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Your eyes do not fail you, you are in fact looking at a gorgeous “smart” bracelet that will track your steps and send you personalized notifications from your phone! When I first heard about RINGLYI instantly got excited about the technology but I truly fell in love with the design. I appreciate that their rings and bracelets both have a beautiful aesthetic, but even more so that they also have significance. Each gemstone that they use has different purpose and meaning.For me, looking to invest in anything especially jewelry it has to be meaningful or significant in some way and in fact this makes me want to wear it more.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. As I continue to dive deeper into my relationship with myself, with my personal yoga practice and healthy living this has been coming up a lot for me recently. And even more so with the clients I see. So often, people ask me what is the best type of exercise to get the body they want, the results they desire, or the energy they’re craving. I am discouraged by this questions a lot. Why? I don’t actually have the answer. Or at least, I thought I didn’t. But now, I’ve decided the answer is reclaiming exercise for every body.
The source of my frustration comes from the societal expectation that we have to move our body only because we want it to look a certain way, instead of actually enjoying the way it moves. Believe me, I have been guilty of this plenty. Which is why I feel comfortable calling some bullshit on it.
I remember the first time I couldn’t fit into a pair of jeans that I swore I’d had forever. It was as if they were always going to fit, no matter what they were my trusty go-to pair. I remember thinking that I’d gained weight and as I pinched my love handles I thought about how I could change this part of my body. I was 14.
Clearly amidst the changes of puberty, though I’d had my period for three years already my whole body was filling out and while my breasts had already developed early I could NOT believe that I was a C cup. You can bet I was taunted and teased. In truth, I had a tiny frame, and boobs and was absolutely everything that anyone could make fun of. It was mortifying. I walked around trying to cover up LITERALLY every part of me. I wore covered tops, t-shirts, I’d always been relatively tom-boyish but this accelerated my fear of being observed for my body and it instigated this self-loathing of it.
Fast forward two years, I’m an active sports player at the peak of my game just starting out on the JV volleyball team as a freshman. And then I get slammed with a crippling illness and month and months later a final diagnosis. If you haven’t read my full story you can read more here. I went through months of trying to comprehend not what was going on with my body, but why.
I haven’t written a post in a while. I could start to tell you that I’ve been uninspired. Truthfully, I told myself that, and even believed it for a little while too, honestly. But the more I thought about it the more I realized that actually it hasn’t been from lack of inspiration. I’ve got recipes rolling out left and right (just not posted) and I’ve a steady stream of article ideas going constantly in my mind, and some even written and not shared.
No what I’ve been doing is a lot of living. I’m a firm believer that everything comes in waves and sometimes certain periods of our lives are meant to focus on specific areas and that’s okay. Writing, though I still do it for myself, hasn’t been one of those focuses for me lately.
There’s part of me that feels I should constantly be churning out content for you all, for this amazing community that I’ve some how had the fortune of getting to facilitate. And then I remember how the word should is an asshole, and I feel a little better ;). In all seriousness I am steadfast in my belief that I can’t just write for the sake of writing, that what is meant to be heard, shared or seen will just naturally flow out of me at the moments when it needs to be released. We all receive messages just when we need them, and that’s exactly how I want my writing to be delivered. Landing just where it’s supposed to, when it’s supposed to, for whoever may need it.
This reflection has occurred a lot lately. Between working with people in my day-to-day work life, settling into routines, navigating the dating scene while remaining reserved (and sane), exploring both the natural wilderness and my own wildness, I’ve been creating, manifesting new projects and finishing up my Amba yoga teacher training. I realize that everything I do is to share it with other people. I am compelled by an inner burning desire to enrich my life through these experiences that translate into lessons and anecdotes that shape and mold me, but also help people in ways I never could have imagined. There is power in experiences I’ve had and yet to have.
I met Grace Heerman for the first time in a small coffee shop in Seattle just before going to a yoga class together. I remember vividly how her kindness enveloped me in during our conversation. I felt as though I was the luckiest person to have met her, and now I am even more fortunate to call her such a dear friend. She shares in my fierce passion for empowering young women to understand their body’s and foster how to be a 20-something with intention. Most recently when she came back from India, she shared with me some of her deepest revelations from her time practicing yoga and I knew immediately that it was the stuff Soul Power is made of. Her words took me to places inside of myself, to help me understand more about my body, this, this is the mind-body connection. You will see why I had her share, all you need do is read below.
Self-love is something I always thought I understood. As an introvert, I’ve always protected my “me time,” and I have no problem slowing down when I start to feel out of balance. But for years, even as I practiced compassion and acceptance in most areas of my life, things were different when it came to my body.
