You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone

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Joni Mitchell said it best when she sang the words, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”  It’s so true.  We walk around in this life taking so much for granted most of the time, like people, places, situations, our health.  I often think that I have never known better health than I know right now, but that’s not true.  My best physical health was probably sometime back when I was in my 20’s and hiking daily through the red rock canyons of Utah looking for desert tortoises, or when I was running up and down forested ravines chasing Mexican Spotted Owls in New Mexico, or when I was hiking 17 miles into the back country of Kings Canyon National Park in a day just to get where I was living and working for part of the summer at 10,500 feet elevation.  But, I’ve never had such good health as I have now AND appreciated it as much as I do now.  THAT’S the key difference.  I no longer take my health for granted.

In 2009, just 6 months after welcoming my son into the world, I lost my health.  I almost died.  At the time, I had no idea what this meant for me or my life.  It felt abrupt and unfair.  After all, I had been one to eat healthy, even as a vegetarian for about 8 years, and I exercised extensively for my work as a wildlife and fisheries field biologist.  I felt that I didn’t “deserve” this change in circumstances.  (Stay tuned for a future post where I go into more detail about my health journey.)

It is the total loss of my health that has brought me to the level of gratitude that I live with in my present day life.  And it is this level of gratitude that breathes joy and peace into my entire being.  I have almost died and so my perspective on life has been forever altered.  It’s amazing how small other obstacles in life become when the comparison is near-death.  Try it and see what sounds like the worst-case in each of the following scenarios.  I had a stressful day at work – I almost died.  I got a divorce – I almost died.  I got side swiped by another car – I almost died. My son says he hates me – I almost died. Someone at work doesn’t like me – I almost died. Friends left my life – I almost died.  I live in California away from my family – I almost died.  Life can always be worse, my friends. Mine has been, and for that I am eternally grateful.  In fact, I am especially grateful that I lost my health.

You see, as humans, we tend to only learn, I mean REALLY learn and internalize the big lessons, when life kicks the shit out of us.  Generally, we don’t learn as much by watching others on their journeys, and we don’t learn by being happily guided through a life of little or no strife.  Our strife isn’t the Universe’s way of punishing us, but rather its way of growing us.  We get what we need, not what we want.  But, it is always our choice whether to grow and learn from our experiences, or to see them as some kind of negative force, curse, or punishment in our lives.  After living many years in the latter state of mind, I have chosen to move forward with the clarity that I am always being taken care of by the Universe and that everything really does happen for a reason.  In making that mental shift, in changing my thoughts about myself and my life towards the positive, I have completely transformed my life for the better.  I was tired of suffering, so I chose to start accepting what is.  It’s a constant choice I have to make though.  There are days when I trust how my life is unfolding more than others.  My trust is a work in progress.  I am a work in progress.

At this point in my life, I am so thankful to be able to look back on my life as sort of a movie playing out.  I can see the various turns that my life took and the lessons I gleaned from my greatest challenges.  I am aware of how past challenges have shaped me into a person who can handle today’s challenges.  It’s all about perspective.

As a child within my sometimes dysfunctional family, I grew to be a strong and independent woman.  With a name spelled like Jammie (pronounced like Jamie), I learned to be assertive and feisty.  With each loss of a friend or family member, I’ve learned not to take the people in my life for granted, nor my time in this life for granted. With the loss of my health, I learned to enjoy every breath that does not bring chest pain, and to enjoy the ability of my body to be on my feet for 12+ hours at work, and to still have enough energy to hike, swim, and play with my son on my days off!  Through a difficult marriage, I learned that I was only getting the love that I was willing to give to myself, which at the time was not much.  More importantly, from my marriage, I gained my son, who I believe is meant to be my biggest teacher in this life. Through a difficult divorce, I learned that I alone am the one who holds the power over me and my life, and that I am infinitely strong and capable of rebuilding my life from the ground up all by myself.  My time working as a Registered Nurse on an adult oncology unit taught me that death is a natural part of life and that it is not something to be feared.  Through a breast lump scare last year, I learned to not waste time worrying about the what-ifs and to instead just trust that life is unfolding for me in the exact way that it’s supposed to.  I have been shown time and time again that I am stronger than any obstacle I may face.  And as my sister, Amy, likes to remind me, so far, I have survived 100% of my worst days.  Soak that in.  YOU have survived 100% of your worst days!  What has happened in your life to give you a greater perspective of the big picture? What positives have come from your challenges?  How have your challenges shaped you as a person?

