5/25/2016

Inspiring Women // Jessica Lee

Inspiring Women // Jessica Lee

I am over the moon to share my most recent interview with the incredibly talented Jessica Lee. I was introduced to her textile and clothing label, Willow Knows several years ago and we quickly developed a long distance admiration club. We started our businesses around the same time and she has been a huge creative inspiration for me ever since. On those days when everything felt hard or even impossible I took refuge in her beautiful photos and creative process. I am grateful Jessica is out there taking risks in her life and practice.

Jessica’s textile design explores the intersection between our inner and outer worlds. She is fascinated by the way energy moves and creates custom pieces that embrace the beauty of imperfection. In our interview Jessica shares how she navigates her self care, what it looks like to follow your intuition and the deep love that comes from learning to hold space for your own heart.

Inspiring Women // Jessica Lee

How do you stay true to yourself?
Following intuition, fulfilling creative ideas, allowing for comfort in vulnerability & power in honesty, slowing down.

What motivates you to create?
I am passionate about art and design and truly believe it has the power to shift individuals and the world for the better. It is a form of communication & encourages connection. As living beings contributing to life on this earth, I believe it is our responsibility to participate in healthy forms of conversation and connection in order to move forward.

Creativity allows us to dig below the surface, something a lot of us are scared to do. When we do we are able to be vulnerable with ourselves and with those around us, and I believe that creates beautiful shifts. Visual art is a means to translate and receive ideas about the world without having to use words, which is a powerful opportunity.

Inspiring Women // Jessica Lee
Have you ever struggled with self care in your life? How did you navigate that?
Of course. In Ayurvedic terms I am considered a Vata constitution. One of my teachers has a term “vata deranged” that I can easily relate to if I am not mindful of what I am eating, drinking, doing with my mind and body. With that said, I have also found that the more I force sticking to a strict diet or deprive myself from things my body is asking for, the more I actually feel imbalanced.

If I am in tune with myself,  practicing yoga, sleeping enough, and living mindfully – my body asks for the right things and I am able to listen to that knowing it is exactly what I need. When I am craving things that are not healthy for me (this could be food or more emotional) I try to take a step back and figure out the root of the cause. It has been valuable to learn through Ayurveda that our bodies (mind, spirit, physical) want to live within the rhythms of nature, and nature is in a constant state of change. I am in love with the ebb and flow of it all.

Also, running a small business and supporting yourself off of that is not easy work. I am “working” a lot. I used to guilt myself for not giving attention to my art and business during practically all waking hours. This dedication has allowed me to fulfill a lot of dreams but is also a constant balancing act for me. It is not a simple thing to clock in and out of creative work, so allowing myself time in the mornings, afternoons, and weekends to have creative time that is separate from my “job”  leaves me feeling more inspired and productive in the end. It has become very important for me to be able to create work that I do not need an immediate response from, or does not need to be shared with the world right away.

What does your spirit need to feel nourished?
Valuable time with those that inspire me to be my best self, silent conversations with nature, the ocean, meditation, space to find humility, space to dream, clean mind & body, early mornings, my love by my side.

Inspiring Women // Jessica Lee
Share some words of wisdom for women entrepreneurs.
As soon as you feel the pull to do something creative, start making/doing anything right away, even if it does not feel like your ultimate end goal. Don’t let your ego get in the way of creating something. When I first started willow knows I was dying pieces of clothing that I would find in thrift stores and selling them on Etsy.

Honestly, most of what I was doing those days was hideous. There was part of me that knew that and also part of me that knew I was pushing through a barrier. That is called intuition. By starting small and continuing to learn the craft and nurture my own personal aesthetic – I’ve continued to be led to where I am today.

Any small act of creativity will open your heart and hopefully lead you closer to your calling. (whether that is being a creative or not.)  Also, surround yourself with women you look up to. Let go of people that are bringing you down emotionally or energetically, that was an extremely important lesson for me in my 20s. Find women who are doing things that you are interested in and reach out. You always hear that having a strong circle of like minded people around you is key and I really can’t express how true that has been for me.

Your current playlist.
We have a really amazing local public radio station where I live and every Sunday morning they have a Sunday Morning Bluegrass show, I look forward to it every week. They play new & old bluegrass made in and around the Virginia, North Carolina, & Tennessee area. It connects me to these areas of the country where I never thought I would, but turns out I am building my life.

