Category Archives: Practices

Watch your mouth! How the stories you tell may be making you miserable.

Young woman with long brown braid, eyebrows raised, eyes wide, covering her own mouth with her hands

Today I want to talk about the stories we tell, how they actually serve to get us more stuck where we don’t want to be, and 3 steps you can take to gain traction toward thoughts, feelings, and outcomes you actually want.

Do you ever find yourself telling a story that doesn’t even feel good to tell? Maybe you’re talking to a friend over coffee, a cashier in the checkout line, or your partner during dinner. You feel compelled to describe in vivid detail what was said and done to you, in what ways your totally appropriate desires were thwarted, and all the reasons why you’re right? And when you’re done with the story, you feel all worked up, you feel more sure of your rightness than ever, but at the very same time you feel like crap.

Retelling these stories only serve to spin our tires and get us more deeply stuck in the mud. Not only do they lock us into our position, but they spin muck all over everyone within earshot (or eyeshot) of us. You’re not any closer to a resolution that FEELS good to you, and those you love who have listened to your saga feel like they were just vomited on. This is a lose/lose scenario.

Click here for the ASL Interpreted version of this broadcast

Watch your mouth! How the stories you tell may be making you m…

Watch your mouth! How the stories you tell may be making you miserable.
ASL interpreted: https://youtu.be/RkOBffwnWv0

Join me for Emotions & Oils A to Z, a journey through using essential oils to learn from and move through your emotions: instagram.com/brighterfocus

#selfcarerevolution #burnoutprooflife #oilcoach #itstartswithme #radicalresponsibility #essentialoils #meditation #emotionsandoilsatoz

Posted by Brea Hall on Sunday, October 8, 2017

3 Steps to Getting Traction

  1. Use your oils. Essential oils are a fantastic tool to help us uncover the underlying message of an emotion and allow it to move through more quickly. Here’s a protocol for setting down the story:

1 drop each

  • Lemongrass on the back of the neck
    • A powerful cleanser of emotional energy
    • Helps to release limiting beliefs
  • Eucalyptus across the forehead
    • Helps reveal patterns of thinking that lead to feel un-well
    • Encourages taking full responsibility for your well-being
  • Cardamom on top of head
    • Helps regain self control and mental clarity when frustrated with others
    • A great oil to use when you’re angry
    • Helps to stop blaming others
    • Asks us to take personal ownership and responsibility for our feelings
    • Leads to feeling more peace, calm and emotional freedom
  • Lavender on heart (center of breastbone, at the nipple line)
    • Aids in self-expression
    • Addresses deep fear of being seen and heard
    • You may believe it’s not safe to express yourself–this fear of rejection paralyzes your true voice
  • Frankincense on solar plexus (where ribs meet a few inches above belly button)
    • Reveals deceptions and false truths
    • Invites us to let go of lower vibrations and negativity
    • Helps us break down the walls from the mind and heart
    • Connects the soul with its inner light and reveals truth
  • Balance on soles of feet
    • Like the trees it’s made from, helps you come down from your overactive mind, into your roots
    • Gives stability and inner strength
  1. Meditate. Put on comfortable clothes, sit in a comfortable spot, close your eyes and breathe–ideally for 15 minutes each day. The goal of meditation is not to be without thought. The practice is to come back to your breath and stillness, without judgement, each time the mind gets distracted. When you give your nervous system this experience on a consistent basis, you may start to notice more peace, more patience, and more happiness seeping into your life. There are great resources to help you start a meditation practice: I love Abraham’s Vortex meditations, which you can find on youtube. School of Self has a great visual breathing meditationHeadspace and Calm are 2 great apps. 
  1. Get curious. Now that you’re in this calm, centered place, hold space for yourself to explore. Think of this like holding space for a friend or a child to process and learn, or how a coach would hold space for a client–asking open-ended questions and sitting in empathy. It’s great to journal as you do this, so you can look back on what you’ve learned. Some questions to consider:
    • What am I feeling?
    • What am I thinking or doing that’s causing these feelings?
    • What is my responsibility in this situation?
    • What is the guidance from my higher self or higher power?
    • Some resources I love for asking helpful questions are

As you begin to make your relationship with yourself a nurturing, loving and wise one, you are more able to interact with the world around you from a more nurturing, loving and wise place.