I’m sure there was a time in my childhood when thoughts of what I looked like didn’t flood my brain. But until recently, I had pretty much forgotten what that felt like.
What I remember is one morning at age 17 when I woke up and decided enough was enough – from then on I was going to “get healthy.” My body and eating habits had become unacceptable and I was determined to change them.
Over the past two years I’ve done a lot of personal development into my spiritual connection. By this I mean feeling the spirit of all living things, of nature, of humans, animals, stars, moon and Earth and how all of it makes me feel more connected to myself.
Much of this inquisition has happened through practice and diligence. Much more of it has happened through push-back, difficulties and challenges where I’ve been forced to sit with myself in situations where I’d just rather avoid myself all together. But each of these times were learning points, opportunities for me to go deeper. And deeper.
So deeper I went. Over the summer, during my cross country road trip on my move to Seattle, one of my stops was for this conference. While there I met some of the most incredible individuals that have forever changed my life, and of which I am happy to call friends now. I also had the opportunity to further my journey in connecting to my body.
Over the years of dealing with a disease diagnosis, rejecting that diagnosis with dignity, to embracing it to a fault, to then trying to pick up the pieces of my integrity to somehow make a whole, there was always a lingering disconnect to my physical body. I felt trapped in a different persons body. Surely this couldn’t be my own. It had turned on my so many times. I felt betrayed by this vessel that I was supposed to have a sacred relationship with.
My search for wholeness has always been there, but warped, like trying to see through melted plastic.
While at this conference I met the most incredibly talented and connect woman, Megan Morris the creator of Amba Yoga.
I took her class for women and felt the energy shift within my body as I moved into “what feels good” rather than “what looks good”. And I heard the whisper “you are already whole.”
It wasn’t until later when Megan and I were talking, the first words she spoke to me were how she could see my authentic connection to myself. Blown away is an understatement. Who me? Connected to this body? To my body? She’ll never know how much those words meant to me. I had been working on fostering this relationship, much through yoga, but hadn’t thought I’d truly arrived there yet. I was expecting some grandiose revelation and epiphany where the golden gates open, Angels sing and unicorns prance around, because that is clearly a sign that you’ve reached your destination.
Fast forward a few months, I decided that it was time to go even deeper. This time by way of Amba, and through getting my yoga teach certification. It’s never crossed my mind to be a yoga teacher, nor do I know in what capacities and ways I will use what I’ve learned, but I know how immensely movement has helped me, and because of this I know I can use it to help many of you.
“Amba is an embodied practice of yoga, movement, and dance that is based in the elements found in nature. The practice ranges from strong, earthen postures to fluid, sensuous movement to nourishing breath and sound to deeply restful stillness.
Amba teaches you awakening your physical vibrancy so that you have access to the richness and pure joy of being alive in a physical body.
Many Amba offerings are specifically designed for women. As women, when we have permission to discover our own unique movement – the movement that feels really, deliciously good from the inside out, our spirits get fed and our bodies get nourished.
Amba embraces the balance of hard work and deep rest, sensuousness and higher awareness, individual exploration and community learning. Amba workshops and retreats for women have 3 components: movement, nature, and community. Through physical yoga and movement practices we become more alive and awaken the elements within us. Through nature adventures, we connect to the awe and power of the elements on the planet. We open to the nourishment of the natural forces. Through social gatherings such as Amba Lodge, singing circles, mandala making, and group sharing, we awaken the vibrancy of our hearts and learn from one another. “
Amba provides the space and grace to exist as exactly as we are, in all our abilities, movements, challenges and unique body’s. It’s about being fully present with our animal body and nurturing the relationship between it and our soul weaving a symbiotic partnership.
For the past few months I have gone to this training for one weekend, I go to LA I spend a few days in the swell of love from other women like myself, in nourishing movement and in deep connection. Then I come home and I put all of this into practice for daily life. My thought is, how can I connect more today? Where am I not connected right now?
Because the reality is, there is no point of arrival. The final destination doesn’t exist. It isn’t about perfection, but instead continual refinement. It is entirely about continually arriving in presence, arriving for yourself, and connecting to your vital life force, to your body that allows you to fulfill your soul’s greater purpose.
As I prepare to leave again this weekend, I am enriched by the New Year and eager to see how this journey develops over time, and even more so, happy to be sharing what I learn with all of you.
