A Year of Change

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Fearless~not lacking fear, but embracing confidence

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A few months ago I decided to make a decision that has been years in the making—quit my nine to five and do what I love. It was a craving I’ve had for some time now. One I would begin to satisfy and then starve myself from. The reason always being fear. What if I didn’t make enough money to support myself? What if I failed? What if people thought I was crazy? What if… If you’ve read any of my posts, you’ll know that the what if is an excuse we place because of insecurity and fear. It’s a cover up to avoid the worst. Why do we even imagine the worst? We are masochists. We rather dwell on our failures than bask in our success. Because of fear.

When I saw this sign at a store, I had to get it. I had it pinned on a Pinterest board and thought to myself, “One day I’ll buy that.” I’d say it was pure coincidence finding it when I did, but there is no such thing as a coincidence. I found the sign when I needed to find it. I found it when I was beginning a new journey. I found it when I had decided to put aside my fears and dive head first into the unknown. A big unknown.

I’m not to say that I live one hundred percent fearlessly because I am still growing and learning. I am still lifting my confidence and belief in all I can accomplish. But when I decided to quit teaching to become a full-time writer and LuLaRoe Consultant, I decided to take a risk on my happiness. It was then that I asked myself, “How much do you believe in YOU?” Working independently can be a difficult road. I’m a realist. There are and will be challenges and there will be moments I question my own sanity. (More than I already do. ;)) However, this was something I needed to do for me. How could I preach confidence and worth when I wasn’t fully giving myself the opportunity to live my truth?

So has begun the journey of being self-employed, of flexibility, and of hard work. I have worked hard my whole life for things I love, and sometimes for what I didn’t love. I’ve always taken my jobs seriously. But this time, this is for me. This new career path was a choice in my personal journey as well. I’ve been working hard in my self-confidence, my security, my self-love. This is my turn to look at what I can do, believe in myself, and work from the heart.

I can make what I love a priority and turn it into a career. How great is that? Talking to my aunt and cousin the other day, we were discussing our purpose. My aunt said, “Your purpose is what comes from the heart. It’s something that fulfills you. Not just a job, but going into that job knowing you are doing what you love and working happily in that choice.” That’s what I’m starting to do.

I’ve always wanted to write. I’ve been working towards having a career where I can guide others, and my words do that. Now, I can help empower women as well in growing that confidence, because for me, LuLaRoe is more than clothes. It’s an opportunity teach others what I, myself, have learned about self-worth and self-love. Through writing and fashion I can live out my purpose. I can incorporate my healing practices and what I’ve learned in that journey.

In LuLaRoe, they ask what your Why is. Why did you want to join this company? Why did you want to become a consultant? My why is simple, I want to be happy. I want to empower others by empowering myself. I want to accomplish greatness and wake up each morning excited about what I do. Will I sometimes still feel fear? Probably. It’s part of life, right? It’s part of the lessons and reminder that we can crush that negative voice and continue to believe in ourselves. It’s overcoming that fear which allows us to continue becoming empowered.

I am a work in progress, just like the many stories I create. Just like the business I run. We are constantly growing and learning, but when I see my sign and I read the word Fearless, I am reminded of my strength. I am reminded that above all, I have the ability to create my own happiness.

My Letter to a Fictional Character

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Reading—the act of understanding written words and symbols. I searched the definition of the verb “to read,” and they were all the same; understanding and following written words or phrases, to speak aloud the words in a book or magazine.

Nowhere did I find the true meaning of what it means to read, or what happens to a person when they dive into a story they love. No technical definition will show that. It’s a connection between reader and author, reader and characters, reader and words, that is intimate and unique. No two people read the same book.

I developed my love for reading at an older age when I came across books that resonated with me, that made me look at myself and the world differently, whether they were fiction or nonfiction, because they were my thing. Or maybe I developed it later because I wasn’t ready to look within myself and explore what I’d find there. Whatever the reason, I’m glad I finally found this gift.

