Category: life challenge

It’s messy & smelly & hairy, but it’s the only way through

By Kristin Nelson, Guest Contributor

Hi there, loves! I’m Kristin and in 2020 I created a business in Kansas City, Missouri called Unravel Your Life. I create & take opportunities that allow me to help people de-clutter their homes & minds, making more space for them to stretch out their arms & be themselves. I do Akashic Record & Tarot readings, and I’m learning Reiki & energy healing. It’s glorious & I’m grateful because my life is rad. I let the Universe guide me on what to do next. I listen, I move forward, one step at a time, with Spirit by my side, receiving messages for myself and for my clients. I feel connected & fulfilled for the first time in my life.

Sounds beautiful & fun & easy breezy, doesn’t it!? Like I just woke up one day and became a magical mystical spiritual goddess. Like I just stepped into energy work & oops, discovered I could hear messages from Spirit for myself and others. Teehee, the fairies made me do it!

NOPE. HARD NOPE. NOOOOOOPE.

It’s been hard af.

I didn’t step into this life, into energy work, gracefully & with poise. It wasn’t an angelic ascension or a miracle enlightenment. It wasn’t perfection incarnate. It wasn’t love & light & laughter. It was so. very. human. And spoiler alert…being a human is gross. And heartbreaking. And messy. And smelly. And imperfect. And hairy. And overwhelming. And it hurts. A lot.

But for me, it was the only way through.

young female astrologist predicting future with shining ball
Photo by Victoria Borodinova on Pexels.com

Shiny On The Outside

Because for decades, I had tried everything else. I was a rule follower & I listened to what society told me to do: “Stop crying. Study up. Climb the ladder. Buckle down. Hustle. Work hard. Keep moving. Buy more! Eat this. Lose weight. Improve yourself. Move on. Try harder.” Guess what? It didn’t work. I had a great career. I had a great life. I had everything they said would give me happiness. But I felt unfulfilled, burned out. And the world around me was still a mess.

Now don’t get me wrong, if you saw me, you’d never know that I wasn’t happy. On the outside, I usually looked shiny & excited, and I always looked put together & accomplished & productive. That’s the persona I built my entire life. I was independent & studious & a go-getter. But inside, I was scared a lot. I needed to control all the things to keep the anxiety at bay. I was always moving, always planning, always thinking ahead. Running so fast that time (life) would just fly by me. I kept my mind either racing with distractions or numbed out with alcohol. Never just still. Never just present. Never just fully here. I pushed down anything that was scary or sad or dark or unpleasant or uncomfortable to feel, and leaned hard into safety, security, comfort, control.

In some ways it felt like living a double life. Super fine & dandy on the outside. “All good here! Livin’ the dream! Keepin’ busy!” And then under the surface I often felt…broken. A mess. Like I needed fixing because I did all the things & still wasn’t happy. Still wasn’t satisfied with myself and my life. Still didn’t know what I wanted. Still didn’t feel like I had a purpose. I felt far away from myself & had no idea who I was or wanted to be.

And all that stuff I suppressed, pushed down, ignored, denied? It had nowhere to go. It stayed inside of me because I wouldn’t let it out. It bubbled & boiled & lingered. And so every so often, always in the dark, always in private, I would break down & shatter into a thousand pieces. All the darkness I ignored would spill out & through me, I couldn’t control it any longer. Panic, paralyzation, disorientation. In those moments when I let it all loose, I felt completely batshit crazy. Like I was nuts for feeling so ‘fine’ most of the time (life is good! I have all the things!) and then for being completely blindsided again and again by this deep, dark horrible realization that living as I was, with high functioning anxiety & indecision & fear & control, wasn’t really how I wanted to live.

It was like waking up for a brief moment after being asleep for a really long time. It was like glimpsing reality for a brief moment after living in denial for decades. It was like realizing that I had been floating along, letting the current of busy life just sweep me away, getting farther and farther and farther away from myself. It felt fucking awful. It felt like I was so broken inside, so unfixable, that maybe I should just stop tryin’.

This happened over and over throughout my life, when I least expected it, when I thought everything was good & under control. Until I reached a point in 2016, hyperventilating (again) on the floor of my closet, after 6 MONTHS of debilitating indecision & anxiety over an impending break up, where I just couldn’t do it anymore. This cycle of living in the land of make believe and crashing into reality, over and over. 30 years of curation. 30 years of seeking perfection. 30 years of trying to control everything. I was tired. I was done. I wouldn’t put myself through that again.

crop person hand in broken mirror
Photo by Bruno Pires on Pexels.com

Healing From The Inside

So in that moment, I made a vow to stop pretending. To start dealing with my shit instead of burying it inside of me. It was the only thing left I hadn’t tried. The only thing I had always been too scared to do. Facing myself. Turning inwards, instead of out there, to “find myself.” At the age of 31, I stopped pretending that I was “fine” & started wading through the muck of my life. Childhood experiences that made me build super strong armor around my heart & hide who I really was. Beliefs I had about life that were hurting me, not helping me. All the rules & the ‘shoulds’ I had accumulated over decades. For me personally, a big one was feeling all the things I never let myself feel when I was 13 and my mom died. At her funeral, I smiled & played with my cousins & was “totally fine, thanks bye!.” I never grieved. I never processed.

