Sunday, November 29, 2009

Seasons Change

This past year of my life has been full of tumultuous change and as a result, amazing growth. In the past I've feared change and avoided it at all costs, preferring what I perceived to be the safe haven of routine. But what I have learned is that change is inevitable, necessary and always ultimately good. Sometimes we have to go through a tremendous amount of pain or learn difficult lessons in order to recognize the good, but we are always smarter, stronger and more self-aware when all is said and done. I have gained insight throughout my recent growth experiences that I might not have otherwise. Perhaps these are things that others already knew, but I finally have my own personal clarity in these areas. Here are some of the things that I've learned:

When obsessing over external things that are out of your control, learn to turn your focus inward and become re-aligned with self.

To find joy in the unexpected. It's happening anyway--might as well embrace it.

You must be your own support and comforting presence. Self-soothe.

When obsessing over love and relationships remember: no one else can love you quite like you can love you.

Always follow your instincts. This is your inner guide, the realm of yourself that is most connected to Spirit. Its job is to protect you.

Even if you had to learn the lesson the hard way, the point is that you learned it. Celebrate.

When deciding to be the "good guy" in any situation, recognize that it is a full time job, not a temporary contract. You will most certainly be called upon to be just as gracious again and again. But don't worry, you can handle it.

Your breath is a divine gift and the key to maintaining your peace. Breathe deeply: as you inhale, bring positive thoughts and things into your consciousness; as you exhale, let go of all things negative, toxic and fearful.

Your body will acknowledge the things you won't admit to yourself (outward physical symptons of stress). Treat yourself well inwardly and your body will outwardly reflect it.

You can't be Superwoman, Wonder Mom or Domestic Diva all the time. It's okay (necessary even) to take a break now and then--relax, recharge, regroup and get back at it tomorrow.

There are always going to be bad days--and that's okay--because they help us to recognize and appreciate the really really good days. (The same goes for friends, men, jobs and wines.)

It is important to let go of expectations and desired outcomes, and to instead let life just work itself out. Dream, put in the effort and let the Universe do the rest. Even if things don't turn out the way you think you want them to, they will turn out for the best.

There's a difference between knowing these things and putting them into practice--the ability to live these lessons in every day situations, while the world around me is in chaos and threatening my peace, is what helps me to know growth and to feel more emotionally balanced. I hope some of the lessons I've learned can you help you through some of your life's changes as well.

A work in progress.
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Monday, November 23, 2009

Choose Your Own Adventure

Remember those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books? At every crossroads you had to choose Option A or Option B which would lead you to a different part of the book and down a different path. I loved those books! Even if I didn't choose the most exciting option, every adventure was meaningful and taught me something. I wish I had that kind of fearless abandon in real life!

As adults we are faced with major decisions that we agonize over in fear of making the wrong choice. We want to go this way, but we are afraid of what people will think. "What is she thinking? She's going to ruin her life!" And what will people say if we fail??? Surely the combination of failure and the criticism that comes with it will count us out for good! We are taught to believe that things should line up a certain way in our lives, and if they don't, we must be doing something wrong. We don't want anyone to know when we are struggling and that we don't have all the answers. God forbid we stumble, fall down and actually get banged up! Someone might find out that we're not perfect! These unrealistic guidelines often paralyze us into inaction.

Lest I be judged, lest I be labeled, lest I be written off - I better just play it safe.

Perhaps our choices are meant to be imperfect. Do we really think that any worthwhile endeavor will be risk-free? That we can please everyone? That we can avoid challenges and stay in a cozy, comfort zone for our whole lives? Well, I certainly used to think that. I thought that once I got it together (whatever that means), I'd be immune to unsexy things like bad days and bad decisions, everything would always go my way with minimal effort on my part, and that my life would be photoshop perfect. Isn't that how it works?

Negative. We can have our best laid plans, but life throws curveballs, doesn't it? Well, I believe that what we may think is bad, is usually a blessing in disguise. Self-discovery is always an unpredictable factor in our development. We can never know when we will discover something about ourselves that makes us reconsider the choices we've made and the way we think about things. Sometimes we think we are sitting pretty, heading due north on cruise control and just like that we hit a detour and we find ourselves on an unpaved road, almost out of gas with no rest stop for miles.

