Tejomaya Wellness

A Blog About Well-Being

Month: January 2017

From the Archives: C’mon Get Happy, Naturally!

sunflower     Hey There, Well Beings!  As the traffic  grows on this page, I thought it might be nice to bring the occasional post out of obscurity and give it some light now and again. Today, I’ve chosen an article I wrote for Inner Child Magazine back in 2014 that’s loaded with tips for easing depression. I’ve found a lot of comfort in these over the years and I hope they help you, too.

Wishing You Total Well-Being,



Depression. It’s almost a fact of life these days. 1 in 10 adults have reported experiencing it according to the CDC. Sometimes it’s affected by the seasons. Others we experience due to the stress of life or after the loss of a loved one. Chances are, you or someone close to you will face depression at some point, if not already. For mild to moderate depression, you needn’t abandon hope. There are things you can do to get your happy back.


Start with Supplements: A good fish oil, or sea algae supplement for vegans, will do wonders for your brain. Aside from providing you with nutrients that will help memory and offset Alzheimer’s, omegas also help battle depression. Omega 3s have been shown to be lacking in depressed individuals. Vitamin D is a biggie, especially in the winter when our exposure to the sun is more limited. It’s not at all uncommon to be deficient and supplementation is simple. St. John’s Wort is very popular for treating mild to moderate depression, with some studies showing it to be equally as effective as some prescription medications. You may also want to look for SAMe and 5HTP. There is some evidence that both may be helpful as 5HTP is a precursor to serotonin and SAMe may increase the level of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. These are all contributors to feelings of well being and energy needed to stay motivated when times are tough. Just make sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any supplements to make sure your dosages and all possible interactions have been accounted for.


Follow Your Nose: Citrus essentials oils of orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit and bergamot are all known to lift the spirits and leave behind a bright, cheerful scent. Mix your favorites together and diffuse them in your home or put them in an unscented cream or oil and wear when gloomy. You’ll see it has a lot of a-peel! If fruity scents aren’t your thing, look for rose or chamomile to brighten your mood. The idea is to surround yourself with something that you like, so if it isn’t your favorite, it probably won’t do the trick. Just make sure you’re using real essential oils, as fragrance oils made from chemicals don’t have the same effect on the limbic system as the real thing.

Get By with a Little Help From Your Friends: The last thing you probably want to do when you’re down is be social or even put on pants, but when someone tosses an invite your way to go out dancing or come over for game night, go! Being around people who care about you and make you laugh is exactly what the author ordered. Make the extra effort and spiff up a little, too. Taking the time to take care of yourself is a must. Do your hair. Shine your shoes. Heal your soul.


Fuzz Therapy: If your finances and lifestyle allow, consider adopting a pet. Furry companions require exercise and playtime, which will force you out of your rut. They also require serious snuggles which will boost your mood faster than a cat comes running at the sound of a can opener. I speak from personal experience when I tell you that my dog was sometimes the only reason I managed to get out of bed and go to work during some of my darker days. It was my responsibility to feed him so I made myself go for him. Returning home to his grateful, wagging tail was entirely worth it.

Get Spiritual: People with a solid spiritual practice tend to experience less depression that those that don’t. Prayer can help put you back in touch with your heart and help you find that light at the end of the tunnel. Meditation is something that’s helpful no matter what faith you belong to. Volunteer to do some community outreach at your place of worship. If you’re not religious, find a local group of Secular Humanists doing good things in your area and get involved. Doing good feels good. Isn’t that what it’s all about, anyway?

By taking an active role and knowing your natural options, you can treat your depression. Of course, if you think there’s any possibility you may be suffering from depression that is moderate to severe, please consult with your doctor. If your depression has reached the point where you have considered taking your own life, I want you to have this number: 1-800-273-8255. It will connect you with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and someone in your area will help get you through it. You are not alone. The world still needs unique and wonderful you and don’t you ever forget it!

Meditation: It Probably Isn’t What You Think

jewellery-1613801_1920     Hey There, Well Beings!

Something magical happens when I’m making jewelry or doing any kind of crafty activity, really that shuts down chatter, and slows my heart rate and breathing, and narrows my focus to the here-and-now in a way that feels truly spiritual. It started with beading in my very early twenties after a nasty heartbreak, and has been a feeling I’ve retreated to whenever things got really bad or inspiration raised its whisper to a scream. It’s not something I’ve been super consistent with though, until recently when things hit another stressful skid. Finding my way back to it has been absolutely ambrosial and has changed my mental, physical, and spiritual health so much that I see the difference it’s made in a mirror. Hard lines are softer, my eyes are relaxed, I hold my neck and shoulders differently.  It’s almost like I just got back from a spa vacation after a visit to a Zen monastery. There’s a reason for that.

A few of my recent projects, and a peek into one of my bead drawers. <3

A few of my recent projects, and a peek into one of my bead drawers. <3

I learned how to meditate over the course of a couple of years after a period of chronic illness. I’d had a form of drug resistant pneumonia in 2012 that hung on for six months and left multiple doctors baffled. I took leave from a very high stress job to recover and after I’d caught up on sleep and episodes of Supernatural, did I get hit with a case of cabin fever! I started re-reading my aromatherapy books and was sent down the rabbit hole of natural health resources until I started pulling up YouTube videos and using guided meditations to teach myself how to manage stress. I knew the tension and anxiety from my job had contributed in a big way to the illness I was experiencing, and slowly, with clean eating and other practical knowledge added to my arsenal, I got better. It was a pivotal moment for me, because it started me on a journey to become a Master and Teacher of Meditation a couple of years later. That feeling of peace and joy after a good session, though? I never could shake the total familiarity of it. I’d done this before, and not as déjà vu, but as a tangible experience. I’d been in “the zone” a handful of times and I’d either had a paintbrush in my hands or jewelry supplies strewn about while deep in a place of blissful creation. You see where I’m going with this. I’d been meditating for years, I just didn’t know it.


Peace isn’t only found in Gyan Mudra. Sometimes we find it in the most simple, but wonderful places.

I had a conversation with my mentor and friend one night about what meditation is and we both listed examples of activities that looked nothing like navel gazing in quiet contemplation. We talked about washing dishes and getting lost in a piece of music as though they were sacred, because they are. I have a theory that people are afraid of meditation because they think it requires a steely focus and the ability to sit still for an hour, and some forms do, but if they knew they could get there by taking a nature hike, or cooking a gourmet meal, or by getting in “the zone” of any activity that turns them on in a creative or blissful way, then baby, they’d meditate all the damn time! I’m not about to ever knock traditional forms of meditation. I’m deeply in love with the practice in every form it holds, but if you don’t think you have it in you to quiet your mind in lotus pose, that doesn’t mean you can’t use this powerful tool to manage stress in your life. Maybe you just need to make some jewelry. <3

Wishing You Total Well-Being,


P.S. I want to hear about all the activities that feel meditative to you. What really puts you in a place of peace and beatitude? Leave me a comment and let’s discuss! You never know how your words may remind someone of a favorite pastime or treasured hobby that could set them on a path of ease and balance.


Tejomaya Update: The Blog It is A’Changin’ (Eventually)

laptop-691208_1280     Hey There, Well-Beings!

It’s been a trying several days. Despite my best efforts, it looks like the Crud Monster got a hold of me. Once it got a hold of me, it sorta shook me by the shoulders and yelled “Rest, you Silly Woman!”, so resting is what I’ve been doing. It’s been dare-I-say pleasant, despite the achy, malaisy, coughiness of it all. I’ve been able to get some high quality sleep under my belt and it’s been easier to keep mindless snacking to a minimum when I’ve had access to my blender to make smoothies and juices. I actually feel nourished, which I think makes such a huge difference in cleaning up the diet. When goodness goes in, goodness is what you crave. It works the same way when we surround ourselves in positivity and gratitude. It’s just a matter of doing it, then sweetness follows.

The time I’ve not spent sleeping or loading my blender with fruits and veg has been spent thinking about where both I am, and the blog is headed this year. Two things keep coming up for both, so I thought I’d share while the inspiration and brief energy to type has hit.

Wait, you mean this Facebook machine makes calls and plays music, too? Nuh uh. No way.

Wait, you mean this Facebook machine makes calls and plays music, too? Nuh uh. No way.

First, I want to be on social media less. Last year I spent a whole heap of time planning posts, designing graphics and succumbing to the general drama of social media. A lot of people in my field wanted me to believe that if I was going to have success as an introvert with a somewhat unconventional sentiment to share, that I had to be ever present, posting three and four times a day to “reach my audience” and I burned myself out believing it. Do I believe in the power of social media to spread a message of hope and kindness to a world that is in serious need of a hug and a “you’re doing just fine, buddy”? Totally. Do I think it’s necessary to be plugged-in all the time? No, nope, no way. I think being tied to my devices and constantly checking to see if something got likes (both on my blog and personal page) did some kinda rotten stuff to my brain and my soul this last year. I felt overly connected, but totally out of touch at the same time. I felt irritated and very impatient. I also felt fearful, due to the sheer amount of political infotainment coming at my eyeballs all day long. Don’t get me wrong, there are some things that we need to be informed about, and there will be plenty of opportunities to use our voices to spread a message of love and tolerance on those issues in the near future so I’m not suggesting we bury our heads in the sand, but I’m not at all interested in getting my news from Facebook anymore. Not when I could listen to a short world news segment in the car on my way to work and spend the rest of my day listening to the new Jamiroquai album or taking my camera out for some shots on my lunch break. The world does need that strange and beautiful gift inside of us, but first it needs us to be sane, centered and smart enough to weed out the divinely inspired shit from the bullshit. So, Social Media? I want to see other people. Like, in person, for tea and an actual conversation.

