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!

Go Within

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!  

Spread Your Wings and Fly!

 

On Friday, I finally listened to my soul’s urging, and went on a nice, long hike. There are two things that light me up most in this life: connecting with people and being out in nature, the further into the wilderness, the better! The other day, I got to do both and it made me so happy!  Life is all about perspective as I have stated many times before in my posts. The other day, I would have liked to leave much earlier for my hike so that I’d have more time to hike to the farthest lake and to stop and enjoy the other beautiful spots along the way. But, I ended up being up late the night before doing some work and deciding where I wanted to hike, so I when my alarm went off at 4:30 am, I snoozed it and shut it off and got a few more hours of sleep. It worked out perfectly, because this meant that businesses were open as I drove into the park and I stopped and got a delicious green smoothie and hung posters in three businesses for Glennon Doyle’s appearance here on October 27th. I also hung my business card in the coffee shop, so it was a win-win kind of “late”. Since taking my leap of faith in May, I am really able to see how even the most simple of things happen just as they are supposed to and it’s awesome! We’re never really “late”, because we are always right where we’re supposed to be. All the time.

 

So, I continued to make my way up into the mountains, but got stopped by some road work. Likely, I sat there for a half hour or more. Many of us shut off our cars and got out to take in the view. I ended up talking with a woman visiting from London for most of the time. We talked about so many things including travel, how the mountains here were reminding her of some mountains in Italy, how friendly people in Australia are, how fearful people in the US tend to be and the fact that I see that it’s by design to keep us living small, prevent us from traveling, and to keep an “us-them” mentality, we talked about hiking solo and why I am so comfortable with it, my wildlife/fisheries career, guns in the US, people in the US thinking they need to take guns hiking with them to be “safe”, the video game Fortnite and the ridiculousness of having instances of kids going to school and shooting other kids while we have one of the most popular games teaching them about every gun in existence and that their goal should be to be the last man standing, but with no blood. Desensitized much?! We touched on a few other things too, but you get it. We connected about real things. I cherish times when I get to connect with people in a real way on so many levels.

 

When I hike, I get so thrilled to be out on the trail that I experience an overwhelming sense of mental, physical, and spiritual wellness. Do you know what I’m talking about? When you’re out doing something that makes you feel so alive that you gain a new level of clarity and perspective on life? So, as I was hiking, I was also thinking about life. As I walked and thought about how free hiking makes me feel, I kept seeing little things on the trail that looked like wings to me. A blot painting class the night before had my mind focused on the messages that can reach us through a multitude of ways. I connected the freedom I was feeling with these wings. Then I started digging deeper. The wings weren’t wings of course, but instead were the little scales from pine cones. As I dug deeper, I started thinking about the journey a pine cone takes to complete the life cycle of the trees, and how it relates to the journey we’ve all been asked to take this year.

 

Pine cones started their lives high up in the trees, safe and secure and nourished. But in order to disperse their seeds, they have to fall to ground, break open, and be uncomfortable on the ground so that they can achieve freedom from the tree. Animals like squirrels break them apart into what looks like little wings dotting the trail. Some of the seeds inside are eaten, but many are spread so that they can take root to create new life in the form of a tree.  I started thinking about this year and how similar our lives have been to that of the pine cone. We’ve been asked to leap or forced to leap into the unknown as we’ve set intentions that we want more from this life than the daily grind that we had grown accustomed to. We’ve asked for more peace and joy. We’ve asked for deeper connections and situations that leave us feeling most alive. Getting to those things requires that the things no longer serving us be removed to make room for the new life we’re dreaming of to enter. We can’t keep all of the old furniture and expect more to come in when there’s no room for it. So we’ve been asked to clear our lives of the toxic relationships, the job that was bringing us down and/or making us sick, things that we’ve developed an addiction to, and the living environment that’s not conducive to our growth and expansion. 2018 has been a difficult one for many, yet exciting at the same time. We are being asked to live more in the present moment and stop trying to predict the future or control the outcome of every area of our lives. We have been asked to dig deep and find what it is that makes us tick, what makes us feel most alive, and we’re being asked to do that more!

 

Sequoia trees need fire for their seed dispersal.  This year has been like a fire to come and burn away everything that has been holding us back, making us feel separate and making us live small lives.  The fire is taking away all that doesn’t serve us and it is giving us wings with which we can fly through the rest of this year and into next year with more power, more courage, and a bigger footprint than we have ever allowed ourselves to have before.  It’s quite beautiful really.  Realize that the fire is not meant to destroy YOU it’s meant to break you out of your shell, to get you to put down your mask so that you can do all that you came to this world to do.  It’s been an uncomfortable process and it’s going to continue to be uncomfortable until we realize that we are the light that we see in others.  We are meant to break down all of our limiting beliefs and barriers so that we can live our best, limitless lives like we were always intended to.  We’ve broken open, we’ve planted our seeds, and now it’s time to grow into the person we are being asked to be so that we can fulfill our life’s purpose and impact this world like only each of us can. We’ve got to become the people needed for the next level of our lives. It’s a requirement for all of us, so the less you fight the process and go with the flow and do what is being asked of you, the easier time you will have with it.

