Full Moon Ritual for Release

The Full Moon represents a time for releasing the things that no longer serve us. It could pertain to projects, relationships, negative thoughts, beliefs, or behavior patterns – pretty much anything that might be holding us back from truly loving ourselves.

This is my favorite full moon ritual that is designed to help you cleanse and release the energies and burdens that you no longer wish to carry forward with you.

You will need:
Paper
Pen
Two bowls
Candle
Matches
Palo santo, sage, etc. (optional)
Crystals, malas, or any other special items (optional)

Step 1: Create a sacred space.
Find a quiet, uncluttered, comfortable place to sit and place your special objects around you. Place the lit candle in front of you along with the bowls (one filled with water).

Step 2: Get centered.
Close your eyes and take several deep breaths in and out through your nose. My preference is to practice Sama Vritti Pranayama (Equal Movement Breath). For several minutes until I am feeling calm, grounded, and centered.

To practice Sama Vritti:
Inhale to a count of four
Hold the inhale for a count of four
Exhale for a count of four
Hold the exhale for a count of four

You can play with the length of counts, but the goal is to have the length match so that it is equal. It can also be helpful to visualize a square shape while practicing this breath.

Step 3: Make a list.
Write a list of the things that are limiting you and holding you back. Once your list has been completed, sign and date it.

Step 4: Say goodbye.
Close your eyes and take several deep breaths in and out through your nose. Make some statement (either internally, or externally) declaring your intention to release. It can be anything from, “I release you,” to “I forgive you and am letting you go,” or anything in between.

Step 5: Burn baby burn.
Place a corner of the paper under the flame and once ignited, place the paper in the bowl. If you notice that the paper has trouble burning, consider whether you are truly ready to let go. The faster the paper burns, the more willing you are to release and move forward.

Step 6: Wash yourself clean.
Place your hands in the water to signify rinsing away the residue from the things you are releasing.

NOTES: There are tons of full moon rituals to explore, and variations of this one. Some people practice this ritual with others, while some prefer solo. Some like to burn the items individually, others like to keep the list or rip it to shreds. Instead of placing hands in water, some people like to take a bath or shower. The sky is the limit! There isn’t a right or wrong way. It’s your intention that matters.

I practice this ritual because writing the things that are weighing me down is cathartic. By expressly writing these items down, I am acknowledging and accepting that these things no longer serve me in a positive manner, and by doing so I am holding myself accountable for their release.

Letting shit go IS NOT my strongest suit, so the act of using fire to consume and water to wash away is an important symbolic part of the process.

I hope these ideas serve as a starting point for you.

Happy New Year, Wolf Moon, Cancer Full Moon, AND Supermoon. We’ve got so, so much energy working in our favor tonight.

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What Are Archetypes?

What are archetypes?
Archetypes are innate universal psychic patterns. They represent distinct personality traits that are present in everyone, but our dominant traits are all different. Archetypes are all neutral – though, there are light and shadow attributes of each archetype.

While archetypal awareness dates back to Plato, who called them Forms, the brilliant psychoanalyst, Carl Jung, is known best for developing this concept.

Why do they matter?
Your personal archetypes are the foundation of who you are as an individual: Your personality, how you experience and react to the world around you, process information, your feelings, needs, beliefs, values, goals, dreams, what motivates and drives you.

Understanding your personality is the first step to growth, healing, and self-discovery. You’ll begin to identify unhealthy patterns when they arise, and understand and utilize your strengths so that you can reach your highest potential.

How do I discover my archetypes?
We have twelve primary archetypal patterns. The four archetypes of survival are dominant in everyone:

The Child: Guardian of Innocence
The Victim: Guardian of Self-Esteem
The Prostitute: Guardian of Faith
The Saboteur: The Guardian of Choice

That leaves eight unidentified archetypes for you to discover through some serious self-examination and reading through a list of archetypes or archetype cards to find the personality patterns you most closely identify with. I find the card method much easier/faster because you can make piles to narrow things down.

Since the archetypes are universal, you will relate to each one on some level. The goal is to narrow it down to the eight archetypes you most closely relate. Discovering your primary archetypes requires self-awareness and assessing yourself objectively. You might be drawn to certain archetypes because you like their connotations or appearance, but you’ve got to be honest.

