Spirituality and Self-help

REIGNITING YOUR LIFE

What do you do when the spark is gone? With work, with life, with love—with it all. When things just aren’t shining like they used to, aren’t syncing like they should, and life is just a lot harder than it needs to be. I signed up for a three-day wellness retreat this past weekend and learned quite rapidly exactly the key to reigniting your life. You look inside, you go within yourself, you get to the root of things.    It’s oh-so-easy to cover up that restless antsy feeling of not quite being happy with your life. For me, that meant shopping trips (all the retail therapy), an endlessly busy schedule, and a million activities and social engagements. So, I was left exhausted and too tired to really think about things, because that kind of thinking was uncomfortable and I wasn’t going to slo...

LETTING THE INSTAGRAM BALL DROP

When I finally launched my pastry blog, I was thrilled to share my experiences with others. For years I had dreamed of building an online presence, but didn’t have the confidence to pursue it. Finally, the idea of creating sweet treats, photographing and writing about them was too hard to pass up. Once I began, I was excited to connect with like-minded people and continue my pastry education at home. I was certain I could fit in the time to work on my blog during my childrens’ nap and bedtimes. There are 24 hours in a day, I told myself. What I didn’t factor in was the perceived importance of social media. Instagram’s rise among visual creatives has become a cornerstone in promoting their work. It connects people who wouldn’t have had the chance to meet otherwise. For this reason, it...

WHEN YOU ARE BATTLING DREAMS VS. REALITY

“If you can think of a goal you want, and if you can see it unraveling in your mind as you visualize it, the next step is to bring it to life. Speak it into existence, feed it life so it can progress into reality, think of a dream as a person who you are one step closer to becoming, the more you start believing it is not as far as your mind makes it be” – H.C  As I write this, life is not a massive rock on my shoulder, as it usually seems to be. Mostly because of today, all the things I imagined and worked hard to make reality have happened.  Dreams can feel like they rarely take the form of reality, but when they do, as J Cole says, “it’s a beautiful thing.” And ever since I heard that song, I envisioned them in front of me. I have sung the song “...

DEMYSTIFYING DHARMA

Life and happiness haven’t always been obvious to me. Rewind a few years ago—my dark years. Why did I feel so empty inside? I had everything society told me should make me happy: a great job, a good circle of friends and family, a partner. So why was my inner being screaming “is this it?” I felt like I was staring down the long barrel of a gun. I could see the next twenty years mapped out for me—marriage, kids, a holiday a year, if I was lucky! It made me want to run away and hide. Then it hit me that there must be more to life than this. My initial way out was to escape, to run away from it as if it didn’t exist, to ignore the emptiness through distraction. This came in the form of drugs and alcohol until my body could take it no more. My breakdown eventually led to a breakthrough and a n...

SPEAKING THE TRUTH

I celebrated my 37th birthday this month, and like the many birthdays that inch us closer to 40, this one had me not only reflecting on my youth, but also building an inventory of failures and accomplishments to find perspective. As a queer, non-monosexual femme and a survivor of poverty and emotional and sexual abuse, I’ve accomplished more than I thought was ever possible: I’m still alive.  There is a weird thing that happens when you live longer than you expected to and have obtained a sense of safety and stability. The future becomes a thing you are no longer fighting so hard to exist in, but rather are being called to create and shape. The privilege of living and the recognition of that privilege makes you feel out of place. You are suddenly surrounded by people whose definitions of s...

ANXIETY, YOU TOO?

Who’s going to be there? What time is the event? Is that person talking about me? I wonder if he’s okay? What if something happens and someone can’t get ahold of me? What if I get in a car accident? What if my alarm doesn’t go off? What if someone knocks on the door and I don’t hear it? Am I wearing the right thing? Did I forget to turn the curling iron off this morning? Did I check? Did I double check? I am not doing enough. I should be doing more right? Losing control. It’s a persons worst fear. At least it’s mine. Situations we can’t control. It’s always there – the worry – the stress. I can feel it hitting my shoulders like Tetris blocks. One worry after another until I crumble underneath it all. The funny part is –...

