Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thank You for Joining us in Winter Harmony!

What a beautiful winter journey we have had over the past month! We have traveled across the globe, learned how to nurture ourselves, to turn inward, to appreciate the beauty of nature, and to listen to the wisdom from our animal friends.

We have had the privilege of being part of sacred art in the form of paintings, photographs and heartfelt videos. We got tips on feng shui, daily rituals and finding your center in the midst of the winter season.

We saw the power of shifting our thoughts, and learning to sink into the natural rhythm of Mother Earth as well as heading outside and having some fun.

We hope you have seen winter in a new and different way and that you will take away something that has changed the way you experience winter forever.
We created a Pinterest Board with all of the posts as well as many other interesting and inspiring winter images. I am looking forward to revisiting it each and every year.

Thank you to all of the participants and to all of you who read and commented.

Wishing you Winter Harmony!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Winter Harmony- Welcome Sandi Pike Foundas

The Winter Harmony blog series is our gift to our beautiful community to help inspire and support you to live in harmony with winter. Join us and some amazing guest bloggers M-F during the month of January.
Click here to see all the Winter Harmony posts in one place.

Get your own
Winter Harmony Mandala to bring a little peace and joy to your winter season this year and see what message it has for you.


a n d


First let me say that I LOVE the four seasons.
Really Love Them.
I am always grateful that where we live here on the east coast on
Cape Cod in Massachusetts allows us to experience each of them in all their splendor.
But, this year... and this winter... in particular...have been a bit difficult
for me and my beloved husband for health reasons that have
taken much of our focus and energies.
Without going into detail I will say that he has needed me more than ever... heart, my love, my care, my strength, my energy
for a health journey that he has been on for the past few years
that has challenged us more in the past few months than any other time
in the almost twenty years that we have been together.

When Michelle and Jill Marie asked if I would write something for
the Winter Harmony series a couple of months ago, I was hesitant
to give them an answer...and they were gracious enough to give
me the gift of love, understanding and time.
I am grateful for that gift and now that I have had a chance
to catch my breath and center...I am here...
to share a few of the things that are helping to bring harmony
to my winter days this year...perhaps they will help you as well.

As always, it is nature that calls to my spirit...
And, although I would often prefer to stay indoors and snuggle in,
enjoying the cozy warmth of our home,
(I will be honest and say that the warmth of our bed in our
darkened bedroom each morning in winter
is especially difficult for me to pry myself from)
Yet, I am drawn to bundle up, layer sweaters, scarves, gloves and boots
and go outside... to breathe in the pure cold air and feel the
energy of winter. Feel the sensation of the air on my face, hear the
calls of the many birds that come for food at our many bird feeders and the
soft crunch of the ice crystals atop the snow on the ground as I walk...
and often capture a few photos of nature's surrounding miracles.

