I Carry Her Heart With Me

Ten months ago I made a mad rush north to Nashville to visit my great-grandmother, after receiving the news that she may only have days or hours left. She was turning 99, and I was honored and heartbroken to hold her hand and tell her I love her. I was also overwhelmed and joyful that she didn’t pass away. In fact, she seemed to have the life breathed into her with all of her family surrounding her. Continue reading “I Carry Her Heart With Me”

Miracles Happen When I Get Out of the Way

That’s been my reminder these past few weeks. (Getting out of the way.) I have a tendency when funk hits the fan to get in there. To stress. To get upset, in the very charming woe-is-me-Life-is-out-to-get-me kind of way. (Really, you should see me some time. You’d probably have a lot more compassion for your own bad days. I know, you’re all surprised. I may have some wisdom and mindfulness, but I also still have an ego to work with and she’s a tough nut to crack.) Continue reading “Miracles Happen When I Get Out of the Way”

Win a Copy of Digging Into 2014!

Digging Into 2014: Discvoering Your Guiding WordDo you know what’s not so awesome about Facebook? They have this fun little algorithm that makes it difficult for certain things to get SEEN. Case in point? My giveaway on Facebook has gone out to nearly 10,000 but has less traction than a photo of a Yoga snowflake. So thanks for that Facebook. 😉

Because of it, I extended the entry deadline, so more people who want a chance to win, can have it. #yay 🙂 Continue reading “Win a Copy of Digging Into 2014!”

Gratitude Is All That’s Left (when we stop trying so hard)

Very last page of my very first #artjournal.

It’s Thanksgiving week. Our little family of three is planning our dinner and a long weekend, disconnected from the ‘puters and connecting with the tangible world.

We have yet to finish building our table. We’ve yet to find a couch we love. So we’ll be eating our meal in a camping chair. And we’re okay with that. Continue reading “Gratitude Is All That’s Left (when we stop trying so hard)”

All the Subtle Ways I’ve Ruined Celebrations

The Declaration of You Blog Lovin' Tour

Walt Whitman quote on celebrating

Isn’t it funny how you don’t even realize how much something sucks the life and the joy (or maybe just the potential) out of the something until you stop doing it?

When Michelle and Jessica asked me to share about Celebrations I kinda cringed a little. I have a long track record of unconsciously screwing up some great moments.

But true to form, Life spoke through my BS and told me I am only here to share my own story. And since my left-brain side likes to count things out, what better way to speak then to list all the ways I’ve ruined celebrations, and how I’m learning through them.

1. Insisting they weren’t necessary

I did this for a very long time. “Oh, I don’t want anything for Mother’s Day.” “No, it’s just a birthday; not a big deal.” This was something I stared right in the face a few years ago when Life began to show me how I held my heart back, how I didn’t trust joy, and a cleverly masked fear that good things lead to bad things. I had created myself a comfort zone in which I thought I could be safe from the tragedies of life by simply ignore life itself.

Moving through this one was a series of baby steps and deep breaths and a lot of real honest conversations with myself, mixed in with some Aha moments and one giant breakthrough. And then many more steps. What I’m saying is that to trust it is indeed safe to enjoy Life is a process of self-awareness, allowing yourself to experience those moments,and not create attachments between them and the messy parts of life that also sometimes happen. Emphasis on the word process.

2. Noticing the imperfections

This only feels subtle to the person doing it. To everyone around you, they can probably see it loud and clear. That because those of us who have at any point not been able to look past the little things and just enjoy what the moment is actually offering often tend to drag everyone down. It sounds a lot like complaining to anyone else. To the me as the complainer it felt more altruistic: “But I really want this to be perfect.

Cuz perfection exists. [insert sarcastic face] Let’s face it. There are times when the food is cold. The bottoms will forever be falling off the plastic champagne glasses. And someone will inevitably drink too much. We can dwell on those little things, or we can realize A) we won’t even remember them in 5 years, or B) we will and they will be funny. Like how I got married in a Korean church and you can’t understand the writing in the background of my wedding photos. (My photographer sucked, by the way. Also a good story.)

3. Having expectations

This one kinda goes along with the last one. We expect things to be perfect – or hell, we expect them to be terrible – and our expectations create resentment inside us. My Mother’s Day experience a couple years ago was a good example of this. I expected (after years of blowing off the holiday altogether, mind you) for everyone to rise to the occasion. I created suffering when it didn’t happen according to what was in my head. I spent time with my inner dialogue and realized my lesson was in celebrating myself.

That one day radically changed my perspective of whose job it is to make me happy: mine. If I’d love to celebrate Mother’s Day, I can own my power and make magic happen. We can all have fun because I can embrace my ability to say “Let’s have fun!” Regardless of what goes down that I “didn’t plan”. (*waving to my fellow control freaks*)

(This one challenges a lot of us, I know. I used to tell myself “they should…” or it “doesn’t count if I have to…” And then I realized how silly that was. They are humans, not mind readers, and the pressure we create by expecting them to be the kind of person we are doesn’t create what we really want: a joyful celebration.)

(And yes, this totally applies to celebrating your new book, your new website, your new haircut, and your expectations around it.)

4. Not knowing when to stop

This one I can honestly say came easily real fast. There were moments when I played the organizer to a day, an event, a celebration, a project, and then couldn’t put down the Organizer Hat long enough to enjoy the entire process. But I got over it quickly. Well, in most cases.

It’s really about presence. Our role may be to pull out all the stops to bring it all together, but when it’s all coming together our role is to stop giving a rat’s ass about the details and just enjoy the party. Stop thinking we must do the dishes while people are in the other room laughing. Stop cleaning up behind your guests.

Let go. Get into the moment. Laugh. Ignore the mess. Have fun.

5. Making them about agendas

Oh this one though? This one I’m guilty of left, right, and upside down. Here’s what I mean: I used to show up places not to truly BE with the people there. Not to enjoy the moment. Not to kick off my shoes and let down my hair and really dance.

I used to show up with a bag full of agendas to carry out: I need to introduce everyone to how they should do XYZ by bringing my conversational ammunition. I would show up with “healthier” food, “healthier” habits, “better” political buttons, and put on a smile and pretend I wasn’t here to teach someone when I really was anticipating the opportunity.

Every single time I had in my mind who didn’t agree with me, work with me, team up with me (and that they’d be happier if they did), I wasn’t allowing myself to see them, hear them, and enjoy them. I excitedly or begrudgingly saw myself as the Advocator of All That Was Right, and it was my joy or my burden to bring light to the room. (Hello Ego! Holy shit!)

Radical Acceptance and some humbling trips to the other side of the fence stripped me of this pretty quickly. Now I don’t care what you do. I care Who You Are (and actually understand what this means now) and whether you want to join me in setting aside the rest in order to just come together.

6. Trying to capture them

Again, guilty! I carried my camera everywhere. I was the one who could guarantee we wouldn’t forget the celebration. But I learned awhile back that the girl behind the camera can easily step out of the moment, into the lens, and in a mad attempt to capture something, miss it altogether.

I never could see this at the time, as I find most others can’t either. The idea of putting down the camera feels sacrilegious to those of us behind it. But then my camera broke and my experiences changed because of it.

This is a big, big topic for me. Because of that, I’ve actually taken it a lot further right here: Capturing (and thus Losing) the Moment).
 
 

Howling at the Moon and the Things Captured

A full moon, a super moon, sumer solstice, and the lead-up to Mercury Retrograde. Oh I was feeling it all. And this time I let myself go, let myself create a little #howlfest to sink into.

I circled with new friends and allowed tears to flow, even though they had no obvious source. I leaned in and trusted the cleansing process that I could feel was taking place.

Barefoot wine in a mason jar. Cheesy movies on the couch. Fire and marshmallows in our future. And I might just sneak out to Mama Ocean again. #howlfest

I rested. I drank cheap wine from a mason jar and watched stupid movies and was okay with that.

