Love > Fear

Okay, SO. The other day I was just waking up, doing my morning stretch/cuddle sesh with the lil man (my handsome pup, Kappie ❤ ) and leisurely getting out of bed as usual. I was relaxed, happy, and ready to start my beautiful, delightful, fabulously wonderful day ahead of me, when BAM. I saw it.

I knew this day would come. In fact, I was quite surprised that it’d taken so long for it to arrive. Since moving into my new apartment almost 8 full months ago, I hadn’t had one surprise visitor like this yet, which was unusual. Living in Florida, it’s quite common, especially when you’re located in a beautiful part of town like I am. The price you pay to be surrounded by water, trees, and luscious grass to play in is… you get roaches.

Up until now, I had always feared them. Roaches were my arch enemy, and I wasn’t strong enough to defeat them on my own. My powers were simply too weak, so I would call in for backup… “Dadddd!!” (Thankfully he worked nearby, and loves me enough to come to my rescue when I’m being attacked by ickiness. Thanks, dad!)

BUT. Today was different… today I decided to be strong.

Contrary to what one may think regarding what “being strong” means in this situation, it did not mean that I was ready to smush this bug with my shoe, or even to spray it with bug spray and wait for it to wither up and die before I carefully picked it up and quickly tossed it to it’s watery toilet grave. Nope. This time strength meant much more than that. It meant that I would save this little guy and release him into his natural habitat… outside… ummm far, far away from my door.

Why would I do this? Good question! In fact, I had to ask myself that question multiple times throughout the time it took for me to act on that strength, and each time I had to remind myself of the answer repeatedly until I could boldly continue moving forward in capture mode. And the truth is that I had two reasons for this decision.

I firstly believe that every animal is a valuable being that deserves life and respect… yes, this even applies to roaches. Secondly, I saw this as an opportunity to exercise strength in a difficult situation, which is something I believe is extremely valuable no matter how “small” the given situation may seem.

See, it would be easy to kill this bug… no one would know, nor would anyone care. In fact, I could more than likely count on much more support in that approach than I would receive for the choice that I was making to free the critter. But ending a life just because it’s easy, and just because I’ve always viewed that like to be “icky”? No. Not gonna happen. It is not only not my place to decide that a life should end, but it’s my responsibility as a human being of love to save anything that I can if I’m able. And even aside from that, honestly, what reason did I even have to think of this critter in such a negative light? I mean, to really think about it, it’s just a roach. It’s just a bug. I have never once been harmed by one of these creatures. I have no reason to fear them. In fact, I’m pretty certain that I would not fear them had I not been taught by the environments and people around me that “roaches are bad” and that they should be feared. My mindset on this matter, which was so difficult for me to shake despite my strong beliefs behind the situation, was entirely created and implemented by other people. Ultimately, I was hesitating on following my own heart because I had allowed other people to tell me how I should feel and think about a certain situation.

Ummm… so that’s absolutely ridiculous.

But then I thought about it some more, and I realized that this is not an uncommon thing, allowing others to strongly influence how we think or what we believe. And how many times have we made decisions based upon that foundation- based upon what we’ve allowed other people and society around us to tell us is right or wrong, good or bad? Furthermore, how many times have we made decisions based out of fear, be it fear created by others or fear created by our own selves and past experiences?

I decided a long time ago to stop allowing others to influence the way that I thought, felt, and acted upon my own life, and I was certainly not going to allow that influence to affect the life of another living creature, even if it is the oh-so-fearful roach.

So, if you’re wondering, yes. I did free the little guy. It took a solid 20 minutes or so for me to push those familiar skin-crawling feelings to the side over and over, and to replace them with an entirely new concept that “this bug is a living creature, and it deserves love and respect just like all living creatures do. There is nothing to fear, it’s just a bug.” But I did it. And it was totally worth it. I feel stronger, I feel more independent, and I’m proud to have had an opportunity to put the strength of love above the weakness of fear.

I won’t lie, I hope that little guy doesn’t come back! I’m perfectly happy with my pup here and would prefer to not have any extra company crawling by unexpectedly. 🙂 But if he does, he can rest easy knowing he’s safe and will be handled with care… unless my roommate’s home. In that case, I can’t be held accountable for her actions.

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My Clean House

When something falls or breaks, we see the pieces scattered about and we think of the time and effort it’s going to take to pick it up and put the pieces back together, and we feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and annoyed. Oftentimes we’d rather just leave it there where it is and move on as if we didn’t see it and it didn’t exist to us… sometimes we actually do.

And when we do that, we may feel that we’ve escaped something. That we’ve avoided the responsibility and madness that cleaning a mess involves. Whether it’s a small piece of litter that we’ve allowed ourselves to move past as if we “didn’t realized” we dropped it or a large vase of shattered pieces that would simply be impossible to try cleaning up, let alone fixing, we don’t want any part of it and feel that we’ve lucked out when we’re able to get away with not addressing it. Many of us have actually convinced ourselves to feel like we’ve had a pretty mess-free life in that case, because we haven’t experienced much of the cleaning process, and we might have even forgotten for the time being that many of those messes exist.

But the thing is, they’re still there… and they’ve accumulated.

And despite the successful effort you’ve put into keeping people at a distance from the majority of your household and past paths traveled, you’re likely going to eventually meet someone who you’d like to share your life with, which means all of your possessions, your household, and yes- your past. At that point, you’re going to begin the process of making up for all of the effort in cleaning that you’ve evaded in the past by now having to put that effort into an exhausting and defeating attempt to constantly cover those things up. You’re going to spend so much time making sure that person doesn’t wonder into the wrong hallway and accidentally uncover something you’ve kept hidden and never wanted them to see, that you’re going to miss out on some good, quality time of actually enjoying the time with that person that you’ve been blessed with.

And it will be messy.

Not only will you have to address those past messes that you’ve forgotten, but you’ll be less capable of doing so in a productive way because they’ve lingered, molded, and become sticky over time. And now you’ve brought someone you love into it and forced them to have to be a part of the cleanup crew. They may come to resent you for it and it may not work out, in which case you’re left with past messes and a new one to clean up. Or they may be more than happy and understanding about it, but not without at least some mess coming from the fact that it’s affecting what was meant to be your time to enjoy together, which only adds to the pile to clean up. Either way, the mess is there. It does exist. And it will eventually touch parts of your life that you never wanted or expected it to.

But fortunately you have a choice, and you can avoid a stick situation later.

That’s right! You can slap on those cleaning gloves, grab that broom, get on your hands and knees, and pick up those pieces right then and there when that vase shatters or when that litter drops. Before you move forward, before you forget it even exists, you stop right there when it happens, and you invest the time to address it before it becomes a lost something just waiting to resurface at the worst possible timing. I mean, you don’t want something unrecognizable and sticky showing up right as you’re getting cozy with your guest, and not even having a clue as to what it is or where it came from because you did such a good job of pretending you didn’t see it before and allowing it to linger and brew all this time, do you?

I don’t think anyone wants that. No, that’s gross.

But what you’ll find is that it’s easy to do as you go along. You’ll feel better after picking up that dropped trash… maybe it wouldn’t have been the hugest deal to leave behind, but it certainly felt good to stop and just pick it up to know that there’s one less thing you’ll have to ever worry about later- it’s gone and won’t add to any future mess. And as you sit with your vase with the pieces scattered in front of you, there will be a variety of different emotions and experiences involved, sometimes all at once, and sometimes with different vases. You’ll notice pieces of the vase that you hadn’t noticed before that were either so beautiful or so obviously weak that you’ll realize it was only time before this vase fell apart. You’ll also realize that it may even be worthy and capable of salvaging when you thought it was a lost cause, or maybe when you sat down to fix it you realized it’s not able to be fixed and you actually don’t even care to anymore. In those cases, you’ll either learn to build something new- a mosaic- and appreciate the process, developing a sense of accomplishment and gratification when it’s finished and leaving it on display proudly, rather than attempting to hide it and leaving dangerous pieces laying about for those who dare to walk through your home… or you’ll learn to let it go, to truly let it go. You’ll see that it’s easy, or you’ll find that you need some time to cope and mourn the loss of a vase you loved, appreciated, and expected to always have as a part of your home… but you’ll ultimately be able to move on from it more strongly because you did take that time to clean it up and say goodbye. You may notice it’s absence from time-to-time, but the mess will no longer be there to stare you in the face and hurt you.

