This is the fifth in our series of interviews to deepen the connections between all of us who love the sea and Sea Soul Blessings. Today, we’re heading all the way to Colorado to interview Alaya Morning about why autumn is her favourite time of the year, the value of spending time in nature – and life’s eternal questions: like why isn’t Bake Off called Bake Off in the USA…?
All these gorgeous photos are hers too.
Tell us a little bit about you:
I am a life coach and mama living in the mountains near Steamboat Springs, CO, USA with my chef/baker husband and our two kiddos aged 5 and 2. I thrive when I move (dance), spend time in nature (sunshine, water & trees, please!) and laugh regularly with friends.
I’m a Pisces and have been a water lover my whole life. My mom tells stories of having to wrangle me away from the waves in the middle of winter as I toddled toward the sea, snowsuit mittens, and all!
What does nature, and the sea in particular, mean to you?
“Time in nature always feels like a rhythm reset, a coming home for my nervous system. Nature is complex, dynamic, and interrelated. It is chaos woven calmly into consistent (yet never perfectly predictable) rhythms.”
A love for the ocean has been passed down through the generations too. My father. My father’s mother… I have been drawn to the ocean (any body of water, really) since a very young age.
Water holds me, brings me back into my body. It is stable yet fluid, a firm yet compassionate embrace.
How do you feel on a good day?
Embodied. Energized. Optimistic. Resilient. Delighted. Loving. Generous. Centered. Joyful. Grateful. Free.
I feel contained and content within myself in a way that allows me to stay fully present for the ones I love.
How do you feel on a bad day?
Exhausted. Overwhelmed. Tense. Frustrated. Irritable. Critical. Hopeless. Depressed.
Who or what is inspiring you right now?
“I am completely head-over-heels for autumn at the moment. The aspen leaves are a vibrant yellow and we are having gorgeous fall weather: cold mornings, sunny days, blue skies, and just the perfect amount of breeze to whoosh the leaves into bursts of glittering confetti storms.”
It inspires me to get outside, move my body and soak it all in. This may be my favorite time of year.
I also always find myself drawn to revisit the work of John O’Donohue at this time of year and am currently being inspired by his book Anam Cara.
After a recent hike together, I am extremely inspired by my 5 yo son who is just so deeply curious and wise about the natural world.
What do you worry about on a typical day?
“I worry if I’ve had enough sleep; if I’ll get my son to school on time without forgetting something important; if I’m giving my kids everything they’ll need to thrive in life; what I’ll make for dinner; the state of our planet; patriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism and they ways I’m complicit in these harmful systems; whether or not I’ll ever get my energy back since having kids… (Just to name a few!)”
Where do you find joy?
Delighting in my children (when I remember to.) Spending quality time with my family or good friends.
Dancing. Listening to music. Eating delicious nourishing meals.
Sunshine. Swimming in any wild body of water. Flickering Candles. A breeze through an open window.
Deep connection with another. Learning about what it means to be human, living in a human body, with a human brain and human emotions.
What do you love to do, read, watch or listen to?
I’m a fairly avid reader. I tend to read across genres. I’ve been on a fiction kick and just finished Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik and The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz. Two very different books, both of which I enjoyed. (Although I still prefer Magpie Murders over any other Horowitz I’ve read.)
My husband and I are watching the current season of The Great British Baking Show (does anyone know why it’s not called Bake Off in the US?!), and have been delighted that they are releasing the episodes one week at a time. (Old school. Anticipation. Patience.) I’m looking forward to the third season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon, and am absolutely heartbroken that Netflix won’t be bringing The OA back for another season.
The music I listen to depends on my mood, but my fall soundtrack seems to consist of Nickel Creek, The Secret of Roan Inish soundtrack, Aoife O’Donovan, Goat Rodeo, and (thanks to my kids’ current obsession) a whole lot of Pete the Cat & the Resolutions.
What makes you cross?
When I feel like my kids aren’t listening to me. When I feel generally unseen or unappreciated. Trump (and everyone surrounding/supporting him.) The state of our planet. My own inability to get out of my own way at times.
How do you look after yourself?
Putting my youngest in childcare three days per week. Walks in nature. Hot baths.
Getting to sleep by 10pm. Letting my husband do the morning kid care (since he’s not around in the evenings.)
Schedule time with friends. Drink plenty of water. Eat nourishing foods.
(That all sounds so basic, but it’s actually taken me a bit to get back to these habits since having my kids.)
What would you most like to change about your life?
I’d like to have my husband home with us more often. He works long hours. I would love to feel that each of us could pursue our personal passions without taking away from our time together as a whole family. Plus, I kinda like spending time with the guy!
What have you learnt about life that you wish you’d understood earlier?
“That perfection (or perfect outcomes) is an illusion.
That self-compassion and self-love are hard to cultivate, but also the only answer.
That there really is no destination: nowhere to “get to” or “arrive at” that will erase the challenges and discomforts that come along with being human.”
How would you describe Sea Soul Blessings in 3 words?
Beautiful, embodied, homecoming
How do you use your Sea Soul Blessings? What do they help you to change?
I have mine in a little cup near the front door of our home. On my way out the door with the kids, I try to grab one and read it as a way to ground before heading out into the world. The cards help me to take a pause and a big deep breath; I feel immediately drawn back into presence and back into my body. I will often contemplate the word as I drive to do school drop-off and then will come back to read and deepen into the description later.
(In fact, as I write this, it’s been a while since I’ve remembered to do this. A good reminder!)
If someone was thinking about trying Sea Soul Blessings, how would you encourage them?
I would probably lend them my deck for a week. That would be enough, I’d think. But really, I’d speak to their ability to help me pause, ground and release. There is magic in these cards. They bring a moment of gentle loving encouragement to my days.
If you’d like to get yourself some Sea Soul Blessings, you can do that right here.
If you liked this, you might like the other interviews in the Sea Soul Community series: