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  • 15
    May 2018

    How to Choose Wonder Over Worry

    The pattern I see in so many women, and the reason why I created Whole Woman…

    The thing that breaks my heart the most is when I meet a woman who won’t let herself dream. When I ask her a simple question like “What do you want?” Or “What is fun for you?” Or “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I will often get a blank stare.

    I know the problem isn’t that this woman doesn’t have dreams or incredible potential, but that her inner critic, her overwhelming sense of low self-worth and worry, keeps her from seeing her brilliance and claiming what she really wants.

    This pattern is something my friend Amber Rae knows intimately and the topic of her new book that comes out today!

    When Amber was finally able to choose wonder over worry her life exploded in so many magical ways. She’s a powerful example and I have been tearing through her book and recommending it to everyone!

    I’m so excited that I got to sit down and have a candid conversation with Amber about her journey and advice for you. Here is our interview:

    Sarah: What do you think is the number one thing that holds women back from having the life they desire?

    Amber: Here’s the thing about desire: What we desire is neutral until we give meaning to it. 

    The meaning we give can sound like…

    “I want this, so I’m not worthy of having it.” 

    or

    “I want this, so I’m going all in.”

    It can also sound like…

    “I want this, so I’m not sure if I deserve it.”

    or

    “I want this, so I’m going to find out what’s possible!” 

    See the difference?

    For years, I wanted to write a book. That was the biggest dream of all the dreams for me. To take the message burning inside of me, and to put it into a form that others can read and share. 

    What I desired most — a book and my voice out in the world — has no meaning by itself, until I tell myself a story about what it means. And for YEARS, the story I told myself is that because I wanted it so badly, I wasn’t good enough to have it, I certainly wasn’t ready yet, and everyone would probably hate it if I made it. 

    What was holding me back, and what I see holding so many women back from having the life they desire, is just that: the story they create for why they can’t have it.

    So, my question for you is this: what is it that you truly desire? And what are you telling yourself about realizing that desire?

    Sarah: What was your turning point when you Chose Wonder Over Worry?

    Amber: I’m guessing that we’re all familiar here with the terrible person inside our head that screams mean things at us. You know, like: You’re not worthy of this. You aren’t good enough. He’ll never love you. Who the hell do you think you are? Oh, and you’re not thin or attractive enough anyway.

    The turning point for me was when I decided to TALK to this jerk inside my head. 

    (Brace yourselves!) 

    It went like this:

    Me: HEY ASSHOLE UP THERE!!! What the hell is wrong with you?

    Inner Asshole: You’re what the hell is wrong with me.

    Me: Oh, geez. Thanks. Doing the best I can! What is up with you?

    Inner Asshole: What is up with me is that I’m trying to get your attention, and you’re not listening.

    Me (slightly curious now): What do you mean you’re trying to get my attention? What am I not listening to?

    Inner Asshole Voice Trying to Get My Attention: I see you having all these big dreams, but I see you self-sabotaging constantly. Sorry for the drama, but I didn’t know how else to get your attention. This is important, and I want you to pay attention. 

    Me (bewildered): Interesting strategy, Drama. So what do you suggest we do next?

    Suddenly, by wondering about my inner asshole, she became an ally on my path. Not the kindest ally. But definitely an ally who knows what I want, and will up the drama to get my attention. 

    I discovered that we have all kinds of characters inside of us. Some are the result of conditioning that no longer serves us, and conditioning that we get to question and revise. While others care about the end goal as much as we do, and will yell and scream and wake us up in the middle of the night until they get our attention. 

    And that’s really the core of my work: to wonder about our emotions — particularly the tricky ones — and learn to have a relationship with them. Because when we do, we can find wisdom beneath the surface of what otherwise feels scary and uncomfortable. 

    Sarah: What are 3 strategies women can use when they feel overcome with Worry to switch into Wonder and make a different choice?

    Amber:

    1. Get clear on the difference between useful worry and toxic worry.
      • Think of useful worry as an ally who is saying, “Pay attention to this. I’m trying to get your attention because this matters.” This is the kind of worry that’s within your control, and pops up before an important meeting, decision, or dream to spur you to action.
      • Toxic worry is more about ruminating — those thoughts on an endless loop that paralyze and prevent you from taking action. This is the type of worry that has you asking: Am I good enough? Who am I to do this? What are they going to think of me? What if something bad happens?
    2. Sort through your worries and wonder about them.
      • Take out a sheet of paper and write down everything you’re worried about: That way, the anxiety transforms from noise inside your head to something you can look at objectively.
      • Go through every worry and circle what you can control.
      • Ask yourself: “What productive action can I take on this?” Then write down your action plan by each circle.
    3. Follow these 3 steps when faced with fear or anxiety:
      • Name it: Label the feeling as vividly as possible to make it tangible. It could be “Ms. Perfectionist,” “Lady Anger,” or “Anxious Annie.”
      • Talk to it: Think of it as a character you can have a conversation with, sort of what I describe above. If my inner perfectionist is getting loud when I’m writing, for example, I’ll say, “Hey Ms. Perfectionist, I see you hanging out here. What’s going on here? Is there something you want me to know?” I think of these inner emotions like children wanting our attention. A dialogue can reveal what wisdom they have for us.
      • Make a request: You might say, “Hey Perfectionist, I totally get the quality of this article is important to you. Here’s the thing: I need space to get messy and write a shitty first draft before I can get to anything good. Mind going to get a massage while I finish this? K, thanks.” When we do this, we set a boundary and claim our space.

