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 spirit, 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 spirit’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 guidance to further align you with your spirit’s path. It’s my passion to help others live their best lives! Much love to you!

Listen to Matisyahu’s “Thunder” HERE

Why I Meditate

I began meditating in 2015. By this time, I had been through my health scare, divorce, and had been working as a Registered Nurse in the hospital for over 2 years. I had heard about meditation for years before I actually took note and put it into practice. In 2015, I partook in a “Simple Shift” group hosted by my Homeopath and friend, Torey Ivanic, that was made up of a group of women who were ready to create big change in our lives by shifting in some, small way. The “simple shift” I chose to commit to during this group was meditation. I downloaded the app, Insight Timer, on my phone, which kept track of my progress. I started with 5 minutes a day. Honestly, I’d do 2 minutes some days, 5 minutes others. Then, just after the group ended, I hit a very stressful time in my life.

I was struggling and needed a way to turn off the spiral of thoughts whirring through my mind about the situation. So I began meditating often as a way to positively cope with the turmoil I was experiencing. As I would feel the anxiety well up in me, I’d set the timer on my phone and meditate. I based it around my life, so if I had 5 minutes to spare, I’d meditate for 5 minutes. If I had more time in that moment, I’d set the timer for 15 minutes. Each time I felt myself get overwhelmed with emotions, I’d meditate. When the hamsters in my head would start running in their wheels, I’d meditate. When I felt panic rush in and tighten my chest, I’d meditate. I remember sitting in the cemetery next to the bench that marks the spot where one of my best friends from high school is buried, and I found myself talking to him in the rain, crying, and meditating. I clung to meditation like a life raft. I meditated, because I didn’t know what else to do.

These moments spent in meditation worked as a reset button for my system. I was able to reset myself and breathe. In those days, I didn’t notice a big difference. But it acted as a break from my thoughts and emotions. The break is what snapped me out of my head. It got me through that time with a lot of sanity and clarity. By the end of this 2-week period, I was able to get a sense of a big picture purpose of what was happening. I spoke about it with words that did not feel from me, but more through me. I was then gifted with the most peace I had ever experienced in my entire life. It lasted a week, and during that time I felt so at ease with EVERYTHING in my life. I felt so much love and compassion for myself and everyone else. I realize now that that level of peace is available to all of us when we place priority on our healing and aligning ourselves with our souls.

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

I didn’t simply gain a week of peace during that time. I also gained the awareness that it was that level of peace that I wanted to feel in my life, all the time. It gave me a contrast to compare everything against. To this day, when a person or situation is causing me to lose my inner peace, I make the needed adjustments, because for me, my inner peace comes FIRST.

This was all just the beginning for me. Last year, after I had taken my leap of faith out of my Registered Nursing job in the hospital when it began affecting my health negatively, and had gotten back from traveling to Australia and Hawaii, I got more serious about meditating again. I was in a time where I was ready to go full force with my business, but I also had to trust that the people who needed the Intuitive Reiki and Joy Coaching with me would come in divine time. I set the intention and began meditating every morning for 25 minutes while also treating myself with Reiki. This consistent practice completely changed my game. I began to have and continue to have so many inspired ideas that led to inspired action that led to so many good things in my life. For instance, it became an important aim of mine to be part of a thriving community of healers and artists, and then I got the idea to create a “Healing Arts” basket for a raffle for the Center of Spiritual Living for their annual fundraiser, which naturally connected me with local healers and artists. There was also the inspired ideas of participating in the fundraiser “Over the Edge” for The Source LGBT+ Center’s annual fundraiser and offering free Reiki sessions every week at The Source which led to me being more connected to the LGBT+ community here which has led me to amazing friendships and more of my tribe! Reaching out to the amazing author, Scott Stabile, about how much I loved his book and would like to have him come to my town to host a workshop was also an inspired idea that I took action on, and it all lined up so effortlessly after that! Scott hosted one of his workshops, “Writing Yourself” here in January!

