Activities for Earth Day 2021

Every morning, the amber glow of the sun rise begins to shine down on the tree branches a bit earlier day by day. The nesting birds awake, welcoming the day with new songs. A new day, a new song.

Spring is here and with it comes new energy and maybe most important, more movement. We rise earlier. We enjoy driving with the windows down. We’ve spent the winter, indoors and socially distancing ourselves from others. Now is the time, we emerge. We seek the sunshine and go outside to feel it. Now, more than ever we realize just how important nature is for the soul.

Which, brings us to this Thursday, April 22nd. The day we gather to celebrate Earth Day.

This is a day to reflect and increase our awareness of environmental issue problems and also a day meant for action. This year will be the 51st annual celebration of our beautiful Mother Earth and the theme is “Restore Our Earth”. This is a great reminder to be more conscious in our decisions and how we can reverse damages that have already been caused.

Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

Activities to Celebrate Earth Day

  • Plant a garden
  • Build and/or put up bird houses
  • Clean up a walking path/hiking trail
Photo by Flash Alexander on Unsplash

How We Can Help Protect the Earth Everyday

  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • Volunteer for clean up
  • Conserve Water
  • Shop Wisely – use products with less chemicals.
Photo by Denisse Leon on Unsplash

10 Full Moon Journal Prompts for Letting Go

In order to create the space for the new, we must let go. Let go of the bad and welcome in the new.

A Full Moon is a time to fully align and set intentions for what we want during our time. This means, taking a step and reflecting on where we currently are and what we need to let go of. One technique that can be used as a guide is to write out your feelings in a journal.

Below are 10 journal prompts for letting go:

  1. Are you currently replaying or repeating a negative or non-serving situation or thought? If so, what?
  2. Are you currently replaying or repeating a negative or non-serving situation or thought? If so, what?
  3. What would happen if you put the most positive spin on this event, (whether from Q# 1, Q #2, or both) How does your story change?
  4. Which story made you feel better or worse?
  5. All of the feelings and thoughts you had during the “worse” of those stories, do believe those feelings have your best interest in mind?
  6. What are the things you are holding onto, that you should let go?
  7. When these negative feelings and emotions rise again (because they will) how are ways you can distract your brain into thinking about something else more positive?
  8. What is your new intention(s) for the Full Moon? In other words, what do you intend to accomplish through actions?
  9. What are some small steps you can do for yourself to embrace your intention further?
  10. How can you feel more connected to the universe?

March 2021 Full Moon Energy

For March 2021, the Full Moon is an important one with distinct energy. The energy from this Full Moon is coming right after the Spring Equinox, which is bring an energy of new growth and we need to make sure to clear space within ourselves, so we can embrace this energy. There also is a few additional perks that will be occurring, this Sunday, March 28th  as well.

Full Moon in Libra

The first thing – is that this Full Moon is in Libra. Libra is all about balance, creating harmony and compromise. Which is why during this Full Moon, it’s important to remember to keep the peace. Attend to your own needs but also pay attention and assist others in their needs as well. You also need to share the good feelings, along with the bad. Accept you, for who YOU really are.

First Full Moon after Spring Equinox

We are heading into a new chapter of growth, which means it’s more important now than any other Full Moon to let go of what is no longer serving us. We are entering the season and time of growth and change. In order to create the space needed to welcome new beginnings and growth we have to empty out space. And the best space to empty out…is the negative or non-serving energy that hinders us. So, in other words really make this your moment of self-reflection and a time to let go.

Full Moon Ritual

To help us fully let go, a full moon ritual is a good practice to release what is no longer serving you. This is a time to reflect what things in your life or thoughts you are having that are not serving you. Really take some quiet time and reflect on what things in your life you can let go of. In a ritual, you can write down these things on little pieces of paper and then at night after the full moon has risen, have a fire and burn the pieces of paper. For some people, it helps to physically see the things holding them back, disappear with the flames of the fire.

Full Moon – With a Wound Healer Present

An asteroid known as Chiron, will also be around this Full Moon. Chiron which is the name of a centaur, in Greek mythology, who is known as a wound healer. While Chiron was young, both his parents rejected him, leaving him with deep wounds. He was adopted (by Apollo) and began learning and gaining mad skills for the healing arts (medicine, astrology, botany, etc…). His skills became masterful but he also fell down this path because he was not only trying heal others but also himself.

