Why You Needn't Be Afraid to Decide

In my tarot readings, coaching sessions and conversations with friends and family, I’m repeatedly reminded of ☝️ specific human fear: commitment.

Commitment to an idea, to a person, to a career path or otherwise putting “all eggs in one basket.”

I've been paralyzed by commitment myself. Many times over, in fact. But, one simple principle has significantly reduced my anxiety around decision making altogether:

Nothing is permanent.

All is impermanent, regardless of our decisions to commit. You may think that one decision charts a course for the rest of your life, and you may already perceive roadblocks along the way.

But the truth is, natural order will find its way, regardless. Career paths change, relationships end, things shift and pass away and make room for the fresh and beautifully new.

When we look at someone who’s lived a full life, their paths were charted not only by big decisions and milestones but by unexpected happenstance and billions of daily micro-decisions which either reinforced or redirected their commitments.

You don't have to fear putting all your eggs in one basket because your basket was an illusion in the first place — a mental construct to make you feel like you'll have security from here on out.

"The search for security is illusion. In ancient wisdom traditions, the solution to this whole dilemma lies in the wisdom of insecurity. This means that the search for security and certainty is actually an attachment to the known...The known is nothing other than the prison of past conditioning. There's no evolution in that...and when there is no evolution, there is stagnation, entropy, disorder, and decay."

— Deepak Chopra in The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success

We all experience painful endings and look back, only to realize what happened was for the best.

If we can approach jobs, relationships and life's seasons with the inner knowing that all is impermanent, with the courage to release the future and focus on the now and with the faith that whatever happens is for our absolute highest good, this makes space for a more gentle and, in my opinion, more meaningful unfolding of life's most special commitments.

So, when it comes to any commitment, your goal is not to make a decision for a lifetime, but rather to take one step in a direction that is aligned with your current intentions and your highest self.

Sunday is a great day to set your intentions for the week, to place your eggs where you please and then release expectations of what exactly that will look like.

If, next week, everything looks different, honor this as a symbol of your evolution. Change is how we dance with life.

You Have a Profound Capacity to Lead

My inner stirrings this week revolve around defining LEADERSHIP—something I've valued immensely since I was a child. I always looked up to people in positions of power. I thought, what an awesome responsibility to manage, direct or otherwise command the fate of another.

Then, this past year, as I approached 30, I felt called to put all of my values on trial (were they authentic or egoic?) and leadership was first to the stand. On the other side of self-study, meditation and some key learnings from the greats, I realized leadership is as authentic a value as any other, but not by my previous definition.

Here are my findings:

1. LEADERSHIP STARTS WITH YOU. Influence is the result of the mastery you have over your own self and life. And it comes from the power that lies within you—the power to align your thoughts, words and actions with your unique genius. True power has nothing to do with authority and everything to do with integrity, which is staying true to your inner compass. Our greatest leaders are no stranger to solitude. They know themselves, they understand their power—regardless of anyone else—and they exude a quiet strength that speaks much louder than barking commands.

If you've lost sight of the innate power within you, build an inner (mindset) and outer (network) environment that mirrors back what makes you exquisitely you. Chances are, if you don't entirely like who you are, you've forgotten who you are. Go to meet yourself. You're pretty fucking great.

2. LEADERS TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. When you make a commitment to owning every facet of your life and circumstance—when you release any form of victimhood—you step into a place of empowerment. Doing this requires a psychological surrender. We may have a tight grip on bad things that have happened, are happening and will happen to us. And we think, by keeping them in the forefront of our minds, we're controlling our fate. But we're actually manifesting and perpetuating negativity.

Leaders see their external circumstances as a direct result of their own thoughts, words and actions and, in doing so, harness their capacity to effect positive change for themselves and others.

3. LEADERS ARE INTENTIONAL. The "trick" behind setting intentions is, quite simply, focusing your energy on what you want. I appreciate spontaneity and surrender. I've also learned the hard way that, without deciding first what you want, it's terribly difficult to shape a life you actually want to live. Everything great that anyone in history has ever accomplished started with the intention to do just that. Meditate, visualize your intentions manifesting, write them down and then practice aligning your thoughts, words and actions with those intentions, day in and day out. Practical magic.

4. LEADERS ARE EXPANDING. A leader is always seeking deeper understanding. Ever-curious, ever-learning and ever-expanding. According to Positive Psychology research, growth is a pillar of human happiness. So, naturally, people gravitate toward those who are expanding because they also want to grow. If you want to be a leader, prioritize learning and commit time to self-expansion every day.

Solo Summer Road Trip Essentials

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Hi, friends! I am no stranger to road tripping, but this July (2019), I took to the road solo. This was a big step for me. I’ve always been comfortable with independence — I find being alone to be easy and enjoyable and I’ll often go where I want no matter where the “group” is. But, somehow, travel has always been in a category of its own. It’s strange not having validation that your plan is the “right” one. A lot can go wrong while traveling, so solo travel is a practice in trusting yourself and your competence to solve problems. It also takes courage to be alone with your thoughts for that long (lol) and to drive through extreme temperatures that pose a safety threat. My word for this year just so happens to be courage, so off I went.

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I learned a lot over the past couple of weeks. Over all, I’m really pleased with the experience and glad I went. It was great to meet my friend Cory in Moab and do some adventuring with her before staying at her place in Denver for 5 days. I also met some great people along the way, including fellow campers, Airbnb hosts and a couple adventurers visiting Zion from the northeast.

So, if you’re curious about my experience or getting ready to hit the road yourself, here’s the full download from my solo roady.

Wheels

2,784 Miles | Avg. 42 Miles Per Gallon | ~$215 on Gas

After researching and test driving vans for several months and contemplating what it would be like commuting in an old VW to work every day, I decided now was not the right time to make that purchase. I’m quite glad because the AC systems in the ones I drove were either weak or non-existent and Ellie and I wouldn’t have lasted long going through Utah, Nevada and Colorado in 100+ degree heat.

Instead, I took my 2017 Honda Fit. After living and working in Hermosa Beach, I have a LOT of miles left on my lease. She did great! Here are a few things I learned along the way about driving long distances in general.

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  • If you’re traveling through extreme temps, double check that you have enough coolant in your radiator system. I saw so many people broken down on the side of the freeway in 90-112 degree heat (Mojave Desert is no joke). Overheating usually happens because of a leak or otherwise problem in your radiator so it’s best to know everything looks kosher before you go. Read your car’s manual or find a quick youtube video that’ll teach you how to check coolant levels (it’s easy). Even if you carry compatible coolant in your trunk for an emergency top off, know that you have to wait several hours for a hot engine to cool down and de-pressurize before accessing this area. When all else fails, call AAA.

  • Check your tire levels. Most gas stations have air machines that take quarters and/or credit card, and a quick youtube vid will teach you how to test your tire pressure and top it off as needed. After coming down from Colorado’s elevation, my back tires were fairly low and my tire pressure light came on within one exit on my last day of driving. Knowing how to handle this before you leave will keep you cool, calm and collected. Driving on a low tire can lead to its failure / shredding on hot roads, which can be super dangerous.

  • Be sure to figure out how to start a new “trip” on your odometer so you can track your mileage!

Recommended Purchases

  • AAA membership

  • I’d recommend a classic windshield shade - something like this. But measure your windshield first as I bought one only to realize Honda Fits have giant windshields and so I had to use it sort of jankily.

  • I did some good research on window shades and these are the only ones that don’t suction to the window, thus allowing you to still roll the window down. I also felt more comfortable leaving the windows cracked with the shades over them knowing my belongings were within.

  • Lumbar support like this make for greater comfort on six or seven hour days.

  • Adventure sandals like Tevas. You’re not gonna want to be wearing thick hiking socks and boots on summer hikes. As long as you’re not bouldering, a good pair of sandals should be fine.

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  • A gallon of water to keep in your trunk as back up. If something happens to your car on the road and you’re waiting for help without cell service, you need water preserves. Also recommend a Hydroflask, Yeti or otherwise water vessel that will keep ice water cold. I drank this only when I was close to my destination. Another just in case.

  • Extra pair of sunglasses … if you lose a pair a day like me.

