Before We Get the Opportunity To Change Anything, We First Get the Opportunity to Love It

Life lessons on self-love and self-acceptance

I had a dream several years ago that I was describing to my doctor what was hurting in my body by describing the one thing that wasn’t: my toes.

Then I woke up and as I went to stretch my stiff joints and aching muscles, I felt it….my freaking toes were throbbing.

You have got to be kidding me.

Pain has been nothing new to my experiences. Developing scoliosis at age 10, undergoing surgery at age 14 and chronic, even debilitating, degeneration of my body has since been a history I had long tolerated.

But that summer, I was in almost constant pain. I was struggling to walk, losing feeling in my limbs and settling into a recognition that I was “disabled”, broken; that my current experience was my medical destiny.

It’s hard not to feel resentful or depressed over something like that.

I was awash in the emotional anguish of everything I could not do. I couldn’t hula hoop, play at the park with my son, make love to my husband. Everything caused pain. And I swam in the pain it caused.

As is often the case, my lowest point – the point at which I felt useless and broken and resentful, the point when all light was drowned by the darkness of my suffering – was my turning point.

I listened to one woman’s careful introspection, one woman speaking of her body as though it were her child, asking herself what it would look like to love her body as she unconditionally loves her daughters…

Her words resonated so strong as I thought about treating my body the same, treating it as I would treat my child, with compassion and trust. Instead of focusing on or pushing it towards what I want it to be, simply loving it for what it is…

What might that look like for me?

I could regularly point out its strengths.

And show my appreciation for its abilities.

I would view its pain with loving compassion.

And actively and insistently seek out the foods and resources it needs.

I could be gentle and not push it to do things.

Slow down to its pace.

And find things that made it feel good.

I would most definitely spoil it with love.

Smile when I see it.

And seek out things it would enjoy.

I could listen intently to it.

I could validate it and the other people it affects (like my son and husband) without making anyone wrong.

I could accept it and love it unconditionally, for what it is, not what it’s not.

I remember my head swimming: Could I really do that? Could I love myself and my body with the same unconditional compassion and acceptance as a child, giving it everything it needs without excuses or resentment?

I quickly found out that it takes the same challenging, mindful practice as parenting, too. Because just like loving my child, the only thing that gets in my way is my own fear and mistrust, my own stories, my own selfish expectations. And just like any relationship, when I consistently choose to prioritize my own self-love, I soon see that my body responds with the same.

When you have dreams that include Michael Cane (as your son) who turns into Jesus when hit by a tidal wave all to the climax of the song "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" while you sob in joy and wonder of the miracle, then a giant lightbulb space ship lands

I’ve learned that before I get the opportunity to change anything I first get the opportunity to love it. 

And that’s not an easy road. It’s been three or four years since this huge realization hit me and despite the impact it made, I still find myself in self-neglect. I’ll work too long until my shoulders throb and my head aches. I’ll choose the food that are the easiest. I’ll feel frustrated when I wake up tired. I’ll forget to get up and take a walk or use my oils, or I’ll refuse to nurture my back out of nothing but pure exasperation that it’s hurting in the first place.

The patterns of love or un-love run deep. Sometimes they are attached to deeper roots than we realize and perhaps they are just the side effect of those roots, the earth that gets pushed out of the way as those roots grew. I’m learning they can change for months before slipping back into old ways of neglect. I’m learning it’s not just a habit but a practice, a spiral that takes you around and around the same topic, seeing new sides or experiencing the same things from new perspectives, maybe a higher one and maybe not.

We chastise, and we lecture, and we try to inspire one another to love ourselves better.

It’s an old story women have been telling for decades.

But maybe we ought to just remind ourselves that sometimes it just simply is and that our only real practice is in understanding it’s okay to start again. And then, without self-judgment or guilt, simply starting again.
 
 

100+ Things I Hope to Teach My Son

100+ Things I Hope to Teach My Son, www.theorganicsister.com

There’s this list going around the interwebs of 101 things to teach a daughter. As with all things online, everyone has an opinion, thinks it’s wonderful, thinks it’s horrible, thinks it contradicts itself (cuz life – or we as parents – never do that).

But mostly I just found it thought-provoking.

Like what are all the big and little things I hope to teach my son?

What do I hope he picks up from us, others, or Life?

What might I save him some time (or heartache) by showing him now?

