You can BE the change you wish to see in the world. There has never been a better time than now. Paint, draw, sculpt, dance, sing, write or play the loving world of your heart out into the world around you.
When you explore your creativity and share your vision with others you bring your dreams to life. You can make the world a better place. It’s possible. The more you live from this creative center you are able to inspire others to do the same from their hearts. We can create the world we want to live in. Be inspirational.
You are a unique and beautiful treasure - only you have your specific skills, talents and life experiences. Only you can bring YOUR voice into the world. And the world needs to hear your voice. Let your creative expression serve as the vehicle through which you find your true voice and let it be a way to give your heart a voice in the world.
Your "voice" may sound like flowers in a garden or ingredients in a cake. It may sound like paint on a canvas or chalk on a sidewalk. It may sound like words on a page, a body moving through a room or confetti in the air. It may sound like one of these modes today and entirely different thing tomorrow - or in six minutes. The key is to listen for that voice - your true voice - and learn to recognize it. Get in touch with who you really are, minute to minute - and chart how that truth grows and blooms over time.
Part of this journey involves listening to all the other voices you carry inside of you. As you allow yourself the space and the permission to create freely it is crucial that you commit to loving yourself throughout the whole process. It's not all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes it can be scary and dark. Sometimes you will set out to dance in your kitchen to a beautiful piece of music and you will begin to wonder, "Is this crazy? Am I being ridiculous? Do I deserve to feel this free and happy?"
Dance through it.
Those thoughts - those voices that make you stop dancing - those are other people's voices.
You have to dance to remember and reconnect to your own voice. The more you do the creative things that connect you to your heart, the more you will learn to recognize what is true (that you are wondrous and creative being) and what is not true (any other voice or thought that keeps you from being your whole self).
You have the power to inspire others to reconnect to their deep and beautiful truth. Each time you choose to dance through life rather than trudge through, you light up the world with your choice. When you show the world that freedom of expression - that living the creative life - is an option, you inspire those around you to choose that path too.
One-by-one we choose love and freedom over fear and oppression. One-by-one, we light up the world. Each time you choose to love yourself and expand into the furthest edges of your creative expression, you are literally seizing the opportunity to bring more love and freedom into the world. You harness incredible and infinite creative potential - right now. You are literally bursting at the seams with inspirational energy. Unleash the beautiful and transformational force of your heart out into the world around you. It can start wherever you are right now, but it can take you into the furthest reaches of the multiverse or deep into the unexplored edges of your soul.
I feel like I've been walking in a dark forest. I've left a trail of breadcrumbs behind me so I can find my way back - to normal, to the life I've known. Every few steps I let the pinch of bread hit the ground like an anchor. Every day, I wake up and walker further and further from all I've come to rely on. It's uncharted and a little scary. I feel unsupported. I feel a little lost.
But I've come to the point in this journey where I've run out of bread. I dropped the last crumb long ago and when I turn to look behind me there is no path back to the old life I used to live. A bird flies overhead with a stale crumb in his beak and I realize that even if I could keep leaving clues back to yesterday, they may not be there for me to find.
I can't go back.
But the woods before me seems darker than they did even just yesterday. It's like stepping into an abyss. It feels like floating - like walking on the dark side of the moon.
"I'd just like a little light," I whisper into the unknown space around me. "Hello?"
There is no reply, but I do feel a flicker. It's like a warm glow igniting in my chest.
"Help!" I try to call out, but the sound is nothing more than a cracked whisper.
The silence is the only response.
But my feet are still moving.
And the warmth in my chest - the light of my heart burns a little brighter.
I'm going to have to do this myself.
I laugh to think it. I look back again to the path I've traveled - back to a time when I looked to others to light the way. All the yesterdays in my memory are crowded with the "should's" and "should not's" pressing against me by others.
"You will be safe if you do things this way."
"We have your best interests at heart."
"Trust us. We will light the way."
Why would I want to go back to that?
Those voices aren't here in the deepest part of the woods. Those rules can't reach me.
And now the floating feeling I have, the unsupported and untethered sensation feels like ... FREEDOM.
Floating is a lot like flying.
Anything is possible in this stretch of woods. I have been given this space to learn how to be free again. I have been given this dark and secret woods to learn how to fly.
Wait ... I haven't been given anything. I found this place on my own. I claimed this space and time. It is here for ME and I am worthy of this dark, new world.
