Overcoming Emotional Blocks

As a writer, and a human being, I’m extremely susceptible to mental blocks. I attribute my current block to my willingness to sift through the emotional baggage that I’ve been carrying around for the last few years. Sometimes I find myself staring at a part of me that is too painful or too difficult to face – and it sends me into a slump. Luckily for me and for others like me, healing isn’t linear. I repeat that over and over on this blog and on my other social media accounts. If you experience what you consider to be a set-back, try to change your perspective and look at it as a triumph. Congratulations. You are human. You are willing to work through dark problems of your past even if it means you have to take a bit of time for yourself to protect your energy.

I’ve been blocked for the past month. I’ve written four or five posts but haven’t felt good enough to press that “publish” button. This is okay. I am allowing myself to feel okay about it, because I haven’t thrown in the towel, I’ve simply allowed myself the time I needed to sort through the feelings and rising stress levels I was experiencing in my day-to-day life.

If you find yourself in a period of emotional blockage, here are some kind things you can do for yourself:

Allow yourself to feel.

Eat enough food.

Do not punish yourself for not meeting your goals and expectations, especially if you tend to be a perfectionist.

Get enough sleep.

Say no.

Watch inspiring movies.

Share your feelings with safe people.

Protect your energy.

A lot of those tips sound super simplistic, but you’d be surprised how many of us are overlooking the little things which actually add up and contribute to our overall state of distress in times of emotional blockage.

If you have access to a therapist I always recommend therapy. It is not wrong to seek help from a therapist even if you feel like your problems aren’t big enough to warrant a weekly therapy session.

I hope this post serves you. I know so many of my lovely readers are empaths like me so we need to hear that it’s okay to take a step back and regroup so that we can leap forward with a refreshed sense of self and zest for life. ❤️

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The Flow and How to Go With It

I love to control things, which you may not get from my messy bedroom, my unkempt hair, and my inability to keep to any sort of strict, rigid schedule. I love things to happen in the exact order that I dream up. Something I have had to come to terms with, and I’m sure most of us have to come to terms with, is that the universe rarely grants us the luxury of things magically happening and panning out in our perfectly planned time frame – and that is okay. In fact it’s normal. We spend so much time under society’s crippling time constraints. We are told when we need to go to college, when we need to have children, when we need to retire, or even when we need to stop wearing bikinis!

Life isn’t a linear uphill climb. There isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” schedule that you should follow for your entire existence until you retire in your small beach home off the coast of Florida. Life is so completely peppered and riddled with setbacks and grand leaps forward that it can look more like a jagged mountain range, plummeting and then sharply rising up to the tallest achievements and happy spaces of your life.

I’ve been meditating a lot on this lately. I have felt so much success, love, and clarity lately – but the part of me that needs control has felt like something is missing. The constant need to be completely perfect is absolutely ridiculous for someone like me and for most of us here on the planet. I often find that I am creating my own disappointment and my own heartbreak because I can’t live up to these lofty expectations that I try to enforce upon myself, or these intense time constraints.

I believe that we are all on the right path. If we continue meditating and releasing the need to control then we will all find more moments of peace and clarity in our lives. Healthy goals and schedules are necessary, but unrealistic expectations or at least the adverse reaction when we fail to meet them is what we need to chip away at. To err is to be human. Failure is not fatal.

I felt compelled to write this for myself and hopefully for some of my readers. I think there is something great to be said about being able to let life carry you to exactly who and where you need to be. It doesn’t mean you stop going after your dreams and desires, it just means you’re a little kinder to yourself when you do things out of order, or a littler slower than society’s unrealistic expectations. ❤

Life Is Precious

It’s astounding to me how quickly you can be made aware of the fragility of human life. As someone who hasn’t experienced as much loss as others, I find myself trying to pretend it doesn’t exist.

A shooting happened at a school that a few of my sweet family members attend, it’s also where my little sister would be attending if she wasn’t home schooled. My heart sank as I heard the news today. I am saddened for the lives forever altered by this violence. I am saddened that we have failed yet another school full of innocent children. I do not know what changes need to be made to prevent a horrific tragedy like this from happening, but something clearly needs to be done.

The effects of gun violence are long lasting and traumatic to the survivors. Having multiple family members who already suffer from PTSD due to gun related violence, I am incredibly disturbed that more will be added to this list today – all of them children.