 

It’s time to spread our wings and fly while we trust that the seeds we have planted with our intentions and our inspired actions are going to sprout into the life that we’ve been dreaming about! Trust, my friends. Trust. The seeds are growing in my life and I am blown away at what the work I have done to align with my higher self has created in my life! We’ve all planted our seeds at different times, so we’re all going to see them start to grow at different times. It does NOT mean that some people’s seeds will grow while other people’s won’t. Seeds don’t work that way and neither do our lives. Rather than getting caught up in comparisons with your journey and other people’s journeys, choose to get inspired by the sprouts appearing in their lives. See that as proof that it’s just a matter of time before your own seeds sprout! As you are grateful for the beauty appearing in the lives of those you love, you will raise your frequency to help speed up the manifestations in your own life. If you want something, rather than getting caught up on your intense desire for it, be extra grateful to all that you have now, in this moment, and all that others have that match what you want and before you know it, all that you desire will be yours. Life is not a competition like we’ve been made to believe, and the more love and happiness we show others, the faster we will all proceed to living our best lives.

 

The energy from this fire is going to give us all that we need to propel us through the rest of this year and into the start of next year.

 

I made a video about this when I was out hiking that I’ve posted to my YouTube Channel.

 

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

 

Blogging for a Year!

I have been officially writing on this blog for 1 year today!  It is said that a lot can change in a year.  My life is living proof!  Over the year that I have blogging, so much has happened.  Just from a blogging perspective, a lot changed once I made the decision to start sharing more of myself and my story with other people this way.  I think the biggest thing I learned is that my story is a powerful one that can inspire others on their own journeys.  The other thing I learned is that we can truly rewrite our stories if the old version is causing us strife or disempowering us.

It is a very humbling thing to have someone read your first blog post and reach out to you saying that your post gave them hope on a day when they were feeling suicidal.  I decided then that if my writing did no more than give that one person hope on their own journey, it would be enough.  Through this blog, I have reconnected with old friends, reconnected with family, and made new friends.

Prior to starting this blog, only those closest to me really knew my story.  Because of my depression, struggles in my marriage, and illness, I kept a lot to myself.  I now see that I was sort of holding myself captive by staying so closed in.  I am a Gemini and a communicator by nature, and to be otherwise makes me feel a discord with myself at the soul level.  Writing here has opened me up in ways that I had really been craving, both with myself and with other people.  I have found that opening myself up to this level of vulnerability and authenticity here has also opened me up in the same way in real life.  There’s a lot of power in sharing, because you no longer feel like you have anything to hide.  You realize that more often than not, people reach out to you commiserating and saying they’ve felt the same way.  You realize that all you have kept inside was nothing to be ashamed of and in fact, by sharing all of it, you can help a lot of other people navigate their own lives.

I thank all of you who have been reading along on this journey of mine!  I now have 50 subscribers to this blog who receive a notification every time I publish a new post.  Thank you all for subscribing!  It lets me know that my words are resonating and not just falling silent once I press the publish button.  In 1 year, I have had 1,047 visitors to my site.  I have had 2,214 blog views.  In 1 year, my blog has been viewed from the US, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, India, Philippines, Sweden, Ireland, Serbia, Netherlands, Romania, Singapore, Hong Kong (China), United Arab Emirates, Costa Rica, Botswana, Japan, Russia, Belgium, New Zealand, Italy, Trinidad and Tobago, Taiwan, Croatia, Brunei, South Africa, Turkey, Puerto Rico, Greece, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Nepal, Austria, Monaco, Nigeria, Ukraine, Thailand, and Switzerland!!  The internet has really connected us all more than we normally even consider in our day to day lives.  How amazing that my words can be read in so many different places all over the world?!  Thank you to everyone who has read my words near and far, I hope that they inspire you in some way.

If you would have told me last year this time what my life would look like a year from then, I would not have believed you at all!  Absolutely everything has shifted for the positive in my life!  At the beginning of the year, as I had been dealing with negative health effects of the stress of my job for a while, I had an inspired idea that left me unable to sleep.  On thinking of what would make 2018 my best year ever, I thought that it would be epic to quit my job, start my own healing business, and travel to Australia (my life-long dream destination) and Hawaii all in the same summer!!

Friends, since May, I have done all of those things!  I am amazed at the unfolding of my life!  I couldn’t be more grateful for all that I have experienced this year, and for the fact that I still have 5 MORE MONTHS of this year still to go!  I see the divine hand that has led me on this path and it has been even better than I could have imagined because of the added bonus of growth and insight that has come from my experiences.

