Posts in Inspirations
Going With the Flow
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I'm in my happy place, a week earlier than normal. That should be a great thing, right?

It however, looks more like a snowy winter's morning outside than the spring it should be. Once I might have been bummed, as no walk with my trees is happening today. Instead, I am going with the flow. Change of plans. I've got plenty of things to catch up on inside.

This go with the flow attitude, this new way of thinking is still a little foreign to me. I do not love change. I do not love the unexpected. It upsets my inner rhythm. It makes me feel a little off center. A tiny bit unsafe. I like the feeling of contentment that comes from a routine, a familiarity of sameness I can count on. So when changes, big changes, loom, I get a little freaked. In the past, I would get sad and cry a lot. In my present state of living life without a mapped out plan, I am opting for the glass half-full perspective.

This life change is going to be fun. This empty nest thing will allow me the freedom I crave. More creating time. More time with my love. More fun.

I know change is necessary or you become stagnant (which might be a nice word for stuck). I dislike being stuck more than the uncertainty changes bring, therefore I am practicing what I preach, and trusting the flow of life.

My girls are moving to their own place this week, moving their things and themselves out of our house. The boys have essentially been gone for a while. That means we will be empty nesters. Just the two of us in this big, quiet house. It is, as all life changes are, bittersweet; both exciting & sad.

I am so happy for the girls moving onto their next step of the journey, and also sad for Papi and I who will miss their constant and very alive presence in our home and lives.

The positive benefits of this change I am choosing to embrace are that I will have more actual play time with Nollie. My attention and time won't be shared with house duties, work, dance practice and cooking. I will now have the quiet time needed to get my stuff done and be ready for spontaneous fun with my little love when she comes over to play. I am so thankful for that!

Incredibly the March 31st snow is seriously piling up outside right now, but instead of being sad that a walk to clear my head with my friends the trees isn't happening, I choose to clear my head by writing out my feelings. This is all going to work out the way it is supposed to.

Breathe. Just breathe. I've got this.

P.S. Hello blog, it's nice to be back.

Reflections on a Snowy Winters Morn
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Time goes faster the older I get. I didn't anticipate this as a kid sitting on my warm driveway soaking up the endless summer sun. I wish now I would have made a point of appreciating the freedom I had then, the clarity of thought, the uncomplicated simplicity of my life. But I was a kid, who knew that life would eventually roll along at so fast a pace it would seem there was no way to step off for a mindful moment?

My parents might have tried to tell me. But as a kid, who really listens to their parents?

I spent 2017 enjoying the moments directly in front of me, being 'present' as they say, and time didn't slow down at all. If anything, it seemed to move even faster. As I sit here reflecting on the year gone by, I so want to keep each precious moment of 2017 in my heart, relishing the cuddles from my sweet grand daughter, replaying the sound of her giggles and my husband's laughter as they played together, gazing up at the perfect blue sky of a summer day at the lake. Those little things fuel my soul and make my heart sing. I never want them to forget them.

Another thing my parents may have tried to tell me way back when, is that everything changes, nothing ever stays the same.

The calendar turning to 2018 brings a brand spanking new chance to appreciate the moments right in front of me for another year. I know that I cannot recreate the ones I loved so much in 2017, but I have to remind myself there is no reason to think the new ones will be any less great.

I've learned at least one thing in my 55 years; you have to find your own joy. What things currently bring you happiness will change as you do, and as time goes by. Sometimes it means I have to dig deep for a silver lining and other times I have to fight to contain the awesomeness of the moment so I won't miss any second of it.

Life will be different for me this coming year as I can feel the winds of change blowing in. In the past I have tended to resist the unknown, to choose safe + familiar over new adventures, but I know if I do that I will become stagnant (again) and I do not want to waste this beautiful life of mine. So I will do my best to surrender to what will be.

In 2018 I will embrace what is, and graciously attempt to let go of what isn't. I will fill my heart with my own simple joys. I will continue to treasure all the moments with the members of my sweet family-- the little grand babies and nieces, my all grown up children and their significant others, the wise old ones (my parents), the one who is always my rock (my husband), and even with the ones that try my patience but give me the best of hugs. I will literally and figuratively "draw" out my own unique artistic talent by pushing past the self-critical voice I hear and find pride + promise in my work. And, I will allow my failures to be my lessons and my successes to be sweet reminders of my growth. I will shine in 2018. And if I am lucky, as I appreciate each wonderful moment, I will be able  to slow down time so I can enjoy life even more! .

Love + Blessings to you in the new year.

Namaste.

 

 

 

Hit the Road Jack
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I spent too much of my life at a job in a place that never wanted me, didn't appreciate me, who resented me even. Why did I stay so long in an environment that brought me down?

Looking back I should have left so many years earlier. I allowed the unhealthy workplace to eat away at my self-esteem, to make me question my worth, to make me feel as if I wasn't enough.

I should have walked out the first week, the first time I was demeaned by a coworker who thought they should be my boss. The first time I was pushed to tears. I don't do well with meanness, I never have, and I should have known if it happened to me on the first week of the job, it wasn't going to be an isolated event.

It continued to happen in little ways, and in big ways for 12 years. And I am sad to say, I let it. I should have walked away, dared to do something different, but I kept trying to fit in, to make it work, to fix it. It was a great place "on paper", and the job was something I could do and do well, and I loved the flexibility in my schedule. But it wasn't worth what I lost there. Underneath the pretend, I knew I wasn't welcomed by all, and trying to please, trying to prove my worth and be seen as valuable to those who would never care, was a huge waste of my precious energy.

Underneath the company's "make sure we look good from the outside" facade, was an inside filled with a good old boys network that I would never fit into. Women were second class citizens who did a lot of the work and who management allowed to be bullied by a small group of unhappy, negative male employees.

A leader, by dismissing his employees complaints or avoiding the awkward conversations to handle the inequities, in essence condones the bad behavior and allows the unfair, inappropriate bullying to continue to happen. Over time this creates an apathetic, unhealthy, unmotivated group of employees, led by the meanest of the mean. Any responsible, conscientious, highly sensitive person cannot survive unscathed working in a company with all that negative energy.

It certainly took a toll on me.

I stayed so long for several reasons; because I was scared to go elsewhere, because the flexibility of the schedule worked so well for me, and maybe deep down I wanted to prove them wrong.  I thought if I tried hard enough, they'd see my value. Therein was my biggest problem. Looking for value and recognition outside of yourself is always a recipe for disaster. No matter how great I tried to be, I was never going to hear what I wanted to hear from the management in that company, and it wore me down trying. I became anegative, critical, angry, overly sensitive shell of myself.

I am much stronger now, after several years away from that toxicity and lots of personal growth work. I was able to gain back my positivity, and my self-worth. Deep down I am still the same person I always was, but I now have confidence from within in my abilities and in myself again. If I were to have started at this place in my present state of mind, I would never have hung on so long. I would more than likely have never signed up to work there in the first place.

