Tag Archives: growth

10 Tips on Staying Balanced in 2018

Like many of you, behind a pretty picture is a women that has struggled with identity, doubt, insecurities, anxiety, mental & emotional abuse, worry and fear, but what has kept me balanced and focused is the know-how that I was meant to be on this earth, to share my journey and to help empower others as they have helped to empower me.

I sometimes get texts thanking me for the motivational posts and upbeat attitude and along with those messages comes the questions: can you share what keeps you grounded, how do you stay afloat and/or can you share some tools that have helped you?

So after sharing some of this recently with a friend in a very private conversation in hopes that it can help her, I thought it would be great to just pay it forward! No one lives a perfect life my friends! Behind the pretty pictures and posts of happiness & “security” – many of us are living in turbulence; we have lost ourselves and/or are giving all of ourselves to others and/or our thoughts and not taking the time to breathe, to really breathe and to love ourselves! To know me and to follow me is to know I preach “love yourself first” but truth be told – we all get lost in the hustle & bustle we call life and forget to love ourselves! But look… how can we really lose ourselves? We’re with ourselves 24/7/365 – in fact, there’s just no way that can happen – just look in the mirror, look around you – YOU ARE ALWAYS THERE…OMG..lol!!

But really, I know it’s easier said than done and I totally, 100% get what it means to “lose ourselves”!

There are so many great tools that have helped me and continue to help me stay balanced, grounded and true to me, below are the top 10:

1. Community – surrounding myself with strong women & men who genuinely care for my wellbeing. They have kept me grounded, they have steered me in the right direction and have never been afraid to be honest with me, no matter how much it hurts or bites! You see, your community shouldn’t judge, speak behind your back and/or make you feel bad! They love and care for you unconditionally but also hold you accountable!

**It’s important to rid members of your community who aren’t aiding in your growth! If they are only around when you’re in a rut then chances are they are not for you – keep it moving!

2. Writing – writing has helped me to articulate my thoughts, my frustrations and my vision as it doesn’t always come out my mouth the same way. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always kept a journal and pencil near by; even at work! Thoughts come up for us all the time…don’t ignore them and don’t ever think you’ll remember them later (because you won’t)! Write and if you can, but don’t have to, share it. The beauty of writing is that you can read/speak your thoughts & visions into existence and/or let them go into the universe!

3. Music & Exercise – it brings life to my soul and lifts my spirits. It makes me feel safe … ever hear a song and it reminds you of something and/or it takes you to a place that’s safe? That’s what it does for me. I close my eyes and let the music feed my soul! So when you’re feeling off, or just need a breather or just need to rework what’s happening in that head of yours – put on feel good music! Exercise….well….it works wonders on your mind, body and spirit! It helps to reduce stress and many ailments. You feel amazing after a great workout and it’s just damn good for you – don’t cheat yourself from a healthy life – go workout!!

4. Laughter – because when you laugh you can’t cry! Ever laugh right after crying? If you have, then you know that you can’t cry immediately after; forcing you to think why you were crying to begin with! Put a comedy on, call a friend who you know can make you laugh (I have a few of those…) and laugh… where there is laughter rarely lives tears!

5. Reflecting & Meditation – reflection makes you realize that every obstacle: good, bad or indifferent has shaped us to be the person we are today. To know me is to know that I live a life with no regrets, no what ifs – just lessons learned! Look, we’re not perfect and just when we think we’ve learned a lesson, we make the same mistake again!! I can sit here and say “we’re human” but truth of the matter is that we all have a choice**! We do! I don’t care what you say! You have a choice to do something, to say something, to behave a certain way, to react… you get it! It’s a choice! Reflecting is a beautiful thing because it helps you realize your role in what’s happening in your life! Meditation – learning to sit in silence, with your thoughts, with your breath! It’s one of the hardest things to do and quite honestly I have yet to master this art but what I can tell you is that it has helped me countless of times to help calm the battlefield that happens in my head every now and then!

**The beauty of choice is that it forces you to create reason, to think critically and sadly for many, that’s too hard because living in the alternative is safe. We sometimes create this false illusion, an altered reality and would much rather live there because it feeds the ego, because we love to live in the box and fit into societal norms … because being average is safe and acceptable! Choice, it’s a beautiful thing we have – use it wisely!

