30 Ways To Honor Your Experience Living With Anxiety And/or PTSD During The Holidays

The Holidays, with their seemingly blind obsession with being “Merry & Bright”, are supposed to be about joy and festivities. It’s like there are joy police hiding around every corner waiting to pounce on us if we dare voice distress over these days of over-crowded stores, traffic chaos, endless little (and big) moments of socializing, and the pressure to entertain and to be entertained.

Those of us living with anxiety and/or PTSD often find this time of year, this busy, bustling, unnervingly ‘happy’ time of year, to be especially tricky.

I know I do.

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t live with anxiety. I must have been born with a racing heart and sweaty palms. A little over four years ago I developed PTSD. This has added multiple new dimensions to my life.

For example, I absolutely cannot stand grocery shopping right before a major holiday – there are so many more people than usual and they all seem incredibly rushed and stressed to be there. It’s just too much. It exhausts me.

And the pressure, both internal and external, to find the ‘right’ gifts and to receive my own gifts with joy can make the whole experience of Christmas fraught with decision making turmoil and stress. What if they don’t like their gifts? What if they think I must be off my rocker getting that coloring book of Bible verses and pretty flowers for my Mother-In-Law?!? Gah.

Over the years I’ve developed many coping strategies for not only surviving, but actually (sometimes) thriving during the holidays. I’m not saying I never find my PTSD flaring up, it always does as stressors increase. But I can say that when practicing intentional self-care around the holidays I find that my triggers are more easily managed, sometimes even avoided altogether.

With this in mind, here are 30 Ways to Honor Your Experience Living with Anxiety and/or PTSD During the Holidays:

1. Don’t try and tell yourself that somehow this year will be the year you don’t get anxious or triggered. That’s setting yourself up to feel even more anxious if your anxiety or PTSD symptoms do flair up.

2. Do tell yourself that if you experience increased anxiety or triggered you are capable of handling them and it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It means you’re human.

3. If small talk wears you out the worst, avoid talking with strangers and those who only engage on that surface level.

4. If diving into deep conversations is too much for you, avoid those who insist on the deep dives, or refuse to dive with them when they begin – stick to small talk – you don’t owe anyone your private and deep thoughts.

5. If giving gifts causes your anxiety to soar, consider making donations in the recipients’ names instead.

6. Also, you have permission to consider declaring this a gift-giving free holiday for you.

7. If you find yourself at a holiday party or gathering becoming completely overwhelmed or triggered too much, leave. It’s ok to leave early to care for yourself.

8. Consider limited contact with friends and family members who refuse to acknowledge and honor your struggles living with anxiety and/or PTSD.

9. Take care of your body! Drink enough water, eat your veggies and practice good sleep hygiene – they will matter even more during this time of year.

10. Everyone has limits – respect and honor yours. You cannot be all things for all people so the best thing you can do is be the best you can for yourself.

11. Practice caution with alcohol – it may offer a temporary reprieve from noticing your anxiety, but in the long run it will not help and over-doing-it often makes things worse in the long run.

12. Check in with yourself regularly. Do you need an evening alone? A warm bath? Have you eaten enough today? Check in regularly, it’s too easy to lose touch with our physical needs when our anxiety gets pumped into overdrive.

13. Set realistic expectations for what you can do this holiday season. Resist the urge to add just one more thing to your To-Do list.

14. If driving increases your anxiety, consider taking a train, Lyft, or public transit to holiday events.

15. If driving calms your anxiety, volunteer to be the sober driver and enjoy some holiday music while you drive your friends and family home.

16. ¬When attending Holiday events, have an escape plan for if you get overwhelmed (i.e. drive yourself, alert your host/ess you made need to leave early, have taxi money in your wallet).

17. If you will be traveling by air, consider buying noise cancelling headphones to give you a buffer from the noise of airport travels.

18. Allow yourself to feel your feelings without judgment or shame.

19. Release any Holiday traditions that feel draining, feel forced, or feel like hell to even contemplate continuing.

20. Decide which Holiday events will attend based on your needs – NOT other peoples’ desires.

21. Stick with any routines that nurture your peace of mind. Routines are the foundation of thriving while living with anxiety and/or PTSD.

22. Be sure to remind yourself of the good things in your life, no matter how tiny they might seem to you. Find the good things, write them down, add to your list as you’re able throughout the season.