Remember: Archetypes are neutral. For example: In shadow, the Mediator negotiates with ulterior motives/hidden agendas (personally or professionally), but in the light aspect shares the gift for negotiating fairness and strategy and respects both sides of the argument. I think of this is as realizing your superpowers and then learning how to use them for good vs. evil.

So what’s this wheel thing?
To help you explore the most driving aspects of your personality, Caroline Myss devised a system based on the twelve houses of the zodiac. Each house is associated with a different aspect of life: Ego, live values, spirituality, self-expression, etc. The Archetype Wheel allows you to examine the patterns of your life, and reveals how your experiences and relationships may correlate to opportunities for growth and self-evolution.

How do I cast my Archetype Wheel?
Caroline Myss gives detailed information, outlining the entire process of discovering and working with your archetypes in her book Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential. She also has a plethora of free online resources.

Sound daunting?
I’m happy to help. While I’m by no means any expert, helping others interpret their Archetypal Wheel is growing increasingly important to me. I’ve got to start somewhere, so I’m taking on 5 clients free of charge to begin honing my intuitive skills.

Want to be a Guinea pig?
Sign up for my newsletter and fill out this short questionnaire. If you’re already on my mailing list, just fill out the questionnaire so I know you’re interested!

I’ll choose 5 people at random who will be announced Wednesday, January 3.

Sometimes You Need a Good Punch in the Face

Five years ago today, my best friend traveled to Dallas to ring in the New Year. With crimson lips, sparkles, lashes, and stilettos we celebrated at the wine bar down the street. Classically Taurus, I overindulged and by 1am we were safely home and curled up on the sofa, my gentleman friend softly snoozing beside us.

I don’t remember what we were arguing about, but I remember growing increasingly frustrated with the constant stream of berating and biting remarks. It was probably the bubbles, but I finally interrupted her tirade: “I live here. If you don’t like it, you can go.”

And then she punched me.

In the face.

And then threw a wine glass across the room, shattering it into a million pieces before flying down the stairs screaming, “DON’T FUCKING FOLLOW ME,” grabbing her suitcase, and taking off down the sidewalk.

Chris and I sat for a few moments in utter shock before following her outside, worried she might attempt to drive back to Austin in the middle of the night in her impaired state. She made it to the end of the block before returning and threw her arms around my neck, sobbing over and over again, “Why? Why do you have to be so difficult?” I just held her, stunned.

That moment was a turning point for me.

My immediate thought was: “What did I do to make her so angry that she would hit me?” I realized in that moment what a fucked up thought pattern that was, and that I needed help.

A day or two later, my cousin who had been working with some woman named Caroline Myss came over help cast my archetype wheel. At the time, I had zero idea what an archetype was. Once we finished, I knew that things would never be the same. With my cousin’s help, I got into some pretty intensive therapy and continued my archetypal studies with Myss’ book, Sacred Contracts.

My friendship with the girl never recovered, but she has played an integral part in what has become my most important project to date: Healing through Self-Inquiry.

My healing journey is ongoing. There are bumps, roadblocks, and tons of detours, but I’m beginning to realize that sharing these tools with others is part of my own healing process. I guess sometimes you need a good punch in the face to get you on the right path.

Happy New Year’s Eve, friends! I hope you have some magical breakthroughs this year… without the punching.

Little Rock Residents: Interested in getting started? I’ll be hosting a Sankalpa workshop next Saturday, January 6 from 2-4:30pm at The Floating Lotus. More info here

Finding My Dharma

Transformation is painful. It’s often overwhelming, and I’m finding that a lot of times it feels like I’m falling apart. I know that spiritual, physical, and emotional evolution requires altering behaviors, habits, and sometimes moving past belief systems and relationships that no longer align with my purpose.

But knowing these things are necessary doesn’t make the process any less difficult.

Cultivating mindfulness and self-awareness isn’t a beautiful thing. It’s often pretty lonely. It’s staring mistakes, faults, and failures straight in the eye, and then making the decision to change.

I didn’t start this year with the intention to redirect and reroute. A lot of times, I feel like a victim of circumstance. Some days it feels like I don’t have any bridges left to burn. There has been a lot of hurting, an outpouring of tears, and many endings.

But with death comes rebirth, and destruction creates space to build.

I’ve asking myself the big questions:

Who am I?

What do I want?

What am I grateful for?

What is my dharma?

I’m exploring and evolving. It’s difficult to shake the guilt, anger, and grief, but I’m learning to move forward with more patience and forgiveness for myself. I’m finding diligence and courage that I wasn’t aware I was capable of.

And the future looks bright.

Even if I’m not the most fun and popular teacher. Even if not everyone likes me.

I’m learning to be okay with this process. And there is a certain sense of peacefulness that comes with admitting that: This is who I am right now. This is me.

As painful as it’s been, I know I am finding my way. And if I’m lucky, I’ll be able to hold some hands while others find theirs too.

That time we howled at the moon

Exactly a month ago, I packed my car with shorts, a swimsuit, 8 meals for 12 adults, and a long-lost friend from my early 20s to co-lead a wellness retreat in the tiny town of Mt. Ida, Arkansas.

Nestled in the Ozarks overlooking Lake Ouachita, Nikki (of Mind Body Mana) and I lead ten beautiful souls through a 3-night wellness retreat focused on helping women take a break from the daily grind to reconnect with their feminine energy.

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Life gets fucking intense. It can get so overwhelmingly busy that you lose track of tasks, goals, dreams, friends, and which day of the week it is. I get it. Nikki gets it. We live it. We get that other people are living it too. And we understand that many of us have jobs, kids, families, and other obligations that don’t allow us to drop $1k+ and take off for a week to do the self-caring.

But all this stuff? This life stuff?

That’s exactly why we need to take time for ourselves.

To take care of others, you have to take care of yourself first.

So Nikki and I set out with a mission: Design an affordable long weekend to help women refresh their minds, renew their spirits, and heal their bodies. Recharge. We knew it didn’t need to be fancy (and quickly discovered that keeping the price point low actually forbid that), but it did need to be a comfortable and beautiful place that would allow connection with self, each other, and Mother Nature. (Also, room for all of the yoga mats.)

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After scouting several extravagantly priced locations that were exceptionally difficult to get to in Colorado, we opted for the exact spot on Lake Ouachita that my family has been visiting since the 1970s.

Lake Ouachita Shores is charmingly rustic, economical, and a short walk to the marina where we rented a beautiful, brand new party barge large enough for 15 adults and equipped with Bluetooth and badass speakers.

The natural beauty here is exquisite. We began each day saluting the sun on their two-level gazebo over looking the lake. (Confession: I occasionally paused practice to point out deer, ravishingly red cardinals, and adorable striped chipmunks. #sorrynotsorry).

We scoured the shoreline for quartz as Lake Ouachita features one of the largest crystal veins in the world. (Fun fact: Mt. Ida has been dubbed “Quartz Capital of the World.”)

We ate meals together, meditated together, worked with essential oils, wrote, laughed, sang, and even cried together. Our group encompassed women spanning more than 3 decades decades. We brought many different ideas and insights to the table, but we each gave, received, and practiced kindness, compassion, acceptance, and love, love, love, love, love. We honored our divine potential and created space for new opportunities and infinite possibilities.

And, yeah.

We howled at the moon. We did a lot of cool girl cult stuff. I’d share with you here, but that shit is sacred. If you want to find out for yourself, you’ll have to come next time.

xx/m

A very special thanks to the following who contributed to gift bags to greet our ladies of the lake. I am so happy I had the opportunity to share products I use and love from companies I support and have a personal connection with.

 

What Really Happens at Kids Summer Camp

IMG_6419Each year when school lets out for summer break, dance and yoga studios transition into summer camps for kids. Many families travel throughout the summer making it difficult to commit to a weekly class, and with dual income households on the rise, finding affordable childcare can be difficult. Voila! The week-long summer camp is born!

The number one question I get when I mention summer camp is: WHAT DO YOU DO WITH LITTLE KIDS FOR THAT LONG?

Well, we do a lot of things.

Obviously, we dance and/or do yoga. We sing songs, do art projects, and eat snacks. That’s the basic stuff you can read about on a studio’s website.

