Let’s Erase the Stigma of Mental Health

Seriously. No one should feel bad or ashamed, because they go to a therapist. We need to erase the stigma surrounding mental health in this country.

When I was battling severe depression, it was doubly exhausting to feel the weight of the world on my shoulders as I felt the need to hide my issues from others. Anyone with depression knows, it zaps your energy enough to then put so much into keeping it all a secret. But at the time, it felt necessary for me. I felt ashamed and less than because I was struggling with a sadness so severe that I could barely function. It made me have an anxiety attack once just to go and talk casually with a potential new employer about work I really wanted to do for them, because the thought of having to be ‘on’ and ‘sell myself’ was THAT overwhelming. It was also no fun to be on the verge of tears literally all the time, yet still have to go to work and hold them back. I avoided talking to people. I avoided phone calls. I avoided as much life as I possibly could. I always worried that my secret would be found out, which at the time terrified me. I felt like I was broken.

Just taking the steps to find my first therapist was daunting. But that step ended up being crucial to turning things around. I went to someone who had me try loads of natural supplements and even a SAD light as I was living in a rainy, gray Oregon winter at the time. When none of those worked, we moved onto medications. First Prozac which helped me immensely at the time. Then there became a need for less side effects, so I saw a psychiatrist to have my meds adjusted. Moved onto Wellbutrin. Then eventually landed on Lexapro. The names of medications don’t really matter, because they’re what I needed at the time. I write this for anyone else who has struggled with depression and has taken multiple medications before finding the ‘right’ one. There was a time when I thought I’d be taking Lexapro indefinitely, because of how my doctors believed my Lyme Disease was affecting me.

You are not alone. Many of us deal with mental illness and most don’t talk about it. I’ve been able to move past my years of depression, with appreciation that I’ve experienced such lows in my life. Those things we’re most ashamed of tend to connect us the most deeply with our fellow humans. This human life can be really difficult. We aren’t taught positive ways to cope, so we end up getting completely overwhelmed when challenges inevitably arise. If you’re like me, then you may relate to the fact that I used to internalize everything happening around me as something that was my fault. As a child growing up in a tense household, I took all of the negative energy on as my own and it was the start of my depression. I felt confused, alone, and unlovable.

It is my hope that in sharing, I can help remove the stigma for just one person currently being challenged by mental illness. You are not alone. Do not be ashamed of needing to see a therapist. It’s brave of you to take that step and you should be proud of yourself for recognizing when you need help and asking for it. I know none of it is easy for you.

Know that many therapists will offer a sliding scale if you lack insurance that covers it. Don’t let money stop you. There are ways. If you’re a student, check in with your school. One of the best counselors I ever went to was at the community college I attended for nursing school. She was in training, but she was the best for offering practical and positive ways to cope with my stressors at the time, which was my health crisis.

Know too that you might not find the ‘right’ therapist for you on the first try. I have been to several and they are not all the same. I’ve had some that were a good fit and some that were a terrible fit. I was once so overwhelmed with life that I asked my therapist directly for positive coping mechanisms to get me through the stress I was feeling. She didn’t offer me any that day, and I never went back to her again. You know yourself better than anyone. If you’re not having a good experience with your therapist, trust yourself and find a new one. Of course be mindful that you’re not just sabotaging it, because you never wanted to go in the first place. But your therapist should help you feel better overall, and you should feel safe and heard.

Pay attention to your intuition or repeating messages. Is a particular office calling to you? Do people around you keep mentioning the name of the SAME therapist to you? Do you keep seeing an advertisement for a particular therapist over and over? Follow those leads, because your higher self is guiding you. Trust it.

Thank you for reading! If you like this post, please like and share it. Follow me on IG and Facebook for more positive content and perspective on life. Much love!

I Hope You Live Louder!

This is what I want for all of us: that we live louder and shine brighter! If you don’t know it yet, living a life 100% true to yourself, and in touch with your higher self, your soul, is part of what is going to shift the energy humans are bringing to the planet. Being our authentic selves is a big key to healing ourselves and in turn, humankind and the planet. Learning to love ourselves and others unconditionally because we look at everyone with compassion for their human experience.

