It is no surprise that our current worldwide Covid-19 health conditions are changing the way we interact on a personal and business basis.  My monthly Women’s Wellness Circle is no exception.  As the social distancing measures rolled out during the 3rd week of March 2020, and with Circle fast approaching on the 4th Thursday, a decision needed to be made.

Do I cancel this amazing event completely or try bringing it to an new online platform?  The answer was a definite; let’s try to bring this month’s Women’s Wellness Circle to an online platform.

I had a fantastic coach in Dany Spencer who led me through tutorials and thankfully the Zoom platform is a very user friendly one to host a meeting.  Dany posted a simple cheat sheet on the FB Circle Event page and I found a short You Tube tutorial to post. I had a strong attendance response for March’s presenter, Chris Anne Donnelly and wondered if it could be as meaningful to connect through computer or smartphone screens.

The Virtual Accessibility Actually Increased Overall Attendees

Our night arrived and to my thrill, 35 women joined in.  Not only did I have my local attendees; with the virtual venue, I had women join from B.C., Toronto, Collingwood and Bracebridge.  Chris Anne is very comfortable communicating authentically online after developing her numerous tarot decks with an international team for Hay House.  I am continually in awe of how spirit works to support Circle.

We had such a special evening, connecting inward with a meditation, having a beautiful conversation on how we were experiencing the unfolding of the new conditions and finally receiving a personal card message from Chris Anne.  All left feeling just like we do when we gather in person…reconnected, uplifted and knowing we have others supporting us during all times.

I pressed record on our call once we had tuned in and then my amazing technical team; Rosewood have loaded it onto my YouTube channel.  Those who wish to listen to our call, please connect here.

April’s Circle will take place next week, April 23rd under the same format. Last month’s experiment was a totally free event.  This month, I am requesting a ‘pay what you’ can via e-transfer to Karen@in-side-out.com.  The registration link will be forwarded to all those I hear from.  This month we have Dr. Laura Foster of Soul Inspired Gurl who will lead a very heart centered session on what is bubbling up for us in these days and how to access the call of our heart. Be sure to join us.

As always – thank you for your amazing support.  Women’s Wellness Circle feeds our soul and desire for connecting with like-minded women.  We were made for these times, a global reset button has been activated.  Let’s co-create the world we want to live in on the other side of Covid19.

Check out both presenters:

Till next time, treat yourself and others with kindness,

Karen

peace

I am delighted to be part of a month-long online project entitled “Beauty, Balance & Peace”, a foundation for weaving voices of peace hosted by Janet Stanley. This is an online gathering of Peacemakers from around the world that will begin on November 4th, 2019.

I met Janet on a trip to Finland and Estonia this past July. It was an incredible trip organized by Elisha MacMillan and Christie Perrault to witness the 150th anniversary celebration of the Estonian Song Festival. 

The Estonian Song Festival

“The Estonian Song Festival (in Estonianlaulupidu, Estonian pronunciation: [?l?u.lu?pi.du]) is one of the largest amateur choral events in the world, a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. It is held every five years in July on the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds (Lauluväljak) simultaneously with the Estonian Dance Festival.” There were 32,000 voices of all ages singing with a full orchestra to over 120,000 thrilled audience members.

It celebrates the heritage of this small country on the Baltic Sea that has been overtaken by other powerful nations in the past. The singing celebrations became the main anchor of Estonian identity. In the 19th century, the choirs and song celebrations were at the core of the national awakening of Estonian peasants. As a result, it helped establish an identity that indirectly led to the country’s independence in 1918.

My Experience at the Estonian Song Festival

As a singer, it was one of the most powerful experiences I have ever had. Though I did not understand the words sung, the emotion and strength of the message of peace, unity and hope was profound.  The various costumes each group wore to represent their cultural heritage were so colourful and creative. “Research shows that 48% of the Estonian population has, at some time in their lives, taken part in the song celebration and is one of the remaining activities that is enjoyed by the whole of society.” https://estonianworld.com/culture/gallery-estonian-song-celebration-2019/

There were 10 women who were drawn to the invitation and of which I personally knew only 3 before we came together. We entered into our own sacred ceremony for the trip to bring the message of peace and freedom home with us. This was more important than we first thought as we shared a small air b & b with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. We had beds and suitcases all over and managed to get through potential sticky situations with much grace and humour!

