6 Months In and It’s Kinda Sorta Maybe Starting to Feel Like Home, I Think

Six months has flown by. Our lease is already half up. We barely feel moved in.

We flew home to Las Vegas last month to visit family and hold some essential oils events. While we were there we rummaged through my mama’s attic, condensing the remaining artifacts of our previous life, trying to cut ties to what we no longer want to carry around with us but can’t stand to throw away. Continue reading “6 Months In and It’s Kinda Sorta Maybe Starting to Feel Like Home, I Think”

My Wisdom, My Bullshit (and showing up for the right one)

She insisted we had too much to do. I insisted nothing was more important than this right here. #betweeniandme #morningwalk #meditation #consciousness #organicwisdom

I leave in just a couple hours, and I haven’t packed or even done laundry. I’ve been rushing through all the things I need to do before I leave because once I’m gone I’m actually going to be 100% gone. Off the grid.

Seven days. Nothing but meditation.

No email. No Facebook or Instagram. No internet whatsoever.

I’m not even going to bring my phone. [Insert wide-eyed look of fear here.]

Unless there is a bonafide emergency – something that (heaven forbid) involves a hospital or a mortuary – I will have zero contact with anyone but my own Self and the few others who will be on this little “retreat” with me. (That alone is a big deal. I can’t remember ever being out of contact with Justin or Zeb for more than 24 hours.)

It’s not really a retreat, in the way we’ve come to see retreats. It’s not up in the mountains or filled with yummy organic foods made by some Kitchen Goddess. It’s not scheduled on the calendar and filled with other meditators from around the world who signed up with me (although I did plan my retreat at a time when others were also planning theirs).

Nope. Nothing “fancy” or “sexy” or “dreamy” about it. Which is exactly why I chose it.

It was only an opportunity. A standing offer to anyone who seriously wants to confront their own practice, deepen it, not because it looks fun or beautiful or restful, like a gorgeous vacation; not because it will make me look like any of those things. Those things are beautiful and wonderful and meaningful, but I knew I needed to take up this offer without all that in order to take it seriously.

The offer to stay at a nearby meditation center in the middle of busy commercial part of town. To putter around, read their books on their worn down sofas, partake in endless conversation that will either energize me or totally wipe me out, scribble mad notes in my notebook, DIG IN, and most importantly, take it all a step further – practice how to fully and completely release it and come instead to meet and know my own center of consciousness.

How does one... #artjournal

I know it will be intense, not because they or it is intense, but because the shit that has been surfacing as this date approached is intense. Intense resistance, in the form of irritation toward it, fear of it, exhaustion at the thought of it, and endless, endless, endless reasons why the timing is just not good.

I used to think that resistance like this was my inner guidance telling me not to go.

I mean, it’s LOUD, and loud is something to listen to right?

But I can now recognize it for what it is: Bullshit.

We’ve all been there, right? In that space between My Wisdom and My Bullshit, and unsure of who is telling the truth when they both insist the other can’t be trusted?

I faced those battling voices – one being damn near drown out over the screaming of the other – and had to make a choice. Which do I listen to? Which do I trust to be my guidance?

It’s a question we all struggle with. Only this time I knew what personal patterns to look for.

When I made the decision to retreat, I felt a pounding heart, tears in my eyes at the sense of homecoming, anticipation and impatience that I had to wait three months for September to come around, and an undoubtably steady knowing that I needed to be here. I felt an overwhelming surge of Love; for myself, for this opportunity and those offering it, for the journey I am on, for Life and all those who live it with me. I felt confidence in my decision to confront my own meditation practice and felt the same confidence that this safe space would be the right one to support me, without taking any of my crap. I knew it all like I know I have a vagina. It was obvious. You couldn’t convince me otherwise without sounding like a crazymaker.

When the resistance started sneaking in, I felt agitated, critical, annoyed, judgmental, unsettled, uncomfortable. I felt scattered, distracted. Too busy, full of excuses. Short-tempered or full of doubt. I danced on the corner of “how could I” and “it’s just not a good time”. I tried to DIG IN and hit a protective barrier, something that told me to go “Fuck Off” because this one wasn’t going to budge no matter what I did or said.

