14 Sacred Practices to Start the New Year Deeply Nourished

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#1 - Create a sacred space/power place/altar just for you

The first invitation is to create a sacred space, power place or altar just for you to honor the transition of this New Year.In this instance I invite you to think of yourself as an energetic architect. Altars can be anything from simple and poignant to highly elaborate and breathtaking. They are a great way to access your inner truth and where you are authentically in the moment. The type of altar you choose to create will depend in your core anchor and intention. Consider what are you trying to evoke with your altar. The elements? The Divine Feminine? The Spirit of Water? Think of your altar as a power center and focal point of your sacred circle and intention, even if it’s not in the center of the room. You could add fabrics that call to you, shells, candles, crystals, photos, sculptures, fresh flowers, or the elements. What elements would most greatly serve the energies you are evoking? Will you orient your altar to one of the four directions? You can also create specific altars for ancestors, certain Goddesses or Divine representatives or anything else that you want to highlight & honor. Whatever you choose to do, do it with great reverence & respect! Remember too that this is about nourishing yourself.  Know that there’s no way you can do it wrong. As long as it feels good in your body you know your doing it right, just like we like to say in Qoya movement!

#2 - Practice the Sacred Slow Down

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So often we're rushing through our lives and unable to truly take the time to honor the people, situations, nature & things that come across our path. We don’t slow down often enough to honor the sacredness and Divinity before us that exits in the Web of All Life.

That’s why I created The Sacred Slow Down Practice. It’s one of my favorite ways to stay grounded, nourished and close to what is most sacred. It’s a simple practice I developed to be able to step into reverence at any moment and tap into ancient wisdom (originally inspired by my sister Melissa Bee @whispersfromthebee.)

This second invitation is to do the Sacred Slow Down Practice! Watch the video of it on the vlog (link in bio for the vlog and to join us for the challenge!)

I personally take a weekly sabbath where I go electronics free to help me slow down, connect into what is most sacred and go into silence. It is here in empty presence where such treasure lies. It’s a bit counter intuitive...since you have to turn your phone off to complete this one!! But your bliss-full face on the other side of it would be spectacular.

#3 - Make a sacred gratitude offering to Mother Earth

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The world is clearly crying out for a great homecoming -- a HOLY homecoming back to the land, our bodies, our sovereignty and the he(art) of what matters most. It’s time we re-member who we truly are and why we’re here, Beloved, so we can end the cycles of abuse on ourselves, our children, and future generations to come. Reconnection to the Divine and sacred feminine is especially needed at this time.

One of the ways that I love to RECONNECT is by making offerings to the Earth: to say thank you, to give back, to honor and revere this beautiful home we live on. She, Gaia, gives to us constantly to help sustain and support all life, from food to water to phytochemicals. I also love working with crystals since they are literally a part of the Mother’s body (which is also why we must utilize them sparingly and with great consciousness about how they are sourced and mined). Holding this Earth in crystalline light form allows us to connect directly to her grounding energy, light matrix and deep sustenance. Crystals also happen to make an ideal Gratitude offering.

The third invitation is to make a gratitude offering to Mother Earth. I recommend blowing your prayers, gratitudes and intentions into a crystal if you have one available and then placing it reverently in a spot where you feel called. If not, any natural item will do (shells, feathers, stones, etc.). If you were able to do The Sacred Slow Down Practice from the challenge yesterday, I recommend combining the two for a powerful effect.

Join us for SISTERHIVE® and learn practical tools & sacred practices to stay grounded, centered and deeply nourished during 2019!

#4 - Practice Shamanic Nourishment (aka eat something green and alive at every meal)

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I wanted to do a ‘food’ practice since the holiday can classically be a time fraught with drama for those of us who have had any issues with food or body weight. I know I sure have. For over 30 years of my life I had NO IDEA what nourishment even was, and I was in an incredibly tortuous relationship with food and sustenance. I internalized the violence of the world and turned it against myself, gaining and losing over 1300 pounds in my lifetime before I embarked on a (r)evolutionary healing journey over five years ago that transformed my life and relationship to eating and overall nourishment forever.  I now tend to the body as a living temple and purify my sacred vessel for what wants to be birthed through me so I can fully channel my cosmic and Divine light & unique #SOULSPARKLE.

