Category Archives: Books I Love

December Oil Protocol + Classes

Welcome to December, love! We made it! 

Use this month to take stock of how far you’ve come this year. Over the course of the month I’ll be posting prompts for reflection and ideas for rituals that can support us.

May we take the lessons that are ours to carry forward, and leave the rest in 2020.

pink background with blue snowflake december on guard | soles of feet, myrrh | sacrum, wild orange | navel to solar plexus, fennel | elbow creases, siberian fir | tops of shoulders, douglas fir | heart to throat, lemon | temples, frankincense | top of head, cup hands and inhale Tag: december 2020 interpreter self care

December Oil Protocol

December is a time for reflection and introspection. It’s a time to gather the lessons we learned over the course of the last year with curiosity and compassion. 

Use this oil protocol to support your meditation and intention toward forgiveness, responsibility, and generational healing.

On Guard – Protective Blend – healthy boundaries, a sense of being protected and reinforced

Myrrh – The Oil of The Mother – a sense of safety in the world, healthy attachments, trust, and groundedness

Wild Orange – playfulness, creativity, joy

Fennel – taking responsibility, claiming oneself, developing a strong connection with one’s body, healing shame

Siberian Fir – forgiveness, generational healing, perspective, and wisdom

Douglas Fir – learning from the past, generational healing, renewed energy for a new chapter

Lemon – clarity, focus, supports thoughts which contribute to well-being

Frankincense – The Oil of The Father – truth, release lies and limiting beliefs, a sense of discernment, protection, and valuing oneself

Apply daily before meditation, journaling, bathtime, bedtime, or any other reflective practice.

Burnout Proof Academy Upcoming Workshops + Updates

We’re taking December off from Saturday School at Burnout Proof Academy. Thanks to everyone who attended November’s Healthy Boundaries LIVE workshop. It was a success! We had a wonderful turnout and so much rich discussion! It’s now available as a self-paced online course – you can get all the info and register here.

Wrapping up courses is our focus for December. If you are enrolled in a course that you would like CEUs for in 2020 and you haven’t yet completed and received your certificate – the deadline for completion is December 14th, 2020.

Looking Ahead to 2021

Our community has grown so much in 2020, and I’m so excited for all that’s in store in 2021. More opportunities for connection, learning, and self-reflection abound!

multi-colored confetti in the background with an orange square on top, stack of 3 books "burnout proof book club" Tag: december 2020 interpreter self careBurnout Proof Book ClubBurnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle

We will be kicking off the year with the inaugural gathering of our book club! This book is foundational to everything we practice, so I hope you’ll join us. Add your name to the interest list here to be notified of important dates. Get a copy of the book to prepare!

I needed the paperback and audio versions of this one, it’s just that good.

 

teal blue circle with a pink and blue backpack and yellow hearts "burnout proof academy saturday school" Tag: december 2020 interpreter self careBack to Basics Saturday School LIVE Workshop – tentative date sometime in February 2021

Kickstart your new year by getting back to the basics with us! We’ll explore the foundational self-care practices of getting enough sleep, daily movement (aka: exercise), drinking enough water, and eating food that supports our well-being. Make sure you’re on the mailing list to get info about this workshop!

 

Burnout Proof Collective Gatherings

Our private Facebook group has grown so much closer in the last few months, and I’m so excited to deepen those relationships in 2021!! We’re working on plans for potential lesson units, virtual social gatherings, skill sharing, and mentoring. If you’d like to be a part of the fun, make sure you’ve joined the group here and turned on notifications!


pink heart with pink lines around the heart Tag: december 2020 interpreter self care

Subscribe to our mailing list so you don’t miss an ounce of self-care goodness!


Wishing you peace and joy and rest this weekend, friends! Until next week.

xo,
b

Pull the Weeds | Self-Care Strategies for Fear part 5

This is part 5 in a series on Self-Care Strategies for Fear. You can find part 1 here, part 2 herepart 3 here, and part 4 here.

painting with black, red, and white smears with the quote "All war belongs on paper" by byron "katie" reid Tag: reappraisal self-care strategies

Image by Jolenee Born

Thoughts can grow like weeds

In our minds, unchecked thoughts can grow like weeds. It’s so easy for them to be constantly playing in the background, orchestrating and puppeteering our decisions and behaviors, rarely questioned or examined…flying under the radar. 

Try this experiment now: take your attention from reading these words and turn it toward your mind. Become aware of your thoughts – the steady narration that’s happening in your mind. What’s it saying? 

