Day 10: Recognize Your Grooves 

Day 10 

Recognize Your Grooves 

Pause 

breathe in for a count of... 

hold for a count of ... 

breathe out for a count of ... 

hold for a count of... 

Grooves are a simple routine or experience you want to recognize. Grooves can be general or specific. They can be an action or a state of being. Grooves were part of my original SJFT (steady joy focus tool) I completed every morning, but now I create a list of Grooves when I am feeling triggered or as part of my morning routine. 

8 of my Grooves: Today I Recognize: 

  1. Family dinners around our table and keeping the table clear of clutter. 
  2. Watering and maintaining our plants inside and out.  
  3. Keeping our house safe and clean during the pandemic. 
  4. Creating the opportunity to bond with our pets. 
  5. Continuous communication within our nuclear family through talking and texts. 
  6. The way I greet the morning: praying daily. 
  7. My commitment to Weathered and Worthy Wisdom and to sharing my Steady Joy lifestyle. 
  8. Practicing compassion and softening my heart. 

What Grooves do you want to Recognize? 

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Day 9: Connect with Your Celestial Clan 

Day 9 

Connect with Your Celestial Clan 

Pause 

breathe in for a count of... 

hold for a count of ... 

breathe out for a count of ... 

hold for a count of... 

Throughout my life I have experienced intense episodes of intuition and feeling called by Source. I have always known I have an inner-being but was not able to put into words what I was feeling until I came across the teachings of Abraham in 2006. The more I explored the metaphysical, the more I realized that I have a Celestial Clan available to me whenever I wish. I think of the male, Yang, aspect of my Celestial Clan as Cadre, and the female aspect, Yin, as Tarot, pronounced Tara when I am thinking of Her as part of my Celestial Clan. Understanding the characteristics of Yin and Yang offers me easy access to my intuition and the ability to use it with intention in my daily life. Embracing my Celestial Clan relieves loneliness, keeps Melly (melancholy) at bay, and helps me embody Steady Joy. 

Attributes of Yin and Yang: 

Yin 

  1. Passive 
  2. Negative 
  3. Dark 
  4. Earth 
  5. Moon 
  6. Water  
  7. Female 
  8. Cold 

Yang 

 

  1. Active 
  2. Positive 
  3. Bright 
  4. heaven 
  5. Sun 
  6. Fire 
  7. Male 
  8. Hot 

 

During my morning ritual, I often conjure the image of my Celestial Clan surrounding me with Love and Light. Present within my Celestial Clan are Cadre and Tarot, my Grandmothers, and a rotating list of mentors, usually people I admire that I have never met before. For many years, I meditated by quieting my mind for fifteen minutes and breathing. Although sometimes I still do meditate that way using the eternity breath technique, mostly, I script. What scripting means for me is Pausing, checking in with my body, grounding myself with the four elements in my Sacred Space, acknowledging the presence of my Celestial Clan, and then journaling positive words about how I am feeling for however long the momentum lasts.  

If you are unfamiliar with connecting with Spirit, you can perform this exercise first: 

Sit comfortably in your Sacred Space. 

Ground yourself (candle, incense, oil, whatever works for you). 

Close your eyes gently. 

Breathe in~out~in~out. (perform an eternity breath if possible). 

Imagine in the distance you see a Light coming towards you. 

The Light keeps getting brighter and brighter until a form appears before you. 

She is your all loving and compassionate Authentic Self. 

Greet Her. 

Invite Her to become One with you. 

Feel her Love and Light melt into You. 

Sit quietly with Her for a few moments. 

You can ask for Her name; you can tell Her about your Journey and ask for Guidance. 

You can invite Her to stay with you as you open your eyes, or you can thank her and feel Her go. 

Once you open your eyes, continue to breathe and feel the Light. 

Smile. 

Know You are Worthy. 

Know You are Love. 

Thank the Universe for the experience.  

Begin scripting or recap your thoughts in a journal. 

When I am in a super good place from scripting, I try to meet up with my past and future selves. I developed this strategy after being in counselling for several years before we moved to Minnesota. My counselor practiced a type of therapy called IFS: Internal Family Systems. In IFS your therapist guides you to a meditative state and then helps you connect with different parts of yourself. Having been through some trauma when I was young, we would often connect with a part of me called little Melanie. The therapy was very intimate and intense. When I do it alone, I try imagining the me of today giving my past self-support and encouragement. I conjure the little girl Melanie, the new Mom Melanie, the doubtful Melanie, and let her know she is worthy and loved. 

