I am a cheerleader

Last week, I mentioned that I hear from many people who tell me they are thinking about starting a blog. After I wrote about that, I heard from even more which was delightful. One friend spilled the beans that she had actually already started blogging, but that she had a stumbling block of not really feeling like she had direction for what she wanted to write or who her audience is. I identified with that a LOT.

I’m sharing this little adage for two reasons.

  1. My friend is a professional writer. A very experienced professional writer. If you are neither of those things, then you can let yourself off the hook a little if you are, like her, struggling with where to begin.
  2. After our little exchange, I thought about what she’d said a lot – about how true that all felt for me as well and about what advice, if I was the advice giving type, I would have given her.

JUST WRITE

That was the advice that I borrowed from Elizabeth Dehn, creator of my new favourite website, Beauty Bets. I still believe that it is sound and a great place to start, but I’ve added my own two word mantra to the mix with the following.

be yourself

I’ve always been an advocate for transparency and truth when it comes to personal representation online. It’s how I coach my friends, family and clients to be. Through social media or my blog(s), I’ve always wanted to maintain the reality of my personality. Partly because I want to be genuine and act with integrity, but also because I feel like keeping up a fake persona would just be so much work and, if I’m honest, I probably don’t have a lengthy enough attention span to make it happen. When people caution others to be careful about what they put on social media for how it might impact their careers or other goals, I often think that maybe the more helpful advice would just be to be a better person. Know what I mean?

But once I dug a little deeper into this advice and really searched my heart and soul, I started to realize that there is one way in which I hold back, one way in which I’m not really honest or myself. I did some digging into the things I enjoy, what makes me happy and how I get the most out of life. What I’m about to say is something that it took me a long time to realize (and even longer to accept), something for which I have a passive-aggressive acquaintance to thank and something that I’ve slowly had to become more comfortable with.

i am a cheerleader

I don’t cheer for everyone and I certainly don’t cheer for everything, but I am at least a little bit in love with so many of the people and things I see in the world and so many of the things that I do. I like drawing attention to great things that are being done. I like putting a spotlight on the people who are doing them. Based on my perception, there really isn’t anything wrong with that, but I couldn’t avoid asking myself the question: why do I hide it? I didn’t come up with a very thorough or complex answer, but here are a few of my suspicions. (My awaken response in brackets.)

  • People get really ornery when it comes to positivity and enthusiasm. I have to defend myself against naysayers on the regular. (That isn’t something I enjoy.)
  • It can come across as fake, gimmicky, simple or trite. (I am none of those things.)
  • Sometimes people have different opinions/experiences. (Big deal. You do you.)
  • What if I’m wrong? (Are you even being serious with this?)

Finally, there’s the old, haunting standby: “loving things isn’t a theme” to which I have decided to take the position, “says who?” Because loving things is my theme – it’s how I go through my days and nights, it’s what makes me smile and laugh, it’s how I choose who to spend my time with and what we will do. This is who I am and that is exactly how I want to be.

And, you know what I concluded, the more I thought about it? If they don’t like it, well fuck ’em.

And then Rory Lula McMahan posted this on her Instagram this morning: The High Priestess. Here was her summary of today’s occurrence of this card.

LITTLE: Put some heart in your head. BIG: There is too much going on right now. Your mind is spinning with tasks, ideas, goals, dreams, wants, needs – and a great big dose of overwhelm. There is just so much you think you should be getting done, but all you keep hearing yourself say is how you can’t get anything figured out, or even which direction to start in. Don’t write off that spinning head of yours. It is actually trying to get a great deal of valuable information out for you to use, in its own ridiculously tangled way. The key for moving from anxiety to efficiency – or more importantly, peace – is to filter it all through your soul. The world, and your mind, is telling you to do only the things they desire from you. But right now, you need to figure out what it is that you desire. Not the pipe dreams and what-ifs and quietly envious imitations, but what you truly, really, actually want to do with your very sacred time. Stop worrying about if anyone else is going to like it and think about whether you do. That fear and frustration, that knot in your belly, is definitely not any fun, but it is up to you to look deeper and understand which parts are telling you to let go and which parts are telling you to dig in, which parts are obligation and which are love, which are the voices of others and which is the voice of your own true self. Yes, it feels like a war is being waged within your own inner spaces. And as with any war, there will be some loss. But listen, and you will finally hear what your intuition has been whispering through the chaos: You are actually on the verge of gaining it all.

I think that confirms it. That confirms everything.  ♥

What does this mean for this space? All good things. Stick around and you can expect more loving, more sharing, more cheerleading. And now that I’m free to be me, I’m hoping there’ll be a little more consistency.

What’s holding you back? How could you be more true to yourself online and off?

The podcast I wish I’d created

I wrote yesterday about how I’d listened to Elizabeth Dehn on the Being Boss podcast episode 123 last week and that I really liked her vibe. The truth is that words can’t really describe how much I mean that. From the very start of her intro, I knew that she was someone who was going to have a big influence on me if for no other reason than that we are so very similar. Now, we certainly don’t have the same roots (she is the founder of a very successful beauty website while my interest in cosmetic products is of the strictly functional variety) but we got to the same place which is a pretty mainstream lifestyle with a seriously non-traditional wellness bent. Or, as she puts it in her bio on BeautyBets.com, “a hippie disguised in J.Crew.” I identify with that so much and have for so long. I was friends with all the super jock dudes in high school who called me Moonbeam because I could talk sports with them in class, but the rest of the time, I was their little flower child. An interesting dynamic to say the least, but one I’ve cherished as it’s come up from time to time throughout my life. Kevin loves that Moonbeam story and I think it’s because he can totally identify with it. Though I never dated those guys. You know, just for the record.

