Blog Thoughts: Choosing Joy
I am certain we have all heard this more than once on our journey. Some roll their eyes and think to themselves that the person who wrote this has no idea of the shoes I am walking in. Others embrace it with a positive and resounding yes. Then there are the reflective folks like me who choose to take some time and thought before following through with this statement. Whichever you are I wish you peace. She hits it on the head, though. We can't control every single thing in our lives, but we can control how we react to them, how we take them in and how we choose to live by their meaning. I know some days I can let the events of my life take me down the hole of darkness. That isn't a bad thing either. Sometimes we do need to sit with our traumas to learn from them, we just can't live there forever. So, just for today, consider which path you are in and at the end of the day CHOOSE JOY!
What a powerful quote!
Before you get reactive and defensive, pause. Simply pause and ask yourself what strong feeling do you have about this statement.
Are you holding back in your life?
Is there a part of you that knows your woundedness, but has been afraid to admit that it needs to be addressed?
Walking into ourselves could be the most terrifying experience of our life, but don't you think it is more frightening to ignore our true selves?
When we walk through each day with only a mirror of ourselves silently, we are not being true to the life that has been given to us. If we do not wake up every day and ask ourselves the hardest questions about our journey, then spend the day trying to answer it for ourselves, are we really living?
The greatest gift we have is to continue to journey into ourselves every day that we breathe air. Our journey does not have to look the same every day for all intents and purposes, but rather every moment we take that deep breath we are challenging ourselves to walk into the unknown.
Go towards the unknown!
Live the unknown!
Speak the unknown!
Don't let fear be the decider of who you are and what your path will look like in the end. Be fearless and don't look back.
Embrace the journey into you, you will not regret it.
Darkness and light complement each other.
I know that can be a challenge to consider, but if we take a moment to go within this thought, you may be surprised by what it can show you.
When we are in the darkness it is hard to see anything other than the woe, pain or misery. Life is a struggle, and the light is impossible to grasp. We can't see gratitude, the gift, or the joy when we are sitting alone.
The day comes when light will be shown outside of this moment. It will lift us out of the sorrow and grief, showing us hope and life. It is then that the darkness will reveal that it was a road that we needed to travel in order to get to where we are today.
Where in your life have you been in a darkness so deep, but when the time came for you to embrace the light your life was transformed?
Take a moment to reflect or write about this time. Consider all the pieces of the experience and what it offered you. Embrace this process so when the darkness comes again, this memory will lift you up!
Blog Thoughts: Living
This isn't as simple as it seems. I have watched people live in this life solely existing. They are amazing at taking care of their responsibilities, but they are not living. They don't take the time to enjoy a meal out every so often. When was the last time you went to a movie in an actual theatre? Have you walked through the woods? Do you marvel at the beauty around you? Can you pause? We aren't truly living if are not taking the time to appreciate all that is around and within us. It doesn't have to be a grand trip across an ocean, not that wouldn't be a bad thing. It just needs to be a moment when you remember there is a bit more than just your responsibilities.
Our Bodies, Aging and Love
Our Bodies, Aging and Love
The first two words I imagine one has seen a lot, but when you add the last word into that equation a mountain of emotions and feelings come reluctantly attached. Most people can’t imagine love connected to those first two words: bodies and aging. It is often a raging battle throughout their lifetime.
Why is that?
Where did it become so mixed up along the way that our bodies were not something to love?
Who was the first to decide that aging should always have negative connotations?
These two words are life.
These two words are journey.
These words dance together and should bring stories of love, light and joy, not sadness, fear, regret, hatred, or self-loathing. I marvel every day at my age. It seems like yesterday I was a child in the school yard thinking how old the adults all seemed. It was something I could not grasp that it too would be my reality one day.
Then there comes a point where all we want to do is grow up as fast as we can. We reluctantly understand that it comes with responsibilities; but we desperately think it will make us happy to be anywhere other than where we are when we are young.
Until we get there. Then we realize that happy is the furthest emotion from the hardcore truth of responsibility at times. Furthermore, at that point we find ourselves in a body we sit in that seems foreign to us.
