Being a good person.

I’d like to think of myself as a fairly good person. I’d like to think that throughout the time I’ve been alive on this planet I’ve been fairly awake, making fairly conscious decisions rooted in a basic value system that my mother helped instill in me at a young age. I also of course know I’ve hurt people. I think it’s safe to generally say those actions were never acted upon from a cruel place where my intention was to hurt another, although even as I type that I can feel the defensiveness surfacing in my body. When it comes to acts of hate, do our intentions really matter?

In light of what’s been going on in our world culturally, I’ve been pushing myself to take a look at a deeper connection with self. I’ve been looking at how this motto of mine, Choose Love, has come to mean so much to me, and how in reflecting on my life, how I might not have always acted from this place. I’ve never been a hateful person and therefore I never saw any old actions as acts  of hate. Yet in looking back I know there are some people that deserve an apology from me. There are some people who I hurt because I myself was hiding, and there are some people I hurt because I was following my heart. Whether my perspective now leans more towards the, I was young, immature, and didn’t realize what I was doing, I know I have caused pain for some people and that my intentions were not felt from their side, and therefore, don’t entirely matter.

My memories of my childhood are completely wrapped up in being myself. I see now that what I remember as being myself was something that others weren’t quite comfortable with themselves in so it created a certain status for me. I simply  remember not caring what others thought of me, I remember not caring who talked to me or who didn’t, but rather, given my extreme like of people, just enjoyed the socialability of middle school. This friend of mine told me it was true for elementary school too, and I couldn’t help but feel like she was telling somebody elses story. Although who is to say she wasn’t inserting some of her own bias, I do know that during that time of innocence, I used my comfortability with people, my social skills, and unique for the age we were, extroverted nature to have fun. I remember fun being my number one priority, no matter what we were doing. My best friend and I used to play by this magical grandmother willow tree making potions out of the dirt, we would play dress-up with my mothers many, many trunks of fun dress-up clothes and create entire world’s in which we were high-schoolers, school teachers, or fight over who was the Blonde Spice Girl. Looking back, my desire for laughs were definitely used as something to stand behind.

I only remember his first name Timmy. Timmy was a couple years younger than us, and a small for his size type of kid with big teeth. We called him Timmy the Tooth, and we were relentless. I remember we would play hide and seek with Timmy, and we’d call out his name on the soccer field, searching for Timmy the Tooth. We chased him chanting this name. When he would hear us he would run away with his hands over his ears. The weird thing is I remember genuinely liking Timmy, and thinking that Timmy must like the attention of the older girls. Cleary I was justifying my behavior to myself. As an adult I still don’t think I was aware I was torturing him, and I know I owe Timmy an apology. I hide behind my desire to laugh, to make others laugh at your expense. I hid behind my own comfortability with who I was by picking on you, mocking you, and trying to make others laugh because it felt good to make others laugh. I’m sorry Timmy. I’m deeply sorry for leaning on hate in every way.

I’d like to think I’m a good person today. Someone who stands up for what she believes in, someone who stands up for others, who supports, heals and helps others however I possibly can. I know this doesn’t erase the ways in which I acted as a kid, but I do know that this is where we learn how to choose love over hate. I do know this is what I can teach my children, and maybe one day they will be braver than I was and stand up for value, for kindness and for what is right. I know that we can get really lost along the way and the only thing to do is to keep trying to right it, to right ourselves.



Working with resistance

Resistance can be a tough cookie. She’s not always pleasurable to be sitting with, and she’s usually the advocate for staying where you are, working hand-in-hand with stagnation. And yet when resistance comes around it’s usually a tall sign that you’re working with just exactly what you’re meant to be working with.

Oftentimes working with resistance for me means complete acceptance of starting just exactly where I am starting. That means, no matter how much further along in the process I want to be, or how frustrated I may feel with not knowing or understanding the ride I’m on, that I embrace with complete love where I am in the process. AND more than that, I must completely surrender to where I am in the process, with love, always with love.

It can feel heavy. It can feel overwhelming. It can feel expansive. It can feel daunting. It’s a dance. A dance between all the emotions that come through. A dance with yourself, your better half and your darkness.

There  are two types of resistance that feel most prominent in my life: a) resistance in connection to my own healing journey and to the deeper wounds that I’m working with, or b) it can be resistance with the creative project I have in front of me.

If it’s resistance that I’m feeling when it comes to my own healing journey, I first FEEL IT. LIVE IN IT. SURRENDER TO IT. This surrender isn’t the waving of the white flag surrender, it’s the melt into it type of surrender. When I melt into the emotion and allow it to have its feelings, the emotion loses its total control over me which has usually lead me to the face-off with resistance in the first place. Only then do I begin to accept the nonlinearity of it all.

If it’s a creative project that I’m resisting, if it’s the creation of anything, whether this be in physical form or not, I sit down to write a list of the reason this idea, this creation has to come through me. The reasons I’m grateful to the project. Even if this doesn’t begin a flow of continued creation, it gives me a new outlook, a complete reframing encouraging my heart to feel fulfilled by the desire to continue the creation.

Resistance shows up in many ways and it does the exact same thing in breathwork. The idea is to not get defeated with resistance but rather learn to work with it. Whether that be pushing through it, past it, or sitting in it momentarily, it could mean breathing into it, claiming the resistance and doing the work anyway. The best way to  work with resistance is to learn to see it for what it is, be willing to work with it, and let it stimulate all that you’re meant to be opening and working with.

Tools for finding balance in the hamster wheel

When this question was asked in a session the other day I was reminded of how many of us can feel like we’re all alone on our journey’s to working with balance. When we’re running between meetings, chasing after promotions, RSVPing to weddings, baby showers, and birthdays, and jumping between texts, trains, and roads, finding balance can almost feel like a myth. Or sometimes even, a complete lie.

“I had to remind myself I’m not superwoman”, a wonderful client of mine said. She’s right! We’re not superwomen so it’s time we cut ourselves a little slack. Yet, with everything we have on our plate, with all that we are tackling, the business’ we’re launching, the friendships and relationships we’re cultivating, with just exactly who you are today in this moment, you actually are a SUPER woman. Maybe it’s time for you to recognize the SUPER-ness about you, to acknowledge who you are in this moment, and maybe at the same time, there’s also an opportunity to connect with the daily cultivation of balance.

The cultivation of balance.

I don’t think balance is a myth, but I do think our vision of what having a balanced life looks like might be a bit skewed. What I mean by this is, balance is not something we achieve. It’s not attainable as in something for us to check off our to-do lists. Balance is a state of mind. When we’re able to feel into this statement and connect with balance from the inside out, that’s when we create balance while on the hamster wheel of life.

I used to think I was a busy woman. Two years ago I was working a full-time 9-5 corporate job which was really more like 9-midnight, working my side hustle, taking clients, cultivating my new live-in romantic relationship, healing my heart, studying more healing, trying to eat healthy, be healthy, have a social life, spend enough time with my family, and the list goes on. Sound familiar to anyone? Today, I’m no longer working the 9-midnight corporate job, but I am running my own business which puts busy into a whole new light. Busy today means something different than it meant two years ago, and yet it still persists. My friends who are new moms, have toddlers running around, talk about busy in a completely different light. The things we are doing, accomplishing, healing, on a daily basis, make us SUPERWOMEN. That’s why balance to me is less about finding it and more about creating it, connecting with it and reminding ourselves of this connection through tips/tools/easily accessible action, on a daily basis.