All of the ideas and beliefs you’ve soaked up since childhood are still operating today in the depths of your psyche as your operating system. Many of them are flat-out lies. This inner narration is programmed by your operating system. As you bring your attention to your inner narration, you have the opportunity to uncover your own operating system and the beliefs that undergird it.

Some of mine that I’ve discovered over the years:

“I’m annoying. No one wants to listen to me.”

“People who are angry are dangerous.”

“Any noise in the night is definitely someone breaking into our house.”

“No one will ever really understand me.”

“Prioritizing myself and my own needs is selfish.” 

 

Reappraisal Self-Care Strategies for Fear

blurry black and white picture of a person wearing a shirt with a fuzzy collar holding head, closing eyes, and screaming Tag: reappraisal self-care strategies

Photo by Callum Skelton

Thoughts, running wild and unchecked in our minds, are tricky and cunning – but thoughts on paper are lifeless and still. Getting these thoughts out of your head and onto the page is one of the best ways to weed your garden.

Once they’re on the page, ask them some questions. In mental health coaching we call this “reappraisal.” This is an opportunity to look again at something you took to be 100% true without really questioning it – or – at something you learned during a different time in your life when this belief helped to keep you safe, but maybe now is outdated and not as useful.

Ask:

“Is it 100% true?”
“Whose yard am I in?”
“How do I feel when I’m believing this thought?”
Name the emotions and sensations.

You can tell a weed based on its effects on your life. Weeds zap our energy. They contribute to us feeling disempowered, anxious, depressed, and unmotivated. Examining the truth of these thoughts and their effects on your body, mind, and spirit is a major step toward cleaning up your garden and freeing up your energy.

Questioning our thoughts and re-appraising their usefulness and truth can be difficult, especially if the beliefs were planted long ago or have trauma associated with them. Be very, very gentle with yourself as you do this work, and reach out for support if you feel scared, overwhelmed, or stuck. Having a neutral and steady person with you as you weed your garden can be so helpful. 

Resources for working with your thoughts

  1. How to Deal with Anxiety from The News – NPR Life Kit
  2. The Work of Byron Katie
  3. Get it Off: What to do when your work gets stuck to you – Burnout Proof Academy course
  4. All or Nothing Thinking – The Life Coach School Podcast episode #325 
  5. The Calling – Greatest Hits log exercise – Rha Goddess

Tiny Action

This activity comes from Burnout Proof Bootcamp

Create a note on your phone titled ‘Thoughts’ or something more creative! If you prefer pen and paper, grab a 3×5 card or pocket journal to carry around with you this week. 

When you notice a thought that accompanies stressful feelings (like the kind we talked about last week), make a note of the thought word-for-word – as if you’re narrating. At the end of the day, your list might look like this:

screenshot of iphone screen notes app with black background and white text: Thoughts Maybe she didn't hear me? Maybe I wasn't clear? This is my opportunity for connection with her I have to take it. She needs me. She might not be OK without me. I can put off what I need for just a minute. I don't want her needs to seem unimportant to me. She doesn't care about my needs. I've taught her not to care about my needs. This is my fault. I feel so stuck. I want to be able to do this on my own but I'm scared. Something bad might happen. But I shouldn't need someone to do this for me. I have so much to do this week. I'm already tired and the week has barely started. Tag: reappraisal self-care strategies

Next week: Plant new seeds

Once you’ve pulled the weeds, don’t leave bare ground to erode or to become re-infested with weeds. Next week we’ll look at how to identify and intentionally cultivate the helpful thoughts.

Reflection

Let us know in the comments:

What helps you become aware of unhelpful thoughts?

cluster of bright blue flowers with a purple center with blurred background of greenish-brown grass Tag: reappraisal self-care strategies

Photo by Selma Rizvić

Tend Your Feelings | Self-Care Strategies for Fear part 4

This is part 4 in a series on Self-Care Strategies for Fear. You can find part 1 here, part 2 here, and part 3 here.

Tiger laying on the ground with stars above its head. Six circles of varying colors with words inside: Text: Emotional Regulation 101 @seerutkchawla, Name it, Accept it is happening, Pause, breathe, delay response, Self-soothe, Be curious, compassionate, honest, Allow it to run it's course, Tag: tend feelings self-care strategies

Emotional Regulation 101 @seerutkchawla

Tending Feelings Self-Care Strategies for Fear

As you’re spending time in your garden, you’ll notice uncomfortable emotions. This might be one reason you struggle to make time for yourself.