Having the asteroid known as Chiron arounds, represents that we all have wounds that we were born with and that will stay with us along our journey. While having these wounds follow us around, it actually is a necessary part of our journeys, seeing as how this is where we get our compassion from.

So, instead of getting hung up on our wounds, we need to embrace them and go into a warrior stance with them. All good warriors will have scars, and this full moon is time to accept yours.

Grand Trine – A Perfectly Aligned Triangle in the Sky

A Grand Trine is a cosmic figure, that occurs when the Moon, Mars and Saturn align, forming a perfect triangle. It is said that this is a positive omen, allowing things to flow easily and in a smooth direction, therefore creating harmony.

How to Self-Reflect & Embrace the Full Moon Energy

The biggest take away here, is to reflect on what’s not serving you and let it go. While I wish it was as simple as wishing those negative aspects of your life away….it’s not. In fact, it’s quite difficult especially for someone with anxiety to let go. This Full Moon is a reminder to recognize and do your best to let go.

So, if you do find yourself after the full moon thinking or doing the things you know are holding you back, as soon as you catch yourself, stop the thought and immediately focus on something else. A good tip is to look around the space you are presently in and focus on an object and say five characteristics that object has. This tends to stop our brains for a moment and allows a reset.

We have a lot of positive aspects on our side this Full Moon telling us to accept ourselves, be balanced and to let go.

February 2021 – Full Moon Advice

Virgo’s, they are said to be logical, hardworking and well grounded. Out of all their traits, the Virgo tends to be always striving for perfection.  However, like all things in this world we can never be perfect.

Photo by Photoholgic on Unsplash

The second full moon of 2021, is in Virgo and will take place this Saturday February 27th . Therefore, we may find ourselves currently feeling a bit conflicted at the imperfections of our lives.

Emotions are running high and there is a need to organize, plan and make everything…perfect.

And, since we will never be perfect, we need to embrace the imperfections. During the next few days of this full moon cycle, take a step back and do not overwhelm yourself with perfectionism. Instead, this is a time for practicing and activating that inner part of ourselves that knows we need to just go with flow.

Trust the universe. Trust the process. Trust that it will all work out. What is meant to be, will be.

The universe is working for you.

New Moon Ritual – January 2021

Look out world, because we are starting off 2021, on a high note! Not only will we be experiencing the first New Moon of the New Year on January 13th but this year’s New Moon will also be in the Capricorn moon cycle. “okay…that’s great…but what does that mean?” you’re probably thinking…

Well, when the moon is in Capricorn it means that our energies….mean serious business. We’re done day dreaming…and this is the time to make it happen.

Which is why this New Moon is so powerful, especially as our first New Moon of 2021. The instinct to start over and renew our goals and intentions is in the forethought of our minds, so this New Moon ritual should come pretty easy to most.

What is the New Moon?

The moons rotation around the Earth lasts 29.5 days and goes through varies phases. When the moon is directly in between the Sun and Earth it is experiencing it’s first phase, known as a New Moon. Think of it as a full moon, only in reverse. We can’t see the light reflecting off of it, because the sun light is now directly on the moon, which means from Earth….we see the dark side. Which is just another way to say….it looks literally invisible in the sky. But….it’s there. And it’s new cycle is about to begin.

Photo by Linda Xu on Unsplash

So as as the moon gather’s the light energy from the sun, it’s time for us here on Earth, to gather our intentions and release them into the universe.

And we do this, by having a New Moon Ritual.

New Moon Ritual

(FYI…you don’t need to follow this process exactly as I describe. Get a gist of what will work for you and make the ceremony your own. There’s no “rules” here by any means. Do what feels right for you.)

Step One – Begin to Set Your Intentions

Over the course of the next few days, go deep within yourself and truly ask yourself what you desire. What do you want? As you think of them, begin to write them down on pieces of paper or you may choose to create a moon journal to write these down in.

**Important Note**
When writing out your intentions, make sure to be as descriptive as you can and also use present tense. So for example instead of saying “I wish my anxiety would go away.” Say, “My anxiety is gone and I feel calm and relaxed.”