We usually walk around feeling very stuck in our lives.  We think we can’t leave jobs because we’re worried our business won’t work out, so we usually don’t even try.  We say we can’t travel because we don’t have the money.  We give ourselves one good vacation a year, because it’s like a weird, general social norm in the US to work more than we play.  Everything is still evolving for me on this new path, but just the feeling I have to be so connected with my higher self on a daily basis has been worth it.  Let alone the amazing places I’ve seen and the people I have met.  Australia you guys.  Wow.  I am in real love with that place!  I plan to post more about it, including a slideshow of my pictures, but so far, I’m mostly still at a loss for words for that experience.  My sister and I were able to have our first family vacation together with our families in Hawaii.  I spent much-needed time meeting, and then snuggling with my baby niece.  Plus, tons of snorkeling!  My son got to snorkel in the ocean for the first time.  I saw a few sea turtles, an eel, dolphins plus thousands of tropical fish!  Ah, I could get used to having at least two epic vacations a year!

I’m in a place of trust and it’s causing me to release all of my old doubts about myself, my old beliefs about what is possible in life, and my old beliefs about lack just to name a few.  I’ve gotten more committed to meditating and checking in with my higher self about every decision from what I eat to what I do.  I have had so many inspired ideas come to me in the time since returning from Hawaii.  Following through on those ideas is connecting me with more amazing people and opportunities.  I’m looking at life in a whole new way that has given me a sort of freedom that I have never experienced before.

Life is truly is what we make it.  If we want more adventure, we’ve got to look for ways to incorporate more adventure.  If we want more travel, we need to travel.  If we want better health, we need to start meditating daily and connecting with our higher selves, so that we can follow the guidance from within needed to heal ourselves.  Drown out the outside influences of your life that make you neglect to listen to your own intuition.  Turn off your TV, stop listening to people who haven’t been living their dreams, stop letting outside people and things influence you more than your own heart. When you connect with yourself in this way, you will find amazing ideas, people, situations, and opportunities begin to appear in your life in perfect timing!  I have had so many things happen in the last week and a half that I can’t keep up with it all as far as writing it all down to share.  I see how every seemingly little thing is by design and it’s really beautiful!

I’ll share an example.  One of the things I have written and read aloud every day since a workshop hosted by Jake Ducey that I attended in November as part of my larger Chief Aim is “I am a part of a thriving community of healers and artists.”  Earlier this week, I got the inspired idea to create a gift basket focused around “Healing Arts” for the Center for Spiritual Living’s annual fundraiser this year.  My idea is that the basket will showcase the work of various healers and artists in my town, so that people will realize what is available to them right here.  I am donating a Distance Reiki session to the basket, and after several contacts, I have secured multiple gift certificates for various forms of healing including Reiki, Sound Healing, and a How to Create Sacred Space & Crystal Grid Manifesting session, a painting, and a cool pyramid made of shungite that is a very healing stone.  In two days, I reached out, connected with, and met several new people, and learned about new healing modalities offered in my area.  This is how life can work when we are in the flow.  Our inspired ideas (the ones where you get excited to your core) happen on purpose!!  When you start following them like I have been doing, they lead to amazing things for you and others around you!  They even help you manifest your desires!  In my experience, inspired ideas lead to all that I am seeking to manifest in my life and more!  Whoever wins this basket is in for a serious treat!!

On this journey I am on, I would get nowhere if I compared myself or my journey to others, because they are not me.  Even when our journeys look similar, they are not the same, and they are not meant to be the same.  We are all here to shine the light that WE have, not dim our lights, or try to blend our lights in with everyone else’s.  I understand that conformity was once an act of survival, but at this level of the game, conformity is killing us all slowly.  The key to this game is to live our joy, so that we can match the frequency of all that we wish to manifest.  I know that life can discourage us, especially when the energy is such that is bringing our old patterns and beliefs and anxieties back to the surface for healing.  Even in such time, we are all being taken care of completely.  You will know that you are aligned with your higher self when your thoughts and words start showing up as things and people in your reality.

Once you find a way to tap into that magic, life glows like it’s radioactive.

I’m living it right now! We each have something we came here to do.  What did you come here to do?  Are you doing it? Are you working towards doing it?  What is stopping you?

I am starting a meeting group locally centered around the book “The Surrender Experiment” by Michael Singer.  My idea is that everyone who comes to the meetings will have read the book and are willing to surrender to the flow of life more.  I will share my story and ways that I have surrendered and what that has created in my life.  After that, we will meet on a weekly basis to discuss what has shown up for us in our lives and how we have flowed with it and what doors that has opened for us.