Emotions can be very inconvenient, downright painful, and at times excruciating. 

Emotions are also called feelings, because we feel them in our bodies. Feeling things in our bodies is something that Americans in general, and white Americans 🙋 in particular, often avoid. This avoidance of feeling our feelings is at the root of many of our distraction-techniques and addictions.  

How emotions relate to burnout

The first warning light that signaled my burnout was physical pain. I was unable to sleep, run, play with my kids, do yoga, or even brush my teeth without shooting, aching, burning pain in my wrist, arm, shoulder, neck, and head. I tried all the typical physical healing modalities I had access to: supplements, physical therapy, diet, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture treatments. 

It wasn’t until I explored my experience of the pain with my own coach, that I began to uncover the years of emotions that were just sitting in my internal waiting room – begging to be heard. Together in that safe container of support, we made space for guilt, anger, sadness, regret, feelings of unworthiness, fear, and finally hope, joy, pleasure, and love. 

Emily and Amelia Nagoski wrote a whole, amazing book on this subject. They say, “Emotions are tunnels. If you go all the way through them, you get to the light at the end. Exhaustion happens when we get stuck in an emotion.”

Let that sink in.

Blue, green, yellow, brown, purple background with a heart shaped gray key at the top. Text: The stress itself will kill you faster than the stressor will - unless you do something to complete the stress response cycle. While you're managing the day's stressors, your body is managing the day's stress. It's absolutely essential to your well-being that you give your body the resources it needs to complete the stress response cycles that have been activated. Quote by Emily and Amelia Nagoski. Authors, Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle. Unlocking Us: Podcast with Brene Brown. Tag: tend feelings self-care strategies

Quote by Emily and Amelia Nagoski @brenebrown

Exhaustion happens when we get stuck in an emotion. 

Emotional exhaustion is one of the hallmarks of burnout, according to Herbert J. Freudenberger who coined his definition in 1974. Emotional exhaustion is described as, “fatigue that comes from caring too much for too long.” 

Of the three components of burnout, emotional exhaustion is the one most strongly linked to negative impacts on health, our relationships, and our work – especially for women or those aligned with feminine cultural norms. 

Every word of this Brene Brown podcast episode with the Nagoskis describes so beautifully how emotional exhaustion contributes to burnout and what to do about it. This is required listening or reading for every interpreter!
Burnout and How to Complete the Stress Cycle

Feelings always end

white wave crashing onto black rocks beside a mountain with blue sky behind it. Tag: tend feelings self-care strategies

Photo by Jana Sabeth

 When emotions are stored up without acknowledgment or space to be felt, they must get our attention in other ways. It can be so scary to allow these feelings to move through you. It can feel as if they’ll never leave or they’ll consume us – but I’m here to tell you: 

They always end.

 

Just like a wave, crashing on shore, feelings have a beginning, a crescendo, and a receding conclusion. The more willing and intentional we are about giving them space and ways to move, the less backlog we incur, and the more clear, present, and grounded we can be – even through our experience of them.

This Saturday, October 24th, 2020, I’ll be teaching a specific practice for completing the stress cycle and allowing emotions to move through that you can be doing throughout your day. Check out Self-Care for Stressful Times and join us!

Lean on your boundaries

When you first begin feeling your feelings, put some supports and boundaries in place to make it feel safer. Play music that helps you access the feelings that are coming up. Try this song for sadness. This one for anger. This one for disappointment. Make a whole playlist of your own. 

Keep a comfort object nearby – a pillow, soft blanket, or an essential oil. Juniper is especially helpful for fear. Set a timer, and when it goes off switch to an activity that feels comforting and safe.

Reach out to a professional – a therapist, a coach, a spiritual guide. Get support in place so that you can feel free to explore this messy, roiling mass that is our unprocessed emotions.

We’ll be talking more about ways to honor our own boundaries and to build trust with ourselves in the November Burnout Proof Saturday School workshop: Healthy Boundaries for Interpreters. Register to join us here.

Commit to staying with yourself

It can be really scary to feel some of these feelings, or you might not feel anything at all. Whatever you find here as you explore your emotions is a-okay. The most important thing is to stay with yourself. This means:

Don’t judge yourself or your experience.
Be willing to be uncomfortable.
Prioritize time and space for yourself – even if it’s just 5 minutes.
Notice that you’re still here when the feelings pass.
Allow yourself to feel proud of this scary accomplishment.

