Childbirth, Pregnancy, Press

Bringing Harmony and Balance into Motherhood

Today, I’ve invited Bailey Gaddis, author of the book, Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood – to join me for a dialogue about what it takes to create a balanced and harmonious experience as a mother. Her book was recently published by New World Library and is already receiving rave reviews.

Before she was a beloved pregnancy blogger, certified birthing doula and childbirth preparation educator, Bailey Gaddis met her own pregnancy by buying a bunch of books — which, for the most part, made her even more confused, insecure, and scared. So by adopting the principles and philosophy of feng shui, the Chinese system of a connected inner and outer harmony, she wrote her own book – one that guides women to their balanced center and supports them in tapping into the primal energies brought forth in the birthing and motherhood experience.

Here’s what she had to say on the topic of balance and harmony in motherhood.

Read more on Moonlight Muse

Mind-Body-Spirit

Wisdom From an Intuitive New Age Guitarist: Interview with Shambhu

shambhu-live-2014

In these chaotic times I seek solace in music – music full of melodies that lull my mind into calm and encourage me to just take a freaking breath – music that will whisper a long “shh” in my mind’s ear.

So, I’m always on the prowl for “mind medicine” tunes, and scored when I found Shambhu, an artist whose website aptly describes him as an “intuitive new age guitarist” who creates “heartfelt relaxing music.”

I was intrigued by the consciousness, grace and calm woven into this album and was able to peek into the insightful mind, heart and spirit of Shambhu in the following interview.

Bailey Gaddis: How do you think your music can positively impact the collective consciousness, given the current political climate?

Shambhu: We can lift the collective consciousness by expressing love as the song of our lives. I play a heartfelt music founded in love and inspire listeners through my musical meditations and reflections. Soothe was recorded during the recent election as an aural antidote to a sour political climate. It is music I played to calm down and connect and I hope it has the same effect on you.

Bailey: Do you have a regular meditation practice? If so, do you believe it influences your music? And how?

Shambhu: Music expresses the feeling I want; meditation is the practice of attaining it. Meditation is fundamental to my music. I meditate daily, often very early in the morning, and I live the peacefulness of spirit. Meditation is an awesome practice for disciplining the mind, feeling the heart and finding the inner calm. Even 5-10 minutes of regular practice daily is helpful.

I’m mindful while recording and performing. Each song is created as a unique ‘consciousness’ – a destination born in silence, manifested in sound, and satisfied in the fullness of spirit. The songs on Soothe balance what a good friend described as ‘exquisite and impeccable’, and yet, ‘relaxed and comfortable.’ There is a heartfelt intention inside every note and touch. The music feels like a comfy slipper. Meditation is the key. 

Bailey: I recently played your album while receiving a massage and it seemed to greatly enhance the experience. What are the most common situations and/or environments you hear people enjoy listening to this album during, or in?

Shambhu: And I listened back to Soothe recording sessions while on the massage table, as well! Paramahansa Yogananda wrote that Heaven is “behind the darkness of closed eyes, and the first gate that opens to it is your peace.”  Massage carries the intention to relax and immerse in peaceful serenity. We breathe deep and release. We are clear in mind. My intention with music is recreate a meditation in sound, one that soothes the mind and inspires the heart. For Soothe, I played the guitar delicately with intricate expressions of nuance and subtlety. Some listeners call the experience of my music ‘magical’ and ‘opening a space within.’ Others feel a calm inside the songs – a sense, a mood or a feeling that helps listeners touch one’s own reflective place. For others, my songs are surfaces for reflection. Soothe works as a background for calming any moment. If you’re listening at home, work or at school, try listening behind other activities. Or listen to the album full on and enjoy the music and sound quality. There’s something in Soothe for everyone.

Bailey: What are the primary musical genres woven into Soothe?

Shambhu: I’m a former rock/jazz studio guitarist who trained at a New York City classical music conservatory. I began practicing meditation in my 20’s and lived for a few decades as a modern-day monk. A meditation student of note and friend at the time was guitarist Carlos Santana; we often played acoustic sets at meditations. He was already exploring the deep connection between his music and his soulful heart. It took me about 10 years to put it together. Over time, as my meditation practice advanced, my music evolved into a ‘new age’ / ‘contemporary instrumental’ genre. But, the jazz/rock studio guitarist is ever-present in all the songs.

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Shambhu and Carlos Santana

Bailey: One track seemed to organically flow into another as I listened to this album, almost like it was one fluid track – was that intentional?

Shambhu: My music emerges intuitively. I hear songs inside. My creative process is to spontaneously play what I feel in any moment and record everything I play. I listen back later and find the songs. There is also a sense of Nature in the music. I observe the rhythm of Nature as a meditation. I spend time on Maui, Bali and other beautiful places where I feel my presence in the flowers and the stars and watch Nature unfold. The waves break randomly, wind blows through the palm trees, singing birds dart across the sky, flowers are abundant with gorgeous colors and fragrance. Was there ever a mistake in the rhythm and flow of Nature? Do we witness the grandeur and magnificence of Monument Valley or Grand Canyon and ask for a correction?  Nature seems perfect as it is. I learned from Nature to trust the music that flows through me naturally and spontaneously. The songs flow similarly, one into the other, organically and naturally.

