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The Secret To Change

Need a pick me up to brighten your day? Click through to see the series Quick Inspiration on the Blog. The personal growth series includes some of my favorite quotes!

Change is never easy; it’s in our nature to resist it, and that’s ok.  We are hard wired to seek comfort–to want to keep things the same so we don’t have to feel stretched beyond our limits.

But change is so good for us.  It helps us see how things can be different.  The key is to focus on what’s ahead rather than on what we’re leaving behind, yes?

Love, Steph

 

 

 

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The Secret To Change2018-03-29T20:23:07-04:00

What You Focus On Will Grow.

Ever wonder how some people create exactly what they want in their lives? Click through for the secret on how you can learn to do this too.

While I was getting ready for the day this morning, a somewhat shocking thought popped into my head: I’m actually living the life I’ve always dreamed of.  I mean not everything is exactly as I want it to be, but for the most part it’s pretty great. I wanted a pretty simple life surrounded with the basics–a loving partner, comfortable home and meaningful work–and all of a sudden, I have all of that.  If someone had told me years ago when I was flying solo in my cozy apartment that I would feel this way , I might not have believed it.  It just always seemed like it would happen sometime in the future.

But these things didn’t happen by accident, I was taught how to draw them closer.

Growing up each summer before the school year started, I’d go on an annual goal setting luncheon with my mom and that really set the stage for a lot of my powerful, positive beliefs. It’s pretty simple: think good thoughts and good things happen.  I’ve seen it work over + over.  And even though I have always believed in affirmations, setting goals and putting ‘it’ out there in the universe, when these actual things come to pass?  It still feels a little bit like magic.

Because the saying is true–what you focus on, will grow.  When I’m in a bad mood, all I recognize is the nasty person on the check out line or the horrible events happening in the world.  When I’m in a happier, more intentional state of mind, it’s easy to recognize the sweet words from a friend or the magical luminosity of the full moon.  I see it again and again: I create my own reality.

So as I gear up for the next phase of my life–growing deeper in my relationship with Chris, working to make my art business bloom and sprucing up our little nest –I want to tattoo this phrase on my heart so I never forget.  What I focus on will grow.

I want to focus on guilt-free, gentle living.  I want to enjoy the birds and wildlife in my backyard and spend hours blissfully painting in my studio.  I want to love Chris up so much that he’s a puddle of calm.  It all sounds so simple, doesn’t it?

So what stops me from always being this way?

I started reading this book called The Big Leap last week and it talks all about this exact topic: what stops us from accepting that we could always be content, happy or satisfied?  The author insists that it’s about how we periodically reach what we believe is our own ‘upper limit’.  Which means this:  when we feel like we’ve gotten to what we believe is the level of happiness we deserve, we self-sabotage.  We stop the flow of happiness and good vibes right in their tracks; it’s as if we don’t believe we have the right to an endless well of good fortune.  And yet, we do.

So I try to remember: what if I let go of those old fears + boring script that runs around in my head and expected happiness as the norm?  It would continue to improve my life, and here’s the kicker–it would make other people’s lives better, too.  Because aren’t we are all encouraged by other people’s success and happiness?

I’m deciding to look at it as bravery to accept continual happiness as my right, even though it may feel a little arrogant at times.  And maybe it’s even my duty to show how you too, can be perpetually satisfied; all  you have to do is focus on what you really, really want.

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Related: Creating a vision board and How to create what you want

What You Focus On Will Grow.2018-03-29T20:23:10-04:00

A New Year Doesn’t Have To Mean A New You.

Are you tired of resolutions? Me too. Don't reinvent a new you this year--learn to love yourself + others deeper for real fulfillment.

Last year, I took a week to unwind and relax during the holidays.  It was an amazing time to recharge and it reminded  me how much I have to be thankful for.  I had a lot of time to reflect on my past year: I got engaged, moved to a new home and started my art business.  It was exciting, to say the least.

During my down time, I loved to see how others reflect on their past and how they’re viewing their future, too.  As I read a lot of blogs and posts on the web, I saw the usual common theme: how to be better for next year.  There’s always the thought about the new year that we need to constantly improve + keep expanding ourselves in order to be good enough.  Create the new you. But for some reason this year, that thought hit me differently.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m really trying to cultivate more compassion for myself and others, or if it was simply a growth moment, but I felt a little sad about making changes for the new year.  I realized I don’t want to change myself so much this coming year; I kind of like who I am right now.  Because it’s all about being comfortable + trusting our choices, right?  And loving who we are in any given moment.

