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Category: Insights + Inspiration


5 ways to Practice Gratitude

5 ways to Practice Gratitude

Posted September 29, 2015

Gratitude. A simple practice with a powerful result And yet many of us don’t lean into gratitude enough. Often we can’t even find the capacity for gratitude or the space within us to offer up thanks… why is that? Well, it’s a known fact that human beings are hard wired for the negative. We automatically see, feel, comprehend, adhere to, gravitate towards and stick with FEAR based thinking. FEAR. It’s an evolutionary thing… when we stay in that space of fear well, we survive. Fear drives us to do everything in our power to stay ALIVE. Fear is what protects us. We need fear. We must be grateful for it, because it’s just trying to do it’s job. It wants to ‘have your back’. This auto-pilot to FEAR predates the modern life we live in – the one where there isn’t much to FEAR on a daily basis. This fear is a programming that was birthed during times (thousands and thousands of years ago!) when we HAD to fear for our lives, constantly. So, what does this mean? Well, when sticking with the negative – remembering bad times, focusing on what didn’t go well, attaching to what is not good enough – we tend to ensure we don’t FORGET the problem/challenge/situation/person that caused that negativity. The result? Hopefully we won’t repeat it…therein lives the ‘survival’ mechanism kicking in. But we don’t NEED to focus on the negatives in this way anymore. There aren’t any wild bears chasing after you these days… (or are there?!) So, you can give yourself a break if you tend towards the negative and if dialling up your positive-o-meter is down right challenging for you. BUT… just because we, as human beings are hard wired for the negative, that doesn’t mean we can’t re-train our brains to think and respond differently. Right?! Haven’t you already done that – trained your brain – countless times? How many new skills have you learnt over the years that perhaps weren’t your natural, default setting? Gratitude as a way of thinking and feeling is possible. It can become your new default setting. You can become hard wired for the positive. And truthfully, the practice of gratitude is so damn simple. It’s not a steep learning curve. The challenge is in being consistent. Sticking with training to ‘reprogram’ your mindset towards gratitude. Otherwise, it’s just about finding a way to lean into thankfulness that resonates with you. So, to help. Here are 5 Ways to Practice Gratitude. 1) Happiness Jar Get a big, bad ass jar. Get a pile of old paper (good chance to recycle envelopes, scrap paper etc) and cut them all to the same ‘post-it note’ size. Hole punch them and look some sturdy string through the pile of paper. Then loop all of that around the neck of the jar with a pen too. Now, everyday make sure you and the members of your household take the time to write out at least on thing they are grateful for each day. Pop the date on it too. And chuck it into the jar. Watch your jar grow with gratitude. And every now and then stick your hand in, pull one out and reconnect to that day and what you were thankful for. 2) Gratitude Journal My favourite way to practice Gratitude. Flip open to a new fresh page in your journal and start penning whatever comes to mind that makes you feel happy, grateful, joyful. It can be simple things from your day – “I’m grateful for that killer parking spot that made my life SO much easier”. Or deeper, potent to give thanks to – “Thank you for love I feel from my husband every day”. Do this daily. Before bed. Before you rise. Whenever. 3) Three things To your partner. Your children. Your colleagues. Yourself. Anyone you want to… Ask them this question: “What are THREE things you are grateful for today” Listen with all your hear to their answers. And respond with your own three things. Relish the energy of gratitude that hangs in the air between you. I do this frequently with my husband and it really adds a weighty, meaningful, ‘special’ pause to our day. 4) Little thank you notes Dish up gratitude to others. And notice how it makes YOU feel. Write short, sweet notes of thanks and leave them to be found by your significant other. Your barista. Maybe your cleaner too. 5) The BIG thank you wall. Sticky it notes. Sharpie Pens. Start jotting down (as they happen) moments of gratitude and stick them on a wall in your home/office. Perhaps start to work towards the shape of a heart? And each day, as you watch that wall grow, watch how your heart keeps SWELLING and overflowing with more gratitude. It’s an exponential growth thing, you know. The more you give thanks, the more you feel the love, the less fear you experience, the more grateful you become. Giving thanks, feeling gratitude, giving over to grace. It’s the antidote to fear and the love remedy we all need. Ok my sweets. Over to you – any other ways you like to practice gratitude? I’d love to hear your suggestions. And before I leave you I’d like to say THANK YOU for being here with me today. Love + light, Claire x Read more

