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Freedom quotes
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[Day 30] What I learned from (completing!) the 30 day challenge

Freedom quotes

Today is the 30th and final day of the blog challenge. I reached my goal of posting something every day for the entire 30 days.

My prompt for the day:

What impact did the 30 Day Magic Up Your Blog! Challenge have on you? What did you learn about yourself, blogging, and sharing? Would you recommend this challenge to others? What did you like? What would you like to see done differently?

Even if I had to wake up at 3 in the morning to make a post, I made the commitment to write something and share it every single day.

I learned (again):

  • When I focus on one task at a time, I can complete it fairly easily.
  • Resistance to change is natural for me (and pretty much everyone else), but it doesn’t mean I should stop doing it.
  • It also doesn’t mean I should push myself through something when I’m just not feeling it.

I realized I enjoy and want to start sharing more personal posts. This challenge reminded me of my deadjournal/diaryland/melodramatic days (all public online journaling sites) and how much I loved just writing my heart out (rather than “how-to” articles). Sometimes sharing my life, without bulleted points and perfect structure is exactly what someone needs to read. It’s kind of amazing when I think about it.

I would highly recommend this challenge to anyone who wants to:

  • Deepen their connection to themselves/their purpose.
  • Deepen their connection to other amazing peeps.
  • Help others through personal storytelling and sharing.
  • Get better at writing.
  • Learn how to write on a regular basis.
  • Drive traffic to their website.
  • Have fun!

The top ten things I am most grateful for:

  1. I feel like I honed my writing voice even more.
  2. I let some fears (of it not being perfect, of upsetting someone, of not “delivering enough value,” of sounding “full of myself” go).
  3. It helped me remember why I write – it always makes me feel better.
  4. It helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel.
  5. It helped me connect with incredible women.
  6. I feel blessed that these women took the time to stop by and read and comment on my posts and I enjoyed reading and commenting on theirs too.
  7. It helped me create some content I’m really proud of – I found myself saying “I’m a really good writer” and not just saying it but feeling it and owning it. In fact I realized, it’s the one thing I truly deeply love doing.
  8. The entire challenge was a huge act of self-love. I allowed myself to be open to what wished to be expressed through me and didn’t hold back. I asked for help. I knew it was what I needed to do and did it.
  9. I learned that posting the link to my post in a group brings people to my site much more effectively than simply posting to my facebook wall.
  10. My imperfections create potential for greater connections – in other words, I don’t have to wait until I’m feeling perfect and life is dandy to write something meaningful.

Also: I would love to participate in this challenge again 3 or 4 times a year. I loved it!

Special thank you to Amethyst Mahoney for creating and beautifully executing this challenge. And to all the women who participated. I’m looking forward to doing this again!

Comments? Share them below!

self-compassion
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[Day 27] Self-Compassion + Mental Health

self-compassion

Today is day 27 of the blog challenge.

Let me just say, before I get into the topic, I bought a new hair dryer today and I am incredibly grateful. I’ve been using a dryer that’s cracked and only blows cold air for over a year. So. Happy.

Point is, if there is something you’ve been tolerating, stop it. Go get what you really want/need. Ask for help. Take that step. Make it happen.

Anyway, my topic is simply to post a video I like.

Here’s one of my favorite TED talks:

We all have different voices or sub personalities in our head, each of which want to be heard and loved. This approach to healing schizophrenia is not only compassionate, but extremely effective. And I love how personal it is.

What did you think/feel? Leave me a comment below.

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[Day 26] 10 things you might not know about me

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It’s day 26 of the blog challenge.

I have exactly 30 minutes to finish this post, so it’s not going to be fancy, but potentially amazing.

Always potential for amazing right?

Topic choices are:

1) Top 10 things you probably don’t know about me

OR

2) Top 10 anything – favorite websites, great tips, cat memes, inspirational quotes, etc., etc.

I’m going to do the first one, because I recently did a top ten list (you can read my go-to list of things to do instead of freaking out here).

Before I get into the topic I wanted to share what happened this morning. I had to wake up at 2:45am for a banquet shift at 4am. I was obviously tired, but still smiling and greeting guests.

I looked to my left and noticed a woman going down the line (we were lined up in a “human arrow” directing people to the back) taking the time to acknowledge each server and give them a hug. Her warmth was angelic – it literally filled and changed the whole room. When she reached me she held onto my hand while she looked me in the eyes and said “you’re lovely.” As she walked away tears welled up in my eyes. I needed to see that. I needed to feel it.