I’m learning to ride the waves of my life + accepting that there are always going to be challenges.   And I’m enjoying learning more about who I am becoming, without beating myself up about it along the way, especially when things don’t go to plan.

So this year I’m going to work on focusing more on the wonderful qualities of who I am, and how they help me get to where I want to go.  I’m going to love myself deeper.  I’m going to zone in on what is working, because I know that what I focus on, will grow.  And that change to be better everyone talks about?  It will happen naturally.

Because I don’t want to live that shame-based existence that come with failed new year’s resolutions.  I want to let go of that ever-looming pressure to always be more, do more + try harder; it ruins a lot of fun along the way. Things don’t always have to change to be good, I can just appreciate how my life is right now.  And  if I don’t ‘get it all done’, I’m not a failure.

Do you want to join me on this self-kindness march?  Tell me what action you’re going to take to be more accepting of yourself here. Can you extend this compassion + kindness to others as well?  That means letting people off the hook and accepting them for how they are.  Because we’re all ok as is, even when we don’t believe it ourselves.

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A New Year Doesn’t Have To Mean A New You.2018-03-29T20:23:13-04:00

Why We Must Ride The Waves Of Life.

If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, you know it’s been an exciting time around here lately.  I’m going through some really amazing changes that I’m open to with my whole heart, even though I’m secretly freaking out a little bit.  I recently got engaged and just moved into a dream house with my love–we’re working diligently on turning the house into a home, and it’s a lot of fun + scary all at the same time.

You've seen my descentAs I’m going through all of these highs, I’m still feeling the waves of everyday life.  Two days after getting engaged, I broke my toe.  What bad timing!  And a few days later as I was enjoying the amazing sunny weather during my lunch hour,  I locked my keys in my car.  Talk about learning to ride the waves of life.

Even though these minor events sprinkled some frustrations around my joy, it was a good reminder to me that life is a mix of highs and lows;  it is always changing and moving.  I think it’s natural to want to lock things down and set cruise control on the “happy” setting each day, but there’s more in store for us than that one-dimensional life.

And the neutrality that comes with no emotional fluctuations only ends up stifling the spirit.  Wanting happiness 24/7 is just a result of trying to avoid any sort of pain or discomfort–but experiencing happiness all the time would burn us out in a different way.

Because even though we crave happiness most of the time, feeling the highs and lows give us perspective to appreciate the varying degrees of life; they create depth of character.  How would we know pure bliss unless we’ve experienced a deep low?  Without the peaks and valleys, we lose perspective and soon feel trapped in that tightly cocooned safety net.  We are meant to change and grow, not stay stagnant.

As I reflected on the the events of the good-and-not-so-good events happening at the same time, I realized it’s part of the beauty of life–the balance of the yin and yang.  I try to remind myself of this natural law as I go through the roller coaster of emotions that change can often bring.  I know that eventually, things settle.

It reminds me that life is meant to be lived and enjoyed, and messily so. We have to ride the waves of joy + sorrow and grow from it, in order to become the person we want to be. That includes screwing up, feeling bad and bouncing back, too. Without that, we lead a life of emotional mediocrity and stifled curiosity.  Our spirit blooms when we feel the full range of emotions because we gain confidence as we get to know ourselves better.

Riding the waves of life with courage allows us to expand into something we may not have imagined–but always wanted to be.  The trick is getting beyond the fear long enough to embrace the changes as a good thing.  Because they usually are.

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Why We Must Ride The Waves Of Life.2018-03-29T20:23:15-04:00

You Are A Magician: How To Create What You Want.

Did you know that you're absolutely magical? You can manifest whatever you want, you just have to decide what it is! Click through to read--You Are A Magician: How To Create What You Want.

Did you know that you're absolutely magical? You can manifest whatever you want, you just have to decide what it is! Click through to read--You Are A Magician: How To Create What You Want.

I love the whole process of creating.  Even better, I love hearing about the process of how other people create because we’re all magicians in our own way + I love learning new tricks.

And whether we realize it or not, everyone is always creating.  It can be for a change in life circumstances, a new job or making new habits; it all falls under the umbrella of manifesting what we want.

The act of creation is the ultimate expression of getting what’s on the inside to show up on the outside.

Every change starts with a feeling. I’m a huge believer in the law of attraction + the power of thoughts, and I have experienced first hand that the best way to create what you want is to stay positive.  What you focus on will grow.

Because your feelings are your compass.  And your primary focus with those feelings should be to always feel good. When you focus on feeling good, specifically about what you want, you’re sending a signal out that will attract back to you the material equivalent. You don’t want to attract back your bad mood, right?

Your feelings are like a smoke signal to the universe.