Get FULL on your feelings

Get FULL on your feelings

Posted September 21, 2015

I never quite thought it was possible but it’s true, you can feel everything all at once. Since becoming a mama I’m astounded at the way I can feel FULL to the brim with every feeling under the sun. Every emotion lives within me almost simultaneously. Hope. Grief. Pleasure. Fear. Guilt. Joy. Pain. Doubt. Have you felt this way before? Now, even? Are you nodding along with recognition that you too feel full? And isn’t it sometimes a little overwhelming. I’m often left a little destabilized by the firework show of emotions going off within. Truthfully, it reminds me of shadow-play – the way lightness of the sun dances about, creating shady corners and pockets of darkness… only to be juxtaposed with flashes of golden brightness. They exist because of each other. They are noticeable because of each other. They are made possible because of how they interact. Light and dark. And this is how I choose to see and understand the feeling of FULLNESS I’m experiencing. That the hope exists because of the fear. That the joy is made possible because of the pain and grief. That the doubt sneaks in when I drop my attention of trust. It’s astounding to realise, (but yet makes perfect sense) that they are nothing without each other. These feelings, these emotions and experiences exist because they have an opposite. And when we are blessed enough to FEEL all of it (and I say blessed because then, this means, we are truly living into our ‘humanness’ fully) then we get to experience the rich tapestry of life. We get to taste every flavour and do so with potency. ++ What does this mean for you? Simply that it’s time to embrace all of your experience. Every emotion. Every naked truth, dark moment and back-breaking challenge. As well as every moment of illumintation, spontaneous joy, heart exploding love. Go on then. Live it. Soak in it. Get drunk on the fullness of your experience. It’ll never happen again in THIS way. I can promise you that. love + light, Claire xx Read more

One hour at a time.

One hour at a time.

Posted July 21, 2015

One hour at a time. One minute, even; down to the second. No tomorrow. Yesterday is no more. Today. This hour. Now… now… now. This is my life at the moment. It (everything) has boiled down to the present moment. And no other moment is relevant. What happened yesterday, be it good, bad or otherwise, has absolutely no marking or influence on how today might shape up. Or the next week or month. This is the great lesson my tiny, wise guru (aka Soleil my 4 month old bub) is teaching me. And my god, doesn’t it suck! You weren’t expecting that right? Thought I’d talk about how wonderfully liberating and joyful living in the NOW is? Well, that is partially true. One half of the coin. The other ‘truth’ is that it’s the most challenging spiritual assignment to date. Why? Because controlling and planning your life feels SAFE. It’s predictable. It’s mapped out. It provides a big old safety net (although often ridden with unseen holes to slip through). When you are living in that state of thinking/planning/controlling/structuring, it doesn’t actually FEEL good, but it does give you a false sense of security. So, this lesson that I (and most likely every mother out there) am learning is stripping away that fakery, peeling back the security that’s not real, anyway, and dumping all that control. Even as I write this to you, I’ve had to stop/start multiple times to sing, smile, cuddle, nurse, pat, shush and snooze my little one. Her needs are in the NOW. She doesn’t care about this email, or my coaching, or my plans for the future. She cares about right-freaking-now. ++ So each week, I battle with those fears as my ego-mind seeks out that space of control again… yearns and hungers for it…BEGS me to go back into that space of past perception and future projection. It WANTS me to trip out and get doped out on that thinking/planning/controlling/structuring stuff. But – and you know this to be true from your own life, mama or not – those fears do not bring good. Those fears do not lift you up, or solve problems, or answer questions or give you a way through; they just laden you up with the tell-tale markers that come with fear: anxiety, stress, edginess, frustration, disillusion, insecurity and fill-in-the-blank here with your own ‘fear symptom’. So the answer? Come back to the now. Come back to this minute, this hour. Focus on the side of the coin where living hour by hour is your saving grace, where the now is your life-line, the space that feels doable, manageable and maybe a hell of a lot more kinder to yourself. Don’t fret over tomorrow, because it won’t be how you think it might/should/could be. Don’t even fuss over this afternoon. It might unexpectedly surprise/delight/inspire you. Just get through your day, hour by hour. When everything is golden, then you get to savour EACH HOUR. When everything is not-so-shiny, then you get to stay OUT of that space that threatens you with the undigestible fear that it might be like this ‘forever’. So let’s do it. One hour at a time. That is it. That is all. love + light, Claire P.s If you want some help getting present, head on over to my shop page and get your fix with my Reveal Your Inner Radiance (mini) meditations. Read more

