Grateful Reflections

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Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for years. I love the idea of getting together with family and friends to give thanks. One of my favorite traditions is friendsgiving which is a way to share the holiday with friends to reflect on the wonderful things that have happened, the trials that were overcome and the beauty of finding a group of likeminded people to share life with.

Family is also very important to me and in the past couple years, I have extended my family with a recent engagement. When I got specific on what I wanted in a future partner, someone who was close to their family was near the top of the list. It brings me so much joy that both of our families have welcomed each other with open arms. It feels loving, exciting and just right.

As I reflect on thanksgiving, I see that even though there were times of scarcity and sadness but there are so many joyful moments to celebrate. I am firm believer in the fact that my needs are always provided for. Even when it feels tight, I have everything I need and that is comforting.

Here are a few things I am celebrating this thankgsgiving (and always)…

Getting Engaged: For years, I didn’t think this would happen. I had dated and had my heart broken several times. But then, I decided to manifest my dream man. I sat down and got specific on what I really wanted and refused to settle for anything less. Little did I know, he was doing the same and the day we met, I knew he was my person. He proposed to me in June while we were on a hike (one of my favorite things to do). I am grateful for him and the journey and I can’t wait to marry him next year.

Collaborations with creative and soulful entrepreneurs: There are so many beautiful and creative minds and I am fortunate to have collaborated with a few this year. It is my desire to collaborate in this healing and creative space of coaching and it truly was an honor to be a part of a few awesome projects.

Seeing two of my favorite authors speak: I have been reading and following Shauna Niequist and Brene Brown for years. I was so excited to see them on their book tours for their amazing books, Present Over Perfect and Braving the Wilderness Seeing them speak was so inspiring and encouraging.

Holding my book for the first time: After years of trying to get published, it felt surreal to see a book with my name on the cover and my words inside of it. I still can’t believe it when I picked it up. It was crazy to see it in Barnes and Noble as well. Having a book published was probably #1 on my bucket list since I was 9 years old! I am so thankful for all the kind emails and reviews I have received and for each reader who has made Moonlight Gratitude a part of their nightly routine.

Seeing my family all together for the first time in years: I come from a big family and it is rare that all of us are together at the same time. Earlier this year, we all got together for the first time in 5 years. It felt so nice to be with my entire family and laugh like I only laugh when I’m with my siblings.

Watching clients start their own businesses:  I am so grateful for each of my clients! One of the most rewarding things about my work is when I get to see my clients take a step in a completely new direction and create something they love. My mission is to empower women to harness their bravery and go after what they really want. Here are a couple business I wanted to share because these women emulate bravery…Check them out and follow their journeys!

Andora Photography

Healthy Transformations by Hilary

Gratitude is a magnet for joy and I hope that as you reflect on the things that made your year shine bright, joy fills your heart.

Gratitude Heals

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Scarcity creeps in and grabs a hold with force. What may have been something that we are completely grateful for can turn into our greatest frustration. How does this happen?

Expectations — they create disappointment and rob the joy out of something that has the possibility to create excitement.

When frustration takes over, we start to notice all the things that could and have gone wrong. In fact, the more we focus on what could go wrong, we change the energy around the entire situation and actually attract negativity to the situation.

This is where scarcity takes over. It sees the perfect opportunity to sweep in and make a nice home inside the negative thoughts and emotions causing them to be augmented. Thoughts of not being enough, doing enough, having enough seep in and before we know it, we regret the thing that we wanted so badly.

This has happened to me several times. I place such high expectations on the things I want the most that I end up sabotaging their success. I have done this in relationships, at work, with family and even with working out. My perfectionist tendencies flare up and I get attached to outcomes that I deem are necessary for success and then POOF! it falls apart.

It took me some time to come to this realization. In the meantime, I would be a basketcase wondering “Why?!” “How did this happen once again?” and placing blame everywhere I could until I realized that I had control over the way I perceived each situation and the expectations I set.

It is hard to let go of expectations. We want what we want when we want it. Best laid plans are just that, plans. Nothing is set in stone and so many things can happen that are out of our control. When we decide that things need to be a certain way and leave little room for variety, we set ourselves up for disappointment.

