Archive: Ritual

October 24, 2019

What happens on a Vibrant Living Retreat?

I’ve been back from Italy for over a month and I’m still basking in the afterglow of that marvelous time. So many people have asked me what we do on retreat and I find myself having a hard time coming up with the right words.

We connect

We grow

We laugh

We move our bodies

We explore pleasure and joy and sensuality and presence and emotions and open-hearted living and desire and boundaries and naming our wants

We eat (we eat sooooo well)


We explore

I can tell you that before the retreat many of the participants told me that wanted to change in some way…and that as I was leaving the villa I felt transformed.

Powerful things happen when we gather in community and share and name things that are scary or exciting or vulnerable.

Here are some of the other things that happened on this Vibrant Living Italy 2019 Retreat.


We stayed at an incredible villa with a pool and a private chef.

Nikki lead us in yoga for an hour and a half every morning.

We named intentions for the week, created soul collages, pulled cards and also created a vibrant living playlist.

I lead classes.

People shared what was on their hearts.

We went wine tasting (at a vineyard owned by an incredible woman).

We took a few trips to nearby towns – visited churches and wandered down alleys and shopped and ate gelato.

We talked a lot about what we want – how to identify, the importance of naming it and how to move toward it.

I shared that this retreat was a big want of mine and it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t said it out loud during a Portland retreat the year before. And later that day we headed to dinner at a restaurant in Lucca.

I had told some of the women about how much I love pistachio gelato and how excited I was to have it that afternoon. As we walked to the restaurant they asked if I had had my gelato and I oohed and ached about it. Ten minutes later we sat down at the table and the owner greeted us and looked at me and said, “You are going to love our special. Pistachio Pasta!” (of course I had it and I’m still dreaming about it!)

There were many moments like this that are not quantifiable. Sometimes magic happens on retreats.

There were so many beautiful moments and interactions that were influenced by the glorious combination of the 10 women who joined us.

I am changed. And I am forever grateful.

The experience was so powerful for both me and for Nikki that we’ve already decided to go back to Italy for Vibrant Living Italy 2020 next fall!

I’ll be sharing those details soon!

January 13, 2017

What do you want this year?

2017 desires

I was recently taking an inventory of 2016.

The year was tough for so many of us.

It was easy for me to see the things that were painful.

I was sick a lot. My dogs’ were at the vet a lot…A LOT. I didn’t hit some of my goals (business or personal).

More than that, there was a ton of collective pain, loss, heartbreak, injustice and tragedy.

What a bummer.

So I tried a little harder.

Instead of just listing what happened or what I did, I also asked myself –

What did I learn?

When did I feel loved?

What moved me?

How did I grow?

What will I take with me?

What do I want to leave behind?

and then I thought about 2017. I looked at the year ahead of me and asked, What do I want to say about 2o17?

At the end of 2017 what do I want to write down?

How do I want to feel this year?

What do I want to do? Big things and small things.

What will make me feel like it was a good year?

What are my goals?

What adventures do I want to have?

How do I want to spend my time?

What will feel good?

And that will be my beacon this year.

I’m not making resolutions. I am setting goals and exploring desire. I am toying with a word of the year but I’m still trying it on.

This year I’m looking at a bigger picture of what I want my life to look and feel like. And then I’m committing to do what I can to create that picture.

If resolutions work for you great! If you don’t keep your resolutions past January 15th, that’s OK too. As you think about this coming year, ask yourself – What do I want this year? And what will I do to make it happen?

And then get support to make it happen. Read a book, join a group, find a buddy, take a class, put it on your calendar. If your wishes for 2017 include pleasure, love, intimacy, desire or sensuality – check out my classes. They may be the support you are looking for. AND they are all 41% off! Use code happy41 at checkout.

Filed under: Boundaries,Desire,Gratitude,Holidays,Ritual — admin @ 9:20 pm

August 22, 2013

Savor Your Happiness

This week I read a post about “Happiness Jars” on Elizabeth Gilbert’s facebook page.

She has been posting pictures of readers’ happiness jars.  She also wrote a “how to” for happiness jars (much of which is geared toward doing what feels best for you).  I created my own happiness jar as soon as I read the post.

I recently wrote about journaling.  I know some people are reluctant to journal because when they do write, they often focus on the negative.  You can choose to journal about happiness.  You can also let your journal be a place that holds it all (happy, sad, or in between, whatever is true for you).  Your journal may end up being filled with your unhappiness.  It’s up to you.