But we’re learning a lot more than that…

We practice counting and colors, rhythm, tempo, levels, and work on basic locomotor skills. We practice both movement and stillness, and learn why each is important. We learn spatial awareness and how to navigate through space safely. As children progress, we learn to link movements together, and practice recall through games, songs, and movement sequences. All activities and exercises are designed specifically to meet where the students are developmentally.

But that’s not all…

We learn patience through taking turns, build confidence by sharing about ourselves, and practice respect by listening to others when it’s their turn to share. We work on our manners (even the 2-year-olds know to use the “magic word” if they want a shoe tied or juice box opened), and are energetically praised for each please and thank you. We learn to rephrase in ways that others will be more open and receptive – “Please keep your hands to yourself,” or “I’d like some space, please,” vs. “Don’t touch me!” to the kid reaching over for a new crayon.

But even THAT isn’t all…

We learn to identify and acknowledge our emotions without shame. Last week, a four-year-old burst into tears during our warm up because Lionel Richie’s song “Hello” (featured in the kid’s hit movie, Trolls) made her sad. We changed the song, but took time as a class to discover how music can make us feel different emotions – happy, sad, silly, scared, etc. We resolved that feeling sad is okay – and that we all have sad moments as well as the happy ones.

When another little boy had a meltdown because his art project didn’t look like everyone else’s, we took the time to talk about how each person is different and that’s a good thing! We are ALL special and bring different gifts to share – especially through our art. We then took turns presenting our art, and without prompt these beautiful, shining souls began to encourage one another with “oohs” and “ahhhs” over cotton ball cloud placement and colors chosen.

The kiddos aren’t the only ones learning. Working with children reminds me to check the energy I’m bringing into the room. When a little one is extra whiny and difficult, instead of getting irritated I remember that they’re usually either tired, lonely, or hungry (this is pretty accurate for adults too), give them a hug and remind them that we all have sad days. It’s amazing how being heard and feeling understood can alter one’s mood. My students have taught me to set boundaries in loving ways, watch my tone of voice, choose my words wisely, and avoid making reactionary decisions. They’re still teaching me to love freely, without inhibition, and to be okay verbalizing it. Vulnerability does not equate to weakness, it is a show of strength.

So that is what we do at summer camp. Or a short list, anyway.

Interested in yoga and/or dance camp for your kiddo?  Learn more here, or email me at hello@meganbettis.com.

kids yoga

Social Media Detox: Lessons Learned

Sometimes you have to step away in order to view something more clearly.

I’ve been navigating through another transformational period. When it began, my direction was unclear, but the gravitational pull was there… the need for growth, change, and expansion.

For me, personal growth is very much like tending a garden:

  • It starts small, and requires lots of patience. It doesn’t happen overnight.
  • Next you prep your space by removing obstacles like rocks, weeds, and other things that might get in the way of new roots, and then enriching the soil to make it a safe, nourishing place for seeds to grow.
  • Consider the natural gifts you’re working with (climate, soil type, etc.) when selecting seeds to plant.
  • Once the seeds have been planted, there’s more of that patience stuff.
  • Tending the garden requires attention. You must mind your garden diligently and carefully with love, while making sure not to overwater it.

At the beginning of April I decided to step away from social media to get some weeding done give myself room for growth.

FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH.

Here are a few of the things I’ve learned:

Leaving social media isn’t that hard. I put up a post letting everyone know my intention (so they didn’t think I was dead), and deleted all the apps from my phone.

The first afternoon, I felt naked. I’d reach for my phone out of habit to scroll through Instagram or Facebook. I realized very quickly how ingrained social media platforms had become in my day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute life. It was pretty humbling to be so dependent on something. By that evening, I felt liberated. 

After a week or so… I noticed I was spending more time doing stuff I like.

I got back to my roots. I reconnected with things that move me, bring me joy, and have shaped me as a person. Art, literature, classical dance and music – there’s so much beauty in this world! I pulled out albums and arias and picked up projects that have been ignored for weeks, months, and years. I spent spent countless hours researching, organizing, and writing about subjects that interest me. Not for work, but because it’s fun and I like it.