Crossing over from the head to the heart

Crossing over from the head to the heart

Posted June 08, 2015

Crossing over from the head to the heart Over a year ago, maybe more, I had an astrology reading done by the incredible Ezzie Spencer. Ezzie did my full chart and then talked me through what she had discovered. It’s funny, at the time I found everything she said to be fully loaded and heavy with meaning, but didn’t realise what the process would be when her discoveries came into being. Besides identifying that I am triple Aquarian, with my sun, moon and rising star seated in this fixed air sign, she also revealed something quite powerful and profound. This ‘something’ is only now coming into fruition, but looking back I can see it has been slowly brewing for years. I’ve been blindly and without direction travelling towards this something. ++ Ezzie pointed out that I have an astute level of understanding and a deep well of wisdom. All of this is cradled by a refined intellect and analytical mind. Ha! Gosh that sounds conceited… What that really means is that I’m all ‘in the head’! I’m a sensitive being, highly tuned in and self aware, but what comes naturally is using my mind, my intellect to ‘understand’. I’m a thinker and used to really pride myself for it. You with me so far? I bet many of you might resonate with this, so let me flesh it out a little more: Do you feel you are quick to understand BIG concepts? Is it easy for you to see all sides to a story/situation? Can you clearly ‘get’ spiritual teachings? Do you usually find it’s a no brainer when wrapping your head around complex people/issues/experiences? Can you easily deduce ways through sticky and cloudy experiences? Do you tend to be the voice of reason and insight amongst your family and friends? Is your wisdom often based on what you’ve experienced or come to learn rather than what you feel and intuit? Are you mostly driven and guided by your head? Are you often in your head – thinking and planning and stewing? Yes? Are you with me or know someone that is just like this? ++ Ok, first up, to clarify: there is nothing wrong with being this way. Being a heady, ‘thinker’ type has its benefits. Switched on and clued up! If you are this way, more power to you. We need thinkers! ++ When Ezzie pointed this out to me she explained that my soul had lived from this heady, wise space for countless lives. So far, it has supported me just fine. But now, in this lifetime and for the first lifetime ever, I am being called to cross the ravine and make it to the other side. To move away from the head space! And what awaits me there? A life led by the heart. A life dropped into an intuitive, feeling based space. Over the last five years I’ve journeyed deeper into my spiritual pilgrimage and explored deeply in my work as a Mind-Body-Soul coach. This continual process of discovery has slowly brought me face to face with the limitations of living from my head. It’s also forced me many times to feel into my heart and live from there. Many times I’ve resisted – after all, it’s new and scary and hard. Living from my head is easy. I’ve done it for many lives. It seems clear cut, straightforward; though truthfully it’s the opposite! But often I’ve not been given a choice, and my latest dalliance with feeling, living and being from my heart is one of those choice-less experiences. Becoming a mother is, I can now see, the true beginning of my traverse from the head side to the heart side. I’ve begun the journey, crossing the ravine. I know now that the last few years have been prepping me, slowly, for this forced, cataclysmic trek down deep into my feeling centre, into my soul, a trip that has been written into my soul’s story well before this body existed. ++ Every day, this motherhood gig requires me to check my ego and my intellect at the door. I’m asked to feel into my baby and her needs, to intuit them. I’m asked to feel into my body and be with whatever discomfort lives there in a much more potent way than before – yet also to respect and love this body more than ever, despite the fact that it’s more worn and battle torn! I’m asked daily to let my heart be centre stage, in order to navigate from soul. I’m asked to stop and drop the ongoing mind-chatter and useless need to ‘understand’. I’m asked to be ok with not ‘getting it’ and to stay out of my head. I’m ask to give and give fully in the NOW and to do so gratefully and with joy, to feel good giving more than I thought I was capable of. Oh it’s so easy to write those words, yet this is the most challenging spiritual assignment to date. Don’t for a second think that I’ve nailed this or that I easily can do what’s being asked of me. Feeling. Feel. Feel it… Do you know how to sit with what you feel and tune into it from an emotional space not an intellectual space? ‘Do you know’… That’s how I just started that question! It’s so ironic, considering we are talking about feeling, which, of itself, has nada to do with ‘knowing’… Feeling and living from that space is so damn challenging because we can’t study it and figure it out. We simply have to throw ourselves into the firey pit of feeling over and over and over until our mind starts to get the idea and turns down its full ball volume. This is where I am right now: being ok with not knowing what I feel, but also going there despite the struggle, as often as I can. This means so many different things. It means, as a person, I’m […] Read more