If I feel I can keep the momentum going in my high-flying place, I will reach out to my future self. I will picture feeling confident, clear-minded, sure-footed, interested, eager, optimistic, ardent, and joyful. Once I feel a good flow, I will ask my future self for guidance and advice. This is an excellent exercise to engage in when you are pondering a big decision. 

From one of my scripting sessions in 2017: 

I love how nothing in life is wasted, how I am, we are, all different facets of one whole, I love the birds eating seeds at my bird-feeders, I love how blue the sky looks outside my window, I love the feeling of the sun on my face during my walks, I love hearing my children laugh in harmony, I love how held I feel in my husband’s arms, I love feeling so clear, I love how I have this time to feel good, I love the way this water tastes so fresh, I love my journals, I love my collages, I love the being surrounded by the beauty of my treasures here in my Sacred Space, I LOVE the quiet, I love how many windows we have in this house, I love the feeling of ease that has come over me, I love the potential of everything. 

 

How do you connect with your Celestial Clan? 

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Day 8: Foster Engagement 

Day 8 

Foster Engagement 

Pause 

breathe in for a count of... 

hold for a count of ... 

breathe out for a count of ... 

hold for a count of... 

 

In 2016, our family briefly moved to Minnesota from Massachusetts for my husband's job. There were (too) many days the only person I interacted with other than my children, was the clerk at Target. I soon realized for my emotional and mental health I needed to create and foster ways to spark a dialogue inside and outside of our family.  

Whenever I meet someone I try to Pause and think of something uplifting I want to share or a compliment I want to give them. If I cannot think of something authentic to say, I ask a question. Once I asked a boy about his necklace at the Target checkout line and I was there for ten minutes as he explained a long back story. My husband was getting restless as we had somewhere to be, but I always appreciate the engagement! 

Creating the opportunity and interest for our family of five to spend time together takes some strategic planning, but the benefits are immeasurable. We often hike in the woods or go to a museum or local festival. I always suggest we take a family selfie. My daughter thinks I just want to post on Facebook, but my real reason is because I love Pausing those few moments and breathing in the fact that we are spending time together. 

We eat together as a family about five nights a week. On Fridays we eat take out or my husband makes pizza while we watch a movie; we have been enjoying Friday Family Movie Night for over a dozen years! The evenings we sit at the table together to share a meal, once everyone is present, we say Cheers! As we clink glasses, I set an intention that everyone will eat what is being served and there will be easy flowing conversation. Growing up my family did not say Grace, but I always liked the idea and I liked the times I did do it with other families. Occasionally during dinner, I will read from Eknath Easwaran's Your Life is Your Message. A few times our two oldest have read from it (after rolling their eyes); I believe the message of peace, love, and harmony is permeating their being even if they think their Mama is being hippie dippie. When possible, we eat alfresco! Dinner is also often a time when I feel triggered and having a routine helps me feel less stressed. It is difficult to make a meal everyone enjoys and my past struggles with worthiness often appear. There are times I forget to say Cheers! for weeks, but then I will remember, and it will fill me with Joy to have this ritual. 

I wish I would have felt more confident in the past, especially when living in Minnesota, to cultivate deeper connections in my community. Here is a list of places and ways to engage. I know it can be a challenge, but I hope you are encouraged to reach out. I plan to take my own advice after this pandemic is over! 

Places where you can meet people to engage: 

  1. Be a mentor or sign up to get a mentor. 
  2. Hang out at the library, farmers market or coffee shop. 
  3. Take a class or learn a new skill like playing an instrument. 
  4. Get a pet that you can take on walks. 
  5. Get a part-time job at a store you like to shop at. 
  6. Go to a book signing or other local festival or event that interests you. 
  7. Volunteer in your community; schools are a great place to interact with others. 
  8. Run a local road race or join a team. Not my cup of tea, but I know others who have made friends this way. 

Ways to engage: 

  1. Spark a dialogue with anyone. 
  2. Write letters to a pen pal or share a journal with another in person or through the mail. 
  3. Read a book with someone. I have the loveliest memories of my sister reading to me throughout my life, she even read to me when we were in our twenties briefly living together.  
  4. Find commonality with others, share your story, listen to theirs. 
  5. Offer your talents. 
  6. Create traditions that require participation like a game night or cooking together. 
  7. Ask open ended questions to others or for feedback or for suggestions. 
  8. Host a Nurture Huddle or party. 

