Category Archives: My Beauty Walk

Celebration, Gratitude and Pomegranates


The Reclaiming Beauty Journal & Wisdom Deck Book Release party was a wild success, and I have been spending some time since eating lots of pomegranates and integrating the positive feelings from the evening. The themes of the night were Celebration and Gratitude, gifts that flow to a person who has the courage to embark on the Reclaiming Beauty journey.

Why pomegranates? Well… they are in season. They are so delicious and juicy and good for you. They have been calling to Joey and myself in the store this week. And they are beautiful symbols of abundance, prosperity, and ripened seeds of growth in our lives. At the book release party, we sold out of the current stock of books, so I have been thinking, what would I like to say to those beautiful Souls who recently bought the Reclaiming Beauty Journal & Wisdom Deck… Here is my message to you… in honor of the pomegranate that will one day be the juicy seeds of abundance, prosperity, celebration & gratitude from your Reclaiming Beauty journey….

It may be hard to imagine now, but there is a possibility, that some day in the future, you may be grateful for the life events that clouded your ability to see your own beauty. This may not be true for everyone, or for all of the life experiences, but for some of them, once you have faced the pain, grieved the losses, walked through the darkness, and come through the other side, you will realize you would have never gained the strength and clarity you feel in your ability to see your own beauty without having to face the trials you had to face. There are unexpected treasures in the hardships of our lives. For me, I have a joyful, enthusiastic son, a strength in who I am, I am in my power more today than I have ever been, I have transformed a self-critical inner dialogue to self-compassion, and I am living in integrity so that when I find myself out of alignment with my message I can compassionately seek support to return to the Reclaiming Beauty values.

So tell me, what experiences in your life have led you to no longer see your own beauty? How can you connect to the courage to face these experiences to embark on your Reclaiming Beauty journey? Remember what Maya Angelou says about courage – “Courage is the most important virtue, because without courage, you cannot practice any other virtue consistently.” Seek out stories of other women who inspire you, who stand in their strength and beauty. Find out what helped them face and get through their challenges. Know that you are not alone, seek support and a compassionate witness. Eat pomegranates. Let those juicy seeds remind you of the abundance, prosperity, gratitude and celebration that is possible on the other side.


Here’s a clip from my short talk from the Book Release party. My favorite part from this clip is getting cheered on from my son, Joey.

With love and gratitude.

Walk in beauty,

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My Body, My Chariot

thoth-chariotMy 40th birthday came and went, and with it I have passed into my Chariot growth cycle. I am a huge fan of following along with my growth cycles in the tarot, as synchronicity is a guiding principle in my life. My love of symbols and meaningful coincidences continue to imbue my day to day with a bit of magic.

The Chariot is a symbol of moving along your path, or being stuck. It is about balancing the flurry of movement with quiet and solitude. It is a growth year where change often happens in alignment towards positive growth in your personal and professional life. The synchronicities abound for me… So much excitement is happening as the Reclaiming Beauty Journal & Wisdom Deck is now a tangible reality.  I’ve started to schedule more speaking engagements and workshops. I’ve made a shift in my career to create more space for Reclaiming Beauty Coaching clients. I completed a room addition on my home and have moved out of my son’s bunk bed where I slept all summer. I can feel the need for balancing this exciting movement forward with self-care and downtime, so my wheels don’t spin out.

Reflecting on this growth symbol, I have also been sitting with the metaphor of my body as my chariot. Reclaiming beauty is a process that connects a person to their true Self, and when you feel that connection, your relationship with your body will transform. Your body becomes the vehicle for your true Self in the world, and when you experience this truth first hand, you will be more likely to treat your body with kindness and compassion. My body will be carrying me through this year of moving along my path, and I will honor it with thoughts and actions that express an understanding of the beautiful treasure it is carrying inside.

One of my favorite ways to honor my body, my chariot is self-care. At the Reclaiming Beauty Book Release Party, I will be featuring many of the healers who are a part of my self-care journey. I can’t wait to share these amazing women with you!

I will be joining one of them, Dr. J. Anya Harris, of Crystalign Chiropractic, for an upcoming workshop. I’d love to see you there. Details below!