6. Know Your Self worth! What are you worth? What is your legacy? What do you want out of life? And what do you need to do to get there? What won’t you ever stand or settle for? What are your dreams and are you setting small actionable goals? It’s what I.V.A stands for (my fitness program pictured above – go check it out at http://www.ivafitness.com). Never forget your self worth and never compromise your soul for the fear of loneliness or in hopes you can change someone!

7. Self-affirmations: There is no perfect world, person or way of doing things – you just have to be the change you want to see! Positive mantras, self affirmations, vision boards, sticky’s everywhere that remind you of the amazing person you are. My mantra “I am fierce I am fearless”!

8. Therapy – don’t be afraid to ask for help! Therapy can provide useful tools to help you dissolve those rooted feelings that are not mixing with your current being. It’s someone to listen to you and make sense of all that comes out of your mouth (or not). Someone to provide you with resources outside the office setting. Therapy can be amazing if you allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to trust the process.

9. Accountability Partner – having an accountability partner is different than having a community. They’ll be that one person, maybe two or three who will set you straight, be the voice of reason and tell you stop, wait, are you crazy, no and good job, you’re beautiful, keep pushing …. because at the end of the day, we all like structure in some form or fashion; we all want to be accountable to someone and we most certainly want to be held accountable!

10. Faith & Prayer: what ever and/or whomever you believe in – the power of faith and prayer works! I truly believe that when you believe in it and speak it into existence and take the necessary steps to make it happen – anything is possible! Love is energy.. keep your energy pure, honest and share it! The universe always delivers when you are true to you, when you pray and when you have integrity and have faith!!

Walks, biking, books, podcasts, blogs have all helped me – here are a few of my favorite books and author (there are so many others so if you need more, let me know): The Woman’s Book of Confidence by Sue Patton Thoele; The Four Agreements & The Fifth Agreement by Ruiz & Ruiz; I Got You by Rob Hill Sr.; Eckhart Tolles (subscribe to his channel on YouTube); God Where is my Boaz by Stephan Labossiere (audio or book); Disarming the Narcissist by Wendy Behary.

The only person you can control is you! You have control of your thoughts, your emotions, your choices and how you deal with all of it! Create a safe space, choose to be happy, choose to live in the present, in health, peace and balance, choose to smile, to learn, to give and to LOVE!! Take responsibility for your actions and inactions and lastly, be empowered by the power of you! You got this! Happy New Year 2018!!

Rise Up by Andra Day – song!!

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Deeply rooted 

What does this tree symbolize to you? While the palm tree is my favorite tree (and I’ve written about it before), this tree however, resonates so deeply with me! To me it tells me that when you are deeply rooted, you can branch out in any form but your root, that’s your foundation and nothing (not even a storm) can uproot you! 

Yeah, the healthiest of trees have been uprooted; even the most solid & aged trees – but that doesn’t happen often (there’s usually some circumstance beyond our control and sometimes we are simply not taking care of it [ourselves]).

You may have some dead branches or perhaps some of the leaves have dried out and are holding on by its last vein, or maybe it simply falls off, but the root, well that only grows deeper in the soil. Rich in nutrients that continue to add to the life of each branch and leaf and perhaps flower.

This tree is soaring, dancing, living, growing and is simply beautiful! If there is anything that we can learn about trees, it would be that we need to appreciate them (ourselves), we need to take care of them (water it and cut off old branches to allow for further growth), we need to breathe them in (take in the beauty that you are) and lastly, allow it to grow (don’t let anything hinder its potential)!

Trees can prosper without sunlight but imagine what a little love and light can do!! So my peeps, take a deep look at this gorgeous life (the tree & you) and reflect – think about the beauty and it’s endless possibilities! #peace & #love to you all – always ❤️🏝 

Wake Up – The Universe Has Awoken You! 

Has the Universe awoken you? Did it feel more like it threw you with a bucket of ice-cold water and then smaked you up a couple of times followed by a pretty hard shake? Well yeah, it did for me! Still reeling from it – body still kinda sore, ego bruised and spirit still being put together! Damn it…lol!

Ultimate believer that everything happens for a reason and that there are valuable lessons to learn from the good, bad and indifferent! Processing, reflecting and learning from it all. I take and share my lessons to empower others as there is no guilt or shame in sharing ones story!

Empowerment only comes from the act of giving oneself honestly and truthfully free of bias and judgement!! The world will adjust – it always does! ❤️ blessed day peeps! Live life fully #awake

Look out for my short story to be published soon ~ it’ll keep you scrolling down to the end with the hopes that you take something meaninginful away from it! 🙏🏽

Good Bye 2015! Hello 2016!

