Category / The Alchemist’s Heart

Alchemy for Moms Book Reviews Radio Show The Alchemist's Heart

Find Your Right Life No Matter What with Martha Beck!

Martha Beck, Author of Steering by Starlight!

martha-beck-books-197x300Do you sometimes lose sight of who you really are?

Have you been so focused on taking care of others that you not only overlook your personal stress and unhappiness, but neglect to nourish yourself?

Do you know how to find your right life no matter what?

Now you can with Oprah columnist and New York Times best-selling author of Steering by Starlight! Join Martha Beck, of www.MarthaBeck.com, one of the best-known life coaches and authors in America, and me the Mommy Muse, as we discuss how to find your right life no matter what. Dr. Beck’s passion is reconnecting people with their essential selves. Let her gentle advice assist you in solving problems while fostering your strengths and creativity.

The Alchemist's Heart

Announcing The Belly Dance Prescription Book

The Belly Dance Prescription: Shake Your Hips and Depression!

BellyDancePrescription-1-231x300I was on my way to perform for a fundraiser with a sister belly dance troupe a few years ago when I encountered a cattle drive. They are expected out here in the “Wild West,” and it struck me as particularly humorous to slowly work my car through hundreds of cattle while dressed in full belly dance attire. The experience did give me a perfect opportunity to slow down and think about one of my all-time favorite activities.

I am proud and happy to announce my second ebook, The Belly Dance Prescription: Shake Your Hips and Depression!, is now available at www.TheAlchemistsHeart.com. I am sharing information inside about the origins of this ancient dance and the marvelous ways it increases health and well-being.

PDF eBook Price: $9.99 [wp_cart_button name=”The Belly Dance Prescription” price=”9.99″ file_url=”http://books.thealchemistsheart.com/The-Belly-Dance-Prescription-by-Christy-Harvey.pdf”]

Click here to get the Kindle version on Amazon Click here to get the paperback version on Amazon

Until you read your copy, consider this.

Belly dancing is my top recommendation for exercise and self-expression for prenatal and postpartum women. I love to watch and participate in dance wherever it finds me. I have found that most dance forms which are typically accepted as “serious” art, including jazz and ballet, have a narrow range of “acceptable” body types. Pregnant and postpartum women with rounded bellies and a new fullness to their hips may be uncomfortable trying to fit inside these strict parameters. Movements that leap and extend away from the earth with long, straight lines do not come naturally to the rounded, feminine form.

Belly dance, on the other hand, consistently helps women of all shapes and sizes express their emotions and feel beautiful in their own skin. In my role as belly dance instructor, women often approach me to say they are too fat, too thin, uncoordinated, or unattractive because of stretch marks and caesarian scars. I tell them to come on in and give it a try. A wonderful process unfolds as women enter into a supportive group environment and begin to accept themselves. New dancers expand their energy, strengthen and lengthen their bodies, increase their endurance and reclaim healthy self-expression. Rather than sucking in their stomachs and being ashamed of taking up space in the world, women learn to accept themselves. Bellies begin to be embraced as the center of our bodies and as respected spaces to create new life.

If you are fortunate enough to live in an area that offers belly dance instruction, particularly for prenatal and postpartum women, I encourage you to sign up for a wonderful adventure. Michelle Maniaci of www.NurturingMoves.com in Florida tailors yoga and belly dance for pregnant and postnatal women specifically for therapeutic purposes. Check your local bulletin boards, ask around and search online to see what is available. If you can’t find a local class, consider checking your local library or an online retailer for beginning belly dance DVDs to get you started. The legendary Delilah has a website at www.VisionaryDance.com offering a terrific array of instructional dance videos, informative articles and links on all aspects of the dance.

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Book Reviews The Alchemist's Heart

The Joy Diet

books-joy-dietThe Joy Diet changed my life.

8 years ago, I felt lonely and unsatisfied as a caregiver. I was homeschooling my 5 year old while chasing after my toddler and caring for my elderly grandfather at home. My days were filled by tending to the bodily functions of other people (and rarely my own). Although I loved my family fiercely, I knew something needed to change.

With no time to read, but desperately seeking help, I downloaded an MP3 of The Joy Diet: 10 Daily Practices for a Happier Life by Oprah columnist Martha Beck. Within 30 minutes, I knew I had hit gold. It turns out that the original meaning of the word “diet” had nothing to do with food, and everything to do with the way we live our lives. In her typical down-to-earth, unassuming style, Martha delivered on the book’s promise to help me add 10 simple behaviors to my way of living and thinking to enhance my life. Her action points were so remarkably do-able, even on my fully packed schedule that even I could follow through.