How does viewing your body as the chariot for your true Self support you in transforming this precious relationship? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Walk in beauty,

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shelley rb altar

Reclaiming Beauty Wisdom Deck

Transform Your Relationship with Your Body-

A Workshop for Women

Thursday October 8th 6:30-8pm at Crystalign Chiropractic

 with Dr. J. Anya Harris and Heidi Andersen, MS, LPC, CEDS, author of the Reclaiming Beauty Journal and Wisdom Deck.  Heidi is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and Reclaiming Beauty Coach. In this workshop, Heidi will teach you how to go from body-shaming to self-compassion and heal the relationship between you and your body using practical tools for a positive self image.  Anya will share some fantastic natural health and beauty tips, and there will be a live Demo of Heidi’s empowering book and Wisdom Deck!

Sign up for this fun, practical and life-affirming class today!

$10 at the door.

RSVP by 10/7.  Email to RSVP. 



RB Book Release Party Poster


It’s Official!

Announcing the official release of the Reclaiming Beauty Journal & Wisdom Deck!

Bringing Dreams to Life

Reclaiming Beauty Journal and Wisdom Deck Cover

After three years of visioning, dreaming, writing, collaborating, and working on bringing this project to fruition, I am thrilled to share that the Reclaiming Beauty Journal & Wisdom Deck is now available! In my decade of work as a counselor and eating disorder specialist, I have identified the movement from self-criticism to self-compassion as one of the most challenging and transformative journeys a woman can make. With a strong belief in the body-mind-spirit connection and the importance of spirituality in the healing process, I created this beautiful, inviting, and inspiring aid for all women willing to step on the Reclaiming Beauty path.

This unique resource includes an elegant journal and a corresponding deck of colorfully artistic cards, each with an affirmation about beauty and self-love. Also included are engaging ideas for exploring these affirmations, such as writing reflections, making collages, practicing yoga, meditating on memories, and creating healing rituals. Suggestions for its use include working through the cards in order, alone or with a circle of friends, at one’s own pace or throughout a year, or drawing cards at random for inspiration or an intuitive reading.

The Reclaiming Beauty philosophy approaches body image as an externalized reflection of how we feel about ourselves: body image mirrors self-image. My hope is to inspire women of all types, ages, sizes, and shapes to heed the call to their personal Reclaiming Beauty walk and courageously step forward on their journey. I believe inner beauty is the greatest gift we have to offer ourselves, each other, and the world.

Begin your Reclaiming Beauty Journey! ORDER your copy HERE

This month there is much to celebrate!

The Shape of Things:

Reclaiming Beauty will be the beneficiary of a donation from The Different Strokes Performing Arts Collective‘s performance of their upcoming show “The Shape of Things.” I am humbled, honored, and inspired to create a service/giving back aspect to the Reclaiming Beauty business model. I will be there for the performance Friday 9/4! I’d love to see some familiar faces.

Living in the Balance:

Join some of my favorite colleagues and me for a talk on finding balance with your relationship with food, movement, body, mind, and spirit, right in time for the Fall Equinox! This event will happen at the Hendersonville Community Co-Op on September 17th. Register here.

Save the Date:

Reclaiming Beauty Journal & Wisdom Deck Book Release Party November 7th! I’m so excited to share that my dear friend and artist collaborator for the deck, Leah Joy, will join us from California for the celebration!

So what dreams and visions are you carrying within your heart? I would love to know. Be forewarned…  a most likely side effect of taking the Reclaiming Beauty journey is once you clear away obstacles that have prevented you from owning your true beauty, you just may bring your dreams to life.

I honor the beauty in you from the beauty in me.

Delivery Day

IMG_3582August 13, 2015 will go down in my life history as a most memorable day… the delivery day of my “second child.” 990lbs of Reclaiming Beauty Wisdom Decks were delivered to the end of my driveway in a tractor trailer. Luckily, my friend, Kelli, arrived at the same time to celebrate the occasion. And just in time she was – with “birthday” cake and a pick-up truck – so we could transport the 56 boxes down my driveway from the road, and then delight in the celebration complete with birthday cake.

