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Life Self-Care Saga

Respecting the Process and Learning to Let Go

Hi, here is my entry for the letter R in the #selfcaresaga! Respecting the process. It’s a lot easier said than done, but the more we cultivate this idea of faith and trust, the easier it becomes. It is, too, a process. The universe always has our best outcome in mind, so we know we will be taken care of in the end. 


Growing up, my family never really went to church. We moved after my sister was born and never returned to the church community after that. It had never been a big influence in my life, so I didn’t really think I was missing anything. Sometimes, I went to church with friends, but that was far and few between. The high school I attended was based on Catholicism, so I got to experience what that was like for several years. I took a religion class every year, studied the Bible, and went to Mass every Tuesday. With all that being said, I never really understood what it meant to “have faith”. I just figured we were bouncing around in life, working for ourselves and others. Everyone in class talked about God, but I just kept doing my thing. I didn’t believe in what everyone else did, but I didn’t think anything of it, either.

To be completely honest, Christianity didn’t make much sense to me. Now that I’m older, I think it’s probably more of the organized religion part. Humankind just makes everything messy, especially when they start creating their own rules based on what someone thinks their Creator told them. To be even more honest, I didn’t understand why there was a dichotomy when it came to God, how he could be so loving and forgiving one minute and then judgmental and spiteful the next. The different sects confused the hell out of me. I just found it easier to trust science and follow the idea that there was no man in the sky watching over me. It worked for a bit and made sense to me. I have worked hard my whole life to earn everything I had, so why would I give the credit to someone else?

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Fast forward about 10 years. By this time, I had taken yoga in college and fell down the self-help rabbit hole. My shelf is still overcrowded with books about spirituality, Buddhism, and everything in between. This offered a different perspective than Christianity ever did, and it made complete sense to me. Instead of an idea that you owe your life to some guy in the sky who died for your sins, I understood it to mean that I owed it to myself and others to be the best person I can be and live a life motivated by love, kindness, and compassion. Instead of this idea of separation from my Creator, we are all one. We are all made of the same stuff. The same love. What a beautiful idea to get behind. And I don’t doubt that Christianity stems from the same idea. I actually understand our idea of God to be the same Source across the board for all religions. I think as different cultures with different backgrounds and contexts, we try to make sense of what is happening around us. But we all experience that same energy inside us, the one that drives our soul. I learned that we are all an extension of this great Source, a smaller piece of the larger puzzle. And if that Source is perfect and whole, then so are we, just tinier versions.

It’s empowering, at least in my opinion, to know that I am already wonderful in my own right. I feel grateful to know I come from this bigger energy, one that allowed me to experience this life that I’m in. One that gave me the gift of a healthy body, a healthy mind, a healthy heart. I am so lucky to have what I have because something greater than me decided that I deserved a chance on this planet.

With that being said, I look at everything around me now with wonder and curiosity. It is more than apparent now that everything goes through this same cycle, one of birth and death. Things begin and things end. These patterns of resurrection are everywhere. The flowers, the trees, the animals, our own lives. Noticing all this incited a sort of reverence for these processes. They happened regardless of any sort of emotion.. It is just part of life. I began to recognize those themes in my own life. There was a purpose, even though sometimes it sucked accepting fully. There are some things in my life that are going to begin and going to end, and for the most part, there’s not going to be much I can do about it. Other than accept it and move on with my life.

That is intense to come to terms with, though. Letting go is hard. Losing something you have become so attached to feels like you are having a limb ripped off. It feels like it has become a part of us, so how can we just get over it?

How could any of this make sense?

The more I think about it, the more I realize it doesn’t make sense. It won’t make sense. I don’t think we are supposed to make sense of it. There is just something bigger than us. Things are just going to happen because that’s the way it goes. People make their choices and that sets into motion a series of events, to which we make our choices, and then things happen based on all those choices. And in most cases, everyone makes these decisions in order to protect themselves. To ensure their survival. We all just want to live and be happy. It may just not make sense from another perspective. But that doesn’t make any one better or right.

Coming to terms with that helped me understand a little bit.

Something I have come to know and understand is that when I resist what is, then I dig this super deep hole for myself that’s hard to escape from. What happens when you get in between something dying? It’s just going to prolong the suffering, and whatever it is will die anyway. In that instance, you are just making things a little bit more difficult for some time, but you are just avoiding the inevitable.

This attachment to things is what is killing us. We feel entitled to having what we want at all times, to being happy, immunity from suffering. And as much as I feel all of these things, I am learning that I’m just making things harder on myself. I’m intensifying and worsening my own suffering! That I was trying to avoid! I did so by not trusting these cycles of life. By not trusting what is meant for me will be.

Why resist when we know it’s going to happen anyway?

So I began to think about respecting it. Respecting that there is some higher order of the universe that has more consciousness than me. That understands the why in this crazy world. What do I have to lose?

