The Unbearable Cuteness of Seagull Footprints
an interview with Angela Lightsey
Angela Lightsey is the founder and owner of Tybee Wellness Retreats. As a newly single parent in pandemic USA, she struggled to make sense of the world and her place in it. This journey towards health and wellness inspired her to create a nurturing space for others to explore and experience similar healing. Drawing on two decades of hospitality experience, Angela brings women from all over the United States to indulge in the healing arts of some of Savannah’s best holistic practioners.
Angela and I found time to chat during a fall busy with guests making the pilgrimage to Tybee Island for a weekend of pampering, wellness and self-exploration (along with art workshops and vegetarian fare by yours truly).
RM: Ok. Let’s start at the top. What do your mornings look like?
Angela Lightsey: I get up very early about 5am because I have a child and it’s my quiet time during the day. I get up, I read a daily reflection on gratitude. Then it's time for Natalie, my daughter, to get up and ready for school. I drop her off at school then work out.
I think maybe what you want to know about is how I build gratitude and or mindfulness into my day, and how that looks for me. My day is usually very unpredictable, so I build mindfulness and gratitude into things that I do every day. For instance, every time I cross the Lazaretto Creek Bridge, I say something I'm grateful for in my head. If Natalie is with me, she says something she's grateful for. When I do my morning run, I always stop by the rocks and do some sun salutations and breath work. Building mindfulness and gratitude into my day looks like attaching it to something that I'm already doing, so I don't forget.
RM: Do you wake up with an alarm.
AL: I do not.
RM: You automatically wake up at five in the morning?
AL: Yes. Getting sleep is probably my number one act of self-care because if I don't get proper sleep, then I am not able to do all of my other practices.
RM: What time do you go to sleep?
AL: Nine or nine-thirty. My most favorite day is when I get to wake up and go for a run at sunrise, do my yoga, meditation practice on the beach, come home, take a shower and get back in bed for 45 minutes. That's my favorite day. That doesn't happen all the time, only when my daughter is at her dad’s. But I do like to get up, get active, get mindful and then take a nap.
RM: Tell me about “the rocks” you run by.
AL: The jetty, I always stop by the jetty, where the sun comes up. I know in my head I'm going to stop and be mindful. I switch my running music to a song that inspires me, and I take that entire song to do whatever my body's feeling yoga-wise. Then I do some mindfulness. I stole this from Laurie because I love it. Put your thumb to your forehead “I will think kind thoughts;” your thumb to your mouth, “I will speak kind words;” and your thumb to your heart, “I will be kind, especially to myself.”
RM: What sort of practices or rituals do you have in other parts of your day?
AL: This is interesting, and happened almost by accident. When I pick Natalie up from school-- I used to pick her up in the carpool line in my car, but that is too much of a hassle. Now I park my car a few blocks away and we walk. So that gives us time to walk and talk and I get more information from her about her day and what's going on in her life in those three blocks than I get probably all the rest of the day, all the rest of the time I’m with her.
That's a ritual that we do, she has to tell me whatever happened to her that day and I get to help her work through any issues she'd had or celebrate any good moments.
RM: Do you have a reset for a shitty day or an event that throws you out of your balance?
AL: I have a reset for myself and I have a reset that Natalie and I do. My reset is breathwork. I'll get on Headspace. They have a restart on there, it's like a three-minute reset that I'll do sometimes, or if I'm not in a place where I can do that, I'll do breathwork. I'll close my eyes and do the pranayama breath or the ujjayi, where you do the three-part breath in and the three-part breath out.
Natalie, like most children, responds well when they can physically see something. When she was really little if she was stuck in a place where she couldn't get out, and she was very cranky, crying and moody, and we'd done everything we could to talk through it, we physically, stand up and turn around and start our day over. Like, I'll say all right, we need to reset. We'll start our day over. You can start your day over anytime you want. Let's do it. Let me stand up and spin around.
RM: clockwise or counterclockwise?
AL: I don't know, probably counter. Doesn't really matter, it's just the physical act of making yourself start over and for whatever reason that turned into a twirl.
RM: That makes sense because she's a little girl and little girls like to twirl.
AL: So do big girls.
RM: What about before bed practices?
AL: I always read before bed.
AL: Right now I'm reading the sequel to The Handmaid's Tale and it's kind of got me out of sorts.
RM: Yeah, no doubt, especially now.
AL: Sometimes I like to read dystopian things or things that can be somewhat disturbing, so I try to rotate what I read. I like memoirs a lot. I'll read something like The Handmaid's Tale and then I'll pick a memoir. And a lot of times it's a comedian. I love Brené Brown, because I'm a woman in my 40’s and I also love Glennon Doyle. On my bedside table I've got Eat Pray Love, right now that I have never read. I like the heavy stuff because I like to think and to be aware, but sometimes have to switch it out because I can easily get stuck in that.
RM: Do you journal?
AL: Yes. I also use my journal for manifesting.
RM: Is it a paper journal or digital one, just curious about this?
AL: It's a paper journal. Oh, and when I manifest, I write my manifest on my bathroom mirror in glass marker. Because when you have a kid you always have glass markers around.
RM: Talk me through how that works. Like, how long it stays up, when you write, it how you write it.
AL: So, the one that I have up right now I saw on the internet, and it spoke to me, and it's been up there for a couple weeks, and I just leave it up there until I feel like it's time to move on to something else, or if something comes up in my life that I feel stuck on, I'll change it. The one that is up there right now is “I do not chase, I attract. What belongs to me will simply find me.”
RM: How do you write it up there? Is it along the lines of I have this thought let me write it up there or do you create a ritual space, play music, light a candle, take a bath, or anything like that?
AL: No, I usually just write it up there. And then when I'm brushing my teeth in the morning and at night. I'll read it.
RM: The journaling: is that morning, night or whenever you can find time during the day?
AL: That's whenever and is not daily. That's the problem with a paper journal is that it's not with me all the time.
RM: Do you ever go back and read them?
AL: I do sometimes, yes. I think, Oh gosh, I made it through my 20s. I used to write poetry, so it's fun to go back and read the poems that I wrote.
RM: Do you ever use journal prompts or do you just go free freeform.
AL: So, with my journaling I go free form but with my manifesting, I typically will go on the internet and look up whatever moon we're in. A few websites offer prompts to go along with what is happening. I pull out whatever resonates with me so for each full moon. I usually do four questions. They are targeted to go along with what is happening and kind of coincide with the energy that's being emitted from the solar system.
RM: Do you have anything that you would like to add?
AL: No. I actually have more rituals than I thought.
I'm really happy you're doing gratitude this month because that's something I'm really really cognizant of. And it's something that can be easily built into anything that you do. Yes, anything that you do, and noticing the little things and being thankful for them. Like the seagull footprints I saw on the beach this morning that almost made me cry because they were so cute. Perfect little Seagull footprints.
RM: Thank you so much for taking the time to share your daily practices with us.
Stayed tuned for Angela’s playlist and more inspiration from Angela.