As a segue to my second topic, let me say that I would like to experiment more with things like Instagram and Pinterest. As an amateur photographer, I really love Instagram. It doesn’t feel as limiting and icky as Facebook and Twitter, and some of those shots are so gorgeous they get my fires of inspiration all lit up! Pinterest is very much the same for me. As I begin to share new projects I’m working on, it’s a platform that feels fun and kinda exciting. More like an exchange of ideas amongst folks who are into the same stuff you like, and not, you know, polluted with gross-trolling. I will still use Facebook for blog posts and to share pertinent Tejomaya-related news, but I’m excited to wade into friendlier, prettier waters. You can join me there, if you wanna:


The second thing that’s been on my mind is giving things a creative facelift over here. Last year was a toughie. I survived by visiting my friends at Michaels and just making things. I bought a watercolor set, I made tons of jewelry, I ventured into the magical world of Sculpey and I don’t think I’m being dramatic when I say this, I think it saved my life a couple of times from some dark, ugly places. Creating things that filled me with joy was a natural progression to becoming a co-creator of a life that I love, and I think it’s a totally valid and wonderful way to work out emotional and mental kinks that get us all blocked up. I have some plans in mind for modifying things a smidge to accommodate my vision, but if you’ve been coming here for the health articles and stress management tips, don’t worry a bit. I’m still keeping that up, I’m just sharing the spotlight with something that’s been joyfully therapeutic for me and I feel urged to open up about. I will probably be rolling things out a little bit at a time, as I’m sort of feeling my way though this, but I hope you’ll welcome and love the changes. I’m really excited to show you all of the artsy-craftsy goodness that’s been going on over here and hope to even get some items up for sale as that dream begins to unfold.

Seriously, let's make some cool stuff together!

Seriously, let’s make some cool stuff together!

That’s what’s been on my heart between naps, puppy snuggles, and endless cups of ginger tea. I hope I’m finding every one of you well, and if you are not, that you make taking care of yourself a priority, because you matter. A lot.  Sending you love from my blanket fort and as always…

Wishing You Total Well-Being,


Winter Wellness with Elderberry

elberberries     Hey there, Well Beings!

I wrote an article for Inner Child Magazine back in December about how to keep your immune system running on all cylinders during cold and flu season, and since I took my sabbatical during that month, I wanted to share it with you now. We may not be in the midst of the holiday season anymore, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still benefit from this cool little berry. Enjoy and be healthy!

Wishing You Total Well-Being,




We’re in the thick of the holidays, and while lots of us are thinking about cranberries, there’s another berry you may want to consider as you scramble for those last minute gifts for loved ones: the elderberry. Also known as sambucus, the elderberry is a berry with immune boosting benefits that could come in handy as the stress of the season starts setting in. Elderberry’s benefits extend beyond the common cold and flu, though. In fact, once you discover all of its amazing uses, you may find yourself wanting to keep this wonderful fruit around all year long.


Nutritionally speaking, the elderberry is pretty impressive. Loaded with vitamins A though C and minerals like potassium and iron, it’s a supplement that adds plenty of value. It’s also full of dietary fiber and protein, making it a great addition to your existing lineup. If that weren’t enough, it’s higher in antioxidants than the blueberry. Not bad for an uncommon fruit!


While multiple studies point to elderberry as helpful in fighting viruses such as influenza, according to Web MD, the small purple berry may also be of assistance with certain inflammatory ailments, such as sciatica and joint pain. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that elderberry may be useful in the treatment bacterial sinusitis, as well. It’s even been shown to improve gastrointestinal problems like gas and constipation and could be helpful in fighting heart disease.


If you’re ready to reach for the elderberry, you have some options to consider. Aside from supplements in the form of syrups, tinctures, and capsules, you can also consume elderberries in jams and jellies, and even in wine. Don’t just pluck them off the bush, though. Consumed raw, the elderberry can be toxic, as it contains trace elements of cyanide that cook off when heated. For that reason, it’s best to stick to ready-made varieties. Finally, check with your doctor if you are pregnant, if you have any pre-existing health issues, or are taking any medications or supplements to make sure there won’t be any reactions that could cause harm to your health. Improvement is the name of the game, so be safe with your supplements and enjoy the fruits of this holiday season!


