There are certain lessons that I continue to learn

I am on lake today, in a beautiful old home that's been lovingly, simply restored. I love old things that are cared for and valued. I am with my family and friends and extended family. I am surrounded by trees and water.

Did you know that the trees around a lake are there to act as a filter? Nature is so smart and true.

I sat round a table laughing and sharing with my husband and some dear friends; the children were hanging out and the conversation we were having was peppered with giggles from the children and from the grown ups.

There have been moments on this part of my summer that didn't go quite as planned. There were moments of stress or meltdowns... but still, I work on myself.

I work on myself with care attention and fierce grace. I want to be awake. I want to be true. I don't need to be right. I lean on teachers and I meditate daily. I have good friends who offer themselves to me in such grace and generosity that I'm in awe that I brought this into my life.

In the middle of a stressful moment of our vacation, I walked my talk, and I was reminded why we do the work.

We do the work so that when the shit hits that fan, we can keep steady. The saying, "There is a way through every block" has been living in me ... it's gone from something I read to art on my wall. A constant reminder to a way of life oozing from within me.

there is  way through every block....

I bow to my teachers.
I bow to life for  showing me where there is work still to do
Gently, fiercely, I walk through the days of my life laughing and crying and being all that I am: imperfectly perfect. 

I will face this life with my heart open.  

There are certain lessons that I continue to learn over and over again. Lessons on trust, connection, and letting go. It almost sounds cliche to write that down. (Again). But this is the dance I do that heals and transforms me and my life.

This summer has been filled with work, family, and creativity, and it has nourished me in so many ways. Just walking through NYC, a city that is alive in a way I have never felt anywhere else, does something to my spirit.

I have deepened friendships in during my time here in NYC, and I’ve found the community I’ve been craving. I took a Reiki class from my dear friend Malin … I always knew my hands could heal, and this helped me put it into action. I have made friends with so many people in my neighborhood here in NYC that it will be hard to go back to Los Angeles when I complete this job.

I moved to LA 25 years ago this week. At the time, I had a dream in my heart and few bucks in my pocket. I had no idea how I was going to become an actor, but my dream and my will were so strong, I knew it would happen. I also knew if I didn't try, I'd always regret it. I'm a wee bit reminiscent today thinking of that young girl and her brave heart, and as I head into my 50th year of life, I marvel at the life I have led. The gratitude I have is huge.

I am grateful for this life.
For the trees.
For the tea in my hand.
The honey that sweetens it.
For the clothes on my body.
My sweet mother and my lineage.
My brother and his family.
And my dad.

I'm am grateful for this breath.
And the this breath and this one, too.
I am grateful for my husband.
My children.
My friends and co-workers.
And the animals and plants that are constant reminders to me of the sacredness of this world.

I am grateful to my teachers:
Steven
Owen
Kaden and Frances
And Guru Singh and Paramatma Siri Sadhana.

I am grateful for the women I lean on and I am grateful that I have the wisdom to see the power in being there for them. Gratitude is one of my favorite tools::

I opened my journal today to this:
If every moment opens to something new
"Who will I be?"
Can I breathe into this moment
Fully
Simply
Can I see who is in front of me?
Can I see who I'm with?
Can I notice the gold in the fray of my life?
The pop music on my phone instead of mantra, DJ'd by my 8-year-old ...
I chose to see the magic here.
I choose to surrender.
I let go.
I choose connection.
And instead of wishing for something else,
I can dance with my daughter
I can see her.
 

And because of that
I can truly see me:::

Love,
Carrie-Anne


Self Care is a Daily Practice

How do we make the most of our time as women? Many of us are feeling stretched thin, yet when we are granted a little time to ourselves, we hardly know where to begin. Should we clean the kitchen? Get to work on that lingering creative project? Do nothing? Bathe? Flop face down on the bed and nap?

The art of self care may seem simple, but it isn't always easy. This is one thing we talk about constantly inside the Annapurna Living Inner Circle. Here's a little clip from a call where a woman asked for advice on how to make the most of a 2 week break between jobs. Perhaps you'll find this valuable as well. x

Love,
Carrie-Anne


Do you like this video? Join me in the Inner Circle for more conversations like this. The Inner Circle is a self care collective where myself and hundreds of women like you work together to uplift, inspire, and create the lives we crave. August Inner Circle begins tomorrow! Click here to join. 