Resources for Feeling Your Feelings

  1. Burnout and How to Complete the Stress Cycle – Brene Brown with Emily and Amelia Nagoski
  2. The Dark Side of The Light Chasers: Reclaiming Your Power, Creativity, Brilliance, and Dreams – Debbie Ford
  3. 16-Second Stress-Relief for Sign Language Interpreters – Brighter Focus blog 
  4. Trying to Control Your Emotions Might Be the Problem, Not the Solution – Lyra Health blog
  5. Get right with your darkness – Mama Gena blog
  6. Understanding Your Sadness  – Michelle D’Avella YouTube
  7. The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in The Healing of Trauma – Bessel Van Der Kolk

Tiny Action for This Week

Set a timer for 5 minutes and be with your feelings. Maybe you have a certain situation you want to focus on to inspire the feelings, or maybe they’re already simmering at the surface. Just give them space and keep breathing through them.

This may be in your bedroom or bathroom, with the door locked, in your parked car, or outside while walking or running. 

Let us know in the comments:
What helps you access and process your emotions?

9 different colored circles with text inside surrounding a quote in the middle: You might know I'm stressed if... 1. i'm lost in my feelings. i'm twisty and can't get out. 2. i'm lashing out, confronting, protecting fiercely. 3. I'm shutting down, going numb. 4. i'm trying to earn love and acceptance. 5. i'm acting recklessly, i'm moving fast, filling the void. 6. I'm doing and doing, i'm running in circles. 7. i'm taking control. i'm acting in anger. 8. i'm withdrawing, i'm quiet, i can't be reached. 9. i'm anxious, i'm saying things i don't mean. Tag: tend feelings self-care strategies

@keeleyshawart

Next Week – Pull the Weeds

In part 5 next week we’ll explore ways to identify the weeds in our thinking patterns and how to work with them when we find them. Because our thoughts feed our emotions, pulling the weeds helps to reduce how often we go through our stress cycle. 

Until then, take such good care of your precious self.

Channel The Fire | September Oil Protocol

The fires have come to Oregon.

As we were fumbling through logging into new Chromebooks, many in the Pacific Northwest faced smoke and evacuation warnings on Labor Day. Fires are spreading up and down the coast from Washington to California. 500,000 people in Oregon have evacuated their homes as of today.

Many parts of the area surrounding Portland are currently evacuating. If you’re affected by smoke or fires, please be safe and practice your triage self-care. You’re in my thoughts and prayers. May we find peace and hope amidst the urgency of this emergency.

Download the Red Cross Prepare! Resource Guide

The Red Cross is doing amazing work supporting evacuees and I encourage you to donate if you can.

Summer + Mars

This transition from Summer to Fall, in Chinese Medicine, is characterized by a shift from Fire to Earth, bitter to sweet, roaring to humming. Summer is making it known that his work is not yet finished. He has more to say.

In our personal lives we may be feeling more agitation, more challenge, more heat. Astrologically, we are approaching a period of intense “fire” energy. Chani Nicholas, astrologer/activist/badass, is one of my favorite teachers. She has this to say about fiery Mars, who’s currently in a very active and influential position:

“Mars is always here to remind us just how much power we do have; when and where we let bitterness, envy, or hatred poison our interactions; how we might learn to work through conflict without betraying our dignity; and how to stay in the battles that cry out for us to join. Mars is sharp – we can either use it to help us hone our skills or do damage. To use these tools wisely takes work, but you are ready.” – A Note About Mars Retrograde 2020

Essential Oil Self-Care for Interpreters

Anger is a tool I’m learning to wield. Like fire, it can feel unpredictable and scary.

The burning fire of rage within us can feel like a toxin in our bellies, threatening to combust. But when we can discern its message for us and let it spur us to action, it becomes a powerful force for change.

So, dear loves, I made us a protocol for this intense fire season. Use it when you need some extra love, use it daily to stay grounded and connected to yourself and your source as the (hopefully metaphoric) fires rage around you. Use it to remind yourself that this too shall pass, and that there is much wisdom, grace, and support for us here – even in the darkest of moments.

Check out the video below for more info on this protocol + support for the physical and emotional effects of the smoke and fires.

Channel The Fire. melaluca, top of head. myrrh, sacrum. black pepper, third eye. wintergreen, solar plexus. arborvitae + cardamom, navel. juniper, across chest. bergamot, across forehead. clary sage, third eye. cedarwood, chest. lime, inside wrist creases. @brighterfocus . tag: essential oil self-care interpreter.

Melaleuca – strengthen boundaries, improve resiliency, and stop betraying yourself.

