A Love Letter


8e4599c4-1002-430b-bb5a-039aaa1d2dacToday, I wrote myself a love letter and I meant almost every word.

Actually, I wrote this letter quite some time ago, on a day I was feeling overwhelmed by life. Old voices came to haunt me telling me that I wasn’t doing enough. According to these voices, I was failing miserably at being a teacher. My Ego wanted me to believe that working in the field of mental health was beginning to break me. In addition, Graduate School was turning out to be much harder than I had initially realized, and balancing it all was turning into an impossible juggling act. I was bound to drop something sooner than later.

Ultimately, the goals I had set for my professional, personal, and social life were becoming to feel unrealistic and unattainable. My defeat felt at times, unstoppable and completely crushing. So, instead of acknowledging my feelings and searching for resolution, I instead dismissed such concerns and swiftly reminded myself I simply wasn’t enough. I was failing, because as it turns out, I am no Superwoman and I am just not good enough. Simply put, I need to be better.

          Keri 0

          Keri’s Self Esteem 0

          Ego +1

Later that evening, I spoke to a dear friend and mentor who suggested I write it all down. “Write down what you have to say to yourself,” she said. “Write yourself a letter.” Interestingly enough, what was initially meant to be a therapeutic outlet to write out my feelings turned into a letter filled with love and empathy for a woman simply trying to do and be the best version of herself. This letter turned into a romantic and intimate plea to remember the beauty and love she possessed… to remember she is only love.

Now, fast forward to a few months later. On this random day, I happen to catch a short film by a woman who writes a weekly blog about food, cooking and life. This woman received a hurtful comment by one of her readers/viewers suggesting that she dye her gray hairs because she “looked like a 70-year-old woman.” The blogger took to social media to share her experience and speak to that hurtful comment. The blogger shared that she was born with an autoimmune disease that would let her live no longer than 70 years and every time she discovers a new gray hair, she remembers she has been gifted with yet another year to live; another year to grow old with her husband. In this video, the blogger also spoke about the parts of herself she once considered flawed. These parts of herself, she has now learned to love. She proudly stated that she loves all of herself fully and completely.

With raw and honest emotion, she concluded her monologue with a challenge to encourage others to find the beauty in all things and to love everyone just as they are. She said “We need more people like this. Be that person.” By the end of the short video, my eyes had filled up with tears.

“I will be that person.” I whispered to myself.

I will stand up and love everyone just as they are and encourage others to trash the negative self-talk and lonely nights of self-loathing, and instead find gratitude and happiness in being given this life, this body, and these opportunities. Then it hit me…the concept of being that person is great and all, but it starts with me. I can’t walk around this planet preaching about self-love, and yet unwilling to provide that for myself first and foremost. I had become that person, alright; telling people how beautiful they were, while silently judging parts of my own body I loathed. Too many moments were spent on telling myself I should lose 10 lbs, or identifying new wrinkles that seemed to appear overnight. So many moments in which I told myself I wasn’t smart enough, wasn’t good enough at my job, or was bad at being a yoga teacher and should really just stick to practicing instead of instructing. “I don’t know everything,” I would remind myself. My Ego would chime in and ask why my yoga students should even trust what I am saying? 

Some nights were spent convincing myself I wasn’t a very good friend, sister, or partner. Thoughts would swirl around my mind until I convinced myself I was self-serving and inconsiderate. “I am not making enough time for everyone,” I would say. “I don’t tell my family and friends often enough how much they mean to me, or that I literally wouldn’t be the same person without them.” So, I would fall asleep planning to be a better friend and person the next day.

The next day would come, and if I didn’t succeed at being everything to everyone, I would sit with Guilt. Like old friends catching up over a glass of wine, we would reminisce about all the ways in which I was a horrible person. “We have so much evidence!” Guilt would excitedly exclaim

The judging and belittling done to myself by myself was atrocious and desperate, and my self-confidence couldn’t take much more.

So, one night, I stood up to Guilt, Regret and Fear. I sat by my lonesome with red wine in hand, to reread my love letter. I read it over and over again until I meant every word…

…until I meant Every. Damn. Word.

And possibly as you read this letter, my hope is that you see the love in such beautiful and honest words.

Perhaps even, this letter was actually written for you.

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Dear sweet girl,

Do you know how much I love you? Perhaps, I should tell you more often. So, in case you’ve forgotten any of the reasons why I love you so, let me remind you now.