I unearthed everything within me that I had been pretending wasn’t there. I stepped into myself. And it was horrifying stuff. It’s dark in there, in the corners of yourself you’ve never dared to look. I got a therapist. I started digging & exploring within myself. Anything that came up, instead of suppressing it & running in the other direction, I faced it. Wrote about it. Talked about it. Shared about it. Read about it. Cried about it. Laughed about it. Raged about it. I let anything that needed to surface, surface. And I faced it. And it sucked.

But I also realized that it’s everything I came here to do. I’m here to LIVE, not float through life. I’m here to THRIVE, not settle for some mediocre existence. I’m here to be a messy human, not a perfect robot. I’m here to learn & grow & expand. And now I have enough room inside me to do that. Those things that I suppressed actually took up real estate inside of me. They blocked my life force from flowing. They kept ‘me’ hidden & small, when all I’ve ever really wanted is to be seen & valued & loved. They kept my mind spinning. For decades I hemorrhaged my personal power & energy trying to keep them quiet & hidden & secret.

…when the noise & clutter were gone, and I could hear myself clearly for the first damn time, I didn’t feel alone…

kristin nelson

“Finding myself” was not a process of adding new experiences, new skills, new jobs, new knowledge on top of myself. The accumulation actually made it even harder for me to see myself within all that junk. “Finding myself” was a process of removal. Digging deep. Exploring. Rooting around & removing all the junk that others had given to me. Expectations, shoulds, beliefs, stories, lies, inherited traumas from my family & ancestors….stuff that wasn’t really mine. And when I unraveled that mess inside myself, when I made space, all that was left was…me.

And what’s extra wild is that when the noise & clutter were gone, and I could hear myself clearly for the first damn time, I didn’t feel alone & small in a deep dark cave of nothingness. I felt…connected for the first time in my life to something bigger than me.

Where I used to spend so much of my energy curating and improving and perfecting myself, and caring what other people thought of me, and maintaining my image, now my power is free for me to use. The energy has always been there. The connection has always been there. The power has always been there. But I was always too busy racing through life to notice.

Maybe like me, you were told to leave your troubles behind & climb to the highest heights to find happiness. Those stairs lead nowhere. Trust me, I climbed pretty damn high. You are strong enough to feel all the things & to face all of you. Stop climbing. Turn around. And start stepping down into yourself. It will be gross, and heartbreaking, and messy, and smelly, and imperfect, and hairy, and overwhelming, and hard af, and it will hurt. A lot. But for me, it was the only way through.


[A lovely fair-skinned young woman against a dark background. She wears a dark tank top and holds a light, shimmering fabric behind her neck. Her brown hair is pulled back from her face. She looks upwards and smiles.]

Kristin Nelson (she/hers) lives in Kansas City, Missouri but keeps little pieces of her heart all over the world in the places she’s lived & loved. In 2019, burnt out by a 12-year fundraising career, she quit to fulfill a dream of leading biking tours in Europe with Backroads. That terrifying leap of faith changed everything, and in 2020 she started working for herself & created Unravel Your Life, LLC. A highly sensitive person (HSP) herself, Kristin understands overwhelm all too well & helps people move through clutter & the daunting home organization projects they dread. She also receives messages for clients from Spirit via the Akashic Records & Tarot, which makes her magic-seeking inner child insanely happy. In her Aquarian, Projector heart of hearts, Kristin really wants to use her privilege & power as a white, cisgendered woman to dismantle the racist & sexist systems running our world & to create a new paradigm of leadership that makes everyone feel like they are truly seen, “gotten”, and treasured.

Connect with Kristin: Facebook Instagram or Email at hello@unravelyourlife.com

Want to read more articles about reckoning with healing? Try these: A Story About Energy & Healing Thoughts on Healing In the Aftermath

All opinions expressed in this article are the sole perception/experience of the writer, and may not necessarily be shared by Michelle Lewis – The Blessings Butterfly. All Rights Reserved.

Big Intentions

BIG JUNE INTENTIONS: I am planning to be away from the digital life for most of this month so I can be totally present while away on my Honeymoon. I am Choosing Presence.


For the month of June, it is my intention to stay in-the-moment and also to dramatically reduce the amount of time I spend on social media… quite the challenge for someone whose business is almost exclusively online!

I am not abandoning my work, instead what I am doing is putting it back in it’s proper place. I’ve noticed that my screen time has become quite lopsided and I’m not okay with that.

silhouette of a person on a swing
Photo by Asad Photo Maldives on Pexels.com

To be honest, it gives me an anxious feeling to share this Big Intention. It feels very familiar- much like when I first quit smoking, or when I quit drugs, or when I learned how to not get shit-faced drunk everyday, or when I stopped disconnecting from my body especially during sex, or when I learned how to have a mutually loving & healthy relationship with food instead of using it as another tool to abuse myself… basically the way it felt for me to face, understand, and release myself from my addictions.