So how do we actually use this idea of creating what we want and have it actually work? It’s pretty simple, but most people make it waaaayyyy more complicated than it needs to be.  Here’s the trick on how to create: act as though the object of your desire is already present in your life.  Think about it like it is already here, and watch it magically appear.

I know this all sounds hippie-dippie, but trust me, it works.

Here’s an example: want to lose weight? Start thinking about how your body will move differently once the weight is off and practice moving like a skinnier person.  Go shopping and check out some clothes that will fit you at your new weight.  Visualize yourself doing an activity easily that may be a bit of a struggle right now.  Act as if.  Be intentional about the feelings you’re putting out there.

Here are some ways that I maintain an environment of feeling good so I can create what I want:

  • I keep a list of feeling/pictures/phrases/memories that bring me to a good space.  When I am feeling down or needing a moment of inspiration, I refer to these lists/images for a boost.  It immediately gives me a lift and brings me back to the place of feeling light and happy. Creating from that place is much easier.
  • I wear clothes that allow me to move, breathe and be comfortable.  I feel like the more restricted my clothes are, the more restricted my feelings get.  My litmus test?  I want to be able to sit indian style at any given moment without feeling I’m going to split my pants/skirt.
  • I schedule time each week to be creative.  Even if it feels a little too contrived at the time and I’m not in the mood, I just get my body and mind there in the space;  eventually I get inspired and explore ways to express my creativity.  This set time keeps me moving forward in my creative path so I’m ready when inspiration strikes, kind of like building a habit.  Right now my blocks of time each week is my abstract painting class and Friday morning painting–anything other than those times is a bonus.
  • I try to stay open to inspiring moments throughout the day.  A beautifully colored leaf or tinker of laughter can ignite my heart at any moment.  I try not to wait for that lightning bolt of inspiration, but  try to be thrilled by everyday life so I stay in the flow.
  • I seek out others who are on the same path.  Birds of a feather, right?  Social media makes it so easy to check out what others are doing and get inspired; the different communities I chime in on give me courage to keep creating and help me appreciate the process rather than constantly sprinting to the finish line.

You are a glorious magician. What will you create today?

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P.S. What is calling you? and How are you stoking your creative fire?

You Are A Magician: How To Create What You Want.2018-03-29T20:23:16-04:00

The Beauty of Rituals. {How a Bridal Shower Opened My Heart.}

 

Rituals are a part of most growth moments. Click through to read how I had my own moment at a bridal shower and how it's changed my view of them forever.

 

What’s the first word you think of when you hear you’re invited to a bridal shower? The ones that come to my mind usually are: ‘ugh’, ‘boring’ and ‘I hope they’re serving wine’.  But I have to admit–I was caught off guard at a recent shower.  It was inspiring and moving in ways I didn’t anticipate.

It got me thinking about rituals and the purpose they serve in our lives. I was raised a strict catholic, so I am no stranger to rites and rituals–I can say pretty much the whole catholic mass verbatim (the old version, anyway), so I was ready for the onslaught of typical shower events.  But this shower was different;  It wasn’t so much about the pomp +circumstance (it was a display shower! How cool is that?!), but it was more about blending families and having fun.

It reminded me that rituals are actually pretty cool.  They’re about the progression of life–being present as we shed the old and embrace the new.  With a ritual, we share our transition and move forward to a new phase of our lives; It’s presence + love + growth in action.  

Because rituals are the markers we use to recognize our growth; it’s how we distinguish one life event from the next. And the tribe we share it with, helps us through that transition. They support us as we say, I’m changing and I want you to see how.

From this experience, I realized my view of showers had been a tad immature: from the outside, these events often felt a little boring and repetitive. But maybe it was just me; because if I was paying attention, I would have seen past the gifts + cake + games. I would have appreciated the day for what it was: a gathering of a tribe.

It got me thinking about my own personal milestones and the people who have carried me through them: family, friends and even strangers helping me to that next step of life.  I have been blessed by gentle souls ushering me through my own journey and yet I often took it for granted.  Now I understand why my mom was so adamant about a sweet 16 party for me (when I could care less); she wanted to move me along to adulthood and  wanted the people in my life to support that growth, too.

At the end of the shower, I was a little sad to leave the happy bubble. Maybe it was just the sparkle of the sun or me enjoying my new perspective, but I carried that warmth with me for the next couple of days. That’s the great thing about rituals–the things you look at can change in an instant, all you have to do is be open to seeing them differently.

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The Beauty of Rituals. {How a Bridal Shower Opened My Heart.}2018-03-29T20:23:17-04:00
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