My general spirit lifting sounds come from artists like Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell. My mom has the most incredible taste in music and the artists that she loves and that we grew up listening to always bring me back to feeling home.

Inspiring Women // Jessica Lee

Inspiring Women // Jessica Lee
Share three books on your nightstand.
H is for Hawk – Helen Macdonald
Animal Vegetable Miracle – Barbara Kingsolver
And I always have Thich Nhat Hanh by my bed.

How do you strengthen your intuition?
By continuing to listen to the wisdom that rests in my heart. The more I honor and listen to what I intuitively know to be true, the stronger and more clear I feel. Also by continuing to learn to be my own best friend. When I love and respect myself, I want to listen to what I have to say.

Sister wisdom.
Love & support one another in every possible way. We are truly all in this together, and everything and every one of us is connected to everything else. Do not compete, competition is ego driven and your ego does not have your best interest at heart. History has proven that women are capable of incredible things when we join together with strength & love for each other.

Inspiring Women // Jessica Lee
Share a favorite quote or piece of wisdom you love.
The lyric “When all the broken hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer – let it be,”  has always stuck with me. We are all here living this life with the deep rooted need to love and be loved. Hearts break and our greatest challenge is understanding the ways to put them back together. When we struggle with that, walls are built and hearts become hardened. When we live with a shell around our hearts – anger, hatred, and ego wins. Imagine if many of our world’s leaders were living life with an open and vulnerable heart. It always comes back to the heart. We have to be comfortable talking about it in order to heal it. Only then will we know peace.

Tell us one thing you haven’t done yet that you really want to do.
Motherhood.

What are you most grateful for?
Each new day.

 

Photos by Meredith Coe

5/18/2016

Fire Walk

Walk on Fire by Ashley Neese

On the first day of this year I participated in a fire walk. I realize how strange that might sound but after the wild 2015 I had, a fire walk totally made sense. I was beyond ready to give the fire all of the heartache, pain, limiting beliefs and sadness I had been working through for what felt like forever.

2015 was one for the books. It was such a foundation shaking year on every level imaginable. If you told me this time last year everything that went down would happen, I would have been fine moving to a cabin in the woods and never speaking to anyone again. It was so much to move through and I’m not one of those people that believes, if you couldn’t handle it the universe wouldn’t be giving it to you. I’m calling bullshit on that right now! Sometimes life is incredibly hard and it has nothing to do with you being able to handle it or not. What it does have to do with is your willingness to open into it, fumble your way through it, and tell the truth when you’re in the darkness.

A week before the fire walk I moved out of the home Jason and I created. I spent several days crying on the couch giving myself full permission to just be and feel. I leaned into every wretched emotion that surfaced and by the grace of spirit was able to crack open completely.

Making a decision to let go of a relationship that wasn’t totally messed up was something new for me. In my past partnerships it was glaringly obvious we were in two completely different places which made the breakups a no-brainer. With Jason it was unclear for a long time because on paper we had it all. We were the golden couple the first few months we spent together. At some point things shifted so much that we couldn’t find our way back to the center. We were just two people, holding onto our expectations and disappointments, until we finally made the most loving decision we could make, to let each other go.

I decided to walk on fire in late October of last year. After hearing how powerful it was for some of my friends I knew it was something I needed to do. It called to my very core, and once that decision was made I thought about it almost everyday. I told my close friends and family and most of them thought I was a little nuts but everyone was supportive. They knew what a rough time I was having and they believed I knew what was best for me.

And I needed this fire walk desperately. I needed as much help as I could get to burn off the negative thought forms that ruled my life, especially the one about not being worthy of a partner that could fully see, feel, and love me. I also needed to transmute some of the darkest pain that my body was still hanging on to, the belief that I was totally unworthy of honest, raw, life changing love.

The weekend before the fire walk I wrote lists of what I was ready to ask the fire to help me shift. I was willing to give her everything and trusted that she could handle it and help show me the way. There are no accidents. It was divine order that two weeks after moving out from our house I found myself at the edge of those bright, hot coals, breathing deeply, knowing even before I took one step my life would be forever changed.

And before I knew it I was howling at the moon, fixated on the north star, feeling the most intense energy flow up through the soles of my feet and out the top of my head. In a trance I jumped into my friend’s arms at the end of the coals and my entire body vibrated at a frequency no drug could ever touch. This was pure and wild, working with the fire element so directly. That night I felt a huge crack in the shame I carried for so many years and felt in the core of my being I was here to create a new version of my story.