Out with the old, in with the new! At least that’s how the saying goes.
As we welcome 2016 in a couple of hours, this is the perfect time to reflect on a year that brought smiles, laughter, new friends, new experiences and yes…the dreadful experiences that we much rather have done without! But like the other saying goes – “everything happens for a reason!”

While I did not have any “defined” goals if you will, I did make a promise to myself that I would continue to grow, to be better than I was yesterday; to learn to listen, to be a better communicator, to acquire skills and tools to better aid me in my journey and in learning on how to deal with things that don’t always align with my path. I took on to on-line mind games, listening to motivational speakers and theorist, learned to meditate, learned to breathe with a purpose, and read and wrote a lot.

There were a lot of happy times for me this past year, but truth be told – I encountered a lot of tough moments & losses – growing pains is how I describe those moments; learning to appreciate life is how I described the losses! Some I felt on the surface, others ran soul deep – but with each moment of pain came a moment of growth & understanding. What I eventually realized is that every time something tough came around, I knew how to handle. Each moment needed a different tactic.

There was less internal pain, less anxiety, less stress…. less mind consuming thoughts and irrational emotions … The answers were always within, the skills and tools I learned helped me to cope! To be rational, to be empathetic, to process – allowing me to come up with answers and ideas and results driven by rationalism & thoughtful thought rather than answers inspired by anger, hurt, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from having perfected these skills, but I am better.

Change happens from within. It’s a conscious choice. We do it for ourselves so that we can be happy; our internal happiness allows us to be happy for and with others. Like that other saying goes “you can’t make others happy if you’re not happy with self.” So true in every which way. Anything other than this leads to stress, resentment, uncontrollable thoughts, false hope, poor choices – at the end of the day, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

I recently read a quote that read “let us not hope for more chance to change our story; let us summon the courage to change it ourselves!

This quote resonated so deeply! Often we give chance after chance, allow situations to arise without any real resolution – often saying give it time, or I’ll deal with it some other time, or trying to justify it for reasons that truly don’t exist… It’s really because we are refusing to change – to live outside that comfort zone.

Change is inevitable – but resistance to change is what keeps you in the back seat! We are the drivers on our journey, we are responsible for the choices and the actions we take and the consequences that arise – we are in control of our thoughts, our choices, decisions, emotions, lifestyle, stress, happiness… our smiles… our souls!

This year I learned that I’m far from perfect, but I’m a pretty amazing woman – able to endure all, a woman of resiliency, triumph, a women who is able to forgive, accept, a woman willing to learn from her mistakes and imperfections. A woman open to growth: internal and external change. A woman willing to listen, capable of love & understanding – a woman with an entrepreneurial spirit – willing to go above and beyond for the people and causes she cares about & believes in.

I learned that love is not unconditional but it comes pretty close to it! I learned that my heart is bigger than most, that my spirit is truly unbreakable and my soul, well my soul is flexible… 🌴

As I prepare to welcome 2016, I will make a list of things I’d like to see happen… I will evaluate this list often. This list will allow me to stay focused, to continue to evolve, to explore, to live & to learn!

A year of pure transformation is how I describe 2015!

As I welcome 2016, I will view life with a different lens – seeing it clearer than I ever saw it before.

Because I learned that life is truly bigger than us. That life will test every value, will pull every single hair on your body, challenge your limits, expand your brain, and widen your thoughts & perception. Life as I once knew it no longer exist and yet, I’m not scared! Excited if you will of all that awaits me in 2016 and years to come!

An eternal optimist is how I describe me – seeing the bright lights at the end of the road!

Humbled for the experiences, excited about the new and re-established friendships and forgiving of the friendships that no longer are!

Blessed for all that is life: the good, the bad and the indifferent, for it really defines who we are!

I’ve already decided that 2016 will be my year (as was every other year before). I will travel, love even harder, test the limits, live outside of my comfort zone and live freely and in the process I will dance and breathe….

Wishing you all continued growth, love, laughter, music, health and prosperity!

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What is Self-Love? 

To my daughter and the women I love ~  

  
The key to learning to self-love is that you must first fully understand and make a decision that your “self-love” is not dependent on the approval of others! 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on this blog, a blog I created to share my journey and to hopefully share pointers, advice, and/or a simple reminder that you are not alone. That as women, we face and overcome so many challenges and barriers, but if we have community, a platform to share, love and the support of each other and others who believe in our growth and evolution – then we can truly grow! 