Here are some of my favorite tips/tools that I either have used, and/or continue to use to connect with balance daily:

  • Meditate. Daily. For real, daily. Meditation is an extremely powerful tool for you to access on your own, at any moment, of anyday. When you meditate you give your body and mind permission to detach. This in turn slows the nervous system and the highly active thoughts running through our minds, and opens up an opportunity for you to connect with inner peace. It doesn’t mean you’ll be happy/get happy in every 5 minute meditation, and it takes practice, but I promise you this, YOU are NOT a BAD meditator. You just need practice, maybe some guidance, but you can do this. Meditate in the morning, meditate in the middle of the day, and meditate in the evening. Even if it’s just 5 minutes, take that momentary break from living inside your own head and allow yourself time to connect with the peace, with the presence of the moment, and you’ll feel connected to a more balanced life

  • Create space for your life to be lived. What are your basic needs? Are they being met? Maybe you can check-in with yourself once a week, are you sleeping, nourishing, moving your body this week? What can you do to create space for your basic needs to be met? We need to meet our own basic needs in order to show up for the world around us. When we neglect ourselves we’re only doing a disservice to our loved ones because we become more irritable, and less likely to enjoy the life we’ve built. Identify what it is that you need to do, to have, to create time and space for in your life in order for love to flow freely from you and around you, and find a way to make them happen.

  • Identify your non-negotiables, the things that are beyond your basic needs that make you feel good, are they being met? I believe this connects with getting clear on your boundaries as well. What is vitally important to you today, tomorrow, this week, that must get done? Be clear about what that is and set a clear boundary around it which doesn’t allow for you or anyone to get in the way of that experience.

  • Move your body. The number attached to this will vary per person, but for me it’s at least 3 days a week. If I’m moving my body at least 3 days a week I’m much more likely to feel like myself. If I’m not moving my body, sweating, stretching, I feel out of flow, out of sync with the flow of the Universe. This could fall under one of your non-negotiables like it does for me, or maybe it’s about walking, stretching, or getting out from behind the computer to take in 5 minutes of life moving around you. Identify what moving your body means to you, how that feels and create space for it.

  • Clear communication. There are times when parts of your life will need more of your time and attention than others. When you’re launching a project, a business, or when you and your partner aren’t on the same page and your relationship needs some serious TLC, communicate with the other strings, people, things pulling at your attention and let them know where you’re at. You don’t have to tell them the details of what is going on, but some communication from you can go a long way in retaining your relationship. Plus you’re giving yourself permission to tend to what you need to tend too, to spend more of your time, energy, money on this one particular sector of your life. If those people really truly love you, they will understand, love and support your endeavors to the end.

  • Spend 2 minutes doing nothing every day. This is a personal preference, something that puts the rest of the world, the guilt, the pressures into perspective, and therefore, has become a habit. Allowing myself to sit and look at the world around me pass me by, see the trees rustling in the wind, listen to the birds, people watch, gives me some perspective on life and all that it brings so I don’t go giving too much weight to any one thing

  • Identify the guilt and work with it. When you’re feeling guilty for spending too much of your time in any one place, identify where there is guilt, and allow yourself to dig into it. What is the guilt really about? Is it connected to any sense of self-worth, of not being enough? Is there any opportunities for you to get clear and communicate clearly both with yourself and with those around you what your priorities are so you can fully give your attention to what’s needed? Is there an opportunity for you to ask for help? To make a change? Take a look at the guilt that you feel and work with it so you can comfortable put it in the backseat recognizing that it’s there but not to be the driver at the time.

Honor Yourself

To honor oneself is to acknowledge the steps one has taken thus far, the achievements, the heartaches, the winding roads, and to not only recognize where we are today, but to accept with appreciation that this moment, is just exactly as it is to be.

I generally believe that people are good at recognizing what they are feeling, when they are feeling it. Even if you’re one that’s not good at claiming your emotion, you have an awareness of the happiness, the sadness, the loneliness, the comfort that exist in and around your life. I feel we’re generally good at embracing the ups and downs that life brings us, and we’re aware, noticing the things we want to be changing, growing about ourselves and our lives. Why then, as fairly awake individuals can it feel so difficult to honor ourselves, to honor our emotions, our experiences?

Honoring our story, honoring our sadness can not only feel challenging, it can often feel like a downright betrayal of our past and all that we’ve successfully held onto all these years. Maybe you’re not ready to let go of your pain, your sadness? Maybe you’re not ready to let the story become redefined, and as a result you push up against the emotion each and every time? That is, until that no longer works and you’re pushed open to honoring your state of being.

 photography by:  Rachael Reiss

photography by: Rachael Reiss

That’s where I’m now. It no longer works for me to keep this firm grip on my pain, the emotion wants out of the container I’ve kept it in for the last few years, and it’s time to honor its needs.

For me, much of honoring myself has been about honoring my soul’s desire. When my soul is in need of some rest, some down time, honoring myself looks like listening to the easy life. It’s slowing down, it’s taking a break from the busyness of life, and all the productivity that is pulling at my attention. Recently it’s also been about allowing the container for which I’ve held my sadness in, to expand. In other words, the space that has held my own healing, my pain, my sorrow has held me for a long time, and it’s worked for me for a long time as well. Suddenly, it stopped working for me and I found myself unsure of where to put my sadness so it began pouring out into the streets in a completely unorganized, sob story kind of way. Okay, I’m being dramatic. It hasn’t really poured out onto the streets, I just really liked that sentence. It is true however that I found myself unsure of how to express my pain, my healing journey, and it did pour out at some unexpected times. It was only then that I realized it wasn’t about figuring out “the right”, linear way to express, but rather was about HONORING the emotion for what it was. The emotion was like an alive living creature inside me that has been playing in it’s usual playpen, and it wanted, no, it needed, to spend some time in a different playground, this time in the light of day. So when it wanted to be felt, I felt. When it wanted to be explored I explored. When it had no words, I allowed it to be what it was as it was. This type of emotional honoring of my pain was, still feels new to me, but I am willing to explore it in the name of my own healing journey.

Honor the emotion. Honor your accomplishments. Honor your story and make way for even deeper love to enter, to flow through your life.

Honoring ourselves can look like honoring the place we are at in our journey, it can be about taking pride, and acknowledging ourselves for how far we’ve come, or it could be about recognizing our own accomplishments and celebrating. Honoring ourselves could be about honoring our stories, all that has happened to get us to where we are today, it could be about honoring our pain, our sadness and allowing the emotion to exist without the need for immediate solution, or it could be about honoring the joy, the happiness we’ve created within our lives.

Honoring oneself all leads back to recognizing the steps we’ve taken on our journey thus far so we can meet ourselves just exactly where we are today. When we empower ourselves with awareness of our life, of our beingness, of our souls, we set ourselves up for (more) success, abundance and more importantly, more love for our tomorrow.

Creating with MY OWN TWO HANDS

Yesterday, the final day of Mercury Retrograde, a New Moon underway and no current midlife identity crisis, or upheaval in the midst, I could not for the life of me understand why I was consumed with so much unruliness. I still don’t entirely understand it, and yet this morning, just a merely 24 hours later, my body feels an extremely heightened sense of groundedness, open and connectedness to the Universe. I feel massively different than where I was yesterday morning and all I did over this last day was - I made time for me.

I made time for me and I did so in a completely different way than I typically do. I didn’t choose to spend time by the water with a good book, likely a self-help book rather than what for me feels almost entirely indulgent, a fiction book. I didn’t spend my time writing or working on my book. I didn’t spend time with my love, connecting deeper on truths about this life. Instead, I spent time with my hands creating.

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I had signed up for this workshop with HER SOCIAL CLUB almost a month prior thinking it would be a fun, creative day, but more than that, that it was something I needed to do for work. I would be networking with other like-minded, powerful ladies, and knowing the amount of magic I’ve had come from those experiences before, I figured if nothing else, I would meet a few more empowered women in Los Angeles.

The artist Mimi Haddon began the day by discussing how as a society, we are no longer using our hands. We use our hands for talking, for typing, for working, but it’s become a rare commodity putting our hands to work creating. We were given a bunch of driftwood, colored yard, ropes, shown how to tie certain types of knots that would hold, and told to get after it. I’m a crafter, always have been. I’ve been making scrapbooks since I was a teenager and we used to print off all our photos for the memory banks, I’ve created and experimented in the kitchen with baked goods, quiches, you name it, I’ve crafted dream catchers for friends and family members as gifts, and painted using many different forms, materials and equipment including newspapers, stencils, free-hand and more.

