Blog Thoughts: Breaking Open
Breaking ourselves open. Sounds scary for some and simple for others. There was a time when I would never consider this idea. That was a time of my youth locked away in the ideals of my upbringing that you don't talk about anything ever; hold it all in and never show yourself. That nearly killed me in a 14-year battle with disordered eating and body image and haunts me still in a journey walking through anxiety and depression that most individuals face; we just aren't talking about it. Hear that again; most people are struggling and productive human beings. There is no shame in mental illness. When we open ourselves up, we grow, we heal, we learn, and we become who we are meant to be. Consider these ideas today and I will bring this back more in depth next week with a blog post.
Blog Thoughts: Imagine
Are you paying attention? I came across this the other day and full on stopped. How often do we approach any relationship with our own ideas, before taking into account who they were before we met them? No one loves the same. No one walks the same journey. If there is any one thing I have learned over my life; it is that we each come to know love in vastly diverse ways with past experiences guiding us. Some come from deep pain and wounds that meet love in very different circumstances. They need to be approached with gentle care and concern. Imagine taking the time to understand how someone needed to be loved? That is a relationship that will grow into a deep connection with respect and optimism.
Healing: to make free from injury or disease: to make sound or whole. heal a wound; to restore to health. to mend.
Integrate: to combine two or more things so that they work together.
Affliction: something that causes pain or suffering.
I have never hidden my belief of everything happens for a reason. Every situation that you walk into within your life is going to offer you something for the greater good when you take a moment to look; to consider; to embrace; to accept.
We all have pain and affliction.
We all desire healing for something within our life.
Do you take the time to integrate these two immensely powerful and distinct actions together?
The reality is that they dance together through life daily all around us. It can be small; it can be grand.
The reality is that we are always being challenged on this journey to be who we are meant to become.
Look around you, look within you.
What pain have you avoided?
What affliction have you simply pushed down?
How can you integrate these gifts within your life to create a better you?
Catching My Breath
Catching My Breath
I have anxiety; I am not defined by anxiety.
I am not broken; I am catching my breath.
Anxiety is not one size fits all.
Anxiety is not consistent.
Anxiety tells a unique story for each person who is walking in its steps.
The story is theirs alone; your only job is to listen.
A person with anxiety will wake on most days with the weight of the world resting on their chest. They will spend every waking moment trying to take back their life from this undefinable heaviness that steals their breath; a breath that rarely comforts.
A person with anxiety will fight every morning past wanting to stay in the safety of their bed, rather than face the uncertainty of the day before them.
A person with anxiety plays a constant reel in their head with every scenario of how they can escape interacting with others; a battle that is never won having to be in the world.
A person with anxiety will turn down invitation after invitation so often that soon they are few and far between.
A person with anxiety will make themselves believe that the world does not need them to exist within it; they do not know their worth.
Anxiety is isolating.
Some days, my breath does not come.
Some days, I do not get out of bed.
Some days, I do not leave the house.
Some days, I cannot see my worth.
Some days, it is bigger than I can hold.
Anxiety is an intimate struggle, a personal fight.
Anxiety shows itself through unexplained emotions.
Anxiety is immeasurable stress that leads to panic.
Anxiety can often be misplaced anger and short-tempered outbursts.
Anxiety is the despair and silence that falls upon a person mirroring depression.
Anxiety is deafening amidst a constant battle within.
I struggle with anxiety; I am not defined by anxiety.
I am not broken; I am catching my breath.
It is often said to, ‘just breathe.’
A person with anxiety knows how to breathe.
A person with anxiety may be battling a chemical imbalance.
A person with anxiety may be recovering from a trauma.
A person with anxiety likely has too many stories silenced.
I live in the world with my anxiety.
I live in the world with my heaviness.
I live in the world with my stories.
I live in the world with my voice.
I live in the world just trying to hold myself up.
I struggle with anxiety; I am not defined by anxiety.
I am not broken; I am catching my breath.
To the loved one who is walking with someone who is struggling with anxiety; it is not about you.
They are just trying to catch their breath most days.
To the friend who is taking it personally that the one who is struggling with anxiety will not return your texts or invitations; it is not about you.
They can’t stop their mind long enough to form a thought; they can’t see their value as to why you are still here.
To the stranger who may see the person with anxiety in the world looking desolate and alone; a smile through your eyes will go further than you could possibly imagine.
Do not look through them; see them.
They struggle with anxiety; they are not defined by anxiety.
They are not broken; they are trying to catch their breath.