Shamanic Nourishment is a term that I’ve created to refer to how I eat and interact with all LIFE giving sustenance. It’s similar to Paleo, but really it’s simply a way of eating close to the Earth and allowing myself to be fed deeply by my original mother. It’s treating all sustenance as sacred, first and foremost, and as a gift to be grateful for.

It’s releasing processed foods, things filled with chemicals, and ingredients you can’t pronounce, and instead sticking to things that have fewer than five ingredients ... eating simply and allowing the natural flavors, essence and medicine of the plants and vegetables and herbs to come through. It’s connecting with the energy and the pure life force in the food, eating things that are fresh, organic, wild (when accessible), and local to stay as close to the land you live on. Even growing your own food (when possible) to be a steward to the cyclical process of life, death and rebirth over the seasons. I also include something green and raw at every meal! Even in my breakfast smoothies. Avocado and spinach often have a starring role along with spirulina.

I was also greatly inspired by the groundbreaking work of Alisa Vitti and @floliving. More on that in SISTERHIVE®!!

#5 - Practice Earthing Barefoot

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Since I live in the urban jungle of NYC, it can be more challenging to connect with the direct energy and magnetic field of the Earth because of all the concrete and asphalt. When you add on the thick rubber soles of our shoes, most of us, regardless of where we live, are disconnected from Her inherent healing and regenerative capacities.

Along my (r)evolutionary healing journey I learned about EARTHING, however. It’s the simple act of connecting your bare feet or your flesh directly to Mother Earth. It helps to lower inflammation, balance the electromagnetic energy field in your body, release tension and stress, and bring you into a state of peaceful calm. It can even help reduce anxiety. We can also consciously discharge energy that is no longer serving us directly into the soil, so it can be composted by the Mother.  

Overall, connecting to the Earth’s natural energy is not only super grounding and deeply nourishing, but it’s also essential to be able to THRIVE! This fifth invitation is to practice Earthing barefoot. Even if it’s cold where you are, I encourage you to take the time today to go barefoot – even if just for a minute – to connect with the Earth’s energy directly. Treat it as an experiment and see if it works to enhance how you feel in YOUR body, and to calm your mind. Especially since we’re still in the thick of holiday season, I’m sure you could use some relaxation right about now!

Our theme for this year is also ROOT to RISE, so I invite you to focus on visualizing roots growing down from the bottoms of your feet deep into the rich soil, mud, grass or rock. Feel yourself really being restored by the unconditionally loving embrace and support of our Original Mother.

#6 - Take a salt bath to cleanse from the holidays and make way for the New Year

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I have very few non-negotiables in terms of moving into a home sanctuary, but one of them is that there must be a bathtub! Being that I am a Scorpio and have such a great deal of water energy in my birth chart, I need to be able to immerse myself in bodies of water on a regular basis – including the ocean, lakes, and my own bathtub! And if you don’t have a tub, using salts in the show works too or simply jumping in the ocean!

Taking salt baths, in particular, has all sorts of powerful and nourishing benefits and cleansing effects. I especially love to imagine that when the water and salt are going down the drain afterwards, everything that no longer serves me is being released in a way that is gentle, kind, and peaceful.

Water, as one of the Earth’s main elements, is a powerful transformer. Just as fire is. They are just very different energies in their ability to help us release and let go: calm and gentle vs. quick and powerful. In this 6th invitation, I ask you, “what is it that needs to be released from 2018 before you step into this New Year? What can you shed into the bathtub as a snake sheds its skin? What can you let go of into the water’s cleansing and transmuting capacities?”