Banner photo by Denise Andrade-Kroon

Vibrate the Cosmos

"Mantras are not small things, mantras have power. They are the mind vibration in relationship to the Cosmos. The science of mantra is based on the knowledge that sound is a form of energy having structure, power, and a definite predictable effect on the chakras and the human psyche."
~ Yogi Bhajan

The day has started off with tension. My shoulders ache a familiar ache and it takes me a little while to leave my comfy bed. There are lunches to make, breakfasts to pull together, things to remember that I forgot to write down. There is water to drink and vitamins to take, and so many things to make sure I am healthy and strong.

With bare feet I step into the kitchen and slowly begin to shift my energy. First, I turn up the music that has been playing quietly all night on our little kitchen speakers. I let the vibration of the music soothe me and fill my cells . I let the music invigorate me. I actually LEAN on the sound.

Michelle Gardella

I remember as a young girl leaving the Rocky movie as The Eye of the Tiger burst through the surround sound at the theater. The song activated my spirit and body. In that moment, I felt like I could do anything. Such is the power of music and sound.

I meditate using mantra. Mantra is the use of words or sounds to create a certain consciousness. In using mantra, I am creating a vibration within my body and my mind. As I use the mantra, I'm replacing the to-do list, the worry, and the stress with sound and the vibration of that sound. That sound pierces through the old thoughts and the stories that have the tendency to run amok. The more consistent I am with sitting and closing my eyes and meditating, the more I'm able to move through my life with clarity and calm. Even the stress feels easier.

Life is going to bring all sorts of things—beautiful amazing things; stressful hard things...you know the drill. The reality is that there is very little we have control over. Even the temperature of the oven at times can go rogue, and turn a roasting session into a disappointment. However, my attitude is one of the only things I do have control over. And so, I lean on sound and music. I lean on meditation and mantra. I lean on the vibration of these things to support me. In the order of self care, this is at the top for me. It’s what I reach for first when I feel that I need something. Just as I reach for water when I’m thirsty, I reach for sound to hydrate my soul and to soothe my heart and focus my mind.

One of the sutras of the Aquarian age is, "Vibrate the cosmos and the cosmos shall clear the way." And this is how I do it. With music. With mantra. With meditation. With sound. Mantras are living teachers. 

Mantra and sound are medicine, and I personally have found many different remedies here. Eye of the Tiger was the sound of fierce determination, and it inspired my to my core. For years, I leaned on that sound when I felt weary or uninspired. We all have songs that lift us up or make room for the tears that need to be shed. Some songs help us through a hard time, and then later, we don’t want to listen to it any more, or ever again. We’re done with that vibration. Some songs will always remind us of someone we loved once, or of a moment when we felt free and on top of the world. This is what it means to vibrate the cosmos. It means to use the sound. With our own words and mantra, we can turn a situation around. Try quietly whispering “I forgive you, I love you, I forgive you, I love you,” to yourself when someone you love is driving you crazy. It changes the way you feel, wait and see. Much sooner than you thought, you’re back in the real place of loving them and forgiving them, the resistance will fall away.

And you know, you might walk into my kitchen and feel taken care of. Perhaps it’s the tea I make you, or maybe it’s just the sheer act of sitting down and taking your weight off your feet. Possibly it’s the fruit you eat from my table, or the honey on the toasted bread. But truth be told, I know it’s just the music in the space. It’s working it’s magic, and it’s clearing the way.

Love,
Carrie-Anne


Our theme for August in the Annapurna Living Inner Circle is Vibrate the Cosmos. Join us today!


What will it take for me to love my body?

I remember what it was like to be a kid, unaware of my body, free from the intellectual, examining relationship to it. Before I considered it in comparison to other bodies. Before I worried about what other people said or thought of it. Back when it was pure function and joy, a vessel for movement, love and freedom, and still deeply connected to a primal state of being.

At some point, we leave that innocent place and we become suddenly aware of the imperfection of our bodies. I remember being a teenager, my hips suddenly expanding, and other kids (especially boys) teasing me. I probably wouldn't have even noticed the change in my body if it weren't for others pointing it out.

My relationship with my body has not always been kind, to say the least. As a model I remember being ridiculed in Japan for having what seemed a very unusual body. (Yes, my hips again). I remember being told in Spain that they wanted to hire me because it looked like “I ate,” and for a model that was a huge insult (although I did get the job). I’ve been on every diet you can imagine, and to be free of that at this point in my life is a relief. To want to be healthy, to feel strong, and to feel beautiful is really a whole different way to look at my life and at my body.

I remember being at one of my best friend’s weddings. Never had she looked more beautiful, and of course she had worked hard to prepare for her wedding. She created the most beautiful environment for her wedding. Everything was gorgeous. And yet, as she was getting ready, I could feel her judging herself and her body. With all my heart I said, ‘If you can’t see how beautiful you are today, you will never see it’. And I wasn’t  just talking about her  body or her dress. She had worked so hard for this moment, and she had put so much energy into it. I knew that if she stayed in her mind of not feeling good enough (that ultimate distraction, that bad habit we can have to constantly criticize ourselves or wish things were different), she was going to miss the glory of her wedding. And she would miss out on feeling like the true, radiant queen that she was in that moment.

I follow a lot of exercise programs on Instagram and I’m constantly bombarded by women who have transformed their bodies. Sometimes I think it’s amazing and inspiring, and at other times I get really tired of it. I want to be strong and I want to be beautiful, but at what cost? Can I do that and feel in my body and loving towards myself? What if I am already strong and beautiful and I don’t need to transform? I’m not sure how we can discern these things as women.

You see, I want to be an example to my kids of someone who enjoys life and isn’t always in a state of Wishing Things Were Different. If my kids could hear the thoughts in my mind as I look in the mirror ... oh right, they can. They really can. That’s one of the superpowers kids have: knowing all the things we think we are hiding from them. Because of this, I’ve dug deep, reached in, and chosen to heal the part of me that doesn’t want to be anything for anybody else but myself. It’s an ongoing process.

Oh, and I’m turning 50 this summer. Perhaps this is the rite of passage that comes with 50. Maybe that’s what it takes (50 years?!) but i don't want to believe that. Does my daughter really have to go through this? Does it have to take this long for her? Or can she find it sooner? How can I help? Can she live in a world that values her? I believe she can love herself fiercely as she grows but I know not to rely on the world to teach her to value herself. We have to do that as renegades, because it goes against the system. It’s radical, in fact. Insurgent.

And truly the same goes for boys and men: can my boys feel good about themselves? Can they feel masculine enough and still be who they truly are? There’s so much nonsense, isn’t there? There’s so much that really doesn't matter. An entire industry is built on insecurity, self-doubt, fixing, never-attaining. God forbid you’re confidant, feel good about yourself, and don't feel like you need anything outside yourself! If that was true, the beauty industry (and many others) would crumble to the ground.

Listen, I love beauty. I love my essential oils and my elixirs, I love my green drinks and my adaptogens. I love new ways of taking care of my health. But it all comes back down to the same place (a marketing place) that I just can't stand.

And every day we are aging. If you’re 30, you’re "aging," if you’re 40, you’re "aging." And now I’m going to be 50. And finally I feel all of the pressure so much less. Maybe it’s 50, maybe that's what it really takes. I don’t know. But you see, my daughter’s 8. I don't want her to have to wait until she’s 50. So it starts with me, and it starts with you. It starts with really looking at where we put our attention. I danced in the kitchen the other day, tears streaming down my face, pain leaving my body, for a life filled with wishing and wanting to be good enough. I’ve worked through a lot of that—I didn’t even know there was any left—but as I danced away the last pieces, I wept.

For sadness.

For relief.

I wept for all the women who had come before me, and for the men. I wept for the future. I want to live in a world where women are valued and men are valued, children are valued, humanity is valued, the elderly are valued, family is valued, nature is valued, connection is valued. And it starts with me.

And so now as I step over yet another threshold, crossing the line into 50, through this door I bring (as always) grace. I bring fierceness and strength. I bring all that I’ve learned, all that I’ve lost, all that I’ve gained. I bring with me truth and knowing, and I bring with me what it really feels like to know beauty on the inside, rather than just the outside. I bring with me the map of confidence, of being truly myself, of loving my family more than I ever thought possible. I bring it all with me because now it’s all who I am, there’s no separating it. And with each step, I’ll offer what I can to my daughter and her friends—these children with their lithe limbs and playful dancing—as they move through a world that snapshots their every move, asking them to be more and more beautiful, beautiful enough to be #trending or liked.

