10 Reasons to Vacation Right Now!

 

IMG_0300Now more than ever I love traveling! My boys are older so I am more inclined to get up and go, with or without them to get away from home and get some downtime. We all need it. We need to be able to remove ourselves from the “every day” and refill our tanks. Even if we take a day off, I don’t know about you, but that day off from work is just a day off from work. I can find a trillion things to do at home that will make me think I should have just gone to work.

vacation1I have been taking yearly vacations now for about 6 years and I need it! It is like breathing for me now. And at least one vacation is a cruise. Actually, I will be going on one soon and I cannot wait!! I love seeing new places, trying new dishes that I never would have tried at home, and getting to know a foreign culture. Now that I started this, I do not know how I did life before. I have a wanderlust spirit now and it gets stronger with every new adventure I take.

Here are some reasons why you should take at least one big vacation a year…

  1. You will get to know yourself better. You get a chance to think in your quiet times and the opportunity to see how you react when you are in different situations. I journal during my vacation to check in on my feelings and think about my life. I also record things that happen that I may forget when I return home to the craziness.
  2. You become smarter. Going to all of these different places helps you to gain moreIMG_6276 knowledge about the world, maps, geography, cultures, and languages. I definitely have a better sense of direction after all of my travels so far.
  3. You get to experience something new. Nothing can really surprise you about where you live. It is different when you get out there and travel. There will be plenty of culture shocks…and it is a  beautiful thing. Staying in one spot for me is boring…might as well travel and get out of that.
  4. You make wonderful memories. Nothing compares to that! Collecting special moments will always be better than collecting things. I mean, after a while, where will you put all of that stuff? If you spend your life in one place, every day seems the same.
  5. You may just find out what the meaning of life is. I believe the meaning of life is a little different for all of us because we are called to different things and we have different gifts. While I travel, I spend time with me and think…write…pray. I always think about my purpose and the things I want to work on or change about me and my life while I am away. Almost looking for a fresh start in some areas.
  6. vacation2You sometimes get to see places that you have only seen in pictures. When you step into a foreign land that you have looked at on Google or Pinterest, it seems so magical. It is such a gorgeous feeling to actually BE in the places that you have dreamed of being in, knocking things off of your bucket list.
  7. You will inspire others to travel. Even though traveling is not a hard thing, it can be hard for someone to begin doing it. When you decide to get out there and make your dreams come true, you will inspire others to go and do the same.
  8. You will have exciting stories to tell. Our passports tell some exciting stories! When you have gone out there and experienced other places, you will have hundreds of stories to tell. Each day of travel brings something spectacular to your life.
  9. You meet some amazing people.
  10. vacation3 Every person on vacation has a beautiful and unforgettable story. You learn and you are reminded of the fragility and the intensity of life. I will never forget the awesome people that I have met on vacation, some of them are now great friends of mine and we plan to travel together in the future.
  11. You will become a better person. When I travel, I see a different perspective on life. Since I have been learning these new cultures, I feel like it is easier to be more tolerant. I am more compassionate, understanding, forgiving, and definitely more at peace.

IMG_6233These are just some of the benefits of travel. Every time I pack my bags, I am deciding to create another adventure and leave my mark in those special places. I am no longer afraid to step out of my own little world and see what is out there. Memories and excitement are out there waiting for us…I am actually getting ready for my next vacation as I write and I can’t wait. See you out there.

 

 

Have You Heard Of Smudging?

smudgingHave you heard of smudging? It is becoming more popular as of late but Native Americans and indigenous people have burned sage for centuries as a part of a spiritual ritual to cleanse a person or space of negative energy, and to promote healing and wisdom. It has been used since Roman times to treat digestive issues, memory problems, and sore throats. The name sage comes from the Latin word “salvia”. It means “to feel healthy”.

The practice of “smudging” has become more popular in other cultures as well. Recently at the makeshift memorial of Nipsey Hustle, a young lady burned sage to rid the area of any negative energy.

It is said that sage “metaphysically un-clings the things that cling to us that are no longer needed–spiritually, mentally, and physically…almost the way a sponge does.” The medical benefits have not officially been well- studied.

Sage comes in different varieties. Most healers and herbalist use white sage. The white sage is used for purifying and protection. There are others like lavender sage, black sage, smudging3common sage, and blue sage, which is used for cleansing and healing. They all have their own unique qualities.

