Mind & Body

Coaching for Creatives | Move Your Body

April 7, 2014


While I was in life coach training with Martha Beck I learned something that has forever changed how I move through life and it was this:

Emotions live in the body.

It seems really simple and perhaps obvious. But think about it – when you’re scared, stressed, worried, excited, anxious, in love, happy – how do you experience those emotions in your body? I find that most of my feelings live in my gut – but sometimes I feel them down in my tailbone or up in my shoulders. And I’ve found that if I don’t move them through my body they can get stuck – which usually results in long-term funks or some sort of meltdown that involves sobbing into my pillow. Now, crying is a legitimate release of emotions* but I’ve found a less traumatic way to move emotions through my body is simply by moving my body, on the daily.

A pattern I’ve uncovered with all the creatives I’ve done one-on-one creative coaching with is that they all want more time to move their body – whether that’s at the gym, a walk in the park, or spending some quality time on the yoga mat. It can be hard to justify the time it takes to move your body when you have important deadlines to meet and emails to answer but I think making time to move your body daily is the most important thing you can do for your creativity. You’re not only moving unproductive emotions out of your body, moving your body allows creativity to move through you.

I’d like to invite you for the next week to tune-in and notice where in your body you feel your emotions. And then I challenge you to spend just one hour a day, every day, moving your body. Make it a non-negotiable priority. Schedule it on your calendar (during work hours is even better!) and make it happen. Take note of how it changes your attitude, productivity, and creativity.

What is your favorite way to move your body? Have you noticed an impact on how it affects your mood or creativity? The mind/body connection is one I’m going to continue to explore over the next few months – so I’d love to hear your thoughts.

*P.S. I love what Tonya Leigh writes about the beauty of crying here.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

P.P.S. If you like this post you might like my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s 4 emails x 4 weeks (16 emails total) for just $40. Complete with worksheets, exercises, mantras, meditations, and to-dos for time management, decision-making, and strategies for living more of what you love – in work and life. You can learn more about what you’ll get and purchase anytime here.


The Essential Oil Lowdown for Newbies

April 3, 2014




I was pleasantly surprised by the response I got after writing this post about using Thieves essential oil to ward off a cold. And I’ll admit that I fan-girled out a little when I received a comment from my favorite deodorant maker, Rachel Winard, of Soapwalla. (I sincerely think about my armpits a lot – and now that I’m breastfeeding I’m especially grateful for Soapwalla’s all natural, non-toxic products). Anyway, it turns out Rachel is not only a talented skincare chef but she’s total geek for all things herbal, aromatherapy, and folkloric healing. Rachel has generously offered up her gifts of knowledge in an essential oil Q&A for those of us who want to learn more but don’t quite know where to start.

Kathleen: First off, tell us a bit about yourself and your business Soapwalla. How did get into essential oils?

Rachel: In 2002 I was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus for short). Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy tissue. Lupus can manifest itself in a number of ways, including joint, organ, blood vessel damage/inflammation, but pretty much every person with SLE has skin involvement as well. This was certainly the case for me. I went from never having any skin issues (I didn’t even have acne in high school!) to getting rashes, hives, eczema plaques, the telling butterfly rash on my face, etc. Any and every possible skin ailment, I got it. Because of this, I had to teach myself how to take care of my new skin. One late night when the pain was really bad, I said “screw it, if I can’t find products on the shelf that will help, I’ve just got to start making my own.” That was the beginning of a 10+ year self-education on all things natural, aromatherapeutic, and herbal. This is also how Soapwalla was born. I perfected my line of all-natural, effective face and body products over the next 7 years, and premiered Soapwalla late November 2009.

K: It seems as if essential oils can be used for just about anything. What (or how) is your favorite way to use essential oils?

Rachel: I can’t limit to just one! 😀 I love using essential oils in skincare or other topical products to create a certain result – balancing oil production, reducing swelling or itching, increasing circulation. Because essential oils themselves are so potent and complex, their use creates multi-pronged results as well. For instance, topical use of rosemary essential oil will help decongest the skin and lungs while also improving memory! (Source)

Note: it’s easy to fall so in love with essential oils that we want to use them all the time, everywhere! However, essential oils are highly concentrated: please treat them with the respect they deserve and always dilute in a carrier oil. If you are pregnant, under the age of 2, or are currently undergoing intense medical treatment, please check with an expert before you start an at-home aromatherapeutic regimen.