The ten “ingredients” of The Joy Diet will challenge and delight you. Martha recommends working through the practices in order, making sure each one feels like second nature before moving on to the next. Just one step a week is all it takes. The first assignment, “doing nothing” for 15 minutes a day, is tougher than it looks! By the time you integrate the next action steps, creating and absorbing a daily moment of truth and exploring one of your heart’s desires, you will be well on your way to creating a life you actually enjoy. And if you want to expand your enjoyment of life beyond what you thought was possible, add in the final seven ingredients: creativity, risk, treats, play, laughter, connection and feasting.

Sounds easy, right? After all, you’re “just” tuning into your deepest truth and learning how to be good to yourself with play-filled steps. Yet it is impossible to incorporate these life ingredients without transforming long-standing patterns of thought and action. While The Joy Diet is technically a diet for the spirit, I found myself feeling healthier and losing weight as I filled myself up ecologically from the inside out. So whenever anyone asks me if The Joy Diet will help them lose weight, I say “it certainly may, but that’s just a side benefit!”

I longed for one thing when I finished the book – something to remind me of each day’s steps and provide space to write down notes about my journey. Customized journal pages just for The Joy Diet.

Well, they didn’t exist – not yet. My family commented that I should approach Martha (did I mention she’s Oprah’s life coach?) to propose the creation of such a thing. Me? Are you kidding? Who am I to do such a thing? I hardly thought that was in the realm of possibility. But I did create a template for my own personal Joy Diet Journal Pages to assist me in my journey. Two years later, on a delightful radio interview with Martha Beck, I asked if official Joy Diet Journal Pages had been developed. Imagine my surprise when she said “No,” and suggested I contribute my personal template to the Team. Here was the exact opportunity I couldn’t imagine how to manifest not so long ago. The ability to collaborate with Martha Beck and share a life enhancing tool with other people embarking on The Joy Diet.

Interested? Read (or listen to!) The Joy Diet: 10 Daily Practices for a Happier Life, then send me a note or a post to this blog with your email address and I will enthusiastically sent the Joy Diet Journal Pages to you! I am looking forward to hearing from you to find out how The Joy Diet has empowered your life.

Alchemy for Moms Book Reviews Radio Show The Alchemist's Heart

Gentle Advice for Solving Problems with Martha Beck!

The Joy Diet & Expecting Adam by Martha Beck

books-joy-diet (1)Do you sometimes lose sight of who you really are?

Have you been so focused on taking care of others that you not only overlook your personal stress and unhappiness, but neglect to nourish yourself?

Or maybe you’ve experienced an unexpected pregnancy that completely unraveled life as you knew it.

Join Martha Beck (www.MarthaBeck.com), one of the best-know life coaches and authors in America, and me, the Mommy Muse, as we answer your questions and discuss Martha’s books The Joy Diet and Expecting Adam. Dr. Beck’s passion is reconnecting people with their essential selves. Let her gentle advice assist you in solving problems while fostering your strengths and creativity.

The Alchemist's Heart

Save the Date with Dance Therapy!

photo-206x300Christy’s Spontaneous Virtual Birthday Celebration

You know how birthdays are supposed to be happy? Full of joy, presents and giggles? A blissful combination of radiant loved ones, positive energy and well wishes?

Not always, eh?  I’m certain some of you reading this have experienced intensely painful moments on your “special day.” Emotional catastrophes of various sorts. Enough that you half-wish you could skip it altogether.

Except…..there’s always this tug of hope….

Maybe this time something better can happen.

Let’s bring on the magic!  Together, WE are going to save my birthday and start a pattern of empowering our birthdays with dance therapy.

I’m asking you to SAVE THE DATE – January 21st – and I will put YOU on my dance card!

It’s super simple. Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Find a song that moves you. It can be wild and raucous, uplifting, peaceful, silly, courageous, meditative, passionate or inspiring.  Something that speaks to your soul.
  2. Choose 30 seconds to 5 minutes to give yourself over to music on January 21st.
  3. Grab any willing friends or family that are to hand, declare your intention, send me a virtual hug and DANCE or SING or PLAY an instrument or ALL THREE – your choice! I know some of my loves don’t dance….for you, simply immerse yourself in a song.
  4. Post a link on my Facebook page and/or HERE as a comment on my blog to let me know you joined in our celebration!  Tell me the song you chose, where you were when you celebrated, how many people danced with us, and what FEELINGS you had when you danced.  Love the feelings 🙂  Bonus points AND extra candles on my cake if you post a pic of you dancing and/or a link to the song you chose so I can click through and groove, too!

That’s it! THEN, when your birthday rolls around, give all of each of your friends (Ooohh, oooh, Pick me! Pick me!) a chance to reciprocate. Let us dance and celebrate for you and launch you into the next year with great big warm hearts!