23. Give yourself permission to take breaks at holiday events and family gatherings. Even if it means sitting on the toilet lid while you play a game on your phone for 10 mins.

24. If you know an event will have people or things that will trigger your anxiety or PTSD symptoms, I strongly encourage you to consider NOT attending this year.

25. See a counselor. If you have a therapist you see regularly, consider adding an extra session or two. If you haven’t found a therapist that’s a job fit, try again – it’s worth it once you find the right one.

26. Journal when you’ve had an especially bad day AND when you’ve had a wonderful day. Document it all!

27. Let go of perfect. Make mistakes, offer yourself grace, try again. Perfectionism is one of the ways anxiety holds us hostage – fight it.

28. Remember, it’s ok to be happy, and it’s ok to be sad, anxious, afraid, disappointed. Give yourself permission to feel all your feelings this holiday season – without judgment.

29. Protect your privacy – no one is entitled to the nitty-gritty details of living with anxiety and/or PTSD. Disclose only what you want, to who you want to.

30. Be yourself, love yourself. In the end, you must be your own advocate and cheerleader – keep reminding yourself what you’re ‘getting right’ and offering yourself grace for the things you wish you could handle differently.

My holiday wish this year is that all of us are able to stay present, find joy and continue to provide soothing self-care to ourselves.

30 Ways To Honor Your Grief During The Holidays (and Beyond)

The Holidays, with their seemingly blind obsession with being “Holly Jolly”, can be especially rough terrain to navigate for those of us who are grieving.

It’s like there are ‘joy police’ hiding around every corner waiting to pounce on us if we dare to admit we’re aren’t over-the-moon happy about the Holidays. If, God forbid, we actually don’t even like (or even dislike) the Holiday season people act like we have lost our minds.

Which, really, is pretty shallow and lame — and a form of erasure that is violently painful to be on the receiving end of.

While you can’t control other people’s insistence of focusing on only the joy of the season, you can control our acts (or lack) of self-care. In fact, this is a time of year when self-care becomes even more necessary to your well-being and, over time, your healing.

With this in mind, below are 30 Ways to Honor Your Grief During the Holidays (and Beyond):

1. Allow yourself to feel your feelings without judgment or shame.
2. Protect your privacy – no one is entitled to your grief, share it only when it feels safe and you truly want to – meaning, you don’t have to tell anyone that you’re sad if you don’t want to.
3. Instead of sending cards to everyone in your address book, send them only to those nearest & dearest – or don’t send them at all.
4. Be mindful of your energy levels and need for rest — and allow yourself to rest as needed.
5. Decide if and how you want to decorate this year – go big, do things as exactly as you used to, do nothing at all – whatever feels right for you is ok.
6. Keep the Holiday traditions you want to keep, the ones that nourish you and the ones that help you feel connected to loved ones.
7. Release any Holiday traditions that feel draining, feel forced, or feel like hell to even contemplate continuing.
8. Create a new tradition that honors the memory of your loved one.
9. Make a donation to a charity your loved one supported or to a cause they cared about.
10. Donate your time to a local cause your loved one supported.
11. Visit a support group – say as little or as much as feels right for you.
12. Stay true to yourself and your own process – ignoring what others tell you that you ‘should’ be doing or feeling.
13. Be mindful of eating or drinking alcohol as an escape act – it rarely helps in the long run and the extra weight it can cause you to gain will be yet one more thing to deal with later on (my arthritic left knee can attest to this).
14. Make lists for everything, and check them regularly. Greif affects cognitive function and can make remembering extra details like who you’ve bought gifts for and such extra, extra hard. If you have a paper planner, consider using the extra space for your lists or Post-It notes (but be careful not to lose them as trying to remember what was on the Post-It you lost only adds more stress!).
15. If shopping in the stores is too stressful, buy everything online this year.
16. If shopping at all is too stressful, consider making donations in people’s names as gifts this year – or even of not giving gifts this year.
17. Stay present to how unique grief is – others who are grieving will experience it in their own way – all ways are valid.
18. ¬Decide which Holiday events will attend based on your needs – NOT other peoples’ desires.
19. When attending Holiday events, have an escape plan for if you get overwhelmed (i.e. drive yourself, alert your host/ess you made need to leave early, have taxi money in your wallet).
20. Remember that everyone’s experience is different and that it’s ok if you’re feeling joyous at times while others are completely miserable. The thing that truly matters is to respect and honors everyone’s unique journey through grief – this is especially true with family members who are grieving the same loss as you are.
21. Consider having a candle to light or photo of the person(s) who’ve passed on the table to honor their presence in your lives.
22. If you’re financially able, adopt a family or a foster child this Holiday season. You can find people in need through local churches and sometimes local restaurant / coffee shops / malls have what are known as Giving Trees as well.
23. If less financially able but still wanting to give in your loved one’s name, buy a gift your loved one would have enjoyed receiving and donate it to a shelter or Giving Tree.
24. You have permission to cry. Crying is good. Crying offers emotional release. Crying is OK. … Even if you’re in the cereal aisle or at the dinner table listening to someone share a memory of your loved one. Crying is an honest part of the human experience.
25. Asking for help is a sign of strength and trust. Ask for help as you need it from those you can trust to honor and respect your needs.
26. If you haven’t seen a therapist about your loss, this is an excellent time to consider booking that first appointment with someone. And remember, if you don’t click with a therapist, it’s ok to try someone else. Feeling comfortable and safe with a therapist is a key component of the work done there – don’t settle because you’re afraid of hurting their feelings. This is about you – not the therapist.
27. Take time to be alone this season. Time to feel your feelings, time to revel in your good memories and rail at the hurtful ones. Time to acknowledge that this sucks and isn’t fair and you wish you could have them back.
28. Enjoy the moments you’re able to relax and feel alive and happy – don’t overthink these moments, simply allow yourself to enjoy them.
29. If you need to have nothing to do with the Holidays this year, it’s ok to take a break. It’s ok to tell your friends and family that this year you are opting out of the Holidays. They may not understand and that is their journey – you get to opt out if you need to.
30. Practice gratitude for every-little-thing you can find. Have a memory of your loved one pop up that at first brings you a smile before the grief floods you? Hold on to gratitude for that smile through the tears. Gratitude has incredible healing powers.