And Look Up...
So often it is the trees and their beautiful branches that call to my soul.
This was my view three days ago as I looked up on the
morning after a light snowfall during the night...
I am and having always been fascinated by the reaching of the branches.
Often climbing high into the branches of the apple trees in our yard as a young girl.
This amazing tree is on the little 9 hole golf course just behind our house now
and I have been in love with it since the moment I saw it when
we moved here ten years ago. I love how one of its branches simply rests
upon the ground, allowing mother earth to support it before it travels upward.
I once sat on one of its branches late one night, looking up
to the heavens at the beauty of an eclipse.
Trees. There is magic in them. There is sacred energy.
They often bend and give when harsh winds blow...
and playfully sway as their leaves dance with gentle summer breezes...
They have much to teach us with their gentle wisdom.
The light is different in the winter. Skies seem bluer and clouds
seem whiter with the contrast of the trees and shadows.
Keep your eyes open for hidden gifts in the shadows... a raven on a branch that lends its silhouette to a nearby tree.
There is also the gift of the quietude of Cape Cod during the winter months...
when the summer vacationers have left and the beaches now look like this
as I walk them to gather the sea stones that become the canvas for my work...
...and the amazing beauty of bare branches against gorgeous winter skies.
I am grateful for the windows in my studio of our home
over the garage for many reasons, and one of them
is because I am at the level of the higher tree branches...
I can often enjoy the circus acrobatics
of the squirrels scurrying from limb to limb only feet away while I create
on my sea stones and journals.
Winter has always made me want to slow go within...
feeling the stillness of the earth and the stillness within my soul.
And this winter has called my spirit to embrace stillness even more
as our days are often spent waiting hours in doctor's offices
and traveling long distances to and from appointments.
I will share with you here that there is also something else that has brought
an inner calm to my spirit this winter...and a peacefulness to my soul.
It is a broken branch.
A branch that had fallen in our back yard during Hurricane Sandy a few months ago.
As we were outside cleaning up the many broken branches that had fallen
during the storm, there was a branch that 'called' to my heart.
I could not throw it together with the others...and so I brought it inside.
I took it upstairs to my studio and I placed it gently in the
"Quiet Corner" of my studio. It fit perfectly in this space, with the slope
of the ceiling holding it snugly in place...
I loved it and I called it my "Branch Tree".
(I've always loved bringing bits of nature into our home so this
felt perfectly natural to me and I loved the way it 'felt' in this sacred space.)
A few days after I had placed it in my Quiet Corner I felt a little inner tug
to begin to wrap some beads on its branches...So I gathered some
tiny seed beads and brought them over to it with some wire to wrap them.
I knelt on the floor by the branch and began to slowly
wrap the wire and beads around the branches of this broken limb...
and the sweetest sense of calm came over me.
It was as if time stood still...and as I was on my knees wrapping
these tiny beads I was in the most peaceful prayer state.
I have come to this place many times over these past several weeks
(especially on days when my world seems to be unraveling)
...knelt down in the Quiet Corner of my studio...
... and wrapped more and more tiny seed beads around the branches...
feeling a profound peacefulness within...
I love each and every minute of
wrapping the beautiful beads around the limbs...
offering up peaceful energy and prayers for all those in need of love and healing...
family, friends, prayers for our planet...mother earth...the animals.
It is has become an ongoing loving, joyful time.
Now I call it my Peaceful Prayer Tree.
And it makes my heart smile.
I wish you peaceful Winter Days...and Nights.
Finding things that call to YOUR heart and spirit
that bring you your own Winter Harmony...
It can be anything ... really.
It can be as simple as a broken branch.
with love and gratitude,
Sandi Pike Foundas is the owner, maker, designer, curator, and Vision-Keeper for Love From Cape Cod.
Her  purpose is to bring a little extra love to the world...using lots of color. Her joy is found in the amazingly powerful and beautiful energy within the sea stones she work with...and the delight her heart feels when creating with mixed fabrics, ribbons, feathers, 'baubles and beads' on her hand-embellished journals and note books.
You can see her beautiful sea stones and journals at her Etsy shop.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Winter Harmony- Welcome Jennifer Koenig

The Winter Harmony blog series is our gift to our beautiful community to help inspire and support you to live in harmony with winter. Join us and some amazing guest bloggers M-F during the month of January.
Click here to see all the Winter Harmony posts in one place.

Get your own
Winter Harmony Mandala to bring a little peace and joy to your winter season this year and see what message it has for you.

