lots of THANKS …

Guuuuuuys, I had my last workshop yesterday. I can hardly believe that 6 workshops and almost 3 months have passed since my arrival in AZ. Yesterday’s workshop on Gratitude was very light and fun and silly, exactly what the last one needed to be (and what I needed it to be as well). It’s been a lot of work prepping the workshops having to build them from the ground up. I enjoyed doing so, and discovered that it got easier as they went on – easier to prepare for, more trusting of my abilities and much less nervous ;) I am very grateful to have been able to come to AZ and for making the choice to actually DO IT. So much thanks and love to the awesome people in my life who supported me, both near and far. It was nice to see some beautiful faces from the past as well as some new ones. It’s almost time for me to leave here (and right before it gets absurdly hot) … thank you Phoenix for welcoming me back with open arms and for helping this life journey go smoothly and, well, just as it should.

thanks. thanks. thanks.

FUN and FREEeeeeeeee …

This is what being on vacation feels like. If you can’t tell, we are on a swing. On a pier. In the sunshine. In Charleston, SC. Fun and free. Once I let loose and released my stresses and life “stuff”, I could truly feel the benefits of being on vacation. Food tasted better. Everything around me was beautiful. Everything I did was exciting. People were nicer and more attractive (including me!). All my phone was used for was taking photos (oh, and for posting luv sticks photos to IG: check out http://www.luvsticks.com for some awesome details). And the weather was unbelievably perfect. Every day.

We all need a vacation and some time away from home and our “regular” lives. It can really help us to truly appreciate the world around us and to guide us toward what we desire in life. Plan something, even if for only a day away … or 20. Either way, you will be grateful.

just say THANK YOU …¬†

This is how to accept compliments. Just say “thank you.” It’s that simple, and we make it waaaay more complicated (by explaining where you got the shirt someone just told you they really liked, or how much the shirt cost, or turning it back on them saying you like their shirt too…). Just say “thank you.” I was taught this only recently by my life coach. At 37 years old, I finally knew how to accept a compliment. And also learned that when you simply say thank you and embrace the compliment, you will receive more compliments. Funny how that works. So many people don’t know how to accept their partners praise, yet question why they don’t get complimented more often (I’ve soooo been that person!). It goes both ways. Just say THANK YOU. And see what shifts, in you and in those around you.

What’s that? You think my blog is awesome. Thank you.

shine BRIGHT …

It’s been a gloomy cold emotional day today. If I don’t have real sunflowers to brighten the day, this beautiful photo will surely work (at least partly)! I am very grateful for days like this as they teach me a lot about what I have to continue working on in my healing process. And then I am grateful for recognizing the beauty in things that can change my mindset from gloomy to bright(er).

I just found this rather cute appropriate quote, and it made me chuckle:

“It’s ok to be a glowstick; sometimes you need to break before you shine.”

starved for PLAY …

On Sunday, I picked up (as in held, not picked up in a car) my nieces and it felt so good. Ignore the fact that that sounds creepy. But, as y’all know, I couldn’t really play with my nieces or pick them up or throw them around (in a fun safe way, of course) with my shoulder pain. I avoided lifting pretty much everything for at least 4 weeks. In that time, I went on vacation and made my friends lift my luggage in and out of cars (love you guys!), I stopped going to the gym, I couldn’t vacuum at work … well, let’s be honest here, I couldn’t even lift my arm itself let alone heavy objects. So, obviously, small humans were not an option. While I was on vacation, my shoulder started to feel unbelievably better and has been feeling so ever since. It just needed a vacation! See how your body can heal when you escape for a bit?! The pain is pretty much gone, and I can move it and lift things again. There is some soreness in the area that’s been bothering me for all these years, and I am also working on getting full range of motion back. I feel positive that I will free this stuckness and be able to move my arm even better than before the frozen shoulder! Hopefully, I can make that happen by throwing my 2.5 year old niece in the air and doing cartwheels with my 7 year old niece…should be fine, right?