How do you foster engagement? 

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Day 7: Hone Your Intuition by Scouting for Symbols 

Day 7 

Hone Your Intuition by Scouting for Symbols 

Pause 

breathe in for a count of... 

hold for a count of ... 

breathe out for a count of ... 

hold for a count of... 

I created a guidebook and focus tool in early 2013 called A Step Up from Oxygen; 28 Days to Steady Joy. The title was sparked from a conversation I had with my older sister who works for a Fortune 100 company. She wanted to step it up in her career and health by updating her hair, her wardrobe, her credentials, and her fitness routine. After the conversation I pondered what step it up meant for me as a wife, mother of 3, teacher’s aide, and aspiring artist. 

Joy.  

I wanted to learn to cultivate more Joy into my life. I wanted to be more poised and not get so rattled when things did not flow. I wanted to live in the midst of Steady Joy. I had been seeking something more and how to serve my whole life and found a resonance with Steady Joy. 

I designed 8 strategies that when practiced each morning in a certain order, brought me both the stability and accessibility to the good feelings I had been searching for. Once I consistently and successfully integrated these 8 strategies into my daily life, I experienced a new level of clarity, confidence, and happiness. 8 is an important number for me, not only because my birthday is on 8/8, but also because Oxygen is represented by the atomic number 8. Oxygen is what we need to breathe and when we consciously breathe, we Pause. Steady Joy is a step up from oxygen. 

The 8 Strategies in the Steady Joy Focus Tool (SJFT) began with me writing lists in my journal each morning of my favorite things, words that described how I wanted to feel, and strategies for what to do when I felt overwhelmed. I noticed on the days I wrote out the lists I felt better, and I would often refer to the lists if I were having an emotionally challenging day. I then played around with a bunch of different strategies that were already working in my life. I chose 8 strategies to develop that seemed to have the biggest and best impact on my mental and emotional wellbeing. At first, I wrote out the 8 strategy lists in my journal each morning, but soon realized it would be so much more efficient if there was a template. I used the SJFT for over 8 years. As our family moved and my mornings changed, my need for the full SJFT evolved. For Weathered & Worthy Wisdom, I remastered and include several of the SJFT strategies within the 28: Touchstones, Grooves, Symbols, Sanctions, and Creeds 

Symbols are items we choose that when we encounter them, they represent the Universe giving us positive feedback. Scouting for Symbols was a part of my original SJFT I completed every morning, but now I create a list of Symbols to scout for sometimes when I am feeling triggered. 

8 of My Symbols 

  1. Wings
    2. My numbers (8:08, 12:34)
    3. Eternity symbol 
    4. Sneezing 
    5. Bunnies 
    6. Sunflowers 
    7. Foxes 
    8. Bells 
     
    Create a list of Symbols that are easy enough to find that make this strategy fun for you but challenging enough that they are meaningful. I notice my Symbols more when I choose the same Symbols from day to day. This is also a great list to share with the other people in your life. I love when my husband texts me “12:34”! 

How do you hone your intuition? What symbols are you scouting for? 

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Day 6: Invoke Self-Kindness

Day 6 

Invoke Self-Kindness 

Pause 

breathe in for a count of... 

hold for a count of ... 

breathe out for a count of ... 

hold for a count of... 

In my early twenties I was dating a boy whose mother needed to have an operation. When we went to her home to drive her to the hospital, she was vacuuming. At the time, I could not fathom why she chose that moment to clean. Now as an adult, I think she might have been nervous and used cleaning as a coping mechanism, or she might have wanted to pay forward a kindness to herself.  

I try to complete tasks that will help my future self, especially if I will be engaging in an anxiety producing activity.  

  1. I make my bed with clean sheets before we leave for a trip. 
  2. I prep my coffee at night for the next morning. 
  3. I clean the kitchen at night, so I wake up seeing clear surfaces. 
  4. I stock the refrigerator with basics before a trip. 
  5. I keep items I might need accessible in my car: hair accessories, underwear, wipes, bandages, essential oils, pain relief pills, antacids, mints. 
  6. I encourage the other members of our household to contain clutter. 
  7. I ask what each person in our family has planned for the day, so I am not surprised or rushed. 
  8. I explain in a group text my expectations to my family; for example, when I get home from the store please help me unload the car and put away the groceries. 

I have many negative phrases I replay in my mind. When I say something negative to myself, I have a list of phrases I try to counter with. 

