Yesterday was unexpectedly emotional. My body was more charged than days before. I woke with a longing in my heart and a compassionate sadness pulsing through my body. I've felt this before and called it nostalgia. It feels a little different now and I cannot quite pinpoint a label for it. The closest thing I can call it is "trapped resolve". It's a combined energy of allowance and acceptance and frustration and impatience.
The sensations continued all day and in waves. Some hours in the day were less charged than others. I practiced presence and awareness without trying to do anything about them. I simply felt them and continued with the activities of my day. I breathed deeper than usual and I was productive.
And then, later in the afternoon, when I went to call my family, my phone had automatically created several photo memories. I was compelled to look at them and scrolled through the pictures and my heart skipped more beats than I expected. I could feel a strong wave of emotion channeling. And this time, the longing and sadness pulled me deeper towards a combined feeling of gratitude and grief.
I started to cry and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the time I took in my life to travel and connect with people I love....even when I felt that it wasn't good timing or I didn't have enough money to do it. Somehow, somewhere I knew in my heart that the most important memories in my lifetime would be the moments I spent showing up for the people I loved and who mattered to me most. Grief for the moments that I don't know when or how these moments will ever happen again. I cried some more and just listened.
Things are getting very quiet now. I am remembering stories and times. Memories are flooding through and I recall.
I visited the home of Williams Wordsworth in the Lake District of the United Kingdom. It was the summer before I was studying abroad and attending the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Keble College, Oxford University. I adored the Romantic poets in British Literature: Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Blake and Shelley. They inspired me and seeing where they gathered and wrote was important for me. I'm such a sensory junkie. I need to see, taste, touch, smell, feel to have a full experience. The Lake District was a gorgeous place with beautiful vistas of rolling hills and blue water and trees and this sense of animal and fairy magic, if you believe in those kinds of things. Beatrix Potter's home was also here.
That fall semester in 1989, when I studied in Oxford, was life changing in a profound way and the time I spent in London planted the seeds for me to take root in New York City three years later. As much as I loved the charming and idyllic countryside, the energy and vibration of the city was alluring for me.
New York City was my home and heart from 1992 until 2016. Lady Liberty, I have a love letter for you. That's for another day.
I Wondered Lonely As A Cloud by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee;
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company!
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
This past month has been monumental in many ways for all of us. I hope you are well and good, safe and healthy. It's been a long time since we've connected and now, more than ever, is a time to say hello. I care about you. You matter to me. I am grateful to know you. I appreciate you. I acknowledge you. I value you. And, I miss you.
In all honesty, I am very much an extroverted introvert and prefer to be more reclusive and quiet and private than you might think. I need lots of time to process things and I'm better at sharing myself when I have had lots of downtime.
When I was living in New York, my processing time was limited and my downtime was distracted and after 24 years in the city, I wanted to create something new for my Self. I had felt that I had stopped growing and evolving in New York City. I wanted nature, and I wanted something else. What that something else was exactly was to be determined. But, one thing was clear: my future Self was calling me forth and I listened.
So, after a period of time of exploration in seeking that "something else" with intentional vision quests to find the right next spot including✈️ trips to Vermont, Florida, Washington, Texas, Belize, and Puerto Rico, I found my happy place and moved to the Northern California coast, bought a Treehouse and started a new career in wine sales. Most of this you may know, and there are so many stories to laugh and cry about during the last 4 years since I've moved to California. It was NOT a light undertaking on ANY level, but, those stories are for another time.
For now, in this moment, I am dramatically shifting, again, and It's time, for me, perhaps for all of us, to come out of my place of comfort and hiding, and stretch past my constructed boundaries, to connect and help. My heart and soul thrives on serving others and being purposeful.
Our personal and global healing for ourselves, for each other, for our communities and society depend on our compassionate and kind solidarity. I hear John Lennon in my head singing, "Come together! Right now! Over me!" and I imagine the song being about Mother Earth. I've been wondering what the revolution of our times would look like and, it seems, here it is.
