Flow

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I recently traveled to Utah with my boyfriend for a quick weekend getaway. Days prior to the trip, I was laid off from a job that I used to help supplement income. Despite my efforts, it felt like a constant struggle and my soul was not at peace. I tried my best and remembered a lesson my dad taught me “Always do your best and keep your integrity intact.”

I created a deadline to leave in a month if the energy didn’t shift into alignment. Two days after I set that goal, I was called into an office and laid off. I was grateful for my renewed freedom, but disappointed with the way it ended. Although I did not see it coming, I offered gratitude for the manifestation blessing.

So, there I was in Utah about to embark on a hike. As we stepped onto the trail, we were welcomed by a rushing river tumbling through the valley. It was breathtaking. It had been a while since I had seen a river so swollen and rushing. The sound was meditative and never ending, staying with us until we made our way high enough to where the path became snow.

The snow was a surprise as we trudged our way through ankle deep snow trying to reach a lake that we were told was magnificent. Now, I am not a fan of being cold, let alone hiking through snow in summer clothes. But, I knew that I needed to keep going. I complained to my boyfriend who seemed unfazed by the new terrain. He encouraged me as I made my way up the icy hill.

After what seemed like forever, we made it to the lake. It was surrounded by snow and was frozen solid. I had a bit of disappointment because my expectation was a lake surrounded by a meadow filled with wildflowers. I sat down on a rock and meditated. I released my expectations. I released my fatigue. I released being cold. I sat there in the sun for 20 minutes with my eyes closed, just breathing in and out.

Off in the distance, I could hear a rock falling from up high. I was amazed at the silence of the scenery and the ability to hear a rock falling. The frozen scene created the stillness to be present. I felt at peace.

When I opened my eyes, I saw the lake through a different lens. It was absolutely beautiful. The mountains that surrounded us seemed to provide an expansive nature making me feel so small, yet very powerful. I made it all the way to 9000′ where the sun had not melted a lake yet. I breathed in gratitude for the newfound appreciation and smiled.

I raised my vibration at a higher elevation.

As we made our way back down, I felt renewed and accomplished. Halfway down, the river started rushing as the ground went from snow to mud to dirt once more. The river once again serenaded our hike and I realized that I needed to welcome flow back into my life.

I recognized for my life to flow freely, I had to let myself melt like the snow.

The rigid constraints that I had made to create security and certainty were blocking flow from occurring. I was in my own way. When I take things into my own hands with control, it never really works. I was pushed out of something that wasn’t allowing flow to continue into my life. I noticed what a tight grip I tried to maintain once again.

From experience, I know that the things I hold tight to are the ones that slip away. In this case, it was security and certainty.

The following week, I approached my business with a new-found focus and intention. I realized that when I let go and allow flow to happen, everything falls into place and it is — effortlessly and beautifully. The resistance and pressure I had created blocked the positive energy that was trying to flow into my life.

I was not expecting such a lesson from a river in the middle of the Utah wilderness. But I am so grateful for the raging river and frozen lake that taught me to change my perspective and release expectations in order to allow flow to occur.

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.  – Lao Tzu

Reclaiming Time

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I have been struggling with my relationship with time: I feel like there is never enough. When I think back to the days right after I quit my job to travel, I remember the immense fear of “What do I do with my time now?!” As I became more comfortable with my freedom, I felt like I could soar and had no limits. I couldn’t believe that I had created a reality where I could to write, travel and soak up as much sun as possible.

That lasted 2 years. And then I started to get busy with building my business and had to coordinate a schedule again. It was fun and exciting to create something from scratch, but it took up a lot of time. I found myself on the edge of overwhelm.

The frustration that comes from feeling like there is not enough time rob the joy from the present moment.

I found myself no longer enjoying the moment I was in and looked at the time wondering if I had enough to get to the next thing on my long list completed. Then my sleep started to suffer. I would wake up at 3am my mind decided it was the perfect time to think about my schedule and dwell on the feeling of not having enough time.