Am I preaching to the choir here?

I came across the Christine Kane's blog recently (which is full of down-to-earth, inspirational treasures), and I have found so many goodies there.

The following excerpt really comforted me and reminded me that I can fall down, change my mind, do something different and follow an unexpected path and still be successful. My imperfect, often clumsy actions can lead me into my own personal, free-lovin, God-trustin perfection.

Check it out:

The trick to success, especially when you’re trying something new, is taking imperfect action. Here’s exactly three reasons why:

1 – Taking Imperfect Action, teaches you about abundance.

The people who get stuck in the “wait til it’s perfect” trap believe there’s one and only one chance to “make it.” Taking imperfect action says, “There’s always more chances!” And there are!

2 – When you take Imperfect Action, you’re discovering yourself, not waiting to be discovered.

So many people are waiting to be discovered, approved of, noted, validated – always by someone “more important” than they are. Taking imperfect action makes you discover yourself. Once you realize that being unstoppable is simply about taking the next step, then you have absolutely no need to be discovered. Any validation that comes is like icing on the cake.

3 – When you take imperfect action, you learn that there’s no such thing as failure.

If you do something imperfectly, and you “fail,” then the lesson is to try again imperfectly. See how liberating this is? If you like to tell people or yourself that you tried and failed, then it’s time to take imperfect action again!
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Affirmations of Value

*I am valuable.
*I walk in beauty.
*I release my habit of self-criticism.
*Self acceptance brings me joy.
*I release myself from harmful judgments.
*I am the best thing that's ever happened to me.
*I am free to be myself; I accept myself as I am.
*My insecurity is replaced with shining confidence.

*Venus, Roman goddess of love/self-love. Courtesy of

Remember to live in abundance. Affirm yourself and all the strength and beauty that lie within your character. Focus not upon the things you do not have, but upon the value of all the things you do have and of all the things you are. Fill yourself to the brim with contentment and positive energy and more of the same will come to you.

Peace and Blessings

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Magic Happens When...

Sometimes we get so overwhelmed with trying to figure things out that we forget to take time to live in the moment and appreciate the small things that make life so sweet; the seemingly insignificant, but magical things that we encounter every day that can transform us in ways we don't even recognize. I came across this in one of my weekly emails and it reminded me to always search for the magic in life.

Magic Happens when:

* Women gather. Whether it be a sacred gathering in intimate circles, closed covens or wonderfully open Goddess Conferences*, women conjure magical connections between heart and humanity, young and old, the hurt and the healthy. Likewise, they do the same when they gather at play-groups, in supermarket aisles, at beaches, at fashion shows, or even in the kitchen around a steaming coffee pot. Magically, feelings of isolation disappear, balance is restored, and the world is safe in the hearts of these women.

* Children laugh. A laughing child is the epitome of innocence and pure happiness. A child's laugh is not contrived or forced. It flows instinctively and with the pure chi energy of the heart. A child's laugh is a sacred measure of purity and emotional health. When you hear a child's peals of laughter and you feel a burst of happiness that flows through you... well, that's magical.

* Fortuna smiles. Knowing that you deserve the best is the easiest way to have Lady Luck smile upon you. You are lucky when you get lost but find a new, prettier route to your destination. You are lucky when you lose your job but end up being able to live your passion in more fulfilling ways. You are lucky when you become single for suddenly the ocean is full of fish! Those with joyful intentions are rewarded with success and prosperity, so stay positive for magical outcomes.

* Humanity unites. When the news headlines are dominated by sporting and personal achievements as we're seeing in the Olympic Games, I feel a magical bond to every brother and sister in every town, state and country. Broadcasters place war and sadness on hold, and instead we celebrate the triumphs of the sporting elite. In each step, stroke, flip and cycle, every athlete demonstrates how each of us has the potential for excellence, accomplishment, elation and magic.