Suddenly, I'm not afraid. I find I love the dark. It is a gift.
For in the darkness, I have a rare and beautiful opportunity. I get to see how brightly I can shine.
Now is the time to find your light. Now is the time to shine in ways you never knew were possible.
We are infinite possibilities wrapped in the miracle of this life.
Take a moment today to meditate on the sound of flowing water. Maybe you are lucky enough to be near the sea or sitting on the banks of a river. The sound of falling rain or even water running into a bathtub will do.
Water will always find a way. It's power and persistence can cut through the toughest landscape. It's strength and connection can hold you afloat if you allow. The water will carry you. Let your emotions and imagination flow.
You can never step into the same river twice. The river is constantly refreshing itself, flowing freely, navigating over and around obstacles and eventually joining with the sea. All water is connected. Water has a great intelligence. Water remembers.
Take a moment to flow like water. Journal, dream - don't hold back.
Our world is in a state of transition. It isn’t the first time this has happened and it won’t be the last. What this world needs now is support and love, just like anyone going through a change in life. There are countless things you can do to support our changing planet. We live in an extraordinary time and are in a powerful position to help support and love the world we live in.
It can begin with loving yourself.
A profound way to make an impact in the future of our planet is to connect to the natural world around you. This can be as simples as stepping right outside your front door. You can go for a walk in the woods, swim in the sea or gaze at the stars. Being with the Earth and enjoying the bounty of wonders this colorful planet has to offer is a wonderful way to make friends with her. Once this happens, your heart and mind will naturally help to find ways to care for our planet.
Here’s a secret though – all the elements of nature exist right now in your very own body. Ancient humans knew this to be true. Thousands of years ago, people living in Egypt, India or the Americas and beyond saw their own bodies as reflections of the earth.
Their systems were simple, yet powerful. The natural world is composed of five powerful elements existing in harmony with one another.
Earth Water Fire Air Ether
Each one is just as vital as the next. These elements resonate with the energetic elements of your body too. In bringing your own body into balance and becoming aware of the vibrancy of these elements in your personal environment, we all move one step closer to helping to celebrate these elements in the larger natural world.
Imagine your body as the earth. Your bones are like the support of the ground under your feet. The power of the world’s waterways runs through the rivers that are your bloodstream. The fire of transformation burns bright in your belly and empowers you to reach for your goals. The air you breathe circulates around your beating heart. Fueled with love and compassion that love reaches out into the world, breath after breath.
You are infinite possibilities embodied in one incredible body.
Your voice has the unlimited power to shape the world around you. Your imagination can reach further than the most distant star. You are unlimited AND your heart is connected to every heart of every person you love. The love in your heart reaches every person you have ever known, those you’ve yet to meet and even those you may never see.
You are boundless.
Just as a river running is more than the water carving its way to the ocean, each element within you is connected to all other elements. The river is the water, but it is also the groove in the earth and the rocks tumbling along the riverbed. It’s the sun shining in the running water. The river is every beating heart swimming toward the sea.
We are all navigating a new world together. We are living in an extraordinary time right now and times of transition are an opportunity to share your gifts in new and exciting ways. How we cope can become how we thrive. We are excited to share our understanding of how you can heal right now. Content for our second book Be Natural is available now on our website for free! www.besensationalbooks.com.
We will be adding new mindfulness activities, yoga poses and creative prompts to our site all the time in the coming months. Check back often. Our Be Sensational pages will be growing too. Our hope is that we will be helping to do our part to bring a little inspiration (or maybe just a much needed brain break) to your days at home.
We are new to this digital world, so please let us know what you think. We know we have lots of room to grow in this arena.
Together, we will explore the elements of nature in our bodies and learn ways to celebrate these elements and care for them in our personal environments, in the world and beyond.
You can make a difference right now – one that will reach far and wide – one that can circle this globe. It begins with you and it can be as simple as supporting and loving yourself.
Laura and Whitney
It may feel a little like you are grounded. Like maybe you stayed out past curfew and your parents put the hammer down. Now you have to stay home, no going out with friends, no after school activities, no parties, nothing.
It feels a little like that. Like maybe we've been bad and we need to be punished.
Or, is it possible to reframe the whole idea of grounding in the first place. What is it to ground somebody?