I found myself going back and forth, between that maternal desire to impart to him the wisdom that might allow him to improve upon what my generation has done, and that cautious mindfulness that reminds me I really don’t know jack about what he needs in his own life compared to my limited perspective of his journey.

But despite my knowing that I ultimately know very little, there are some things – alright, apparently a lot of things – I hope he will come to know or experience.

  1. Perfection is a unicorn. That shit doesn’t exist.
  2. But practice does makes proficient.
  3. Another person only has the power you give them.
  4. The best education comes from travel.
  5. Learn when to jump on it and when to sleep on it.
  6. “Gay” is not a bad word. Or an insult.
  7. Always question authority.
  8. But do so with respect.
  9. Age or status doesn’t warrant respect.
  10. Character does.
  11. Never stop asking “Why”.
  12. Even when it’s driving us crazy.
  13. Mistakes can be a beautiful thing.
  14. Real success comes from tenacity + passion.
  15. Real education is only a by-product of those two things.
  16. Stand up for the oppressed, even at your own risk.
  17. Make friends with the quiet ones. (They tell the best stories.)
  18. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
  19. Speak your mind.
  20. But known why you’re doing it.
  21. And learn when silence speaks louder.
  22. Never fear alienation. (You won’t want to be part of that crowd anyway.)
  23. “Waste” your vote if it means honoring your beliefs.
  24. Get involved. This is when you most come alive.
  25. Love is not 50/50. Give more than you expect to receive.
  26. Wear vests more often.
  27. Your mind is like a puppy. Train it well or it’ll crap all over your home.
  28. Always carry something to give to crying children in the store.
  29. Don’t judge a person during their bad moments.
  30. We all have bad moments.
  31. Even you.
  32. And that doesn’t make any of us “bad”.
  33. Get to know your own warning signs.
  34. Learn to forgive instantly.
  35. But understand that forgiveness is more for you.
  36. And don’t mistake it for approval.
  37. Don’t waste your time on crazy-makers.
  38. Or excuse-makers.
  39. Only they are responsible for their behaviors and choices.
  40. Ditto for you.
  41. No one can “make” you angry. They can only offer you the opportunity.
  42. Choose wisely when to take it.
  43. Hateful people are really just hurting people.
  44. Every action is an attempt to meet a need, however misguided.
  45. Always seek to understand how a person got to where they are.
  46. Learn from their backstory.
  47. Everyone has fears, blocks, beliefs, triggers.
  48. Everyone.
  49. Be mindful of them, but don’t take responsibility for anyone’s but your own.
  50. No means no. In every situation. Period.
  51. Don’t judge your first step against someone’s finished product.
  52. Their first step was probably pretty hard too.
  53. Be the designated driver.
  54. Or the guy at the party who takes all the keys.
  55. Don’t be the guy who doesn’t know his limit.
  56. Treat others how THEY wish to be treated.
  57. Unless it contradicts your values.
  58. Always honor your values.
  59. And your needs.
  60. Be proud of being passionate.
  61. Learn how to love and accept yourself so much that you no longer notice who doesn’t.
  62. School is not for everyone.
  63. Education is.
  64. Make fun of yourself.
  65. But not others without their permission.
  66. Invite others to be honest with you.
  67. Don’t be offended when they are.
  68. In fact, only take personally what comes up from within.
  69. 20 min of direct sunlight a day makes all the difference in the world.
  70. There’s nothing wrong with being a “selective eater”.
  71. But please try new foods every once in awhile.
  72. When you fall in love, let yourself fall hard.
  73. Be stupid in love.
  74. But not so stupid you can’t come back from it.
  75. Memorize #27.
  76. But know your boundaries and draw them clearly.
  77. And know her boundaries so that you can help her draw them.
  78. The world is only a mirror. It shows you what you most get to learn.
  79. Nothing grows you as a person like parenting, partnership, and business.
  80. Those same things also offer you the opportunity to destroy yourself.
  81. Your own outcome depends on whether you’re paying attention.
  82. Marvel will always be better than DC.
  83. Please improve upon my own parenting skills.
  84. Hitting a child will always be a cop-out.
  85. But you undoubtedly will have moments where it seems like a good idea.
  86. So you can send them over anytime.
  87. Choose Dare over Truth.
  88. It’s okay to tell me I’m being stupid.
  89. Employment can be the worst kind of servitude.
  90. Self-employment is fucking hard too.
  91. Do what gives you a natural high.
  92. But don’t let it define you.
  93. Have something you love and won’t do for money.
  94. Money is just a resource, NOT the root of all evil.
  95. Have a lot or have a little. Don’t let anyone shame you for either.
  96. Make sure to spend some, save some, and give some away.
  97. If you’re feeling shitty, make someone else’s day.
  98. Preferably anonymously.
  99. Jump off cliffs once in awhile.
  100. Safely, of course.
  101. Eat real food.
  102. But not dogmatically.
  103. There is nothing wrong with not knowing.
  104. There is nothing wrong with sex.
  105. Cry freely. Forget anyone who’s uncomfortable with that.
  106. We’ll always back you up.
  107. Your body is a miracle. Treat it well.
  108. Learn how to breathe when you want to scream.
  109. Learn another language.
  110. Or three.
  111. Always have a dog. Always from the shelter.
  112. Life is not meant to be lived alone.
  113. But being comfortable being alone is sacred.
  114. Hold your shoulders back when you walk in a room.
  115. You will become who you hang out with.
  116. But they will always become like you.
  117. So keep mixed company.
  118. There are not enough gentle men. Try to remain one.
  119. Nothing is sexier than a man who knows himself.
  120. Except maybe a baby-wearing dad.
  121. Double-dates save lives. I’ll explain this one when you’re older.
  122. Life is too short to worry long about typos, pimples, or a dirty house.
  123. Your mother is a genius.
  124. I promise, you can tell me anything.
  125. But it’s still a good idea to preface it with either, “Can we talk?” or “Everyone is okay…”
  126. Cuz after all, I’m human too.

