Do What Feels The Most Like Love

what feels the most like love

The title of this post came to me one day during meditation. I had spent the day beating myself up about what I should be doing and what I wasn’t doing. I was busy holding myself to these random standards – but it occurred to me I had no idea where these standards came from.

This is something most of us do. We make commitments, we compare ourselves to others, we have a list of shoulds, and then we beat ourselves up when we fall short. I mean, since when? Where did we learn this crap? Surely, it isn’t productive. It isn’t loving. It isn’t supportive. It isn’t self-love. It only contributes to an overwhelming feeling of self-doubt that may evolve to self-hate. We end up at war with ourselves.

If everything you do must be measured against the opinion of everyone else, what happens to your opinion of yourself? – Dr. Wayne Dyer

I learned one very important thing this year, I am no longer playing by someone else’s rules. I am playing by my own. Red flags go up now when something doesn’t feel right. I have given myself permission to do what feels the most like love.

If I am not having fun, I am not doing it. If it doesn’t make me feel alive, I am not doing it. If I don’t enjoy it, I am not doing it. If it doesn’t enrich my life, I am not doing it. If it doesn’t serve my highest good, I am not doing it.

And sometimes, it can really be that simple. As simple as making the decision that I will no longer do or entertain that which does not feel like love.

So what will YOU do?

The Self-Care Activist – Cool People I Know

self-care

I love sharing with you some of the cool people I know through this series. These individuals are truly special. They’ll share what inspires them, what has changed them, what they know about life, and how they got to where they are today. I am so proud of the woman you are about to meet, she is now writing content for the Huffington Post. She is all about self-love and self-care, topics I full heartedly support! It took me such a long time to learn what that meant – anyone who spends time spreading the self-love gospel is super cool in my book.

So, without further ado meet Angie…

My name is Angie Andrews. I live in Fayston Vermont with my husband, my 2 sons, and our 2 dogs. I am a mom, a wife, an entrepreneur, a career woman, a yogi, and many other things. I am very excited to say that I recently launched my new website www.angieandrewsinspire.com. This is where I intend to serve others through 1:1 coaching and my blog. I am also in the beginning stages of planning retreats that will give women an opportunity to engage in radical self- care. My desire is to inspire women to fall in love with who they are right now and to care for themselves fully.

What circumstances led you to your profession?

I was led to creating my business by personal experience and by a deep knowing that I am here to serve others. This began to reveal itself to me while on a retreat in Maui about a year ago. I had felt for some time that I was off course with my career. When I went away on my own and allowed myself to be quiet and learned how to really listen, it became clear. I want to help others that are feeling off course and stuck to find their way back to themselves.

I truly believe that women will save the world. The first step in that direction is for us to take such good care of ourselves and make ourselves so full that we can spread more love and light in the world.

 What inspires you?

What inspires me is watching women care for themselves and loving themselves right where they are. When I see women embrace who they are and fill themselves up first, I feel inspired and full of joy. I truly believe that women will save the world. The first step in that direction is for us to take such good care of ourselves and make ourselves so full that we can spread more love and light in the world.

What is the one valuable thing you have learned in life?

I would have to say that the most valuable thing I have learned is that kindness is the most important thing we can engage in. Being kind to others and to ourselves can change everything. Being kind to others can change the course of their day or their life. At the same time, it can create a sense of peace and fulfillment in us. It is a total win/win. Be kind. That is the most important thing I can think of!!

Name an experience that has totally changed you?

I would have to say that the retreat I went to last summer in Maui was the experience that changed me the most. It was not simply the experience, but the fact that I gifted myself the time to really get to know myself that created the biggest shift. Being isolated from my life and learning to care for myself in a way I never had, changed they way I operate in my life. I no longer take care of others first. I know that I must take care of myself and connect with my higher power before I can take care of anyone else fully. This revelation has been a game changer for me personally, professionally, and spiritually.

 Take time to listen to your heart, your intuition. It will lead you where you need to go.

What has been your proudest moment?