Myrrh – connect with nurturance, know that everything will be ok, foster healthy attachments.

Black Pepper – uncover the root of the issue, unmask, see through the BS.

Wintergreen – release control, surrender to the process, open to new possibilities.

Arborvitae – tap into security and strength, trust the emotional process.

Cardamom – be with anger, harness patience, see the big picture.

Juniper – dispel fear and anxiety of the unknown.

Bergamot – foster hope and courage during times of despair, see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Eucalyptus – embrace self-care, raise your standards, don’t give up on yourself.

Clary Sage – clear creative blocks, embrace your highest gifts + purpose, expand your vision for the world.

Cedarwood – receive support, feel emotionally connected to others.

Lime – harmonize and integrate all of the oils, seal with expectant joy.

This video guides you through the whole protocol + includes some simple practices for dealing with physical and emotional effects of the smoke. Join us in The Burnout Proof Interpreters Collective Facebook group to catch future livestreams!

If you need help getting certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils, just send me a message

Upcoming Workshops

Burnout Proof 101 September 30th 5 pm pacific | 8 pm easternBurnout Proof 101. $10 0.1 CEU. The first step to taking better care of your precious self. Burnout Proof Academy. Online. Self-Care. CEUs. burnoutproof.me/p/burnout-proof-101. Interpretek is an approved RID sponsor for Continuing Education Activities. This General Studies program is offered for 0.1 CEUs at the Little/None Content knowledge level. @brighterfocus

Join me in Burnout Proof Academy for a simple + potent one-hour Burnout Proof 101 webinar. You’ll get 0.1 GS CEUs and you’ll be on your way to taking better care for your precious self. This workshop is happening soon, so don’t wait!

Register Here

 

Resources + Tools to Go Deeper

 

Self-Care Quickie: Brain Integration | Self-Care Strategies for Interpreters

Brain integration, dis-integration, why it matters to your interpreting and how self-care can help.

This information comes from Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, and I teach it to interpreters because it can dramatically alter our ability to attune to ourselves and regulate our emotional responses, attune to our consumers – allowing us to act with empathy and compassion, and it can also strongly impact our consumers’ ability to regulate their emotional responses.

Brain integration has a powerful impact on our interpreting interactions

Start with the hand model of the brain. 3 Parts:
PFC + Cortex – upstairs brain – executive function
Limbic Area – emotions and memory
Brain Stem – fight/flight/freeze, autonomic function

brain integration - interpreter - self-care - flip your lid

Flip-your-lid

When the brain is in integration:
Cortex, Limbic, Brain stem all connected
Cortex is regulating, soothing, and assessing all impulses from limbic and brain stem  areas/downstairs brain.

When downstairs brain overwhelms the capacity of the upstairs brain, cortex tries to hang on, to maintain integration – you know what it feels like when cortex loses its grip – FLIP-LID – in a matter of seconds we have lost our ability to regulate our emotions and behavior.

Disintegration is contagious

When one person has lost emotional equilibrium, it’s much easier for the other to lose it. You may feel this when you are interpreting – especially if it is a topic, attitude or behavior that is particularly triggering to you personally. During times of crisis, disintegration is even more common. 

Good news: Integration is also contagious

Integration is like a muscle, and involves several skills.

Any work that you do to create stronger connections in your brain promotes brain integration and will support you during times of stress and help you maintain integration with others who are experiencing disintegration.

Hand Model of the Brain. Flip your lid. Brain Integration as Self-Care for Interpreters

From: The Whole Brain Child, by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.

Self-care strengthens the muscle of brain integration

  1. In the moment – BREATHE – Deep, slow belly breathing, in and out your nose
  2. Reflective practice – meditation, mindfulness, conscious breathing practice trains the brain toward integration

Three resources for integration practice:

  1. Follow me on Instagram – in my story and highlights I share short mindfulness practices
  2. Self-Care Resource Page – links to free and accessible self-care resources to support brain integration
  3. Put On Your Raincoat: Energetic Protection for Sign Language Interpreters – online self-paced workshop worth 0.5 CEUs – includes a 7 day mindfulness practice

I’d love to know:
What helps you flex your brain integration muscle?

Thanks so much for being here with me. Take good care of your precious self.

Embracing the Darkness

Hello dear ones,

The darkest month of the year is upon us.

This season asks that we get quiet, that we be still, that we allow time for contemplation. Awaiting the return of the light, we are left to sit in the darkness. The dark places we try hard not to see. The places we don’t want to love. The grief, disappointment, fear, longing…these are the places that call out for the flame of our attention. 