Step Two – Prepare

On the night of the full moon (January 13th) clean up your area. Tidy up your living space, wash the dishes, do the laundry, etc…This creates a nice cleansed area and you may also want to light some sage and clear the space of negative energies.

Once you feel comfortable and positive in your space, it’s now time to relax and meditate on our intentions. You can find a guided meditation here or feel free to do one on your own. During this meditation really feel Mother Earth’s and the moon’s energy. Connect with it. Remember we are nature, so it’s not unnatural to feel this strong connection.

Once you feel satisfied in your meditation, read your intentions out loud and with feeling. Visualize yourself accomplishing these manifestations and give gratitude.

Step Three – Let it Go

“Wait, what?! Let go, of my intentions? If I let go….then how will they manifest?!”

This might be the hardest step to wrap your head around. I know for me, it was. This is where you are going to blindly have faith…and trust the universe is going to deliver. For me, this is where the spiritual part comes into play. You have to trust.

And no, this doesn’t mean to make a wish, and sit on the couch and wait for it to happen. Sadly, that’s not the way it operates.

You have to take action. Any action that you feel is the right action towards achieving the goal. Only now, have the mindset that it’ll all work out and you are no longer worried that it won’t work. In the end, you know your actions and universe are working together to make it happen. Without the action, then you are constantly in a state of wishing….and it will remain to be just that, wishing.

Remember, not everything comes at once and patience is needed.

Step Four – Walk Away and Review Later

After you have released it out into the universe, save your intentions and put them somewhere safe. In a few, weeks take them back out and review them. Maybe you’ll find you no longer desire some of the things you had written down, maybe you’ll discover you are on the path to making it happen. Or maybe it will remind you of your intentions, if you fall off track.

As previously mentioned, there is no wrong or right way to do this ritual. Create and do what feels right for you.

You do you.

The main point of this ritual is to send out your intentions and then after some time reflect and understand what is working and let go of what isn’t working or holding you back.

Have fun with it and be as creative as you want! This is your life, make it a good one!

Also, just for some extra fun, below are some journal prompts you can use for the New Moon ritural as well.

I hope this New Moon sets you on the right path to reach your goals and desires.

Much Patience.

Much Love.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

New Moon Journal Prompts:

What do I desire most right now? What do I need?

What do I intend to manifest this month? This year?

What are the steps required to take?

What is a creative idea that has been floating in my head for a while?

How am I feeling right now?

How does the world feel around me?

What should I do with those feelings?

Is there a way I can put them to positive use?

Evolving Into 2021

As a previous person who lived a really unhealthy lifestyle, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day holds a lot of importance in my life. A few years ago on New Year’s Eve, my life changed dramatically and every year since, I reflect fondly on the new changes a new year brings in my life.

Not to mention, I’m also a bit superstitious and feel that if Iwake up early and watch the sunrise on the first, (as I did so many years ago) I will truly seal in my intentions for a successful new year.

So far….my tradition has held true.

And this year, I wasn’t going to break tradition now. So, on January 1, 2021, my alarm was set for 4:30 AM, although due to my excitement and anticipation…I was up earlier without the alarms help.

Under the dark sky in the crisp winter air, I drove to the nearest mountain, a 10-minute drive from my house. I expected the trailheads parking lot to be full of cars. Last year, this place was unexpectedly crowded with New Year Days hikers.

But to my surprise, this year I had my choice of parking space under the glow of the streetlights of the small parking area. “By 6:00 AM, I’m sure this place will be full.” I thought.

Walking away from the comfy light of the parking lot and into the desert wilderness, the moon silently hung in the sky, which provided enough rays, that I didn’t need the help of my headlamp, to see the trail.

January 1, 2021 – View of Moon (early morning)

As my favorite writer Edward Abbey is quoted as saying:

“There’s another disadvantage to the use of the flashlight: like many other mechanical gadgets it tends to separate a man from the world around him. If I switch it on my eyes adapt to it and I can see only the small pool of light it makes in front of me; I am isolated”

Along the trail, I felt a bit out of my element; alone in the darkness. An owl hooted nearby, whose call was quickly returned by it’s pair bond. I imagined their piercing eyes on me, confused by my presence in the early morning dark sky with no other humans around. “Was I interrupting their New Year’s Eve hunt?” I apologetically thought. I searched in the moonlight for where the owls had to be but unable to detect their shape in the dark wide desert landscape.