    For more wisdom from Amber Rae, check out her new book, Choose Wonder Over Worry. I can’t wait to hear what you think!

    Love,
    Sarah

  • 10
    May 2018

    How I’m celebrating my last pregnancy

    When I found out I was pregnant in October, I was really upset. We had just finished settling into our new home, I had 70 women signed up for my first Full Moon Circle that was coming up in 48 hours, and then I was immediately holding my first retreat at Hawthorn Farm for 30 women for 3 days. I was insanely overwhelmed and honestly just had to ignore the fact that I was pregnant to get through the week.

    Even though I got fully on board and excited about having our third (we always wanted 3 but wanted to wait another year), my pregnancy still carried the energy of “I’ve done this before, I’m just going to breeze through and do the minimum.”

    For my first two pregnancies, I had planned two home births, went to prenatal yoga all the time, regular acupuncture, worked regularly with my shaman/doula, and centered my whole life around being pregnant.

    This time I got an OB at our local hospital and barely did anything else. I didn’t think about having a shower. I figured I would get around to hiring a doula eventually but never did. I’m sure some of my behavioral change had something to do with having two young kids, overwhelm at creating a new birth team in a new place, and sadness about not having my close friends around, but the truth is that my attitude of “this pregnancy matters less” played a large role.

    As I got further along, the alarms started ringing. My soul started asking for more, and I got quiet and asked what this pregnancy is about, and why I should make space for it. Here’s what I got…

    This pregnancy will complete my season of creating human life. When I have this little girl, I will have every member of my little wolf pack. To me it feels like stepping into full motherhood.

    In the cycle of motherhood, the baby-making phase feels like spring. Fertility, new life springing from nothing, the growing and blossoming of a new life and reality. What is amazing is that this baby is due the same day we conceived Marshall 5 years ago. And I will be stepping into my summer of motherhood as summer is starting here. Just goes to show you that there’s no way I could have orchestrated a more beautiful time to have this baby. Magic.

    The past few weeks, I’ve been more intentional about how I want to tend to and celebrate my last pregnancy. I hired midwives, I’ve been getting regular massages and going to yoga at the Moon Lodge most days, I did an EPIC maternity shoot with Jenny Moloney, and I asked my friends to hold a Blessing Way for me.  I’m also in the process of setting up as much support (logistical, emotional, and spiritual) as possible once the baby comes.

    Take some time to think today about where you are in any cycles of your life. Maybe you’re starting, nurturing, or ending a cycle with motherhood, work, home, or a relationship. How can you honor where you are more? Get quiet and ask what you need to be ushered through this great cycle of life.

    Love,
    Sarah

  • 26
    Apr 2018

    Flower Crown Ritual For May Day + Last Chance for Full Moon Circle!

    Happy Almost Beltane!

    Beltane, or May Day, held on May 1st, is the halfway point between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice and is the celebration of fertility and sensuality. Traditionally, this was the day people would gather to make flower crowns, dance around the May Pole, and jump over fires as a symbol of purification. Like most Earth-based holidays, the rituals are rooted in blessing the land to provide healthy crops while inspiring our own awakening of fertility and growth.

    I’ll never forget my lunch with Becca Piastrelli when she emphatically taught me about Beltane, its rich traditions, and the hawthorn tree. I was in the midst of negotiations to buy my home, and the word “hawthorn” kept popping up everywhere. When she told me about the magic of the hawthorn tree and how it is the primary tree of Beltane and holds the energy of fertility, sensuality, and heart-opening (its flowers and berries are also a powerful heart medicine), I was hooked. That afternoon I emailed the previous owner of my house and asked if by any chance there were any hawthorn trees on the property, and sure enough, she had planted many over the years.

    Hawthorn Farm is now the name of our home and retreat center.

    SO as you can imagine, I’m totally obsessed with this holiday. I am going to be kicking off the festival with a Pink Full Moon Circle on Sunday, April 29th, at 7:30 pm at Hawthorn Farm and online via Livestream. You can reserve your spot here. You’re welcome to wear pink and pin flowers in your hair.  It’s going to be a beautiful evening of awakening our passion and sensuality to be in true alignment with the full bloom of spring.