For me winter is a time to surrender to myself and for self-reflection. Once the leaves have all fallen, the sky is revealed. Sunset colors, brilliant pinks, purples, blues, that I could not see before from my kitchen window are visible to me now. The vibrancy catches my attention away from the rush of cooking dinner and washing dishes. The night skies also become more sparkly and clear. The cold crispness of the air makes the stars shine brighter against the dark majestic blue. Because I spend so much time indoors, I feel disconnected from nature but get some moments back when I let the dog in and out of the house. I usually will take a couple of minutes to stare up, take a few of deeps breaths, clear my mind and let the Earth know how beautiful it is. Sometimes I even speak out loud. I want the universe to know I am noticing.  
Most winters in New England, we are blessed with scenes of fresh fallen snow. The blankets soften and quiet the normal rushing around. I had plans this winter to utilize this quiet, slower time to re-connect and devote myself to my creative process. Harmonize with this special time and go deep inside to dig around to see what I can find. This winter however, I have been derailed by grief. Everywhere I turn are stories of heartbreak.  My heart tears to pieces every time I hear or read the words of the Mothers who lost their children to violence just a short 20-minute drive from my house. Images still run through my mind of the large memorials created from outpourings of love and support from around the world. 
The tragedy in Sandy Hook, hit so close to home I feel like I was hit by the death sick. Faced with the impermanence of the people and things I love, a sense of urgency is ticking away in the center of my soul. My dreams and ideas have started knocking louder, calling me into action, begging me to stop dragging my feet and leap ahead to share my visions with the world. But in this grief, instead of finding time for delve into myself, I just sit with my son, holding him, hugging him, and watching him play. Appreciating every moment I have with him. 
Working a full time job, an hour away from home, leaves me very little quality time at end of the day. When I am finally with him, I don’t want to leave his side. I have no desire to go inside myself if that means taking my attention off the beauty of this little boy’s soul. Lately, as I put him to bed, he kisses me and asks me to leave the door “open just a little bit, so I can sneak”. This makes me giggle and I remind him that it is not sneaking if you tell me. I shut his light, turn on his stars and leave the door open just a little bit. Inevitably, he does sneak out invading my alone time, but I always let him stay. He climbs into bed to snuggle, and “reads me a story with his mind”. 
I give myself such a hard time for not doing all I expect from myself and I realize that it is neither loving nor kind. I thought maybe I would reconnect with my creativity by going inside, but what has happened instead, is a reawakening of my creative soul through his being. All the time we have been spending together painting, singing, dancing and creating stories, has re-ignited me. I have been reminded of the innocence of our natural creative state as Curious Experimenters full of Spirit. 

It really doesn’t feel like that long ago, when my sister and I would spend hours upon hours in creative play. I have been struggling for so long in my creative process because I am always so serious about it. I put so much pressure on myself to create something meaningful and with purpose; I just end up procrastinating on my projects. I think right now what needs to happen for me to be in harmony with my creative process is to take advantage of winter’s gift of hibernation, to just play again. It’s about time I stop beating myself up, bust out my crayons, Crayola watercolors and have some fun strengthen my creative play muscle instead.
Art and words by Jennifer A. Koenig, MA. I am a mother, artist and Medical Education Specialist. I have a Master’s Degree in Experiential Health and Healing. I consider myself a Health and Healing artist- utilizing the art and the creative process to find enlightenment, become self-aware and empowered. Please visit my blog at


Monday, January 28, 2013

Winter Harmony- Welcome Cindy Perloff

The Winter Harmony blog series is our gift to our beautiful community to help inspire and support you to live in harmony with winter. Join us and some amazing guest bloggers M-F during the month of January.
Click here to see all the Winter Harmony posts in one place.

Get your own
Winter Harmony Mandala to bring a little peace and joy to your winter season this year and see what message it has for you.
The winter season is filled with the promise of intimacy. Cozy days & nights warming up by the fireplace, meaningful time spent with people we enjoy. Winter can be a sacred time to go within. It offers us time to think about life and to nurture ourselves, our hopes and our dreams.


It’s important to acknowledge the challenges that come up during the winter season as well, so we can develop strategies that help us stay in our power vs. reacting like a puppet on a string. Winter has a dark & dreary side. Much of nature is dormant. Life appears to be suspended below layers of ice and snow. 

Feelings of isolation and loneliness can set in from spending more time indoors with less natural daylight. On top of all the physical things, the winter season is sprinkled with holidays that trigger many deep emotions. The whole spectrum of emotions connected to family, relationships, and finances can be triggered by either having too much OR too little going on.
I like to think that the seasons and the elements in nature were divinely designed to remind us of what is important and that things are always changing. The coldness of Winter slows me down and draws my attention inward. It reminds me that being grounded, paying attention, and knowing who I am is an important part of taking care of myself.
Last winter I observed the ingrained judgmental thoughts I had about taking time to rest and relax. I didn't see this part of me before because my life had been filled with many distractions. I grew up in an environment where we all prided ourselves on having a busy schedule. I thought I had changed that, but last winter we had snow that was topped off with freezing rain.
The whole area shut down for a few weeks due to ice, broken trees and downed electic lines. I observed how irritable, tense, judgmental and self critical I was when I wasn't busy doing something (although there wasn't much to do without electricity in a small rural town after an ice storm)!
It never feels good when first observing these things, but becoming aware of something gives me the power to choose something new.