I’ve allowed messes to accumulate in my life. I used to be one of those people who felt like ignoring it, quickly sweeping it under the rug, and hiding it was not only easiest, but it was best- for myself and for all else. So I know what it’s like to face an accumulation of messes- it’s not fun, and it’s not easy! But it is inevitable. And I feel blessed to have become aware of this so that I could address them with my full attention and take the time to clean house. It was easy at times and it was difficult at others. There were many times when I would come across one of the stickier of the messes and have that “easy route” mindset once again, and be tempted to move past it with a blind eye. But fortunately, I’ve developed strength over time to be able to muster the motivation each time to force myself to sit, and pick that junk up. And I’m always so glad that I did.

I can now move forward along my path much more genuinely joyfully. There’s a sense of lightness and happiness that comes with knowing that there are no messes to worry about, nothing to hold me back, and that anyone I come across along my path is more than welcomed into my home! There’s more of an excitement for what’s to come than an anxiety or fear. No need to keep anyone I meet shut out for a bit while I try to cover up messes and ensure nothing’s peeking through before they come in. Just easy, joyful, and welcoming. Oh, and those refurbished vases on display? People honestly don’t ask as often as I’d expected, but when they do, I’m proud! And they’re impressed. And it’s not even remotely as embarrassing to have some vases that aren’t bright and shiny new on display as I’d mistakenly thought it would be in the past. In fact, it adds a really beautiful and unexpected character to my home that I appreciate, and so do those who love me.

Are there messes of the past that I come across every now and then? Sure! Yeah, absolutely. I did my best to get them all, but some have been hidden so deep in the cracks that they pop up into view when I least expect it. At those times, I simply take a moment, say hello to my old friend, and then I introduce it to my little friendthe mop. ;) It’s not nearly as overwhelming when it’s one or two at a random time rather than a whole seemingly never ending heap dumping on my joy all at once.I love my home. It’s beautiful. It’s full of character. And it’s me. All are welcomed inside, but not because it’s perfect… ohhhh no, far far from it! My home is nowhere near perfect and despite what those who are arriving after the big initial cleaning spree might think, or who have only seen the “clean” home I showed before and see my clean home now may think, it was not easy to acquire. I was not born a clean or perfect person; I had plenty of messes under my rugs. I simply learned from the heaviness of living with them and chose to do something about it. That, more than anything, is what I’m most proud of about my home… not the way that it looks, but the love and care that is behind why it is the way that it is now.Cleaning is never the most fun. But it can be more fulfilling than we anticipate if we give it a chance! 2015 is just around the corner… maybe we can all take this opportunity to make it the best year yet but setting ourselves up with a truly clean and authentically beautiful home to live it out of!
(…I hope by now we all realize we’re not actually talking about literally cleaning a home. You’re totally most welcome to do that as well, but we’re talking internally here, in the heart. Let’s lift those heavy weights off of it, shall we? :) )Thank you for being the wonderful YOU that you are in this world! You add a unique and beautiful light that is all your own, and for that, I’m grateful. Live in Love, friends! ❤

When Hugs Fly

I live in a really beautiful place. I live in St. Petersburg, Florida and my apartment complex sits directly on the water in a gorgeous area of town full of beautiful homes, friendly people, and beautiful scenery and weather that I’m able to enjoy on the docks, in the many hammocks scattered throughout the property, by the various cookout areas with friends, on our balconies and porches, or around one of our two pool areas offered. We’re quite spoiled here, I won’t deny that one. 🙂

But okay… the truth is that as much as I’d love to continue “humble bragging” about where I live, unfortunately this isn’t exactly about the amazingness that it my beloved home (but hey, I could talk about that all day long, so if you want some more of it, get at me ;) ). This about something more significant that I came to realize in the midst of enjoying this surrounding beauty.

There have been several times that while I was out enjoying the scenery, playing the cloud shapes game with myself, I would see a plane fly right through my carebear army or break up the smooch action happening between the ninja turtle and the hair. And as I began to take notice of these planes flying overhead, I couldn’t help but think about the individuals on that plane… the fact that it’s filled with anywhere from a few people to many, and each of those people has a different reason for being on that plane.

  • Some are ecstatic because they’re on their way to somewhere exciting, or returning home to people they love, while some are despaired because they’re traveling to somewhere unwanted for a reason unwanted, or leaving a place that they never wanted to depart.
  • There are also the flight attendants who are enjoying their job tremendously and are more than happy to be on that plane caring for the passengers, and there are those who have had long hours and rough flights and are physically, mentally, and/or emotionally exhausted and couldn’t be looking forward to landing more.
  • Then there are the pilots- the men and women who have worked so hard to master their passion for flying and traveling, and have realized their dreams enough to be responsible for safely transporting these few or many human beings to their either wanted or unwanted destinations. They, too, are either delighted to be doing what they love, or maybe they’re tired and missing their families, flying home just as fast as they can.

Kind of cool to think about, isn’t it? I mean, each and every person has very different reasons for being on that plane and is living a very different life from the rest, yet they all chose to travel on the very same plane, on the very same day, to the very same destination. They each have their very own story and when they depart, they will all return to that story, continuing their own lives, living in extremely different ways, pursuing different dreams, purposes, and paths in life… but not without influencing one another first. Because for the time being, they are experiencing connectedness in a common flight.

It’s mind-blowing to consider how many people there are in this world, the ways in which so many of us cross paths at different points in our journeys, and the influence we have on one another in large and small ways that we may not even be aware of. Maybe that flight attendant who was cheerful and friendly was able to provoke a smile and a generally happier feeling for someone who was feeling down or anxious. That more positive demeanor will be carried over toward that passenger’s friends and family, who are inevitably influenced by it themselves and continue to touch the people they interact with more positivity, which causes a ripple effect of seemingly simple, yet oh-so significant, happiness. And what’s more, maybe that passenger brought a twinge of happiness to their cab driver, who may have been having a rough day himself and was pleasantly surprised by the kindness of that stranger, simply because she addressed him by name and with a smile. Maybe his brief time with that person brightened his day just a little bit… just enough to remind him that there are still kind people in the world, and he’d like to do his part in being one of them. That would likely touch more of the people in his cab fares, and not only bring a brief moment of unexpected kindness to those people, continuing the ripple effect, but maybe they even feel inclined to tip him a bit more in his fares out of gratitude, which he would inevitably be grateful for.

Do you see what an impact we can have on so many others, and the world as a result, simply by the way in which we go about our interactions? This goes both ways with positivity and negativity because what we send out is what will grow, and it doesn’t only apply to the people closest to us, it applies to everyone- even those people who we may not even think “matter”. They most definitely matter to us, as we do to them, because we each play a role in some way, shape, or form with the people we connect with. We really are in this life together, and it’s absolutely beautiful.

There are just so many different ways in which we interact with and influence one another, and as I watch these planes passing by, I can’t help but feel the wonder and awe of it all. Making a difference in this world is possible, we just have to stop and consider what we’re sending out to everything around us. We may not be able to personally interact with all of the billions of people on the earth, but we certainly can send positivity and love to them in significant ways just by being loving and kind in all that we do.

