Finding the Voice // Moving Past Writer's Block

I was suffering acutely from writer’s block. I can’t tell you how many times I would say, “Well, not today, maybe tomorrow.” Or, “I’m too busy and I don’t have the time.” I made excuses. What if I just didn’t know what to say? What if there was nothing to write down? Heritage feels like a long time coming - I’ve been creating recipes and accumulating family stories for decades. I’ve been studying biodynamics and integrative nutrition for just as long. Heritage has wanted to be written for a long time, as though it’s been scripted for generations. And yet sometimes I just can’t get the ball rolling.

So I did what any stuck person would do, I phoned a friend. I called my daughter, Nicola, who listened with compassionate ears and encouraging words, reminding me that everyone goes through this. And then I talked to my husband, who in trying to be helpful, reminded me that I’m not a writer – to which I replied with hurt feelings, something about my 4th grade creative writing assignment where I wrote a story about a ghost and doesn’t that count as being able to call myself a writer. 

I Googled “writer’s block,” signed up for a free webinar (or two, or three, or four!), and phone a few more friends.

One of the most helpful and supportive bits of awareness came in the form of fully recognizing what was going on. Naming what was happening (writer’s block) enabled me to actually takes steps towards working with it - rather than continuing to come up with excuses. 

Beyond the encouraging words (thank you family + friends!), I found a more tactile way to work with this blockage.  I finally found a rhythm with writing, by creating a ceremonial practice that has become an important part of my day.

A dear friend and colleague of mine, Mela, helped me to sink into my new routine. Mela supports many clients with time management, “dejunking,” and getting unstuck. First, she helped me to feel supported and grounded in my space. Too often, I would find distractions - a pile on my desk that I could spend time tidying; or my cellphone, which was often within arm’s reach. In clearing my physical space, using the power of intention, practicing breathing exercises, and keeping a candle lit for inspiration to come through, I’ve been consistently sitting down every day for two hours to WRITE. And I have to say, I’m quite proud of that!

In thinking of each writing session as a ceremony, I honor how special it is that I’m carving out this time and space. It gets harder and harder, I think, in our modern world, to set aside time that feels focused and intentional.

Before going to sleep at night, I connect with my Angels and Guides and ask for their support with creativity, flow and focus.

In the morning, I spend a few minutes listening to that voice that wants to be heard before getting out of bed to start my morning routine.

I’ve learned to allow time for fidgeting. Yup, the beauty of the fidget. It’s where I get to feel organized before starting to write. This could include folding laundry, preparing breakfast, unloading the dishwasher, clearing off my desk, taking a shower, making a cup of tea. The sacred fidget prepares me in the most profound way, in that it brings me into alignment with the creative process.  And what I’ve found is that it gives me a chance to meditate on what’s about to be translated into words.

I keep a bottle of water on my desk and I speak my intentions into it. I also have a cup of warm tea in my favorite mug (thank you, Leigh Fanady!). I light a beeswax candle in my favorite candle holder. There are photos nearby of loved ones and some of my favorite pottery pieces to glance up at for inspiration when I’m feeling stuck. I don’t keep a phone nearby. I also take a dropper full of Hornbeam flower essence (thank you, Robin, my dear friend and talented herbalist, for this insight) and sometimes I use Rooted Angel Trinity Flower Essence for additional assistance from the plant kingdom.

Mela told me something powerful - that time is both linear and non-linear. When I can access the dimension beyond space and time, whilst remembering to stay grounded in the here and now, I’m able to truly feel like a channel. I remember this, and then I write. The writer’s block starts to melt. Sometimes paragraphs and pages don’t quite flow together, or there’s too much to say. Or too little. But I realize that it’s all just right. 

My intention for Heritage is this: I am focused, connected and centered. The writing of Heritage, Celebrating Family Recipes flows freely and effortlessly as I develop the soul of this book. Heritage will serve as a beacon of light for those who navigate the natural elements of life. Heritage is food for the soul – a return journey home.

When you find that you need acute focus, may you too find solace in clearing your space, setting intentions, taking a break from technology, surrounding yourself with sacred & inspiring objects and calling on the help of friends and the plant kingdom.

Recipe for Ageless Beauty

You are beautiful!
Your eyes soften their gaze to take in another person’s soul!
Your smile harmonizes with the stars that light up the night sky!

These few sentences are felt by the cells in our body; cells that are nurtured not only by the food you eat, the water you drink, the sleep and rest you need but also the thoughts and feelings that create your life. The power of positive thought is remarkable when it comes to healing the body and creating an environment of self-love. 

