Monday, December 14, 2009

Perrie’s Planetarium – Winter Solstice 2009

Midlife Skyhints with Astrologer Joyce Mason

Welcome to Perrie’s Planetarium! We’ll have a lot of fun here, four times a year, learning how we relate to everything and everyone under the stars. I’ll take extra time in this first post to share how Perrie’s Planetarium works. If you’re already acquainted with some of the information below, skip right to General Sky and Your Winter Outlook.

The sky’s a big mirror, great for self-reflection and helping you stay in harmony with life’s cycles and natural timing. Astrology can help you laugh at yourself, too—essential for fulfillment, especially once we’re “of a certain age.” There’s nothing like knowing the pitfalls of your astrological make-up. A little astrology will bring you wisdom and beauty from the inside out.  No Botox or facelift needed.  It lifts your spirits!

Solstices and Equinoxes. I’ll be scoping out these starry reflections with you at the solstices and equinoxes, the thresholds when the seasons change.  At the summer and winter solstices, light is at its brightest and dimmest, represented by the longest and shortest days of the year. At the spring and autumn equinoxes, night and day are of equal length. That’s the source of the word equinox. Each new season is about light shifting and nature changing. What better times to find out how sky illuminates human nature, too.

Winter.  To give you a jumpstart to the 2010 calendar New Year, we’re beginning this new feature near Winter Solstice 2009. Let’s talk about winter—what it’s good for, what to avoid, and how to do the dance of harmony with the seasons that leads to personal balance and happiness. 

But first a word about our Gregorian calendar.  I’m afraid the word is unnatural. Our current calendar is based on arithmetic rather than the phases of the moon. Because of it, we’ve lived off-cycle with nature for nearly 500 years.

It’s hard to keep New Year’s resolutions because we make them at the wrong time of year. The “natural” New Year is at Spring Equinox, the third week of March. Winter is for hibernation, rest and relaxation. It’s a time for inner reflection and recharging your batteries.  In winter, we need to downshift from full-tilt and use low or second gear.

Set aside winter for reflective activities and a general slowdown. You’ll have a much more successful spring of new creations and accomplishments. You wouldn’t plant roses in winter in a cold climate. Planting resolutions on January 1 is the same thing. No wonder they often die.

Sun Signs. A complete astrological chart shows the sky patterns at your moment of birth. A personal horoscope is like an exclusive fingerprint, a map of your unique personality and gifts.

To get a taste of how the shifting skies affect you without having a private consultation with an astrologer, the position of the Sun at your birth is what we use. The Sun reflects who you are without any outside influences—you being yourself in purest form. Understanding astrology starts with learning the twelve Sun signs. You probably already having an inkling of how the month and season you were born influence you. Now you’ll have a chance to learn more. Grab your telescope and let’s get started!

General Sky: Winter Solstice 2009

You’re part of the celestial dance! When we relate repetitive challenges like relationship snags or computer glitches to natural cycles seen in star patterns, they seem less personal and not nearly as annoying.  Here are the some of the key astrological influences in this winter’s sky:

Mercury Retrograde. Santa gives us a late “gift” as Mercury goes Retrograde December 26 through January 13.  Mercury rules the mind, thinking, and commerce. Astrologers usually advise you to avoid signing contracts or making important decisions like starting a business, marriage, or any important project during this time. Communications snafus (misunderstandings) and equipment glitches increase in frequency (computers, cell phones), and short journeys can be delayed. The upside: Mercury Retro is good for anything with “re” in front of it—rethinking, reconsidering, or recycling. Many problems with the retrograde cycle come from our insistence on speed. We live on overdrive. Like winter, Mercury Retrograde is an inward cycle for going back over things. Mercury Retro pairs well with early winter—that’s the gift! If winter is second gear, Mercury Retrograde is reverse. This sky hint couldn’t be more literal. Mercury appears to move backwards.  That’s what retrograde means!  One-step backwards before our first steps forward into the New Year and new decade.

Saturn/Uranus Opposition.  Two planets with completely opposite characteristics have been further stressing their differences by their current position opposite each other in the sky. Saturn rules order, institutions, “the establishment,” and the way things always have been done.  Uranus is its complementary energy—rebellion, progress, freedom, creative genius, and reform. These planets and principles have been opposing each other since November 2008 and continue through July 2010. Think of your own struggles with these two forces of late. We’re all being called to look at our position on the teeter-totter of Stasis and Change.

In this Dance of Opposition, we tend to project the opposite energy we are currently “playing” on others.  If someone is asking for more change than you can handle comfortably, you’ll likely dig in your heels and become unmovable, maybe even stuck—or vice versa if you’re the change agent.  When we find our own balance between these two extremes, we’ll have less conflict with others.

Cardinal T-Square. Nope, it’s not a character from a Dan Brown thriller! No holy man in a red hat or a baseball team, a Cardinal T-square is a pattern of planets aligned like a T-shaped drafting ruler in the sky. This one involves four planets: Saturn, Uranus, Pluto and Jupiter.  Two are already in—and one’s about to move into—the “cardinal” signs of Aries, Libra, and Capricorn. 