 
 

10 Songs I Can’t Get Enough Of

I’m not all serious and deep, you know. Actually lately, I’ve been mostly irreverent and marauding. Right now I’ve got this tiny little love affair happening with something called a “flow wand”. I’ll let you Google it. It’s magical. Literally. Almost.

Anytime I’m “flow wandering” I simply must have music going. Without music you have no flow. Kinda like life. I’ve been asked by several people lately what I’ve been listening to and where I find new music, so I thought, “Hey, I’m way behind in blogging. I could totally do a blog post on this.” Thus here we are. :)

FYI, I tend to find songs I love on Pandora. (If you’re not familiar with it, you can type in a song you’ve heard somewhere – I catch some of the lyrics and Google them to find the name – to create a “station” that plays similar songs. It’s fascinating.) My favorite stations are usually based on bands; here’s what I listen to most:

  • Edwards Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
  • Florence + the Machine
  • Avicii
  • Skrillex (yes, I’m over 21 – I just can’t help it, it makes for good “wandering”!)
  • OneRepublic

Here’s what I’m loving most….

OneRepublic – Counting Stars

Avicii – Wake Me Up

Avicci – Hey Brother

Avicii – Levels

Are you noticing any trends? ;)

Ellie Goulding – Burn

Bastille – Pompeii

Katy Perry – Roar

Yes, total crush on her and this song, especially.

Feist – Lonely Lonely

For when I’m winding down. ;)

Mountain Man – Play It Right

Lumineers – Stubborn Love

And just about anything else that comes from their mouths.

I hope you’re finding your flow these days too. ♥

21 Secrets Art Journaling Starts Tomorrow!

This is just a quick little note to let you know that the 21 Secrets Art Journaling workshop, facilitated by the lovely Connie Hozvicka of Dirty Footprints Studio is starting tomorrow, April 1st.

21 gorgeous art journalers (me included!) offering 21 different workshops.

I’ve seen the finished product and I can only say one thing: Yes please. :)

This is the 5th year of this workshop, which should tell you something of its awesomeness.

I’m still pretty flustered and honored and overwhelmed to be a part of this. And I’m looking forward to playing in it over the next several months.

Seriously just click this link and check it out.

(*Totally affiliate links! Thanks for the support!)

The Wisdom of Life’s Immoveable Objects

How to handle life's immoveable objects via theorganicsister.com

(This was originally shared on another lovely blog which has since been taken down. I’m reposting it here, as a reminder to myself as well.)

We all have our paths to walk down in life. As we walk we experience the things we tend to experience – the valleys, the marshes, the darkness of the woods. Sometimes we travel alone. Sometimes we travel with others for a time, and then our paths diverge again.

As we walk down our life’s path, we get to do some clearing along the way. The brush gets thick and we clear it, some branches have fallen and we move them to the side.

