Leaning Into You

xena angelOne year ago today, my sweet dog-ter, Xena, passed away. Since then, I’ve shared about this journey of grief here on Soul Speak. I’ve shared how my heart completely broke open with this experience and how my life opened wider than ever because of it.

It’s been both the hardest and most beautiful year – all wrapped up into one. It’s been a year of the lowest lows and also the greatest gifts. I have most likely cried more tears this year than all of my other years combined. But I have also learned more about myself and our universe and why I am here and why we are all here and how we are all connected and how love never dies and how we always can connect – even if we are no longer in our physical bodies. I’ve learned how to be strong and say no and strip away everything and everyone that wasn’t feeding my soul. I’ve learned how to be still and quiet and patient. I’ve learned that even when things don’t go the way I want them to, I am always loved and supported and cherished by something so much bigger than myself. I finally got – on such a deep level – how we’re truly never alone. None of us. Our angels are always with us – loving us and cheering us on.

I have felt Xena each and every day since she left the physical world. I have felt and seen the signs that she continues to send each and every day. When I’m thinking of her and needing her extra, the lights will flicker. When I miss her and want to say hello, the clock will blink. When I want to know she’s next to me, I’ll feel her near. She’s shown me in so many ways that she’ll never leave, and I can feel her guiding me toward myself – toward the person that I had gotten away from and am moving back to again. It’s been such a beautiful process to have her as my beautiful angel.

365-days-of-Angel-Prayers-Stacked-BooksA few months after she passed away, I was invited by my friend, Elizabeth Harper, to be part of a collaborative book called 365 Days of Angel Prayers. It was at a time when I had moved away from my angels. I was disheartened and angry and sad and grief stricken. And I had stopped communication with them completely.

Elizabeth asked me to write a prayer to my angels – a prayer that would be part of this loving book, a prayer that would help others who were feeling disconnected be able to feel the love again as well.

And while I resisted this idea at first – fearing that it would be too hard for my heart, something from deep within let me know that writing this prayer would be very healing and very freeing. I felt that it would help me move through my grief and anger and be able to embrace universal love again.

I sat down to write, and this prayer flowed out almost faster than I could type. And when I went back and reread it, I could feel my heart begin to open immediately. I could feel the love and the connection again. And I have held onto that connection ever since. I know that Xena led Elizabeth to me. And I am so happy to share this prayer with you today.

Leaning into You

Dearest Angels,

Please help me lean into your love, your light,

your strength, your wisdom.

Please help me remember

that I don’t have to do this whole life thing on my own,

that I don’t have to struggle to the point where I am exhausted

and push to the point where I break.

Please remind me that I can always lean into you,

and we’ll walk through each moment together.

Please be the tree that I can lean against,

the ground that I can stand upon,

and the rock that can support me when I need to rest.

Please be the hand that holds my own

and guides me into the light on even the darkest days.

Please help me surrender and be able to trust – really trust –

with every ounce of my being that you are already beside me

lifting me up and surrounding me with your love.

And if my faith ever wavers,

please help me remember that you’ve never left

and that I can always lean right back into your love.

I’m leaning in, and I can feel you waiting with open arms.

Thank you for that.

I know that it’s not a coincidence that this book launches today – on the year anniversary of Xena’s death. There truly are no coincidences, and I can’t wait to receive my own copy and to be able to have access to all of these loving and powerful prayers at once.

If you would like to connect with your angels, too, I invite you to order your copy as well. You can learn more about it here. 

We’re always, always, always surrounded by so many angels – here in the physical world and beyond. I know without a doubt that they are here to support us and love us and help guide us towards love and light – always. I find it so comforting that my sweet girl is among the stars and has become such a beautiful guiding light for me. I’m so grateful that my heart is open, and I am once again able to feel her never-ending love. What a beautiful, beautiful gift – a gift that we all have access to when we open our hearts.

I’ll love you forever, sweet Xena Ballerina Pie Head. Thank you for continuing to bless me with your angelic love.



Just A Little Bit of Gratitude

gratitude copy

We’ve all experienced the ultimate crappy mood. If you’re reading this post, it means that you are human. And because you’re human, you will undeniably have access to (and utilize) the entire spectrum of emotions while you are here on Earth.

And while we will all have many beautiful moods that we wish we could capture in a bottle to be able to access any time, the reality is that we will have an equal amount of access to the darker moods – the ones that don’t always feels so good but ultimately have the ability to help us grow and expand.

So, back to the crappy mood. I’ve definitely had some of these lately. They are the kind where it feels like nothing will ever feel right again – the kind where you just know that you’ll never feel joy again – the kind where you can’t imagine ever feeling light and free. Yep, those kinds of moods.