There’s a reason why so many people urge us to meditate. It works. Deepak Chopra has written MANY books, and you want to know his biggest piece of advice for people? Meditate! I know what you’re thinking, you can’t meditate. You can’t get your brain to slow down long enough to meditate. You don’t have time to meditate. I can assure you that if you had time to read this post about meditating that you have time to meditate. You’re just choosing to use your time in other ways. My life has been a bit of a surrender experiment in the last year. Things I couldn’t have planned for have shown up. Awesome things have shown up. I would say that I owe a lot of that, if not all, to meditation. Meditation has allowed me to align with my soul, my higher self, in a more powerful way than ever before. Following my intuition about everything in my life, right down to what I eat, has further strengthened my intuition, which is also what leads to amazing things. I am so happy to say that I will be teaching kids mindfulness and meditation this summer through Parks and Recreation. I am so excited to share the exercises I’ve used to help teach kids positive ways to cope with life. It is my vision that by teaching kids positive coping mechanisms, they will be able to use them throughout their lives to combat peer pressure, to decrease the rates of teen pregnancy, to decrease addiction, and to decrease the rates of suicide. I love working with kids so much, and pediatrics continues to be the unit of the hospital that I miss working on the most, so I am really looking forward to this new adventure!

I can’t tell you how many times I have been called magic in the last year, the last 8 months especially. I look for magic, I expect magic daily, because I’ve witnessed magic every day. I am aligned with my soul, my higher self. I am following my soul’s path completely which places all kinds of amazing synchronicities on my path. I am human like you, and I got here by trudging through a lot of shit. I did not get here through ease and comfort. I walked through fire to ultimately have my soul set free. When I noticed that my thoughts about myself and my life weren’t serving me well, I worked to adopt new thoughts. I’ve listen to meditations to reprogram my subconscious mind. I’ve followed my intuition to the healing modalities that called to me and the foods that my body was craving. I used journaling. I used positive affirmations. I have a daily gratitude practice. I didn’t grow up knowing about positive ways to cope with life, so I sought them when I needed them. Instead of stressing and ‘grinding’, I learned the importance of quieting my mind through meditation and time spent in nature.

Through the journey I have walked, I have been gifted with the knowledge that our health is our greatest asset, that living in joy is what we are here to do, and that inner peace is the real ‘success’ that we should be working to achieve in this life. I did not come from peace, but I now have more peace than I ever have before. I got tired of suffering. I got tired of playing a victim, so I got serious about finding a way to change my view of the world. I adjusted my priorities. I choose to place my focus on my peace and happiness every day, because I see now how that ripples out from my life into other people’s lives. I choose to prioritize doing things that raise my energy and cause me to vibrate at a higher frequency. When we learn to love ourselves unconditionally, we are able to love others unconditionally. Also in my experience, when I learned to love another unconditionally as I saw their life with empathy and compassion, I loved myself even deeper in return.

Many of the practices I have had great results with are simple and available to anyone who decides to place priority on their own healing. If you struggle to quiet your mind or lead a very stressful life, I urge you to take up daily meditation. It can be as simple as setting a timer for 5 minutes and sitting in a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted while you focus on your breath. You might feel resistance to it, I think that’s pretty common. It was for me. But just keep being consistent with it, and eventually, you’ll notice shifts. I lead guided meditations every first and third Wednesday of every month, so if you’re local, reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com. We have meditation happening tonight on the Super Full Moon from 6 to 7 pm. Everyone is welcome.

Meditation is a simple shift we can all make towards our wellness. It’s free. It’s easy. We can do it alone or with a group. We can meditate inside or outside. If you’re finding yourself not satisfied with the way your life has been going, try meditating. What do you have to lose?

Thank you for reading! If you liked this post, please like and share it. You can also find me on FB and IG. Sending you so much love!

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.

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 working with people and encouraging them 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!

Right Place, Right Time

Recently, I have had some very powerful reminders that I am (we are) ALWAYS right where I need to be doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.  I had been doubting my journey, and in true Universe fashion, I was shown that I need not doubt where I am in my life, the decisions I’ve made, and the decisions that I continue to make.  