Living With Chronic Illness Can Be Tricky

Living with chronic illness can be tricky.

I make plans, I adjust my schedule, I ask for help and yet, sometimes, it isn’t enough.

Right now is one of those times but for a very celebratory reason.

I’ve pushing working extra hard this past month. There was the Grateful Hearts Challenge, creating the content for the Grateful Hearts Circle, the Self-Care Guide for Winter needed a full draft, I created 12 monthly printable Gratitude Journals and also combined them into one sweet yearly Gratitude journal, there was managing the Etsy shop…

It has been a joyous lot to manage, especially with the stress/distress of constant trauma triggers thanks to the explosion of culture change we’re witnessing around sexual harassment and assault. 

Then, this past Tuesday I got a call inviting me to work with a second small small faith community.

I am so excited about this new opportunity!

And understandably concerned about how I will manage the transition from working 12 hours a week to working 30 hours a week, all still Monday through Thursdays.

My husband and I have talked about nearly every night since Tuesday. I’ve spent time in mediation listening to my body, time in prayer listening to my intuition, and time in planning mode looking at my planned projects.

Something has to give in order for me to continue taking gentle, nurturing care of myself. There is the discernment that the most loving and sustainable thing I can do during this transition is to slow down in the other areas of my life, to take a pause on most of my other activities while I give my body some time to adjust to my new longer workweek.

I will not be holding the Grateful Hearts challenge as scheduled. It isn’t cancelled, and yet I have no set start date because I don’t want to run my body into the ground delivering it and I don’t want to have to under-deliver either. I’ll reschedule it for sure – the materials are there and I am still so excited to share this circle with you all! If you have signed up for the Grateful Hearts Circle, please check your Paypal – I am issuing refunds today after I finish writing this.

The Self-Care Guide for Winter will still be published on the Winter Solstice – it’s well on its way to being finished and I am committed to having a guide for each season to support your self-care practices being in alignment with the energy of the seasons.

Fall In-Love with Yourself February will still be happening too. If you’re interested in submitting a piece for 2018, please see the Submissions Guidelines.

I could say these weren’t easy decisions to make, but they actually were. I approached discerning what to put aside and what to keep up with from a space of open curiosity and trust that the right choices would be put before me. That intentional approach to this discernment practice created nothing but ease and when the answers came, they came with peace and certainty. 