If life has you feeling negative, stuck, angry, sad, or numb -- take a look at it from all angles. Creating your ideal life is up to you. What situation in your life is dragging you down or making you feel you have lost your personal power? There is always a way out. Take it. You don't have to justify it to your parents, your siblings, your co-workers, or anyone else -- and don't let the naysayers tell you you can't just do what you love. They are the most stuck and will say things like that to keep you stuck as well. You can do what you love to do, if you dare.

It doesn't have to make sense to anyone else when you make changes to improve your life. If you feel the need to take a demotion, change your job or your career, say goodbye to a relationship that just isn't meant to be, or sell your huge house and live simpler, then give yourself permission to do it right now. The world will not see the full version of you, until you do. 

You have the reigns, you control the speed of your life and you choose where you work, who you stay with, where you live, and how you live. Stop listening to the advice of others who see your life from the outside as a completely different life than the one it feels like you are living inside. Shift that energy, disrupt the status quo and create your ideal life. I learned in the process that I was making life much harder than it had to be, by trying to change a broken system, to fit in where I wasn't meant to.

You deserve to be lifted up, not beaten down by the people surrounding you.  A good person, with good intentions, who has natural talent and deep sensitivity can find work or love or whatever you seek, but only if you trust in your own inner wisdom to lead the way.

Take that leap. Life is so much sweeter on the positive side.

When I Was Me
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When I Was Me...

Life was full of awe and wonder.

I was free to dream.

I was bold and brave.

Strong and magical.

Creative and kind.

I believed in myself and all my magical powers.

I saw beauty in the world even on the cloudy days.

I spent hours in the shelter of the trees dreaming of worlds only I could see.

I doodled and wrote poems without a care if they were good enough.

I saw possibilities in all people.

I believed I could do anything.

I wasn’t afraid of trying. Or of failing.

And then one day I was.

And so I stopped doing the things that brought me to peace.

I worried what it would look like to others.

I put myself into a safe little bubble to protect against the hurt.

Soon that bubble grew stagnant. Stale. Grey.

I grew farther away from me.

When I sought to bring back the color, the spark, the imagination of life, I mistakenly looked outside of myself for the answers.

I began to emulate others. I attempted to fit in. I tried hard to measure up to my own impossible standards. I looked for others to assign me worth, to show me the way.

Believing they would know the path I needed to take to help me rise to my full potential.

Instead, they rose to theirs. I faltered.

I tried again, another way. Maybe this time I hung on way too long thinking it would all become clear, and ruining whatever it was really supposed to be; a stepping stone, a launch pad, a place to rest.

Until I slowly began to realize the power was within me. Inside of me. Mine to use or to ignore. It had been there all along.

I played with it for a while. Taking a small step here and a bigger one there. I had some success, got a little braver….and failed often. Not seeing that I was moving forward I began to judge myself. And when being judged, I freeze. The what ifs began to take over, until I was stuck again. In a prison of my own making. Too scared to bust out.

Yet there was a tiny quiet voice inside that waited patiently for me to listen.

She kept dreaming, kept believing in me, because she knew I would work my way back.

One dark day I lost my way completely. Too exhausted to continue the uphill battle within myself, I fell to the cold, hard floor. Tears began to fall, and I could no longer hold them in.

After the falling apart came the eye of the storm. Calm. Peace. The quiet space where I began to hear again.

And I heard her say: welcome home.

 
Taking It All In
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I'm not writing much at all lately.

In my dreams I am busy, a prolific writer, yet by the light of day I lose the words. In the safety of sleep, I always have ideas, good ones if my sub-conscious is any judge, and then they poof when I wake up and start my day. Oh, I could blog about my random thoughts all the time, but that "big" book idea, the story I am feeling called to tell always seems elusive during the daylight hours.

Isn't it weird how I can sit down with nearly anyone else and suddenly "know" what they should write about? I get their story. Most aren't even interested in writing their story, and yet I can see it so clearly. The story that others would benefit from hearing; whether it be the struggles they overcame, their major win against giant odds, their strength and perseverance when others would have quit, etc. It doesn't have to be a big a huge crazy life experience or trauma to be a story worth telling. Stories come from ordinary people who are living life to the fullest as their truest self. The lesson(s) they have learned are what inspire others, and gently bring others the strength to make changes in their own lives.

If I apply this thought to my book question, I come up with one major theme that encompasses all I have learned so far. Each of us has the power within us to change our life.  I think we are our own roadblock to whatever it is we desire. Sometimes we get stuck simply because we hold ourselves back from all we can be.

My message isn't a new message by any stretch of the imagination. It is, in fact, the underlying message of all of the great spiritual teachers of our generation, or at least what I hear their works saying to me. But the road I took to learn this great lesson, is my own.

I've been on a journey and I don't intend to stop learning, growing, changing, evolving, expanding, understanding, appreciating. As long as I do it in ways that feel right to me, ways that allow me to be myself without compromise, I will succeed.

I had help from great mentors along my journey and from great friends who allowed me to change and grow into me, while still loving me. Change is scary hard. Letting of your old story leaves you feeling vulnerable, naked and afloat. But in my opinion it is also the most freeing you will ever feel. And it sets the stage for you to begin growing into the authentic you.

Getting started is hard. There is no one first step that works for everyone, in fact each person's path to growth is different. But surrounding yourself with open minded, like-hearted people who are serious about their own journeys, helps.

I might be stalled right now, but I am not stuck. Far from it. I am taking it all in, observing, enjoying, being present to as much of my life as I can. To quote a song, I don't want to miss a thing, I did that once upon a time and I am not doing it again. I eventually want to write something that helps move people forward toward their best life and whatever it is they secretly yearn for: to find love, to be happier, to find purpose, to simplify their life, to create a legacy, to live without stress or whatever it is. I believe each of us has our own unique hidden desire(s), things we really wish for but think we are unable to attain because we aren't talented enough, or we don't have the means, or the time, or worse yet because we think we are not worthy of receiving it.

I know in my own life I have created roadblocks for myself. I have stopped my own forward progress. We create a lot of excuses for why we don't move in the direction of our dreams, and that has to stop.

You are so worthy my friend. No matter what your belief, or religion, or your feelings about God, you are worthy of whatever you desire. Whatever higher power you believe in wants you to succeed, wants you to shine, wants you to be your truest most beautiful, uniquest self. And finding that power within is what brings you all that you wish for.

Bye Bye Perfectionist

A couple of times recently I have been reminded that my life, my transformation back into the real me, is publicly out there on this blog when people I barely know have either asked me about it, commented on it, or referred to it. I am thrilled people have read parts of it and are intrigued enough to have questions. My whole journey began by writing it out. When I first yearned for something "more" in my life, I wasn't even sure what I was missing, I found myself writing it all out in a blog. It helped me organize my thoughts and uncover some of the feelings I was hiding deep.

It is also no secret one of my bucket list items is to write a book about my journey and what I have learned. Not to tell people "how" to do it, but to lead by example and encourage anyone they can change if they want to. My path will not ever be your path, yet some of the steps I took might help you. My roadblock seems to be in knowing how I should take what I have already written,  add in some additional thoughts, and combine them both into a book worth reading. I have always said I was a better editor than writer, but that seems not to be true in my own case.