But every so often on our path we come across an immoveable object, a boulder that creates such an obstacle that we can not move. A scary diagnosis. A heavy divorce. A lost job. A project that flops and leaves us broke. An overtired child melting down. A running injury that sidelines us. The engine that couldn’t.

It’s funny when we look at life’s immoveable objects and how we usually respond to them.

We tend to push and push and push against them, insisting we can move them or force them, without so much as a budge on their part. We pound our fists and wail and scream and stomp our feet and shout our injustices and curse this thing in our way and say it must be out to get us (and only us). But of course, the boulder – the immovable object in our path – doesn’t mind. It stays what it is; an immoveable object.

Other times we admit defeat. We sit down in front of this looming barrier, maybe even leaning our whole being against it, and we sink into our despair. We tell ourselves this is just how it is, this is where our journey stops, we’re not allowed, not good enough or deserving enough or loved enough to move forward. And again, that object remains what it is.

We spend a shitload of time with these immoveable objects instead of just doing what the obvious thing would be:

Move on around it.

I don’t go for a hike expecting the mountain to rearrange itself to open up a path for me. I don’t move through the woods insisting the trees adjust their lean to create my perfect clearing. I expect rocks, boulders, the possibility of obstacles. I look forward to them. To the divergence they may inspire, a new view they may reveal.

I don’t fight it. I move through it. I diverge from a path. I climb over a boulder. I seek out the clearing (or the place where the sun peeks through the leaves) without any thought of what should be or shouldn’t be, or what it means or is saying about me. That would be as crazy as it sounds.

I don’t try to move immoveable objects. Without missing a beat, I become the one who moves.


I use to think that meditating meant the absence of thought. I’m coming to understand that’s not true. Thoughts will still come. It’s just my relationship to them that changes.

In Life, immoveable objects will arise in the same way our thoughts arise. No amount of enlightenment will suddenly make the Universe stop being the Universe. It actually doesn’t rearrange itself to support us. Instead, it helps us rearrange our ideas, our perspectives, our patterns, our relationship to the mountains and the boulders they drop in our path, so that we can fall in alignment with the greater awareness of what actually already is and wants to be.

When we fight life, trying to make it our version of Perfect, we miss the very thing Life is trying to offer us…the ability to experience all that shit and not see it as shitty, to come across any immoveable object and take it in stride. To feel grounded and at peace, regardless of the ground we’re walking through.

It’s not a sign of an “enlightened person” that they have no immovable objects. What makes us enlightened is HOW we experience it and if we forget whether it still means nothing.

And this is what I’m always learning. It means nothing. We don’t need to push, force, warp, control, or fight what is happening around us. We only need to become witness to what is happening within us.

Yup, again. Get out of your head. Get into your heart.
 
 

21 Secrets is Starting Soon!

21secrets_Spring2014_tara_wagner

I have a habit of saying Yes before I have the opportunity to say No…I don’t mean this in a bad way, like saying yes to things I authentically don’t want to do. (I don’t do that shit.) I mean I say “Yes” to big things that I would otherwise talk myself out of if I “think about it” first.

Quite frankly, I had about a million reasons to say no to Connie when she asked me to be her Wild Card in this spring’s 21 Secrets crew. But I listened to my inner guidance that said “Hurry up and commit” and I went for it.

And it was a challenge. I played for months with exactly what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it, especially since the whole topic was how to use art journaling when you’re in that place of processing and inner growth where words don’t come to you (even though you want them to). I got a little frustrated and I got a little overwhelmed. Then my iMovie decided to be a beyotch and mess up my first attempts and I spent a good day tempted to wallow in it all.

But then I decided that wasn’t helpful, chose to let those thoughts go (yes just like that; practice makes proficient), and instead reminded myself that I’m not meant to be or do or share anything other than what comes through when I sit down to play my part. So I sat down, rolled just the right reminders around my tongue a few times, and let it all pour out.

And it did, as it always does. The second attempt was better than the first, the words flowed easily, and I poured my heart and my own journaling process out in one take. I released all censorship and all self-judgment, and I shared what this gift has meant to me and exactly how I use it in conjunction with Digging Deep and my own spiritual evolution.

