whenever september comes around: my season for rebirth

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” ― Mark Twain

41 septembers ago i was born. 8 septembers ago i felt as if i was reborn. and this september? well, i feel as if i am being reborn once again.

is it possible to be reborn multiple times in a lifetime? some, even many, would disagree with me, saying that a person can only be born again once. but, that’s just sad, i think. i’m not sure i could handle knowing that i had been born again, or reborn ( i like that word so much better), and with that one rebirth i was done. what would be the point of the rest of my life? why even bother living if being reborn meant that i had acquired everything i needed to be a complete human being, that i had already reached enlightenment, so to speak.

no, that’s not how i see life. instead, i see it much more like a lifelong transformation. a long adventure, where the destination isn’t even really that relevant. it’s really all about the journey all along the way.

when you think of it, all of nature is a cycle of rebirth, life, death, and then rebirth once again. we’re wired for growth and transformation. it’s organic. natural. authentic.

if life is a journey, then multiple births must be possible. they just signify the milestones and growth points that we pass along our way. but, they signify very, very important ones.

MY DISCOVERIES FROM THE SUMMER OF LOVE

in the background, as i have been doing my regular old blogging, enjoying summer, having adventures, and soaking up the people + moments of my life, i have also been doing some intense internal work.

it all began when i did 21 days of mantra meditation. like, i repeated out loud a different mantra every day for 30 minutes each day. it was powerful. there was no sitting quietly, meditating in silence. it was active, use my voice, feel the vibrations in my body, mantra-ing. and it was uncomfortable for one day. the rest of the days i felt energized, focused, and way more in touch with my soul than any other meditation series has ever given me.

i also have enjoyed a series of kundalini yoga passes that have been focused on the chakras. again, the movement, the focus, the hour-long yoga passes have inspired me + gotten me in touch with my soul more than ever before.

and i did all of these things at home. for free. by myself. i’ll leave you links to the 2 series (one on spotify + one a podcast) at the bottom of this post.

meditate

somehow, these active times of meditation, separated by a 3 week period of vacation time with my love, my brother + friends, have opened my understanding and my flow. they have been the closing moments of spirituality at this time of my life. my soul, my life, has naturally flowed from learning, listening, and discovering to living and doing.

soder-me-and-my-love

my rebirth means entering a new phase of my life. the groundwork has all been laid. the source of my empowerment from within has been tapped. there is nothing left to do but to leap forward and live all that i have been learning.

september + rebirth

so, here i am at the beginning of another september. ready to celebrate another orbit around the sun. in awe that i’ve had the joy and honor to live yet another beautiful year filled with ups, down, mountain, valleys, beautiful sites, terrifying moments, confusions, and moments of bliss. and ready to embark on yet another year of circling the sun. of becoming a little more of who i am created to be.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

on this first day of september, however, i feel something different. a feel a kind of rebirth again. of making another great step into living an authentic life, of not discovering my soul, as i have been doing for the past 8 years, but of learning to live from my soul.

the other day, just before the full moon, a kindred spirit friend of mine, stacy, posted a link to a website that has some “wisdom readings”. kind of like a horoscope, i think. just for fun, i clicked on the link and this is the reading that i received:

Rebirth
beginnings and endings; shedding identity; lunar rhythms; cycles; fresh start; letting go; the only constant is change

The snake bites its own tail, creating a circle that cycles on forever. The end meets the beginning in a rhythm that never stops, is always spinning.

The Rebirth card beckons with a chance to make a fresh start. You need to let go of the old to welcome the new. But through it all you will still be you. The waves of life rise and fall. Go ahead: ride them all.

shut the front door! that could not have been any more spot on. for how i feel in life. for the upcoming celebration of my 41st birthday. for all of the new things that i am undertaking as autumn is beginning. i was totally blown away. and it was a complete affirmation of this feeling of being reborn, once again, in my life.

what comes next

autumn is practically here. september is here as of today. it is the season of beginnings. of gathering the fruit of our planting. of reaping what we have sown. of focusing and getting to work. of embracing the season of finding the joy and sacredness in everyday life, in ordinary things, in living authentically, true to ourselves.

8 years ago, right during my last big rebirth, i was in seminary. studying theology and spirituality. i explored all of the ways (from a christian perspective) that we “know” god. how god is revealed to us. i was studying to be a pastor/priest/minister (whatever word makes sense to you). but, i always knew that i would never actually do that.

my heart + soul challenged me to find my own path back then. to not simply take what i learned and use it for myself in my work, but to reach back into my education as a teacher and use all that i was learning to teach + inspire others. but that process of finding my path has taken a while.

cathedral-uppsala

back then i felt the call to take all of the religious bullshit that made no sense, and inspire others to see that it’s not about the religion, but about relationships. it’s often assumed that to be religious or spiritual means that one also is holy, above others, closed-minded, untouchable, perfect. that religion + spirituality actually have nothing to do with everyday life.

and i can understand how people feel and think that. religion has done a fabulous job of alienating, excluding, boring, putting up walls, creating rules, and pushing away real life. people get lost in empty rituals or old routines that mean nothing, instead of being given tools and ways of meeting the spiritual in every single little moment of life.