I drew myself in with my guys, disconnecting for the weekend, and allowing ourselves to head to a matinee, to laugh in the truck, to make new dishes, and read paperbacks I found in the laundry room.

Forming. #howlfest #drumcircle

Drumming to the changing of the guard. #sunset #moonrise #howlfest #drumcircle

I dove into a drum circle, and took place in the changing of the guards, the drumming to the setting of the sun and the rising of the moon.

Me and Big Mama falling in step together. #howlfest #djembe #drumcircle

I let myself go in the drum circle. I closed my eyes and stopped trying to play along and just played.

I got up and danced, not just around the circle, but in Mama Ocean. Jumping through her shallows, splashing through my inhibitions.

I talked to Mama Luna, and laughed with my man-child as we sunk into the soft moving sands and he gave up on trying to keep his clothes dry and I put down my camera in favor of my suit.

I body surfed with my guys, laughing again as the moon pushed us back toward the sandbar, and I got water up my nose, and didn’t even care.

And then there was this. And this photo does nothing to show the brilliance of Mama Luna or the magic of swimming beneath her with my guys. This goes down as one of my favorite days ever. #howlfest #fullmoon

I drifted in the calm waters, laying back while I soaked up the brightness of the moonbeams, gazing up at her, while my man and my man-child drifted next to me, while we talked, while we slowed down. While we just took it all in and created one of my favorite memories of all time.

"I would rather be happy than dignified." - #Bronte #howlfest

There are some things you take photos of not because you think you can capture the moment, but simply to give you a glimpse of what you captured in that moment.

This weekend was one long stretch of those moments.

On Showing Up and Rocking It (The Ricki Lake Recap)

The whole story is up on the blog in about 5 minutes (link in profile). @ecowomb #rickilakegreenshow

It’s Saturday, two days after the show, and I’m still not totally with it. I’ve slept umteen hours and am still finding my footing, but I wanted to get this whole experience down before I forget it.

To answer the most frequently asked question first: The airdate is April 17th on Fox, and you can signup here or here to get a reminder or watch the video we capture of it.

The overarching vibe of the entire experience: amazeballs.

I realized long before the show that this wasn’t about being on TV, or connecting with the beautiful Ricki (whose work I admire anyway).

This was about me.

It was about making a declaration to myself of self-approval and nonjudgment. About surrendering my desire to control and perfect, and instead forgiving myself my perceived shortcomings and “not enough-ness” by allowing myself to just own Who I Am.

It felt like years of Digging Deep all culminating in front of a live studio audience.

And it was magical.

Of course I did. So did my mom. #rickilakebitches

Ahem. My driver. Armen from Armenia. He was awesome. So was his car. #rickilakebitches!!

Curled up in a bathrobe. #DiggingDeep and swimming in Balance EO. Feeling so ready for this gig. Heart and soul all in. The taping is at 12:30 Pacific but I'm accepting good vibes all morning! #rickilakebitches!!

Continental brekkie, #paleo style. And there's a Lyfe Kitchen and a Chipotle nearby. Perfection. #rickilakebitches!!

 

I knew going into this that my shit – some really old shit, too – would surface. I knew I’d have the opportunity to be nervous, scared, and self-deprecating. I knew I’d hear some old stories in my mind, way too much criticism, and a lot of negativity from my mouth.

Because I knew this as a very real possibility, I made up my mind to go into it full of intention and awareness. I spent an hour or more every day with those stories and voices. I embraced this as the opportunity it was to step into my Self. I turned off the habit of keeping myself outside of things, keeping my focus on the outer, or keeping myself busy in the superficial, and I allowed myself to turn inward completely, to own what surfaced, and to spend the time necessary to make peace with it.

And I’m damn proud of myself for it.

Sometime last week the words came to me: “I am not doing this for anyone else. I am up there for an audience of two – my Spirit and the Spirit. This is for us to celebrate my own ability to love and live. This is a milestone in the agreement we made for this life.