You know, the real-life baggage of someone who’s been through some shit.

But here’s the thing: Big Intentions can lead us to Big Transformations.

Sure, there are maybe a million tiny actions and next-steps that take place between the declaration of the Big Intention and the realization of the Big Transformation. It’s not like one just flips a switch and POOF! Metamorphosis. There may even be millions of micro-movements before the Big Intention is stated. But there IS something absolutely magickal in that moment when you decide that Yes, actually, I am ready to make a change.

But here’s the thing: Big Intentions can lead us to Big Transformations.

michelle lewis – the blessings butterfly

The moment of the Big Intention is the moment when Hope and Faith and Belief and Wishes and Dreams and Desire all intersect, and you find yourself choosing to leap from the place of stagnant self-doubt into the realm of possibility. It’s the moment between shifting from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. It’s the moment when your “I can’t!” becomes “I think I can!”

And before anyone gets it twisted, there’s NO SHAME in getting professional help. Remember, you’re still the one doing the work even when you’ve got a coach, therapist, or specialist guiding & supporting you.

Maybe your own Big Intention is something that challenges you, inspires you, or even maybe scares you- it’s okay. Gather up your courage, call in your support squad, and take that next right step forward. As soon as you decide that you’re ready to make that change, whatever it may be- your own Big Transformation is waiting on the other side of it.

Work with me: Empowerment Coaching Spiritual Clarity Readings

BEING THE CHANGE THAT WE WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD REQUIRES MAKING A PHENOMENAL MESS.


This week has been exceptionally messy, both for me personally in my healing from cancer journey, and in the much larger context of people absolutely fucking fed up with the cancer of continued mistreatment of our Black brothers and sisters in this country due to our inherently racist, white-supremacist systems of government, law enforcement, judiciary, and all the exceptional privileges that come with being born in a white-skinned body. Fed up with not being heard.

Still with me? Cool. Let’s go a little further.

I have taken my DNA test. I know that my genetic makeup is primarily Northern European, (48.5%) and the balance of my ancestry is Southern European (32.7%) with a smattering of Ashkenazi Jewish (.4%) Native American (5.8%) East Asian (.8%) and Sub-Saharan African (3.2%). The remaining 8.6% is scattered to the winds in traces and indistinguishable bits. Possibly alien, star-seed, angelic, or prehistoric. But if you didn’t know any of this, you’d look at me and just see another basic White person. Previously with gorgeous long platinum blonde hair, now with a shiny bald dome.

Before Cancer
Chemo is fucking rough, but necessary if I want to free my body from this cancer.



I don’t have to fear most of the places I visit or the daily activities I engage in because of the color of my skin. And if you are another basic White person like me, you don’t either. That’s the rule. That’s how this shit works. We know this, deep in our bones, even when we aren’t ready to admit it. Even when we can’t stomach what the truth of that means. Even when we wish and hope and pray that it just isn’t so, that we are the exception, that we really are GOOD, that we aren’t actually racist, that we “don’t see color” or that we are doing our work. We know.

AND… what if we want to do better? What if we want to see real change happen, and we want to see it happen in our lifetime? What if we are ready to face our millions of excuses head on? What if we are willing to focus on the Black people who are victims of our violence and our apathy? What if we are willing to be uncomfortable and ready to start GETTING MESSY and unpacking our culturally and familially ingrained biases, unearth our own seen and unseen racism, and actually create positive change? What if we are willing to put our ideals into action?

What if?

Healing from cancer is MESSY. The treatments, the recovery, are brutal and messy. I hope that you NEVER have to deal with it yourself, or watch someone you love go through it. If you have walked this road yourself, you know. I see you, and I love you.

Healing from racism is no less messy. The biggest difference is that every White person in the US has been infected with racism- think of it as a spectrum in which every damn one of us falls on, from ignorant & fragile to full-on White Supremacist. Some are completely poisoned and proudly rotting, while others aren’t even aware that they have been affected and go about their merry way, oblivious to the damage they are doing. Still others are painfully aware of their white privilege and are consciously doing the hard, messy, necessary work day after day.

It will be messy. It will be difficult. It will be awkward. It will be uncomfortable. It will be risky. We will make mistakes. Like, LOTS of mistakes. And, if we are willing to do this important and messy and necessary work within ourselves and within our families and within our schools and within our houses of worship and within our workplaces and within our communities and within our online spaces and within our law enforcement agencies and within our local and state and federal governments, if we are willing to make a phenomenal mess of the status quo- THEN we will begin to see the world change and become the beautiful, equitable-for-all utopia that we say we want it to be.

What to do next:

Take ONE action step towards becoming a person who is anti-racist. Then, take another. Repeat.

Here are some links to helpful resources that you can begin to use right away:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BRlF2_zhNe86SGgHa6-VlBO-QgirITwCTugSfKie5Fs/mobilebasic

https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/4-ways-white-people-can-process-their-emotions-without-bringing-the-white-tears/

https://adawaygroup.com/

https://medium.com/equality-includes-you/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/beyond-the-hashtag-how-to-take-anti-racist-action



Thank you for reading and allowing yourself to be uncomfortable with this conversation. Thank you for being willing to face and unpack your unpleasant parts. Thank you for making the choice every day moving forward to do the hard, messy, necessary work of dismantling racism and the systems that uphold it. You’re not alone; I’m in it with you.