because it is possible, my friends., to live a meaningful, mindful, spiritual life. and, oh how beautiful it is when life is lived like that.

spirituality is not a box. it is freedom. and that, is what i intend to use this next part of my life teaching.

in seminary, i formulated my ideas and beliefs on how we can know that life is meant to be lived more deeply, how we are here to do more than exist, and how spirituality is actually a part of everyday life. the creative energies that connect us all (whether you call them god, magic, allah, tao, spirit, or anything else) move in and among us at all times. empowering + inspiring us, and teaching us to live life from our soul. and when we do that, then we are in creation with each other + the whole world, making a difference, spreading love + light.

i want to share + inspire others to find all of the ways to tap into our souls. all of the ways that energy and divine, holy, magical, sacred things show up, helping us to align our lives with our life’s purpose. inspiration is found + created in scriptures, traditions, experience, books, words, people, art, places, stories, music, nature, religions, science, mystery…

birds

i believe that we are all searching for a deeper way to live life. and i have found a way of living with the mystery and magic – of learning to be, love, and live. how to follow my bliss. of course, my way is not the only way. in fact, my way is only my way for me. but, i am here to help inspire you and others to discover you own way, your own path, your own soul, your own truth.

the one truth that i do know, and i know it from a place that i cannot explain, is that we are all connected. that we are spiritual beings, called to live life as who we are created to be. and all of life is that beautiful journey of discovering + uncovering more of what’s in the depths of our soul, and how those depths are the places where the holy, divine energies of love and peace live.

my commitment

starting with this new month, with this new year of my life, in the midst of this new birth, i have committed myself to two different things which will help me work towards turning my dreams of writing, photography, education, blogging, and teaching into a business. a business that helps to guide and inspire others in finding their own bliss, in listening to their own souls, in living a mindful, intentional life filled with spirit and peace.

yoga mat sat nam rasaya

yesterday i began a year-long training called sat nam rasayan.  in sanskrit sat nam rasayan means “deep relaxation in the Divine Name” or “rise to oneself to the essence of True identity”.  it  is a meditative technique that focuses on the full ability to feel, thus leading to healing, or wholeness. it is a part of the study of kundalini yoga, something that i have practiced off and on for about 4 years now. this is an amazing opportunity to help me in working with myself + with others, in discovering our paths, our souls, and our unique purposes in life.

in october i will also begin a year-long course in life coach training. it will be an amazing year of learning all of the ins and outs of becoming an internationally certified life coach, or as i will say, spiritual coach.

so, in a year, i will be a certified spiritual coach with a certification in sat nam rasayan meditation as well. well on my way of beginning to practically answer my call to minister, guide, teach, and journey with others, as they discover their own souls.

 it is an amazing time in my life. and i am so incredibly blessed.


so. yeah. that was a lot of information. i may have simply written it down for myself. but, if you made it through and read it to the end, then i am eternally grateful for you caring enough to read my thoughts + words.

please know that i am here for you. i will listen to you, just as you have followed and read and listened to me. it’s a mutual give and take.

until next time, dear friends, may the spirit of love + peace fill your souls. may each day be a new experience of birth for you, as you become more + more the person that you were created to be. and may you be inspired by all that is around you, seeking the sacred + holy in the most ordinary of moments.

“The whole life of the individual is nothing but the process of giving birth to himself; indeed, we should be fully born when we die – although it is the tragic fate of most individuals to die before they are born.” ― Erich FrommThe Sane Society

onwards + upwards! xoxo

21 day mantra meditation // click –> here
yoga vision wheels of life chakra series // click –> here

// week thirty five // just when everything was getting back to normal…

well, so much for routine.

i spoke too early last week about getting back into the swing of things. turns out that life decided to throw me a little curve ball + knock me off of the track that i thought i was on.

i got my first cold in over a year. yep. poor me, right? well, i most definitely did not get the things done that i had planned on getting done. i did get stuff done, but, yeah. as i said. the week was nothing like i had envisioned that it would be. besides the cold, in many ways, made the week was better than i’d planned. go figure.

our friend g, from berlin, was with us through last weekend + until tuesday, which was fun! a great reminder that, my wife + i live a crazy, never dull life. and we are so blessed by so many friends (and visitors!). as i said goodbye to her at the train station, i just knew that the next thing i was going to do was to go home and lay down. it was as if the cold finally took hold with a stupid scratchy throat.

our last few touristy moments with g

sunrise-home sushi cathedral-uppsala candles-cathedral-uppsala river-feet-me-gesine river-cathedral-uppsala me-sick-ego

wednesday, i did my wifely duties (laundry + some light cleaning) and stayed in my pjs all day – if i remember correctly. then, as the week started to close in on us, i had more chances to meet up with more out of town friends. no one staying with us overnight, but two friends from norrköping coming on two separate days. so, i enjoyed lunch out on both thursday + friday. collapsing on the couch again both days as soon as i got home to rest + eat chicken noodle soup. but, it was sooooo worth getting to see these two, completely un-related special ladies.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset chicken-noodle-soup me-coffee-fika fika-friends-cafe

all of the evenings my love and i stayed home. that was probably the one thing that seemed to be getting back to our regular day routine. but, since we were home, we began to notice how dark it is. the sun is setting before 8pm now! what?! time to bring out the candles and such. good god, we go through candles like crazy people in the autumn + winter. time to stock up now!