I love the idea of a happiness jar because it has a specific focus.  What made you happy today?  What was your happiest moment? If you read what Gilbert has to say about the happiness jar, you will learn you can create one for a specific time period, or a relationship, or just a general happiness jar.

How wonderful to have a place you can record happy moments you may forget otherwise.  How wonderful to have a ritual that encourages you to notice and record happy moments.  It is so easy to focus on the BIG hardships or the BIG sadness and forget small, happy moments.  And many small happy moments can lead to BIG joy.

I know 2013 has been a tough year for many people.  I also know that we can find some small happy moment each day.  At the end of the year do you want to remember how awful things were?  I want to hold all of it. Yes it was hard.  Sometimes it was sad.  It also held all of the happy moments…all of this beauty…all of this love.

Will you chose to savor your happiness?

happiness jar

Filed under: Change,Gratitude,Ritual,Self-care,Self-love — admin @ 5:03 pm

August 19, 2013

Writing It Out and Journaling In


Diaries aren’t just for teenage girls and recording crushes.  Writing your thoughts, feelings, desires, experiences and more; can be very powerful.

I have kept a journal off and on for decades.  There were times I was diligent and wrote every day and others when I would show up at the page every few months.  When I started my business and started writing for work, I wrote for myself less and less.  When my dad died, I needed a place to put all of my thoughts and feelings.  I could talk to friends and family…but the truth is there is only so much space or energy for that.  I was very supported and at the same time, my family had their own grief and my friends didn’t have the same experience as I did (though I will say, talking with my friends who have also lost a parent was so comforting and reassuring.  If you have experienced loss I do recommend trying to connect with people who will “get” it).

Writing is a wonderful way to work through feelings…to get them out of your body…to heal.

Process your grief

Vent your anger

Pour out your heartache

Scribble out your joy

It is also a powerful way to go inward, to learn, to reflect, to understand, to grow.

What do I want in my life?

What isn’t serving me?

What risks shall I take?

What are my fears?

It can also be a way to record what is happening in your life.

Track changes

Document experiences

Take a snapshot of your life

There isn’t a “right way” to journal.  Journal in the way that works best for you.  Use words or pictures or art. If you need a schedule or a special place or a special journal; that’s great.  If you need something else that is great too!

Journaling can be a solitary event.  It can also be something you do with or for another person.

  • Keep a journal for yourself

Let it be something just for you.  You don’t have to worry about judgment or shame.  Let it be yours.

  • Share a journal with your partner

You can write this together.  You could create a gratitude journal where you each post something you are grateful for about your partner each day.  You could also keep a journal about your relationship and give it to your partner one day.

  • Journal for your children

I kept a pregnancy journal and have continued to write a journal for my daughter.  I write her letters, comment on things she learns or experiences and even just record a plain old boring day.  I can’t wait to be able to share this with her one day.  Sometimes my love is so strong, so I grab her journal and write out my feelings.  I know that when she is older I will be able to tell her how much I enjoyed her first year, this journal will give her a glimpse of what it was really like (especially because we tend to “rewrite” memories in our mind).

Talking things out can be so wonderful.  Processing with a friend or a counselor is great!  You also have the ability to do some work on your own with a pen and paper.  Writing it out or journal within…keep it to yourself or share it…journal in a way that works for you!

Filed under: Change,Emotions,Ritual,Self-care,Self-love,Uncategorized — admin @ 9:04 pm

August 10, 2013

Looking for love?

Women online dating party

Get a little help from your friends!

Last night I went to a little gathering to help a friend create an online dating profile.  It was so much fun!  I love ritual, I love celebrations and I love it when people ask for help and call on their tribe.

When I’m working with clients who are using an online dating site, I recommend they either bring their profile into our session or they share it with a close friend.  It’s not that I don’t trust my clients.  It’s just that I’ve seen so many people sell themselves short.  People don’t want to brag so they go so far in the other direction that instead of being humble they are under representing themselves.  I’ve also seen many people try to be something they think other people want and then not accurately represent themselves.