But there is a way to replace scarcity with abundance. It takes some work, but with practice we can change the way we react and replace with positive feelings and reactions.

Release the expectation, attachment and need for control. Be fluid and allow things to occur as they will.

Reframe the negative thought or feeling with something positive. Ask yourself: What is going right?

Recognize what is going right with gratitude. The best way to go from scarcity to abundance is gratitude. Always look for the positive and be grateful. This tiny step will change your mind.

Since we are in the season of gratitude, it is a great opportunity to notice where scarcity has created frustration in your life and take the time to heal this wound. Our bodies have a physical response to this emotion. In terms of our chakras, the first chakra, our root, is the place where we crave security and fulfillment. When we are off balance in this area, we feel fearful, scarce and controlling.

This energy center is located at the base of the spine and when we are out of balance, not only do we emotionally feel pain, but our bodies will respond as well. We can hold the negative feelings and scarce thoughts in our lower backs, legs and feet. But we can heal with gratitude. Transforming the energy frees up the tension that we hold physically and emotionally.

Here are a couple exercises to help transform the negative energy and invite positive and grateful energy in:

  1. Stand with your feet hip distance apart and feel yourself grounding into the Earth. Hold your arms by your side, palms facing outward. Close your eyes and release any tension through your feet into the Earth and through your hands. “I release what no longer serves me and offer gratitude for the blessings that are in my life and trust that all my needs are being met.”
  2. Sit down with your back straight and feet on the ground. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Take big breaths from your diaphragm, extending your belly. Count to ten (1 -breath in, 2 – breath out…). Repeat until you feel the energy dissipate and find yourself in the present moment. Offer gratitude for your lungs, your breath, oxygen…
  3. Think about a time when you felt immense gratitude. Take a moment to feel that sensation throughout your body. Root yourself into this emotion and know that you always have access to this beautiful feeling and bring yourself back to it when scarcity takes over.

By creating the sensation of being grounded and present we can release the anxiety and fear that surrounds the situation. Trust that all your needs are always provided for. Find a way to reframe the negative thoughts and invite abundance. Bring yourself into the present moment and recognize that your fears are based on a projection into the future and distract you from right here, right now.

Gratitude can heal where scarcity once scarred.

Full Corn Moon

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Lately, there has been some tension in the air. Perhaps it was the eclipse or maybe because Mercury was in retrograde. Whatever it was, I have talked to several people who have been feeling like change is needed. Even people who have just embarked on a new venture, find themselves yearning for something different.

This past week, I also felt a constant itch for change. I searched for flights to anywhere, looked at maps and felt like I was the only person who was staying put. It grew and grew until I woke up one morning completely discontented and upset. I didn’t understand why I was feeling that way, I just knew it felt very real and was bringing me down.

Tonight is the Full Corn Moon. As with every full moon, the things we need to let go of are highlighted and are brought to the surface. This discontent is clearly being highlighted.

This full moon was named to celebrate the harvest of corn; a staple in the Native American diet and way of life. It was not just a source of food, but also used for making furniture, baskets and toys. This one crop created sustenance and became revered for centuries.

I have been reflecting on sustenance as I prepared to write this post. Sustenance is a source of nourishment, strength; something that maintains life. There are many things that are thought of as necessary to maintain a modern lifestyle, but I wanted to notice where my sustenance comes from.

So I asked myself, “Where does my sustenance come from? What do I need to maintain my life and strength?” I broke it down to mind-body-soul because I think all three need to be cared for. I honestly asked myself what was necessary to feel sustained. This is what I came up with…

Mind:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Meditation
  • Meaningful Conversations

Body:

  • Running
  • Healthy Food
  • Walking
  • Hugs

Soul:

  • Prayer
  • Quiet Time
  • Creating
  • Travel

I looked at my list and noticed that I already had everything I needed. This changed my perspective on the desire for change. Instead of needing change, I realized that contentment was the true need. Although I will always welcome change, it was necessary to reframe the story I had created around my current situation.

