Soul Sister Spotlight: Alyssa Rodgers

The Soul Sister Spotlight is a celebration of women who are honoring their soul.  These women are committed to their personal journey and are willing to share it in all its realness.  This special blog feature is an expansion of the Soul Connect Tribe which is dedicated space for women who uplift, inspire and are redefining the way women connect.

Meet Alyssa Rodgers!

Alyssa Rodgers is the founder of The Mexitalian, a blog that celebrates blending cultures through food and travel.  Food and cooking are her greatest passions, and she loves to share original recipes and travel experiences.

Let's connect with Alyssa as she shares how she stays soul connected!

I give myself permission to… take time for me. With a busy lifestyle it’s easy to feel guilty for taking the time that is truly for myself. I make an effort to do things that are just for me and just to feel good, like taking myself out for a healthy lunch, or going for a walk somewhere new. 

How do you tend to your soul? I love to practice yoga, read, travel, but I best tend to myself when I’m cooking. Cooking allows me to be creative, to use a different part of my brain and I do in my every day work, it allows me to be appreciative of where my food comes from, and often of the local farmers I pick up produce from. Cooking also helps to remind me how important good food is to nourish my body and help me to create the life I want that is true to my soul. 

How do you rebel against fear? I tend to just go for it. I’ve always been good at managing performance anxiety and fear, in part because I try to just jump in before I even notice that my heart is beating out of my chest. 

What does CONNECTION mean to you?  To me, connection is a feeling. It means to be pulled to something or someone, while also feeling that pull in return. Connection is one of the most important aspects of life, and something that I continue to seek in my hobbies, relationships, and passions. 

What is your favorite quote right now that’s feeding your soul?   "Eat well, travel often" has been my moto since college. Eating well gives me the energy to do all of the things I want and need to do, and traveling perks me up when I need to recharge. 

Alyssa is a recent Cleveland transplant, currently enjoying eating her way through town with some yoga and cycle classes in between. You can connect with her at www.themexitalian.com, @the_mexitalian on Instagram, or @theMexitalianblog on Facebook.

Celebrating Over Commiserating

What if instead of creating connection over our failed attempts or shared insecurities, we instead connect about our self growth and all the ways we can support one another?

I saw an old friend this weekend and I noticed that after a brief conversation, it turned into commiserating rather than celebrating.  I got caught up in an old story that was lingering from the past and did not represent who I am today. But that's how fear works-it grips onto those old stories because it knows how easily we can revert back to these types of habits. 

As women, we have been conditioned to share and bond over what we DON'T like about ourselves rather than what we DO like about ourselves. Why is that?  Because it is a hell of a lot safer and less scary to admit our self love so we end up perpetuating the not good and the not worthy enoughs.

Soul Connect is all about redefining how women connect. My intention is that every event + gathering is carefully curated so we choose love over fear and start helping each other rise. It's hard and we will slip up (um, hello!) but that's why soul connection is an ever evolving journey.

Our {free} monthly Tribe gathering is this Thursday, July 20th at Mason's Creamery in Cleveland. We have a seat saved for you and would love to connect. Ground rules include: no weather talk (b/c that's too easy to fall back on and gets in the way of the real talk), no judgement (of self or others) and an open mind + heart. Sounds a little ambiguous? {That's on purpose} Each gathering holds its own magic, you just have to show up and see for yourself.

And for the love of personal development- I challenge you to share something your celebrating about yourself the next time you connect with another woman. That just might be the permission slip she needs to do the same

 

Why I don't want to be happy...

There is something I need to tell you. 

It many seem kind of odd or confusing at first, but hear me out. 

My goal in life, is not to be happy.  

Sure, of course in the general sense, I want to be happy rather than sad or angry.  I opt to for smiley face emojis over the smirks or grimaces (although TBH, I’m more of a monkey emoji fan 🙈).  And overall, if someone were to ask me if I am happy- I really am.  I am grateful that my status quo is in fact happiness where I know for a lot of people, that base line is a struggle to achieve. 

But being happy is not what I am striving for.  