Where I Stayed

Camping. I camped only one night by myself (with my dog). For a moment, this was a scary experience and not because of other people but because of wildlife. A coyote approached Ellie and I in the dark and all I could see was glowing eyes and a long bushy tail..scared the crap out of me so I found a German couple to park my tent next to so we could at least face the wild in solidarity. They were kind and fun to get to know. If you’re going to camp alone, I’d recommend choosing a popular site where you know others will be around.

Tent set up at Jumbo Rocks in Joshua Tree National Park

Tent set up at Jumbo Rocks in Joshua Tree National Park

Airbnb. I ended up staying with a family in Hurricane, UT en route to Moab and stayed with them again on the way back. Really enjoyed getting to know everyone. When I can choose between Airbnb and hotel, I always choose Airbnb because of the personal localized touches and character.

Hotels. Because of extreme temperatures and mosquitos, my friend Cory and I opted to stay in a hotel in Moab (Aarches Inn). It was very nice to come back to AC after a long day of exploring the parks. We also boarded Ellie with a doggy daycare lady which worked out great. Most National Parks have boarding either in or just beyond their entrance.

Where I Stopped

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Zion National Park, Utah

I just passed through Zion en route to Moab, but it was totally worth it to reflect on fond memories from a few years back. This might be my favorite National Park!

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Arches National Park, Utah

It’s easy to experience Arches in a day because most of the arches you’ll want to see are just a short walk or hike away. We started the day with a 3-mile moderate hike to Delicate Arch, which is perhaps the most dramatic in the park. And then we worked our way back to the entrance.

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Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Canyonlands is weird because it’s actually three different sections, which are each accessible via different routes. The section that’s closest to Moab is Island in the Sky. From here, you can expect ridiculous canyon views with staggering drops. We spent the afternoon here after spending all morning at Arches and stopping at Moab Kitchen for lunch. It was a lot for one day but allowed us to explore Colorado more on the route to Denver the following day.

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Glenwood Springs, Colorado

I didn’t get to experience the famed natural springs here (which I’ve been told is a lot like a swimming pool but more of a novelty) because Ellie was with us, but a local told us about a park where you could dip in the river and it was the absolute best. I stopped there for some quiet writing time on the way back as well. This is a super cute little town with a peaceful soul.

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Denver, Colorado

I was working remote all week in Denver and pretty much hit the coffee shop circuit close to Cory’s casa. My two favorites were Black Eye Roasters and Huckleberry Roasters. Good vibes and full of people hard at work like me. We did venture just beyond the city to Red Rocks Amphitheatre to see The Head and the Heart play. Amazing venue. Definitely something everyone should experience once in their lives!

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Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend is a cool little inlet of the Colorado River in Glen Canyon, about 100 miles from the Grand Canyon. It’s certainly worth a stop. The short trail down to the lookout point takes about 20 minutes and you can walk right up to the edge. A fee of $10 cash is asked at the entrance to the parking area. Dogs are allowed but note the path is hot. I carried Ellie the whole way in 96-degree heat and I was pretty certain I’d perish right there on that trail but, low and behold, here I am.

Tunes

I could tell you about my favorite road trip songs, or you could have a listen yourself! The below playlist contains my heavy rotation from this trip. I also listened to a lot of the How I Built This podcast and the entirety of Arianna Huffington’s audio book Thrive. I got a library card before I left and this was my first free audiobook on the Libby app.

Thanks for tagging along via IG! If you have any questions about this experience, the route or anything else, don’t hesitate to ask.

On Showing Up Entirely

It can be shocking to meet someone so entirely comfortable in their skin. In a way, this person’s flow is an open rebellion to the invisible human contract. You know, the one where we agree to show up choreographed to suit our environment.

How bold it is to arrive as our whole self. To take up space that honors our in-the-moment experience. To hear “How are you?” and answer honestly.

When we show up with all that we are, we make ourselves available to be entirely rejected or entirely loved, both of which may seem to be too much to handle. But that’s the thing. Fear of being visible is a matter of perception — the perception that our best life is defined by being well-liked, smooth sailing, success, newness and celebration. And I’m starting to see things differently.

I think, perhaps, living your best life means wholly showing up and being present with all of it — the love and the pain, joy and spazz-outs, dancing and crying.

