9/2/2015

Morning Reflections & A Simple Blueberry Smoothie

Blueberry Smoothie by Ashley Neese

Happy Wednesday friends! I know I’ve been quiet on the blog the last few days. Been working on some personal writing the last days and am in the process of making some shifts in all areas of my life. As summer starts to wind down my body and spirit are calling me to spend more time meditating. What keeps coming up for me in my practice is the desire to shift gears a little with my business and while it feels scary, the intuitive feeling is strong and I know I have to honor it.

I am still in the beginning stages of all of this and am going to talk it all through with a trusted friend this weekend. I’ve learned over the years that trusting my gut it so important and it’s also wise to bounce ideas off folks I align with, especially around business stuff! It’s been an incredible and wild ride running my own practice and I am growing stronger each year in an area I was sure was out of reach.

Blueberry Smoothie by Ashley Neese

Yesterday I was listening to a talk on NPR about a study that was conducted to see if it made a difference if young girls were encouraged and supported at home and at school to be good at math. The obvious answer is yes, but I always get excited when data shows what we already know to be true. Listening to this program got me thinking about all of the doubt I grew up with and how I still carry some of it as an adult. The difference today is that I name it and take action regardless, not letting fear get in the way. Thinking about this really makes me want to raise a young woman free from self doubt. Imagine the possibilities if women were raised differently than we were. I am not saying it’s time to blame our families or feel bad about our past, rather I am looking towards the young women today and wanting to lift them up as much as possible.

Deep down I am feeling more and more like it is my calling to be the mother of a little girl. I don’t know what that will look like or what form it will take but I am opening to it each day. The Dalai Lama once said that the world would be healed by the western woman. This is what I am feeling into this morning and taking into my business plans, creative work and personal practices.

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Below I’ve got a simple blueberry smoothie for those of you that want to keep the summer feeling going a little longer. This recipe is one I’ve been making on a regular basis and have been enjoying in the afternoon.

Blueberry Smoothie by Ashley Neese

Simple Blueberry Smoothie

Serves 2

 

Ingredients //

  • 1 & 1/2 c. hemp milk
  • 1/2 coconut yogurt
  • 2 c. blueberries fresh or frozen
  • 4 dried figs
  • 1/4 tsp. ground vanilla
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 10 fresh mint leaves
  • Pinch of Celtic sea salt

 

Method //

Add all ingredients to your blender. Blend on high until smooth. Taste and adjust flavors as necessary. Pour into mugs and enjoy.

 

How are you supporting the young women in your life? Where could you shine even more light on them?

 

Lots of love.

xoa

 

photos by Asami Zenri

8/28/2015

Full Moon Crystal Cleanse

Full Moon Crysta lCleanse by Ashley Neese

With the full moon on her way in this weekend I wanted to take some time to share with you how I cleanse my crystals each month and why it’s important. Over the years I have made a practice of working with the deeply restorative energy of each full moon. Bringing my crystals into this monthly ritual has been a great way to make sure they are as energetically clear as possible. Believe it or not, crystals hold onto the energy they take in from you and from their environment. It’s good practice to purify their vibration on a regular basis, especially if you use them often or with others.

I’ve studied with many healers in my life and have learned several different methods for crystal cleansing. My favorite way uses water and involves working with the full moon. This the the most effective way to give them a deep energy cleaning. Think about how clear and grounded you feel after an intense breathwork session and salt scrub, it’s the same idea. We’re just like our crystals, in order to function at our optimal vibration we need to take care ourselves consistently.

Crystals are tools that I use in my daily self care practice and with clients. Making sure they are in top shape for healing is as simple as the ritual I am going to share with you today. When the moon is full she is at her brightest making it the most powerful time to release what is no longer serving you. Before setting your crystals out to bathe in the full moonlight, gently wash them in a little purified water the day before the full moon. I’ve made a really grounding practice out of listening to music and chanting the Adi Shakti mantra to my crystals while washing them. It keeps the feminine energy super strong and helps me stay in the moment. Chanting is totally optional of course!

After washing and drying your crystals set them out on the earth for their full moon bath. If you are unable to place them directly on the ground, any natural surface will work. We have a table outside that I like to use as there is a raccoon family in our yard and they pretty much take anything that we put on the grass. For some reason the table is a safer bet! The next day, let them charge for a few hours in morning sunlight. Many crystals like Amethyst, Aquamarine, Citrine, Fluorite, Rose Quartz, and Smoky Quartz for example will fade in direct sunlight so I charge my crystals just for the sunrise and then pull them back inside.

FullMoonCrystalCleansebyAshleyNeese3

Steps for cleansing your crystals in the Full Moon:

Wash them well.
A simple rinse under the faucet will do here. If you live near the ocean or a stream it’s optimal to wash them there. I’ve got too many to make the trek to the Pacific but if you’re close, by all means go!