I have to say that my life has become infinitely less stressful because of it. I created so much anguish and suffering for myself by resisting what is. Even in trusting to accept where I’m at in life. Sometimes I would, and I still do, get so frustrated that I wasn’t where I wanted to be. I wasn’t as knowledgeable or successful or wealthy as I wanted to be. The guy I was super attracted to didn’t like me back. But I realize it is because I still had so much room to grow. So much more to learn and experience before I was ready to handle these things. It’s like the universe or God knows what we need and will only allow things to happen in good time. Because things that are meant for us will come, trust me. We just aren’t aware of the timeline or whether that thing we’ve been wanting is actually meant for us. Sometimes it is, but a lot of times, it’s just what we think we want.

Now, it’s easier for me to remember that things always make sense in hindsight. And to trust that I am on my path and exactly where I am supposed to be. IMG_20191015_175445Sometimes I am slower to learn and accept things, and I must reach this acceptance before I can move on to bigger and better things. Growing up without faith made it really hard to understand this fact, and the weird thing is, it’s still so counter-intuitive. There is no hard evidence, nothing to back up and say, this is what you need to do. Trust is about relinquishing that idea of control, letting go of our need for something to happen a certain way, and reminding yourself that everything will happen if it is right. It’s strange, I get it.

Some days are a lot harder than others. It’s one thing to read this and think you understand, and it’s a whole other thing to put it in practice. I still get upset when things don’t work out. It’s really hard to get yourself to understand, hey.. Don’t cry about this, it’s meant to happen. Because things being easy is cool and challenges are hard! But it’s in these moments where I have to remember my strength. I have to take ownership of all the decisions I’ve made and remember that I brought myself to this point, bad or good. Just like I will be strong and make my choices for the future with my happiness in mind.

It’s all a process.

It gets easier. Over time, you can actually look back and say, okay, yeah, I needed to trust that things would work out. Because they always do. They don’t always happen the way you want them to, but they end up happening how they need to. When things get hard, remember YOUR strength. It’s in there, I promise. You have all the love and power in your heart to do anything you dream of, so channel this when you are feeling out of control and powerless. You are a capable human and you have the strength to overcome any obstacle when you set your mind to it. Understand that there is some bigger force at play making sure these cycles of life are always turning and burning. Have faith that this bigger force has your best interest at heart and just wants to see you succeed.

You were created to live a big and beautiful life, so don’t be afraid to dare to live a life of greatness.

 

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Life

A Few Thoughts on Ego, Self-Sabotage and Our Fragile Existence

I’m going to make a bet that when your ego reads the title of this post, you’ll instantly close the window or pop over to something more comfortable. 

Self-sabotage? Who, me?

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When you lift the veil from the trickster, then it becomes easier to address and work through. More often than not, you are unconsciously avoiding issues that you aren’t ready to work on. I do it all the time, so don’t worry.. you aren’t alone by any means. If you are reading this, then it sounds like you are coming to terms with your ego, your inner self that works daily to keep you safe and protected. It keeps us from anything it deems scary and uncomfortable, so that we can rest easy knowing there is no danger around. But we are humans, evolved to live in houses that protect us from imminent danger like predators and other sorts of things. So why does our ego feel the need to go out of its way to protect us when there isn’t any danger?

Our ego helps us to perceive the world around us, but unfortunately, it isn’t always accurate.  It thinks literally anything is a threat to our safety, our wholeness. It’s working with many years of conditioning, so there are lots of misperceptions happening. If someone calls you ugly or dumb, we tend to immediately feel threatened and hurt even though they were just words being spoken. They can’t hurt us physically. But they do hurt our hearts. They are a direct threat to our identity, what we unconsciously or consciously construct to create an idea of who we are. It hurts to feel less than we are, and usually, we jump to the conclusion of rejection. Which gets mistaken for a threat of danger.. death.

This topic is actually super complex, but I’ll try to break it down in easy-to-understand language. I’m still trying to understand and integrate myself.

So when were born, we came out as a separate form. Whatever we were prior to being a tiny baby, whether it be energy, a soul, nothingness, etc, we were whole. We were complete and infinite. There were no physical boundaries to limit our existence. Now, we are humans, separate, with systems and organs to perceive our surroundings and make sense of it all. Still following?

As humans, we don’t even have the brain capacity to understand or fathom our prior wholeness, and it’s easy to forget our true nature. I mean, look at us, we are literally separate from the couch we are sitting on, the computer we scroll on, the trees around us, our friends and family, I could go on. Because this is what we feel and see, it is what we perceive to be true and we just roll with it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s bad that we perceive life in physical form. I just think we are a bit misguided in a way. Which, again, isn’t a bad thing. It’s just part of being a human.

Instead of having to go out and scavenge and hunt, we have evolved to lead complex lives, with 9-5 jobs, family problems, fast food restaurants, and social media. The leap from animalistic behavior to human behavior included new brain structures. Instead of fight-or-flight ruling our lives, we grew parts of the brain to help us think logically, weigh the pros and cons of our decisions, and experience emotions like joy and sadness. Granted, we are still prone to trust the primitive parts of our being, but we grew to be smarter and use our judgment to assess dangers. But it’s interesting, because somewhere along the way, we have almost lost touch with our ability to implement our higher order thinking skills. 