What if you showed up entirely today? What if you stopped suppressing your laughter? Said what you meant? Did as you felt called? Went where you felt drawn? How radically magical that would be, like a rainbow touching down in a world of black and white.

I wish you the courage to show up with everything you’ve got. The audacity to feel as you feel. The rebellion of allowing your truth to grace the world. I promise you, we need it, entirely.

The Shame of Getting What We Want

I had a chat with a friend yesterday who was feeling overwhelmed with unhappiness. She was evaluating the life she deliberately created and realizing everything she wanted just wasn't cutting it. Beyond that, she was shaming herself for feeling that way. After all, she *should* feel nothing but gratitude for this scenario she had once desired so much. Right?

Perhaps you've been there. Unhappy with where you are. "I wanted this, so why am I unhappy?" And your loved ones reflect your fear right back to you... "Can't you just be happy with what you have? I want you to be happy."

Now, subscribe with me for a few moments to the belief that your soul came into physical existence on this planet to evolve—to level up. And through every challenge, every desire, every achievement, every contrast of good and bad in your life thus far, it has.

In fact, your soul is evolving every single day and, therefore, it doesn’t make sense for you to evaluate your present from the perspective of that soul who launched the desires which currently comprise your reality. The you of today sees things differently because of the deep knowing that has evolved within you since then.

If you're looking with dis-ease upon what you have and can't quite peg where "things went wrong," I guarantee that unhappiness has nothing to do with taking the wrong path. Rather, it has everything to do with perspective—still looking at your present from who you were in the past.

If anxiety is living in fear of the future, depression is holding on to the you—your beliefs and perspectives—of the past. Let that past self go. Shed a tear, but not too many. You have much to look forward to.

When we achieve goals and milestones, celebration is due. Of course. But we are never done, my friend! It is 100% natural to look to what's next. In fact, when we consider that our purpose is to evolve, contentment (feeling like the present moment is all we want) is actually against our natural state of soul-evolutionary being.

What if, each day, you accept your soul's growth, welcome new desires with intent to enjoy the process of moving toward them, and allow your vision of the future to evolve with you?

It’s easy, isn’t it, to look at our lives as a series of arrivals? Graduations, vacations and various creations. My invitation to you is to start looking at your life as a series of everyday beginnings. Of journeys, chapters and evolutions. I think you'll discover it is in this evolutionary rhythm that you find the sweet abundance of life.

We All Need to Be Seen

This past week I co-hosted an event where I read tarot for almost 20 women. As I journey deeper into tarot, I’m still awestruck at how accurate the readings are, but I’ve also become more intrigued by the psychological healing that ensues for the recipient.

Several of the women who sat in front of me Thursday night had shifts which came out in both tears and laughter. Writing in my journal that night, I was reflecting upon how I was able to facilitate these shifts and what I landed upon extends far beyond reading tarot…

When ANOTHER HUMAN witnesses our truth, we heal.

Have you ever spoken with a doctor, coach, reiki practitioner or had an intuitive reading of some kind and—when that person is spot on about what you’re going through—had a visceral giddiness or emotional response?

What’s happening is that person is pulling something to the surface that has been otherwise tucked away. They have simply opened a door which you have forced shut because, for one of many possible reasons, you believe it should be.

When someone witnesses your hidden truth or, in other words, truly sees you and does not, as you may have expected, scream and run out of the room, you experience relief and self-acceptance.

What’s so lovely is that you don’t have to read tarot to make this healing happen for others. When you simply hold space for people to be their truest selves, regardless of their shadows and quirks, you are healing them. In fact, I know a lot of people who are healers and don’t even know it.

If you are one of those people who holds that space in your everyday life, keep going. Alternatively, if you don’t pay any mind to really seeing others, here are a few ideas for how you can start:

  • Ask “How are you feeling today?” instead of “How are you?”

  • Look a stranger in the eye, especially if that stranger looks like they’ve been through the ringer

  • If you feel weird or bad energy from someone, picture them as a child, before they started collecting that energy from the world around them. Watch as they soften.

To be a healer, you don’t have to touch anyone. In fact, you don’t have to sympathize or even empathize; you just have to witness where someone truly is in any given moment.

I can’t help but think, if truth—and pain—had been witnessed and accepted in the early lives of history’s greatest villains, entire world wars could have been avoided.

The bottom line:

We are healthiest and happiest when we fully embody our truth. I learned that from Anita Moorjani in her book Dying to be Me. By allowing someone to bring their truth to the surface, you are subtly giving them permission to be who they are. Let’s all be a little more “us” today, and hold space for others to do the same.

Say It With Me: I Am Not a Chameleon

It feels so good to not be jumping on the negative train—to keep my vibes high when the room goes low. After turning 29 and, simultaneously, having my heart blown open this past weekend on a Raise Your Vibe retreat, I woke up to this:

It is not only my choice but also my responsibility to be true to myself.

To speak slowly. To keep a gentle heart. To speak openly about the deep, dark stuff. To keep the day to day details fun and lighthearted. To touch. To nurture. To love.

I weep for that girl who used to proudly call herself a chameleon.

Blending in is a survival tactic.

It’s a sign of hanging on for dear life. But camouflage is not the goal of human existence. We are not chameleons.

The essence of being human is that we have the mental capacity to CREATE whatever we want. In that way, we are all the same, but the unique way in which we create—sing, paint, teach, write, speak, lead, love, be—is the most healing thing we can do for ourselves and humanity. There’s a reason you want to create what you want to create. Go do it.

Live your truth. Heal yourself. Heal the world. 🙏🏼

Manifesting Through Difficult Times

It can be hard to see the bigger picture.

That morning, it was hard to see anything at all. As the tears fell heavily from my eyes to the road, I met the overwhelmed gaze of the tow truck driver while he lowered my car back to the pavement. I ended my relationship that month, I was driven out of my home that week and I lost my ego that morning—broke right open, wailing before this kind man and a bunch of construction workers.

I didn’t care.

In that moment—head pounding, dazed and confused—a big old question mark was all I could make out.

Why…is this happening to me?

It’s been some time since I’ve even felt drawn to ask that question. Life’s been smooth; ocean swims, bucket list trips and client presentations. But, oh, these past few weeks, as I’ve been shoved off the allegorical cliff toward which I’d been tip-toeing, this question has been seared in my mind’s eye.

The thing is, though, I’ve changed since the last time I asked it, and my approach to this question has changed with me. Victim mentality has been replaced with curiosity and (not gonna lie) wavering faith—seeking understanding in the context of my life as a whole and doing my best to hold the vision of my future.

Because, I’ve learned, this is how we create the lives we were meant to lead, during the good times and the bad. This is how we manifest.

Here’s the trick. Every morning, I visualize myself in the future, months from now, waking up in my new home, making my coffee, pulling tarot cards in my new meditation nook, then venturing out and building the life I’ve always wanted—the one I never had the courage to show up for, until I did. I visualize myself reading this post, reflecting, acknowledging and feeling full-bodied gratitude because, looking back, I see it all with clarity...

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Everything I went through is something I asked for.

I asked for wisdom. I asked to be able to guide others. I intended to empathize with those going through their darkest times so I could help bring them to the light. That’s the thing about being a good teacher; you have to familiarize yourself with the subject matter first.

I needed to be faced with toxic neighbors—to understand that they live in a different world than I do and to resist the need to make sense of their actions. I needed to observe my own strength through forgiveness and emerge with a deeper love, for both myself and others. Because that’s the woman I intended to be.

When we’re faced with difficult times, we don’t say we’re going around something or going over something. The path to what you want—if you dare to reach for what you deserve—is through. And, sometimes, it’s through some deep shit that smells and feels awful and takes a while to scrub off.

But, perhaps, everything you’re going through is preparing you for what you asked for.

So there it is. Now I can say it. I know.

If you’re going through something, and seemingly being stripped of every last comfort and convenience, I know it can be hard to see the big picture. I challenge you to seek understanding, hold your vision of the future and believe that tomorrow is a new, better day of your own creation.

We’re all in this together. :)

Energy: The Root of Your Happy Human Experience

UNDERSTANDING ENERGY

and energy motions (e-motions)

When my Reiki teacher can feel that a client won’t allow themselves to release built up energy with tears, she will cry for them; she will be a vessel for that energy to leave their bodies. I share this because, when I learned this, it completely shifted my understanding of interactions and emotions.

In fact, thinking about energy as a physical entity that is created, stored and shared has allowed me to entirely reshape my tendency toward anxiety and depression.

We each work with energy all day every day. It’s all around us and—when we interact with other people—flowing through and between us. If you are a human (multiply by 100 if you’re an empathetic human), you likely take on the energy of others and, due to the intent behind the words, body language or physical contact that was offered, or because of your own yearning to make sense of and control your environment, you may circulate that energy within your mind (stress) and then store it in your body to release later when you have time to feel it completely.

The root of many of our most common mental and physical ailments, I believe, is in the storing of negative energy. So how do we avoid it?

NOTICING ENERGY

The first step in reshaping our relationship with energy is noticing it.

within others

In your next several interactions with others, become an observer. Note how you feel beforehand, pay close attention to their energy as you interact and observe how you feel after the interaction takes place. Chances are, their actions and reactions have impacted your energy in some way.

You may feel completely different after exchanging words, glances, movements or physical touch. Perhaps your self-talk shifts and confidence in your decisions waxes or wanes. What’s happening in this situation is the reception, and recirculation of the other being’s energy. I say being because animals offer us their energy too. :)

within yourself

Lower vibrational energy isn’t only given to us; it can be created within us. Its roots can be found in dreams (even the ones you can’t remember), doing things you don’t want to be doing and being in one physical location while putting your energy elsewhere. Each of these scenarios are either energetically overwhelming or depleting.

tips for noticing

Noticing energy takes practice, and meditation is, for me, the simplest way to do that. Here’s a simple way to adopt a daily meditation practice:

Set a timer for 10-minutes. Close your eyes. Turn your focus to your breath and nothing but the breath. You are not your thoughts. You are an observer. Observe the thoughts and emotions that come up for you. Allow them to come and go as if you’re sitting on the banks of a river and they’re floating down and past you on a small boat. That’s it!

If you want a guiding voice, try the Calm app and complete the “21 days of Calm” series. I guarantee, after 100 days of mediation, “noticing” yours and others energy will become second nature. This will allow you to catch negative energy and circulation, and cut it off so to start rewiring your brain for a more joyful life.

MOVING ENERGY

Beyond developing awareness of energy, we can establish practices of deflecting, investigating or releasing it.

You may have heard that emotions (think e-motions) are simply energy in motion. Energy is trying to move through, and out of, your body. And at this point, you have a choice: swallow your tears, hold back your words, stay still OR let it flow, cry it out, say that difficult thing, dance, run, let it move.

As you become an astute observer of energy and emotions, practice deflecting energy which is not meant for you, investigating the emotions which are attempting to move through you and releasing energy in the way that best suits you. Here are some tactics:

deflecting

In your daily dealings out in the world, you may confront energy that is not intended for you. This can show up in the form of road rage, sassy emails, judgemental glances and beyond. The key to deflecting is practicing the analysis of whether lower vibrational energy is a reaction to you or if it’s rooted in something that person created or received from someone else. If someone calls you a name from their car, their anger is not likely about you. Practice deflection. You do not have to receive that anger and be the vessel for that person’s emotions. That is for them to work out.

feeling

When you notice a particular energy sticking within yourself, ask what is behind the emotions that come up for you. Is this really my own? Can I pinpoint when the exact moment was that I started feeling this way? If you can’t come up with an answer, simply let it be there and, then, let it move on. If this energy returns, chances are you need to have a conversation with someone, make your truth known or work on self love and forgiveness.

releasing

What I have come to find is that energy that wells up and comes out of my eyes (unexpected crying) NEEDS to come out. It’s those in-the-moment releases that we should be having more often so we don’t store negative energy. Learn to differentiate, though, between energy that needs to move through you and emotions that you are circulating by dwelling on memories or future projections. The dwelling and recirculating of energy, for me, is where depression settles in and makes itself comfortable. Here are some tactics for releasing energy:

  • For recently-stored energy, find an objective listener who will allow you to speak without judging or giving their opinion. The best friends are those who are simple mirrors for us, reflecting back our best selves and offering love above all else.