The vision of the Reclaiming Beauty Journal & Wisdom Deck began three years ago, the summer of 2012. I am feeling so satisfied here at the end of the summer 2015, celebrating bringing this vision into tangible form. A long 3 year journey, with many ups and downs through the process. If self-publishing a book and producing an accompanying wisdom deck is comparable to climbing a mountain, I am currently at the summit of a fourteener. I’m going to savor this moment, and the view, here on the top of the mountain, before the hard work of the next stage of the journey begins… taking this message out into the world.

But I don’t want to celebrate alone… In honor of the occasion, the beautiful and incredibly talented artist of the Reclaiming Beauty Wisdom Deck, Leah Joy, has illustrated the Navajo prayer that inspired this whole project inside my heart and Soul so many years ago. I will be sending this “Walk in Beauty” poster out as a FREE GIFT to all of the people on the Reclaiming Beauty mailing list in the next couple of weeks. Make sure to add your name to the mailing list to receive this offering.

Also, what’s a celebration without a PARTY! SAVE THE DATE… I will be hosting a BOOK RELEASE PARTY on SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, from 6-9pm… with food, beverages, a raffle and a short inspirational talk. More details to come. You’re invited!

Reclaiming Beauty Journal & Wisdom Deck available for PRE-SALE now… full availability will be in September!

Enjoy these pictures from the beautiful delivery day morning!

And keep climbing towards YOUR dreams.

Walk in beauty,

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Reclaiming Beauty Wisdom Deck pyramid storage in my living room!

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Laying them out to look pretty…

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All fifty images…

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Reclaiming Beauty Journal & Wisdom Deck (2015)



FullSizeRenderHave you seen the new Disney Pixar Film Inside Out yet? If not, I highly recommend adding this movie to the top of your summer adventure list. This movie creatively brings to life the voices we all have in our heads: joy, sadness, fear, disgust, anger – and touches on the important interplay of these emotions. I foresee it supporting me beginning a conversation with many a future client around my approach to therapy: Internal Family Systems.

It also brought some humor to the recent response I had after receiving the Reclaiming Beauty Journal & Wisdom Deck book proof in the mail in the middle of May, which was TOTAL PARTS CHAOS… my inner critic, my not good enough, my nobody loves me, my fear of rejection, my total fraud – all went haywire in my body and my mind. There was a serious uprising inside – one that I could not settle down alone. I did what any strong Reclaiming Beauty Queen would do in such a situation… I reached out for support from my tribe.

My little sister read me quotes from my own book to counter the crazy thoughts (did I write that stuff?) My older sister reflected back some hard truths around the state of things (adrenal system burn out, you might need some more support then you are getting.) My dad and mom came to spend time with Joey and myself, and helped me out with the single-mama-working-on-building-a-dream lifestyle. While the TOTAL PARTS CHAOS uprising began to settle down inside me, I was able to move back in the direction of alignment with my true Self and the Reclaiming Beauty vision. The most important lesson, as I held the proof in my hands, was proving to myself that I could approach this challenge from a place of self-compassion rather than self-criticism – proving to myself that I could walk the path of reclaiming beauty, and be an authentic practitioner of the message I am about to share with the world.

I have been humbly reminded that the Reclaiming Beauty process is a spiral journey. We may feel ourselves standing totally balanced and whole in our beauty one day, but then another layer of life triggers may come and lead us down a path of deepening our Reclaiming Beauty walk. In these moments, I feel so thankful for the hope that comes from the support of a loving community, and the relationship I continue to cultivate between my PARTS and my TRUE SELF.

There will be lots of opportunities to cultivate Reclaiming Beauty community this Summer! See below.



And the Reclaiming Beauty Journal & Wisdom Deck will be coming out Fall 2015!
Stay posted!

Walk in beauty,

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Soul Kindness

JillPeacockWhen it comes down to it, doing the work of Reclaiming Beauty is doing the work of birthing your True Self. And any birthing process requires a tremendous amount of patience and intention to live in alignment with your beauty path.

As I am patiently waiting to give birth to the Reclaiming Beauty Journal & Wisdom Deck, I am constantly aware of the parallel process I am experiencing of the Reclaiming Beauty work itself. In the face of the expected challenges of birthing this project, as well as my own life experiences during this season, I have noticed myself falling into old patterns.