The feeling of time scarcity created even more fatigue and stress.

I was missing was being in the present moment and embracing what was happening as it was happening. I was spending too much time projecting into the future that I robbed the present moment of my attention. So I decided to break up with my relationship with time in order to rebuild a healthier one.

As I found a healthier way to approach time, I found these tools to help immensely:

  1. Meditation every morning: This grounds me and brings me into the present moment before the day’s events even have a chance to overwhelm. From this new grounded state, I am able to approach the day with focus and intent.
  2. Put the phone down: Having access to the internet, emails, calendars and even time keeps me from enjoying the present moment. I decided to put the phone away while interacting with people in order to fully appreciate their presence and the time we were spending together. I found my interactions became richer and time seemed to feel abundant.
  3. Prioritize tasks: To-do lists are very important to me, but now I make sure that each week, I only write down the “must dos” instead of creating a long list of tasks that aren’t as pressing. When I complete the tasks I set out to do, I realize that I have plenty of time to tackle some of the less pressing priorities.
  4. Make time for myself: All the running around and working made me feel guilty to take moments to myself. But, when I make time for myself, guilt free, I feel more energetic and joyful and time seems to slow down for me when I am not as stressed.
  5. Workout: There is always time to get some physical activity in. Taking walks, bike rides, trips to the gym…can all be fit into a busy schedule. There are apps that have been created to help you get workouts in. Prioritize physical health and the gift will be higher metabolism and more energy to tackle a busy schedule.

The feeling of scarcity that comes from being constantly connected fades when I make time for stillness.

I learned that when I treat time with respect, it doesn’t run out. I feel more abundant with time when I practice mindfulness and step into the present moment.  From this place, I can breathe deeper and notice my surroundings.

Worm Moon

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Spring is soon arriving! As the ground thaws after a long winter, the soil begins to aerate thanks to the movement of earthworms. Underneath, where no one can see their work, worms are creating a healthy environment for seeds and roots to take place.

Even before the eye can behold the plant, important inner work is being completed.

Tonight’s Worm Moon highlights the work that needs to be completed in our souls. Allow the light of the full moon to illuminate the places where you would like growth to take root. Clear out the soul clutter that has accumulated and create room for movement.

Soul clutter can look like the following:

  • Hurt Feelings
  • Resentments
  • Attachment
  • Expectations
  • Bitterness
  • Obsessive Thoughts

When we hold on to things that no longer serve us, we stunt our own growth and healing. Vibrancy radiates from the inside outward. Letting go revitalizes and gives space where restriction once occurred.

There have been several things in my own soul that have accumulated as clutter. I realized that I was unable to focus on the amazing things that are happening because I held on to single events that caused pain. By holding onto the new pain, I wasn’t being present for the new joy flowing into my life. I was caught off guard by the whirlwind that persisted through the calm of joy.

I had to decide to embrace the joy and let go of what was no longer serving me to fully appreciate the magnitude of what was happening in my life.

Soul clutter will numb the joy and even the sorrow. We can get so attached to the feeling of clutter that we don’t even realize we are holding on to something negative. It is like hoarding negative emotions; the more we ignore them, the more comfortable they become. In stillness, we can discover the places that need to be moved and aired out.

Here is a good way to locate the places that need clearing out:

  1. Sit in a quiet place and write down how you have been feeling lately. Notice how your body, mind and spirit feel. Take note on how your relationships have been functioning and how you relate to your physical environment.
  2. Write how you would like to feel in each area.
  3. Then note what keeps you from feeling or experiencing what you want to feel or experience. (These are the things you need to let go of.)
  4. Choose 1 or 2 things to let go of tonight. Allow yourself the next month to focus on letting go.
  5. Watch for new growth where there was once stagnation.
  6. Offer gratitude (every single day).