When I consciously pay attention to contentment, my focus moves from want to gratitude.

The beautiful thing is that the more gratitude you give, the more things there are to be grateful for. The universe hears our deepest desires and want to provide everything we dream of. But, we have to notice what needs are being met, where the gifts are coming from and be grateful first and foremost.

As the full moon shines its light on the areas that need refocusing, pay attention to where your sustenance comes from. Make a list and see where these things are already being provided. Then, offer heartfelt thanks for everything that is and will be. The Corn Moon teaches us that sometimes only one crop can meet so many of our needs and that its source should be recognized and revered.

May your month be filled with sustenance, gratitude and contentment.

Sitting with Gratitude

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I spoke with a dear friend on the phone about dreams come true. She had just received my book and was living in her new home. We had shared our dreams and struggles over the years and she mentioned how awesome it was that we both had manifested our desires.

I agreed, “It’s amazing, now we have to figure out what we want to manifest next.”

She replied, “I think I’m gonna sit in gratitude for a while with this one.”

I was blown away and humbled by her wisdom. She was so right. The work is done, and instead of continuing to strive, I need to take a breath and sit with the feeling of immense gratitude. My deepest desire of becoming an author has finally come to fruition. It’s time to give thanks and really feel the power of gratitude.

Gratitude is a daily practice for me, but stopping and sitting with it, is not. I am constantly striving, reaching and pushing. I am always looking forward and tend to forget to be present and really dwell. Mindfulness is an ongoing practice and as a recovering perfectionist, I try my best to stay present.

As far as I can remember, I have pushed myself against myself. I was always competing with myself in my mind and striving to achieve. Learning to sit in stillness began 10 years ago after my first bout with anxiety. The effects of the anxious spiral I allowed myself to enter were wearing heavy on my mind, body and soul. I was achieving, but very unhappy. Mindfulness and gratitude have changed my life and brain chemistry.

When the results of hard work occur, it is important to sit in gratitude for yourself, the process and the result.

Everything is an opportunity to be grateful. Taking the time to be still and really feel gratitude is a gift you can give to your heart.

As I take my dear friend’s advice, I am in awe of the opportunity and process that just took place. Now that I stand on the other side of this beautiful opportunity, my heart wells with gratitude. This is an awesome feeling and I definitely want to sit here for a while.

Introducing My First Book: Moonlight Gratitude

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“Your book has a birthday. You don’t know what it is yet.” -Cheryl Strayed

I’ve had this quote above my desk for over 2 years. I would see it every day as I sat at my desk writing my heart out. I would visualize my book in my hands and seeing my name in print. I would go into bookstores and stand with my eyes closed imagining seeing my book on their tables and shelves.

My creative gestation clock was ticking loud and clear…I wanted to give birth to a book!

I spent most of 2015 sending book proposals out to literary agents and publishers with no luck. There were some responses. One even asked me to send the first 50 pages. That year was spent in a whirlwind of hoping, anxiety and creativity. By the end of the year I had felt rejected more that I cared to feel and put my manuscript away. I realized that I had lost the joy and passion and needed to take a break.

So, on January 1, 2016. I took a break from trying to get published and just focused on coaching and writing blog posts. I was happy to find my passion reignited and excited to spend time creating once again.

Then one day, January 27th to be exact, I received an email from the contact form on my website:

Hello I am an editorial director…I am looking for someone to work with to create a moonlight meditations book. If you would be interested in a project like this please email me at the above address. From reading through your website it seems like you would be a perfect fit.

I read it over and over. Was this real?! I googled the publisher and sure enough they were real. I couldn’t believe it!

My book’s birthday is March 15, 2017. It is beautiful and filled with words that came alive right below that quote that kept my hope alive. Snow Seychelle illustrated the cover and parts of the book with her beautiful underwater art. I am obsessed with whales and the moon and when I saw that the art included whales and the moon, I could not believe how perfect the pairing was. Everything came together so beautifully.

I wrote parts of the book in the desert, in mexico, at home, by the ocean and among the trees in Washington. I carried a notebook with me everywhere to capture inspiration as it came. And then one day, I had a finished manuscript and sent it off to be created.