It sounds like it was an obvious choice when I write it all out – a choice between Love and Trust…or everything else – but it really wasn’t.

Even when I could see the contrast, I still wasn’t sure which to trust. I mean, I’ve spent a lot of time showing up for that voice of fear in my life. It’s strong, insistent, convincing.

But this time I decided to show up for that voice of Love instead.

I wrote this in the Sisterhood:

But my mantra has been to “keep showing up”, steadily choosing to follow my initial instinct…Those initial instincts can be so easily buried once the mind starts gibber-jabbering, so I just keep bringing it and me back to that moment when I knew beyond any doubt the choice was perfect. I’m not giving those surfacing doubts the same power to make my decisions as I’m giving that joy and the whole-body-Yes feelings I’ve had (even if they aren’t the stronger sense right now).

I made the final decision on Monday. I chose to just show up.

To keep showing up to my daily meditation practice, even when I really don’t wanna.

To show up to this retreat and hopefully confront whatever the hell is rearing its ugly head and locking me out of the conversation.

After making the decision I had one Oh-Shit moment when I almost backed out – too much to do, too many distractions (too many excuses).

And in that moment I chose to “just show up” again.

Not perfectly. Not with a sweet smile and a fake disposition. I might even scowl at someone when I walk through the door tonight (I think they’ll understand). And I might even just own my bullshit and ask for help.

But even without the bells on, I will definitely be there. Which is more than enough.

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).

The 6 Tools I’m Using to Move Through the Ricki Lake Jitters

Whoa. Made my belly jump to see this on my calendar. Only two weeks away.  I've been #diggingdeep like a mofo for this one. By the time this comes around I'm gonna feel fucking amazing.

Sorry to leave everyone hanging. I’ve had a million well-wishes and a million questions, but Life has been keeping me dancing to about 14 songs at once and I haven’t had the time to jump back on here before now.

There is so much happening in our world. So many new developments and opportunities keeping us on our toes. And this one. This one is one of the biggest.

It feels really silly to say that. It’s a daytime talk show. It’s not Barbara Walters. It’s something I wouldn’t have even considered had it not been Ricki Lake, a woman I admire and respect for the work she’s done in the birthing community. Because of that I get a sense of her heart and her intentions and I’m not worried about sensationalization – this isn’t Jerry after all.

So it both is and isn’t a big deal, and my spirit is kind of sorting that out.

To answer your questions:

I’ll be speaking on the show about Sustainable Baby Steps, my green living site. This is a site we started many years ago to share our passion and the knowledge my hubby and I have been collecting along our years. It’s one part business, one part labor of love, something I’ve done mostly in my spare time, something that we’ve only been pulled back into this year.

It’s funny when you set an intention. Justin and I set an intention to put a little more energy into SBS and began to work on that. Two weeks later the Universe answered with an email from Ricki. (Thanks, I am paying attention.)

They don’t want an expert (thank goodness, cuz I ain’t one). They want an advocate. Someone who is passionate but doesn’t make this whole “green” thing seem like it’s only accessible if you have a lot of money, and can reassure other that you don’t have to jump off the deep end and start naming your kid Moonbeam or anything. And that’s pretty much what SBS is about – showing people how you can take small steps in a greener direction, how you can live healthy and happy, and how it’s going to actually save (or make) you money and improve your life. So yeah, that I can do.

Reading the email invitation, accepting the phone interview, I pretty much knew what my answer was going to be.

I knew it as soon as I asked myself, “Will you regret not doing this?”

I didn’t want to admit the answer was yes. I wanted to say “I’m just too busy. It’s not the right time. I’m not expert enough. I’m not advocate enough. I don’t know what I’d say. I’ll choke up on stage. I’m no good at public speaking. It’s just not a good fit. It would be totally impractical.”

And on and on the excuses went…

But would I regret not doing it anyway?