As I was leaving this magnificent day I realized it has been over a year since I’ve opened any of my crafting materials. The last time my craft boxes were opened they were sprawled out on the living room floor at one in the morning and I was having a mental breakdown because we had just moved in, and I had no place to put any of my crafting materials. One whole year went by without me using my hands, something I’ve always loved to do and I never even realized it.

Don’t get me wrong I love all of the things I have done this last year. I love clean eating I have doven into, I love the work I’ve done on my book, and the healing writing I’ve done expressing my voice and my traumas, I love the business I’ve developed, the people I’ve met and the creative sessions I lead with my private clients and in group settings, but I had lost the joy in making things with my hands and as  result lost inspiration and drive from my life that I couldn’t even see was missing.

As I sit here able to free-flow write this post with ease, excited about diving into my book again, I can’t help but smile when I look back on Friday. I was forcing myself to put pen to paper, didn’t feel I had anything to say and was completely drained from the week. A drastic difference from what I’m used to given I’m typically energized by my work, I’m reminded of the importance of reconnecting with my humanity in relation to the physical world. Using my hands, creating, opening, living creates a strengthened tangible bond between me and the Universe. It separates me from the digital world if only for a brief moment and creates more understanding of who I am as a human being in this world, of who we are and the purpose behind all the breathing moments.

With this New Moon energy we’re working with I invite you to explore what new beginnings are you in need of reconnecting with? What past creations do you feel the drive to reconnect with? What creativity are you drawn to but have never explored before? What needs to be expressed, and do you need to use expression differently than you’ve done before? What could this open up for you in your life?

I have always loved the Ben Harper song “With My Own Two Hands”, today it holds completely different to me than it has over the years...

"I can change the world, with my own two hands -- Make a better place, with my own two hands -- Make a kinder place, oh with my, oh with my own two hands -- With my own, with my own two hands -- With my own, with my own two hands -- I can make peace on earth, with my own two hands -- And I can clean up the earth, oh with my own two hands -- And I can reach out to you, with my own two hands -- With my own, with my own two hands" - Ben Harper

Wholehearted LIVING

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As I was working out this morning recovering from a long weekend filled with lots of un, and not much of my regular practice, Danielle Laporte’s White Hot Truth book came on shuffle. I’ve listened to it so many times I would have skipped it if I hadn’t been in the middle of an exercise I wasn’t willing to put on pause. And as always with these Universal ways, I heard a sentence I’ve heard a million times, in a completely new light than I’d ever heard it before. The funny truth is I can’t quote it perfectly given that I don’t even know what chapter it was in, or how to find it but the sentiment stuck with me and it felt important to share. “I would rather be honest than consistent.”

I used to struggle a lot with the balance of my various personality types. Never quite sure which side of myself to embrace more than the other almost always feeling pulled in different directions, consistency wasn’t something I would strive for but whole-heartedness was, and subconsciously I felt the two were intrinsically connected.

Wholeness has been something I’ve always worked to achieve, something I’ve strived for, and softened into for quite some time. About a year ago it all sort of clicked for me, wholehearted living was about embracing all sides to who I was, and doing so at all times. Wholehearted living was about living out what felt right deep in my gut, it was about following dreams instead of fears, and it was about doing so in a way that only I could create the path for me. That was my truth, that is my truth, and if I wanted to continue on the path of honest living than I had to tell consistency to screw off.

What makes me laugh today about hearing this sentence from a fresh perspective is that a whole year later, consistency is back and it’s back in a big way. It’s come full circle. I’m sure I’ll lose my way again, that’s just a part of the path but today it feels good to know I feel connected to my own wholehearted living, and I believe that’s in part because I let consistency slide away for awhile.

Living honestly is what connects us with open, wholehearted living. If honesty and consistency seem to line up for you today, amazing, but if it doesn’t today, tomorrow or ever for you, who's to say that’s not okay too? Living your most authentic life means living honestly you. When we’re doing that, everyday is like drinking sweet juicy nectar from the tree of life.

 

My Sister Tribe

There are so many relationships that contribute to who we are, who we become in life. From an early age our parents are the first to begin to shape us. Then we have other adult mentors, babysitters, teachers, older friends or the neighborhood kids. Later in life our inner circle are the people that affect us the most, our romantic relationships, our best friends, and still our parents always and forever in one way or another. As impactful as all of these people can be, there is no one in life quite like your SISTER TRIBE.

When I say sister tribe I’m talking about all of the female relationships in your life. I’m talking about the people that you choose to hold closest in your heart. The women that are your tribe, the women that inspire you, challenge you, shape-shift you, the people who help make us who we are, and help craft us into who we want to become. My sisters are the most important people in my life. I am lucky enough to have two blood related sisters who are my best friends, mentors, angels in my life, to have a mother who is a guiding light, my moral compass and pillar of strength, and at least two handfuls of other ladies who no matter what phase of life I’m in, seem to always trust me, push me, and ask the hard questions to ensure I’m living the best life I could possibly live. These women don’t just inspire me to be a better human, they aren’t just role-models in the workplace, and in the home, and they aren’t just leaders in their fields, specialists in all the roles and titles that they hold, although they most certainly are all of those things as well. For me, these women are influential in driving me to become the woman that I am today, they have changed the course of how I’ve envisioned my life would be tomorrow, and helped me manifest my tomorrow from a place of abundance today.

On International Women’s Day this post goes out to my SISTER TRIBE. There are so many to name, but I’ll start with a few who have been staples in making me the woman I am today. These women have been consistent threads either from the beginning, or entered later in life with a splash, all making an everlasting impact.

 Women's March 2017 with my mama

Women's March 2017 with my mama

My mother.

The woman that holds space for me to be, feel exactly what I need to in each and every moment. The woman that gave me life. The woman that through her strength, her words, her guidance and her love, shows me first hand how to choose, to come from, a loving, present place with every action and every path life takes me down. My mother who has part of her heart in mine, and mine in hers, has given me more courage than she may ever know. Courage to work, to face my fears, courage to let go, to forgive, courage to love, and no matter how many times I’ve fallen, courage to stand back up again. Courage to be me, all because of her love, because of our love.

My blood-sisters.

Two of my biggest teachers. Forever looking up to my big sister, and overly protecting, yet also always looking up, my little sister, we sure have our differences and yet they have been my life’s greatest mirror. Pushing me to see alternate perspectives, to open my mind to other ways of being, other ways of action, of healing, words don’t ever have to be spoken between us, all is understood. You ask the hard questions, you keep me true. In the presence of my blood-sisters, I am most accepted without judgement with these two. I feel the closest feeling to my heart living out in the Universe with the existence and intrinsic connection between my blood-sisters.

My Life & Business Coach, Sarah Khambatta.

This woman has been holding me true to my essence for the last 2.5 years. Never quite knowing what or how she’s going to help me get out of my own head, she always seems to help the flowing tears make sense. She guides me to see between my own words, helping me gain clarity on major life decisions while also empowering me with self confidence when I’m not sure where it went. Together we turn my dreams into action, helping me manifest all my visions while always leaving room for more dreams to come true.

My high-school English teacher Mrs. Nickerson

The first female role-model in my life outside my family. You taught me to trust my words, to trust my heart. You showed me that creative writing could be used for healing, and you taught me that my writing mattered. You reminded me I would never be alone, that there was always someone out there with a story who can relate to my own, that no matter how much pain my heart may feel, that I would be able to get back up and keep living a beautiful life.

My sister-friends.

You are my soul. You are my chosen family. You remind me that community tribe exists. Through thick and thin we will continue to choose one another as our chosen family because we know we want, we choose to do it together. You guide me when you’ve been down the road before me, you comfort me when we’re on different paths because we know we don’t have to experience the same experiences to know, to believe in, to love one another. You motivate me to be the best person I can possibly be.

Every single one of these women have changed the course of my life for the better. There is no one I would rather stand with, hold, hug and do this life with than you beautiful beings. And to all woman out there, may you continue to feel inspired to speak your truth, to stand in your light and to dream until all your dreams come true, and then dream some more! We are in this together!