And, sweet girl, please stop forgetting, will you?

I love your heart. It is probably my most favorite thing about you. It is easy for you to love, and when you love, you love hard. People have told you, “You wear your heart on your sleeve.”

This is true. This is not a bad thing, but an endearing quality you have always possessed. True, this trait has led you to feel vulnerable at times, but I am here to tell you that it is okay. Vulnerability is how we stay open to opportunities of growth and expansion. Vulnerability is how we remain intimate in our relationships.

So expose away, as you have nothing to hide, but only so much to give.

Now, let me elaborate on one more thing about that heart of yours. I also love how you love. I do not believe you know how to love on a part-time basis, but rather with all of your heart and always full-time. In other words, you are either all in or none at all. For all of those moments you think you do not love enough or give enough of yourself, I am here to tell you this is false.

So. False.

Please stop being so hard on yourself, sweet girl. You cannot be everything to everyone at every moment of every day. No, you can only be you. Trust me when I say, that is enough, and those who are on the receiving end of your love are seriously lucky.

I love your beauty. I don’t tell you often enough, but you are beautiful. I think your smile is charming and your eyes are incredibly honest. Unwilling to hide excitement, sadness, or even disappointment, they always tell the truth. And when your heart is full and happy, your eyes twinkle with delight. They practically light up a room up when you speak about those you care and love for. They say the “eyes are the window to the soul”, and yours, my dear, are no exception.

Speaking of eyes, they have seen a lot. They have shed many tears; many tears full of love and laughter and also tears of sorrow and grief. I am glad you’ve stopped crying, sweet girl. I like your eyes better when they are open, bright, curious, and in awe of the world around you. Someone once told you, they could get “lost in your eyes.” Well, I must say that I agree. Those eyes have a language all of their own.

I love your fire, your passion and your drive. You are not one to sit still easily, nor will you let this life just pass you by. I see how much you strive to accomplish in this life and your ambitious and adventurous spirit is infectious. Yes, I do love that spirit of yours. Free, open and honest is who you were born do be. Wildly inspired by, and in awe of the world around you, I am addicted to your desire to live this life to the fullest. But please remember, sweet girl, to be present and not get lost in the “what if’s” and the “could haves” or “should haves.” That doesn’t always feel good, right? So, stop wondering about what, or who, or how you are meant to be and just allow yourself to be.

Finally, I must tell you that I adore your sense of humor. The ease in which you find laughter can often draw people in. Your wonderful, and often unique sense of humor makes you an easy person to be around. You are easy to laugh with (and, yes, sometimes at), and this is a charming quality to possess and I urge you to never lose it. In fact, I challenge you to laugh as often as you can so that you continue to grow your smile lines. After all, they are so beautiful and that smile of yours is contagious.

You see, sweet girl. There is so much of you to love, I think I could write for days. I could write pages upon pages of all that you have to offer the world. So please stop forgetting so easily. You are a Warrior. Your heart will always guide your way.

But remember to take it easy sometimes, my sweet Warrior. There is no battle to be fought or war to be won. You are doing the best you can and doing a damn good job at it.

IMG_5131And please, if there is one thing I never want you to forget, it is that you are perfect. You are perfectly, imperfectly you and in all your complexities and complications you are enough. You have always been enough to me and I am so terribly sorry I ever let you forget.

With all my love and adoration,                                                                                                               Keri                                                                                                                                                                         

Photo Credit: Kevin Thayer/Alt Proc Media Arts 

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The Thing about Holding the Door for a Woman

It’s a Thursday evening and I am walking towards the exit of Chipotle. While I have a burrito in hand, I also have handful of chips already halfway to my mouth. As I make my way out, I notice a guy getting ready to come inside Chipotle and I watch him pause as he prepares to hold the door for me. I hesitate for just a second as I chomp down on some chips and then I smile graciously and walk through the now open door. The word “Thank you” escapes my lips, and he responds with a friendly nod and “You’re welcome.”

So, here is the thing about holding a door for a woman. We like it. I don’t necessarily need you to hold it open because I can certainly open and close the door all on my own, but I am here to tell you that I will always be appreciative for this gesture. This is true not only because it is kind and considerate, but more importantly because chivalry will never go out of style. I promise.