Fuck yes I would.

So I said yes before I would allow myself to say no. I made the condition that the fly me carbon neutral and then I got busy.

The first person I told was my mama. One quick text and she called me about 2 minutes later with plans to meet me there. Thank goodness, because I may be in my thirties but a girl still wants that grounding presence of her mom. Justin and Zeb are staying back with the RV. They are talkers and don’t want to be. I’ll be flying out alone, meeting my mom, and some other friends and family who will be in the area, and forging through this with a lot of bravery.

My mind is swirling between what the hell I’m going to wear (no jeans, no small patterns to make the camera stabby, nothing white) and what the hell I’m going to say. Can I write notes on my hand? Am I going to vomit?

It’s only daytime television for craps sake. But that first week of saying yes was an intense one. Every time my mind would wander to it, or I’d see it on my calendar my stomach would lurch or clench. I’d start trying to picture what the hotel room will look like and whether the car that picks me up from the airport will carry my bag so I can look especially pompous (cuz you gotta go big or go home).

Over a year of my thoughts have swirled out of my head and onto this paper. #diggingdeep My very last words written on the very last page with the very last of a drained pen, "I'm awake and I intend to stay that way." And so it is.

For a good few days, I artfully avoided anything real and deep that was surfacing for me.

But you all know how long that lasts for me. Not long. So I started to DIG IN and do my internal work. Here’s what that looks like for me:

  • Digging Deep: Hardcore. Many hours spent pouring every random thought my brain wanted to throw at me onto the page and into the process. I’ve been doing this daily, every morning. That notebook up there wasn’t all done in the past week but it sure felt like it. I’m not censoring anything. I’m letting all the Crazy and all the Shadow and all the Ego-fear out. I’m getting really comfy with the old, old stories that I didn’t expect to surface; we’re having lots of long chats on why exactly they don’t have precedent here, how I appreciate their offer of assistance, but really….I’ve got this one covered.
  • Essential oils: Grounding oils are still my fave. I’ve been using it over my solar plexus because of those stomach lurches and clenches. It’s helping me to stay grounded when those old stories want to tell me I should run and allowing me to release the attachment to old fears. I’m also doing some work with marjoram and frankincense, which I’m just called to and am trusting my nose there.
  • Yin Yoga: This is my lover, my secret-whisperer, my soul-friend. So different than any other yoga I’ve done (and never fell in love with). Saddle is by far my favorite pose for grounding and opening me to that sense of trust in the process of Life.
  • Stillness: This one is hard. There is so much going on telling me I don’t have time to hold still and be at peace. I want to move into action, even though I know that movement isn’t what actually moves me.
  • EFT: I use the work I do in Digging Deep to guide this one. Sometimes I follow one of my favorite videos from Brad*. Sometimes I let Spirit guide my words. (Be careful if you’re new to this one. Tapping can stir up a lot of stuff. Be sure you have time to move through it and don’t get started if you’re going to be in a rush.)
  • Mooji: Mooji has been something of my guru. His words are exactly what I need to hear when I need to hear them to remind me to surrender all control, all fear, all stories, all ideas that I know, all attachment that it even matters, and just fall in love with the peace that surrounds me when I’m not creating chaos.

After a week of this, I am feeling soooo much more ready and excited.

I’m excited to hug Ricki. I’m excited to share what I know and make any impact on the lives of others that I can. I’m excited to get a new pair of shoes. I’m excited to spend an evening in a historic hotel and see my girl Angela (who might also be ON the show) and hang with friends and family. And as weird as this might sound, I’m excited to fly on the plane by myself and have a layover each way and relish in all the quiet space to write and breathe and watch the world pass by me.

Yes, oh yes yes yes, I still have nerves to calm and stories to examine.

I still have work to do.

Life is always going to offer me work to do. It asks me to show up before it tells me where, asks me to trust it before you tells me what I’m trusting, asks me to put my energy in first…and then it tells me why. It shows me the big, crazy opportunity it had in mind for us only after I commit. And from there Life tells us what work we get to do again.