The most powerful of these examples happened on Sunday, 11/11/18.  Now, as a background for this particular Sunday, my son and I had decided on Friday that we’d skip drum circle on Sunday night.  This detail is important because had our plans been to go, then I would have ignored my desire to get outside for a walk in one of my favorite nature spots earlier in the day.  When I arrived at said spot, the parking lot was completely full, which has caused me to abandon the plan entirely in the past and go home.  I usually go into nature for the quiet solitude.  But on this day I decided to stay anyway, and I found a spot on the side of the road to park.  My original plan for this day was to find my way to my favorite downed tree to meditate.  In wanting to make full use of the powerful energy of 11/11/11 (2018=11), I planned to meditate for a full hour.  Well, by the time I made it to the tree, the air had become California chilly and everything was lit up by the golden hour of sun that comes shortly before sundown.  So, I climbed up the tree’s large patchy-barked trunk and made my way to a spot to sit and opted to have a snack instead. I sat there happily basking in the glowing light of the moment.  

I had heard kids playing nearby, and as I ate my snack, I listened as their laughter turned to screams for help.  I looked over and saw a boy lying on the ground.  They were close.  I left my stuff and quickly ran over to them.  My heart sank as I heard what turned out to be a young boy of 11 yelling for help and screaming “Why am I bleeding?” and “I want my Mom!”.  He had apparently fallen from a concrete bridge about 7 to 8 feet high onto the firm ground of the dry wash below.  He was wearing a dark hoodie and had blood on his hands and head.  I immediately introduced myself and told him that I was a nurse and asked if I could check him out to see where he was bleeding from.  He was OK with it, so I begin asking him questions to see if he’s alert and oriented, and right away, I found a gash on the back of his head about an inch long.  I began holding pressure on it with the boy’s hood, while I told him that the blood was coming from a cut on his head and that cuts on our heads bleed a lot and make it look worse than it actually is.  My words calmed him down. There was another boy present, and I asked him where their parents were and told the other boy to go get them.  He told me that someone else had already ran to the house nearby to get them.  I kept holding pressure and calming the young boy down while I also tried to assess him physically and verbally to see if he had any other injuries.  

Luckily, the parents came shortly after, and one at a time, so I was able to calm each of them down separately.  I took his pulse and respirations while I had his Dad time them, never letting up on putting pressure on his wound.  The bleeding appeared to stop.  His pulse was fine, but his respirations were a bit high and beads of sweat began to form on the bridge of his nose and across his cheeks.  His Mom asked me what they should do.  I told them I didn’t think he should walk any distance just to play it safe, and had them call an ambulance.  With the gash on his head and knowing he fell 7 to 8 feet and likely hit his head on the way down, I didn’t want to risk him losing consciousness in his parents car on the way to the hospital.   I couldn’t tell how much blood he had lost in the dark hoodie he wore, and all he wanted to do was lie down.  I had him sort of sitting up and resting his weight on me, so that I could hold pressure to his head, keep his head elevated above his heart, and prevent his wound from lying in the dirt.  More adults appeared.  His Dad and another man carried him out of the wash, up the steep, sandy bank, and to their house not far away.  I grabbed my stuff and stayed close. When we got to the house, the ambulance was just pulling into their driveway. I told the boy he was going to be just fine and that he was going to get to go for a really cool ride in an ambulance.  He asked me if I could stay with him, but I told him that his parents would be going with him, and his Mom jumped into the front seat of the ambulance.  The boy’s Dad got my phone number and his Mom texted me later that night to tell me that he had ended up with 6 staples to his head and a sling for his arm.  I checked on him again the next day and his Mom said he was doing ok and was home resting. 

What a relief.  My Mom and nurse heart could finally relax.  Without thinking about it consciously, I am sure that I gave that boy Reiki that day, which helped him remain so calm.  I think it’s part of why he felt like he wanted me to stay with him on the way to the hospital.  Reiki tends to get activated when people or situations are calling for help. 

As I walked away from their house that evening, the adrenaline from the situation started to dissipate, and I began to cry.  I have never had to use my nursing knowledge out in public like that before.  I have a background in field biology which means that I’ve taken several wilderness first aid classes in the past.  I have experience in the hospital working with kids on a pediatric unit and have had training on how to respond to a code white (the pediatric equivalent of a code blue).  But, I did not have prior experience putting my skills to use in an acute trauma situation.  I realize now that nothing could have prepared me for that moment, yet everything in my whole life had prepared me for that moment.  I can’t tell you how much that whole scenario was lined up for me to be there, at the exact right time.  If I had still been working in the hospital, I would have likely been working that Sunday, because I used to work every weekend.  If I had a schedule full of Reiki and Joy Coaching clients that day, I would have been working and not there!  It ALL lined up for me to be there!!!  Right down to the things that filled the first part of my day, and placed me there a bit later than I would have preferred.  