And, what I’ve noticed is that when I accept these moods as a part of being human, they tend to not carry as much weight. When I am able to step away from them (just a tiny bit, even), I can feel how they will eventually pass. I am even getting to the place where I can embrace and feel a little bit of gratitude for the mood while it’s there because I know that it’s helping me learn more about myself and recognize how I’m feeling.

This awareness hasn’t come overnight. And it’s still something I’m working through, to be completely honest.

But  it is happening.

And the most powerful part of this is to know that if I am able to find gratitude (even the littlest bit) in such an emotionally rocky moment – and if I can feel and fully experience how that little bit of gratitude is helping me to embrace the mood, then I can find gratitude in any moment of my life. 

And knowing that has really helped me a lot lately. It’s helped me see that I truly do have access to gratitude in every single situation in my life – not just the happy, rose-colored, everything-is-absolutely-perfect experiences, but in the messy, dark, bleak experiences as well.

That feels SO good to realize! It’s absolutely wonderful and empowering and freeing and light.

Because of this awareness, I no longer fear or resist or run from my darker moods. I am able to allow them, reflect upon them, and feel grateful for them. 

Now, this doesn’t mean that I’m welcoming them with open arms or inviting them to stay for as long as they want or seeking them out and looking for ways to feel them more often. :) It just means that if and when they show up, I might as well make the best of it and make them feel welcome rather than resist them or stuff them or do everything in my power to avoid them. I know that doing this always makes me feel worse, which oftentimes will prolong the bad mood.

Also, I’m not saying that when I’m in a bad mood, I instantly embrace it and feel grateful for it and go from a 1 to a 10 (where 1 is the crappiest mood of all and 10 is the best mood of all) in a few seconds (or even minutes). I’m just saying that if I look for even the tiniest speck or ounce or teeny piece of goodness in that bad mood – if I shine the smallest bit of gratitude on it – then I feel a bit of relief. And that relief turns into a little bit more. And a little bit more. And I have stopped the downward spiral from continuing. I have stopped the momentum.

That feels really amazing to know that I have the ability to do this. To know that we all have this ability.

It’s a choice that we get to make in each and every mood that we’re experiencing. We get to decide if we want to feel open or constricted. We get to decide if we want to feel unhappy or grateful. We get to decide if we’re going to accept or resist.

I’m finding that gratitude is the way toward complete acceptance and complete relief, which is a beautiful way to feel (bad mood or not). 

I wish that for each of us – to find some relief in each part of our life. Adding in even just the smallest bit of gratitude will help us do that. I promise. 



december specialP.S. – Our Soulful Journals are 1/2 off right now – all 13 titles!They make wonderful holiday gifts!

You can see them all and stock up by clicking here.






Wherever You Are Is Completely Okay

wherever you are copyI’ve been wanting to write a new post here for several days. I would open up a “New Post page” and wait for inspiration to come. And wait. And wait. And wait some more. And yet nothing came. I felt like I was trying to force something rather than simply allowing myself to honor where I was.

I just wasn’t in a place where I felt that I could inspire and uplift and shine light. I’ve had a rough few days, to be completely honest – some of the lowest that I can remember in quite awhile. And every time I would come here to write, I would hear my soul say that the time wasn’t right. I wanted to have a new post up because that’s the way I always did it. That was the plan. I’m learning, though, that plans are oftentimes meant to be broken.

I shared a few days ago on Facebook that I received some less than positive lab tests about my adrenal fatigue, which felt completely deflating and disheartening. At the same time, I’ve been bracing myself for this month for the past year because it marks a year since my sweet dog-ter, Xena, passed away.

I could barely sleep for two nights in a row – tossing and turning and finding myself in some of the darkest places that I’ve visited in quite some time. I could feel myself spiraling downward and completely giving in to sadness and despair. I’ve spent the last several days crying harder than I have in months – releasing all of this pressure and strain and heartache and sadness that I’ve been carrying for so, so long. With each tear, I felt a little lighter – I felt like I was just a little bit closer to coming home to my soul.

Looking back now, it makes perfect sense why I couldn’t write. I needed that time to go within and process and heal and find my center again. I needed to focus inward rather than outward. I needed to fully experience the journey before I could share about the journey.

So I gave myself permission and space to fully immerse myself in this journey. And rather than offering love, I allowed myself to receive it. I asked for hugs and healing light, and they poured in so quickly and lovingly. And I remembered that it’s okay to step back from it all and simply be. It’s okay to let myself be wrapped in love rather than giving it all of the time. It’s okay to let others know that I’m hurting and feeling down and could use some extra TLC.

While there have been so many beautiful gifts that have arisen from this particular journey, the one that resonates the most in this moment is remembering that wherever we are is completely okay. 

Rather than beating myself up for feeling sad or for feeling weak or for feeling like I can’t perform in the way I used to be able to, I’m learning to instead see all of this (the grief, the fatigue, the feelings of powerlessness and despair) as a beautiful blessing and to honor them for helping me see exactly who I am and what I am and where I am why I am and how I am. Each of these emotions is helping to bring me home to me – to my true self. And so each of them is completely okay.