Also, please don’t ever take essential oils internally. Ingestion of essential oils can cause illness and, in some cases, death. Please please please consult a knowledgeable practitioner before you use essential oils in homemade oral preparations.

K: For the skeptics … How do essential oils work?

Rachel: Essential oils are volatile molecular compounds found in aromatic plants, and create the telltale fragrance and taste we associate with the plants (rose or nutmeg, for example). Essential oils are extracted by either distillation or expression. The distillation process is not unlike what is used to create whiskey or bourbon. Expression is a cold, mechanical process that is most often used for citrus (similar to how olive oil is created).

Aromatherapy is often defined as the conscientious use of essential oils to promote or improve human health and hygiene. The term is most often applied to personal care products containing essential oils that impart skin-active properties or encourage emotional wellbeing.

Persians invented the distillation process in the 10th century; however, aromatherapy dates back to 3500 BCE, when ancient Greeks used incense, perfumery, and infusing macerated plants in hot oils as part of regular medical and spiritual practices.

For skeptics, NYU Langone Medical Center’s page on aromatherapy provides a breakdown on various ways in which essential oils can be used today to treat digestive, anxiety, muscular and other problems, including links to the studies that support their conclusions.

K: For the essential oil newbie getting quality oils can be expensive. What brand(s) do you recommend? And if you had to start your collection with just a few oils (or oil blends) which would you recommend and why?

Rachel: Mountain Rose Herbs! They have some of the highest quality products on the market today. I believe they were the first certified organic warehouse in the US, are incredibly knowledgeable, and are reasonably priced to boot. To start off your collection, these are my must-haves:

(1) *Tea tree – can be used neat on the skin (meaning, no carrier oil is needed for dilution) and can heal athlete’s foot or other fungal infections, repel bugs, and it has incredible antibacterial properties (including possibly killing the hospital superbug, MRSA)!
(2) *Lavender – an all-around powerhouse! It’s calming, aids in digestion and sleeping, and is also antibacterial and antifungal. If you apply neat shortly after being bitten by a mosquito, it will take the sting and itch out straightaway. You can also apply directly to a pimple that’s just forming, sleep with it on, and the next morning your blemish will be greatly reduced or even gone!
(3) *Eucalyptus: a must-have for anyone who suffers from allergies and/or chest congestion. Inhaling eucalyptus will clear out your sinuses quickly and effectively.
(4) *Sweet orange: aside from smelling fantastic, it’s an impressive household cleaner (make sure to dilute well). Helps with digestion and as an expectorant. NOT to be taken internally or applied without dilution.

K: What’s your favorite essential oil story? (For example, mine is definitely being kickstarted into labor when my doula used accupressure with Clary Sage oil.)

Rachel: My spouse Stacey fell on the ice in February. It was a nasty fall, and she needed stitches on her kneecap. She contracted a staph infection at the site – not uncommon – and was put on an insane amount of two different kinds of antibiotics to keep her out of the hospital. The antibiotics made her so ill she had to stop taking them. We both were terrified she’d end up in the emergency room. I created a potent antibacterial salve for the knee that had tamanu oil, tea tree, thyme oil and myrrh resin – within 36 hours, the heat and redness were gone! It was truly amazing.

K. If someone wanted to learn more about essential oils what books or sites would you recommend?

Rachel: I could talk your ear off about the various places to go, but I’ll limit myself 😀

Websites: Mountain Rose Herbs, Rosemary Gladstar, Robert Tisserand.
Books: The Aromatherapy Companion by Victoria Edwards, and Essential Oils, A Basic Guide by Julia Lawless.

K. Finally, where can we find you?

For a full listing of my products, please go to: soapwallakitchen.com
For all the social media goodness, please check out:

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

If you all have any additional questions for Rachel feel free to leave them in the comments!

P.S. I am not being paid or compensated by Soapwalla or any of the links included. Just a genuine fan of Rachel and the work she’s doing! Images courtesy of Rachel Winnard.


January 29, 2014


First it was crystals & minerals. Now it’s essential oils. While I love the idea of the healing properties in crystals, it still feels a little bit like a make-believe-just-for-fun kind of indulgence. A very pretty indulgence. But essential oils…  I think it’s legit. I was first introduced to essential oils as a teenager when a friend of mine gifted me with a small bottle of lavender and told me that rubbing a few drops on my temples before bed would send me into the most blissful slumber. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with the slumber that is blissful as soon as my head hits the pillow every night. And then there was the Patchouli … I know some people hate it but I’ve always loved wearing it as a perfume. It’s just so earthy and exotic. I love it. I know, I know. Just look at me. It’s not lost on me that I’m a total cliche of myself at times (let’s all agree not to take ourselves too seriously, eh?).

