Defiant Self-Love

In March 2015, I was running a shopping errand for my job. I got to the register and to my left were some fancy Tocca candles sitting there, enticing me. For me, there isn’t anything like a fancy candle, they're my heaven on earth. I had signed a new lease just hours before and thought to myself, "I should get a fancy new candle for my fancy new apartment." I sniffed a few and finally chose a floral scent. Later that afternoon, I got to my new apartment where only a few suitcases, one sparkling water, and one Yerba mate resided. 

I had been on the road the previous nine months experiencing what I like to call my nomadic journey. I had broken up with a boyfriend a year before. We had shared a beautiful house together and the last thing I wanted to do after a break-up was immediately downsize myself into a one-bedroom. I knew my emotions wouldn’t handle that very well, having come from the magical house that I loved, and not to mention with someone I thought I was going to marry. So, I did something courageous and completely out of my norm. I packed all my belongings into storage (minus a few suitcases of my clothes and my laptop) and headed out to stay with friends, housesit, pet-sit, and sublet. I wanted an adventure. I wanted to blossom into myself. My heart was wide open (while my personal belongings were tightly closed off in storage unit). 

I find it comical that I was nomading for nine months - it was a re-birth of myself, mentally, physically and spiritually. So many wonderful, life changing moments happened during those nine months. My favorite being a two-week period when my best friend and mentor, David, and I ended up at a house in Venice Beach, which we loving refer to as the Lakshmi house. Lakshmi is the Hindu Goddess of beauty and abundance. She’s there to remind us that everything’s going to be alright, and not just alright, but abundantly and beautifully alright. This amazing abode had Lakshmi everything – it might as well have been a Lakshmi giftshop. 

David and I were both restructuring our lives when one night while at the Lakshmi house, we came to a mutual agreement. We were going to live epic lives from here on out. Which meant we had to do the f*cking work – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. If we were going to be epic, we had to burn the ships (along with the planes, trains, and automobiles). Mediocre lives were no longer an option. We knew that living with our hearts wide open in vulnerability and authenticity was the new black. We shook upon it. 

As I sat on the living room floor at my new apartment next to my luggage, I opened up my new candle to light it. I hadn’t noticed during my sniffing spree but inside the light purple box, on the top part of the cardboard lid, were the words, “Love Yourself.” Something inside me decided this was worthy of keeping, so I cut it out and saved it for my vision board. 

Three years later, I found myself yearning for more change. I wanted to go on the road again, nomadic style, knowing that at the end of this next nomadic journey, there is a completely different life waiting for me – and, it’s the one I’ve been waiting for – and consciously building step by step - my entire life. Moving locations is such an ordeal, not just physically, but energetically. Re-rooting yourself shakes your core. I was craving the shake, knowing that shake will land me right where I need to be next.  

As I made my arrangements of where I was going to travel, were I was going to lay my head at night, and where I was going to store my furniture, I looked over at my vision board on my office wall. I saw my “Love Yourself” candle box cut out. It dawned on me that this was the apartment I learned to love myself in. (Be careful what you glue down!)

I learned to love myself so hard core that I turned it into my life, my brand, my future. I started writing my life’s work while living in this apartment. I got healthy while living in this apartment. I attracted in new high vibe tribe friends and love/business/life partners while living in this apartment. I manifested my future while living in this apartment. I healed myself while living in this apartment. I fell in love with myself while living in this apartment.

I had no idea when I cut out that little cardboard from the candle box that all of these beautiful things would happen. I also find it hilarious that my key to the apartment had the word “defiant” on it, because that’s certainly what I was while I was creating my self-love lifestyle. I didn’t let anything stop me - I was going to love myself or bust. David has always used the word defiant to describe me, but in a good way… or at least that’s how I’ve chosen to interpret it. I’ve never meet someone who had become massively successful without having some defiance innately in them. 

During the first week of my nomadic journey round two, I was having second thoughts. Did I do the right thing? Am I on the right path? What if… what if… what if?! Oh anxiety, you’re really not welcome in my head any longer, please leave. I curled up in my best friend Hunter’s room. He had been traveling for the month and let me stay at his place because that’s what best friends do (although upon further inspection, he might have let me stay because he knew I’d clean it). I’ve been to his place a number of times and I could have certainly told you that he had tapestries hanging on his walls. But, I had no clue what was on them. I guess I’d never fully paid attention to them before because I wasn’t meant to know until now. 