As humans, we can say that we believe in the divine timing of the Universe.  We can say that everything happens for a reason.  But it is another thing entirely to truly internalize those truths and just KNOW them to be true.  Sometimes I question things.  Sometimes when I can’t see the full picture, I begin to have doubts.  It’s a normal part of being human.  But as I stood in the shower that night, the beauty and truth of the divine timing of EVERYTHING in life hit me and I just felt a renewed sense of awe of this amazing Universe we live in.  A rush of comfort poured over me for that message from the Universe that I am always right where I need to be.  Everything I have experienced and am experiencing is being divinely guided for my highest good and for the highest good of those who cross my path. Always.

I felt so incredibly grateful for the message of reassurance that came through this experience.  I hope that in reading this, you’re able to trust your own journey and the divine timing of things in your own life more.  We are always being taken care of and we are always in the right place at the right time, it’s just that some instances don’t always make it as obvious as others.   Sometimes, being taken care of means that we’re placed in very challenging situations that are meant to grow us through pain, which doesn’t always feel very divine as it is happening.  Trust your journey.  The world needs you. We all need each other.  

Thank you so much for reading!  If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it.  If you have a story about a time when you knew you were in the right place at the right time, please feel free to comment down below.  I’d love to hear about it!  

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!

Are You Grieving for Your Lost Health?

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When I was feeling my worst, I was doing all I could just to keep my head above water.  I went into crisis mode.  On top of feeling terrible and being exhausted all of the time, I really had no idea what was causing my flares of pericarditis.  So I was living in fear.  I was afraid that I would walk too much and have chest pain again.  I was afraid that too much stress from school and home life would cause me to flare.  I never knew when or where I would be when I’d flare and it made me feel paranoid.  I always had to be prepared, so I routinely kept my prescription of prednisone in my bag in case I needed a higher dose.

I was talking with a good friend of mine the other night who is currently living this reality.  He doesn’t have pericarditis, but his illness is no less mysterious or maddening.  In talking with him, I was reminded of a counselor I saw during nursing school.  She was in training to become a licensed counselor, and she had an office on campus at the community college I was attending.  I remember time and again going in and talking with her and just voicing my frustrations with the way that my whole world had been suddenly turned upside down.  I spoke of my fears and the unpredictability of my illness.  I spoke of not recognizing my own body, because I had gained so much weight from being on steroids.  I spoke of my dismay that after a year of struggling with recurrent bouts of pericarditis and even a second hospitalization, that none of my doctors could offer me any answers.  All they could tell me to do was to take prednsione to suppress my immune system and prevent the inflammation around my heart.  One day, as I was really struggling, I went to talk to my counselor.  She pointed out the fact that I was grieving my lost health.  It was a light bulb moment for me, because I had never thought about it like that before.  She was right.  I WAS grieving for my lost health.  My mind was having a hard time accepting my new body and the restrictions that came with it.  It was difficult to wrap my brain around the fact that I had been healthy, had exercised regularly as part of my work, and had eaten healthy as a long-time vegetarian.

When I realized that I was grieving, and my counselor went over the stages of grief with me, oddly enough, I felt a great sense of peace come over me.  It made me feel normal about how I was feeling.  I could see that the ups and downs of anger and sadness and back around again were part of my grieving process.  Knowing this allowed me to release expectations I had for my emotions through this time.  I began to accept my emotions, and I was more open to allowing them to flow.

So I ask you, the one dealing chronic illness, are you grieving for your lost health?  Are you grieving for the life you feel that you have lost?  If so, know that it is normal and OK, and that it is better to feel your emotions and release them as they come up than it is to keep them locked tight inside your chest.  We sometimes think that we’re doing ourselves a service by locking our emotions up so that they can’t spring out and consume our hearts, but the reality is that if we allow ourselves to feel our feelings as they come up, in whatever form they appear, we will be able to heal much more quickly.  Emotions that aren’t expressed get trapped in our bodies and lead to more pain and dis-ease.

