When Nothing is Working

(FYI: Before you read this I just wanna say this post is super random and I usually take days to write a post and I wrote this in an hour. Not sure who this is for or if it’s just for me, or if it even makes sense for that matter, but I felt I had to put it out there, so here goes…)

Hey guys! After a long hiatus, (which I absolutely promise will never happen, ever again) I am finally back. This summer has been a mix of emotions. On one hand, I had a great summer. I took a fabulous vacation and had the time of my life. When not on vacation, I spent my days babysitting and my evenings tutoring elementary-aged kids. This led to a very laid-back, over all amazing summer. However…

Things weren’t entirely perfect because always in the back of my mind was the burning question, “What’s going to happen this fall when summer’s said and done?”

The reason I was so concerned about this for the first time in my life was because I just graduated college last year and I thought the job-finding process would be much easier than it has been. Despite sending out tons of resumés, I still have absolutely no leads in the field I received my degree in. Thus, the anxiety and stress levels in me have been sky-high. I’ve contemplated everything over and over, used different approaches to solve my problem; try harder, give up, be patient and wait, etc…. none of it’s worked.

I feel I also must say I’ve spent all summer learning about the Law of Attraction. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, it’s basically the belief that we are all energetic beings constantly vibrating out a frequency with our thoughts and beliefs. What we think, aka the energy we put out there, is what we get back. Because I believe so strongly in this, I wanted to use the Law of Attraction to attract the right job and a larger income into my life. I listen to Abraham Hicks Law of Attraction videos all the time and I make sure to meditate at least once a day, among other various things, to stay aligned. I believe that over the past six or so months that I’ve been actively practicing the Law of Attraction, I’ve been putting a good-vibe frequency out into the universe, but despite all my efforts and high desires, there have been no results in the job area, which obviously has led to a great deal of frustration (and maybe some cursing and tears, too…).

The only reason I haven’t given up on the Law of Attraction is because I can clearly see how it has worked for me in the past, with lots of different aspects of my life. I know without a doubt I attracted certain things and I can clearly look back now and see how I did it. Therefore, since I know LOA works, I have finally come to the conclusion that just maybe a full-time lead teacher position isn’t for me, at least not yet. You see, I love teaching, but my love of teaching kids has always come second to my love for writing. My ultimate dream is to be a writer, through blogging, self-help writing, and writing novels.

My mindset during and right after college was, “I’ll teach for a few years and write on the side, until I know without a doubt this writing thing is gonna work out.” Sounds like a perfect plan, right?! I had this whole plan figured out – or so I thought. But now, I’m looking around and I have neither teaching job nor am I writing consistently. (Not surprisingly, my stress has left me lacking in the inspiration department.) I’ve always been able to manifest jobs effortlessly in the past, I always got the exact position I wanted, when I wanted it, which is why this has been such a defeating and frustrating struggle for me. Why can’t I just manifest the freaking thing?! Is it too much to ask, Universe?!

Buttttt….If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the Law of Attraction, it’s that if I’m not getting something I think I want, then the only conclusion is that I am not aligned with it, I’m not on the same vibrational frequency as it. I know that because I’m not getting any of these jobs that I’m not aligned with them, and maybe, just maybe…that’s a good thing? Dare I say that just maybe I’m not being given any of these jobs because there’s something bigger and better out there for me? Maybe taking a full-time teaching job would put my bigger dreams on the back burner because I’d get too busy being caught up in the duties that come along with teaching?

I know a lot of my resistance, and therefore feeling stuck where I am with no other choices, comes from pride. I felt I had to get a lead teaching job so as not to disappoint those closest to me, and not getting one made me feel like a failure. But now, I am choosing to not care what they think about my decisions anymore. I can’t. The pressure of pleasing others is taking up too much of my valuable energy. While it’s true I have to make an income, who’s to say I have to do it being a lead classroom teacher in a public school right now? Maybe another job would give me the freedom to write more, and help me prepare for the dreams I ultimately want, which is to move out of state and become a full-time writer.

I guess what I am trying to say is that you (I’m talking to myself too) don’t have to stay stuck. You don’t have to follow the opinions of what others think you should do. If you feel resistance about going forward with something, it’s for a reason. Only YOU know what is right for you. Nobody else, no matter how important or experienced they may be in what they do, could possibly know all of your desires or the best way for you to get to where you want to be, but your inner being does. Follow your inner being’s guidance!

The main thing my inner being keeps telling me is to continue to meditate daily (it’s now non-negotiable, I’ve finally realized I don’t have time to not meditate), and then and only then, to follow the next impulse that comes, no matter how random or illogical it may seem. I don’t have to see the whole picture to move forward, which was the detrimental belief that was paralyzing me from moving forward all summer. Eventually, enough next right steps taken one at a time will take me very far. I just have to keep moving. You have that same connection to your inner being too, that same inner guidance is always available to you. You just have to get quiet your mind enough to hear that guidance.

Trust me, I know it’s easier said than done. It’s much easier to just keep living life the way you have always done instead of doing the internal work that makes real, lasting change. It’s a never-ending effort that must happen daily. It’s not like you eventually earn you spiritual degree and then never have to work on yourself again. Like your physical body, you have to continually maintain upkeep of your mental and spiritual health as well. But trust me, the work is so worth it.

I know I’ve had a hard time lately but I’ve been through so much worse before. I overcame a freaking panic disorder! There used to be days where I’d beg for a struggle like the one I have now if it meant I could just feel normal in my body for once. I literally couldn’t go anywhere for roughly five years without feeling like I was dying. Since I overcame that, I know I got this too. And you can too. I know if you’re still reading this you’ve been through some shit that you came out of, and whatever you’re going through now, whether it be anxiety, depression, feeling lost/stuck/broken/unworthy/hopeless, whatever it is, you can and will get through, and you will be so much better having gone through it than you ever would’ve been without it. I can honestly say that even as shitty as it was, I would never in a million years take back my anxiety disorder because of what it taught me and where it led me, and I know I’ll feel the same way about this challenge someday too.

I’m going to keep writing everyday. I’m not giving up on this blog or the books I want to write just because something else in my life isn’t working. If anything, this gives me more inspiration and time to write. My dreams mean too much to me to let them die. Don’t let your dreams die, either. If you have something holding you back, let me know. I’ve overcome a five-year long panic disorder and would love to help, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you need some guidance.

This post was super random to me, but I felt compelled to write it. I don’t really know what else to say, so on another note, please keep checking back for new posts, as I will definitely be spending a lot more time on here! And as always, much love and light your way.

Kara ❤

 

Three Steps Toward Living a Happier Life

Hey guys! It has been so long since I’ve last written and I am truly sorry about that. I have been working on growing in my spiritual journey and lately I’ve been taking a lot in, but I haven’t been putting much out. I feel that one of these blog posts is well overdue!

Since graduating college in December, I’ve had some struggles in regards to figuring out what comes next. In college everything was very structured and I had a consistent schedule to follow, which has all since gone away. This has thrown me off a bit, so for the past few months I have been doing things to help me receive guidance on what’s next for me and to figure out what’s been leaving me feeling stuck.

While I’ve matured quite a bit and and feel much happier than I used to, I knew there was room for improvement, and I sensed that something was off within my internal world. When I dug deeper, I became aware of that one of my biggest issues has been that throughout most of my life I have always blamed my discontentment with ‘what is’ or what you might call my current life situation on someone or something else outside of myself.

Some common patterns of thinking I often thought included things like:

“It’s my parent’s fault that I didn’t begin working toward a better life right after high school because they didn’t push me hard enough, they didn’t help me enough.”

“It’s my boyfriend’s fault that I’m unhappy in our relationship because he doesn’t understand me.”

“It’s God’s fault that I have anxiety and my life sucks”.

The list of blame went on and on, everyday. I also believed that if only my circumstances or life situations weren’t so shitty, or if I lived somewhere else, or if I had more money/ opportunities, then I would be happy. If only everyone and everything else around me would, change, then things would finally be better! (Is that too much to ask?! Lol.)

That mindset obviously got me nowhere, and upon reflection it’s even comical now. Embarrassingly enough to admit, it took me until recently to truly realize how pointless and wrong this kind of thinking was. After much time spent with myself, my self-help books and listening to my favorite spiritual leaders through videos on YouTube, I came to discover one of the most important things I’ve ever learned, which is this: The only one who is responsible for my life situation is me.

I must say, I did not want to accept this at first. I’ve always struggled with admitting when I’m in the wrong, and so I went back and forth for awhile. It was very hard for me to understand that what I had always perceived as other people’s ‘bad’ actions were in no way the cause of my unhappiness. Somewhere along the way, I developed the false belief that the things I experienced in my life and the deeply ingrained habits I had were out of my control. I thought that I was either born with these traits, or I couldn’t help it because of the way I was raised, or I didn’t have enough opportunity where I grew up. I thought that I had to live the way others around me did, and settle for a mediocre life I didn’t want because who was I to make a change? I went back and forth between the belief that others were just lucky, and that God simply loved certain people more and didn’t want to give me good things. I’m serious. I was in major need of some help and a new way of thinking!