How did I change my life? How did I transform from a rigid, unforgiving, perfectionistic, planned control freak into a freer, happier, live (a little more) in the moment me? It took a lot of inner work to shut down my inner critic, make some life (work) changes, step out of my comfort zone, and face my fear of failure head on. It took patience and trust and it took letting myself fall to rock bottom before I could see the way out. Maybe I should ask those who lived through it with me, to lend their perspectives? People I worked with, my husband, my children, my best friends. A lot of my most difficult work came from the inside. Because from the outside I faked it pretty well to those who didn't really know me. I was rarely a hot mess despite what was happening on the inside and was okay to have around (even if I was controlling) because I took charge and made things happen, running things smoothly and efficiently was my skill. But those who knew me well could see that on the flip side I was a fun sucker, lacked spontaneity and had a hard time deviating from my plan. I am determined NOT to be a fun sucker anymore. Ever.

I am still organized (in a lot of areas), that hasn't changed. And probably never will. But I know that once I quieted my inner mean voice, I found a softer side of me. I no longer want to watch life from my safe bubble, but to get down and dirty in it. To have some fun. To live in the moment. To stumble and fall, and get back up to try again. To allow myself to experience life and (if that means being the hot mess I once avoided at all cost once in while) then          so be it.

If I can change, I know if you really want to, you can too.

If you run from quiet, still, alone time, or find yourself easily bored when you do, you might be the perfect candidate to start where I did, with yoga. To me yoga is a moving meditation which uses breathing to bring a person into the present moment and put them back in touch with their body. It helped me stop overthinking, calmed my spirit and reconnected me with the inner wisdom I need to thrive. It reconnected me with 'me'. As I grow, my yoga practice grows with me. I have accepted that I will never be perfect and understand there is no "right" way to do a pose, only my way. Clearly yoga has helped me loosen up more than my hamstrings!

Your path will not be mine, but yoga is a great starting point for anyone. You may cross it off the list after trying it, or you may find like I did, that it can be a much needed lifeline to help guide you toward greater happiness and purpose. I'm teaching this summer -- ready to join me?

Namaste.

 

Is This Your Season?

Every spring I come back to Big Star Lake and its surrounding areas with a sense of anticipation. Not only for the warmer weather and the summer of fun to come, but to see spring renewal at its finest—or what I call the pop-up swamps. Low lying areas in the woods where the spring waters pool and become instant swamps teeming with new life and sound.

This year there were fewer pop up swamps for me to enjoy on my first walk through the woods. Maybe because we didn’t have a lot of snow to melt along with the first spring rains? Everything looked a little different to me, and yet a lot remained the same. The sounds around me for sure alerted me to the arrival of spring, as did the sun on my face and the wind in my hair, so welcome after winter’s chill. 

I wrote this blog post last year and never posted it, so I thought I would share it now.

Pop up swamps teem with the sounds of spring.

Amidst the frogs, birds, and insects I hear the wind whisper: Renewal. Resolve. Rejoice.

I feel it, too in my bones. Renewal, I mean. I feel freer as I walk down the dusty path my cloak of troubles billowing out behind me.

It can happen overnight this change from the quiet and safe of winter, to the jubilant and wild spring life.

The shift from hibernation to growth and change.

Like people, swamps house crazy potential within.

In just moments they can leap forward and take off, nearly out of nothing, to become vibrant pools of life.

The quiet work that has gone on underneath during the quiet of winter, paves the way for quick spring expansion.

If you listen closely you might hear the question in your ear: Who Are You Now?

Like the pop up swamps that form from the spring’s heavy rains and winters quiet snowfall—you are ready to burst forth in all your alive glory.

Don’t hold yourself back. There is no time like the present to burst forth with the real you.

Conditions are right for forward motion and incoming joy.

The lowlands are the birthing spot of the swamps—just like the low times in our lives are opportunities to learn soul lessons we not only recover from, but flourish from after we get through the tough parts.

Without darkness there would not be knowledge of the light.

It helps if you stop resisting or constricting during times of darkness and instead allow yourself to be open to the feelings that come. Scary, yes. Uncomfortable, yes, but it is not necessary to rid yourself of them immediately. Accept the emotions, sit with them for just a little to uncover their true lessons. The heartaches of your low times will help you appreciate the upcoming moments of joy, and help you fully understand your journey later.

We build things from the ground up for a reason. Rock bottom is, if nothing else, SOLID ground to grow from.

When you feel stuck in life or in your progress:

1). Do not be afraid to ask for help, to take help or to offer help.

2.) Be open to other perspectives on your situation but remember no one outside of you can “fix” you.

3.) Expect to have some internal work to do to be able to let it go and get through to the forward motion part.

4.) Let go of all planned outcomes and surrender to organic change.

5.) Give yourself a break.

Maybe this spring will be the season of your renewal, your growth, and your expansion into the best version of you. I am eternally hopeful that it will be mine.

What If?

What if you were completely free to live without all the things that weigh you down?  Things like doubt, worry, depression, people pleasing, or obligations you take on even if you don't really enjoy them. What if you could start over with a clean slate and just be free to be you,  would you do it?

It is hard to think that anyone would say no to the chance, yet I see people pass on it every day. In a way, that is exactly what I did for far too many years. Year after year, I searched outside of myself for answers and validation, blaming others when things didn't go the way I hoped. In essence, I walked right on by the chance to begin anew over and over again.

Until I crashed.

It took a falling apart to be able to piece myself back together in the form of the real me. Good news! It means, if I can do it, so can you. Now it doesn't mean there isn't "work" involved, because for a while it is all emotionally exhausting. But the ensuing sense of freedom and growth you gain as you dig deeper is worth every hard moment of inner work.

My journey started when I slowed myself down enough to try yoga, thanks to prodding from friends who knew me better than I knew myself. Yoga was something I thought I would never like/need because it was too slow, and I loved to move.

They say 'What we resist; persists' and they say it for a reason. I needed yoga like no other and the opportunity to try it kept presenting itself to me. Once I did, I realized how much I needed to slow down, to tune in, to feel myself again, because running from what was truly in my heart was killing me.

Yoga was my bridge, my gateway back to myself. My real self, not the creation of me I presented to the world. I wished to look perfect. To some, I was. The more perfect I pushed myself to be, the more I began to hate myself. My "hate" became a negative voice that never stopped criticizing me. I was always thinking that I could do better, be better, be beyond reproach, immune to constructive criticism because I was going to do it completely right. I sought to validate this fake "me" by trying to always be right, or worse, by making others feel wrong.

It didn't take long to become a negative force in the world. It became hard for anyone to live up to my expectations, because I never did. It was hard to make me happy, because I never truly was.

What a sad state to be in. What a lonely place. What a nightmare it was. Surrounded by worry, fear, living in judgement, hearing and thinking only negative thoughts, losing all sense of gratitude. Yuck.