21 Secrets Art Journaling WorkshopBut the most beautiful part? How it fits in with the 20 other beautiful artists sharing their techniques, their passions, their secrets. I’m not an expert on How To’s and I can’t give guidance on techniques. But I know inner work like whoa and it felt good to let that compliment the beauty and skill the others are bringing to this paint-splattered table. And I do mean skill; I’ve gotten sneak peeks (from mandalas to self-portraits to symbolism!) and I have to say, I’m so looking forward to delving into this workshop with each of them. ♥

Interested in playing along? I’d love to invite you join us.
 
 
 

The Two-Fold Cure to Any Problem

Two-Fold Cure to Any Problem, www.theorganicsister.com

I’ve come to the conclusion that there are two necessary ingredients to solve any problem, to cure any woe, to heal any pain, to connect any souls. (I didn’t mean to make that sound all rhyme-y but I’m going with it.)

Wanna know what they are?

Time and space.

Now if only it were that simple. It’s not. Finding the right kinds and amounts of each is the next step.

The Right Kind of Time

Time Together
If it’s a relationship thing, especially a parent-child relationship, time together is always the first thing I look at. Because it’s the easiest thing to neglect. We’re busy and we mistake being around each other for being together, when the two are actually very different.

Time Apart
Yeah, this is the flip side to that, and it’s one we’re learning very well with a teenager. He’s ready to venture out into the world on his own, ready to spend ample time away from us, and it’s been a lot of work to find ways for him to do so. If you’re in this boat too, please remember: as much as you may love a person, sometimes they need less of you. Don’t take this personally. Just roll with it and it all works out.

Time to Let Things Change
Sometimes the healing, the shifting that needs to take place, the growth that’s happening…it just takes time. No amount of juju can change the pace of Life. (It’s funny how much we want to rush things that matter and then complain how things that matter keep rushing by.)

The Right Kind of Space

A Safe Space
Healing, growth, communication, love…they all act like timid mice until they feel safe. The thing about safety is it’s different for everyone, and depending on the pain thats been inflicting it can come about at a pace we don’t prefer, so it’s hard to judge what is “safe” enough. But look at it this way: if it’s not happening, it’s not the right time or space for it to happen, so nurture a sense of honesty, openness, and gentleness and allow your heart (or theirs) to poke in when it’s ready.

A Space of One’s Own
I’ve found this one to be true. Sometimes what we need is something of our own, a sacred space of our own creation. Mine is filled with art and music and essential oils and puppy cuddles. And it’s ALONE space, time to be with one person – me. If you’re an introvert, you need this space of your own. And you need to guard it.

A Space to Process, Breathe, Integrate
This needs to be a safe space, obviously. And it might even be your own sacred space. But what I really am talking about is a space created with another person. A mentor, a friend, your mom, your lover, a counselor, a guru….someone with whom you can speak candidly and receive a special brand of support; not the kind that pushes or fixes or judges, but the kind that guides you to find your own answers, that asks the right questions that lead you to ask yourself the right questions.

Which are you needing right now?

 
 
 

There is NO Excuse for Neglecting Yourself (let me show you)

selfneglect

Your idea of self-care might be as simple as showering when you’ve got little ones crawling the walls. It might be as basic as drinking enough water or remembering to eat. It might be as nurturing as a massage or some quiet time to yourself. But how it looks is inconsequential to your willingness to make it happen.

Yes, I can BS with the best of them and complain about all sorts of “reasons” why I’m rocking the self-neglect wagon. But at least I can smell my own BS. I know it’s all a lame justification for what’s really holding me back.

And of all the things I’m nice and gentle when I talk about – honey, this isn’t one of them.

So please allow me to speak the truth for a second here, especially if it means it might get you caring about yourself, finally.

Excuse #1: I don’t have enough time.

Bullshit. You have the same 24 hours in the day as everyone else. You’re just choosing to spend them on everyone else! Now, yes, there are ONLY 24 hours in which to do the myriad of things you think must be done, but this is more about “I’m bad at prioritizing my time”, or maybe “I’m not a priority to myself”, than not having enough. (I like to use this excuse too because time seems like such a good excuse, such an immovable object. But when I finally accepted that it wasn’t, my whole life expanded.)

Priority #1 is your health and well-being. This means it’s #1 on your To Do list. This means doing it before you do anything else. Yes, I’m serious. If a million dollars (or Chris Hemsworth – ahem) was on your porch waiting for your self-care regime to be done first before stepping through the door, you’d tackle that bad boy (the self-care, not Chris) at 6am. Why? Because you prioritize it! Stop waiting for an imaginary impetus to come along before you start prioritizing yourself.