Clearly, I was burned out on life. I felt stuck, sad, and fearful that I would never accomplish anything that felt worthwhile to me. I had hit rock bottom. But as I’ve said before, rock bottom isn’t a bad place to be because it is there that change is inevitable. I knew that I could not continue living the way I had been, thinking the thoughts I did of blaming everyone and everything around me, and ever be happy.

So how did I quit blaming others? I was glad to find out that it didn’t have to be a long, drawn out process that took years in therapy to overcome. If you are in this place yourself, you can actually begin to take back your life right here and now. So below, I want to share with you three ways you can overcome the feelings of blame, guilt, and stagnancy, in order to create the life you’ve always wanted.

1. Forgive the people that you’ve been blaming. I almost wrote “Forgive the people that hurt you,” but then I realized that statement is totally contradictory to the whole message I’m trying to convey! In order to complete this step you must understand this: Nobody can hurt you, unless you let them. And even then, it’s really just you hurting yourself through your own allowing.

We are perceiving beings who like to categorize and judge things in order to make sense of our world. We like to label some things as “good” and other things as “bad”. By doing this, we feel a sense of control and understanding of the world around us. However, this kind of labeling is problematic, because due to everyone’s wide variety of differing beliefs and life experiences, we are all bound to see things differently at some point in time. Therefore, when we are perceiving someone’s actions and we don’t like or agree with them, and we think they should be some other way or do something else in order to please us, or that they should know better than to do what they did or didn’t do, we get upset and it becomes the other person’s fault that we feel bad.

In reality, the majority of the time those people that we think hurt us didn’t even have that intention at all. We can never truly know what someone is thinking or seeing because we do not share the same experiences or set of beliefs. Once we realize this, we can forgive that person, because we can see that that person is not their actions, and that they see the situation from a different vantage point than we do. We can choose to see them through loving eyes.

Even if someone did intentionally try to hurt you or did something that was absolutely malicious to your physical self, you don’t have to let it affect you any longer. You being upset at them forever, or letting their past actions keep you from moving forward will never punish them, it will only hurt you. Whether you can see it or not, even if they seem completely happy on the outside, if they did something terrible to you they are obviously no in a healthy, loving place themselves because it is not possible to be happy, healthy, and loving and do hateful things to others. Ultimately, you can trust that they will have to deal with that on their own, you just may not ever visibly see it.

You will never stop the cycle of pain and negativity by not forgiving that person. It doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with them or even have them in your life at all. It’s simply about witnessing your feelings of blame and hurt, seeing how these feelings are of absolutely no benefit to you whatsoever, and letting them go so that you can move on and get on with your life. Unforgiveness does nothing but hold you hostage. So, forgive that person. Don’t let their actions, which are never really about you anyway, affect your well-being any longer.

So how do you forgive? Your heart will know the best way to go about it for you, so I suggest spending some time alone and praying/meditating. In the silence, you will receive the answer. The last time I had to forgive someone who I felt hurt by, I decided to contact them and be really honest about my feelings. However, I also acknowledged where I had been wrong (which took awhile to see, but usually it’s not just a one-way street!) and I apologized for those mistakes. I also asked if there was anything else I’d done that they felt hurt by, and then apologized for those things, whether I agreed with them or not. I then asked for forgiveness but told them to not feel obligated to forgive me. Finally, I let them know that even if they did not forgive me, there was absolutely no hard feelings or resentment from my end and I wished them nothing but peace and love.

I understand your experience may be completely different than mine, so make sure you do what is right for you. Contacting them may not always be the best method. If you feel that getting in touch is definitely not the appropriate way to go about it, then simply praying about it and then wishing them the best might be all it takes.

I also want to mention that forgiveness doesn’t have to be a one-time process. If you start to feel old feelings of resentment rising up, which is not uncommon, then you can say to yourself, “I choose again. I choose to forgive this person.” After that, think about something you do appreciate about that person, even if it’s just the lesson they’ve taught you. You can also send them love and happiness through your prayer. Once you release resentment, you will feel so much lighter and freer. Let that heavy burden of unforgiveness go so that you can experience true joy and peace!

2.Forgive yourself. Often when we start to realize that we are the only one responsible for the way our lives have turned out, we start to feel bad and begin blaming ourselves. In turn, this brings up a lot of bad feelings like guilt, shame, and regret, which just continues the cycle of negativity. You realize you aren’t happy and it’s nobody’s fault but your own. However, hating yourself is not going to make things better so you must forgive yourself.

So how can you forgive yourself? When you start to notice yourself feeling these negative emotions toward yourself, you can simply pray, “Thank you God for giving me the ability to witness that I feel bad in this moment. I don’t want to feel this way, so I forgive myself, I love myself, and I choose to be grateful for all the mistakes I’ve made because they’ve led me to this moment. Help me see myself through your eyes of love. Help me choose again.”

Remember: BLAMING YOURSELF FOR YOUR LIFE RESULTS WILL NOT MAKE YOUR LIFE BETTER. No amount of guilt or anger toward yourself can ever fix things. Punishing yourself won’t somehow compensate for your mistakes. See yourself in a loving way, knowing that you did the best you could with what you knew, and be grateful that you have grown and can now make even better choices. You have to love yourself if you want your life to be a joyful one, and you cannot love yourself and be mad at yourself simultaneously.

3.Take full responsibility for your experience. It can be hard to believe how everything in our lives that we see currently is a result of our thinking and emotions. Where you live, your relationships, your job, your financial situation; every one of these things you’ve attracted through your thinking. The universe doesn’t delineate between good thoughts or the things we want, and bad thoughts or the things we do not want. To the universe, if we are giving our attention to it, we must want more of it. Even if we are just thinking about how we do not want something, more of it is what we are going to get.

This idea sounds scary when you first realize it, especially if you’ve done a lot of thinking about what you don’t want. The good news is that there is almost always a time delay before a manifestation, so you can quickly jump off the train of negative thinking if anytime you find you are on it. Author and speaker Abraham Hicks always says, “Reach for a better feeling thought.” You may be in a very low place right now, but if you can just get some momentum going in the right direction, it is guaranteed that you will get to feeling better.

It is important to note that you may not be able to go from feeling intense depression to being overjoyed in a few minutes, but you can take small steps, perhaps going from depression to anger, from anger to indifference, from indifference to hopefulness, from hopefulness to optimism, and from optimism to joy, until eventually you get to where you want to be. It is hard to make such a huge vibrational jump from a very bad-feeling emotion to a very good-feeling emotion. But, if you stay determined to feel better and keep reaching for what makes you feel better in the moment, eventually you will find the joy that you want.

The basis of this step is that you are the sole creator of your reality. If you are unhappy, you made yourself that way. If you don’t like what you currently see, you can either change it, do something else, or accept it and change your mindset about it. You cannot depend on others to change or things outside of yourself to change in order to be happy, because you might be waiting forever!

You can have or do anything you want, but you must take personal responsibility for how you feel. It doesn’t matter if you messed up or never felt happy in the past, make that change now. The universe will give you what you want, but you have to see it and believe it before you receive it, and doing that entails feeling good now.

The universe responds to your vibrations (feelings) constantly, so how you feel is what you are going to get back. Your feelings are indicators that let you know if you are on track with your desires. You always have the choice, so choose joy, in every moment. Choose to see the good in every situation. Be thankful for what you have, while also being expectant and eager about where you are headed. Whether you believe it or not, moment by moment you do get to decide how your life goes. No one can take your joy or peace away, so don’t give it away!

I hope that helps! If you still have questions or need to talk to someone about the topics in this post please don’t hesitate to reach out, that’s what I am here for! 🙂

P.S. With summer coming up, I promise to be writing more often and I would absolutely LOVE to know what you guys would like to read next! Some topics I could possibly write about include anxiety, panic attacks/panic disorder, derealization disorder, positivity, mindfulness, being an introvert/INFJ, how I find inspiration, or anything about music to listen to or books to read! If there’s something else you’d like to read that I didn’t mention, just let me know! Sending you all lots of love and light, always ❤

Keeping Faith through Discomfort

Compared to who I was even just a year ago, I am totally changed. I no longer wake up in the morning fearing how bad my anxiety is going to be that day, or wondering in what physical way anxiety is going to manifest itself in my life. However, every now and then, anxiety tries to sneak its way in. Since I am easily able to spot anxiety for what it is now, it often uses various disguises in hopes that I won’t catch onto it until it’s too late. One of the most common disguises anxiety uses with me comes through the form of dread.

Dread has been a prevalent feeling throughout my life. Even as a young child I remember always dreading some future event. Only within the past year or so have I realized that dread is an extension of anxiety.

I often dread doing simple things, like going to the grocery store, going to the bank, or making a work related phone call. (Thankfully no longer because I’m worried about having a panic attack while I do them, which used to be a daily reality). I also dread bigger things like starting a new job, events where I’ll be doing some public speaking, or long-term planning for my future.

Whenever I start to feel dread within me, along tags its best friend avoidance. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve sabotaged my own mental health because I put off tasks until the last second possible because I felt a sense of dread toward doing them.

After a minor inner breakdown I experienced recently because of issues I caused myself through avoiding important tasks I needed to complete, I finally stopped and reflected.

I went back to the root of the problem and I asked myself, “Why am I avoiding these things? Where is this feeling coming from?”

I quickly saw that these seemingly simple tasks caused immense dread within me. I then asked myself why I was feeling so much dread. What is it about these tasks that makes me feel so anxious that I avoid doing them altogether?

I came to the conclusion that it’s not even that I am afraid of these tasks themselves.
Like I said, I’ve worked really hard toward my mental health and I no longer fear having a panic attack or getting sick all the time when out in public. It simply comes down to not feeling like putting in the work to do these things.

This isn’t the real me, though. The real me, my true inner self, wants the best for me and thus, wants me to get stuff done. Instead it is my ego (you might think of the ego as the devil) holding me back, keeping me lazy and complacent, because it doesn’t want me to move forward anytime soon in my life. And why? Because if I did, it knows that each time I faced a task that I ‘dread’ doing, I would get closer to completing God’s will for my life, and it obviously doesn’t want that to happen. So it sends dread to me, in hopes to prevent me from reaching out to fulfill my calling.

I understand this now, and it’s always nice to bring this truth back into my awareness. However, the discomfort and dread is still there. So I have created a list of four things to remember when I need to accept the discomfort and move through it, rather than around it. To be honest, there really is no way around discomfort if you ever want to get anywhere significant in life. Every time you try to go forward, it will keep popping back up through different people or situations. So, you might as well go through it now! Now is all we ever really have anyway.

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1. Stay connected. I cannot stress this enough. I know when we are being challenged the only thing we usually want to do is lay in bed, curl up into a ball and forget about the hard stuff coming our way. The last thing we feel like doing is taking time to pray or meditate. However, these are the very things we need and the only things that will get us us back on track.

On the other hand, I’ve noticed that many times I’ll be having a series of good days, where things are going really well for me, and I am all too often tempted to not workout or meditate because I don’t feel like I need it. I’m feeling good so obviously I can skip it just this once, right? Well, once usually turns into several days, and before I know it, I feel like crap again. Sound familiar?!

This is why we MUST stay connected. During the good and bad times. It is the only way to keep the peace even when our outside circumstances are anything but peaceful. For me I stay connected through prayer, meditation, yoga, working out, reading books about positivity and spirituality, listening to music, writing, or being out in nature. Whatever works for you is fine, the key is to just do something to stay connected to the source! Otherwise, you will quickly deplete your supply and thus, keep reinforcing the cycle of negativity in your life.

 
2. Know that challenges aren’t bad, they’re simply strength builders sent to help you grow. I have believed the lie for far too long that if I’m feeling some level of discomfort, that the situation causing the discomfort must not be right for me. I used to take it as a sign that I was on the wrong path and that I needed to run away– fast. However, I’ve come to find that discomfort is usually a good sign that I am exactly where I need to be. If you find yourself feeling this way it simply means that you are growing!

God often sends discomfort or disruption into our lives to keep us from staying stagnant. He loves us too much to keep us where we are. If we never had anything come into our lives and upset everything around us, what would be our incentive to change? More than likely, we would never change if we always stayed comfortable. Sometimes God sends discomfort because it is the only way to annihilate negativity or fear-based thoughts (lies) from our lives. It brings these lies out of dormancy and makes us aware of them, which is ultimately the only way we can get rid of it.

Growth is challenging at times, I’m not denying that. And just like with any physical workout, it stretches you and takes you beyond anywhere you’ve been before. If it’s easy, you aren’t doing it right! The process of growth is hard, but once you’ve completed the challenge you will be so glad you did it and you will never the same. So don’t run away from hard times. Don’t complain about how hard they are either. Instead, see them as opportunities sent from God for your personal growth. Every challenge has a miracle hidden beneath its surface!

 
3. Know that peace only comes after obedience. We often wait or at least want to wait until we feel peace about a decision before stepping out and doing it. We believe that if we don’t feel a sense of peace (comfort) about it, or that if it doesn’t make sense logically, then it must not be God’s will.

However, a motto I always strive to live by is that ‘it’s not faith if you use your eyes’. God wants us to live by faith, and he typically won’t send us peace before we do something, because that shows no faith. All that shows is a trust in comfort and complacency rather than a trust in God. But God is that still, small voice within us that often makes no logical sense whatsoever saying, “No, do it first, and then you will feel the peace you long for.”

Peace comes after obedience, not before. You will feel peace afterward knowing that you went by faith and not by sight and trusted in God instead of logic. You will feel peace when you believe the truth that he wants the best for you, and that ultimately his ways are higher and more knowledgeable than our ways. We must always remember that he see the entire picture of our lives from his vantage point; we don’t. We don’t have all the details yet. Knowing this, we can easily move forward in discomfort, trusting that he is bringing the highest good for all through it, and that he will make a way even when there seems to be none.

 

4. Know that resistance blocks the flow of God in our lives. When we resist what is now (our present circumstances/conditions), or when we resist what we need to do in the near future, we are only getting in the way of God’s plan. Our resisting thoughts literally block the easy flow of God’s energy through us. This doesn’t mean the situation itself is easy, but when we obey God through surrendering to what is, instead of resisting it or wanting what we don’t have, we begin to feel an ease and a peace inside, regardless of the degree of difficulty on the outside.

Somehow our spirit’s seem to ‘just know’ when we are in our flow. It cannot be explained or comprehended, only felt. When we feel dread, tension, anxiety, anger or stress within ourselves, these are all clear signs that the channel through which God’s life energy can flow through us is blocked. The good news is that we can easily return to the life source within us through a simple prayer such as, “I witness that I am being blocked by fear. I forgive myself, and I return to love right now. I choose to see this situation through love.” A quick prayer like this can easily change your whole mindset and put you back on the path of love, where life flows through you freely and you don’t have to dread anything because you know that God has your back.

“I witness that I am being blocked by fear. I forgive myself, and I return to love right now. I choose to see this situation through love.”

What allows ordinary people to accomplish things that seem extraordinary is that they do the things others are unwilling to do. They know that talent alone won’t save them. There are so many talented people who let their dreams die young because they don’t want to put in the effort. They don’t want to be noticed. They don’t want people to talk about them. They don’t want to be uncomfortable. They want an easy ride, and if it doesn’t come easy they don’t believe it’s meant to happen. While of course belief is key to accomplishing a goal, actions are absolutely necessary too.

I refuse to let my dreams die. I refuse to settle for a mediocre life. I refuse to live only for the weekends. I refuse to live paycheck to paycheck. Therefore, I must rid myself of complacency, procrastination, dread, and yes, even my comfort, so that I can live out my dreams and make room for God’s will. Remembering these four things I’ve listed above every day will help me do just that, and I hope they will help you too!

So what about you? What do you do when you feel anxiety, dread, or even just a lack of motivation begin to rise up within you? If you have any tips, please share! I look forward to hearing from you! As always, feel free to share this blog if you resonated with it in any way.

Sending love and light your way,

Kara ❤

Three Things to Remember When You’ve Lost Motivation

As someone who now takes my life journey and spiritual growth very seriously, there is nothing I hate more than feeling like I’ve backtracked because I’ve taken time off.

Two weeks ago I went to see Lana Del Rey in concert at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. It was such an amazing night that I honestly still have not fully recovered from yet! However, being away from home for a few days definitely got me off-track in regards to working out, doing yoga and meditating, which was expected while out of town, but after I got home I had a bit of a hangover feeling from missing being on my trip. This equated to having no motivation whatsoever to get back into my normal routine, so for a few days after I got back home I was extremely lazy. Ever been there?!

Fortunately after a few days of being home I said ‘enough is enough’ and started doing my daily workouts, yoga practice and mediation again, and felt tremendously better. I even started a new job and this helped me too because I’ve been worried about money, so all seemed to be going extremely well! Until Friday afternoon, that is.

About halfway through my workday, I remember taking a sip of water and my throat hurt really bad. The pain came on out of nowhere. A few minutes later my head started hurting, my throat was getting worse, and I felt so fatigued. Not to mention, I had to teach a class of third graders for another three hours. I felt terrible. I called off work for my tutoring job that afternoon and went home and laid in bed all night. I knew I was sick and was going to be all weekend.