* Benevolence reigns. "Imagine, it is so," says the Law of Benevolence. Imagine the best for others and watch as grey clouds lift. As they are showered in blessings, revel in the power of your benevolence as you are karmically blessed in return. Imagine a world full of kindness and almost immediately you will see that people are naturally compassionate, children are safe and the elderly are revered. Imagine how happiness is found easily and indeed, begin to see it in the glint of an eye, in the steam from a slow-cooked meal, and in the conscious reminder on passing bumper stickers that yes, "Magic Happens".
-Anita Revel

Have a magical week!
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

PLPT GEMS - Meet Leslie

Peace Love and Pretty Things celebrates the depths and complexities of a woman's spirit and the potential that lies therein.

Our GEMS feature showcases women who are tapping into their unique talents and breathing life into their dreams.

GEMS stands for:

Grace and
Encouragement for
Motivation and

The women who are showcased as PLPT GEMS are accessible examples of women who are doing interesting things, overcoming challenges, expressing themselves and making a difference in a unique and beautiful way.

As they share their stories, we hope that you will read something that inspires you to reflect, laugh, cry, dare, question, create, understand, and most importantly - get involved. The world needs your perspective and your contribution. When you focus your energy on a goal that reaches beyond personal gain into a context larger than yourself, there are no limits to what you can create.

PLPT GEMS presents ~ Naturally Leslie
Writer. Counselor. Natural Hair Advocate.

1. What is your passion and what is your outlet for it?
I am passionate about personal growth and development. Part of that I get to express through my work with young people as a school counselor and part of it I get to express through my blog. I love watching young people develop emotionally and socially and I also enjoy helping women along their natural hair journeys.

2. How did you get started? How did you prepare yourself?
Professionally, once I realized what I wanted to do, I decided to go to grad school at UNC Chapel Hill to study school counseling. It was a 14 month program and I finished last June. The blog I decided to start in January of 2009 on a whim! I had never done anything like that and I decided this would be a great way for me to expand myself and get out of my comfort zone. As a result, I have met so many wonderful people and have had the opportunity to work on some amazing projects. It has exceeded any expectations I had going in and I continue to learn from it.

3. What obstacles did you have to overcome?
The biggest obstacle to my professional growth was simply coming to a place where I understood what I wanted to be myself! For so long I felt lost and with no direction. It was such a relief to me to realize that I could really help other kids discover their talents and abilities and how that could be used to point them toward possible career paths or study interests. In terms of my natural hair blog, Naturally Leslie, the biggest obstacle was getting over being vulnerable enough to put my thoughts and ideas out there for all the blogosphere to see and critique! I worried about who would read or what people might think. I have since gotten over that and I really just enjoy the dialogue it creates with other women and men about issues that matter to all of us.

4. Is your passion your full time occupation? If not, how do you balance it with the your other responsibilities?
I feel lucky that I do have a career that I love. Sometimes it is overwhelming to be so busy at work and then have posts to add to my blog. I like to update it daily but since school has started I don't get to devote as much time as I'd like. The blog is a great outlet for me considering my job, while rewarding, is quite stressful!

5. How do you stay motivated and overcome doubt, fear and negative thinking?
Seeing kids realize their potential motivates me. Hearing stories about women coming to accept their natural selves motivates me. I love watching people discover new parts of themselves and growing into that place of self-acceptance and understanding. It all motivates me! When I get negative or down, I remind myself that everything happens for a reason, good or bad. I love not knowing what the future brings and I refuse to have fear about it. I take things one day at a time and try to learn from everything.

6. What advice would you offer to others who are searching for their purpose or are afraid to take the first step towards their dreams?
I would say just do it! Easier said than done, I know, but the reality is that you must take a leap of faith. Know that you are strong and you can handle most anything that comes your way. Rely on those around you for support and ask questions. Always be a learner and continue to work toward positive personal growth.

7. Name someone who has inspired you and why.
Of course my mom. But I don't just say that because it is the obvious thing to say. As a single mother and professional social worker, she showed me first hand how to work hard, sacrifice, be professional, and care about other people, regardless of their backgrounds. I love her!

Want more Naturally Leslie? Of course you do! Click on the links below for her thought-provoking articles featured on The Coil Review and Curly Nikki.