I would have to say becoming a mom, twice, were my proudest moments. The miracle of growing a baby inside you and birthing it into the world is mind-boggling. Looking back, I am so proud of my body and soul for all the hard work it took to do that. I had pretty rough deliveries, but I stayed strong and have 2 amazing boys to show for it. I continue to be so proud of raising them and seeing what kind and caring beings they are becoming. It is such a huge responsibility to be a parent, but it is also such a source of pride for me.

What is your advice for someone that has not found his or her way in the world yet?

My advice would be to be gentle with yourself. Be kind. Be patient. Do not let the voice in your head that likes to trash talk have the last say. Talk to yourself and encourage yourself like you would someone in your life that you love. Take time to listen to your heart, your intuition. It will lead you where you need to go. It can help you find your purpose here. Once that becomes clear, take action in that direction. Push through the fear and move into uncertainty. That is where the magic starts.

I am all about the advice Angie had to share. Listening to my intuition and embracing uncertainty are two things I’ve become more comfortable doing. I never wanted to do the work – can I just say, that is truly where the magic starts. Thanks, Angie! To learn more about her visit Angie’s website or connect with her on Facebook. If anything in this post resonated with you or moved you, share it with us in the comments, or reach out to Angie and let her know.

The Physician’s Assistant – Cool People I Know

Rabia Vaughns

I simply love this series! These individuals are each so special and have so much to share with the world.  They share what inspires them, what has changed them, what they know about life, and how they got to where they are today.

I’m excited for you to meet Rabia. When I opened her email to look for her responses to my questions, I scrolled down to her picture and once I saw it, it made me smile. She has been so supportive of me while dealing with thyroid issues lately. Anyway, without further ado meet Rabia Vaughns.

My name is Rabia Vaughns and I work as a physician assistant in Dacula, Georgia, about an hour north of Atlanta. For those of you who are not hip to the profession, physician assistants have advanced medical training that enable them to assess and treat health ailments under a supervising physician. 

I specialize in functional medicine, which is an integrative approach to chronic medical conditions. This medical approach is deeply science based and focuses on understanding the complex biochemical relationships that effect the functioning of the body. I view each patient as being unique and different so my treatment plans are personalized to support the natural healing mechanisms of the body.

I have also recently founded New Life Progressive Health, a health education and wellness promotion business. You can check me out online at www.newlifeprogressivehealth.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NewLifeProgressiveHealth

What circumstances led you to your profession?

Looking back there are so many small steps that have led me to where I am now in my career. The first step that started me down my path in medicine occurred when I was a senior in high school in AP Biology. I was assigned to teach the class the female and male reproductive systems. I loved it, and it was the defining moment that eventually led me to later work at Planned Parenthood as a clinician.  

I decided to go to PA school because I was so frustrated every time I went to the doctor.  It was always a rushed visit, and I never felt like my providers really cared or knew what was wrong with me. I didn’t feel good for a long time, and it caused a lot of anxiety. I would do a lot of research on my own and had to become an advocate for my health and wellbeing. I actually went to PA school because I felt a strong internal duty that I had to become a medical professional and be the provider I always wished I had.

What inspires you?

I am inspired and humbled by people who have faced tremendous hardships and obstacles in their lives. People who have made it through the darkness to the other side more expansive and filled with love, and then reach back to help others along.

What changed everything was when I started allow myself to take back the director role in my life. I had to apologize to myself for being so neglectful and get back to the serious business of loving me. Taking action towards creating the life I want, transformed my life. 

What is one valuable thing you’ve learned in life?

No one wins when you compromise your vision or your values. Cling tightly to your vision of what you want you life to be. Not so tightly that you become rigid if the universe throws you a curve ball, but have an idea of what you do and do not want featured in “My Life… the Movie”. 

I recently left my “dream job” because it turned into a nightmare. I was a holistic healthcare provider spending my days teaching others how to be well, but not taking care of myself at all… hypocrite alert!!!!

Everything began to fall apart.  My marriage was on the rocks. My health was in the shitter. I became so depressed, angry, and burnt out that I was virtually paralyzed, unable to make a change but in complete misery. 

What changed everything was when I started allow myself to take back the director role in my life. I had to apologize to myself for being so neglectful and get back to the serious business of loving me. Taking action towards creating the life I want,  transformed my life. Lesson learned!!

