Glowing skin, body feeling light, energized and refreshed. The physical benefits of Infrared (IR) Saunas are studied and proven, but why is the person who walks out of that warm little room so different than the person who went in? Here is Haley’s take.Read More
Expanding Inner Light in the last few weeks has been a deeply healing event and process for me. It has been a revelation for me to burst out of the spiritual closet, as I call it, and step into a deeper alignment with my highest Self. Effective, authentic healing is an inner process that takes attention, diligence, and patience. It requires a true connection with yourself. It demands you listen to what your body is telling you, that you trust in that little voice that comes from somewhere deep and pure, and that you create a space to nurture this dialogue, this connection. Because this is the highest good that is in all of us. Looking back on my own personal healing journey, I am sharing the key elements that have led me to connect with my authentic self, to learn how to heal from within, and to find my own aligned path that is connected with an ever-developing higher self. I look forward to sharing my work with you.Read More
After I found out I was pregnant with twins, I asked many questions to God, the Universe, whatever you would like to call it. I was confused and scared of the stress and strain of a twin pregnancy. I felt overwhelmed in a new way I hadn’t experienced before. The answer I kept receiving over and over again was that Mack and Sawyer were meant to come into the world together. This is one small part of their story, our story, which I believe spans across time and space, including many past lives together. This is our birth story.Read More
I am really excited to share my personal take on all the hot new wellness trends this year (sauna pun intended)... As many of you know, I am on a constant hunt for finding wellness methods to heal, balance, and sustain me through new motherhood, running a growing business, and enjoying my life and family. I am always intrigued to try a new trend, but am honest with myself on what works and what doesn't. So, I'm keeping it real with you and sharing what I'm truly seeing - and using - as the top trends of the year. Because believe me, from following the moon eclipses to sitting in a bath of colored oils, I've tried them all. Here's what I'm loving.Read More
Two years ago now I set out to create a business centered on self-care, and Inner Light was born. Up until then, wellness had been my side hustle as I worked in a variety of jobs with different entrepreneurs and in interior design. In my spare time, I was cooking plant-based meals, learning about the food system and nutrition, trying all the Goop trends (adaptogens, foam rollers, charcoal galore), and devouring every self-help and spirituality book I could get my hands on. I even started studying as a health coach but dropped out of the course – I was getting closer to my calling but I hadn’t quite found my place in the world of wellness. In fact, I have always struggled to find my place period, and suffered from low-self esteem, anxiety, and a mild case of orthorexia.
Fast forward to January 2017, I was sitting in an infrared sauna and the idea for Inner Light just came to me. Things flowed fast, and by May I had secured our space in my hometown of Darien. On Mother’s Day, the weekend before we began construction, I found out I was pregnant. Two weeks later, I found out I was having natural, spontaneous twins. This threw me, to say the least. I doubted my ability to handle this new business and my baby boys, but the universe has a way of giving you exactly what you need. I had worked with therapists in the past, but it was my work with a life coach who used color and numerology in her practice that carried me through this transformative time.
I knew leading up to giving birth that this would be the most transformational moment in my life, apart from my own birth, and I was right. Mack and Sawyer were born on December 29, 2017 and my life was forever changed. The transition into motherhood knocked me off my feet, as I struggled with recovering physically from my emergency c-section due to pre-eclampsia and the difficulty of raising two very colicky babies. I was fortunate enough to have a village of support, including our amazing grandparents, my incredibly involved husband, and our angel of a post-partum doula.
The first time I met with my lactation consultant, she was pleasantly surprised by how I scored on the post-partum depression and anxiety scale and even said “you are so zen for a new mom of twins!” Two weeks later, I took the quiz again and she suggested that I speak to someone for support, as my old anxiety began to rear its head.
I spoke to a friend of a friend who did something I hadn’t heard of, “motherhood coaching.” My sessions with her, where we talked over everything that was going on and she provided a shoulder to cry on, support and encouragement that helped me immensely as I navigated “matrescence.”
As I began to catch my breath and get my feet under me, I started to look around and recognize that the patterns and narratives surrounding motherhood in our culture reveal the truth that so many mothers are suffering. There is an epidemic of anxiety, stress, low self-esteem and negative self-talk in our stories around motherhood (hello #momfail #momguilt and movies called “Bad Moms”). What I have learned from studying wellness and self-growth modalities for years is that we can write a different story and create the reality of our dreams.
Ever since I had the boys, I have felt a calling to hold space and provide support for pregnant and new mothers through this incredible portal of entering motherhood. This fall, I began leading workshops in partnership with my friend Kristin Meek of WYLD Leadership, while becoming a practitioner of color coaching and working on my certification as an Ayurvedic Post-Partum Doula and one as a Lactation Counselor. Over the past few months I have grappled with how Inner Light and my passion for supporting motherhood could co-exist, and I often felt pulled in too many directions. Then it came to me – I had to integrate this calling to support mothers within Inner Light.
All of this has lead to this, and I am thrilled to announce the formation of The Studio at Inner Light. In addition to The Saunas and The Shop, The Studio will provide a space for women and mothers to connect, grow and heal with one-on-one coaching sessions, intimate workshops and special events. Here, I will draw upon what I have learned from my personal journey of motherhood, wellness, and self-discovery, as well as my ongoing education in all things post-partum, to provide support, love and guidance. Together, we will work to cultivate deeper gratitude and tap into joy in a way that will provide resiliency to the struggle and stress that is inherent in modern motherhood. More than anything, I am here to hold space, to listen to your stories with love, and offer you the medicine that you are the perfect mother, exactly as you are.