So, I do my part when these planes pass by! I take a moment to think about all of the different people and their different lives up there in that rocketship magic vessel whizzing by and I say a pray of gratitude for each and every one of them. And then I send up all of the good vibes I can muster for them to soak up as they endure their safe and happy flight. I may not be able to personally give each of them my love and tell them how wonderful they are just for existing, but I hope that every single one of them gets that weird fuzzy feeling… you know the one I’m talking about. That moment when suddenly, you just feel good, like someone just came up and gave you a quick warm hug, but you don’t know where it came from. That’s what I hope they felt… that was me:)


Have the happiest of days, my dear reader friends. I hope this day and every day after is filled with kindness, love, and positivity both send out and received by you. Live in love! ❤

I Love You, I Swear

I had an unexpected visitor last night- of the feline kind, to be precise- and it was adorable, sweet, and a pleasant addition to the usual company of Kappie (my beautiful, perfect, best-dog-ever dog) and my bomb Spotify playlists (I mean, it’s just true… they’re a special kind of awesome) while I painted. It just wondered right up onto my porch and seemed to be meowing something along the lines of “Meow, I want to be your new friend, meow, I like your tube socks, meow, can I hang out with youuuu?” I couldn’t understand it exactly, as I don’t speak kitten fluently, but I’m fairly certain that’s just about accurate. And honestly, who can deny the fellow appreciation of the classic beauty of tube socks? Not this girl, that’s for sure.
So I let it stay. And I’ll admit, I began to love it within ohhhh about the first 3 minutes. It chose my art supplies to curl up within, above all places, for God’s sake! How. CUTE
But as it started getting dark outside I began to realize that I might have to take this little muffin pie under my wing for a bit until we could find who it truly belonged to, as it was clearly a house cat, what with its clean fur and obvious familiarity in roaming anywhere it pleased throughout my apartment (cute, but definitely lacked in manners). And that’s what threw some things into perspective for me. Recognizing all of the extra attention, time, and care that this new pet would require if I were to house it for even just a few days made me realize just how much that even despite my vocal mild obsession with my child/dog, the truth of the matter is that *gasp!* I think I take my precious puppy for granted. And if I take him for granted, heart-melting face and all, what else do I take for granted that I’m not aware of?
See, Kappie is a really, really good dog. He’s well trained, he’s easy, he’s loving, and he’s adorable. Yet I ignore him far too much either by leaving him home alone as I go out and about living my life, or by ignoring his presence (unintentionally of course) while I’m here working on painting or doing computer work, or relaxing with a movie or a book. And he’s fine with it… again, he’s easy. He’s not needy or high maintenance. But that doesn’t mean he likes being ignored! He is the happiest little munchkin when I do take the time to give him a little extra TLC and praise him with a high-pitched “good boy!”, accompanied by the ever popular belly rub. He LIVES for that stuff! I mean he literally revolves his entire life around me, and yet I let him wait around all day for the moment that I feel like making the oh-so ginornmous step of effort in reminding him of just how deeply he’s loved and appreciated in this little miniature apartment we share. In general, I realized that he doesn’t get nearly enough of the attention that he deserves, and it took having the extra company and anticipating the extra attention and care that it would need for me to see it. Sometimes we need a little life-slap in our face to wake up and legitimately appreciate what we already have.

Now please don’t get me wrong, I certainly would love to have an extra cutie pie roamin around the Coloring Book (that’s my place… are you honestly surprised?) and maybe taking some of the heat off of me to give Kappie attention when I truly am just too caught up in my day by providing him with some companionship. But I honestly am just not looking to have any extra responsibility right now as I work toward developing my art more as well as some other *TOP SECRET* projects that I have going on which require a good amount of my attention. And hey, either way, I don’t have to worry about it. That’s right, that scheming kitty dipped after loungin around comfortably for a few hours, playing a couple rounds of “catch the laser” with the toys I bought her (yup… I did that. I’m that sucker), and gettin down on a dish of CVS’s finest kitty feast. Typical chickkkk, right… ay, ay? Am I right boys? ;)  (….don’t answer that, it’s a trap).

Sometimes we think we appreciate the things that we have in our lives, because when we think about it, we can easily say that we do… and sure, we do. We have a conscious appreciation for the things that we should be grateful for. We may even think we show that appreciation well… when it’s convenient for us. But in reality, we might not appreciate what we have to the fullest extent possible, or in the ways that these things truly should be cared for, and that doesn’t mean that it’s intentional and it does not at all make us bad people. It’s just that simply put- we are human. I mean, if you’d asked me if I loved Kappie- if I appreciated him and if I treated him well- I would have told you, ”Yes, absolutely! He’s my gem and my love and I don’t know what I’d do without him!” I likely would have admitted that I wish I could spend a little bit more time with him, or that I wish I could walk him more at the park, but “I just can’t”. Here’s the thing… I can. I can do all of those things. I could make time and put out that effort, if I truly cared to. But I don’t because I prioritize other things above it, especially because he allows it, because he’s easy. He doesn’t complain or whine or grab for attention constantly and he allows me to leave him be while I go about living my life. So I excuse myself and allow myself to make it seem like “I wish I could, but I can’t”, when the truth is, I can, and the truth is, I know how much he loves it when I do. When I prioritize him, he’s so happy he can barely keep his tail on his little butt… it’s what gives his days meaning! I think if we took a closer look at our lives, we could all identify more than a few things in our lives that we take for granted in one way or another, and we truly could change that, and it would be worth while for all involved. Because ultimately, when we give to others and when we make others smile (or tails wag), it makes US smile and fills our own hearts more. It’s a beautiful cycle, we just need to take the time to invest into it!
 
And that is why Kap and I are about to hit the pavement and take advantage of the beautiful park that we are fortunate enough to live right next to! We’re gonna go play, and laugh, and bark, and run, and jump, and mark territory (that’ll be his job), and wag tails (I’d say we’ll both be engaging in that one), and it’s going to be amazeballs… and then we’ll come back and he’ll be so exhausted that I can get some work done, with a smile on my face, because I’ll be so filled with joy in knowing that I’m a good mom (I don’t want to hear it. He’s my baby and that’s that) and he’ll be so happy and tired he won’t even want my attention. Instead he’ll be deep into one of those nice doggy slumbers that we all wish we could have a little peak into, dreaming it all up again. I’ll know this because I’ll see him running… sideways, while laying down… as if he actually runs that fast in real life (keep dreaming little man… keep dreaming.)
Happy Everything Appreciation Day!! Go show your gratitude for, well, EVERYTHING 🙂 Live in love ❤

Hi, My Name’s Frank.

She is loud, obnoxious, always thinks she’s right, and is constantly criticizing anything that might have something different to offer than her own judgements.She’s narrow-minded, stubborn, and is certainly difficult to ignore because she shouts to make herself feel more significant than all the rest, she’s mean to make herself feel more powerful, and she makes you feel like crap in the most manipulative of ways because ultimately, stepping on others is how she lifts herself up. She’s toxic, and you probably know that in a very real and deep way, but for some reason you still feel drawn to her. You almost feel like you’d be lost and nothing without her because those toxic tactics that she’s used to manipulate situations in her favor have actually worked… they’ve knocked down your self-esteem in just the right ways to make you believe the lies, but they’ve offered you an opportunity for redemption by earning approval and praise that promises to build it back up. (But it never truly builds it back up, does it?) You’ve become so close to her that as toxic as she might be, you feel a sense of attachment to and need for her and you honestly feel like you couldn’t walk away even if you wanted to, so you settle for the pain involved in the friendship because it ultimately provides you with some twisted sense of comfort, stability, and acceptance.
Until one day you realize that you never needed anything to provide you with those things before she came into your life, because you already possessed them. You finally realize that she stole them away from you, and you allowed her to, while making you feel like you could and should earn them back, even though they were already yours… and are still yours. One day, you realize that that isn’t a friendship at all. That despite what that she has to say about it, you know that you’re worth more than what she wants you to believe. And you’re taking it back.