It sounds counterintuitive when we’ve grown up feeling the need to blend in, the need to be like everyone else so that we don’t get made fun of and rejected by our peers. We’ve been programmed to buy certain things so we can be a certain way. I get it. I’ve grown up with the same programs. I’ve been systematically working to break them down. Changing our thoughts is paramount to changing our lives and in turn, the world around us. How many of us live without peace of mind, yet wish we had peace on the planet? How many want to see others happy, but we are not doing the things that create joy in our lives? It all starts with us on the individual level.

Our lives shape us in a way that is completely unique to us, and it’s by design. Everything is by design to get us to wake up, to realize our limitless potential as powerful creators in this life. I would not be who I am today without EVERY SINGLE THING I’ve experienced.

For instance, I am a good writer, because I used to write letters to my friends and family all the time! I wrote when I went away to college and when I was working in remote camps studying wildlife.

I have such a grateful view of the world because I got so sick that I almost died.

I love my body so much, because even with everything that it has been through, it allows me to do the things I love like hike, swim, and dance. There was a time when I didn’t think I’d be able to do any of those things again.

I was able to create playlists for ecstatic dance with such a huge variety of musicians, because music is what I turned to in my darkest moments. It’s also because I got recommendations along my path as I moved around as a wildlife/fisheries field biologist for the better part of 10 years. Music has been my fuel.

I was such a compassionate nurse in the hospital, because I’ve been the patient for so many years. I know the things I needed to hear when I was scared and in the hospital, so I was able to speak those things to others.

I laugh loudly without a care for who might hear me, because I have spent many days alone sobbing hard and wishing my life would end.

I appreciate wild places extra, because I grew up watching in horror as local mountains were excavated to make way for mines and highways, and smokestacks from steel mills appeared to create the clouds.

These days, I am quick to speak the feelings I have for people, because I have lost many dear friends at young ages. I know that more time is never guaranteed to any of us.

The list goes on and on. Our lives shape us. There are things that make us uniquely who we are, and those are the things that we’re meant to strengthen and share with the world! None of us were created to live small, quiet lives! The world needs you to feel as comfortable as you can being your true authentic, and vulnerable self, so that you can do the work and help shift our reality in a way that only YOU can! Show up and get to shining! It’s time to spread your wings and fly! And it’s time for all of us to make room for each other by holding space of unconditional love and acceptance in our hearts. Nothing good comes from not accepting other people for being different than us, just as nothing good comes from us hiding our true selves from the world!

I can tell you from experience that the more you cultivate the love you have for yourself, the more you won’t care what other people think about you. The less you care about what other people think of you, the more fulfilling your life will become. The more fulfilling your life becomes, the brighter your light will shine. When your light is shining bright, you provide light in all of this darkness to light your way to living your soul’s purpose, and to be a light for other people to find theirs.

The magic in my life happens when I’m acting as a lighthouse for others. I inspire you by following my joy and living a louder life. You in turn start following your joy and living a louder life. You inspire someone else. We create a ripple effect this way.

What kind of ripple are you currently creating with your life? Is it negative or positive? Are you complaining and gossiping all of the time, or are you living with gratitude and lifting others up with sincere compliments and unconditional love and acceptance?

The change we want to see in the world really does have to start with us. I want to live in a world where we care for each other like family, where we love and accept people for who they are, where everyone lives with equality and experiences the same opportunities, where we lift each other up and encourage each other to shine brighter every day! You’ve got this one life to live. Are you making it count?!

Thank you @tduckster for posting this today!

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

Find me on Facebook and Instagram for more inspiration! Reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com if my words resonate with you, and you could use some intuitive guidance and healing energy to further align you with your soul’s path. It’s my passion to help others live their best lives! Much love to you!

Listen to Matisyahu’s “Thunder” HERE

Spiral of Healing

When this gorgeous orange cat showed up meowing at my front door at the end of October last year, I knew he had been sent to me on purpose. I had literally cleared my heart and spoke my intention into the Universe that our next dog would arrive at our door a day or so before. My son was dying for a dog here. I decided I was ready if the Universe thought it was good for us.

Fast forward to a pet communicator telling me that this cat was an answer to my prayer and a powerful healer here to help me not worry because things were all working out. Here to remind me to keep me collecting as much joy as possible.

I didn’t understand then. I didn’t feel like I needed a powerful healer. And then the last month or so of my life happened. This cat came to be with me NOW.

Nothing major has happened. I’m like many others on this planet right now who have been cycling through some tough stuff welling up from my past. You know…the bit of a roller coaster clearing cycles we’ve been feeling in recent months. All just being brought to the surface so we can finally heal and move forward completely with the new energy we’re able to tap into now.

Abandonment wound. I have one. From my research, most of us might. Can happen in childhood when we feel abandoned by our parents emotionally. Can happen when a parent leaves and doesn’t have anything to do with us. Can happen when a significant person to us dies. Can happen when a lover leaves or a divorce happens.

What I’m realizing is that it’s my big thing, meaning the big thing that’s healing in me every time one of these waves comes over all of us. It’s what I was healing in my last relationship.

I thought I was done with it. It got triggered recently, but almost as soon as I did, I realized that I wasn’t feeling the emotions of that moment, but instead of moments past. You’re probably feeling some things from moments past too, because I’m hearing that a lot from other people. It’s not just our moments past that we’re healing now, it’s our parent’s moments and their parents etc etc. It’s important work. Tiring work. So naps might be needed or earlier bedtimes. Crying might happen. Extra self care and love is needed.

What I’m being shown is that it’s really all about learning to feel what we feel when we feel it and allowing those feelings to flow how they need to. I know I put off a lot of feeling from when I was a kid experiencing things I didn’t really understand. I made up stories in my mind about what was going on and why. And I’m realizing that that’s OK that I did that, but now, I’m stronger and able to deal with those issues. They’re coming up to feel now. Sometimes it’s obvious as to where my feelings are coming from. Luckily, our triggers make things known, so we can feel and heal those old wounds. Amazing to be grateful for triggers. Never thought I’d write that sentence. If we feel these things, we’ll release them and they won’t have a stronghold on us anymore. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that to release what is coming up to be healed right now.

If you’re like me, your mind might get satisfaction in looking up traits associated with abandonment. Did you know that serial monogamist relationships in succession without break can be a form of self-medication? Guilty. We’re all human. Me, you, that person who drives you crazy. We’re all doing the best we can with where we are and we’re healing as we go. We all have lessons to learn and we all have things that need healed, or we wouldn’t be here. You are not alone. I know that for me, reading some of the things that go with abandonment wounds added clarity to my life and also reminded me of how far I’ve come.

Stop right now. Take a deep breath in. Think of the last year and all you’ve come through. Take a moment to feel good about how far you’ve come. Sending you so much love as we continue forward on this spiral of growth and expansion. We have not begun to move backwards. We’re simply digging deeper, so that more suppressed pain can be released to make way for even more light. Hang on. This all holds purpose for all of us.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it. Sending you so much love!

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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.

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

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!❤️

Always Giving, Never Receiving

Have you ever read something and had it just strike you as so much truth that you felt a little slapped in the face by it? That’s exactly what happened to me when I read this quote from Phil Good on my IG feed recently. I have seen this play out in my own life.  In the past, when I was not giving myself what I needed, I got mad at the people in my life who weren’t giving me those things.  When I lacked self-love, I was angry when others did not show me love in the way I felt I needed it. I lashed out and fell into victim mode. And being a victim in life is no way to live. It’s sucks the joy out of our days and it keeps us feeling separate from everyone around us. When we act like victims of circumstance rather than active creators of our realities, we give away all of our power to things, people, and situations outside of ourselves. After all, it was ME I needed the love from, not anyone else. When I felt like I needed love from others, my love was more conditional. It was subconsciously dependent on what the other person was adding to my life. If they weren’t giving me what I felt I needed from them, I got upset, felt unloved, unloveable, and allowed it to create a rift between us. This pattern showed up for parents, partners, and friends alike. When I felt like I needed love from others, I was a people-pleaser who never wanted to create waves. I tiptoed around trying to make everyone else happy, because I had the unconscious belief that in order for me to be OK, I needed everyone else around to be OK first. Can you relate?

