I walked into my room and paused, completely still. My bed is half unmade, half covered in pillows and Acme’s asleep in his usual spot, near the window, by the salt lamp set on the low setting. “I love my bedroom,” I whispered to myself. I love the simplicity, the ease it brings me every time I walk in and the instant I lay my head down I feel at rest. I thought, how rare it is that we stop to appreciate what we have. Truly, when we are taken aback just by our own contentedness and joy with the simplest of moments. Think, when was the last time you felt utter presence in an every day moment? This gift of presence allows you to solidify you in a place and time, to truly stamp your memory with every sensory sensation.
In the past decade affirmations have become more mainstream. The use of words or phrases to help change your mental outlook has gained a lot of public notice and support in helping people. Truthfully, affirmations are ancient traditions. Spoken word therapy has been around for centuries and it’s helped people and communities across the globe. They can be traced back to ancient eastern religions, and indigenous tribes. Widely known, mantras are phrases, poems or sayings chanted over and over again during meditation. The word “mantra” Sanskrit and is translated to read “that which protects (tra) the mind (man).” They have been used for spiritual connection to the self and the divine. In so many ways they have been used to free one’s mind of all other thoughts.
Most recently you can find people touting the benefits of affirmations on wellness sites like Well + Good, Mind Body Green and from leaders in the New Age movement like Gabby Bernstein and Deepak Chopra. This wave of self-help ideology has created a movement and momentum behind using therapies such as affirmations in channeling and changing your thought process.
I’d say that my way of coming to affirmations was fairly nontraditional as I wasn’t necessarily seeking a more spiritual connection to the Universe, God, the Divine, whatever you choose to call it. My introduction to their power was during a time of deep desire for physical healing of my body.
When I first started down my journey to live well, in all areas of my life, I would tell people all the time “it comes from this burning desire to heal.” Trying to explain this deep seeded feeling of inner drive. We all have it, it’s inside you already even if you don’t know it yet. That burning desire is for something that your heart aches for, that your truest self desperately seeks. And at any given time this can also shift and change. Your burning desire in one period of your life can evolve or transition to something else in another. And even at times, that blazing flame may grow dim, it may struggle to find the air it needs to keep its shape and to grow.
Last night I was sitting on my couch, laying with my blanket-cat Acme, full of so much joy and gratitude from the yoga workshop I co-hosted earlier in the day, then it dawned on me. I became overwhelmed with this new and exciting feeling and all the same felt as if I were returning home, there was comfort. Suddenly I was filled with this reminder. This epic sensation of how much I love to share and foster connection. How much helping other people is a part of me. This burning desire that all at once ignites my life and sets ablaze my determination. I had this, when I first started my intensive healing journey. It’s only last night, That I gained the awareness that somewhere along the way it dimmed.
I found this tiny notepad in my purse pocket while I was traveling. Ever since I can remember I’ve carried small notepads around with me to jot ideas and thoughts down at a moments notice. I had packed one for my trip, but this one was different. It was old, worn, with every page full.
I opened it up to read it, quickly realizing that it was from a few years ago, not that long after I had lived in Florence. It’s full of randomness, to most people. Lists, thoughts, quotes, poems, you name it. On one page there was a list – it’s titled “To Lead A Successful Life”. My initial thought was that my opinion of success looks very different than it used to and this list probably would be reflective of that. And yet, as I read, I realized in fact it was a complete reflection of the life I have now.
Part of why I love having Soul Power as a part of this site is because it provides the opportunity to further connect with one another as a community. I appreciate so much the depth at which people are willing to go with their writing, and personal anecdotes. Carrie Lewman, is a brave woman who writes over on her site carrielewman.com. I’ve come to know her virtually through her participation in my September Self-Care program a year ago. She took so much away from that experience, and continued to help herself in her journey to healing. It brings me so much joy to share with you her writing as a part of her process in understanding herself in dealing with loss and a deeper connection within.
My thoughts on death and loss have always been that grief is what you experience afterwards. That it is a stage you enter into. Actually grief is not something that happens to you, it is something you do afterwards. It is your reaction to loss or death. We have all heard of, and perhaps walked the many stages of grief; anger, denial, depression, acceptance, etc…, but no one ever speaks of the heartbreak. It is essentially the root of grief and where most people get stuck. Your heart has been broken as the result of loss and this loss does not always directly pertain to physical death. It can be the demise of a relationship, loss of a job, relocating, loss of innocence, and disappointment in life not turning out how you thought it would, just to name a few.
So you’re in a funk or a bad mood. Perhaps something happened at work or with a friend and now you’re all bent out of shape. It could even be that you’re just feeling low, not exactly your enthusiastic self, but not sure how to change that.
I know we can all raise our hands in agreement that we’ve been there before. I know I have. I’ve dealt with depression, panic attacks, funks and mood swings my whole life, and what I’ve come to learn over the years are a few key components to actually shifting your energetic vibration to change your mood.
I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all likely experienced a time (multiples really) in our lives where we had to go through the process of grieving, dredging through discomfort and healing. In that time it can often feel lonely, scary and as though we lack a sense of direction of our true path to know what direction we are headed. This month’s Soul Power contributor goes deep into that space, otherwise known as the “hallway of hell”. This incredibly vulnerable space that we venture into hoping to come out whole again. It’s not only incredibly relatable, but her honesty permeates through her expression and reaches the core of our true selves, where we can find understanding. When I first met Heather Wellman I had no idea that she was a writer, nor did I know of her adventurous spirit and the strength of her inner desire to love people wholeheartedly. I not only admire her way with words (more on her blog and Instagram), but I am drawn to her insatiable desire to live her life despite fear, ambiguity and the time spent in the hallway. I am without proper words to do justice to how honored I am that she is sharing with you all in this space, so I will let her do the rest.