Please let me know in the comments how this goes for you, and join me for Emotions and Oils A to Z on Instagram. If you want to spend some more time with self-care, here are some gifts from me to help you do that.

And may you remember: you are worthy of your love and care.

The Oil of Divine Grace Arborvitae ~ Western Red Cedar What’s the easier way? 🌲 Love, support, and connection surrounds us always. Our narrow, limited thinking is the only thing that can cut us off from it. Arborvitae encourages us to stop resisting, trying, and fighting so hard, and instead to open to the creativity, inspiration, support, and grace that is plentiful. 🌲 When you’re feeling rigid, fearful, and desperate for control, apply a drop of Arborvitae to the top of your head. This is a fantastic oil to use during meditation to help you connect to your higher wisdom, and feel your way toward the path of least resistance. 🌲 #arborvitae #emotionsandoilsatoz #oilcoach #empoweredhealth #selfcarerevolution #feelingsguidetofreedom

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Minding My Business: How I’m Making 2017 My Year

I don’t know about you, but right about now I’m more than a little concerned about the state of our country and our world. There are any number of terrifying scenarios that can (and do, sometimes) keep my brain running late into the night. At times the heaviness mounts to a pressure that threatens to crush my little spirit. How can we make a difference?
In these moments, especially, I lean heavily on my self-rescue toolbox. I push the pause button on my fear and I practice what I preach. I take a deep breath and channel Byron Katie: What’s my business? And I start there.
Some may wonder: How does this help? 
Well, let me tell you. When your airplane is going down and your cabin is losing pressure, you just must absolutely put on your own oxygen mask first. There is no way to be a hero, no way to comfort those around you, no way to make one smidge of difference until you are breathing yourself.
And so, here we are. In our plane which some might say is dangerously close to going down….and I’m putting on my mask.
What does that look like? You ask.
I’m happy to tell you.
Getting a Brighter Focus: Self-Rescue Blueprint
 
When I’m in need of a recalibration, this is my jam. There are probably millions of billions of ways to do each of these steps, so that’s where your own unique creativity comes in. Play with them, make it an experiment, and let me know how it goes!
 
  1. Get Quiet
  2. Think Big
  3. Start Small
  4. Give Thanks
Get Quiet
For me, this requires taking intentional space and time, alone, to just breathe and be. I absolutely must by comfy, so you’ll likely find me in slippers, soft pants, and a hoodie. I suggest you do the same. I might be biased.
Bre comfy
Spend some time, in this quiet alone space, with your breath. You might meditate. You might light a candle and sit in the dark. You might lie on your back and stare at the ceiling with your hands on your belly. You might be in a hot epsom salt bath. Whatever it is, just tune in to yourself and relax. Whenever I do this, I’m astonished by how much tension my body carries out of habit; and as soon as I notice it I feel it start to melt away. It is so magical, and so worth the 10 minutes!
During my quiet time I experiment with fun ways to help me get in touch with my spirit and the loving nature of the Universe. Pick one and start there. Some of my favorites right now:
sticky note affirmations
Think Big
 
Once I’m centered in myself and feeling calm and good, I want to take full advantage of the theta waves I’ve produced. I get to work. What to do while in this headspace?
Start Small
 
After getting all creative and big picture, it’s time to break it down. Teeny tiny bite-sized chunks is what we’re going for here. Whatever it is you just thought Big about, come up with the very smallest, very first thing you’ll need to do to scooch toward it.
Ask: What is the very next step?
 
And now, the hard part: Do that. At the very least, make a non-negotiable date in your calendar to get it done.
Give Thanks
 
Sometimes it’s easy to focus on all that didn’t go right, or what we wished we had, or on all that we’ve lost. When we can shift our focus, even just the tiniest bit, to what we do have, what went right, what gifts the challenge brought us, then a magical thing happens. We begin to take control of our own happiness. We transform our reality by changing our take on it. And it feels really fricking good in the moment. So now’s your chance…try it.
Ideas for finding gratitude:
i am only one
This process could take days or weeks, or it could take minutes. If you’re pressed for time, but committed to shifting your energy and effectiveness, make friends with your timer.
Let’s make 2017 the year we did not refuse to do the something that we could do. Will you join me?
 