The Story of Soleil’s Birth Part 1

The Story of Soleil’s Birth Part 1

Posted May 25, 2015

The Story of Soleil’s Birth Part 1 Bringing Soleil into the world… It’s been 11 weeks since Soleil was born, to the day (as I write this), and it’s taken me this long to write and share with you our birth story. It’s partly taken me this long to process the birth and also to simply find the time to write this epic story. I want to share this story simply because I truly believe child birth (however it happens, including caesarean) is a miraculous, powerful experience… and within that experience holds the opportunity for deep transformation and growth. It tests you – even just thinking about it – to your limits. It is the birthing of my child, earth angel that she is, and then e birthing of me as a mother. We (baby and me) are both equally important in this birthing process… working together. I remember saying to my husband, two weeks before giving birth and just after experiencing quite an intense practice contraction, that I could see that labour was going to require ALL of me. What did I mean by ALL of me? My body – and all its strength My mind – and its ability to focus My heart – staying open and trusting My soul – remaining fearless and connected to purpose And, well, it did. I had to throw ALL of me into the birth, not to mention the days and weeks following… Soleil’s birthing truly brought me to my knees (literally!) and cracked me open (oh yeah, literally too!). So, let me start with a little background insight first on my child birth… The question I asked myself frequently in the early days of pregnancy was, ‘What kind of birth did I want?’ And I use the word ‘want’ loosely because there is no way to plan something so out of our control. What I hoped for, what I intended and what I preferred to happen was this: A natural, drug-free birth. A birth without unnecessary intervention A chance to bond with my baby post-birth for as long as possible A loving experience – surrounded by supportive people who understand me A birth that happened spontaneously A safe, healthy, quick experience A divine, empowering experience A birth peppered with humour and love. Add to that smaller desires, such as not managing the third stage of labour (cutting and clamping the umbilical cord too soon) or speeding up the release of the placenta. Well, the universe gave me some of what I wanted but threw in a few curve balls for good measure. Yes, they tested me, yes, they threw me off course, but they also provided the chance to completely surrender, to drop my agendas and expectations and to leave my ego at the door. One such test was being two weeks overdue. I was due on the 19th of February but bub arrived two weeks late on the 5th of March. I was (mostly) enjoying my pregnancy – as much as is possible when you are 17kgs heavier, filled with fluid, waddling and sleeping poorly. Despite that, I didn’t feel rushed to ‘get to the end’. It was a glorious summer of daily swims, outdoor yoga and lots of quality time with my husband. I meditated two or three times a day, my journal was my confidant and I ate delicious home cooked meals. I’m so glad I savoured that time because life with a baby definitely doesn’t allow for such indulgence (for now!). During those two weeks over due, my body and mind did a few somersaults, twists and turns. Everyday my body showed signs it was preparing for childbirth – I’ll spare you the graphic details but suffice to say it was ‘on’ – but it was turning on slowly. My little Soleil seemed reluctant to complete her journey to this earthly plane. She knew it was time, I did too, but there was some resistance from both of us. I knew she was coming but I could feel she wanted to come on her terms. In the near future I’ll share about Soleil’s first ‘cranio sacral’ therapy session where we discovered she felt the need to be ‘reborn’ and make peace with how she was birthed. ++ The conversation on ‘induction’ began with my midwives at exactly 40 weeks. That’s what happens when you hit your due date, not to mention when you are nearing 42 weeks gestation! I wouldn’t say I felt pressured, but when you are part of the modern hospital system you are often burdened with scary statistics and fear tactics. It’s hard to hold your ground… I wanted to go past 42 weeks but I faced a big fight to make that happen, which I didn’t have in me. I’m going to be completely honest here and say I had such resistance to being induced. I ‘knew’ too much about what can happen with an induction – often it leads to an epidural because the contractions are too intense (apparently much stronger that a spontaneous birth) and often that then leads to a caesarean because labour can dramatically slow down with pain relief. To add to that, at 27 I was my sister’s birth partner. She was induced and it was a horribly quick, intense, dramatic and very messy experience. So, I had a (huge) stigma attached to induction to say the least. The more the ‘induction’ word was thrown around, the more my resistance and internal fears boiled up. I spent hours daily journalling, meditating and reflecting on these feelings. 
Why did it matter so much to me? What was I really afraid of – the induction itself or the fact that it wasn’t a ‘spontaneous’ birth? How could I drop this story and embrace a new one? Is it possible for this to be beautiful? Is it possible for me to drop all judgment and therefore all anxiety? I also spent a lot of time conversing with bubby, mostly inviting her into […] Read more