My hope with this book is that at the end of the day, it can bring some calm and mindfulness. I suffered from insomnia throughout college and remember the anxiety of sleepless nights. I am grateful for that time because it gave me the empathy to write each passage.

Our trials can blossom into beautiful things.

I remember the day I saw my book on Amazon. I gasped. It was actually a real book. Then, last week I received an advanced copy. Finally holding the book was exciting and seeing my name on the cover was surreal. After so many years of dreaming, my dream came true and was in my hands.

You can find it on pre-sale at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. If you or anyone you know deals with daily stress, anxiety or lack of sleep, this book is meant to bring calm and mindfulness into your day. Please pre-order a copy today and share with friends.

Love and peace,

Emily

Giving Thanks

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This is my favorite time of year. I love the collective attention on giving thanks. For several years, practicing gratitude has been a daily habit and I have noticed changes in my outlook, overflowing blessings and a more open heart from this practice.

It is amazing how the simple act of saying or writing “I am grateful for…” can create a shift in perspective. Ever since I started this practice, I notice the smallest things like a tiny flower blooming in the weeds because my mind is calibrated to see the good.

Practicing gratitude does not take extra time. In fact, you can do it as you pour your morning tea, on your commute, during lunch and my favorite, right before bed. As you end your day, reflect on the day’s activities and think of at least 3 things that you are grateful for, every day.

I was reviewing my gratitude journal during a particularly rough day. As I read the pages, my thoughts of scarcity and defeat transformed into abundance and victory. I was reminded of all the greatness that had occurred and felt immense gratitude and joy from the exercise. It is difficult to maintain a negative mindset when you remind yourself of all the things you are grateful for.

Spend some time this week offering thanks to the universe for the opportunities it has provided and to the people who have made an impact on your life. Then, create a daily practice which can change your mind, body and soul. Positive thoughts have a higher vibrational frequency and will attract like into our lives. When our output is grateful, it is amazing how more things to be grateful for occur.

Giving thanks can also raise the vibrations that have been lowered due to recent events. Will you do your part to raise the planet’s vibration and offer gratitude today?

Here is a free download to help you get started on your gratitude practice: Gratitude Sheet

Finding Your Tribe

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For years I wanted to create a network of friendships where we encouraged, inspired and held each other accountable. Finding a group of likeminded individuals took some time as my ideals and beliefs were taking shape and solidifying. I spent a good portion of the past decade moving around and travelling the world where I made friendships but my soul longed for the deep connection of sisterhood and community.

Over the past couple years, I have watched a creation of a tribe of some very lovely souls. Some I have known for quite some time and others entered my life more recently.  A tribe does not necessarily need to live near each other;  there are common threads of love, compassion and respect.

I met each one through different circumstances and watching them form their own bonds over the years has been quite heartwarming for me. We are each different and unique, however, we mesh together in a loving and encouraging way.

I attribute finding my tribe to opening my heart and putting down roots.

I recently visited my sister in the Pacific Northwest. One day, I was sitting out on her deck amongst the treetops watching the wind blow through the pine needles. She explained how evergreens have shallow roots but continue to grow tall. Part of their survival depends on their growth in a community of other trees. This communal aspects helps protect the trees’ vitality and against the elements.

Their roots grow outward and the mingling of roots help the trees create strength…just like the mingling of differing backgrounds can create strength. Throughout storms, the intermingled root systems reveal and produce the strength of the community.

Another attribute of evergreens is the ability to stay green during the darker times of winter. Even when light is dimmed and other trees shed their leaves and become dormant, evergreens showcase their color. A tribe supports each other to shine amidst life’s hardships and darkness. When one is going through a particular hard time, the rest of the tribe can hold them up and provide strength and light.

Think about your own friendships and ask the following questions…

  • Does this person encourage me to be the best version of myself?
  • Is there a spirit of love?
  • Do we align on ideals and respect each other’s differences?
  • Are we honest with each other, even when it’s difficult?
  • Do they inspire and provide light during my dark times and vice versa?