Many people consider this a “heavy” line-up, but I’ll always remind you: Any planetary energy has a continuum of expression from dark to light.  What we make of them is our creation as individuals and collectively as society. Planets in T-square are akin to people with differing politics that make strange bedfellows. Yet the tension releases powerful accomplishment. Martha Stewart and Oprah both have T-squares in their charts.

The Cardinals herald new beginnings. Pluto in Capricorn reflects the economic downturn.  Saturn and Uranus in opposition ask for carefully considered progress. Jupiter can bring either fortune or “too much” of something in a less than pleasant way, depending on how we view excess.  Right now, excess has been quite the villain in the world economic scenario. Turnaround may take time, but we have a chance for fundamental change in our institutions and fortunes if we embrace the new with the wisdom gained from the old. Hope out of hardship.

Your Winter Outlook

We’ll look at what’s happening in your sign for an entire season—the overall themes of your winter. Some cycles will linger into the next season and will be noted as a continued trend next time, as well as what’s new. Dates for each sign, based on your day of birth, are approximate, as they shift slightly each year in our calendar system. Sun signs cover a considerable expanse of sky. There are often different influences on those born in the first compared to second half of the sign. I’ll comment on any distinctions, but the last theme in italics for each sign applies to all Capricorns, Aquarians, and so on. 

A special note to those born in the middle of a sign: Read both the first and second-half outlook. Think of the waxing and waning of the Moon.  You are waxing out of the influences of the first half and into the influences of the second half of your sign. 

Capricorn, the Goat (December 21 – January 18).  You are the star of the Winter Solstice! The Sun’s shift into your sign signals the beginning of the season. Early Caps are getting a course from Pluto on how to navigate an inner earthquake of evolution. You’re experiencing the death of who you used to be. You may feel disoriented, wondering who you’re going to be next.  Saturn is also pressuring you to rethink how you relate to others.  You’re up to it!  You love to organize and reorganize. It will be unique to apply this renovation to yourself instead of your job or other projects. Use your characteristic Capricorn caution on New Year’s Eve. The Full Moon Lunar Eclipse could spark conflicts or words you can’t take back.

Second half of the sign: You’re contending with Uranus, that master of rebellion, but in an easygoing way.  Late Caps are ready to throw over being stuck in their ways.  Go out and do something crazy and uncharacteristic of you! Take a winter vacation somewhere exotic and don’t leave a phone number. (I know how Caps love to work, but it’s time to learn to play!)  Catchphrase for Caps: Ride the waves of change to higher ground.

Aquarius, the Water Bearer (January 19 – February 17). Winter is a time to look at what you truly value. If you’ve been caught up in everyday life and demands, use Mercury Retrograde to reconsider if your money and heart are in the right place—together. That goes for your time and energy, too.  Saturn helps first-half Aquarians put your ducks all in a row when it comes to aligning values with materiality. 

Second half Aquarians: There’s more action on your end of the sign as Mars Retrograde opposes your Sun and perhaps brings up old conflicts, scars, and ways of tackling things. Do they still work? If not, discard and regroup. Venus will help you do this with heart. The real force for later Water Bearers is the conjunction of Chiron, Neptune, and Jupiter in your Sun’s sector, joined by the Moon at the Solstice.  Healings, feelings, inspiration, a pull into the unknown, and “the quest” electrify your already high-voltage nature. This is a lot of juice, and while it can lead to stunning personal breakthroughs, you have to ground the charge or risk frying your energy field. What’s up for you is to learn who you are in the context of many others. How do your unique talents and personality serve your church, office, clubs, or any organizations you’re part of? Are the other members open to receiving your true gifts and inspiration? Are you getting as much as you’re giving?  If not, it may be time to move on or rework your relationships to these groups till they flow better for you. Motto: What’s it worth, and does it work?

Pisces, the Fish (February 18 – March 19)   If you were born in the first half of Pisces, you may feel like your communications skills are “off” this winter. Mercury Retrograde may make matters worse. It’s temporary! Saturn is reprogramming you to have better relationships and word flow. When tongue tied, call up your non-verbal skills, among the best in the zodiac! Express yourself to a loved one with your eyes or touch. Your ultimate lesson will be translating the shapeless language of your open mind and feelings to a tongue spoken here on Earth. As a Pisces, you live in another world that’s more airy and formless.  Your temporary communications challenge allows you to walk a mile in the shoes of others who don’t speak your language. As Saturn helps you put things into form, you’ll begin to form words that convey your most heart-felt ideas and feelings.

Second half Pisces: You’re feeling Uranus jolt your waters and snap you to attention.  Short trips could bring startling results, and you’ll likely learn surprising things from the media, neighbors, or siblings.  These all contribute to awakenings that have the power to set off a divine domino effect of positive change.  Winter Fish phrase: News is getting through to you.