Having someone you trust look at your profile will help you –

  • Acknowledge your strengths  – Your friends think you are great.  They can tell you why and make sure you don’t downplay your wonderfulness.
  • Be Truthful about who you are – (what are your REAL hobbies?  How much do you REALLY drink?)  A friend can remind you that you want to find someone who loves you for who you truly are.  A friend can call BS!
  • Choose pictures that really showcase who YOU are – Does that glamour shot from 10 years ago give people a clear idea of what you look like?  You don’t want a photo that will make your date do a double take when you show up in person.  If you are adventurous and fun, does that show up in your photos?
  • Get clear about what you are looking for – Your friends may be able to see your dating patterns or ways you are choosing mates who aren’t giving you what you want in a relationship.

I LOVE the idea of having an online profile creation party!  Provide food and drinks and let your friends help relieve some of the anxiety or stress you may feel.  Lean on them when you are feeling uncertain.  Laugh with them as you come up with funny things to say on your profile (or totally inappropriate “mock profile” things that don’t make it on to the actual site).  Love them when they tell you how great you are and how much they can’t wait to see you with someone who appreciate you.

Make it fun.

Make it playful.

Make it yours.

Filed under: Dating,Relationship,Ritual,Support — admin @ 11:35 am

February 24, 2013

Create Rituals for Your Relationship

Mature romantic couple on a bench

Do you have daily rituals?

Maybe you start your day with coffee, do yoga at noon or read your email before bed.

What about rituals for holidays or special occasions?

Maybe you make a special meal for Christmas, create resolutions of New Year’s Day or practice gratitude on Thanksgiving.

What about rituals for your relationship?

Maybe you have a special way to celebrate you anniversary – dinner out, viewing your wedding video or reading letters you wrote to each other on your special day.

What about every day rituals for your relationship?

Do you share meals?  Do you start your day together?  Do you end your day together?

Daily rituals are a wonderful way to feel connected with your partner. Here are a few ways to slow down, check-in and connect even when life is busy.

  • Greet your partner when you come home. Go to your partner when you come through the door. Share a hug, a brief conversation or a kiss.
  • Share mealtimes. Have breakfast or dinner together.
  • Cuddle at the end of the day. Spend some time snuggling on the couch or in bed (this can also be a ritual for starting your day together).
  • Go to bed together. Share a little bit about your day or name a few things for which you are grateful.
  • Be physical every day. A hug, a kiss, some cuddling or some sexual connection – they all go a long way toward feeling connected.

Daily rituals don’t have to be complex or time consuming.  If you have more time on the weekend you can enjoy more lengthy or relaxing rituals.  Commit to Sunday brunch, a weekly date night, or a special walk/outing.  Make your relationship rituals a priority and your partner will feel like a priority.

Filed under: Marriage,Relationship,Ritual — admin @ 9:27 pm

January 30, 2013

Releasing and Embracing

The new year can be a great motivator for “starting over” or “starting fresh!”  I’ve written plenty of posts about intentions for the new year, resolutions for your relationship, ending one year and starting another.  You don’t have to wait until next January 1st to change some behaviors or change your life.

  • Are you holding on to things or behaviors that no longer serve you?
  • Are you carrying guilt, shame, disappointment, embarrassment?
  • Do you wish you could let go of something that is holding you back?

What do you want to release?

And what do you want to invite into your life?

I think it’s important to look at both pieces.  Have you ever known someone who gave up one vice and then picked up another?  I’ve seen people stop drinking and then start smoking or binging on food.  I’ve seen people let go of shame about sex and then start feeling shame about their lack of education.  If there is something you want to unload, what do you want to take up that empty space?  If you want to stop nagging your partner, can you also embrace giving your partner compliments?  If you want to let go of sexual shame, can you embrace physical pleasure?

In a recent women’s group we all wrote down things we want to release  – thoughts, areas of shame, fears, feelings, worries, stresses, behaviors, etc.

We placed these in a bowl and then I burned them.  I think a releasing ritual is a wonderful way to cement your intention.

releasing ritual

We didn’t stop with releasing.  We chose what we want to now embrace and also picked a talisman or small item to carry with us and help us remember.

What do you want to embrace?  What do you want to invite into your life?  And what will help you honor that intention or desire?

It’s great to let of of things that no longer serve you and you might find that you are even more successful if you also find something to fill you up.

Filed under: Change,health,Live Your Best Life,Ritual,Self-care — admin @ 3:00 pm

December 20, 2011

Focus on Your Relationship this Holiday Season!