A Walk in the Mountains...

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Feeling the need for some me time, and faced with a decision that quite literally had a clock running against it, I went on a hike yesterday. I drove myself up to the local mountains and spent the morning and afternoon amongst the trees, the earth, the birds and the wind. Anxious and unsure about what was brewing inside, I spent the entire hike up the mountain hustling, sweating, completely out of breath. It felt incredible to push myself up against the physical boundaries of my body. Once I got to the top, I decided the walk down was going to be leisure, a long meditation. It would be about observation, embracing, and allowing all that needed to come through to come through. I started right where I was, sat down to admire the stillness of the ocean from so high up and pulled out my journal. The hike up had been about the desire to sweat, but it was also a quest for clarity. A big business decision, investment was on my mind and I couldn’t see, or tell if this was what was right for me. Not feeling the words come through, I sat with the view before me. Feeling dis-ease about this decision, afraid that my lack of decision would ultimately be my decision and that had not felt good when executed in the past, still feeling unsettled and traumatized by it before. I looked down at Mother Earth.

Our choices reveal our intentions.

Evolve.

Love.

Things change.

Every one of these were written on a rock deep in the ground. Almost unable to see them anymore the writing had faded over what must have been years, yet incredibly clear to me, these words fell out of the earth. I read them and understood them in this order.

Our choices reveal our intentions.

Evolve.

Love.

Things change.

Funny how the Universe gives you signs, for me they’re never quite in the form of a direct answer, yet they always indirectly reminding me, giving me comfort or confidence in the answer I know they’re supporting.

Alright, I thought. Message received loud and clear, right? Somehow my decision still felt unmade in my body. Frustrated because how do words just fall out of the earth like this and I still not know in my body what the right way forward is? I began my slow, conscious, descent down the mountain. Birds chirping, trees rustling in the wind, animals scurrying away when hearing my footsteps, I stopped on a flat piece of the trail. The sun shining down on this one little spot between the trees, I closed my eyes and listened. I let myself meditate. I asked for answers, got still and then felt frustration again. I wanted more clarity Universe, couldn’t you just give me an answer directly!? I sat there what felt like eternity but was likely around 15 minutes, before moving onto my next stop. Stopping whenever my body wanted to stop throughout the whole trail. I stopped looking so abruptly for the answer and started simply enjoying the walk. Meditating on tree branches, watching the birds fly from treetop to treetop, feeling the wind in my air supporting me, I found a beautiful carved bench at the end of the trail, and laid down for some Breathwork. Crying, laughing, I opened my eyes under the trees. Butterfly number six flew by in that moment.

“There is no wrong answer.”

It was clear as day. There is no wrong answer. Smiling I sat up. I felt comforted, supported, loved. The decision itself still sat above me and when I allowed my mind to go there it would still  cause unsettled discomfort from my insides out, but I recognize that I will allow it to come to fruition when it’s ready. And now I know, I feel, that no matter what, there is no wrong answer.

Funny how the Universe provides messages, and if we’re looking for them we can see them, find them and maybe even interrupt them exactly how we want to interpret them. We might even doubt what we have received, feel insecure about it, unsure that it’s what’s right and talk ourselves out of it, but to me, the most glorious piece of all is knowing that when the answer is meant to come to you, you will hear it loud and clear, clear as day.

The following day, which just happens to have been this morning, I went to a spiritual coffee and chat conversation with a group of like-minded ladies. At the end of the chat one of the women asked me how I got the courage to follow my dreams, to make such big changes in my life and to do so fearlessly. I smiled, feeling my insides light up with fire at the word fearlessly. I told her and the others the story of my hike yesterday, of hearing from my inner guidance, and then making a choice to listen to it, whatever that meant. I told them I didn’t believe in fearlessness, that I have yet to have met anyone that does not have fear, but rather I meet a lot of people who choose to move forward with fear in the backseat. I explained how for me it’s about the baby steps, it’s about being open to hearing from my inner voice, and then being courageous enough to listen to it, to act on it and to do so in whichever way felt right to me and for me in the moment.

Me in this moment knows the right decision for me and it makes me a little sad. I wanted the answer to be one way and it’s just not. I promised myself a long time ago I would always honor my intuition, and I haven’t had conflicting branches with what my intuition wants and what my conscious mind wants in awhile. I forgot that sometimes they’re not aligned and that it’s okay. It’s my journey to lean into TRUST and to trust that my intuition is telling me this direction for a reason.

Some of my favorite things about changing my relationship with food...

Over the last 6 months I’ve been changing my relationship with food. I’ve been working with a nutritionist, learning things about my body, cutting out booze and sweets altogether, and for the first time in my life actually looking at my relationship with food.

I used to be incredibly irritated by people who talked about clean eating, superfoods, eating consciously, and all the other buzzwords that surround the food and wellness community. And although I still find myself slightly triggered by them, if I’ve learned anything in this last half year, it’s that when I put things in my body that feel good, I FEEL GOOD. I know magic right!?

One of my favorite things about this whole experience has been the gift of clarity. (Well that and the fact that I lost 15 pounds overall, 6 of which were in the first 2 weeks, that feels pretty damn good too.) Without constant stomach aches all the time I could feel myself able to tap into this crystal clear vision. It was as though I suddenly had significant more time because I wasn’t constantly trying to solve my stomach aching, or figure out what I ate that was wrong, or worse, come up with yet another remedy that I knew would only be temporary until the next stomach ache. Eating different foods, trying different recipes and overall putting things that feel good to my body has created this genuine clarity within my body giving me stronger insights in my life, direction, actions to take, and more intuitive hits for my clients and the people I was surrounding myself with.

Even more than all these incredible benefits, I finally feel like myself again. This is probably my favorite part of this whole experience. It’s this feeling that has made every single night I brought my own broccoli soup over to a friend’s house, or sat there with a club soda while everyone else was hammered, absolutely, 100% worth it. Feeling like myself again has allowed me to stand in pictures and not cringe when I see them, to wear a bathing suit and not completely want to die. Don’t get me wrong I still have my self-conscious moments, and I can hear my monkey brain jump to all my own self-judgements in both of those situations, but I’m able to bring myself back to the reminder of how hard I worked. I’m able to see what I’ve done and allow myself to keep living my life in a way that feels right to me, while also not hurting myself anymore.

It feels good to feel like yourself! That to me is the moral of this story, and if I need the reminder again, I have this beautiful post to come back to.

 Lanston Sport video shoot, feeling completely, authentically ME!

Lanston Sport video shoot, feeling completely, authentically ME!

Whole Balance

“It’s a myth. Balance is a myth.” - my bestie, mother of a 2-year old and creator of a beautifully curated online and pop-up vintage store called Folk & Cup.

 WILD HEARTS: A virtual journey to create more balance in our lives!

WILD HEARTS: A virtual journey to create more balance in our lives!

People live their lives striving for balance, following balance around, always reaching for and maybe sometimes, although I’d say rarely, obtaining it. It’s something that seems to sit just out of reach and I’m not sure that it’s at the fault of anyone  else, but rather that balance isn’t something that’s sitting there waiting for you to begin with. My bestie is an entrepreneur, a mother, a wife, a best friend and has many other labels and roles to play in her life. On a daily basis she can be pulled in many different directions, stepping into entrepreneur role while her toddler naps, keeping the young-one entertained as he explores and learns the world around him during the day, and preparing dinner for her family at night so she can have an hour or two of quality time with her hubby when he gets home. All the while sneaking time in between everything else to keep an active social media presence for her brand, bringing in new opportunities to bring her pieces to the best shops in her town, and creating a beautiful set-up when she pop-ups at flea markets. Just calling attention to the many things that require her attention makes me feel a little unbalanced and as a result feel like maybe she has a point, maybe balance really is a myth?