Here’s a snapshot:

During Family Seminar for my work with middle school girls, we were addressing patterns. As a clinical team, we decided to represent patterns that we have worked through by wearing t-shirts of the patterns. I chose “Victim” – proud to share my transformation from victim to Empowered Woman.

Ironically, this week was filled with stress after stress with my life and my project. As a result I was experiencing insomnia, overwhelm, anxiety, mood ups and downs, and very loud voices feeling sorry for myself about being a single mama and having to do it all alone.

On the final day of the seminar, while wearing the “Victim” t-shirt, I arrived with a flat tire. I called for a tow truck. When the driver arrived he told me, “Miss, do you realize you have a spare in your back seat?”

I was horribly embarrassed. I had been waiting with a flat tire for an hour for a tow truck to come and rescue me with a spare tire in the back seat of my car – the whole time wearing a Victim t-shirt! I laughed out loud and shared how this situation really went against my whole Empowered Woman thing. As my mind began to head down the road of self-criticism, a supportive co-worker helped me reframe. He said, “You can be an Empowered Woman and still not know how to change your tire!” Or know it’s in your trunk, I suppose… but I know NOW!

This reframe made the difference in spending an evening in self-compassion rather than self-criticism. I was able to have a sense of humor about the situation, and practice A LOT of self-care that night. With every obstacle I face in the Reclaiming Beauty Journal & Wisdom Deck birthing process, as well as with my own relationship with Self during this precious time, I am asking myself… are you living with Kindness towards your Body, your Mind, and your Soul? It is important to shine a light of awareness to the loud voices of criticism that paralyze our movement forward, and then bring in those actions of Soul Kindness.

Here are some suggestions for SOUL KINDNESS actions steps:

1. SOUL KINDNESS involves noticing the critical thought and bringing in a “YES, and…”

My thought was: “There was a tire in my trunk the whole time which proves I am powerless.” My supportive friend helped reframe the thought in order to recognize the possibility that the situation didn’t negate my truth of being an empowered woman.

2. SOUL KINDNESS involves taking a perspective that invites a sense of humor. Are you able to have a sense of humor about stuck places in your journey to shift from self-criticism to self-compassion?

3. SOUL KINDNESS involves taking self-care actions. When you recognize you are stuck in self-criticism, notice that your Soul is asking for some self-care to move you towards self-compassion.

Join the Reclaiming Beauty conversation! In the comments below, please share an action that supports you in developing SOUL KINDNESS. 

An action step for moving into Soul Kindness would be to join me for the Reclaiming Beauty and Freedom Summer Series in July co-led with Taisir El-Souessi of Taisir Expressive Arts. See details below. And stay tuned for the Reclaiming Beauty Journal & Wisdom Deck release date!

Walk in Beauty,

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Image: Jill Houser

Reclaiming Beauty Summer Flyer (1)



1000 Days to the Perfect Marriage

Self Honeymoon in La Fotuna, Costa Rica

Self Honeymoon in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

This is the story of a courageous journey that began about 1000 days ago, when I realized my husband would never full love me, because I didn’t fully love me. On that day, I stepped onto an unmarked path, hoping to reclaim lost parts of myself from attempting to seek the approval of my husband. I began my Reclaiming Beauty journey.

My older sister told me it took 1000 days to heal from a divorce, and during those 1000 days, I went on a journey from feeling the violent dividing by force from another, to a falling in love with myself. Discovering the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine parts of myself, these parts found balance and harmony, and ultimately, union within myself.

This journey was not easy, and led me through some dark places. One of the scariest places was the realization that I had some inner work to do in order to be fully aligned with the Reclaiming Beauty message of self-love and body love.  Shining a light inside, I realized I carried some buried judgments about my body and myself I had to heal in order to be in full integrity as a messenger of Walking in Beauty.


+ It began with COURAGE, LETTING GO and HEALING. It requires summoning courage over and over again to face life experiences that lead to disconnection from our beauty, to LET GO of these experiences and to HEAL. During this stage, the heart stays opens when you allow yourself to fully grieve the losses.

+ During the next stage I shifted into fearlessly seeking SELF-APPROVAL. In this process, I regained my POWER through self-approval. I learned to notice all the places where I was giving away my power through seeking the approval of others, and began taking this power back. A place where I found the most healing with this skill was in working with Rick Hanson’s, definition of the word VIRTUE:

Virtue simply involves regulating your actions, words, and thoughts to create benefits rather than harms for yourself and others.