This feels like a massive awakening of consciousness and compassion for all sentient beings. We're in an epic storm and how we weather through it will be another story for sharing. It's been brewing for decades and the waves are huge. Who seems prepared to ride them? The artists, philosophers, teachers, healers, and creators, who have been waiting and praying and preparing for this time for decades. I am witnessing with awe and wonder and curiosity at the beauty and hope and transformation. It's like surfers who have patiently been wading in the ocean and, at last, the time as come to be fully expressed and ride this tsunami-like wave of vibration.
For some, this time is a great gift and for others it is a bad dream. The reality is here. The future is now. I've always said that "retro is the new wave", meaning that there would be a time that we would all retreat and renew and recalibrate.
The future is Now.
And so what do we do besides wax poetic or sit in states of panic watching the dreadful news or watch Netflix movies?
As I mentioned, many people have been waiting for this time and preparing for this time and, for me, I am ready. I am here to help. I am here to heal. I am here to learn. I am here to serve.
There's a higher frequency to tap into now and fear, my love, will make you sick. Panic and worry and obsessively watching or listening to the news propaganda will make you sick. Believing that others have power over your mind and body will make you sick.
It's been my lifetime journey to study the human condition in all its glory and all its sadness. I thank all the plants, stones, animals, people, friends, family and strangers, as well as all the shared experiences that have helped and healed me, physically, emotionally and spiritually. My her-story has been a rollercoaster of success and dismay and I have excelled to high places only to drop down and unearth the depths of my deepest shadows, dealt with them, with me, healed myself and risen, again and again and again. The process of dissolution and evolution is always and forever, but it gets easier and lighter and more fluid with practice.
I hope that coming together and sharing the teachings will bring comfort and joy, as well as awaken a Spirit in you to be a beacon of light and strength and hope. The world needs you to be healthy and whole.
Let's raise our vibration and frequency for healing and evolution. It is being asked of us now. Your health and happiness is essential to everything.
We ARE all connected.
I ♥️ You
I look forward to seeing you in one of my LIVE virtual yoga classes via Zoom.
Click here to sign up for the class offered through March 31 or you can schedule a personal session. New class schedule starts April 1.
Visit stephanieculen.com for more information.
If you want to be a part of its evolution, please fill out this survey and tell me how I can help you.
It was first grade and the teacher asked us to draw a picture of what the future would look like. We were studying science and remembering the Man on the Moon.
July 20, 1969 when Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin formed the American crew that landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle.
I was 8 months old sitting in a high chair mushing food into my mouth with a television behind me while my parents were riveted to the screen honoring this momentous occasion in our history (and documenting the moment on film. My father was in art school!)
I drew a forest 🌲 Everyone else in my class drew spaceships and martians. Almost fifty years later, these two worldviews are being merged and somehow this mermaid landed in a Treehouse.
Tales from the Treehouse
Stephanie Culen here! Tales from the Tree House continues. I am excited to share with you today something that I hope will inspire you.
As many of you know, I recently moved to Northern California which I absolutely love. It's stunningly beautiful here and being surrounded by nature has been a true gift. I'm gratefully overwhelmed with the lessons of these trees that I live amongst. But that really is a whole other story.
Since I've been here, I've met amazing people and seen gorgeous places and I share my story of how I landed in Guerneville from Avenue A in Manhattan with anyone who asks. It's a great story, but that too is another Tale! Anyway...there seems to be one question that keeps arising from other people. And that question is "Stephanie, so what's your secret to life?" They're asking me my secret to staying youthful, staying happy, staying connected and I'm here to share them with you.
What some of you may NOT know is that I had a dream when I was 20 years old to turn 25 years old in New York City. At that time I had just returned from studying abroad in Oxford and I had a vision for myself. That dream came true and I turned 25 in New York City at 265 Lafayette St in what is now called Nolita. Back then it was pretty much Gotti GangsterVille. But really that's a whole other Tale, as well. A couple of years ago, I had a dream I wanted to turn 48 years old on a vineyard. This past November that dream came true.