The more I think about it, the more I realize how out of touch with death we have become. Without the threat of danger always present, we have forgotten how fragile life is. How easy it is to be here one day and gone the next. We cover our eyes with Netflix, our careers, literally anything to distract us from the huge existential questions that still persist, even when you don’t think about them. 

Okay, that was a bit of a tangent, but I think it’s still relevant. So everyone is fairly familiar with identity. It’s this construct of what idea we have of ourselves. What we create for others to call to mind when they think about us. For example, I have lived most of my life thinking I was a shy, smart, funny girl. If anyone were to say anything like, “your jokes aren’t funny” or “I bet you only wear glasses to look smart” (which someone has actually said to me), I would immediately tense up. Maybe not to the point of feeling it, but my defenses would be triggered. Someone is denying this idea I have of myself. What if they are right? What if I am wrong and I’m not actually smart or funny? What would that mean for me? Well, it would crush my identity. Who am I behind this identity I’ve created? And no, it’s not “nothing”. But we think it’s nothing. We are in this human body and we have nothing to show for it other than the life we create or the image we project. 

BUT THIS ISN’T TRUE! 

We are innately whole. We are from a larger source, God’s children, smaller pieces of the big puzzle of life, what have you. We all have different ways of saying the same thing, but either way you call it, we are still whole. We have never lost our wholeness. We will never lose it. 

That’s why we have to be careful about falling back onto our identity, our ego. It’s not really who we are. Yes, it’s nice to differentiate ourselves from others and help us feel unique and special, but don’t forget your true, special, and holy nature. The “whole” doesn’t call itself “I”. Because it isn’t an “I”. We call ourselves “I” to make sense of our existence and to separate ourselves from everything else. You can be an “I” if you want, there’s no problem with it. But don’t get lost in the idea of being this person that you have to keep up with and never make mistakes.

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So let me try to get back on topic, I got a little carried away again. So remember the ego? In an attempt to keep us safe, secure, and free from danger aka death, it always chooses safety and comfort. Which is great. Being comfortable is always a good idea. I wouldn’t want to live the rest of my life sitting in a position that was painful and really hurt my leg. But when it comes to living our dreams, becoming who we were meant to be in this life, you have to be honest with yourself and your ego, and willingly choose to be uncomfortable. You don’t HAVE to, but I just want you to know that it is you yourself holding you back. No one else. 

But it’s so tricky. Because the ego is doing its job. It’s not like it’s bad or evil because it opts for comfort and no risks. It’s just something to be mindful of. Take this example. You are kind of shy. You have the opportunity to go out, but you’d be by yourself, and that in and of itself is a scary idea. But you could meet some really cool people. You could have some fun. You could also embarrass yourself or get made fun of. It could go either way. But no matter what happens, it’s not like you are going to die, right? If you are operating without awareness of your ego, then you’ll probably opt to stay inside. Which is fine. But what if you missed out on meeting your new best friend? Finding someone super interesting that you want to get to know more? Hear a really awesome band in your hometown? Our ego perceives this threat of hurting our pride and identity as danger, so if it thinks it’s a really big danger, it will allow you to think it’s fine to stay home.

But do you want to live the rest of your life that way? If you do, sure, it’s fine, seriously. You do you. I just know that I got to a point where I was tired of holding myself back from all the possibilities. Yeah, taking risks is scary and I get really uncomfortable and anxious all the time. But I have gained so much from mustering the courage to talk to strangers, to go out by myself, to try new things. My relationship with myself is better, my relationship with what I perceive God to be is growing stronger, I’m accomplishing things I’ve never dreamed of. I just want everyone to know what is possible, because for a long time, I didn’t believe it. 

I guess the whole point of this post was about self-sabotage, but it seems like I needed to explore some of those existential things first. So I mentioned my relationship with myself is getting better. Through this development I have become mega aware of my ego and all the work it is doing silently to sabotage me when I’m not looking. And we all fall victim to this. Going out to eat when we have a fridge full of groceries, choosing ice cream instead of the gym even though we really want to get better at taking care of our bodies, retreating back into our shell even though we met someone really kind and funny because they aren’t the usual emotionally unavailable conquest. There’s plenty of ways it happens. And I realized that my life is filled with self-sabotage.

And it sucks. It truly breaks my heart to know there is a part of me working against myself and all my hard work. But that just inspires me to work harder. To figure this out. I know that our shadow is just trying to keep us safe. It doesn’t want us to take risks or try new things because that introduces the possibility of failure, of pain, of rejection. Even though it’s not a life or death situation, we think that this denial and rejection means that we are not worthy or deserving of wholeness. Which is a weird and messed up perception that our ego has concocted over the years. But it’s okay. It just is. We aren’t perfect as humans and this is just part of our natural tendency to make errors, mistakes, and misjudgments. 