It’s inner work, met with outer work, met with inner work. This is the cycle of Life.

This is the job we have. This is the work we all do.

P.S. If you want to know more about what we’re talking about on the show, you can subscribe to updates through SBS here (you also get a free ebook for signing up on the newsletter). We’ll have the recording of the show up on that website as soon as it airs!

* Totes an affiliate link!

I Have This Whole Other Side (And It’s Going on the Ricki Lake Show)


I can really trace this all back to embracing (I can’t quite say “choosing” cuz Life wasn’t exactly giving me much of a choice) my Guiding Word of Surrender.

Life has walked (is still walking) me through a long series of examining and releasing and realigning. It’s been a quiet, still sort of process, like quietly watching a movie screen flitting across the inside of my eyelids, asking me to view with openness the areas in which I was not listening, the expectations I had that were not working, the personal dogma I was walking on a very long leash, the ducking out of the banquet I was doing before it was my turn to make the toast, the ways in which I was battening down the hatches of my lips and not allowing myself to just speak in real terms about Who I Am and what I do.

The ways in which I was compartmentalizing and segmenting and segregating the different parts of myself under the old, old story that no one would want to hear it all, see it all. Treating my own heart as though only certain parts of it were warranted in certain situations and the rest needed to wait outside in the rain.

You’ve gotta be ready when you say Yes to what Life is asking of you, because it will always take you somewhere you never expected.

Like the Ricki Lake show.

I am going on the Ricki Lake show because I said yes to Life when it asked me to share more of my practical side with the world. Because when I started sharing it, they took notice.

Some of you know my practical side.

But most of you don’t.

Most of you have no idea that we have a green living website that we write on and are creating guides for and are passionate about.

Most of you don’t know we love and use and advocate so passionately for essential oils through that green living site of ours.

And Life has been calling me out on that.

Why do you hide something that you love?
Why do you keep to yourself something that has made life easier for you?
Why are you tucking away a part of what you do that makes you Who You Are?

In the past month, Life has pulled me to align those parts of myself with this part here. Realigning the practical work with the deeper inner work I advocate through my coaching.

Because what the hell is all that deep inner work without some practical application?

I have no idea what this really means yet. I doubt anything will really seem like it’s changed from the outsid – from the outside. From the inside everything is shifting. The cubicles are being dismantled and this open, spacious work space is developing to create that organic flow that I so value in everything else I do but couldn’t see I was damming up here.

And I’m starting with this: A live Q&A call to talk essential oils.

I want to share exactly how I use these essential oils for the practical like health and wellness, as well as how I use them in the Digging Deep process, in coaching, in working with the principles of trust or Surrender, in releasing fear.

And mostly I’m going to answer your questions. I’m gonna not hold back my Inner Woo-Woo or my Inner Pragmatic when they both want to share why they each love these oils. And I am gonna help you decide if these are something you might want to try.

I’m especially going to see if you want to join me in using them.

Because there is too much magic and growth happening. There is too much abundance being created and health goals being met and healing taking place. There is too much support and fun and excitement among new and old members.

Why would I wanna hold that back?

Why have I held that back?

Oh yeah, for the same reason I have been outrageously fucking nervous about the Ricki Lake show. Because to get up in front of people in a new way brings up some really old shit, stronger than I’ve ever had shit come up before.

Because to get up there and share my values and my techniques and my strategies and my beliefs, even if it’s something as “benign” and simple as sharing green living in front of a live studio audience, stirs up some massive shivers in my body and some really old voices that tell me all kinds of things.

You’re too loud.
You’re too much.
You have no idea what you’re even talking about.
You’re going to mess up.
You’re going to talk too fast and get tongue-twisted and look like a major dork.
You would be better off if you just sat down and shut up.

And I’m practicing replying to those really old voices with something more akin to, “And that’s okay. I’m going for it anyway. Cuz why the hell wouldn’t I?”

I’m not playing bigger. I’m playing authentic.