It was the most challenging time of my life.  I felt so alone and helpless.  I looked for silver linings as best I could and I pushed through my exhaustion so that I could be present for my son.  I wondered if I would ever regain my health. I wondered if I would ever feel comfortable in my own body again. I wondered if I would always have to be fearful that things I did might cause a flare.

I write this on the other side.  I have gained perspective on life and on my health challenges that I would not have gotten had I never gotten sick.  I have experienced a total transformation of self that was brought on by my years of illness.  I was asked to take a more balanced approach in caring for my body, mind, and soul.  I was asked to tear down the beliefs I held about myself and my life that made me feel bad.  I was asked to reexamine the way I was treating myself and how I was showing up for myself.  My illness caused me to turn over every rock so that I could find all of buried thoughts and beliefs that were holding me back in life.  I was shown what was important in life.  I was taught to not sweat the small stuff and to appreciate everything and everyone I have in my life while I have them.  I was taught the delicate nature of life.  I was taught that there are no guarantees in life and so we should make the most of every day.  What is it that you might learn from your own challenges?  It helps me to look for lessons in challenges now, because I see how perfectly my illness was placed in my path to expand me to heights I didn’t know were possible.  It has made me trust the process now when things aren’t going the way my mind wants them to go.  Even when I can’t see the full picture as to why something is happening, I live with a great sense of trust that the Universe always has my back.  The Universe (or god, source, higher power etc) always has your back too.

Above all, I was taught that self-love is the key to life.  The love we hold for ourselves trickles outwards from us, so that we can love each other in a more balanced, non-judgmental and unconditional way.  How much do you love yourself?  Do you find ways to show yourself love every day?  Self-love involves loving all parts of ourselves.  That can be the tricky part.  It’s easy to love myself when I am happy and laughing.  I have a more difficult time loving myself when I lose my temper or raise my voice in anger.  I am learning and growing just as we all are.  We’re all works in progress, and that process never stops.  We just keep expanding.  We keep learning how to respond to life vs react.  We keep learning to keep an open mind and open heart with how we approach ourselves and others.

If you’re reading this, you survived another day.  Just keep being gentle with yourself in whatever life circumstance you’re in currently.  Your illness may be requiring that you slow down for now, get the extra sleep, limit the stressors in your life, give yourself some extra love, and put yourself first for a change.  Can you see the ways that your body is crying out for more love?  Notice the shift when you view your own illness this way.  When we take care of others when they are sick, we don’t get mad at them and their bodies for needing more care, right?  We don’t curse at our friends and family and make them feel guilty for being sick.  So then, why do we treat ourselves that way?

I went from a time when I was really ill and wondering “why me?” to now when I realize that facing a complicated illness like Lyme Disease and not just surviving it, but thriving beyond it is one of my superpowers in this life.  This is why we humans must be careful with the labels that we place on things, because sometimes it is difficult to know “good” from “bad” when we’re in the thick of it.  I’ve said it before, but I went from calling my illness “the worst thing that ever happened to me” to “one of the best things that has ever happened to me.”

Know that it might take more love and care than you have ever allowed for yourself before, but that we can all rise up above our challenges and see brighter days ahead!

Part of my soul’s purpose is to help others navigate through their own illnesses and challenges in life using  the perspective I’ve gained.  If you’d like some personalized support and guidance, reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com!  My favorite thing is combining the healing power of Intuitive Reiki with Joy Coaching to help others move through their chronic illness with more support than I had during my own healing journey.

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

Watch the video for Michael Franti’s song “Once a Day” HERE  This is what Michael Franti posts about this song:

“‘Once A Day’ is about unexpected moments in life. Some days we have unexpectedly beautiful moments and others that are unexpectedly challenging. Last year I had a really challenging moment when my son was diagnosed with a kidney disease called FSGS (Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis). We thought it would break our family apart, but moving through the initial tears, made us realize life is precious and that we need to hug, kiss and be close to each other every day and through that we could ‘rise up’ and face his illness together. I hope that Once A Day brings inspiration to anyone in this world who is going through challenging times. Through music, dance and gratitude for this life we can all ‘Rise Up’!” –Michael Franti