Thanks for that universe.

Now, onto ten things you might not know about me.

1. I was a competitive gymnast. I won 30 something all-arounds in a row.
2. Whilst competing I broke a record on bars for the the gym I was competing at. I received a 9.75 and a standing ovation during the awards ceremony.
3. I was planning a natural birth, but had to have an emergency cesarean.
4. I have jumped out of an airplane – twice.
5. I’m a vegetarian. I think I may have told you this.
6. I graduated high school when I was 16.
7. My brother shot himself when I was a little girl. Although he pulled the trigger, they suspect it was murder as the gun wasn’t previously loaded when he was “playing” with it.
8. Shortly after, I wrote about it and my brother’s addiction to drugs for my D.A.R.E. graduation and was asked to read it to the auditorium. That was my first public speaking engagement.
9. Commercials make me cry sometimes.
10. I do not own a microwave.

And my 30 minutes is up!

Tell me, what are 3 (or more) things most people don’t know about you? Leave me a comment below.

Eckhart tolle quotes
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[Day 25] Unfulfilled Dreams

Eckhart tolle quotes

It’s day 25 of the blog challenge. Here’s the message I received in my inbox from Amethyst Mahoney this morning:

Today’s topic is all about what kind of life you want to create for yourself. Many of us have unspoken dreams, desires that we haven’t quite defined yet. If you can’t point out what you want to the Universe, it has no way of providing it for you.

So take a few minutes and ask yourself:

1) If I did NOTHING different, what would my life be like in 10 years? Will I be happy with that?

2) What kinds of life would I really like to create? Who do I have to be and how do I need to show up in the World to vibrate at the level of my new Magical Life?

If I did nothing different, my life would be miserable. I crave change, I have big extravagant dreams yet to be fulfilled. I’ve been really mad at myself lately for not living the life I expected to be by now.

I’m really angry.

And rather than stuffing down the anger I’m giving it a voice. Because to suppress it would be to deny a part of myself. I seem to be stuck with this self-loathing, joy-sucking mindset that pervades my consciousness no matter how much eft I do, no matter how much I meditate, no matter how many risks I take or changes I make.

It’s still there. I can’t tell if I’m depressed or if I’m subconsciously choosing to feel this way to prove a point. I wish I knew.

I wish I felt worthy. All the time.

But truth is, I don’t. It’s something I have to work at every single day. And some days it’s exhausting and I just don’t want to do it anymore. Sometimes I feel like an absolute failure.

But then I write about it. Or I cry. Or I just breathe into it. And a part of me stops gripping so tightly to the past. Then she starts to hope again.

For a long time I avoided the feeling of rejection in any way I could. I relied on a steady diet of drugs and solitude to get me through my days. But ever since I quit drugs over 5 years ago and started my business over 2 years ago, I’ve been faced with rejection time and time again.

But I haven’t covered it up. This lifestyle (married life, motherhood and having my own business) has brought up more crap than I could have imagined. It has been more painful than I ever thought possible.

But I’m still here. Believing in the impossible.

Dreaming.

And making it happen.

When I think about it, that’s the freedom I’ve been seeking all along.

The freedom to say what I have to say.
To make mistakes.
To be me.

And only I can set myself free from the thoughts that bind me.

Unfulfilled dreams don’t mean I’ve failed as a human being. Maybe they were never my dreams. Or maybe it hasn’t been the right time.

Many of my dreams have come true. It’s my fault for not taking the time to acknowledge it. I’ve recently begun writing down my successes again so I’ve taken a step in the right direction.

The life I want to create is within reach. Tiny specks of change have already begun to sneak their way into my daily life. It’s up to me to choose to see them.

It’s up to me to appreciate the beauty in every moment, to find the essence of my desires in the most mundane moments, to know it might not look how I thought it would look. To stop fighting and surrender.

I know the universe won’t leave me hanging. It’s hard for me to remember that. I’m so accustomed to having to fight and struggle, I’m often not even aware I’m doing it.

I’m getting better.

Because I know the only way I can help anyone is to help myself.

So yes, there are many things in life I still want, but I know better than to focus on the lack of their presence. I know to focus on all the reasons why I deserve to have everything I want.

Then make them happen.

Or in my case, let them happen.

To be continued…

Now it’s your turn. If you did NOTHING different, what would your life be like in 10 years? Will you be happy with that? Leave me a comment below!

