say these words to yourself or out loud: “Beings of light and love, I feel these fears because I’m afraid of losing what I love. Please transmute these fears into feelings of love and return them to my heart.” (The words are just a guide; change them or address them to another being that is meaningful to you.)

As you finish saying the words, imagine the black threads transforming, becoming a vibrant red, twisting together and joining over your head into the shape of a heart. Notice the energy of these beautiful feelings and welcome them as they land on your chest and sink into your heart. Feel the expansion of your heart and let its pulsing energy radiate outwards until it reaches every part of your body.

Enjoy this sensation until you feel complete and give gratitude for your transformation.

How to get out of your head and into your body

For the most part, we live in a society that rewards thinking, logic and analysis…living exclusively in our heads. The upside is productivity and progress, but at the risk of over analysis, anxiety, burnout, exhaustion, and worst of all, living a life full of things we were “supposed” to do, but that leaves us entirely unfulfilled.

The problem isn’t in the thinking; it’s in forgetting the balance of thinking and feeling. In fact, most of us have gotten so accustomed to being in our heads that we struggle to even know how to be in our bodies. We’ve lost our connection to our inner knowing, our intuition, our gut, our compass…the only path to a fulfilling life.

Getting in touch with that inner voice guides big decisions about our careers, the people we choose to surround ourselves with and where we live, as well as thousands of every-day decisions. Most people notice that inner voice every now and then, whether we’re trying to or not; you might find yourself saying or thinking things like, “That person gave me a bad feeling,” “Something told me to call you” or “It just felt right.” The goal of living more in our bodies is to connect with that instinct all of the time for the direction and answers we seek.

The idea of finding answers within ourselves can be both liberating and terrifying. I read recently that although anxiety expresses itself differently ways, its root cause is a lack of trust in ourselves; if we had full trust and confidence in our ability to make the right decisions, find and give love, be good parents and employees, handle difficult situations, provide for ourselves and our families and all of the other ways we worry, we would live a more settled, peaceful and content life.

Looking back over the years, the split-second decisions I made based on a feeling that I couldn’t justify or rationalize have always made me so much happier than the decisions I agonized over. You might find the same is true for you.

A note for pregnant mamas and new parents: Having information about pregnancy and parents at our fingertips is incredible, but also terribly overwhelming. I poured myself into research, but when in came down to making decisions, I checked in with myself and with my baby to find the path that was right for us. Know that you have options and the right to choose every aspect of your care; I believe that a truly empowered pregnancy and birth requires the ability to make decisions based on your instinctual knowing, rather than your mind, which can so easily become clouded by fear, worry and doubt. I’ve found that all of the troubleshooting we’ve done as first-time parents has required instinct and going with our gut. (That was especially true when trying to navigate dozens of different expert opinions on our daughter’s tongue tie.)

Getting back into your body is a constant practice that requires some unlearning of old habits and frequent check-ins with yourself. With some dedication, you will see major changes as you access your knowing and relax into the flow of your life. You already have all of the tools you need.

The following practices have worked for me during different stages of my life. I recommend setting aside 5 or 10 minutes every day…choose a length of time that feels attainable to you. Select a few practices from this list (or others that work for you) and dedicate a week to each one. Notice how they feel and adopt one/s that bring you closer into connection with yourself.

  • Meditation or guided meditation. Meditation can feel intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be. A meditation app can help remove the guesswork and make the practice feel accessible. Here is a list of some of the best apps that either offer free meditations or a free trial. If apps aren’t your thing, you could set a timer for yourself and put on relaxing music….or no music at all.
  • Reiki. Reiki is a type of energy work. Before you write this one off as not for you, hear me out. When I lived in California, I worked with a group that offered Reiki for patients and caregivers at Stanford Hospital. We only had 10 minutes with each person in a crowded waiting room, but the results were truly amazing. We made believers out of dozens of skeptical patients each week. I was introduced to Reiki by my life coach Arda Ozdemir, and coupled with our weekly therapy sessions, Reiki changed my life.
  • Qigong. Qigong is also a type of energy work. It’s a gentle exercise that involves breathing and simple, slow motions. Qigong helps me get into my body and connect with and move the energy in my body. You can find a lot of great videos on YouTube that guide you.
  • Journaling. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron maps out a routine to help tap into your creativity, and one daily practice she recommends is writing. She suggests overcoming writer’s block by not getting hung up on the topic; write about whatever is occupying your mind, even if that’s a grocery list or an interaction you’re worried about that day. By writing it down and silencing the chatter in your head, you can start to tap into your inner voice.
  • Yoga or other movement. Remember that the goal for this isn’t necessarily exercise, but getting into the body. Experiment with different types of yoga to see what works for you. For me, yoga nidra and yin yoga are most effective. These forms of yoga are meant to be slow and meditative. They offer a chance to check in with your body and explore your emotional well-being. 
  • Breathwork. A simple but very effective place to start with breathwork is belly breathing. The simple step of directing your attention to your breath can regulate your nervous system and bring you back into your body. If you’d like to hear more about the science behind breathwork and healing, this Ted Talk with Max Strom is an excellent resource.
  • Self massage. According to Ayurveda, daily self massage is recommended to boost circulation, remove tension, improve sleep and nourish the body. Ideally, it’s done with oil (like sesame oil) in a warm room and followed by a warm bath or shower. You can find an overview of how to perform an Ayurvedic massage. If you don’t have time for a full massage every day, you can massage your scalp, ears, palms of your hands and soles of your feet instead. It can be easy to let your mind wander, but try to always come back to the physical sensations in your body.
  • Feel your feet. This tip came from my life coach Arda Ozdemir, and it’s so easy because you can do it anytime and anywhere, and it takes about 10 seconds. If you find your thoughts spinning, anxiety swelling or you’re just in need for a reset, take a few slow breaths and concentrate on the bottoms of your feet for about 10 seconds. By directing your energy there, you send your focus from your head to your body and feel more grounded.

Let me know what you try and which practice works best for you!