I remember vividly watching people in my life as they physically changed. Personally, I have had a love hate relationship with my body since I was a young child as a survivor. I came from a relationship with my body that was wounded and scarred. I came from a background where there was not a lot of support around my body or the story it told. I grew up figuring out my own way in terms of my body, all alone; that was not always a good thing. I don’t think I am unique in that reality. Early on when women can’t find peace within their body journey, it is nearly impossible to guide anyone else down that path.
Out of fear of understanding the changes and the stories my body was trying to speak early on, I jumped into the attack of my being through disorder body image for fourteen years. Somewhere along the pathway of that healing journey I introduced the healthy body to the fearful body, and we began to learn a dance within its beauty that never had been defined before. A welcome rarity, albeit slow. Some days are harder than others, but the continued gift in listening and exploring the wisdom my body speaks never tires.
Some may never learn this dance.
Some may lay in the darkness of fear and shame never understanding the gift within their body.
Some will only ever abuse their body by hiding away or by disguising their true body through the endless forms of dieting and cultural anti-body norms that will have them never taking a true and deep breath of acceptance in their truth that they were born into beauty.
Which are you today?
Which do you want to be tomorrow?
Our bodies are our intimate and personal story. No one can speak to them but you.
Our bodies are speaking to us every day.
Our bodies are carrying us through this life stepping courageously into the unknown of each day. I want to look in the mirror and stare lovingly into my eyes seeing the wrinkles on either side, remembering that the endless moments of laughter, joy, tears of sadness and pain that eventually brought healing peace were the foundation of those wrinkles.
Our stomachs will never be what they were from the beginning to the end of life. They will have stretch marks that will tell an abundance of stories, of bringing life into this world, of enjoying life to its fullest.
I want to be able celebrate the curves that have come over time as I healed and lovingly grew into my body. The dimples that have appeared in the most loving and living of ways.
Those wrinkles, the scars, my skin, my loving pillows are my journey, my story. I don’t want to hide them anymore in oversized clothing or masked in cultural pressures to change their immeasurable beauty.
Let me tell you all of the stories that are engraved into my face, my hands, my arms, my legs and my stomach.
I am not ashamed.
Let me remember how I lived fully in this body.
Let me remember lovingly and gratefully!
Our bodies are not covered in flaws, they are aged in an endless beautiful story.
I am real.
I am beautiful.
Blog Thoughts: Human Mind
I love this truth. I am guilty sometimes in my more vulnerable moments, owning and holding on to emotions so deep they wound my soul. The truth is that they are not ours to own. We need to recognize, process and release. Who we are is at our core, we need to embrace that Light. Emotions serve us well to heal when we need them but remember to release them often.
Blog Thoughts: Are You Reactive?
This passed me by today and it hit hard. You can find me often sharing about when a person has an issue with you to look at their pointed fingers. The others are pointed back at themselves. Often it is their own issue that is being put on someone else. At the same time, when something really hits home to me, I have to wonder what is behind it that has me so upset? What is trying to be revealed in an unhealed wound from the journey I have already walked. So I leave you this evening with these simple thoughts and challenge you to consider them.
Blog Thoughts: Hard Truths
And good morning to you too! If this isn't one to take in today...I can be heard often saying every breath you take is a privilege not a right. The path in front of us is ours, it was given to us. While we can't always control every aspect that comes into our life, molds the path and directs us to who we are today, we do have an obligation to show up. I do not like this hard truth. Why? Because every day I wake up I am reminded that I need to keep using the life I have been dealt to better myself and the world around me. It is hard. Some days, it really pains me. But I don't think I have ever walked away from one retreat, one speaking engagement or one event regretting putting myself out there. Putting my voice and words out there is hard most days, but I have an obligation to others since I have the gift of still living this life despite all odds. So, what is your hard truth today?
Are you helpful?
I think anyone's first instinct is going to jump on this answer with a resounding 'of course' without real reflection.
We all want to think that we are helpful when someone needs something from us. We like to believe that we are always kind, caring individuals. Well, I will call out myself first in saying at times I put myself before someone else.