The truth: You don’t have time NOT to. Everything you do when you feel like crap will take twice a long. Why do you think you get a break at work? Because any boss knows productivity goes down with self-care. So give yourself a break – every day – and you’re going to SAVE time. I promise.

Excuse #2: I don’t have enough money.

What this excuse really means is that you’re insisting your self-care look a certain way and that way must undoubtedly cost money. Massages. Babysitters. Date nights. Pedicures. Retreats. Art supplies. [Insert yours here.] Sweetheart, you’re using all those things as reasons to hurt yourself over and over.

Yes, that’s all you’re doing with that excuse…hurting yourself. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. Keeping your heart and soul tied around a dollar sign to determine your value. Keeping yourself locked in Scarcity Mode. Subtly telling yourself you’re worthless.

The truth: You don’t “need” those things. You need a little creativity. And the permission to use it. The permission to acknowledge a walk around the block while the kids are still in bed is okay to give yourself. Permission to buy yourself and your partner a dark chocolate bar and a Redbox movie after the kids go to sleep. Permission to allow messes to happen while you read a good book. Permission to do yoga with YouTube videos and trust your emails to wait a damn hour (or four). Permission to reallocate funds for your own sanity. Permission to say “I’m worth it” and then make it so.

Excuse #3: I don’t have the support.

Point blank: The people in your life support you in the exact manner you’ve taught them to support you. If you don’t like how they are showing up in your life, the first change that gets to be made is in your own habits, then in your boundaries, then in the way you communicate your needs to them. After all that (and only after all that), it may be time to make some tough choices, remove toxic relationships from your life, or lay it down for everyone. But please don’t get angry at them for doing what you’ve shown, through your own habits, is preferred to do – neglect and ignore you.

Excuse #4: I feel selfish when I take care of myself.

And so you use this as a reason to insist you don’t need anything, right?

You, dear sweet beautiful woman, are lying to yourself. You are a human being, and as such you have needs. Needs for good food and blissful rest. Needs for beauty, inspiration, excitement. Needs for honor, love, respect. Needs for autonomy, fulfillment, order. Yes, some of these needs are met through caring for others. But not all, and not always in the best way.

This doesn’t make you selfish. It makes you real. Welcome to the human race. Please stop making the rest of us look bad by insisting you need nothing. ;)

The truth: You are the most selfish when you are not doing what is necessary to make sure you feel fan-freaking-tastic and therefore are at full capacity. When your needs are met you have more to offer – more energy, more compassion, more patience, more creativity, more clarity. So stop holding yourself back, please. Your world needs you – WANTS YOU – at your best. Give yourself what you need so that you can keep loving everyone so unselfishly.

P.S. If you have younger women in your life – daughters, nieces, neighbors – please remember that you are teaching them THEIR self-worth by demonstration. So, if you won’t do it for yourself, can you trick yourself into thinking you’re “doing it for them”? ;)

We could go on and on….

But you and I both know that behind every excuse for self-neglect is a Wise Little Woman wagging her finger at you, telling you to knock that shit off.

And you and I both know that if your best friend came to you with the same excuse, you’d BE that Wise Woman and tell her she’s worth more than that.

Please, please, please…for the love of all that is good in your life (and all that could be good with a little more of your time and attention), treat yourself with some respect and honor your needs. No more damn excuses. You’re worth more than that.

Photo Source

Introducing: The Library, A Conscious Living E-Bundle

libraryheader

what if you had a magic bag for personal growth?

I’m talking about something you could reach your hand into and pull out just the right message and reminder that would guide you through the end of a bad week…

That would align your spirit with the Truth you carry in your heart…

That could serve as a quiet space to slip into with a cup o’ warmth and a blanket of self-love…

welcome to the library, my friend.

This is what I’ve found most helpful in my life. Having a stockpile of notes tucked into my pocket in the form of my favorite voices, resonating words, and helpful practices. I stick my well-loved audios on my iPhone and listen as I drive or clean. I delve into meaningful prompts before I start my day. I use them as my touchstone to keep me aligned with what I know is true but tend to forget when Life starts throwing ping pong balls at my face.

I created this e-bundle as a way to open up my digital vault and pour it all into one giant bag of mindful, conscious, heart-centered growth.