Call me old fashioned, but I strongly believe in holding the door for a lady, paying for the check on the first date, driving the car around to the door if it’s raining, and dropping by with some flowers just for the hell of it.

All this being said, some people still prefer to be treated in a way that is not kind, considerate, or thoughtful.

Speaking from personal experience, I was once attracted to the people that treated me poorly. However, as I engaged in such relationships, I realize now I was simply playing out the type of relationship I had with myself. I was attracted to the person that was treating me with the same amount of respect (or lack thereof) with which I was treating myself.

You see, “It has nothing to do with you, and it means everything about you” –PLR

However, these days, I’ve found a deeper love and gratitude for the person I’ve grown to become, and in doing so I have raised the bar. Substantially higher, in fact. I now prefer to be spending my precious time with the guy that always holds the door for the person behind him. I like getting flowers “just because.” I appreciate when my boyfriend kindly moves me to the inside of the street as we walk down the road. My heart melts when he kisses my forehead or the tip of my nose because in that moment, I feel loved and adored. I even secretly appreciate when we are at the grocery store together and he grabs all the grocery bags out of my hands so he can carry them to the car. It is small gestures like the ones stated above that often mean the most in this world.

Yes, perhaps I am old fashioned, but here is the thing about holding a door for a woman. You should do it for everyone.

As it turns out, it isn’t just a woman thing, it’s a human thing.

So, buy your friend some flowers just because, or offer a stranger your seat on the bus. Tell your sister, or your mother, your girlfriend, or your friend she is beautiful because she is. Surprise your partner with a random date out once in a while to show your love and appreciation. Smile (sincerely!) at the person who cuts you off in traffic. Perhaps he or she is just having a bad day and your kindness could help to turn it around.

Always be kind and be intentional with every action you perform, being sure to only extend love.

So, to the kind stranger that held the door for me that day, thank you. Although I was caught off guard because my steamy hot burrito bowl was occupying my attention, I appreciated the small gesture more than you know. And please know that after you walked away, I turned back around to grab and hold the door open for the next person coming in. Maybe next time, I’ll even offer them a couple of my chips ❤

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To the ex I thought I couldn’t live without. A journey to self-love.

 

Dear you,

It is time I write a letter, but not just any letter, a letter of thanks and gratitude. For it was you, who taught me how to truly love myself.

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Thank you for the way you used to look at me. With just one look of your eyes, you showed me such an intense and powerfully strong, pure love that I thought, at times, my heart was going to burst. In your eyes, I could see the reflection of my true beauty. A beauty I was unable to see in the reflection of most mirrors.

You once told me you could “get lost in my eyes” or that “one smile from me could brighten your whole day.” For that comment, and many others like it, I also say thank you. Thank you for reminding me about the impact a simple smile or act of kindness can have on the world. How ironic that you frequently acknowledged how I could make your world better by just being in it, and yet, to you, the world we lived in was cruel, dishonest, and corrupt.

Thank you for holding me to such high expectations that I felt I could never meet. Expectations that left me feeling as though I would never be as good as you or what you deserved in a partner. After we broke up, I was left with a shattered and pathetic self-esteem that was to be put back together like pieces of a puzzle too big for just one person to complete. The lesson in that experience was that those standards I felt you were imposing on me were actually ones I had set for myself by myself. You were amazingly wonderful and in (almost) every moment, I felt an immense amount of gratitude for our relationship; however, you were no match for my fiery, loving, kind, and passionate spirit that desperately sought freedom. I fiercely loved you and it burned painfully long when we both realized we were falling apart as a couple. This realization evoked fear, anger, and rage in both of us, which led to desperation, sadness, and insecurity.

Thank you for your incessant jealousy. It reminded me that I am worth fighting for. No man should ever again question my loyalty, nor should I be told I am too friendly, and that my misleading behavior is disrespectful to my boyfriend. Unfortunately for you, that was not my truth, and neither were your words.

Although your jealousy caused arguments between us, in the end, I thank you for not fighting for me and, therefore, allowing me to see my inner strength and courage; for I am a resilient, hard working and brave woman. I am a Warrior, far stronger and smarter and capable than I ever imagined.

You used to tell me at the most random of moments that you loved me. You would say, “I love you, Keri… So. Much.” I know you did. Like the taste of a sweet, deeply rich dessert filling my belly, I could physically feel your love and desire for me. If only I could have loved myself that much, perhaps we would have lasted.