Bailey: What do you believe is your primary purpose for this album?

Shambhu: Aldous Huxley wrote, “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”  Heaven is within and my music is a canvas for conveying what that feels like to me.  My purpose is to inspire and spread love, and my music is the realization of a journey I began years ago as a young monk. Maybe it’s my effort to compensate for driving forward the very technologies that are now disrupting our lives? I know that Soothe is my heaven on earth. May it also be yours!

To hear Shambhu’s music, check out his website ShambhuMusic.com

*This interview has been condensed.

Camping, Career, Mind-Body-Spirit, Self Love, Travel

The Journey of The Great Song Cycle: Interview with Joanna Wallfisch

Playful and poetic British vocalist and composer Joanna Wallfisch shirked the bus aspect of her latest West Coast tour in favor of a bike. The tour was aptly named The Great Song Cycle.

Joanna pushed through challenge and triumph while traversing the coast with only her body and two thin wheels propelling her forward; what transpired was a tour full of music made richer by the beautiful struggle Joanna intentionally created.

As you’ll discover in the following interview with this unique songstress, her journey was not passed through without contemplation and growth; it birthed it.

Why did you decide to pass on “traditional transport” in favor of a bike for this portion of your tour?

J: The main reason was freedom. Life on a bicycle is to be completely self-reliant and self-sufficient. I carried all that I needed for my multi-faceted month; my instruments, my home, my clothes, food, water, and myself. When traveling by car, train or plane one can easily forget that you have to carry yourself with you wherever you go. On a bike, you become so attuned to the body you live in and how mind, spirit and flesh can actually exist simultaneously together and also as separate entities. It was a complete thrill to know that the only way I was going to get from A to B was by the strength of my own body and mind…. Read more on Huff Post!

Career, Mind-Body-Spirit, Parenting, Self Love

A Musician’s Journey Through Success, Heartache & Reclaiming Her Gift of Creation: Interview with Leslie Nuchow

Illness and new life required Leslie Nachow’s attention flow from her music to her family after her acclaimed album Tenderland debuted in 1998. Now, eighteen years later Leslie has re-opened the gates to her creativity, and birthed her next album Balm for Gilead. Leslie wrote the songs for the album two weeks after her mother passed away, infusing it with authentic emotion and poignancy that makes a direct strike at the heart. There will be tears while listening to this album, but, as they trickle out, love will pour in.

Because Leslie is such a gifted writer, I wanted her to share, in her own poetic vernacular, what the journey from Tenderland to Balm for Gilead looked (and felt) like.

Bailey: The struggle of harmonizing the nourishment of creative needs with caring for loved ones is such a challenge, especially when one of your loved ones is ill. What was it like to set aside music to be the caretaker for both your mother and son? How did Emily support you through this transition?

Read more on Huff Post

Career, Childbirth, Mind-Body-Spirit, Mom Humor, Parenting, Pregnancy

Moms Who Inspire: Bailey Gaddis

Featured on Expectful! Whoop whoop!

After one read of Bailey Gaddis’s About Me page on her site, Your Serene Life, I knew I wanted to interview her for Moms Who Inspire because she’s insanely inspiring and  hilarious.

During our conversation, I mentioned to Bailey that I find it hysterical that she admits in her bio that she can’t stop bragging about attending an event hosted by Michelle Obama at the White House. She laughed and went on to tell me that she was at an event that morning and bragged about it to the strangers next to her. “It’s just such a cool thing to have experienced, why not brag about it?” she said laughing.

This is Bailey Gaddis. funny, honest and high on life.

Bailey is the Author of Feng Shui Mommy (coming out May 2017), a Childbirth Preparation Educator, Hypnotherapist, Birth Doula, travel addict and writer on all of the above. Bailey decided that she wanted to help women during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum after the birth of her first child. Using Hypno-anesthesia as a method for her labor, she was able to have a pain-free natural childbirth. This empowered her to want to help other women experience their own bliss during their motherhood journeys.

When speaking to Bailey, I asked her what the first few days were like after she gave birth. I ask this often to other moms as a way to bond over stories of sleepless nights and crying babies, but Bailey’s answer was one that opened my eyes to a different experience than my own.

She replied as if reliving the experience as she spoke, “Blissful.”

This isn’t the typical answer I receive and it’s not even close to how I describe the first few days of my motherhood path, but when she said it, my body filled with love. It was really beautiful to see a different perspective on what’s usually a difficult time.

I learned so much from Bailey in our brief conversation, and I’m so happy to share more below.

Read more on Expectful!