Cherish life. Spread awareness. Teach compassion. Make seeking mental health care normal and okay for your family. Be an activist so children do not have to suffer the consequences.

Me, Etched on You

Another piece I did last year. (Nov 2017)

If you could shed your pale skin, and slide into mine, I think you would. There is something about your brain that distorts your identity.

Take my socks, my shoes, the blood in my veins, the marrow of my bones. Drape yourself in coats and scarves comprised of my mannerisms. They haven’t served me well. Maybe they will serve you better.

Take everything. Take it all. Take my beating heart. Take my insomnia. Take the books on my shelves, the names in my head, the loves of my life. Take my reputation, my morning coffee, the color of my eyes.

All I ask is after you are done taking and you stand in front of my mirror, now an exact duplicate of me, you refrain from your usual habit of pointing at the shell of me that remains and calling it a fraud.

Ribs and Ringing Ears

Sharing some creative writing I did last year. ❤️

Ribs and Ringing Ears (March 6th 2017)

The outline of your tattoo is that familiar dark murky green color. The color of lake water. I trace the raised ridges of it with my fingers, like I’ve done repeatedly for years. It’s almost like a ceremony. I touch your skin – your tattoo. I feel your presense – but you aren’t present. Not fully. The phone in your hands casts a garish glow on your face as you scroll through instagram. Like after like. I keep tracing.

I think about this moment. This seemingly mundane evening before we drift to sleep beside each other like we had done for three years. Is this the vibration of my life? Tracing lines on people’s skin who have turned their back on me long before I realized it. Long before I can blink away the blinder of my abundunt adoration that made me miss the subtle and not so subtle ways you had retracted and recoiled from our love.

Loyal like an old song that seeps into your skin and cheers you to the bone. Loyal to a fault. In a group that would rather stick to fair-weathered fraternization, I find myself slipping away.

“Feelings fade.” The words echo in my mind. I take a deep breath. I am sitting on a hotel bed somewhere in Iowa with a phone plastered to my ear. I don’t know if there is much beauty in a heart turning to an unrecognizable orb of cold stone but there might be. I imagine it would sound something like heavy feet crunching through fresh snow. Feelings fade.

A boy with ringing ears and a distate for discomfort and any extranious effort that didn’t serve him used to whisper in my ear, “Please don’t hurt me.”

I didn’t.

But feelings fade.

Banishing Body Dysmorphic Disorder

I had a bit of a revelation this morning. I was thinking about how I want to lose a bit of the weight I have gained over the past year or so. I am currently at the exact same weight that I was at when I embarked on a fitness journey and lost fifteen to twenty pounds, which got me to the lowest weight I’ve ever seen on the scale as an adult. In my current state, my clothes are a little too tight, my bras are a lost cause, and I’m feeling a little more sluggish than I’d like to feel.

For some reason I have had a harder time feeling motivated to lose weight because aside from my clothes not fitting right and the frustrating hunt for the perfect bra I am pretty damn content and at peace with the way I look at the moment – and that constant feeling of being at ease and comfortable in my own skin is so foreign that it brought actual tears to my eyes today as I sat at my desk at work.

In the past, I used my self-loathing to fuel my fire – I didn’t realize it – but I did. Speaking from experience, if you use self-loathing to push yourself toward a goal it can be a powerful force – but it comes at an extremely high price. When you reach that goal weight after driving yourself there on the self-hatred train you may not even realize that you have reached the finish line. You may not be able to stop, because you don’t actually see that you’ve made any progress.

If you are constantly feeding your psyche with negative self talk, you’re going to believe it no matter what the reality is. As a person who suffers from Body Dysmorphic Disorder, this added self loathing was crippling and put a blindfold over my eyes when I dipped under the healthy weight line and into the skeletor regions. I remember feeling CRAPPIER about my body when I was underweight than I do now. Even when friends and family told me I looked too skinny. I laughed and genuinely thought that they were joking. After all, in my mind, I had ten more pounds to lose.

I feel incredibly proud of my journey and I am incredibly proud of the people who suffer and manage daily with Body Dysmorphic Disorder. It’s an ugly thing to bear, and I have hardly written about the ugliest parts of it because of the deep shame I experience when I come face to face with my disorder. It’s a lot more than not seeing yourself clearly. It’s fixating on something you deem to be an imperfection until it almost drives you insane. It’s skin picking. It’s crippling social anxiety. It’s checking your appearance in the mirror literally HUNDREDS of times each day to make sure that you still see yourself clearly. All of this can lead people down self destructive paths, and I feel so incredibly thankful that finally at 25 I can feel a little bit of peace.