So you walk away.
And now you feel freer and happier as you take your own confidence, happiness, and well being into your own hands, rather than handing it over to someone else to handle for you. And after you finally take that step you wonder how and why you ever allowed yourself to live within an arms reach of freedom and happiness without actually taking it.
Ego is a bold personality.
But here’s the best part: we don’t need her.
Ego tells us that we need to compare to others in order to gage our success, and she makes us feel like we aren’t “enough” if we don’t measure up similarly or “better” than other people that she tells us are doing it “right”. She spends all of her time and energy telling us what we’re supposed to believe is right and wrong, but it’s her that’s wrong.
Because we’re all different. We have different goals to achieve, different journeys to experience as we pursue those goals, and different paths to take as we travel along those journeys. We are each our own selves, which no one else can be, nor can we be anyone else, and we have an authenticity that is all our own, is beautiful, and that serves a very beautiful, very unique purpose in this world. Listening to the criticism of ego blocks us from seeing and accepting that and, therefore, blocks us from living our true potential and experiencing the true happiness that is available to us. Allowing ourselves to stay trapped within the confines of the ego keeps us at an arms reach of freedom and happiness without actually taking it, and that is not only a disservice to ourselves, but it is a disservice to the world by depriving it of experience the beauty that we have to offer it. Because literally not one single person/life/soul is the same, and that is what’s so incredibly wonderful about this world… yet ego tells us that it is precisely what is unattractive, weird, and unacceptable and that it should be criticized and “fixed” about each other.
But who are we to criticize and judge? Who are we to say what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s ugly and what’s beautiful, what success is, or what is “normal”? Who is anyone to gage any of that, and to offer critiques or praise for how other people measure up to it all?
The answer is that no one holds that place. No one has that right. And I think that we all know that deep down, but for some reason, many still hold onto the idea that they have to earn their worth and value from the approval of others, be it from family, friends, strangers, or from ourselves as we compare our lives to those we see around us or in the media. Ultimately, we’re looking to the world around us to give us an idea if we’re doing well in living our lives, and we’re offering that same judgement to others in order to make sure they know whether or not they’re doing well in living their lives. It’s a contradictory way of living to the truth that we know deep down inside, which is that we have no place in judging others and others have no place in judging us.
So why do we do it?
Because it’d be “weird” not to?
  • According to who? Who makes that call? (If you know, come see me. I’d like to speak to them.)
Is it because everyone else is living that way and we don’t want to stand out?
  • Why? Why not stand out?? What’s the point in shrinking down our beautiful and wonderful authenticity and dimming our light from shining as brightly as it can and should? If it is so that we don’t make others feel uncomfortable walking along with their dimmed lights, how about rather than dimming our lights to match theirs, we shine as brightly as we’re meant to so that we can encourage and inspire them to do the same?

What are we so afraid of?

If it’s failure, I have just two things to say about that.
The first of which is that you cannot fail at being yourself, unless you don’t allow yourself to truly be yourself.
*The only wrong decision ever to make is the one that goes against what your true heart is telling you to make.*
The second of which is a quote that one of my favorite bright lights of all time, Jim Carrey, said during an incredibly inspiring commencement speech he made (which I would encourage you to see if you have not yet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V80-gPkpH6M ). At one point, he was discussing the fact that his father could have been a great comedian, but because he had listened to his ego and chosen to make his choices based out of fear rather than authenticity, he chose a comfortable job as an accountant. He eventually lost that job and their family struggled to do whatever they needed to do to survive. Jim said that among many great lessons that his father taught him, one of the greatest lessons he learned was that “you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance at doing what you love”. I couldn’t agree more.
What I think is important to acknowledge, though, is that this doesn’t only apply to career and job choices- it applies to every single aspect of life. You can most definitely fail personally, professionally, academically, etc., by going in the direction that you don’t want and making choices based out of fear that the ego has instilled in you, causing you to want to make the safe choices that you believe will impress and please others around you who have no place in having that authority over you in the first place… but if you choose to go in the direction that your true heart tells you is right for you, not only will you at the very least enjoy the process and the journey so much more, but the truth is that you will be more capable of succeeding. Because when you pursue what is meant for you, the success and happiness that we all truly desire, deserve, and more importantly, are meantto have is brought into your life as a result.
But a very key aspect of beginning that wonderful, beautiful, joyful journey of living by your true heart and authenticity is letting go of that ego. Don’t allow it to dictate the choices you make any longer. It’s had reign for far too long as it is and it’s never too late to begin living the life you’re meant to live. In fact, it just so happens to be that right now is the most perfect time that you have to start! So why wait? Don’t let fear stop you. Don’t let others stop you. Don’t let you stop you. Love yourself and the world around you enough to allow yourself to be the person you were created to be. It will not only fulfill you, but it will inadvertently enrich and inspire the people around you- your friends, family, and even strangers that you encounter. It will shine a light into this world that will continue burning brightly long after your gone, and which will create a spark in others to ignite their own fire of authenticity.She may be loud, but that doesn’t make her important. Your heart is important. YOU are important. And the world needs you. :)

Live in Love ❤

So Knot Funny

So there I am, fidgeting, yet again, with the dreaded twisted elastic waste band of my favorite comfy shorts.

You know what I’m talking about.

Those elastic bands that are not sewn into the garment and, therefore, twirl around in the washing machine and cause you to play a frustrating little game of “go ahead and TRY to untangle and untwist or give up and pick something else to wear/throw these damn things away altogether”.

I like games!

I don’t like that game.

I stood there with my shorts that I’d picked up and put down more than a handful of times since the last time I washed them because the twist was so entangled and it was too frustrating to even begin to address any of the other times I’d wanted to wear them, and for some reason, I felt like today was the day. Today was the day that I’d either victoriously strut my stuff throughout my office (apartment) in my cute little black and white work attire (comfy, yet dressy, lounge shorts ;) ), or I’d acknowledge defeat and sadly say goodbye to yet another piece of clothing that I held near and dear to my girlie girl heart. Yeah… I wasn’t ready to do that. So I began to fidget.

And as this process went on, I had a surprising number of thoughts going through my head about such a seemingly simple situation…
“Why didn’t they sew this in here? Did they want me to hate life right now? Garment makers should really be aware of this very serious issue. We should probably start a petition… and by we, I mean, I’ll do that… and maybe someone will sign it… probably just my mom. Ugh why is this taking so long??”
And then, thankfully, my yogibear mind began to kick in…
“Alright. I always try to remain aware of the fact that everything happens for a reason, that we are always right where we’re supposed to be… so why am I here now? What could I possibly take away from this soul-depleting activity of fighting what seems to be a losing battle with an inanimate object? Okay… patience. That’s definitely something I need to practice right now. So here I go… I’m being patient… which is actually helpful… it’s at least making this process a little less miserable… and oh! Look! It’s working!! Patience is relaxing my mind and, therefore, my body, and it’s so much easy to work these nimble little phalanges of mine when I’m not tensely fidgeting to pull this tangled mess!”

Andddd cue the *LIGHT BULB*

I think by now you probbbably know where I’m going with this…because you’re reading my blog, and if you’re reading my blog, that means you’re a smart cookie, and smart cookies will probably pick up on the fact that I’m not here to discuss garment issues (although they are very real and we MUST do something about this before someone gets hurt!). I more so would like to shed some light on something that I think we all know, but all too often tend to forget, which is that when you have something messy or entangled to untwist, it takes patience.