Aries, the Ram (March 20 – April 18)   Rams born during the last week of March are feeling Pluto’s demand for major growth.  This invitation can be a shake-up or a deep acceptance of an emerging New You. It will be minimally difficult—maybe even fun!—if you’re willing to surrender to big changes.  Relationship issues will dominate those born during the first half of the sign and dominate is a key word. Aries is often Me First. Arguments and quarrels during Mercury Retrograde will bring the epiphany that relating is an “us” thing, not a “me” thing.  If you’ve been inconsiderate, you’ll see it boomerang back to you for clean up, especially with family.

Mid-sign Rams may be in the mood to howl on the New Year’s Eve Full Moon Lunar Eclipse, especially those born on or about March 31/April 1. Since you are already impulsive by nature, be careful not to over-do it in your revels. With your proneness toward head injury, you might also get a whopping hangover headache if you over-indulge. Born in the last half of the sign? You’ll have many opportunities for healing, inspiration, and broadening your horizons, if you put effort into win-win solutions. When you consider everyone’s needs, good things come to you—abundantly. Ram motto for this winter: “It’s better to give than receive.”

Taurus, the Bull (April 19 – May 19).  Born in the first half of Bull? You have the chance for unexpected change, maybe even mastery of relationship issues this season. It will take adjustment on your part, but if there’s something you’ve left unsaid or undone, the New Year’s Eve Full Moon Lunar Eclipse can help you get the nerve to take that first step or say that first “sorry” or “I love you.”  The season culminates with the Moon in your sign—whip cream on a dessert of sweeter connections!

Second half of the sign: Look for amusing aha’s during the “After Christmas Hail” of Mercury Retrograde. Remember the old Monopoly card, Bank error in your favor? You might find flub-ups contain blessings in disguise. If you approach this glitchy time with humor and the recommended willingness to slow down, a prescription usually not difficult for the “plodding” Taurus to fill.  May-born Tauruses may find opportunities for help in ways their practical nature doesn’t usually approve of. Alternative or complementary forms of healing may lead to major breakthroughs. You can also open your inner intuitive powers, if you can get past your need to see or touch what’s “real.”  You are in a period of growth that could involve creativity, travel, spirituality, and getting unstuck from emotional blockages.  But the old methods won’t work.  Time to change your mind and MO.

Gemini, the Twins (May 20-June 20).  Gems would do well to be less in their heads and take better care of health and body this season. If you were born during the first week of Gemini, you have a golden opportunity now for positive help from Saturn.  He can help you reorganize your life. It’ll be easy to throw out what doesn’t work and set new foundations and structures for yourself.  This applies especially to love, while Saturn travels through the relationship sign of Libra, another “air” sign like Gemini.  It’s all about communication for Gems, but now you can get through in a way that makes partnerships hum. 

Mid-to-late Gems: You have opportunities that involve applying yourself.  Areas where you can grow include overcoming any personal addictions or compulsions. Creativity can flow through your fingertips, and it’s a time that’s friendly to publishing, all things spiritual, and higher learning.  The brass ring won’t come to you, though.  You’ve got to go out and find the Carousel of Opportunity. Out with the old, in with the new.

Cancer, the Crab or Moon Child (June 21 – July 21). Early Cancer is challenged to grow or circumstances may force the issue. Pack your sense of humor for the ride! Pluto is opposite your sign, making the shake-ups likely through relationships, usually with family members or in close family-like relationships. There could also be an abrupt U-turn in career. It’s hard for Cancers, especially female Cancers, to relinquish their mothering or primary nurturing role.  At midlife, it’s time to move from (s)mothering to the grooviest part of “grand”parenting—passing on wisdom. Early Moon Children are also challenged by Saturn, and Pluto and Saturn in combo can be like a tsunami to your water sign if you don’t batten the hatches. Prescription? Jump into your lifeboat in the form of whatever makes you feel safely contained. Say this mantra: “I flow with the high tide of extreme makeover.”  Cancers born on or near July 1-2 could feel a little loony on the Full Moon Eclipse January 31. Don’t be bowled over when the Full Moon and your Cancer Sun come together for a knockout, New Year’s Eve kiss.

Second half of the sign: Sharpen your playful comebacks during Mercury Retrograde and watch your temper, if communications go haywire. If you work on the recommended “re”-things like reviewing your life and focus, you’ll be prepped for my next news.  Readjustment figures prominently for you now and could be silver-lined. Areas where it’s likely to occur are philosophy or spirituality, continuing education (as specific as a second degree or as general as traveling to learn more about other cultures), and the sensitive side of life—music, art, intuitive inklings, and dreams. Be prepared to have life turned on its ear by stunning epiphanies. You’ll see what counts toward your future happiness in a flash. (Maybe even a hot flash!)  Welcome to a whole new world of possibilities.

Leo (July 22 – August 21 ). Early Leos: Modifications and fine-tuning of your sunny, Leo persona are on the agenda. You are deeper than usual, concerned with the mysteries of life. You might turn profoundly spiritual as you discover the shadow of your Sun-ruled sign and the power of darkness. The dark of winter is the perfect cave for this self-discovery!  You may find yourself dealing with others’ money, perhaps an inheritance or unexpected discovery of something valuable from the past. Retrograde Mars can be inner-energizing as it crosses back over the first half of the sign this season. You may also find yourself recharged by things you used to do. One caution: Mars is “combat” and Mr. Misunderstanding (Mercury Retro) visits over the holidays. This combo could resurrect an old conflict with a loved one, if you’re not careful.