This isn't a horrible thing to do at times. It is self-preservation. But, if you were to look at your life when someone came to you and you declined, were you really not available?
There have been times in my day to day as a single mom that I needed the smallest of tasks done and asked for help just being overwhelmed shuffling two teenagers around. No one was there to step up. It is vulnerable to ask for help and it is even more humbling to admit we can't do it all alone.
Being helpful does not have to mean being grand. It could be helping someone with their groceries and taking their cart back for them. It could be noticing someone struggling with their little kids in the grocery and just offering a helpful hand.
It is simple.
So, walking through your day, take notice.
How can you be helpful to someone around you? Your act of kindness and awakening could be the greatest Light in someone else's day.
Blog Thoughts: Say It
I have said this repeatedly, say it. When we are out and about, I practice this incredible human need. What have I learned? It can change a person's day, week, month and most especially mind. As I lived inside my head in the depts of my eating disorder years ago, the negative voice in my head was very real. It battled every thought, every moment of the day and often won. A kind word, compliment, a hello or wish for a good day could change someone's entire thought process and entire day. It takes so little of you and yet is priceless to another.
Blog Thoughts: Wholeness
I love diving into the truth within this statement.
Aren't we all living 'possibilities' daily in our lives?
Aren't we all striving to embrace our wholeness?
I do believe we all have some brokenness in our lives. There is no way to walk the journey without this experience for it is human nature. Perfection does not exist. But there are times in my life and brokenness, where it felt too dark and deep to heal. If I live in that thinking, I will not arrive at any point that is healthy. Though if I approach wholeness and healing with an idea of possibility, imagine what the journey could look like. There is a powerful light and in turn hope that follows. How can you approach changing how you view your wounds? How can you begin to rebuild wholeness?
Blog Thoughts: As I Am
As I am.
This is a motto for life, for my work and for every person.
I am beautiful as I am.
I am strong as I am.
I am going to thrive as I am.
When did we begin to trust more in what the world puts out there, than deep within ourselves who we are today in this moment?
These bodies are our gift to us from the day we are born. The scars and gorgeous marks tell the stories we lived to the fullest like no other! We were not born to stay the way we were from day one; we are meant to live deep, strong, and vibrant lives! The stories our bodies tell carry limitless wisdom and journey!
Today, I want you to choose what you would call a 'flaw' on your body and celebrate it! Write or talk about the story behind the beauty here or with someone else. I challenge you to own not dwell in it as if it is a problem.
You are amazing today, as you are!
(If you want to take this a step further join us on our April 'Call of the Dark Moon' Women's Beach Retreat! We are going to go deep in the beautiful exploration and conversation of aging, changing over into new beauty within and celebrating the journey we are walking forward!)
Blog Thoughts: Anger
I can feel everyone's head nodding as they read this post. Why is it we immediately turn emotions onto ourselves that do not belong to us? Is it easier? Is it safer? My guess is that it is the least confrontational. Therefore, we are wounding ourselves to avoid conflict and more pain. I understand that idea, but it is not ok. It is healthy to have emotions and to express our feelings in positive ways. Though, when embracing anger, we are only surrounding ourselves with a negative energy that simply can only do harm. What is another way that we can walk into the situation when someone doesn't do exactly as we had hoped, planned or asked? How can we walk in a healthy response to anger that will honor our feelings and protect ourselves?
Blog Thoughts: Suffering
This is your morning hit to the gut. It is not meant to be cruel, but it is meant to shake up your thoughts and feelings. There isn't a person in this world that has not experienced suffering. It is a part of life. Some suffering goes much deeper than another's suffering, but the truth be told it is painful to that person no doubt. It is there to teach us, to guide us, to allow us to live deeply and fully in this world. It does not go away, not because you haven't worked through it; but because it is a part of the ever-continuing journey of life. Make friends with your suffering, step back and allow joy. The two can create a beautiful dance!