Name one experience that has completely changed you.

Travelling to India changed me forever. I have had the opportunity to visit India 4 times in my life, each time staying in Meherabad, which is a place of spiritual pilgrimage for people all around the world. Meherabad is the home to the tomb, otherwise known as the Samadhi, of Meher Baba. Meher Baba is known as an Avatar, or God in human form. The same being that has been known by different names like Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha and Krishna, and come at different times throughout history to give humanity a spiritual boost. 

I had been raised in a family that followed the teachings of Meher Baba, but since it was not a “normal” belief growing up in rural Maryland, it was often something I was embarrassed of. Once I became older I wasn’t so much embarrassed, but I had a conflict between my head and my heart. My head could not understand the complexities of God, much less how it would look if He were in human form. My heart yearned for spiritual connection. 

When I returned from my first visit there I was on fire with love for God. Simply sitting in the Samadhi would bring me to tears of joy. I was overwhelmed with love for God, others, and for myself. The experience cemented in my heart the Love that God is, and changed me forever.

I keep on trying to understand the lessons life is offering and quiet the noise so I can be the best version of myself.

What is your proudest moment?

I’m proud for being a general ass kicker in life. What that means to me is that I do big things even though they terrify me. I just dry heave and then keep on trucking.

I struggle with self-doubt, anxiety, procrastination, fear and loneliness, but I keep on trying to understand the lessons life is offering and quiet the noise so I can be the best version of myself. Kicking ass… one day at a time.

What’s your advice for someone who hasn’t found his or her way in the world yet?

Don’t be mistaken to think anyone truly has found his or her way in the world. No one knows what they are doing all the time!! We are all learning, changing, and growing every day. Just as soon as you think you have life figured out, life throws you another curveball. It’s why they call it the “game of life”! Stretch yourself to be open to things that intimidate you. Learn to be quiet, still so you can tap into your intuition.

Be very kind and gentle to yourself. It’s a glorious journey if you treat yourself as you would your most beloved friend!!  

And there you have it! How amazing was that? I confess that I needed the gentle reminder that Rabia offered in her answers. I hope you enjoyed reading her answers as much as I did. If something resonated with you, leave it in the comments or let Rabia know by connecting with her on Facebook.

Want to meet more inspiring people? Click here.

Thoughts and Tips on Birthdays and Aging

aging and birthday blues

I recently celebrated my 38th birthday, and honestly I wasn’t mortified or felt insecure about the fact that I am going to be 40 in two years. It’s quite comical, because I feel 17 and so immature – but it’s true I will be pushing 40 soon. It also doesn’t hurt that I don’t look my age, I have my mother to thank for that. She looks amazing for her age. But honestly, these aren’t the reasons why I am not tripping about turning 38. Truth is, I have done some work and learned a few things about myself this past year.

The most important thing I learned is that I have to connect with myself, support myself, and belief in myself. We’ve all heard that before, right? But see, this is what happens when you start aging. All these little cliches and sayings start clicking and making sense. This year, I learned how to do just that. How to make time to connect with myself – with the things that make me feel the most connected, the most alive, the most myself.

Another thing I learned this year, I am in a constant state of transformation. I am always growing, and when I am not doing that – I feel stuck, bored, and like I’m dying a slow death. You see, up until this year I would go through these weird phases that I didn’t quite understand. This is another benefit of aging, you start to learn your patterns. Aging can be a wonderful process of self-discovery.

Unfortunately, in this society aging can become this awful process of self-hate. We are constantly being bombarded with messages of we are not enough, we don’t have enough, and the worst part – we start buying that crap. And we compete with society, with others, and most importantly with ourselves. Well, I got tired of being at war with myself and hating myself for all the things I thought I wasn’t.

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come ALIVE and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come ALIVE!

Truth is, you have to do things for yourself that make you feel good about yourself. It’s all in the little things you do for yourself each day. It could be as small as making some changes in your appearance, and as big as a dietary cleanse and other lifestyle changes. Once you get on this path of constantly improving yourself, affirming yourself – you develop self-confidence. You start to believe in yourself, you carry yourself different. When you make these changes not only do you create shifts in your own life, but the world around you starts to shift. People begin treating you differently, opportunities appear, the Universe responds to all of your efforts.