Thus, in rolled the negative thoughts and I started to feel sorry for myself. I thought, “Why does this have to happen to me now? Just as soon as I start getting in the swing of things, I have to get sick. Now I’m losing out on money from tutoring and I’m getting behind on my workouts again. I can never catch a break.” I was feeling frustrated and pitiful to say the least.

I’ll admit, I’m a little bit of a baby when I’m sick. I’m also an all-or-nothing person. These two ARE NOT a good combination for motivation! So my mentality when I’m sick is, “If I can’t workout or do yoga because I’m sick, I guess I can’t meditate either!” Makes total sense, right? So here I am, five days later, starting to feel better physically, but now I’ve got all this guilt I’m carrying around for getting behind. I want so badly to do better, to be better, and I hate when I feel like I’ve begun to slip backwards.

Fortunately, now I have the privilege of knowing that holding onto this guilt is not going to somehow atone me, or make up for the days I’ve lost. If anything, it only adds to the sickness I’ve experienced. Therefore, I am choosing to see this situation differently, and I am choosing to let the guilt go.

Maybe you are here today. For some reason you don’t feel like you’ve been giving your best effort lately and you feel like shit because of it. But the thought of starting again sounds so dreadful or overwhelming. Trust me I get it. I’ve stopped and started too many times to count now, and it’s hard! But I will tell you one thing- if you have that desire to do something, that desire alone is enough to keep you going.

So push through the excuses. This goes for any goal you have. It’s hard to get out of our comfort zones and begin again, whether it’s been a few days or a few years! But there is something I want to share with you if you find yourself in this place today, in hopes to bring a little extra motivation:

  1. Now is always better than later. If you start now, you’re one day closer than you would be otherwise. Think how grateful you’ll feel tomorrow. There is no better feeling than accomplishing something you needed to and didn’t think you had it in you to do. The first time gets that momentum you need going. Just begin! Each day is always easier than the one before.
  2.  Your goals and desires are worth the effort. It does take effort to accomplish something great, but it doesn‘t have to be difficult. The only thing that ever makes it difficult is our thoughts about it. So if you’ve already decided that you want ________, then trust that anything you have to do to get _________ is worth it. Meaning, you won’t resist the things that you normally would by complaining or dreading them. Ask for grace to do these things and I promise you will receive it!
  3. You deserve it. You deserve happiness. You deserve to be healthy. You deserve to live a life you enjoy. Don’t let your mind’s excuses hold you back any longer! Accept your desires and go after them with everything in you!

Below I have written a prayer for days where you might feel less than motivated and/or if your to-do list feels endless and overwhelming. You can say it out loud or in your head, whatever works best for you. I hope it helps!

And please let me know what you tell yourself when you need some motivation! I’m always looking for new mantras to add to my prayers and meditations 🙂

God/Universe/Higher Power,

Help me to only focus on this day and this day only.

Give me the strength to do what I need to do to get to where I want to be.

Show me how to not let tomorrow’s tasks overwhelm me today.

Lead me in the way you wish me to go, and help me do and say the things I need to.

Allow me to see the beauty in this day instead of just seeing it as a means to an end.

Show me how to access your grace and peace and let them guide me through every moment.

I trust that you have my back and are with me always.

Amen.

 

 

The Value in Being Present

Mindfulness. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, I’m sure you’ve seen that word around somewhere. You may have heard people rant and rave about how they meditate or the benefits they’ve received from being mindful, but what does that even mean and how does one do it? Until fairly recently, I was someone who didn’t quite understand the hype behind meditation. I wanted to be someone who was committed to the practice, and I wanted to have that peace that everyone said mediation gives, but every time I tried to mediate, I felt anything but peace. Instead I felt restless and my mind would wander, and then I’d get frustrated with myself for my lack of focus.

Not coincidentally, I was also a person who struggled with prayer. For me, prayer was very formulaic. There was no power behind my prayers. No belief infusing them. I only did it because I felt that I had to do it, as a way to give back to God. The act of praying was so strenuous because I couldn’t focus that I seldom did it, which caused a great deal of guilt within me.

Looking back knowing what I know now I wonder, why did I ever think I had to pray? I really thought I was doing God, the God of the entire universe, a favor? That he would be upset if I didn’t pray? That I would be punished for my lack of commitment?

It’s a bit amusing now, but it wasn’t funny at the time. I was extremely frustrated to say the least. I wanted to pray. I wanted a deeper connection, I wanted to be happy and anxiety-free, but the harder I tried, the further out of my reach these things seemed to be.

When you think of the word God, what comes to your mind?

I hate to admit it, but I used to imagine God how he is often stereotypically portrayed; an old man with a long beard dressed in all white, living in the clouds, watching me with pen in hand, making note of my every move… the often confusing thing about that image though was that this man was somehow also my father? To be honest, I didn’t always get that fatherly vibe when thinking of God, but if I had to, I would’ve likened him to a father that has good intentions and cares for his children, but he isn’t easy to get close to. I knew God was my father and I was grateful for him. I knew that he was the one providing for all my needs- but I was always hesitant to ask him for anything else. Not that I didn’t think he was capable of providing, it was more of — did he actually want to? I didn’t get the sense that he did.

Needless to say, prayer wasn’t enjoyable and it didn’t bring me the peace I knew that it should. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the image I created of God was exactly what was blocking any sort of channel I had for hearing his voice or gaining His peace ‘that surpasses understanding’. I was failing to see God as the ultimate source of power and love in the universe, and even more so as my ultimate and unlimited source of power and love. My prayer time wasn’t a two-way conversation with God as it should’ve been. In fact, it wasn’t a conversation at all. A conversation consists of at least two people communicating, meaning both are giving and receiving information. When I did manage to pray I was giving God plenty of information, but I rarely ever quieted my mind enough to receive insight and wisdom back from him.

Another thing I carried that hindered my progress within my spiritual journey and connection to God was the false belief that I couldn’t believe in God and meditate or become spiritually enlightened. I truly believed that these things were sinful. Sometime in my life I picked up the notion from society, church, and people around me that suffering was necessary in order to be close to God. At times happiness seemed sinful or selfish to me. So meditation as a means to peace and enlightenment wasn’t a possibility for me because I didn’t want to have to give up my belief in God. It’s quite ridiculous I know, but unfortunately sometimes the church and other believers make people feel that they must choose God or happiness, they can’t have both.

Little did I know that prayer in itself is actually a form of meditation. Meditation consists of quieting the mind in order to release negativity and receive guidance. This guidance comes from the universe or God, whatever you prefer to call it. Since prayer is simply the act of conversing with God, prayer and meditation go hand in hand.

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A lot of people’s trouble with connecting to God comes from being too attached to the term ‘God’. We think of that old man high in the clouds, who is doing nothing but watching our every move and condemning us for our mistakes that I described earlier. When we think of God in this way, we make him out to be more of a superior human, rather than a God. This then leads to thinking God is subject to feeling anything but love toward us, but that isn’t possible because God is the epitome of love. God isn’t something that we can even create an image of. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and his ways are higher than our ways. Why should we, mere humans, be able to understand everything about God? As preacher and author Francis Chan stated,

“Not being able to fully understand God is frustrating, but it is ridiculous for us to think we have the right to limit God to something we are capable of comprehending. What a stunted, insignificant God that would be!”

-Francis Chan, Crazy Love

Just like with God, we often create a false image of love. We tend to only think of love as the romantic love between two partners, the one that can easily turn to hate over time. In actuality that isn’t love at all. That feeling is subject to change, and true love cannot change because God cannot change. True love is God in action. It is something we most certainly can have, however, we must choose love, rather than wait around to feel it. When we choose love, we are choosing to see God in that situation, person, or event. We choose to respond to all situations, pleasant or not, with love.

So many of us are frustrated and struggle with prayer and meditation because we create these false images of God. Thinking of God in any other way except as an all-knowing, all-powerful force of love sets us up for failure. We cannot connect with God if we do not know and recognize him completely.

We also struggle with prayer and meditation when we do it as a means to try and get something that we want, rather than doing it as a way to commune with God and receive his love. Whenever we try to control situations and manipulate outcomes, we are only getting in the way of the natural flow of the universe, which always brings out the best outcomes on its own. When we try to take over, we sabotage everything. We end up blocking miracles that would otherwise occur on their own.