So fast forward to present-day. My ever-growing tribe of talented friends started preaching the healing powers of essential oils. Around this time last year I started to feel like I was coming down with a cold before going to a conference. My friend Claire, whom I also refer to as my witch doctor, brought over a bottle of Thieves essential oil. She instructed me to place two drops under my tongue (INTENSE) and rub two drops into the bottoms of my feet. Sure enough, I never got full-blown sick as I was expecting.

And then just a couple weeks ago Jeremy came down with a pretty disgusting cold. Now armed with my own bottle of Thieves I included a drop on my toothbrush (again, intense – it made my mouth go numb) and rubbed it into the soles of my feet twice a day to avoid catching what he had – especially around the due date of my little one. My momma friend Greer also arms her kiddos with Thieves during the sick season to keep them healthy. I also recently picked up a bottle of lavender again to add to my baths – but apparently it’s a pretty powerful anti-bacterial great for burns, cuts, and bug bites.

Here’s the creepy / cool part about Thieves: Thieves® was created based on research about four thieves in France who protected themselves with cloves, rosemary, and other aromatics while robbing plague victims. This proprietary blend was university tested and found to be highly effective in supporting the immune system and good health. (via Young Living)

I’ve learned that quality is important when it comes to essential oils – apparently Young Living has a great reputation. But it can be expensive! So I’m slowly building my collection.

Do you use essential oils? What are some of your favorites and why? 

The Warrior

January 1, 2014




I’ve been thinking a lot about my core desired feelings for 2014 and while I was hoping to have an arsenal of creative words to drive my goals moving into the new year it really comes back to just one word:

WARRIOR / brave + strong + spirit

The warrior I want to be is brave, strong, experienced, fierce, graceful, spiritual and sexy. She has little time to feel sorry for herself and can’t be bothered by worry or fear. She’s not afraid of dying. When she’s not out on an adventure she’s at home giving herself fully to her family. This warrior momma is connected deeply to her spirit – and that gives her divine confidence. She has scars and flaws and a few wrinkles around her eyes but that’s a part of her story – it’s what makes her real. And real hot.

The warrior I want to be will motivate my actions in 2014. This looks like creating a safe and cozy nest for my family – filled with good food, warm music, and exotic spices flavoring the air. This looks like lifting heavy weights and climbing tall walls. This looks like a lot of reading, meditation, and intentional introspection. This also looks like a post-apocalyptic wardrobe and crystals. But it also looks like gracefully navigating the daily grind.

P.S. I’m so lucky to have had Misty at Revel Photo capture an image of exactly who I want to be – these photos will be a good reminder to have when I need to channel my “warrior” self. You can see more pictures from my post-apocalyptic inspired warrior momma photo shoot here. You can read about the creative direction and see more photos over at Misty’s blog here and here.



December 10, 2013




There was something about finding out I was pregnant that instantly made me interested in overhauling my wardrobe and lifting really heavy weights. But investing in leather leggings and becoming a weight lifter is neither practical nor safe when your body is overtaken by another tiny human. I’ve got a post-partum closet makeover and muscle-building plan in place but in the meantime I’ve turned my focus towards jewelry.

How I accessorize isn’t limited by my growing waist size, which makes investing in jewelry especially appealing right about now. But there’s also something way more special and lasting about subtle rings and statement necklaces that clothes can’t quite offer. And maybe because I inherited a lot of my jewelry from my mom and grandma, from heirloom rings to fun costume jewelry, I’m starting to think about what I can pass down to my own family one day.

Jennie Claire is a jewelry designer in Austin, TX and Braid ECourse alum who surprised me with this stack of rings and a couple of knuckle rings to rock. She was even thoughtful enough to use the March birthstone, aquamarine, in the stack she sent because Jeremy and I got married in March. The quality of these rings is solid – you can tell they were crafted with care and attention to detail, by hand. I haven’t taken them off my fingers since they arrived. You can check out and order some Jennie Claire jewelry of your own here.

P.S. While I was lucky enough to be receive such an amazing and generous gift from Jen, in no way was I paid or expected to blog about these rings. I just love them that much. 

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen Shannon LLC. Photography by Greer Inez and Sarah Becker Lillard. Theme by Maiden Sites. Privacy.