Right as I was about to freak out about my current nomadic journey, I looked over at his wall. A Lakshmi tapestry. I laughed, hard. The universe was basically telling me, "You’ve got this. You made the right choice. Here’s a Lakshmi to prove it." In the other room was a Saraswati tapestry, the Hindu Goddess of creativity, music and writing. Jokes on me. Anxiety is such a waste of time when there are signs all around you. 

I love what’s coming next. I can see some of it, and then other parts I can’t. But, such is my life… I can always see the final outcome but never the path to get there. Jokes on me again because if I saw the path to get there it would probably be pretty boring and pointless. So, here I am again, nomading round two, with my heart wide open (and my personal belongings tightly closed off in storage unit). 

 

 

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Inner and Outer Glow

*Originally published in Spotlight Magazine in English and Norwegian, October 2017. 

A plethora of people – ranging from strangers to close friends – always tell me that I have a certain glow about me. Many years ago, while having had experience in the cosmetic and beauty world, I thought they were talking about my tinted moisturizer and bronzer. However, I’ve learned over the years that they’re not talking about that glow. The glow they’re referring to is the inner beauty that shines through, inevitably creating outer beauty.

So, how do I get my glow? It is a combination of mind, body and spirit. I believe when all three are aligned, inner and outer beauty shine brightly.

Let’s start with the mind. By now, in 2017, the world is becoming more familiar with positive thinking and the law of attraction than ever before. We see all sorts of uplifting quotes being posted on social media, celebrities talking about their experiences and a huge amount of self-help books geared towards changing your thoughts to change your experience. While easier said than done, happy thoughts do create a more beautiful you. Every time a negative thought sneaks in my brain, I remind myself that it does not serve me to think in such a way and I let that thought pass on by.

The second part, the body, is the old adage of “you are what you eat.” Coming from someone who has lost over 50 pounds, I know this to be very true. I started paying attention to what I put in my body. When I eat more organic and healthy foods, my entire body performs better. The minute I break away from my healthy habits and eat something I know I shouldn’t (like a cupcake), my body reacts immediately by having a headache. 

Something I have also been focusing on lately is my sleep pattern. Sleep is so important for health, wellness and that glow. So many of us downplay sleep due to busy schedules (I know, I used to be one of these people). I began to prioritize my sleep by going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning (including weekends!). This changed my moods and my energy levels. I used to reach for a coffee during the first hour of being awake. Now, coffee is no longer apart of my diet (however, I do enjoy my Yerba Mate in the early afternoons!).

Another important part of the body is exercise. I spent my entire childhood dancing. When I got to college, I completely stopped all forms of movement (which – along with unhealthy, processed foods - lead to my weight gain. I did the freshman 15 each year of college). I spent nearly seven years not exercising. I was not healthy – in mind, body, or spirit - during those years. Eventually, I found a vinyasa flow yoga practice, which opened up my eyes to a whole new world. Each time I walk out of a yoga class, I glow like a spotlight on a stage. Not only does yoga provide me with a sweaty workout, I also get to quiet my mind and meditate.

Which brings me to the final part, spirit. I had a conversation with a friend recently about what the world needs more of. We both agreed that the world needs more people aligned with their purpose. I took an unorthodox career path, which many people questioned and even criticized me on.  As it turns out, my choice to follow my inner calling – and instinct - has served me quite well. I believe this to be true as I am able to look at my outer surroundings, observing the life that I’ve created for myself by taking inventory of the material things that I am blessed to have. But, more importantly, I wake up every day in gratitude with a sense of purpose. I know what I’m here to do on this planet and I strive to achieve it daily. So many of us get caught in the spin cycle of what our families and society want us to be while shoving down our innate calling. Shoving down your purpose and passion isn’t serving anyone. In fact, it’s slowing deteriorating you. When you fully step into your purposeful path, you have no choice but to glow from the inside out. When you nurture your mind, body, and spirit, you nurture the world. 

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