The perspective that my drastic change in health gave me is one where the present is all that I have for sure.  The past no longer exists, and the future is not guaranteed.  It can be difficult to really believe that the present is all we have, after all, most of us live in the past fretting over what went wrong and regrets that we have, or in the future where we dream of a time that is better than now.  The beauty is that now is it.  All we have to do is be present today, be happy today, do things that bring us joy TODAY.  Not next year, not once we retire, but NOW.  How would you live your life if all you had was today?  What would you change?  Do you have enough joy in your life?  Do you make time for the things that you love to do?  Do you make time to be with the people you love?  What are you waiting for?

Life is short.  We owe it to ourselves to stop taking so much for granted.  May we all recognize and appreciate the wonderful things we have while we have them, and not just when they are gone.

Joni Mitchell “Big Yellow Taxi” Live

The People Flow

In January, I was able to get author Scott Stabile of “Big Love” and “Just Love” to come to my town and host one of his Writing Yourself workshops. If you don’t know about Scott and haven’t read his book, I highly encourage you to start following him on social media (FB and IG) and to read “Big Love”!! I fell in love with Scott and his ginormous heart before meeting him in person, but wow, that man’s energy is so grounding and healing that it feels like he could calm the whole world. Scott’s message of forgiveness and unconditional love is extra powerful, because all that he has been through. But I’ll let you read his book to find out why.

Scott posted this over on IG, and it’s a side shoot to a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: relationships we have with other people. As I have become more aligned with my true self, I find the flow of people into and out of my life more fascinating than upsetting. My mantra with everything is: I cannot lose anything that is meant for me. This works for people, situations, jobs, and opportunities etc. Anymore, as something or someone leaves my life, I find myself excitedly wondering what is going to come in to fill the space. There is always something. It might not be a person for a person or a job for a job, but rest assured that there is indeed a divine flow to this life we’re living. As we clear things no longer serving us, or as things are cleared FOR us, new doors open. Every time. As you love yourself and remove yourself from relationships and situations no longer serving you, new, beautiful things will flow to you. New people will flow to you.

I have gone through a lot of loss of people in my life, not just from people I know dying, though that’s happened more than I’d choose, but from the ebb and flow of people out and into my life. I think what I have learned from it, the perspective I have gained, makes it all worth it at this point. After all, isn’t everything in the past worth it once you’ve attained the ability to see the world with lenses that opens you to the magic all around you?! When I was in high school, I had a boyfriend starting when I was 15, so maybe around my junior year or so. He became my best friend and his family became my family. I think that family is what I was needing most at that time. My family felt stressful to me, so I often spent time at friend’s houses. It was my way to escape the tension and turmoil. His family treated me like part of the family. We stayed together for almost 8 years even though a decent amount of that time was spent long-distance as we traveled to college and then jobs. In that time, his Mom would call me to see how my job interviews went. She’d check in on me when she knew I was sick. She was like another Mom who, at the time, was more involved in my life than my own Mom. I loved her and the rest of their family a lot. I had become interested in my now ex-husband at the end of that relationship. We had been going through the motions for a while. As that relationship came to an end, and I began hanging out with someone else, I felt like I had to cut ties with his whole family. And it hurt. Bad. It was especially painful when I realized that without his Mom calling me, I didn’t really have family calling me to see how I was doing. I felt utterly alone and it was painful. I look back and see how I had developed a pattern of dependence on other people in order to feel loved, and so it wasn’t often that I was single. I went from one long-term relationship and wound up in another. I didn’t do the work to heal, instead, I chose to continue to fill the void that I felt. I didn’t do any of it consciously, it was all subconscious. How often do we do this though? Get afraid to feel the pain of our childhood and end up filling that void by clinging to people? I am sure it happens a lot. I think that that’s a big reason why humans generally find it so difficult to let go of people. We wrongly place measure of our value on the people in our lives, which means that when they leave, we often feel a bit kicked in the stomach. We fight, we scream, we cry, and sometimes we beg them not to go, or we prevent ourselves from leaving them.

