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Interview: Karen Prosen of The Sacred Plate

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I can’t say enough good things about our beautiful friend and local healer Karen.  Since her last guest post on our blog, she has opened up a hypnotherapy practice in Santa Rosa, started Graduate School at Sonoma State, and helped her partner Troy during his healing journey with cancer. Karen has recently been offering a coaching program to help womyn across the globe create a spiritual connection with their food, the moon, and other womyn.

I feel lucky to have known Karen for half a decade, though I am sure it is no accident. Karen, her partner Troy, and I all moved to the same area of California within months of each other. I am so grateful that I can continue to share meals with her and Troy, adventure together, and learn from her intuitive guidance. I look forward to our futures weaving together even more.

To find more wisdom from this goddess, check The Sacred Plate blog.

What is the Sacred Plate?

The Sacred Plate is a journeying experience for women on the path to developing deeper relationships with what we put into our bodies. The key focus is that it’s not what we eat, but how and why we eat it. The intention is to bring ancient wisdom into our modern meals and have that awareness fuel our purposes as women living during a critical time. I connect women to rituals, practices and ways of nourishment to rewrite old stories around food into uplifting and conscious acts of self-care. The Sacred Plate is a way of coming home to our bodies.

What inspired you to do this work?

After several years of over (and under) eating, I found myself deep in that vicious cycle with food  that so many women find themselves in. I stepped out of the fashion industry and went rogue, finding myself in the middle of nowhere in the deserts of Rajasthan, India. At first I only met more challenges, but they eventually led me to surrendering to the only option: admitting that I needed help and that I couldn’t do it alone.

I turned to 12 step programs, moon circles, herbal teachings, sweat lodges, plant medicine ceremonies and other communal spiritual experiences to begin my personal process. The answer for me, was and always will be, in community. It gave me the strength to navigate my choices moment by moment, remembering the sacred experiences that I shared with others.

My intention is to share what my elders have taught me and to create safe spaces for other women to talk about the things we don’t normally talk about.

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I know you also run a hypnotherapy practice, can you tell us a bit about that?

I’ve been in practice for five years. I was naturally attracting a lot of female clients who either had a lot of emotional trauma or wanted to heal their relationships to food, so I decided to offer group hypnotherapy sessions for women out of my Santa Rosa office. I also see men, women and adolescents individually for various issues ranging from un-diagnosable physical symptoms to trauma, grief, pregnancy, eating disorders, and anxiety.

The sessions are interactive and aim towards uncovering the body’s intuitive wisdom to create change. I focus a lot on what the nervous system and emotional body want to do when given the chance to unwind and be heard.

Karen and Summer at the 2013 FL Herbal Conference.

Karen and Summer at the 2013 FL Herbal Conference.

Could you expand upon what the “divine feminine” means? How do you feel it relates to healing?

To heal, we often need to create. The divine feminine shows up in healing when we put an image or a symbol to our suffering. We give it permission to transform into something new by honoring it completely, for its raw intensity. We find this in our dreams, in our art and in our bodies. It’s that same theme of transmission and birthing something new from somewhere deep. This process is usually indescribable with words, which is why art, meditation and practices like hypnotherapy are so powerful.

Deep healing and the divine feminine are ultimately interchangeable forces. To be open to healing we must be open to the nurturing, all-loving capacities that we are all born with. The beauty is that it shows up differently in each of us. For me, bringing the divine feminine to life on a daily basis is about receiving deep into my core. It’s about knowing my forms of creation, and being ever-curious about how it manifests in others.

What is one ritual you can’t live without? 

Before most meals, and especially if I’m feeling anxious or disconnected, I take a few deep breaths and invite spirit to join me during my meal. Next, I mindfully consider how I’ll spend the next few hours of my day. This guides me in being able to enjoy the amount of food that my body needs to function in the world to my fullest potential. When I used to struggle with breaking the patterns of compulsive eating or even compulsively skipping meals, this practice of checking in was and still is transformative. It pulls me right back into my body, which is finally the only place I want to be.

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Sarah sharing a meal with us at The California School of Herbal Studies.

What’s next for the Sacred Plate? What can we look forward to?

 From Nov 23-Jan 5th, I’m facilitating a 6 week phone program for women to go deeper into exploring their relationships to food and nourishment. The program follows the cycles of the moon in a supportive community as the holidays approach.  It’s an opportunity to set intentions for the new year. It involves an individual goal-setting session for each woman, group coaching, personalized meditation recordings and some other extra gifts! Women can expect to learn everything from how different ancient cultures blessed their food to how to design their own mealtime rituals. It’s called Wisdom + Cycles and I’m honored to share it!

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