This moment in history, like so many others, demands an unforgiving feminine strength. One that sings only truth, the truth that hurts and illuminates. And I am here to give them that. Because now I’ve been through it, and I’ve come out the other side, and I’m still here, and the view is vast and clear.

Love,
Carrie-Anne


Our theme this month at Annapurna Living is Softness. Want to go even deeper into it? Join the Annapurna Living Inner Circle where Carrie-Anne shares personal thoughts and conversations. Want to submit a themed story to us? Click here to view our themes and guidelines.

The photo in this post is by Michelle Gardella

 

Donations for Umberdove

My friend Kelly Umberdove is on a difficult journey with her health right now and has reached the limits of western medicine. Many of us are raising funds where we can to help her pay for alternative treatments and self-care options during this very challenging and painful time.

Kelly is an amazing young woman. A true artist and beautiful soul. She has cancer and has been battling this illness for some time. She has used conventional medicine as well as alternative treatments and has been incredibly successful at times. Yet today she needs support. She needs donations to support her healing. If you feel inspired please send even $10 to her. Alternative treatments are sadly not covered on insurance. To donate to Kelly, please send any funds via PayPal directly to her at kclarkstudios@gmail.com

If you don't follow Kelly online, you can head over here to her blog to read about her. Here is an excerpt from her most recent blog post, on March 24:

"Here is what I know to be true this morning: sunshine and meditation may not cure all that ails you, but they certainly offer a gateway to deeply restorative moments of bliss. Homemade sourdough raisin bread, fried in butter in a cast iron pan, tastes like heaven. Spending time with a horse will bring you more solidly into full body presence than anything else I know. The body wants to be asked for its opinions, its desires, and if we learn to listen deep in the belly, it always answers. Your own dog always smells better than anyone else's dog—even when it's been too many weeks since their last bath. When you are caught up in your head, move your feet. And—please hear me loud and clear on this last one—self care is always the right choice."

Please also take a moment to read this post on Instagram for more information and details. Robin Soyala writes, "dear sweet ones near and far, i write at Umberdove's request to update you on her journey over the last few weeks. as you may remember, the Dove tried a treatment over this winter which included a combination of chemotherapy and an experimental new drug. unfortunately that treatment didn’t work as doctors had hoped and it left her with a severely compromised immune system and lingering side effects. the plan once the treatment was suspended was to rest and recover for about six weeks while researching new treatment options.  during that time frame the Dove experienced a deep decline in vitality that honestly we don't have any perfect answers for. the truth, in this moment, is that our Dove is dealing with actively increasing cancer in a few locations and a genuinely depleted system. last weekend her energy faded dramatically and nutrition and hydration IVs were implemented (and continue) to provide immediate support for extreme physical strain.

as one who has borne close witness, i can assure you that throughout this process her spirit and strength have been nothing short of miraculous. if there is a warrior who is known as a beacon of calm and peace, Dove is she. this morning when i had my near daily heart chat with UmberDove, the renewed life force energy emanating from her was palpable - and as one who loves her it felt to me like a much desired deep breath.  one piece of our conversation was her request that i write a few words to update her widest circle of love as to where she has been (though the place is unnamable) and what has been going on (though it is not entirely clear). please know that she is here with us all. that she holds gratitude immeasurable for all you have given in the form of love, support, prayer, light and currency. we are actively calling in continued love and prayer on her behalf. and also, that she is still journeying through the unknown.  at the moment western medicine has very few options to offer and so she leans into the nurturance and grace of alternative treatments - which are not covered by insurance.  we bravely ask you to continue to help us raise funds so that an abundance of currency flows towards her.  these donations provide imperative space for deep rest and restorative alternative medicine treatments.

to be simple: the Dove's day right now is limited to sleep and loving attempts to feed and hydrate her self - which is not always easy. she would never complain as she is a beacon of quiet strength and resilience but i have looked her deep in the eye and seen her humanity as well. she needs us with her in the now…

she is eternally grateful for all that has been given and your continued support in all forms. 
currency donations go directly through PayPal to kclarkstudios@gmail.com. love and prayers go directly to the body, spirit and heart of our Dove."

 

From my heart I thank you.

Love,
Carrie-Anne

 


photo courtesy of umberdove.com