Maia Toll
The Sacred Pause: a Simple Way to Step into Daily Magic

The Sacred Pause: a Simple Way to Step into Daily Magic

“Do you have daily rituals?”

Sitting together in her car after our first lunch “date,” my newest friend popped the dreaded question: How do you stay so grounded? Do you have daily rituals?

I cringed. I’m a Gemini, after all— we don’t do daily anything except breathe, and even that is optional. But when you do the type of work I do in the world (back me up on this acupuncturists, massage therapists, and earth mammas) there are perceptions to either live up to… or not.

They go kind of like this:

You wake up at 5:30 AM to meditate.

You say 3 things that you’re grateful for before going to bed at night… every night.

You never eat without a prayer.

You’re vegan (or vegetarian or paleo depending on what the pre-conceiver thinks is the “right” diet).

You smile beneficently when someone treats you horridly.

You focus on the positive and only see the good in everyone, especially the person who just rear-ended you and is proceeding to scream both at you and some poor soul on the other end of his cell phone. No, you don’t maul him with your super wit. You smile beneficently, picture him in the light, and send out prayers for his highest good.

Aaaaarrgghh! (more…)

6 Little Questions That’ll Change Your Life

6 Little Questions That’ll Change Your Life

What happens when you give yourself permission to change your life?

There’s a fascinating phenomenon I’ve observed with my students and, in the past, with clients: once someone signs up for a program, whether it’s for wellness or witchery, their life starts moving and shifting. It’s as if they’ve given the Universe the thumbs-up and the Universe responds with a resonant Hurrah! and gets to work.

While this sudden momentum can be uncomfortable, most folks who sign on to work with me are looking for knowledge, growth, change, and a deeper sense of authenticity. When I worked with clients, I’d ask six questions to ignite this inner-journey. These innocuous little questions would appear in a potential client’s inbox to start their energy moving in a different way:

“The result was like a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders and illumination of new and old spaces in my mind and spirit. I felt like I reconnected with past dreams and hopes and made some amount of peace with my current life transition. I cried as I read and since the reading I feel healed and energized in a very powerful way.”

Simply working with these questions is a journey in and of itself. If you’re feeling ready to shift and grow, read on! (more…)

Guide to the Darkest Nights: Finding Joy

Guide to the Darkest Nights: Finding Joy

Think of yourself as a seed, deep in the Earth’s dark soil…

What do you dream of becoming?

Do you know your passion? Your form? The shape of your flower?

The acorn knows all of this. Even though it will take a decade for it to mature beyond sapling and a hundred years to build it’s girth, the acorn already contains the pattern for the Oak it will become.

We often go into our own future waiting to see what’ll happen next, picturing ourselves as a leaf getting carried hither and thither by the currents of time. But what if you’re an acorn, not a leaf?

What if deep within you, you already know the pattern of your own being and all you have to do is grow into it? Click To Tweet


Why It’s Important to Have a Toolkit for Happiness: 4 Gratitude Practices You’ll Actually Use

Why It’s Important to Have a Toolkit for Happiness: 4 Gratitude Practices You’ll Actually Use

Some people are grateful all the time.

I’m not one of them.

I tend to be a striver, an achiever, a “what’s next?” kinda gal.

For me, gratitude has to be a ritual, otherwise it only happens on the rare occasion when something completely out of the ordinary whacks me over the head with the wonderfulness of this world.

So, as a Thanksgiving treat, I thought I’d share my super-easy gratitude practices (the ones I actually do.) (more…)

You Belong to the Wild and Wondrous

You Belong to the Wild and Wondrous

You’re hard-wired for wonder…

… for pausing to study sunsets and the afterglow of lightning flashing through the summer sky.

It’s really that simple.

And yet, the same hard-wiring which allows for so much joy can lead you on a merry chase for meaning, for logic, and scientific explanations. When we become overly analytical we close the door on everyday magic. We end up living in Mundania with no mystery in sight. I’ve been down this path: it led to longing, disconnection, and even depression.

When we fail to recognize the wondrous in the daily, we lose a necessary part of ourselves.

I’m not exempt. After the umpteenth time sucking my thumb in the abyss of Why-The-Heck-Are-We-Even-Here, I came back with this basic truth: sometimes we have to allow life to have meaning.


Tattoos, the Cosmic Cha-Cha, and Why You Need a Rite of Passage

Tattoos, the Cosmic Cha-Cha, and Why You Need a Rite of Passage

Her hands were delicate and her fingertips ink-stained.

Over the course of weeks (months?) we looked at images: That line weight is too heavy, she’d say or I love this! But it’s way too detailed: it will look like a blob by the time you’re fifty.

I got my first tattoo when I finished my Master’s degree. After three universities and enough course credits for a PhD, actually finishing— degree in hand— felt like befriending a personal dragon or summiting an inner-mountain. This was no small moment and I wanted to mark the occasion.

Many people (especially my parents) thought it odd that I would literally and permanently mark my body. But that was exactly what I wanted— a permanent reminder of who I had become. I was not the same woman who had begun degree-hopping six years before and I was craving a way of expressing my inward change in an outward way.

And permanent? Absolutely.

Because, let’s face it, we often take two steps forward and one step back, treating our personal growth like a cosmic cha-cha.

This time I wanted to own it. I wanted it to be inescapable: I wanted it etched on my skin. (more…)