During a full moon, it is important to notice what no longer serves you. Think of the amount of light the moon is reflecting. Use this time to see all the places where clutter has been stored, release it and allow the moon’s light to illuminate the new space so what is meant to be there will find its way.

An Exercise in Acceptance

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Last year I had several lessons on acceptance. There were times where expectations weren’t met and I had the choice to struggle, fight and live with anxiety OR just accept the circumstances and move on. I’d like to say that I practiced the latter with ease, but no, I allowed the struggle to stay real in many cases. It was in these moments that I truly had to open my arms to the universe and cry:

 “I’m letting go now! Please help me move forward.”

I seemed to repeat this prayer often. And you know what?! It was answered each and every time. But the thing is, the way it was answered was not always how I envisioned and this is where I learned the beautiful lesson of acceptance.

The beautiful thing was at the other side of my resistance, was a new plan that I would not have envisioned. When I surrendered to the new reality, I felt everything inside of me relax. I could breath again and my thoughts were no longer hijacked by the anxious grip of control.

The less I resisted, the easier things became.

When you cry out to the universe, it hears you. In fact, it knows exactly what you need. Which is probably why such prayers are uttered from our core, in moments of desperation and anxiety. It is like we try to hold on with every last bit of control until we are left hanging, desperate to find stability once more.

And then, the answers come in; sometimes in a trickle and sometimes in a flood.

When the answers arrive, acceptance begins. In order to fully accept, there has to be an element of remembering where you were before the prayer was lifted. The ego tends to love this tender spot. It can take the temporary relief and decide to take over once again. This is not full acceptance.

One of the hardest lessons to learn is to accept things the way they are and let go of expectations. This is a struggle. It is easy to place expectations on the outcome. When expectations are set, they leave room for disappointment.

To accept is to receive. To receive is to welcome. There is no control here, only openness.

Imagine letting go of a worry and watching it float away into the ether, like a balloon. As you watch it fly higher and higher, you feel lighter. The weight of control is lifted and hands that once held on so tightly are now free to receive whatever is next.

This weightlessness is available on the other side of control. When the answers arrive, squelch the desire to control with gratitude and acceptance. Practice openness and when anxiety wells up, it is a cue that something no longer serves your soul. Release it. Accept whatever needs to enter your life. All will be well.

The Catalyst

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Domestic violence takes on many forms and endures for various lengths of time. It takes courage to release the heart’s tight grasp on an abuser. My hope and prayer for this post is that it will encourage men and women to be brave, take a stand against abuse and find the love that resides within.

Here is part of my story:

I was being held up by my throat staring into raging eyes. It was like he had left his body and pain took over which he was now transferring to me. I was begging to be let go of with my hands since I could barely breathe. I was scared and felt my head getting lighter and my body becoming limp.

When he let go, I gasped for air. I felt the warmth around my neck where his hands had been. He stood there staring off somewhere that wasn’t the present moment. I scurried away like a scared animal, retreating to another room to contact my sister.

She was the only person I could think of to reach out to. It was late, even later in her time zone, but she was awake and saved me that night. He had taken it too far this time. From far away, she called the cops.

Everything I had known as love was broken. I thought I was strong enough to deal with the emotional tearing down but this was scarier. I was alone, not by choice, but because something happened and he was taken away. The night that love turned into fear was a catalyst for me.

My first instinct was to pray. I had grown up religious but had put that part of me on a shelf for almost a decade at that point. I fumbled with my words trying to communicate with a God that I hoped was there. It felt awkward at first and I stopped several times to cry. But the prayer was lifted and I repeated “Help me” over and over.

He called me to ask for bail, I refused and hung up. I had the urge to find my Bible, another thing that had been put away for a decade. I searched my closet and found it at the bottom of a box. I opened it and the first thing I read was: “A man of great anger will suffer punishment for if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.” Proverbs 19:19

Chills ran up my spine. That passage jumped from a page in a forgotten book and was pertinent to what had just happened. I laid down on my bed and repeated “Please comfort me. I am so sad and lonely.” Almost immediately, I felt a force of comfort come over me. It was heavier than the air and my heart beat calmed down for the first time that night.