I just had the idea that it could be really fun to coach people in this way!  It could take place via phone and I would share more details about how I do this and what has shown up for me, and I could provide individualized support for you as you begin to allow more flow in your life.  You don’t have to change every area of your life to live this way.  Even focusing on one area where you’re currently dissatisfied would make a huge impact.  My coaching would mean 1:1 support, as well as all of my intuitive insights about you and your journey that I receive during the time that we work together.  If this resonates with you, please read the book, and reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com!  I’d also love to hear from people who are currently living this way!  Please leave comments down below!

Thank you for reading!  If you liked this post please like and share it.  Much love!

Why is it so Difficult to Let Go?

Letting go.  The energy right now is stirring up feelings in all of us that we need to purge the things in our lives that are no longer serving us.  It’s happening with everyone I talk to.  It’s happening in my life.

Thoughts and Patterns

For me, it’s shown up as old feelings, thoughts, beliefs rising up to the surface to be dealt with and healed once and for all.  When I started having these old beliefs and patterns show up again, I got anxious.  I was sure that I had already moved past all of my worries of lack.  I thought I had gotten right with all of it.  Well, this energy swirled up and there it all was again.  My five senses didn’t help either.  My sight told me that my bank account was lower than I felt comfortable.  I was in Hawaii when all of this surfaced and still had to pay for food and activities for the duration.  Luckily for me, I am connected to an amazing community of empaths who were also sharing what they had been feeling, so I knew I wasn’t alone.  And I realized too, that all of this was for a higher purpose, to free me from my mind-created limits so that I can have peace regardless of anything outside of myself.  So, I went within.  I felt my anxiety and I coped with it by meditating daily.  I had stopped for part of my vacation, and clearly, that did not help me.  I sunk into the feelings and realized the truth:  that I am always being taken care of and that I have everything I needed in that moment.  It’s sometimes the moment by moment examination of my life that brings me the most peace.  I stop what I am doing and realize I am OK right NOW.  I have the money I need NOW. I have the roof over my head NOW. I have the amazing family around me NOW.  I began to feel better.

Once I moved through those feelings, I looked at the beliefs surrounding my abundance or lack of abundance and I shot them down one by one.  I knew I had enough resources to take care of us on our trip.  Enough to pay rent and our bills.  I also realized that a late payment here or there because I am on a unique journey of creating a new life for myself is OK.  It won’t kill me.  I won’t be thrown in jail.  I trust.  I trust that I will always have more than I need.  I trust my journey.  I trust that I am always being taken care of.  I know the limitless nature of the Universe and of my life.  I have experienced amazing things that have shown me what we are capable of doing in this life.

Isn’t it interesting though that letting go and releasing is what we’re being taught all of the time, but that it’s one of the most difficult things for us to do?  I know I am not alone in this.  We are always being asked to surrender and release things, people, situations that are no longer serving our highest good.  Sometimes it is so obvious that it feels like the Universe just smacked you on the side of the head to let you know when to let go.  But still, often times we continue to hold on.

Jobs

It got me thinking about where that sense of holding on comes from, especially if we know that something is no longer for our highest good.  Is it habit? I have found thoughts, beliefs, and behavioral patterns the most difficult things to let go of, to change, to replace.  I am sure that’s due to how our brains are wired and how synapses between neurons are created with repetition.  When we’ve been hearing the same things around money all of our life…like money is hard to come by…there’s never enough money…you have to work hard for money…our brains get wired for lack.  So it takes time and a lot of conscious effort and reprogramming to change those thoughts that became beliefs.  If it took years, sometimes hundreds and thousands back through our ancestry, to create those beliefs, then it’s normal for it to take a while to change them.  And that’s OK.  That’s actually a good reminder for me too.  I have been working to change my beliefs around abundance for a few years, and have just started to really make headway with it this year.  BUT how amazing that I have now seen changes?!?!?!  I got discouraged by my reaction to my bank account, but really, I have come SO far.  I’m one to not always recognize and celebrate my victories along the way.  To me, this is victory!  Living in the flow, at complete peace, as my whole life transitions in ways I can’t even fully see yet, is a gigantic victory.  I think I am going to relish in that truth today.

Thoughts and beliefs aren’t the only things that we are being asked to release.  Everything in our lives is fleeting, there is no constant but change.  We are being asked to let go of jobs that no longer serve us, friendships that no longer serve us, living arrangements that no longer serve us, romantic relationships that no longer serve us, and material items that no longer serve us.  But, much of the time, it is easier said than done.  For me, I notice that in times when I am having trouble letting go, I get a sense that I will never have a job like x, that pays x or I will never have a connection like I had with x again, or what if in the future I need x item, if I get rid of it I won’t have it.  We get ourselves so attached to things outside of us that we start to believe the lies that our minds tell us about them.  Think of how many of us stay in jobs we don’t enjoy because we feel that we HAVE to.  Have you ever experienced that?  Where you feel like if you let that job go, there won’t be another to take its place fast enough…or that the next one won’t pay enough?  I have.  And I know that I am not alone.  We never are in any of our struggles.  We are wrong.  There is always another job.  In fact, if we are miserable, then there’s always a BETTER job out there for us!