But through our petty arguments and strong disagreements, sleepless nights with you on the couch and me in our bed, I reflect back on such sadness, but can now see the value in all of those moments. Such moments that ultimately led us to an inevitable break up, and later (so I hear) to you meeting your future wife. For me, those events have led to a place of learning and growing, to an extreme place of self-love and unwavering gratitude for this life. I strive to live in a place where my heart is unconditionally filled by me first before anyone else, and by doing so; my heart remains kind and exempt from pain.

My heart remains open and honest.

My heart is no longer heavy and aching for validation and security.

Lastly, thank you for showing me what anger looks like. You see, fear often consumed you, and I hated it. I hated seeing the person I loved so dearly taken away, devoured up by Ego. However, what I realize now is that fear and anger lived inside of me also. After we broke up I allowed it to exhaust me and I wish I knew then what I know now, which is, no matter what and despite all situations, I have a choice to give my power to fear or to love.

So, thank you for spending several years of your life with me. For growing and learning together as well as apart. Thank you for loving me more than I was willing to love myself because ultimately, I am a better person because I met and loved you. And most importantly, thank you for so abruptly stopping loving me so that I had no other choice than to do it myself.

With so much love and gratitude,

MeIMG_1829

 

Swearing at the Stoplight

Yesterday, while simultaneously driving and talking to my father on the phone, a car in front of me ran a red light causing me to get stuck in the middle of an intersection during 5 O’clock traffic. Impulsively, and without hesitation, I honked the horn loudly and said a curse word I won’t repeat so early on in this blog post. Realizing what I had done, I quickly apologized to my dad, declaring I had forgotten, for that quick moment, that he was even on the phone (Enter my dad’s judging silence here).

Five minutes later, we were discussing an unrelated incident that had happened earlier that week at my workplace. To ensure that my dad understood the strong emotion I was trying to convey, I dropped the “F” bomb. Well, kind of. I actually just spelled it out. Nonetheless, my father was far from impressed. My father, before I could even finish my sentence, said “Keri, Why do you have such a foul mouth?” I said, I don’t know, Daddy (Yes, I still call my father Daddy, especially in a moment such as this, in which I desperately needed him to remember I am still his sweet, innocent baby girl). “Well, why not?” I inquisitively asked. “Because it isn’t good for your soul,” he said a matter of fact.

End of conversation.

As I drove the rest of the way home, my thoughts wandered off, and I wondered why I DO in fact swear so frequently. “Bad for my soul??” I repeated aloud. What was my father talking about? It is the opposite of that. In fact, this swearing sh** is actually really good for my soul, isn’t it?

Later, I was left wondering how harmful my language actually is. What’s the purpose to allow such foul language to escape my pretty little mouth? Here is the honest answer. I feel an overwhelming sense of release when I say a curse word here and there, and I feel empowered to speak my truth at all times whether or not it includes the “F-bomb.” However, years of training to be a schoolteacher have conditioned me to censor my language when necessary. You certainly won’t hear me swearing in front of my students, or children in general for that matter. I won’t be using such words while guiding my yoga students through their early morning practice, or in front of my grandmother, or when I attend church, or a job interview, or especially when I meet my boyfriend’s parents for the first time. In fact, at the age of 31, I have just recently started using “profanity” in front of my own parents.

All that being said, I am a huge fan of swearing.

Huge.

Here is where I am going with this… the words you use carry great meaning and can have a profound effect on the people around you. When I speak, I strive to speak openly and honestly. I choose my words carefully and with intention. I would like to tell my dad, that my soul is quite perfect the way it is, cursing and all. You see, I may be small, but I have BIG things to do in this life and I have a spirit that is wild and crazy with desire to change the world one “F-bomb” at a time. So, the moral of the story is to always be intentional with your words and use them kindly. Actually, the world could use some extra kindness these days, and that kindness starts with you. So, don’t be mistaken in thinking that just because I often color my vernacular with words as shit, damn, or ass, it certainly doesn’t change how big my heart is, how much time and energy I give to those around me, and how much I love and adore my friends and family.

Most importantly, if you hear me swear, please don’t take offense. Dad, that includes you. To put it simply, I just have a very creative and fucking awesome vocabulary… all for a very good reason.