You can harvest sage yourself or buy it in bundles at a health food store, farmer’s market, or on the internet of course. Just make sure whether you grow it or purchase it, it was harvested sustainably and responsibly.

How do you burn sage? 

You light the end of the bundle and let the smoke waft into the air. If you are cleansing a room, you walk around the space with it. You can also just place it in a shell to catch ashes as it burns and just let it sit in the room.

smudging1Sage is a flavonoid–plant compound that has medicinal properties; lavender is in the same family. Some of these compounds appear to improve brain health and guard against diseases like Alzheimer’s. In some studies, sage helped against depression and anxiety, digestive problems and soothing upset stomachs. It is calming to the gut and mind in the same way that lavender is.

Be careful burning the sage because although there are no studies on the risk, it is just like burning incense and that has shown to give some people allergies or lung issues with prolonged burning. Burning for a short period of time should not cause any issues but if you have asthma or lung issues, I would consult a physician and get their opinion.

If you are worried about burning the sage, you can always try essential oils as ansmudging2 alternative.

Have you tried smudging before? Do you do it as a regular practice? I would love to hear about your experience and how you feel about the practice.

No Need to Feel Guilty

guiltyMy son and I had a conversation recently and he was talking about how he felt guilty for not being where he thought he should be at his age. I knew how he felt because when I sit down to think about where I could be if I had only did this, or started earlier, or not listened to so and so… I totally understand, yet now, I realize that I am right where I am supposed to be. I am content in my space and working my way toward my next one.

It really doesn’t matter how many times you have felt it, how long ago it was, the guilt sometimes still lingers. You feel bad about the setbacks, the curveballs, the failures that you bought on yourself…some of those choices may still hurt you today.

If you’re anything like me, you have tried several times to revamp your schedule, read aguilty2 lot of self-help books, blogs, and magazines. Did you think it was a great idea to start waking up an hour earlier like I did? Did you cut people and things out of your life…or maybe you started journaling, meditating, taking walks, or eating healthier. So…how is life looking for you? Pretty good right? But I am going to honest…inside, I still sometimes feel that even with all of those “checked boxes”, there is an unfinished, unchecked box that will finally put me on top.

I understand that feeling of incompleteness when you see a friend living the dream and you are not quite where they are. Especially with my blogging. It’s been over a year and I don’t quite have the traction I wanted but I have faith and I am researching and watching others work. I believe that when it is my time…it will be MY time!

guilty1Yes, you have changed so much about your life and you still feel like your life isn’t “dreamy” enough and admired by all. You haven’t gotten down to the size you wanted, wrote that book, paid off all of your bills. or still at that job you hate. I still have to work on getting up early but still getting enough sleep. I am nice to people but I have to admit that my thoughts are not always as nice. I need to work on that too! We all try our best, but we are still getting average results. This is true but we cannot stop hoping and believing that we can have what we have envisioned if it lines up.

Change is not going to happen overnight for many of us. There are steps we are going to have to take and it may get messy. There isn’t much that another person can tell you to guilty3do because your moves happen in your power…not theirs. Things can and will get better, in time. Maybe not in the timing you would like, but they will. You will walk in the dark, over the hills and in the valleys…but as long as you continue to go forward, you end up miles away from the guilt you felt for not being there already. And celebrate every mile because there are times when just taking one step will take a lot out of you. You will only get to your next stop when you are ready. Getting there may mean letting go of the comforts of where you are. Piece by piece, step by step, mile by mile…just move forward… and move without forcing yourself…when you are ready.

You woke up this morning and you planned to do the best you can. You are taking one step at a time. You are strong, your heart is beating. Just by being alive, you are making someone’s day! They are smiling and at peace because they have access to you. Your brain is functioning and you have passion. Your passion says a lot about you even when you have nothing to say.

Guilt may be chasing after you but look at you! You are still moving forward! Guilt has been whispering in your ear that you are hopeless and helpless but there you are, helping others. Your life means something. You are doing enough….you are enough!

guilty5Don’t let guilt ruin how you feel. You don’t need a certain “checklist” to look at to see if you are living a meaningful life. You are doing what you “should” be doing. Do the things that matter the most at that moment. You will accomplish what you ultimately want to …in time. You are not behind! You are on the path that was fashioned for you. You may not be the greatest, richest, smartest, or sexiest person in the world, but you are the greatest at being YOU! Your life is not perfect, but it is yours and it is not the catastrophe that you sometimes tell yourself that it is.