So here are some tips and tricks that have helped me beat the birthday blues and embrace my age.

  1. Update your wardrobe. Anyone who knows me in real life, knows I am so into shopping and putting looks together. It’s just who I am – but hey who can’t use a few new pieces in their wardrobe or an update to some basic staples. Play the part you want. Maybe you can start dressing more professional at the office. Or maybe, if your wardrobe is pretty conservative consider adding fun pieces or some color.
  2. Play with makeup. About a year ago, I really wanted to learn to do my own makeup like a pro. I figured there are so many girls out there doing their own makeup like professionals, I can learn too. So I started watching YouTube tutorials and taking classes. Today, I can say I do a pretty decent job with my makeup. Follow makeup artists on Instagram for inspiration. Go to a MAC counter, if you buy $50 dollars worth of makeup they will give you a makeover and show you how to apply the makeup you purchase.
  3. Update your do. Get a haircut, try a different hairstyle or color. Switch it up.
  4. Start doing yoga or join a gym. Working out for me is not about exercise. I like yoga because for me it is a way I connect with my Higher Power – so it’s a bit more spiritual for me. But we all know that getting the body moving releases endorphins – the feel good hormone. And well, we all know the multiple benefits of exercise.
  5. Do a cleanse. Last May, I cut caffeine, dairy, and sugar from my diet for 30 days. The first 14 days were hell, but I never felt better. I felt so clear, I had so much energy. Plus, it’s also a great way to get rid extra weight and not be constantly bloated.
  6. Start a new spiritual or self-care routine. Commit to doing something for yourself every day. Whether it’s time for self-reflection, journaling, meditation, prayer, or going to church. We all need to connect to something bigger than ourselves.
  7. Do what you love. Did you paint but stopped because you no longer had time? What do you love that you’re not doing today? Start doing it again. If you’re not sure what you love to do, start exploring and experimenting.

So you see, these aren’t tips on how to look like you are 20 when you’re turning 40. This is about nourishing yourself, loving yourself, and doing things for yourself that will help you create a life worth living. Because when we are happy with ourselves, with our lives, it doesn’t matter how old we are. We’re not counting years, we are counting moments and creating memories.

If we make this kind of commitment to growth, to ourselves we will age with grace and say goodbye to the birthday blues. We will embrace each year with anticipation, waiting to see what more will be revealed.

The Music Executive – Cool People I know

Recording Studio Manager

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to another friend of mine who I happen to be very fond of. Rachel is just someone I clicked with right away. I also happen to have a few things in common with her. So, I am thrilled to have her share with you some of the things she’s learned in her journey.

The individuals I feature in this series are special. They share what inspires them, what has changed them, what they know about life, and how they got to where they are today.

Without further ado, meet Rachel.

My name is Rachel Carpenter. I was born in El Paso, Texas, but have lived in California most of my life. I grew up in San Diego. Moved to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, after university and lived there for 5 years. I moved back to Los Angeles after living in Europe, and I’m still in LA presently. I run the Music Recording Studio division of the company I work for, RedZone Entertainment. We have studios in both LA and Atlanta, so I stay very busy! But I do find time to follow some of the things I love outside of music, like working in mixed media artistry, kundalini yoga practice, starting my own company in health and wellness, and writing on my blog. I love to travel, meet new people, and improve upon my relationships and myself whenever I can.

What circumstances led you to your profession?

Upon moving back from Amsterdam, I took the time to really find and connect with something that I liked. I have always been involved with music. I sang and played piano and flute when I was younger, managed a band and booked them all over the US and Canada when I was in college, and worked with recording artists in Amsterdam as a part of the company’s clothing marketing campaign I worked for. Music has always been a love. So I found a job at the front desk of a world renowned recording studio, Larrabee, and within 6 months had been promoted to the Studio Manager position. From there, I met many artists, producers, and mix engineers and was asked by my current employer to leave Larrabee to work with them. The rest has been long hours, lots of learning, and inspired music!

Vulnerable expression is the ultimate freedom.