I am not aiming for happiness. I never really connected with quotes involving the themes of choosing or striving for happy.  As a kid of the 90s, I never really understood the whole smiley face phenomena (even though I definitely rocked a smiley face patch on my jean jacket). Words littered across t-shirts stating, “smile, be happy”.  Even at a young age, it felt too easy. It felt like a mask; it didn’t feel genuine.  Now, when I think about being happy or choosing happiness in my life, the choice is clear to me: I don’t want to be happy.  

If I had to choose, I would choose JOY.  

Now, before you unscrunch your face to say, “well, sure, we would all rather feel extra happy-what’s the difference?”, allow me to explain. 

Joy isn’t just supercharged happiness.  Joy is that very visceral feeling that goes beyond the surface of happiness and seeps deep into your core.  Joy is vulnerable, messy, and real.  Joy acknowledges that as humans, we have other feelings, dark feelings, and that is okay.  And in order to feel joy, we must be familiar with its friend, suffering. {Just like in order to see the light, we must have the darkness} Joy can be momentous and expansive. Joy can also be small, simple, and savory.  

I keep thinking about the scene from Harry Potter (oh yes, I’m going there) when Harry sees a Thestral for the first time and Luna Lovegood informs him that only people who witness death first hand can see a Thestral. His stance steadies as he gazes in awe of the beautiful beast before him. 

I see joy like a Thestral.

We only know joy by accepting our humanness and therefore honoring all our feelings as life moves through us.  We start to feel joy deeper the more we acknowledge, feel and heal our suffering. Joy doesn't discount our other emotions, it honors them. Just like a muscle, we have to actively engage with our joy each day in order to truly see its strength. 

For so long, I thought that happiness came from outside of me and that joy was some mystical emotion that was hard to achieve; and more importantly, that I had to be worthy to feel joy.  I believed I had to look a certain way, say and do certain things in order to be happy, liked or accepted.  I subscribed to this belief that feeling all my feelings, especially the dark ones, made me less and unworthy.  Oh, and you know, all that other fear nonsense like guilt and shame that pals around with it. 

When I started my soul connect journey several years ago, I began to shed these self limiting beliefs, and gave myself permission to explore the shadows. Sure, it was scary and uncomfortable and I wanted to quit and at times I did. But I kept coming back to the practice. 

What I found was that by surrendering these beliefs and nurturing my connection to my authentic truth, my joy was amplified.  I started to see a significant shift. It wasn’t outside things that brought me joy, it was the joy within me that was ignited by the triggers of people, places, experiences that sent a current of light throughout my being.  

So often fear casts a dark shadow to hide our personal power. Fear does a great job at making us forget that joy is always accessible to us.  Joy is our power. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am not walking around all day high on joy. I am human.

And as a human, I feel a lot of things throughout the course of a day.  I can definitely get caught up by fear’s tricks. But rather than blindly follow that fear, I access my power and choose a different route. I honor how I feel, for as long as I need to, then I actively engage my power of choice. What I now know to be true is that when I choose to see, cultivate and embrace the things that bring out my joy, I am able to more quickly shift from fear to love.  

Joy is our soul’s innate being.  

Joy is our birthright. 

You may see it as semantics; and if happiness is a word you vibe with more, then do you, sister.  But as for me, I am going to be over here, doing my thing, keep showing up + choosing joy. 

Soul Sister Spotlight: Sammie Fleming

The Soul Sister Spotlight is a celebration of women who are honoring their soul.  These women are committed to their personal journey and are willing to share it in all its realness.  This special blog feature is an expansion of the Soul Connect Tribe which is dedicated space for women who uplift, inspire and are redefining the way women connect.

Welcome Sammie Fleming!  

Sammie is a life coach, Reiki practitioner, and women's circle facilitator. Sammie believes that we are all worthy of calm, love-filled lives and adores nothing more than supporting women back to that sweet, sweet place. She is obsessed with the moon and weaves her passion of feminine and menstrual cycles into her coaching, allowing her clients to understand, honour and align with their own rhythms. I am thrilled to feature Sammie as she was my personal life coach and has become a true bright light in my life so I am excited to share her shine with all of you! 

