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Journal

Embodied Rituals for Skin + Soul

Filtering by Category: Self-Care

On Nourishment + Creative Inspiration (plus a skin care recipe!)

Katie Gordon

I made it to Oregon! I'm getting settled in and loving the Pacific Northwest. I knew being in a new environment like this would have a huge impact on my physical & mental health. Already my body feels different, my hair feels different, my sleep is noticeably better, and I'm allowing myself time to process, shift, and integrate.

The thing I noticed immediately was...I'm exhausted. When you spend so long burning the candle at both ends and surrounding yourself with stimulants (caffeine, people, noise, traffic, Netflix binges, a general addiction to busy-ness) and not nourishing yourself properly (with sleep, tonifying foods, time in nature) you don't even realize how tired you are. Slowly I was losing my creative fire because my nervous system was so depleted, running purely on coffee and external stimuli.

So many of us live with that as our reality. We don't think it can be any other way. But it can. And on my first full day here that I spent on my own, all I wanted to do was sleep, read, make tea, and sit. It was strange (yet comfortable) how quiet it was, and even though I kept feeling like I should be doing something or listening to something or watching something, I tried to let that go and just feel what it was like to be quiet. My nervous system took a huge sigh of relief and layers of tension dropped away.

I'm still integrating, but it's amazing how quickly that creative spark comes back. And how much energy is bound up in our bodies in the form of tension, pain, and stagnation. I'm really excited to test new recipes, research, write, blog, and fully dive into Wild Grace! Expect lots of new content and products in the shop...soon. For now, a poem because I'm feeling inspired by all things sea-related & a recipe for a facial mask (or masque if you want to be fancy)...

"Gather a shell from the strewn beach And listen at its lips: they sigh The same desire and mystery, The echo of the whole sea's speech. And all mankind is thus at heart Not anything but what thou art: And Earth, Sea, Man, are all in each. ~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The Sea Limits

For this mask/masque I chose ingredients that most people will either have on hand or can find easily in a health food store or even grow in your garden.

Clay + Chamomile Facial Mask

Combine all the dry ingredients in a mason jar, add your essential oils, cap the jar, and shake well. When you're ready to use it, mix 2 teaspoons of the mask with 2 teaspoons of water. You can also use herbal tea (cooled off), milk, or yogurt. Apply to your skin and let it dry. Rinse with warm water and a washcloth and follow with a moisturizer.

Enjoy your potion-crafting!

What I learned from a busted shoulder...

Katie Gordon

peace with your body Today I want to share an important lesson that it's taken me a LONG time to learn.  I'm pretty stubborn, so hopefully it won't take quite as long for you to learn it, or maybe you're one of the lucky ones who already has.  If that's the case, consider this a gentle reminder.

Four years ago, during my yoga teacher training, my right shoulder started feeling a bit tweaky.  I asked my teachers about it and all of them said to rest it, stop doing chaturanga (the ultimate shoulder shredder) for awhile, and work on my alignment once it felt better.  At the time I was 23 and knew everything, so I didn't listen.  I was also in the super yogini, vegetarian, yoga-every-damn-day mindset and taking some time off and being gentle with myself just didn't fit the program.

Fast forward to the present day.  The slightly-tweaky shoulder of 4 years ago is now so inflamed that it hurts ALL THE TIME.  Finally, I went to see a physical therapist recommended by a trusted fellow bodyworker and after an hour of slightly painful myofascial release and a stern talking to about "seriously staying off of it for 2 weeks", my shoulder feels better than it has since I started teaching!  Of course I still have to remind myself every day to stay off of it.  No demonstrating, no handstands, no down dogs, no planks, just stop.

This yoga hiatus has forced me to re-evaluate the way I practice, the way I teach, and the way I treat myself.  I've had the time to really sit with myself, feel my body, and check in with what would FEEL GOOD, not what I think I should do, not how many days it's been since I did a vinyasa, or worry about losing the strength I worked so hard to build up.  Because none of that matters if I'm not doing it mindfully.

So here's the lesson: It is SO NECESSARY to listen and deeply nourish yourself, both body and spirit.  Injury, illness, and pain are signs of imbalance in our physical or energetic bodies that shouldn't be ignored.  Resting isn't weakness.  I've noticed resting and taking time to replenish my stores of energy is actually more work and takes more courage because it requires silencing the guilt and fear of being "lazy" and going against everything I've done for 27 years.

How can you deeply nourish and love yourself more?  What are some of your favorite self-care practices?  And what might you be doing that is causing your physical, emotional, or energetic body more stress?  What might it be like to let that go?

Love, Katie xo

Why I dress up to work at home...

Katie Gordon

Photo by Cori Barnick

Here's a little known fact about me - When I was a kid, I was ALWAYS dressed up.  I refused to wear pants or shorts until I was 6 years old (at which point I went to a school with a uniform consisting of polo shirts and navy blue shorts...not cute).  I had more than one pair of sparkly red shoes at any given time and I only wore dresses with skirts that went out flat when you twirled around.  I had a bow or ribbon to match every outfit.  I wore ruffly socks (obviously).  I showed up to one of my mom's parties in a green and gold sparkly tutu.  You get the idea.  Maybe it's the Leo in me that at some level loves to be the center of attention, or maybe it's just that I've always liked shiny, sparkly things that stand out.

At some point, I decided dressing up was a waste of time.  I figured there are so many things that are more important than clothes and how someone looks.  We shouldn't judge people by their appearance anyway, right?  Plus nice clothes are expensive!  So when I first started working more from home or seeing bodywork clients I thought, "This is great!  I can stay in PJ's or yoga pants all day, I don't have to wear shoes, put on make up or do my hair!"  BUT I also get much less done, I feel frumpy, disconnected and distracted, out of my flow, and like the day never really starts.  Not to mention that I have SO MUCH make up (I go through a phase every year, usually around this time, where I get semi-obsessed with Sephora), and I'm still a sucker for cute dresses.  It's made me realize something that I already knew back when I was 5 -- putting time and effort into anything sends a signal to our spirit that whatever that thing is, it's special, valuable, true, and worth our time and effort.

It's not about materialism, or needing to have stuff to make us feel good, or valuing ourselves based on our appearance.  It IS about allowing yourself to feel what/how you want to feel, creating space and getting inspired to do the work you're on this earth to do by taking your time, and taking care with yourself.  Don't get me wrong, we all need those days where we stay in our jammies, watch movies, lounge under the covers, and give ourselves space from the outside world.   How might it feel, though, for those of us who work at home or in a more casual environment, to put that effort into how we show up for ourselves?  What message does it send to ourselves when we approach our morning routine with playfulness rather than the "whatever no one's gonna see me today anyway" attitude?

 

My War of Art

Katie Gordon

colorsWhen I was young, aside from wanting to be an herbalist and "good witch", I also wanted to be an artist.  My 4th grade class took a field trip one day to an artist's studio and from that day forward I decided that when I grew up I needed to have my own creative "workshop" where I could make art AND potions. As I got older, my ego voice showed up in my head to tell me there was no way I could make a living as an artist.  There were only a select few who could support themselves making art of any kind and I'd probably have to go to art school if I wanted to be any good.  Who was I to think I could spend time and money on something like that??  I should just go to college and major in something useful (BTW, I majored in medieval history).

Fast forward to present day...

In a moment of clarity a couple weeks ago, I had a vision of what I want my life to look like and it dawned on me that I need to be making art.  I feel most grounded, at peace, and in my flow when I'm in my right brain, watching as colors and lines take shape on paper, writing poetry, or even fumbling through chords on a guitar.  My ego wants me to be good at everything before even trying it.  That voice doesn't give me the space to play, experiment, try and fail and try again.  It doesn't allow me to be a beginner, to mess up.

So I've created a new practice for myself.  Every other day I schedule time in my calendar for creating.  I give myself permission to play.  It can be music, painting, poetry, drawing, writing, making vision boards, etc., fully acknowledging that it may not look or sound good at first and that's part of my process.  I'm allowing myself the space to fail.  During this time I can set aside my ego and give myself over to my inner guide, listening to what my HEART wants to be doing right now in this moment.

It's just been a few days but here's what I've noticed so far:

  • I feel more grounded in the moment AND in my body
  • My self-critical ego voice has quieted down
  • In other aspects of my life I'm gentler with myself
  • I approach other tasks with more creativity and mindfulness
  • I actually get more done!!

SO - here is my call to action for you...

Schedule creativity time for yourself.  Write it in your calendar and commit to this practice.  Start with just an hour a week and then gradually give yourself more time.  Give yourself space to mess up.  Notice what starts to shift in other areas of your life.  I hear so many people say they're not creative, but it's because we don't generally give ourselves the time and space to tap into our inner creativity, our own intuitive, artistic brain.  Stop thinking and start doing.  Give your heart a chance to speak to you and really listen to what he or she needs from you today.  Let this be an experiment to just play with your time and let yourself have fun doing it!  I'd love to hear your feedback, ideas, and experiences with this, so please leave comments below or visit my FB page!

So much love to you all! ~ Katie

Heal Your Money Sh*t - Step 1: Release

Katie Gordon

Dear lightworkers, teachers, coaches, healers, and counselors, How is your relationship with money?  Complicated?  Unhealthy?  Elusive?

For my entire life without realizing it I felt like money wasn’t for me.  Everyone else could have it, make it, save it, but not me.  I was destined to always just be scraping by, living paycheck-to-paycheck, and never able to afford the life that I dreamed of where I could travel the world AND still be able to do exactly the work I wanted to and that I was called to do.  In my mind, the alternative to being broke was to slave away at an office job that I hated for the rest of my life.

In our society, and especially in the healing arts world, it’s not generally acceptable to want money.  I used to think that if I was meant to have money, it would come to me at the right time.  Therefore if I didn’t have money, I must be doing something wrong.  Maybe I’m not meant to do this work?  Maybe I suck at it?  Maybe I don’t know enough?  Maybe I’m not old enough to be living my dream life AND make money doing it?

So many questions!  I kept looking to the “authority figures” in my life: parents, teachers, mentors.  I kept getting the same answer in different forms: “Keep working hard and it’ll all work out…but maybe get another job just for right now…”  Very well meaning but not very helpful.  My friends and colleagues were in a similar situation.  We’re all trying to follow our BIG dreams, all the while struggling to pay our rent and feed ourselves.  So many of us are stuck in this poverty mentality, looking for ways to cut our already-relatively-low costs. (Yes, we eat at Whole Foods but we can make that bag of organic brown rice last for weeks!) At the same time I’d look at friends I graduated college with who were working in a more traditional career and were able to afford the things they needed but whose souls weren’t being fed.  I wondered what their dreams were made of.

But can you imagine what would happen if all the wealth of the world was in the hands of the spiritually-centered?  If people were able to live their dream life?  The one we’ve been told is out of our reach because we’re not following the traditional path from college graduation to a job with a salary and a 401k?  What if everything you dream for yourself is possible and it all starts with healing your money story?  What if the things you’ve believed about your inability to make money, your limiting beliefs, were UNTRUE and you could do something that honored your values, passions, and talents?  Something that feeds your soul and makes you as much money as you want?

The first step to healing your money drama and to start making real money and living your dream is by doing the inner work.  Recognize patterns that you’re stuck in.  Release your story and be done with it.  Stop being a victim of your money, because money is ENERGY.  Energy is not good or bad, it just is.  It’s not elusive.  There’s a flow, an exchange, like an inhale and exhale.  When we start feeling bad for spending money on things that support us (like healthy food and self-care), it creates a low-level vibration: shame.  It feels icky.  So here is my challenge to you.  Start noticing the stories, the thoughts, the patterns you have around money.  It can feel uncomfortable and scary at first.  There will be a voice telling you that your big dreams, your visions for the way you want your life to look aren’t possible.  It’s ok to be scared.  Do it anyway.  Many times this is your wounded child showing up, vulnerable and small, because that’s the only way we know.  When this happens, love him/her up instead of trying to push this discomfort away, and then merge this wounded child with your higher vision.  Give all your fear, vulnerability, and limiting beliefs up to the divine, and watch yourself take off.