With Love,

Christy

self care
The Alchemist's Heart

Courage For a Friend I Love

When it all seems like too much…

heart

Remember the things you are working for that no one can ever take away,

Creative pursuits inspiring your passions,

Courageous acts driven by your spirit,

Tiny but TRUE moments of the heart that mean everything,

Knowing as you are discovering virgin territory

that your ability to carry forward is holding sacred space

for every kindred spirit journeying alongside.

~C

 

Alchemy for Moms The Alchemist's Heart

Blissfully Busted

Nurturing Your Spirit 

Sunflower-Twitter-Background-small-300x199

I didn’t so much hear the whisper of her skirt sweeping against the doorway as feel her eyes upon me. Possibly the quietest 6 year old I’ve encountered. But she couldn’t hide her intention.

Busted.

A pint-sized pixie was peering up at me.

I had offered to run down three flights of stairs to fetch supplies for our visiting company.

Sounds selfless, right?

Except that I was seizing a brief moment alone.

That’s when I discovered the box of stone-ground crackers.

Ahhh, blessed carbs…in a paleo-oriented family.  Lots of protein and veggies going on here.  Light on the whole grain goodness.

So, what’s a girl to do but open the box and pop a couple…ok, a few…crackers into her mouth before trotting back up the stairs?

Which was going great until Miss Munchkin discovered me.

I tried to work up a pang of guilt. But I couldn’t.

Why?

Because I knew I was doing something I’d tell you to do.  Nurture yourself with whatever is to hand. Three minutes of quiet. A morsel of yumminess delighting your mouth.  Goodness for your spirit = increasing well-being and ability to show up in a space of love for others.

What did I do? I handed the box to pixie girl with a wink and asked her to show me how well she could climb right back up those stairs!

Have you ever been caught blissfully nourishing your spirit by someone who loved you but didn’t quite understand? I challenge you to share your story – and to do something small and beautiful for yourself again as soon as possible!

Alchemy for Moms The Alchemist's Heart

Organizing Chaotic Households

How to Transform A Chaotic Space

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got an area in your home you want to change.

Not just an area that needs a little tidying…a space that makes you cringe when you walk by.

Shocker! I have more than one.

Here is a panoramic pic the knot I tackled a week ago…..

image001

Awesome, isn’t it? Brings lots of creative swear words to mind.

I’m still kind of amazed it didn’t eat me while I was in there!

Here’s what I tried first…..

My Top 3 Knee-Jerk Strategies For Organizing Chaotic Households

1. Positive Thinking messes away. Want to try this with me?

Ready, set, AFFIRM: “My messes are gone and I live in a beautiful space now…..”

Now look around…..mess still there? Shit.

It’s OK, I’ve got your back.

2. Ignoring chaos, leaving the lights off and groping around for whatever I need in order to avoid witnessing the truth. (Feel totally free to extrapolate what this might look like as a metaphor for our unconscious minds….)

Effectiveness of this strategy? Dismal.

Works about as well as trying to make love without feeling confident enough to enjoy being seen in the buff.

Which leads to:

3. Mastering the fine art of guilting myself. You probably know the tactic – enforcing change through personal shame.

Honorary graduate degree, anyone?

Imagine my surprise to discover that despite incredible consistence in reaching for these strategies, for sustainable change, they’ve never worked!

Want to know what DOES? Here you go:

Kick-Ass Cleaning in 13 Simple Steps

  1. Get clear on the feeling you want in the arena you want to change. What would feel really GOOD to you instead of “Aaaccckk?”
  2. Dedicate limited time brackets for your project. I recommend no more than 3 hours in a day. No marathons – I’m serious. Consider what you would advise a friend!
  3. Give yourself the gift of an honest evaluation of the situation “on the ground” so you’ll know the difference once you’ve worked your magic. Considertaking a picture or one minute video complete with commentary.
  4. Call in help from people who are gifted in what you want to do.
    Living or not, you can request assistance from their hearts to yours.
    Seriously ~ I asked for guidance from my Grandma June. She was a masterful cleaner.
    I’ve since learned this is probably because she had OCD, but all I knew was that chaotic environments bowed under her glare and shifted into order.
  5. Declare your intention to safe people in the world to create accountability. We want people rooting for your success in REAL TIME if possible! My personal cheering team came via Anna Kunnecke’s Queen Sweep cohorts. Amazing women who made all the difference.
  6. Promise yourself a genuine treat at the flip side of your day. Something small, something sweet (for your soul, not just your tongue) something just for YOU. Alchemist’s ordersflirty-emoticon
  7. Invite a little (or a lot of) joy into the process – Turn on 80’s music, make your favorite tea or hot cocoa, pour some wine, put on your tiara, stick chocolate in your pocket, keep friends who make you laugh on speakerphone.
  8. Create work “bursts” (15 to 30 minutes) + mini breaks within the larger time frame. Stick to pieces of time even a squirrel could stay focused on.
  9. Gather as many sorting containers as you can lay your hands on – bags, boxes, you name it – grab it! And garbage bags – big ones!
  10. Sort the mess into the simplest possible categories – like with like – bedding, wrapping materials, party supplies, bathroom “goop,” hair doo-dads, pantry items, donations, and “never-ever-wanted-that-how-did-that-get-in-there?” sections. You can always fine tune later.
  11. Take pictures and video halfway through AND at the end of the day’s process. Share these with your support team.
  12. Celebrate your magic ~ Give yourself the promised treat(s) ~ YOU DID IT!
  13. Give yourself full permission to REST. This will feel SOOOO good 