I didn't hear any compliments that came my way, only the criticisms. I couldn't accept any niceness from others, only felt their meanness. I wouldn't accept any niceness from myself either. I lost the piece we all need to heal from the inside, self-love, self-acceptance, self-care. All of that comes from within, and I spent all my time outside of me looking for validation, approval, acceptance, and love.

It took me a while to realize it was within me all the time, even though the things I read and studied told me it was. I had to find my own way to access it.

Yoga started it, learning I was an hsp was the next step, and reiki energy work finished off the trifecta so that I could regain my power. The recipe will be different for each person as we are all on our own journey, but the results of tuning in can be the same.

Power. Acceptance. Change. Happiness. Love. Freedom. Expansion. Strength.

Every positive word you can think of comes from reclaiming your personal power. Don't let your life pass you by without taking a chance on yourself. Be the person you were born to be. Make waves, create ripples, be 100% YOU. You will only be truly happy, free and whole when you do.

There are so many people who have traveled a path to get where they are and are willing to share. Find someone who resonates with you, who gets you and go learn from them. Teachers come in so many different forms. Listen, look, feel, trust your instincts and find your inspiration, then work hard and fly free with the what ifs....

I can't wait to see your beautiful light begin to shine as bright as it was always meant to!

Namaste beautiful soul. Namaste.

 

My Three Words for 2017

Peace-filled New Year Greetings!

It is hard to believe a year has gone by again. I had great plans for 2016, mostly revolving around accomplishment. You know, things I "hoped" to do: write that book, create more podcasts, produce some great inspiring blogposts, organize, simplify, meditate more, etc.

As I reflect on the past year, I realize I didn't accomplish a lot of those things on my mental to do list, but I am proud of how I allowed life to happen, and how I gave myself the permission to enjoy it. I spent oodles of time with my sweet grandbaby, as much time with the rest of my family as we could all carve out, stayed peaceful within-- even if life got a bit busy, stopped worrying about money for the first time in my life, and let some things go that were weighing me down. I also stepped a few steps out of my comfort zone when I found a space and started Soulistic Sisters Studio with two friends. The studio is a refuge for me, especially when I cannot be up north with my trees. In it I feel safe, and like I am coming home. I find it brings out my confidence, my best self and I feel like I belong there. I still hear 'If you build it, they will come' in my heart, and I trust that what is meant to be will happen, as we grow our community one sweet soul at a time.

I haven't written a blogpost in a long while, much longer than I intended in fact, and not because I had nothing to say. I was intent on enjoying each day to the fullest in 2016. And maybe, just maybe I am becoming the person I was always meant to be. I had a major miracle happen in my life about a week ago. Someone I had met only last year, who took a yoga class with me, then became a friend, paid me the biggest compliment of my life. She called me a free spirit. A free spirit. I felt like Rudolph when he finds out Clarice likes him and he flys into the air without effort.

I was once so FAR from a free spirit I could only watch enviously while others were free spirited, as I wished/dreamed/imagined a "me" who wasn't an over achiever, and who lived happily without being scheduled and planned. Truth be told,  I am still doing a happy dance knowing someone currenlty sees me this way. I will hold this sweet thought close to my heart as I continue to recover from my once type A, control freak, people pleasing, critical, judgemental, perfectionistic self.

If I can change, so can you! It also made me realize the POWER of telling someone how you view them. We never see ourselves clearly enough, and having someone affirm my hard work has made all the difference in how I will approach my 2017, I even changed the words I thought I was going to choose as my Three Words to Live By because of it. I encourage you to reach out to someone with a random act of kindness and tell them how you "see" them. Who knows, it could be the little push of courage forward they need to transform into who they always wished to be.

My New Year's Wish For You:

Live 2017 with positive intentions. May you not only recognize the power within you to change your life in any way you desire, but also believe that you are worthy and deserving of everything you wish for. Begin healing yourself from the inside and watch your beautiful light grow brighter. Always believe in the Power of YOU. Shine on friend.

My words to live by for 2017 have finally chosen me.

Illuminate

Trust

Thrive

Happy New Year from my happy heart to yours.

P.S. Have you chosen yours yet? I can help with this.. :)

Making Her Choice
Photo credit: Jan Hubert
Photo credit: Jan Hubert

When the boat of security she lived in first began to pitch wildly in the waves of her deepest, darkest truths, she felt a fissure of fear.

Even before her boat capsized, she understood she would drown.

In a sea of salty tears.

They came from somewhere deep. Somewhere foreign feeling.

A place she hadn't dared to go for a very long time.

She let herself sink into the depths of her sadness for she was so tired of struggling.

Maybe, she thought, if she just rested for a moment or two, she'd muster the energy she needed to soldier on. She gave into the quiet, calm and sank even lower. She pictured herself in the eye of the storm allowing the millions of thoughts in her head to slowly empty, until there was only one.

I am a failure.

With a jolt her feet hit rock bottom. No where further down to go.

She just couldn't muster enough energy to fight that deepest, darkest thought any longer. Immediately she felt the bleakness of her wasted life in every pore of her body. The would have, could have, should have's stacking up before her to be reviewed. She knew she had let everyone down, had let herself down worst of all. She was so far off course she saw no more possible paths to take. Was this the fall she feared she'd never recover from?

In the darkness of her soul came the words she needed to hear.

Everything will be okay, everyone will be okay. Let it go. You've got this. And oh by the way, You are worthy.

Fresh tears flowed as she let the words surround her like a blanket. Only this time the tears weren't the same. They didn't hurt as much, they were softer, warmer, meant to soothe not sear.

And as they warmed her cheeks, they warmed her heart a little, too. She felt a little less alone. The tiniest spark of hope begin to grow in her.

At one time giving in, giving up the reigns of her life had been the furthest thing from her mind. The thought of letting go had only made her hold on tighter, try harder, do better. Now she knew her only option was surrender, she no longer had the energy to fight against the current of her heart.

She took a deep breath and some of the tight spaces in her body began to give a little.

Instead of dying in this low, dark space, she realized she actually could breathe a little easier here. The crushing weight on her chest began to lift and in the far corner of her dark soul a spark of light began to grow. The light was warm and comforting and filled her mind, heart and whole being with a feeling of acceptance, understanding, and ease.

It felt so refreshingly beautiful she was afraid to acknowledge it, fearful it would retreat and pull her back into the darkness.

But it grew brighter until it nearly filled her, and then she heard the voice again:

Inside everyone is darkness and light. Good and bad. That is the way it is meant to be. A person cannot be 100% perfect. That means there will always be darkness within you. But there is also light. So much light. You are no different than anyone else. You, like everyone, must learn to live in the light of you. Once you do, your mission here is to show others how to do the same. Teach others to dance in the light. Their own light. To take back their power.

And then there was quiet again. She wanted (as usual) to ask a million questions. To learn what she needed to do to stay in this welcoming light.  She wanted to know how she could possibly teach others to find the light. She wanted help to do it all correctly, but no words came out of her. There was only the silence.