 

/////

Five months after this fire walk I am sitting in the proof of my friends words, nothing post fire walk is the same. My life has accelerated in such beautiful ways and I am more grounded and clear and sure of myself than I have ever been. I know what my gifts are, what I have to offer this world and the critical messages of my story –

transmuting pain into joy, loss into generosity, unworthiness into grace, and fear into the soul expanding love I’ve always known was possible.

I set some pretty hefty intentions after that fire walk at the first of the year and everything on my list has come to pass. These days I’m presented with opportunity after opportunity to trust my intuition, to bet on myself instead of always betting on the house, and to say no to anything that isn’t a 100% hands down hell yes.

I’ve always known what I’ve needed and wanted in my life and been able to manifest anything. The piece that has been missing up until this year was healing the shame and unworthiness I’ve carried since I was born on an energetic and emotional level. I could talk about shame and unworthiness all day long but until I started really clearing it, everything I manifested wasn’t quite right. And because I wasn’t fully in my radiance and power, I went ahead with whatever was presented, not fully trusting myself or the universe.

Today I know that when something is not quite right I need to take a step back and let it go. When I look over my life I see how I have been guided, taken care of, loved and supported along the way. This is where I source my trust, my experiences. I also see that every time I have said no to anything that wasn’t quite right, a more ideal experience was just around the corner and full of even more magic.

As I take the time to look ahead at the rest of this year and feel into where I want to go, who I want to support and how I want to love, I can’t help but come back to the powerful night on those burning coals.

I am more than ready for the whole thing. I trust myself enough to release anything that isn’t the whole thing. And when the whole thing shows up I will step up into brighter light, grace, and joy because this is what I’ve been waiting for.

Sending you all so much love.

xoa

4/22/2016

Dear Mother Earth

treemagic3

Good morning, good morning! Oh it feels good to be back writing here again. I took a little break to work on my book proposal and have been creating some special healing content for a major wellness brand. I cannot wait to share all of the details with you in the coming months.

It’s Earth Day and I want to share a new poem and some mother earth musings with you. Everyday is Earth Day as far as I am concerned. Cultivating a strong connection to the earth and nature is honestly the most important practice in my life right now. It’s the foundation for everything. If I’m not rooted in the earth and living in as much harmony as possible with everything around me, my life feels very limited and it’s easy to think I’m alone.

As some of you know this past year I have been deepening my relationship to Hawk medicine, specifically the Red Tail Hawks here in Los Angeles. I’ve learned so much about my purpose and spirit through these fierce and majestic creatures. They are helping me develop my psychic capabilities and teaching me in a very tangible way to trust my inner compass like I’ve never trusted it before. This is my work these days, to expand my capacity to have faith in myself. Each time a Hawk soars by I talk to her and am in awe of how she speaks to my heart.

I’ve been praying for years. It has changed my life in too many ways to count and helped me navigate the darkest moments of my life. My morning prayers are always about enlarging my spiritual practice. They begin with asking the universe how I can open my heart to receive more love and guidance from nature. The universe loves honest questions from sentient beings. The beauty of asking questions in my morning prayers is that I never need to have any answers, the practice is in forming a question that points toward the light. The work throughout the day becomes slowing down and being available for the answers to flow in. And they always do in the most divine manner.

There are many ways we can celebrate the earth in our everyday lives that nourishes our spirit in meaningful ways. Pay attention to her. Talk to her. Honor her. Plant a garden. Sleep under the stars. Pick up trash in the park, even if it isn’t yours. Drive less. Eat local. Consume mindfully. The earth is really our first mother that loves us all equally and unconditionally. We are all her children no matter how our parents raised us, no matter what the did or didn’t give us, the earth is here for us all and has nothing but our best intentions at heart.

People often ask me how to make their dreams come true. If you want to create anything, become a devoted student of mother earth. Worship her in all ways and she will provide you with an endless stream of energy and universal love. It’s really that simple. As sentient beings we have a limited amount of energy and power. Awakening to the strong connection you already have with mother earth gives you access to an unlimited flow of energy and is the ultimate reminder than we’re never doing anything alone. We are always, always, connected.