  • For deeper, older stored energy, seek out reiki or hypnotherapy—a practice that will help you put your noisy mind at ease while you excavate the true root of any lower vibrational energies. Sometimes we can talk in circles and never really know the real root of our pain. I have accomplished more in one of these sessions than I did in 10 years of on and off therapy.

  • Exercise

  • Tapping (EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique) - watch a demonstration here

Of course, if we can give one another low vibrational energies we can also give positivity. I’m sure you’ve been confronted with road rage, but have you ever seen someone in absolute joy dancing and singing in their car? As we work on deflecting, feeling and releasing energy each day, don’t forget to create those moments for yourself, making yourself a beautifully positive tuning fork for the world.

Choosing Creativity Over Fear

Inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert

I’m sure some of you have heard of author, Elizabeth Gilbert. She wrote a little book called Eat Pray Love and also one of my favorite books, Big Magic. Elizabeth is also my public speaking idol. In my favorite TED talk of all time, she brings forth the topic of the “creative genius,” what it means to be creative and how various societies have viewed creativity throughout history. She’s funny and quirky and just so undeniably her.

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So when I saw Elizabeth had recorded a Masterclass on the Calm app, I obviously jumped for my headphones. In this masterclass, she offers sort of a 1-hour recap of Big Magic on the topic of “Creative Living Beyond Fear,” including a few writing exercises to get you focused on the path of curiosity and off of the path of fear.

It certainly made me question what I was creating in my own life and this is something I brought to a Mastermindful group I’ve been running.

What is creativity?

Elizabeth defines creativity not so much as bringing something into existence with your hands, like painting, etc. It is any sort of co-creating with the universe.

My favorite quote from her Masterclass:

“The universe is not something that was made a bunch of billions of years ago and has just been statically sitting there ever since.

It is, itself, an act of curious creation that is constantly unfolding and becoming... and when we participate in creativity we participate in the creation of the universe itself.”

Incredible, right? What better incentive is there to create something that is wholly—or partly, if you consider divine intervention—your own?

Elizabeth offers that, when we have anxiety, depression, etc. and can't stand waking up and doing what we're doing, it's because we've fallen out of co-creation with the universe. Perhaps the universe is delivering opportunities or ideas and we are holding ourselves back.

“You are not meant to pay bills and die,” she says.

You are here to co-create something stunning with the universe. Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting out of our own way.

What holds you back from creativity?

With this very inspiring life purpose in mind, what is holding us back from carrying out the creation that is knocking on our proverbial door?

Fear.

Fear is a mechanism for keeping us safe but it’s safe to say…we’ve all let it run a little too wild. What is holding you back from creating the life you want? In relation to a specific goal or project, what is holding you back from showing up and giving your all to bringing it into the world?

Elizabeth offers two exercises to actively choose the path of curiosity over the path of fear.

1. Allow your fear to write you a letter telling you exactly what it's afraid of.

Dear ____. I am your fear. And this is what I want to tell you.

The idea here is that when you don't interrupt fear, bring it to a halt and push it out the door only to find it’s snuck back in through a window—when you simply let it speak—it’s often a predictable and understandable few things that it’s trying to protect you from. By acknowledging the worst case scenario and acknowledging your fear for doing its job, you can coexist rather than participating in a push-pull dance of care-free and anxiety.

2. Now, write a respectful letter in response to fear.

What do you have to say back to your fear? Don’t be afraid to slap it around a little bit. Acknowledge, respect but let your fear know you won’t be letting it control any aspect of your life. Elizabeth, in both her book and her masterclass, offer the analogy of her next project being a road trip. She tells her fear (summarized) “You can come along for the ride, but you can’t control the radio, participate in conversation, and you cannot drive.”

For me, this letter materialized about my dialogue—my inner voice and my outer voice. I wrote to my fear, respectfully, that it was very good at its job and that it will always have a voice, but it will never have my voice. No more self-shaming and no more speaking from a place of fear.

Whatever you are creating, remember that everything beautiful that is in this universe once wasn't. Not only will your creation benefit all of creation—it is necessary. Get out there, put your fear in the back seat and drive.