Epsom salts are great for sore muscles, but Dead Sea salts or pink Himalayan salt work as well! As a bonus, I invite you to add some essential oils to breathe in the aroma. You could also use some fresh herbs as well or rose petals. White is a very purifying and cleansing color, so white roses would be a beautiful addition if it feels resonant in your body!

#7 - Move with wild abandon like no one’s watching!

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You may not know this about me, but I’ve ALWAYS been a dancer. I started with jazz and tap when I was little and morphed into a high femme raver in high school.  From there, I formed a college Improv dance troupe that performed as part of my architecture thesis, which in turn led to my becoming a NYC Electroclash nightlife dancer, a Zumba enthusiast, and more recently a Daybreaker party crasher. And of course, I still love shaking my ass at home in front of the mirror!

Regardless the form, dance has always been there, in some way, keeping my body moving and reminding me of who I am -- whether it was pulsing to the rhythmic beat of the house music speakers late into the night or dancing salsa at a Latin club. And now I’m deeply honored to be a @Qoya.Love movement teacher. It’s founded by the magical @RochelleSchieck on the idea that through movement we remember: we remember we’re WISE, WILD & FREE. It’s the ultimate movement form that has finally brought me back home to my body and connected me firmly to my inner truth. It’s also one of the most nourishing practices in my sacred toolkit, and I can’t wait to share it with you in SISTERHIVE®!

Why do I love Qoya? It’s movement with meaning, dance as a form of prayer. It’s profound ritual and sacred space. It’s deep diving into our truth and letting out our authentic expression through the body. It’s beloved community and healing, and most of all it’s an extremely practical and grounding embodiment practice for these troubling times. The best part is, there is no way you can do it wrong, and the way you know you’re doing it right is that it feels good. There’s also a low barrier to entry, meaning no experience is necessary.

Our 7th invitation is to put on your favorite high energy song and do a FREE DANCE with wild abandon … like nobody’s watching. Allow your fullest expression and #SOULSPARKLE to come forward. In SISTERHIVE® you’ll receive a full Qoya movement class video each month and lots of bonus playlists too.

#8 - Connect with an animal spirit guide or animal medicine

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Our 8th invitation is to connect with a power animal. Animal medicine is a powerful way to tap into archetypal energies available to us. They can help to inform us of valuable insights on our journey, give us strength and courage, and help us overall to live more into our (r)evolutionary potential. My Druid ancestors were deeply connected to animals and their spiritual meaning and significance. This is one of the reasons I’ve carried this ancient lineage into my work today. It’s also a powerful reminder of how connected we are to the Web of All Life since our medicine teachers always arrive when we need them the most – or when the student is ready ;)

Some of the animals that travel with me always are eagle, snake, butterfly, bee, dolphin and dragon. Recently a new animal has been coming into my field, the Black Panther. It has been invaluable to me to imbibe its medicine & power at this time, which includes: astral travel, the feminine and lunar energies, death and rebirth cycles, reclaiming one’s innate power, ability to know the dark, guardian energy, passion and invitation to express one’s sexuality fully. This is just a brief list of all that is available as inspiration for my own journey at this time.

So I ask you, Beloved, what animals have been coming to you over and over, either on this plane, in your dreams, or through imagery for you at this time?

#9 - Go within and retreat for a conscious New Year

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We are starved for depth, meaning and purpose in our consumer-obsessed culture. We have a hard time discerning what would truly bring us happiness with all the marketing and advertising that is literally designed to trick us. Because of this, I like to begin the New Year by getting clear about what I most want to accomplish this year and what can propel me towards a life I would LOVE to be living. That’s why we gathered on 12/30 in sacred circle for our annual RISE & SHINE New Year’s Retreat: to hear the whispers of our souls and tap into our deepest heart longings. You can get an instant download HERE.

Our 9th invitation is also to go within and retreat for a conscious New Year, because the turning of the year is the ideal time for gathering and reflecting on what is most important to you.