In The LifeLine Technique training courses, Dr. Darren Weissman teaches that when the “crap” comes to the surface, it’s not there to define me, or to punish me, it’s there to awaken me to my life, to my choices, my dreams, and desires. I call it “crap” but Dr. Darren Weissman refers to these things as “gifts in strange wrapping paper”. These “strangely wrapped gifts” come to the surface to awaken us to our choice to live our highest expressions of life.

I decided to I chose a new thought “I am worthy feeling love”. I sat outside in the open field, listened to the sounds of the ice snapping the tree branches, and took these photos of Mother Nature’s artwork. Because I allowed myself to be in harmony with Winter I was able to receive the gift in her message. 

I make it a priority to follow the examples of the animals I live with by taking some time every day to stretch, play, breathe and just be. 
…AND, when I need help, I reach out. 
With love & gratitude,


Cindy Perloff has been personally trained by Dr. Darren Weissman, the developer of The LifeLine Technique™, and has worked as a facilitator at his live training courses since 2009. She is known in the LifeLine community for her personal teaching & coaching skills and for the insights she shares through articles written for a private training forum. Cindy earned her certificate to teach Primordial Sound Meditation from Deepak Chopra in 2002 and has attended a variety of training events over the years. Cindy is gifted with the ability to guide and support you in finding your truth and living your life from a place of beauty, grace & power. No matter where you are in your life journey, reaching out and receiving support will help you to be clear & confident and to feel vibrant in every role that you play in your life. Begin owning your power today ~ visit Cindy’s website to claim your FREE 20 minute mini LifeLine Coaching Session. Cindy will DOUBLE YOUR FREE SESSION TIME when you visit the beautiful website and download the FREE “I am Love” Mandala Poster. No matter what you choose, let it be something that moves you in the direction of your dreams. You are worth it.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Winter Harmony- Welcome Elaine Sauer

The Winter Harmony blog series is our gift to our beautiful community to help inspire and support you to live in harmony with winter. Join us and some amazing guest bloggers M-F during the month of January.

Click here to see all the Winter Harmony posts in one place.
Get your own
Winter Harmony Mandala to bring a little peace and joy to your winter season this year and see what message it has for you.

What a treat to be asked to contribute to this special segment to Living in Harmony with Winter!
The battle of winter has really caused me to rally and figure out how to get thru it. When June 21 hits and realize from there out the days get shorter I am trying to get as much in as possible!
Winter presents lots of challenges for me as I have suffered with Fibromyalgia since a bad car accident. I have to fight my body and my mind during this time and maybe some of you also find winter months challenging whether you get blue form lack of light or just miss the warm weather and sunshine. I wanted to share with you some of my tips for staying healthy and positive thru the season. If you can apply these ideas it won't be long before you are welcoming spring!
I like to look at several different areas of life to apply tips to & maybe some of these will resonate with you...
Bath Therapy & Daily Rituals
Community - being with people we love!
Something to look forward to
Daily Rituals - AM 
  1. As you are stirring in your bed from a lumber sleep, remember to give a silent Thank you. A little gratitude goes a long way. Your day is started and you are acknowledging your being Alive! And knowing you have everything you need to face the day. Love from your heart, moving into the day with loving kindness. I'm reminded everyone is battling something in their life, so starting off with a positive affirmation or a simple Thank You can impact your life, try it!
  2. Start to get the blood moving and wake up your body by simply stretching, move your feet and hands a bit, even before you get out of bed. 
  3. Plan to do 15 minutes of movement- yoga stretching or a 15 minute walk, brisk to get the circulation going before your day gets ahead of you. If you need to set your clock a bit early - making this time for you is precious way of honoring you. And your will be better to deal with whatever life throws at you!
 PM Rituals 
  1. Warm bath of epsom salt and lavender oil, this relaxes your muscles and prepares your body for restorative sleep! Who doesn't need that? I love a cup of Tazo Rest Tea, with the valerian root it helps me sleep. (There are other great bath salts with aroma therapy and a few of favorites are Ruby Room Immunity Booster, Kneipp Bath Therapy- they offer many choices from Eucalyptus to Melissa and Hops. Whole Foods would be a great place to look)