  1. I am joyful 
  2. I am generous 
  3. I am worthy 
  4. I am loved 
  5. I am prolific 
  6. I am creative 
  7. I am compassionate 
  8. I am playful 

I also like to imagine compliments: 

  1. You are good at Mothering 
  2. You are important to the Universe 
  3. You have something to offer 
  4. You are creative 
  5. You are talented 
  6. You are a good friend 
  7. You have nice hair 
  8. You are interesting 

 

 How do you invoke self-kindness? 

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Day 5: Honor Your Sacred Alone Time 

Day 5 

Honor Your Sacred Alone Time 

Pause 

breathe in for a count of... 

hold for a count of ... 

breathe out for a count of ... 

hold for a count of... 

Occasionally during the week, I will not have any other obligations, everyone will be at school or work and I will have the house to myself. Back in my Sacred Space, I will sip on water infused with fruit and herbs, light a candle, anoint myself with oil, burn sage, Pause, and relish the moment. Sacred Alone Time (SAT) is when and how I foster the most intimacy in my life. I know it can be a challenge to procure this Sacred Alone Time, especially as a student, parent, or someone with heavy job demands, but it is so worth it. 

During my Sacred Alone Time, I journal, script, and nurture my relationship with Divine Wisdom I receive through Tarot and express through collage. When my children are home all day, it is much more precarious for me to partake in Sacred Alone Time. My family is aware of what happens to me if I am not able to Pause alone. One strategy that I employ is to wake up extra, extra early, and then take a nap during the day while our older children occupy our youngest. I did not do this for myself in the past and was not able to sustain Steady Joy in my life because of it. Sacred Alone Time takes some planning, but it trumps everything else! 

In the early 1990's I began using the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum that I had read about in a book. I would recite the words when I Paused or when I needed to clear my head. In 2006 I discovered the metaphysical teachers Abraham Hicks and was inspired to create my current mantra: 

I am grounded into the Heart of Gaia; I am tethered to the Soul of the Sky.  

I view Gaia as the physical embodiment of Mother Nature represented by the Earth. I love the vision of me being held by Source; I am both grounded and tethered. My mantra is very comforting to me. I say it often throughout the day; while I am praying, Pausing, driving, cleaning, cooking, and even in the shower. It helps bring me back to the present moment. 

There are many prayers I rotate through in the morning and during my Sacred Alone Time. 

One on high rotation is a prayer from A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson: 

I give this day to you, the fruit of my labor and the desires of my heart. In your hands I place all questions, on your shoulders I place all burdens. I pray for my brothers and sisters, and for myself. May we return to love. May our minds be healed. May we all be blessed. May we find our way home from pain to peace, from fear to love, from hell to heaven. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and forever. Amen. 

St. Francis has always been a favorite of mine; even as a child I recall reciting his prayer. In 2019 our family was fortunate to visit Italy and visit the town of Assisi.  

 

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi 

 

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace 
Where there is hatred, let me sow love 
Where there is injury, pardon 
Where there is doubt, faith 
Where there is despair, hope 
Where there is darkness, light 
And where there is sadness, joy 

O Divine Master, grant that I may 
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console 
To be understood, as to understand 
To be loved, as to love 
For it is in giving that we receive 
And it's in pardoning that we are pardoned 
And it's in dying that we are born to Eternal Life 
Amen 

 

One of my most favorite ways to enjoy my SAT is to have an art picnic. I gather all my supplies and carve out a place for myself outside. Sometimes my youngest is present. Fortunately, he loves creating just as much as I do. I always host an art picnic for myself on my birthday week, even if we are on vacation! 

When my two oldest were toddlers and blogging was a new form of connection, I met a wonderful group of diverse women through a blogger leading an online book club. Although it has been about fifteen years since I was in that group, I remember the author encouraged her readers to go on a weekly date with themselves. I recall feeling incredibly angry and defensive at this suggestion. My husband worked a ton of hours and we did not have the money to hire someone to watch our children. My in-laws did live close by, but I felt uncomfortable asking my very community-active Mother-in-law to watch our children for me to do something independently. In hindsight, I wish I would have invested in myself more and asked for help. I also wish I would have accepted help more often when it was offered. 

If you are challenged with carving out your Sacred Alone Time, I encourage you to ask, ask for what you need (and deserve!), ask for advice, ask for help, just ask! 