Thank you for being here for the journey as Inner Light evolves and grows, always with the core mission of being a space for healing in our community. If you are interested in learning more about these new offerings, send me an email here. Stay tuned for more about The Studio, when sessions will open up and workshops/event dates - the plan is to launch it all by the end of the month!
One of the wellness tools that I find to be invaluable is writing in a journal. Although I have always loved to write, the format of the journal was not always my strong suit. When I was a child, I remember attempting to write a diary and I could never do it. I would always read it back a few days later and be so incredibly self-critical that I either threw the diary away or ripped out the pages. A few years ago I began my journaling practice while studying to be a health coach, a path I did not continue down but that I did gain some invaluable tips and insight from. One in particular was a lecture on journaling by Julia Cameron, the author or The Artists Way. She inspired me to begin writing in a journal, stream-of-consciousness style, first thing in the morning. It is one of the few wellness or spiritual modalities I have used that created an immediate shift in wellbeing – mind, body and soul.
Since then, I have regularly turned to journaling as a form of therapy. I journal in many different formats and forms – I rarely do Cameron’s “morning pages” in the morning and instead reflect whenever I have a moment. Writing my thoughts down is one of the most effective ways I have found for becoming conscious of my own limiting beliefs, negative self-talk patterns, and cultivating a greater sense of self-awareness. When I articulate and admit these shadow aspects to my Self on paper, I am immediately able to gain a distance from them. The first step is to recognize these thoughts and patterns and the truth that they are not mine. They were programmed by society, family, and peers since a very young age, and upon recognizing this reality I have been able to break the habit of them. From a scientific perspective, we know that the brain is also prone to negativity due to instincts that allowed us to evolve (known as “negativity bias”), but that the brain is “neuro-plastic” and we can rewire our minds in the way that we choose.
Writing in a journal is one way that I have been able to process and evaluate my emotions, thoughts and patterns and then rewrite my own story. Here are different forms of journaling that I practice and recommend:
Unloading. This is super-simple – whenever your mind is racing, just write it all down in your journal. For me, it often looks like a to-do list or just getting what I am thinking of saying to someone out on paper. Once you write it down, it helps stop repeating the maddening loop in your brain. In addition to quieting the mind, it can create perspective that allows you to see what is really necessary, what is true, and what may not be as bad or as demanding as your mind made it out to be. It’s great to do this before meditating or sleeping.
Morning pages. This is Julia Cameron’s method of writing at least three free-hand, stream-of-consciousness pages every morning first thing. It works best when done immediately upon waking and it is essential to not judge any of what comes up. Whenever you feel as if you’re going to go into judgment, keep writing. If you can’t think of what to write, literally write about that. Just flow for three pages and see what comes up. It is astoundingly effective at stimulating creativity and is soothing to the mind.
Dream journaling. Very similar to morning pages, this is when you write down everything that you recount from your dreams immediately upon waking up. It must be done before the dreams are lost, and may involve writing in the middle of the night if you awake. It’s most helpful when you jot down what you remember, and then later that day or week come back to take a look at the themes that have been coming up in your dreams. When looking at your dreams, do not take things literally. Instead, think in terms of symbolism and archetypes.
Prompt journaling. This is writing based upon a particular question. Some journals may have prompts in them, or you can find many on the internet or from books. One of my favorite and most transformative books for healing was Homecoming, which is about processing the inner child. Much of this book is based on journal prompts followed by meditations, and they are incredibly cathartic. You can also use something that happened to you that day that triggered you as a prompt. This form of journaling helps get to the heart of very specific issues and can be deeply difficult, but also very healing. My favorite recent prompt from my friend Kristin of WYLD Leadership is “what is your soul longing for?”
Moon journaling. If you are new to following moon cycles, one way to connect with the energy of the moon is through writing in a journal. The New Moon is associated with new beginnings and is the perfect time to write a list of intentions for what you want to manifest and achieve, and how you want to be in the next 28 days – and next few months. It’s a way to gain clarity about what you truly want and broadcast this to the universe. The Full Moon is a time of both celebrating all that has come to fruition since the New Moon and of shedding to make room for the next cycle. At Full Moons, write about what you want to release and let go of, and how you are going to do so in the next two weeks.
Intentional journaling. This is all about setting out a signal to the universe, and to your Self, about what you want in life. It can be related to manifesting your dreams and getting more in touch with your highest Self. It doesn’t need to always be a list of intentions or coincide with the new moon or beginning of a month. Sometimes it’s just writing out the desire to know more about my purpose – I will literally write “Universe, I want to gain greater clarity on (insert aspect of life). Please send energy in a way that I can see a sign or gain more understanding around this.” It can also look like setting daily affirmations for how you envision your life and day, such as “all is well. Everything is working for my highest good. I am safe.”
Gratitude journaling. Gratitude is perhaps the strongest medicine for connecting back to joy and a positive state of being. One of the most effective ways to invoke the emotions of gratitude is to write about it or make lists of what you are thankful for. It is the perfect way to start or end the day by writing five to ten things that you are grateful for. It’s important to not just write about your dog or your children every time, but to bring to mind a range of aspects of your day, week, job, family, and friends that trigger happiness and gratitude.
There is no right or wrong way to use a journal. I have been finding that what works best for me is to just pick up my journal whenever I can, especially in the evenings, and write about whatever comes to mind. I am someone that does not do well with specific routines – in fact routines can make me feeling like I am failing. So I keep my relationship with my journal full of unstructured love. I have been loving daily affirmations in the morning, whether I write them, say them or think them, and picking up my journal as often as I can before bed to write a little bit. Reflecting back, I can see how in all the deep work I have done on my Self over the past ten years, my journal and writing has been along side me, carrying me through these initiations and transformations all along.