Lots of love,

Me

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Taking Your Clothes off for Yoga

So often, I come to my mat to find a sense of peace and contentment with what I have to offer the world. My friends call this self-acceptance… I trust that it is in this place, through stillness as well as movement, I will find some serious radical honesty. I will merge the body and breathe to become one, and then with every inhalation and exhalation, I will fill my heart with only love and gratitude for the life I’ve been given and the body in which I move through this life.

A little over a month or so ago, I was extremely humbled and honored when a past yoga student of mine asked if he could photograph me for a Yoga Series he was completing. Prior to his email, I had actually seen a few of his photographs on social media, during which I happened to notice these beautiful, spirited yogis had been photographed with little to no clothes on. So, you can imagine my surprise (and hesitation) when he asked that I “follow suit” and wear a black pair of underwear and a black bra. I quickly began to contemplate how I would tell him that I would do the shoot, but not in only my bra and underwear like his other models had before me. As I racked my brain for any sort of valid excuse I could tell him, scrambling for just the right words to use, I heard a voice in my head urging me to stop with the bullshit. This voice begging me to realize how liberating it could be to do yoga with my shirt off. To do yoga wearing no pants, all the while, allowing someone to photograph me in the most awkward positions into which I can put my body.

There it was, moment of truth: to be or not to be brave.

As fate would have it, my most authentic-self won the dispute, and together we showed up at my friend’s studio on an early Friday morning with sleepy eyes, no make-up on, hair unkempt with my natural curls flowing wildly, and a soy latte in hand.

“Planting seeds of self-confidence is a brave, beautiful thing that we’re proud to bare our bellies for.” –Emily Nolan TOPLESS #TOPLESSbyemily

As it turns out, this photo shoot proved to be a break through moment in my life, a moment for which I will forever be grateful. This was the day that I allowed myself to be vulnerable and yet completely confident in my own skin – literally bare skin. I put myself in my favorite and most evocative yoga poses, twisting and ringing out critical judgment and self-doubt. I inverted myself several times and strongly held my best handstand to date. Despite the Ego’s best attempt to remind me that I am not perfect, I glowed in the light of the camera, smiling and laughing (because I was told do so more often). I giggled as I exposed all of my imperfections knowing that in that moment, I could not have looked more perfect… I was perfectly, imperfect me.

At one point, while still shooting, Kevin showed me a couple pictures. I chuckled as he pointed out muscle definition that I didn’t realize existed, or as he said, “Wow look at your ass?” I literally laughed aloud as I thought, “You’re crazy. What do you see that I cannot?” Finally, I realized that I actually did look strong and confident. He was right. I was a Warrior with one hard-working ass. “Wow” I thought, “if I look this strong on the outside, I can’t even imagine what my insides must look like!” It was then, in that exact beautiful moment, that I realized this is yoga. Yes, Yoga is a physical practice and there are many obvious benefits. However, the true and greatest effect yoga can have is not on the physical body, but rather the impact each Asana has on the human spirit. Through challenging the body to do what the mind believes it cannot, the real work is done. By challenging the mind, growing the spirit and opening the heart, you truly practice yoga.

That day, my heart cracked open a little bit wider; not only for myself, but also for all the other women who feel uncomfortable or inadequate in their underwear. I dare you to challenge the false stories our Egos tell us. I dare you to do more yoga… or to do some yoga in your bra and underwear. Liberate yourself from all untrue beliefs you possess in thinking you are flawed once you take your clothes off. I have photographic evidence to prove otherwise.

I was so humbled and grateful that day for the opportunity to practice such fearless self-love. I hope Kevin knows that. To my Ego I proved that my body, like my spirit, is strong and brave and wild in love with all of its capabilities.

Perhaps I will start doing more yoga in my underwear. Why not? After all, it’s just a body and what lives inside of mine is a fearless, bad-ass, beautiful woman who refuses to be tamed so easily.

Kevin Thayer/Alt Proc Media Arts – http://altproc.com/altproc.html

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Laughing with Angels

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I was having a conversation with an angel the other day and he told me that I needed to laugh more… “Laugh more,” I thought? To say I was appalled is an understatement. “Me?Laugh more?” My God, I am practically the funniest person I know! I laugh at myself ALL the time. I laugh at my friends, I laugh with my friends, my friends even laugh at me (more often than I would like to admit). I am literally laughing all the time!

Oh, I know about laughter. I’ve even blogged about laughter (Please see #9 of 30th Year.)