Let's connect with Sammie as she shares how she stays soul connected!

I give myself permission to… Live and work in my own feminine, cyclic way.  I have always struggled with the status quo - the idea that we show up feeling the same each day, our energy linear, state of mind and efficiency unchanged day to day.  Now I allow myself to live and work alongside my own cycle, riding those sweet highs, and honouring the lower energy phases.

How do you tend to your soul? I love to challenge myself spiritually - I like to feel somewhat changed by a book or an event and am tending, more and more, to be drawn to those soul-shaking experiences that allow me to go deeper.

In my day to day I love to practice yoga.  I am devoting to one of my first truly committed meditation practices, which feels so good!  I’m loving the connection, freshness and the clarity it is bringing to my days.  I always feel a little out-of-kilter if I’ve been spending too much time either indoors, or in a city environment, and I crave getting out underneath the trees (my happy place!).

I adore creating sacredness in my spaces - lighting candles while I work, holding crystals while I coach and diffusing delicious essential oils in my home.

How do you rebel against fear? It is a constant practice, but I try to remember that anything worthwhile comes with at least a little fear.  Anything new or challenging brings up doubt (it’s the human condition!) and it’s a sensation I’m becoming more comfortable with, because if we can look at it as just that - a sensation - it loses it’s hold over us.  

When I get stuck in my head (hello fear!) I try to connect back in with my intuition, allowing my inner voice to be heard.  This often looks like breathing deep into the belly and asking myself “What do you actually want?”

Another speedy technique to rebel against fear is my motto of “Say Yes And Figure Out The Rest Later!”  Of course only to be used if you know within yourself that this opportunity or decision is right for you.  Living this way means I often don’t get a chance to go too deep into the overthinking, the doubt and comparison - rather it’s a matter of getting it done!

What does CONNECTION mean to you?  I have always valued connection, community and sisterhood highly in my life.  There is nothing more precious than our peeps!  

Connection to me means proper heart-to-heart communication.  No saying what we think “should” be said.  No being who we think we “should” be.  But standing in our own power, being seen (and loved!) as we actually are.

There is a palpable rise of the sisterhood at the moment that I know many of us are seeing.  Many people have gone without a solid community and it’s so exciting to see the pull, back to that beautiful part of life.  

Supporting other women has now become my career (hoorah!) and in all honestly, nothing brings me greater joy.

What is your favorite quote right now that’s feeding your soul?   "We rise by lifting others" {Robert Ingersoll}

Sammie resides in Melbourne, Australia. She loves guiding women who are feeling stuck, stressed or overwhelmed - into a life of calm, ease, connection and clarity.  Her mission is to guide women who are feeling disconnected from their true, joy-filled selves, back to that blissful state of knowing that they are absolutely enough, right now, just as they are. Sammie has a Bachelor of Communications and is a qualified and certified Beautiful You Life Coach.

You can connect with Sammie over at her web home: sammiefleming.com  Facebook: @sammieflemingcoaching   Instagram: @sammiesonjafleming

From the moment I first connected Sammie, it was like seeing an old friend.  I instantly felt her warmth, light and authentic energy that created a container for me to be vulnerable without fear or regret.  Sammie is offering a 6 week intimate group coaching series for women to reclaim their feminine + menstrual cycle and embody the fullest version of themselves. For more info on go to: 
https://sammiefleming.com/group-coaching/ 

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She likes me for me...

This past weekend I attended my 10 year college reunion. There a lot of things I loved about my college experience but hands-down, the best thing about those four years was finding my people.

Fun fact: I'm an only child.  I didn't always feel like an only child because I grew up with cousins and my family is really close so we were always together.  So that whole only child stereotype thing didn't really ring true for me.

Other fun fact: I have always been an old soul.

Maybe it's an only child thing.  Maybe it's a {me} thing.  

When I was growing up I had a really hard time making and keeping friends, especially with girls.  I was shy, unsure of myself, and I never felt like I fit in. I wanted to be liked so badly that I ended up unknowingly creating masks so that I could try to get by.  When I got to high school I had become a pro at keeping these masks secure so that I had friends but I still always felt out of place; like I didn't belong.  