I met Tera Bucasas (terabucasas on Instagram) here in Seattle for the first time and absolutely fell in love with her energy, her laughter and her healing-centered mission. When she first told me about her program, Yoga For Healing, I connected immediately with her purpose. She has worked as a yoga instructor for many years but realized through her own body acceptance journey that her path to help others was more than solely a physical connection. You can find most of her writings on her blog, Real Fit Yoga and I recommend you start with one of my favorite posts, here. I get the privilege of not only calling this beautiful, strong woman my friend, but get to share a piece of her truth through Soul Poweras this months featured writer.
Exercise is a privilege, not a punishment. That was something I learned the hard way. I never thought my body would turn on me so quickly. I had that smug belief that ‘it won’t happen to me.’ I was healthy, truly healthy, for the first time in my life. Or so I thought.
In my past I looked healthy on the outside, but I ate junk, drank too much, didn’t get good sleep, and although you may not have been able to tell it was affecting my insides. Eventually I turned things around. I became a nutritional therapy practitioner and a yoga instructor. I fueled myself with whole foods, I exercised, I got good sleep. I did all the things I was ‘supposed’ to do to be healthy. Then of course, I wanted to show people ‘the way’ to health. I had figured it out. My passion, my joy, my life was health and fitness.
Then, everything changed. Within a couple months, despite my healthy life, I had a body and a life that didn’t feel like my own. I was fatigued, severely depressed, I had anxiety, my body hurt, my blood sugar was high, my hormones were even more out of balance than before and none of it made sense. Oh and did I mention I started to gain weight?
Between the change in my mood, energy and body it felt like I had lost myself.
Occasionally, the outer sphere of my eyes appear blue. The deeper part of my iris changes from light to a deep green hue. Since there isn’t a hint of grey to them they aren’t really considered hazel, and I like to think that sometimes makes them more of a light emerald-green.
I spent my day yesterday doing things I love. I started with a nutritious breakfast, I sipped on liver supporting tea, challenged my body to an hour yoga practice, cooked and meal prepped, did a little detoxing from social media, and set my 2015 plans. I planted this baby jade succulent as a start to the new year, new growth, for prosperity and relationships.
Jade is one if my favorite stones, the intense green reminds me of my eyes as a window into the deepest parts of me. Something I can say I love about myself.
Most of the time, I am fairly easy to judge. I don’t hold back with facial expressions and generally vocalize my feelings. But I have yearnings that many would not know and just as my eyes, these desires are unique to me.
But I don’t think it’d be too far out there for me to say that many of you feel similarly. There are things we want so badly they almost make us desperate. Often desperation leads us to an entirely different path and sometimes not even to what we wanted in the first place. In desperation there is no definition to thoughts. I’m not saying that out of desperation cannot come resolution, but in the moments where desperation consumes us we are not able to articulate what it is we’re actually looking for. We’re basically just resolving to look for anything.
I struggle, personally with this. My mind shuffles in a figure-eight only slightly less symmetrical and unorganized, intertwined with other interjections resulting in a tangled mess. In yoga just before you’re about to end with meditation, and the instructor tells you to “quiet your mind”? Yep, that doesn’t happen for me. In fact it’s usually the exact opposite. I become anxious in hoping to slow down my thoughts that it pretty much defeats the initial purpose since I am constantly repeating “hush”, “shh” or “shutup” to myself. Really nice, right?
I now realize it’s not really quietness I am seeking, its clear thoughts, clarity. I’ve been searching for this feeling for a long time. In fact, I think it’s one of my deepest desires. But I didn’t know that until a few months ago. Not until I was able to look at how I want to feel in life directly correlates to what I want to accomplish, experience, and be as a human being.
To seek out what you want in life, there has to be intention.
I was given this journal inscribed “believe in yourself” just after I graduated college by a woman whose grace and strength I admire. The pages are filled with scribbled thoughts, stories and memories. But this journal also holds an entirely different meaning to me.
I actually didn’t start writing in it until the end of 2013. For a while I had let go of writing entirely. I was uninspired and lacked drive for something I loved. When I opened the first page I decided that it was about time I look at all that I had accomplished during the past year.
As I began to write about all the achievements, all the small meaningful experiences, the moments of happiness, I realized I had done an awful lot that I wanted to. I wasn’t sure what to attribute this to other than an extreme determination on my part.
It felt so good to write it all down on paper. I’m a visual person and seeing all that I had done in a year accumulate on paper was gratifying. So then, I wrote what I wanted to see accomplished in 2014. I wrote in the journal throughout the year, but I never once looked back at that page.
So when I opened it up yesterday to read it with a fresh perspective I noticed that most of what I had written had nothing to do with goals I had set the previous year, but rather things I had truly wanted. And even better, what I had written in hopes to do, I did.
It was neat to see, by writing a clear intention for example – save XXXXX amount of money I then validated in my mind it was something I wanted. But reflecting on that I now I know what I truly desired was the sense of security that comes with having that money saved.