“Come back. Return. Love resides within”

I was being called to return to my soul. A place that I tried to mask for years. In order for me to know love, I had to begin with myself at the cellular level and begin to heal. I realized that I had to go within, be alone and find the courage to let go.

This event was a catalyst to my soul. I started a search where I wanted to find what was sparked inside of me that night. I knew it wasn’t the God full of judgement and fear I grew up believing but one that was loving, peaceful and full of grace.

In a moment of fear, I was comforted by something outside of myself. This began my journey to where I am today. It shook me to my core and demanded that I learn to love differently starting with myself.

*If you or someone you know  is a victim of domestic violence, here are some resources to get help:

National Network to End Domestic Violence

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

Surrender

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Imagine a fist held tightly. All it holds is the air and creates tension within the body. Then imagine the fist letting go. Notice the release of tension and free flowing air around each finger. Nothing fell out of the palm, because there was nothing to grasp.

Holding tightly onto something that isn’t there is useless and controlling. I have learned this lesson time and again. Perhaps it’s because I am Virgo or someone who does not like to feel out of control. But the minute I try to generate an outcome that seems forced, I create an unrealistic expectation, stress and anxiety.

Several years ago, I was going through a career transition and I remember thinking “I better get a job soon, I have bills to pay” as I wrote my check for my car payment leaving $23 to my name. It wasn’t for lack of trying to find a job, there just weren’t jobs available. So, I had to surrender and take a job as a courier.

I thought that I deserved a better position because of my background and transferrable skillset. My need for control was keeping me from moving forward. However, if I would not have accepted the position, I would have missed out on the opportunity that later resulted in abundant travel.

I was terrified when I let go. I thought that if I held on for just a bit longer, things would fall into place. They never did until I surrendered to the experience and the lessons that were begging to be learned.

When it feels like you are being blindly led, allow trust to take place.

The act of surrender is not giving up; It is an act of trust. This is a sacred place within the soul. A deep, vulnerable place to enter. To let the walls down around the heart and to open the soul to a possibility that can’t be seen is raw, yet absolutely exciting and brave.

There are several things I still need to surrender but each time I do and trust that everything will be alright; I am surprised by the grace of the universe. Situations that seem hopeless when in my control are completely turned around when I let go of the reigns. The universe lovingly allows me the time to realize I need to let go, and when I do, that’s where the miracles happen.

What we can’t see holds a gift if we allow it to happen. It is amazing when things are revealed after the act of trust. What I thought I needed or wanted is always replaced by something greater. With each act of surrender, I am learning that the universe really does have my back and listens to all the desires of my heart.

When a Friendship Ends

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Our energies did not match any more. We were growing apart. After almost a decade of inseparable friendship, we no longer had the common ground that kept us on the same path. I had traveled continents with her, shared thousands of tears and laughs, we knew each other’s deepest darkest secrets. But that was not strong enough glue to keep the friendship together.

It had been clear for some time that we were growing apart. Our time together seemed almost forced. I had grown to love my friend dearly, but noticed a strange pattern of need growing between us. I felt the friendship had become one-sided and it started to hurt more than uplift.

At first I was devastated. I didn’t think another friendship could compare to our sister-like bond. Then, I became very upset “How could she treat me with such disregard?” I would repeat over in my head. It was painful to know that she was still hanging out with mutual friends. I just wanted everyone to be on my side; but it wasn’t their fight.

Confusion traded places with anger and I went back and forth between the two for a while. I wanted to let go and be okay. In the age of social media, clear boundaries have to be made when a relationship ends. It is easy to assume the other person does not hold any regard or brags in hopes to appear like moving on was easy and seamless. I had to let go of all assumptions in order to heal.

I came to a place of forgiveness after a year had passed. The wound was no longer fresh and I was able to unpack the pain and blame, allowing the openness to feel comfortable. I wanted the new space to be filled with friendship that was autonomous, loving and nurturing.