Sacred Alone Time ideas: 

  • Write a letter to yourself, journal. 
  • Take a nature walk at the beach, wildlife sanctuary, garden, or forest. 
  • Browse in a bookstore. 
  • Window shop down a main street. 
  • Go to any museum. 
  • Cloud watch, from a hammock is even better! 
  • Go thrifting, antiquing. 
  • Have a car picnic; I love to sit in my car at the beach when the lot is empty. 

When, where, and how do you honor your Sacred Alone Time? 

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Day 4:  Greet the Day 

Day 4 

Greet the Day 

 

Pause 

breathe in for a count of... 

hold for a count of ... 

breathe out for a count of ... 

hold for a count of... 

 There is a song lyric by the band Uncle Tupelo that often comes to mind when I think about daily routines: “When morning comes twice a day or not at all…” 

We all lead different lives. You get to choose when to greet the day. This is my experience. These strategies contain suggestions, but no judgments. Most days I am up around 6 AM, I make coffee and cut up some fruit to have with a piece of toast or biscotti. I greet our bunny, Zander, and open his gate so he can run free. I turn on the aquarium light for our Betta Fish, Richard. I sit in my Sacred Space, light a candle, burn wood, herbs, or incense, roll on oil, chime my tingsha cymbals, Pause, give thanks, and pray. I consult Tarot, write in my journal, and then listen to a news podcast while drawing and eating my breakfast. If it is a school day, I blow out my candle and become present for my children. If not, I stay and create until I have somewhere to be. During the fifteen years I worked in retail management, my irregular schedule encouraged my love for sleeping in whenever I was able to. After I gave birth, the breastfeeding ensured I would not have any regular sleep for years. Once my two oldest slept through the night, I began waking up as early as possible to have some time alone. Eventually I trained myself to get up with the sun and once I did my mood and day really shifted to a more positive place. 

Many years ago, when I first began my practice of having alone time in the morning, my husband would prompt a conversation or one of my children would want me, but eventually I have trained them not to disturb me. Since they see what a difference in my mood there is from the days I begin in peace and the days I begin in chaos, they respect this. Most mornings I am fortunate to experience serenity and if I do not, I know I will the next day. I find the keys to any successful routine is preparation, expectation, reevaluation, and trust. 

Once a week I sit down with my husband for about ten minutes and put his travel schedule into my phone calendar, and any other of our family activities that are time specific, like volunteering, band practice, therapy, work, appointments, and conferences. The other part of my planning happens in my everyday journal. Towards the end of my morning in my Sacred Space, I ask the Universe to support me completing my tasks on my to do list. I write them out and my intentions for the day in my journal. I rewrite my to-do list on a scrap of paper and keep it with me in my purse or posted on our chalkboard in the kitchen. 

There are days when I go to an early soccer game, family party, or drive my son to a band event and I am not able to have my morning time. I always feel off when this happens and really try to find the time to intend and give thanks some other time throughout my day. 

Even if you are not a morning person, you can still create routines to keep you balanced. A few of my daily routines that help steady me are: 

  • Making our bed. 
  • Fluffing the pillows on our couch. 
  • Clearing the kitchen counters. 
  • Sweeping and vacuuming. 
  • Combing my hair. 
  • Doing a house walkthrough on the main level morning and night to pick up clutter. 
  • Keeping all the mail inside a wooden caddy. 
  • Watering our plants.  

How do you greet the day? 

What daily routines help keep you balanced? 

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Day 3: Conduct a Grounding Ritual

Day 3 

Conduct a Grounding Ritual 

Pause 

breathe in for a count of... 

hold for a count of ... 

breathe out for a count of ... 

hold for a count of... 

Before I move into any action like praying, sitting in my Sacred Space, folding the laundry, or making dinner, I always Pause to ground myself, set an intention, and visualize the outcome. Sometimes it is as simple as lighting a candle or burning something. I have candles in almost every room of my home. It takes just a minute to light a candle and say a few words of positive intention. Bringing presence to any action helps me re-evaluate and slow down my mind. I also like to set timers on my phone to remind me to Pause and to bring me back to the present. My favorite timers are 8:08, 11:11, and 12:34. 

When I greet the morning or when I have my Sacred Alone Time, my grounding ritual is more entailed. Currently, in my Sacred Space I have a rolling cart next to my chair that houses many art supplies. The top tier is reserved for my Altar complete with representations of the 4 elements, my Tarot Cards, and my tingsha cymbals. I use a silver tray that was my paternal Grandmother's, Lucy, to house figures like Quan Yin, in a circle around a bowl with herbs and a candle. In a candy dish that was my maternal Grandmother's, Sip, I rotate in water from the full moon, shells, wishbones, stones, and other items I find during my nature walks.  