Second-half Leos have a lot of sparks of a different type flying as the Triple Conjunction of Chiron, Neptune, and Jupiter oppose your Sun.  Dreams, healing, and adventure pull at you, asking you to come out of yourself and find your place in the world.   Leos like to be center stage, but this is a time where fate will bring you opportunities to learn the joy of being part of an ensemble cast, doing good in the world.  The key question for Leos this winter: Where do I fit in the big picture?

Virgo (August 22 – September 21).  Early Virgos are getting a nudge rather than an elbow from Pluto to reinvent yourself. Philosophy and spirituality will likely help most to reorient you. It’s a good time for reading on these topics or taking classes. Virgos are creatures of habit and very mental. They must “change their mind” before they can change anything else.

Second half Virgos may experience physical or spiritual crises. (Aren’t they one in the same for Virgos?) Take inventory and re-examine priorities. (Another “re” thing for the opening Mercury Retro!)  Those with birthdays in the last week of the sign are heading toward a spring in 2010 where Uranus opposes your Sun and can cause the symptoms of a midlife crisis, regardless of age. One of my favorite Windham Hill CDs is titled “Winter into Spring.”  As late Virgos make that transition, you might find yourself doing things that are unexpected, offbeat, and entirely out of character.  Roll with it.  Uranus is jolting you with change juice for your next phase of becoming all you are.  Key phrase for all Virgos: Get radical! See my article, The Radical Virgo.

Libra, The Scales (September 22 – October 22).  Dear Venus-ruled, gentle, peace-loving Libra—if you were born in the first week of the sign, hang on. Pluto is rocking your world, asking most of all that you learn to put yourself first before others. Don’t expect those calm waters you love, especially if you insist on continuing to define yourself through lovers, spouses, and anyone but yourself.  You’ve got Saturn’s influence at the same time, but in the nicest possible way.  Saturn is in your own sign of Libra, where it’s considered exalted or best placed.  You can learn volumes about bettering relationships, bringing more beauty into your life, and finding that true peace you seek …but not until you learn that the reflection you see in others is you!

Second-half Libras have some great opportunities to resolve core issues, the kind of wounding that keeps us immobilized and sabotaging ourselves. You can receive inspired direction from all kinds of sources, even psychic impressions and meaningful coincidences that appear out of nowhere. Long-standing physical issues could have some major breakthrough during what could be a wondrously therapeutic winter.  Pretend you’re one of those people you love and do unto yourself as you do unto others.  Read about The Converse Golden Rule.  This transfiguration may even lead to a change of career. The theme song for Libra: I gotta be me!

Scorpio, the Scorpion  (October 23 – November 21).  Pluto remodels all of us, more or less—eventually. As your sign’s ruler, you’re always hearing Pluto’s call. You live in his deep waters of inner change through the phoenix of feelings. Early Scorpios can take advantage of a window this winter to reinvent yourself—yet again. Your opportunities may lie in community.  What do you want to become a part of?  The often-secretive Scorpio cannot live in a cave full-time, appealing as that might be sometimes. How and where can you merge energies to create potent forces that change the world?

Born in the middle to end of Scorpio? You’re challenged do even more inner work than usual, to learn new things, and to open to your own intuitive and healing gifts. You can only be as powerful as you share with others. Scorpio’s key phrase: Discover your own mystery—and the other starring players in your drama.

Sagittarius, the Archer (November 22 – December 20).  Most of the “archery team” will enjoy a lightweight winter season without major demands from the forces of change. Early Sag can enjoy some of the benefits of better relationships, legalities, and politics—the latter being two subjects she loves to talk about—with Saturn in friendly aspect.  However, these are opportunities to cultivate; they’re not automatic.

Those born in the second-half of Sag start winter with Venus visiting your sign, planet of love and relationship, adding extra warmth to the usually toasty holiday fires.  You’ll also feel the influence of Uranus shaking up your ideas and sometimes causing erratic behavior. The reasons you’re “not yourself” may not be apparent to you for some time.  Reform is coursing through you with surges of insight. How you’ll morph into a new you is broaching your conscious awareness. It may even surface! You’ll need those insights to help you access areas of opportunity you can take advantage of, if you choose to cultivate them.  You can heal early pain and suffering and transform it into gifts to help others. You could also develop a more sensitive viewpoint toward your fellow humans, and see how you can be part of real solutions to big issues in the world.  Sag often likes to talk about how things should be. With a little effort, you can make it so! Motto: I expand myself by helping others.

A joyous winter holiday season and Happy 2010 to all!  See you in spring at our Natural New Year celebration at Perrie’s Planetarium.


Joyce Mason has been an astrologer for 22 years and a writer ever since she could hold a pencil. Learn more about Joyce, her two blogs, and her library of articles on topics from A to Zzz (astrology to dreamwork) on her Writer Joyce Mason website. 