Speak life into your situations. Search for the good and forget about feeling guilty for where you are. If you focus on that, you cannot see the light on the other side of the tunnel. You are more than the titles you have, your degrees and other accomplishments. You are more than what people or your past says about you.guilty4

Think about what you have done, what you have been through. You are a survivor, a warrior, a lover, you are adventurous, a teacher, an influencer…you are a beautiful soul that is open to everything, you are ever-changing, winning…and you are NOT a quitter! You are who you are. You are exactly where you are supposed to be.

Comparison Can Bring You, Joy, Too!

goodcomparison4Sometimes we watch people “come up” and the green-eyed monster shows up on our shoulders making us wonder why they are getting the things that we have been longing for. Friends are getting new jobs, new lovers, getting engaged or married, having babies, buying nice things, becoming famous, getting promoted and/or getting recognized.

We can look at what is going on in their lives and not feel negative emotions. It’s possible! You can admire what you see happening in their lives without questioning your own success. Economists and psychologists call it downward comparison.  If you compare upward about things you can’t change, then you’re just going to feel stuck. No Bueno!

Comparing ourselves to others does not have to be an unhealthy, negative practice. It doesn’t have to be self-loathing or full of jealousy. Comparing yourself can be goodcomparisonproductive…say whaaaaaaat?!

There are pros and cons to this thing right? It is not good if we are trying to gain a sense of superiority or avoiding challenging yourself to do better. Or comparison can remind us of our own fortune…it serves as a reality check.

It can motivate us, give a different perspective, and make us appreciate our lives.  Comparison can lead to some incredible breakthroughs.

I know this sounds completely unusual. The internet and popular opinion say that we should stop comparing ourselves to others. There are so so many articles out there that tell you why you shouldn’t compare…and I agree with their points. This is just another way to look at a comparison.

goodcomparison1Honestly, we should definitely delight in the success, well-being, and growth of our loved ones. A little comparison can cause a light to go off in your head…your life and motivate you to not only aim higher but to put some action to it. Celebrating others and comparing may help us see where we are,  how far we have come and that we should be celebrated too. It can show us that we are worthy of more and push us forward.

When you see others win, you realize that you deserve more too, that you can grow as well, your time may come later but you are still worthy of your heart’s desire if it lines up with your destiny.

This is something that I have been working on for a while and it really has kept me on goodcomparison3track. I do not have envy in my life. I feel good about who I am becoming. I spend less time being self-deprecating (not all the way there yet- this will be a long journey for me) and it feels good to have less negative emotions flowing through me.

After comparing yourself, you may look yourself in the face and affirm your values, your own worth, and even bigger, what you want out of life.

In the book, Ego is the Enemy, Ryan Holidays says, “Stare at it until you can. Only then you will understand what matters and what doesn’t. Only then can you say no, can you opt out of stupid races that don’t matter, or even exist.

goodcomparison5Stare at it…

Look at it…

Soak in it…

Own your feelings! The more we look at other people and compare our movements with theirs, we will look at where we are and where we wanna be. You will understand what matters to you and what doesn’t. You will learn your worth and act accordingly…

7 Ways To Simplify Your Life

Simplifyyour lifeLately, I have been trying to simplify my life. I was starting with my home. Throwing away or giving away things that no longer serve me. Every day, I am becoming more and more aware of what is really worth my energy.

I am seeing that my life will not be better if I do more, add more people to my circle, or make bigger changes. My life can be fulfilled, happy, and very exciting without putting more things on my list or people in my circle. I just need to have the courage to prioritize looking at the things and people in my life and rid myself of the extra. I know that it is possible to do less and live more and that is what I am aiming for this second half of the year and going forward.

Having a lot of people around me had me focusing on a lot of extra BS and that had my energy all over the place…if not drained completely. I cannot even count how many times I said “yes” when I wanted to say “no”. Am I the only one? Probably not! No wonder we are anxious in the presence of certain individuals. It is time to trim the fat ( when I said that I was looking down at my belly as my laptop is sitting on my lap and I have 60 days before my cruise….anyway). simplifyyourlife3

Ok so decluttering your life can cause so many good things to happen. For one, I have been removing the negative thoughts and toxic people from my mind and my heart and that is making room for more good…I am so ready for that!

So how can we declutter?