Look at a flower. Do you see it TRYING to grow, TRYING to bloom? Of course not. It just does. It knows it’s intention, which is to grow and bloom, but it doesn’t worry about getting there. The same goes for a tree, or any other plant or creation of God’s. The clouds in the sky don’t try to rain. The sun doesn’t try to shine. We let those things function just as they are and we think nothing of it. It sounds silly thinking of those things trying to do what they are made to do. Plants, animals, and the natural elements don’t worry about meeting deadlines or avoiding storms. They just live out their purpose. So why can’t we trust our bodies and lives to do the same? Meaning, instead of trying to force things to happen in our lives, why don’t we just set an intention, and trust it to come to pass? If we do this, then we will no longer feel the need to set time frames because we know we will bloom at the exact right moment, or as the bible says, “In God’s timing”.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life

-Matthew 6:26-34, New International Version (NIV)

The same God that created plants, animals, the earth, the sun, the entire universe, the God that gives them life and being, created you and me, and is living within us, giving us being, this very moment.

So if we all have this power within us, why do so few of us in this world know it and access it daily?

It all boils down to the fact that the majority of us live under control of the mind. When the mind controls us, we will not live a life led by the holy spirit. Another term often used for the mind is ego. The ego is very strong, as it usually lives years and years without being discovered, if ever. The ego gets its strength from feeling special by singling itself out in some way. It lives for attention from us. So whatever form that attention we give comes through, the ego will take it; whether it be depression, self-pity, anxiety, doubtful thinking, pride, drama, fights, feeling superior or inferior to others, the list could go on and on. The point is, the ego feeds itself and gets its strength through our suffering.

The ego is constantly talking to us as we go about our day through analyzing, predicting, judging, fighting, dreading, and comparing. The disconnect from God happens when we believe that we are our ego, which is our thoughts and the feelings produced by them. We believe there is no “me” if our ego is gone.  If our egos die, if our thoughts die, then who would we be? Who is left?

The ego obviously doesn’t want to die, so it fights to keep the cycle going by continuously sending negative thoughts. The incessant chattering away of the ego blocks your communion with God and keeps you trapped in an unhappy, stress-filled life. The ego tries to get you to believe that without it you cannot survive. It makes you believe that it can figure things out for you and protect you through all of its worrying, dreading, and trying to make things happen. It makes you believe your negative thinking isn’t wrong, it’s necessary. But in reality, the only thing it really does is block you from God, because you cannot have the fullness of God, love, joy and peace in the same place where fear, doubt, anger, hatred, and despair reside. Until you are willing to let go of the negative thoughts and emotions, which can only be done by killing the ego, you will not experience enlightenment.

So how do you kill the ego? You kill the ego by observing it, because when you observe it you begin to realize it is not you. When you no longer identify with the ego, you gain the ability to instantly recognize the thoughts it sends as lies, and then you can easily refute those thoughts. When you do this habitually, the ego begins to die. This is what is referred to in the bible as “dying to self”; but contrary to what many believe it’s just the ego that dies, not the true ‘you’.

 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.

-John 5:24, New International Version (NIV)

So you might be wondering, what does meditation and being present in the now have to do with all of this?

Every negative thought or feeling we have stems from not being present in the current moment. These negative thoughts are either caused by too much past, which leads to depression, or too much future, which leads to anxiety. Meditation allows you to remove your mind from time, and puts you into the present moment, the now. This is so important, because as Eckhart Tolle says in The Power of Now,

“Nothing has happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.”

The Now is all that exists. If you aren’t living in the present, you are living a false reality. Living this way is a guaranteed way to lead a miserable life.

Another great point Eckhart Tolle makes in The Power of Now is when he asks,

“What problem do you have at this moment? Not in an hour or tomorrow, but what problem do you have now?”

Ask yourself that. Can you think of one right this very moment?

The ego is always telling us that we have a problem, that we have something to worry about. It may even try to convince us that our worrying is just planning ahead, but that is a lie. You can plan ahead without living there, meaning not worrying about the outcome. Every so-called problem is always future-based, and is tainted by the lenses and experiences of the past. Simply put, it isn’t real! What can worrying possibly do to change or prevent something that isn’t even real? If you live to see tomorrow, tomorrow will no longer be tomorrow, it will be ‘now’. As of right now, tomorrow isn’t real yet. If you find yourself worrying about tomorrow, ask yourself if there is anything you can do now, and if so, do it, but if you cannot do something until tomorrow, which doesn’t exist yet, why worry? Nothing can be done if it can’t be done now, so your worrying about any point in the future is always in vain.

So honestly ask yourself, “What problem do I have right now?” That question alone puts you into the now. It makes you present. It usually shows you that you really don’t have a problem. All we ever have is right now. When you stop fighting what is happening now, meaning you accept your current situation just as it is with no resistance, you will live in a continual state of peace.

This isn’t to say that we don’t ever change or strive to grow into a better person, or that we stop setting goals. Quite the opposite. Once we get rid of the ego, we then have space to hear from God exactly what needs to be done for change or growth. We gain the ability to clearly hear God’s ‘still, small voice’ that directs us on the right path for your life.

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If you are anything like I was, you may be thinking, “This all sounds great, but it’s easier said than done. How do you actually apply this? How do you stop the constant thoughts the ego sends? I’ve tried to stop but it keeps coming back. What am I doing wrong?”

Well first of all, let me say that the moment you realize you aren’t being mindful, or that you are thinking negative thoughts and shouldn’t be, that in itself is being mindful! However, it is very easy to start condemning yourself for not doing better right after this realization, and if you do this then you will quickly stop being present. Eckhart Tolle says that kind of scenario (judging yourself for not being mindful enough) is actually the ego sneaking in through the back door. So the moment you catch yourself letting your mind wander or thinking negatively, just observe the thoughts that come. Don’t judge them, or get frustrated with yourself for having them, because that only keeps the cycle of the ego going. Just listen to them, let them be. If you are feeling negative emotions, like anger or sadness, allow yourself to feel them fully. Don’t deny the feelings, don’t push them away. Witness them, forgive yourself and love yourself through them. You will then see that you are not your thoughts, because how can you be your thoughts and observe them at the same time?

When this shift of thinking occurs, you experience a radical transformation within. You will likely still have negative thoughts come to you for a period of time because complete transformation typically doesn’t happen instantaneously. The difference is that now you have the knowledge of knowing you aren’t your thoughts. You can easily bring yourself back into this awareness, and thus, back into peace.

“Don’t look for peace. Don’t look for any other state than the one you are in now; otherwise, you will set up inner conflict and unconscious resistance. Forgive yourself for not being at peace. The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace becomes transmuted into peace. Anything you accept fully will get you there, will take you into peace. This is the miracle of surrender.”

-Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

From then on, you can go to this place of presence and stillness, and if negative thoughts come, you can observe them, remind yourself that they are not truth, and watch them float away as quickly as they came.

You can find stillness and meditation anywhere, but in the beginning of your practice it may be easier for you to go to a quiet place in your home or any other place where you can easily minimize distractions. Going for a walk or sitting still in nature is also a wonderful way to be mindful. Nature can help you practice mindfulness because it allows you to observe how other life forms go about their lives still and unworried, yet strong and resilient, regardless of their outside circumstances. We can learn so much from nature if we just take the time to watch and listen.

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If I cannot get outside, I personally like to go to my bedroom, turn down the lights, light a candle or diffuse some essential oils, sit on my yoga mat and meditate. Bubble baths or bath bombs with candles lit are also another one of my favorite ways to meditate. Meditations can be guided (there’s tons of free guided meditations on YouTube!) or unguided. If you are going for an unguided meditation, you can just sit in silence and focus on your breath, or observe any thoughts that come and then practice releasing them. When you begin witnessing the ego’s thoughts it will leave because once recognized, the ego has no emotions to feed off of. Once the ego leaves, you will then reach a state of no-mind, or just simply ‘being’. It is an incredibly aware, present and peaceful state, almost indescribable, but when you reach it you just know. All I can say is that in order to truly understand what I am talking about you must try it for yourself.

I know that those who want to get started with meditation may be hesitant at first — I certainly was. I am still at the beginning of my journey but I have finally come to a place where I enjoy it and am reaping the mind, body, and soul benefits from it. If you want to know more, I highly recommend any books or teachings by Gabby Bernstein, Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, or Deepak Chopra. If you have experience or tips you’d like to share, or if you have any book recommendations on spiritual growth, please let me know! I hope you all have a wonderful week! 🙂

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Nine Ways to Transform Your Life

Happy Friday everyone!

To be honest, I had a few posts I wanted to write this week but I’ve been seriously lacking the motivation to get them done. Although I’m not feeling super inspired, I don’t want to go completely MIA this week, so to compromise I thought I’d do a quick post where I share something that I’ve discovered recently that’s radically changed my life.

Last week I wrote a post about the concept of ‘believing you are enough’, which I discovered from psychologist Marisa Peer. This week, I am going to do a continuation of that post and Marisa’s teachings by sharing nine things you must do if you want to change your thoughts and mastermind your life. To find out how continue reading below! 🙂

Nine Ways to Transform Your Life

  1. Believe you alone are enough, and tell yourself this everyday. This belief is the foundation upon which all of the other beliefs you need are built. If you don’t accept this phrase as absolute truth for yourself, no amount of positive thinking will work. (For more about this, see my most recent post.)
  2. Praise yourself. Don’t wait for or depend upon other people’s praise to be happy. For one, you might be waiting awhile, and two, it honestly doesn’t matter what they think. If you know you are awesome, you don’t need anyone else telling you! Besides, you already have everything you need within you to live a joy-filled life.
  3. Reject all destructive criticism. Any thought or word not filled with love is a lie that breaks you down and hinders your growth! Refuse to let negative poison (yours or other’s) infect your life any longer.
  4. Your brain does exactly what it thinks you want it to do, so whenever you have to do something challenging or unpleasant, instead of complaining tell yourself, “I want to do this, I like doing this, I am choosing to do this.” I promise it really works! Think about it this way: when we say things like, “I’d rather die than give that presentation,” or, “God I dread going to work tomorrow,” we are essentially telling our minds that we don’t want to do those things. The crazy part is that we then we wonder why we end up feeling sick or anxious all them time…um, hello! It’s because your mind listens to everything you tell it and you are filling it with negativity and lies! Therefore, never say “I DON’T want to do something” that you have to do anyway, because your mind will fight against you when the time comes to do it. A big life-changer for me was instead of saying “I’m so nervous” before a difficult situation, I now say “I’m so excited!”. It sounds too simple to actually work, but I am living proof that it does.
  5. Know that your brain always works to move you toward pleasure and away from pain. This one goes right along with number 4. Start telling your mind that working toward your goals is fun and enjoyable, and to not do so is painful. Write it down, speak it aloud, whatever method works best for you, just make sure you continuously do it. Overtime you will rewire your brain and it will begin to work with you, rather than against you.
  6. Realize the way you think and feel is determined by two things: the pictures you make in your head and the words you say to yourself. If you want to feel better, be more confident, achieve a goal, etc., start picturing and telling yourself positive things that don’t contradict what you want to achieve. Visualize what you want and speak about it as if you already have it.
  7. Be willing to do challenging and/or uncomfortable things in order to get what you want. Life may not be 100% ideal for you right now, but don’t get depressed or ungrateful because of this. See everything in your journey as a necessary stepping stone to get you to where you want to be, even if it doesn’t make sense yet. Life will not feel so strenuous when you realize that your current situation is only temporary.
  8. Don’t take no for an answer. It is guaranteed that you will get rejected from time to time if you are putting yourself out there. It’s happened to every single person who has ever accomplished anything great. The only difference between them and most other people was they kept pushing through the trials and adversity they faced along the way. They didn’t let any rejection stop them, so don’t let it stop you either!
  9. Take action every single day. No matter how seemingly small, take it. Even the smallest step taken keeps some momentum going. On the other hand, it is very easy to lose inspiration and give up altogether if you take a good deal of time off. You will absolutely make progress if you take action everyday, so keep going!

 

That’s all for me today! What thoughts or actions have you taken to rewire your thinking or transform your life? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! Have a wonderful weekend. 🙂

 

P.s. Click below to watch the full-length video!

The Transformative Belief Essential for Everyone: I Am Enough

I am not enough.

Did you know that this belief about oneself is the common denominator of all other negative thoughts?

I love listening to any podcast that teaches self-transformation. I am always striving to learn about how to become a more peace-filled, joyful person. One of my absolute favorite people to listen to when I need some guidance is world-renowned psychologist Marisa Peer. From the first time I listened to her, I really resonated with what she had to say. After witnessing how simple yet effective her methods are and how well they have worked when applying them to my own life, I am astonished that so few therapists teach similar strategies to their clients.

Marisa’s whole philosophy on living a happier, confident, anxiety-free life is fundamentally rooted on these three words: I am enough.

A phrase so simple that its meaning is often lost. This is unfortunate, because the words ‘I am enough’ contain the power to absolutely transform your life if you make it a part of your core belief system.

I am enough. Say this to yourself, either in your mind or out loud. It sounds a bit silly or maybe even uncomfortable, doesn’t it?

This is because deep down in our subconscious mind where our core belief system resides, ‘I am enough’ is not there. The majority of us don’t believe that phrase to be truth.

It is not your fault that you don’t believe it. We live in a society that sends out very contradictory messages. Confidence is something to be admired, but be careful, because too much confidence is not okay. It’s often considered conceited or selfish. Most of us do not want to be seen this way. Our society also puts great pressure on women and men to be attractive and successful, and it promotes the need to constantly get more of everything. Our beliefs are a reflection of our personal experiences and what we have been taught by society. Ultimately, our beliefs create our reality. So, if you wonder why you experience fear, anxiety, depression, or a constant sense of wanting more all the time, these are the reasons.

We tell ourselves we want to be happy, but we go about it in an entirely wrong way simply out of ignorance. We think that just maybe if we gain the recognition, the likes, the promotion, the money, the dream spouse, tons of friends, the big house or the fancy car, then we will be fulfilled and complete, but we soon come to find that we never are. Eventually, we get used to everything, and thus, you very well could achieve every dream you ever wanted and it still wouldn’t be enough. You will then very likely become even more depressed, because after you get everything you ever thought you wanted and you’re still not happy – what is left? What’s the point?

Like any substantial problem, in order to truly fix it, you cannot just fix the surface or put a band-aid on it. Instead, you have to dig deep down to the root of the issue, pull it out completely and replace it with truth. In this case, trying to fix the surface would be telling yourself things like, “Don’t be anxious.” “Why are you depressed? You have nothing to be sad about.” “I’ll just focus all my energy on working hard and getting what I want. After I get it, then I will be happy.” These things we frequently tell ourselves in an attempt to feel better don’t work, because the core issue hasn’t been uprooted, seen as a lie, and then replaced with truth. The core issue of course is the belief that we alone are not enough.

If you truly believe you are enough, you will not need anything. You will not crave outside validation, fancy things, or a high status. You will still receive some of these things, as true security in oneself is a magnet for manifestation (but that’s a whole other topic for another day 🙂 ), and yes, it will be nice to get those things, and yes, you should display gratitude for them if you receive them. But if you lose them, or don’t get them on time, or in the way in which you yourself would choose, it will not rattle you. This is because you know that you are enough, just as you are, and you always will be. It doesn’t matter if others reject you if you believe you are enough. You won’t lose anything. If people say nice things to you, that’s great, but that’s extra; you don’t need it. Your happiness doesn’t depend upon their approval.

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The funny thing about the mind is that it doesn’t care what you tell it, it simply believes whatever you tell it. Think about it. If you continuously tell yourself things like, “I’m so stupid. I could never do that. My life is pathetic. She’s so much better/smarter/prettier than me. He’s so much more successful than me. I’m worthless.” After thinking thoughts like this enough times, your mind is going to internalize it, and it will become an automatic thought response. With negative thoughts being your mind’s automatic response to any given situation, how do you think you are going to feel, both mentally and physically? Obviously not great, because your emotions are bodily projections of your thoughts. This is why we often feel sick or pain for unexplained reasons. It stems from too many negative thoughts over a substantial period of time, looking for an outlet.

Fortunately, there is a cure, and it really is quite simple. Since the mind believes whatever you tell it, begin to tell it great things!

As I mentioned, in the beginning of your practice this may be uncomfortable or difficult. You see, our minds like what is familiar and they avoid what is unfamiliar. Because praising ourselves is usually very foreign to our minds, our minds don’t like it. It forces them to work harder, and to be honest, our minds are quite lazy. They want to take the path of least resistance, the one that has been traveled many times over, because it’s easier.

But you are not your mind. You have a mind, and thus you can tell it what to do, with practice. So tell your mind you don’t care if it is uncomfortable or has to work a bit, you are going to praise and love yourself from now on. As Marisa Peer says, “Make praise familiar, and criticism unfamiliar.” You do this by praising yourself over and over again until it becomes the norm.

Teach your mind to only accept praise and to reject destructive words. How many times has someone complimented you, only for you to say something negative about yourself back? While you may think this is humble, it’s really only hurting you as it reinforces the mind’s negative beliefs about yourself, whether you consciously realize it or not. So the next time someone gives you a compliment, stop hindering your happiness and just take it! On the other hand, if someone says something negative to you or about you, choose not to let it in. If someone told you they hated you because you were an alien from Mars, would it hurt you all that much? No, because you know without a doubt that what they said is not true. You would just think they are some crazy person talking nonsense. Therefore, if you know without a doubt that their intentionally hurtful words, whatever they may be, (“You are so stupid, I hate you, nobody likes you, etc.”) aren’t true, then you can brush them off and move on about your day, completely unaffected.

Do you ever find yourself upset because you feel unappreciated or not acknowledged? What do you wish others would say to you? Do you wish your boss would tell you what a great job you’ve done, or do you wish your partner would tell you how attractive you are? Instead of waiting around for others to say it to you, say it to yourself. Yes, it might feel fake and forced at first, but over time it will rewire you mindset and will become a part of your core belief system. And again, if you do this, then you won’t crave outside validation in order to feel okay with yourself, because you will already be okay with yourself.

Your mind responds to two things, the pictures you make in your head and the words you say to yourself. Think about it- the things you’ve done in your life that beforehand you felt extremely excited about- what were you telling yourself? What were you picturing in your mind? I highly doubt if you went into something feeling excited that you were picturing embarrassment, failure, death, or any other negative scenario prior to the actual event. I also highly doubt that you were telling yourself how afraid you were, or how stupid you were going to look while doing it. You can’t have negative thoughts and a happy life!

So often, we wonder why we say we want something, but when the time comes around to do it, we feel another way. It’s all because of the pictures we have created in our head and the words we have said to ourselves about the situation.

Want to get in shape but never do? What have you been telling yourself?

If it is along the lines of “I want to workout….but it’s so hard, I don’t have time, I don’t feel like it, I dread exercising, I’m so out of shape it will take forever to reach my goals… etc.” Then guess what? Your mind thinks, “Working out?! You make that sound hard and painful. My job is to avoid all things painful. Therefore, I’m not going to give you any motivation whatsoever to do it!” And thus, we don’t work out, or we give up very quickly upon starting.

Or perhaps you want to move up in your career, but it requires a great deal of harder work than you are used to, or public speaking which terrifies you, or something else that makes you uncomfortable. You think you want it so bad, but every time you get ready to go to work or do what you need to do to get to where you want to be, you start to feel sick. Headache, nauseous, shaky, whatever form it comes in for you…why do you feel this way? Well, once again, what have you been telling yourself or picturing in your mind about this situation? More than likely, the accumulation of negative thoughts and pictures are the cause of these feelings.

So what do you do when you want to do something, but you can’t get your motivation up or your fear down? Tell yourself, “I’m choosing to do this, I’m choosing to feel great about this. I want to work, I want to reach my goals. I enjoy doing everything it takes to get to where I want to be.” Your brain will work with you when it thinks it’s doing what you like or when it thinks it’s doing the choosing. So tell your brain what you want, don’t let it tell you. You are so much stronger than any thoughts that come to you. Eventually, after much practice, once your mind is familiar with positive thoughts, negative thoughts may try to come, but they won’t stick. Your mind will instantly reject them because they won’t be aligned with your core belief system that says you are enough, and therefore you will be able to wave them away without any sort of confusion or resistance.

In conclusion, tell yourself “I am enough” repeatedly, everyday. Write it down. Post it in random places around your house. Set an alert on your phone that tells you this, whatever helps you. I promise the more you see it and speak it, the more you will begin to believe it. And once you start to believe it, your whole life will change. You will be happier, satisfied, and more confident. I am a prime example of someone who was always anxious, always unhappy, super insecure, and to be honest, felt quite hopeless. Now, I am the opposite of all of those things. Learning to love myself set me free.

To learn more about the concept of ‘being enough’, watch the full-length video featured below!

Self-Love, Healing, and Growth: Top 5 Books to Read

Over the past year, I’ve read so many wonderful books about self-transformation and the power of love and positivity. Each of these books have all in some way taught me how to rewire my thinking in order to create a life filled with joy, peace, and freedom. Because I have been so changed by these books, I thought I would share a few of my favorites in hopes that they will enlighten you too!

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.

-Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

What it’s about: As the front cover suggests, Big Magic is about living a creative life. From this book, you’ll learn that living creatively doesn’t always have to mean painting, writing, or building something, unless that’s your thing. It just means doing what you love, as often as you can, and for no reason other than because you enjoy doing it. Gilbert discusses the idea that our creative ideas, desires, and inspirations are always out there, invisibly floating around, just waiting for someone to bring them to light, and that someone could definitely be you; you just have to believe and start! This book is filled with stories of how others used that magic to create their beloved work, as well as tips on how you can change your mindset and do the same for yourself.

Why I love it: This book motivated me to stop wasting time, and instead to just go ahead and get started doing what I love, now. It helped me realize that the things I’ve always dreamed about doing but never got around to aren’t just silly fantasies. I have those desires for a reason; they are just waiting for me to take action in order to make them a reality. This book was definitely a life-changer for me.

Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman

“To be able to look ahead while also celebrating now is a delicate kind of art, to imagine what could be without discounting what is.”

-Emily P. Freeman, Simply Tuesday

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What it’s about: Simply Tuesday is a Christian-based book that teaches readers how to slow down while still managing to get things done in the fast-paced world we live in today. It teaches that more, bigger, or faster isn’t always better – especially if we aren’t leaving space in our lives for thing that really matter, like our family, creativity, and most importantly, Jesus. This book is filled with wonderful insights of grace and truth about life and God, and will leave you feeling light and refreshed after reading it.

Why I love it: I have always had the tendency to be a person who naturally rushes through life. I’m always thinking about what’s next, how much I have to do, and how fast I want to get things done. This book helped me realize it’s not only okay, but sometimes it’s absolutely necessary to slow down and take a breather. Simply Tuesday allowed me to see the tremendous beauty that can be found in the small, calm, and seemingly ordinary moments of life.

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

“If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place. Primary reality is within; secondary reality without.”
-Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

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What it’s about: The Power of Now is a book made to guide people through a total life transformation in order to reach their highest sense of self. If you aren’t absolutely serious about changing your life, or if you are not willing to expand your normal way of thinking and/or doing things, I do not recommend this book. The author is very straight-forward and brutally honest about what is so wrong with our minds. What he suggests doing to cure the diseases that ail our minds will be a bit of a stretch of the imagination for many, and is quite easy to blow off as nonsense if you aren’t serious. However, if you are open and willing to change, by reading this book you will discover that the key to the end of anxiety, pain, and suffering is to be found in being totally present every moment of your life. The only reason we ever experience any sort of suffering is because we are focusing too much on the past (depression), or too much on the future (anxiety), neither of which are controllable. Presence in the here and now is all we have, and it is all that matters.

Why I love it: My mind has been absolutely blown away by The Power of Now. I’m not even all the way finished with this book yet and have already felt a radical change within me. This book is not one to be read quickly. It contains many deep ideas that aren’t necessarily complex, they just require a great deal of focus in order to truly resonate. I will warn you, this book will more than likely bring up all kinds of strange feelings and emotions within you, because you are their home, you are what they feed off of, and thus, they are going to try to fight you in order to stay alive. But if you allow them to simply be, meaning just feel them and observe them, instead of fighting or judging them, then you will discover the power within you to defeat them. So, if you are ready to finally drop all of the unnecessary baggage you have been carrying around within you for probably far too long, if you are ready to be free of the mind and its mental traps of fear and depression, then this book is definitely for you!

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

“You are perfect. To think anything less is as pointless as a river thinking that it’s got too many curves or that it moves too slowly or that its rapids are too rapid. Says who? You’re on a journey with no defined beginning, middle or end. There are no wrong twists and turns. There is just being. And your job is to be as you as you can be. This is why you’re here. To shy away from who you truly are would leave the world you-less. You are the only you there is and ever will be. I repeat, you are the only you there is and ever will be. Do not deny the world its one and only chance to bask in your brilliance.”

-Jen Sincero, You Are a Badass

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What it’s about: You Are a Badass is about how to stop feeling sorry for yourself and being ashamed of what you want, and instead how to embrace who you truly are so that you can begin loving your life. Sincero explains that it is totally useless to continue hating ourselves or shying away from our uniqueness. In fact, your uniqueness is the gift you have to bring to the world. No one ever did anything great by being the same as everyone else, or by staying in their comfort zone. This book teaches you how to stop being afraid of the discomforting challenges life brings, and instead how to go after what you want, with no apologies or regrets.

Why I love it: This one was an easy, enjoyable read, and a huge confidence-booster. I often find myself randomly picking it up when I’m not feeling so great about myself, and after reading just a few pages it always helps get my mindset right again. It’s definitely one of my favorite books!

The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

“Separating from love means that you deny the presence of a higher power (the presence of the Universe) and learn to rely on your own power to feel safe. The moment you choose to disconnect from the loving presence of the Universe, you lose sight of the safety, security, and clear guidance that is otherwise available to you. The moment you realign with love and stop relying on your own strength, clear direction will be presented. The presence of love will always cast out fear.”