And in the blissful quiet of her soul she discovered she already knew the answer to her unasked questions.

I hold the power. I've had the power all along.

She was the answer. She had all the answers within. She always had. She needed only to believe in her own power, to be still and listen to hear the answers to her questions.  In that quiet, calm space deep within her was all the knowledge she'd ever truly needed.

And the words she heard this time were her own.

I see you darkness. I acknowledge you are part of me. I understand that within everyone is darkness, and also beautiful light. I have a choice from which place I operate and I vow to live from this moment on in the light. I surrender my grip of control to a higher power for I know that I cannot see the whole picture from my tiny view. I will trust that I am enough, imperfectly as I am, and that I am worthy of everything I dream of. I will allow my life to unfold and to believe in my own power to discern the correct path. I will let my heart lead me to where I was meant to be all along.

And just like that she was filled with light. She was back home to herself. The same girl, yet forever different. Changed. Enlightened. Recharged. Renewed. Ready. Free. Hopeful. Reconnected.

Choosing never to be alone again.

For more in this series:

Losing Her Magic

Finding Her Worth

Garnering Her Courage

Hello I'm Terri Spaulding...

inspiring little girls who walk with inner confidence

I write so much so fast, I often lose important pieces of my journey. Here is a post I wrote nearly two years ago and saved it to my drafts but never shared. Perhaps it was that tiny voice inside that told me I had already posted something similar and no one would want to read another version of me coming undone.

Today felt like the time to let this fly. I hope hearing these kind of posts is inspiring to you and reaches you when you need to hear there is hope at any age to change and grow into the YOU you were meant to be. Each post seems so uniquely different to me, because it represents something else I needed to free, heal, admit or let go of, yet I also realize many of my posts have a common message and theme. Feel free to advise me if you are getting tired of them.

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Please allow me to re-introduce myself, my name is Terri and for a long, long while I was simply pretending to be me.

I am a naturally curious, creative, truth-telling, highly sensitive/highly aware person whoconnects dots. I always have something to say.

Word Lover -- Student of Spirit -- Unabashed Tree Hugger

When I want to learn something new or understand a different perspective there is no stopping me. I am relentless in my thirst for knowledge and often lose track of time. The days I am able to fill with reading, writing, collecting rocks or taking nature photographs while out walking, are the best kind.  Sprinkle in some sunshine, water, my beloved trees and quality time with those I love, and I am in my element.

You will no longer see a 'me' who dresses for success, nor volunteers her time to further everyone else's dreams. I have my own ideas and I have learned to say YES to all the things that matter most, and no to those that don't.

I happily end most days with dirty feet and a messy side pony.

I played the roles of my life fairly well: wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, worker bee; not many ever guessed I was sort of faking it. Heck, I may even have convinced myself.

When others began to define me as organized, responsible, practical, and helpful, I took their praise and ran with it. I built a "me" based on how I wanted to be seen, and in doing so only moved further away from the real me.

The real me isn't organized or overly planned. You may think by looking at my counter tops (which are usually clear) that I am a neatnik, but please don't open my cupboards or drawers or peer too closely into the corners of my home. All is not what it seems.

For years I was a clean freak. I actually cared about dust. Most days now I barely notice it. Well, until someone stops over and then I suddenly see every imperfection. But I am learning to let it go. (Dust comes right back anyway, right? And weirdly, so do spiderwebs). If I don't look in your corners, will you promise not to look in mine?

For years I just went through the motions; doing what I thought I should do, doing what I thought I was supposed to do, doing what the world expected of me. I made 'doing' so important I eventually lost touch with being, with the essence of me. I gave up my power to all those external things and stopped refueling from the inside. I stopped doing the things that brought me joy. 

I forgot how to just be. I forgot how much I loved sitting under a tree or walking in the woods, or collecting rocks. I forgot how to daydream, to be inspired by all the little beautiful things in nature.

I lost all spontaneity and gave up meandering for getting somewhere fast. I was always in a hurry.

I stopped dancing like no one was watching. I stopped writing. I stopped growing. I stopped leading with my heart.

My days were packed with so much accomplishing I had little time to enjoy anything. And I wasn't showing up in my own life, or the lives of those I loved, the way I was meant to. The way I had been born to.

I lost myself. Lost my once positive disposition. Lost faith in me. Lost my connection to joy.

Well, maybe it would be more accurate to say life circumstances converged upon me and broke me wide open. Stopped me dead in my over accomplishing tracks. Hitting rock bottom involves a fall--and when you are at rock bottom you have no where else to go but up.

A little less than a month ago I turned 52. I used to think being that age was an ending. I am so happy to say that it is only the beginning of a new era for me. One that finally feels authentically me.

Each day I am filled with awe and wonder at how fortunate I am to have found joy, freedom and inner peace doing what I love; doing what comes easily to me. Following my heart.

I made life way too hard for a lot of years and while I still have work to do, and many lessons to learn, I am making great progress to living authentically as me. Living from my heart has made all the difference in my journey back to me.

 

 

Finding Her Worth

And when she allowed herself to feel worthy—something shifted in her. Doors began to open that long had remained closed.

She stopped following everyone else’s rules.

And she began to think on her own.

She found if she listened close, she could hear her own heartbeat again.

With practice it grew louder, stronger, and braver.

Slowly, but with great emotion, she began to blossom.

Her magic began to return in little and big ways.

It started with great sadness at everything.

Then she began to notice beauty all around. Her corner of the world went from grey to brilliant, nearly overnight. She was filled with an energizing wonder. And fueled by awe.

There were leaves on the trees again, dragonflies who landed on her big toe, and sparkles of light on the water that she was certain were a million tiny angels waiting to play.

There was beauty in the sun, in the trees, and in the smiles of every person she encountered.

Her body felt lighter, freer and her spirit began to soar.

To fly.

Like she used to in her dreams when she was little.

In the worst of times she dreamed of tornadoes, teeth falling out, finding money that wasn’t really there and dirty bathrooms. She lived in fear, surrounded by worry, and desperately trying to control everything around her.

Now her dreams were of happier things.

Slowly she stopped being scared that she was doing it all wrong. She un-clenched the tight muscles of her body. She breathed.

Because the fear of screwing it all up had already happened. She had failed. She wasn't perfect, nor she realized, would she ever be. And dwelling on all her past mistakes, both large and small, only kept her trapped.

So she tried something new.

She began to believe in herself again. To take back her power.

And with the courage and joy that came along with the newfound freedom of following her heart, she allowed herself to start doing it all right.

Her way.

She rediscovered the magic.

She found the love.

And all that had once been a distant dream, a hopeful wish, became hers.

She not only began to flourish; she was able to breathe fully for the first time in forever.

 She listened to another voice inside now, and this one was kinder and gentler.

It forgave, it loved, it was compassionate. It didn't judge.

And it said all the right things to bolster her confidence.

And on the day when the voice told her she was indeed worthy of everything she ever dreamed.

She cried.

And cried.