It's a time-out. We've come to associate "time-out" as a punishment too, but with the right spin and time-out can be an opportunity to reset.
Because as a population, we very much needed a time-out. Our lives are busy. We have become working machines. Our social calendars would send any butterfly right back into their cocoon. Think of the pace you were keeping three weeks ago and compare that to now. I know it may feel like all the structure and fun has gone out of your life. How does that make you feel? Bored? Worthless?
Your time is now your own. That's the beauty of being grounded. That's the beauty of this time-out we have been given.
It's an opportunity to reconnect to ourselves, to our families ... and to the earth.
When we were out running all over the world at break-neck speed to get here or there or do this or that, rarely did we look up to see how the world around us was changing. We barreled on without the natural pace set by the natural world. Our houses are the same temperature all year round. We eat whatever foods are on our grocery store shelves, not necessarily what is in season. We stay up way past sunset with artificial lights - many of which are screens. Our body rarely comes into direct contact with the earth.
Our everyday lives were out of control. We were disconnected. It was like the equivalent of billions of wreckless teenagers rebelling against their mothers all at the same time (way into adulthood).
Except in this case, we were all rebelling against THE mother. Mother Earth.
So let yourself be grounded. See it as an opportunity. Take this time-out to reset yourself. Reconnect to the Earth.
It's as simple as stepping outside.
Well, it's a little more than that. First, take off your shoes. Oh, and your socks.
So many of our planet's illnesses (and specifically those in the United States) began when we went from wearing natural soles shoes to rubber soles or other artificial materials starting around the 1960s. It was a huge step in the wrong direction - we separated from our planet and we've only gotten further and further away.
Just as plants draw their energy from the soil, we to draw healing energies from the earth into our bodies. It is a little hard to understand because the energy we pull up isn't as easily defined as they are in plants. We absorb electromagnetic energy from the earth. Though invisible, it is one of the most powerful and natural medicines available to us.
Direct contact with grass, soil or sand for just a few minutes each day has been proven to reduce anxiety, inflammation and a whole host of other ailments in the human body. Plus, it just feels good. Add to that a sunny day and you may get hooked on walking barefoot in your garden.
Don't believe me? Try it. Take those bare feet out today and wriggle them in the grass. Really use all your senses. Feel the loose soil beneath your feet and the sun on your face. Let your body relax so your feel really connected. Breathe deeply, drawing in the fresh spring fragrances bursting to life around you.
Imagine your body is like a giant straw. Instead of thinking of your breath coming in and out through your nose or mouth, imagine you are breathing up through the bottoms of your feet. Draw that beautiful earth energy up your body. Give it any color you like. I like to imagine red. Maybe the energy moves up easily like water from a drinking straw or maybe it is thick and seedy like a strawberry milkshake. It's okay to give it whatever imagery works for you. It's silly to be breathing through your feet - and that is fine. It's fun. Laughing helps the energy to move more freely.
This practice is a real thing called Earthing or Grounding. Earth alone or with your family. Pets love to Earth too. If you have a dog or a cat see if they will stand or sit with you. You could even lie down in the grass. Breath through your back.
Woah - did that just get weird?
Good. Because to navigate in this new world, we are going to have to get a little out of our comfort zones. Trust me. Have fun with it. Try resting your hands on the earth. Can you breathe through your hands? Silly is good.
In this new world we are discovering - being grounded can be a very good thing.
What’s Sensational Living, you might ask?
I’m glad you did.
Sensational Living is reconnecting with your sensational body (your senses, feelings and intuition) in a way that you feel safe and supported.
Basically, you are creating your own Sensational Oasis. Slowly. That’s the key. Take your time. Go sense by sense. One feeling at a time. Trust your instinct.
Once you’ve reconnected and made friends with each of your senses in your own time, then you are able to invite others into this magical space. It’s like they say on the airplanes, “Put your oxygen mask on first.”
If you are a parent, a teacher or a caregiver, this may be a hard thing for you to do. It is crucial that you take time to take care of you and your body. Once you do that, you really do become a fountain of love and care for the other people in your life.
Do you want to try it?
Find a quiet space. It may be the back of your pantry. It may be your bathroom with the lights off and the door locked. Whatever option you have to not be disturbed for two minutes.
All you’ll need is your favorite bite-sized treat. Hershey’s Kisses work well for this exercise. I also love Sweedish Fish or you could even use a small marshmallow or a spoonful of ice cream. If you are lucky enough to have a box of fancy chocolates or macaroons, grab that and go to your quiet place.