Look around you, dear one. Everything in nature reflects this inward journey. Do not fear it. Even though it may look like death – like loss and pain and relinquishing control – this journey actually brings you closer to Life. 

And so we ask, and wait, and listen…

What am I grieving?

What am I afraid of?

What am I longing for?

What pain or discomfort do I resist?

These questions point us toward the cobwebbed corners of our souls that we would rather not sit with. The rooms of our castle, as Debbie Ford describes it, that we lock up and learn to forget. In her transformative book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, she writes:

“The castle is a metaphor to help you grasp the enormity of who you are. We each possess this sacred place inside ourselves. It is easily accessed if we are ready and willing to see the totality of who we are. Most of us are scared of what we will find behind the doors to these rooms. So instead of setting out on an adventure to find our hidden selves, full of excitement and wonder, we keep pretending the rooms don’t exist. The cycle continues. But if you truly desire to change the direction of your life you must go into your castle and slowly open each and every door. You must explore your internal universe and take back all that you’ve disowned. Only in the presence of your entire self can you appreciate your magnificence and enjoy the totality and uniqueness of your life.”

In the cycle of seasons – the death and rebirth of our natural world – we need this time of peeling back the layers, mourning the losses, letting go of all that is ready to transition. It is the only way to make space for new growth. 

And so, with excitement and wonder, I invite you to open a forgotten room of your castle. To sit with yourself and these dim dusty places, and to clear space for your own magnificence. 🌟

xo, Breana


December Oil Protocol. Siberian Fir - across chest. To assist in grieving, forgiving, & letting go. "I release any worry and blame  to my higher power."  Geranium - on heart space. To restore trust and confidence in ourselves and each other. "I can trust myself and others."  Myrrh - in navel. For nurturing, comfort and support. "I receive the nurturing, comfort, and support that shows up today." @brighter

PS: If you need help getting certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils and learning how to use safely use them, just grab a spot on my calendar, I’d love to assist you.

2018 – Year in Review

2018 Year in Review. Nine photos in a collage that symbolize Breana's year.

2018 was the year of Breaking Open

What dreams came true – big and small?

  • Got my own apartment!
  • Transitioned to homeschooling Kiran
  • Presented at Street Leverage Live and the Canada VRS Summit
  • Found the love of my life
  • Stopped traveling for work – my family is happier!

What lessons did I learn?

  • How to be with myself through pain so big I didn’t think I could bear it
  • How to be vulnerable and honest with those closest to me, and how magically that opens the door to deeper connection (always a work in progress)
  • I can support myself and my kids on my own

I appreciate 2018 for:

  • Expanding and deepening my well of strength and my sense of what I can handle
  • Bringing me this friendship with Christopher that grew into a deep nourishing love
  • Showing me miracles and magic – the unseen forces at work in the dark times
  • Highlighting our support system and the big love that surrounds us
  • Bringing me closer to Source, feeling more trust and more peace

Quote of the Year:

Most influential book I read:

The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, Debbie Ford Debbie Ford quote: "Embracing our dark side gives us a new found freedom to be with the darkness in others. For when I can love all of me, I will love all of you."

Favorite movie of the year:

The Heretic

Most played song:

Clay, Manatee Commune

 

2018 held my highest high and lowest low. So much grief and joy in one year. I am a better parent because of it. A better friend, partner, lover and human. I am grateful…so fucking grateful.

I forgive myself for the debt and the extra weight. I accept it with love and feel better prepared to face it and learn from it and thrive through it in 2019.

Curbing my worry has been one of my biggest challenges. Learning to set healthy boundaries and hold empathy, without trying to control others or the outcome is still a work in progress I look forward to developing more this year.

Let your heart break daily quote by #iamhertribe


This is a tiny part of the New Year transition reflecting and planning that I do. Over the years I’ve used many resources, my favorite of which was the book Your Best Year Yet! — until I discovered Leonie Dawson this year and decided to try her My Shining Year workbooks.

Friends let me tell you: I am in L O V E!

If you don’t have an annual review and dreaming ritual yet, get yourself these workbooks and dive right in. She makes it fun and so effective.

Breana's legs and feet on the couch with a workbook in her lap titled "My Shining Year Life Goals Workbook" by Leonie Dawson


I would love to hear from you in the comments: 

What rituals or practices do you have for closing out one year and embracing the next?

Until next time, dear ones, so much love.

xo, Breana

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?
 

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!

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?