That peace is exactly what I’m going to use as motivation for my weight loss going forward: The love for my body and my health and a peaceful mind. Love yourself fiercely my friends and your body and mind will respond accordingly. ❤

The Books That Will Change Your Life

Hello bookworms! I’m so excited to be sharing a blog post about books because I’m an avid reader and audio book fiend. These are some of the books that have helped me heal my worthiness-wounds and find inner peace. If you are looking for some of the most inspiring titles to add to your reading list then look no further!

YOU ARE A BADASS: HOW TO STOP DOUBTING YOUR GREATNESS BY JEN SINCERO

Okay. This book was one of the first “self help” books that I ever had the courage to pick up, and it was probably one of the best decisions of my life. This was the book that pulled me out of one of my darkest moments, and made my self-esteem SOAR. Jen Sincero has the best way of story-telling. Every page of this book is relatable, hilarious, and so inspiring. Jen reminds us that we all possess the power to be incredibly successful at anything we do. This book is a great place to start if you are intimidated by the self-help genre.

THE UNIVERSE HAS YOUR BACK: TRANSFORM FEAR TO FAITH BY GABRIELLE BERNSTEIN

The Universe Has Your Back is a book that truly put my mind at peace. I have always suffered from massive amounts of anxiety, and this book gave me tools that I use on a daily basis to help me feel safe, secure, loved, and at one with my surroundings and the present moment. If you love the law of attraction and meditating then this one is for you. It will teach you how to surrender to love and to free yourself from fear-based stories that you trap yourself in.

DARING GREATLY BY BRENE BROWN

I recommend Brene Brown for the more analytical minds that I know. Brene Brown has thoroughly researched courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. This is the book that made me fall in love with my favorite Theadore Roosevelt quote:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; . . . who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

In this book you will learn how being open and vulnerable can lead you to extraordinary places that you never dreamed you could go.

RISING STRONG BY BRENE BROWN

This book is best read after Daring Greatly. This book explains that when you make big, bold, and vulnerable choices there is a great chance for failure. Failure happens. Heartbreak happens – but you can only achieve greatness by getting back up after a fall and Rising Strong. If you are wrestling with doubt, shame, or feelings of failure then this book is for you. It will give you the tools you need to pick yourself up and start again.

YOU ARE A BADASS AT MAKING MONEY BY JEN SINCERO

I am addicted to this book. I could read this over and over again. Jen Sincero has a way of explaining money making that makes you want to leap out of bed in the morning in a whirlwind of productivity. If you are looking to take control of your finances, start a business, or make money by creating or doing something you love then pick this book up and read it twenty times STAT. Again, Jen’s writing style is so relatable that you will be able to see changes in your mindset almost immediately after beginning this page-turner.

BIG MAGIC BY ELIZABETH GILBERT

I struggled with this book at first. I think when I first picked it up it just wasn’t the right time for me. I started listening to the audio book recently and suddenly everything clicked. If you are an artist, which I believe everyone is, then you NEED to read this. It will inspire you to create and bring forth the hidden creative gems that are sleeping within your soul. ❤ It is a celebration of all that is creative. I can’t recommend it enough.


I hope that this post gave you some ideas for your reading list. Please check out some of these awesome titles. I’ll be sharing more book reviews as I am constantly devouring self-help books like it’s my job. 😉

 

 

 

Caring About Comparing

Good evening wonderful people. I have been thinking a lot about comparison and how it robs us all of so many AMAZING opportunities. It’s probably one of the nastiest habits to break because society trains us to think in these toxic patterns by subjecting us to constant demeaning advertisements and unrealistic body ideals and images. Maybe it’s not something you can stop completely, but definitely something you can become more aware of as you go about your day.

Feeling envious is one way it manifests. Remember that people usually put their best selves out on social media for the world to see. Comparing your worst day to their best selfie ever taken is absurd, but we all do it. You need to understand that YOU are just as amazing, unique, and capable as everyone out there on the web. No one is you. That is the power you hold. Most of the time we are comparing and judging because we do not feel worthy. Spend some time meditating and focusing on your self esteem and self worth and I guarantee you will notice a huge shift in the amount of time you spend feeling negative and stuck in a prison of harsh comparison.