God's love for you is constant
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[Day 24] God is not your mother.

God's love for you is constant

Day 24. Today’s Topics:

1) Recovering from religion or the religion you grew up in

OR

2) Helping others recover from bitterness due to religions and even “spiritual” communities that are very fundamentalist.

Just gonna go with what came through when I pondered these topics. Short and to the point. Possibly offensive. But all I’ve got right now.

Your concept of God – your relationship with the idea of God – is much like your relationship with your parents. You see God through this lens.

You expect God to punish you when you screw up.

But God’s not punishing you, you’ve only learned to punish yourself.

You expect to be rewarded, but the only person who can reward you is you.

God is not doing this to you, you’re doing it to yourself.

God, goddess, the universe, loves you no matter what. But are you loving yourself? Are you allowing yourself to feel the consistent, non-condemning love God has for you?

You are strong.
You are capable.
You are beautiful.

And it’s about time you started seeing yourself that way.

Comments? Leave em below.

Alex and Carrie Sandoval
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[Day 23] Family Life and Business

Alex and Carrie Sandoval

My husband Alex and I three years ago (exactly 3 years on Aug. 27) on our wedding day.

My work would not be possible without the support of my husband. I feel like this picture says it all. He lifts me up. He reminds me of my big “why.” He’s there for me no matter what, but never tries to rescue me (I’m a big girl).

He knows how much I care about what I do and also let’s me know when it’s time to take a break (because I can’t always recognize it myself).

He helps me stay balanced.

He is not my other half (he is my “banana soul split though), because I am already whole. But together we grow and together we know that each is on their own path, but we’re always together – never alone.

Right now, he’s finishing up his master’s in social work so we can work side by side to help more kids. He’s always been more traditional than me. I tried to fit into that role before we met again (yes, I actually met my husband for the first time when I was 15 and we didn’t meet again until 7 years later – I’ll save that story for another post) but school was never for me.

He calls me out and challenges me in every way imaginable. Sometimes it makes me want to punch him in the face, but deep down in my soul I am grateful and know I am so blessed.

He’s downstairs right now with our son as I write this. 🙂

We have to work together. We have to communicate. We have to make it work, not just for ourselves and our son, but the young people we are meant to serve. Not by creating an illusion of perfection, but but being real.

The quote below kept popping into my head as I was writing.

Sanaya Roman quotes

It reminds me that it’s our job to show these kids, through our way of being, that there is always hope and a brighter future awaiting.

And we’ll be here for those who are ready.

I would love to hear from you! How does your significant other feel about the things that matter most to you (work or otherwise)? How has it impacted you? Leave me a comment below. 

Ready to start shifting the family dynamic at home? Sign up for a free discovery session with me now. No risk. No obligations. Just an opportunity to get some answers and breathe a sigh of relief. You don’t have to figure it all out on your own. Promise.

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[Day 22] Grace C. Shadowcat

Music and cats

It’s Day 22 of the 30 day blog challenge. Here are the topics:

1) How your energy affects your pets (and vice versa)

OR

2) How do you communicate with your pets or help others to communicate with theirs?

shadowcat

This is my sweet Grace. I adopted her about a month ago. She’s a 6 year old Calico cat who is as sweet as can be – to me.

Since birth I’ve been more of an animal person than a people person.

When I first brought Grace home, she wouldn’t eat and would hide in the bathroom all the time. After the third day of this, I picked her up, helped her like a baby and sang to her the way I do to my human child.

Jaya jaya devi mata namah…

I poured all my love into this furry little creature and imagined any trauma she’d experienced floating away.

“You’re safe now,” I said.

I put her back down on the ground and she immediately started eating. Ever since then when I wake up in the morning (before the other humans) and come downstairs, she comes and sits with me on the couch.

I feel like we get each other.

Have a cool pet story to share? I’d love to read it! Share it with me in the comments section below.

mental illness becomes mental wellness
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[Day 21] Understanding Mental Illness

mental illness becomes mental wellness

It’s Day 21 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge. My topics to choose from are:

1) How does Invisible Illness affect your life and your business, whether it’s yours or someone in your family’s?

OR

2) How do you balance acknowledging Invisible Illness while still staying positive and not making your whole entire life about your disability?