And just the fact that you’re considering this transformative act of courage? Here’s my toast to you!

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The Alchemist's Heart

The Power of Pumpkin Pie

Basic Human Pleasures

basic-human-pleasures-300x300I’m not scared by a person’s pain.

Do I feel it?

Yes.

Do I care?

Profoundly.

Do I trust the process?

Absolutely.

Where there is pain, there is life as surely as when there is joy. And where there is life, there is space for healing.

It is deadness that frightens me.

Today I honor a client of mine who walked in the door as numb as I’ve ever seen another human being. No visible spark. No pain, no happiness, no words. Sitting on my sofa looking at me…through me…as though I almost wasn’t there. As though she had already given up and was nearly in another world.

I fussed inside my head – about what to do – how to help – asking where the BLEEP was her spark?!

So I did the usual protocol…asked the standard questions…made sure safety nets were in place….and then I went out on a limb and asked:

“What are your favorite things? What do you love to see, to feel, to taste, to touch, to smell?”

Barely blinking, she looked at me.

I waited.

She closed her eyes.

I waited.

She said, ”Nothing…..”

I challenged: “Really? Nothing? There must be something you have taken pleasure in at some point in your life.”

She opened her eyes and said the magic words….”There is one thing….”

I barely breathed as I searched her face, “Yes?”

“Pumpkin pie. I used to love the taste of pumpkin pie.”

A wave of relief washed over me. “Done! Do you know what I’m going to do?”

“No?”

“I’m going to bake you a pumpkin pie. And next time you come in I’m going to give it to you.

The Whole Thing. And you are going to take it home with one rule.”

“What’s that?”

“You need to savor it. And don’t share it with anyone unless you really, really want to. Eat it slowly – a little bit each day until the next session – and taste every bite.”

She smiled.

I rejoiced.

And THAT is what began the remarkable process of transformation of the woman who now enters my office with bear hugs for everyone and an impish smile.

Is her life perfect?

Oh Heavens no!

Is it a hell of a lot better?

Oh my, YES!

Magic of the heart is this simple.

So, tell me, what is the single most basic pleasure YOU have taken comfort in? What has brought you one true moment of warmth, peace, relaxation, happiness or strength? And what would you be willing to commit to bringing back into your life that you have left along the way? One thing you love. One thing that wakes up part of you that’s sleeping.

Maybe it’s time.

I KNOW you’re worth it.

The Alchemist's Heart

Overflowing with Joy from Client Transformations

 

Celebration of Success

Do you ever have one of those moments when you are are so freakin’ proud of someone you love that your heart could burst?

sunflower-1That’s how I feel when my clients make such amazing progress they are ready to “Graduate” from our sessions. Sometimes I jump up and down and do the happy dance to celebrate! There’s no use trying to stop up the feelings of joy when they wash through – I’ve learned to set propriety aside and just go with it.

And right smack in the middle of my enthusiastic exhortations to “GO GIRL!” lies the spark of an answer to balancing our society’s focus on all that looks WRONG.  Rather than focusing on the prospect of imminent doom (as presented by mass media), we have another CHOICE!

Sure, we responsibly examine our lives, set goals and strive for self-improvement….I’m all for that – BUT there is one sure way to shift gears into an endorphin-filled state – and that is to embrace the moments when another precious spirit takes a step into a healthier life.

You get to ride the wave of joy as a two-for-one – help them “anchor” their positive state with a mini-celebration – and help YOURSELF remember that we are all in this together.  The success of any one of us shows what’s possible in the world for EACH of us.

And just in case you need an example, I will be sharing a story later this week of one of my client’s transformations – from dejection into bubbling laughter – guaranteed to show how the simplest steps can bring the most joy.

In the meantime, you KNOW I would love to hear, ’cause I’ll celebrate WITH you – what are YOUR “Burst-with-pride” moments?