A different way to look at this is that while we do genuinely miss people when they leave our lives, I think it’s more about what we perceive that they take with them that hurts the most. Like their love. I grew up in a family affected by alcoholism. I don’t say that to hurt anyone or place blame for how I am somewhere else, but I say it because it’s an important piece of my puzzle, part of what makes me, me. Suffice it to say that it’s a pattern that ran through many generations of men in my family, on both sides. I see it as fairly inevitable that it would continue to play out until someone came along that was strong enough to feel the pain and heal it. I am that person in my family. At any rate, I remember really struggling with my emotions and what was going on around me as a kid. I coped by holding in my emotions, by stuffing them as deep as I could, so I wouldn’t have to actually feel them. My feelings of sadness and anger overwhelmed me, and as a child, I didn’t really know what else to do with them. At times, they’d come out in fits of rage when my Dad would pick fights with me after my Mom had left the house. But mostly, I internalized them to keep the peace, or in a naive attempt to create peace. Through all of this, I internalized the feelings of abandonment and neglect I felt. At some point, I decided I must not be enough, I must not be lovable. And I carried those beliefs with me for most of the last 39 years of my life. I didn’t feel lovable, so I didn’t love myself. The only love I experienced then, came from other people. Without consciously knowing it, I operated from this place. I sought to fill that void. I sought the love I really needed to be giving to myself. I did things to feel love. I found friends. I found relationships. I found other families. It took a lot of healing and reflection to realize these things about myself. I share them now, because our common connection is our human nature. Perhaps my words will help someone else not feel alone. I hope that you realize that you are not alone in your struggles. Ever. For every struggle we experience, there are likely thousands, maybe millions, maybe billions of others who have gone through something similar.

My lifestyle has lent itself to the flow of people into and out of my life. I left my hometown for college a 17 hour drive away in Florida, then transferred to a different college in South Carolina, before settling at yet a third college in North Carolina. For the record, I still managed to graduate with my undergraduate degrees in 4 years. Does that really even matter though? I then did internships in various places. When I graduated, I traveled to Alaska. In total right now, I’ve lived in 10 states, and my full resume with all of my now 3 different careers is quite possibly 12 pages long! Yes, that’s real. So as you can imagine, I have met and worked with LOTS of different people in my life! When I left for college, I left friends I grew up with behind. When I left every college, I left friends and sometimes boyfriends behind. When I left jobs, I left coworkers/friends behind. I was with my high school boyfriend for almost 8 years, I was then with my ex-husband for nearly 10 years total. When my boyfriend and I broke up, I lost family, including a baby I lovingly referred to as my pseudo niece. When I got a divorce, I lost family, including a baby nephew. I also ‘lost’ friends in the divorce though I put it in quotes, because friends lost in divorce were never really friends, so nothing was truly lost. Friends, after all, are people who are there when we need them. I lost a community of people I had worked with. I later fell in love with my best friend of 20 years and so when that ended, I lost a best friend and a lover. At the time, losing my best friend who knew me better than anyone was excruciating. After that, I lost my dog of nearly 14 years that had been through every major life transition I experienced after college. When we lose a pet, we lose someone who only ever added positive things to our lives, so that too hurt very badly. But you know what? I survived all of it. My nomadic existence gave me a unique perspective on life, and on people in my life.

I have come to find that we always meet the people we are meant to meet when we’re meant to meet them. And we always have the people around us that we need while we need them. But the flow of people is meant to be free and flowing. At least, that’s what I think. I used to be sad when friendships faded, but now I just see it as the natural flow of life. We are all meant to teach each other and help each other grow, and when we’ve outgrown the relationship, it ends. Back in the day, handwritten letters connected me with fellow field biologists who were also in faraway places removed from technology. With the invention of social media, I have managed to stay in touch with lots of people, all over the world at this point. But the relationships changed and landed where they are meant to be now. I have lots of people I could pick up with where we left off, and I hope to with many of them someday. But even if that never happens, I am so very grateful for the connections we shared when we were hanging out in person. That importance in my life is there regardless of if I ever see them again. Every interaction and connection has added to who I am as a person.

My family lives across the country from me, and there was a time here even 6 years ago that I felt utterly alone in the town where I live. I was newly out of marriage and a new nurse who had been through the ringer as far as my health was concerned, plus I was a Mom, so I wasn’t really out meeting new people. Over time, I began to make friends and connect. As I became more comfortable as a nurse and healthier, I had more energy on my days off to do fun things and meet new people. I even formed friendships with people I was able to trust with my son’s care. It took time, but I built a community of people I could count on. Then, in 2018, I got in total alignment with my soul by listening to my intuition about everything. My tribe started showing up in full force! Now, I have so many people I know I could count on if I ever needed anything. It’s like night and day, and I am so grateful and proud of the family I have created here.