Now, every knot is formed in one of two ways:
1.)They have been tied intentionally by someones
2.)They have been tied accidentally, usually by carelessness, such as not taking care of your jewelry while traveling and coming to find your necklaces all entangled upon arrival at your destination.

So we can spend our time figuring out how the knot was formed, who formed it, whether it was done by accident or intention, and why, and we can then dwell in that blame game and continue to develop our frustration, tension, and negativity about it, but none of that will serve your ultimate desire in any way, which is to have that knot untangled.
Think about it- the reason you even care in the first place to begin thinking about those things and developing those negative emotions about it is because at the core of it all, you wish this knot didn’t exist and would like it to now cease to exist. The only way to do that is to untangle it, unless you’d like to cut your losses and toss the knot away, which my guess is you don’t really want to do because if you’re really that moved by the existence of the knot in the first place, it likely means something to you and might even hold a dear place in your heart like my cute comfy shorts do. So my thinking is that the next option might be a better way to go…

You can untangle the knot.
Forget about blame, let go of the frustration, and do whatever you need to do to relax, focus on the task at hand, and practice patience as you work through the process of untangling. Sure, you’ll probably go through a series of thoughts and emotions, much like you saw earlier with my crazy-train line of thinking as I worked through the waste band to my shorts, but if you recenter your focus each time it begins to drift in a negative and unproductive direction, you will ultimately begin to remain in the positivity, relaxing will come more easily to you, and so will the untangling. Eventually you’ll begin to see progress and that proud momentum will continue to push you forward until you finally have freedom from that tangled messy little bundle of annoyance.

Again, because you’re smart, I know that you’ve picked up on the fact that I’m not simply talking about material knots here. This concept applies to those emotional, mental, and even physical health knots as well… those things that have built up over time, whether you were aware that they were being built/tied or not, and sometimes when you see them you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, defeated, or helpless about them. Those things are not impossible to untangle, but some knots and ties will take more patience and effort than others… and my guess is that if it their existence bothers you very much, it will likely be worth it to push through. It does take time, there will be frustration, and sometimes you’ll tug at a string and see that it tightens something that you meant to loosen, but the key is to see where the vulnerable spots are, learn from them, and practice patience as you learn which strings need to be tugged, which need to be pushed, and which need to be left alone in order to maneuver the knot out of formation so that whatever it is that you’re untangling can be free as it was meant to be. It’s possible, it’s worth it, and (my favorite part) it’s never too late.

Look at this- life lessons in a garment… and men think our love for fashion is pointless! ;)There is so much beauty to be found in the most unexpected circumstances. That’s why this life just blows me away!

Live in Love, my beautiful friends ❤

Simple Math

If my math is on point like it should be, it’s safe to say that vibrant life > not so vibrant life.
Pretty sure that’s right, but please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong!

I’ve been blessed to know what it is to be in optimum health- in mind, body, and soul. I’ve put in the work to develop each and every one of those areas in the best ways that I knew how and in the ways that I personally felt were important. That definitely doesn’t mean that I’m perfect or that I maintain that optimum health in any/all of those areas at all times, and it doesn’t mean that I’ve got it all completely right- there’s always learning and growing that can be done. I’m also human, I’m imperfect, and I make mistakes and fall off the wagon from time to time just like anyone else does.
But that’s okay!
Because the key is learning from those mistakes, and growing as you develop the strengthand momentum to pick yourself back up. Essentially, the key is forgiveness… not forgetting, but recognizing, learning, and moving forward.

Knowing how it feels to be in optimum health (not only of body, but of mind and soul as well), the blessings that come as the result of the hard work it takes to get there, the energy and productivity that I have in each and every day, and (most importantly, to me) the much more beautiful ways in which it allows me to interact with and inspire my friends, family, and every new person I meet in this world is why I’m able to very easily recognize when I’m not there. I can SEE it, I can FEEL it, and I don’t like it. The difference may not be entirely noticeable to everyone at first glance- I don’t balloon into obesity, I don’t suddenly become a crabby bitter person that hates the world and everything in it, and I don’t just completely fall apart. But I know the differences, I see the ways in which they limit me in many areas of my life, or at the very least, provide much more difficulty in accomplishing and acquiring what I want and need, and it’s not a fun way to live. It may have been acceptable before, but knowing what I could have and HAVE had provides a noticeable contrast when I do veer from progress that makes me want the more, not the less. Fortunately, because I’ve put in the time and effort before to learn what I personally need in order to be at my best, I know what I need to do in those times in order to get back to my prime, and knowing the results motivates me to do it.

Like many people do, I have let the stresses of life get in the way lately and I haven’t been at my best in any of those areas, but I’m motivated and excited to be getting back on track!

It makes me wonder, though…

How many are struggling and don’t even realize it? The lack of energy, lack of motivation, lack of enthusiasm, lack of self esteem, lack of mental clarity, dependence on stimulants like coffee, alcohol, and/or other drugs (legal or illegal) to supplement for those things… it has become so acceptable and so “normal” to live that way, but it doesn’t have to be.

The thing is that I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that many don’t even realize that there could be more- that they could be living SO much better and enjoying this life in such a truly healthy, happy, and vibrant way. They haven’t felt it or experienced it and, therefore, don’t even know that it exists; therefore, they have no reason to feel motivation to do the work (yes, it does require work) to change, and the lack of confidence in the idea that this type of life actually exists, let alone is attainable, only further lessens their interest to even try. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been told and heard that someone doesn’t believe that my happiness and vibrance is real. That it must be fake, because “no one is that happy”… it’s sad to me that people live in a way that they truly believe that to be true. So, they continue to do what’s easy and what’s “normal” and drink the coffee, depend on alcohol to get them through the nights, and rely on over the counter and prescription medications to ease the symptoms of the ailments that inevitably develop over time as a result of living that normal and socially accepted lifestyle, because they’re told that it’s completely “normal” to develop those ailments, as it “comes with aging” or “sometimes these things just happen and we don’t know why”.

Now I’m not judging it at all- I’ve been there and have lived that lifestyle, and as I said before, I lose my footing now and then just like anyone else. But if anything, it makes me sad because I wish everyone could know what it is to be healthy and vibrant, and I wish more a than anything that I could give that gift to every person in the world. I absolutely would if I could! But I can’t do that so easily. All I can do is my own best to live well as an example and to share when and how I am called to share, with hopes that it helps someone in some way.

But I do wonder how many have labeled their feelings of low energy, low motivation, and lack of focus as laziness. How many have labeled their struggles as some sort of ailmentthat requires medication. Or how many have accepted their moodiness, anger, and bitterness that comes as the result of what is ultimately really just chronic pain and discomfort, that they don’t even realize is pain and discomfort because they’ve dealt with it for so long and because it has developed so gradually that they don’t recognize it as something that needs to or can be cured, as their personality… like that’s “just the way that they are”.

I wish for each and every one of those people that they would find that little nugget of desire to change- that little spark of motivation to be better for whatever reason it is, be it in work and/or personal life- and they would hold onto it. That they would reach out for help from whatever resources they can find to begin taking those baby steps to learning, growing, and developing. It takes time and effort, just as anything worth doing does, but the point of it all is that it IS possible and it IS worth doing. If I’m your resource, don’t hesitate to ask me for help! Even if it’s something so little as a friend to talk to for encouragement, or if you need me to link you to my resources. I’m here for you, just as I’ve been blessed to have people be here for me. After all, sharing is caring! ;)

But you know what, although I wish everyone in this world would jump up and find that motivation to be as happy, healthy, and vibrant as possible for themselves, my ultimate wish for you is this: if you take nothing else away from what you’ve just read, I want you to at least walk away knowing how incredibly blessed you are to have another day to live this beautiful life, and however it is that you choose to do it, that you just get out there and enjoy it!!

