Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Frustrating Balance between What You Have and What You Want

Do you ever feel like the balance between what you have and what you want becomes a bit frustrating? You’re torn between the steps you’re taking towards your goals, and being present where you are. You know what you want, and so you become increasingly disenchanted with what you have—but you know you should be grateful and so the struggle ensues.

It has taken me awhile to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I’ve worked in radio and TV; I’ve wanted to work in PR and A&R and Sports Management. I’ve been a full time student, a cheerleading coach, a voice over talent and a wedding singer. I’ve looked into being a teacher on more than one occasion. And I’m sure I’m forgetting something that should be on this list (G, feel free to chime in).

Throughout these moments of exploration, the theme has been the same—the search for creativity and flexibility and freedom of expression--to just be inherently me. The goal has been to figure out what I can do that is aligned with my personal core values, makes me light up even the going gets rough and makes want to work even when I don’t want to work.

And though I know there’s more than one thing that will accomplish this for me, and that I’ll continue to evolve and try out new things with each phase of my life, I think I’ve finally found (or rediscovered at any rate) one of the things that I’m really good at and know that I want to do for a while. I want to write (and I get to do it all over the web, both weekly and monthly). And I’m really lucky that we’re in an age where I get to do it in a fun way through blogs (this one and Pish Posh Perfect), and then tell everyone about the writing and the blogging via social media; and I get to tell other people’s stories via social media too (because I freelance as a consultant for a couple of brands).

But I still have to do what I have to do in the meantime. And therein lies the rub. There are days where the frustration is almost overwhelming and I want to skip the “learning process” of being where I am and just get to where I want to be already!!

How do you continue to have patience when you feel you are on the cusp of something really special--something that will ultimately help you to live the lifestyle you want—but you have to continue to do that other thing for just a little while longer?

How do you balance the frustration between your present and the future you visualize?

*photo via Pinterest
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Monday, August 27, 2012

Join Me: Change Your Thoughts and Break Your Patterns


Ever since my mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, I've been worried that I would eventually face the same fate.

When you have a family history of mental illness, or any health issue/disease for that matter, you can easily become engrossed with the idea that you are going to get sick, too. You might mistake normal bodily changes and occurences as more serious symptoms because you're subconsciously waiting for this self-fulfilling prophecy to come to pass.

Even before she was diagnosed, there were obvious peculiarities to her behavior that I also recognized in my maternal grandmother. So, I didn't need the diagnosis to know that there was something going on with them that seemed to have been passed down from mother to daughter. With this awareness, I would look at myself in the mirror and feel so hopeless. Entering adulthood, I harbored thoughts of being damaged and broken. I didn't think I had a chance.

I don't think that way anymore, but I do hear voices. Not the persecuting voices that my mother and grandmother would often speak of, but there are murmurs of fear that linger in my mind that I have to constantly silence. They tell me that my family history has predisposed me to a life mental and emotional struggle, and that I won't be able handle the life that I want for myself.  I know these are lies, but sometimes I lose my resolve and I doubt.  I don't trust my own experience.

Can you in some way relate these feelings to your life?  Is there something that you are allowing to hold you back?  Today, I'm asking you to join me in being brave and facing those fears.  I believe that personal power starts with awareness.  God gives us everything that we need and often, due to our circumstances, we are too afraid to see it.  Give yourself a chance to write your own story.  Just give yourself a chance. 

Promise?  Okay, me too.
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Friday, August 24, 2012

Love Note - Friday 8/24/12

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Guest Post: Allowing the Creative Flow of Your Life

 The following guest post was written by Jennifer Wardlaw, creator of Freedom from Ashes.


When we think of Creativity, most of us think in terms of some of Creativity’s forms like Writing, Art, Crafts, Fashion, and much more. We usually don’t think of living our whole Life Creatively. When we are being Creative, we are embracing the feminine energy. This means we are in acceptance of the darkness (unknown) that is needed for Creativity. We are in acceptance of the gestation period Creativity requires. We are in acceptance of the chaotic, uncomfortable space we move into. Creativity needs for us to relinquish control, trust in Life’s natural process, face our fear of the unknown, and become a Vessel for Love and Life to work through.

No matter what our profession or hobbies are, we are all Creative beings. We are always creating our Lives in each moment by our perception of the events in our Lives. We are either seeing Life with Love glasses or Fear glasses on. Sometimes when our Life seems stagnant, Life is encouraging us to let go and allow our Creative Flow.

After I graduated college in 2009 and graduate school didn’t work out last minute, I was scared. I did not know what to do with my Life anymore. I had always tried to plan out my Life. I feared the freedom that I was now experiencing. I was free to create a Life that truly resonated with my authentic Self. All I had to do was relinquish control and trust that everything was working out even if I didn’t see that.