I struggle with anxiety; I am not defined by anxiety.
I am not broken; I am catching my breath.
I live in the world.
Every day I am just trying to begin again.
Blog Thoughts: What if...
Well, how about that? On any given day we are all exhausting ourselves with how to fix what we think is broken on our journey. So much so, that we fail to see what is good! What if today we chose to see the good? What if today we decided to add one good thing to our day, instead of pointing out the negatives? What if we made a commitment to honor our presence, our lives and the path that is in front of us, instead of the path we think we are supposed to be on? What if...?
Do you pour your heart into everything you do?
It seems like a simple question but consider it. I know that some days it is easier to get through a task with speed rather than quality. We live in a time where checking off our to do list can often be more important than the quality of what we are doing. Why is this? Why is it so hard for us to pause? We need to remember ourselves along the way. We need to put all our energy and passion into our tasks striving for the best outcome. Life is short, we have no idea of our time limits in this world. Don't you want to put your very best forward, knowing you left something of value in the world?
Consider it in whatever next task you take on...and pour your heart into it!
3 Minute Retreat - Patterns
I love this statement. First, patterns. We all have them. They are often more visible than you think. We normally know when we are in a pattern that is not necessarily supporting our lives. The problem is we struggle to have the courage to break those patterns. Patterns are often comfortable. They can make life easier in the short term, no doubt.
But we must pause and ask ourselves if these patterns are serving us well on our journey?
Do the patterns we create bring us life?
Are your patterns holding you back?
Only you can answer that question.
Then there is the other side of this idea. Often when we are looking within and taking care of ourselves, it can feel selfish. It can have a deep connotation of 'me first' that feels too focused inward.
In reality 'me too' is self-care. It is remembering that we are a part of the story.
How can you continue to say, 'me too' and support our lives to the fullest?
Give yourself permission to pause and reflect today.
Blog Thoughts: Bonds
Bonds. Bonds can be very defining and special in ways you may discover more deeply as the decades pass, I have found. I am blessed to have a handful of friends who have been with me over three and four decades of my life. I have shared that with my daughter as her heart has hurt more in the past several months when her closest friend moved away. While we are visiting, I can see that they both have honored and realized that their bond isn't nor can be broken, only nurtured in new ways. Once in person they picked up as if it were yesterday that they saw each other. I am blessed to know that feeling as well. Do you hold back making friends for fear of loss? What risk are you holding back? Try and consider the gift of bonds that can add to your life in indescribable ways today!
Blog Thoughts: You are more.
True words. I walk down the street, sit in a café or just driving along the road and I am always thinking about the amazing lives of the people I see behind the faces.
How well do you know yourself?
Better yet, how well do you trust yourself?
I believe there is always a hidden story within us wanting to be released. I am always considering that I need to wake myself up at time; wake up the part of me that truly has something to say, something to offer.
Who is hiding within you that needs to escape? Honor your wisdom today.
Isn't that really what we are all doing on a daily basis?
If it is not the next best yoga class, it is a sure-fire fix-it meditation we found online. We as a society are always looking outside of ourselves from our peace to our wellbeing. Somewhere along the way in our ever changing fast paced world, we forgot how to trust ourselves and go within.
Everywhere we look around us, we are told how we should be living our life. We are told how our bodies should look at our age. We are told how to keep our skin looking younger than we actually are. What happened to us?
Why is it so hard to see life as it is?
Why is it so hard to stop and say, 'I love my life today, in this moment, as it is!' ?
We can walk down that road until the day we die of trying to mold our lives into what we think it should be. But, I promise you, if you live life in that fantasy you are going to miss out on the countless gifts in front of you as you are today.
How can you throw away any and all expectation that you have put on yourself and embrace the moment today?
What is one step you can take today, that appreciates the gift you are in this very moment?
Life is so much shorter than you can even imagine. Don't waste your time on fake friendships, false happiness and paths that only lead you towards a darker existence..
Live in the light.
I spoke to this a bit yesterday in Unravelling Forgiveness. We often go straight to ourselves and our faults when someone doesn't respond to us the way we would like them to. We automatically assume we did something wrong, rather than consider it is their issue. A person's behavior often speaks volumes if you are listening. Take a moment, a step back and listen. Do not be so quick to take on all of the responsibility of a situation before you know the whole story. Start trusting yourself. You will be amazed how it can turn around your entire situation and path.
I don’t know a person who walks on this earth that hasn’t had to sit with forgiveness at some point in their lives.
It does not come easy, period.