Live in love! ❤

Nostalgia At Its Finest (novel-esque post… you’ve been warned!)

So today’s a beautiful day here in sunny Florida… and, I mean, it’s REALLY beautiful out. So I did the only logical thing there is to do on a day like this and I went outside! And it would be purely selfish of me to do so and leave my adorable, precious, love bug of a pup behind, so I grabbed his water bowl, filled up a bottle of water for the both of us, couldn’t leave his treats behind of course, and set out with my blanket, ready for an awesome Monday with the lil man.

As I was getting ready to step out, I noticed my happy memories jar sitting on my bookshelf and I thought, “Hmmm… yep. It’s comin along.”

Let me tell you a little bit about my happy memories jar.
I created this little gem about a year an a half ago- on New Years Day 2013 to be exact. I did this for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted to begin keeping record of my happy memories, even the small ones, because let’s be honest… we all tend to forget the little treasures that pop up into our life journeys and isn’t it just a perfectly nostalgic joy to be reminded?! Secondly, this year in particular, to me, was the first year that I started living. I was 24 years old at the time but I felt as if I’d be reborn, and while there are a plethora of reasons behind this, I think you’ll have to do with the mystery for now because this blog couldn’t even begin to handle my life story. ;) But I can give you the bare essentials to roll with me here.(If you don’t care about the essentials of where it came from, you’re welcome to continue scrolling down to my mantra, which is what started the jar, and are MORE than welcome to adopt it in whatever way that suits you for your own life! :) I just always feel that it’s beautiful to provide a little bit of back story to help others relate when sharing something so close to your heart.)
Basically, I had always been a people-pleaser and was that person who would bend over backwards for anyone on the planet who asked me to, even strangers (nope, I’m not kidding you… I did not discriminate with my people-pleasing). You can ask those closest to me who were constantly scolding me for being “too nice”, to which I responded by telling them that there’s no such thing as being too nice, or that I’d rather be too nice than to be rude.I just didn’t understand why I was supposed to ever view it to be a bad thing.
And in a sense, I was onto something there. To this day, I believe genuine kindness to be the most beautiful aspect of a person, including and especially above physical beauty. But the way in which I went about it left me with little to no room for the word “no”(I don’t even believe I knew how to pronounce it until recently… “N… n… nnnnice to meet you?” Nope. That’s not it… dangit!), which left little to no room for meIt stunted my authenticity and, instead, lead me into some difficult situations that could have taken my life down a very, very difficult, dark, and unhappy road.
There’s clearly a lot more to it but for now, I’m going to leave it at that and save the juicy deets for another time.
The bottom line is that I was, in very many ways, living a life for the approval of and appreciation from others rather than for the authenticity of myself and how I was truly intended to live. Fortunately, however, I ultimately mastered the art of learning my lessons the hard way in my lifetime, and with my true nature still alive and kicking deep down (truly by the grace of God), screaming to be set free, it was only a matter of time before the two collided and I awoke to a better way of living that suited not only the serving nature that I had for others, but also myself and my own genuine happiness. I never thought it would be possible to find a balance between the two, but lo and behold, after 24 years of learning some very hard lessons in a very hands-on way, I was officially ready to do just that.
You see, after coming out of one of the most difficult times of my life which included a devastating divorce and even more heart-wrenching news regarding my physical health, I had been overwhelmed for months. I did my best to walk forward with my head held high and a bright smile on my face, and I like to think that I actually did well with this, at least from what others could see, but inside… I struggled. I think it’s even safe to say I was a hot mess. I won’t go into details about the turmoil I felt regarding my life, my worth, and my future, but I will say that it was, hands down, the absolute lowest point of my life and I didn’t realize that self-worth could actually fall into the sub-zero category until then. That time actually wound up playing a strong role in deepening my level of empathy because not one single person in the world knew how I felt, as it wasn’t something I cared to share… I was determined to continue being the happy, friendly, caring and sweet person that I felt I always was to those around me because if I was going to lose everything else, I was going to hold on with dear life to the one thing I had left and valued so deeply- my kindness. And please don’t get me wrong; I wasn’t being “fake”, as I genuinely believed in every happy, positive, and encouraging thing that I said and did. But I, myself, was in deep pain and was simply doing all that I could to push through and past it by focusing on brightening the day and lives of others. So when I realized how little people knew about what was so broken and pained inside of me behind that smile and outwardly positive nature, and actually how easily they assumed that I had some sort of perfect and idealistic life upon meeting me BECAUSE I was so positive in nature and “looked” like I must have such an easy life, I began to understand just how little we know of others and how ill equipped we are to make any assumptions, even seemingly positive ones. I realized that there are undoubtedly others who live broken behind their smiles and that we can never truly know or understand what a person has struggled with or is struggling with, even if we think they’ve shared with us… that unless we are walking in their shoes, it’s simply not our battle to judge. I became keenly aware of the difference that a randomly kind person or even something as simple as a smile could make to what might have otherwise been a painful or bad day, and I wanted to be sure that I always only contributed good things and beauty to the days of others. I didn’t ever want to be that person who was so wrapped up in her own troubles that she was oblivious to the world around her, closing herself off from beautiful new opportunities and growth and either directly or indirectly contributing frustration and negativity to others along the way. It was at that point that I set an intention to always remain aware of, and empathetic toward, that knowledge in my daily interactions.
I know that I promised to keep this short, and I hope that you all realize by now what “short” means to me in terms of writing (oh heyyyyy, shout out to my lovely friends who are amazing enough to read through my novel texts!! You’re zee best! ;) ). I’m almost there, I promise. But the point that I wanted to make in sharing all of this is basically to show that we all have our struggles, even those who you might never expect to have struggled or to be struggling. Whether they’re just like mine or entirely different, we can all relate to the simple fact that we have each struggled in some way. And with that, I believe that we can all relate to needing and benefitting from something like a happy memories jar, and especially what began it (what, you thought all of this was in relation to the jar itself? Get real, that was just a gateway to a much bigger story! Aw, youuuu fell for itttttt ;) ). You see, on New Years Eve of 2012, before going out in my sparkly dress and curly locks, I sat down and went to town on quite a few pages of my journal, sectioning the pages into two categories. The first was a list titled, Trials and Tribulations of 2012. In that list, I wrote about everything that was hard, difficult, heartbreaking, discouraging, and fearful. I made a list of 50. The second was titled, And the Lessons I’m Taking with Me from Each and Every One…, in which I wrote about all of the strength, beauty, and blessings to be found in relation to each struggle on list number one. After completing the first list, I walked passed my parents (my temporary roommies at the time) and went straight toward the fire that was blazing under the chimney, where I carefully laid the pages of list number one into the flames and watched with a great sense of relief as the negativity turned to ash and rose into the abyss above. The second list is what began my happy memories jar. I placed it into a glass jar and set an intention to fill that jar with all of the blessings of the year, allowing nothing but beauty to come with me into 2014 when I would sit down a year later to read them. I have to say, it was a really beautiful experience going through them the first time on New Years Day 2013… so much so that I felt inspired to bring it with me to the park and do it again on this beautiful day!
That is the list that I’ve provided below, and I pray that it inspires all who read it to live life to the best of their abilities, and even beyond… to remember their worth, even and especially in the times when it feels to be non-existent, and to hold on to the strength and the courage that exists within us all to move forward into beauty and greatness. This life is meant to be lived happily and joyfully, for others and for ourselves. I wish that for you all and hey, if you ever have trouble finding it… you know a gal that will absolutely bend over backwards for ya to help find it! ;) Live in love everyone, and seriously… thank you for reading! ❤