Blog Thoughts: Boundaries Part 2
Boundaries are often mistaken or mislabeled by some as mean, aggressive, standoffish and the list goes on. Boundaries are self-care in the best form. If we don't set boundaries, then it allows anyone into our mental space. If we don't set boundaries, it is the fastest way for us to get walked over and used.
At one point in my life, I easily said yes to everyone who needed help, whether it be friends, church, work, or strangers. I wanted to be liked. I was the helper. I believed it was being a good person. When I stepped back exhausted, feeling more alone at times than connected to myself or others, I realized there was a problem.
Boundaries are a healthy way to balance your life, your emotions, your energy, and your relationships. Some people feed off those they know don't have boundaries and use them until they are spent. When you set boundaries, not only are you taking care of your well-being; but you are helping others learn from your example. You can do good in the world and set boundaries. You can be a good person and live by your boundaries.
You Are Your Own Soulmate
You Are Your Own Soulmate
“Loneliness is a sign you are in desperate need of yourself.” - rupi kaur
We throw around the word soulmate as if it is the end all to save us from ourselves.
Do you need saving? Or do you just need to learn to love yourself?
The idea of a soulmate transpires thinking someone else could complete us.
When did you walk away from the truth that you are your first true love and soulmate?
I have watched so many scenes unfold for people where that is the furthest thing to grasp. We as a population are often chasing after what we think we want or need always outside of ourselves.
Loving ourselves should be the first thing we do.
Loving ourselves should be a natural occurrence as it is to nourish our bodies every day.
Somewhere early on my journey I began to realize that I was the only one truly looking out for my well-being.
I love to romanticize with the best of them in every romantic movie imaginable, but I only ever walked away feeling empty.
I knew there was more other than waiting for someone else to make me feel whole; to make me feel loved.
Why is it so difficult for us to embrace ourselves as our own soulmate?
The truth is that you have everything you need by tapping within. You simply need to be reminded to cultivate the love within yourself.
I come from the theory that I am the only one who owns my journey and I complete myself. Anyone who comes into my life is a bonus. I never turn away from putting myself first.
I am my own soulmate.
When you begin with being kinder to yourself and showing the same kind of love you have always given to others, it will return and fill you up in all the ways you have felt empty.
It will make you whole.
Instead of depending on others to heal your heart for you, create action on your own. Can you consider that your journey is first and foremost about you? What inspires you? What are your dreams?
We must envision how we can grow into our journey?
This season of being challenged to be your own soul mate, to be your own safe place is going to push you outside of your comfort zones.
Remember those people who walked away from your love? Maybe they are simply reminding you of the roads that lead you back to yourself.
Once you turn away from those who don’t embrace your love, you can then begin to rebuild, adapt, mend and reclaim all the pieces of your heart that you let others hold before you were awakened; before you learned to return the love to its rightful owner.
It all begins and ends with you.
Stop to take a moment to acknowledge all that you have done in your life and celebrate YOU.
Look in the mirror, it was always you.
I love people who wait for no one, the solo travelers, people who go to the beach alone, enjoy a movie alone, appreciate a meal alone.
When was the last time you took yourself out on a date?
Seriously, this is something we all need to practice. This is something I have loved doing since I was young. Do I have anxiety around these activities? Sure, I do. I am human. But I force myself to do them anyway and only benefit in the end.
Life will pass you by if you are always waiting for someone to join you.
I hope you find someone who speaks your language of love, so you don’t have to spend a lifetime translating your spirit. But in the meantime, remember that you are loved by you.
Learn to fall in love with your own potential for living fully.
You are the unconditional love that you yearn for right now.
Create love within yourself, first. The universe is here to aid and guide us on the journey through life, it will never just make things happen. You are the co-creator of your reality.
It has always been you.
Blog Post: Traits
What are your characteristic traits that you love about yourself?
I can look at my journey and hear the naysayers, the doubters, and the judgmental voices daily. I can choose to only hear those voices and not listen to my inner voice. Or I can honor the traits I was born with and grew into along the way of life with power. I can remember all the hard work that went into me fighting for what others feel is unachievable. I can value my arduous work and determination; I can applaud my ability to challenge every limit put before me.