I love knowing that I don’t have to rush this process. I love knowing that I have all of the time in the world to sit with where I am and to honor it. I love knowing that each experience contains many nuggets of wisdom that I will keep with me forever. I love knowing that even in my darkest hours, I am still able to step away from it for a moment or two and remember how grateful I am for this experience. I love knowing that I am expanding into who I have always been and who I came here to be by allowing myself to feel each of these emotions rather than brush over them. I love knowing that I am surrounded by a beautiful love bubble of supportive friends who love me for me – who don’t put conditions around their love and who want nothing more than for me to be exactly where I am. I love knowing that no matter where I am and no matter how I feel, I am always perfectly okay. I love knowing that I am always part of a loving self and loving world and loving life.

We all go through these ups and downs – that’s part of our life experience. And what I would wish for each of us is to give ourselves permission to sit with these moments – slow them down and really honor them while we’re there. There is no need to rush through them simply because they are uncomfortable or because we feel that we don’t have time to examine them. We don’t have to judge ourselves for them but rather love ourselves extra because of them. The more we can honor where we are and really believe that wherever that is is truly okay, the fuller and deeper our life experience becomes.

And we definitely all deserve that. I know that for sure.



december specialP.S. – Our Soulful Journals are 1/2 off right now – all 13 titles! They make wonderful holiday gifts!

You can see them all and stock up by clicking here.

Free Soul Clarity Card Reading + Half Off All Soulful Journals!

*** Thank you to everyone who participated this month! I’ll be back next month with more readings! Happy holidays! ***

Happy December! It’s that time again where I’ll pull one Soul Clarity Card for each person who leaves a comment!

I do this on the first day of every month, and it’s always so much fun to offer these messages straight from my soul to yours.

Before we start the messages, I wanted to let you know about our Soulful Journal Holiday Special! 


december special

All of our Soulful Journals are 1/2 off through December 20th!

Each Soulful Journal contains writing prompts – gentle, positive reminders that will inspire you to live your best life! With topics ranging from the law of attraction and gratitude to relationships and life transitions, you are sure to find one (or more) that speaks directly to you!

We have sold thousands of our journals all around the world, and we’re thrilled to share them with you, too!

We currently have 13 titles, and they all make wonderful gifts!

sjs - 13 books small

==> Click here to see them all and stock up for the holidays!

And now for your free Soul Clarity reading! :)


The Soul Clarity Card deck includes 48 cards to help you get clarity on what your soul wants you to know. My soul speaks to me in concise phrases, and so these cards were created with that in mind. Each card contains a guided action for you to consider – something to help you live soulfully and mindfully.

I believe that the answers are always within us, but sometimes our light gets covered up by life – all of the to-dos and the shoulds and work and errands and hurt and anger and all sorts of gunk. And it can be hard to sift through all of that and find our way home – back to our soul. These cards are a tool to help you on your journey back home.

Each card contains words that your soul needs you to hear. And whichever card you choose will be exactly the one you need in that exact moment. That’s just how it works!

I can’t wait to pull a card for you for free!

Here’s how it works: I’ll pull one card for anyone who leaves a comment at the end of the post today (12/1) by 11:59 pm pst! If your comment is posted before then, I promise I will pull a card for you. Each month when I open this up, I receive hundreds of requests, so please be patient with me. (If you happen to miss this deadline, please know that I’ll do it again on 1/1.)

All you have to write is “Yes, please!” or something similar. Please don’t feel that you need to share what you are looking to heal or what you would like guidance for. You are more than welcome to, but it’s not necessary. I know that this can be very personal, and your soul and the universe already know what you need. (If you are reading this via a reader or email, please click here to be taken to the post.)

A technical tip for you: To be able to find your comment and not receive a barrage of emails by subscribing to comments, you can go to the comments page and do a search for your name. (On a PC, you press the “control” button + the “f” button.) This makes it super easy to scroll to your name and your reading. :)

Please spread the love by sharing this on Facebook and Twitter! 


P.S. – Be sure to stock up on our Soulful Journals! They are all 1/2 off through 12/20! Click here to see them all!

Give Yourself The Gift of Compassionate Self-Care

I recently invited the Soulful Life Sanctuary Soul Guides to share their loving words here on Soul Speak. My dear friend, Shann Vander Leek, is the guide for the Loving Self-Care Sacred Space inside the sanctuary. I have known Shann for years, and she is such a loving soul who truly walks the walk in embodying self care and self love. I’m so grateful that she shares her heart in the sanctuary and also here on Soul Speak!