With this Tale is not about manifesting dreams. At least not exactly directly. Because what most people here focus on when I tell them my story is that they can't believe I'm 48 years old. I find it kind of funny that that's the place they go but They want to know. And so here it goes.
The short answer good old-fashioned self care. So what does good old-fashioned self care look like? Well, let's explore. Ready? I'm only going to give you 5 secrets. There are more. There,s always more! But five is enough to get you started. Ok, Here we go!
Here are my top 5 secrets:
First, and these are not in any particular order. Number one : sleep. Solid sleep is essential for your well being. If you are not getting enough sound, uninterrupted sleep, let's figure out how to make that happen for you.
Second, drink lots of water : good clean water. At least a gallon a day. That's 8 glasses of 8 ounces, by the way!
Third, eat plenty of oils. Oh my goodness : fats are your friend! Fish oils, avocados, coconut oil, nuts, butters, FATS!!!!! Please make sure you get enough oils in your system. They are super important to the body's overall functioning like oil in your car!
OK we have two more secrets to go! Number four: process your emotions. Do whatever it takes (journaling, therapy, movement, talking, crying, meditating, whatever works) to figure out your anger, your sadness, your fears, your frustrations, your hangups, your jealousies, your issues : your AFFLICTIONS! Figure them out!!!!! Own them. They are a part of you and then Release them! And THEN :::: Part 2 of Secret Number 4 : forgive yourself every day! It's a big one.
OK number five. Wow OK number five. There's some other big ones on the list, but let's say number five is laughter : smile and laugh often ... knock knock....who's there? come up with a joke make it funny. Life is absolutely humorous and our darkest moments when looked at from various perspectives can sometimes be quite comical. It takes some time to see the comedy within the tragedy, but give it a try every now and again. Laugh at yourself and laugh WITH others.
So these seem doable, yes? Were they what you expected?
OK. I'm gonna give you a bonus secret. I could say sex is pretty important and IT IS a secret and IT IS important but we get can often get hung up on the sex thing. Make sex a priority, for sure, but sex can look like a lot of different things and I pull embracing SENSUALITY under the sex secret, but that's a whole different Tale too!
I could say meditation. That's super important. I could say spending time with Nature. Oh yay. That's a big One! I could say move your body everyday. That's really important. I could say Be Kind and Polite. Manners and grace go such a long way. Or Gratitude practices. Goodness Yes to Gratitude. I could say Faith in a process bigger than you can see or feel or taste. Yeahhhhhh. Ok. Ok. I think I got it.
Here's the bonus secret : Ready?
Study your Language and Love yourself. Language is thought made into sounds of Action. Study your speech and you will learn your mind and then love yourself and speak to yourself (and others) as you would your loving child and remember that you are smart, important, super special and powerful, as is everyone around you.
So that's it! My five secrets (wink wink) to living a happy, healthy, holistic and adventurous life.
I do hope that Tales from the Treehouse inspire you. You can let me know on Facebook or Instagram. Also, please share with others too. Spread the Love!
And, if you want to work with me One-on-One you can email me directly at[email protected]. I offer private yoga instruction, Reiki transmissions and inspirational relationship coaching both in person and on-line. My time with you is always live, however, and not recorded or downloadable. I believe in PRESENCE!
Okey dokes. Signing off! Love love! Wishing you an AMAZING day!
I am a BIG fan of the handwritten note and still have many analogue tendencies that are revealing themselves in 2015 as being quite strange. For example, I still keep a Filofax calendar to set all my appointments. If I don't write it down with pen and ink, I cannot remember a thing. I also write out grocery lists and to do lists on index cards....a habit my grandfather used to do and I simply adopted it when I was a child. As much as I'm a Facebook and Instagram junky, I also toggle the analogue world with reverence and glee.
In the technological age of digital and social media, however, the art of the handwritten note is a craft fast becoming obsolete. And yet, it is still one of the most welcoming and powerful modes of communication. When receiving a handwritten note, we have a tendency to pay attention. There is thought and feeling and intention behind the delivery and it's quite sweet, and nowadays, rare, which makes the reception that much more enticing.