Does that mean I’m not sad the Grateful Hearts Circle isn’t beginning this Saturday? No, of course not. But it does mean that I have complete peace over the decision and I am trusting it’ll happen at a future time.

Life is about being flexible, especially when living with the uncertainties that chronic illness often provides. My choices are to fight and resist and feel resentful when I have to wait or say no to something I want to do, or to embrace peace and gratitude for the things that are happening, the dreams that are coming true.

I’m choosing gratitude, while not denying my sadness. 

I’m choosing peace and grace.

“Actually, I’ve Been Really Depressed This Week.”

Recently I saw a young adult I’ve known a few years now. For privacy’s sake I’ll call them YA (for Young Adult), “Hey YA, how’s it goin’?”

YA looks down, kinda shuffles their feet a little, takes a breath and says, “Actually, I’ve been really depressed this week. It’s been super hard.”

“Oh shit, I’m sorry to hear that. Anything you wanna talk about?”

They lean against their body against the doorframe, then their head. “Nah, it happens, it used to happen a lot more. It’s just hard, you know? Like, it’s hard to get out of bed and shit when I feel like this.”

“Yeah, I once spent 6 months like that. It’s really fucking hard. Are there things that help you in times like this?”

This question seems to energize them a bit. They said up straight again, their body swaying side to side a bit while they answer. “I’ve tried everything – video games, movies, listening to music, reading. I can’t read right now. Well, except for a little Dale Carnegie. That helps a a little.”

“Fuck, that sucks, when nothing seems to help much. I’m sorry.”

“Yeah, thanks. It’ll pass. It always does.”

They join up with a peer for a few minutes and then the two of them are heading for the door to go spend the evening together. Friendship helps, even during the times we can’t recognize it’s helping.

“Hey YA, I’m sorry things are so hard right now. Can I ask, are you safe? I mean, are you in danger of hurting yourself right now?”

The other young adult lets out a tiny gasp – in surprise, embarrassment or what I don’t know and I don’t ask, this conversation isn’t about them. I stay heart-focused on YA.

“No, I’m not in danger. I’m not gonna hurt myself.”

“Ok, I needed to ask because you’re awesome and I care about you and you matter.”

“No problem.”

A few moments more of chit-chatting between the three of us and then they start heading out the door when YA pauses, leans back into the room, “Hey, thanks for asking me that. I really appreciate it.” I’ve never heard their be so soft before. I’d jump up and offer a hug if they didn’t have scents on that would cause my beleaguered body to hyper-react to.

“You’re welcome. I do care. You matter in my life.”

“Thanks.” and off they went, hopefully feeling a little less alone in this big, frightfully complicated world they grown up in.

Why do I share this interchange?

Because depression isn’t a communicable disease and you will not make someone suicidal if you ask if they are in danger of harming themselves. In fact, research shows that asking someone can sometimes be enough for them to not take steps to self-harm.

Because 3 years ago I almost died due to depression and ptsd and I’m grateful I didn’t because my life today is literally the best it’s ever been. My life today is better than I ever thought it could be – this while still living with chronic illness, depression, anxiety and ptsd. My life is so full of beauty and joy and connection and laughter and how can I not now speak up when someone like YA discloses they are struggling when I know how much better it can get?… I must speak up because all our voices speaking up are joining in a chorus and slowly, much, much too slowly, the shame around mental illness is being lifted. We must speak out.

And because we are all in this thing called life together and we need each other – especially when we feel it’s too hard to get out of bed, or read/study for school, or even just to find a fucking reason to authentically smile.

If you know someone whose living with depression, its ok to talk to them about it (unless they tell you otherwise!). If you are for any reason concerned they may be thinking of hurting themselves – ask them!

It isn’t going to be like, “Shit, I never thought of killing myself. That’s a great idea – thanks for telling me about it!” If they are in danger, they are already thinking about it.

But you’re asking might be the bridge that helps them get across, to get away from actually doing it. And regardless of whether they end up living or dying, they will know that you cared and were brave enough to ask.

If you’re not sure what to say I have a few basic suggestions:

Do express genuine care.
Do share that you are happy they are here.
Do ask sincere questions, and be silent for the answers.

Do NOT tell them to get over it, or that they are over-reacting.
Do NOT say it’s all in their heads.
Do NOT say other people have it worse.