Self-love comes in many shapes and forms. Cooking for yourself and your family and using foods that are local, organic and biodynamic is a wonderful expression of love. I’d like to offer another thought: when you are eating in harmony with nature, you are naturally supported. Your energy comes alive, your skin smooth and clear. By choosing foods that are high in antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties, you naturally treat yourself with love, compassion and care, and you send those same healing energies into your inner world where they can work to soothe and heal your mind, body, skin and soul from life’s daily stressors.

The plant kingdom is here to support, they offer themselves up in selfless service. It is with great reverence to the miracle of all life that I offer up these suggestions to help keep your beauty ageless!

A wintry sunset walk is amazing for both the physical and mental body.

A wintry sunset walk is amazing for both the physical and mental body.

  • Spend time in nature. Get to know her different expressions of mood, whether it be a forest, ocean, lake, a grassy lawn, snowy drift or fragrant rose garden. A 30 minute walk has the power to transform your inner world and outer beauty.
     
  • Eat unprocessed plant foods. Especially fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and healthy fats like avocado, flax, pumpkin, walnut, olive and coconut. Fresh foods that have been grown biodynamically or organically retain their life energies even after harvest. Those life energies infuse your body when you eat these foods. Helpful antioxidants are found in berries and brightly colored fruits like kiwis, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. Seeds and nuts have well known anti-inflammatory properties as well as minerals that form the building blocks of healthy skin and hair. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, kale and radishes are loaded with skin beautifying compounds. These natural phytonutrients boost the body’s natural detoxification enzymes to combat and repair cell damage, reducing inflammation and bolstering immune response.
     
  • Cook with fresh herbs and citrus. Herbs are loaded with polyphenols, plant compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Citrus is amazing for vitamin C and fiber, not to mention how refreshing it is when added to drinks or salad dressings.
     
  • Drink plenty of water. Adding lemon to your water or small amounts of apple cider vinegar are great for detoxing and stimulating the digestion. Whenever you drink water, consider expressing love and gratitude silently into the water before you drink. Do the same when you bathe or shower.
     
  • Drink green tea. Green tea is infused with a potent portfolio of age-defying antioxidants. Because it is one of the more minimally processed teas, it offers the most antioxidant polyphenols, including a specific catechin believed to inhibit cancer and also beautify the skin.
  • Dance or do a rhythmic exercise like ballroom, tango, 5 Rhythms, tai chi, chi gong, yoga and tennis. All harmonious movements help to strengthen your etheric body, overall health and beauty.
     
  • Seek out therapeutic massage, healing touch, reiki, acupuncture, reflexology. Many of these practices are forms of ancient healing based on the perception that life energy flows through the physical body along distinct pathways or meridians. Receiving a treatment aims to open up these pathways so that energy can flow freely and effortlessly, allowing the bodies to do their best work in regenerating and creating new youthful growth.
     
  • Listen to music that makes you happy. As everyone knows, music can change our life condition in seconds! Over a year ago, I purchased a Music of the Plants device, a magical machine from Damanhur, Italy that turns the electrical pulses of a plant into musical notes. I use the music of the plants to help center me and provide calm. For more about this, click here.
     
  • Take deep breaths. Do you ever find yourself at your desk or in the grocery store and you notice that you haven't been actively breathing? It happens to me all the time, realizing that I'm holding my breath. The cells in your body need air to remain at their peak level of health! Deep breathing also helps in calming temporary anxiety and gives the body a moment to slow down and remain present. 
     
  • Use skin care products made of pure plant substances, preferably grown biodynamically or organically. I first got into making skincare products when I realized that organic, thoughtfully sourced skin products were not so easy to come by. One of my favorites is Skin Healer, which can be used for literally everything - cuts, burns, rashes, pimples, dry skin & lips.

Taking the time to care for yourself is investing in your long-term health. There are days when going to a dance class or buying a slightly more expensive skincare product (because it's made with ingredients you can actually pronounce) can feel indulgent. In supporting your physical body, you are also supporting your emotional body. The effort that you've put into your physical and mental health will radiate outward - and it doesn't just stop with you! The happiness and calm that you can begin to cultivate extends outward to others.

For more about nourishing your inner & outer beauty, join Laura and Kerstin Florian, luxury, organic skincare brand in a talk about The Power of Plants on Tuesday Jan. 16th 2018. For more info and to register, click here.