What inspires you?

Vulnerable expression inspires me. When someone can truly open him or herself up and be vulnerable to another person or persons, I find that to be beyond inspiring! That is something that I want to cultivate for myself, as well and I’m working toward. It takes a person who is very comfortable with themselves to open up and express fully from a place of self-acceptance and love. When I see that, in any area of life, personal or professional, it inspires me to do the same and to keep working toward that in my life. To me, vulnerable expression is the ultimate freedom.

What is one valuable thing you’ve learned in life?

Just one??? I guess I would have to say the most valuable thing I’ve learned so far is that I am here in this human form to experience, not to be perfect. And to enjoy those experiences as they are happening, instead of always looking to the future or the past. This is a journey I am still on, but I’m getting more at ease with it and I’m blessed to find myself aware of it at all. Some people go their entire lifetime not being aware or not giving themselves the opportunity to experience. I choose to do both!

 I am here in this human form to experience, not to be perfect. 

Name one experience that has completely changed you.

Again, just one? You’re tough! I would say that one experience that has completely changed me has been drastically changing my diet. A serious cleanse, and then conversion to a mostly plant-based diet, omitting sugar, gluten, dairy, caffeine and alcohol, has changed my life and allowed me to connect more fully with my spiritual self and the Light within. It has been a game changer.

What is your proudest moment?

My proudest moment to date is when I moved to, and was able to support myself financially, living in Europe. I did not line anything up before moving, didn’t plan anything out, didn’t know anyone – I just went and let the Universe take it from there.  Being able to convert that into a successful existence for over 5 years was a very proud moment. I felt like if I could make that happen, I could do absolutely anything! That was a liberating and momentous moment for me.

Follow your heart and take the most difficult and scary steps you can think of. Those inspired steps will lead you to what you seek.

What’s your advice for someone who hasn’t found his or her way in the world yet?

To follow your heart and take the most difficult and scary steps you can think of. Those inspired steps will lead you to what you seek. You already know the answer. It whispers to you…you only have to listen and act.

When I tell you Rachel and I have some things in common, we have some things in common. If something resonated with you or moved you, share with us in the comments, or reach out to Rachel and let her know. Check out her blog, and follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

What’s In Your Bag, Sartorial Girl?

sartorialgirl handbag

Teri, aka Sartorial Girl on social media, is one of my favorite people ever. We met, where else? On Twitter. We bonded over our love for Alexander McQueen – well she found this post I wrote. And the rest is history. We have been lucky enough to hang out numerous times during my visits to New York and coincidentally, one time we were both in Los Angeles. These relationships on social media turn into real friendships. I am so grateful to know her and to call her a friend.

We have similar styles, we love the same things, we have watched each other grow over the last three years – and well, that’s just awesome. The only thing we disagree on is Beyonce, so let’s not even go there. She is also one of the most stylish women and I know, so you know I had to ask…

What’s in your bag?

1. Bag: black ZARA tote – nothing fancy but it gets the job done
2. Mini iPad
3. Notebook
4. Card holder/wallet: ID, credit cards, metro cards, bubble tea stamp card
5. Pen Holder
6. iPhone/Blackberry – yes, I have two phones. BB for work and emails, iPhone for social and fun.
7. Beats headphones & iPod nano – because very important, I don’t go anywhere without my music
8. RayBans aviators – Also, very important… keeps me invisible.
9. Keys
10. Dr. Jart BB cream – Not sure why that was in my bag, actually.
11. Chloe lotion

Keep up with Sartorial Girl on Twitter or Instagram. She has one of the funniest voices on Twitter and a fresh take on all things fashion and style.

The Landscape Designer – Cool People I know

landscape designer

Each week I share some of the cool people I know and have been so fortunate to meet. People in general are so interesting. We each have a story to tell and a message to share with the world. The individuals I feature in this series are truly special. They share what inspires them, what has changed them, what they know about life, and how they got to where they are today.

I had the pleasure of meeting Michael in Los Angeles in July. Within minutes of meeting, we had an opportunity to share some pretty intimate stories and events in our pasts. Upon our first moments together, despite the initial awkwardness of sharing personal details with a stranger, we connected. And after that moment, each time we ran into each other, we greeted one another with a knowing look. Ever felt like someone just understood you right away? Yup, that’s what I felt with Michael.