I spent four years at an all girls high school jumping from different friend groups. I so keenly labeled myself  a "floater".  What it meant for me at the time was that I was so insecure about not having moved into high school with a set 'ride or die' group of friends that I just made this my social class designation. By this time I had perfected my different masks so that wherever I went, I could just sneak in and be that version of myself.  

 Now don't get me wrong-I didn't have a negative experience in high school. It was more about how I showed up. It was about feeling like an imposter and having this deep knowing that I wanted to have real, true friendships that weren't surface level and where we could all just be ourselves. All this mask wearing was exhausting, lonely and confusing.  When I look back at that time in my life, there was a lot going on but really, I just wanted to feel like I belonged. I craved to be myself without conditions, to be accepted by a group so that I could start accepting myself.

When I arrived to my beautifully brick clad university that fall, I decided that I was ready to have a cliche fresh start and try to start living my life without the masks. I was excited to start over and this time see if anyone would notice if I just showed up me without any masks to hide. Because c'mon, it was college, I could finally be whomever I wanted to be.  But the ironic thing was, I didn't really know who I was.

That fall of my first semester, I met my soon to be bestie Chrissy over our common love for our home town. We bonded with our fellow floor mates over Sunday 'Sex in the City' episode watch parties. Chrissy and I ended up being roommates throughout college.  We played on a kickass intramural team where I met some other amazing women who gave me permission to show up as myself.  That year I also met Brigid-my twin soul, partner in crime, travel buddy who I moved to Hawaii with my sophomore year. In Hawaii I found my courage. I was forced to get to know myself like I never had before. It was in my senior year that I ended up connecting with Lindsay and Kelly who instantly became like family. 

When I graduated from college, I walked hand in hand out into the big, unknown world with some amazing people-my people.  I met the most incredible friends in college {friends that I call family}.  I met them without a mask on, without the facades, without the need to try and be someone else.  Instead, I just allowed myself to be ME.  I explored and discovered who I am.  It was messy for sure, but it was my own mess and it was a beautiful evolution that has led me to where I am today.  I didn't figure it all out in those four years, but what I did figure out was that I can be myself and still be accepted and loved unconditionally.  

This past weekend as I roamed the streets of my college town, I felt a sting of sweet nostalgia and deep, visceral feeling of gratitude.  Meeting these four soul sisters was one of the biggest gifts that I received in college. Each of them showed me what friendship is all about. They stood by me in all the phases of my personal evolution and have had my back {always}.  They have seen me at my very best and my very worst.  And each time they have loved me unconditionally for me. 

Better yet, these ladies taught me what female friendships are all about. They allowed me to be a true friend and showed me that I am worthy of having amazing people in my life just for being myself.  Lady friends are different kind of magic in the life of a woman.  We need that kind of bond to help nurture our soul. Self love + sisterhood will save the world.   

And when I think about that little girl in grade school and high school who craved that deep connection and desire to be herself, I would give her a squeeze and tell her it would be okay.  That those experiences, albeit challenging, made me savor and hold on tight to what true connection is all about.  And hell, look at me now! I am surrounded by incredible women who continue to lift me up and in turn allow me to raise them up as well.  It isn't an accident that Soul Connect is founded on redefining how women connect to themselves and each other.  It isn't a coincidence that my work as a soul coach is to help guide women to coming alive to their authenticity and live bravely as themselves. 

So as I sit here still basking in the joy of all of the laughter, dancing and celebrating with my original girl gang and all the others I was able to connect with during reunion weekend, I can't help but think about these stories that I held onto about authenticity, courage and connection.  Waves of memories of old stories are coming back and it isn't a bad thing, it is a remembrance of what was and an honoring of what it has evolved into. I will be sharing more on this to help debunk our stories of how we connect to ourselves and other women this summer.

But for now, gratitude on gratitude on gratitude. 

5 Soul Connecting Podcasts

Real talk: I have been somewhat behind when it comes to the podcast scene.  