Perhaps because it is so personal and heartfelt to write a note and the process also requires patience, time and materials. Materials like pen or pencil and paper or card. There is an effort that is embedded so beautifully and organically in this plan of sharing thoughts and experiences, gratitude and thankfulness.
It is different than the immediacy of writing a text or email. When writing and sending and then receiving a hand written note or letter, there is the quality of time and attention to details that are considered. It takes TIME to choose the card, reflect on the words, write the note, seal and address the envelope, place the stamp, and mail the package. On the receiving end, there is also the time it takes for the post to be delivered.
It is an exchange and a form of communication that is timeless and exquisite and I invite you to practice your skill set and see how it feels to send some notes out into the world. Choose one person each week and send a "thinking of you" note to them and see what happens.
As I was writing this post, I was curious about the history of the handwritten note and this is what I discovered : Click here to read about it.
And then I also was reminded of a postcard that came to me hand written from Costa Rica a couple of years ago. It was never signed and so I have no idea who sent it to me. But it serves as a reminder to me of the importance of sending postcards, notes and cards to friends, lovers, family and strangers, too. It is also a reminder of the sweetness of messages that come through in unexpected ways.
Write with your hand and your heart and send it out to someone today. It may be the most profound message that someone receives.
"You is Kind. You is Smart. You is Important."
This is a quote from a book and movie called The Help.
It's a story. Just like any other story. Basically, it's about African American housekeepers who work for White Southern housewives in the 1960's and in this one story there are many stories : lessons and teachings and heart tales that make up our humanness. It's a story that pulls at the heart strings and reveals the truths of life in a way where you feel your heart skip a beat, laugh, break, heal and grow. This is a story of time past and yet still relevant to time present even though the historical circumstances are different. The overall quality of the human condition remains.
This is how the story of life and the life of story works. We live our lives each day from the time we are born until the time that we die experiencing love, loss, fear, passion, injustice, jealousy, greed, compassion, longing, adventure, generosity, fun, tears, joy and every human quality that exists. From sunrise to sunset for as long as we are alive, we are in a story. The story of our life. And it's powerful because our story is embedded with shared meaning and connection.
It's important to share. One way we learn and grow and understand are from the stories of our elders and the stories of our times. A lot of our personal meaning making is derived from stories and sharing tales. And I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on different aspects of your life to find the story and the message that is aching to be told.
A dear friend of mine whom I call my sister, Leza Lowitz, is an American born writer living in Japan with her husband and son and she is about to publish her memoir : Here Comes the Sun: A Journey to Adoption in 8 Chakras. I was with her at the beginning of this process years ago when she was very nervous about sharing certain aspects of her truth and yet she felt equally compelled to get her message out to the world. It's a GREAT read and perhaps you will be inspired in reading her story, to share your own.
You have a story to share. And it's important. Your life is valid and your experiences are valuable and your perspective is worthy of offering to the world. With the rise of social media, we are able to share our stories more readily and easily. And one thing I am noticing more recently is that people are sharing ALL of their story and not just the good and happy parts but also the tough and suffering aspects of life that are equally, if not more at times, empowering and inspiring.
Do you journal? Do you take note of occurrences? How do you share your gifts, your unique teachings, and the lessons of your life with others? Other people truly depend on your perspective and your gifts, so please tell your story.
And check out Leza's book. It's a great read and perhaps you will be inspired to share your own life or aspect of your life, too. If you are uncertain or afraid of something, it's a natural part of the transformation process to feel uncomfortable. Just go for it!
'Cuz please remember : "You is important."
Your Future Self is Calling You
Every person you meet in the course of your lifetime has an impact on you. There are those people, that when you meet, you have no idea that your life will be changed in some way forever. There are those people that come and go quickly never to be seen again. There are those people that you meet and think you will not see again and they become the most important people in your life. There are those people that are in your circle of love forever and move in and out of your daily life like the tides of the ocean. There are those people that you feel will be with you always and they disappear unexpectedly or circumstantially. There are those people.. .you fill in the blank. People are important. Honor the people in your life. All of them.