Got Stress? Try This.

This is the most wonderful time of the year…right?

Jori van der Linde Illustration

Jori van der Linde Illustration

For some, it may be one of the most stressful.

If you’re feeling the pressure this holiday/election/winter/fill-in-the-blank season, here are some out of the ordinary stress-relief suggestions. If you try them, I’d love the full report!

1. Smash away your stress in an anger room.

2. Melt your holiday stress with these adorable animal live cams.

3. Invest in a smart patch that fights stress.

4. Embrace this ‘Less Stress, Greater Choice’ approach.

5. Spend 5 minutes with this neat visual meditation. 

If all else fails….curl up with a soft blanket and Will Farrell.

1720_ElfExcited_23

Spring-Clean Your Self-Care

Spring is a time of year for renewal and new beginnings. Whether it’s by planting your garden, decluttering, cleaning house, or just opening up the windows, this time of year beckons us back to life. Around our house, kids can be found playing outdoors in the late evening sun, bags of clothes are being passed on to friends, and the bathroom is getting a deep clean.
spring
After a long dreary winter (especially here in Portland), our psyches & bodies can accumulate just as much dust as our windowsills. This could feel heavy, tired, or like you’re emotionally stuck in quicksand.

Here are 3 easy ways to spring clean your self-care, to blow the dust out of our chimneys, open all the windows, and let the light stream in.

1. Hydrate
A super easy way to help our bodies process and purge the harsh leftovers from our winter indulgences is to up our water intake. You don’t need to drink so much that your bladder feels like it’s going to burst every 5 minutes, just enough to really get things flowing for a few days. When I’m trying to flush my system, I aim to drink enough that I pee every hour. I also like to up the detoxifying effects (and make it super yum) by adding a drop of lemon, lime, or grapefruit essential oil (just make sure it is certified pure!).

2. Take Time for Yourself
Contrary to its name, ‘Me Time’ isn’t selfish, it’s actually one of the most sefless things we can do. As natural givers we are often serving others and helping to meet their needs. In order to do this with authenticity and love, we must be taking care of ourselves regularly. This spring, commit to adding one small act of ‘Me Time’ to your daily routine–and if you don’t already practice it, make it a Morning Ritual.

A Morning Ritual is a bit of time that you devote to your own self-care (and if this is a new concept to you, read this awesome book!). You may do some yoga or stretching, read a passage from an inspirational book, mindfully make a cup of tea, sit quietly in reflection, write in a journal, or any practice that connects you more fully with your own aliveness in the present moment. It can be as little as one minute (seriously), but I promise you will be amazed at what a difference it makes to your day!

A good morning. #affirmations #doterralove #morningritual

A photo posted by @breanacrosshall on

3. Sweat
Any way you do it, movement that raises your heart rate is an excellent way to release the bad stuff we’ve stored up and make more capacity for the good stuff. Start with 5 minute segments: power walk around the block, hula hoop, jump rope, dance to your favorite song, have a horse stance competition with your kids, or plank. The increase in oxygen and blood flow, and the endorphins that exercise releases will turbo charge your next several hours…it’s a better high than coffee!!

Do you have a self-care habit you’d like to share? Please leave it in the comments below!!


If you’re in need of a more serious self-care intervention, check out this post. 

And if your body could use some extra help coming back to life, join me for a free essential oils class (in person or virtual) to learn about my favorite natural way to supercharge my health. Just shoot me a message here and we’ll work out a time to talk!

Hope you feel the vibrancy & aliveness of this magical season!

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Sunrise, by arbyreed on flickr

Sunrise, by arbyreed on flickr

The end to another trip around the sun. I suppose every day is the completion of another 365 day cycle, but I love the many opportunities during the holiday season to contemplate growth, gratitude, and intention, and so I’m happy to honor this one as well as a touchstone and a reminder to pause and reflect.

Looking back

Reflecting on the last year gives me a broader perspective on my life and its evolution. As I remember the highlights, the major events, the disappointments and the successes I add depth and interest to the portrait of myself today. How has 2013 shaped and changed me? What lessons did I learn? What do I want to take with me? What am I ready to leave behind? These are questions I can ask on any day, applied to any moment–yet on an annual scale I begin to sense how my daily decisions add up to the sum of my life.

