Monday, April 21, 2014

A New Day

Oh, hello again.

I have been gone. Obviously.  
It seems like it has been forever. 

The truth is, I have been really reluctant to show my face (well, you know, metaphorically) on this blog because it hasn't felt fun in a while. 

It feels constricted. 

It hasn't felt authentic. 

I hate that word. Authentic. How can we be more our "authentic" selves? We can't. We just are them. And when we try to define ourselves by something outside of us, or when we try to craft and mold our lives to appear a certain way in order to be "our most authentic", we end up severing our cord to our own inner truth. 

So then what do I mean when I say this hasn't felt authentic? 

I mean that I've been putting on heirs. 
I have been crafting my life and my writing and this blog to look and appear a certain way. 
I fell prey to the idea that in order to be a veritable force in the wellness world, I had to conform to the Wellness Ideals. 

Well, I am over perpetuating someone else's ideal. 

I'm over preaching what I don't myself practice all of the time. 
I'm over talking the talk that I don't myself walk. 

And not because I don't believe, in many ways, the beneficial nature of what I have been preaching. 

But it's not the whole picture. 

And when you don't have the whole picture, sometimes this can lead to dangerous and misinformed territory aka unhealthy relationships to our food, our bodies and our lives. 

I am not down with that. 

I am down with creating a more vulnerable space to share with my fellow humans the things that most stir my soul. I am down with creating a shared, sacred corner of the web so that others may throw off their own cloaks of invisibility and show up, as they are, without pretense. 

I am down with messiness. 
I am down with fear. 
I am down with emotional overwhelm. 
I am down with sadness. 
I am down with falling off the wagon, getting back on, imperfections, getting started, quitting, growth, introspection, laziness, productivity and everything in between. 

I don't think that the best way to serve people is to show up as who we think we should be. I don't think that the best way to serve people is by serving up our own story as the way things are. I don't believe that the best way to serve people is by presenting them with another goal to reach or idol to worship or method to implement. 

To me, the best way that I can serve people is to just keep on being me. Getting real. Showing up as my messy, imperfect self and saying, "Hey, guys. Listen…here I am with my real shit. I am working on loving myself more & treating myself with more kindness and compassion." 

I am really not that interested in being a "coach" or a "guide"...or an expert. 
I am more interested in connecting.
I am more interested in sharing. 

I am much, much, much (infinitely!) more interested in just peeling back the layers. I don't want to create more separation and more boundaries by holding my truth back. Because, really, we can never connect that way. 

So, I guess this is just kind of my way of saying hello again. In easing back into this crazy, weird thing called blogging & honoring my own values, my own desires, my own intentions. 

If you have made it this far, I want to extend my deepest thanks to you. Not because you are reading my words but because you are giving me the chance to connect with you. This is my way and it's nice to have you here with me. 

Until next time…

xo Ashley

Friday, March 14, 2014

10 Ways To Have A Great Day

Some days I wake up and just feel...blah.

Whether it be from a lack of sleep, eating too soon before bed, a little too much to drink, hormones *ahem*, sometimes we all need a little pick-me-up. And, no, I am not talking about a third cup of coffee.

These are my top ten methods for sparking my inner enthusiasm and joy when I just can't seem to dislodge my negativity

1. Deep breathing and/or 
There's really nothing that helps me more than sitting my ass down on my meditation pillow and finding my center. It doesn't have to be formal, or even long, just find a comfortable space where you can sit, place your hands gently in your lap and just breathe. 

2. Affirmations
You are going to look crazy and you are going to feel really, really awkward. Do it anyway. Look yourself in the eyes and tell yourself something lovely: I love you. You are perfect. You are brilliant. You embody grace. You lift others up. Your body is bangin'. You are worthy of love and happiness. You have a wicked sense of humor. You don't have to think too much of it, just notice the shifts that happen mid-way. Pretty powerful.

3. Pamper Yourself
Light some candles. Take a bath. Treat yourself to something nice. Get a manicure. Massage. Take the day off and spend it reading or laying at a park.

4. Clean
Our outer world often mimics our inner world and yes, it works the other way around. If you are feeling stressy or scatterbrained or just plain bummed, get out the broom and start sweeping. Organize your closet. Re-arrange your furniture so that it is more zen. Give the toilet a good scrubbin'. You will feel accomplished & more relaxed when your space is nice and tidy.

5. Put on Music & Dance Your Ass Off
Sometimes our mental energy gets stuck. Take it and move it through your body. Dance. Do yoga. Go for a run. Jump rope. Music has a magical way of lifting our spirits and when you combine it with movement, your mood will soar.

6. Send a Love Note
Most of the time our negativity arises because we are thinking about ourselves. When we shift the focus to others, and how we can help them or brighten their days, our internal atmosphere changes. Writing a love note or sending someone a loving text message always lifts my mood.

7. Write A Gratitude List
What we focus on expands. This is a great way to start your day everyday, but especially when you feel kinda meh. Acknowledge any and all of the good things in your life. They can be big or small, personal or universal.

8. Say a Prayer
Or just send out a wish into the universe. Let yourself off the hook a little by trusting in what is provided & watching for the answers or signs.

9. Make something healthy
Healthy food makes you feel better. It's pretty simple. Usually, juicing is what I recommend, but if you don't have a juicer, blend some fruits and veggies. If you don't have a blender...what on earth are you doing…go immediately to a store and get one and then make a smoothie.

10. Indulge
Sometimes a little treat really boosts my mojo. The goal here is to bring awareness to the indulgence, and not to use it as a means to go unconscious and stuff your feelings. My favorite way to indulge is a piece of raw chocolate (I can feel your eye rolls from here), but I also love a slice or two from my local pizzeria, an organic vegan brownie, a nice glass of wine or gourmet homemade popcorn. It's soul food.

I also posted this question to my Facebook page and below are some of the responses I received…

 how do you get yourself "un-stuck" when you are feeling fearful, depressed, insecure, etc.?

  • prayer & meditation
  • sunshine! 
  • engage in something you are passionate about
  • cuddles (I love this one & I wholeheartedly agree)
  • float in a hot spring
  • surround yourself with people who you feel comfortable with
  • ecstatic dance
  • journal
Do you have any suggestions that you didn't see here? I would love to know in the comments below what you do to perk up when your mood is a little low! 

To great days & good moods,

xo Ashley