I’ll tell you a story that really sheds light on this.  After college, I went away for the summer to study seabirds in Alaska.  When that job ended, I moved with my boyfriend back to my college’s town.  I mostly just wanted to be in that place with the good friends that I had made there who were also staying.  My job wasn’t my focal point, I just needed one to pay the bills.  Of course, I am one that prefers that my work have some kind of positive impact or meaning.  I took a job with a local daycare in their preschool classroom.  I think because of my degree, I *might* have made about $8 per hour.  I have always loved kids and had done some teaching in third-grade classrooms as part of the work program at my college.  I was content with this job.  I was grateful to get this job.  Aside from the fact that I was sick for almost the entire 3 or 4 months I worked at this daycare, I had very little support.  As it turned out, it rated low on the scale used to score daycare centers in that area, and I could see why.  Moral among teachers was low.  The student to teacher ratios were higher than they were supposed to be.  When I started, I was the second teacher in the class with mostly 4 year olds, but a few 3 and 5 year olds as well.  The other teacher had more of a primary lead in the classroom as she had been there for a while.  I got my bearings and learned the children’s routine and tried to be a positive influence on the kids’ lives.  (Wow! I just remembered that there was another teacher who would join us here and there and we would have the kids sit quietly and chant ohm! I had forgotten that!)  We were doing our best.  I did a good job.  Parents often commented about the smile that I always had on my face.  Then, sweeping changes were moving through and teachers got uncomfortable.  The lead teacher in my classroom quit one day out of the blue.  I was bumped to lead teacher.  My roster of kids suddenly became overwhelming.  I was on my own.  Still, I did my best.  Mostly, I was a referee in those days saying things like stop punching Tommy and you cannot use the scissors to cut kids’ hair.  Please stop running.  You get it.  I was still making play dough at home and bringing it in.  I was buying workbooks with my own money to teach the kids how to write the letters and their names.  I would go home and cry.  I was stressed. And the owner of the daycare would often tell me that she would relieve me by a certain time in the afternoon so that I could leave the kids with her and start cleaning the classroom, but often, she wouldn’t show up.  I had no other job possibilities on the horizon, so I felt stuck.  I didn’t see a way out, but I was miserable.  With so many kids and so little support, my plans for classroom were difficult to carry out.

Then it happened.  The owner told me she’d come and relieve me from the playground at a certain time, but failed to show up for 1.5 to 2 hours past that time.  It was the last straw.  So, without warning to me or her, I made sure the kids were under supervision and took her aside and quit.  I quit on the spot.  I had never done that before, nor have I done it since.  When my boyfriend got home from work, I told him.  I was nervous about not having funds to pay for my share of the expenses.  I was worried that it would take a long time to find a new job.  But, you know what happened?  I was taken care of, completely.  As it turns out, one of my best friends had just applied for, interviewed for, and gotten a job at a local veterinary clinic, but she had decided that she wasn’t going to take the position and she urged me to call them.  Within a week, I had called them and had an interview, and by 2 weeks, I was in a new job!  That’s how the Universe works!  When we take care of ourselves and we allow ourselves to release a job that no longer serves us, a new job comes our way!

Relationships

How many times have you known that you needed to end a relationship, but you kept it going anyway?  I think we are all familiar with the thoughts that we’re never going to love someone as much as x, or we’re never going to have the connection that we had with x, or we’re never going to find someone like x.  Is that usually the way it works out?  You break up with someone and you NEVER love again?  No!  Not at all. But boy, when we’re in the thick of it, we sure do believe all of the things that our minds tell us. We believe in the lack of life.  What we need to ask when out minds say those things and attempt to play those kinds of tricks on us is, is this true?  Is this really true?  Am I never going to love anyone again?  Is no one going to love me ever again?  Are the answers to these questions obvious when you ask them while you aren’t in the thick of a break up? The trick is to remember the truth vs what your brain is telling you when shit hits the fan.  The trick is also to trust your intuition over your brain, because your intuition will never steer you wrong, but your brain will try.

As I write this, I get a notification with these timely words:

“Stop returning to people and things that don’t feel good.  There’ll be no need for healing when you learn to cut off the source of your struggles.”

— @sourcemessages on Instagram

Yesterday, I went to one of my happy places in the river to take a dip and cool off.  While floating in the middle of the stream, I asked that all that I am meant to release, be released.  I set the intention that the water would work with the already powerful, swirling energy of the day, and wash away all that I need to let go of at this time.