I lacked love for myself, so for the sake and comfort of my ego, I felt like I needed it from others in order to fill the inner void, and feel whole and worthy. This meant that for most of my life, I went from long-term relationship to long-term relationship without breaks in between. In order to feel like ‘enough’, I couldn’t possibly leave any breathing room in which no one would be telling me or showing me that I was lovable. I didn’t believe I was lovable, so time on my own would have been too painful and empty to bear. At times, this caused me to start a new relationship before fully ending the old one. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it acted to soften the blow in the moment. In reality, never being single was just a way of placing a temporary bandaid over a much larger, underlying wound.

When I used to give to everyone but myself, my love cup was always half empty and I watched as one-sided relationships showed up in my existence time after time.  It upset me, and I’d end the relationship first. Of course, I wasn’t always aware of this dynamic in a conscious way. It took being intimate with a best friend I had had for many years to make this clear to me. How could it be that yet again, I wasn’t feeling love reciprocated? How could it be that it now felt one-sided like all the others before it? If this was happening with the one person who knew me better than anyone, and from whom I had felt loved unconditionally just as I was, then maybe it was an issue with me, not him. I now see that the one-sided relationships came from only giving love to others, but not to myself. You may not know me well, and you may not know this person I was with or the special bond that we shared, but try to believe me when I say that if THAT relationship wasn’t ultimately filling the void I felt inside, I knew that nothing or no one else could (and you and I are the same, so this is your truth too). In fact, that was the Universe’s way of teaching me the lesson that I am the only one who needs to love me, and I am the only one able to fill my own inner void. The lesson was there before in my past relationships, but I was stubborn in my ego and had always thought it was a problem with the other person, not me. Don’t our egos just love to blame our problems on other people? I was blind to it until I was with my best friend of 15+ years, and had the pattern thrust into my face. Because if I was able to get to a point of feeling unloved, neglected, and abandoned in THAT relationship, then I had to face up to it being a problem with me and how I was showing up in my relationships with other people, and ultimately in my relationship with myself. After all, the only constant in all of my relationships was me.

What I now realize is that in those times, what I was giving to others was not love at all, but instead an expectation for love in return. I’ve come to believe that when we offer conditional love, it is not actually love at all. Only unconditional love, without expectations or requirements that the other person do anything specific or measure up to any standard we have set, is true love. True love is loving a person for exactly who they are, immense human and soul beauty, baggage and all, without needing them to love us back. We see them and accept them as they are and decide from that place to love them. We do not need them to tell us that they love us back. (And we’re not hurt when they don’t). We do not need them to buy us things. We do not need them to show up in our lives in any specific way. We offer them love for the sake of love. We offer them space in our lives simply because we enjoy their presence.

As I have learned to fill my own bucket with self-love, and the things that light me up, I expect/need very little from others.  That’s not to say that I don’t deserve love from other people, but I now recognize that the issue of not feeling loved is always with me and not the other person. When we fully accept ourselves just as we are, we can start to love ourselves, baggage and all. As we do this, our love bucket spills over and we are able to share the excess with other people and the world. It is only from this place of excess love that we can offer true love to others. This is why it’s so important to throw out the word ‘selfish’ and to realize that self-care is NOT selfish, but rather it is necessary if we want to be the love for ourselves and others that we came here to be. Always do the things that please you and light you up FIRST, because we’re working out of order, and can not be there for anyone else if we’re applying everyone else’s oxygen masks before our own.

We’ve got a society of people who have been led to believe that it is the things and people outside of ourselves that will fill our internal void and need for love. It’s by design and keeps us living small as good consumers. This society thrives on blind followers and consumerism. You will only find true love and true happiness when you realize that it is an inner job that can only be completed by you. No person, place, or thing will ever fill that inner void. So, start deciding to do what you love, to put yourself first, and to love and accept yourself fully as you are today, perfectly imperfect. You and I are beautifully human and innately enough. But me telling you so will do nothing until you believe it for yourself.