People people people are what make the heart heal and break and grow and love and learn. It is people who influence and experiences and shape your path in ways that are both subtle and profound. It is in the meeting and the sharing that is the present moment. Savor it and appreciate it. Love it and adore it. Breathe in each person as if they have a new part of your life to unfold for you.
It is in paying attention to the connections and opening to curiosity as that of a child that the magic and power of Presence and People will be revealed. Over time, the connections and reflections give pause to understanding and inspire the respect for each encounter.
I am reminded of T.S Eliot's Four Quartets:
You say I am repeating
Something I have said before. I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstacy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.
In contemplation and gratitude, here is another poem for the sharing offered to me recently by my college professor, Michael Glaser, who has had SUCH an overwhelmingly and unexpected influence in my life it is beyond explicable and I am forever indebted to his generosity and graciousness in how he shares his passion for the human condition of love and loss and extraordinary living.
No, no there is no going back.
Less and less you are
that possibility you were.
More and more you have become
those lives and deaths
that have belonged to you.
You have become a sort of grave
containing much that was
and is no more in time, beloved
then, now, and always.
And so you have become a sort of tree
standing over a grave.
Now more than ever you can be
generous toward each day
that comes, young, to disappear
forever, and yet remain
unaging in the mind.
Every day you have less reason
not to give yourself away.
-- Wendell Berry --
For a couple of months I was feeling a bit foggy in the mind and my energy level was waning and yet everything was really good in my health and daily routine. There were no big changes in my life that warranted this feeling and so I was wondering if it may be hormonal or seasonal.
Others were claiming astrological shifts.
Whatever was happening, it was happening and I was opening to receive some new information to clear the channels and the pathways in my body and mind. I was seeking clarity and sustained energy in a natural form that was plant based and SHAZAM! It arrived.
A dear and trusted friend recommended E3Live. I purchased some and started it the next day.
Within 24 hours ~ yes, A DAY! ~
I was feeling back on track and better than ever. Astounding!!!!!
What is E3Live?
E3Live is an all-organic superfood. It is 100% blue-green algae Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA). This nutrient dense superfood contains over 65 vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids. It is a plant-based superfood that is non-GMO, vegan and a rich source of chlorophyll.
E3Live is wild-harvested from Klamath Lake in Oregon, USA.
This one is my favorites and it tastes pretty good, too!
E3Live + BrainON
You can find it at Wholefoods in the freezer section by the ice cream or order it here. Definitely visit the E3Live website for all products and information.
And, please let me know how I can help you!
This stuff is AWESOME!!!!!!
As always, check it out for yourself for a week or so and see if it works for you.
The company offers a 100% guarantee that you will feel differently!
Let me know how it goes!
#secretagentstephanieculen #mydailyom #healthandharmony #e3live
Suggestions on how to get a better sleep
I am often asked by my yoga students and private clients about yoga poses that can help them sleep better. There are several that are good for helping with sleep including child's pose, legs up the wall and reclining bound angle pose. Fitness magazine did a nice job of demonstrating those yoga poses.
But there are also teas and tinctures that can be very helpful. I share them with you in this video.
Happy steeping and sleeping!
Please share with hashtags #stephanieculen #mydailyom #iloveoils #healthandharmony #secretagentstephanieculen
The Secrets of Oil Pulling
I love my teeth. As a matter of fact : one of my favorite personal care activities is brushing my teeth! So, it goes along to say that I am a big advocate for a healthy mouth which equals a healthy body.
I'm often asked how I keep my teeth so white. My little secret is ... oil pulling.
Oil pulling is easy. It's fast. It's economical. It's uber beneficial to your oral hygiene as well as your overall well-being.