I believe we read books, which for the most part resonate deeply within us, with characters that mirror us. Whether it’s the main characters, just one quality of them, a secondary character, the hero or the villain, some part of their character development strikes us as familiar. The emotions, the actions, whatever it may be, allow us to form a deeper connection.

I’ve been thinking about characters a lot. The characters I create in my books and those I come across by chance when I pick up a book and allow it to consume me. These characters have impacted me one way or another, each and every one of them, and I thought it was time I wrote them a letter. I felt the need to communicate with them my feelings, and as soon as I started writing, the words poured out from somewhere inside of me that I know I don’t let the world always see. Lately, I have been much more romantic than my usual ways. Instead of thinking how to break-up my couples or kill off a character, I have been focusing on how to create the most happily ever after.

I have read and loved books that range from The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet to Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James. Yes, it’s a wide range of genres but I have learned something from each book that has wrapped me up in its world—accept myself and my journey. This is a lesson I have struggled with for a long time, so it is only appropriate that I learn this lesson over and over again in literature, something that I do for pleasure and not to “learn” from. The joke’s on me because there is always something to learn from everything we do and come across. Right? We gotta love life’s lessons.

I have come to meet characters like Jack Jackson from The Pillars of the Earth, who is known as the odd boy or “village idiot.” What I admired the most about Jack was his persistence in reaching his goals and, although it was not easy, how he maintained true to himself. It was his true version that got Aliena to fall in love with him. It was his compassion and quiet soul that achieved the building of such a cathedral.

Anna in Fifty Shades of Grey is one of those characters that has such low self-esteem that I immediately understood her. She is the epitome of the mousy character we hate to love because we want to shake them and yell for them to open their eyes and look in a mirror. But how many times have I looked at myself in the mirror and not really seen me? As we read her story, we see her confidence growing and how strong of a woman she really is when she releases her own self-doubt and embraces the person she was born to be.

Then, I come across Santiago from The Alchemist. Oh, Santiago, you are a man after my own heart. He is a wise boy who follows his dreams; doubts and hesitation included, but does so regardless. Santiago goes in search of a treasure that is within him the entire time. Sometimes we need to go on the journey so it can teach us how to look within and listen to ourselves. The universe is inside all of us because we are one with it, and we hold its secrets in our soul.

These books and many more taught me to continue being who I am regardless of what people think of me because I am unique. There is no other me to fulfill my purpose in life and accepting that opened my eyes and heart. These characters have become a part of me because I am each and every one of them. I have lived what they have to some degree. I may not be a mousy girl falling in love with a dom or a “village idiot” but at one point in my life I have hidden myself from the world.

Yes, at one point I may have been ashamed of who I was, but I have learned to embrace my true essence and share it with the world. Books can teach us many things, and it is the lessons and characters that resonates with us that make these stories magical. Let your hair down and run wild with yourself. Be-you-tiful.

What better way to communicate with a dear character than by the same way they came to you, words.

Dear You,

Or me. Because we may be one in the same.

Who would have thought that fate would bring us together, wrapping us in an intimate cocoon of affection when we are worlds apart. I thank the Universe for bringing you into my life, because although people think you are not real, you very much are so.

You are me—a part of me I have yet to discover or a part of me that I have hidden from the world. Through you I have found that part of me and built the courage to show myself.

I have fallen in love with you, many times, over and over again because I have fallen in love with myself. And I thank you for offering your hand in guiding me through life’s lessons and teaching me what I need to learn. Although you are part of a story created by someone else, you have impacted my life and woven yourself into my threads because we are one. We are connected.

Thank you for coming into my life and teaching me to love and forgive, to laugh and cry. Thank you for teaching me that it is okay to show my emotions to the world and to feel the world around me completely and honestly. You have wrapped me up in your world for the short time I get to spend with you, but no matter how short our affair may be, it is forever remembered in my heart.

My fictional character, the one that brings out the best in me and proves to me that it is required to dream in life and to fall in love. If you were here, in a physical form, we would be soul mates dancing in the moonlight. Instead, I live with you through the pages of a book, memorizing your scent and your words.