Take some time today to offer gratitude for your tribe. Send them a card, text or call them to express your love and gratitude.

Find your tribe, love them hard. – Danielle Laporte

Are you going through a transition? Looking for some clarity? Let’s work together!

Be Here Now: A Lesson in Contentment

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I was laying in bed in a state of utter discontent, asking “What am I missing?” wondering when whatever I felt was missing was going to happen. I wondered if there was some place that I needed to be. My wanderlust was raging, feeling the sense of needing to be elsewhere; always.

The endless loop that plays in my head is like a pop song, once you hear it a couple times it gets stuck there. The world beckoned, but I was being planted. I felt myself tugging at my roots causing things to die and fall away. I couldn’t bloom in this state of agitation and fear of missing out or ‘FOMO’. I had to learn to sit still and listen.

Anxiety is fueled by discontent. I learned this lesson a while back when I found myself craving something other than what I had. I dwelt on the missed opportunities and did not see the greatness that was right in front of me. The whirlwind of restlessness prohibited me from appreciating what I had.

It is easy to fall into the trap of restless discontent. Patience is hard to come by and while waiting, our minds can create several scenarios of better alternatives. However, when I learned to ease into the discomfort and practice gratitude, it helped to lead me into a state of contentment.

Being hyper connected and seeing everything that is going on, opinions and comments take away from the present moment. Comparisons start to be made and discontent creeps in. In fact, we are training our brains to look at our phones instead of faces. Although technology is an amazing thing and we need it, taking the time to step away from hyper connectivity and sitting still can bring our minds back into balance.

In stillness I can reflect and see the things that I once wanted were actually happening. Contentment is a practice that when put aside results in impatience and anxiety. By practicing gratitude daily, contentment reminds me that being where I am is exactly where I need to be. That lesson is powerful and beautiful to me. I can watch the beauty of life unfold when I take the time to be present and understand that everything is happening when it supposed to.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

– Epicurus

Practicing Gratitude: Calibrating for Thanksgiving

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I enjoy the month of November because of Thanksgiving; my favorite holiday. I love the act of getting together with loved ones to share delicious food and offer gratitude. The act of practicing gratitude creates room for more gratitude to occur.

I began an active practice a few years ago where I wrote down 3 things that I was grateful for at the end of each day. Even on the worst days, I made it a practice to find things to be grateful for; the most important time for the practice. Whether you begin or end your day with gratitude, you will notice a change in perception over time.

The practice of gratitude creates awareness in everyday occurrences. Things that usually go unnoticed suddenly become highlighted with intentional thanksgiving. All of a sudden, I started recognizing even greater things happening and becoming overwhelmed with gratitude.

One of the first things I noticed was how bright orange California poppies are. I have lived in California my entire life and never stopped to appreciate the vibrancy the flowers provided. This memory is very distinct for me. I was waiting to get onto a highway and looked over and was amazed by the shock of orange bursting from the ground surrounding the sign post. I did a double take and realized that something so ordinary had become extraordinary for me. l felt grateful for the observation and my new found attention to every day things.

As my outlook changed, I realized that I had calibrated my mind for gratitude.

Practicing gratitude creates more gratitude. Neuroplasticity allows for changes within the brain. We can intentionally create a change by consistent practice. Our brains can create new pathways with the practice of a new skill such as exercise, meditation and diet. Over time, practicing gratitude created more thoughts and occurrences for gratefulness. Like with any change, this takes time.

Most change starts with the simple process of something outside of us altering something inside of us. If you begin the inward journey and start to change your inner world of thoughts and feelings, it should create an improved state of well-being. If you keep repeating the process in meditation, then in time, epigenetic changes should begin to alter your outer presentation.

– Dr. Joe Dispenza

I encourage you to begin practicing gratitude. Try it for 4 weeks and see what transpires. Here is a downloadable sheet: Gratitude Sheet to begin your practice. Just write down 3 things you are grateful for each day and notice the gradual change in your perception. I would love to hear about your grateful journey. Send me an email at emily@soulsadventures.com to share your experience.