Here are a few additional resources on how to show up for someone who is depressed:

10 Things to Say (and 10 Not to Say) to Someone With Depression
7 Of The Most Helpful Things You Can Say To Someone With Depression

Because Life Goes On, Until It Doesn’t.

This week has been intense, to say the least.

A friend that I work with lost her mother on Sunday. This happened less than one week from my friend’s birthday and from a surgery which they were told would be simple and something her mother would bounce right back from. Except her mother didn’t bounce right back – she actually coded on my friend’s birthday – it’s been a horrific week of decisions no adult child is ever really prepared to make.

And I’ve been here holding down the fort, getting the work done, talking to her on the phone and just wishing I could somehow ease her grief.

Another friend learned that her debilitating back pain is actually because of a tumor, which is cancer and has spread. Her symptoms only began this past August! Friday we learned it is stage 4… How is this possible? How is this incredibly beautiful, kind, wise, brave and giving soul facing possible death so suddenly when she has two young children to raise on her own?

This is a cosmic injustice.

I am shaken to my very core by these events.

So shaken.

On the 3rd, in the middle of a full moon ritual, I found my child self screaming and begging me to call my first abuser, my mother. I didn’t want to. (understatement)

And yet many months ago, again while in a full moon ritual, a sacred promise to do whatever I can to help little Kate learn how to trust adults. I promised her that I would be an adult she could trust and that from this she would be able to learn how to trust others.

So I called my mother.

Sobbing told her I wanted to try again, I told her that things have to be different this time and that I wasn’t letting her off the hook for the nearly 3 years of silence and the lifetime of crap between us. And I told her that I  wanted to try again.

She said ok.

And little 6yr old (or is it 8 or 10 or 13yr old) Kate jumped up and squealed for joy.

…(note: she then shrank back down because she knows mommy doesn’t like it when she’s loud and hyper, and I reassured her that being loud and hyper is ok – it’s always going to be ok to be loud and hyper when you’re overcome with joy)…

My wiser, more cynical current self reminded little Kate that this is her mom’s last chance and that the adult Kate gets to decide if it works or not.

Little Kate just keeps dancing around the house happy to hear her mommy’s voice again.

Holy shit and I can’t stop crying thinking about my friend, and her two boys and the terror of being afraid she might leave them so young and the terror of just how to pay the rent now that she can’t work and Oh.My.God/dess this is all so fucking unfair…

To say this week has left me emotionally spent is a stupid understatement. It’s also the truth.

Thursday night my body collapsed on me. Friday was spent in bed, sleeping, praying, meditating. Saturday has been much of the same – chronic illness doesn’t really leave me a buffer when shit hits the fan – my body can.not.deal with this much additional stress and yet I am NOT the one with cancer and I will find the will and focus to rest enough, to recover enough, to continue working and creating because I owe it to all that is holy to do the sacred and mundane work I am meant to do and it is through this work that I will earn the money to share with my friend, to help in however small or big ways I can to ease her burden – to buy a meal, hire a housekeeper?, just send fucking money through Paypal to help ease money stress for her…

Dear God/dess this is all so unfair and won’t somehow please wake us all up and tell us she is well and this isn’t happening to her?!? Please… let her heal and let her raise those beautiful souls to adulthood, to get to see them graduate college, fall in-love, get married and make her a doting grandmother?… please…

Life is short and precious and as I write I think of how fleeting our lives.

So, I’m gonna send whatever money I can and visit to clean her bathtub or brush her hair or just to sit and be in community with her. And I’m gonna keep loving the people in my life and praying to whoever it is I’m praying to that my friend will live a long, long time and I’m gonna cry and write and keep working on being a trustworthy human, even especially for little Kate.

Yeah, I’m especially gonna keep showing little Kate she can trust me and I’m gonna keep working and resting and creating and crying and loving.

Because life goes on, until it doesn’t.

Today, in honor of these beautiful brave women, please treat yourself with extra kindness, please be mindful of the gift life it, even when it’s really fucking hard, it’s still an amazing thing to be alive. I’m glad I’m alive, I’m glad you’re alive and I’m glad we are connected in this way. Please treat yourself with care, you are worthy of it.

Spontaneous Gratitudes

It is an incredibly beautiful fall day here in Olympia and I’m blown away by how in-love with this place I live in I am and how much there is that I’m grateful for right this minute, like I’m grateful for the snuggle I had with my husband before I got up today
…and I’m grateful for being able to give a friend a ride to class this morning
…and I’m grateful for the birthday gift she gave me — made by her own hands, her art
…and I’m grateful for coffee and Pandora and knowing there is always more coffee 😉
…and I’m grateful for my planner because it takes the mess in my brain and creates order to my work
…and I’m grateful I get to see my husband perform tonight – his last show of 2017
…and I’m grateful there is a fridge full of food so that I can eat with ease
…and I’m grateful to be back here, blogging again
…and I’m grateful for gratitude — it has saved me time and time again.

Oh, and I’m grateful there are only 4 more days until the Grateful Hearts photo challenge begins. I am SO EXCITED about this photo challenge!!!

The Grateful Hearts Challenge –

  • Runs: Nov. 1 – 30, 2017
  • What: Daily photo prompts with a private Facebook group.
  • Gifts: Gratitude log booklet w/ weekly and monthly pages to remember your gratitudes!
  • Cost: FREE

If you haven’t signed up yet – you can do that here.

I’ve decided to give away one spot in the gratitude group offering that is coming up after this photo challenge. To be eligible to win all you’ve got to do is sign-up for the challenge and post your photo on Instagram each day in November using the hashtag #gratefulhearts2017.

Grateful Hearts Challenge

Gratitude changes everything.
The Grateful Hearts Challenge

  • Runs: Nov. 1 – 30, 2017
  • What: Daily photo prompts with a private Facebook group.
  • Gifts: Gratitude log booklet w/ weekly and monthly pages to remember your gratitudes!
  • Cost: FREE

Sign up here today!


Sign up here today!

52 Weeks Of You

As the founder of www.theorgasmiclifestyle.com, self love is a key foundation of my life work’s that involves demonstrating how we can embrace pleasure in our everyday. It is my honest opinion that we cannot serve from an empty vessel. It is OUR personal responsibility to make sure that our needs are met and that our well is filled before we can successfully look after other people.

2016 was the first time I was deliberate about my self care practice. This meant figuring out what that looked like for me, scheduling some time to tend to my needs and doing so on a regular basis. From that experience, I learnt that loving myself was an everyday decision. It was consciously recognizing that my own needs matter. I discovered that small steps and every action I took made all the difference. Self-full [as opposed to selfish] was my buzz word.
As 2017 brought itself forth, my journaling thoughts focused around the need to continue putting me on top of my priority list.

Make 2017 The Year Of You

#52WeeksOfYou is my soul’s year long project in response to this urge to put me first and practice self-love.

It is a series of thoughtful choices where I intend to take action every week for each of the 52 weeks in 2017 in support of me.

It is taking a wide stand for my desires to shine through and be known.

It is experiencing magic through setting the intention to celebrate me at all moments by taking the rather mundane aspects of everyday life and transforming them into moments of pleasure.
Affirm your love for YOU this year!

I invite you to walk this same path of putting you first in 2017.

There is no right or wrong way to do this. You only need to commit to carry out one action once a week until the last week of December 2017. Feel free and inspired to do whatever feels good and true to you, however big or small. Find a way to be accountable for this weekly action: either get an accountability buddy or post your action on Instagram under the tag #52WeeksOfYou.

{p.s: I will share my own weekly updates and I hope it will inspire you to take an action on your own behalf. }

To start you off, I invite you to sit quietly and reflect on these questions:

How did you look after yourself in 2016? Celebrating the efforts you made in the past year will motivate you to start your year strong and put in more effort.

What are your intentions and desires around putting yourself first in 2017? What will it look like? How would you want to feel? Putting words and emotions on our deepest desires gives it the weight to propel us forward.

Start your List of 52 – a rough draft of ideas about some of the things you would like to do for yourself over the next 52 weeks. This will help you quickly think through possible activities the you could begin to schedule into your weekly diary.

Make 2017 the year of YOU

I invite you to make 2017 the year when YOU are YOUR TOP PRIORITY.

Learn how you can begin to incorporate pleasure into your everyday here.

Bree is a multipassionate creative from Nairobi who believes that YOLO is a legitimate life choice.

As founder and curator of the www.theorgasmiclifestyle.com, her big job is to inspire you to bring more pleasure into your everyday. You can also keep up with her everyday experiences of pleasure and beauty on Instagram. If you have any questions or just need someone to cheer you on, feel free to send me an email at bree@theorgasmiclifestyle.com

A New Moon Ritual For Your Self-Love Journey

This entire month the focus has been on self-care and loving ourselves. Tonight, let the New Moon’s emerging energy support your continued self-love journey. New Moons are the time of new beginnings and intention setting. As the moon grows to her fullest self, so do your intentions. This is moon magic in action.