+ RECLAIMING MY NAME – When my divorce was finalized, I moved through some anger in the grieving process. Anger is an essential emotion to honor in any grieving process to set boundaries, honor boundary crossings and to support severing the ties. Through the process of changing my name back I nicknamed myself  Heidi Lynn “Hot Lava” Andersen, in honor of the volcano images that supported my anger. Luckily, there was only one or two Jerry Springer worthy episodes in this part of the process between my ex-husband and myself, due to my VIRTUE practice and seeking my own approval through regulating.

+ COOLING DOWN WITH FORGIVENESS – Thanks to the timely discovery of Hóponopono, an ancient Hawaiian practice of forgiveness and reconciliation, I was able to cool down the erupting volcano with FORGIVENESS practices – towards my ex-husband, myself, and my body.  At the end of this season, I wrote my ex-husband a love letter, genuinely thanking him for the lessons the marriage offered me to support my growth process. I also thanked him for the greatest blessing of our marriage, our beautiful son.


In Bikram yoga, a practice that has supported my healing process these 1000 days, the teachers reference “the perfect marriage between the heart and lungs” every time we practice Triangle pose. In this pose, the yogi has a firm foundation with her legs, and stretches her arms from her heart – one towards the Earth and the other towards the Sky. The foundation is strong, the heart is open, and the breath is in full support of the expression of the pose, all working together to create the union of masculine and feminine energies within the practitioner.

During these 1000 days, my Triangle pose became stronger and stronger, this marriage between heart and lungs more solid. I felt the clouds clear in my mind, my body, and my heart. As a result, my understanding of Walking in Beauty became clearer to me…

I always ask my clients in sessions and workshops to answer this question… What does it mean to you to walk in beauty?

For me it means: To allow your True Self to be seen, to be in balance and in flow, to be in harmony with nature, your Self, and your relationships, to be accepting of yourself and free from judgments, to be kind and compassionate, to offer your gifts in service to the world.

Here, as I am beginning my next Reclaiming Beauty journey, my heart is at ease. I feel fully prepared to offer my gifts in service to the world, gifts that come from my own deep, healing journey.

Last week, I celebrated my perfect marriage and took myself on a Self Honeymoon to Costa Rica! This week, the final details are being completed on the book cover and layout for the Reclaiming Beauty Journal and Wisdom Deck by Kudzu Branding in Black Mountain. By the end of the week, I will be placing an order for the first run of this offering! Very soon, I will be planning a party to celebrate the release of this project and YOU ARE ALL INVITED!

So, here I am, on the other side of my 1000 days. I am now invoking the archetype of The Fool, which in the Tarot is the symbol for New Beginnings, the first step on this next Reclaiming Beauty journey, where I offer the gifts of my journey with all who are open to receiving.

Thoth Tarot Ceck

Image: Thoth Tarot Deck

I am in deep gratitude to my family, friends and the community who has supported me on my Reclaiming Beauty journey. We are meant to be walking in community to find our way to our True Selves and our true meaning in this world. If you are feeling a call to your Reclaiming Beauty journey, please consider working with me. It would be my pleasure to serve as a guide on your journey. For more information on Reclaiming Beauty Counseling services, go to the Work With Me page.

I honor the beauty in you from the beauty in me.

Walk in Beauty,

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All My Relations

BalanceFinalLast month at the Bikram studio, one of my all-time favorite teachers, Ross Randall, made a slight change to his usual guiding principle of “Don’t be lazy, don’t be crazy.” In a new, by donation class experience he has created to benefit local non-profits complete with black lights, glow in the dark bracelets, and an accompanying soundtrack intentionally chosen for each posture in the yoga series, Ross charged us with an amended version of his motto just for the evening, “Be crazy!”

Welcome to Glowga!