I know it probably makes little sense, but this whole thing was not really about sharing green living or what we do. Those were just the bonuses, the icing on the cake.

This was about me celebrating Life and embracing self-approval.

I had voices rise up, and I chose to answer each one with love and affirmation.

I had fear surface, and I chose to respond with a reminder of my Truth.

I had doubts pop in, and I surrendered each thought that didn’t come from Spirit.

Surrender.

Surrender surrender surrender.

If it hadn’t been the work I’ve been doing with that Guiding Word this year I may not have gotten up there and rocked it so thoroughly and completely.

Surrender didn’t mean giving up, or saying no, or taking the easy way out. I wasn’t surrendering my desire to feel confident and calm and excited on the show. I wasn’t surrendering this wonderful opportunity.

I was surrendering every negative thought or expectation.

I surrendered every idea that I was going to sound like an idiot, every worry that I’d mess something up, every thought that I had to be some conventional idea of perfect (as well as every after-thought that because I can’t possibly be perfect I might as well not even try). I surrendered every idea that I knew what needed to happen, I surrendered every expectation to perform or force it to come together, and I surrendered every temptation to be something or someone I wasn’t.

I showed up fully. Fully in my body, fully in my heart, fully in my spirit. I did so without apology for what I need and without trying to fit a box. I owned Who I Am and what I do without backpedaling or making excuse. I felt confident and comfortable just Being.

And it felt amazing. Which meant I was free to experience some amazing things.

It meant jumping on the bed in excitement.

Again, of course I did.  #rickilakebitches!!

It meant wearing clothes that felt good on me and doing my own makeup, so I could get up there in my own skin.

The hair and makeup crew.  #rickilakebitches!!

Me and the mama. Represent.  #rickilakebitches!!

It meant laughing and being silly with friends backstage.

Chillaxin with the EcoWomb crew! @ecowomb #rickilakebitches !!

It meant dancing behind the stage to get myself ready and doing a little strut-dance as I walked out to greet the audience.

It meant smiling big, and cracking stupid jokes, and not really remembering 90% of what I wanted to emphasize, and still rocking my socks off.

It meant hearing my name from across the restaurant later that evening and looking up to see it was Ricki waving to me, and getting another opportunity to hug her tight and thank her for everything she’s done (and is doing) in this world.

End of the day, me and my mama decided to go have tea while we waited for our car back to the airport, and we hear someone call to me from across the restaurant. The beautiful earthy mama @rickilake was there just when i was lamenting not getting her phot

It meant CELEBRATING and JOYFULNESS and FUN.

It meant being damn proud of myself.

Me and Angela after the show

I had nerves and I surrendered them. I had fears and I released them.

I had self-judgments and I freed myself from them.

I walked-strutted-danced onto that stage in total confidence and self-approval, without any fear or butterflies. I instantly forgave myself for my mistakes and imperfections and I just loved all over myself for having the courage to say Yes to this opportunity and the openness to work through all that Life gave me the opportunity to DIG IN to.

I didn’t share much about green living, really. It was all over too fast.

But I shared the whole of my heart. I allowed my light to shine, and I shared myself.

And that’s what makes this thing a wild success in my book.

That’s why I know I rocked it.

9 Steps to Break Free, Live Deeply, and Experience More Life in 2013

9 Steps to Break Free, Live Deeply, and Experience Life in 2013

Happy New Years to my sisters in spirit!

If you’re at all like me this time of year has you at least a little swept up in the intention-creating, reflection-inducing, hope-nurturing energy of it all.

Are you wondering how to have the best year possible? How to actually meet your goals and create your experiences and swim in that deep sense of fulfillment and joy and peace that you’re so hungry for?