Christmas Couple

Amidst all of the holiday hustle and bustle your relationship may have gotten lost in the shuffle.  It’s easy to focus on shopping lists and to do list this time of year.  If you have a to do list, take a moment to write “Focus on my relationship” right on the very tip top so you can be sure you don’t forget about your partner.

Here are some ways to make sure you put some attention on your partner this season.

  • Create a holiday ritual – You may each have holiday traditions that came from your families of origin.  Perhaps you keep those holiday rituals going.  Now is a great time to create your own tradition or ritual.  I know a couple who bought an advent calendar years ago.  It has 24 boxes in it.  One person fills the odd days with gifts and the other fills the even days with gifts.  It’s an inexpensive, and fun way to focus on their relationship during the holidays.  Not only are they on the prowl for small gifts for each other (which means they are on each others minds), they also spend time opening our advent calendar together each morning before the chaos of the day begins.
  • If you are exchanging gifts, put some thought into yours – Do you scour every store for the perfect presents for your kids?  Do you put hours into picking out the best gift for your mother?  What about your partner?  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to let your mate know you care.
  • Stay on the same team – The holidays can bring stress, exhaustion, illness (those darn winter colds or flu) and fighting!  Whether it’s money, gift giving, family stress or the cat knocking over the Christmas tree (Again!) – your partner is not your enemy.  One way to keep the peace (and keep stress at bay) is to remember you are on the same team.  How can you get through the holidays as a unit, rather than opposing forces?
  • Make time for the two of you – Are you making time for parties, pageants, shopping, baking, decorating and wrapping?  What about making time for your partner?  Schedule a date night (holiday themed or not).  Or take a little time to sip some eggnog and cuddle up after you put the kids to bed.  If you resemble the Tasmania devil during the holiday season, it might feel extra hard to stop and connect with your lover.  Stop, put the wrapping paper down, wash the flour off your hands and focus on your relationship (even if it’s just for a few minutes).

This holiday season comes once a year.  Make sure you keep that in perspective.  While you may have huge expectations and a mile long to do list, what is more important – The holiday season?  Or your long-term relationship?

Filed under: Holidays,Marriage,Relationship,Ritual — admin @ 12:28 pm

June 28, 2011

Connecting daily with your partner can go a long way!

Tree heart web

It’s easy to make time for your partner when you have a whole weekend, but what about daily connection?  When you’ve been working or corralling the kids or buried by housework; taking 15 minutes with your mate can feel like a luxury.  Those 15 minutes can go a long way!  Daily connection helps you feel loved, it helps you and your partner create shared expectations and it can diminish feelings of resentment or loneliness.

Get in the habit of checking in each day.  You can use the time when you both meet up at the end of the day (after one or both of you get home from work), use 15 minutes right before bed or first thing in the morning.

Here are some ways you can use your time together –

  • Check in about your day
  • Share your feelings about each other
  • Practice gratitude
  • Go over a few logistics (who is picking the kids up tomorrow or what needs to be purchased at the store) – don’t let your whole 15 minutes be about to do lists, make sure you have time to enjoy each other
  • Connect physically – hug, kiss, hold hands, cuddle
  • Ask for any support you might need
  • Talk about future dates or vacations
  • Say, “I love you.”
  • Have a daily ritual you do together

Connecting daily makes it easy to talk about the good things and also the hard things.  If you are feeling hurt or disappointed, you might have to wait a while to share that information if you aren’t in the habit of daily connection.  Do yourself and your relationship a favor and “connecting with my partner” to your daily schedule!

Filed under: Gratitude,Intimacy,Relationship,Ritual — admin @ 12:09 pm

May 26, 2011

Sacred Sex and the Sacre-Coeur

Video #2 in my Video Postcards from Paris series.

How can you make your sex more sacred?  Watch the video for a few simple tips to deepen your connection with yourself and your partner.

Another way to make your sex more spiritual or sacred is to add some ritual. Take a shower or bath with your partner before making love. Bring in a certain scent or some candles. Have a special playlist or song that signifies your special time together. Do something special to create an environment or a mindset that is all about you and your lover.

For more tips about sex and to learn more about my Paris adventures, connect with me on facebook or twitter.

Filed under: Intimacy,Paris,Ritual,Sexuality,Spirituality,Video — admin @ 10:00 am

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