Being a Part of Janet’s Peace Project

On one of our many stimulating discussions, Janet shared a Peace project she was undertaking to launch in the fall. After all my years leading Women’s Wellness Circles, I have come to truly know the empowerment that comes from people sharing their own stories and gifts. I was immediately drawn to learn more about her endeavor. Therefore, we arranged to connect upon our return and was asked to take part in her project and be interviewed which I humbly accepted.

With this in mind, I encourage you to accept the invitation and sign up to listen to the 24 interviews of people who are living out their own version of peacekeeping in our world. https://0vs1sd5o.pages.infusionsoft.net/

May they inspire each of us to become more conscious of our thoughts and actions as we continue to create a world that works for everyone.

Enjoy a few of my photos and a short video from the Song Festival.

Until next time,

Karen    

inside out healing karen armstrong change your focus york region

Happy fall! It is my favourite time of year. As I reflect on the activities of the past summer, I am reminded of one great morning at church where our minister decided to show a movie entitled, “Celebrate What is Right in the World” by Dewitt Jones. It was so rich in inspiration, both visually and literally, as Dewitt told stories from his life and work at the National Geographic Magazine.

I absolutely encourage you to watch the Tedx Talk at this link:

I would also love to share some of my take aways from this video.

I’m not sure how many of you are, like me, hesitant to take in too much mainstream media because it focuses so much on what is wrong in the world. I find that the news I need to hear comes into my awareness anyway. And I can always look into any headline that I may want to learn more about.

Dewitt’s message spoke to me because as an energy worker I know that, where thoughts go, energy follows. In his career life, he was a photographer for the National Geographic Magazine. One of his opening lines was, “Vision controls perception and perception becomes our reality”. He didn’t realize until well into his career how powerfully the focus of his work for the National Geographic helped to reframe his perception. He began to notice how the world of media operates, from a Fear – Scarcity – Competition focus, instead of a “What’s possible or what is here to celebrate,“ focus.

Focusing on the Negative

It’s so easy to fall into an unconscious pattern of sharing stories with friends and co-workers on what is troubling, because let’s face it – life can be really tough!!  We like to have company along for the struggles in our journey. By talking about our difficulties, we can always find an understanding ear, but this point of view can rob us of the joys in life.

Over time, we always get what we focus on. And I have noticed how many people are getting very tired of going down the path of negativity our society has developed. It feels heavy, like it’s dragging you down. That is true!

A New Perspective

If we instead find ways to appreciate special moments each day, we will begin to retrain the focus of our attention. The more we do this the more we will notice how many moments in our day we can actually enjoy and be inspired by.

Like Dewitt, I have been labelled as a Pollyanna in my life. Though I never did understand how that was a negative thing. Even with a naturally positive outlook, I can find myself spiraling down the negativity path occasionally. There are lots of reasons, but typically it is because I’m tired, and not looking after my own self-care needs. But, if I can take time to walk, meditate, journal or share with a wise friend, even when things are a bit rough, it is possible to shift my perspective and create new possibilities.

Dewitt’s message reminds us to connect to the energy of passion every day. To look for what is here in our world to celebrate… to fall in love with. And to remember that every day we get to choose which lens we will look at the world with.

Change your Lens – Change your Life!

At our recent Women’s Wellness Circle, we created Vision Boards.  They represent a focus of attention that we want to invite into our lives. The collage of words and images should be placed somewhere we will see them every day. This subconsciously programs our perception to watch for ways to bring these visions into reality. We begin to align our energetic vibration to become a match for what we want.

Fall Equinox can be a powerful time to refocus and inspire new intentions. What do you want to invite into your life at this time?  Brainstorm, clarify and begin the baby steps to celebrate your journey of life!

You can connect with me by email or telephone, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook too!

Until next time, enjoy our beautiful fall,

Karen

 

 

Sadie - Pee & Walk Away - Pelvic Health Inside Out Karen Armstrong Newmarket Aurora Women's Wellness Circle

Sadie - Pee & Walk Away - Pelvic Health Inside Out Karen Armstrong Newmarket Aurora Women's Wellness Circle

I recently brought Nelly Faghani, a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist specialist out to the Women’s Wellness Circle to educate us on the importance of keeping our pelvic floor muscles healthy.  It was such a huge eye opener that I wanted to share the information I jotted down with as many people as I could.  As these are from my notes, they are meant to bring awareness only, please refer to your own specialist for personal questions and clarification.