Each year in sacred sisterhood we pull divination cards, dance, meditate, engage in depth inquiry and focus overall on how we want to feel in the coming year. We do release rituals to let go of what no longer serves us from the previous year and prepare to step through the portal of 2019 in our full power. We set intentions for all that we want to call in for the New Year. We ponder what adventures we want to take, what personal development opportunities we want to delight in, and how we want to deeply connect with those that we hold nearest and dearest. We ask "what can we give?", focusing in on how we can bring more LOVE to the world and deliver greater value and service, instead of asking "what can we get?" as our consumer culture encourages us to do.

Because we are at a crucial point in human history, ALL of our deep gifts are needed to help gracefully usher humanity into the next century and beyond. The world truly is experiencing a global awakening. We are on a threshold now, going through a spiritual test that will help us bloom through into the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible: a kinder, braver and more just world where everyone’s basic human rights and dignity are respected and upheld. Join us in SISTERHIVE to be deeply supported in bringing your unique gifts and #SOULSPARKLE to the world!

#10 - Do a Space Clearing

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Our 10th invitation is to do a space clearing! Space clearing rituals have been one of the most powerful ways I’ve been able to bring healing and transformation into my life over the last decade. The turn of the year is an especially powerful time to clear your home, office, car and life of energies that are no longer serving you from 2018. Many things work to help clear or move stagnant energies: burning a bundle of sacred plant medicine like sage, using sound bowls, ringing bells, clapping loudly, and proclaiming “BE GONE!” Move all around the perimeter of your space and be sure to get inside the closet, drawers and other enclosed areas. I also love to clear the energy from my body, often using SHAKING as we do in Qoya. We’ll be going deeper into this in SISTERHIVE® as well as learning to cut unhealthy energetic cords– plus you’ll receive lots of powerful and simple sacred practices to be deeply nourished in 2019!

#11 - Make some Expressive Art

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Sacred Art refers both to my spiritual teaching in the world and what I create with my artworks, or what I like to call he(art) works. I deeply believe that we are all artists and creators, in charge of the greatest masterpiece on earth: our LIVES. We’re co-creating each day, all in service to the Great Cosmic Masterpiece and this dance of life of which we’re all a part. The life we are living in this very moment is the true work of Sacred Art. You also have the potential to make it a living prayer.

Your life is your canvas -- and it's your responsibility to make it a masterpiece for the good of all. What I’m referring to when I use the word masterpiece is really reaching your peak human potential in this lifetime. It’s embodying your full artistry in every moment and continually stretching and growing into the fullness of who you're meant to be in the world. It's doing all you can to unleash your authentic soul expression so you can Sparkle SHAMELESSLY® in service to all those who need you most, and to Life itself. It’s time to deliver your deepest gifts to meet the world’s deepest needs.

I also believe in the power of artmaking itself, especially mixed media visual art & collage, as a form of prayer, deep healing, & communion with the Divine. That’s why I refer to my art as He(art).  It’s accessing an endless well of colorful textured language from the mysterious realm of the soul. Each sacred offering is a clue to the truth of who we are, leading us closer to ourselves and why we’re here at this time. It’s an opportunity for us to take an individual journey into our inner landscapes, bringing forth our deepest expressions of wholeness and the embodied truth felt deep in our bones. It’s welcoming all parts of ourselves home, surrendering to the mystery, and safely entering into the darkness and the shadow. It’s merging spirit and earth through creation. For every creation is inscribed with the creator, including each and every one of us.

Our 11th invitation is to create your own oracle or divination card. Collage is a great place to start if you have some magazines on hand. Also, you could use paints, crayons, markers or whatever is available to you. Even just a pen or pencil works. As an inspiration for your card, sit in the deep inquiry of “What wants to be birthed through me in 2019?”

#12 - Write a love letter to a sister & send it to her

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We could all stand to give more love, receive more love, open to more love, cultivate more love, and be the presence of love itself in the world – walking the path of LOVE in all we do. What we need is a new bottom line of love. Our 12th invitation is to send a mini love letter to a sister in the comments below and tag her.