  • Clean up and keep it that way! I am currently going through my home room by room throwing away what no one can use, giving away what I don’t use and keeping what I love. What else helps is cleaning up after yourself right away after you get everything cleaned up. I am now feeling less stressed when things are being kept tidy and neat. This is an easy way to simplify your life. For some reason, it gives me a calming feeling and opens up my mind to be creative and to think clearly. Cluttered home gives me a cluttered mind…
  • simplifyyourlife1Go a day without spending money! Lord knows that this is hard for me. It is so easy to spend money, and it can be so convenient. It is very challenging to stay away from your morning Starbucks or picking up a quick fast food meal. I want to challenge you to make your coffee at home…and your meals. Even if it is for only one day, it is one way to control some of the aspects of your day…, especially your bank account balance.
  • Say what you mean, and mean what you say! Make an attempt to simplify your thoughts and what you say. Be authentic and sincere. We have to stop sugar coating and just share what is on our minds. When we do this, we are being true to ourselves. We do not have to apologize for what we feel, just speak our truth. It’s just that simple. Or is it?
  • ok, so let’s release some social pressure here. Say No! Do what you feel like doing and do not feel pressured to help or entertain others if you do not want to. Do not feel guilty for not going somewhere, that is a good way to always feel pressured and overwhelmed. Do what YOU want to do and kindly turn down what you do not. You do not even have to drop an excuse or reason. Find comfort in knowing that yousimplifyyourlife2 are doing what makes you feel fabulous and not FOMO anymore.
  • Reduce your commitments. A lot of us have so much on our schedules. Too many things that have to be done…at home, work, school, in our religious and civic lives with our friends and family..oh don’t forget our hobbies have to fit in there. I write everything down in a giant planner and that thing is marked up on most days. It can be overwhelming. I decide which of these are going to bring me joy and value and I ditch the rest. I do not want to invest my precious time doing things that won’t add to me. Let’s get rid of the rest. Sorry, not sorry.
  • Examine your routines. There aren’t many of us that have a set routine in our daily lives. Without that kind structure, we sometimes end up with chaotic days and are less productive than we thought we would be. If it’s better for you to do your laundry all in one day instead of several days through the week, do it. Write everything down that you wanna get done that day. If you do not get it done that day, move it to the next day…do that until you get it done.
  • simplifyyourlife5Declutter those friendships. It does not sound like a positive thing but we have to realize that we have let some people stay in our lives longer than we should have. We have to spend time with people that add to us. People that have positive energy and vibes that make your heart smile. Hanging around those kinds of people help you to feel happy and grow.

If life is what we make it, and you are not satisfied, we have some work to do. Let’s dosimplifyyourlife4 more of what we love…those things that make us happy and make our lives lit!  As we declutter our minds of the people and things that cause us to be or feel out of character, we will have room for the people and experiences that bring us to life. Those things will be easier to see when the messiness is cleared away. At the end of the day, this is the only life we have to live…why not do it to the fullest with the things and people that give us energy, not drain us.

 

Why Your Squad May Be Hurting You

SquadgoalsOk, so let’s talk about your squad. I am proud to say that I am an introvert but I am a timely social butterfly when life calls for it. At the same  time, I would love to have a squad like that show “Girlfriends.” They had a little bit of everything and that is what friendships are all about.

We do tend to have a wide variety of people in our lives. I have some people that I have communicated with since younger than high school days, people that I have worked with (past and present) that I still talk to, family/friends, and church associates that have squadgoals3become more. I mean, we all should have that one friend that you should never put on speakerphone (this would be me), the one that is always down to eat or shop, and the spontaneous one who is always down to do something crazy.

One thing on the list of changes that I wanna see in my life for this year was having a positive vibes only circle. I mean truthfully, we are all going to have experiences that are trying and cause not-so-positive feelings, but having a squad that you can count on to bring you out of depression and add value to your life is a gold mine.

Consider who your people are…and what you actually need. Then think about this… yousquadgoals2 are a reflection of the people that you surround yourself with.

That means you need to think about who you want to be…Do you want to be positive? Driven? An entrepreneur? A go-getter? Empowered? That means that you need to get around those that are where you want to be or are working on going in the same direction so that you can motivate each other and hold one another accountable.