Here's what it is and how to do it :
What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique dating back about 3000 years. It involves swishing oil in the mouth for a short period of time between 5 minutes and 20 minutes each day or as a weekly ritual. It is mentioned in the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita where it is called Kavala Gandusha or Kavala Graha and is referred to as medicinal gargling. It is a very important element to oral hygiene that has other benefits to the body's overall health and well-being.
If we agree that the mouth houses millions of bacteria, fungi, viruses and other toxins, then the oil acts like a cleanser, pulling out the toxicity before they get a chance to spread throughout the body.
It's kind of a miracle how it works.
If the bacteria, fungi and other toxins are not passed through the system, then the immune system is free to activate other elements and helps the body reduce stress, curtail internal inflammation and other more immediate "attacks" on the system. This all equals a more vibrant body and system in present time.
Oil pulling has many benefits and I encourage you to do your research. There are many books and information written on the topic.
I would also encourage you to just start doing it and see how you feel. Be your own physician and test the process.
How does Oil Pulling Work?
First thing in the morning on an empty stomach and before drinking any liquids (including water), take one tablespoon of sunflower or sesame oil or coconut oil into your mouth. Do not swallow the oil but swish it around for 5-20 minutes. You can multi-task here and check your emails, social media, make breakfast for you kids or hang with your pet. Enjoy the swishing and DO NOT SWALLOW!
When the time is up, spit out the oil in a napkin and discard in the trash.
DO NOT SPIT THE OIL DOWN THE DRAIN UNLESS YOU WANT CLOGGED DRAINS IN YOUR FUTURE!
Rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth. And that's it!
Continue with your day. It's as easy and beautiful as that.
Which Oils to Use
Ayurveda traditionally recommended certain oils for oil pulling depending on your dosha : kapha, pitta and vata.
Personally, I love sesame oil but many people enjoy coconut oil.
Sesame oil is more warming than other oils and may be more gently detoxifying than other oils that are “colder” energetically. It has a somewhat strong sesame flavor, which is a familiar food taste for most people. Sunflower oil has a milder taste if you prefer that. Coconut oil is a familiar taste for many people. It has a cooler energy than sesame oil, so it’s good for people who tend to have a warmer constitution or condition of heat. Some people have reported that coconut oil is more strongly detoxifying, which isn’t always a good thing for some people, so it’s best to be cautious and go slowly
You can experiment, trying different types of oils to see which one feels best to you. You can also experiment with oil pulling for a longer or shorter duration, and doing it more or less often. It is recommended to use organic, unrefined, cold pressed oils.
Benefits of Oil Pulling
1. WHITENS TEETH
Top of the list! The oil has natural antibiotic and antiviral properties that brighten and clean teeth, keeping them quite white. Try it for two weeks and test the results.
2. INCREASES ENERGY
Oil pulling lowers the amount of energy the immune system has to generate to continually clear out toxicity. This naturally helps us to feel better holistically.
3. DETOXES THE BODY
One of the gateways of germs into the body is through the mouth. Taking out the germs at the source helps to prevent the spread within the body.
4. AIDS HORMONAL CHANGES
Without having to compete with other elements, hormones can function better.
5. REDUCES HEADACHES
Oil pulling is a big time help with headaches and migraines. All I can say is try it the next time you wake up with a headache from having drank too much alcohol the night before and see how you feel.
6. KEEPS THE SKIN CLEAR
Removing toxins from the body that would otherwise make it into the bloodstream means the skin has a chance to shine. Rashes and skin issues often reduce dramatically, or even clear up completely, when oil pulling.
7. PROMOTES ORAL HYGIENE
Oil pulling is highly effective at reducing tooth cavities and at eliminating bad breath.
When you start this technique, you might experience some of the positive effects immediately, or it may take a few days or even weeks. It will be personal and particular to you and it will also depend on the state of your immune system.
Try it! It's easy. And, then let me know how it goes!!!!
Are you an Oil Puller? Share your experience in the comments!
share with hashtags #stephanieculen #mydailyom #iloveoils #healthandharmony #secretagentstephanieculen
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