in addition to checking out candle status at home, i began to snap a few photos of the very early autumn season that’s starting to make its appearance. i just love this season. it’s the perfect reason to snuggle, netlfix, drink chai, wear scarves + boots, prepare for family + friends gatherings (think: my birthday, halloween, and thanksgiving!). and forage little bits of nature, bringing in the harvest and the warm, earthy colors.

yellow-leaf-autumn yellow-flowers

the weekend came + we had nothing at all planned. that’s right. you read it correctly: n o t h i n g!

all we did was stare at the moon, do some blogging + creating, some researching into new adventures that we are both are excited about, and watch all three “back to the future” movies. we did, however, venture out once when our friend contacted us midday on saturday for a little lunch adventure. so, we rode the train to a little town to eat burgers, milkshakes, and fries. i practically had to be rolled home afterwards. but, yuuuuuum.

fried-potatoes-breakfast train-station milkshake Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset full-moon

now that it’s a new week, i’m all healed. my cold is on its way out and i’ve got big plans for the week. i’m actually booked up with lots of different, but important things. it feels all so very right. it’s crazy how learning to simply go with the flow, to trust and accept and breathe deep in the midst of whatever is going on, somehow helps to lead us in the right direction.

here’s to wishing you a bright new week, filled with just the opportunities, challenges, adventures, and beautiful moments that you need. let’s all just practice bending and breathing and aligning this week. and, remember… september starts on tuesday! so, autumn (or spring!) is on its way for real now. new adventures are out there waiting for us!

lots of love and light to you all.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

create + collaborate // celebrating a year’s worth of music with one, final playlist for september

it’s music time, friends!

if you’ll recall, i put a little call out to everyone to collaborate with me on this year’s september playlist.

well, many of you here + on Facebook responded with fun, fresh suggestions,  and since there is only 1.5 days left in august, and since i am so excited,  i thought it’d be great to release the completed playlist right now.

we’ve got songs from my playlists throughout the past year and new songs from you – some of your favorites that mean something special to you. so it’s a perfect blend of closing out my year-long playlist project and beginning something new.

a little background info

this time last year, i sat down with my computer, opened spotify, and began searching + discovering new music. some of it came from artists that i knew and loved, but most of it was new. i hadn’t really decided on a theme, but just went with the feel and the sound. well, i suppose you could say that my theme was “turning 40″.

since i was turning the big 4-0 last september, and super excited about that actually (because my 30s were so much greater than my 20s, i am only assuming that my 40s will kick my 30s ass!), i decided that i’d mark that milestone by creating + sharing a playlist of music that inspired me to reflect on who i had become and where i was headed.

it was the perfect excuse to take some time out to really dig deep + think about my life – and to do that through the gift of music, often a place where i find i can express how i feel better than with written words, or even images. yes, it was going to be a spiritual  discipline for me – to find and soak up music, to let it teach me, encourage me, guide me, and remind me of who i am + where i am going.

i searched though bluegrass, indie folk, folk, americana music, starting with titles from the avett brothers, first aid kit, joni mitchell, and nickel creek (all long-time favorites of mine). by exploring similar music, discovering new artists, and focusing on titles that spoke to me, i stumbled upon music that touched my soul, lyrics that felt as if they were written for me at that specific time in my life, and inspiration that left me feeling blessed and motivated.

i knew right then that this would not simply be a playlist to celebrate the month that i turned 40, but that it would become a year-long project. one of creating + uncovering so much music that i could barely contain myself. so started sharing it all with you.

fast forward to today

here we are a year later. i am about to turn 41, and the year is complete. it has been one crazy year for me. and so far, 40 has not disappointed me one little bit. the thing is, i know, i feel, that i am just on the cusp of much, much more. and you know what else? i believe that all of the music that i have gathered + shared throughout this past year has helped to give me to voice and the courage to embrace the life that i truly feel called to. 

as i close out this most amazing, breathtaking, ridiculously busy and challenging year, i am so happy to do it through music, with you.

so, here we go. the playlist that we created together. eeeeeeek! (click on the photo below to be taken to the playlist on spotify!) or just click –> here.

sept playlist 2015

happy happy september to you all – it’s my favorite month of the year. thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a part of this journey with me over the past year. here’s to more music, more inspiration, and more of living life to the fullest!

onwards + upwards!! xoxo
Here are ALL OF THE PLAYLISTS from the past year + LINKS TO each of THEM:
SEPTEMBER 2014
OCTOBER 2014
NOVEMBER 2014
DECEMBER 2014
JANUARY 2015
FEBRUARY 2015
MARCH 2015
APRIL 2015
MAY 2015
JUNE 2015
JULY 2015
AUGUST 2015