Want to learn more about your sign? Joyce recommends her High Signs: Living on the Upside of the Zodiac series: #1 (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer); #2 (Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio); and #3 (Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces).

Monday, December 7, 2009

Why Have Mid-Life Crisis When You Can Have A Mid-Life Oasis™?

By Jill Bryan

Strange and wonderful things begin to happen as we make our way into mid-life.  “Strange” as in realizing the brown spots on your face resemble the little dipper when you connect them or suddenly needing glasses to read labels and menus. (Are all shampoo bottles designed by 20 year olds with 20/20 vision?) “Wonderful” as in making peace with our bodies (perhaps for the first time ever) and being grateful for all the parts that still work, rather than fretting about how far from perfect they look. And the freeing awareness that comfortable shoes are a glorious thing not to be looked down upon.

The media likes to play up the idea of a “Mid-Life Crisis”, but I’ve come up with a much more pleasing concept – the “Mid-Life Oasis™”.  I believe that once we make it this far, we’re entitled to create the time and space in our lives for some real personal fulfillment.  Now is the time to take all of those dreams, hopes, and wishes we’ve put on the backburner lo these many years and move them to the forefront of our hearts and minds and the top of our to-do lists!  With apologies to all of the PTA meetings, church committees and housecleaning that will be moved further down our lists with this bold decision, there are books to be written, songs to be sung, exotic locales to be visited, races to be run, art to be made, gourmet meals to be prepared, jokes to be told, and mountains to be climbed. Now is the time to go for it!

I believe that true Mid-Life Crisis happens when we dream of experiences we want to have, places we wish to see and ideas we long to express – but won’t even allow ourselves to make the attempt.  When we let that happen, we’re likely to spend the rest of our days haunted by wondering how different things might have been “if only”.

No matter what our dream may look like, most of us share some common blocks that keep us from pursuing creative satisfaction in our lives. Do any of these issues ring a bell for you?

  •  Procrastination - You’ll get around to that watercolor kit someday…after the garage is cleaned out and the canned goods in your pantry have been alphabetized.
  • Putting Yourself Last - Your projects always seem to be last on the list. Everyone else comes first…your boss, your family, your friends – even the ones you don’t like all that much.
  •  Overwhelm - You have so much going on that you don’t see how you could possibly fit in one more thing, especially something that might be (gasp!) just for fun.
  • Feeling Not Good Enough – You worry that your dream is silly, or that you’re not really an artist…writer…singer…comedian…insert the hobby/job/passion of your choice here. So why even try?
  • Not Knowing Where To Begin – You have lots and lots of wonderful ideas you want to explore, but don’t know where or how to start.

So, where do we begin? How do we start?

One fun and productive option is to work with a coach. Several years ago, I worked with a creativity coach who helped me rediscover my passion for writing and performing music and more importantly to make the time and space for it in my busy life. That was the beginning of my own oasis. I loved her methods so much, and experienced such a positive change in my life using them, that I ended up becoming a certified creativity coach myself and founding Creative Oasis Coaching. (another important component to my new-found oasis) As a creative life coach, it’s now my job (and one that I love and am grateful for every day!) to help people create their own Mid-Life Oasis™.

Through the process of being coached and then becoming a coach myself, I’ve learned and am happy to share the good news – there are many easy and effective methods to move past the common creative blocks listed above.  Here’s a sample list of ways to begin forging your own creative path:

  • Get Help. In addition to one-on-one coaching, joining an on-line group or taking a class are excellent ways to support your creative desires with like-minded people. The accountability they provide can sometimes be all you need to begin and stick with pursuing your dream.
  • Start Small. In just two minutes a day, you can begin to form a creative habit, and make real progress overtime. (for example, even if you only wrote one page per day, at the end of a year, you’d have written well over 300 pages!)
  • Lower Pressure. It doesn’t need to be great, or perfect, or even good – just express yourself. If you say, “I’m going to make the worst drawing imaginable today,” but then you go ahead and draw, chances are it won’t be nearly as bad as you feared, it may even be good, and if nothing else, it will probably feel wonderful.
  • Take Field Trips. Visiting museums and bookstores, attending presentations and movies, even a trip to your local zoo or aquarium can be a great source of inspiration and exposure to new ideas. Take a notepad or sketchbook and enjoy.
  • Be Bratty. Anytime you second guess yourself, or come up with excuses as to why you shouldn’t pursue your Mid-Life Oasis™ tell yourself, “So what! I’ll do it anyway.” Using that same stubborn streak that children so easily access, can be very empowering and fun.

There are so many of us out here discovering what Mid-Life means, and thankfully lots of wonderful places to connect. (such as this fun Perrie Meno-pudge site!) We can choose to focus on the strange (hot flashes, and the need for more stabilizing undergarments), or we can dive headlong into the wonderful (not caring how we look the first time we try a downward facing dog, and realizing that if Cloris Leachman can take up ballroom dancing at 82 years old – then perhaps we’ll give it a whirl ourselves!) 

I invite you to sidestep the crisis and create your own oasis!  Please feel free to visit mine at In the meantime, all the best from my Mid-Life Oasis™ to yours!