Self-love! I see the words everywhere. I hear the words spoken by so many, but do we really know and understand what it means? 

I’m convinced that while there’s a recurring theme – that one thing we can all agree on when it comes to what self-love means; the fact is that self-love, much like success and relationships, is really defined by you! 

What does it mean? I can’t speak for others but to me, it’s really learning how to put myself first in a world that has defined our roles as women. We have so many ever-changing titles/roles and to choose one over the other can sometimes feel impossible, let alone overwhelming! We are mothers, wives, partners, sisters, daughters, employees, employers, doctors to our families, caregivers, mentors, therapists for our family and friends, friends, best friends, hosts, lovers, givers, doers, etc etc! Shhheeezz….that’s a lot! 

If I were to ask you or if you asked yourself “who am I?” chances are you would list these titles/roles… but rarely do we answer “I am a woman – strong, empowered, smart, beautiful, giving, balanced, driven…

Self-love to me is being able to say all these things before I say that I am a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, etc etc… It means to me that I hold these self-attributes, strengths, actions more important so that I can successfully be all those titles/roles that the world has clearly defined for me/us without feeling guilty or ashamed! 

Self-love takes time, a long time! I’ve been blogging and writing for years and just when I think I have it, I realize I’m not quite there yet! I’m constantly evolving as a woman: reading, meditating, reflecting, learning, expanding my intake of readings and Ted Talks that reaffirms my feelings and adds to my growth and writing. 

Self-love is not easy! We are taught to stand strong, to put others before ourselves no matter what! We are warriors, we are doers and yet we often fail to see in ourselves and our fellow sisters how strong we truly are! Self-love to me also means that we have a community responsibility of building our sisters, our mothers, our daughters, our youth and our communities! To work hand-in-hand in sharing, nurturing and building all that is a woman! 

Self-love is work in progress… It has to start with you and has to be about you before it can be about others, and once you understand that, then only then can you begin to help build others…

For so long, I was guilt ridden! Felt horrible at the idea of putting myself first! How could I do this? What will others think or say? I bet you know this all to well… It’s hard as hell!

I recently read that “Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us. When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept much better our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our short-comings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purpose and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts.” 

The author shared and I now share with you, her Seven-Step Prescription for Self-Love: 

Become mindful. People who have more self-love tend to know what they think, feel and want. They are mindful of who they are and act on this knowledge, rather than on what others want for them.

Act on what you need rather than what you want. You love yourself when you can turn away from something that feels good and exciting to what you need to stay strong, centered, and moving forward in your life, instead. By staying focused on what you need, you turn away from automatic behavior patterns that get you into trouble, keep you stuck in the past, and lessen self-love.

Practice good self-care. You will love yourself more, when you take better care of your basic needs. People high in self-love nourish themselves daily through healthy activities, like sound nutrition, exercise, proper sleep, intimacy and healthy social interactions.

Set boundaries. You’ll love yourself more when you set limits or say no to work, love, or activities that deplete or harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually, or express poorly who you are.

Protect yourself. Bring the right people into your life. I love the term frenemies that I learned from my younger clients. It describes so well the type of “friends” who take pleasure in your pain and loss rather than in your happiness and success. My suggestion to you here: Get rid of them! There isn’t enough time in your life to waste on people who want to take away the shine on your face that says, “I genuinely love myself and life”. You will love and respect yourself more.

Forgive yourself. We humans can be so hard on ourselves. The downside of taking responsiblity for our actions is punishing ourselves too much for mistakes in learning and growing. You have to accept your humanness (the fact that you are not perfect), before you can truly love yourself. Practice being less hard on yourself when you make a mistake. Remember, there are no failures, if you have learned and grown from your mistakes; there are only lessons learned.

Live intentionally. You will accept and love yourself more, whatever is happening in your life, when you live with purpose and design. Your purpose doesn’t have to be crystal clear to you. If your intention is to live a meaningful and healthy life, you will make decisions that support this intention, and feel good about yourself when you succeed in this purpose. You will love yourself more if you see yourself accomplishing what you set out to do. You need to establish your living intentions, to do this.

These 7 steps, together with a host of other resources are what has helped me to further understand what self-love is for me and in turn, learned to live it. I hope it can help you. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s work in progress but the key words here are “work” and “progress”! By simply working on one thing, you are well on your way to building strength and in turn – SELF-LOVE! 

Peace & Love 

Excerpt above is from this article if you care to read in its entirety! 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/get-hardy/201203/seven-step-prescription-self-love