With the energy of the full moon, and the longest lunar eclipse that just happened yesterday, we are all being asked to examine our lives and step into all that we have been working to manifest.  It is impossible to receive when we aren’t willing to let go of what we have that is no longer serving us.  We need to tell ourselves the truth.  We need to stop glossing over things and settling for less than we want on account of feeling like we’ll never be able to get what we actually want.  What we want is always available to us, we just have to get out of our own way.  We have to stop looking at life from a place of lack with limited money, limited lovers, limited friends, limited jobs, limited material items, and limited experiences.  The only limits that exist in the world are the ones created by our minds.  From experience, when you stop worrying about lack and start seeing all of the abundance in your life, you realize that you’re being completely guided and supported at all times.  It really is true that when one door closes, another opens.

I encourage you to purge all that feels heavy and stifling, and stressful while you feel motivated.  I am once again being urged to purge and declutter my house.  We can all do it knowing that it will clear out the old to make way for the new.  We live in an abundant Universe.

How are you feeling this week?  Have you been sorting through stuff and making trips to Goodwill?  Have you been emotional about all of the old thoughts and patterns resurfacing?  You are not alone.

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

Living with JOY!

Do you know what brings you joy?  I mean like the kind of joy that leaves you smiling from ear to ear, where you just want the moment to never end.  What makes you feel most alive?  (I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!)

As I came out of my years of illness and found myself on my own again, I realized that I had forgotten what made me happy.  I had gotten so used to living a life of stress and turmoil that it had been a long time since I really thought about the things that add joy to my life.  I worked with a woman who had me make a list of things that bring me joy.  The items came slow at first, but as I wrote, the momentum built.  It was around this time as I was working to uncover the things that brought me joy, that my son asked me a question and then brought up a point that really hit home for me.  “Mom, what do you do while I’m at school all day?”  At that time he was probably 6 years old, a first grader, and I was working every weekend and had him on my days off.  So, I started listing things like go grocery shopping, clean the house, do laundry, read, nap.  Basically, all of the things that I didn’t do on the days that I worked.  He then said something like, “boy, grownups really do a lot of work all the time,” and/or “grownups don’t do much fun stuff.”  It was so simple yet so profound.  What WAS I doing with my free time??!  Was I making the most of it?  The answer was no, I was not.  So I decided to make changes to my life.

Some of the things on my list were:

  1. Reading with my son
  2. Dancing
  3. White water rafting
  4. Camping under the stars
  5. Hiking
  6. Seeing live music
  7. Exploring with no destination
  8. Skinnydipping
  9. Listening to music
  10. Talking with friends
  11. Reading
  12. Traveling
  13. Drumming
  14. Writing
  15. Being around my whole immediate family
  16. Laughing with a friend
  17. Listening to my son tell me about something he’s really excited about
  18. Jumping into rivers
  19. Snorkeling with fish
  20. Being outside
  21. Yoga
  22. Feeling sun on my skin
  23. Lying on the beach listening to the water
  24. Jumping into lakes
  25. Meeting new people
  26. Hanging out on warm boulders in/near rivers

From March of 2013 to July 2015, I worked on a very stressful unit in the hospital with adult oncology patients.  At first, nursing felt like my passion, my purpose in life, but after a few years with a heavy load of patients, sometimes six at a time, my enthusiasm turned into exhaustion.  I’d go home, shower, eat cereal for dinner, and go to bed, then wake up and do it all over again for the next two days.  My days off felt less like true days off and more like days to recover.  I was still on loads of medications back then and didn’t really feel like I had my health back yet, so I was taking it easy physically and trying to get extra rest on my days off.  I also worked to rebuild my life while learning my new role as a single, working parent.

In July of 2015, I landed my current job working primarily with babies and kids.  It had always been my dream nursing job, floating between all of my favorite units from nursing school.  Pediatrics was always my goal for nursing.  I was so happy for this change.  And after starting a homeopathy remedy in January of 2015, I was now beginning to feel the positive effects of it on my mental, emotional, and physical health.  All of this led me to the place at the end of 2015 when I was feeling so good, and felt like I had the energy to focus on how I wanted my life to look.  And I even had my son noticing that I was filling my days with a lot of boring adult stuff.

So, I began to get outside more.  I had always loved being outside.  I now felt like I had ability to start getting out hiking again.  At this point, my last flare of pericarditis was a few years behind me in November of 2013.  I had been noticing the strength of my body coming back and the exhaustion dissipating.  I sought to make new friends and explore new places.  I ended up finding myself outside in the mountains in rivers a lot, and at the coast next to the ocean.  I started to notice how alive I felt when was hiking on a new trail.  I felt the joy in me well up as I jumped off rocks into rivers and lakes.  I began to find my passions.  As I noticed the things that made me feel most alive, I stored them in my mind and made a conscious effort to do those things as often as possible!  And my life began to get really full.  I was LIVING!  I worked to do chores for a portion of one of my days off, so that I could spend the rest of my time doing things that fed my soul.  I have lived like this ever since.  Sometimes I am urged to go for a hike, and sometimes I am urged to curl up and read a good book and take a nap.  The point is that I stopped worrying about all of the adult things that I am “supposed” to do, and instead I started to do the things that would bring me the most joy.