I knew I was going to love this class, with two of my favorite things being woven together, Bikram yoga and music, but I had no idea the spiritual experience that was in store…

The class happens the second Friday of every month, and this second Friday was right before my birthday on September 17th – this particular birthday being the end of my Art/Synthesis year, the overarching Hierophant cycle, and the beginning of my Lovers year, Lovers cycle. I have been blogging about my growth year cycles for the past five years, which is pretty amazing to me at this point. You can follow the thread by clicking through the “Tarot Wisdom” category. The Lovers year is one where a person may feel the need to reassess relationships. They may feel drawn to deepen and expand some, shed others. For me, I feel this year is symbolic of an integrated embodiment of the Lovers archetype within myself.

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Zen Osho Tarot Deck

The back story – I returned to Bikram yoga after giving birth to my son with a clear intention. I wanted to balance my masculine and feminine energies. At the time, I was all feminine archetype – mothering, compassionate, feeling, intuitive. My body embodied this archetype. I needed the strong, structured container of the Bikram practice (masculine archetype) to support bringing me into balance. As I step into my Lovers year, I can feel inside myself and see externally this balance has come to fruition. The sacred marriage of the divine masculine and divine feminine within, giving birth to my Self, has been realized.

My consistent, dedicated yoga practice lay the foundation for the experience I am about to share. It happened, of course, in Tree Pose. In this pose, a person must first ground themselves into the Earth to feel strong and rooted, expressing the masculine energy. From this place, you then bring one leg up, balancing on the other leg, draw your foot up into your inner thigh, and use the opposing force to reach your energy up towards the sky and expand, expressing the feminine energy.

While practicing this pose, Ross played Aretha Franklin’s soul classic “You’re All I Need to Get By.” Listening to Aretha singing in the background, the tears flooded down my face. I felt a deep integration of the masculine/feminine energy within myself, an authentic self-love and self-approval I have never known. The soulful love song felt like my Self singing to my Self. It was trippy and beautiful and when it was over I laid down in Savasana and just let it all sink in.


Thoth Crowley Tarot Deck

As my birthday came and went that week, I reflected on this experience. I dedicate this Lovers year to All My Relations. In the practices I study, I am taught of the play of All My Relations – with Self, with other people, with the Earth and with the Divine. I am taught that my relationship with my Self will shape how my relationships manifest in the world. If this teaching is accurate, and this snapshot is the relationship that is happening with my Self here at the beginning of my Lovers year, than Wow I am excited for what is in store for this cycle of my life…

If you are interested in your current Growth Year Cycle, or personal Tarot Symbols, I would love to hear from you. Check out the Tarot for Your Soul offerings or contact me for a Tarot Profile at

And I’m curious, in the comments below, please tell me… Have you ever had a love song to yourself and if so, which song?

The next GLOWGA! class at the Asheville Bikram studio – Bikram Yoga class with music and blacklights-  will be Friday October 10th at 6:30pm. Maybe I’ll see you glowing in the hot room.

Walk in Beauty,

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Image: Leah Joy – Balance from the Reclaiming Beauty Wisdom Deck


Angeles Arrien: 1940 – 2014

In Memoriam: I am mostly a self-taught Tarot Lover. In 1999 I stumbled upon “The Tarot Handbook: A Practical Application of Visual Symbols” by Angeles Arrien in a funky bookstore in San Franciso, California. I have studied this book over the years to turn it into the torn, tattered and well-loved copy it is today. The author, Angeles Arrien, is a women I consider to be one of the most influential teachers of my life. Angeles Arrien died unexpectedly and prematurely earlier this year. I want to take a moment here to honor her and offer so much gratittude for the book she wrote that I discovered in that bookstore so many years ago, a book that has helped me create a lot of meaning out of the ups and downs of my life, and helped others to do the same.

I honor you, angel Angeles Arrien.  

It’s Time to Celebrate

katie daisy horse Hello Beautiful People!

This magical summer has been winding down for me with lots of beautiful moments…

+ Joey started kindergarten!

+ I enrolled in the Bird’s Eye Business Planning class to make a plan for publishing the completed Reclaiming Book book and card deck – and the class starts on my birthday, September 17th, the beginning of my Lovers year/Lovers cycle, a very auspicious omen…

+ I wrote a love letter to my ex-husband genuinely thanking him for the lessons he taught me about seeking my own approval and offering sincere suggestions on how to be successful in his new marriage (!)