As you know, I’ve been diagnosed with several mental illnesses. My chart would tell you I have:

  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Bi-polar disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
  • ADD (attention deficit disorder)

So I very intimately understand what life is like with an invisible illness. Undoubtedly the lack of understanding is what led me to self-harm (how else could someone know how much I was suffering?), which is why I’ve dedicated my life and this site to helping teens and their families understand, cope and thrive with mental illness.

Through journaling and the other alternative practices shared on this site, I am positive that you too can learn to appreciate these “illnesses” and the people afflicted with them (even if it’s you).

In everything I do I emphasize that those experiencing mental health challenges (or any challenge for that matter) are not their problems, but the person experiencing the challenge.

These are people who are just a little more sensitive, whose minds work a little different, but most of all who really need our help and understanding.

To me, saying I have borderline personality disorder sets me free. Not so I can use it as an excuse, but as a reminder that I process things differently, I react more strongly and must be gentler with myself.

We must learn to love and accept all parts of ourselves – especially those most difficult to love.

That’s when the healing happens.
That’s when you understand what the situation has taught you.
That’s when you won’t need the “disease” anymore.

It’s a process. And we are all works in progress.

Here are some images I found from mollysfund.org, a site dedicated to breaking down the stigma of invisible illnesses such as lupus, digestive disorders, mental illness, etc.

They act as a reminder to be compassionate not just towards others, but to ourselves as well.

10-Things-NOT-TO-SAY-Invisible-ilness-revised-4.14-400x72dpi-web

10-Things-TO-SAY-Invisible-Illness-revised-400-72dpio-web

You might also enjoy a very similar post I made here.

What are your thoughts on this? How has invisible illness affected you or someone you love? Leave me a comment below.

Also: For those who love journaling, sign up for my friend’s 30 Day Digital Journaling Challenge here.

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[Day 19] Cat Wisdom


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Day 19. Today’s topics:

1) Your favorite Tarot deck and why

OR

2) A card you REALLY like or REALLY dislike, and why

I dabbled in tarot a bit when I was younger (still have the decks), but in recent years have loved using oracle cards.

Here is my favorite deck:

wisdomofavalon

The Wisdom of Avalon Oracle Cards: A 52-Card Deck and Guidebook

My hubby gave these to me as a birthday gift several years ago (along with a magic wand) and I love them.

I’ll pick a card for myself today and tell you my interpretation of it.

Here it is:

Meow

Not only did I just adopt a kitty (pictured above), but one of my challenges in life has been establishing healthy boundaries. As someone who has suffered greatly from borderline personality disorder, I made a lot of poor choices.

I don’t like to admit that I’ve allowed other people to take advantage of me. Nor do I like to admit that I’m anything, but perfect.

The illusion of perfection keeps me safe.

But at what cost?

We must learn to not only live with ourselves but love ourselves – our WHOLE selves.

The cat does this well.

  • She does her own thing.
  • She doesn’t actively seek attention or approval, but allows others to love her.
  • She unapologetically struts her stuff.
  • She has “9 lives.”
  • She always lands on her feet.
  • She lives freely.
  • Though she loves to spend time alone, she’s never lonely.

This card reminds me I can be all of me. I don’t need anyone’s permission to do what I truly want to do. It reminds me to:

Say yes when I mean yes.
Say no when I mean no.
Ask for what I need.
Know that I deserve to have my needs met.
Stop people pleasing.
Actively and unapologetically seek what brings me joy.
Have the courage to do things differently.

Admittedly I’ve been attempting to fit into models I just don’t fit into lately. But, from this moment forward (you have my permission to call me out on this) I am committed to being the total expression of who I am. Join me?

How can (and will) you apply the cat’s wisdom in your life today?

Or

What one thing can you eliminate from your life that has been dragging you down? Leave me a comment below.

Helen Keller quotes
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[Day 18] Fun.

Helen Keller quotes

Day 18. Here are my topics:

1) What do you like to do for fun?

OR

2) How can you incorporate more fun into your every day life?

I have to find a way to make my life fun and exciting.

When I don’t I can easily slip into boredom and eventually depression.

Sometimes I dance in the aisle at stores, climb up things just to prove a point, jump out of airplanes, go on roller coasters, drive with no destination in mind and laugh at absolutely nothing.

I enjoy playing at the park with my son. Really playing – going down the slides, swinging on the swings, chasing him around and acting like a kid.

Part of me thought I had to say goodbye to my playful side because I’m an “adult.” But that’s some hullaballoo.

Don’t ever lose that part of you.

Now I ask you: how will you incorporate more fun into your day today? Leave me a comment below.