Until the tears finally changed from sadness to relief. No longer were they heavy tears she tried to stem.

Instead the happy, joy-filled tears fell unabashedly, cleansing her soul of years of struggle.

And she began to float with the current, instead of frantically swimming upstream.

Her spirit felt hopeful.

The world was no longer the hostile, busy, noisy, draining place she had allowed it to be.

And since he was no longer fighting so hard to be something she was not, she was at ease in her body.

She became peaceful. Calm. Quiet. A better version of herself.

And when the now tiny mean voice inside tried to make her feel guilty for all the years she wasted trying so hard, she reminded it that it no longer had power over her. She was the one in charge.  

Now when she meets people who struggle like she once did, she wants to shout from the rooftops that it doesn’t have to be so hard. But she knows that everyone has to learn their lessons in their own time.

And nearly everyone not living authentically as their true self needs to hear a new gentler voice inside.

One that says all the right things.

You are worthy.

You are good.

You are loved.

You are blessed.

You are powerful.

You are enough.

Because she now knows if you believe in yourself, your whole world changes.

You CAN soar.

A Lesson of Surrender, Patience and Faith

I've been having bad dreams lately. I think my spirit is telling me that I am off kilter.

When you pin your hopes on something and it doesn't go exactly as planned, it is easy to get discouraged and to lose the drive to continue. When this happens to me, and it has, often, you need to evaluate if you are doing what your heart tells you, and more importantly if you are doing it with the right intention. If the answer is wishy-washy or uncertain, then you may be in the wrong situation or trying to force something that wasn't meant to be. If the answer you hear is a resounding 'yes', I am following my heart and 'yes', I believe this is the right thing to do, then you have to give it time and see it through.

I am referring to the space + studio we recently opened. It is scary having a lease and a bill to pay that I didn't ever have before. Even though I prepared myself that break even was okay for me for the summer, I had secretly hoped for more. No great cause for alarm or anything as break even is happening, but there is possibly some roll up your sleeves work ahead to get things going that I need to do. Because I am listening to my heart in this situation, I know I just need to give it time and see it through. It feels so right. But I am not going to pretend that at times I don't get a little anxious and disappointed. And honestly, worried. Gosh why is it so easy to let doubt creep in?

Doubt is a low energy feeling that is not my friend. It tells me I am sliding out of balance. This is when I know I need time with my trees. I need space to breathe. I desire a warm, gentle breeze to come blow the doubt and discouragement out of my brain. Deep within me I know I am doing the right thing this time around. A needed thing. I just need to put on my big girl pants and keep trudging forward.

Doubt is definitely an energy sucker for me.  And letting go and trusting is really challenging for a recovering control freak like me. But I am prepared to do it!

I am so thankful for wonderful supportive friends and family. And for bright patches of hope amidst the little disappointments.

Perhaps the universe is making sure I really understand this lesson in surrender. Life and plans may not always run smoothly and easily, but I plan to hold on fiercely to my dreams and maintain faith, patience a positive attitude.

There, personal pep talk complete. Time to go enjoy the day.

You Inspire Me

Yes, you. Every time you sign up for an event, or come to a workshop to reconnect with yourself, or try a new pose in my yoga class, you inspire me. And you teach me, too. Yes, really you do. I would not be half the person I am today if it weren't for the lessons you have taught me.

Thank you.

For your courage, your sass, your strength, your curiosity, your creativity, and your super inspiring belief in yourself.

I love that you aren't afraid to change directions mid-plan, to acknowledge you changed your mind, to try new things even if they feel awkward, to shine your light as bright as you can even in the face of criticism from others, to fly your freak flag without worry of what others will think, to make mistakes and still rise up strong after them. Watching you grow, change, and evolve into the best "you", the real you, gives me the strength to keep searching for the real me.

You give me the courage to shine my light as bright as I can and to let go of the need to dim it when others feel threatened by its brilliance. 

I have the luxury of not only following my heart and making a living at it, but I also get to be inspired and motivated by super cool people every time I step on my mat or open the doors to the studio. How can you not be influenced by watching others grow, change and create forward + positive motion?

Some days I am bursting with pride like a mama hen as I watch my chicks grow and evolve into their true and happiest selves. 

Life is truly good.

Yoga Should Feel Good

I was digging through my drafts over the weekend and ran across this post from a couple years back. I had written it after I tried a new yoga class and was less than satisfied with the instructor and the way the class left me feeling afterwards. It has stuck with me over the last couple of years as a lesson learned about what I never want to do. I can only hope no student ever leaves my class feeling as I did. Here is the old post, written in italics:

While I might not say I fully love my body, I will say I am okay with it. By now I know my
body's strengths, its limitations, and of course the "wish list" for what I would improve on it if there was an easy way to edit your body. But overall I'm comfortable with "me".

Why then, after trying a new yoga class, did I feel inadequate, embarrassed, and have the awful feeling that there was something wrong with me. That somehow, I was not right for yoga?

It always made me sad to hear people say they were hesitant to try yoga. Or that they were intimidated by yoga. I always wondered where that fear came from, and now I know.
Last week I tried a new instructor and a class called "beyond" yoga, which was billed as a regular yoga class.

There were only two of us there, which from the get go makes things a bit awkward. In this particular instructor's style of teaching, she did not "do" the practice with us as I do, instead she watched us, like a hawk. Some people may like the individualized attention but for a highly sensitive person like me it was torture to think she was watching my every move. It didn't help that she verbally, and physically, corrected, and corrected, and corrected us. To the point where even I, a yoga instructor, was lost in all the instructions. Gone was the calming, peaceful feeling I get when I tune into my body during yoga. I was a jumble of nerves as the 1.5 hour class dragged along. The instructor spent a lot of time talking about herself and her recent enlightening experience as she sat on a cliff and meditated. Usually someone who appreciates stories, I was finding nothing inspiring about hers.

Apparently what my body looked like in the poses she talked us through did not fit her vision of what it should look like. Her corrections were based on how she thought it should look on me, without ever asking how it felt. This seems wrong to me, because no two bodies are exactly the same. Even if I felt good in a pose using my props, she corrected me to do it differently. Her constant suggestions made me feel increasing worse about my body and super hesitant to move into the next position.

Wanting it just to end about halfway through the practice I could no longer stay silent and wondered why she couldn't she see/sense/feel how frustrated I was getting. I felt compelled to offer up a reason why I wasn't doing what she asked for so I said: "Well, I am a tight-muscled girl." And her response was, "Oh let's not talk in the negative", and then whispered conspiratorially to the other woman in class whom she knew, "we need to teach her to appreciate her body."  Really? I wanted to walk out but stayed the course, finished the class and got out of there fast.

Epilogue: That place is closed now.

I do appreciate my body. All of it. The things it can do, and the things it cannot do. I think overall I am very in tune with it. Very honest and real about what I do easily and what poses require props and modifications to have me even come close to looking like the poses shown in Yoga Journal. And living in a tight body has helped me understand how alignment is different for each unique body, and made me realize the importance of asking how things feel rather than to make a judgement based on how they look.