I’m so grateful for everyone’s support while I was temporarily dysfunctional. My work team was extremely helpful and understanding. My mom did passive assist arm movements for me since it hurt too much to engage my own muscles. My chiropractor adjusted, lasered and massaged me to decrease the pain and start putting parts back where they belong. My dad gave me money to help with my chiropractor appointments as I didn’t have health insurance at the time. My family and friends checked in to see how I was feeling. My cat snuggled with me. And even I felt more supportive of myself through taking time to rest and breathe. Allow myself to … support myself.

No matter your age, make sure to squeeze some play into your day. It helps to have kids around for sure! I don’t play much myself (so I need to take my own advice) until my nieces are around. And there is no better play than that :)

break OPEN …

“Your heart can grow strong at the broken places.” -Jack Kornfield

Most of us (me included) are so afraid of having our hearts broken. But, unbeknownst to most of us, a broken heart literally and figuratively becomes an open heart. A world of open hearts equals a world full of love and acceptance of everyone and everything. And lord knows we need a shitload of that right now … and forever and ever going forward.

I have just come to understand this concept within the past 8 months or so. I used to dwell on how much it hurt to have my heart broken by my first love. It hurt so fucking bad. At the time. And for years after. Then within these past 8 months, it started to make sense to me. I had to experience that broken heart in order to let more incredible people into my life and in order to love myself truly and completely. I whole-heartedly believe that without each break,¬†whether a tiny seemingly meaningless chip or a giant fucking fracture, I would not be in the positively expansive spiritual place I am in today. I will continue to have my heart broken and to break my own heart, as we are by far the best at hurting ourselves – yay us! – but I will try my darnedest to see those breaks as grateful openings on my new path through this thang called life … aaaaaaand, BREAK!

vic, vic, vic, VICTORIOUS …

V is for VICTORY! I was driving to yoga a couple mornings ago and saw a sign along the street – a red V in a white circle. For whatever reason, I thought V is for VICTORY! YAY!!! (Yes, this is how my brain works.) Then, I went to the gym yesterday and a fellow iron-pumper had a shirt on that said “VICTORY”. Then, I was driving to work after pumping iron and happened to turn my head and read one street sign that just so happened to be Victor St. So, this seemed like a “there’s your sign” scenario (literally) and became an absolutely necessary blog post, of course.

It got me thinking about how throughout most of my life, I never recognized my victories, like seriously never. And I had a lot of them. I’ve done a lot of things in hopes that just one of those things would change my life forever and change how I felt about myself. However, without acknowledging any of them, nothing changes. Thankfully, I am no longer that version of myself. I pay gratitude to myself for small things, like taking the time to meditate and for supporting my body and mind throughout a yoga class and for creating beautiful meals for myself every day. These seemingly small tokens of gratitude are actually HUGE victories for me, and I know that they will grow into much more recognition of my life’s victories, both big and small. Even as I write this post, I realize how far I’ve come and how sharing my true self with all of you is a major victory for me. So thank you all for being my inspiration and for helping me (whether you realize it or not) to heal myself. VICTORY!!!

[PS – Man, I love me some Notorious B.I.G.]

a MAGICal gift …

So this glorious gift arrived in my mailbox yesterday. My mom told me I had received a package and then I remembered that Sky had asked for my address recently, so I guessed it would be from her. And it was. I excitedly opened the package to find these inside. If you’ve been following my blog, you may remember I have mentioned this book a couple of times. It has been on my [lengthy] book list, and had landed itself at the top of the list since I’ve become reunited with my creativity and all. Reunited and it feels so good.

Man, I sure do love having friends that I sync with even with 100s or 1000s of miles between us.

The adorably awesome Buddha painting is a Sky Schulz original, which I am so happy to have (even more so than the book!) ;) And, by the way, Sky told me that the book is signed by Elizabeth Gilbert!!! Say whaaa?!?

Thank You Thank You Sky … I could feel so much energy when I laid my hand on this book (you and Liz got some good vibes). Such a MAGICal feeling.