The Coil Review:

I Confess: I Am My Hair After All
" I love India Arie’s “I Am Not My Hair”. It’s uplifting, clever, and has a nice beat. I think it expresses a powerful sentiment about our culture’s preoccupation with the physical. We do tend to judge people based on looks and we sometimes make unfounded assumptions about what those looks mean in the process. While I agree that the whole of me cannot be summed up by a hairstyle, much of who I am is reflected in how I have chosen to wear my hair."

Curing Curl Envy
"For most of us in the African American community, beginning from the time we are children, we are socialized to believe that having a certain “grade” of hair is better and more desirable. While there is nothing wrong with admiring a fellow natural’s hair, it becomes a much deeper issue once admiration transforms into jealousy."

Curly Nikki:

African American Beauty: Deconstructed
"How do we reconstruct our own beauty within the context of the greater society in which we live? How do we grow to feel comfortable in our skin and celebrate our sexuality without conforming to or perpetuating pre-existing stereotypes about the oversexed Black woman?"

Black-Latino Identity
"I think no matter how you choose to label yourself, people will always go on what they see first. Unfortunately, there is still so much negativity surrounding what it means to be Black because of the history of stereotypes and under-representation (in a positive way) in the media. I think it's cool that we are beginning to see more and more people of color being represented in a positive light in our culture."

You can also follow her at

Thanks so much for sharing, Leslie!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Take the Plunge

I just turned 32 years old, y'all. And I feel like I've earned it. I survived my twenties and lived to tell the tale! No matter how lost and confused I was during that time, I'd go through it all again to achieve the awareness that is blossoming within me now.

With this awareness comes a call for action! I couldn't ignore it if I tried. I know what makes me feel alive, and I realize that my best efforts on this earth will come from me investing my time and energy into what I love. You know, align myself with my purpose. Take my passion and make it happen.

Fancy talk aside, I'm bout to flip the script.

Big life changes can be daunting, but in some way, we are always going through major changes whether we acknowledge it or not. The next recreation of you is always brewing under the surface. I'm excited about this new me, and the new me's that I haven't met yet that are waiting for me down the road.

"We have the ability, right and power to create whatever we want in our lives. All we have to do is see it. We can choose to see the unlimited possibilities, rich opportunities and unchartered waters. We can choose to see that doing what we want with ease, having what we want with joy and being where we want can be used as projection and perception. When we use our eyes to project what we want into the world, we send forth the creative power of the soul's force. When we use positive perception to interpret what we see, we avoid falling prey to doom and gloom. If we can look beyond today, its challenges and obstacles, we can create a better tomorrow. If we can see, it must come to be. That is the law."

In keeping with this theme, tomorrow we'll be highlighting a woman who inspires her readers and students with her passion for personal growth and development. Whether she is writing on her blog about self-image issues that affect all of us, or helping a student discover their strengths in order to position themselves for the future, Naturally Leslie is an example of a woman living out her passion and encouraging others to do the same.

Check out Naturally Leslie on tomorrow's GEMS feature.

In the meantime, ask yourself, are you sitting on top of a goldmine of potential because you are afraid to take a leap of faith? Don't deny yourself and the world of what you have to offer.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Affirmations for Dreaming

You have all the time you need to do the things you love, and accomplish everything you desire. Start with these affirmations, and let the dream realization begin!

*I see and accept the path intended for me

*My future is full of juicy possibilities

*I invite new choices into my life

*My goals are becoming manifest

*I deserve to have my dreams realised

- Epona, Celtic goddess who brings dreams to you and helps manifest them. Courtesy of
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Monday, November 2, 2009

Know Thyself

photo credit:

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer.
~Rainer Maria Rilke

If you resist reading what you disagree with, how will you ever acquire deeper insights into what you believe? The things most worth reading are precisely those that challenge our convictions. ~Author Unknown

Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.
~Anaïs Nin

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.
~Nelson Mandela

To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying "Amen" to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to keep your soul alive.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

There's more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line.
And the less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine.
~Indigo Girls

That's the way things come clear. All of a sudden.
And then you realize how obvious they've been all along.
~Madeleine L'Engle
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