After thinking about this experience over time, I'm sad that a fellow yoga instructor made me feel that my body was inadequate for yoga, and then topped that off by making an incorrect assumption about how I felt about my own body. The reality is that I am a tight-muscled girl, I am my father's daughter. I am not very flexible and I am ok with that, and with "me." I work hard to stay as flexible as I can, to open my body up and to work with what I have been given. Perhaps it is just me looking for the silver lining, but I really believe that the tightness of my body gives me great insight into the bodies of my students and how they may feel as we move into poses that require a level of flexibility or strength they don't currently have access to.

No one should have the right to make another person feel that they are not doing it right, that they are not enough, or that they are lacking. No one should be able to take away someone's joy in moving their body or doing yoga in whatever way feels good to them. If you need savasana for the whole hour--as an instructor it delights me to see you take it.

If your yoga instructor currently leaves you feeling bad about yourself or your body and what it is able to do, (especially if the instructor is me), don't go back. But please do find another class or instructor that speaks your language. Yoga should feel good!

Namaste-

Terri

Dear Momma

I've been on a cleaning streak this weekend. I am delighting in the feeling of releasing my junk.

In clearing off my desk I realize that I write a lot. Sometimes I run across things worth posting. Here's one I thought was. It is a letter "Nollie" wrote to her Momma at Christmas. A reminder to all women how important it is to be the best "you", you can be for those who love you. Even if that means taking time out just for you without guilt, or daring to risk failure by following your dreams, or letting the house be dirty while you stop everything to giggle & play.

Stay present with your littles, dream big, take chances, love fully. If we keep ourselves "safe" and live in the 'I wish I would have', our littles may someday do the same. Soar baby. Soar. You've got this!

Dear Momma:

My little hands and little heart want you to know how much I love and appreciate you. To me you are the most beautiful person in the world, and I love you unconditionally. You ARE my world. I watch what you do to know how I should be and count on you for guidance as I grow and learn. Until I am bigger and can talk with words, I can only give you my unconditional love and trust in return.

Well, that and my smile –the one I save just for you—the one that I hope you see reaches all the way to my eyes and lights up my face, and my sloppy open mouthed kisses that show you that I want to eat you up because you are so yummy, and my night time cuddles where I get so close to you that I can smell you and feel your hair and your soft face so that I can feel safe and take in all your momma love to fill me up.

I am growing up fast. I am learning new things. I will always need your help to grow into the best me I can be. Even when I do have words and we argue or disagree. I will always need you to be my rudder, to keep me on track. Right now I want you to read to me, play with me, sing to me, dance with me, explain the world to me the way you see it and I also want you to teach me to dream, to write, to draw to create, to imagine and to tell me that I can be and do anything I choose to. Just like I know you can also achieve anything you really want to do or be.

I want you to also know that you never have to be anything more than “you” around me and I will always be proud that you are my momma. Because I will always love you. Unconditionally.

Some days I know that I challenge you, and as I grow I will probably challenge you more—just like some day you will challenge me. That is the way it should be. With unconditional love, we can be truthful and honest and agree to disagree and that is okay as long as we finish those moments with love and hugs. We will not run away from the tough stuff, we will face it together. That way I will know that it is okay if I make mistakes, and that you will still love me and believe in me, and so I can show you that it is okay if you make mistakes, too.

I know you have things in life you want to accomplish and for that I am so proud of you. Someday I too will have big things (bigger than walking or talking) that I want to accomplish also. I know you will be there to help me through, just as I am here to remind you that you are loved beyond measure and that you can get through anything with me at your side.  Some of the things we want to accomplish will be easier for us than others. I want you to know that I will be here to support you (and know that you will be there to support me, too) even if that just means holding my hand as I grow brave. To wipe my face, clean my poopy diapers, brush my hair, paint my toenails, teach me my colors and my numbers, show me how to navigate the world as my own person. Together we can be each other’s strength.

If things get tough for you I hope that you will feel my little hand in yours, giving you my love and support and encouragement for you to keep going. No dream is unachievable, no wish too great for you to receive. Hold hope, faith, and love in your heart like I will, and together we will be unstoppable.

I count on you to care for me and to inspire me every day. You will always be my sunshine. My comfort. My safe haven. My beloved Momma.

Remember to take care of yourself and be the best you you can be to show me the way.

I love you Momma with all my heart and soul. Thank you for being the best and only Momma for me.

Nollie, Dec. 2015

The Grass Is Not Always Greener

Please stop wishing you were more. Or that you could do things better. Or that you were a size 6, had a new car, or a "better" job. If I remember correctly, thinking like that is exhausting and really unhealthy.

Instead, just be where you are...or maybe more importantly, just be happy where you are.

Don't try to be where the girl in the front row at yoga class is. She's half your age and totally fit. Yes, she can do a headstand and has to-die-for-abs and high school cheerleader-like flexibility, but her life is a mess. She's scared, anxious and takes it out on herself by exercising (too much). She longs to feel loved and wants a home and a family like you have.

Or remember that really put together lady at the nail salon?  She may be jetting off to Hawaii in the morning with her rich boyfriend but she hasn't talked to her family in years. She's really lonely and the grudge she's holding is weighing her down like a lead balloon. Each year when the holidays roll around she is surrounded by strangers in a fancy setting, yet she longs for a real Christmas tree and family board games in front of the fireplace in her pj's, like you have.

We have to stop comparing ourselves to others, and to keep in mind that things aren't always how they look on the outside.  Absolutely no one has the perfect life, all the time. There are always going to be hurdles, troubles, and roadblocks to the life we envision. Yet that does not mean we can't enjoy the life we have right now, on our way to our ideal. In fact, one key to living a life of meaning is to embrace where we are at this present moment, to accept, allow and appreciate the life we have, even with all its challenges.

If we keep searching for the lesson in the moment and find something positive in our situation, we can add small nuggets to our internal arsenal that will help us better respond to the next situation that comes our way, good or bad. Since life continues to crank along after our mistakes and mishaps, we need to move with it and not dwell on if onlys or what ifs. 

I know from experience it often feels like we are trudging through thick mud, and barely moving, but we are moving forward, and someday real soon you will wake up and realize you have made it out of the muck and are able to dance in the sun.

If you find yourself wishing your life was as put together and on track as someone else 's, remind yourself that the grass is not always greener. No one has all the answers, or has everything perfectly figured out. We are all equally flawed, and yet we are also all uniquely equipped to love and appreciate the life we are living. We only need to stop judging, comparing and wishing it away. Being brave isn't about being over the top daring, it is about having the courage to take another step when the path ahead isn't clear, or some days isn't even visible. It is about trusting your footing even when the ground in front of you appears rocky. It is about loving what you have but also daring to make your dreams a reality.

You are beautiful, blessed, deserving, worthy, and so very loved. Believe in yourself and know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be at this moment. Appreciate what you have. Love yourself, your body, your partner, your children, your life. And be brave enough to take a step toward your dream no matter if it feels like it is so far away it only exists in an alternate universe. That is how magic happens.