But don't worry, I am catching up!  I have loved plugging in during the day, long drives, or on a walk.  There are so many options, it can be overwhelming!  But just like my notorious book list that I keep on my phone, I have since started a podcast list.  Tons of great interviews, conversations, things to learn, ways to grow. I have found so many great episodes that have been soul stretching, courageous and inspiring...plus some great laughs and aha moments. Check out my favorite soul connecting podcasts that I am currently jamming on and please be sure to share your favs with me (so I can obviously add them to my list!)

THE BALANCED BLONDE {SOUL ON FIRE} // Jordan Younger is The Balanced Blonde who shares all things self care, wellness and passionate living.  She interviews a lot of really interesting people who are setting their soul on fire.  My favorite episode of The Balanced Blonde went live recently and it was Jordan's first solo podcast. She got raw and real about her experience with trauma and how she healed through radical self love and self care practices.  Jordan beautifully rocked vulnerability by sharing her story. This episode really shined a light on how important it is to talk about these real life experiences and share the truth behind the insta filters. I really admire her for her honesty and courage and really loved this episode.   

The Bravery Board // The Bravery Board promotes mental wellness and thriving to high performing women, creatives and those who desire growth.  The Bravery Board is hosted by Michelle Houghton, Madison Hedlund (a fellow BYCA coach, wood!), Kate Alsup, and Jenn Fortner. I love this podcast because they feature brave people talking about brave topics with a dash of different interviews and enlightening conversations.  I have been introduced to so many awesome new writers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, movers and shakers. I often suggest episode 118  to coaching clients to offer a different spin on self care and to start looking more at the musts rather than the needs or shoulds. 

Be Amplified // Coaches + entrepreneurs Bri Seeley and Thais Sky offer weekly authentic conversations with top influencers to learn their secrets to leading an inspirational + badass life.  I really love the authentic talk on this podcast and how these badass babes talk about realness of life when it can be so easy to only show the shiny parts.   Maybe I am just so pumped about Danielle LaPorte's new book but I thought the one where they spoke with the Queen D herself about about the power of being a lightworker was soooo good! 

The Priestess Podcast // My teacher Julie Parker has some amazing women on her new podcast that go into all things woo.  My inner woo girl has soaked up all these episodes and have learned so much about the divine feminine, spirituality and the goddess life.  I have binged on this podcast but my fav was when my girl Sammie Fleming talked about our feminine cycles and the power of being in sync with our cycle and how it can help us live a rich, abundant life. The way Sammie explains our cycles has been so eye opening for me and makes sooo much sense! 

Rock Your Bliss Podcast // No doubt that two of my favorite soul sisters Jacki Carr + Mary Beth LaRue made this list! They just launched their new podcast last week and it is already SO good. This dynamic duo riff about all things bliss and are bringing on awesome people like this week's interview with Rosie Acosta where they talked about two of my favorite topics: connection and finding your tribe! 

Tell me your favs below or let's connect on social media. Happy listening soul sisters! 

 

Soul Sister Spotlight: Natalie Roberts-Mazzeo

The Soul Sister Spotlight is a celebration of women who are honoring their soul.  These women are committed to their personal journey and are willing to share it in all its realness.  This special blog feature is an expansion of the Soul Connect Tribe which is dedicated space for women who uplift, inspire and are redefining the way women connect.

Welcome Natalie!  

Natalie Roberts-Mazzeo is the founder of Miracle Mama, an online sanctuary that empowers and inspires mothers who are raising special needs children. Through coaching, community, and connection, Natalie’s mission is to create a space for women to reconnect with themselves and what is most important to them. Natalie empowers and supports women to rise to the challenge of special needs parenting and to meet each day with more ease and flow.

Let's connect with Natalie as she shares how she stays soul connected!  

I give myself permission to…To honour who I am before the roles of ‘mother, wife, sister, daughter, life coach, yoga teacher etc’. To create a space for ‘me’ that is so soul-enriching and life-enhancing, that I feel fuelled on the inside so my light can shine through to the outside. I allow myself to be vulnerable, real, authentic, honest, fierce, loving, wild and free!

How do you tend to your soul?  I tend to my soul by surrounding my 5 senses with the things I LOVE, things that light me up!