I got specific on how I wanted to feel inside a friendship and recognized what I needed to work on in order to propagate that.

The lessons that took place during the process of healing were hard. There were patterns that I had created in relationships that I had to recognize and amend. The pain created an awareness that was filled with a softening and grace. I went from “How dare you!” to gratitude.

When a friendship ends, it isn’t easy to forgive and forget. Allow yourself to feel the pain and process the lessons as they come. Healing and forgiveness are on their way. Grace makes sure of that–where that big gaping hole was created, friendship appears. Sometimes not in the same form or what we expect, but the universe loves space. When we give up what we think should fill the gaps, we can be surprised by what is intended for our hearts.

When a friendship ends, it hurts. Confusion, anger, sadness and frustration take the place where laughter, understanding and connection once thrived. In order to move forward, there are some things one can do to create a healthy environment in the heart and soul…

  1. Set boundaries
  2. Create an intention for how you want to feel in a friendship
  3. Release judgment and blame to create room for growth and healing
  4. Forgive yourself and the other for whatever happened
  5. Allow the space to be created for the universe to deliver likeminded friendships
  6. Offer gratitude for the friendship
  7. Send the other person love and LET GO

Whether there is a specific reason or several misunderstandings that lead to the end of a friendship, compassion, forgiveness and grace can heal a wound that runs deep. We may never know why the other person moved on, but we can take responsibility for our hearts and souls and fill the space with love. When we let go in love, more love can enter.

Forgive. Let go. Be Open.

On Resting

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It is difficult to rest when there are things that need to get done. You may have noticed my usual post was supposed to go up last Wednesday but I knew it was not going to be done. The perfectionist in me was suffering but I had to let go of the expectation I had on myself to rest.

This past month flew by, I had a deadline to meet, a cold to get over and work that had piled up because I was sick. I felt defeated, behind and frustrated. I chose to stop my upsetting thoughts and recognized that my body was begging me for rest.

There was a need to prioritize and reshuffle my timeline. I looked at what needed to get done and weighed whether or not the task could wait. My book draft deadline and some other work could not wait and other things, like a blog post got pushed further down the timeline.

Rest became one of the top priorities. I knew that if I kept pushing myself, I would not get better nor would I have the ability to write or coach. I started to allow naps and went to bed earlier.  Within days, I was much better, my mind was clear and ready to tackle the remainder of the list.

Rest is extremely important and in our hyper connected world, it almost seems like it is more difficult to get our minds to settle down. For super productive types, rest seems like a waste of time. The praise of busy and the criticism of rest can keep us overstimulated and our calendars full.

Being busy does not necessarily mean being productive. As I was making my prioritized list, I realized that there were things that I was doing just to fill time. I never stopped to even think about them since I was “so busy.” When I recognized this, I easily cut them out of my schedule and was able to rest with even more ease.

In rest, a stillness is created which can result in deeper peace. Releasing the need to get everything done will focus attention and create space for relaxation.

There are definitely things that need to be done, but my challenge to you would be to look at your schedule, prioritize tasks and see what you can cut away to make room for rest. Start small and let go of at least one thing. Slowly remove the excess from your life to create balance and peace.

Take a rest. A field that has rested yields a beautiful crop. -Ovid

Loneliness vs. Solitude: How to Embrace Being Alone

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There is a great difference between loneliness and solitude. Being alone takes on the meaning that you give to it. The difference is in yearning versus contentment. Lonely breeds longing and roots itself in loss. Solitude breeds stillness and is rooted in contentment.

I learned this lesson while living in a small coastal town when I had come home from work one day to find that my boyfriend had packed up all of his belongings. He was leaving in the morning. He was my only true connection in this location. Loneliness washed over me when he drove away the following morning.