+ I fell in love with my day job working with middle school girls and fell in love with horses (it is the Chinese year of the Horse, after all)

And on and on…

I feel strong and steady and ready to move into a new phase of life, humbly sharing the lessons I have learned from a place of power.

In moments where I pause, I remind myself to take a deep breath, and celebrate the transformation that I have experienced in the last few years. I am so thankful to be on the other side.

On Thursday, September 11th, come celebrate with me. I will be offering free 3 card Reclaiming Beauty tarot readings at the Celebrate Every Body event. This “party with a purpose” is hosted by the Asheville Affiliates to benefit T.H.E. Center for Disordered Eating, a local nonprofit that mobilizes support and resources for individuals and families affected by disordered eating and related body issues. I will have a mock up of my Reclaiming Beauty Wisdom Deck so you can see a sneak preview! You can get more information about this event here.

Celebrate Every Body

Hope to see you there!

Walk in beauty,

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Image: Katie Daisy

Beautiful Alchemy


From the Zen Osho Tarot Deck

You are not going to believe this little tidbit… but I have never read Eat Pray Love. 

I have started it many times, and it has felt like a necessary book to have in my personal library. On Friday, June 27th I got to see the author of this delicious memoir, Elizabeth Gilbert, speak about her new book, The Signature of All Things, at UNCA with my dear friend Rebecca and I thought to myself, “Dang, it is time I read Eat Pray Love.” 

I am glad that I waited until my life story was a little more parallel with hers to take this journey with her, because her words are resonating with me. I just finished the first third of the book, telling of her journeys in Italy. I’d love to share the following exert, as I feel it speaks to the spirit of Reclaiming Beauty.

On my way back home I take a little detour and stop at the address in Rome I find most strangely affecting – the Augusteum. This big, round, ruined pile of brick started life as a glorious mausoleum, built by Octavius Augustus to house his remains and the remains of his family for all of eternity. It must have been impossible for the emperor to have imagined at the time that Rome would ever be anything but a mighty Augustus-worshiping empire. How could he have possibly foreseen the collapse of the realm? Or known that, with all the aqueducts destroyed by barbarians and with the great roads left in ruin, the city would empty of citizens, and it would take almost twenty centuries before Rome ever recovered the population she had boasted during the height of her glory?

Augustus’s mausoleum fell to ruins and thieves during the Dark Ages. Somebody stole the emperor’s ashes – no telling who. By the twelfth century, though, the monument had been renovated into a fortress for the powerful Colonna family, to protect them from assaults by various warring princes. Then the Augusteum was transformed somehow into a vineyard, then a Renaissance garden, then a bullring (we’re in the eighteenth century now), then a fireworks depository, then a concert hall. In the 1930s, Mussolini seized the property and restored it down to its classical foundations, so that it could someday be the final resting place for his remains. (Again, it must have been impossible back then to imagine that Rome could ever be anything but a Mussolini-worshiping empire.) Of course, Mussolini’s fascist dream did not last, nor did he get the imperial burial he’d anticipated. 

Today the Augusteum is one of the quietest and loneliest places in Rome, buried deep in the ground. The city has grown up around it over the centuries. (One inch a year is the general rule of thumb for the accumulation of time’s debris.) Traffic above the monument spins in a hectic circle, and nobody ever goes down there – from what I can tell – except to use the place as a public bathroom. But the building still exists, holding its Roman ground with dignity, waiting for its next incarnation. 

I find the endurance of the Augusteum so reassuring, that this structure has had such an erratic career, yet always adjusted to the particular wildness of the times. To me, the Augusteum is like a person who’s led a totally crazy life- who maybe started out as a housewife, then unexpectedly became a widow, then took up fan-dancing to make money, ended up somehow as the first female dentist in outer space, and then tried her hand at national politics – yet who has managed to hold an intact sense of herself throughout every upheaval. 

I look at the Augusteum, and I think that perhaps my life has not actually been so chaotic, after all. It is merely this world that is chaotic, bringing changes to us all that nobody could have anticipated. The Augusteum warns me not to get too attached to any obsolete ideas about who I am, what I represent, whom I belong to, or what function I may once have intended to serve. Yesterday I may have been a glorious monument to somebody, true enough – but tomorrow I could be a fireworks depository. Even in the Eternal City, says the silent Augusteum, one must always be prepared for riotous and endless waves of transformation. 