And I didn’t constantly remind myself by looking at that page or berate myself with expectations of saving, I did it because having that security was more important to me than buying a new pair of shoes (an admitted weakness of mine).
So this year, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to outline my intentions, as I had done before but I wanted to focus on the feelings that directly correlate with those goals. This is how I came to know and love Desire Map Journal and the Desire Map Day Planner.
I’ve followed Danielle Laporte for over a year now and am constantly deriving inspiration from her #truthbombs and the way she uses words draw up the inner desires and get people to be in tune with what they’re heart is saying. Everything she puts out there resonates with me.
“You are worthy of your desires.”
“Get clear on why you’re chasing what you’re chasing.”
“Shift the focus from ‘being loving’, to: ‘being love itself’.”
“Declare your intentions.”
“Truth & freedom are first cousins.”
These are all just a few examples of her #truthbombs that she sends out in her newsletters and posts on social media. They always seem to arrive at the perfect and unexpected times for me. If you like these, you may also like her #truthbomb card deck.
The Desire Map Journal is unlike any writing tool I’ve ever seen. There are tons of pages for space to fill with your thoughts, and sentiments. The special part of this journal is the way it uses words and quotes to stimulate your writing. I gave this as a gift for Christmas to my Mom and good friend, and each of them said how much they loved this journal simply because they aren’t writers, but felt like they could actually stimulate writing from the text on each page!
One quote I especially love,
“What do you know for sure? With every cell of your being, what are you so certain of that you would holler it from the edge of a canyon, or whisper it into the ear of a just born New Year’s baby?”
I just LOVE THAT! It gets you thinking, writing and not just “stuff” but deep, meaningful, true words that matter to YOU. Who cares if it matters to anyone else!
When was the last time you thought about how you want to feel?
So yesterday I outlined the way I want to feel using my Desire Map Day Planner. This planner focuses on how you want to feel, everyday and relates them to your major desired feelings and goals for the year. It generates ideas in ways to help your lifestyle, relationships, how you can serve, and generally how to be most productive to get what you want! I can tell already this is going to serve me well because I love outlining and planning my day, but being able to reflect on my life, what I am grateful for and how I can feel amazing all in one place is even better.
I wrote these feelings:
Beautiful and alive, deeply loved, joy, well, inspired by fears
and this is how those feelings translate into my intentional 2015:
Live with less “stuff” and more meaning
Create a business I am proud of
Help others see themselves as the light and love of their souls
Travel and write for and from my soul
Extend my personal physical and emotional healing
This isn’t exclusively ALL I want to do in 2015 either but they are clear action points of intention I had for generating the feelings I want to cultivate for myself.
This can be anything and I believe you can have what you want if you set clear intentions to get there. For me, it helped to stop focusing on whatever end result there was going to be, like lose ten pounds in three months. And instead now on how attaining that goal will make me feel, joy, well, beautiful, alive, loved, etc.
So if your goal is to get stronger for example, some of your desires might be to feel beautiful, to feel strong, to feel empowered, to feel alive, or even to feel well.
When you understand it’s a feeling you’re chasing it makes the result so much more accessible and achievable because now you know exactly what you’re searching for.
Wishing you all love and a happy New Year!
If you are looking for more resources related to attaining your goals you should check out the Family Resolution Revolution bundle. I have promoted it on social media because it has over 40 resources including Paleo cookbooks, essential oil guides, yoga instructions, healing methods, lifestyle changes and special discounts. People who have already purchased it say that it’s by far the best bundle they have ever bought, and they are constantly blown away by the overwhelming amount of information for such a reasonable price.
For your information, there are affiliate links included in my post. I’ve included them so you can access the resources I have talked about, but also so the seller knows that I referred you to them. You also may noticed there are image links to these same affiliates on my sidebar. This is so you can easily access them, and see what they look like. I don’t offer or represent anything I don’t already own and love, so please know that everything I recommend is for a genuine reason and belief in the product. These links also help in serving to support me and this blog! Thank you!
The sky was misting that morning, releasing energy as we had as a group the past day of our retreat. We woke up to a much cooler day, less sun than prior and yet so much more life in us.
I took my orange tea out on the wooden deck, pulled my hooded raincoat over my head and began to sip. I watched as Black Jack, the black stallion, paced along the fence. The foliage peaked through the wet fog. Sip. I drank my tea, outside in the rain. I never do that. Something about the air in Vermont made me want to be outside all of the time. Any chance I got, I was taking in the environment around me and using it all as my living room. It was as if there were whispers from the air, “Get outside and absorb me.”