Forgiveness is different for each individual for the wound is different. Only you can walk in the footsteps of the forgiveness that you are facing. You can reflect, ask for advice, talk about the wound with others; yet at the end of the day it is up to you to meet forgiveness in a place that is comfortable for you.
I had to come to terms with the fact that I am powerless over other people's choices and actions.
Read that again. We are powerless over others choices and actions. I had wanted to understand the wound, reason the behavior away and find an answer to the incessant ‘why’ that just wasn’t going to ever be there for me.
In time I had to come to my own personal realization that I can allow their actions to infect my life and the journey that I am walking; allowing their dismissiveness and arrogance to wound me repeatedly by staying in that anger or resentment, holding and cradling that which was not mine to hold. Or I could embrace personal empowerment by forgiving, letting go and walking forward in what I know to be true for me.
I had to meet the honest humility within myself. That has been hard for me, but truly the healthiest thing I could ever do for my healing journey.
When we hold on to resentment, we are only hurting ourselves. When people harm us or do things that are not acceptable, and the list is often long; it is never really about us. It’s about them and their own woundedness that they are working through.
We find forgiveness so as to not take on their pain and darkness that they have not processed and which shows itself in hurting others, knowingly and unknowingly at times.
I have had to find forgiveness for many different situations in my life, some more traumatic than others. It will always be a journey that begins with bringing to the core an indescribable pain that one must first sit with in order to open up our deepest self to an enlightened healing, allowing awareness to envelop the process and in the full circle of transformation carries a welcome peace.
I admit there are some wounds I have brought to forgiveness only to realize in the process that I had to come back to the story my pain told and dig out of what were heavy and complicated feelings more than once. I now see how returning to forgiveness often for past and present wounds is a good thing. We are given the gift of self-awareness that allows us to live a more humble and fulfilling life.
Our stories teach us daily. I am beginning to believe that there is never an end point. I have learned more from healing than I ever believed possible when I am not afraid to return to those wounds, the lessons, and the healing process.
The important piece for me is to not stay in the darkness that can consume our breath and leave us lifeless. We must continually look for the streams of light shining through at the most unexpected times to teach us over and over that it is possible.
Though it is important to point out that just because we have found forgiveness, we do not have to put ourselves back into a situation or presence that is still harmful. We can move on.
I think some situations of forgiveness warrant working through the pain and moving forward with those who hurt you, while other situations are definitely not a place to stay planted in. Each person must work out that journey for themselves and the situations that find them.
What story do you need to heal from?
What story have you repeated to yourself over and over that you need to retell in a new light?
Do not let empathy impede on your self-respect and rob people of experiencing the consequences of their actions, but allow yourself the human act of forgiving for you and you alone.
Have you ever stopped to consider for a moment that you are the miracle? We are a world that is always looking for answers around us and to the side of us. Why are we not looking within? When we go within, we find the stories, answers and wisdom that has been there patiently waiting to be acknowledged for as long as you have walked this earth. Why are you so quick to ask for answers from everyone and everything before yourself? Pause, breathe, and remember the miracle has always been on the inside waiting for you. You have the tools to take on this amazing life, just say yes!
Blog Thoughts: Soul Care
It really is as simple as a pause. Embrace yourself with the silence, do not fear. It is there to comfort and console. The silence can be a gift if you choose to see it as such. Allow your body to respond accordingly. Breathe in deeply with the air filling your lungs as you consider all the stressors and worries of this moment, focusing on how it feels in your body. Then slowly exhale, releasing your mind and heart of those stressors finding presence to begin again. We can allow our feelings to contaminate our soul and destroy our balance; or we can recognize their presence honoring the role they play in our journey. It is your choice. How you embrace your breath, the silence and life's challenges begin with you. Your personal wellness and presence of peace begins with you.
3 Minute Retreat - Doors
When I bought this unique piece, it stood out to me immediately. I thought of several different ideas, emotions, and pathways it represented. Our lives are made up of endless doors that we will walk through, open, close and find our way around. Knowing which direction is the key to the journey.
Some doors are tougher than others to walk through or even consider opening.
Some doors obviously need to be closed once and for all, so that they cannot hurt us anymore.
Some doors sit quietly before us waiting for our stronger self to be ready to embrace what is behind the door.
What doors in your life have you been running from that it is time to pause and consider?
What doors do you continue to walk through that in your heart you know it is time to close?
How can you reach out for support around these important movements on your journey?
Take some time with these ideas and questions.
Consider where you have been and where you want to go on the journey ahead.
Remember it is ok to ask for help.