P.S. I’ll have more info on Ricki Lake in the coming weeks, I promise. You’ll likely get really freaking sick of me recounting my butterflies and how I’m working through them.

5 Cool New Places You Can Find Me {Like Problogger!}

Getting ready for today's Tribe/Sisterhood call with @christieinge and enjoying the cool air and squirrel calls.

I’ve been getting around a little lately, collaborating with some new peeps and having some fun with it. I felt like I was so swamped with the OP e-course I just didn’t have a chance to network and collaborate with anyone for a good chunk of the year. Or I haven’t had a chance to share them. Boo.

This afternoon the rad Christie Inge joined us on the Organic Tribe tele-circle to talk about what she does best: intuitive eating, honoring your body, and making peace with food {she was even rad enough to send some extra goodies too}, and reminding me again how much I love her, her work, her voice. If you haven’t checked her out, please do. I think you’ll love her. {If you’re part of the Tribe/Sisterhood, grab the recording from your downloads!}

Here’s where I’ve been myself lately:

  1. Problogger: 6 Practices to Overcome Your Fears of Playing Bigger – Holy goodness, it’s pretty awesome to guest post for Problogger on something that is so totally my passion and my gift. It was also a little nerve-wracking (the irony!) and I put it off for like…4 months? But after emailing with them and having my words so happily embraced, it felt goooood. So maybe that’s #7 to overcome your fears: just do it already.
  2. A Year With Myself: Serenity* – This was a contribution to a year-long journey of self-excavation and growth. I contributed to Serenity: How to Recognize and Use the Elements of Inner Peace and Spirituality. It was a powerful interview that left me deep in thought and processing myself, as well as mini-lesson and prompts that you can access for free (or purchase the entire year of coaches, speakers, writers and more!).
  3. Wellness Warrior at Creative Soul in Motion – I’m wait late in sharing this one. It happened to go live when we were in California and my head was still whirling from the OP course. Erin is a gorgeous woman and her blog is newly launched and growing. Please check her out.
  4. Creative Women Series at The Wild Creative – This interview came through at the perfect time for me, as I had just fallen in love with art journaling and was beginning to examine my own creativity. Her words and questions came through to prompt me into deeper places and connect me to my past in surprising ways. Still processing all this so maybe I’ll be blogging more on it later.
  5. Home Education Magazine – This is REALLY exciting for me! HEM is a long-standing publication in the homeschooling community and Barb asked me to be a regular contributor, writing on “The Balance of Motherhood and Personhood”. Holy smokes, it’s so cool to get a magazine in your mail with your words inside. I’ve had it a couple times with quotes from Sustainable Baby Steps in some high profile mags, but writing an article is WAY different. *happydance* for more dreams coming true.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I put myself out there while maintaining my own sense of integrity and balance in my life. It’s not always easy to juggle it all, but I do enjoy it when I nail it. There is always a question of what is possible and what is sensible and what is heartfelt.

Connecting with amazing people doing amazing things feels amazing. Connecting with myself and my family and not overburdening myself feels even more amazing. Finding the balance between intentional and creative entrepreneurial and personal endeavors has been curious and edifying for me, although not totally clear. It’s meant taking things one day at a time, one offer to collaborate at a time, one creative opportunity at a time. It’s meant a lot of stillness and intuitive guesses and curious observations.

It’s been nice, how I’m changing up my business practices, slowing things down to a more mindful, simple pace; saying no to things I was embracing and saying yes to new things, bringing more art and beauty and style and personality into what I do.

After over a decade of being an entrepreneur, I guess I can say it got tiring. And I’m enjoying experimenting with this new idea that’s been with me, that it doesn’t have to be constant growth and motion and launch after launch. {Gee. Imagine that.}

That it can be slow and easy, and you know…organic. {Again. Imagine that.}

Oh and while I’m here, some more graphics I’ve had fun creating for Facebook:

* Totally an affiliate link!

The Life Lessons of Purple Hair

I did something I haven’t done since I was a teenager. I applied chemicals to my head, drained the tips of color, and filled it back in with purple.