Last week I saw Arianna Huffington speak at a conference about “Thriving in this Digital World”. Already a big fan and follower of Ms. Huffington, I was diligently taking notes throughout her speech feeling all around great about how I’m currently choosing to live life and what I’m doing for myself to ensure I’m THRIVING. When commenting on “work-life balance” and what that means to her she said, “It’s not about working longer or working harder. It’s about working smarter…” She went on to say that it’s not about finding work-life balance, it’s about creating the life you want to live for yourself. My bestie’s belief on balance started feeling more real.

After spending more than a decade in corporate America myself, there’s a lot of talk around the subject of work-life balance, and yet seemingly significantly less action. When it comes down to it, the company needs you to do what they need you to do. As middle to upper management, never quite the big dog on campus myself, our roles and responsibilities never changed no matter what was in front of us. The number of mental breakdowns some of my team members had around me feeling overwhelmed by their work-load, yet never wanting to vocalize where they were coming from for fear that there was someone right behind them in the cue ready to step-in and give their everything to the position, broke my heart. You shouldn’t give your everything to your company. You should work smart, be clear, give your heart, but keep your soul for yourself. Keep your soul for your family, for your loved ones and for the life that is waiting to be lived around you outside of your office doors.

Arianna speaks a lot about balance in the workplace, and creating a shift from within the company culture as that’s the only way companies will create true impactful change. But as individuals, what can we do to ensure that balance doesn’t slip between our fingers? How can we take control of balance in our own life?

I believe it begins by feeling into what balance means to you across the board in your life. Do you feel balanced in your healthy lifestyle, do you feel balanced with your time and how you spend it, do you feel balanced with your friends, social life, family, spirituality. There are so many ways for balance to bleed into your life, and just as many ways for balance to feel like a lie. No option is wrong, I think it’s about choosing what balance means to you.

For me balance in healthy living, healthy eating, exercise, has always been a struggle for me. Having participated in weight watchers on and off since I was 16, always feeling like I was overweight and struggling with self-control, somewhere along the line I began telling myself this story that balance with food for me would always be a struggle. After 15+ years of  telling myself that story, not so weird that it became the truest form in which I lived by with food. I would fall off the wagon and get back on more times than I could count - (a story every food battler knows well). When I started working with a nutritionist now 6 months ago, I thought - THIS IS IT. This is the big change I’m not just looking to make, but I’m CHOOSING to make in my life. AND, this isn’t just a change momentarily, this is a lifestyle change. And change it certainly did. I spent the last 6 months hyper aware of what I was eating, finally drinking enough water, eating enough vegetables and generally working out as I should be. I lost 15 pounds, exactly what I was hoping for, and felt like myself again, confident and comfortable in my own skin, and although the voice saying “you  shouldn’t eat that, you should eat this” was still going on, she became much smaller. I was talking to myself like I loved myself again.

The funny thing about this massive change though is that it’s not one and done. (I know, of course right? Silly of me to think otherwise) I guess I had hoped that because I had made such huge strides forward, had done such deep work on myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually and all in connection with my relationship to food, I thought I would heal my mind and maybe that little voice would get so small that one day she wouldn’t be there. Then one night, I had a few too many drinks, ate things that don’t feel good to my body and Monday morning I’m back at it, feeling frustrated with myself, and little voice has gotten louder again. The shift I’m choosing to make today that’s different from before is I’m choosing not to berate myself. I’m choosing to accept the choices I made, I enjoyed myself nonetheless snf I do tend to have an overindulgence side to me. I’m comfortable with that, at least for now. But today, I choose balance again. I haven’t lost balance, she’s not something to reach for and pretend that she’s attainable in tangible form. But today I choose balance within my body and for my body, balance with what I’m eating, with what feels good and I’m choosing to act on what feels good.

Maybe it’s not that balance is a myth as much as it is a state of mind as opposed to something to be striving for. Balance today feels like a feeling, a core desired feeling because when I feel balanced, I feel unstoppable, authentic, and in flow.  Maybe finding balance or connecting with balance is about implanting, choosing the lifestyle that comes with whatever the word itself means to you, in your life and for the betterment of your life.

End of the Year Analysis

It’s the end of 2017. That means we’ve almost made it through 12 months, 365 days, 8760 hours and I’m not positive about you, but I know for me and I’m assuming you, that A LOT has happened! Some of us have more sadness in our lives than we had hoped 2017 would bring, while some of us have more love, created bonds and unions with new people helping us see more of the beauty and love in this lifetime. Or maybe you’re like me and have experienced both sadness, and deep darkness in juxtaposition to all your happiness and love. No matter where you are I know one is for sure, you changed, you evolved and you right where you are to be. Where you are right now in this moment of your life, is exactly where you are supposed to be. To clarify, it’s not that I think “everything happens for a reason” because that would insinuate that bad things happen to good people for a reason. However, I do believe that there is a gift to be seen in pain, just as much as there is a gift to be seen in happiness. It’s okay if you’re not yet ready to look at the gifts behind your pain, you will be one day and if you so choose to do the emotional and mental work you can, you will, transform your pain into power.

All of this is my incredibly long introduction to something I’ve had so much fun doing these last few years, and that is - an end of the year analysis. Doing these exercises have been incredibly helpful in wrapping my head around how it could possibly be the end of another year, while at the same time reflecting both on all the successes, gratitudes, lessons and creating a path forward from this place of abundance with today. In hopes of inspiring you to reflect on your wonderful life, wounds, scars and all, I’m sharing my year end analysis with you, and I encourage you to do your own analysis. These exercises are a combination of love from spiritual guide Danielle Laporte and my recommendation for a Life Coach, Sarah Khambatta.

End of the Year Analysis Overview

  1. Reflect back on this past year, what really mattered to you? What was the most important moments, experiences, from 2017?

  2. Reflect back on the changes you would like to make in your life. This isn’t about regrets, it’s about noticing where you are physically, where you are emotionally, and calling attention to the changes you would like to make in your life

  3. Stop Doing List: what in your life is completely out of whack? What could you stop doing to change that? What do you want to let go of and not bring with you into 2018?

  4. Gratitude. Gratitude because it brings everything into perspective. Bringing forthw hat in your life you are grateful for allows you to notice all the beauty that surrounds you, be sure to claim why you’re grateful, specificity creates more abundance within your gratitude.

My End of the Year Analysis

Reflect back...what really mattered about this past year

  • Pushing my practice forward

  • Moving in with my beloved, I love the life we’ve built, and continue building together and I look forward to many more memories with him

  • Making progress on writing my book

  • Feeling like I’m on a path of creation

 

What do I want to change both about where I’m at physically and emotionally

  • Continue to hold space for myself as I heal my own wounds and scars

  • Eliminate stressing about money

  • My calendar: it often feels burdensome, I’d like to allow more time for me to be creative with my time

  • Physically, I’d like to make progress on finding a spacious house, with a backyard, a healing center, additional rooms for my family to grow into, more storage and closet space

 

Stop Doing list // What’s out of WHACK that I don’t want to bring into the New Year...

  • Negative self talk and this layer of soft rage I give to myself (emotionally, physically, the works!)

  • Comparison Syndrome and/or Competing Syndrome

  • Procrastinating on standing big, expanding into my light

  • Texting and driving

  • Eating dairy and gluten

  • Letting other people decide if I’m doing a good job or not

  • Harking on my man

  • Complaining about having a lack of time

  • Saying, or feeding the energy of “lack of money” in any way shape or form

  • My sleep schedule, continue to allow myself 8 hours, and go to bed reasonable times so that I can get that

  • Continue with exercise I have been on for the last few weeks

 

Conscious Gratitude, be specific and explain why

  • I’m exceedingly grateful for my mobility because it’s how I’m able to be creative, how I express myself when I’m feeling heavy, it’s how I sweat and improve how I feel about my body, it’s how I connect with nature having my feet on the ground and feeling the earth inside me

  • The deepest of gratitude for my Breathwork practice and my Breathwork community because they help me feel me, they make me feel open, loved, they help me reconnect with me and remind me, without even saying a word, of my own authenticity

  • Love. because love is what has gotten me through my darkest days. Love with people, from people, love with the world, with nature, it’s love of myself knowing when to listen and when to help myself. Love.