AUDIO BLOG: How to find true love within yourself

AUDIO BLOG: How to find true love within yourself

Posted February 17, 2015

Today’s Audio Blog is all about L.O.V.E! How do we find true love within instead of without? Yes. Love. That all powerful, four-letter word. That elusive energy and experience that so many of us seek, grasp out for, hold tight too. Not to mention many of us are not sure if we know love, or understand how to get it, feel it or embody it. And to make ‘love’ even more challenging, often we focus on the LACK of love we have – be it with a lover, from our family or even within ourselves. We see love as something other people are lucky to have, or that we must earn if we deserve it. We see love as an energy and experience (especially the relationship kind) that randomly blesses us with its presence. How very wrong this perspective is, yet how deeply rooted is that belief system? The question I pose and muse on today’s audio blog is how to find true love within yourself and BE love? This question was inspired by a beautiful conversation I had with a client recently. I really wanted to explore this question because I want to motivate you to see love differently – to come to a deep KNOWING that the love you desire you already have access to! You do not need to wait for it to grace you with its presence. Let me repeat that, you DO NOT have to wait for love to find you. Here are some points I jam on in this 8 minute Audio Blog: Be mindful of the language you use around love and speaking in terms of ‘lacking love’ Become aware of what love feels like and looks like to you Invite in the feeling and energy of love in the way it most resonates with you Bring love in and allow it to be present, instead of waiting for it to come to you Wrapping your head around the truth; that you are love! Romancing yourself Love doesn’t need to be put on pause. It’s there for your taking – revel in it and experience it – rather than something you have to wait to experience. CLICK PLAY TO LISTEN https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/79968734/Be%20love.mp3 Or right click to download, load me up and listen to me on your walk or trip to work! ++ Your turn: Share with me – how have you found true love within yourself? Or tell me, does self-love and learning how to BE love still feel a long way off? love + light, Claire x Read more