My intention is not to offer you a lot of information you’ll never fully tap into. My intention is to offer you nuggets o’ wisdom that you can pop on your smartphone, and listen to as you walk the dog or make breakfast or sit in traffic.

Reminders.

Of what you already know but have a tendency to need to hear again. Things you can use at a moments notice to help you navigate a bad mood, a curveball, a new phase.

New tools.

Of what you want to practice, want to do with your one wild and precious life, but in a way that first aligns you with your Center, then with your inner wisdom, and then with the clarity to move forward.

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Something Only For Yourself

Spells "great weekend"

When was the last time you had something only for you?

Not something you did because you “should” do it…

Not something you love and decide to turn into a business on the side…

Not something you teach…

Maybe something you don’t even share with the world?

I’ve got entrepreneur in my blood. I’ve never had something I wasn’t sharing with the world.

So in answers to the question of whether or not I’m going to be selling or teaching art at some point in the future, first let me say…hahahahahahahahaha. As if I know what I’m doing enough to share much of anything.

And second, no.

In fact, I’m consciously working on nurturing this as something I don’t “share”, don’t teach, don’t sell. It’s something just for me. To feed my soul. To nurture me. It’s mine, and maybe I’ll show my process from time to time, but only if it feeds me and makes me excited to do so.

If you wanted to do something absolutely honest, something true, it always turned out to be a thing that had to be done alone. - Richard Yates

I’ve watched tendencies of making things I love into things that are then expected of me. I’ve ready to let that go, to release the voice in my head that says anything is expected of me, to allow myself something that is only for me.

It’s magical.

I find myself sharing and not giving two rips about whether anyone “likes” it on Instagram. In fact, I love it so much I “like” it myself! I look at my own photos of the art I’ve made whenever my own art isn’t right in front of me, and I marvel at what is beauty and expression and ohmyfreakinglord can I say “color and texture” one more time? I still am not sure why those two words speak such volumes to me, except perhaps they explain the tangible, the depth, the movement happening in my spirit.

It’s a beautiful thing when you come to love who you are and what you do to such an extent that what others think not only doesn’t cross your mind, but the idea that others might not agree makes THEM look like the weird ones. Because how can a person fathom self-love without it being obvious to the world?

Messy art space

And so my weekends and evenings have become mine again, with ephemera spread across the room (and paint getting on Justin’s handmade table – oops!), and I just wonder at the paint beneath my nails, and how I never knew the joy of doing something without an end in sight, without a goal, except the desire to thoroughly enjoy the process.

I choose to remember I am free. I am not blind, my eyes are wide open and the light is on.

I choose to remember I am free. I am not blind, my eyes are wide open and the light is on.

This past weekend was even more magical…

Justin and Zeb headed out of town for a regional Yugioh tournament, and I sunk into a quiet weekend, playing life as a single woman, eating and sleeping and waking on my own schedule, playing with my sweet pups, watching movies the guys never want to watch, cleaning, organizing and finally feeling as though I’ve moved into this house…and of course art, art, and more art.

I’ve found I make a really good single person. I enjoy the quiet and the independence. I even take better care of myself when there is no one else around. I’m not even “guilty” to admit, I didn’t miss them. I knew they were having fun, I knew I was enjoying myself, and it was all enough.

And when my boys arrived home I greeted them with hugs and gluten-free brownies and it was perfect.

Justin and I talked later that evening. We have a little tradition of getting french fries at a drive-thru and sitting in the parking lot talking. We talked about that sense of independence, being on our own (something we didn’t do since we fell in love so young), and the joy and comfort of the experience followed by the joy and comfort of coming back together.

There is such ease and flow in those small trips away from one another, trips we make for ourselves.

mid-way in the process #mixedmedia #artjournal

Hippie girl #artjournal #mixedmedia

When was the last time you gave yourself that?

When was the last time you turned it all off and tuned in to whatever the hell you wanted to do, just for you?

When was the last time you did something without an eye on how it would appear, or what you could turn it into, or whether or not you should feel guilty about it?

When was the last time you “indulged” in pure, decadent, self-nurturing…soul food for nothing but your own good.

It doesn’t have to be major. It just has to be something.

And I’ve finding, it has to be often, and it has to be protected firmly, honored fiercely, and held with the utmost respect.

Who is one person who couldn’t dream of breaking a date with? I challenge you, just for a day, be that person.