So now that I’ve made this known in my world, that I am this walking talking dichotomy, it’s a lot easier to sit with. I call it like I see it, and my ego knows, too. It knows that its defense mechanisms are losing power. I still have some parts in my life that fall victim to sabotage, but it’s becoming easier. I have to constantly remind myself of my true nature, that I’m just a human dealing with human shit, that I am more than deserving of anything I want, that being uncomfortable means you are growing, that life is about learning and loving and most importantly, living. The way out of the trap is through love, most importantly, self-love, and acceptance, as I’m learning is the case with most things in this life. I have to remember to be grateful for the part of me that is looking out for my safety, but I have to remind myself that I am strong and capable and that it’s okay if I fail. I am just dreaming of the day when I can be best friends with my shadow, and then we’ll be unstoppable.

I can feel it coming very soon, and I’m getting so excited to truly embrace my wholeness.

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Categories
Life

The Part of Spiritual Growth They Don’t Talk About

I love growing and changing and seeing how far I’ve come spiritually. My relationship with myself is blossoming like it never has before. I feel really good about becoming who I’ve always wanted to be.

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But I’m simultaneously paralyzed by this growth. I still feel such a deep void in my body. It hurts not understanding why.

Growing means you are shedding the old ways. The old habits. The old you.

It’s essentially like grieving. This part of me has been through so much shit, we’ve grown together. But I’m beginning to outgrow those layers. They don’t feel comfortable anymore.

Yet something so powerful and strong won’t let go. Is this how butterflies feel?

On my journey inward, I’ve been learning ways with which I can support myself. I know this loneliness is only temporary, but that doesn’t take away any of the pain. Knowing I have “all the love inside me” doesn’t just make the void go away. Being on your own is really tough. I know it’s possible, but dang, that’s a lot of love.

I understand that emotions are like powerful waves, splashing your face with water even though you didn’t plan on getting wet. The tide eventually goes back and you dry off while waiting for the next one to come. Just ride it out and you’ll be fine.

Lies we tell ourselves.

I trust that I’m on my path. My life is a blessing. I totally get that. I appreciate that.

I’m still trekking on this journey because I am still trying to learn how to communicate with myself in order to make sure our goals are aligned. My unconscious self still loves to rule. What a weird phenomenon — working against yourself.

It’s always worked to produce results in the past, so why change it?

I know changing it is what will be best for me. I need to chase my dreams with full force. I can’t do that if we are still dwelling on the past.

It’s hard convincing such a stubborn girl to move forward.

I know I need to be patient with myself. Always. I’ve always been stubborn. I’ll come when I want.

And then your Discover Weekly sends you the message you’ve been waiting on.

I heard Ambar Lucid’s beautiful voice and had to click over to Spotify to see. Her song “A letter to my younger self” had just begun playing and hit the nail right on the head, just as I was reflecting on what I just wrote.

She reflects on her past selves, too. Recognizing that they are in pain, but reminding them “all of this is not gonna last”. If only our old selves knew what we know now.

How crazy is this life?

“I know times are hard right now, but I promise you’ll be alright”

I know it will take time to heal. To grieve my loss. I will stay hopeful in the meantime. I am losing what was once a huge part of me. But now, as I’m moving forward, I must learn to let go of these things that don’t serve me.

I’ve never been good at getting rid of old clothes, so you can imagine how challenging getting rid of a whole self will be.

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Self-Care Saga

Hey, Your Human Is Showing!

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Hi, thanks for reading and continuing on the journey of the #selfcaresaga! I’m so happy to have you along for the ride. Here is my entry for the A part, allowing yourself to be human. It’s not easy accepting the imperfect parts of us, but we must if we want to live authentically. We are taught from a young age to hide or reject any parts of us that are unsightly, I guess in order to protect our image socially. Well, I am tired of “hiding” part of who I truly am just to satisfy the world, and maybe you are tired, too. Here, I explore my loooong history with perfectionism, trying to be perfect all the time, and even my relationship with yucky emotions like shame and guilt. Changing my relationship with mistakes has truly changed my self-care game. Instead of beating myself up for not nailing it everytime, I’ve grown in self-compassion, and now I’m working with myself on this journey instead of against. Hope you enjoy!


I think it’s taken me so long to write this entry because part of my being isn’t ready to let my perfectionism go. My entire 26 years on this planet has been centered around being the best all the time. And when I can’t be my best, I pretend it’s not real or just forget about it. I have always gotten so frustrated when something doesn’t come easily for me. I know that’s how it is for a lot of us, but for some reason, I won’t tolerate it. I turn against myself when I can’t succeed at something. I use it as an excuse to remind myself of how much of a failure I am, a reminder that nothing I do is good enough. It’s like that part of me enjoys rejecting myself.

What?!

I’m learning that this part of me loves to self-sabotage. Why? I’m still trying to figure that part out. But it makes total sense now when I think about why some things never worked out. This darker part of me wants me to feel incompetent, worthless, and the like. It’s like I’m not allowed to have flaws or imperfections. But I’m a human being, so why wouldn’t I?