We are radiant divine beings who often forget that fact. We all need reminders and reflections of our brilliance and innate #SOULSPARKLE. We all could use a pick me up to remind us of who we truly are. Share some love today with a sister who has held you and helped you to be more of who you truly are in the world.

#13 - Decorate your scale

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We are living in an age of separation from self, sisterhood and the earth.  There is an epidemic of deep soul loss & malnourishment. Today, individuals are disconnected from their bodies and their essence, suppressed from reaching their full (r)evolutionary potential by patriarchal structures such as the dieting industry, fashion magazine culture, and the media—keeping them weak and stuck in a feedback loop of “I’m not good enough, attractive enough, thin enough, strong enough, powerful enough to do, x, y, z (insert here: start that business, find true love, write my book, follow my dreams...).”

I know because I was one of those disconnected & deeply malnourished souls. These harmful narratives are inextricably embedded in our culture, teaching us to hate and doubt ourselves instead of encouraging us to know that we are precious Divine Beings possessing unique medicine & the innate #SOULSPARKLE that’s needed now.

Along with my tortuous relationship with food, I also had a difficult time with the scale. When I begin to transform my relationship with my body, I ditched dieting for good and privileged DEEP NOURISHMENT instead. This picture shows how I chose to honor and celebrate this massive paradigm shift in my life. I decorated my scale so that each time I see it it brings me great joy and delight. I’ve inspired many women to do the same and I encourage you to do so too! And if you don’t have a scale, just write a little love note to yourself to put on your bathroom mirror, to remind you of your innate #SOULSPARKLE.

I invite you to focus on the heart of what matters most of this year instead of getting caught up in unattainable beauty standards set by the patriarchal system we live in – the ones that promote overt and covert violence against the body instead of honoring and revering women and their bodies as the creators of all new life. You can read more about this in my chapter in the Sacred Body Wisdom book by Flower of Life Press that comes out on January 21! Be sure to get on the list so you don’t miss the release! https://www.lainielovedalby.com

#14 - Do a labyrinth ( & join us for a live one)

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One of the most powerful practices for me in my spiritual journey has been doing spiral labyrinths. They help to literally spiral me into the core of my being, into my deepest truths and inner heart knowing. They help me to come home to myself and to the Earth as I bow down on my knees to Her in the center. Spiral labyrinths are a beautiful portal to the unseen realms and divine transmissions. They are where I have received some of my greatest insights and most beautiful gifts – including the message from the Great Mother herself to begin to work with Bee medicine over a year and a half ago, which led to the birth of SISTERHIVE® on the winter solstice! There’s more on that BELOW!

The spiral is also a deeply ancient symbol that is connected to my ancestors. We’ll be talking a lot more about that in SISTERHIVE® !

You don’t need anything fancy to create a labyrinth either. Your intention and the reverence you bring to it is everything. That applies to all ritual, really. As long as it resonates in your heart and your body, it will be powerful for YOU. That’s what matters most. Just like in Qoya movement, you know you’re doing it right when it feels good. There’s no way that you can do it wrong. It can simply be a piece of yarn that you create a spiral with on your living room floor. You could also choose to create one outside with stones or crystals or even leaves. You could even create one in the snow by digging out a path. But if you do have the opportunity to walk a sacred labyrinth that’s located in an ancient and holy in a church or other setting, I highly recommend the experience!

#15 - BONUS!! Join us for a New Moon Intention Setting Ritual Jan. 5th!

We’ll be doing a Virtual New Year’s seed planting intention ritual TOMORROW, including a powerful labyrinth experience as well as a Q&A for SISTERHIVE® . We’ll be creating a safe & sacred space to slow down and spiral within so that you can listen deeply to your intuition, commune with your soul voice, root into your body’s wisdom, and connect to Source Creativity.