The Second Pillar: Serving With Joy (Part 3 – Finding Joy in Your Soul’s Purpose)

In my understanding of The 4 Pillars of Transformational Positivity, the First Pillar is Whole-Self Love, which is about understanding & healing our connection to the Self. This is tremendously important in its own right, and it is essential to do the work of Whole-Self Love for us to move forward successfully to the Second Pillar: Serving With Joy, which is all about our connection with community. (You can read about The First Pillar here if you missed it)

In this third part of the current series, we wrap up our look at the Second Pillar by understanding why serving with joy is directly tied to our connection with community. I believe that it is within the space of COMMUNITY that we learn how to best SERVE in our highest capacity and find true JOY in our soul’s purpose. (Please click here to read if you missed Part 1 or Part 2 of this series.)

Your Soul’s Purpose

Serving humanity from a place of deep Joy starts within your chosen community (online, in person, geographic neighborhood, professional, or common interest). You have a very special, unique, one-of-a-kind gift to share, one that can never be duplicated and one that only you can offer. That gift is You. You! Your story. Your passions. Your experiences. Your perspective. Your wisdom. Your voice. Your talents & hobbies. Your art. Your curiosity. Your discoveries. Your healing. Your peace. Your Past, Present, & Future. All of what makes up your personal journey, your own unique expression of Divinity in the flesh, is the whole point of coming to Earth and experiencing life as a human. Discovering, embracing, celebrating and sharing what makes you uniquely You- that IS your soul’s purpose. And the most beautiful thing? Once you realize that this precious, perfectly imperfect, one-of-a-kind life of yours IS your gift, you can stop wasting so much time and energy on the shit that doesn’t interest you and start connecting with your passion, your joy, your slice of heaven on earth and serving your community with it.

So, What Are You Passionate About?

Spending any amount of your time engaged in things that you are passionate about creates a wonderful sense of fulfillment and a layer of Joy to your life. But what if you’ve never had the time or opportunity to explore things that interest you, let alone spark the deep burning fire of passion?

If you’ve been feeling stuck for a long time and just can’t even begin to think about what you are passionate about, here are 3 of my favorite questions to jump-start your thoughts and maybe even rekindle a fire inside you. Take some time to journal on one or all of these prompts:

  • Name 3 highlight experiences in your life. What do they have in
    common? What does this tell you about yourself?
  • What did you dream about doing when you were a child? How does it feel to imagine yourself doing that now?
  • What are you most curious about right now?

That third question is probably my favorite because it takes the pressure off what can feel like the overwhelming “bigness” of trying to discover your passion. Especially true if you’re feeling depressed or find yourself using not knowing what you’re passionate about as a way to beat yourself up. Curiosity becomes a lifeline, a rope to pull you up, a trail of breadcrumbs to follow into a brighter, more hopeful frame of mind. Curiosity can lead you on a life-long path of discovery that will help you reveal more and more of what makes you so unique, what makes you the most happy, a path that opens up new friendships, support systems, and joyful connections to community.

If you recall from Part 2 of this series, I invited you to determine where the gaps are in your community. Now that you’ve started to explore the things that bring you the most Joy, ask yourself: Is this thing that I enjoy or am passionate about something that can help to serve my community? If the answer is Yes, then you are holding the missing puzzle piece. Bring your passions & interests forward and present them, filling in the gap in a way that only you can fill it. You may just look up and see a grateful new community unfolding around you.

The Second Pillar: Serving With Joy (Part 2 – Bridging the Gaps in Your Community)

In the first part of this article series, I wrote about the different types of community and invited you to identify what your current connections might look like. Then, I asked you to think about and make a list of the different communities you currently belong to. In order to begin to bridge the gaps in your community, you have to first look at your answers to the following questions:

  • How do I fit in to each space?
  • What are my roles in each space?
  • What are some of the ways that I contribute and serve in each space?
  • Are there any gifts, talents, ideas, strengths, or other resources that I can offer to better serve my community/ies?
  • Is there anything that I need that I am NOT getting from my community/ies?

Let’s take a closer look and break these down to see where you may be experiencing gaps:

1- How do I fit in?

After you’ve identified the different communities you are connected to, you will want to take a look at where you currently see yourself fitting in to each defined space. Are you newer to the group, or a veteran presence? Do you tend to be interactive and heavily involved, or more of an observer? Are you happy with how you fit in, or is there a more authentic and satisfying way that you would like to show up? Understanding where you are now is the first step in deciding if that’s where you want to remain.

2- What are my roles?

You’ve identified your communities, and you’ve recognized where you currently fit in. Narrowing down to define the different roles you play in each space is your next step. Where are you a Leader? Where are you a Colleague or Collaborator? Where are you a Supporter? Where are you a Student? Where are you a Contributor? Where are you an Enforcer? In any of these roles- how many of them feel right, good, comfortable, natural? Do any of them feel like they belong to someone else? Are there any of your current roles that you would like to let go of, or others that you would like to adopt? Understanding that you have some choice around the roles that you accept and reject can be liberating, and it can also require you to make some significant changes.