Jill Allison Bryan believes that everyone can create her own Mid-Life Oasis™ — because it doesn’t have to be a crisis! Through her Creative Oasis Coaching practice, Jill helps people in the prime of their lives to realize the joy and satisfaction that comes with making time to pursue their own creative dreams. Working (and playing, of course) with her own creativity coach led Jill to reclaim her creative passion as a singer/songwriter and ultimately to become a Kaizen-Muse creativity coach. She offers one-on-one coaching, facilitates group workshops and retreats, and is currently producing her first solo CD of original music. Now that Jill has discovered her own Mid-Life Oasis™, she would love to help you find yours! Connect with her at

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Did You Know? Why Exfoliate

Exfoliation is the process of using mechanical or chemical means to promote skin cell shedding from the epidermis.  Despite the fact that skin exfoliation is incredibly beneficial, it is often an overlooked part of a healthy skin care regimen.  To understand why exfoliation is so important, it is necessary to first look at skin function and the natural sloughing process.

The skin is made up of three layers – the hypodermis, dermis, and epidermis.  Skin cells are constantly regenerated, with new skin cells created in the dermis and old, dead skin cells shed from the epidermis.  This process keeps skin clean and smooth, helps prevent pore clogging, and reduces acne breakouts.  As we age, the natural sloughing process can slow and become uneven.   the result – dull, rough looking skin, clogged pores, and blemishes.  Exfoliation helps prevent skin from becoming dull and damaged looking by removing dead cells and encouraging cell turnover.

How can exfoliation improve your skin?
·      Removes dead, dry skin cells to reveal healthy, translucent skin underneath
·      Supports health skin cell function by increasing epidermal turnover rate
·      Helps prevent the cell buildup associated with clogged pores and acne
·      Helps fade age spots

Two Types of Exfoliation – Mechanical and Chemical
·    Mechanical exfoliation involves physically scrubbing dead skin cells from the surface using an abrasive. Commonly used abrasives include plastic beads, salt, sugar, crushed nut shells, pumice, and abrasive sponges or loofahs.  
·    Chemical exfoliation involves products that contain enzymes or acids that help loosen the bonds that hold dead skin cells to the epidermis.  Many chemical exfoliants use fruit acids or alpha-hydroxy acids.  Fruit enzymes can also be used to help dissolve dead cells.   A dermatologist can apply highly concentrated chemical exfoliants, though products containing lower concentrations are available over the counter.  

Ingredient Highlight | Carica Papaya Leaf Extract 
Carica Papaya Leaf Extract contains the proteolytic enzyme, papain, which is well known for its exfoliation properties.  Proteolytic enzymes assist in the exfoliation process by naturally dissolving proteins that hold dead skin cells in place.  Papain is a mild alternative to harsher ingredients commonly used in chemical exfoliation.

Good Question | How often should I exfoliate?
While exfoliation is an important step in promoting healthy skin cell turnover, over-exfoliation can cause skin drying and irritation.  It is generally recommended that we exfoliate 1-3 times per week, depending on our particular skin type and exposure to environmental factors that cause skin damage.  For example, oily skin tends to slough off skin cells less easily, so an individual with oily skin may exfoliate more frequently than someone with normal or sensitive skin.  When designing a regimen suited to your needs, by sure to assess how your skin feels before and after exfoliating to determine the frequency that is best for you!

Quick Facts:
·    At birth complete cell turnover takes approximately 2 weeks.  At 50 years old, the same process takes 4 - 6 weeks.
·    Celloxylin™ Enzyme Activated Micro Scrub is formulated with fine beet sugar to provide gentle mechanical exfoliation, and papain to provide natural chemical exfoliation!
·    The problem with pellets | Many exfoliation products use tiny plastic beads, called nurdles, as the abrasive for removing dead skin cells. Unlike other common abrasives (sugar, salt) these pellets are not biodegradable – instead, they travel down your drain, contaminating the ocean and other aquatic environments.  In addition to accounting for up to 98% of marine debris found on some beaches, nurdles are a danger to small organisms that ingest them, so chose wisely next time you grab a scrub!
·    TRY THIS . . . our favorite way to use the Celloxylin™ Enzyme Activated Micro Scrub! Apply the Celloxylin™ Enzyme Activated Micro Scrub in the shower as instructed.  Before rinsing, apply Celloxylin™ Hydro Burst Cleanser for a delightful cleansing and exfoliating experience!

For more information about the Process of Skin Aging, and the Apriori Beauty Products, visit Candy Dye’s Apriori Beauty website at

Apriori Beauty is complete with all of these in the Nutrient Reservoir ™  within every single product. No need for skin injections or plastic surgery! Check the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website, and you will see Apriori Beauty has joined as a company that goes all out to give you the safest, non toxic products available! (

For more information on Skin and the Aging Process, browse through some informational “Did You Know” library by clicking on each topic link:
You may contact Candy Dye by email at

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Taking Charge of Your Holidays!