Nothing makes me happier than exploring and having fun with my son.  At the beginning of the summer this year, we sat down to make a list of things that we hoped to do during summer vacation.  I knew that with only 10 weeks, summer would go by so fast, and that we could easily get swept up in a bunch of lazy days if we didn’t start out with some kind of direction.  At my son’s request, we took turns listing things.  I’d name something, and then he’d name something.  We went back and forth until we had filled an 8.5 x 11 sheet of printer paper.  We wrote down things like backpacking, the local trampoline place, walking at a local oak preserve, hiking and camping in the local NP took up several, the local arcade, Six Flags, seeing Matisyahu live again, and going to the beach.  We actually checked a lot off our list!  And we had a blast!  Having the list kept me focused as I planned our time together week to week.  I highly recommend that you try this approach to summer if you’re like me and my son and want to squeeze out as much fun from the 10 or so weeks that your child/children have off from school in the summer.  I had the advantage of having four days off in a row every week to make so many things possible.  But, this would also be a helpful approach for weekends off as well.

Why do we do the things that we do?  Do you ever think about that?  Are we living the life that we want to live, or are we living the life that we have been told that we ‘should’ live?  Every day, we get bombarded by ‘shoulds’.  I ‘should’ go to college.  I ‘should’ become a lawyer, doctor, teacher etc.  I ‘should’ buy a new car.  I ‘should get married’.  I ‘should’ have kids.  I ‘should’ buy a house a fill it with a bunch of stuff.  I have always sort of just naturally lived outside the norm, but I also found myself fulfilling a lot of the ‘shoulds’.  These are just some examples that I think are pretty universal.  For instance, when I graduated high school, I felt like I HAD to go to college.  I didn’t even think there was another choice for me.  I mostly put that on myself.  Sure it was talked about in high school a lot, but at the time, I felt like taking out loans and going to college was the only way that I’d be able to move from my hometown and travel.  I see now that that’s just not the case.  A friend’s awesome daughter just graduated from high school and is now spending a year in New Zealand on a work visa.  And my inner teenager is completely inspired by this move!  The possibilities!  There are many other ‘shoulds’ that I am sure you are thinking about right now.  I could go on with other examples of how I would ‘should’ myself through the years.  Are you ‘shoulding’ yourself about something in your own life?  Are the ‘shoulds’ from other people or society causing you to miss that you’re living a beautiful life just as you are? It is OK to throw out what other people expect of you and live the life that YOU want to live!  Life is too short to not live your own joy!

One of the best things I ever did for myself was to stop it with the ‘shoulds’!  When a ‘should’ came up, I would acknowledge it and look at where it was coming from and then just dismiss it.  Even in my current life, if I wasn’t so strong on my path, I could be really giving myself a hard time by comparing myself to other people my age.  I could be feeling like my life is lacking, because of comparison to other people.  But, I choose not to live that way.  I base my success in life not on whether or not I own a house or drive a fancy car, or have an intact family or have a bunch of fancy gadgets, but on my level of happiness and inner peace.  I do more things that give me joy and peace.  I find that peace generally comes when I quiet my mind and accept life as it is.  The happiness comes when I add more things to my daily living that bring me joy.  These aren’t impossible things, but it takes work to recognize the things that are stealing your peace and to adjust accordingly.  It takes work to shut off your mind and the ‘shoulds’ that you’ve been hanging onto for so long.  But the worthwhile result of all of that work is a contentment that has to really be experienced to be fully understood and appreciated.