3- Ways that I AM serving and contributing

Make an honest and comprehensive list of all the ways that you currently serve and contribute to your different communities. [Note: Don’t censor yourself, and don’t discount or discredit anything as “too small” or insignificant.] What themes or patterns do you notice in the ways that you serve and contribute?

How do you feel when you review the different offerings that you’ve listed?

Are there ways that you are serving that don’t feel good to you, or that are draining you physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, or financially?

Is there anything that you would like to offer your community that you currently are not?

4- Ways that I WANT to serve and contribute

Get Clear: What is it that you REALLY want to do? What is it that you really WANT to be known for? Now make a list of your gifts, talents, ideas, strengths, skills or other resources that you can offer to better serve your community.

Is there anything else that you need to help you move forward with what you want to offer or how you want to serve, such as additional training, a mentor, community buy-in or other types of support?

This is where it gets fun. Now is the part where you can take the information you’ve gathered and create a bridge-building plan! Knowing that it doesn’t have to be perfect before you get started, how can you begin to use what you already have to do the things that you actually want to do?

5- Unmet Needs

By going through this process, you begin to see clearly where there may be any gaps between where you are vs. where you want to be, what you are doing vs. what you want to be doing. This next step is critical for recognizing and honoring what you need vs. what you are getting.

Ask Yourself, without judgement: Is there anything that I need, want, desire, enjoy, like, or am curious about that I am NOT getting from any of my current community/ies?

Are any of the things you’ve just listed available to you in any of your current spaces? If YES, then what will you need to do to access them? If NO, then what communities do you need to connect to?

If you have unmet needs in your current group/s, chances are that you are NOT alone and that there are others in your area, space, neighborhood etc. that would love to connect with you. What would it look like for you to create and launch a new community?

Transformational Positivity for Shitty Days

A 3-Step Energy Releasing Practice for Your Self-Care

We all experience ups and downs in our personal energy, and we all have moments when we are feeling anything but “high vibe” and positive. Congratulations on being a human! One of my very favorite things about Transformational Positivity is that you will never be shamed for being a human, having emotions, or expressing difficult feelings. You will never be told by me to just fake-it-til-you-make-it. I don’t do spiritual bypassing around here.

I will never teach you to ignore any of the challenging things that you are feeling, carrying, or stuck in. You don’t have to pretend that everything is perfect all of the time, or force yourself to smile and look at the bright side only. Instead, my offering for you today is a simple energy releasing practice to use whenever you are bogged down with hard, heavy feelings and need to make some damn sense of it all. Basically, it’s Transformational Positivity for Shitty Days.

This is a simple 3-step technique I use whenever I need to get unstuck from my wallow:

1• UNAPOLOGETIC FEELINGS DUMP. Set a timer for 3- 5 minutes. Write or Say out loud whatever things you are feeling right now. Don’t censor yourself. It’s powerful & important to acknowledge the so-called negative thoughts, fears and hard feelings in order to learn from them, move through them, & release them. Even if you don’t magically find all the answers right away, the simple action of acknowledging your very real emotions can be enough to move the needle from completely immobilized to okay, there’s maybe possibly some hope here. Also, it’s a good reminder that you are not a robot and are allowed to have a shitty day.

2• I LIKE TO MOVE IT MOVE IT. Set a timer for 3- 5 minutes. Move your body as you are able to (dance, stretch, shake it out, clap your hands, walk, climb your stairs, roll your chair around, whatever) It’s okay to make some noise! Bang on a drum, clang some pans, ring some bells. Sing, shout, whistle, laugh, cry, hum, yodel, whatever. The motions created by your movement and the vibrations of the noise you make physically dispels stagnant energy.

3• BREATHE & BRUSH. Set a timer for 3- 5 minutes. Come back to your breath. Sit and take slow, deep, full breaths, noticing any areas of tension in your body (jaw, neck, shoulders, back, hips, etc). Send loving thoughts to the areas of your body that are carrying your hard feelings. Consciously relax tense areas. Massage or gently touch your temples, forehead, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, chest, belly, hips, legs, feet. Use your hands to “brush” your aura, which is the energetic space just outside of your physical body. You can do this with empty hands, or while holding your favorite crystals, a feather, leaf, or flower.

the blessings butterfly, mantra, prayer

Have you tried this 3-step method? Drop a comment and let me know how it went for you.

To learn some more Transformational Positivity techniques, take my online course How to Cultivate Positivity with 4 Simple Tools.

Self Care for Whole-Self Love

For the month of March, I will be continuing my exploration of Whole-Self Love with a particular focus on the importance of Self Care. I will be sharing some of my own rituals, as well as those from some of my favorite folx around the world. Enjoy!