I continued hiking up towards the top of the mountain in the silence of nature. No sounds, other than the crunch of the dirt under my shoes.

As I reached the saddle of the trail, I could see the headlamps of the hikers below darting around below. For a moment I felt relieved, knowing there were more people around but also knew I had to claim a spot for sunrise, before the crowds came.

As I continued now with a more purposeful and quicker hiking pace without a second glance, I bypassed the popular spot, which so many hikers tend to stop at to watch the sunrise. This year, I needed solitude. I needed to find a spot alone to meditate and just enjoy the First Day of 2021 in silence upon the mountain.

A few minutes upon passing the trendy scene, I found a position up along the highest point of the trail, that few hikers rarely make an effort to hike up. While having an open view of the East for the Sunrise and as coincidence would have it….the Earth provided a shoebox sized bolder laying there, a perfect spot to sit on.

As I sat, the dark sky had an open sliver of the glowing orange light peeking out. I relaxed sitting there in the coldness of the desert winter, knowing there was nothing to do, nowhere to go, except be in this moment, feeling the Earth under me.

As I began to prepare and relax my body for a short meditation, I could hear coyote howls along the other side of the mountain from behind me. Calling in the New Year with their pack, I felt the urge to howl along with them.

As their howls began to fade, another owl hooted while the sky began to have an aura of amber glow and the darkness slowly began to fade.

As the moon floated in the sky, it’s light still shining and the candle lit sky of sunrise emerging, I felt balanced. Right in the middle of the darkness and light.

Moon going down, while new 2021 sun is coming up

I felt balanced and one with the moment. This sweet magical moment, that happens twice a day…only very few take the time to truly witness it (including myself).

Moments before 2021 first sunrise

Then suddenly, the scene emerged as the tip of the sun’s sphere glistened above the hazy cloud line just above the horizon and then….effortlessly the new 2021 light shined down.

 

First sunrise of 2021- Phoenix, Arizona

Silently a little black birds silhouette flapping its wings, flew across the bright sunlight , landing on a nearby tree and disappearing within the branches. The desert was quiet and still, as the sun light glow spread out further across the land.

Saguaro cactus greeting the new years first rays of light

It was only a few moments after this scene, that the sleepy desert decided to fully awake, as one bird began chirping, followed slowly by other tweets joining in to greet the New Day of the New Year.

The day became new and exposed in the fresh morning light. When the sun fully emerged, I insistently went to get up and continue hiking to a new spot, but decided to sit back down again.

“What’s the rush?” I thought. “I have all day to enjoy.” So, I continued to sit still and meditate about my intentions and goals for the new year. I allowed myself that intimate moment of silently speaking to the universe and thanked it.

Thanked it for every new year, new month, new day, new hour and new second, in which it provides all beings the opportunity for restarting anew.

Winter Solstice 2020

A day to embrace the darkness and emerge lighter.

As today is the shortest, and therefore the darkness day of the year, this winter solstice of 2020 finds us all with a deeper sense of inner gloom than in previous winter solstices. Most of you reading this, have likely suffered this year with more hardships and losses than you’ve ever experienced before. And while we can get hung up on this truth, here’s the thing… one of the deepest and strongest ways to grow…is by losing.

The word “losing” has so many meanings. Losing a loved one. Losing money. Losing a possession. Losing a thought.

And, today on this winter solstice, we lose sunlight. We lose warmth. We sit in the darkness of Mother Earth, for the longest period than any other day in 2020. At first thought, you can view this as negative or a bad thing. Get upset and wish this day away and think of thoughts to sunnier summer days of the year to come. But, if we do that, we miss out of this amazing opportunity that Mother Nature has provided us.

Today, is a day to sit within the darkness and to learn and grow from the losses. Ajahn Chah, a Thai Buddhist monk said:

There are two kinds of suffering. There is the suffering you run away from, which follows you everywhere. And there is the suffering you face directly, and so become free.”

Today, sit with the darkness and face it. It may bring on feelings of uncomfortableness, sadness and fear but it is the only way to really fully embrace the light.

From Doubt, Comes Strength

I laced up my hiking boots and stepped out of the tent. As I fully stood up for the first time that day, I felt the quaking nervous feeling shaking within the pit of my stomach.