It took a lot of inner work and therapy to uncover these truths. I didn’t magically wake up one day realizing the things that were holding me back and then changing them. It has taken a very conscious effort on my part to heal and clear the blocks that have held me back in life, and some that continue to hold me back. The rewards for clearing these blocks are more authenticity and vulnerability in our lives, which I find directly correlates to more inner peace and happiness. In this busy world, do not forget to follow your joy. Your joy will always lead you back to your true self and place you in alignment with your higher self. It is from that alignment that you can experience the limitless nature of this life. Do not allow the inner work to be one more thing to be afraid of in this world, but instead allow it to be the key to your ultimate freedom.

It is my passion and purpose in this life to help others on their own healing journeys. I enjoy using a combination of my strong intuition, Reiki healing, and Joy Coaching as part of my process. If this speaks to you, do not hesitate to reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com. I always love hearing from my readers!

Thank you so much for reading along. If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it. Please feel free to leave a comment below if my words resonate with you. Much love!

Let’s Help Each Other Out of Our Boxes

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When people do not feel accepted for who they truly are, suicide rates go up. We’re seeing that across the board, though especially within the LGBT+ community. You can read some statistics about suicide within the LGBT+ community HERE on the Trevor Project website.  Placing further limitations on the rights of those who identify as transgender could mean many more lost lives. I really hope that that bothers you as much as it bothers me.  I do not believe that anyone’s comfort is worth more than someone else’s life.

It’s time that we show ourselves unconditional love so that we can spread unconditional love and acceptance to others. I think the health of our society can be judged by the happiness and peace of the people in it. We’re really out of touch if we think that we have a healthy society when so many people continue to kill themselves and others.  We have a lot of room for improvement in creating a culture that places more priority on authenticity and vulnerability and less on trying to conform us and fit us into generic, one-size-fits-all boxes. Humans aren’t meant to fit into boxes of any kind.

I had a conversation with a friend of mine several months ago and it was really eye-opening for me. We were talking about sexual orientation and the fact that they had been in relationships with men and women. They spoke of the fact that sexuality isn’t a black and white issue and that people can feel attraction to both sexes, but then feel forced into identifying a certain way. We spoke about the fact that humans like clearly defined labels, and that sexual orientation had, for the most part, been reduced to people being forced into the neatly defined boxes of either straight or gay. How accepted is bisexuality as a whole?  The day my friend and I were talking, I just sort of took it all in and ruminated on the way that we tend to try and define each other based on things like race, religion, and sexual orientation. They’re all just boxes of conformity and should not be used to define whole groups of people.

It got me thinking. My belief, shared with many on a spiritual path, is that our bodies house our souls which carry both a divine masculine and divine feminine energy. Both sides are important for each of us as we use them to be the people we came into this life to be, so that we can do what we came here to do. I think ultimately, it’s about striking a balance within ourselves between our masculine and feminine halves, accepting what each brings to the table, and accepting whatever combination shows up as us. Some of us feel more feminine and some of us feel more masculine, and that’s OK and normal regardless of sex. As you all know, it’s hard enough to learn to accept ourselves in this life, without the extra influence of having outside voices and outlets shout at us about who we ‘should’ be, how we ‘should’ act, and what our sexual orientation ‘should’ be. But in our own pain and lack of self-love and self-acceptance, we tend to harshly judge others in an attempt to make ourselves feel better. We keep the focus off of our own issues by pointing loudly at other people. This simply leads to even more separation and hate, which is the opposite of what we need if we truly want to live in a more peaceful world. Separation and hate makes guns feel like an answer to the pain. But neither homicide nor suicide are the answers. Love and inclusiveness ARE the answers.

I think sometimes it’s not even about hate necessarily, but about protection from perceived threats. For instance, people will generally prefer to stay comfortable in their own lives, especially if their lives aren’t being personally affected by the injustices, than to speak out and out themselves against the voice of the majority. But I believe that the most change will come when those of us who live lives of privilege educate ourselves on the issues at hand and do our part to speak out and stand with those who need our support. When we have people with political power refusing to sign marriage licenses of gay couples, it is not only the gay couples who should have a problem with it and work towards changing it, but all of us. When we have a government separating children from their parents in the name of ‘border safety’, we should all have a problem.