What does ‘Self Care’ mean to you? Does it conjure up images of a spoiled princess or celebrity whose every whim is being attended to by her groveling personal staff? Do you tend to write it off as something decadent, frivolous and/or unrealistic for you? I know that if you’re anything like me, chances are that you’ve spent a lot of your life resisting or flat out rejecting the idea of Self-Care as being something for you to indulge in while simultaneously labeling it as SELFISH, and therefore, BAD. This, my friend, is the first step: recognizing that Self-Care is not a bad thing. In fact, it is a good and necessary thing that every adult deserves to experience for optimum health. Truly, it’s about providing the care that your body, mind, soul and spirit need to support you throughout your time here on the planet.

GOOD NEWS: Creating a personal self-care practice that feels lush, supportive, and satisfying is not as hard to do as you might think. It doesn’t have to break the bank, either! It’s helpful to remind ourselves that Self-Care does not necessitate Luxury. Self-Care is so much more than 24k Gold facials, Champagne bubble baths, or having a private masseuse on call 24/7 (although that would be the kind of luxurious amenities that I could learn to get used to). Luxury items and experiences are wonderful, and if you can have the privilege of access to them then please do so with total enjoyment; but if you aren’t a princess or a celebrity or a millionaire don’t fall for the mistaken thinking that it’s got to be all-or-nothing. Self-Care isn’t selfish, and it’s not just for the super-rich.

Tip of the Week: Build on the Basics

START WHERE YOU ARE: When you are trying to figure out what a regular Self-Care practice can look like for you, begin with finding your baseline then build from there. By simply taking some time to examine what you are currently doing, it’s easy to map out a cultivated routine that suits you.

We all have some basic maintenance requirements for these fabulous human bodies that we live in which include food, water, sleep, and shelter. These are non-negotiable for our survival. We must recognize that each of these 4 areas can be enhanced to build a practice of Self-Care. Additionally, you may have a body that is able to include movement as part of its daily experience, and you may also be in a position to enjoy access to clothing, bathing, community, education, and healthcare. All of these have the potential to be developed into something that enriches and supports you physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally for a holistic approach to Self-Care.

Loving and caring for our physical body starts with basic maintenance and expands to suit our individual preferences and abilities. Food and Water becomes an adventure in nourishment. Sleep and Shelter becomes a commitment to daily restoration. Movement becomes stretching, strengthening, challenging, and exploring what your body can do. Bathing and Clothing evolve into personal grooming, tending, pleasuring, delighting, adorning, and expressing. Community, Education, and Healthcare turn into opportunities for including, accepting, embracing, expanding, soothing, and healing. Can you see the difference? Does this open your mind to new possibilities?

 Food for Thought

Self-Care that makes sense will be tailored to YOU. It will take into account your individual needs and wants, it will fit into your current lifestyle and it will adapt accordingly as your life and your body change. Some questions to reflect on:

  1. How do you currently care for the body that you live in?
  2. Which of the 4 basic maintenance areas (food, water, sleep, and shelter) can you improve for your Self-Care? If there is more than one, list them in the order of which you would like to work on first.
  3. Which of the 6 additional areas (movement, bathing, clothing, community, education, healthcare) can you build on for your Self-Care? If there is more than one, list them in the order of which you would like to work on first.

It takes courage to get to know yourself, so Bravo! I see you and I salute you as you take these positive steps towards Transformation. PLEASE do not be tempted to use your answers to these questions to heap shame on yourself. You are not a bad person, you are not “doing it wrong” or failing at life. Instead, use your answers as information to help you make new choices moving forward.

If you have questions about how to take some next steps in creating your own Self-Care routine and rituals, why don’t you go ahead and schedule a free consultation call with me? I would love to have a quick chat with you. Click on the “Schedule” button at the top of this page today to set up a no-obligation call or video conference with me.

The First Pillar: Whole-Self Love [Part 2- The Art of Releasing]

What are some of the first things you do when you come home to rest at the end of a long, stressful day? Do you kick off your shoes, drop off all the things in your hands like your keys, the mail, purse/handbag/briefcase, your phone, an old coffee cup, a bag or two of take-out food and/or groceries and make a beeline to the toilet? (Okay, I admit that I am most definitely taking my phone in with me to watch TikTok or Instagram Stories while I’m *taking a seat* to pee.) Maybe you also hop into the shower or draw yourself a bath and just let the warm, soothing water do its magic.

And WOW- how great does it feel to finally shed those work clothes [read: BRA] and slip into something soft, cozy and comfy?

All of these actions are signals to & from your body that it’s time to take things down a notch. To relax. To quite literally release the excess that you’ve been carrying.

Releasing Creates Space for Positivity & Healing

On the path to Whole-Self Love, one of the most important skills we can develop is the art of releasing our negative attachments. Hurt People, hurt people. This can become some of the most powerful work that we do for ourselves, as it frees us from some of the deeply held pain of our experiences of being human. As we release and heal, we shed our old patterns of negativity and create more beautiful new ways of being in the world, which is what is often referred to as the “Higher Self” or the best versions of ourselves.