Why I’ll be hibernating for 30 days

Why I’ll be hibernating for 30 days

Posted February 03, 2015

Why I’ll be hibernating for 30 days… So, it probably comes as no surprise that I’m about to pop anytime. At almost 38 weeks, this baby is ready for its birthday, so people keep telling me! I’m not so fixated on dates at the moment. I’m not yet feeling ‘over it’… or wishing away this pregnancy. I’ve had such an amazing experience over the last 9 months and I know that if I ever fall pregnant again I’ll never get to experience the spaciousness, freedom and lightness like I have, gratefully, this time round. In preparing for bub there’s been a lot to do – from getting everything this tiny human needs (so, so much) to sorting out my life and business and making sure that I am eating, moving, breathing and living consciously all the while. Honestly, I’ve been pretty casual about the whole preparation side of things, letting it all happen slowly and with ease. Which has been the overarching energy of this whole pregnancy… gentle, soft, fluid, effortless. And I’m planning on carrying that energy into those early weeks and months as baby and I bond and start this incredible journey together. After bub arrives there are no plans, really, except one major intention I am holding too… and that is the hibernation phase or ‘baby moon’ that I’ll be taking. What is a baby moon? Traditionally and also in my parent’s culture, women are advised to ‘hibernate’ for the first 30-40 days post birth. Birth is seen as an incredibly pivotal moment for a woman (and of course the entire family unit). It’s not just that she has birthed a new life into the world – as if that wasn’t big enough already – but her mind-body-soul is undergoing massive changes. Integrating new ways of thinking and being. Recalibrating. 40 weeks of pregnancy – the time of incubation – abruptly ends and a woman’s body has to move into a completely different mode of giving life. Her mind has to catch-up with that mode too. Her body will slowly revert back to the pre-pregnancy state, but at the same time it is now required to sleep less, produce milk, nurture and attend to a completely dependent child. On a more energetic and spiritual level there is a lot of gentle repair work that needs to happen. Emotions can be raw as the hormonal system rebalances. Spiritually well I am anticipating that the journey into motherhood can be a deep, internal shake-up. The hibernation phase is recommended to help a woman rest, restore and recover from such a dramatic change. It’s about rebuilding strength – in mind, body and soul – and creating the space and time to adjust and ease into this new chapter. It’s also a special time for the mother, father and baby to bond. The first three months of a newborn’s life is considered the 4th trimester – the baby is still undergoing massive development changes and the mum’s body is still undergoing massive renovations too! And in particular, the first 30 – 40 days are the most delicate and need to be handled with kid-gloves. It’s not the time for diving straight back into dynamic exercise regimes. It’s not the time for dieting (your baby is accustomed to the taste of food you ate during pregnancy – this is important if you are breastfeeding!) It’s not the time for an insane social calendar. It’s not the time for taking up new ventures or starting work/projects again. There is one task and one task only. Nurturing life – yours and your new baby. With all the wisdom and ancient understanding of the women who have birthed and mothered before me, I have decided to honour this hibernation phase. I’ve decided to commit as much as possible to a baby moon because it makes sense to me. What will my baby moon look like? Now, I’m not going to lock myself in the house for a month – but I’m certainly not making any plans to go far from home. This is a time of healing, bonding, sacred transformation and new beginnings. I feel so excited to be experiencing all of this and I feel quite passionate about honouring this journey. There will be a lot of this: Sleeping and more sleeping – as much as possible I will rest. Reading books, studying, writing (all the things I love to do) can wait. Eating nourishing foods – and letting my family and partner look after the cooking who are already cooking up stocks and stews for the freezer. Bonding with baby – lots of holding, touching, baby massage! Walks outside in the sunshine. Letting other people help – accepting whatever angels come my way and saying YES to their offers of support. There won’t be a lot of this: Cleaning and doing chores – again, traditionally women gathered around new mums and took over all this stuff letting the mama and bub do the precious work they need to do! Women were treated as precious and sacred vessels where their health and emotional wellbeing is a priority and the bub’s too! Round the clock visitors – as much as I’ll want to see people, I’ll be honouring this sacred time with my baby and husband by ensuring that visitors are spread out and don’t become too overwhelming. Working! An easy thing to do when your office is in your home and you coach via Skype. I’m going to take a step back from blogging + writing my newsletter for that month. Socialising – I’m not putting pressure on myself to be one of those mums that is already ‘out there’… for some this might work for them. But for me, someone that naturally enjoys alone time, I’m going to savour the chance to pull back and NOT be superwoman. It’s only a month and it’s an important month at that. ++ The human body is incredible. Everyday I marvel at the miracle of my […] Read more

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: How to host a blessingway

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: How to host a blessingway

Posted January 28, 2015

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: How to host a blessingway I’m not that into experiences like Kitchen Teas, Baby showers and the like. My husband and I didn’t throw an engagement party and I was a little unnerved by the whole Hen’s night (which ended up being an incredible experience). I am however, really into experiences that are sacred, respectful and honour the depth of meaning behind the celebration. Which is why I wanted to have a baby shower with a difference – with a blessing. A couple of years ago I helped host the blessing ceremony at a very good friends shower, and having been invited to another Blessingway I was certain that I wanted something similar for my own experience. What is the difference between a Baby Shower and a Blessingway? Firstly, both experiences are about celebration and a coming together of women. However, a Blessingway, which is born from the traditional Americian-Indian (Navajo) culture, is about honouring the mama-to-be and her transition into motherhood. It is also a way to honour the unborn baby as well. Without sounding wanky, it’s a more spiritually minded experience. A baby shower is a more Western celebration that is designed to ‘shower’ the mum and baby with gifts to prepare for the birth, which I believe became popular in the 40s and 50s. BOTH have their place and I can truly see the benefit in a baby shower – receiving gifts from friends for the baby is such a help. For me though, that wasn’t the priority. And I’m also not keen on the ‘games’ that are usually played at Baby Showers. No judgment, but I personally find them a little tedious. How to host a blessingway This is an incredibly personal experience so there are no rules or strict guidelines. What I can do is share what we did and perhaps that will help you come up with your own Blessingway experience. I was so blessed to have one of my oldest friends offer her (newly renovated!) home for our Blessingway. The space was divine, open and spacious. Another friend – my Reiki Healer and beloved soul sister – offered to host the blessing ceremonies. After researching Blessingway Ceremonies there were a few elements I knew I wanted to incorporate: 1. The sharing of food We asked each guest to bring a plate of healthy food. This not only made it easier for my host but it also meant that when we sat down to eat you could really feel the love. Each plate of food was literally buzzing with consciousness. I can’t begin to describe the joy in ‘breaking bread’ with my soul sisters, knowing that our food was high vibe, healthy and stupidly delicious! 2. Meditation + Blessing Opening the ceremony – we were all sat in a circle around a little altar – with a mini meditation and a blessing to me, the baby and each woman holding the space brought on the water works! I was crying within the first minute and I know many of my friends were too. It set the scene, it felt sacred and it simply soulful. 3. The Red String Blessing One long piece of red string was looped around the left wrist of each woman present. As this was done, each of my soul sisters (my mother and sister included) offered up a piece of wisdom and advice to me. And yes, tears were shed. My heart literally exploded out of my chest. My soul stretched out with delight. Words were shared such as “You already know everything you need to know” and “Savour eery single moment” and “I can’t wait to meet your soul baby”… ahh, it still gives me tingles when I think back to how held, loved and supported I felt 4. Prayer Flags I sourced online a kit to create our own prayer flags. I decided that I wanted my beautiful soulies to get creative with me and make a prayer flag each. These featured words of advice, drawings, and messages of love. They are all strung up and ready to be hung in the birthing room – whenever our baby decides to enter this world. I’e also had my nieces create a prayer flag as well. And I know that mid-labour as I look up at these messages I will either smile, laugh or cry… but either way, these prayers will bolster me, encourage me, keep me on track and lovingly call in this beautiful soul-baby. 5. Pampering + adornment Now, I won’t lie, this was my friend’s idea and one I was a little uncomfortable with at first (still have some work to do on ‘receiving’) but in the end, getting a shoulder rub and hand massage from my friends DELICIOUS! At 35 weeks pregnant any form of ‘care’ feels like being wrapped in the biggest embrace. I was also crowned with a stunning flower headpiece and my hand painted with henna. ++ Despite the heatwave, I had the most joyful, sacred and memorable experience. I’m so grateful to each woman that was there who held the space with their love and gave so much from their heart! Hosting a blessingway doesn’t have to be difficult or overly ‘spiritual’ or even fussy. Sacred can still be casual, relaxed and effortless. As mine was! And you might like to combine it with the most common ‘Baby Shower’ – throwing in a few baby-games or even doing a gift registry if that’s what you are after. Your turn: Have you had a blessingway before? Are you interested in doing this for yourself? love + light, Claire Read more