I cried and mourned for weeks wondering how I could survive in that town alone. It was one of the loneliest times of my life. My family and friends lived far away and I was on the road a lot for work which left little time to nurture local friendships. No matter what I tried, all I felt was sad and lonely.

One day, I opened my eyes to the lesson that was being provided to me. In stillness, I began to hear my intuition and noticing what my soul had been trying to tell me. My intuitive sense was dulled and I was not practicing the gift that was inside me the entire time.

I started exercising this gift and appreciating the fabric of my soul. And what was once the loneliest times of my life soon became one of the richest times of my life.

Without this solitude, I would not have taken the time to search my soul to get back to myself. I realized my identity was tied to a person and a job and lost my authenticity. I had a choice to wallow or grow.

Embracing the growth was difficult but I learned so much about myself and the differences between loneliness and solitude. Some of the differences I was able to pinpoint were…

Loneliness: Depleted my energy and made me sad. Loneliness was able to permeate since I based my happiness on another. I was in a state of contraction and longing. Anxiety and depression visited more often. Discontentment fueled sorrow and perpetuated the feeling of isolation.

Solitude: Re-energized me. I found that happiness comes from within. Solitude created space for growth and the state of expansion and contentment. Meditation and prayer became daily routines. I began to find comfort in times of solitude because I started to enjoy my own company.

The more I fostered the beauty of solitude, I found peace where I once felt anxious. Learning to tap into my intuition and wait for answers and inspiration reconnected me to my soul and my spirituality had room to blossom.

Through this lesson, I learned to be compassionate towards my loneliness in order to foster the state of solitude. Without a compassionate approach, I may have become stuck and not have welcomed growth. All things deserve compassion and understanding, including mindsets.

Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self. – Mary Sarton

Embracing Ambiguity: The Beauty of the Unknown

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Ambiguity is like a fog where you can see the outlines of things, but nothing is really clear. When life is vague and answers are desired more than anything, it can lead to anxiety, restlessness and at times depression. Not knowing the outcome or direction is such a common theme; everyone has felt the anxious grip of ambiguity at least once.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to write a book. Writing has been in my life since I was a child. I would write stories, journal and read as many books as I could get my hands on, hoping one day to have one of my own.

When I quit my job in 2014, my goal was to travel the world and write. I wanted to write a book and try to figure out how to get it published in my free time. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I even had a coach put me on a writing schedule. When I felt like the book was complete, I started the process of finding a literary agent.

I created a book proposal with my writing ready to be submitted. I sent letters out to several prospective agents and waited and waited. It was painful to be so vulnerable with something that I had been dreaming about for 25 years. I knew that in order to make it happen, I had to put myself out there.

Then, the rejections started pouring in. The first one made me cry and I was used to them once the fourth one came in. One agent asked for my first 50 pages. “YES! That’s hopeful!” I thought and called my close friends to share and calm my nerves. I sent out the work and waited some more.

Eight weeks later, I received my final rejection. It hurt. I needed to take a break and revisit the book in a few months. I decided to solely focus on my business and let the book wait for its birthday.

In January, I set an intention to let go of my expectation of getting published. I was tired of receiving rejections and noticed that it started affecting my passion for writing. I thought that taking time off would bring clarity. Three weeks later, I received an email that rocked my world — an offer to write a book.

I let go and the universe delivered my dream in a way I would have never expected.

The email was from a publisher who had stumbled upon my website. It was unbelievable the way it all happened but the universe is mysterious, magical and amazing. It all made sense and the day I accepted the offer, I sobbed giant tears with gulps for breath. It was emotional, messy and very joyful.

There was a release that set in when everything came together. Grace kicked in and offered relief to the waiting and wondering. In that moment, gratitude overflowed and a feeling of astonishment enveloped me.

If I would have known this back when I started this process, the gratitude would not have been as great and the relief would not have felt as powerful. The anticipation was part of the joy. The ambiguity set the stage for amazement and wonder. In that moment, I realized the beauty of the unknown.

*stay tuned for more information on this book project later this year