In my opinion, if you are struggling with feeling alone and isolated, the best thing you can do for yourself every day, and every time you feel overwhelmed by life, is to meditate. Start using it as your coping mechanism. Set a timer and start with 2 minutes at first, move up from there to find your personal sweet spot of time. Mine is 25 minute increments. Meditating will align you with your higher self, and your alignment is one thing that will help draw your tribe to you. Your tribe meaning the people who accept you completely.

Also, start showing up in life as your 100% authentic and vulnerable self with everyone you meet. When you get a good energy from someone, open up and talk about the things that really matter to you and really interest you, regardless of how strange those things may sound to some people. It was when I started accepting and loving myself as exactly as I am, and not caring what other people thought of me that I really became free and light! That light is what attracts people to me. It must be, because I don’t wear makeup or fancy clothes. I don’t dye my graying hair. I don’t get botox for my wrinkles. I don’t hide my true self. This is a big reason why I am now living my best life! I get loved for being me! I get paid for being me! There was a time when I was younger, that I would be suspicious of people who said they liked or loved me, because I didn’t feel like they really knew me. These days, I am sure that anyone who likes or loves me is seeing the real me, because I now only have one version of me in the world. Like me, love me, or not, and I am OK with it. I don’t need your love anymore, because I found my own. I don’t need your acceptance, because I accept myself. What I wish for you is that you find your own love and acceptance too, and that you realize that you are far more valuable to this world exactly as you are, without the mask society tells you to wear. Get really comfortable with yourself and being alone, like really live it up in your solitude, and you won’t have to do anything to find your people! They will come to you! In fact, you might even have to turn people down, because you’ll start to enjoy your solitude so much! Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself.

In my experience, when you get to this place of acceptance of the natural flow of people, you won’t cling to anyone anymore, because you’ll trust that you won’t lose anything meant for you. When you have your own love and acceptance, you stop needing anyone to be any certain way or do any certain things. You can love people to love them. You don’t need their love in return. You let them come, and you let them go, and you still remain in peace about it all. You learn your worth, and want to only spend time with people who want to be around, make time to be around. It is the best feeling to love this way! It feels so free, and empowering, and TRULY loving.

Please follow me on Facebook (/peacefuljellyfish) and IG (peaceful.jellyfish) for more content and impromptu Live videos. If my words resonate with you and you’re struggling with the flow of people out of your own life, reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com for the opportunity to work with me. I’d be happy to offer a free consult to see if we’d be a good fit.

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Are You Giving Your Power Away?

“Life is much too short to continue to wait for someone else’s permission to fully live.”

Often we don’t realize we’re doing it, waiting for permission that is, but many of us are. Who are you giving your power away to?

Your parents? The ones who think that you should follow the status quo, because even after their divorce and decision to not date, they still believe that ultimate happiness for everyone lies in the house, the fence, the marriage, and the kids? When are you going to realize that you don’t have to live up to your parents’ expectations of you in order to be a fully whole and worthy human being? If your parents shoot down every idea you present to them that lights you up, stop telling them your plans. Stop asking for their opinions. Your journey is yours alone, and sometimes even your parents won’t understand you. And that’s OK.

Your kids? Maybe you’re a parent and you have Mom guilt about taking a trip alone. I know I did before I left for Western Australia in June of ‘18. Even though my son had balked at the idea of such a long flight, I still felt bad that he wasn’t going with me. But, at one point, I realized that it wasn’t right to put the burden of not following my life-long dream on my son’s shoulders. I think we wrongly do that a lot. We categorize ourselves as parents and then feel bad for anything we do outside of that role without our kids. We’re essentially feeding into the notion that our joy and self-care stops being important once our kids are born. But, if I have learned anything at all, it’s that I am a much better Mom when I have been consciously keeping my own bucket full. Our kids will be much better off if they have parents who take good care of themselves body, mind, and spirit. Our kids learn by what they see us do, not from our words, so in taking care of ourselves, we’re showing them how to take care of themselves. It’s not selfish, it’s vitally important.

Your partner? Perhaps they don’t like to do the things you want to do, and so you’ve just given up and decided that it’s easier if you just don’t do them. If you’re living that way, it’s only a matter of time before you lose yourself completely. It’s depressing to live a life in which you’re not following your joy. If your partner loves you unconditionally, then they will understand that it’s important for you to do things regularly that bring you joy. Maybe that’s not it, but you’ve been miserable for a long time and you’ve tried counseling and nothing is working. Your partner hasn’t made any effort towards making the partnership better, but then tells you they don’t want it to end. Know that you do not need their permission to leave. Know that any outsider who judges you for your feelings about your relationship has no business doing so, because they’re not in it. They can’t understand your experience, and they can’t see the dreams you hold for your life. It’s OK to let go. You don’t need anyone else’s permission but your own. I had friends offer their two cents as I was deciding on what to do about my own marriage. All it did was add to my guilt for feeling the things I felt. I stopped talking about it with other people, and ultimately made the decision that was best for me and my family. Side note: if you’re reading books titled things like “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”, it’s really time to leave. If it’s not a hell yes, then it’s a no. That goes for any decision in life.

Even when advice comes with good intentions, no one outside of us should hold power over us when it comes to living our best lives. Our journey is unique to us, and we’ve got to stop trying to get others to understand it before we feel comfortable enough in making decisions. We have one life to live. Make it count.

Want to work with me one on one? Check out the Work With Me tab and see if the combination of Intuitive Reiki Healing and Joy Coaching resonates with you. Feel free to email me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com. I love to hear from people!

Please follow me on FB (/peacefuljellyfish) and IG (peaceful.jellyfish) for more written content and impromptu FB Live Videos. I also have a Peaceful Jellyfish YouTube Channel you can check out.

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Art for Sale!

Five of my drawings are now available as high-quality prints on 5 x 7 folded blank greeting cards with envelopes. The locally owned, family operated business I had print them did a great job. These cards really capture the details of my artwork! I always infuse my original artwork with healing Reiki energy that people have said they could feel. I also infuse these cards with healing Reiki.

They’re printed with the picture on the front and my website: http://www.peacefuljellyfish.com on the back. You can message me or email me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com if you’re interested in purchasing them. They’re $5 each or 5 cards for $20.

Original 8 x 10 canvases and canvas panels (excluding the desert tortoise I drew for my son) are also available for purchase.

If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it! Follow me on FB (peacefuljellyfish) and Instagram (peaceful.jellyfish) for more content and Live Videos. Much love!

The Pain Before the Transformation

I am living proof that great pain can lead to massive transformation.

I spent much of my life as a peacekeeper and people-pleaser. I put the peace of a space and others’ well-being above my own. I became a sort of chameleon, changing in small ways to try and reduce tension in my house growing up, and later as a way to keep other people comfortable. I had an innate sense that if everyone around me was OK, that I would then be OK too. But I wasn’t OK. With each concession I made to create less waves, I moved farther and farther away from my true self. I didn’t notice it at first and couldn’t have predicted the level of depression and dis-ease that changing myself for others would cause someday.

When I found myself in a loveless marriage where I was lonelier than I have ever felt in times where I have actually been alone, I ignored what my heart was telling me. I had been so adamant about creating a family for my son, to be a happy, intact family that I hadn’t experienced, that to follow my heart meant to leave that dream behind for all of us. So, I ignored that knowing sense that I felt. I buried myself in raising my son. But it could not last forever. Eventually, my heart grew weak and nearly stopped working and I found myself at rock bottom. In one fell swoop, my health was taken from me, and I nearly died of heart failure. An emergent heart surgery later and I slowly began to find my way back to myself.

The recovery felt fast at first, until it became apparent that my heart condition was going to be a recurring theme in my life. Doctors had trouble figuring it out, and so they did what they could to ward it off with a steroid bandaid in the form of prednisone pills.

There are lots of parts to this story, but the take away is much more important at this point, for me and for you.

1. Stop putting yourself second to the wishes of others. Humans are fickle beings, and won’t stay happy for long before you’re feeling the need to do more to feed their happiness. You don’t have the ability to make anyone else happy if they themselves haven’t found a way to cultivate happiness in their own life. We can add to another’s happiness, but we are not responsible for creating it.

2. Stop changing yourself to fit in with the people around you. In the end, you’ll feel like a shell of yourself, plus you’ll soon realize that they’re not your people anyway. Who wants to hang out with people who don’t love you for being 100% yourself? The chameleon game is an exhausting one. You’ll find yourself eventually losing yourself and wondering how it happened. It happens in small, incremental changes you make in yourself to make others comfortable. You likely won’t realize it’s happening until you’ve forgotten even the basics of what you like to do for fun, and who you are at your core.

3. Stop doing things that stress you out, like really stress you out. If you’re in a relationship that adds more stress to your life than happiness, don’t feel bad about putting yourself first and leaving. You don’t have anything to prove to anyone by staying. Life is much too short to spend it with people who don’t light you up. Same goes with anything else in life.

4. Stop doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. It’s not only the definition of insanity, but it won’t get you into a different life that you’ve been imagining for yourself. If you want something different than what you currently have, you’ve got to be willing to move out of your comfort zone and do new things.

5. Start putting yourself first. Do things that make you happy, that bring you joy. What have you been putting off that you really want to do? What steps can you take towards doing it now? Start saying no to things you don’t want to do.

We can use our experiences to guide us in life or we can use them to feel like victims. The choice is ours. If you’re stressed, or sick, or not living your best life, it’s time to look at the areas of your life that are no longer working for you. The days of being a people-pleaser, peacekeeper, and martyr are over. The time has come for us all to realize our limitless potential to create a life of our dreams. Life is much too short to continue to wait for someone else’s permission to fully live! Give yourself the permission you need to go after your dreams like this is the only shot you’ve got!

I am passionate about using a mix of intuitive Reiki Healing and Joy Coaching to encourage others to follow their joy and passion towards living a life in alignment with their soul’s purpose (ie. living their best lives). Guiding others in this way and offering the confirmation that they need to follow their dreams lights me up like nothing else! Please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram for more written content and impromptu FB Live videos. If my words resonate with you, please feel free to reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com to tell me about it! I love connecting with people!! Maybe you have a topic you’d love me to write about?

Photo excerpt from “Life Visioning” by Michael Bernard Beckwith

Thank you for reading along! If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it with others. Much love!

Dance Like No One is Watching!

Edward Hernandez

I have always LOVED to dance! It’s one of my absolute favorite things to do ever! I started off dancing more in my life in the Fall of 2017 when I decided to stop waiting for people who would be open to going and seeing live music with me. So, I just decided to start going solo. That began with short trips to Santa Cruz when I saw that a funk band would be playing. One of my best days over there was in early 2018 when I combined my first time surfing with a night out dancing (you can read about it HERE). When I was in my 20’s, I was never afraid to be the first one on the dance floor if I liked the music. Then along the way, because of the people I began to hang out with, I was made aware of the fact that there are people who will sit on the sidelines and make fun of the people dancing. It surprised me. So I became more shy about dancing. I could literally hear what was being said about the people dancing, and if I did dance, I worried that people were talking badly about me. In college, I went to an amazing school where I didn’t feel like I had to be any certain way. All bands that came to campus, all music being played were opportunities for ecstatic dance for me, because I danced however I felt the urge and truly danced like no one was watching. In that case, people weren’t watching, because they were also dancing however they wanted and were too busy having fun to focus on me. It was FANTASTIC! I think that’s where I learned to dance and be free in my skin. I am so grateful for that experience even more now that I realize that not everyone has experienced a truly safe space to freely express themselves.

I have been so blessed in the last few months to get to go dancing a lot, solo, with friends, and on a few dates even! It has given me so much joy! I’ve decided that I am going to make even more dancing a priority in 2019! I had started ecstatic dance in my town last Fall, and it was so much fun! People enjoyed having a place to go to dance however they felt moved to, away from people constantly invading their space, and free from spectators with cameras and snide remarks. When that project dissolved for reasons not in my control, I sought other ways to add more dancing to my life. I visited a yoga studio holding ecstatic dance and I began to seek out more live music again. I’m not too proud to say that I also dance a lot around my house, alone. But there is definitely a unique energy that comes from a crowd of people dancing to a band, or even a DJ that doesn’t compare to doing it alone at home. I get so energized by crowds of people coming together for the sole purpose of having fun and dancing. I have been a part of full dance floors of people, and I have been to shows where no one was dancing. In 2018 to present, in the times when the dance floor has been empty, I have thought back to the person I used to be who didn’t care what people thought of her when she was the first one on the dance floor, and in those moments, I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone and DANCED! You know what always happens when I do that? Other people eventually join me and start dancing too! It has been an especially fun challenge to force myself to be the first one dancing since I decided to stop drinking alcohol entirely last summer. Having a few drinks to build up ‘liquid courage’ and getting on the dance floor first is one thing, but doing it after only chugging water is quite another. Try it! I find that I sweat so much while dancing that even if I drink water all night, I still wake up feeling dehydrated!

One thing I’ve realized is that until recently, I hadn’t dated someone who liked to dance as much as me. Granted, my relationships have generally looked like this: start dating, stay together for years, and then break up or get divorced. I haven’t really done the “dating lots of people to figure out what I like” thing. I find someone I like, and I go with it. But wow, what a game changer it was to go out with someone who also loves to dance like no one is watching!! We ended up dancing for most of 5 or 6 hours of our first date, and I can guarantee you that no one around us would have ever guessed that we had only just met! I had a ridiculous amount of fun that I want to have more of in my life! Similar to the energy of dancing as part of a crowd, there’s an amazing energy created when two people dance their faces off and act goofy and carefree together for that many hours! I am so grateful for that connection and that time!

Last night, I went out solo to see my friend, Edward Hernandez, play ukulele with a friend of his. You can check him out HERE. The dance floor was completely clear without so much as a person standing on it for the entire show. I stood on the sidelines bobbing my head and tapping my hands and feet for most of it. A lot of the songs were on the slower side. Then, he got to his last song, and said that it was a dance song and invited people to come dance. No one moved a muscle. I thought about it, then I figured why the hell not?! So I pushed past my comfort zone (yes, even now after all of these times, I STILL have that nervousness that I have to ignore), and made my way to the dance floor. You know what happened? I had a lot of fun, and eventually some other people joined me. A DJ played after my friend, and I stayed to dance. I find that every time I get on the dance floor and do my thing in all of my joyful glory, other people want to join in. So even if you intend to dance alone, know that it won’t be long before someone or a whole group of people tries to join you.

If you find yourself staying inside your comfort zone, but not experiencing as much joy as you want to be, then I encourage you to ditch the comfort zone that is holding you prisoner in the camp of ‘I am worried about what other people will think of me’! When are you going to start living life on your terms?! When are you going to understand that this life is a fleeting gift meant to be LIVED?! How can I get you to believe that your purpose is the thing that brings you the most joy in life? Your purpose is not elusive, it’s your ability to prioritize your joy that prevents you from finding your purpose. Do the things that light you up more often, because they will connect you with your soul, and then you will be guided to new people, situations, and opportunities that will enrich your life in ways you’ve never dreamed. What will you be leaving your comfort zone for in 2019? What experiences are you hoping to attract into your life this year that are worth taking some leaps?

If you’d like some extra encouragement and support as you work to find or add more joy to your life, reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmailcom for more information about a combination of Intuitive Reiki Healing and Joy Coaching! I am very passionate about helping others find more joy, peace, and happiness in their lives! It’s a big part of my soul’s purpose.

Please follow me on FB (/peacefuljellyfish) and IG (peaceful.jellyfish) for more insightful content and impromptu FB Live videos. I also have a YouTube Channel for you to check out!

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Listen to my friend, Edward Hernandez, covering “Dream On” by Aerosmith HERE

Go Within

“In onself lies the whole world and if you don’t know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand, nobody on Earth can give you either the key or the door to open except yourself.” – Juddu Krishnamurti

After being pulled to go to the coast and lie on my back in the sand, listening to the music of the ocean for a few months now, I finally got to go this weekend. It was spectacular and just what I needed. Water is my greatest healer. I crave being around flowing water all the time. My dream place in somewhere in between a cottage next to a wild, roaring river, or next to the breaking waves of the expansive ocean. In all actuality, I have realized that we actually have the ability to cultivate the feelings that being in our favorite places creates within us whenever we want. Home and life are entirely what we make them.

I’ve seen a beautiful pattern unfold in my life this year. As I began to connect more deeply with myself, I began to see my tribe start to form around me. In a place where I used to feel out of place, I now feel at home. In a place where I felt like I’d never find my people, I find more of my tribe every day. While many people have moved back to this area as of late, overall, it is not the people or place that have changed. I am the one who has changed. Instead of believing that I would never find people to connect with deeply here, I began to put myself out there more, out of my comfort zone, and into public places more often. Instead of looking around and seeing only the heat waves and poor air quality, I began to seek rivers and lakes to cool me. I began to be grateful that I am a day trip’s drive away from the ocean AND the mountains! How many people have never gotten to see a fraction of the scenery that is readily available to me at any time? I basically started to see and be grateful for what was here vs what I had decided wasn’t here. Life got really beautiful when I shifted my way of viewing this place. It is our perception that shapes our view of the world, so when we adjust how we choose to see things, we change what we see.

The peace and happiness we say we seek is within our grasp, because these are things that are cultivated from within, never from without. It comes when we find deeper ways to connect with ourselves and those around us. Authenticity and vulnerability are keys to unlocking these deeper kinds of connections. Throw out the small talk, delete the filters, and shed the insecurities (or at least don’t allow them to hold you back). We are all human and we are all working to overcome the things we have been through. We are looking for ways to lessen the pain and increase the joy in our lives. Sometimes we are viscerally aware of what we’re seeking, and sometimes we get so caught up on what is being sold to us that we lose sight of the things that matter most. In order to get to the peace and happiness, we have to get real with ourselves. We have to be true to ourselves at all times. If there is something we’re feeling called to do, we need to do it. For me, that meant taking a life-long dream trip to Australia this year (I still need to put that experience into words). Some days it means saying no to spending time with someone when I’m just not feeling it. Sometimes it means going to the river and lying on a boulder while I meditate, journal, and/or read a book. Sometimes it means following my joy and going on dates with someone who loves to dance as much as I do and dancing our faces off. Sometimes it means going to the coast, lying on my back in the sand while I listen to the waves crash, and wading in the cold Pacific Ocean while I lovingly take in my surroundings and express my gratitude out loud for everything I have to be grateful for. Sometimes it means crying and allowing myself to feel whatever emotions are showing up for me, which is still a constant practice for me since I had nearly a lifetime of stuffing my feelings down as far as they would go. Sometimes it means staying home and hanging out with my cat, or taking a nap. Sometimes it means speaking my truth even if the people around me don’t really know what I am talking about, because it makes me feel more real and heck, anymore, I find more people to add to my tribe this way. After all, how can we find our tribe if we hold back and don’t speak our minds (our real, true minds)? I have seen deep connections come from speaking my truth, and I have also seen someone get curious about what I have to say, even if I’m saying things that are completely new to them. Gone are the days of me trying to conform to fit in. Gone are the days of trying to please other people or make them more comfortable at my expense. If there is anything I have learned from the challenges that I have faced so far in this life, it’s that it’s time for this life, this story, this movie, to star me as the main character! Life is short. It’s time to become the main character in your own story. Who do you want to be? What do you want to do? How much longer are you going to let others dictate your life? Begin to see your life as a work of art. What kind of art do you want to create in 2019?

We get bored in life when we hide behind our masks of conformity, keep our truths hidden, our dreams abandoned, and our joy unfollowed, or worse, uncovered. It’s time to cut through the bs (belief systems) that we’ve been fed. It doesn’t have to mean that you change absolutely everything you’re doing, but it does mean releasing what you’ve always done if what you want to experience is something different from what you’ve always known. If you’re wanting more happiness or if you’re tired of living the status quo, make a list of things that bring you joy, and start doing them! Seriously, contrary to popular belief, creating more happiness and peace in our lives can be EASY. A lot of the time, it involves changing things up and getting out of our comfort zones. As I have stated many times before, the juicy parts of life live outside of our comfort zones. What is one thing you can do today that will empower you in your new role as the starring character in your own story? No step taken towards living a life true to yourself is too small. Everything you think matters. Everything you do matters.

Thank you for reading along! If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it. Happy Holidays to all of my readers! Much love to you.

I Can See Your Soul

Do you see souls too? I have a way of falling in love with people’s souls and their potential in this life. Sometimes this means that I ignore their human-ness that isn’t always lined up with their soul. Personally, while I’ve begun to pay more attention to the full package of a person, I’ve decided that I love seeing the radiance of a person’s soul. I would not trade this ability for anything in the world. I have grown so much and can handle it when a person lets me down, so I love them anyway. Because loving people never hurts us. It only hurts when we aren’t giving ourselves love first. Or lose ourselves in the relationship and our expectations of it. It doesn’t hurt to love. We can love to love without needing anything beyond it.

The chance that exactly you would be born is about 1 in 400 trillion or more (thank you google😂)!! If you weren’t meant to be here exactly now as exactly you, you wouldn’t have made the cut in the first place. You are here because you have something to offer this world that NO ONE else can offer! We need YOU and we need you to show up as 100% your authentic and vulnerable self so that we can reap the full benefit of your existence on this planet. YOU CANNOT BE REPLACED. So, if you’re reading this and you’re struggling and you don’t know if you can face another day alone, then please reach out to one of the 7 billion of us who love you and let us be there for you as you navigate this difficult time. There’s a reason why so many of us exist, we are meant to help each other along on our journeys. Many of us have known dark times, I know I have, so we understand how bleak life can look at times. Keep going, and allow us to carry you when you need us to. You are never a burden to your tribe. We need you to be here. We need you to stay here. We see your beautiful soul and it is absolutely RADIANT! We love you!

Thank you for reading along! If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it. Much love!❤️