Be where you are, and be happy there, but never give up on your dream.

If You Could See Yourself the Way I Do...

If you could see yourself the way I do...

You would never doubt your beauty. Your strength. Your creativity. Or your talents.

You would never, ever doubt your intrinsic worth.

You bring an incredibly special light to this world just by being authentically you, even on the days you feel less than bright.

So many of us believe that we need to be fixed. That we need to be better. That we need to be something we are not. And we are SO very hard on ourselves. Our mean voice never gives us a break, never allows us to feel the warmth of a compliment, or bask in the glow of a job well done. We are always qualifying, defending, apologizing so someone else doesn't suck the wind out of our sails and criticize us first. We want to be the first to expose our weaknesses, to let the world know that we are aware of what we could have done better, because deep down we are so afraid that we will fall apart if you tell us what we fear most, that we did it wrong, or worse that we failed. 

Some of us do not remember a time when we didn't try so hard.

But there was a time once. A time when we believed we could be anything we wanted to be, when we unapologetically let our talents shine and when we never doubted our purpose, or that we mattered, and mostly when we didn't struggle to be (the elusive) "more".

We need to get back to that time when we were enough just as we were and when the voice in our head loved us, instead of always disapproving of the way we did things.

We must stop comparing ourselves to others, quit striving to be perfect, cease wanting everyone to like us, and begin loving ourselves, not trying to get others to love us. We need to lose the ridiculously high standard we hold ourselves to, so that our light can begin to shine bright again.

Like it once did, when we were innocent and free of the load of shame and guilt we've collected as we've grown.

Don't let your own mean voice dim your brilliant light. Stop thinking of yourself as a being who needs work and improvement, instead view yourself the way the world sees you: as Beautiful. Unique. Special. Full of potential. Perfectly Imperfect.

We often have no problem seeing others for who they are, appreciating their strengths and accepting their weaknesses. See yourself in the same forgiving light, stop comparing, stop measuring, stop judging yourself and simply LOVE yourself for the unique being you are.

You are a warrior.

Strong, solid, courageous, gorgeous and kind. You have talent, grace, beauty and wisdom that no one else has. Use your strengths, shine your brightest light out into the world without worry, without fear, without moderation.  

Do not dim your light for anyone. If someone cannot handle your brilliance, they are not meant to be in your life. If your mean voice is not supportive, shut it down immediately, and search out your inner cheerleader.

She sees your brilliance. She's cheering for you. Can you hear her?

Speak in a kinder, gentler voice to yourself and remember how much you are loved.

Balance

It is a sparkly new day. The last day of my mini-break. Maybe the first day I haven't felt sick since my two week hiatus started, thanks to the antibiotics I finally called in for.

In my head I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish as I embraced two weeks of "rest" from teaching classes. In the reality of Christmas and New Year's, the list stayed in my head as necessary sleep and rest, and holiday commitments slowly ate up the time. The good news is I now have a whole new year ahead to "accomplish" that internal list.

I used to get mad at myself for allowing time to get away from me, now I keep my plans loose in hopes that something spontaneous, or nothing at all with come forth. Vowing to live in the present means not following the predetermined path (or to do list) inside my head and it often leads me to places I wasn't intending to go. Sometimes those prove to be the most enjoyable learning experiences and at the end of the day allow me to sigh in appreciation and content.

I have always been a serious homebody--especially in the winter. I could stay snowed in all winter as long as I had family and wine. Playing cards, watching cheesy hallmark movies, crafting, taking naps with my grand baby, making dinner, never leaving the house for an entire weekend = heaven to me.

Sometimes I wonder if I have gone too far in the opposite direction and am too loosely planned, but then I think about the "old" me, the busy me, and I realize I never want to be her again. I don't know if it is a natural progression as I age, or just my new go with the flow philosophy, but I've noticed that too many things on the calendar overwhelm me really fast. It used to be the framework that kept me afloat and many people still expect I am going to return from my hiatus to become that person again.

In my heart, I know I am not.

I sometimes wonder, have I become lazy? Selfish? A bad friend?

Then I realize that just maybe I have finally dialed into the balance that works for me, the one that keeps me at calm and peace and allows me to respond to the unexpected situations in life rather than react like I used to. I am cautious about over committing myself and then not being able to live in the present moment as it unfolds with all its unplanned glory. I really don't like rushing or scrambling anymore. Slow and steady wins the race for me.

Balance. I once read a book that said creative and passionate people don't need balance; balance is bad. Boring. Uninspiring. That passion/talent/creativity exist in the highs and lows, and we should never simply strive for balance.

I thought about that for a long while, I even tested their theory and discovered that balance is where I thrive.

I understand achieving the perfect balance is an individual thing. No one can tell me what my prescription for wellness is, even I find myself reevaluating daily to make sure I walk that delicate line. And on the flip side, I cannot tell anyone else what their recipe for wellness is.

I can tell you without hesitation that you have all the answers you need, deep inside. And the challenge will always be in learning to listen.

Emergence

As I reflect on my 2015, I am pleased to note that I leave it with a smile and a contented sigh. By other people's standards I certainly did not accomplish a lot, nor did I make everyone I care about happy; but I don't think that was what I needed to be my happiest/best self. I needed a quiet, focused, simple life in 2015 -- and that is what I got. I was inward focused, a serious homebody, and I stayed true to my 3 words for the year: Freedom, Growth & Joy. The result of doing so is that for once I ended a year thoroughly enjoying the journey, even if it had a few unexpected twists and turns.

Here are some of the things I will take away from the past year:

  • Family is not defined by blood
  • Sometimes the best most unselfish thing you can do is to just send someone love
  • Letting go of expectations is a huge key to finding inner peace
  • Freedom is waiting on the other side of silencing your mean voice
  • Embrace stillness + quiet daily, only then can you hear your inner (true) voice
  • You cannot please everyone
  • True friends love you for who you are, not what you do for them
  • Believe in the power of you, always, you are more powerful than you know
  • Love is fuel
  • Grand parenting is like a do over of all the good parts of parenting you slept through the first time around
  • You are never too old to grow, change and embrace your full potential

I picked my three words to live by in the last few minutes of 2015. I think they found me -- reminding me that I cannot become the butterfly I was meant to be until I leave the safety net of my self-created cocoon. I believe these words will challenge me into a better version of myself in 2016.

Express

My feelings, my ideas, my true self -- not only through writing but in little ways and conversations every day. I want to have the courage to truly be me, without doubt, regret, or explanation and without worrying what others might think.

Embrace

My talents, my strengths, my imperfect self and my beautiful life. I want to allow in success and continue to believe that I am worthy of everything I desire.

Create

It is time for the ideas and visions I have in my head to make their presence known to the world.

I won't promise to write more in the coming year as that feels more like a resolution than a direction, but I think it will happen naturally as a result of me keeping my three words at the forefront of my mind.

In 2016 I do promise to shine the brightest light I can. Even in the darkest moments of real life.

Namaste,

Terri