~Elizabeth Gilbert

from Eat, Pray, Love


From the Thoth Tarot Deck

And now today is July 27th… one month later. This past weekend, I have been reflecting over my year. Many of you know I pay attention to the ways my life lines up with growth cycles in the Tarot. Since my last birthday in September, I have been in an Art/Synthesis year. The Art/Synthesis year is one where a person is integrating all different parts of themselves to create the full artistry of who they are – weaving together what may seem like opposite forces – making art and alchemy from the polarities. This Art/Synthesis year is a big one for me, because it is also the end of a much larger cycle. In 2004, I began a Hierophant cycle, which is the cycle of  Family, Community and Spiritual development. In that year, I met the man I would fall in love with, the one who would gift me with my life’s greatest blessing, my son, Joey, and my life’s second greatest blessing, falling out of love with me, so that I could fall in love with myself.

Throughout my Hierophant Cycle, I fell madly in love, got married, went to graduate school, started my career, started building a life in a house in the woods, began working with women with eating disorders, had a baby, fell madly out of love, got divorced, grieved, wrote a book where I shared the lessons I learned, made meaning of it all, and healed.

No wonder there are moments I feel so dizzy.

On Saturday afternoon, I finished reading the second third of Eat, Pray, Love. In the second part of this memoir, Elizabeth Gilbert spends six months in an ashram in India, and one of the issues she faces inside of herself is healing the wounds related to her divorce. I was inspired by a spontaneous forgiveness ritual she described involving climbing up on a rooftop at the ashram. So inspired, in fact, I found myself getting in my car at 5pm and driving up the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I drove to one of my favorite spots, Graveyard Fields, and hiked up to the Upper Falls. Along the hike, I found myself reflecting on the various avenues I have explored in my life… mother, wife, divorcee, single parent, marimba player, music therapist, eating disorder therapist, child and family therapist, soccer player, singer/songwriter, yoga teacher, folk rock duo, tarot reader, writer, blogger, dancer… so many different aspects of myself… finding a place to weave together in a beautiful alchemy in this Art/Synthesis year. I found myself reflecting on what has come to be my favorite place this year; my yoga mat at the end of my practice in Savasana. Feeling dizzy from all of the upheaval and transformation, I love Savasana, when I can let all of what has been release and allow whatever wants to be emerge in the moment. I used to freak out in the face of that nothingness, and after the experience of this Hierophant Cycle, I find a lot of peace in letting go of the old ways of being, and trusting they will be woven into the tapestry without having to grasp onto them for dear life.

I hiked back down to the Lower Falls and pulled out my little book on Ho’oponopono. Ho’oponopono is a forgiveness and reconciliation practice from the Hawaiian culture designed to bring healing to relationships with ourselves, our family members, and the world. In this practice, a person offers a prayer and meditation of four sentences: “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.” This meditation is reflected on over and over, or given as a guide for communicating the reconciliation intention with another.

I was feeling drawn to the Ho’oponopono practice because I have grown weary of feeling angry at my ex-husband. I was ready to take full responsibility for whatever my part was in creating the situations that unfolded over the past two years after my separation and divorce. In the twilight and under the new moon in Leo, I made a ho’oponopono, sang a beautiful song that my friend Jen taught me, and dove into those Lower Falls at Graveyard Fields.

Hiking back to my car, soaked to the bone, I drove down the parkway, heat on, windows down, in my bra and underwear. I felt like a new woman, transformed by the beautiful alchemy of an Art/Synthesis year.


Lower Falls, Graveyard Fields, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

Next stop… September 17, 2014, the wheel turns to the next cycle – The Lovers Cycle.


May I attract only kind and gentle life lessons and relationships (and lots of joy and passion.)

Gotta finish the last third of Eat, Pray, Love now! Another book I recommend for anyone working on Art/Synthesis themes is Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. It is a superbly crafted novel of interweaving stories about how life is never what we plan it to be and yet the beauty of life is about making meaning out of what it is.

If you are interested in finding out more about your Tarot Symbols or Growth Cycles, contact me to schedule a Tarot Profile session or Tarot Reading.

Walk in beauty,

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