And the Lessons I’m Taking with Me from EACH and EVERY one… ❤

1.) I deserve happiness and am smart enough to recognize when and where it’s lacking, strong enough to stand up for myself and for others, even when it’s the hardest thing to do, and compassionate enough to di it in the kindest and most loving way possible, even when I’m hurting. I did the right thing and will have a happy, healthy, and life-long marriage one day with the right person, when it is right. (I wonder what this one was about… :) )
2.) I have had a tendency to want to be perfect for others, and I don’t need to be… because I am perfect already. I am the perfect me. I was strong enough to overcome something powerfully destructive and am now a thriving, healthy, and beautiful person.
3.) I don’t need attention from any man who’s not the man that I love. I have higher morals than that and am valuable enough to hold onto them.
4.) “It”is only ever bad and I have much healthier options, such as journaling, listening to music, talking with friends, painting, long boarding, driving, or even simply getting ready for no reason at all and feeling good about myself!
5.) I am beautiful! I am gorgeous inside and out, funny, sweet, caring, compassionate, fun, creative, interesting, relaxing, friendly, positive, gentle, athletic, nurturing, intelligent, sexy, loving… I’m the perfect version of me and it’s okay to love that.
6.) They (friends and family) love me and will be a higher priority in my life always.
7.) I have such a bright future full of so many amazing possibilities… sometimes I need to work a little harder for them, and that’s okay… it’s worth it.
8.) Do it NOW. You’ll be glad you did.
9.) There’s always something to be grateful for.
10.) There is literally no benefit to worrying.
11.) I have God, family, and friends. It doesn’t ever matter how many or how close. Life changes, but I’m always loved, and lovable.
12.) I’m too amazing to criticize myself!
13.) I’m too amazing to let anyone else’s misunderstood perceptions get to me!
14.) Life is too short and too amazing to be negative!
15.) See above… that’s their own choice to ignore it. (In reference to anyone who is difficult to deal with in life)
16.) Save more. Only spend what you have.
17.) It’s not worth it. Living in love is worth it. Forgiving is worth it.
18.) Family is most important. You can’t always make it perfect, you’re only one part of it, but you can always do your best for your own part.
19.) Leave more time for sleep. It matters.
20.) God is FIRST. He saved my life multiple times, whether I thought I deserved it or not, whether I wanted him to or not, and whether I even knew it or not. I’m still here, and that means that I have a purpose to fulfill… it means that I am dearly loved by him. He is first.
21.) Creating is my passion. It’s worth making time and energy for, and it inspires others. Do it more.
22.) Helping people is my other passion. I’m good at it and it inspires others. Do it more.
23.) Tithing is important and feels so good no matter how little I have for myself!
24.) Everything happens for a reason. There’s no need to fear the future.
25.) This is my one and only life… LIVE IT!!
26.) However I want to live my life to the fullest is what works for me and that’s not only okay, but it’s what this one life of mine is meant for. Embrace it.
27.) Listen… you can’t make everyone happy, and you can’t make what’s not meant to be, be. If someone wants to love you, let them love you, and if you love someone, let yourself love them to the fullest. The most detrimental thing you can do to yourself is to close off your heart to love. The most selfish thing you to can to the world is to keep your love from it. And the most wasteful thing you can do is to play games and try to figure out what God and fate has already decided. The best and happiest thing you can do is to enjoy the ride and be open to all of the good things that come your way, receiving them with gratitude. If something doesn’t work out, it may be sad initially, but know that it wouldn’t have worked out regardless of what you did and would have been sad at some other point. Be grateful for less time wasted. You might as well be happy and open to the possibilities and enjoy the good that can come from it, accept any of the “disappointments”, and know that if someone else does take this openness of heart for granted, they didn’t deserve your whole heart in the first place; if they take advantage, they obviously needed that openness more than you know; and in either case, it is their loss in the end and you walk forward with your head held high knowing that you always have something to gain from giving! ❤
28.) There is nothing to fear… God has amazing plans for you. Just be open to receiving them!
29.) You’re too precious to hate or doubt. It’s sad for anyone who does so… they’re missing out.
30.) Exercise makes you look and feel good!
31.) Indulging also make you happy. :)
32.) Do not downplay your beauty, on the inside or out. It does not benefit anyone and is not what God blessed you with it for.
33.) Music is amazing in so many ways.
34.) You love learning, progressing, and playing guitar! It’s worth more time.
35.) Not writing is the ultimate way to hide your heart- share it in some way, even if it’s only with yourself and a pen and paper!
36.) Journaling = healing. Do not neglect!
37.) You deserve every compliment you get. Stop rejecting them and just say “Thank you”!
38.) Everyone’s different. Some people don’t understand or accept that. Don’t be one of those people and don’t take it personally if you encounter someone who is.
39.) Any loss was never meant to be yours in the first place. Mourn the initial feeling of losing what you thought you had, but then accept that it wasn’t and isn’t yours and be grateful to have more room for what is.
40.) You’re capable of so much more than you know… don’t waste your time trying to figure it all out though. Just know that you’re capable of more than you even know and be grateful for the vast amount of possibilities to explore it.
41.) What you have is what you’re meant to have, and it’s not only enough, but it’s perfect.
42.) Don’t waste your life being unhappy… that would be the ultimate waste.
43.) Some/many things take more effort than others… and it’s all worth it.
44.) Smiles are contagious and much more beneficial, to the wearer and the world. :)
45.) If you have something to hold back, it’s not only worth sharing, it’s selfish not to.
46.) Calendars, notes, alarms, happy memories jar… all necessary and 100% worth the effort!
47.) She is just a person. She can think how she wants to- that works for her and that’s great! If she chooses to be negative toward you about your differences, that’s her choice and her loss of enjoying all of what you have to offer. Lift her up anyways. (In regards to a really negative woman at my workplace who constantly put me down. I’d realized that she must have some pain that I could not see that was causing her negativity, and I had compassion for her. I think we can all take a step back in similar situations and learn to see opportunities for compassion before anger.)
48.) Moving on is such a positive thing… leave the negative behind, take the lessons from it with you, and love how beautiful your life is.
49.) Be smart about when/how/why you move on. You’re capable of anything good.
50.) Life’s too short to be in a bad mood. There’s always something to smile/laugh about and love!

What a MESS

Sometimes, if not all times, art truly speaks to me in a very real way. I learn so many lessons about life within every aspect of the creation process from beginning, to middle, to end, and it simply blows me away. One of my favorite lessons is actually a concept that I’ve always considered, but I had trouble structuring my views on it until I began working with my crafts and seeing it’s analogies at every turn and in crevice. It’s been a monumental lesson for me to learn and take in not only as I journey through my work, but as I journey through life. You see, what I’ve come to realize is that mistakes?… welp, quite simply put: they don’t exist.

Yep, you heard me right. They don’t exist! Isn’t that fun?? HUGE weight lifted! :) And I mean it- they don’t exist in art, and they don’t exist in life either… at least not in the way that we think.

See, mistakes are typically seen as “bad”. We don’t want to make mistakes. We regret mistakes. We wish we could avoid mistakes. But the truth is that everything truly has a purpose and a reason for existence, with the ability to be learned from and grown from… even and especially those glorious things called “mistakes”. There is beauty within all of it, and this is especially true in art! When we create a color, an image, a line, a shape, a whatever-it-is that we don’t like and didn’t quite intend to create, at least not in the way that it turned out, there is an array of possibility within it. Allow me to break it down for ya.

In my experience, I’ve found that there are three general approaches to a “mistake” that we can take (I’ve got that word in quotes now and that’s where it will stay, because it doesn’t exist. It’s a made up word to carry anxiety, self-doubt, negative criticism, fear, and dwelling and I won’t allow it in my blog without it’s quote shackles, muahahahaaaaa). In artistic terms, they go as follows…

1.) We can turn it into something– use the colors within it and build another image/color/shape/line/whatever from it. In this case, we must get creative and use our imaginations, which is always fun and can lead us to new things that we may not have had the motivation to explore without that “mistake”. This can involve some initial anxiety or fear, but once we learn to let go of that we are able to see the beauty of evolution before our very eyes and it becomes exciting; something to be proud of and look forward to!