ENJOY THE LAST FEW WEEKS, DAYS OF 2017, AND KNOW THAT WHEREVER YOU ARE, IS RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE TO BE. YOU’RE DOING GREAT, AND THERE’S ONLY MORE GROWTH AND EVOLUTION TO COME!

Loving the Way I FEEL AND What I Eat!

I love food, I always have. I love food the way it tastes, I love food that is good for me, I love the sociability, the act of getting together over a delicious meal, I love enjoying food with other people, but mostly, I just love food that tastes good. When I decided to go on a detox almost three months ago now, it was because I knew something needed to change in my life. I had completely become unaware of what I was putting in my body, and I knew I was beyond dieting. I needed support in changing my relationship to food. 

lovingfoodblog.jpg

Over these last three months, I can feel my relationship to food evolving. I do still crave cheese, and I’m not sure anything, losing weight, any feeling, clarity or otherwise would be enough to make me not crave cheese, but I don’t crave it as much as I did in the beginning. And, I definitely don’t sugar as much anymore. I’ve curbed the sugar habit quite strongly actually, and that feels really good. I saw people eating chocolate chip cookies on their plates at a meeting the other evening, and although I kind of wanted one, at the same time, I really didn’t care. I cared more about wanting the tuna and mayo sandwiches than anything which is so funny. I just miss mayo. I know people aren’t supposed to miss that because we all know it’s so bad for us that people just cut it out, but I do, I miss it and I know how bad it is for me but I still miss it.

My mother has always used to ask me, “you really NEED to have each and every meal you eat absolutely delicious don’t you?” and I really did because I’ve always felt like why the fuck not? This is the one life I get to live and I want to enjoy food. Now, I don’t want to be obese and I don’t want to be overweight so I can’t fully overindulge, at least the way I have been, but I do still want to enjoy my meals. And if that means enjoying french fries, then I'm going to order some! But on this detox I've had to find alternatives to french fries, other foods that could potentially fulfill part of the craving so I wasn't left feeling deprived, while also not filling my body up with fried foods. Luckily, I really am enjoying my meals with the way I've been cooking. For Thanksgiving I even made homemade dairy, gluten and soy free mashed potatoes, stuffing, AND gravy. And to add to the mix, I made a dairy, gluten and soy free creamed corn casserole dish to share with my whole family and everyone loved it! There wasn’t even any leftovers the next day of the vegan dish that I brought to the family dinner! It really was an incredible experience to have a delicious Thanksgiving feast, and yet not feel like I was missing out on anything. AND, the best part, I didn’t hate my body or how I felt the next day.

Figuring out how to eat meals elsewhere, going out and at friends houses, has not always been fun, but it certainly has been an interesting challenge. What’s really fun is when I find a meal, or create a meal that is absolutely delicious, and yet it has no cheese and an incredibly healthy balance of proteins, vegetables and little to no starches or carbs. That feels like true accomplishment! Tasting the detailed flavors in zucchini, squash, brussels sprouts, and really enjoying the flavor/addition of olive oil in a way I never really noticed before, actually feels a little embarrassing to admit. Mixed in with this embarrassment is pride because I finally feel like I’m treating my body the way it should be treated and I'm enjoying food along the way! I’m proud of where I stand with this shift I’m making, and I love the way I feel. And that, is without a doubt, the best part of my changing relationship with food, loving the way I feel!

Shifting The Energy Around My Relationship with Food

To set the stage, for the last 2.5 months, I have been on a full body detox. That means for 2 months I removed alcohol, coffee, dairy, gluten, refined sugar, and most carbs and starches. Contrary to what you may be thinking now, I actually have been okay without all of this. There are certainly some stories, late night cravings, intense realizations, but generally, I've been doing just fine. More to come on the 2.5 months, my experiences, my food journaling etc. but for this, I want to talk about my relationship with food. 

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Shifting the energy around my relationship with food has been a lot harder than the 10 pounds I’ve lost. It’s harder than saying no to the cheese quesadilla with a flour tortilla {I know I’m such a daredevil} that I’m craving so much. It’s harder than all these things because this is about changing the way I feel and think about myself.

I preach a lot of SELF LOVE, both to my students in my own profession, and for myself as a way to ensure I still feel, am connected to me on a daily basis. I believe I have a solid foundation of self love, however, when it comes to my body I’m used to always being overly critical. I look back at pictures of myself when my beloved and I first started dating, {about 4 years ago now} and I think wow I was skinny and looked good then. And yet I KNOW for a fact, when that picture was taken, I remember looking at it thinking I was overweight. Changing this energy around my relationship with food and what I think about myself is and has been the hardest part of these last few months of this nutrition detox. I’ll stand in a beer garden, at the local pub all day with people drinking and eating fries around me if it meant I didn’t have to work so damn hard on shifting this energy, but then again, so it goes.

In an effort to continue shifting this energy, I’m to come up with a different name for my Fat Jeans. You know, the pants you bought and the only pants you wear now because you’re a solid 15 pounds fatter than you’ve ever been, and the rest of your pants don’t fit but you refuse to buy any more pants because you will eventually fit into all the rest of the wardrobe again. No...Just me??  Okay, ya right. Anyway, my Fat Jeans. I had to roll them the other day! A full, complete roll just to keep them up, which was nothing less than FUCKING FANTASTIC! And yet, I’m still calling them my fat jeans. So, I’m coming up with a different name for my Fat Jeans and will feel the empowerment energy rather than the negative, self-deprecating talk energy.

Here’s my brainstorm:

Overweight Pants

Hefty Pants

Not Me Pants

Too Big Pants

Larger Pants

I think I’m getting better, kinder to me as this goes on. I’ll keep going…

Holey Baggy Pants

Boyfriend-Looking Jeans

Attractive-On-Me Jeans (I think I’m meant to be a wardrobe namer)

Comfy, Sexy Baggy Jeans

Sexy Jeans!

I feel good about the direction of that list and can feel the energy shifting inside me even as I just write out new potential names for these jeans. Here is to an ever growing, ever changing, but mostly ever evolving healthy relationship with food!

Talking to Our Inner Little BadAss

 Source:  Tumblr

Source: Tumblr

When that movie “Inside Out” came out, I walked out of the theatre with my family smiling from ear to ear. “Genius!” My sister screamed, “that was absolutely genius!” I’m not going to lie as much as I loved that movie, I was also a little jealous. I was jealous because years prior, I’m talking a solid 8 years prior to this movie, I had told a friend, when I was living in Spain about the little girl that lives inside my head. I was jealous because I had been meaning to write about this little girl, to tell people about it in some way and I felt like this movie stole the idea from inside my body. Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the power of this in her book “Big Magic” how this is how it works with creative ideas. That if you have a creative idea you need to execute on it, otherwise the idea will travel to someone else and they will execute it. Ideas want to be born, and that’s what happened. Although in truth, my idea was, still is, very different, it was rooted in the same thinking that there were little people inside our heads helping us live our life.  

This little girl that lives inside my head, holds the very important job of managing me. She manages my mind, my thoughts, my emotions, my experiences, my memories, in essence, she manages everything that happens with my mind because that’s her job. She spends her days driving around in my mind on a fork-lift filing away memories, thoughts, emotions, storing different experiences, all with the intention of helping me keep them all straight. If I forget I’ve met someone before, and the name escapes, or I’ve forgotten a key memory, or I just can’t seem to recall an experience, it’s because my little girl either took the day off, was taking a nap, on her lunch break, meditating or maybe had a little too much to drink, which sometimes happens, and the memory was filed in the wrong cabinet, or it fell to the floor {I don’t think it’s all that organized in my head}. I certainly don’t blame my little girl, she has a very exhausting job, managing me and all, and she really is quite good at her job.

Over the years, I’ve built/am building a deeper relationship with her. Everything I experience, she experiences too, and to the tenth degree because it’s her job to help me manage the experience. All the sadness that my body processes, she feels too. When I fight with my beloved, she feels it too. When I’m flourishing and ecstatic about the evolution of my job, she’s up there jumping up and down on her forklift chair. Everything I feel, she feels, and she always has my best interest at heart.

I spoke to her in a meditation session once. I saw her standing there, this time not in my head but in my belly, below my belly button deep in my sacral chakra. She was looking up at me with sad eyes. She wanted a hug. I hugged her, I told her I was listening, she nodded, she doesn’t say much, I do all the talking for us. I told her I know. I promised her I heard her wishes, and then I asked if I could have more time. She empathetically nodded, and we hugged. My body exploded with love in this embrace between us.

In that embrace she reminded me of one simple thing - LISTEN. Listen to my heart, listen to my deepest desires, listen to my body, listen to my emotions, listen to my intuition, listen to my inner little girl. We all have a little person inside of us just waiting to come out, to be discovered, to be listened to. They’re there as our companion, a friend to help us navigate the world, and they just want to be heard.

Feeling Feelings

“If you want to live an extraordinary life, you have to give up many of the things that are part of a normal one.” -Srinivas Rao medium.com

It's true. It's so true and yet we forget this truth in an effort to fit in, not stand out too much and to live a "normal" life. Although none of us truly know what normalcy really is I do know that normalcy is what you decide to make of it. Your normal can be as weird as all hell to your pal on your right, while their normal makes absolutely no sense to you. It doesn't matter. You live your life by the definitions you choose but the one thing you cannot stop, or decide to live without is feelings.

Feeling feelings. It's the worst of times, it's the best of times. When we're happy, feeling our feelings is incredible, we think nothing of it and embrace the happiness with our everything. When we're sad, when someone hurts us, when we hurt ourselves, when we hide our feelings, pushing them way down to the dark abyss that is our bodies, we're emotionally stunting ourselves at a place in life when these emotions happened. Everything after that is a result of not allowing feelings to be felt.

They say time heals all wounds. I believed and sometimes still believe in this. But what's to be said about letting time pass? About allowing the pain and the wounds to dissipate, {if they do} until you find that one day you're simply floating through the motions that are your life? What then? Do we allow for time to continue to pass even though the time that has passed has yet to have healed the wounds? Sure the wounds might have gotten better but the pain doesn't dissipate. 

Balance. It's a balance, it's always a balance. Life is a balance and when we live in harmonious balance with taking action to drive our lives forward, to heal us, AND give control and power to the Universe allowing it to lead us, that's when the magic happens. It's true when we're speaking about our lives, about love, and it's especially true when we're feeling feelings. 

Sometimes there is no action you can take to make yourself feel better. There's certainly a lot of action we can take to numb our pain, {insert your device of choice here} but there isn't always a devised plan ready for you to step into to soothe the pain and when that happens, the only way out is to FEEL your FEELINGS.

I know I want to live an extraordinary life and if this means giving up my expectations of what to do with pain, of what to do with the difficult emotions, I'm all in. I give myself permission to let it all be felt, to cry in the car when it comes, AND to laugh erratically at a grocery store. It will all come through and that to me, is creating the parameters for me to live an extraordinary life. 

Feel your feelings. Give space for healing. Take action. Believe. Give space for healing. Let go. Live in balance. Give space for healing. Live. Live. Keep living.

 FLICKR.com/stevosshots

FLICKR.com/stevosshots

Play with Our Inner Child

Our to-do lists are important. They keep us on track, move us towards our goals, expanding us beyond our wildest dreams and usually, they help us get things done. But lately, my to-do list has become a block to my creativity. I have so much on this list, all of which are important, all of which will move my business forward, that I’m leaving no room for creative expression, for movement, for play. My inner child has been screaming at me in more ways than one and I was so blinded by my to-do list, I heard nothing. Well, let’s be honest here, clearly I CHOSE not to hear her. It felt unproductive listening to her. Taking a nap in the middle of the day, going to look at the ocean and reading a book, drawing, writing, dreaming up what my new apartment would look like, that would all take up too much time, and none of which would grant me the satisfaction of checking off a box on my list.

Today is the first day in weeks where I’ve begun to feel energized and I can’t help but notice that last night, and this morning, I let my inner child create. After a day of feeling the intensified emotions of everything going on astrologically and internally, last night I finally decided to tap into the energy of this Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse and use my hands. I began by remaking my vision board, getting really clear with my order for the Universe even leaving spaces for the things I don’t yet see and know will be given structure soon. Then I went to sleep, utterly exhausted and fully surrendering to the hours my body was asking for. No alarm, I awoke and pushed myself out to work out outside. Energized by the movement, I came back and finished putting together my desk space. I hung pictures I used to not know where they would go, and I created a working environment filled with flowers, color and magic that made my little girl smile from ear to ear.

Despite the amount of time it took, and despite the part of me that felt extremely insecure about how many hours I technically clocked in for today, once I was done and I sat down to write my emails and get the necessities done for the day, my body feels like a different body than it has been. It’s as if listening to my inner child, giving myself permission to exist with her fully for the last 3 hours gave the rest of my body permission to thrive in my work again.

I’m working on listening to her, my inner child, when she wants to play, stopping to play, when she wants to cry, letting her cry. It will take reminding, but knowing that I will thrive even more than I could imagine if I listen to her, if I give myself permission to JUST BE with her, is my motivation. That, and who am I to deny a girl who’s asking for a night of Disney movies?! As I write this I notice a soft pink haze in the skyline, and my girl’s let me know she’s quite pleased as pink is her favorite color. Ew, my mind thinks, I am so not a pink person. But I guess PINK it will be for you sweet girl.

My Judgement Triggered Shame

After watching Brene Brown’s TED talk on Vulnerability, it got me thinking about shame and my experiences with it. As I was about to write-it all off thinking - “I’m just not the type of person whose experienced shame”, an interaction I had been involved in blew up. Instantly I was infuriated, all parts of my body were triggered and I could feel myself jump towards self defense. Luckily, before acting on any of those protective mechanisms, I recognized what was happening immediately and was able to calm myself down and dissect the situation at hand. What hit me hard was the realization that I was swimming in a pool of judgement, both for myself and externally.

Judgement shows up in many various forms, and often when our conscious minds choose judgement as an initial thought, we might not even recognize the sensation as judgement. It got me thinking, as these types of self-help analysis moments do, and I realized that no matter what type of judgement is being experienced, all types can be connected back to self insecurities. Maybe that’s a mind blower, or maybe you’ve learned this a long time ago, either way, stay with me for a moment…

We experience judgement in a number of ways, these three came top of mine for me: 1) because of actions someone else is doing/has done that you don’t like, 2) experiencing judgement because of external circumstances that have nothing to do with you, or 3) feeling judgement sparked because of jealousy. Every single one of these judgement experiences are correlated directly with secondary emotions. Judgement itself is a secondary emotion. As a result, all can be tied back to something you judge, something you don’t like or something you’re insecure about, within yourself.

I consider myself a fairly awake individual. I can feel when my body or mind is not grounded, I have a great set of tools to use that help be get grounded, or reconnect with my body when I’m off kilter, I even teach Meditation in many different forms, and yet I find myself still in a battle with judgement. And yet even consciously knowing this and subconsciously being aware of what sits behind judgement, I still find it extremely difficult to have an awareness of the judgement as it comes up, so that I can recognize what insecurity it may be triggering.

In my Breathwork Meditation sessions, we work to release negative emotions, to release stories that we’ve given permission to to define us so we can choose to come from love, from our  connected, authentic selves. Because judgement sits behind so many other primary emotions, I find it hard to connect with judgement, so that I may release it, in my own practice. Judgement for me is typically triggered at unexpected times throughout life and although I know that my own practice continues to help me create an awareness around when it’s being triggered, I have yet to master the tools that allow me to practice a ‘feel it and release meditation’ in each moment.