Remember that it’s okay for someone to be successful! It does not rob you of your own successes OR the ability to be successful in the future. Personally, I used to struggle with this facet of comparison. It caused me to think that there was absolutely ZERO point in starting or trying anything because I would have to be a beginner, and I couldn’t stand to see all of these other people my age that were already experts and excelling at the thing I want to be amazing at. It was a miserable way to live as I was constantly forcing myself to give up on a lot of my biggest dreams out of fear that I wouldn’t ever be as successful as the people I was comparing myself to.

Try to notice when you are comparing yourself a little too harshly with another human and see if you can flip your mindset. Try to celebrate what is making you feel that sting of envy when you see that other person. Is it their awesome hair? Their millions of dollars? Their college degrees? Take a moment and try to truly be happy for them and respect that those things do not make YOU any less capable of having qualities that are just as spectacular. One thing that is a sure fire way to keep you STUCK in the envy and comparison spiral is insulting, judging, or resenting the other person for having what you want. If it makes you feel so uncomfortable, try to direct that discomfort into motivation to get whatever it is that you are so impressed by. Time is ticking away as you sit and scroll on your phone grumbling about how you don’t have what everyone else has. Put down the phone and get to work.

In the end, everyone is comparing themselves to everyone all the time. I’m sure Gigi Hadid is out there comparing herself to another girl on Instagram. WE ALL DO IT. Try to be kind to yourself and kind to others. The more we respect other people and the things that make us envious the more the universe will see that we are open and willing to having those things in our lives as well. The universe responds to love and celebration. If we strive to see the best in others we will bring forth the best in ourselves as well.

“THE ONLY PERSON YOU SHOULD TRY TO BE BETTER THAN IS WHO YOU WERE YESTERDAY.”

Mood: Motivation

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

I’m writing today’s blog post almost as a reminder and a kick in the rear for myself. I have always been drawn to transformation. I think most human beings are. Seeing someone transform in the classic rags-to-riches tale, or watching someone get a life changing makeover on some mindless TV network always seems to leave me a little teary and emotional. I think most of the reason we love these types of stories is it restores a little bit of our faith in humanity. Seeing the underdog prevail can be almost as satisfying as when we prevail ourselves. I think another reason we enjoy transformations is because it gives us the inspiration and hope that we can transform our own lives in the same way.  “If they can do it, I can do it.” Well. Guess what. You really can do it. You can be almost anything you put your mind to, BUT it takes endurance and grit to stick to the new habits that you’ll have to create in order to achieve your goals and dreams.

I struggle with starting new workout regimens and diet plans, because I am known to reward myself after only a few short days of progress. Usually that reward involves letting go of some of the newer, healthier habits that I implemented in order to get to that milestone. I think there is something to that. If I could stay in control of my thoughts and feelings when I feel accomplished and successful, maybe I could see the big picture and stop derailing myself in the early stages of my journey. Don’t get me wrong, celebrating small victories is something we all should do more often, but there has to be a balance between celebration and still keeping your end goal in the forefront of your mind.

You CAN do the thing you have been longing to do. There are so many people with similar or even identical circumstances that are doing or have done EXACTLY what you are longing to do. It’s time to dig deep and commit to your dream habits and routines. Become the person you want to be. Each night, forgive any slip ups that you’ve made throughout the day, and recommit to your goals the next morning. Recommitting and finding that motivation every single day will be one of your greatest tools on your way to achieving whatever it is your heart desires!

I hope this post gives you a little motivation or that push you were needing to commit to your new goals. ❤ ❤ ❤

 

My Journey to Veganism

I grew up in a relatively small town in Idaho and in a family that upheld the standard meat and potatoes type of diet when it came to meal times. My father and multiple other family members are extremely active outdoorsmen, spending practically half of their time in the mountains fishing and hunting. I grew up eating wild game, usually killed with a bow and arrow, vegetables grown from our massive gardens, and drinking glasses of whole milk with my cheese sandwiches. I don’t resent my upbringing at all – and I respect that I grew up knowing that these animals weren’t dying just to be tacked to the wall, they were our food.