Looking forward

Setting intentions for the coming year grounds me in my values. What do I want to create in my life this year? What do I want more of? What would make the biggest difference for me? Allowing the time and the freedom to dream, to see our lives outside of the stories we tell about them, gives us energy and fertilizes our efforts. New Year’s Eve reminds me to be mindful about what I create this year.

Cultivating gratitude

Eric Butterworth, in his book Spiritual Economics, says of gratitude:

Take a moment right now to engage in the experience of gratitude. Close your eyes and just feel grateful. Don’t turn outward, casting about for things to give thanks for. Remember, it is not an emotional reaction to the blessings you can count; it is an energy you stir up with you that is causal.

I believe that the enjoyment of my life is directly related to how much I recognize and appreciate the good in it. Using holidays such as today to reflect on this gratitude is one way to stay conscious of it. Starting off a new year with an overflowing heart makes us poised to create an abundance of good in our own lives and others’…it really is contagious.

Take time to stir up some gratitude. Spend a moment with your eyes closed and your heart open, and let the gratitude come trickling or flooding in. Discover your own daily gratitude practices, and watch your life change.

Choose one word

My cousin, Alisa, introduced me to the tradition of claiming one word as an intention for the year. At the end of my reflection I like to tie everything together with this one word. This year I have learned a lot about filling myself up from the inside, and am ready to leave behind the need to control people and circumstances in my life in order to be happy. I am ready to embrace what life brings me, to claim responsibility for my own happiness, and to trust that all of it is here for my own good. My word for 2014 is embrace. Embrace the lessons, embrace those I love, embrace the good in every situation–even when it’s hard to see. Embrace whatever choices I do have, embrace the contribution that is mine to make, embrace the uncertainty and the mystery of it all, embrace the love that flows to me from millions of unexpected places.

Thank you for being a part of my 2013. I look forward to all that 2014 has for us.

 

My Best Year Yet

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~Mary Oliver

fall leaves road

Every fall I spend a night or two away, alone, gathering the highlights and disappointments from my previous year, extrapolating lessons learned, re-committing to my values and the roles I play in my life, and setting goals for the year ahead. This process is outlined in Jinny Ditzler’s book Your Best Year Yet, which is a contender on my shelf of Top 10.

Best Year Yet by Jinny Ditzler

This tradition began for me in 2008. Embroiled in the not-so-easy task of raising small children, continuing my work as a sign language interpreter, managing rental properties, and being a stellar wife, my then-husband Rich and I adopted the practice of stealing away overnight to clarify and re-commit to our values and priorities. We worked through this process individually and then shared our highest hopes and deepest intentions with each other, lending support and accountability and in the process strengthening our own resolve. This process became a centerpiece of our year, and we would return rejuvenated and inspired with a clear and do-able action plan for the coming weeks and months.

Breana at Best Year Yet 2008

Breana at Best Year Yet 2008

When I came out in 2010 and Rich and I ended our marriage, this practice became my lighthouse–keeping me anchored in my values, successes, and intentions even as the seas raged around and within me and my world felt so very vulnerable. Taking the time to be still and quiet, to reconnect with all I held dear, was an act of faith and self-love.

Today I spend much more than one night a year alone and contemplating these foundational structures of my life. I take time every morning to nourish myself and affirm my vision, and yet, this special weekend remains a touchstone–a time to be quiet and still in nature and to get a bird’s-eye-view on this one precious life I am living.

Hank at the beach

Hank in heaven

This morning Hank and I woke in the dark to the tinkling melody of raindrops on the tin roof, cuddled up in a sweet cozy trailer on the Oregon coast, with nothing to do but play, ponder, and write. As the wind smacked wet needles across our cheeks we headed to the beach and played fetch in the flying sand, watching the sky lighten around us. On this beach 100 miles from my bed, from my kids and work and partner and friends, I get to take a good long look at what I’ve created and then etch the intention on my heart for what will come next. In this trailer I take complete responsibility for the beauty and the disappointment in my life, and I employ my boundless creativity to make it exactly as I envision. When I return home this evening I will have a single-page outline to guide me into this coming best year, my well overflowing, energized and ready to serve.

From this carved-out space between days I send up a flare to you, dear reader. How will you claim a sacred moment for yourself to make the most of your one precious life?