WINGS

Something I’ve come to know is that once a wound has been created within – it can only be healed within.   We think that if we can just change the people who created the wound, or if we could just get someone to understand, it would heal us.   It’s this deep unconscious drive, but the wound still festers.  It still breathes.   Aching.   Longing – for that one person who can love and understand it in a way that no one else can.   And you know who that person is?  That person is yourself.  You.  Wonderful you.  Because you are the one who survived.  You are the one who lived through it.  And you are the only one who truly and deeply knows just what you survived.  As much as you may think that if you could be loved just right by that one person, or get the world to understand in j...

WHAT I LEARNED FASTING FOR YOM KIPPUR

I was raised very Catholic. I attended a Catholic school from ages 3 to 14 and have since received every sacrament that a living, single girl possibly could. As a child, I questioned the details of my religion: Why do we have to confess our sins if God is all-forgiving and omniscient? If God created the earth, why can’t we get married outside, in nature? These questions and many more stood at the forefront of my mind, but I never questioned my religion as an aspect of my life. My grandparents are all Catholic, my parents are Catholic, and so I, too, was raised Catholic.   The religion was a shelter, both physically and psychologically. It was the vessel by which my parents and teachers taught me the morals and values that still influence my life, and everyone with whom I was a friend opera...

COMPETE WITH NOBODY BUT YOURSELF AND WIN

We are in competition with no ONE, but ourselves and every day is a reminder that you are only going to get as far as you are willing to go. What other people think you’re capable of is none of your business.  Here are some things that help me keep this mindset alive:  Keep your focus on what you want, but balance out your time to also work on what you have now.  Do not compare yourself to someone else. Stop dwelling on what others may think of your dreams or plan because that will only push them farther away from you. You are capable of great things. Start to believe it everywhere you go.  What other people estimate about you, has nothing to do with you. Fight for your dreams.  The only real enemy and obstacles are yourself, and your willingness. Get up every day with a purpose. Whe...

TRUE SELF–WHAT EVEN IS THAT?

For so damn long, I was scared of being seen as my true self. After what felt like a lifetime of mental and emotional abuse, I created a story in my head that people expected me to show up perfect, that I had to have it all together, look like a goddess, have the perfect home, say the right things, act like the perfect mom, hide all my realities, deny all my fears, have all the answers and please everyone on every level. It drove me to a point where I lost myself and began playing someone that was unrealistic and totally not me. It got to a point where I became so worried about what other people thought of me that it drove me into a depression. I was so scared to do wrong that I shut myself into my own little world and wouldn’t let anybody in. I was scared of living, ashamed of havin...

FINDING THE STRENGTH TO (ALWAYS) START OVER

December 2017 marked a period in time that I was closing one life chapter and being hopeful for my new beginning. This is when I left my career job to start a new life with my husband whose career takes us to different countries for 10 months at a time. I was eager and excited, but I was also mourning my old self.  As I stepped into this new role I had so many questions of who I was in this new chapter: who was I as an educated stay-at-home wife? What was I suppose to do here?  I was a rosy-eyed newlywed, eagerly looking forward to my new adventure, but what I didn’t see coming was the exhaustive process of starting over and the mindset shift I had to embrace so that I could flourish in this new journey.   Up until this point, my identity was attached to my achievements. From all of the aw...

ESSAY BY E.L. DUBOIS

My silence was deafening…  I was a naïve young woman, not yet schooled in the ways of the world. One raised in a relatively conservative Southern family where my only exposures to domestic violence and abuse were through television and film. I did not know true monster’s like the ones I witnessed on screen existed in this world, until I found myself in the clutches of a truly sadistic one.  I learned very quickly that much like “fight club” the first rule is “not to talk about it.” So along with my dignity, my self-worth and my identity, I lost my voice.  And my silence was deafening…  I spent years as the possession of another person. A text-book case of a victim. With every assault, every degradation and every psychological game, I lost a piece of myself, until one day I felt nothing. We...

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