I started to look at my situation from that perspective. My rational self reminded me of my humanness. Perfect is not real for us in this form. At least not our perception of perfect. Of course, this did not satisfy the dark side one bit.

Like I said, I’ve been this way towards myself for as long as I can remember. For a while, it was normal. But now that I’ve gotten older and am on the road to accepting myself completely, I am absolutely appalled at the lies I’ve told myself and forced myself to believe. I’ve talked about the inner voice in our heads before, but it is SNEAKY. It feeds you these falsities so often that you have no idea there is another side to the story.

You must be perfect at all times. If you screw this up, you’re done for. And you can forget about crying. They’ll think you are weak. And you’re not allowed to be upset. You have to be happy all the time. Who knows what will happen if you upset anyone, so let’s not even go there. Oh, you pissed them off? See, I told you what would happen. We’re going to spend the rest of the day going over every single thing that you’ve messed up in your life. You don’t deserve to feel good.

Yeah. Heavy stuff. Why would anyone talk like this to themselves? Why are there parts of us that want to work against all the hard work we have accomplished? Well, when I figure it out, I’ll let ya know. But until then, I am practicing allowing myself to make mistakes. Almost encouraging them. Doing everything in my power to remind myself that I am human and not capable of perfection. And being completely okay with that.

So, let’s go over what it means when we say, “Allow yourself to be human.” Of course, we all know we are human. We can look down at our skin and look at ourselves in the mirror and feel our mortality. We experience birth and death. We are all constantly reminded of our true essence. It seems almost too obvious to forget.

Maybe if we address it from the other side, it might make more sense. What happens when we DON’T allow ourselves to be human? We get upset when we make mistakes. We are uncomfortable when we are angry or sad. Well, if all this is part of being human, then why aren’t we allowing it within ourselves?

We can’t expect to live an easy life when we are rejecting part of our experience.

This rejection of our experience holds us back from fully accepting us for who we are. How can I be fully human when I am cutting out half the emotions on the spectrum? Or when I get upset at myself for making common mistakes? I was holding myself to standards that were nearly impossible to meet. My expectations for myself were too damn high! I could easily tell someone else, “No worries,” and then turn around and chastise myself. It doesn’t make logical sense, I know. I’m trying to break the cycle.

I realized how unhappy I was. How mean to myself I was being. No wonder I’m exhausted and less than stellar all the time. My energy is blocked. Half of it is trying to meet over-the-top standards while the other half is criticizing my every move. So then how do I have any energy or space leftover for happiness and love? Plain and simple, I don’t. The dark part of me that I mentioned enjoyed remaining in this place of sadness and worthlessness, so it was just a horrible loop that I couldn’t escape.

A few months ago, I started saying, “it’s okay” over and over whenever anything felt like it was getting chaotic. Either in real life or in my head. It kind of helped me get through the moment when it felt like too much. I guess that sort of bled out into everything I did, even if I wasn’t being serious, I would at least say it to myself just to expose the criticism. Even though it started out being silly, it kind of helped, and I faked it until I finally began to realize it is okay.

It’s okay that you are having these feelings. It’s okay to be stressed. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay not to know.

This “it’s okay” mentality slowly became a theme in my life, and I was beginning to better manage my stress. I began to trust that things really were okay, and that no matter what was going on, I somehow had the strength to persevere. This especially became important with respect to my self talk and making mistakes. When I could convince myself it wasn’t a big deal or I wasn’t stupid for losing my keys, then I was able to begin to construct a better relationship with failure and not being perfect. Exactly where you are this very moment is where you are meant to be. Even if things aren’t the very best.

Don’t let your expectations of yourself rise above what you are humanly capable of. It’s not fair to do that to yourself.

So let the mistakes come. They’re going to happen anyway. Use mistakes as an opportunity to show compassion to yourself. The same compassion you show your friends when they screw up. When we can fully understand that mistakes are part of being human, then we can warm up to the idea of being imperfect. Like Bob Ross even says, “we don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents” and I think that’s absolutely beautiful. Mistakes are just as deserving of love as getting it right all the time. I have to remind myself that only something with the higher consciousness of the universe is capable of perfection, and unfortunately, I’m still not there yet. One day, we will be perfect again 🙂 Until then, I will remember that this great love has absolutely NO conditions. So for now, we have some messy human-ing to do!

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After I was able to start to befriend my imperfect self, I had more space for self-compassion. In my journey of mindfulness, I noticed a lot of tension build up whenever I felt angry or frustrated. I realized that I do not sit well with these emotions AT ALL. It was easy for me to be happy, but when the real gritty feelings came up, I didn’t want to own up to them.

I mentioned in one of my recent Instagram posts that I did not like confrontation, and what does being angry mean? You aren’t agreeing with someone or you don’t like something they are doing. Which means there is some major confronting to do. But that is too scary. I didn’t want to upset someone because my feelings are hurt. It seemed so much easier just to ignore those feelings. But what I had failed to realize is that those emotions are very powerful. They are trying to tell you something important about yourself. And it’s imperative that we listen to those intense feelings. No matter how uncomfortable.