By Pat Barone, CPCC, PCC
"America's Weight Loss Catalyst"

If you've been near a store lately, you've probably been exposed to holiday music, festive displays of lights and the not-so-subtle urging to buy, buy, buy.

The retail message to buy is second only to the societal push to eat, eat, eat!

So, before venturing down the path to a few extra pounds or a mountain of debt, let's take a look at some common holiday messages that take us away from enjoyable holidays.

If you look closely at the language we use around holiday obligations, you'll notice they are often preceded by the words "should", "ought" or "gotta."

These three little words, uttered so innocently, are clearly directions originating outside ourselves.  They cover tasks, deeds and actions that we feel we
"have to do", whether the direction comes from our mothers, spouses, best friend, children, or even from society.

"Should", "ought" and "gotta" are the source of much anxiety in life.  As we rush to fulfill the wishes of other people or to measure up to someone else's idea of what our lives should look like, we pay very little attention to our own needs.  In fact, the first thing that flies out the window is often our own greater need for health, security, kindness and love.

This creates stress, pressure and conflict that often disrupts celebrations and diminishes our enjoyment of the holidays.

But, how would your holidays look if they were designed around what you want?

Fulfilling Family Expectations IS DIFFERENT THAN Finding Fulfillment

Our needs are important.  They are connected to our deepest values and honoring our values leads to fulfillment in life.  When a niggling feeling of unease, dissatisfaction or even outright stress occurs, it's a sign we're violating our own values.

Take my clients, Tanya and Alex, who spent their Christmases with Tanya's large family for many years.  Tanya and Alex had no children but their rather large extended family included 8 other adults and 8 very young nieces and nephews. 

Each year, there were family discussions and debates over who was going to host Christmas.  Tanya, who hated the mess caused by the children, always refused to host the holiday because she felt the kids "trashed her house."  She and Alex ran an orderly home and disliked mess, noise and anything approaching a spill on their expensive antique furniture. 

Tension between Tanya and her sisters increased as the brood grew.
  Christmas meant a great deal to Tanya and Alex because they identified very strongly with their religion.

Every year, she swore she was going to get a handle on her holiday eating free-for-all but her calorie intake simply increased with every stressful event.
  So, Tanya came to me to help solve her eating issues. 

We looked at the situation through the lens of values.  It was obvious that Tanya and Alex had different values than Tanya's sisters.  Neither was bad or wrong, but they were different.  Her sisters loved the noise and torn wrapping paper; they were proud of their overloaded food table; and they wanted to play during holiday events. 

Tanya and Alex preferred church, traditional celestial music, and quiet contemplation for their holiday.

As Tanya became determined to solve the turmoil she felt over the holidays, I urged her to look for the "oughts", "shoulds" and "gottas" in her life.

I should be with my family at Christmas.

ought to be grateful I have a family and we're all close, even if the kids drive me crazy.

gotta be more patient with the kids, because there are more of them each year!

should go to church on Christmas Eve; my sisters are robbing their children of a spiritual connection to the holiday.  All they care about are material things and toys that make too much noise!

My sisters have gotta stop having kids; they can't seem to handle the ones they have! 

When I suggested Tanya and Alex spend their holiday differently, you would have thought I suggested they shoot themselves!  There was an equally long list of shoulds, oughts and gottas in response to that.

But, after we began to look at their values, I asked them to write about how they'd like to spend the holiday.
  Some themes emerged:  Christian worship, music, relaxation, gratitude and contemplation.  These things weren't present at their family Christmases.

So I urged them to brainstorm ways they could spend their Christmas that would fulfill them and keep them close to their own values.  What they came up with was surprising to both of them:  it was travel.

As they related their findings to me, they could scarcely contain their excitement.  They wanted to travel to other cultures and experience how Christianity was celebrated in other countries.  They had even made a list of places they wanted to visit:  Italy, Spain, Venezuela, Honduras, Portugal, etc. etc.

With much trepidation, they told Tanya's sisters and booked their travel plans.  Tanya was so convinced there would be huge fights and a lot of emotional resistance to their idea, they even tied that first trip to Alex's job so it sounded like they had a good "excuse."

They were shocked when the family didn't protest much!

Now, it may seem very logical from the outside that these people didn't belong together at Christmas, but family ties and the belief in "shoulds" "oughts" and "gottas" is strong. 

Each year for the last 7 years, I've received a post card from Tanya and Alex from some exotic location in the world where they are spending
and enjoying Christmas.  One year I also received a letter.  In it, Tanya told me she had spoken to her sisters about the fact that she and Alex didn't spend the holidays with them anymore.  She had been relieved to hear her sisters say,

"We're so glad you do what makes you happy now."

"You were a complete stick in the mud!  We hated having you here with us because you were miserable and you made us miserable."

"No offense, but now the kids can play without being shushed and criticized!"

"Please continue to travel and make yourself happy!"

So, under the umbrella of "shoulds" "oughts" and "gottas", Tanya had spent many an unhappy moment.  She had convinced herself and her husband she HAD TO be with her family and they would be very hurt if they didn't share their holiday.  She thought she was making them happy at her own expense but she wasn't making anybody happy.