Releasing our baggage aka negative attachments is not an easy-peasy, one-and-done flip of the switch; it’s more complex and nuanced and layered. It’s an evolutionary process that requires us to actively face and address the things that we may have spent our whole lifetime trying to avoid, hide from, or cover up. AND… it is through this process of enlightenment where we heal ourselves, and in turn help to ease and end the suffering of others by not perpetuating harm. It may or may not involve forgiveness, it may or may not involve therapy, but it will definitely involve support.

So what are some of the things that we may want to work on releasing? What are some of the negative attachments that we may be needing to face? Whatever you choose to release, will create space for something else to fill it so it’s important that you take a mindful approach moving forward.

There are many different ways that negativity shows up in our day-to-day, and it’s not necessarily all bad. Sometimes finding yourself in a “bad mood” is just an indicator that your body needs more rest, or something nourishing to eat. Sometimes it’s connected to a family member or loved one who is experiencing struggles. Maybe there’s an important or difficult conversation that you need to have with someone, or perhaps a personal boundary has been crossed. Shitty things happen, and we are not immune to them- it’s when it goes unchecked that negativity can develop into something much more serious and require the help of trained professionals. This can look like:

  • Negative self-talk, scripts of our unworthiness, a shame spiral
  • Patterns of self-sabotaging behaviors, unhealthy personal relationships, cycles of abuse or neglect
  • Substance addictions
  • Behavioral addictions

The good news is that no matter where you may be on your Whole-Self Love journey, you can begin to make progress, you can begin healing, you can begin releasing whatever is not serving your higher self today. There are resources available to you, and if you’re not sure what they are or where to look, schedule a free call with me and let’s get you started in the right direction. If it’s something that I can help with, I will, and if it’s something that is beyond my scope (such as clinical diagnosis), I will refer you to one of my many expert colleagues or point you towards additional resources. Even one tiny step creates space in your life for more positivity, and every tiny step forward is evidence of your positive transformation that you can build on. Let your one tiny step towards Whole-Self Love be the act of learning the art of release.

The First Pillar: Whole-Self Love [Part 1- Personal Empowerment Overview]

The 1st Pillar of Transformational Positivity is Whole-Self Love. It’s the beginning of your personal revolution, a shift in positivity that leads to your most empowered, on-going transformation. Why?

• Because it invites us to daily disrupt our old patterns of negative self-talk and allows us to begin seeing who and what we really are in our wholeness. We develop a loving & supportive way of relating to ourselves that is personally healing and breaks the cycles of negativity.

• Because it allows us to question and rebel against the negative messages that have been sent to us about our bodies from the industries that benefit from making us feel like shit. We discover & create inspiring new communities of radical acceptance that feel like a celebration and a homecoming.

• Because it requires us to push back against and break the oppressive systems designed to keep us small & muzzled. We begin to take back the control that we didn’t even realize we were giving away, and create a powerful new paradigm of true equality as sentient, autonomous beings.

Some things I must acknowledge

Changing behavior is uncomfortable. Changing paradigms is uncomfortable. Facing our inner sh*t is triggering as f*ck. It’s often a bit messy and clunky and awkward and imperfect, until it isn’t, and we find ourselves finally moving forward little by little by little.

I think it’s important to acknowledge that doing the personal work of Transformational Positivity has some common factors that almost everyone will relate to, and there will also be very specific factors that are going to be unique to the individual. Especially within the 1st Pillar of Whole-Self Love, we will each come to the work with our own biases and lived experiences in tow. Some things to consider:

  • Am I a member of the dominant culture? Do I hold certain privileges based on that? My self-love practice and self-care rituals will look differently than someone who has been systemically marginalized because of their race, gender, economics, etc.
  • Did I grow up experiencing a supportive family structure? Did I experience any forms of abuse as a child? My self-love practice and self-care rituals will look differently than someone who has also had to overcome a difficult upbringing and/or adverse childhood experiences.
  • Am I able-bodied? Am I generally in good health? My self-love practice and self-care rituals will look differently than someone who also has to navigate within our ableist culture. My self-love practice and self-care rituals will look differently than someone who must also manage a physical health crisis and/or mental health issues.

Before I steer too far out of my lane, let me be clear in saying that there is room for ANYONE and EVERYONE to do this beautiful and empowering work of Whole-Self Love. For some of us, we will need to do some deeper healing (yes please). We may need to work with a qualified therapist to help us get past our old patterns of recreating pain (I have and I do).

The point of looking at these considerations is NOT to create more shame. It is to acknowledge that each one of us has a story that is beautiful (even the ugly bits), powerful (even in our failings), and worthy of love.

The Pervasiveness of Body Shaming

Like 9/10 people reading this, I have experienced body shaming and I have struggled with my self image. For me, it started pretty early on in childhood at school- by kids and by teachers- and then again in church, and later on in my intimate relationships and even in my professional life- especially when I was working as an exotic dancer and a model, but even when I was working in corporate office jobs and non-profit organizations my body was somehow offensive.