Until we meet again, keep me with you as I will keep you with me.

Sincerely,

Me

Lessons in Nature~What we see when we are centered and open

Sometimes what we need to see is right in front of us.
Sometimes what we need to see is right in front of us.

I was driving to meet two blogger friends­—one of them is a fellow author as well—when I hit major fog on I-75 driving north from Miami. Now, fog isn’t very common in South Florida so I’m not accustomed to driving in it. At first I thought it was a sheet of rain and was relieved when I realized it was fog. Ironic, huh? I’m used to rain but prefer to drive in something I am not familiar with.

The fog wasn’t terrible to drive in but it lasted for miles, some miles heavier than others, but I was always able to see the road right in front of me.

When I looked back through my rearview mirror I saw the sheet of gray that I had left behind. If I looked forward into the part of the road that awaited me, I saw another gray sheet. I was grateful for having the road clear enough for me to see a few yards ahead. Then it would get really heavy, likely relaying the message to pay attention to what the fog represented.

Finally it clicked just as I was stretching my neck like a giraffe to look ahead over the streak of humidity on my windshield to see just how bad the fog was up ahead. I just got it. I looked immediately in front of me where my car was, then through the rearview mirror. My mind was catching up slowly, testing me like our minds tend to do.

Then, in the silence of my car, I chuckled. I literally laughed out loud and told the universe, “touché, universe, touché.” The universe knows what we need and when we need it. As I was driving, my mind was relaxed and focused on the present, but I had been going through some rough days anxious about the future. The fog was there to remind me that the past is blurry and finished with, and the future is still not clear since we haven’t arrived to it yet. The present moment is the one that is transparent because it is where we are living. Our actions in the present moment mold our path for the future, releasing the past as it happens and continuing to move forward with an open mind and heart.

I thanked the fog for that reminder. Many times, most times for me, we are so obsessed with what will happen that we miss what is happening right now. Or we obsess with how to change the past when the only thing we can do is learn from it and continue to more forward, taking each lesson with us to help us grow.

I definitely needed that lesson during that week, so I made a pact with myself to release the stress and worry and just have fun in the present, as I trust the universe to work its magic. And what a mighty magic wand the universe owns when we trust it and allow our purpose to expand. Everything will work out the way it is meant to for all of our highest good, and when we trust and release the negativity that can sneak in, the universe conspires to helps us reach those desires.

Before this experience, I was aware that I needed to release the anxiety of the future and be present in the now, but that’s easier said than done, right? It took nature to interfere as something that I am not familiar with, something that would have really caught my attention, for me to learn this lesson. Then I thought to myself after I realized what was happening, Watch how the fog clears up now that you’ve learned your lesson. A couple of miles later the sun shone on my car and the view was clear.

It is amazing how we coexist in the world—humans, nature, animals—to create a balance and learn from each other. I want to share three practices that can help release anxiety and be mindful because we may not always have the fog right in our faces to open our eyes.

Tools for mindful living:

  1. Before getting out of bed in the morning, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Inhale and exhale slowly and steady, clearing your mind. You can repeat an affirmation for the day. An example, I am present, body and soul, in this moment. If you are struggling on releasing a worry or stress, you can repeat, I release what no longer serves me and accept what is, moving forward with an open heart.
  2. Go for a walk and be aware of your surroundings. Focus on the colors of the leaves, the flowers, the noises around you. Is there a dog barking or the wind blowing? Leave your electronics at home or in your car, and be one with your surroundings. A color walk is also wonderful. Choose a color in your mind, preferably not a common one in your area, and as you walk, focus on that color around you. These are different ways to disconnect from the chaotic world and come back to center.
  3. Do something you love. Whether it is painting, writing, exercise or cooking. Feed your soul with something that fulfills you and focus on that. Be mindful of the words you are writing or the vegetables you are chopping, the brush strokes, the movement of your hands or fingers across an instrument. When you do things that are true to you, you release negativity and open your mind to positive thinking. You create feel-good moments.