Tonight we will perform a ritual of Intention of Self-Care. You won’t be alone, I’ll be performing it with you. Many sisters will be engaging in such a ritual tonight. This is sisterhood magic in action.

This New Moon, being at the end of our Fall In-Love w/ Yourself February’s 6th year, is here to help you continue in this sacred journey. The purpose of this Intention of Self-Care Ritual is to consciously choose one self-care act that you will commit to bringing into regular practice. It is NOT about stopping a behavior, rather about bringing in a behavior that will support your self-care practice which will thus bring more love for yourself into reality. In other words, you are setting an intention to do one thing (small to big – all of them matter) on a regular basis that is what makes your life better. It is as simple and straight forward as this. Please do NOT set an intention to stop a behavior or release anything – that is what the energy of Full Moons are for – tonight you are setting an intention or, if you will, planting a seed. This is, again, moon magic in action.

To join us you will need the following items (some optional ones are listed too):
15-60 minutes alone
Journal & pen(s)
Candle & lighter/matches
Tarot, or other, deck of your choosing
Sage, Bay Leaves, Lavender bundle (optional)
Guided Breathing Mediation (optional – link below)
Sacred (or ‘regular’) salt (optional)

Here are your Intention of Self-Care Ritual Instructions:

Gather Up Your Supplies. If you have an altar, bring all the supplies you’ll be using there. If not, any private and emotionally safe space of your choice will work.

Ritual Cleansing. First you will cleanse with water – preferably either a full soaking bath or consciously attended to shower. If this isn’t possible tonight, a quietly and consciously attended to hand washing will be sufficient. Your second cleansing will be part of your ritual.

Enter Your Ritual Space. Entering ritual space is best done with conscious attention of your focus for your upcoming ritual and awareness of the sacredness of your soul. When I go out to my studio to perform ritual I make a conscious energetic shift when stepping past the threshold, bringing myself deeper into soul-space as I physically enter the studio.

Energetic & Space Cleansing. Envision yourself being surrounded by a shining opaque veil of energy. Let it completely surround you, at once cleansing and protecting you. Next, light your sage or lavender bundle and gently, carefully let the smoke surround you as you move the smoldering bundle around your body. If able, breathe in the smoke and, as you exhale, let yourself imagine exhaling the outside ‘regular’ world. NOTE: Using the smoldering bundle of sage or lavender is not required.

Entry Into Ritual Energy. Letting the candle signify your energetic entrance into ritual energy, light your candle. Focus on the movement of the flame emerging. Notice how it begins from seemingly nothing and quickly becomes a sustainable life-force of its own. Now recognize that your own entry into ritual energy is the same, it comes from seemingly nothing special (i.e. “regular energy”) and quickly becomes a more sacred thing, in a more sacred flow, just by your attending consciously to now being in ritual for yourself. You have now entered into a more deeply spiritual space within your own energy field. *If you’ve brought salt into your ritual, place it next to your candle at this time.

Salting Your Soul. Salt has long been regarded as a ward against energetic attacks and as an aide in purification/protection. For purposes here, take a pinch of your sacred salt in between your fingers, say “Blessings of purification and protection abound” and put the salt in your mouth, letting it dissolve on your tongue. If for health reasons you cannot consume the salt, let it slip from your fingers onto your altar space around your burning candle as you speak the words.

Get Grounded. Settle yourself into your chair, on a cushion on the floor or laying down. Spend at least 5 minutes, but preferably 10 or more, engaging in a simple Awareness of Breath meditation. (Here’s a link to a 10 minute guided Awareness of Breath Meditation). After your mediation, say “Thank You” in appreciation.

Do Your Card Reading. (I’ll be using my Wild Unknown deck – the imagery speaks unknowable volumes to my soul!) Shuffle your cards until ready. Pull three cards and lay them face down in a row.

NOTE: You’re always welcome to use the book that came with your deck. I often refer to these resources myself. However, if when seeing a card you think, feel, or “know” something that is likely your intuition (or inner Divine if you prefer) speaking. I recommend going with that over something someone else wrote in a book.