I know that we aren’t meant to work all the time, never doing the things that make us happy, and then die.  That’s not at all what life is about.  If that is your life and you aren’t happy, then I would suggest that you work to change it.  I think the root of the issue is that most of us feel a void in us.  We aren’t sure why it’s there.  We don’t know how it got there, or when, but it’s there.  It’s that feeling that makes people shop and gather a bunch of things that they’ll never use.  It’s the feeling that causes people to jump from one relationship to the next.  Because that feeling of void in us is so strong and scary at times, we usually seek to fill it up with things and people versus figure it out so that we can get rid of it.  So, there are many people walking through life doing the things that they were told were important, and they have jobs they hate and relationships that leave them unfulfilled, and a whole house of stuff that still leaves them feeling that deep void and lack of fulfillment.  But they just keep going, because that’s just what they’re “supposed to do”.  I have experienced the other side.  I can tell you that it is possible to love the work that you do.  I have had, and loved two different careers now.  It is more than possible to live a life you love.  It is possible to turn your passions into your life’s work.  Each of us is born with a unique set of gifts to share with the world.  We then travel on our individual journeys and collect moments that give us each a very unique skill set and perspective on life.  I am not the only one who believes that the purpose of this life is to wake up and also find your gifts and give them to the world.  If you have a dream, believe that it is possible, because you are able to imagine it.  If it wasn’t possible, it wouldn’t even be available in your mind’s eye.  The fact that you can dream it means that you can create it.  And you don’t need a degree or someone else to tell you so.  You have the power to dream up a life and live it.  But you have to trust and let go of the self-limiting beliefs that are holding you back.  It takes work to shine a light on your beliefs and let go of the ones that no longer serve you.  It takes even more work to recognize when the beliefs that you’re holding aren’t even yours.  Maybe your parents have been telling you what to believe up to now.  Maybe society has been screaming so loudly in your ear that you haven’t been able to hear the whispers of your soul, your higher self.  I have learned that my mind is very loud compared to my intuition, so it helps when I quiet my mind with meditation or time in nature.

Right now, I am working to unravel and change my beliefs surrounding money and abundance.  I can see that I am holding onto beliefs that aren’t serving me based on what I am seeing show up in my life around finances.  Just when I think I have it figured out, I find a piece of the puzzle that I hadn’t been aware of.  I am sure that many of you can relate.  I come from a strong line of women who took care of their families largely on their own.  Both of my parents come from very large families where the household lived on one income for 6 and 8 kids.  Mostly, the Dad’s worked and the women were left to raise the kids.  They had what they needed probably most of the time, but nothing extra.  So beliefs like money is hard to come by and we don’t have what we need got passed down (I’m just speculating based on what my experience has been).  Growing up, my parents always wanted us to have all of the things that they felt they didn’t.  So we were given lots of stuff.  But with one income and three kids, there was a level of struggle that was palpable.  As an adult, I have uncovered beliefs in myself like money is hard to come by, you have to work really hard to make money, money doesn’t grow on trees, money and finances equal stress and uncertainty.  I have to really work to trust that I am always being taken care of and that I am always given what I need, especially when several unexpected expenses come up at the same time.  So I have to focus on today, the present.  I have what I need today.  I have food.  I have shelter.  I have the necessities and then some.  I have excess.  And so I work to acknowledge that every day.  My sister and I once talked about the fact that no matter how much money we make, we never feel like we have enough.  That’s part of our money programming.  Upon recognizing that we are both doing just fine, as a doctor and a nurse, I realized that what I was telling myself was simply not true.  And that’s what led me to dig deeper into my beliefs about money and other areas of my life.  The first step is seeing the belief, then you look to see how it’s affecting you and your life, and then you find a way to change the beliefs that aren’t working for you.  For me, I stopped and realized that I always had what I needed and then some.  I started being more grateful for what I had versus being upset about what I felt like I didn’t.

Sometimes, we spend so much time working to fill our void that we end up in a life that leaves us unhappy surrounded by a pile of things that just create more chaos around us.  Rather than living our own joy, a lot of the time, I think we chase dreams that aren’t our own and chase material things that we don’t even enjoy.  I was talking to a friend recently and we got on the subject of “stuff,” and how it feels like excess stuff clutters up our lives.  He told me about a documentary he had watched and enjoyed on Netflix called “Minimalism:  A Documentary About the Important Things” with Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus.  I watched it and really loved it.  They have a website and are also on Facebook.  They’re two guys who have paired down their stuff in a way that declutters their lives.  On their about page on their website HERE, they explain it better than I could: “Minimalists don’t focus on having less, less, less; rather, we focus on making room for more: more time, more passion, more experiences, more growth, more contribution, more contentment. More freedom. Clearing the clutter from life’s path helps us make that room.”

My next step is to declutter my living space.  I have been urged to do so for quite some time now, but I keep putting it off.  A lot of the stuff I need to go through is in my closet and behind other closed doors, so it’s been a bit of ‘out of sight, out of mind’.  But that’s starting to not be the case anymore.  I know it’s there and I feel it cluttering my space and my mind more all the time.  And I keep being shown examples of people who have minimized their stuff with great outcomes, so I know that’s the Universe’s way of telling me to follow suit.  I believe that when we clear the things/patterns/beliefs/activities/people out of our lives that aren’t giving us joy, we make room for more meaningful and positive things, people, and situations to enter our lives.  Doesn’t that make sense?  We can’t make room for the things that we want in our lives if our lives are already full of a bunch of things that we don’t want.

I listened to a podcast by the Minimalists titled, Masks, this morning.  You can find it HERE.  They talk more about what I have addressed here.  It was really great listen.  They ended the podcast with this:  “Love people and use things, because the opposite never works.”

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Listen to Michael Franti’s “Do It for the Love” HERE