  2. A few minutes of lying in savasana pose and thinking of your day what you are grateful for mentally just go thru it, try to find 3 things that made you smile, you were happy about etc. 
If you have trouble with seasonal sadness due to the lack of light, get a light box and use it for at least 15 minutes. Another option is to go out during the early morning as the Sun is coming up at the horizon and gaze at the sun for a minute or two not directly as it can be quite potent. But this can also help to set our circadian rhythm.
A Sense of Community - we are meant to be in groups .....
Especially important to make time for people. Is so easy to go to work in the dark, then come home from work in the dark, make something and veg out on the couch and be asleep by 7pm!
I like the idea of having a party with your bestie's - pot luck and rotate it every week or every other week. Plan to meet up and have a get together. It can be a card night, movie night or game night. People love to have something to get together for and everyone feels the same once the holidays are over! So plan a get together with your friends and make it campy and homey. S'mores in the fireplace? Sounds fun!
Find something to look forward to...
It can be an outing to the local high school to see a play...
A concert...
Enjoying a new movie or a restaurant...
A weekend of skiing or go local and cross  country ski, especially on a sunny winter day, what a great way to experience the crisp weather and enjoy the winter weather. Obviously you have to be dressed properly. Layers and hats, gloves make it bearable!
It's important to take care of you and keep healthy during time.
Rest when your body feels run down, listening and honoring your body is something to learn. And vitamins are very important during this time. I like Dr. Perricone Hair and Skin formula, they are portable and in a packet so I can take it on the run. It helps keep me healthy.
Stay positive and stay healthy!
Warmest wishes,


Elaine Sauer consults with global beauty & spa industry brands on business strategies. She is a founding board member of the Great Lakes Alliance -  an organization that hosts networking events for the fitness, hotel and spa industries annually.
As the former visionary behind the many spa services and skincare products available at Elizabeth Arden and Mario Tricoci Hair Salons and Day Spas, Elaine Sauer has ten years of experience managing multi-unit day spas having started her career with Red Door Spa Holdings, where she was National Spa Director overseeing 15 trainers around the country in 2000. In 2008, she was promoted to Corporate Director.
Combining her unique talents she lead the company in face, body and nails thru extraordinary growth period from 12 spas in Red Door to 30, and with Mario Tricoci Salons to 26 within the Midwest region over the 10 year period.
She developed 2 skin care brands with innovative technology providing superior results, making the brands a key focus for 2 spa businesses. Facilitating train the trainers, spa boot camp for spa managers and executing goals to meet company financial objectives.
With a number of awards to her credit, including Spa Spirit of Success Award from Aveda and Diplomat distinction with CIDESCO, the world’s leading international association of beauty therapists, Sauer is a sought after speaker both nationally and internationally including an appearance in Berlin, Germany on Spa Trends in North America, invited by the Suwelack company.
Sauer has served as a business consultant and trainer for Salon Systems with Aveda; was Midwest Regional Sales and training Manager for Murad covering 8 states in the Midwest and held the position of National Spa Director, Red Door Spa Holdings for 8 years.
She featured in print and on TV in notable articles in WSJ, Time magazine (2 times), Oprah, Prevention Magazine, Today Chicago Woman (2 times) and many others. Featured on CLTV, WGN, NBC and ABC in Chicago, IL.

You can find her on her website and her Facebook page.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Winter Harmony- Welcome Indigo Carlton

The Winter Harmony blog series is our gift to our beautiful community to help inspire and support you to live in harmony with winter. Join us and some amazing guest bloggers M-F during the month of January.
Click here to see all the Winter Harmony posts in one place.