Think about it. If we deny ourselves the chance to fully feel what anger, sadness, frustration, shame, and guilt are, then how can we honestly say we are allowing ourselves to be human?

We are holding back the chance to truly live the human experience.

By allowing ourselves to express these negative emotions, we are also allowing the opportunity to feel the full impact of positive ones, like joy and excitement. In feeling the true and utter yuckiness of the sad ones, we can embrace and truly feel the good ones for all that they are.

And here’s where it gets interesting. All of our emotions carry messages from our soul. As we are processing experiences, they are physically manifested as emotions, smiles, tears. It is crucial that we listen and heed these messages so that we can open up the dialogue. We can hear what our inner selves are saying, needing, and wanting. By listening to all these negative emotions like shame, guilt, and frustration, I was better able to understand myself. Understand why I felt the way I did and perhaps the role I’ve played in the situation, It’s truly a humbling experience when you can be real with yourself. It’s changed the way I live my life and altered my perspective on my potential.

I still struggle with perfectionism to this day; I think it will always be a small part of me. I can say, though, that I’ve changed my relationship. Instead of denying this part of me, I’ve learned to welcome these feelings with open arms. I want to listen to my pain instead of reject it. I want myself to know that her feelings are so important, that they are meaningful. I want myself to know that even though things may be challenging, that so many good things are waiting on the other side. I want myself to know that I accept her just as she is, flaws, mistakes, and all. This journey as a human is so messy and sometimes ugly, but it is equally the most beautiful thing we’ve ever known. Allowing myself to be a human and be perfectly okay with that has completely changed my perspective on this existence. Now, I have so much love for my imperfect self, and I hope that you, too, can find it in your hearts to love yourself completely, flaws and all.

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Self-Care Saga

Cultivating Gratitude – It’s Good for the Soul

Here’s the long-awaited journal entry for the C part of the #selfcaresaga – Cultivating Gratitude. We’ve gone through some pretty serious topics on this self-care journey, but understanding these are crucial if you want to learn to love yourself unconditionally. Another one of these topics is gratitude, something not exclusive to just Thanksgiving. In order to keep our hearts open to love, we must always employ gratitude in our lives. Some situations are easier than others, no doubt. But by acknowledging what we do have rather than what we don’t, we can create space for abundance, appreciation, and true unconditional love. Gratitude reminds us of our genuine wholeness and connectedness to the world around us.


Lately, I’ve been feeling confused. Wondering why I’m here in this human body. Why am I part of this 9-5 culture that shares absolutely none of my values? I didn’t ask to be here. Given another chance, would I want to be part of it? I don’t know. I think these are all valid questions and concerns. Why are we here in this body? What’s this life all about? I’m learning that there are no real answers to these questions. At least none of which we can be 100% certain.

A major feeling behind these thoughts was a sense of entitlement.. As if I were entitled to choose my type of existence. Why did I have to participate in this “human” project and where can I exit? Day to day tasks were getting increasingly harder, and I was losing energy. I could tell I was getting more anxious, too. My state of mind was constantly back and forth, no real sense of clarity or peace. Luckily, my trip for California was coming up, where I’d spend a week driving from Los Angeles, through the Sierra Nevada mountains up to Lake Tahoe, then across to Highway 1 down the Pacific coast. I was not aware then of the journey that would soon unfold.

I drove over 1500 miles over the span of 5 days, so I got to see so much of California’s natural beauty. Being surrounded by Mother Nature and her creation really humbled me. The beaches, the sunsets, the mountains, the ocean, the snow, everything. It was wild how captivating the geography was. The huge skies and beautiful colors. I was brought to tears several times. Rightly so.

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How would I be able to experience any of the beauty around me if I weren’t here? If I didn’t have to be a part of the “human” project. Plain and simple, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t have a body or the proper organs to perceive it all. How lucky are we to be able to experience the glory of the universe.. It fills me with so much joy and love.

The opportunity to witness life around you is a blessing, and we’re living it right now.

When I returned home, I tried to keep up this idea of seeking out all of the beautiful things in nature. Although we don’t have mountains and beaches, we still have trees and flowers. A different expression of the same beauty. I was lighter when I returned home, cleansed of some of the entitlement I was harboring prior. Of course, a trip like that is enough to humble anyone, and not everyone has the opportunity to do so. But there is life around each of us, growing and evolving into the most perfect creatures, as long as we keep our eyes and hearts open.

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Changing my perspective on my circumstances really made an impact on my mood and how I carried myself throughout the days to come. Shifting from a place of emptiness and lack to one of fullness and love allowed me to truly appreciate the things that I had in my life. Instead of asking why I had to deal with the suffering of the human world, I was reminded that I was given the opportunity of life, period. I was right, I didn’t have to be here. But I am. I was allowed a healthy body that acts as a vessel for me to experience this life. I have a strong support system that loves me unconditionally. Probably more than they should sometimes! With these feelings of appreciation and love, I was at peace. I could be without any of this stupid stuff, but I would still be here. Still breathing, still smiling, and still loving. How can you be frowning and moping when that is a fundamental truth you know to be certain?!