Sight: I create tranquil spaces in my home with candles, art, books, flowers, a place for yoga & meditation and cozy couches for family togetherness. Or the visual bliss of walking by the sea, or in a forest, or looking at a butterfly or a sunrise/sunset, a rainbow.

Hearing: Music, from ambient beats to jazz, to world beats to dance tracks...you name it depending on the mood...I love a good boogie in the kitchen! Even the sounds of birds at dawn or waves crashing, or the stillness of the calm before a storm.

Taste: I’m all things ‘organic’, love a good cook up. I love feeding my tribe with nourishing whole foods. Some mornings after a challenging night with my child, the first coffee, chai or hot lemon, ginger & honey is some of the most soulful experiences of complete aaaaahhhhhh, big breath out and surrender.

Smell: I usually have some essential oils simmering away or incense burning to connect me back, scent has such a beautiful place in my soul care. Smelling a rose or the leaves from a gum tree, or the scent of rain, or the ocean, or the forest. These smells seem to connect me back to nature, and to my own true nature too.

Touch: Cuddles with my girls Grace & Chiara are up there in my soul care. Having a child with critical health issues since birth, the power of touch has been so incredibly soul lifting. Sometimes where there are no words, touch has a beautiful way of connecting deeper.

How do you rebel against fear? I keep showing up! I have felt so much fear, especially through my recent motherhood years since my youngest daughter was diagnosed. The fear of watching her suffer and feeling helpless, the fear of not knowing how long she will be with us, the fear of her not being able to walk, talk or gain independence. I honour the role of fear has in my life, but I do not let it stop me from creating a life of freedom, miracles and magic. In a way, fear has been like a catalyst for me in some ways, to push harder towards the light and fight a little more for the things I love. 

Elizabeth Gilbert nails it here:

“Fear: I recognise and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but your suggestions will never be followed. You are allowed to have a seat, and you are allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You are not allowed to touch the road maps or suggest detours; you are not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you are not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, you are absolutely forbidden to drive."

What does CONNECTION mean to you? Connection to be = Sister Hood + Soul Family. It has been the major source of inspiration and support all through my life. Connection is the heartbeat force behind why I created Miracle Mama.

What is your favorite quote right now that’s feeding your soul?  “The last of human freedoms – the ability to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances.” {Vicktor E. Frankl}

You can connect with Natalie over at Miracle Mama -an online sanctuary for Mums who have a child with a disability or life changing diagnosis. Miracle Mama was specifically created to help empower and uplift mothers to manage their unique life circumstances and to help them rise to the challenge of special needs parenting and to meet each day with more ease and flow.

Natalie is a qualified Yoga Teacher from the Academy of Yoga Learning and Life Coach from the Beautiful You Coaching Academy. Natalie is based in Melbourne, Australia.

Find + follow Natalie on Instagram: @_miracle_mama_ Facebook: @miraclemamacommunity

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Soul Sister Spotlight: Kate Cashman

The Soul Sister Spotlight is a celebration of women who are honoring their soul.  These women are committed to their personal journey and are willing to share it in all its realness.  This special blog feature is an expansion of the Soul Connect Tribe which is dedicated space for women who uplift, inspire and are redefining the way women connect.

Welcome Kate! 

Kate Cashman from The Breath Between is a rest and renewal coach, author and speaker who resides in Hobart, Tasmania. As a coach, Kate is a multi-passionate professional who uses her legal, management, research and coaching qualifications, together with her personal experience, to help busy professionals and entrepreneurs feel more rested, renewed and full of energy for their lives outside of work. 

Let's connect with Kate as she shares how she stays soul connected!  

I give myself permission to…By honouring all aspects of who I am and what I love by seeking a life that is varied and full of joy.

How do you tend to your soul?  Driving down long, country lanes and lying in romantic old hay sheds brings me back to my soul and at the other end of the spectrum I’ll also spend time by the ocean. I was born in the country and then grew up next to the sea so I feel like both places bring me back to centre in different ways. Making sure I tend to my energy levels physically (yoga, movement, sleep, good food), mentally (reading, learning, research and teaching students), emotionally (connecting with loved ones, finding joy in the small things - like my old hay sheds!!!) and spiritually (meditation, NFP Board work in areas I am passionate about, living a life in line with my values and travel). My soul needs all of these dimensions to be nurtured - only then am I fully engaged and fully present in my life.