-Gabrielle Bernstein, The Universe Has Your Back

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What it’s about: The Universe Has Your Back is filled with inspiring examples of people who have radically changed their lives by changing their beliefs. This book contains several guided meditations that teach readers how to silence the chaos, doubts and fears that plague the mind. From reading this book, you will learn that the end of fear begins with love. Staying constantly connected with the universe (God), and choosing to see everything though love, will ultimately lead you to a life you love.

Why I love it: I discovered Gabrielle Bernstein by listening to some of the talks she’s given online and was extremely drawn to her teachings, so naturally I decided to start reading one of her books. Bernstein used to be an addict but is now over a decade sober, and is helping people all over the world transform their lives. She is a great example of how anyone, no matter where they came from or what they’ve done in the past, can rise above and create a brand new life, filled with light, love, and joy. I recommend any of her online teachings or books to those seeking peace, wisdom, and enlightenment.

 

So that’s my list! There are so many more I want to include, but for time’s sake I will wait for another post. However, I’m always looking for new books to read, so what are some of your favorites?! Let me know in the comment section! As always, keep checking back for more posts! ❤

The Benefits of Solitude

There is nothing I love more than sitting at home alone on a rainy day, coffee in hand, reading a book, listening to music, or writing. For a lot of people this kind of day would be considered dreary or boring, and I get why they would feel that way. But for me, the freedom I get from spending time alone is one of the best feelings in the world.

If you are an introvert, living in today’s fast-paced society can be mentally exhausting. You may frequently wonder what is wrong with you, asking yourself things like, “Why don’t I like doing what everyone else likes doing? Why don’t I want to go out and party every weekend?” It is easy to feel out of place in this world when you are an introvert because our society more often than not encourages extrovert behavior. If you are anything different than that, you’re often labeled weird, rude, or anti-social.

Fortunately you are not the only one who feels the way you do, and there is nothing wrong with you! Being introverted doesn’t make you weird, awkward or anti-social. You don’t have to have social anxiety or even be shy to be introverted. Being introverted simply means you need more time alone than others to recharge in order to function at your best.

Once I finally began embracing my introvertism, I discovered that there are actually tremendous benefits in making time to be alone, which is why I’ve created a list of three reasons why solitude is beneficial for introverts.

  1. Solitude is a great opportunity for improving your mental health and practicing self-care. Every time I use my alone time wisely (meaning I don’t spend hours on my phone aimlessly scrolling through Instagram!) I am able to do things that make me feel better, both mentally and physically. When I am alone I can freely exercise, meditate, listen to a podcast, take a bubble bath, practice yoga, read, write, or listen to music without any interruption. All of these activities help me clear my mind and relieve stress, and through taking the time to care for my well-being, I have learned how to analyze and reflect on any negative thoughts that enter my mind and then replace them with positive, uplifting truth. Since consistently taking the time for self-care in solitude, I have adopted a totally new and much healthier mindset that wouldn’t have been possible without my time spent alone learning during self-care.b48266a03ba269ac93545f4ae3a07165
  2. Solitude gives you the time and space to create your art and be creative in your work. Your work shouldn’t feel like work; your work should be your art, and I don’t necessarily mean art as in drawing or painting, unless that is your thing! I mean art as in whatever you love to do. For me, it’s writing. Whenever I am alone my mind tends to wander, and I often get my most creative ideas during this time. My daydreams become ideas that I use in the stories I write. When I am with other people it is very hard for me to be creative and focus on my work. The stimulation from people talking or the TV blaring in the background is not a conducive work environment for me. However when I am alone, I am able to take create a calm, quiet environment that allows me to concentrate and get more work done while still making the work enjoyable. Many times I don’t know how I truly feel about something or what to do about a situation until I start writing about it. Being able to put my thoughts in writing allows my mind to make sense of all the ideas bouncing around in my head.                         e30d6daa223a94f6bac2ea2a694d6491.jpg
  3. Solitude allows you to get to know yourself. When I finally grew too tired to fake being friends with the people in my life who I was just friends with for the sake of having friends, it left me with quite a bit of free time. In this time away from those people who had a large influence on what I did on a daily basis, I was able to start over. I got to know myself. I rediscovered who I was, what I liked to do, what I wanted out of life and who I wanted to be. The new things I found myself doing I never would have done before because it wasn’t considered ‘fun’ or ‘normal’ to my so-called friends. However, I’d decided that I’d much rather be alone than settle for a ‘normal’ life. In this process I learned to love myself, which unexpectedly was also the cure for my anxiety disorder. Yes I was lonely at times, and I sometimes doubted my decision to end these friendships, but it ended up being one of the best choices I’ve ever made. I discovered that I am my own home and I already have everything within me that I’ll ever need. I no longer need outside validation from anyone or anything, and that has been the most freeing experience I’ve ever had.

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Contrary to the belief of many in today’s society, there are extremely positive advantages that can be gained through spending time alone. Although sometimes working and/or being in a loud, largely populated area is unavoidable, and it definitely isn’t healthy for us introverts to completely isolate ourselves from others, we don’t need to feel guilty for taking some time to be alone every so often. So please don’t be ashamed of your introverted ways! They make you, you. 🙂

What are some benefits you have seen in your own life from spending time alone or being an introvert? I’d love to hear from you! As always, keep checking the blog for new posts.<3

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Embracing Uncertainty

Hey there 🙂 It’s been a long time since my last post, and that is because I was student teaching and finishing my final semester of college. It was one of the most challenging yet rewarding things I have ever done, and I cannot believe it’s already over. On the other hand, I have really missed blogging and am so glad that I now have more time to focus on writing!

It feels amazing to be done with school, but with the excitement of graduating, also comes the unsettling feeling of having no idea what I’ll be doing in this next season of life. For the past several years, I’ve always had the comfort of knowing that at the end of a semester comes another one. And while at times I desperately wanted to be done with school and move on with life, college did provide a sense of stability and security. Now that it is finally over, the possibilities of what I could do are endless, which is thrilling, but at the same time it also leaves me with the anxiety-provoking question: Which path should I take?

Have you ever been here before? You beg for change, you’re tired of the same-old routine, you want something new and exciting, and then change finally comes. Only now that it’s in your face, it’s kinda terrifying. You may find yourself asking questions like, “What should I do next? What job should I take? Should I make that big move? What if I make the wrong choice? How do I know this is right for me?” Questions like these have been consuming my mind lately. It’s easy to daydream about how wonderful a big change in life would be, but when it arrives and it’s time to start making some life-altering decisions, it can be very easy to fall into the trap of fear and self-doubt.

Fortunately, now that I have some extra time on my hands, I’ve been able to sort of press pause and reflect. What I’ve come to the realize is that although I don’t have a set plan, yet, I do know what I want and where I want to be within the next few years, and that’s a all I need right now. After having given my life to Christ almost six years ago, I’ve learned that he is always faithful. He has never once not come through. He may not have always come through right when or how I thought he should, but he came through nevertheless. Ultimately, his way is always better than mine. So in this season of uncertainty, I am choosing to trust. I am choosing to trust that he has given me certain dreams for a reason, that he has a plan for me, and that he will make a way even when there seems to be none.

I have learned that living one day at a time, sometimes even one hour at a time, is necessary for a healthy mind. So now whenever I start to feel fear creeping into my mind, I stop and ask myself: Why should I worry? It won’t accomplish anything! When I worry, all I am doing is trying, yet failing, to answer questions that I cannot possibly answer yet. I’m great at creating all these scenarios in my head, but who’s to say that the pictures I form in my mind are the way things are actually going to turn out? This isn’t to say I don’t have goals, or that I sit on my couch just waiting for things to happen to me. It just means that I am no longer going to get too far ahead of myself or caught up in the details anymore. I know that if I submit my plans to God, and continuously choose faith in his promises over worrying and trying to make everything happen all by myself, he will be faithful to provide me with a much greater outcome than I could ever create myself.

One of the most valuable things I’ve ever learned is that God does not tell us our whole life plan ahead of time for two reasons. The first of these is because he doesn’t want to overwhelm us. If we knew everything that was going to be required of us in this life, it would see impossible since we haven’t had the time nor the experiences to prepare us for those things yet. The second reason he doesn’t show us the way ahead of time is because if he did, what would be the purpose of faith? Faith is believing in things not yet seen, so if we knew how every detail in our lives was going to turn out, our faith would be useless because we would put our trust in the outcome, rather than in the God who makes the outcome.

So if you are entering a season of uncertainty, just know that it is a normal part of the process in this thing called life. It doesn’t mean you won’t find your way. You may feel weak now, but on the contrary, this uncertainty is the very thing that is strengthening your faith. I have no idea what all the upcoming year has in store for me, but I am releasing my worry and control to the one who already has it all figured out.

 

 

 

P.s. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season! And if you would like, feel free to share this post with others! I plan to be writing much more frequently now so keep checking for new posts! 🙂