Yes, I’m the “Organic Sister”…my life orbiting around the natural, the innate, the organic, the mindful. And I bleached and colored my hair.

It's happening people. Tippin' it.

I cut it. @mirandamayi tipped it. My color blind husband can't see it. #purple #hair #pixie #fauxhawk
(@tarawagner on Instagram)

I don’t use shampoo. I don’t condition. I don’t use styling product or tools. (I use water, and my fingertips, and that be all, folks.) I cut it myself and I intentionally avoid products because, quite frankly, figuring out what’s safe and what’s not is a royal pain in the arse and why bother when it’s not really necessary.

Having dreads for almost 4 years got me into this habit of minimalism.

Then, shaving my head placed me square in the habit of fully alive.

Still, it’s sort of a big deal for me, being all hip on the sustainable aspects of life, to embrace what I used to call (still can see as) wasteful, superfluous, and potentially harmful.

And I did it anyway. 😉

Here are the thoughts I’ve been playing with in my head:

I’ve lived a life of minimalism and mindfulness and it bordered on the mentality of scarcity. We had our urban homestead, our chickens, our food storage, our ideas of sustainability and peak oil, and right versus wrong, and holy-hell-the-world-is-coming-to-an-end.

Since then I’ve embraced a world of joy and abundance. We travel, we explore, we create, we examine, we swim in the possibilities of life. But it can border on denial at times.

My goal since becoming aware of this dichotomy of our experiences has been to balance having two feet planted firmly on the ground, while simultaneously raising our hearts and minds to the universe. The balance of the spiritual and the practical. Of reality as we see it, and the awareness of the dream we call reality, the spiritualism that tells me all is ultimately well.

As we approach the idea of settling back down, we know we want chickens again. We want a permaculture “homestead”. We want sustainable housing.

We don’t want scarcity, fear, paranoia, mistrust, or that impending sense of doom.

We want to balance our values for the earth with our values for our spirits.

What the hell does this have to do with my hair?

I’m not totally sure. 😉 Except I think maybe I’m playing, toying with the balance of scarcity and abundance, with the ideas of responsibility and playfulness, pushing edges, and throwing around ideas through the “frivolous” and the “serious” things I’m doing, trying to figure out for myself what this new era in our life will be like, embracing the teacher before the lesson has really begun.

Right now that looks like purple tips.

Pssst! We Have a Free Ebook Over on SBS!

Did you know Justin and I run a second site together, Sustainable Baby Steps?

It’s my more practical side wrapped up in its own website. 😉

Sustainable Baby Steps is dedicated to guiding you to live a healthy, happy, meaningful life…without overwhelming you with information, costing an arm and a leg or sacrificing what really matters: a life worth sustaining!

And we now have a free ebook we’re offering to get you started!

Click here for Strategies to Save Money (Without Sacrificing Your Health, Happiness or Values)

External Reflections of an Internal Joy (My Thoughts on Meaningful Consumerism)


Tiffani and I were sitting on the edge of my bed when I had the epiphany (I’m calling it “The Epiphany with Tiffani”.)

We were looking through my closet trying to find the perfect thing to wear during the dready photoshoot when she said something extremely obvious along the lines of “Pick something that reflects you and that you feel really good in” and I realized how much I felt “comfortable” in or “okay” in, but nothing to fit her description.

I started talking about how much of my clothing I don’t actually *love* or that doesn’t fit me well and how much I dislike to shop because I can never find what I want and love, when it hit me that I had my closet and my head so full of what I didn’t want that I had no space in either for what I did!

I know the value of creating space in my life (physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally) for the things I’m ready for. But I hadn’t applied it to the simplest of things. (Duh.)

I then proceeded to yank things off hangars and throw them on the floor, where they stayed for several days (Justin loved me for it. 😉 ) instigating me to finish the task.

And I did. I purged over 80% of my closet over the next week.

Then within 4 days I had found a handful of new things that I love and can’t wait to wear each day!