Get your own
Winter Harmony Mandala to bring a little peace and joy to your winter season this year and see what message it has for you.

I wonder if being an introvert contributes to my love of winter? The colder weather and shorter days are an excuse to stay home, hunker down, go within, and tune into my inner creative spirit. It could also be that I live in California so the winters aren’t that challenging! But either way, I love the excuse winter gives me to stay home and paint.

Painting for me equals self-care. The more time I spend putting paint to canvas the better I feel about myself. Expressing myself through my art is my meditation. However being a mother and working a day job doesn’t always leave much time for this creative outlet. Yet I can feel it so acutely when I neglect this practice. Wintertime feels like the perfect season to nurture my creativity, and therefore myself.

Getting started can sometimes be the biggest challenge. Making a ritual of painting and self-care helps me to get grounded in the moment. I’ll make a cup of tea. Light some incense. Turn on music that fits the moment.

...And then drift over to the computer to check email, pet my cat, or pick up my phone to see who just messaged me... Okay. Yes. I have to be careful that the ritual doesn’t itself become a distraction!

The easiest way I find to approach a blank canvas, is to start with words. With an intention.

Looking within - creativity seems to naturally lend itself to this process. Yet I find I need to remind myself that this reflection needs to be expansive, an invitation to really listen to my heart, and to trust my intuitive voice. It can easily turn into an avalanche of shoulds, of self-criticism, and an onslaught of negative feedback from my inner gremlins. Getting out of my own way is the key!

I also give myself permission to have fun. To not worry about creating a certain image or idea from my head. I try to approach each painting with a sense of adventure and awe, wondering what will appear as I smear paint all over the canvas, usually with my hands as I get started.

I never know what will turn up, what colors will want to be chosen, what symbols will want to emerge... trusting is easy at the beginning, there is no wrong way to get paint onto the canvas. I let go, and play.

I continue to seek the images hidden within, hiding in the paint and in my heart. Some seem so clear and obvious, others more obscure. I allow myself to discover the mysteries of my soul that are wanting to be expressed. I know, I feel, that when I quiet the inner mind chatter, transformation happens!

Inevitably, I come to the stage of a painting that I call the “ugly adolescent stage.” Where there is a mish mash of colors and images, not a real cohesive whole, where the painting and I are trying things out, seeing what works, but lacking direction. It is for sure the hardest phase for me. It is here that getting up and walking away from the painting is so easy. Distractions call loudly wherever I look. It is here that my faith in myself is being challenged.

Yet when I keep going, when I listen to my heart, when I trust... I know that diving into these inner depths will reveal such beauty and clarity. It may take a few days, it may take weeks... but again and again, I’m blown away by the results. If I just stick with it. And remind myself that it is at this point that I need to turn on the self-love with full force. That we - me and the painting - are beautiful and full of grace. That whatever emotions - or images - are rising up and being felt are held gently in a warm embrace. There is no wrong. It is all part of the process. The process of creativity. Of life. The process of being human.

I also need to remember that it is so easy to focus on the faults rather than the exquisite details. I don’t want to forget that it is not a final result that I am seeking, but the ability to appreciate the beauty of the moment, of the power of a brush stroke, of the uniqueness of who I am in each and every breath. To honor all that is within me bit by bit, piece by piece, step by step.

I feel winter is a perfect time to tend to my soul and to my heart. In all it’s perfection. And imperfections too. Quieting down to listen. To really listen. Remembering who I am.

Thank you Michelle and Jill for including me in this inspiring series. I am so honored to share my journey here, and to be part of this wonderful community of inspiration!


Indigo Carlton is an artist, risk taker, and dreamer. She weaves her dreams into reality from a small rural town in northern California with her son, her two cats, and a tribe of awe-inspiring women thanks to the magic of the internet. She shares her art, her inner journeys, and tidbits of her life at You can also learn more about her artistic path at She has an online gallery of her paintings (for sale, just email her!) here.