“Laughter truly is the best medicine and sometimes, it’s the only thing you can do. Life isn’t always easy and sometimes shit happens. Like I said, sometimes all you can do is laugh.“ -Keri

I have read all the positive effects that laughter has on your brain and overall health. According to a study done at Johns Hopkins University, laughter will increase levels of serotonin, release endorphins, lower blood pressure, increase memory and learning, and reduce certain stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. (http://www.care2.com/greenliving/8-health-benefits-of-laughter.html#ixzz3lYftb2qr) Not to mention the serious abdominal workout that often accompanies loud, boisterous laughter. After all, I didn’t get this six-pack from frowning! Last, but not least, the most delightful effect caused by a good dose of the giggles are wrinkles. That’s right, beautiful, deep, and full of meaning laugh lines. I think they’re charming.

Joke #1: You are on a horse, galloping at a constant speed. On your right side is a sharp drop off, and on your left side is an elephant traveling at the same speed as you. Directly in front of you is another galloping horse but your horse is unable to overtake it. Behind you is a lion running at the same speed as you and the horse in front of you. What must you do to safely get out of this highly dangerous situation? Get your drunk ass off the merry-go-round!

Listen, I know about laughter (see evidence above)

…Well, I suppose I could be a little lighter sometimes. I often (and too easily) allow stress to enter my life. I am also pretty tough on myself. They say “You are your own worst critic,” and this concept especially resonates with me. I like to stay busy and avoid sedentary activities, and I tend to use movement as a distraction rather than a forward motion. I use such movement as a way to avoid the heavy stuff… the voices that keep me up at night curious about my future and regretful over my past. Are the choices I’ve made, thus far, allowing me to walk my true path? And during the day, it is those same voices urging me with desperation to fulfill the dreams and desires I have for this life. Yes, I stir anxiously when forced to sit in stillness and peace, and avoidance flows naturally when I keep myself busy with cleaning, running, and baking. I expect a lot out of this life and often, I find myself trying to control rather than allowing things to just be.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
-Confucius

Now, do not be mistaken in thinking that I am unaware you create your own reality, and therefore, possess great power. I believe that if you desire something in this life and want to cultivate such an aspiration, then ensure your thoughts, words, and actions are manifesting the reality in which you want to live. Just last week, in fact, I created a reality that consumed me with tension, worry, and quite a bit of stress; all resulting in a stiff, sore neck. The Chiropractor said I had two ribs out of place. “Okay,” I thought, “that explains a lot.” Follow up that stiff neck with a broken toe forcing me to stop running, slow down, and listen to the stillness.

Okay, Universe, you have my attention.

So, as I sat at the doctor’s office finally giving attention the heavy stuff, I recall a vow I made to myself on New Year’s Day of 2015. I swore that I would begin the process of “lightening my life” (and yes, it is a process for me). Initially, I began this task through a focus on the physical body (this tends to be a pattern for me). I removed clutter from my house, went through my clothes and shoes, started carrying less items to work, and committed to cleaning out my car every two weeks. I also addressed several relationships in my life. I thought about which relationships I valued and were serving me, and those of which were not and needed to be let go.

Let go, be still. Be light.

After I cleaned out, sorted through, and removed much of my physical clutter, I had a conversation with a friend that brought to light a realization. I was not aware the weight I frequently carry around in my heart and life. The density of the stress and pressure I put on myself wrapped around my body like a scarf during a winter storm. I carry this weight, not only for myself, but also for others, because of how deeply I care for the happiness and well being of those closest to me. As it turns out, the avoidance techniques that first allowed me to physically and concretely rummage through my life brought enough clarity and space so that I am presently able to chip away at the deeper parts. Don’t worry though, I can laugh and chip at the same time.

Joke #2: Late one night a burglar broke into a house and while he was sneaking around he heard a voice say, “Jesús is watching you.” He looked around and saw nothing. He kept on creeping and again heard, “Jesús is watching you.” In a dark corner, he saw a cage with a parrot inside. The burglar asked the parrot, “Was it you who said Jesús is watching me” The parrot replied, “Yes.” Relieved, the burglar asked, “What is your name?” The parrot said, “Clarence.” The burglar said, “That’s a stupid name for a parrot. What idiot named you Clarence?” The parrot answered, “The same idiot that named the Rottweiler Jesús.”