Imagine the gift behind the door.
Imagine the gift in closing the door.
Imagine the gift in building a new door.
I saw this thought a while back and still can't get it out of my mind. I have been blessed with many adventures on my journey. I lived in a time before cell phones when I was on many of those journeys. I captured the stories, the beautiful scenery, and the adventures in my memory. I could have taken photos the old-fashioned way and in some cases I did, but those can never measure up to my visual memory I hold within. We spend too much energy and time today trying to save every single moment, instead of living the moment. In our house I have mentioned before how we have limited photos on a wall and mini memory books filled with only a few photos from each memorable experience alone with written stories, favorite quotes, and such. I have always encouraged my kids to re-tell the stories so that they are captured forever in their memory and heart. If there was a fire tomorrow and we lost everything, I would hope it would be just a moment of sadness for all they needed was in their minds' eyes. Think about it the next time you are trying to capture that special day, but you are actually missing the beautiful moment completely.
Blog Thoughts: Allowing Love
I don't believe love is easy for anyone, despite what they may say otherwise. I think love is a complex emotion for most everyone. You either know it in your soul as a given, or you are on the other side where all of your life you fought to understand and accept it having it not come easy to you in any form. I am on the latter side. Allowing love sounds easy enough, but if you were raised in this world with an understanding that it had to be earned or value the easy nature is non-existent. How has your experience of love been on your journey? I encourage you to share your thoughts with a close person in your life. Opening the window into these emotions and experiences is part of a healing journey. Someone who has love come naturally could so easily help the person who struggles to understand acceptance of love freely. We are here to walk together hand in hand in order to live this life fully.
So, narcissism is a strong word, I know. But I have noticed a theme across social media of self-confidence, passion and embracing one's voice to be a disguise in the worst way of in fact narcissism. I am not saying by any means that everyone is a narcissist. I think everyone does have a little narcissism in them, however. It is human. But the key is how you use it. I am the first person to tell you to find your voice. But the pleas I have seen of late to 'go find less' are not exactly fair. Here is the thing; you can be passionate about life, but you have to be aware of the people around you. If your passion is hurting someone then that is not you being just 'more' that is you being narcissistic in a bad way. We can be passionate human beings going after our dreams, but we must remember the people in our path. If you are disregarding people, their feelings, and in many areas decisions that need more than one person's input on a situation be it with children or relationships, then there is a problem. Just something to think about. Go be more but be kind and compassionate along the way.
Blog Thoughts: Anger vs Grief
I saw this awhile back and have come back to the depth of its meaning more than once. Think about it. How many times have you just immersed yourself in anger allowing it to really infect your life without even considering the true emotion behind it? When I stopped to look at this situation in my own life recently with a different emotion came through strong, grief. It wasn't so much anger, but sadness and grief for the loss I experienced around the situation. While anger was true for me, it wasn't fair to put all the energy into that one emotion. I decided to sit with that grief for some time before I was able to let go. It was the freedom I needed and appreciated at that moment. Now, I ask the deeper questions around these emotions, to not get caught up again. Try it.
3 Minute Retreat - Planting Trees
"The one who plants trees knowing that he or she will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life." -R.T.
The meaning behind this quote has been taken in many ways. It is personal to you. What will you consider when reading it?
To me planting trees is to look at the world outside of yourself.
What do you want to leave behind when you leave this earth?
What will it say about you, that which you are leaving?
I try to live my life in a way that exudes the gratitude I feel for being given the opportunity to breathe the air around me. How are you doing this?
We have but one chance, one life.
Will you take it for granted?
Or will you plant trees in someone else's shade?
You can be the difference in someone's life whom you don't even know. You may never see the rewards from that which you are planting, but knowing you left this earth better than you when you arrived says everything about a person.
Blog Thoughts: Anxiety
How often are we rushing around in our lives, and we simply brush people off? We are all guilty of a lack of empathy or compassion in our hurried world. We brush off these times of situations for it is too time consuming or difficult to deal with. I am reminded so often that more people than not are facing these feelings on a daily basis. Our world is a very anxious place to live these days. There are those who deal with anxiety in a chronic manner and then those who have situational anxiety as they walk through different situations in their lives. The bottom line is pause, listen, embrace and be present to those people around you. A little kindness goes a long way for anyone feeling these big feelings daily.