So, yes, Elizabeth Dehn launched Beauty Bets and it became and continues to be a huge success. Her most recent expansion took her into the world of podcasting and a sharp veer from the discussion of brushes and lipsticks. (Although, she really is so darling that even a non-makeup person like me can actually enjoy reading her makeup stuff.) It’s with the first season of her show called HEALERS where she welcomes a different guest onto each episode and gives the audience a thorough introduction into their particular specialty.

She had me at hello.

The day I made my discovery, I went home and downloaded every episode of the podcast. I was so thrilled that I made a sacred ritual out of listening and only played it when it could have my undivided attention (i.e. on my way to and from work, but not in the office or at home while I was doing something else and could get distracted.) Still, I was through the whole ten episode series in little over two days. It was fascinating and fantastic and I could have listened to one hundred more episodes. From each one, I learned, I was inspired and I had at least one takeaway.

There was an astrologer, a nutritionist, a, intuitive medium, a therapist, a pagan priestess, an aura photographer, a colonic therapist, a breathworker, a money & happiness guru and a home & life organizer. Doesn’t all of that sounds so great? Well, it does to me. And throughout each episode (35-45 minutes per) I felt – and I know it sounds hokey to say it, but – home, at peace, surrounded by people like me. And I don’t feel like that all that often.

Almost all of my medical care is naturopathic and I feel blessed that the specialists that I deal with are not only supportive of that, but actually encourage it. I’m open to many things and I usually jump at the opportunity to try something new. Acupuncture? I’m a regular. Floats? I love ’em. Hypnotherapy? I’ve even tried that. I think one thing that really excited me about this podcast was the chance to be able to add a few more things to my bucket list.

I loved the astrology episode the best (and I am actually in the process of booking a meeting of my own with Stephanie Gailing.) The episode talking to the founder of Less Mess. More Life. gave me some inspiration to tackle the bedroom that I haven’t really unpacked since our recent move (while giving me a lot to chew on about why I haven’t already…) and the chat with the founder of Move Colonics even has me seriously thinking about colon hydrotherapy.

As the world of functional medicine grows and we hear and read more and more about different kinds of non-traditional treatments and therapies, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and not know where to begin. HEALERS opens the door to new things and makes it really comfortable to go inside, learn more and, most importantly, answers the question: where do I start?

BONUS: Don’t miss the Healers Handbook that breaks down show notes from every episode while adding actions and activities to enhance the topics and make it easier to bring them into your life.

What kinds of non-traditional care do you use? What kinds are you curious about?

Little wins

Sometimes the little wins are the things you need to focus on to get through the muck and the mire of a regular day. Like when you get presale tickets to see your favourite band on the same day when a friend announces that she is coming to town to spend her birthday weekend at your place.

Happy Wednesday!

Something to look forward to

For the past few months, I’ve been really into listening to podcasts. More than any other, the one I like the most is Happier with Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen and her sister, Elizabeth Craft, talk all things happiness including their own personal happiness hacks, research into happiness inducing habits while also giving themselves both demerits and gold stars based on their own real life experiences.

In the most recent episode, they talked about the importance of having something to look forward to. Elizabeth shared what she’d developed into her personal belief that everyone should have a few things to look forward to. In fact, she refers to it as the ABCs: on smaller thing, one slightly bigger thing and one major thing. The examples she gave were a favourite TV show to watch for the small thing, a girls’ night out for the medium thing and a weekend away for the big thing.

I couldn’t agree more on the subject of having something to look forward to and I really like the idea of having an ABC plan. Without realizing it, I’ve actually hit on this belief myself before in both negative and positive ways.

Right now, my big thing is easily the trip that we are taking this weekend to spend time with our friends in Vancouver, Washington. This whole day will be agony as we wait to board our flight to Portland and I’m sure the trek will feel like it takes forever. Overall, though, I am excited beyond words. Like, in a constantly group texting the hours until our flight leaves or until we’ll get there excited. I’m in the office today, but the only thing I really had to do this morning was go for a run. It’s a run day, after all. Now, without speaking too much about my training (because, snore) I have been struggling with some pain and I’ve also been steadily increasing my endurance. Obviously, some days are better than others. Today? I could have run all the way to their house. I was happy, I was strong, I was focused and I was (as close as I get to) a rock star. Sure, part of that was the work I have been putting in, but part of it is also completely mental: I woke up excited about my big thing to look forward to. That pushed me further and it made me better.

On the flip side, I can remember times when I have said these exact words to Kevin in the fit of a frustrated slump of some sort: I HAVE NOTHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO. (Okay, that sounds way more dramatic than its actual context, but it’s true that I’ve said it.) These are in lulls of travelless months, endlessly dreary days or times when we don’t have anything really exciting or satisfying going on. Have you ever felt that? The need to just do something to break up the monotony? I think that’s what they’re talking about.

So, in the light of my amazing run this morning, imagine my delight when the first podcast I played at my desk was talking about the significance of having something to look forward to. 🙂

And, if I had to pick my ABCs right now…

A (little): This Is Us. Okay, so it’s only two episodes in, but I could really see myself falling for this show. Seriously. In a real Parenthood kind of way.

B (medium): Happier Live in Seattle next week. I swear, I’m not obsessed. Or if I am, it’s just a little.

C (big): THIS WEEKEND! (Seven hours until we board that plane!!)

Two more tiny points in favour of having something to look forward to:

  1. Sometimes something to look forward to can work as a reward for getting through a really tough day/week/time
  2. Sometimes the act of looking forward to is equal to or even more enjoyable than the actual experience

Do you make a conscious effort of having things to look forward to? What are your things to look forward to ABCs right now?