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: Eating your own placenta

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: Eating your own placenta

Posted January 20, 2015

The Pregnancy Wellness Guide: Part #7 – Eating Your Own Placenta Did that title grab your attention? Have you already heard of (and perhaps chosen to) consume your own placenta? Or is this so foreign and totally whack that you don’t even want to read on!? Well, surprisingly consuming your own placenta has become alot more palatable over the last few years. And yes, PUN intended. It is now becoming more popular and common to ‘eat’ your own placenta… and it’s now much easier to do. You’re probably not surprised to hear that this is something I hae chosen to do… but before you freak out I won’t be cooking up my placenta with some diced onion and garlic. I’ll be encapsulating it and taking it daily, post birth. Rather than me pretend to be the ‘placenta’ expert I’ve called on Erika Elliot from MotherBirth to do some explaining for you! Firstly let me introduce Erika. Erika Elliott began her professional life as a birthworker in 2005 when she founded MotherBirth.  The MotherBirth service provides loving support, contemporary knowledge, traditional wisdom and a decade of experience supporting Sydney’s birthing community. Erika is dedicated to supporting families as they find their way during pregnancy and birth. Erika is a mother, doula & childbirth educator offering calmbirthⓇ weekends and Birthing from WithinTM classes. Her qualifications also include prenatal massage therapy, birth photography, post natal doula support, birth story healing and placenta encapsulation. I was lucky enough to ask Erika a few questions on Placenta Consumption that I hope will really help you understand WHY this is such an important health practice and something that I can’t wait to try. Obviously I’m completely new to this too, so I will provide an update in the post-partum months of my experience, but I figure there is no harm (considering I grew the placenta in the first place!) Why do you recommend women ‘consume’ their placenta? What are some of the benefits (mental, emotional, physical?) Firstly, I would like to say that nothing benefits a new mother more than continued one on one support at home as she recovers from labour and birth and as she begins to integrate all that is required of her as a primary carer of new life.  Unfortunately, in our culture, most of the time this is not possible as family may not be close by or the art of caring for the mother as she cares for her baby is not in the familial tradition. When this continued one on one care is not possible, or even if it is, the placenta capsules are a way of powerfully boosting the new Mothers’ system as she turns her attention to the tasks at hand. “Baby blues” is a common occurrence –80% of mothers experience it in the first days and weeks after giving birth. Because it is so common, nothing is typically done about it until it may worsen into a diagnosis of postpartum depression, at which time anti-depressants may be prescribed. Antidepressants, like almost all drugs, are passed to the baby through breast milk, and mothers who don’t want to expose their babies to these medications are often faced with the decision to either stop breastfeeding or struggle with depression. Women suffer through the baby blues almost as a rite of passage to motherhood – but it doesn’t have to be this way. Placenta consumption has been reported for decades to help stop the baby blues and diminish postpartum fatigue. Some women have cooked the placenta in a stew, mixed it into a smoothie, or even taken it raw to tap  into its powerful effects. For many who feel squeamish about this or want to reap the benefits of  their placenta for more than just a day or two, there is another option; encapsulation. What is Placenta Encapsulation and what can it provide? Placenta encapsulation is the transformation of a nutrient dense organ into powerful, palatable food as medicine for post pregnancy and birth recovery. Powdered placenta has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for  centuries. In the early postpartum period, placenta capsules can provide: Faster milk production due to the high levels ofhormones including prolactin Shorter postpartum bleeding due to oxytocin and urokinase inhibiting factor and factor XIII Energy boosts thanks to the high iron content A sense of well being from the natural progesterone and cortisone content A possible reduction in or total elimination of post partum depression due to the many hormones at play but specifically the corticotropin-releasing hormone which drops significantly after the birth of the placenta Reduction of pain due to oxytocin which has an opioid like effect Historically, have human beings ever consumed their placenta? Is this a lost tradition or a relatively new one? We have no evidence of women consuming dehydrated, encapsulated placenta historically, but there is documentation of women consuming their placenta raw, immediately after birth, or cooking it and eating it as a meal.  I believe this form of encapsulating pure placenta is a relatively new one which is growing in popularity incredibly quickly.  I have been encapsulating for just over 4 years now, and this part of my business is one of the busiest! Have their been any tests/studies to prove the validity of this practice? There is no evidence based, scientific study out yet, although I have read that the results of one study are due out around May 2015.  As with all things, science and evidence based information can be helpful, but we are also at will to connect with our intuition and turn our attention to other mammals and what they do with their placentas.  For me, the evidence lies with the Mothers’ I work with. Do you find that most hospitals/birthing centres are willing to help with proper care/handling of the placenta? Yes, absolutely.  I also provide the couple with a sheet of information for themselves and their caregivers as to how the placenta needs to be handled immediately after birth so it is […] Read more


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