Here are my best tips, learned from hard-earned experience, total successes and painful lessons:

  1. Make a List of Everything You Wanna Do (big and little): Call it a Bucket List or a Life List or whatever, but dream big and dream a little SCARY. If not you’ll find another year has passed by without anything to remark on. You will NOT get it all done in a year (or you’ll drive yourself crazy trying), but it will keep you centered on what matters to you.
  2. Make a List of Things You Are Ready to STOP: From the internal (“stop caring what others think”) to the external (stop drinking soda), bring some awareness to what IS NOT serving you. Then make a list of HOW EXACTLY you’re going to stop doing it. Again, you may not “accomplish” this in one year but that’s not the point. The point is awareness and forward movement, rather than unconsciously recreating the same patterns in your life.
  3. Take A Good Hard Look Within: It’s not the shit in our life that keeps us from growing or creating change. It’s the shit each one of us hold within ourselves. Until you get honest and DIG IN to those things, they will continue to throw you off-kilter. Digging Deep is a long process, but it’s a powerful one that will help you overcome the stuff that keeps popping up when you set your intentions.
  4. Make Some BIG Changes Now: There is an energy around this time of year that is important to jump on and ride out. Putting some action to your intentions helps to actualize those things, setting the tone for the year. So go ahead and get a radical haircut, throw out your entire closet, or take some other REAL BIG, maybe even SCARY step right now. (Not a step towards a step that you’ll be doing sometime in the future, hopefully, if it works out that way. None of THAT.)
  5. Schedule Your Dreams Right Now: When I make my business plans or my life plans, I schedule things in my calendar WAAAAAY ahead of time. I already have entire weeks crossed off for quarterly evals, and appointments scheduled for yoga, and down time scheduled for quiet space or transitions I know will occur. This way I treat it like a real appointment and don’t let anything else nab that spot on my calendar. (Yes, Life will throw curveballs and things will change, but your conscious creation of your year will help you stay in alignment with what you need.)
  6. Challenge Yourself: Whether it’s a 365 Days challenge, a 52 Weeks challenge or a 31 Days challenge, find what you want to stretch yourself by doing and challenge yourself to do it. Sex every day for a month? A selfie each day for a year? Finally drinking enough water? A date night once a week? Try it. What freaks you out the most? Go with that one. (Don’t try for perfect. And don’t quit when you miss some days; it’s inevitable you will. Just keep checking off boxes for each one you complete and celebrate how far you have come, instead of the how far you haven’t.)
  7. Make Space for You Time: For me this looks like quiet space, stillness, meditation, Nature…this is where I reboot, realign myself, check-in. How do you do those things? Are you making them a part of your “resolutions”? I think the biggest reason we lose sight of our goals and never see them through is because we fail to create this stillness in our life to bring the important things back into view.
  8. Choose a Guiding Word for the Year: And don’t make it something like “money”. 😉 Make it a way you wish to experience the year, a way you want to feel. If you’re a part of the Sisterhood Tribe (or you’re ready to join!), download the free Digging Into 2013 ebook to find your Guiding Word. 🙂
  9. Surround Yourself With the Right People: People who will encourage you. People who will call you on our bullshit. People going where you’re going (instead of criticizing where you’re going). Every single person who loves their life, meets their goals, and creates amazing things in their world will tell you you can’t do it without support.

And One More For Good Reason

Create Your Own Damn Steps! 😉
Ask yourself what you really need to do, try, accept, release, change….I can only get you started, and I’d love to help you keep going, but ultimately YOU are the only person who can guarantee anything will happen this year. Get engaged with your heart and soul. What do you need to do for you this year?

I know a lot of us – myself included – are looking back and looking ahead and reevaluating with the best of them this time of year. It’s a strong energy that pulls us in. I also know how much more powerful of a year you can finally have if you reach out. So if you’re looking to reach out, I’d love to connect with you.

We can connect over the phone, one-on-one for 20-30 minutes and see what might support you.

It’s free. No obligation. But I can only create 6-7 of these free spots each week.

Click here to read more about it or click the button below to grab your spot. And let’s work through the baggage and the beauty of what’s going to make this next year yours.

Here’s to your beautiful, organic year ahead. ♥