Perhaps all the angel was trying to tell me is to laugh at myself more often. Life is not meant to be as scary and complicated as we (I) tend to make it, and as I sit here writing this blog, or rather voice recording it to my phone while driving, I wonder if the (my) angel is giggling at me. I can almost hear his boisterous laugh and see his deep and full of meaning laugh lines. Then again, he could also just be smiling because he knows he can never possibly be as funny as me.

Let go, be still. Be light.

For more laughter in your life, I have found a website that includes “funniest movies of all time.” You’re welcome in advance.

Find Funny Movies HERE

Planting Seeds.

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When you plant sunflowers, like I did in June, they grow. Crazy concept, I know…

“If you plant them…. they will grow.”

Growth, however, only happens assuming the seeds have been implanted in fertile soil, in a place where exposure to sunlight is readily available, enough water is provided, and protection from severe weather and predators is maintained. Where I live, my sunflowers’ biggest threat is the local elk whose favorite afternoon snack happen to consist of all items growing in my garden. I suppose it could be worse and the elk could be trying to eat Ruby instead. Now, what I have noticed about my wonderful sunflowers is that the more attention I give these glorious green plants, the faster they grow, the taller they become, and the prouder I feel about my prized beauties. You see, our mind is similar to my small garden. As I plant positive seeds of thought in my mind and focus my attention on all the blessings this life has to offer, those seeds grow and prosper and cultivate only good and radiant things in my mind, body, and spirit.

“Our thoughts become our words, our words become our beliefs, our beliefs become our actions, our actions become our habits and our habits become our realities.” –You are a Badass -Jen Sincero

The developing stages of a sunflower or Helianthus Annuus are the following: After your seed is planted, there is the vegetative emergence stage during which the seedling has emerged and the first leaf has become visible. The vegetation stages continue until finally begins the reproductive stages. Throughout those reproductive stages, the immature bud begins to form and eventually flowering can begin. Finally, you have a full grown, healthy, and beautiful sunflower. (http://www.sunflowernsa.com/growers/growth-stages/) From the moment the sunflower seed is planted, rapid changes begin because after all, change is the one thing in this life that is constant.

This particular week has brought a lot of change to my life and with such transitions; worry, question, frustration, and anxiety have come along for the ride.

Only negative seeds being planted here…

This week, doors are opening and closing quicker than I can blink, and I am beginning to feel like I got trapped in a quick moving and unsuspecting monsoon that has rudely interrupted my perfect vacation in paradise. However, although it feels as if I have been blindsided, I am realizing that I had actually planted seeds of thought weeks ago. Over the last couple of months, I have allowed myself to entertain ideas such as failure, self-doubt, anger, resentment, and loneliness. The small pitiful seeds have unfortunately begun to sprout and it is now that I am realizing the profound affect it is having on my day-to-day life. Work has become more stressful, small things once impossible to upset me now infuriate me easily, and although laughter still comes frequently, it is rarely effortless.

Today, I pledge that I stop tending to those seeds I’ve planted and instead, focus on only planting seeds of growth and opportunity, of truth and kindness, of patience and trust, and most importantly, of love. I have a choice: Fear or Love. I choose love over fear #everydamnday.

Shame on me for forgetting the strong desire (and awesome ability) I have to continuously be the best possible version of myself.

I may not be sure of which direction to go from here, or what exact advice I am trying to offer you by writing all of this. However, what I do know is this; sometimes when faced with great change and (and what feels like) great adversity, the only thing you can do is start your garden over and plant a different seed. Plant a positive seed that you intend to water and nourish and give abundant attention to, because whatever seeds of thought you plant in your mind will continue to flourish and thus create your current reality. Don’t ever underestimate the power of thought.

So, “Is what you are thinking about right now what you want to create in your life today?” -Paula Langguth Ryan

The Evergreen mountain air has a chill in it tonight, as I know Fall is already planning its grand arrival. Perhaps it is time I cut stalks from outside IMG_7528and place them in a vase on the counter-top from where they are openly visible. The transitory nature of my sunflowers remind that although change is inevitable, the choice of how I approach all situations is always mine, and I have an abundance of positive, self-loving, ambitious, beautiful, radiant and amazing seeds that are ready to be planted.sunflower_photograph_autumn_floral_fall_yellow_bokeh_sage_home_decor__18ce12e3