A Privileged Society in Search of Joy.

Joy can seem unreachable in the midst of pain and suffering. Our hearts may choose to close off to joy but it isn't lost. Joy is part of our human existence and it lives deep within our spirits and our souls. The lightness of joy is always available for us- we simply have to go through the pain to feel it. 

I had a heartfelt conversation with a friend who had recently taken a trip to Africa. She arrived back with a profound sense of gratitude and joy in her heart. She shared about the trip and we both cried feeling the connection of life and the beauty of joy. Joy overcomes the darkness. On her trip she noticed the abundant joy radiating from the children she worked with. These are human beings who are living in extreme poverty; yet, will give you anything they have to make you feel invited and welcomed. Their joy did not hinge on external material items and it did not rejoice in consumption. Their joy radiated from their SOULS and it took the 'have not' to the 'have'. It replaced victim mentality and celebrated the life they are blessed to have, coming down and centering into this precious moment. They laughed, danced, sang and were vibrant with their stories- soul connection was at their core. You could feel LIFE moving from their spirits. I remember this feeling after living in Mexico. I FELT the core of life move through the people of the village I was living in and I knew to my core JOY was fundamentally built upon mindfulness, gratitude and connection to self, others and spirit. Even in the darkness, it was present.

In today's society in the USA, we are in constant search of joy and happiness. And we "have it all!" We have food in the fridge, water running in our homes and cars driving us to workshops like these. There was a lot of tough love in this week's JOY Workshop. We came down into gratitude and fully embraced the privilege we have being born into this country. Freedom. Opportunities. Resources. Love. 

2017_08_20_Heart___Soul_Workshop_Joy_DeSoto_Market__Mindy_DeLuca_058.jpg

This weekend's JOY Workshop touched on the ways in which we can cultivate joy in our lives and how JOY can feel different for every person. 

2017_08_20_Heart___Soul_Workshop_Joy_DeSoto_Market__Mindy_DeLuca_013.jpg

We began the workshop with an introduction of our personal relationship with JOY. For many women, this was their first workshop and the energy was eager and open. 

2017_08_20_Heart___Soul_Workshop_Joy_DeSoto_Market__Mindy_DeLuca_026.jpg

We then continued with a 5 minute breathing exercise to ground into mother earth, clear space and set intentions for the new moon cycle ahead.  

2017_08_20_Heart___Soul_Workshop_Joy_DeSoto_Market__Mindy_DeLuca_029.jpg

Following this, all women were asked what joy felt like to them. Some examples were: 

  • Lightness
  • Freedom
  • Peaceful
  • Grounded
  • Alive
  • Vibrant
  • Calm
2017_08_20_Heart___Soul_Workshop_Joy_DeSoto_Market__Mindy_DeLuca_034.jpg

The lesson of the workshop had a mix of tough love, self love, mindfulness, and personal stories.

2017_08_20_Heart___Soul_Workshop_Joy_DeSoto_Market__Mindy_DeLuca_017.jpg

The big question: HOW DO I CULTIVATE JOY? See the ideas below and give one a try this month:

  • FEEL your emotions. This one is SOOOO important and it will ALWAYS be important. 
  • Release emotions. This could be in the form of talking, crying, laughing, dancing, chanting, singing, screaming or writing.
  • Get down with the present moment and immerse yourself into it. To create a mindful moment, check in with your senses: what do you see? What do you feel? What do you taste? What do you hear? Pause long enough to experience each sensation.
  • Focus with clarity how you will fill your cup and add more of the joy feeling into your life. ASK YOURSELF QUESTIONS: am I spending my time doing what fuels me? Do I have purpose? Do I find meaning in my relationships? Be real with yourself. 
  • Get grateful. Always, always, always realize you are priviledged in this society. Look around the world *or even out into your neighborhood* and realize the privledge you have to have food in your fridge and running water. 
  • Join a group of women to SUPPORT you on your journey. The Heart and Soul fall workshop lineup is a great place to connect with inspiring and authentic women. 

What will you commit to doing in order to add more joy into your life this month?

Table Scape & Gifts: Meg of @darlindarlinaz | Photo Credit: Mindy DeLuca https://www.facebook.com/mindydelucaphoto/www.MindyDeLuca.com | Gift Sponsors: Chelsea of @slatherbotanicals 

Six months of darkness- my run in with anxiety.

Anxiety is a force that can shatter our once peaceful minds and turn our lives upside down. We may feel as if the rug has been ripped from underneath us. My first bought of anxiety came when I taught inner city high school right out of college. My fear of inadequacy roared and my heart pounded with terror of the big F word: FAILURE. Six months of panic attacks, sleepless nights, paralysis of the mind and intense fear left me shook to the bone. I lost 15 pounds, felt like a zombie and walked around with the feeling of an elephant sitting on my chest.

I had to find my grounding again to begin the healing process. I had to PAUSE for peace and sink into the present moment- the only one I truly had. I went to gospel churches, sang my lungs out and cried until their were no tears left. I attended spiritual healings and called every soulful friend for any type of wisdom.  I was ripped apart and felt unable to break through this feeling of suffocation. I could not find the "fix" to my anxiety. I didn't realize it then, but I had to lean into the feelings in order for them to pass. I couldn't resist this, only let it pass. 

This six month period was in 2012. I came out of this dark place after finding my grounding on my quiet farm in Wisconsin. I had to sink into STILLNESS to come back home to my heart. I now monitor my energetic body and check in with my level of peace. I have a fragile nervous system and am vigilant on creating a calming environment for my rest and the release of my emotions. I realize the power in NOT DOING and find myself connecting more and more to the present moment. Mindfulness in action.

Symptoms of anxiety can include: 

  • A feeling of an elephant sitting on your chest making it hard to breathe.
  • Sweating.
  • Pounding heart. 
  • Dizziness.
  • Upset stomach/ sick to your stomach.
  • Feeling very cold/ chills.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Not remembering conversations.
  • Feeling impending doom is coming.
  • Feeling of fear creeping up.
  • Constant worry.
  • Blank mind.

This list is not inclusive of symptoms caused by anxiety, but many of the above were brought up in this morning's Heart and Soul Workshop: PEACE. 

DSC07390.jpg

This morning, 16 women gathered at Desoto Central Market for the PEACE workshop. With the new moon in Leo, we had a lively group of laughter mixed with engaged conversation. The women were eager to connect and embrace one another. We began the workshop with an introduction of our personal relationship with PEACE. For many women, this was their first workshop and the energy was healing.

We then continued with a 15 minute visualization meditation and set our month intentions:  I AM GROUNDED. I AM SAFE. I CHOOSE PEACE.

DSC07645.jpg

Following this, all women shared their stories, and the space was open for emotions and authentic connection. A lot of laughter in this group!! I loved the energy!!

The lesson of the workshop had a few key takeaway points, including insights from many of the women. 

The big question: HOW DO I FIND AND EMBRACE PEACE? See our nuggets below to try for yourself. 

  • Ask yourself: what do I worry about the most? Secondly, ask yourself- is this something I can change? If the answer is YES > develop a plan to change. If the answer is NO > practice self care and release your emotions. 
  • FEEL your emotions. Lean into the discomfort. We cannot skip this crucial step!
  • Release emotions. This could be in the form of talking, crying, laughing, dancing, chanting, singing, screaming or writing.
  • Make SPACE in your daily routine to connect and find stillness. This could be 5-10 minutes every morning of journaling, reading, meditating or breathing.
  • Do what makes you feel peaceful- make it a priority. Perhaps this is riding in the car without music or heading to yoga after work. There is a lot of TOUGH LOVE that happens at workshops and I hold all women accountable for their intentions. 
  • Join a group of women to SUPPORT you on your journey. The Heart and Soul fall workshop lineup is a great place to connect with inspiring and authentic women. 

What will you commit to doing in order to add more peace into your life this month?

Table Scape & Gifts: Meg of @darlindarlinaz | Photo Credit: Britt Johnson | Gift Sponsors: Lisa of @beyoujewelry and Amanda of @sunnybrookeco. 

When fear wraps around your heart.

Fear has a way dissolving our courage. Deep rooted fears can morph our thoughts, alter our energetic bodies, and bring us into a downward spiral of anxiety, sadness, and pain. These underlying fears are part of our human makeup, and we are not alone in these feelings. Many people suffer from fears of many forms:

  • Fear of abandonment
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of losing autonomy
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of betrayal 
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of disappointing others

This list is not inclusive of all fears we may experience, but many of the above were brought up in this morning's Heart and Soul Workshop: COURAGE. 

This morning, 16 women gathered at Desoto Central Market for the COURAGE workshop. We embraced one another while connecting through our heart spaces. All women were open and honest about how they felt fear presented itself within their lives. We are NOT alone in our fear! So often, we feel as though we are standing on an island, but Heart and Soul Workshops proves this is not the case. We are living within the human experience, and fear is part of our growth and our story. 

Starting the workshop, we grounded ourselves with a breathing exercise and powerful intentions for the class ahead: I AM COURAGEOUS. I AM BRAVE. I AM FREE.

Following this, all women shared their stories, and the space was open for emotions and authentic connection.

The lesson of the workshop had a few key takeaway points, including insights from many of the women. 

The big question: HOW DO I MOVE THROUGH MY FEAR AND INTO COURAGE? See our nuggets below to try for yourself. 

  • Baby steps. Take one step at a time. 
  • Create a tribe of women who embrace you and will guide you in finding your courage.
  • FEEL your fear. Let yourself embrace where you are at any given moment. Release the resistance.
  • Breathe and pause to reflect on what fear is holding you back.
  • Develop a plan to take action, one step at a time.
  • Release emotions through vibrations - crying, laughing, singing, chanting. Let yourself be cleansed.
  • Celebrate your small steps along the way.
  • Say no. Give yourself and others boundaries. 
  • Talk it out. 

What fear has been holding you back? Comment below and include how you will move through this fear and into courage.

Photo Credit: Lara Gabrielsen of Exhilaration Photography