She was also regularly and frequently overeating due to the unpleasant, stressful situation.

Stop "Shoulding" All Over Yourself
1.   Look ahead at the holiday season.  What are your "shoulds", "oughts" and "gottas?" 
2.   Determine your values and design a holiday experience that reflects those values.
3.   Schedule your holiday according to your vision.
4.   Who will be affected by the changes you'd like to make?  Let them know your plans, making it clear you're simply honoring your own values and not rejecting or judging the way they spend the holidays.
5.   Execute your plan.

You can follow these same steps whether you are changing the way you spend the holidays or changing the atmosphere of your holidays.  Perhaps you'd like a simpler holiday or one filled with more activity and exercise. Take the steps to make the special days in your life yours.

Chances are those around you will appreciate your honesty and honor your requests if you communicate in a clear and loving manner.

Pat Barone earned her title "America's Weight Loss Catalyst" by coaching thousands of clients toward permanent weight loss.  Her status as an expert is heightened by her own personal weight loss success (minus 70+ lbs. over 9 years ago).  She's a well-known speaker throughout the U.S. and teaches permanent weight loss worldwide through her intensive teleseminar "enLIGHTen Your Life!"  Learn more at

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dr. Patty Ann’s 7 Simple & Effective Conflict Resolution Tips

By Patty Ann Tublin
I would be willing to bet you that even Cupid’s has had a couple of fights with his/her partner - leaving a few arrows piercing his heart.  So if the quintessential lover, Cupid, can’t avoid a fight or two, is it any wonder all couples fight?  The secret for a happy, romantic relationship is not the ability to avoid fighting (an impossible task for mere mortals like ourselves) but how we fight.  Yes, there is indeed a right way to fight.  Read on and discover Dr. Patty Ann’s 7 simple and effective ways to fight and resolve conflict between you and your partner.
1.    As the emotional heat gets turned up, and you know you are only heading down the path of an all-out blow-out  between yourself and your partner,  give your self a time-out.  Before you enter the emotional point of no return, where all your reasoning and common sense flies out the window, take a deep breathe and you and your partner should both agree to walk away from the argument until you both cool off and calmer emotions prevail. 
2.    Check out your perspective and position in the fight you are currently engaged in and make sure you and your partner are not arguing about unresolved past conflictsSometimes we use a current conflict and use it to fight about a past conflict, unbeknownst to your partner.  If you and your partner are not fighting about the same issue, believe me, it will never get resolved.
3.    To make sure you avoid #2 in your fighting, once the fighting has begun, make sure you ask for clarification on the issue you and your partner are fighting about. Many times couples find out – after the fight has devolved to the point of no return – they were not fighting about the same issue.  This is pretty hard to believe – unless you have ever been in a relationship. lol.
4.    Admit if you are wrong. It really won’t kill you.
5.    Love means saying “I am sorry”You would be shocked to discover how far an apology will get you in your relationship. Don’t just take my word for it – try it.
6.    Avoid generalizations and using statements that place blame.  “You always” or “I never”;  instead say, “I feel hurt when you ….”; “You make me feel  … when you do or say that”.
7.    Walk a mile in your partner’s shoes by engaging in a little role reversal. Take your partner’s position in your fight – you may still not agree with their position, but it will give you a better understanding as to why they feel the way they do. 
Remember the long-term goal of your relationship is to be happy and together.  When fighting with your partner, do not fall into the trap of having to be right, or having to prove you are right at-all-costs.  Instead, use Dr. Patty Ann’s 7 simple and effective conflict resolution tips.  Otherwise, you might win the battle, but lose the war.
Dr. Patty Ann has a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work, a Master’s Degree in Nursing and she is a Registered Nurse.  She is a board-certified psychotherapist having graduated from a prestigious three year post-graduate psychotherapy training program.
Dr. Patty Ann is a sought after public speaker, author and confidant to other professionals in the field of relationship coaching and expertise.  She brings 25 years of professional coaching and therapy experience helping people BUILD HEALTHIER AND HAPPIER RELATIONSHIPS that increases SATISFACTION in all areas of their relationship while DRAMATICALLY IMPROVING the overall quality of their lives.
Dr. Patty Ann loves to remind people that a GREAT RELATIONSHIP is the FOUNDATION for EVERYTHING else you do! To learn more about Dr. Patty Ann go directly to her website   You may comment on her blog
Follow drpattyann on twitter and on facebook.
Check out Dr. Patty Ann’s e-book titled: “The 3 Secrets to Increase Romance & Happiness in Your Relationship”.  These 3 secrets have never before been revealed in such a simple, concise and reader friendly way!
About to be introduced for sale:  A ground breaking revolutionary  product called: “Dr. Patty Ann’s Relationship Toolbox TM   Jump Start Your Relationship into a Higher Gear” which includes information, exercises, tricks, tools & so much more to GIVE you the relationship you have always dreamt about and DESERVE!!!
About to be announced:  Dates for Dr. Patty Ann’s online workshop.  These calls are with Dr. Patty Ann, where she will speak directly and openly about ALL of the relationship tips and tricks you will not hear anywhere else.