In this post, Shann helps shine light on some of the excuses that we give in place of taking care of ourselves. I hope it helps each of us see how important self care is and how important putting ourselves on our list of things to do truly is. 

shann bio with background small

Shann Vander Leek

I haven’t always been the best at putting myself at the front of the line. For years it seemed perfectly natural to take care of others, take on loads of responsibility and work so hard that all I could do was collapse at the end of the day. My well was dry.

I remember the day that everything changed. I was a new mother trying to juggle my family and career. I was exhausted, maxed out and anxious about everything on my plate. About the time I reached my tipping point, the members of my sales force gave me a gift certificate for a 90 minute hot stone massage. It was the first massage I’d had in years. That one precious gift helped me realize how important it was to make body work a part of my self-care routine. Body work led to photography, Yoga, Martial Arts and so much more. I started practicing what I now preach, and over the last ten years I’ve become a compassionate self-care crusader!

As the Loving Self-Care guide at the Soulful Life Sanctuary, I invite our members to care for themselves by choosing at least one act of self-care each day. This might be something as simple is drinking an extra glass of water. Other times, it may be learning how to set healthy boundaries by choosing to say no thank you without feeling guilty. Sometimes it’s learning to give themselves permission to stop and rest.

All too often we put everyone and everything at the front of the line. We will start a new business when the mortgage is paid off. We will register for a photography class or Yoga retreat once the kids finish school. We will work on getting healthy and fit when we have more time to care for ourselves. These are societal excuses that must be faced with loving kindness.

“The trouble is, You think you have time. -Buddha

Recently I asked Soulful Life Sanctuary members who are part of the Loving Self-care Sacred Space to share excuses that get in the way of their self-care. The top three obstacles were: no time because of work, family responsibilities, and feelings of guilt or unworthiness.

No matter what your excuse is, if you really want to make your self-care a priority, you have to start somewhere. Let’s begin by addressing each one of these common excuses.

Excuse #1 No Time Because of Work Schedule

Most of us live in the real world and don’t have access to an unlimited trust fund or bank account. We work in order to keep a roof over our head, clothes on our back and food on the table. However, working is not a valid excuse for blowing off self-care. What you can do is carve out time for self-care before, during or after work.

Back in the day when my calendar was overflowing with appointments and work-related responsibilities, the only time I had to myself was evenings and weekends. Or was it?

I discovered an untapped oasis on my lunch hour! I made it a priority to get out of the office at lunch to visit a local park and watch the Lake Michigan waves roll in. Some days I’d walk a couple of laps around the local civic center trail. Sometimes I’d go to the museum or public library. This oasis of time allowed me to step away from fluorescent lights and the needs of others to get some fresh air, spaciousness and perspective. Can you see how carving out some time at lunch helped me balance my energy and recharge my batteries before getting back to work?

Excuse #2 Family Responsibilities

I have a small family that I enjoy nurturing. My husband and daughter are my entire world. I am responsible for taking care of them through the many roles that I choose to play in this lifetime. I’ve learned that the best thing I can do for my loved ones is take excellent care of myself!

We forget that we can give the most when we are living lives we love. We can be the best partners, mothers, wives, fathers, business owners, when we are feeling nurtured, fulfilled, inspired and self expressed.

Excuse #3 Feelings of Guilt and Unworthiness

If you feel guilty or unworthy when you think about doing something sweet for yourself, chances are this old programming. We often learn to feel unworthy through some sort of psychological osmosis received from our parents or caregivers. If you were raised by someone who thought it SELFISH to care for herself, the thoughts that come up for you now may not even be your own!

You can break the chain of old programming by becoming aware of negative self-talk and in that moment of awareness, make the choice to overrule your mind. It takes practice, but eventually you will prevail! You are worthy. You have nothing to feel guilty about.

Even if you haven’t always been the best at putting yourself at the front of the line, there is hope for you yet. I Invite you to choose and commit to one act of self-care today and notice how you feel. You deserve to receive the gift of compassionate self-care.




Shann Vander Leek is a Transformation Goddess, lifelong media expert, published author, celebrated podcaster and voice over talent. She is the author of Life on Your Terms and co-author of four more best-selling books for women. Shann is the Loving Self-care guide at the Soulful Life Sanctuary. She blogs at Transformation Goddess and produces the Divine Feminine Spotlight podcast series. She is also co-host of the popular Anxiety Slayer podcast celebrating 1.5 million listens. Shann loves to teach women to walk in beauty by practicing compassionate self-care. Connect with Shann at Transformation GoddessFacebook, iTunes and Twitter

Come Join Us!

250 faces with flower updated with textured background copyShann and I would love to invite you to join us (and over 100 others) in the Soulful Life Sanctuary! Membership is on sale through the end of the year, and the next 18 to join the yearly option will receive over $1600 in welcome gifts (all donated by current members)!

The sanctuary is such a loving community, and we would love for you to give yourself the gift of connecting with your soul and also connecting with others who are doing the same!

Click here to learn all about it and join us!