I have vivid memories of my father showing me how to clean fish and larger animals like deer and elk. I’ve been inside taxidermy workshops and on more than one occasion during hunting season, I walked outside to find an elk or a deer hanging up in the garage.

I know to some reading this, it sounds horrific – and hunting definitely isn’t something that I agree with – but I do think in some strange way I developed a respect for animals and their part in this world through my dad and the way he hunts. My dad is a terrific artist, and though he draws as a hobby his work is almost always centered around wildlife. He always slows the truck down to show the passengers something their eyes have missed on the side of the road – usually a grazing deer or sometimes a moose and her calf – if you’re lucky. He despises poachers, and is more himself sitting in a tree stand or hiking in the mountains than he is walking around in a department store in suburban america. Growing up in this environment shaped my respect for animals, especially the wild ones.

At a young age I decided I wanted to be a veterinarian, as most children at some point do. Eventually the dream faded as my love for the performing arts grew, but I’ve always had a deep love for animals – even though the larger ones scare me (I’m lookin’ at you horses.)

I remember the first time I decided to go vegetarian I kept it a secret because I knew that it was something that went against the grain during that time. I peeled the pepperonis off my pizza at lunch, and said that I just didn’t like the taste – I cut my steak into tiny pieces at dinner with my dad and scooted them around the plate so it looked like I was eating them, until one day I finally caved and ate some orange chicken. I was always very picky about textures and smells when it came to food – especially when it came to meat.

I would say by the time I finally decided to go completely vegetarian in 2014 the process for me was easy. I made the decision while doing a show at the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Our music director was a vegetarian, and I watched as she ate just as well as the rest of us on that trip, and I felt so inspired that when I returned home I promptly gave up meat.

Some of the most amazing benefits of going vegetarian or vegan is it limits your fast food options – and that is the first thing I had to detox from. It really made me aware of how much fast food I was eating on a regular basis – and though this can be one of the most frustrating things about being a new hangry vegetarian, it is one of the most beneficial parts of your new diet. I started to cook at home more. I sought out healthier fast food options and *gasp* walked inside grocery stores to buy items that fit my diet. (In my eyes the best vegetarian fast food option is a sofritas burrito bowl at Chipotle)

For the first few years I was definitely not eating as healthily as I could have – but that wasn’t the point. You really can eat a lot of junk food as a vegetarian, mostly in fried potato and cheese form. I finally got fed up with my weight gain after I stopped dancing for three hours a day after college, and I hit the gym and ate more salad.

I started toying with the idea of giving up my beloved cheese when I first found my way into the fitness industry. Finally, in 2016 I did my first two month stretch of being a full vegan. Unfortunately it was a time when I was severely depressed, and I attributed it at the time to my veganism, thinking I was probably missing out on some vital nutrients that I was getting from cheese (HA) – so I switched back.

Ever since then I have been flip flopping back and forth in an aggravating cycle, vegetarian to vegan, vegan to vegetarian – until finally in October of 2017 I decided that I was done caving into the animal products and committed to one full month of vegan eating.

I don’t know why that first month of being a strict vegan was difficult. It was the little things that really got me. Things like cookies people would bring to work or the fact that the bread I bought had milk in it and I hadn’t thought to even check the label. It’s times like that where I had to really dig deep and remember that it wasn’t just about my health anymore, it was for the animals – and the fact that I wanted to prove that I had the freaking will power to say no to a cookie or a cube of cheese.

I survived a month of pure veganism…. well aside from a few bites of pie here and there. I think some of the best tips I can give someone starting out in veganism is to let yourself eat the junk for the first month. Eat the vegan cheese, the cinnamon rolls, the vegan pizza! It will help you feel less deprived. ALSO… be prepared for the hanger, that is when I almost always cave and eat dairy or eggs. Aways try to have something on hand that you can eat quickly so you won’t let the hanger run your life! Once I got through the first month of veganism it got immensely easier, and I have continued with this vegan diet into 2018 as well without breaking a cheesy sweat!

There are so many AMAZING vegan options out there nowadays that switching to vegetarianism or veganism is a freaking breeze. It makes my heart so happy to see so many new vegan restaurants and products popping up left and right!

If you’ve read this far I hope that this helps you on your vegan journey and gives you a little insight on why I chose this lifestyle and diet. 💕 I never want anyone to feel that I judge them for eating differently than me. I believe people should eat whatever makes them feel best, and this is the diet that feels best for me.