2.) We can paint over it. This one’s easy enough right? Wrong. This option isn’t always an easy one to endure, as the one thing it requires from us is an attribute that oftentimes we have difficulty tapping into- patience. Because before we can paint anything over anything, we have to let it dry, otherwise we risk mixing colors that we don’t want to mix and carrying the “mistake” that we don’t want showing into the final product. Some “mistakes” take more time than others to dry, and that’s okay… patience is and always will be a virtue, so we should be grateful for the opportunity to practice it and focus our attention on the enjoyment of working in other areas while we wait.

3.) (This one’s my favorite) We can leave it be. Learn to love it. Accept that “mistake” and allow it to show proudly in the final product of our masterpiece, telling a beautiful story. Sometimes this story is funny, sharing a good laugh regarding how it came about and the light-hearted fun that was had in the process of creation; sometimes it represents frustration that was involved in creating the piece, which is just as beautiful because the fact that it is finished despite the frustration is a testament in itself to thestrength and diligence cultivated in the experience. And there are times that we make that choice consciously to allow it to remain, while other times we simply have no choice because it’s too significant to cover or build, in which case we learn to practice acceptance and love for our work despite our ideals and original expectations not being met. Either way you look at it, there’s beauty to be seen in any “mistake” and while I, myself, have difficulty at times with accepting my own “mistakes”, I’m ultimately always grateful for them and have become a huge fan of seeing that transparency of the process of creation within the final product.

You see, “mistakes” are simply a part of our story- our masterpiece- that we didn’t expect. But they’re essential in some way, shape, or form, and are beautiful aspects of our journey. They’re meant to be there, whether we originally knew and expected it or not; the key thing to remember is that the world does not revolve around our expectations. Just because something does not turn out to be the way that we expected it to be does not render it a “mistake”; it renders it right, it renders it essential, it renders it beautiful… but it most certainly does not render it to be wrong. We are wrong for thinking it’s wrong. And when we learn to see just how right it is, and trust ourselves to take the approach to it that is necessary by following our intuition and accepting the process, not only do we allow ourselves to enjoy the experience more, but we open ourselves up to a world of gratitude and appreciation once we are finally able to step back and take a look at how it’s all coming together in the big picture. I always tell me classes to remember Monet. His paintings were a hot mess up close and personal! But when you took a step or two back to look at the piece, you saw a beautiful, dreamy image brought together not by a gathering of anxiety-filled perfection, but brought together by a large area of collective messes that I can only imagine were a joyful bliss to create.

Now that we have the weight of looming possibilities of “mistakes” off of our shoulders… let’s go make a mess of this world, shall we? ;)

Live in love! ❤

My Feet-Hands

Today was one of those “eye-opener” days. I love those kinds of days. Because although I try to live each day to its fullest potential awesomeness, appreciating everything vastly and remaining aware of the good things around me, I am human and, therefore, I can get distracted by life from experiencing life (trust me, the irony is not lost on me). So it’s important for us all to have those occasional gratitude butt-kicker moments pop up into our lives to remind us of what it is exactly that we value, that we experience, and that we believe in our worlds (yes, we do each have our “own little world”… it’s not just me! It’s all based on perception). Today was a good one of those days for me and what I came to be newly aware of is the beauty of my feet-hands.
Confused? That’s fine. Me too, at first… 😉
So I was jogging this morning and it was THE most beautiful day… I mean it. Like, the sunwas out, the skies were blue, the clouds were white and just the fluffiest of all, and the breeze was kicking in full cool-ya-down gear! Absolutely stunning.
I stopped for a moment to take it all in, sitting on a picnic bench that just so happened to have the most adorable inscription on it written by someone who was clearly overtaken with love, which I love. It said “Many days pass yet I still breathe you in and taste our love!”Umm, how cute is that?! The CUTEST, that’s how cute! It’s always so uplifting to see evidence of the love that exists in this world… such pure bliss.
So I sat happily on this love bench, on this breezy, beautiful day, and I just looked. My surroundings were too breathtaking not to take a few moments just to enjoy them! It didn’t take long for me to noticed the blades of grass just waving completely out of control and I couldn’t help but think that it looked exactly like those time-lapse videos that we see in documentaries and movies. You know what I’m talking about- those brief moments when we watch what happens as the camera is set up in one place for an entire day, showing the movement throughout the day and playing it in fast-forward. Cars whizzing by, lights flickering on and off, sun rising, clouds passing, sun setting, and nature swaying quickly within it all. That’s what I was seeing before my very eyes and it was mesmerizing. I felt like it was almost too beautiful and too dreamy to be real, and yet- there it was. Real as my hands in front of me.
… my hands. My real, tangible, beautifully crafty hands that do so much for me each and every day. From writing passionately each morning in my journal, to preparing the nourishing food that I feed my body each day, to developing the creative crafts that I enjoy making so much, to playing around with the girliest of all fun that I can’t ever get enough of that is taking hours just to pick out an outfit with accessories and playing with the colors of makeup and toys of hairstyling to match. My hands do so so much for me and are absolutely invaluable to me, but they are so much a part of my every aspect of every day that I take them for granted. Today, I was taking notice, and in that moment I realized something profound. It amazed me to see that by simply looking at my hands, fingers, and finger nails, you can learn so much about me that I’d never before realize was so exposed… the essential part about it, however, is that you must truly pay attention to the details to notice it.
You see, my nails are short (some shorter than others) and unpolished, which likely means that I work with them too much to keep them all as long and even as they’re capable of growing; working with them often enough to give me little time for polishing on a regular basis. Instead, nail polish has been replaced by speckles of various colors within the cuticle and underneath the nail bed that are very clearly not the leftovers of a pricy manicure. No, these colors are too wide of a variety and lay in places that nail polish wouldn’t be placed in to be the result of a spa trip. And when you consider the fact that first thing in the morning, on almost any given morning, before I have had a chance to do much of anything, you can find these hidden treasures of color left behind within my nail beds, you’ll realize that I must have been doing something with my hands in the day(s) prior… something that has either stained them so much that it was difficult to remove with typical washing, or which stains them so often that I’ve begun to barely notice when there is anything lingering behind after washing. **I’ll go ahead and share with you a little secret that it is the latter which is true- it’s my norm. The paints from the masterpieces that I pour my heart, soul, tears, energy, and time into have chosen to stick around on my hands like trophies of mini marathons that I’ve finished on my journey of following my dreams, and I wear them proudly.**Turns out that without having to put out much effort in digging or peeling back those fun but tedious onion layers of mine to understanding the core of my being, it is right there on the surface that you will find a large chunk of my heart and my passion. It is in cultivating this awareness and this appreciation that I see my hands to be the feet that carry me through. They develop strength and battle marks through each adventure, and I am immensely grateful for every bit of it.
It’s absolutely breathtaking to see the lovely things that exist around us when we take a moment to stop and stare; to stay and wait. I hope that we can all take a moment every now and then to stop and take it all in… take in the blessings that are around us always. If we are not seeing them, we simply aren’t looking well enough because they are there. So let’s look up from the repetitive and quick motions of our lives, move a little more slowly from time to time, and enjoy the journeys that we’re on, thanking our bodies for carrying us through however they can. Let’s not take these beautiful vessels that we’ve been blessed to explore this life with for granted! After all, they were hand-picked for us;)
Thank you, to my feet-hands, for helping me to follow my dreams. You’re mucho appreciated, weirdo paint stains and all. :)
Live in love! ❤