When I am writing, I allow my Creativity to flow. When I have writer’s block, it usually is because I am trying to force something to come through before its time. But when we take a step back, let go, be patient and allow it to come through in its natural time, we are now a Vessel for the Creativity.

We can live every part of our lives like this. By focusing on THIS moment we are being Creative. All different opportunities and ideas are open for us in this moment. When we trust that Life will bring us just the right people, circumstances, and ideas when we need them, we are unleashing our Creative flow!

Living from Love allows a natural flow to Life. Whenever we feel stuck this is only a reminder to surrender to Love. This means that we remember that everything in our lives is FOR us. We are now flowing with Life instead of at war with it.

Living creatively also means living a Life that is authentic-a life that resonates with YOU. I had realized that I was wearing a costume my whole Life. I was doing things to please other people. I have been on a journey to re-discovering my authentic Self. 

Creativity is unique and is an expression of your Authentic Self. When we unleash the Creative flow in our Life, we are vowing to show the world the Light that we ARE. We have the courage to embrace the unique Path that Life has waiting for us to walk on. This path is where no one has ever been. 

Here are a few ways to allow your Creative Flow:

1. Listen to yourself. Listen to your dreams and passions and also listen to your fears. Your fears, once accepted, can lead you out of your comfort zone and into the Creative zone. Always ask yourself: Is this something I want to do? Is this authentic to me? If fear and guilt were not around would this be what YOU would be doing?

2. Surrender. When you feel frustration in your Life use this as a reminder to surrender to Life’s natural flow. Look at any grievances as a Creative block. It’s like a tense muscle, where the only way to heal the pain is is to relax into it.

3. Be comfortable with not knowing. The excitement of Life is that none of us truly know what the next moment will bring. When we are confused or don’t know what to do in Life, this is when we can allow our Creative flow. This opens us up to endless possibilities and inner guidance.

4. Use your intuition. Creativity is of feminine energy. So when we are embracing our Creative flow, it requires us to start using our intuition. A lot of the times Life does not make sense. When we use our intuition to make decisions, we make decisions from our heart rather than fear.

Living our lives creatively allows us to welcome more Peace, Freedom, Happiness, and Love into our lives. When we live authentically and courageously, we are naturally living creatively. Life will respond by bringing to you experiences that resonate with your heart and soul. You are now painting Life with your unique colors!

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Practical Preparation for Receiving Your Increase

You’ve been working diligently toward your goal for some time now. And we know you’re visualizing it, meditating on it, creating vision boards around it, networking it, etc…but how are you preparing for it?


So often, we ask for increase, without thinking about what changes will have to occur in our lives once we get it. It’s just as important to prepare a practical plan of action so that you’ll be ready to receive when your goal gets achieved. So what are some of the things you’ll want to be thinking about?

Will I lose any of the perks of my current position? And if so, will that require me to spend more?

Will my monthly spending amounts (bills, investments) increase in other ways?

Will I need to move to a bigger home? Downsize?

Will I have to drive more? Or Less?

How many more working hours will be expected of me, and can I meet these expectations?

Does this increase require more education, licensing, etc?

What new skills might I have to/want to learn to be efficient in my new role?

How will my partner feel about these changes?

Will I have more time/less time for my children?

Are there things I’ll be able to delegate to someone else to avoid becoming overwhelmed?

How will I balance my already full plate once I add this new thing on top of it?

Will this require me to move to a new city/state? What will a move cost?

Will this put me in a new tax bracket?

How will I transition my retirement savings?

Will I need to take out a loan? How will I pay it back?

I’m sure there are hundreds more questions that can be asked depending on your individual situation. But what’s really important is to determine up front which of your values are priorities for you to maintain. Is freedom your most important value? Family time? Travel? How will you maintain these things with your new gift--and the responsibilities that come along with it?

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Love Note - Friday 8/17/12

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Happily Ever After: Should It Really Be This Hard?


Over the weekend, a few of my girlfriends got into a discussion about relationships and marriage and the question emerged: Should relationships be hard work?  

What do you think?  Naturally, a bunch of related questions will pop into your mind once you begin to think about it: If my relationship feels like hard work, does that mean that I'm not with the right person?  What are we doing wrong?  Is it supposed to be easy?

I'm not going to attempt to answer these questions for you today; my intention is to trigger some self-exploration for you that will help you understand your own situation.  But of course, I'm going to offer my opinion.

If your relationship feels like hard work because you are both juggling careers, children, or whatever priorities exist for you, then this is just a natural part of life.  Compromise and communication won't always be easy, but if the love you have for each other motivates you both to make sacrifices and find that common ground, you're on the right track.