Set your crystals out.
The ideal time to put them out is just after sunset. A natural surface is best outside. If that isn’t an option put them near a window where they will get direct moonlight. As you set each one down name something you want to let go of. You can name the same thing over and over or pick a different one with each crystal. Don’t name more than 5, it’s too many and will start to lower our vibration. This is a supportive practice that helps to seal in what we are ready to release with this full moon.

Pull them in the next morning.
It’s nice to give them a little reboot with the sun’s energy, but not for too long. Through sun rise is a great rule of thumb.

Charge your crystals with intentions.
This is one of my favorite parts of the ritual, it’s even more important than naming what we want to release. Once your have all of your crystals back inside charge them with your intentions. Charging crystals with your energy helps them stay focused. Once they are charged it’s best to not let others handle them (unless you are charging specifically for others or client work) as they will absorb the energy of other people.

You can charge all of your crystals at once by imagining them soaked in healing energy. They can also be charged individually or in groups. It’s really up to you, there is no right or wrong way to charge them, let your intuition be your guide.

Here are some examples of what I am planning for this cycle:

  • Charging rose quartz with love to support my relationship with Jason.
  • The stones I use with clients will be charged to intensify their healing properties.
  • Smokey quartz with energy to help me stay grounded during the transition into Autumn.

Close the ritual.
I like to close the cleansing and charging ritual with thank you prayers. A simple thank you to Mother Earth for the ways she supports our life and a humble bow to the crystals for all of the work that they do. Acknowledging all of the elements that came together to make these healing tools seals in their healing vibrations and reminds us to stay focused on what matters most to our hearts. After giving thanks I burning a little cedar to bring in more positive energy and close the ritual.

 

Do you cleanse and charge your crystals? What are your favorite practices? I’d love to know!

Wishing you all a beautiful Full Moon.

xoa

8/26/2015

Engaging with Plants

Engaging with Plants by Liz Migliorelli

Hello friends! I am excited to share that the incredible western herbalist and magic maker Liz Migliorelli is going to be a monthly contributor to the blog. I’ve had the pleasure of learning from from Liz in her workshops and have enjoyed spending time with her talking about women’s wellness, plant medicine and self care rituals. She is very dear to my heart and has so much wisdom to share with us. Stay tuned for her upcoming articles, they contain very potent medicine for the soul.

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Humans have always had a deep relationship with plants. I try to remind myself of this constantly, especially when I am in the city. I take a moment to look at a tree and remember that this tree is breathing in what I have exhaled, and I am inhaling what this tree has created. When I remember that small yet necessary fact, it’s a profound place to stand in.

When I first started working with plants, I started to define each plant by the medicinal action that it has on the physical body as a way of learning about the nature of that plant. For example: Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and a circulatory stimulant. Dandelion is a liver tonic as well as a mild laxative. Rose is astringent and cooling.

I believed that I was truly getting to know these plants the more I memorized these descriptions. But plants are so much more than the actions that we assign them. I started to notice that every time I walked by a rose bush, there was something else happening that wasn’t just astringent or cooling. There was something deeper that took place: my mind relaxed and my heart center expanded.

Once I held a rose over my heart and felt that huge release of energy, I started crying. What was the medicinal action for that? A similar feeling occurred with seeing a dandelion in bloom: I smiled widely and felt warmth in my belly. Dandelion always brightened my day. I realized I was noticing other qualities of the plants, that I wasn’t necessarily finding in books.

Since that first year of working with plants, I have come to realize that plants (just like people) have their own personalities that unfold as we deepen our relationship with them. Learning to see an herb’s individual nature can help us understand how it may act as a medicine, and how it may be most applicable without necessarily knowing its exact properties or actions. Truly meeting a plant means experiencing a plant with your senses, intuition and cognitive process of your body. This kind of observation and sensing is often seen as something that is only possessed by a lucky few that have “extra-sensory perception”, but I have found that everyone has an ability to do this kind of work; it’s just that many of us are out of practice and perhaps over-stimulated by technology.

Engaging with Plants by Liz Migliorelli

So, how do we enter into deep relationships with a plant?

When working with a plant for the first time, it’s helpful to ground yourself and take a few deep, centering breaths before opening to the plant’s energy. Whether  that means taking a tincture, having a sip of tea, using an infused oil, or just holding the plant in our bare hands. Books are lovely resources, but they don’t replace direct interaction with a plant. Reading about plants and other people’s experiences with plants can be helpful, but don’t let their words invalidate your own personal experience. Take note of first thoughts and images that come to you and honor your intuition. I recommend getting a journal to record your experiences with plants. It’s a great source  to refer back to as the foundation of your relationship with plants.