Suggestions for each element: 

  • Earth: Stones, salt, crystals, acorns, rocks, flowers, shells, pinecones.  
  • Air: Incense, Palo Santo wood, dried herbs, sage bundle. I burn these inside a vessel like a shell, ceramic plate, or incense burner. 
  • Fire: Candles. When I first began, I would match up the candle color to each of the seasonal festivals, but now I put out whatever feels good at the time. I have a basket of candles and holders that I have collected over the years. Currently, I have been using a tea light inside of a Himalayan salt candle holder. 
  • Water: I fill a vessel with water collected during a new or full moon from an ocean, pond, snow, or rain. I also like to place sacred objects in the vessel: a flower, branch, wish bone or rocks.  

To conduct the ritual, I say my personal mantra: 

I am grounded into the Heart of Gaia; I am tethered into the Soul of the Sky. 

I acknowledge each element: earth, air, fire, and water. 
I Pause and take several deep breaths, sometimes performing an Eternity Breath. Once I am done giving thanks for all the blessings in my life, I close with: 

May we be filled with Love and Kindness 
May we be Ardent and Joyful 
May we live in Peace and Harmony 
May we be filled with appreciation for our Blessed Home 

Grounding balances me and supports me feeling more connected to all that is. Suggestions for grounding rituals: 

  • Perform a yoga posture. While I am waiting for something or someone in my house or I have been sitting for too long, I often perform what I call Kitchen Yoga because usually I am waiting in my kitchen; these are hybrid poses I have made up. The movement gets my blood flowing and clears my head. I usually start with a modified sun salutation and then while performing a tree pose, I scout for my symbols. 
  • Massage lotion into your skin slowly and intentionally, feeling love and light fill you. 
  • Make a cup of calming tea. Wrap your hands around the warm mug and breathe in the steam; I like jasmine, chamomile, lavender, or mint. 
  • Focus on each of your senses: I see, I hear, I smell, I taste, I feel. Becoming aware of each of your senses is especially powerful if you are surrounded by nature. 
  • Wash your hands while chanting Om Mani Padme Hum or another mantra. Imagine the water soaking you with love and light. 
  • Burn incense or a candle. Ruminate on the smoke or flame.  
  • Drink a glass of water. Feel the liquid moving down your throat, slowly bringing love and light to your organs. 
  • Raise your energy through your chakras. Imagine a ball of light changing colors up your body into the sky. 

 

Red: root chakra, base of your spine 

Orange: sacral chakra, under your belly button 

Yellow: solar plexus, your belly 

Green: heart chakra 

Blue (Turquoise): throat chakra 

Indigo: third eye, on your brow between your eyes 

Violet: crown chakra, top of your head  

What rituals do you perform to ground yourself? 

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Day 2: Carve Out and Maintain a Sacred Space  

Day 2 

Carve Out and Maintain a Sacred Space 

Pause 

breathe in for a count of... 

hold for a count of ... 

breathe out for a count of ... 

hold for a count of...  

Wherever I have lived, I have carved out a place with intention, a place just for me where I feel embraced by objects of beauty and love, sometimes it has been a spot on the couch or in a corner of a basement or even a bench outside of our home. The moment I sit in my Sacred Space, I instantly feel calmer and more in-tuned with my authentic self, it is like the Joy is right there waiting for me! I am blessed to have a whole sitting room in our home that houses my Sacred Space; surrounding my chair are representations of the four elements, my drawing and collage materials, my journals, and my Tarot cards. Just being in my Sacred Space alone in the morning is one of my favorite moments of everyday: I sit in my chair, light a candle, burn some dried herbs, anoint my wrists with oil from a roller, chime my cymbals, breathe in, pray, and let the Joy permeate my being. Bliss. Your Sacred Space can be wherever you choose. A participant in one of my past courses, shared that her car, a VW Beetle, was her Sacred Space. 

A key element of my Sacred Space is the housing and care of my main altar. To me, an altar represents a physical embodiment of spirit. I have prayed at an altar since I started celebrating the Turn of the Wheel for Samhain in 2013.  