Are you safe inside? Find a comfortable seat.
Unwrap your treat. If you are sitting there with a spoonful of ice cream, no unwrapping required. Just sit there and take a few deep breaths. If there are layers of existence between you and your treat, enjoy freeing that sweet. Take your time. Let the wrapper itself, the crinkly sound, the feel on your fingers, let it all be part of the process. Let it all be a part of this special time.
Once it’s just you and the treat, see if you can smell the sugary goodness. Maybe just a little lick. Take your time. Is a lick enough to get the sweet feel on your taste buds?
Now take a bit. Just a little bite. Really take your time as you slowly and fully chew this bite. Even if it is iced cream or whipped cream from the can make sure you spend some time with it … tasting it.
When you are ready and the treat is down to a good size, let it sit on your tongue. Maybe don’t chew it. See if you can let the dessert dissolve on your in your mouth. This may take some time. While you are waiting, just enjoy this quiet time. Breathe. Feel good about this gift you are giving yourself.
When the last sugar speck has dissolved and the treat is gone, it’s still not over. Sit with this peaceful feeling a moment longer. Remember it.
Here’s your big decision. Do you call to the kids? Invite them? Show them what you’ve learned and all experience the sweet stillness together?
Or do you have another one all to yourself?
Whitney is a visual artist. I’m a writer. We are both moms with kids in grade school. When we first met, we were each volunteering at the same school to teach yoga in our children’s classrooms.
We were instant friends.
Day one, we were the kind of friends who would dominate in Charades or Pictionary. You know those types of friends – the ones who finish each other’s sentences and seem to use ESP as much as words.
We share so many of the same interests and see the world through a very unique yet similar rosy, pink sparkly way as if each of us were looking through our own lens in one pair of cheap sunglasses.
Four years ago, we started meeting regularly to see how we could join forces and help bring more mindful moments to the teachers and kids at our neighborhood elementary school. With only two of us, and dozens of classrooms and teachers, we decided the best way to do this was to create a toolkit for the teachers.
We would hand over our favorite exercises in a mindfulness handbook. We’d share our best practices from our collective years teaching yoga to kids and families.
Kids need to settle down after a wild and crazy recess? Here’s an idea.
The class needs to focus in preparation for a test? Try this one.
Tension is running high? Relax with this exercise.
Open to any page and there’s something you can do right now to feel better. No heavy explanations with lots of fun. Kids yoga helps children navigate their senses and emotions in safe ways. The more children practice, the more they are able to learn to trust their bodies and themselves.
Whitney and I would roll around concepts for hours. I’d scribble out a plan. Whitney would sketch for further description and inspiration.
Pretty quickly, we realized our brainstorming sessions were leading to something with a further reach than our little school.
We began to see that we could dream bigger. We stepped into a space where we could Be Sensational.
Be Sensational grew from that toolbox. Very soon it will be available to the world. (Spring 2019!) It’s no small task to bring a book to market and we’ve stretched beyond our roles as yogis, as writers, as artists, and as mothers so that soon YOU can have a copy of Be Sensational in your very own hands.
You see I’ve always wanted to be a published author just like Whitney has wanted a larger format to share her artwork. For a long time, I expected somebody else to come along and shine a light on my work – to take a chance on me. Just when I was beginning to think that wouldn’t ever happen, somebody did.
It was me. And Whitney. We’re taking a chance on ourselves. We are laying it on the line and putting our work out into this great big world because we believe in the message of Sensational Living. We just know that there are teachers, parents and kids out there who want to Be Sensational.
We’re starting out hyper-locally. We live in Old Greenwich, Connecticut (known simply as OG here in town). We’d like to invite you to help us bring our vision for Sensational Living to the world. It starts small. Buy a book. Come to a signing. Contact us for a workshop. Read our blog. Follow us on Instagram @besensationalbooks.
Soon, we’ll have stacks of books in our garage, but not for long. At least, that’s what we’re hoping.
It helps to believe in yourself when you have a friend who is right there beside you believing too. If you start believing in us too, then I just know we can do this.
We send the book’s file to the printers next week. I feel like my skin is the only thing holding me together. I might burst from excitement (and worry and fear and joy), but that is all part of the fun. Stay tuned.