Annapurna Woman: Janae Maslowski

Portrait of the Annapurna Woman is an ongoing series featuring divine women who embody the nurturing spirit of Annapurna Living. Today, we are excited to introduce artist & soul-seer, Janae Maslowski.
Janae Maslowski

Janae Maslowski

HOW DO YOU START YOUR DAY?

This question triggers all things holy/unholy and hard about becoming a mother. I adore the mornings and they haven't been mine for 4 years now. It has been a very difficult process of release. All the beautiful things about quiet and alone have had to be surrendered. The start of my day is now about bodies and needs, not silence; it’s built around holding and responding and rising and helping, not retreat and readying myself for the day. It’s been about them and not about me, and through this it’s been all about the absolute reworking of me. How do I start my day, by responding to them, which has/is forever changing me. 

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE OVERWHELMED OR STRESSED?

Annapurna Living Icon created by Janae Maslowski.

Annapurna Living Icon created by Janae Maslowski.

I create an expansive space—as big as I can {which doesn't mean it gets that big, just that I try for it}—around myself and my feelings. Honestly, I'm kind of protective of my overwhelm and stress; I think it’s because I intuitively know they hold value and I need to keep them from being chased away before they are felt and heard.

I don't love being overwhelmed and stressed, but I do respect these feelings/emotions, because they carry information that is particular to them and their particulars provide a key to me. 

How I handle overwhelm and stress varies. At times I go straight for a pause and focused breathing, at other times I go straight for a frustrated guttural sound and perhaps a curse or two. At times I'm so zen and collected and see-ing and at others times it’s a blind fury and body-overload. Overall, I've been s l o w l y cycling over the last years into an ever-increasing place of expansion, where overwhelm and stress are not so monstrous.

WHAT GIVES YOU THE FEELING OF TRUE BLISS WITHIN?

Silence. A moment truly alone. Walking. The smell of pine forests, of fresh flowers, of a new day. The expansive sky, watching it ever change and flow. Snow-capped mountains. Early morning light. Late day blue-dark light outlining black trees. A book that speaks my soul. A friend that laughs silly and talks deep. The sound of sprinklers, crickets and frogs as I fall asleep. My children. Driving in my car with the windows down, music playing and gorgeous weather. Speaking my truth, finding my truth, believing my truth. 

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

My books are often stacked on the kitchen counter; this allows me to grab a moment here or there to read, journal or work on a micro art project. 

Right now my stack includes:

  • The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity by Cynthia Bourgeault
  • After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path by Jack Kornfield
  • Astrology for the Soul by Jan Spiller
  • The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenberg
  • Vogue :: April 2015 

This is a pretty comprehensive study of my reading habits. I love books on spirituality, women studies, women studies and spirituality, and memoirs written by women. The only astrology book I have is Astrology for the Soul—it is one accurate read on your North Node/South Node {focusing on your evolutionary path this time around}—and it's always close at hand. I love to read Vogue and find that I'm always at least a month behind {which is telling that I'm not up on fashion trends, but deeply in love with the editorial presentation, the art and the visual story behind fashion}. 

WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?

Podcasts from Sounds True—they are doing a series on “Waking Up”. I adore unconventional and new and “out-there” conversations about spirituality and person-hood.

My boys—who are quite akin to cavemen right now—loud, louder, loudest!!

Kiddo TV shows—the music and the repetition and the learning is actually quite soothing, when it isn't annoying.  

Music varies in my house. I'm very mood driven—I love to dance and cook to Maroon 5 Radio or Today's Alternative Radio {both on Pandora}. My husband introduced me to trip-hop, dub-step and alt-J styles of music that I really love, especially at night. Florence + the Machine will always make me swoon, along with my old-school love with Counting Crows, Damien Rice, Tori Amos and Alanis Morissette. {All of which exude moody, soulful, lyrically raw, deep, soaring power—oh my heart!}

Silence—I love to listen to silence.

WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO SIMPLE RECIPE?

I adore soup and find it endlessly soothing. Not only to eat but to make, it truly feels so powerful and full of possibilities. I think this is because of the way that singular ingredients merge and create a whole new other—magic!

One of my simplest recipes is for tomato soup. You start by roasting tomatoes with a generous amount of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt {when using canned tomatoes—as I do for most of the year—strain the juice out and put aside}. I also roast a bell pepper in a separate pan with olive oil {I've found that you can peel a bell pepper like an apple before cooking, so that you don't have to remove skins when hot}. 

As those two roast in the oven I chop up an onion, carrots, celery and garlic and put them in a stock pot with the tomato juice and a couple bay leaves. I add some chicken stock, but to keep it vegetarian simply leave that out. Let this start simmering and cook while the tomatoes and bell pepper finish {they roast for about 30-45 minutes}. Once everything has simmered and roasted combine them in the stock pot and then get out your Vitamix. Remove the bay leaves and puree the soup. To finish add salt, pepper and cream to taste.

WHAT ARE SOME SIMPLE THINGS YOU DO FOR SELF-CARE?

Water is elemental for my self-care. I drink it all day, I love to walk along the river that runs through my town, I soak in the bathtub and the smell of rain on the high desert juniper is the most healing smell. 

Food is another crucial self-care practice. I bring snacks, I listen to what my body is craving, I believe my body, I eat, I stop eating when I'm full. I make apple pies, I enjoy growing my own vegetables. I love the whole array of food from donuts to the homemade tempeh my husband makes. It's all included and I find myself being more integrated and present to myself and my life when I say Yes to food as fuel and as pleasure.

A self-care practice I've cultivated as a mother is slowing down. I expect it will take f-o-r-e-v-e-r to do everything. To get out the door it takes: checking a diaper and having the other go to the bathroom, clothes on, shoes on, faces washed {if I remember, often I don't notice the dirty face til I'm at the store!}, water bottles filled, snacks gathered, tempers quelled {adults and children included}, expectations crushed, and on and on. I've also learned to release myself from getting out of the house if it’s just too hard, or if I'm ready but I see that the boys are f i n a l l y playing and relaxed—I just let go of my plans for the moment. We'll either do it later, or just do without for the day.

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Laughter is HUGE for my self-care. I adore my girlfriends that say outrageous things, send me crazy videos, that freely give their silly and welcome my own. I also find myself laughing by myself, which looks crazy and makes me feel free and able as a single soul to live my life regardless of others. My husband has really helped me learn to laugh at myself, that has been one of the hardest lessons for me and a very painful process. To open and allow another to witness what I always called imperfection and failings was confusing and counter-intuitive. To laugh at myself with another person present is a high form of self-care. 

Being alone is my favorite form of self-care. That has been rather upset by having children. I have had to learn how to believe in the mighty power inherent in Life to draw restoration in the midst of mothering kids that are very attached to my body and my witness and my care. I still find that silence and alone is the most vast place to be, and yet I have also come to find that I can be around others and be grounded in and {with} myself, which is a realistic {and needed} self-care practice for right now. 

WHAT DOES NOURISHMENT LOOK LIKE TO YOU?

Nourishment is found in the ongoing cultivation of relationship with myself and my exterior environment. Nourishment is a practice of loving, allowing, letting go, and needing. I've had to learn how to allow my need to speak, my desire to rise and my pain to remain. I open to confusion and turn to my breath, my body, my heart and my intention to help bring every part and bit into a wholeness. 

Nourishment for me is not asking the pieces to be silent for the good of the whole, nor asking the whole to be ravaged by the pieces, I believe to nourish myself in an ongoing, evolving, dynamic self-environment, I must listen and respond and care and provide nourishment for all of me. I must also accept nourishment from unexpected moments and corners of myself. It's a beautiful tapestry built on relationship, acceptance and unknown-love that carries me through and nourishes me deep.

HOW DO YOU MAKE SPACE FOR PLAY?

Play is much more accessible to me when I intentionally slow my thoughts. Play is inconvenient when my mind is racing from A to B, from B to C, etc. Play is a celebratory break when I am moving to a rhythm and pace that believes my life is full and abundant with time. 

Play for me is not necessarily an activity. It can be, but I find that relaxed see-ing and playful interactions cultivates the spirit of play. I am not always able to play in the traditional sense with my boys, but I find that if I slow down and meet them with my body, my not-so-serious and my love I am cultivating an ease-full relationship with myself and with them.

You are Yes

WHAT ARE SOME FAVORITE MANTRAS YOU CLING TO?

  • I am Yes.
  • I've not chosen easy, but I've chosen well.
  • Everything I desire I already am.
  • It's going to be okay.
  • I want to be here.
  • There is time.
  • It will be done according to my faith.

PLEASE SHARE SOME WORDS OF WISDOM YOU’VE LEARNED AS A DIRECT RESULT OF SOULFUL AND EMBODIED LIVING.

Possibilities are always present, they may not be easy or understood, but there is always a rich array of life and death that is breaking us open and expanding us. 

To become an embodied human being, in relationship with others and self, is one of the most difficult challenges we face in this life. 

It is simple and not simple—painful and ecstatic—blissful and impossible. The paradox and the possibilities go hand in hand. 


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About Janae

Janae is a woman come home to her body and her day-to-day. She is an artist and a writer, a listener and a see-er. Janae is inclined toward the circular nature of Life and embracing the humanity in herself. She often has dirty feet, a loved-one to text and a kiddo to hug. Janae can be found on Instagram {@janaecharlotte}.