Blog Thoughts: Self-Compassion
Do you allow yourself self-compassion? We are reactive human beings. Some are better at taking a step back than others. Some just need the expression to a situation in order to create closure or healing. But more often than not, we wish we could take back what we may have said or done in a situation where we were just trying to get our voice heard. We need to forgive ourselves now for that person, those actions and walk away learning a bit about who we are and who we want to become. Life is hard. There is no how-to book. We must walk through each day doing the best we can. So come off the hill, remember you are human and try again for today.
It has been nearly two months since the year has taken off. Where are you on your intentions?
I struggle every year on the first of the year; it can be the most defining day for some and damaging in ways of lofty expectations that we and our culture put on ourselves.
One day is not going to change our life forever.
One day isn't going to have all the answers to fix every little thing that we thought was wrong with our journey previously.
This year, I was stunned how many people were hosting vision, collaging and intention workshops. I have been doing so for over 25 years; remembering it was like pulling teeth to get people interested enough to attend in those beginning years. Today, there are too many to count from that I actually decided against hosting. I was concerned in what I was seeing as an unrealistic buildup of this mystical answer to one's perceived problems.
So, today, I am writing to check in with folks. I am wondering how you are doing two months into the year?
Are your intentions guiding you in the direction you had hoped for?
Or are they continuing to put unrealistic pressures on you?
Have you found a middle ground that works for you and your path?
Or are you struggling to find a balance amidst expectations?
The bottom line is that you are not alone in whichever direction you are walking towards in your intentions. I don’t know a person on this path that could tell you everything is measuring out exactly how they planned for themselves in the new year. That is just not the norm. We as humans are meant to fail, to struggle, to constantly pick ourselves up and grow from the experiences we face day to day.
I am not saying that it is fail proof to set a goal and create a vision. Neither am I saying to walk through life blindly with no focus. I am just saying that it is wise to understand that you can re-set at any point as many times as you need to while walking through this life.
When we change our focus and mentality in this way, we are more likely to find the direction that is meant to fill our soul and guide us to our true path. We are breathing through the process, rather than rushing to a finish line.
This vision collage is our family collage. We as a family make a vision for the year, and then as individuals collage a mandala for our personal path. It tells a story with each person in the family's hopes, wishes and directions for the year ahead. But here is the thing; this isn't our only one. Every week my teens must make an affirmation card on an index card with the same format for their week ahead. They make collage and vision mandalas on their birthdays, at the beginning and end of the school year and often on other holidays as well. It is a practice, not a one-time thing. They have been doing this before they could read with images and once they could read with words. Sometimes the vision is so personal to talk about that this format allows for their inner most desires to shine through.
Let's get real, do they bitch and moan about it? Sure, they are teenagers. But if you were to see their private spaces in their room you would see all these collages stored in their sacred space that we each have. At times they will talk about them and even mention when they see some things coming to fruition. I am hoping that I am instilling a practice that will guide them for the journey when I am not there asking them how they are doing with what they have on their path.
Consider it. Consider making intentions a practice instead of a novelty. You have the power to re-set your journey as often as you need to. You are the author of your path and only you.
Blog Thoughts: Be the Artist
Who is holding your brush? I know am guilty of handing over my brush to someone else at times. It can be so easy to get caught up in others opinions of our personal journey. There is so much unsolicited advice in the world, especially since the social media explosion. At the end of the day, it is YOUR journey. It is YOUR canvas. You are your most important piece of artwork. How do you want to paint your journey with your own brush?
Blog Thoughts: Travel
If you know me well, you know I love to travel. I love change. I love to go explore. This statement couldn't be truer to me. When I go out into the world, I always see something for the first time. It sparks light, energy, and story. I want to share with whomever will listen to the journey which crosses my path and most especially the stories, stories within people. Everyone is out there living life in their own culture, design and paths. No two journeys are ever the same. I have endless stories of people I have met in my 52 years from Israel to Europe to the US, and I am always in awe. I never expect for the wisdom and story to mold me in the richest ways through each encounter. When I come home, it is different in so many ways. I am able to appreciate what I have around me more and I am able to see the depth of color in the life I created that dulled before I left. It inspires me to appreciate where I stand in the present moment more and it encourages me remember the intertwined world out there that I can forget about when caught in the day to day. You don't have to travel the world, but you can travel to another town. You can go explore a street you have never walked before. You can go to a café that you have passed for years, but never walked into. Travel in the simplest of ways or the grander of ways, but travel. Be open to the story around you and the story within you waiting to be told!
Andrea creates, builds, and offers her teachings and hands on life tools based on her journey healing her body image after a 14yr battle and life of trauma. Her vision always is to help others live a full life with the journey they are given.