Take stock. Look at your closest friends and ask yourself if they challenge you, elevate you, listen to you, hold you accountable, or add value to you. Remember that the people squadgoals4that you are spending most of your time with are the ones that will impact your mindset so you have to make sure that you are on common ground for the most part if you are ready to grow and have that positive mindset. Do not invest your time in people that drain you or drag you down. Do not listen to people that tell you that you are dreaming too big or that you cannot do something. Weed those suckers and dream-killers out of your immediate circle.

Positive Vibes Only!!!!

Sometimes it is hard for us to see the ones that are draining us. Check on yourself after you have spent a little time with your friends/family or after a phone conversation. How do you feel? Are you drained, sad, worrying? If they are one of those people that you roll your eyes at when their name comes across your phone..they are one of THEM!

squadgoals1We have to stop allowing negative thoughts to set up camp in our brains. They are going to come but that does not mean they can stay. And that means the negative people as well! If it or they are not going to add to you and help you be your best self…they need to keep their distance. Spend less time with them! Don’t answer every call, especially when you are having an excellent day. Do not get me wrong, none of us is perfect, but we can work toward having what we need in order to be who we desire to be. Paying attention to who is surrounding us is an act of self-love and self-care so do not feel guilty for creating a space between you and them.  We want to spend most of our time with people who inspire us, encourage us and enrich our lives.

IMG_2120I need a squad around me that consistently build me up and add value to me. I deserve that because that is the kind of friend that I am. I truly want to be surrounded by a bunch of beautiful badass women! There are so many of you out there and you deserve the same. Choose wisely. There is no rush. Where you are going, not every friend you presently have is equipped to go, know that. And that is ok!

You should want your friends to be whole and happy and they should want the same for you. You should want those same friends to not be afraid to call you out on your BS because you would give them the same. They should be ready to celebrate with you, mourn with you, and push you when you get lazy. When you have friends that support you and check on you, and even tell you when you are being an ass, you have everything…Congratulations!

I Need To Slow Down!

slowdown1I am always trying to make sure that my schedule shows me and my world that I have things going on…I need to slow it down! Really! And I do know that I am not the only one so…

Repeat after me.

Good things take time so you can slow the f%$# down! Excuse my French (shoulder shrugs)

Good things are not the only things that take time, everything takes time…life takes time.

The more I realize this, the more I have been letting go of my cluttered work schedule and telling myself that I should be in “this” place right now in my business, finances, relationships, my life period!

I am in the process of letting go of those expectations. The more I let go, the happier I amslowdown3 and I am really seeing how a person can just live…and do it without regret. I also ignore the expectations that others have on me and oh what a relief it is!

Slowing down…slowing down and trusting the timing…putting it all in God’s hands.

I am making peace with the fact that I do not know where this blogging thing is going to take me. Making peace with the fact that only God knows what is best for me. I am making peace with not everyone will like me, listen to me, that my timing is sometimes very weird, and that my life will not always meet my expectations.

slowdown2I am patient, that is definitely true. I do not mind waiting for what is truly mine. Waiting does not mean that I am not driven or hungry for what I desire. To me, it shows my strength and resilience and wisdom! Waiting can be empowering and I am sure (because it has started happening with me) that beautiful things happen while you wait for your heart’s desire. I learn something with each moment I wait. Those lessons give me more opportunities to grow. The longer I wait, the more capable I feel that I am and the more likely I will end up where I belong…..where I belong… I belong nowhere,  I belong everywhere! Anywhere! So I keep moving forward…with patience.

“You only are when you realize you belong no place- you belong every place-no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.” Maya Angelou

So what you are not where “she” is in life, or you do not make as much money as your brother/sister/cousin/best friend. You are not behind in this life. You are not a failure! You are not lost! You are just you…and your life has its own timeline. My oldest son and Islowdown talk about this all of the time. He will be 26 this year and most of his childhood friends are married (some have been more than once) and have children. He is working, getting ready to go back to school for his Master’s and engaged to his high school sweetheart and dare I say that they are waiting until marriage before they engage in all that produces a family. He used to talk about how behind he is in life and questioned his journey. I always encourage him to not measure his life by the decisions of others in their lives. He should continue to love what is happening in his and be proud. He should understand that we all do not move in the same way, we just move forward making decisions that are hopefully good for us as individuals. Comparison is the thief of joy. Your journey is unique to you and only you.

Honestly, you have to believe that everything will come together in the end.

Sometimes we have to take a step back from our BIG picture and take a good look at the little things along the journey that we can do right now that will get us there and make us much happier, fulfilled and successful people. slowdown4