Dear Mother Earth,
On this morning may I be graceful,
may I walk lightly on your surface, taking only what I need.

Dear Mother Earth,
On this morning may I be joyful,
may I dance with the butterflies, transforming any sadness into laughter that will help someone else’s heart.

Dear Mother Earth,
On this morning may I be grateful,
may I praise the wise trees on my windy street, feeling their truth in every inch of my body.

Dear Mother Earth,
On this morning may I be mindful,
may I consider you in all of my actions and thoughts, living in harmony, honoring your spirit.

Dear Mother Earth,
On this morning may I be radiant,
may the light in my eyes lift up every spirit I pass as the Hawk screams overhead, delighted that I am finally living our purpose.

All my heart.
x

Photos by Lani Trock

4/5/2016

Mineral Therapy // Selenite

Mineral Therapy // Selenite by Ashley Neese

I’ve got a ton of air and water in my chart so I’m always on the hunt for quick and effective ways to ground my energy. Welcome selenite. When I’ve had a full day of clients or just need to ground and shift my energy, I put my bare feet on a slab of selenite for ten minutes and I relax within minutes. Selenite reestablishes clarity, stabilizes emotions, and downshifts the nervous system making you more available for intuitive messages.

Selenite is a versatile mineral that clears energy blocks, dispels negative entities, cleanses auras, and illuminates the frequency of our consciousness. Being the sensitive person I am, selenite helps keep me at a more even keel, enabling me to tap into my inner light with ease and grace.

These last few months of living on my own again post breakup have been deeply transformational. I have the kind of clarity now that comes from having to create new life rhythms after being partnered for years. In many ways this has a been a return to my true self, my soul, and selenite has kept my intuitive center clear in moments where the emotional work has been very dark. I’m a big advocate for getting all the support we can in life. This past year I have leaned into my relationships with minerals and been amazed at how much they help me connect and tune in.

 

WHAT IS SELENITE?
The etymology of selenite is through Middle English selinete, from Latin selenites, from Greek selēnitēs (lithos), literally, moonstone or stone of the moon, from selēnē (Moon). The ancients had a belief that certain transparent crystals waxed and waned with the moon. From the 15th century, “selenite” has referred specifically to the variety of gypsum that occurs in transparent crystals or crystalline masses.
[Wikipedia]

Selenite is hydrous calcium sulfate mineral; a form of gypsum crystal also known as Satin Spur or Desert Rose. The stone is tubular in shape, with striations running along its length. Selenite is found in Mexico, South America, USA, Australia and Madagascar and formed in evaporative clay beds and hot springs. They crystal manifests in ice-like, clear, striated, fine, delicate crystals, and it can grow into either in the v-shape twinning, the fishtail configuration or in a single extended point.
[Tom Ledder]

Mineral Therapy // Selenite by Ashley Neese

HEALING BENEFITS
Selenite has many associations with the moon which makes it an ideal mineral for working with the subconscious, psychic channels, intuition, and primal instincts. The moon represents water, which is tied to our emotional and subtle bodies. Selenite will completely dissolve if left in water which is a beautiful illustration of how it can help wash away heightened negative emotions. This also serves as a reminder to practice being flexible in your life and to ride the waves of your emotions as they come, and when possible, to release with love.

Selenite is primarily associated with the crown and third eye chakras making it an excellent mineral for meditation and spiritual work. Regular meditations with selenite promote accurate psychic insights, deep understanding of your soul’s purpose, and healing of past life energies. If you’re looking for protection from your spirit guides selenite will help you tap into that power.

I bring selenite into all of my client sessions and classes because it very effective for removing energy blocks. Selenite is referred to as liquid light which brings clarity to getting down to the root of these stagnant areas. Often times clients aren’t always sure what their specific blocks are. I use selenite to enhance my intuition and expose the truth of their blocks while protecting them from outside mental influences. At night I purify my aura with a selenite wand to eliminate energetic congestion and cut parasitic energy cords that are a normal part of everyday living.

Selenite can be used to promote fertility and is a guardian of pregnancy and motherhood. You can use selenite to enhance all fertility from bearing a child to creating a new project. Selenite is also considered a love mineral, it encourages honest communication, promotes ease and harmony in relationships, and adds loving intentions to your energy body.

In addition to cleansing your minerals on the full moon, you can place them on a large slab of selenite. This will clear their energy and is great to do between full moons. The minerals I use on a daily basis get this treatment several times a month as they work very hard! Be sure to dedicate a specific piece of selenite just for cleansing your minerals.