How do you rebel against fear? Lately - it’s been about diving in despite fear being present. No matter how terrifying, no matter how new or unfamiliar the situation, it’s been pulling on my big girl panties and just giving it a try. I’ve made a commitment to myself to feel the fear and do it anyway (see favourite quote below!!)

What does CONNECTION mean to you? Connection to me is about being seen and being heard, sometimes without saying a word. Sisterhood is about being held despite all else that is going on in my life and their lives and community is about treating everyone as part of your family. I have an open house policy - there are never questions, my home is your home if you are a friend. I will hold a space for you as long as you need. Same with meals, or asking for help. It’s a given.

What is your favorite quote right now that’s feeding your soul?  "Feel the fear and do it anyway" {Susan Jeffers}

Kate loves everything about people, is 6 feet tall, loves Suits and finds romance in old sheds and the ocean. You can connect with Kate at www.katecashman.com , Instagram @thebreathbetween and Facebook  www.facebook.com/thebreathbetween

 

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In Between the Screens

When you start to get consumed by life's day to day activities, what is the first thing that you enjoy doing that gets put to the side?  Do you ever find yourself saying, "I love to do ________ but I just haven't had the time lately"?  

For me the empty line in that sentence has been reading.  

I love reading and nothing delights me more than looking at my long book list that I keep on my phone and choosing new titles for my next book haul.  I mean, I was the girl (still am) in multiple book clubs. Now, just so we are clear-I love most books, but let's be real, you know my heart is in the self growth slash personal development book section.  You will definitely see the whole Harry Potter series on my book shelf and you may even catch me reading a good mystery or popular novel with a big Oprah approved sticker on it but what I really love are books that stretch my soul.  

Honestly, I haven't been reading a ton over the last few months.  To be even more honest, I started a book in January and I just finished it at the beginning of April (yea, you read that right).  But alas, I am human. I had a lot going on but truly, my headspace was all over the place thinking of things to do and create that I just couldn't get it to sit still. I wasn't prioritizing the time to sit down with a book and read. I was to engrossed in screens and filters and told myself that those things were the priority.  

April has been one of those months that have shown me what I need to see even though it has been in front of me this whole time.  I realized my self care game has taken a slide and I needed to reset, begin again and restore my soul. So, in true Soul Connect fashion, I wrote myself a permission slip and opted for less screen time and more real life filter time. More time outdoors, more time with my nose in a book, more time being present.  

More time in between the screens.

Since I gave myself permission, I feel like I have been able to take a huge exhale. Last weekend was a holiday weekend here in the States and so I decided to make Friday a full on self care sabbatical day.  I took myself for a long walk by the lake, got a massage (that I am pretty sure I blacked out in because it was sooo relaxing), and then hit a book store where I spent an hour perusing titles and deciding which would make my haul that day. 

That weekend I reunited with my love of reading and have reintroduced it into my everyday practice.  It has felt so good to get back to that place and recalibrate my priorities.  Plus, how funny (haha Universe kind of funny) that the books I chose were exactly what I needed to read.  I am a big believer that I need to be ready or feel called to books before I read them (at least for the books that are in the stretch my soul genre).  The three books I read this week have been like a hot powerful yoga flow for my soul and have given me so much to contemplate and reflect on.  

Below I am sharing a few reads that have delved into recently and how they have stretched my soul. I would love to hear what's on your list!  Show me your book #shelfies! What books are you reading or listening to because side note, how awesome is Audible?!  What are you doing in between the screen?  Share with me below or tag me in your posts! Let's hold each other accountable for taking more pauses and time in between the screen.