A quote from the late Elie Wiesel, human rights activist, author, and Holocaust survivor, speaks to this beautifully:

We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

At a recent event with Glennon Doyle, a young boy got up to speak about the issue of kids at school talking about how gay and transgender people were not loved by god and would go to hell. Glennon told the boy essentially that when you stand with the kids who are hurting, you can never go wrong. She said if you ever hear words of fear and shame being used to hurt people, that’s not god. Glennon said god is only ever love. She spoke to the fact that god doesn’t make mistakes in creating people. In my opinion, we should all be standing with the people who are hurting. I am sure that many of us have experienced people not being nice to us, and haven’t we always appreciated the support of others during those times?

I think that the boxes we attempt to place ourselves and others in are the ultimate betrayals to humanity. Once we pretend that we know someone or an entire group of people, we stop being present to their truth and the unfolding of their being. We expect certain things from them. We get uncomfortable when they change or don’t fit into the category in which we’ve previously placed them. We close ourselves off from allowing their fluidity, growth, and expansion.  We relate to them with an us-them mentality that is neither loving , nor inclusive.  I believe that this us-them division mentality was taught to us and continues to be fed to us on purpose.  I believe that when we are made to see others as different from ourselves, then we’re less likely to fight our government when they want to drop bombs in ‘other’ places on ‘other’ people.  It causes a divide in our nation that makes us fight and kill each other rather than fight against the people and policies that continue to hold our brothers and sisters down.  If we understood that humanity is one family, living beings are one family, we would be outraged when ANY members of our living family were killed, tortured, ridiculed, beaten, broken, and treated like second-class citizens. We lose power when we’re divided. Our power multiplies infinitely when our intentions are for more love, equality, compassion, humane treatment, inclusiveness, and acceptance for all, not just the select few we deem as worthy of what should be basic human rights. It is essential that we always consider how we would want our own children treated when we take action or vote on laws, choose to speak up or stay quiet. Whatever treatment you want for your own children if they were in a given situation is exactly what should guide your actions and decisions in life. All children are someone’s children and all adults are just an older version of those same children.

When I started on this path towards complete transformation several years ago, I was in a relationship and had the person say to me, “but I like you the way you are and I don’t want you to change.” It was one of the biggest signs that the relationship was no longer healthy for me or serving my highest good. Change is the only constant in this life, so when we pressure others into fitting into a box or staying the same, we ultimately tell them that we do not accept and love them unconditionally. Expecting or wanting someone to stay the same may sound like a compliment, but it is a way of telling them that our comfort in familiarity is more important that our love for them. If we love people unconditionally, then we do not ask them to change OR stay the same. We love them when they are straight or when they are gay or when the lines of those categories is blurred.  We love them when they have a different religious or spiritual backgrounds than us.  We love them when their skin color differs from ours.  We love them because they are our human family and we are all in the same boat of navigating through this messy, human experience.

We have to remember that god/the universe/the divine/source never makes mistakes when it creates something or someone. For instance, you can be sure that if someone is gay, that they are meant to be exactly as they are, irregardless of what society, your church, your family, or your upbringing has led you to believe. We are all exactly as we are meant to be. G/U/D/S is always love. We are all parts of that love. We are meant to show ourselves and each other unconditional love. It’s the key that we’ve been missing on a personal and global level. When I accept myself completely, I accept you completely too. When I love myself unconditionally, I am able to love you unconditionally as well.

I continue to be most attracted to people who don’t conform. The dreamers, the healers, the artists, the travelers, the peaceful, the medicine people, the change-makers, the eccentric, the lovers, and all other forms of beautifully unique, real, down-to-earth people who are living their truth in alignment with their soul/higher self.

This year has pushed me into becoming my most authentic self, and it seems fitting that I also seek authenticity in those closest to me.  It is only by living in the most authentic way that we can finally feel love from others, like truly feel it, because we know that we are being seen and loved for the real version of us.

I want honesty and vulnerability in my connections with others because I crave deeper connections with the people around me. When we are real with each other, then we know that we are all much too vast and limitless to fit inside of any boxes. Accept me as I am, separate from any categories your mind wants to place me in, and give me a hand as I step outside of this cramped box that our culture has tried to squeeze me into for all of these years. And I’ll do the same for you. Let’s give each other the freedom to be the truest version of ourselves as it is revealed to us one minute at a time.

Sending you all so much love. Thank you for reading. If you like this post, please like and share it.

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