I rolled towards her, my hair falling forward, into my face, a few strands dancing in the space between our mouths. She reached up, sliding them behind my ear, clearing the path from her lips to my own. I moaned quietly as her fingertips swept back and forth over the soft skin of my inner thighs… And then my own hand abruptly met hers, holding it still, near my knee. I pulled back, and looked at her… “I can’t,” I said. “I feel like my dad can see us now, which I know sounds ridiculous but it’s true. It’s just weird for me. I need some more time.” My girlfriend stared back at me blankly for a few seconds, and then dropped her hand from my body back to our mattress…
An open letter to anyone going through the phases of reintroducing foods after following an elimination diet.
Dear beautiful human,
So you’ve been on an elimination diet, and you’re finally ready to see what you can eat again. Congratulations, this is a big deal!! This means that you must feel AMAZING right now, especially compared to where you were before the start of your elimination protocol. You really deserve an award for sticking through something so difficult in pursuit of feeling better. Let’s not down play just how hard it is to remove certain foods from your life.
Eliminating food, is hard. I know, because I’ve been there. Let me say that getting to the reintroduction phase is an accomplishment. Reintroducing foods means healing has occurred within you, and naturally that’s a really great feeling. It can also however, breed a lot of anxiety when it comes to trying new foods that were temporarily “off limits”. It’s completely normal to feel a little scared about adding foods back into your system that could potentially make you feel unwell, perhaps even cause a flare if you have an autoimmune condition or instigate those painful headaches that you finally got rid of.
You may think this fear is even too great to even risk reintroducing foods, don’t let it be. When you’re going to reintroduce foods you want to be methodical about how you go about doing it, if you’re following a certain system, make sure that you follow the steps of reintroducing, like through the autoimmune protocol for example. There are outlined steps and a system that works when it comes to reintroducing foods and being aware of how they affect your body is hugely important in the process. This is essential to knowing what does and does not work for you right now. Perhaps it won’t be forever, but for right now some foods will and will not work in your individual system, and that is okay.
Many people are totally repelled by the thought of eating liver. My mother is one of those people. She grew up in a household where liver and onions was a prized staple at the family dinner table, not only that, but there were strict rules about eating your meal, drinking your milk and not being allowed from the table until the plate was clear.
Imagine how she felt as she sat at the table loathing the liver and onions before her, unsure of how she would get rid of the foulness. Well, clever as she is, she came up with some alternatives. During that time she had cuffs in her pants and somehow mysteriously liver would end up in there, or tid-bits handed off to the cat, who was all too pleased to receive the unwanted meal. Even the smell, to this day makes her quiver. NO my mother will likely never eat liver and I never had it growing up since she felt it clearly a form of child abuse to serve it to us. She was scarred for life.
Well, I am here to show you that taste buds are not genetic :) which you knew, so I am really here to show you that liver can actually taste REALLY good. The first time I tried liver we were in a restaurant in France and it was chicken liver pate over crostini, it was okay, I’ll admit that I tolerate but do not love chicken liver. When I jumped deep into healing my body I realized so much of what I actually needed to be eating, and offal being one of those.
There’s truth to what they say when you’re young and you have physical aches and unexplained discomfort, “oh, it’s just growing pains, they’ll go away” most people say, and they do. But what about when you’re an adult, and those pains while physical they may manifest, are rooted in emotional turmoil, can we grow out of those too?
Last weekend I was on a plane heading to L.A. for my yoga teacher training and as I looked out the window over the California coast and vast ocean I remembered how terrified I used to be of flying. The first time I flew, I was 7 and it was over the Atlantic moving to an entirely different country, and for years I did that flight with my sister to visit my Dad back in the states. Landing petrified me. I’d squeeze my sisters hand and hold my breath. I’m quite surprised over all these years I didn’t pass out.
I spent years flying all over the world and each time coaching myself through the experience, whispering that I was safe, that things were okay, that we wouldn’t crash into the ocean and get eaten by sharks (real life fear), I tried everything to get over this. Calming my nerves during landing was basically as rough as pulling my teeth. Don’t even ask “would you rather”. This lasted for what seemed like forever, and let me remind you I have flown a LOT in my short life. Yet, as I looked out the window this time I realized I had no fear. There was a peaceful acceptance over me that I knew I was safe in knowing I had no control over the landing of the plane.
I don’t know at what point I suddenly stopped having this fear, or maybe I just know how to trust more than I did then, but at some point in the past few years or perhaps that exact moment, I outgrew this fear. With a deeper awareness this fear no longer inflicted me.
If you have done any work investing in your own personal development you’ll understand how it feels to reach this point where things begin to shift for your life. You’ll also be completely aware of feeling depleted by the growing pains in takes to do any work on bettering yourself. It can feel like you’re stuck in the middle of a tornado storm without shelter anywhere near, fear consumes you, doubts cloud your mind and the only reasonable action you feel can be taken is to curl up into a ball and no longer move. The dedication it takes to work on yourself is by far more powerful than most things on this Earth, it comes from this greater desire to do, think, be, aspire to a better version of the person you already are (which by the way, is a great one!)