Staying focused on what we have keeps us feeling whole, complete. When we forget, we keep our attention on what we think we need, what could be better, what am I missing to be happy??! There’s this void that we try to fill with material and superficial things, but somehow, we never have enough to feel satisfied. This chasing will distract us from seeing what is already inside of us.  

Everything we could ever want or need in this life is right here in our hearts.

This spirit within, capable of all the love in the universe. Essentially, our entire beings are made of love. Isn’t that what we are all ultimately looking for anyway? Not to mention how badass of a person you are to have made it this far. Being grateful for our journey, no matter how rough, will give us the strength to persist. We begin to trust our ability, and that goes a long way for self-care.

By nurturing this idea that we are already complete, we begin to develop a calm inner peace. We will understand that we already have everything we need, so instead of wasting energy there, we can move forward with experiencing life. Over time, these happier states of mind will attract more good things in our lives. Taking care of our mental health in this way helps us to make better choices for ourselves. The impact of gratitude on self-care is huge, and it’s a crucial step in creating the healthiest version of you.

If any of this sounds strange to you, I challenge you to make a list. Right now. Even if it doesn’t sound strange, make a list. Ten things in your life that you are grateful for. And if ten is too hard, try five. It may be hard, but it’s manageable if you get down deep. If you’ve read up to this point, I’ve already listed a couple you can steal. Here, I’ll make one with ya.

I’m grateful for

the opportunity to experience life
my beautiful and healthy body that allows me to live and love
a roof over my head, somewhere I can sleep safe at night
friends and family who support and encourage me to be my best
functioning organs that work effortlessly to let me live
beautiful skies that remind me of nature’s capabilities (also, science)
my intellect which helps me to make rational decisions (most of the time)
my heart that allows me to feel emotions so deeply and care for those around me
the universe and all her mysterious magnificence
chocolate ice cream

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There are many ways we can express our love and gratitude for the earth and others. Saying “Thank you” goes a helluva long way in relationships. Compliment the heck out of others! Acknowledging your appreciation for the efforts of others builds respect and trust among your friends and colleagues. Being kind to the earth and other forms of life shows our regard for Mother Nature. Having a daily meditation on the things you are grateful for will keep these present in your mind. You don’t necessarily have to meditate, but I highly recommend it. Even writing one or two things down on a piece of paper is beneficial. That way you are acknowledging and speaking them into existence. Small gestures for others show them that you care and want to create a relationship based on reciprocity.

Some days are easier than others. Yeah, it’s nice to be grateful and all, but there are going to be some days where it seems like nothing is going right. It’s going to be the biggest challenge to try and visualize the things in your life you appreciate. But that’s the most important time. I challenge you to find the good out of a sticky situation. There are rewarding lessons hiding in the dark. Reframe your experience to be a learning opportunity. What is this teaching me? What can I learn from this? How is this making me a better person? Instead of hating where we are, we can instead be grateful. Thankful that we are given a chance to evolve. A chance to be a better version of ourselves. Keeping our gratitude present with us allows us to carry our strength wherever we go. That is something that people can’t take away from us. We have the choice of control of our minds. We can either be blind to the love and abundance around us, or we can fully embrace and feel it all. During the hard times, this strength will keep us moving forward.

We can persevere. And we will.

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Self-Care Saga

Forget About Everyone Else

(here’s the F part to the #selfcaresaga, happy reading! also, thanks to my good friend Yomi for catching some great shots. check our her photography here!)


Well, let’s not be dramatic.

More like, forget about what everyone else thinks. About you, about life, about anything. Everyone has their own perspective and perception they choose to take on this life, so it’s not going to be the exact same as yours. And because these people have no influence on the individual successes of your life, their opinion, although respected, is not valid. They aren’t operating on your terms. This is one of those “a lot easier said than done” things FOR SURE.

So let’s explore why this would be challenging for us.

Why do I need someone’s approval? What is so important about their opinion that I feel is necessary to my being?

This all goes back to our souls wanting to feel connected. Of course, we want people to like us. We want everyone to support all our decisions and beliefs. What a wonderful world it would be for everyone to get along. But that’s a naive way of thinking when you consider each individual as their own unique being. Snowflake, if you will 😉

No two people had the same upbringing, the same conversations, the same trauma, the same heartbreaks, the same moments of joy.

Sure, they are all universal, but still relative. With all of these different experiences shaping us, we don’t process and understand things all the same. We are operating with both our hereditary and learned traits. So it’s literally impossible for us to share the same exact experience as another person.

We have to keep this in mind when we start worrying about what other people think. They haven’t experienced our life, so they won’t be able to sufficiently make decisions or opinions about what is best for us. So even if we did truly care about what they thought, it still wouldn’t be a valid assessment for us to follow. They don’t have all the details of our situation.

Let’s go back to why this approval would feel so necessary for us.