I created space and Life rushed in to fill it with the things I was ready for.

These things reflect me and highlight my favorite parts of me and make me feel radiant and comfortable at the same time. Yum. 🙂

Then last week I got a new iPhone.

I had milked my last phone until the last possible day, when it went haywire and started calling China like a curious 3 year old.

And I love my new iPhone! It’s fun and easy to use and syncs with my everything and has Siri which makes me feel like Tony Stark telling my robot what to do for me (or asking it the meaning of life – seriously, try it. Several times.)

It makes my life easier and I feel high-tech and hip and fun. I’m playing with Instagram and Hanging with Friends and getting automatic updates to my calendar.

But All This Triggered Me Too

I’m writing all this because it has me reflecting on consumption and my reasons for it.

We gave away nearly everything we owned when we hit the road and I’m suddenly finding value in “stuff”?

On top of that is my strong resonance with sustainability and eco-conscious living.

We live in a pretty consumable world and we (as a culture) love to consume.

And I’ll admit it. I loved the “high” of finding my new purple, off-the-shoulder top and tapping away on my new iPhone.

It feels good, especially to someone like me who hasn’t done a lot of shopping or consuming outside of thrift stores and farmers markets, based on the principle of it.

And so I can understand why it can feel so easy to fill a void with the superficial, the “stuff” in life.

Because it’s not the “stuff” we’re after – it’s the feeling it might offer us that we’re hungry for.

Maybe it’s a sense of newness, a clean state, a change that doesn’t actually scare us.

Maybe it’s the idea of deserving, of self-worth, of “I earned this”.

Maybe it’s the connection we experience when we fit in with our crowd, know what they are talking about and can share our experience of the same.

Maybe it’s the beauty and the inspiration from filling our homes or our closets with the things that make us smile, feel comfortable and radiant or offer us less stress or more time.

It’s easy to mistake what we’re really after with the means to get it.

It’s easier to get caught up in the “retail therapy” to make us feel good again than it is to actually DIG IN to those uncomfortable feelings that keep us from feeling good all the time and address them once and for all.

It’s also easy to demonize the “stuff”, to point fingers at consumers, to make ourselves or our kids go without for fear of creating waste or feeling (or fearing we look) shallow or conventional.

One way or another, it’s easier to get caught up in the surface, the superficial, than it is to look beneath the surface of our experiences to the real human experience happening within each one of us.

I’m finding it more and more true that the real solution is to notice when the “stuff” is suddenly a tragic attempt to access that joy we all so desperately need to experience, or whether it’s an external reflection of an internal joy we’ve already found.

As I reflect on all this – on my own consumption, my own guilt and concern in contrast to the positive feelings I’m experiencing as a part of this new “stuff” – I am noticing that the happier and more grounded I feel internally, the more I want my external environment to reflect that.

I want to paint my walls and wear rich and vibrant colors and take gorgeous photos faster and organize my life better to reflect what I know as Truth – that the world is beautiful, colorful, inspirational and enjoyable and I want to get back to the act of living it to its fullest potential.

When I keep my focus on the external being a mere reflection of the internal I find my consumer choices are more conscious and simple and eco-friendly, anyway. I choose things that will last, I care for them better and I make sure they are just right for me so that I have no regrets. Because that’s my internal experience as well – full of love, care, mindfulness and value.

If I had to summarize all these reflections I think my point would be this:

Love what you do. Love Who You Are. Let go of the fear and move into Truth. Live your life from the inside out. Find value in yourself and your life, and reflect that in all you do. Reflect outside yourself the Truth you experience in your heart. Allow every choice to count. And INSPIRE the world to something greater, starting with you.

3 Year Dread Anniversary!

Guess what?! My dreads are 3 years old, as of May 17/18! Well, most of them.

I felt like making a little video to talk about how things are going, what they’re doing and what this past year has taught me.

I also thought it might be fun to create a little game called Count How Many Times Tara Can Say Um in 8 Minutes. Taking shots is purely optional.

Other dread-y links you dreaded folks might want: