We’re growing our Alive and Well team! This is a special opportunity to work and learn as part of a movement of transformed women who create a more loving and empowering world for all women. If you’re a college or graduate student seeking marketing and communications experience, we’d love to talk with you about the joining us. We’re seeking a proactive, hard-working intern to support our Marketing Team and help us grow audience and engagement!
In a world too comfortable with stagnation and fear, in a society where we are encouraged to forget our identity- your voice is needed in our wilderness. Alive and Well Women explore divine connection, creativity, and nature at fall retreat.
“Believe me as one who has experience, you will find much more among the woods then ever you will find among books. Woods and stones will teach you what you can never hear from any master.”- St. Bernard of Clairvaux
You aren’t wrong; You’re enough. You were never wrong to hope for them. You were never wrong to show them love. You forget what comes next in your story. This isn’t the last chapter.
Going gray is a fate to be feared. I have countless memories of the women in my life rejecting their gray hair as if it were the devil himself. And now as I look into the mirror and see gray hairs of my own, I hear those messages surfacing.
Coming to the contemplative path connected the dots needed to map my way to center, and come face to face with my soul. Not as the world around me had defined it, nor even how I defined it- but my soul as it was born to be, beyond the narrative of my experiences.
Our guest blogger Katie Linder isn’t alone in wrestling with how to use social media in a life-giving way. We so appreciated her perspective, we asked if we could share it with our community. We’re delighted she said yes!
Healing occurs in using our creative gifts, being with a loving community of women and sharing those gifts with others. I truly believe this love goes a long way. Like the butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon helping with global environmental health, so too could a loving card at the right time and right place bring life to someone who feels lost and forgotten.
A group of women gathered together to celebrate the season and reconnect with our bodies and souls. It was such a beautiful way to head into the Christmas weekend, acknowledging and celebrating the darkness that comes before the light. I felt so grounded and relaxed after this event, and also excited and eager for the magic of the Christmas holiday to come. For me, the most wonderful outcome of this event came the next morning, when I found out that we had raised enough money to help purchase yoga props for the mamas to be at Elizabeth House.
Each New Year, many women put weight loss at the top of their New Year’s Resolution lists. We, as women, are told we aren’t enough and something drastic must change in our physical appearance to be our best. But we are enough, exactly as we are.
All the hype about “Think Pink” during October’s breast cancer awareness push is as much to benefit companies using the slogan as it is to increase awareness. I’m grateful for awareness that allowed me and other early diagnosis patients to live full and long lives post-cancer, but I’m not buying any pink products. If I want to give money to raise awareness or research I’ll give it directly to the ones providing those services.
I was reminded that everyone has a story behind their story and I pondered why it is so easy for me to forget that everyone has deep personal truths lurking beneath the surface, like a treasure chest waiting to be unburied from the sand. A person’s willingness to share their story is one of the things I most value in life but sometimes I forget to ask the right questions or to ask any questions at all…mostly because this icky little voice inside tells me that they don’t really want to talk to me anyway or chides me with the idea that I’m too busy with fill-in-the-blank to listen.
What do you have to say? Do you want a safe space to share your story?
To speak your truth? To declare your unique view of reality?
I wonder what would happen if you say what you want to say?
We want to help you say it.
The spiritual path of discipline isn’t about force or willpower. It is a path of surrendering to the “Divine action” within us. As Merton puts it, they free us from the need to prove ourselves so we can be more open to the power that wants to work through us, without our taking the credit.
Deep inside you, beneath all the rules and rebellion is your body’s natural wisdom. It takes support, practice, courage and willingness to forge that path until the new path becomes habitual.
These two consecutive sessions revealed to her that, as convincing as it can seem that changing her body will surely be her key to happiness, it is not so. Of course treating our bodies with love and kindness will certainly help us feel better overall, but changing our size will not magically change our life; changing our thinking will.
Our thoughts and actions surrounding the nourishment of our bodies is often reflected in how we nourish the rest of the self. If we rush through every meal and feel guilty after eating foods that aren’t “clean” or otherwise virtuous, chances are that our lives are sprinkled with unwarranted shame in areas that we may not even be aware of.
Becoming willing to tolerate and cope with painful emotions until they pass naturally will help you release the need for dieting and/or overeating. And just like learning any new skill, you will get stronger and better at it over time. As challenging as emotional pain is, the lovely parting gift of welcoming feelings is that you will experience firsthand that all feelings and cravings will eventually pass. You will also get to reap the many benefits of an eating disorder-free life!
When you take self-berating, calorie burning and body sculpting out of the equation, you will be able to honor your body’s natural desires to move and rest.
Eating moderately and intuitively means we have to feel emotions that we may have previously attempted to numb with excess food or restricting. It means we will have to find other ways to fill our time, our minds and our unmet needs.
Little did I know that this act of embodiment is fundamentally both empowering and an act of self love. During the retreat we were invited to practice embodiment by slowly becoming aware of our bodies through practices like meditation, dance, and self-reflection. Though it may sound like a simple task I have come to learn that it is an act of courage.
Years of healing work with myself and other women have taught me that God loves all of creation, including the parts I’d rather exclude from love–like the increasingly droopy skin encasing my upper arms. If I can’t love my body exactly as it is today, whatever my weight or state of health or disease, then I settle for far less than the fullness of life that lives in my by the Spirit of God. And I cut myself off from the transformational power of God’s love.
“My son, the battle is between two wolves that live inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret,
greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The
other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy,
generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about this for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
“Which wolf wins?”
The day was spent meditating, eating nourishing food, conversing, practicing yoga, crying, conversing some more, doing facials and self-massages and laughing. I could spend more time describing the facts of what we did, but I don’t think that would do justice to the space we created. The rest was external so it could be internal, the self-care was outward so it could be inward. There is something about doing this communally which binds you together and reminds you that you’re not alone. To hear the words of inner wisdom from women who have seen and done more than I, confirmed that we are all humans, who share the need for Love, who seek for peace and vitality for our lives.
“During the course of that Lenten season, I felt a profound change within me. I understood that the road to engagement and befriending of my loneliness requires acceptance and self-love. This means a gracious tolerance of myself, of my friends, of my circumstances.”
Alive and Well Women’s Open House and Introductory Workshop was a total success! On Saturday, February 11 women from all walks of life gathered together for a taste of the loving, empowering, and compassionate sisterhood that Alive and Well Women aims to foster. We met at John Aaroe Group in Pasadena and enjoyed a delicious brunch provided by True Food Kitchen Pasadena.
Even though the word is out on the street that diets really don’t work, many people are still seduced by them … Despite what the glossy photos and fad diets promise, if you consistently deprive yourself of delicious, nutritious foods, you are going to end up either malnourished or overeating (or both!)
The ”Create: Listening to Your Life through Art Making” event was a true answer to prayer. While I did not know what to expect, I came away feeling affirmed in my calling and in the ways God is guiding me.
This holiday season I am going to focus on compassionate consumption. Compassion recognizes suffering with kindness and non-judgement. And then comes alongside with the intention to alleviate suffering to the degree that I can. Eating just enough is one way to do that today. And if I choose to eat more than enough, not judging myself for breaking my intention but kindly stopping when I recognize I’ve passed the point of satiation.
We want to revolutionize the way women relate to ourselves and each other about beauty — from fear, shame and “I’m not enough just as I am” to compassion, love, and accepting the natural changes that are part of growing older. What do you think about plastic surgery and the double standards that come with? Do you think there will ever be a shift to embrace the aging process instead of defying it?