Once I made my own interests a priority, I learned…

I create my best work without external influence. I’m more productive, more inspired, and more creative when I turn inwards. I’m not worrying about photos, likes, and comments. I’m not comparing myself to others, looking for external validation, or questioning myself. I feel free. Safe. Grounded. And I’m really proud of the work I’m generating because I know it’s all authentically me.

And…

By reducing noise, I’m more mindful. This manifests in small ways like observing that an occasional magenta bloom will pop up on the light pink rose bush next door, and that a tailless squirrel lives on our block.

I listen more closely to my body, and have discovered that I’m more energized when I take breaks instead of pushing through, and I now go to bed when I’m tired instead of trying to finish up “a few things.”

When people talk, I listen. Like, listen. I take the time to process what is being said instead of thinking about how to respond or what to say next.

Which brings us to…

Closing the space through deeper connections. Social media gives us the luxury of keeping up with friends, family, and students at our own convenience from afar. To find out what’s going on in people’s lives, I can’t cheat. I reach out via text, email, phone calls, FaceTime dates, and spend quality time with students before and after class. I feel connected in a more meaningful way.

And it turns out…

Quality > Quantity. I was concerned that my class numbers might decrease and that my already limited social life might evaporate completely along with my social media usage. As it turns out, a lot of the people are willing to meet me halfway. Friends call, check in, and still want to hang out. Yogis who enjoy my class are willing to make an effort to check the studio’s website or text me about my schedule.

Spending time and working with smaller groups of people who truly want to be there is far more fulfilling than 100 semi-friends and packed classes, and worth more than all the follows, likes, and comments on the internet.

Overall, this has been a wonderful experience. But it’s all about finding…

Balance. I’m nearing the end of my social media detox, and a little wary about returning. I’m looking forward to seeing the thoughts and ideas of others, but I don’t want to relive the pressure to create posts that will appeal to others. I want to protect the purity and integrity of my own.

I’m not exactly sure how I’ll transition back into the realm of social media, or how I’ll cultivate and maintain balance, but I’m grateful for the space and movement I’ve experienced in my time away.

And I think it will be another exercise for learning growth.

Cheers to perpetual movement, and beginning another leg of the journey.

See you guys Monday! xx

Prop Party: Increasing Flexibility

A few months ago, I noticed a student struggling to interlace his fingers behind his back in a deep stretch class. As most yoga instructors would do, I grabbed a strap and nonchalantly placed it in his hands to make the pose accessible. No brainer, right? Wrong.

The student approached me after class, thanking me for the adjustment. It was the first time he’d been able to move into a standing forward fold with his hands bound behind his back. He could feel more openness in his chest and shoulders already!

Over the years, I’ve always assumed that most yogis not utilizing props in their practice are riding the mini ego wave. The, “Oh, I can get into that pose (even if it’s super difficult and I’m on the hardcore struggle bus), so I don’t need any props.” I get it. I was one of those yogis for a really long time. Confession: Sometimes I’m still one of those yogis. 

But now? I’m beginning to think it’s because people don’t know how to incorporate props into their regular practice in a way that truly benefits them. I’m finding a lot of yogis don’t understand is that not only are props a way to make challenging asanas accessible, but props are a vehicle for growth and change. They can further your flexibility and actually move you more deeply into a pose.

As a result, I’ve designed a series of workshops to explore increasing your flexibility. Our bodies are unique. We’re going to have different trouble areas, strengths, and needs. We’ll move through modifications and variations which can be adapted and incorporated into many practices. Space is limited for these workshops so that we have time to breakdown the mechanics of poses so that you, as an individual, are getting the most out of each asana. Each workshop will have an area of focus: heart-openers and backbends, hips and hamstrings, and shoulders, neck, and upper back.

Check out the workshop dates and times held in Little Rock at Barefoot studio. I’ll be posting Memphis dates soon!

 

When your dog steals the show.

Let’s face it: No matter how brilliant, attractive, funny, or charming you are… If there’s a baby or a dog around, they steal the show. No questions asked. Cute wins every time.

I should have known better. But I let Mr. Darcy tag along to a Nativ photoshoot a few weeks ago. Not only did he photobomb about 70% of the images, but he stole the show with his excess of sass, style, class, side eye, and superior athletic ability.

No, seriously. I’m almost 5ft2. Dude has jumps.

Images by Mandy Yelvington.