So here he is, meet Michael.

I am Michael Bernier from Los Angeles, CA, a Sustainable Landscape Designer, I create outdoor living spaces. My company, Bernier Design Group, specializes in Xeriscaping, which is the practice of utilizing water-conserving landscape designs – where plants whose natural requirements are appropriate to the local climate are emphasized, and require less maintenance than a regular lawn.

What circumstances led you to your profession?

I spent the first 20 years of my career as a designer and creative director, mostly in advertising. Over the years, I became increasingly dissatisfied with the work I was doing and the corporations I was doing it for. About 10 years ago, I knew I needed a change and have my work be in alignment with what felt to me like my life’s purpose. So in 2005, I discovered Landscape Architecture and went back to school to get my certification. My love for nature combined with many years of design experience is perfectly married in landscape design.

Calm, content people make better choices, and better choices make for a better planet. 

What inspires you?

In a word – Beauty.

Beyond aesthetics, the deeper side of my job is to show people that we are intimately connected to our environment, and the simplest way to do that is through the garden. People relax and breathe deeper when sitting peacefully in their tranquil gardens, they can feel their innate connection to nature. Calm, content people make better choices, and better choices make for a better planet. I really just want to make the world a more beautiful place.

What is one valuable thing you’ve learned in life?

When you get to the place in your life where you can finally clear away all the distractions and discover your life’s purpose – that thing that is most important to you – then CHOOSE IT and live your life from it! The Universe will support you and bring you everything you need, when you need it, to help bring your passion to reality.

Name one experience that has completely changed you.

Wow… there are several…

Regarding my career, I’d have to say the big one happened one day while working as a Creative Director on an ad campaign for a major soft drink client. In the middle of it, I just looked up and said to myself “Why am I doing this? Is this really all that my life is about? I can’t do this anymore…” That was the beginning of the shift for me.

Live it from your Purpose. Whatever that is to you, however you discover it for yourself – DO IT, NOW! Until then, it is all pretend…

What is your proudest moment?

I’d say it came after completing my first landscape design project. I stepped back and was amazed at how beautiful it came out – I was happy, the client was happy, the plants were happy. It was definitely a chest-pounding moment of “Me Do Good!” I have to add to this that some of the most satisfying moments I have doing what I do, is when I go back to a project months after I’ve completed the installation to see how it is all growing in, and witness when nature comes in and takes over what I’ve started – new sprouts pop up, bees come to pollinate the lavenders, hummingbirds feed on the nectar of a flower, lotus blossoms seemingly appear out of nowhere. It is truly miraculous, and extremely satisfying knowing that I am contributing to the propagation of the natural order of things, as opposed to taking away or destroying it.

What’s your advice for someone who hasn’t found his or her way in the world yet?

I would go back to my answer to question #4 above, regarding the most valuable thing I’ve learned. The only way, that I have found, to live a truly happy and internally peaceful life, is to live it from your Purpose. Whatever that is to you, however you discover it for yourself – DO IT, NOW! Until then, it is all pretend…

Powerful! One thing I have to note – as I was reading Michael’s answers, I noticed that any time he mentioned the word nature, it was capitalized. That truly communicated to me how much reverence and respect he has for the beauty and power of nature. It is simply captivating learning about someone who is so passionate and in-love with what they do. That is what this life is all about right? We didn’t just come here to exist. We came here to find our purpose. To live it or to die trying to find out what that is. For those of us who are so lucky to realize this, we can’t spend another minute doing anything else – otherwise, it’s like Michael said – all pretend!

To learn more about Michael, visit his website or follow him on Facebook. If anything in this post resonated with you or moved you, share with us in the comments, or reach out to Michael and let him know.

We’re Not Savages – Funniest Tweets of The Week

Just because I was on vacation doesn’t mean I stopped looking for the funniest tweets. Here are my picks this week. And because I missed a week – I’ll throw an extra number of tweets – you’re welcome!

Want more hilarious tweets? Check out the previous round-up.