If we are rejected by someone, especially someone we love, we almost die inside. For me, hearing the word “no” sometimes literally ruins my day. But why is that? Why can’t I take criticism and rejection? It is the worst feeling in the world to feel like your love is ignored. Your efforts are out the window. For some reason, it is like the lifeblood has been severed from your existence. I think it’s because this rejection reminds us of being alone. How awful it is to feel like you are all alone in this world. I hate it.

I don’t think anyone quite likes the idea of being alone.

But the more I think of it, the more it is so true. We are. We are alone. But at the same time, we aren’t. Everything in our worlds is merely a projection of what’s going on inside our heads. Our perception is based on our experiences, like I mentioned earlier. Perhaps it is a little challenging to wrap our human brains around, but consciousness is one. From a religious perspective, God created the universe and it is all one. Science tells us that all our energy is from the same source, and therefore is all one. The same life in the world around us, the animals, the trees, the mountains, the oceans, and the sky is the same life force within us. So I believe it to be like we are all part of this Oneness, and because there is only one Oneness, then we are alone. But this oneness makes up everything around us. The ones we love, the ones we don’t love. The beautiful sunsets. The wars around the world. The poverty we witness on a daily basis. The hugs we share. The trivial conversations we have. The wonderful celebrations. The crippling heartbreak. I think I broke away on a distant tangent, but this helps me remember my wholeness when I feel small and alone. I have my whole entire world inside me, and there is where I rest knowing everything will be okay.

So to get back on track, we are never truly alone if we share the existence with all that surrounds us. So why should we let someone’s words or opinions affect us the way they do? I realized I’m only wasting my precious energy by entertaining other people’s judgements. Now I can come to this conclusion all day, but I am still human and still make mistakes. I still let people get to me. I don’t know why. I’m just a sensitive person, but either way, I have to remember they can’t determine my success. Only I can. And if I’ve drained all my energy listening to the voices, then how can I even attempt to live for myself?

And this is where the self-care comes in.

If we let all of our energy escape while we are worrying about others, where will we find the energy to take care of ourselves?

The answer is simple. You won’t.

It is now that we forget about everyone else. Everyone who has ever made you feel unsupported. Unloved. Unwelcome. We understand that we are literally wasting energy on things that aren’t fulfilling us. By “forgetting” everyone else, we allow ourselves the space and energy to focus on what is truly important in this life.. US!!! As soon as the logic hit me that I was essentially living my life for someone else when I cared too much about their feelings… what in the heck? how are you so smart but also so “stupid” at the same time??

This can be friends. Family. Relationships. Strangers. Anyone. We don’t have to necessarily cut them out of our lives, but if you need to, then by all means, good luck and much love. But it is imperative that we learn how to filter their opinions out. Stop taking things to heart. And I am the Queen of Taking Things Personally, so trust me, I know this isn’t easy. Ha, I’d even consider it impossible to stop letting things bother me. Everything bothers me. I’m grateful to be so sensitive, but sometimes it definitely inhibits my growth. I’m running around with my feelings hurt, too busy to look up and see what needs to be done in my life. Here we go again, wasting energy on things that don’t matter. Come on, Madeleine.

So to help me stop taking everything personally, I started to question the intentions behind the opinions and thoughts of others. Why would they have that certain perspective? Are they hurting? Are they upset at me? What are they actually upset about? Are they proud of me? Are they supporting and encouraging me? If someone is downright rude and makes fun of someone, then they are merely projecting their own insecurities. After realizing this, I could understand what was really going on. It wasn’t ever about me. It was about them. The whole time. Remember how I was saying everyone’s perception is different and we project our inner universe? Yeah, everyone’s doing it. Just like you. Everything anyone ever does is based on their inner world. So then you can understand that it’s not about you. Don’t take it personally. Someone’s anger is based on how they are feeling about their pain. It usually has nothing to do with something that was actually “done”. Having this perspective on the situation has really helped me to understand the importance of not wasting energy on something that honestly probably doesn’t even exist. Everyone is living in their own world. It’s goofy to sit and wonder what you did or said. They are probably not even worried about what it is you’re worried about, I’d be surprised to know they are even aware of it.

I guess what I’m getting at, too, is that if someone can unconditionally love you, they will be supporting you always. You won’t have to worry about them making fun of you or discouraging you. They will be by your side helping you fill your cup so that you can use your energy on your own growth and development.

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So find the courage to forget about it all. Forget about what they think. Your parents aren’t happy with your career choice? They are just scared because they have a different idea of success than you. It will be fine. Follow your passion, and they’ll eventually catch up. Your friend doesn’t like your music? Who cares. It makes you happy and that’s all that should matter. Someone doesn’t wanna hang? Get over it. They’ve got their shit and you’ve got yours. If it’s meant to be, it will, but if it’s not, remind yourself of the energy you are wasting. All that energy that could be used for so many other things. Own up to being the badass you are and realize they if they can’t hang, then that sucks for them.

We don’t have time to sit around and worry about it! We have our lives to live!

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