Turn over card #1. This card is here to tell you something about your past that relates to your current relationship with yourself. It doesn’t tell you the whole story – its speaking to what you need to see in your past right now. Its important not to overthink/analyze any cards you pull, but its especially important when looking back or forward in time. Let your intuition speak truth and try not to engage in “thinking” your cards through. Just listen for what you need to hear at this exact moment only.

Turn over card #2. This card is here to help you see with clarity where your relationship with yourself is today, right now. Its a snapshot of NOW only. Let it speak in the briefest of ways – just as this moment is passing, so too is the wisdom of this card for you.

Turn over card #3. This card is here to help guide you as set your intention of self-care here tonight. When you look at this card, what do you feel? Do any images come up for you? Sensations in your body or words in your minds’ eye? Listen carefully! This card is here to help you discern what one self-care act would best serve you in the near(now) future.

Write It Out. Taking up your pen, begin to free write out your thoughts about your cards. Write about your relationship with yourself, where you see it in the here and now AND where you’d like to experience it being in the near (and far) future. Pour your soul onto these pages. As you write, pay attention to clues about what one self-care act would best serve you in the NOW. As you begin to discern this one thing, write about discerning it, write about your fears and hopes and needs. Nothing is to be left out in this free writing. Take as long as you need. Take a deep breath. Take a pause to reread what you’ve written.

Commit to Yourself. After you’ve paused to reflect and reread what you’ve just written and made your choice of actions to commit to, write it down. Write something like “Tonight, in the darkness of this New Moon, I plant seeds of self-care for myself by committing to myself to ….(insert your action here)…. as a part of my regular self-care practice. I also commit to offer myself compassionate forgiveness when I forget and fall short of my own ideals. I offer myself my unconditional support and love in this commitment. Thank you.”

Take a moment, or more. You’ve just made yourself a very sacred commitment of self-care, taking a few moments to process this commitment and ingest it deeply is crucial. Don’t rush yourself! When you are ready to lift out of ritual energy…

Close Your Ritual Space.With gratitude for this space and your actions just taken, blow out your candle and say “Thank You”. Carefully put away anything you need to, clean and clear the space, and leave.

After tonight, remember to nourish your self-care intention. Your continued commitment and focus will help ensure that your intention for a new way of being in relationship with yourself becomes your new reality.

Intentions require attention.

If you have a planner, claim a space for a reminder! If you’re a bullet journal gal, I recommend creating a lovely and inviting self-care tracking spread with space to add items as you feel called and ready to do so. Not familiar with Bullet Journaling? Check out Cerries Mooney’s comprehensive post about her bullet journal. It’s a entry point into a world of custom planning that is its own form of magic.

May tonight’s New Moon support your continued journey of healing and loving your sweet and beautiful soul.


Kate Love Johnson is a writer, witch, woman in-love… with herself and her life. She blogs at KateLoveJohnson.com and can be connected with on Facebook and Instagram where she posts about self-care, living with chronic illness and her elder kitten familiar Chesapeake Bay.

The Cycle Is Over

It wasn’t until I was 4 months pregnant before I realized the real rollercoaster ride I was in for. I was gaining more weight than I had in along time and I was gaining stretch marks. I thought ot myself “No big deal, I got this” because I had been the tallest in my class for a long time and had killer stretch marks (I liked to call them battle scars of puberty) from growing “too fast.”
I’m almost 9 months pregnant now with a very active baby (Liam, stop kicking me please), and I’ve never felt more love and affection for something so small. I’ve never felt so much love for myself. I look in the mirror and I glow.

Instead of looking at myself in disgust like I had for so many years, those years only beginning to end only about a year ago when I started to accept who I am, I see a beautiful woman with a lot of potential and real happiness behind her smile.

My happiness didn’t stem from another person. It didn’t stem from material items. And, for once, it didn’t stem from where I am presently.

I am happy for me.
I am in-love with myself, who I have become.

The cycle is over, I will not talk down to myself anymore. I haven’t in a long time; no more “you’re a worthless piece of shit,” “Who could ever love someone like you?!?” etc.. I have found someone who does love me for who I am, not what I have to offer or how I look. I have found someone who has taught me what unconditional love is, what it means to be accepted without judgment into their life and family. I am forever grateful.

Toni Jackson welcomed her first child, Liam, into her life on February 1, 2017.