These are the items I have used throughout the years: 

  1. A covering of some type over the top of the space. I have a bunch of my Grandma Lucy’s old scarves I like to use.  
  2. Tchotchkes: these are sacred items usually gifted to me; statues of angels, deities, and animals. My sister says tchotchkes are mostly clutter, but I love them!  
  3. Tingsha cymbals. I ring the bell once to begin; if my youngest son is up, he does it with me. 
  4. Candles and matches. 
  5. Pictures of my children. 
  6. Drawings and cards from my family. 
  7. Several roiling essential oils. My favorite is Sanctuary by Bella Cirovic. (www.intentionsblends.com) 
  8. My Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot Deck, I have several other decks visible that my husband gifted me: Pagan Tarot by Gina Pace, Luca Raimondo, and Cristiano Spadoni, Everyday Tarot by Brigit Esselmont (www.biddytarot.com), and A Jane Austen Tarot by Jacqui Oakley. 

Once you have established your Sacred Space it is good to create some guidelines around your Space, these are mine: 

  1. I open my time in my Sacred Space by performing a grounding ritual. 
  2. I clean my Sacred Space daily, usually I sweep for scraps and crumbs. 
  3. My children can only sit in my Sacred Space if they ask first. 
  4. I have a routine for when guests come over to house special items in my Sacred Space. 
  5. I reassess my Sacred Space and change the location based on how I feel and the needs of our family. 
  6. I smudge my Sacred Space with sage when needed. 
  7. I always close my time in my Sacred Space by thanking Cadre and Tarot and usually blowing out a candle if still lit. 
  8. I routinely refresh my Altar and Sacred Space to reflect the Sacred Seasons of Life. 

Where do you consider your Sacred Space? 

If you do not have one, start thinking about where you can carve out a Sacred Space in your world. 

How do you maintain your Sacred Space? 

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Day 1: Perform a Pause 

Day 1 

Perform a Pause 

Pause 

breathe in for a count of...(8) 

hold for a count of ...(8) 

breathe out for a count of ...(8) 

hold for a count of...(8) 

Choose any length of time you like but Pausing daily and frequently throughout the day will bring a presence to your world. I aim to Pause 8 times a day for a count of 8. 

There are 8 guidelines to keep in mind during your Pauses. Do your best to follow these parameters throughout SJ28. 


  1. Aim to Pause a set amount of time throughout your day.  
  2. Pause alone. 
  3. Relax your jaw. 
  4. Soften your gaze or gently close your eyes. 
  5. Pause in a quiet setting.
  6. Pause outside at least once a day. 
  7. Check in with yourself at the end of your Pause; repeat if necessary.
  8. Plan your Pauses. 

There are situations and seasons where my children and others are present during my Pauses. I have taken walks outside on my circular driveway while my family slept because the streets were too snowy to push my children in a stroller during the day. I have walked around our yard while our children napped in a tent. I have set a timer for 15 minutes and asked not to be interrupted while I put on my noise cancelling headphones. I have Paused in my car waiting in the pick-up line at my children's school. I have Paused in the bathroom at social events. Be creative and engage with others to find alternative solutions to be able to complete your Pauses. 

Establishing and consistently maintaining a structure for my Steady Joy lifestyle helps sustain my emotional and mental wellbeing. An important component of that structure is completing a Steady Joy Check-In (SJCI) about every 6 weeks. My SJCI consists of a series of lists, one of them is a list of suggested Pause times for myself.  

  1. When I first wake up
  2. Entering my Sacred Space 
  3. Outside activity/gardening 
  4. In the shower 
  5. When I get dressed 
  6. Driving my kids somewhere 
  7. Before I make dinner 
  8. At the end of the day 

 

Eternity Breath: 

When time permits, I perform an extended Pause called an Eternity Breath. 

Find a quiet place to sit however you are comfortable, relax and close your eyes. I like to sit in a lotus position (cross-legged) on my chair in my Sacred Space.  

Hold each hand in a Gyan Mudra by lightly touching the tip of the thumb with the tip of the index finger while keeping your other three fingers extended. Mudras are powerful hand gestures that channel energy. 

Breathe in for a count of 8. 
Hold for a count of 8. 
Breathe out for a count of 8. 
Hold for a count of 8. 

 
Repeat for 8 cycles. 

Focus only on the counting and sound of your breath. I find it helpful to envision the number 8 on its side, an eternity/infinity symbol, as I count the numbers wrap up, around, and down the curves. 

Where and how do you perform your pause? 

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