Even the most enlightened individuals must feel judgement at some point in their lives, right? Is judgement something that everyone feels, or experiences at some point? I’m not even sure this should matter, but the self-judgement that comes up when my judgement of others comes up, hits me hard. I don’t like that piece of me, and I feel a deep sense shame when it does surface. I’m a teacher, I’m a guide, I’m a facilitator or truth, of light, how can I feel judgement? It’s even terrifying imagining putting this piece out in the world, like I’m exposing something of myself that once it’s known, people will think I’m a fraud. Maybe that’s just it, work on my own self-judgement and I’ll more deeply understand the judgement that comes up for me with others. As my teacher David Elliott says… “A judgement I have about you that’s really about me is….”

I vow to continue bringing awareness to judgement when she rears her ugly, (or sometimes pretty in a self-righteous kind of way) head. In the moment, let judgement fill me up, fully recognize that it is a secondary emotion and allow the true emotion behind the judgement to surface. Feel that completely circulating throughout my body, and then move on.

Awareness is everything.

Poems for the Self-Discoverer

By: Jenna Michelle Reiss

Alive

That was the thing about her,

Her dream following was contagious, her desire for more, for the authentic life was inspirational to many and necessary to her.

The catharsis of relief when she was HER was all she knew,

Some call it selfish, she called it unstoppable.

That was the thing about her, she was stripped vulnerable, she was REAL.

 

Me

Today I choose to be ME

The ME who is strong yet working with her own softness.

The ME who strives to achieve and remain filled with inspiration.

The creative ME who dreams visions to life

The ME who chooses my essence above all else.

The ME who falls back to habitual ways of being yet refuses to stay there always searching for the footing in my more evolved state.

The ME who knows and comfortably lives in the world of vulnerability while also struggles to feel.

The ME who despises vulnerability if it means negativity.

The ME who is my shadow.

Me, light worker, truth handler with drops of self-righteous judgement, I choose ME because there’s no one else I’d rather be.

 Via:  Pinterest

To the fear that lives in the back of my throat -

First of all, thank you. Thank you for trying so hard to ensure that you always look out for me. I know you see this as protecting me and your tactics have protected me many times in the past, especially from making that terribly rash, emotionally driven decision. With what I'm doing now though, you can trust me. I got you. I'm going to make this work for us because I know I'm in flow with the Universe. The Universe is supporting me, supporting us and it will always lead us down the right path. I can promise you this fear. Of course along the way if you have any questions, ask me! I'm an open book and I'm more than happy to answer anything I can to the best of my ability. I know understanding helps soothe you. I might not always know all the answers though, and when I say I don't know yet, trust that I'm exploring it. Really know that in these cases, I'm usually asking the exact same questions, and I trust, I know, that when my body knows the answer and is ready for my mind to catch up, I'll be listening. And then fear, you will be the first to know what I know. 

You haven't been driving my life for some time now, but I sure know that this is a first for us. Don't feel defeated. I truly am grateful for your protection, for helping me hear you when it's time to listen - but in this part of my life, curiosity, motivation and most of all my passion are driving. I know that is tough to hear so here is what I promise to you fear - 

  • I promise to lean in to you when it's what's right

  • I promise to listen, to surrender when it's the right time for you to speak

  • I promise to make decisions from my body

  • I promise to always make sure that my instincts are listened to and I hope you find some reassurance with that 

  • I promise to always do Breathwork so that I'm hearing from you, and so I know the difference between listening to you and reacting on it

  • I promise to still my mind and watch my thoughts as a practice to keep me open 

  • Most of all, I promise to be true to me, to my authentic self. 

That's the life we're going to live together. Until we speak again...

All my love,
Jenna

Self-Care Saturday!

Self-Care has been top of mind for me recently, and as it seems to be, when topics get pushed to the forefront of my attention, it’s usually because I am being forced to face the issues myself. So, to lay all my cards on the table, I have not been taking care of myself. The other week I had about 7 different emotional breakdowns varying from understandable breakdowns, rationales I or my boyfriend could make sense of or at least comprehend where they were coming from, communication breakdowns, all the way to unreasonably dramatic, rollercoaster breakdowns. It was a fun ride, (said sarcastically in case you couldn’t tell) and probably more than anyone else, really fun for my boyfriend! Unable to see clearly through this haze, my boyfriend kindly suggested I go to bed earlier one night. It was the smallest change to make, so clear, so simple and yet I wasn’t even able to see that this was a possible solution that could start helping me feel better. Being that I was blindly leading myself further down instead of helping myself in anyway, it became clear to me that when the breakdowns become excessive or the clarity becomes obsolete, that I need to take that as a sign that I am in need of giving myself some tender love and care.

Self-Care – what this means to me is doing something that makes your soul sing, or at least makes you feel good, peaceful and loved. When you can feel peace in your body, you feel stability and balance in your life as opposed to balancing the imperfections. It can be the simplest action, just as long as you feel good while you’re doing it, and you notice you feel good afterwards because that’s the true sign of taking care of yourself.

Sometimes self-care is back to the basics- get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, follow your routine. Once you’ve started doing the basics for you again, you can start to think about what other self-caring methods are out there for you to tap into, to introduce to your life. Since my last breakdown last Thursday, I have been doing everything I can to balance my imperfections. Here are just 5 simple things I’ve been doing to take to better care of myself, and you can easily implement as well without massively disrupting your life. In other words, try some, or at least one, of these out and see if any work for you. If not, develop your own manageable yet soul-filling self-care methods.

1.     Working out: Moving my body in some way always reminds me that I care about myself. I’ve taken a cycling class, gone to the gym and read a good book on the elliptical, gone for a walk around the block with a girlfriend, and taken a yoga class. I’m moving myself, breaking a sweat at least once a day. It really doesn’t matter what type of movement or work-out you do, and you certainly don’t have to force yourself to run if you simply don’t like running. Move your body in some way way, whether that’s your favorite kick-boxing class, a yoga class, or just a walk around the block, move your body in some way to push the body to feel healthy again

2.     Meditating: Close your eyes, let your feet touch the floor, and quiet the mind. I know quieting the mind seems near impossible with the 60 thousand thoughts a day we have as humans, but start practicing just getting quiet, being quiet and recognizing what your thoughts are, where your mind is going. Meditating allows for the nervous system to slow, for the default mode to slow down and recognize the appropriate response to have as opposed to reactionary responses. Neurologically, it physically shrinks the amgydala, the part of your brain that holds stress. 

3.     Eating better: this doesn’t have to mean eat perfectly. This doesn’t have to mean you aren’t allowed to eat chocolate, or have that delicious plate of pasta. It just means be a little better. Make a smoothie in the morning, put a few cups of greens in because you know you aren’t eating enough greens. Be aware of what you’re putting in your mouth on a daily basis, snacks included, and eat what feels good to the body.

4.     Journaling: Too many people believe that because they aren’t a writer, journaling isn’t necessary, or just isn’t something that they do. I say, so you’re not a writer, all the better! You can get your “SFD – Shitty First Drafts” as Brenee Brown calls them, out on paper, you word vomit all over a notebook that only you see and you give yourself relief from the words, relief from the stories allowing yourself to no longer be defined by them, or at least open yourself up to the process of no longer letting them control your life.

5.     Have Fun! These last few weeks, I was so busy focusing on all the things I needed to get done, the boxes I needed to unpack, the things we had to buy to make this place a home, so focused on my own to-do list for the 3 different jobs I’m managing right now, that I forgot how fun it is to just have fun! I forgot how freeing it can be to let lose with people you love, giggle, vent, stay up too late laughing! I forgot that I have the power to create the balance between my having fun, and my productivity. So, I’m proud to say that all weekend long last weekend, I had fun, and did not unpack or touch a single thing in this new home!

So self-care Saturday is becoming a thing in my household! Basically this just means I am empowering myself, and those I love to take care of themselves and do one take, take one manageable action for yourself every single Saturday. Whether that’s a simple work out, a few minutes of alone time, some deep breaths in the fresh air, or something bigger like a hike, or a day trip, DO YOU. Only when we take care of ourselves do we open ourselves up to happier, healthier and more balanced lives. If you're intrigued by all this, I have a Self-Care Saturday workshop coming up in April where we'll be gathering strong, inspiring, loving women to support one another to give ourselves some self-care and attention! You can see more event details here.