Four Main Functions of the Pelvic Floor

1.  Support

The pelvic floor is a basket of muscles that support organs against gravity and intra-abdominal pressure as well as vaginal/rectal walls.

  • Pelvic organ prolapse is a functional issue coming from genetic predisposition, years of heavy lifting or constipation to name a few. This effects 41% of women over 60 who have not had a hysterectomy. It is a high level of bothersome. Pelvic floor training is highly effective.

2. Sphincter

The sphincter controls openings of the urethra, vagina and rectum maintaining urinary and fecal continence.

Types of incontinence:

  • Stress incontinence:  coughing, laughing, sneezing or lifting.
  • This effects 1-3 women and 1-9 men
  • Urge incontinence: urine loss associated with a strong uncontrollable need to void or an inability to delay voiding.
  • Functional incontinence: physical or cognitive impairment.
  • Mixed incontinence: pressure and intense urge to void.

Social Consequences of Incontinence:

  • Decreased self esteem
  • Impedes social activity
  • Impedes physical activity
  • Institutionalization – it is the Number 2 reason elderly are institutionalized!
  • Heavy economic burden of patients, families and society.

3. Sexual Function (blood flow, orgasm)

Dyspareunia – 25-40% of post-menopausal women find intimacy painful.

4. Stability

Assists in sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Pelvic Floor muscle problems can also cause pain in the sacro-iliac joints. Pelvic floor muscle tightness can slacken the posterior (back) ligaments of the SI joint, and weak pelvic floor muscles can create decreased stability in the SI joints. In other words, if your pelvic floor is too tight or weak, it will de-stabilize the sacroiliac joints.

Misconceptions:

  • Challenges are normal after childbirth.
  • Challenges are a normal part of aging.
  • You cannot do anything for it.

Pelvic floor exercises are not one size fits all such as Kegels!  Each person is different with some categorized as underactive or hypotonicity and some as overactive or hypertonicity.

When should you seek pelvic floor muscle training?

  • Before any surgery.
  • Before and after childbirth – Core stability training is recommended to prevent and treat back and pelvic pain during and following pregnancy.
  • Post-surgery rehabilitation improves strength, relaxation, control and assists in regaining a better quality of life.

Education Tips:

  • Wash vulva with water only, no soap.
  • Wipe from front to back after urination.
  • Use organic detergents.
  • Use cotton underwear or sleep without.
  • Remove wet clothes immediately.
  • Never use the feminine product brand “Always”
  • Stay well hydrated.
  • Normal is 5-8 pee’s per day with 1 overnight. (urine colour: light)
  • Constipation creates more risk of challenge.
  • Toileting posture – knees above hips. (*think squatty potty)
  • If you need to bear down to void, do not hold your breath. Nelly provided a super tip:  blow into a closed fist to keep your air moving.
  • Bladder irritants include caffeine, alcohol, citrus fruits, carbonated beverages, diet pop and artificial sweeteners.

It was a jam packed evening of information and very candid questions and discussion.  Life is life and education as always provides more choices.

A huge shout out to Nelly Faghani of Pelvic Health Solutions. Their website is very informative.

If you are in the area – consider joining us for the monthly Women’s Wellness Circles. My website also links to my colleagues in the greater GTA.

Coming up in the next few months for Newmarket/EG are:
June 28th – Wendy Purves-Lambie with Circle Dance
July 19th – Tanya Porter leading Rhythmic Reframing
Aug. 23rd – Elisha McMillan, “Movement as a tool for Healing & Manifestation”
Sept. 27th – Shari Miller creating our own Vison Boards.
Nov. 1st – Bev McLeish, Herbs for Natural Immune Boosting
Nov. 29th – Mickey Eves – Leading with your Heart – using your imagination with purpose and intention.

You can connect with me by email or telephone, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook too!

Until next time, enjoy our beautiful summer,

Karen

reiki retreat karen armstrong find your tribe

reiki retreat karen armstrong find your tribe

I just completed a 3 day Reiki Retreat last week and by the end many of my students expressed feeling such comfort because they had “found their tribe”.  This expression describes the feeling of being in a group of like-minded people where it is safe to share our true selves.  We get to dream, explore our inner world, express our needs and feel supported instead of judged.

Sometimes Our Spiritual Path Can Feel Lonely

Sometimes when we are on a spiritual or holistic path, it can feel lonely holding down the fort in our circle of family and work connections.  Some of them may want to support us however they may have different beliefs and so we are careful of where and when we share our own thoughts and feelings.

It is both reassuring and inspiring to come together and deepen our own inner knowing.  We part ways knowing that we are not alone and this group that once was strangers have become our tribe. The culture that has emerged in our affluent society has created a reality that many families live in different cities. Getting together requires planning and time both of which are stretched to limits with full schedules.  Finding a common interest helps to bring people together filling a need for being in community.

The Importance of Community in My Life

I realize how important community is for me as I have created a few very important ones in my life. My love of music and singing has found home for the past 30 years with the North Metro chorus. My thirst for knowledge and sharing has led me to host a monthly Women’s Wellness Circle for over 10 years. We joined some of our church friends to create a couples activity group that has enjoyed countless hours of fun and exploring for the last 17 years.  Finally, my work and life with reiki has now expanded into a circle of students, friends and colleagues who come together regularly.

North Metro Choir Karen Armstrong - Inside Out

These groups fill my life with a richness that is not possible on a solo journey.  Sometimes I need to balance and pull back for a while but I could not even dream of my life without all that a like-minded community brings.

Don’t get me wrong – it takes intention and action to find your group, as Amanda Kohr shares so beautifully on wanderlust.com;

Whether it’s a family, community, or group of fellow practitioners, our tribe is important because it reflects our values while simultaneously satisfying our need for companionship.

That being said, finding a tribe is hard. That’s why there are so many movies where high school students end up eating lunch alone. And as we bloom into adulthood and lose the setting of forced social interaction, it can be even more difficult to find authentic connections.

Doing so requires effort, authenticity, and confidence.

True – and I am here to say that it is worth every minute of searching.  So I invite you to reflect on what you might be missing in your life and then set the intention to find it. Let’s make life count and have fun along the way with our Tribe!

reiki retreat inside out karen armstrong

Do you have a favourite group of peeps that you want to share? I welcome input here.

You can connect with me by email or telephone, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook too!

Until next time, may you enjoy your summer.

Karen

14054094_10154180249227550_6212470584748674352_n

What an incredible summer we are experiencing!  Somehow as we arrive at September, our world still changes cycles.  We are in the rich harvest time of our area with Farmers Markets loaded with produce and for those ambitious few who capture summer in a jar; it is a busy time. I love seeing the beautiful colours of summer filling my jars ready to provide nourishment throughout the winter months.  On my to-do list are peaches, chili sauce, apple sauce and beets.  Yum! Read more

Circle 2016 - Cropped

June 2012 Circle with Terri Segal, Elisha MacMillan and Shaw Percussion.

Happy 2016! Though every moment is a new beginning, there is heightened awareness of this as we enter a New Year. A fresh opportunity to welcome new adventures, new acquaintances, new thoughts and magical moments!  I am reminded by this quote that balance is also important and that we will also be letting go of what no longer serves us. Read more

East Gwillimbury Community

I am very passionate about the power of community so I hope to keep this post brief! I just attended our monthly East Gwillimbury Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting this week and the sponsor presenter was Neighborhood Network. I was not aware of this excellent local volunteer based organization and it had me reflect once again on the how much good is added to people’s lives when caring souls reach out! Read more

Relationship Expert York RegionAll around the world, International Women’s Day represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality. Make It Happen is the 2015 theme for our internationalwomensday.com global hub, encouraging effective action for advancing and recognizing women.

Each year International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911. Thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organizations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women’s groups, corporations and the media celebrate the day. Read more

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Happy 2015! I am pleased to share this Women’s Wellness Circle news for the coming year. Within the healing community, I am receiving many affirmations that the astrology, numerology and spiritual messages of 2015 bring infinite possibility and openness to new ways of being for those who are ready to tune in. As Dale Osadchuk shares in this excerpt from her current Full Moon teachings:

There is also a Cosmic Grand Cross being formed by the planetary dance at this Full Moon. The two leggeds in the far away time have the opportunity to break out of the box that has been holding them back from achieving Illumination and living their Soul Purpose. Awakening and Transformation are the gifts that this Lunation is blessing the human kingdom with. In the far away time this is a New Year. All the work that has been done on the material, physical, mental, and emotional levels the past thirty two Moon cycles can now be completed.Click here for the full article: Read more