There is a common language of shaming and degrading that seems to be inescapable. It’s a destructive narrative continuously amplified by the media: Too Much, while at the exact same time, Not Enough. To which, I call Bullshit. Among the many damning comments I’ve received for simply existing: “Too Fat. Too Skinny. Too White. Too Freckled. Too Old. Too Young. Too Curvy. Too Narrow. Too Wrinkly. Too Bumpy. Too Slow. Too Fast. Too Slutty. Too Frumpy. Too Loud. Too Quiet. Too Opinionated. Too Bitchy,”…and on and on and on. If it’s a crappy thing to say to a person, I’ve had it said to me, and I must admit that at different times on this journey I’ve said it to or about someone else. If the comments weren’t directed at me, then they were directed at or behind the back of someone else. When I wasn’t personally reeling from hearing the poisonous words, I was either feeding them back to myself or flinging them carelessly at someone else. Ugh.

It’s no wonder that we struggle with basic self-care skills, let alone the practice of Whole-Self Love. But that’s why it’s so important to me that we have the awareness, that we have the knowledge, and that we have the tools to experience our life in these crazy-amazing human bodies as the whole, complete, brilliant beings that we truly are. Whole-Self Love teaches us how to tap into a level of Positivity that can truly transform our old stories of pain into masterpieces of healing love.

Whole Self Love: a new series

WHOLE SELF LOVE: a new series

Oh, Honey- I have some things to say about this little #frenemy right here. It’s been a hot minute since I have shared much publicly about my physical body, and here’s why:

  • Dieting Sucks
  • Talking about dieting is capital B BORING
  • Diet Culture is toxicAF
  • The number on the scale does not determine (nor can it ever measure) my worth

I know this to be True. You probably do as well! (And yet…)

It’s why, for the past 4-5 years, I have made it my personal mission to learn how to Love the body I live in, every damn day. Regardless of my clothing size, weigh-in numbers, age, shape, wrinkles, lumps, flab, rolls, freckles, muscles, strength, etc ad nauseum. I’ve been helped tremendously on my body-positive journey by trailblazers like Jessamyn Stanley (@mynameisjessamyn), Amber Karnes (@amberkarnesofficial), Dianne Bondy (@diannebondyyoga) and most recently Tiana Dodson (@onebeautifulyes) who are all amazing and beautiful.

So, I pose these questions: What if Loving your Whole Self meant loving your entire body? What would it take for you to Love all your parts and welcome them into your Wholeness?

I’m practicing Radical Self Love & normalizing fat bodies, even as I continue to shed some weight & heal what’s hurting inside. I even have been taking a series of rather societally unflattering selfies as part of my whole-self Love medicine and posting them on my Instagram stories. (It feels insanely liberating, btw) I knew that I couldn’t begin to address my health issues without first being willing to really, REALLY Love all of me. Including the parts that weren’t as pretty, the parts that hurt, and the parts that were breaking down.

As of this writing, it’s been 3 weeks since I began a total shift in my relationships with food & exercise. With the help of an interactive app/virtual program I am not just learning about healthier ways to eat and move and less psychologically & emotionally damaging ways to think about those things, but I’m integrating these new habits every damn day that are supporting my whole self. I won’t lie, it’s been some hard word (first week was the worst) but through the effort I am putting in and the support received, I’ve seen and felt some pretty spectacular results, including my first 10+ lbs. shed; increased endurance; a dramatic reduction in pain in my back, knees, and feet; increased strength; no more chest pain or wheezing; no more bloating or food hangovers; fewer mood swings & more sustained energy; improved sleep and almost no more snoring.  All of this Love being poured into my body is coming back to me in these very tangible ways, and I am truly grateful. I am excited to see how much more my body and I can do.

More of this story to come, stay tuned!

Getting My Sexy Back

UPDATE: Since writing this entry in August 2019, I have developed a much healthier & more positive relationship with food, eating, exercise, and caring for my body in general. During the course of my program, I shed over 40 lbs.* (at an average of -2 lbs per week) and watched in amazement as my body composition began to change. I felt such pride at being able to go through my daily activities without feeling exhausted, and I have been delighted to have more physical activity, strength, and endurance become a natural part of my life. More incredibly, I have experienced the release of long-held pain in my body, specifically in my feet, knees, back and chest; released long-held beliefs about my worth being tied to my appearance; and released long-held habits of self-destructive thoughts & actions.

By coupling my mindset work with a refreshed self-care plan, I have discovered JOY in moving my body again, and I have developed a kind of confidence, acceptance and deep Love for the body that I have- lumps, bumps, folds, wrinkles, spots, flabby bits and all. How freeing to realize that I don’t need to look like a Victoria’s Secret model to feel sexy, beautiful, comfortable in my skin (things I never felt when I was an actual lingerie and bikini model).

It is my sincere hope and belief that I will continue to take good care of myself by using the tools that I’ve learned and keep learning. I have a great support system now to lean on when I need to, and I have empowered myself to be in charge of taking care of my Whole-Self… body, mind, and soul.

*No matter how much I stress that the size of my body is not that important, and no matter how much I believe and teach that you don’t have to lose weight before you can love your body- people are still always fascinated by my weight loss and ask me, “How did you do it?” So here it is: I signed up for Noom. If you would like to try their program for yourself, you can click here to use my affiliate link and get yourself 20% off.