THE BOOK OF JOY by the Dalai Lama + Desmond Tutu // Now that I think about it, maybe it was meant for me to take so long reading this book. That it spanned a few months to really delve in and finish it seems pretty appropriate now that I think about it!  This book was so light filled and really helped me look at JOY and how interrelated it is to suffering.  I loved how the Dalia Lama gently reminded us, on repeat was that we are one of 7 billion people on this planet-we are all human (I know I need that reminder daily). One of my favorite stretch your soul moments:  "We create most of our suffering, so it should be logical that we also have the ability to create more joy. It simply depends on the attitudes, the perspectives, and the reactions we bring to situations and to our relationships with other people. When it comes to personal happiness there is a lot that we as individuals can do".  

UNBOUND by Steph Jagger // Real talk, I binged on this book via Audible in less than 24 hours. I adored Wild and Eat, Pray, Love so it is no surprise that I loved this book.  I have never skied but hell, I felt like I was on the snow cap mountains with Steph the whole time!  This book made me really think more about why I love these types of books.  What I came to reflect on is that this book unlike the others isn't about the catalyst being a breaking point; it is about the journey-Steph's journey-back home to herself. It's about removing the restraining devices that keep us bound so we can come alive to our whole self. This was a really powerful read for me.  My favorite (of so many!) soul stretching moments was this:  "I learned our growth doesn't depend on our ability to look at beautiful things; it is the opposite. Our growth depends on how we look at the not beautiful." 

YEAR OF YES by Shonda Rhimes // See above about my feelings on memoir type books.  As much as I love self growth books I also love a good #NetflixandChill and Scandal is definitely on my list of favs.  Shonda Rhimes is a creative genius and her book is so funny, so soul stretching and left me feeling hella inspired to redefine my YES. One of my favorite soul stretching moments: "This Yes is about giving yourself the permission to shift the focus of what is a priority from what’s good for you over to what makes you feel good."

LIVING BEAUTIFULLY WITH UNCERTAINTY + CHANGE by Pema Chodron // I have had this book on my list for so long but haven't felt ready to read it until now.  And of course, it was the perfect timing.  It's all about being present, having an open heart and moving forward with no agenda.  This is the thing. The soul work. The practice. And Pema laid the truth all down right intros book for us to see, feel and practice.  One of my favorite stretch your soul moments: "We have a choice. We can spend our whole life suffering because we can't relax with how things really are, or we can relax and embrace the open-endedness of the human situation, which is fresh, unfixated, unbiased."

Soul Sister Spotlight: Abra Said

The Soul Sister Spotlight is a celebration of women who are honoring their soul.  These women are committed to their personal journey and are willing to share it in all its realness.  This special blog feature is an expansion of the Soul Connect Tribe which is dedicated space for women who uplift, inspire and are redefining the way women connect.

Welcome Abra!

Abra is an aspiring life coach, blogger, people person, ENFJ and self-proclaimed hostess with the mostest. She believes in celebrating; celebrating big and celebrating small and in celebrating when life throws us more than we expected. Abra is passionate about helping women look inside of themselves, to find and create the happiness they seek. 

Let's connect with Abra as she shares how she stays soul connected! 

I give myself permission to…To be patient and gentle with myself, during a time of many changes for me!

How do you tend to your soul?  I tend to my soul with yoga, delicious meals with friends, taking pictures and spending time with like-minded heart and soul centered people. I also love a good nap and hanging out with my boyfriend and two cats on quiet Sundays.

How do you rebel against fear? I try to remember that fear can be useful and teach us things, but that also doesn’t mean it has to run our life or our daily decisions. I learn what I can from fear by leaning into it enough that I see what it’s trying to show me and then I remind myself that I am brave and capable. I also think of my mom a lot. I know that she believes in me and is pushing me to trust myself and take risks.

What does CONNECTION mean to you? Connection is so important to me! I have always been fulfilled from deep conversation and the ability to connect with another's energy. Being able to support and being supported by women makes me feel incredibly purposeful. The world is a better place when we are connected and uplifting each other, helping us each become our best self.

What is your favorite quote right now that’s feeding your soul? “What you seek is seeking you.” {Rumi} 

You can connect with Abra at www.abrasaid.com, Instagram @abramsaid or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abrasaidlifecoach.

 

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