If it feels like hard work because you can't be yourself with that person, or they don't respect you, or show you love; then deep down, I'm sure you know that something fundamental is not right.  If it feels like hard work because you want that person to fill a void that exists within you then that is also a problem. You can't change the other person, and you certainly can't expect them to complete you - contrary to what romantic comedies teach us.  If you're not happy with the one you're with just the way they are, or vice versa, this is a red flag.  Making this kind of union last will not only be hard work, it will be fruitless hard work.

Consider the following:

"There are many of us who are looking at what we need and want in relationships with eyes that have been blinded by the wrong information.  What we think people can do for us or give to us, and how we think they can make us feel will shift when we accept our true identity and begin to love ourselves because of who we are - whole, complete, and perfect beings.   In the absence of fear; love, joy, peace and truth can reign supreme."

-- excerpt from In the Meantime, by Iyanla Vanzant

We'd love for you to share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments.

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Love Note - Friday 8/10/12

Spend this weekend celebrating your small victories. Here's to you and everything that you've learned on your journey. Happy Weekend! 
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pretty Things: Natural in the Summer

Do you know it's been a year since I've done a natural hair update?   I didn't realize it had been such a long time.  I haven't been very focused on my hair lately.  It's grown a lot, but I I have a feeling that I will need a lot cut when I go for my next trim.  I've been wearing it in buns 95% of the time, and I'm way overdue for a trim.

All summer, I've either worn ponytails like this...

Or buns like this....

It's been way too humid to wear it all up in my face and on my neck.  I'll typically wash on Sundays and braid it up and wear it in various updos throughout the week.  If it gets too crazy in the middle of the week, I'll either rinse it and braid it again or I'll cowash.  I've done almost no wash and goes because my hair really doesn't like them. 

I've tried to keep it really simple.  There are three factors that really seem to keep my hair thriving, with minimal work:   1) Every wash, I either pre-treat with oil or do an oil rinse, 2) After washing, I braid or twist to dry and stretch, no matter how I plan on styling, and 3) Remoisturize at least a couple times during the week. 

How do I remoisturize?  At night, I dab a nickel sized amount of oil or butter in my hands and evenly distribute throughout my hair, paying particular attention to my ends.  Then I put it up either in a top knot or a couple twists or braids, put on a plastic cap, then a scarf over that and go to bed.   When I wake up, my hair feels amazing and happy. 

Whether you are natural or relaxed, what have you been doing with your hair all summer? 
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Monday, August 6, 2012

5 Ways to Refresh Your Environment and Your Soul

I don’t know about you, but serenity in my surroundings is very often equivalent to peace of mind. I feel more relaxed, productive and healthy when I am in a clean, open, organized space—and a little bit of pretty doesn’t hurt either. When I start to feel out of control, a quick de-clutter in my space (home, office, car) can de-clutter my mind as well. Perhaps it isn’t even as much about the visual end result as it is about the process of stilling my mind, setting about a task, and creating room for positive energy to flow. Whatever the case, I highly recommend these ways of refreshing your environment that can perhaps also refresh your soul.

Straighten up/organize. Ever heard the phrase “she couldn’t see the forest for the trees”? The jist of that turn of phrase is that we often miss things that are right in front of us; it’s even easier to do so when there is clutter covering them up. So why not take a moment to get organized? Move dirty clothing to the hamper, make up the bed, clear your products out of the bathroom, wash the dishes, make a to-do list. Perhaps you’ll find that you can see much more clearly with those minor chores out of the way.

Bring in fresh flowers. Fresh flowers bring life into your space. And certain plants also bring along their enticing scents and vibrant colors. Who can be sad while staring at a gorgeous center piece? I like to update my dining table with a fresh vase of flowers each week.

Open a window. If you can’t take a break and head outside, why not open a window? It might get a little warm in the summer, but ultimately fresh air is healthy for our lungs and our minds; breathe in deeply the air from outside and allow yourself to reconnect with nature and with your Self.

Release calming scents. Scents like Jasmine and Lavender are known to have calming properties, but we also sometimes have emotional links to particular smells that incite pleasant memories or feelings. Light a candle, or incense in your favorite scent and let it permeate your space.

Infuse color. Color is also said to be linked to mood. Bright colors like yellow and orange have been linked to making people feel happy, and green is rumored to elicit calm. Find a way to infuse color into the room even via something small like a throw pillow or a candy dish. Infusing color into your wardrobe and donning it as opposed to neutrals will help to brighten your mood as well.

What other things can you do in your environment to help refresh both your surroundings and your soul?
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Friday, August 3, 2012

Love Note - Friday 8/3/12

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