The day, was finally here.

This faithful November, Saturday morning that I will be hiking out of the Grand Canyon along the more difficult rated Hermit Trail. A hundred years ago, this trail was full with the hustle and bustle of tourists being carted up and down the route. Now, as the more popular trails of Bright Angel and South Kaibab attract the tourist attention, the Hermit Trail has been abandoned in the Grand Canyon’s elements, slowly eroding away. While not completely forgotten, this trail isn’t as well maintained meaning, less crowds and a more challenging hike.

It seems not so long ago in August on a bright summer morning, I casually opened my Gmail and began robotically scanning my emails when the subject line of “Grand Canyon Backcountry Permit”, caught my eye. I read the first line, “Congratulations” and thought “I need to start getting in shape.” Our permit had been accepted and if everything went to plan, we would be heading down the Grand Canyon in a few months.

At this point, due to COVID-19, I had been working from home for the past five months. Sitting solitary at my desk for hours, except for random visits to the pantry to swipe some snacks. My normal routine for the past few years of meal planning, prepping nutritious lunch and snacks, along with my daily half hour workout at the gym, now transformed into staying put indoors and eating whatever I felt like eating whenever. My stress levels were high. My anxieties grew. Sickness and death seemed all around. And with being out of my normal routine, I feel into this unknown territory.

I repeatedly told myself to get back on track. “Get up early and go for a jog!” I would tell myself before bed. But when there’s a pandemic and daily outrages being put in my face by either the news or social media….one can find themselves in a state….where relaxing and eating salty and sweet food …is the only sense of comfort you can bring yourself.

A more disciplined person may find refuge in working out but summer time in Phoenix, when it reaches over 100 degrees every day…my desire to want to work out lessened even more.

So, when I got the news that in November I really would be hiking down the Hermit Trail to Monument and Hermit Campground, I celebrated with a beer while thinking, “training starts tomorrow” and then popped another pizza roll in my mouth.

But of course, routinely everyday, “tomorrow’s” came and went. And with that were the excuses I told myself. “It’s too hot outside.” “I’m too tired.” “I went to yoga class, so I don’t want to overdo it.” And so on, and so on it went.

It went like that for another 2 or 3 months, until October.

By this time, I now felt physically sluggish.

Bloated.

Disappointed in my lack of self-discipline. Knowing, this was no-one’s fault…but my own.

As I would talk and check in with my hiking partner, she had been up and hiking on the trails by 5am, before going to work. She did this at least two times a week while also hiking down and up the Grand Canyon in two separate trips with other friends. All this while I continued to stay in and claim to be “too tired” to hike my local mountain trails.

I was in a funk, and even knowing this trip was coming up….I didn’t actually become that motivated until I was ultimately force to, which was about three weeks before….

So with a deep inhale in….I gave out an even deeper exhale and found myself standing at the base of Phoenix’s South Mountain, upon my old stomping grounds, where I’ve spent so many years before this year, becoming a stronger hiker.

Only now, I struggled to catch my breath up inclines, where normally I would have no problem going up. I found my legs hurting and this was not even with my backpack on yet. “I’m in worse shape than I even thought” I thought to myself.  At this moment, more aware of this realization, the real anxiety began and I allowed it to cling to me.

But there was no turning back.

Not everyone is lucky enough to get the permit and if I willingly choose to not go…I knew I would regret it with a burning a deep fire in my chest that would live in there for years to come.

Grand Canyon, view from Monument Campsite

So, as I said, there was no turning back.

Now, here I am, the day of hiking out of the Grand Canyon.

An hour ago, tucked into my warm sleeping bag within the confines of my tent. Now that warm and toasty sleeping bag stuffed into the pack on my back. In the early morning darkness with the stars fading away above, under the beam of my headlamp, I laced up my hiking shoes to hike out of the Grand Canyon.

I felt nervous. When I feel nervous, I become sick to my stomach and lose any appetite.  This meant I had to force my oatmeal down only because I knew I needed to count on the energy it provides in order to reach the rim.

We walked out of the campsite, rounded the bend out and looked up at that long trail outstretched ahead of us. “I feel so nervous.” I finally admitted out loud. “Do you think that’s normal?” 

The silence hung in the air, until a few seconds later, when Pete (the best hiker I know) spoke.

“Yea, on Sunday, I’ll probably be feeling nervous too.”

Pete met up with us, last night. He’s here to cross off some rock climbing summits which involves actually crossing the Colorado river with some other friends in a portable boat that he’s carrying on his back. This guy, has been hiking the Grand Canyon for over 20 years and is the fastest and strongest hiker that I personally know. How could he feel nervous?! I know he’s capable of everything and to hear that he would be nervous too?!t surprised me, yet also made me feel comforted.  It made me feel okay, with being nervous.

At that moment, I had no doubt that Pete will get through his climbs and that I needed to believe in myself in the same way I believe in him  Who knows, maybe feeling nervous is a good thing. And with that, the butterflies mixed with the heaviness in stomach, felt a bit lighter.  Not completely gone…but lighter.

Soon after that, once we approached the junction for Hermit Rapid, we parted ways from Pete, who was just beginning his adventure, while we were about to end ours. I left knowing that we would see each other again only likely back in the real world. But for now, we were two adventurers going on two separate journeys. Nature would be testing not only my physical strength but my mental strength as well.

As the saying goes, “hiking down is optional, hiking out is mandatory.” And with that, I started the real hike to get out of the Grand Canyon.

Hiking out of the Grand Canyon, is a funny thing…

You stop and look around at all the beauty surrounding you, but you also don’t fuck around. It’s the type of hike, you want to just get over with as soon as possible. You find your groove, your traction and you just keep going with it.

Author, Allie taking a break from hiking out of Grand Canyon along the Hermit Trail

The last mile, was the real struggle for me. Looking up and seeing that light brown layer of the rim so close yet my legs are so tired, wishing the ground was flat. We’ve been hiking out for about 4 hours, and this last little section was the longest. I had to take breaks every 5 minutes or so….but eventually, we got to the top. We emerged out of the forested area of the twisted juniper trees and emerged back onto the flat surface along the rim.

Back out, once again out onto the surface world. And while I was relieved to be done hiking knowing that I was capable of doing it…my heart sank with sadness being back up amongst the surface.

It’s a strange thing, when you hike down to the Grand Canyon, it calls you back. Even now as I write this…I feel it still calling me.

Below the rim you have no option other than to relay solely on yourself. Only you can get yourself out. Which caused me so much anxiety and suffering from thinking I wasn’t going to be able to do it. Now, being back up among the surface, sitting in the tailgate of the pickup truck, drinking our well-deserved, cold beers out of the cooler, I felt victorious yet also sad to be out of the canyon. It felt like a tug of war game with my heart.

Our silhouettes from back of pickup in trailhead parking lot

Silently, reflecting on this trip at the trailhead, watching the other tourists and hikers emerge out from their own hike I couldn’t help to feel foolish. Foolish for having doubt myself. In fact, it made me a bit melancholy for the trip, and while I was down there because I allowed my fear of not being able to get out, to somewhat consume me. And there was no need for it.

This trip taught me that I should have had faith. Had faith in myself, in Mother Earth and that I could do it. Instead of fearing the challenge, I should’ve embraced it. Because the outcome was that although not being in the best of shape…I still dominated it. You’re a lot stronger than you think you are. And, I’m a lot stronger than I think.

Looking at the Grand Canyon, you can’t help to feel as if persistence is the theme of the place. The rushing rivers and creeks, that are alive and has carved out all of these canyons for over millions of years. Persistence. Strength. Patience. These feelings and energy enter your soul and you begin to truly feel alive with the Canyon.

Reflecting on it now, I can’t help but to wonder if Mother Earth intentionally guided me towards the Canyon. It broke me out of my funk and since the trip I’ve settle back into my healthy routine of living. Ultimately nature heals. You just have to go out and experience it in order to feel its powers and re-awaken your soul.

10 Minute Gratitude Meditation

With Thanksgiving upon us, it’s easy to lose track of the reason behind the holiday. The simple act of reflecting on all your blessings in life and giving thanks.

So, for this Thanksgiving, (which no doubt is going to be a lot different than past Thanksgivings) here is a 10 minute guided meditation on gratitude, to remind you of all that you are thankful for in this life.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. May you all have a peaceful, calm and safe holiday weekend.