    If you want to celebrate Beltane on your own, it’s an amazing time to gather with women or couples. Last year, my empowerer and spiritual strategist Katina Mercadante hosted a beautiful evening where the women gathered in circle, made flower crowns, and shared about how we want to fully step into our femininity, and the men went for a hike and shared about what it meant for them to step into their masculinity. We then came together for dinner and shared with each other. Parts were incredibly vulnerable and out of our comfort zone, but to really go there with our partners and friends was incredible.

    To help you celebrate, I invited Leann Dameron – my friend, client, operations manager, and flower designer – to teach you how to make a flower crown with intention below.

    Happy Beltane!

    Love, 
    Sarah

    P.S. This is the last Full Moon Circle I’m hosting before I have my baby! I hope you can make it.  You can reserve your spot for in-person or online here

    Hi! I’m Leann, Sarah’s behind-the-scenes manager and also the owner of my business, Leelee’s Garden. I’ve been so honored to create the florals and teach flower crowns at Sarah’s retreats at Hawthorn Farm. 

    There is something magical about making and wearing a flower crown. Making it connects you to an ancient tradition of women creating with plants and lets you weave your intentions into your crown. Wearing it lets you step into your inner queen like nothing else and, at the same time, get to play dress-up and honor your little girl within, too. I invite you to create your own flower crown this Beltane (especially with a friend) and weave into it all of your spring desires. Here’s what you’ll need:

    Materials:
    Assortment of flowers 
    (I suggest a mix of small filler flowers like waxflower and baby’s breath and a few accent flowers– I typically use the smaller spray roses since they dry well.)
    Greens
    (You can use any greens that you aren’t sensitive to. I like acacia and seeded eucalyptus.)
    Vine wire 
    Bind wire wrap
    Floral shears or scissors
    Wire cutters
    Ribbon (optional)

    Making your crown:

    1. Before you begin, set an intention for spring that you want to weave into your flower crown. What desires do you want to plant and grow this season? As you make and wear your crown, let it be a symbol for your desires.
    2. Measure the vine wire to wrap comfortably around your head. Add an extra 3 inches to create your “hooks” and cut with wire cutters. You can also make a shorter crown (this makes it a shorter project) with connecting ribbons, instead of wrapping all the way around. I suggest cutting to about 12 inches long for this shortcut version.
    3. Bend the last inch on either side of the crown to form “hooks” that will connect the crown ends when you finish. If you are creating a shorter crown, you can tie ribbons to each hook and use the ribbon to tie around your head at the end. Keep the vine wire long before the next step (don’t connect the ends yet).
    4. You’re ready to start adding flowers! Cut and group a small bundle of 2-3 stems of filler flowers and greens, about 2” long.
    5. Hold the bundle in your hand on top of one end of the vine wire, so the flowers cover your first “hook.” Wrap around the bundle, attaching it to the vine wire 3 times with the bind wire. 


    6. Repeat steps 4 and 5, making small bundles of a few stems at a time and adding them to your crown, each time covering the stems of your last bundle. Use the same long piece of bind wire, wrapping 3 times to secure each bundle. As you go, you can add some larger accent flowers into the bundles. Continue in the same direction until you reach the end.  
    7. Connect your two flower crown “hooks” to wear or have a friend tie on your flower crown if you used ribbon.

    And remember, don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect! It’s so easy to get in the perfection mindset when you’re making something. Keep in mind as you go: “This is for fun and a celebration of the season.” Happy Making!

    If you’re in the Chicago area, I’d love to have you join me on Tuesday, May 1st, at my May Day Flower Crown Party. I’ll be teaching you how to make flower crowns in person at a local boutique. After the lesson you’ll have your pick of spring flowers to make your own. It’s BYOB and we’ll also have craft cocktails gifted from Chicago Distilling on hand. I can’t wait for this beautiful night of making and celebrating together. You can get all the details and tickets here

    Photography by Katie Lenhart

    Events at the Moon Lodge

    Events Hosted by Sarah Jenks

    Full Moon Women’s Circle: gather with us under the Pink Full Moon to celebrate the coming of Spring, 
    April 29th, 7:30pm-10:00pm in person or livestream.
    Click here to learn more and sign up.

    Yoga + Movement Classes

    Tuesdays:  
    9:30am-10:30am Gentle Hatha Yoga with Traci Phillips Ward
    7:15pm–8:30pm SPA Yoga® with Cece Santucci

    Wednesdays: 
    9:30am–10:30am Vinyasa Flow with Kathryn Postulka, RYT

    Thursdays:
    9:30am–10:30am Vinyasa Flow with Melissa Holm

    Fridays: 
    9:30am–10:30am Fun Feminine-Based Movement (Rotating Teachers and Classes)

    Get all the details to join us for yoga and movement here.

    Guest Workshops 

    Wellness Rituals for Motherhood with Karoline Barwinski and Mara Grbenick, May 6th, 10:00am–2:00pm. 

    Dreamful Daycation with Lauren Durso on Saturday, May 12th, 8:30am–5:30pm.

    Get all the details for our guest workshops here.

Design: Jane Reaction. Development: Brandi Bernoskie.