I am human. When I get knocked down it isn't always easy to get back up. But I remind myself that when I do, I am stronger for it. When I ignore the doubters, I live my and embrace my passion within my work more deeply than one could imagine,
Then there is the final trait that I think every single one of us struggles with and that is asking for help. Let's face it, it is hard. It is humbling. I am sure I am not alone in going down every road before I get to the one that must ask for help. Though, once I do, I found it doesn't take away from my power, it only strengthens it!
I want to give up often. Sometimes I have. Then when I circle back to my goal at hand, I remember that my voice is my guide and no one else's.
What are your characteristic traits that you honor today?
Blog Thoughts: Connection
Connection is one of the more complicated human emotions and actions. We all want to feel connected to someone, but if we are being honest, hard work really does go into that action. Often, we are trying to connect to people who aren't necessarily good for us, because we want to fit in to a particular crowd or environment. Other times we are trying to connect to someone determined that one particular relationship could be warmth, comfort and companionship. Pause and consider who are the people that truly light you up? Those are your people. When you begin to embrace those people more you will find your life balancing out in healthy ways. Surround yourself with those who show you respect and genuine kindness. Those are your people.
3 Minute Retreat: Feminine & Masculine Power
Do you shy away from your power?
We aren't necessarily raised with the idea of claiming our power, owning our power, and manifestly embracing our power. But we should.
We should know our power.
We should understand our power.
We should be able to embrace our power to navigate within the journey.
This isn't the time to shy away, let fear overcome and allow the outside voices to silence our power. We were born with our unique and eccentric power.
Do you know what yours is yet?
We need to intimately know the wisdom of our bodies and the gift of listening in order to fully live the path before us.
We need to establish a connection to one's core essence of power allowing the spark to unapologetically shine.
Stand in your power today, turn on your light!
Blog Thoughts: Live...Take Two
I saw this floating around the internet this week and I had to share!
Why? Read it. Repeat. Read. Repeat.
YOU are the most important person on your journey first and foremost.
How are you treating yourself?
What does the world see when they see you living in the world?
I of all people understand how hard it can be at times to love ourselves. Some days, it just doesn't happen. If you recall I battled 14 years of trying to understand that concept in an eating disorder and the 19 years of recovery is a constant lesson. It doesn't always come easy, but it comes.
So just for today try to take one small step in each of these areas and see how you feel at the end of the day. You may just be surprised that when you mirror behavior you want to truly be living, it shines through in the end!
(This meme was so important to me, I realized I posted it last year at the exact same time! If that doesn't speak to the message then I don't know what does!)
Blog Thoughts: Never Assume
I am often surprised how many times I have come across a situation or person whom I thought I had perfectly read to only find I couldn't have been more wrong. And worse, I have been on the other side of that equation quite often when I find out what someone may have thought of me or a particular situation.
It is hard enough walking through this life trying to do the best we can with what we have, but to then stop to explain ourselves is tedious, exhausting, and in many ways tiresome.
Instead of assuming who someone is by their appearance, presence, or example, try and start a conversation with them to learn who they are behind what you see. You may just be surprised and meet someone who can add to your life.
Blog Thoughts: Re-think
This philosophy is not new. You may even encounter this phrase more than once a week floating around the internet.
Have you paused to consider its meaning?
As we walk into a new year, we can easily set ourselves up for failure. This is what we are good at. We struggle embracing the good. We cringe when someone shares positive attributes with us, often feeling undeserving. We create unrealistic goals out of wanting to escape the life we are in.
What if we sat in those feelings instead?
What if we chose to change the thought process to create new experiences?
Why do we like to stay in what's uncomfortable when it is only hurting us?
We often are holding onto a shame or wound that occurred a long time ago. This story has invaded our thought process about ourselves. We have become enmeshed with its false truth, so it is easier to be still within the pains.
Just for today, I challenge you to change one negative thought that comes into your mind and watch it unfold with the positive reinforcement. Then tomorrow do the same. Soon, you will fall into a pattern of turning those negatives into positives and it will change your journey entirely.
It may just change the path you are walking on from this point on.
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.