How Do You Want to Feel? (And How That Question Can Help You Create the Year You Desire!)

map-455769_1280     Hey there, Well-Beings! Long time no write, eh? I’d originally planned on not coming back until after the beginning of January, but that little voice within told me to share what I’m doing tonight, so here I am, back a little early to share my secrets for setting up a successful year with you. On a side note, I noticed this will be my 100th post, so it looks like I’ll have something else to celebrate tonight! I’m not exactly filling the champagne flutes with bubbly over here, but I am pre-gaming 2017 by getting some things out on paper. I’m not making resolutions, though. Nope, I’m doing something much more effective and so, so much more fun.


2015 was one of the best years of my life. I checked so many amazing things off of my life list that I would be hard-pressed to find another year in my memory that competes with it. I became certified as a Usui reiki master and teacher, I studied craniosacral therapy, I certified in kundalini yoga and pranayama, and became a teacher of numerous disciplines of meditation, amongst many other life changing goals that I had set out to achieve. It’s no wonder on December 31 of 2015, that I had a glimmer of hope and my eye, and a lot of enthusiasm about what 2016 would bring.


Buuuuut, 2016 did not go so well. In fact, for all the joyful moments and extreme highs that the prior-year had brought me, I would say that 2016 presented me with the same number or more challenging experiences and soul crushing lows. Yes, a good chunk of that was in the sheer volume of personal heroes I said goodbye to this year, but a fair amount of blame rests on my own shoulders, as well. It’s not that I failed to plan; it’s that I failed to plan in the right way, and it changed my course so significantly that I almost handed in the towel on this whole blogging business and just walked away from everything I’ve spent two years creating. What a difference a year makes, huh?


So here’s what I learned. Making a list of traditional resolutions? Waste of my time, my ink, and my paper. What I needed to do was get back in touch with how I wanted to feel. Ya feel me? When I rang in 2015, I had just read Danielle Laporte’s book The Desire Map. A lot of you are already familiar with the book and the process of desire mapping itself, but in case you’re not I’ll give you a very short summary. Goals are great, but they are not really what we’re after. What we truly want is the feeling associated with achieving those goals. When we zero in on how it is we want to feel, the roadmap for getting there often becomes far more expansive. For example, maybe we have “Run a Marathon” on our resolution list, but a month into training we become sidelined by a major injury. That can really wreck a person’s resolve, especially if they don’t understand that the underlying reason they want to run that marathon is because they want to feel accomplished. While waylaid with the injury, there could be any number of other ways a person could continue the path toward feeling accomplished. They could learn a foreign language, they could teach themselves to paint with watercolors, they could work for that promotion, or they could write that novel that’s been building inside them for years. When you are not married to the what, the how can present many opportunities for success.

So back to December 31st 2014, I just finished reading The Desire Map, and something about goal setting had really clicked with me. I started 2015 with a Desire Map Day Planner, which gave me a daily opportunity to focus on the things I most wanted to feel that year. Looking back on the things that I accomplished, on the things I was most proud of and the things I considered my highlight reel, they so closely followed my CDF’s, or my Core Desired Feelings, that it’s of little surprise that I got exactly where I wanted to go. I felt my way there.

Here's  a little secret: These are my 2017 CDFs!

Here’s a little secret: These are my 2017 CDFs!


Now, 2016? That was a different story. I used another planner, and I’m not knocking it. It was colorful, and beautiful, and it had some helpful features that I really appreciated. What it didn’t do is have me focusing on a daily basis on exactly how I wanted to feel, and that seemingly small difference is what made all of the difference. This year totally got away from me.


The clarity that I had in 2015 was mucked up, muddied and altogether missing from 2016, so this year, I’m going back to basics. I’ve got my markers, my washi tape, and my colored pencils out and I’m going into 2017 heavily armed. I started yesterday by making myself a wish list. Not a list of resolutions, but a list of things I really wanted to see happen this year. What that’s going to help me do tonight, is isolate the reoccurring themes for how it is I most want to feel this next year. From there, I’ll be able to design a map that will get me there, and if I find I need to change direction at any point in time in order to arrive at my Core Desired Feeling, I will be able to give myself the freedom to do so. No harm, no foul; just good feelings.



I know you’re probably seeing this year off tonight, but I’d love to hear how you’re planning to make 2017 your best year ever. Do you Desire Map? Do you make resolutions? Is there something else you do successfully to reach your goals? Share in the comments below. Let’s help each other get where we’re going!


Wishing You Total Well-Being (and a New Year Full of Feeling Good),




P.S. Exciting Tejomaya Wellness news coming in the New Year! I cannot friggin’ wait to show you all the goodness I have in store for you!

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