Here are a few starting questions that you can sit down with as you begin to work with a new plant ally:

If you can, try to access the plant in its living state. What does it look like?  Where does it grow? What grows around it? What does it feel like? Observe it for an entire year, in each season. Notice any changes.

What does the herb smell like?

What does the herb taste like (if non-toxic)? Is it hot/cold/moist/dry on your tongue?

Where do you feel the herb in your body? Your lungs? Your heart? Your limbs?

What effect does it have on that part of the body? Does it tingle? Tickle? Feel heavy? Feel dizzy?

What emotional sensation does this herb bring to you? Grief, joy, anger, etc. are all great examples. It can be as simple as “I like this plant, it makes me feel good” or “I don’t like this plant, there’s something about it…”. Our emotions allow us to access unique information not otherwise available to us!

Also, are there images that come to mind? Any words? Memories?

If you are working with it before you go to sleep, notice the next day if it affects your dream state at all. Pay attention to dreams, they carry a lot of wisdom!

Always remember to give thanks to the plants. They like being appreciated, just as we like being appreciated. They will certainly show up for you when gratitude abounds. The plants live next to us, sharing their wisdom and power in the simplest of ways. Remember, they have always been saying hello to you.

xo Liz

 

photos via Asami Zenri

8/24/2015

Mineral Therapy // Rose Quartz

Mineral Therapy // Rose Quartz by Ashley Neese

Rose quartz is the ultimate self love stone. It holds a very gentle vibration of love for the holder and anyone who comes in contact with it. When I began my personal research into the spiritual nature of minerals rose quartz was the first one I worked with consistently. Developing a relationship with rose quartz has helped me tune into my softer side, listen deeply to my heart and mend relationships with grace.

Early on a teacher shared a very good piece of advice with me, work with one crystal at a time and learn its energy. Once you have built a relationship with it, get to know another one. As an over ambitious student (been like this my entire life!) with a thirst for knowledge of all things spirit, this suggestion helped me relax and remember there is plenty of time. I don’t need to study all of the crystals at once! It also speaks to the truth that true wisdom is about the experience of the mineral and that can’t be read in a book or even in this blog post. My aim here is to offer some background, share my experiences and encourage you to bring minerals into your life and see what unfolds.

I’ve been gifted many beautiful pieces of rose quartz over the years and they always come at the right time. I mentioned in our last post about smoky quartz the importance of paying attention to when minerals show up in your life. I received a beautiful rose quartz heart after my first Reiki level one training. As we closed the training the teacher gave each of us a small rose quartz to hold in our hands. She  attuned our hands with the crystals in them. To this day I feel that unlocked a huge opening in my heart and since the Reiki energy has flowed through my hands effortlessly.

WHAT IS ROSE QUARTZ?
Rose quartz is in the quartz family and has a pink color that ranges in hue. The color is usually considered as due to trace amounts of titanium, iron, or manganese. Deposits of rose quartz have been found in India, Japan, and the US though most of them come from Minas Gerais, Brazil. Some say the color is photosensitive so I keep mine out of direct sunlight. [Wikipedia]

There are rose quartz beads dating back to 7000 BC that were found in modern day Iraq. People in the earliest recorded times believed in the magical powers of quartz. Ancient Roman, Egyptian, and Greek civilizations used quartz crystals as potent talismans. The Romans used rose quartz as a seal to signify ownership, and Egyptians believed the stone could prevent aging.

In the Middle Ages, medical practitioners used quartz in their healing potions. Early cultures of the Americas used quartz amulets. Known as the “love stone,” it was said to balance the emotions and to heal anger and disappointment. [GIA]

Mineral Therapy // Rose Quartz by Ashley Neese

HEALING BENEFITS
Rose quartz is my number one mineral anytime I feel I need to support my self care, healing process or want to call in some gentle love and kindness. It has been known to help restore romantic feelings so it is a stone I use in my relationship often as well. In addition to therapy and our own personal work, placing several rose quartz stones around our bedroom has created a very nurturing and safe space for us to move through some very difficult times in our relationship. If I have a tough night I put a small piece of rose quartz under my pillow to support healing dreams and self forgiveness.

Rose quartz is an amazing stone for mending personal relationships. It activates and balances the heart chakra and represents the vibration of calming, soothing love. Rose quartz also works beautifully to help balance our upper chakras and while keeping us living from our hearts, not our heads. I love to carry a small piece in my pocket to remind me to live from love instead of fear. Rose quartz gives a gentle nudge towards guiding me to relax in each moment as it comes. It’s especially supportive around family relationships too and helps me keep my heart open in those challenging times when the instinct is to shut down and check out.

The beauty of minerals is that they heal on an energetic and physical level. If you think about it, when we heal our energy, the physical comes into alignment. Any quartz is an amplifier of energy and rose quartz brings high vibrational feminine energy to the table every time. If you are working with deepening your relationship to your yin, or female energy rose quartz will be of great assistance.