Mineral Therapy // Selenite by Ashley Neese

HOW TO USE

Below are some of my favorite ways to use selenite. Try them out and see what feels best to you.

Meditate with selenite to…..

  • Clear your mind
  • Remove stress
  • Receive psychic messages
  • Reduce PMS
  • Tap into past life energy
  • Strengthen memory
  • Promote cellular repair

 

Keep selenite in your home to…..

  • Keep the energy clear and balanced
  • Promote harmony
  • Raise the vibration
  • Ward off negative energy

 

Put selenite under your bed to……

  • Stimulate dreams
  • Sleep soundly
  • Activate the subconscious
  • Encourage peace and tranquility
  • Reverse effects of free radicals

 

Keep selenite on your desk to……

  • Promote creativity
  • Keep focused on your work
  • Stabilize emotions
  • Inspire heart centered communication
  • Mental flexibility
  • Strengthen decision making processes

 

/////

 

Have you worked with selenite? I’d love to know how you incorporate it into your life.

 

Photos by Lauren Moore

Selenite from my friends at Energy Muse

3/22/2016

Cultivating Compassion in Difficult Times

Cultivating Compassion in Difficult Times by Ashley Neese

I’m not one to get political on the blog as that isn’t an area where I feel super comfortable. Today I was contacted by a big media outlet to create a piece to support the loss we’re all feeling right now from the tragedy in Brussels. I didn’t finish my piece by the fast turn around so I decided to share it here. This was challenging to write but it really got me feeling into how I can stay open through this which is truly a gift. Sending love far and wide today. You are all in my prayers.

/////

In the wake of this terrible tragedy in Brussels I turn to the wisdom of my practice. I’ve learned over the years that one of the biggest impacts I can have in this world is to keep my heart open.

Many people feel frustrated that there is nothing they can do to help those who are in pain right now. There is something you can do. You can commit to practicing compassion and keep all who are grieving in your prayers.

It’s normal to experience intense emotions during a time like this, anger, fear, grief, and sadness. Feeling any number of these emotions is a sign your heart is already open and a teaching in staying open through the loss we’re all feeling today.

From an energy perspective you have two choices, allow this terrible tragedy to shut you off or use it as a practice in staying open. When you shut down your vibration is lowered and it’s very challenging to access love, compassion, and wisdom. By staying open your vibration is raised and you tap into creativity, empathy, and intuition. In times like these everyone needs was much empathy, love and wisdom as possible. If you have the willingness to offer it you are doing a huge part to support the world.

When you practice compassion for yourself you are practicing compassion for everyone. You can have the biggest and most immediate healing impact on yourself and in your relationships. Let this tragedy serve to awaken you and open your heart to new depths.

Mindful practices for cultivating compassion:

1. Allow yourself to grieve. It’s brave to honor the pain you feel and it brings you close to your own vulnerability. Cry if you need to and let the emotions move through your body without censoring them.

2. Make your body an offering. Come into child’s pose and rest your forehead to the earth. Release your hips and soften your entire body. This pose is about connecting to your true source, Mother earth, and is a gesture of offering to your deepest wisdom. Focus on your intuitive center (third eye) and give thanks for all of your teachers. Send gratitude to the painful lessons you have learned because they have shaped your courageous heart. Soften. Breathe. Release. Rest.

3. Meditate on what you are feeling. Sit in a comfortable position, in a quiet space and focus your breath in your heart. Breathe deeply in and out through your nose to ground your nervous system and begin to soothe your heart. Place one hand on your heart and repeat the mantra as many times as you like, I am here for you. I am here for you. I am here for you.

5. Sit in meditation and direct compassion and love towards the people of Brussels. Breathe in light and love and breathe out this prayer, may you be free from suffering, may you feel safe, may you be loved. Repeat this for several minutes and close with your hands in prayer in front of your heart.

6. Squash the negative self-talk. When you catch yourself in a limiting belief or negative thought loop, pause, take a breath and repeat this mantra, darling I love you. Darling I love you. Darling I love you. Repeat this practice as often as necessary.

Please leave a comment and let me know how you are doing. I’d love to create community around this and support each other.

All my heart.
x

 

Photo by Lani Trock.

© ASHLEY NEESE 2016