When I was calling in my relationship with Jason I placed larger pieces of rose quartz in each room of my apartment. Just seeing them each day prompted me to stay grounded in my desire for a true partner and not get caught up in the shiney but unavailable men that continued to come my way. The energy of these stones is very sweet but don’t let that fool you, they are incredible heart medicine.

Rose quartz are also wonderful stones to give to pregnant mamas and children as it is easy for them to tune into their calm, loving energy.

 

HOW TO USE
There are many ways to incorporate rose quartz into your life. Below are some potent suggestions. See what works for you and trust your instincts here, you know what’s best ;)

Place rose quartz on your heart chakra to……..

  • Call in the love you desire
  • Heal past wounds
  • Amplify the love you share with the world
  • Soothe heartache

Carry rose quartz to…….

  • Bring peace into your life
  • Stay open during emotionally charged
  • Ease anxiety, tension or stress
  • Feel a strong sense of self worth

Meditate with rose quartz to…..

  • Heal emotions that keep you stuck in the past
  • Open up your imagination
  • Call in universal love
  • Tap into your feminine energy
  • Recall past lives and tune into your purpose in this life

Place rose quartz around your home to…

  • Send soothing vibrations into the room
  • Bring in harmony and love
  • Create an atmosphere of gentle kindness
  • Generate romantic feelings (great in the bedroom!)

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Do you have a relationship with rose quartz? How do you incorporate it into your life? I would love to know.

xoa

 

images via Asami Zenri

8/23/2015

Bone Broth Corn Soup

Bone Broth Corn Soup by Ashley Neese

If you’re of childbearing years like I am and wanting to cultivate a strong body for future pregnancy, you need to become BFF with bone broth ASAP. I know. It smells, it has an intense taste and you just can’t wrap your mind around touching animal bones and putting them in a crock pot. Trust me, as a recovering vegan I 100% hear you. I also know from my own experience and working with countless women over the years, bone broth is key for fertility, hormonal health and overall wellbeing.

I’ve learned to enjoy by daily ritual of drinking a cup of bone broth. If you haven’t tried it yet check out all these reasons why it’s a miracle elixir and consider trying it. Those of you that have reading my blog for a while you know I am not a fan of diets or labels. I am a fan of nourishing our cells, medicinal foods and mindful eating. Bone broth isn’t for everyone, but it’s definitely for me!

Bone Broth Corn Soup by Ashley Neese

Bone Broth Corn Soup by Ashley Neese

Bone Broth Corn Soup by Ashley Neese

Bone Broth Corn Soup by Ashley Neese

I’m always looking for ways to sneak bone broth into my meals and it works beautifully as a base for soups. Corn is all over the farmers markets right now and corn soup sings of late summer lunches and outdoor dinners. Truth be told I’ve been known to enjoy a bowl of this yummy soup for breakfast. It’s like a savory bowl of grits, but way better.

To get as much corn flavor out of the soup as possible, simmer the corn cobs in your bone broth for about 25 minutes before putting the soup together. It really makes a difference and helps the corn shine and not get overtaken by the bone broth. I suggest a chicken bone broth here as it’s lighter in flavor and pairs beautifully with corn.

For all you mamas and busy women out there this soup can be made in larger batches and frozen for easy meals during the week. I typically freeze soup in single servings to cut the defrosting time down.

And if you’re really not into bone broth this soup will work really well with my healing mineral broth as a base, and it’s vegan ;)

Bone Broth Corn Soup by Ashley Neese

Bone Broth Corn Soup

Serves 4

Recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks

 

Ingredients //

  • 6 ears corn, husks removed
  • 7 c. bone broth
  • 2 Tbsp. grass fed butter
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 pound potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 4 medium shallots, chopped
  • 5 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp. fresh sage, sliced thin
  • 2 big pinches Celtic sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Micro greens

 

Method //

Bring the bone broth to a gentle simmer over low heat. While it’s warming up slice the kernels from the cobs and place them in a bowl. Add the cobs to the bone broth, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes remove the cobs.

While the cobs are simmering add the butter and olive oil to a large skillet. Bring to a medium heat and add the potatoes and stir until coated with the butter and oil. Add a pinch of salt and cook until they are close to done about 6 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for a few minutes. Next add the sage and another pinch of salt. Stir gently for about a minute until fragrant.

Pour the potato shallot mixture into the bone broth and add the corn. Simmer for a few minutes. At this point you can puree some or all of the soup if you like. I left it as is. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a handful of your favorite micro greens.

Soup will keep for several days in the fridge in an airtight container.

Do you drink bone broth? What are your favorite ways to get it into your diet? I’d love to know!

xoa

© ASHLEY NEESE 2015