What if, each day, you made the conscious choice to focus on what makes you happy? By directing your thoughts, your intentions, your energy towards the positive pursuit of your own happiness, you will create a powerful shift that ignites your spirit and fills your life with Light and Joy! Take the time to get to know YOU by trying new things and becoming a master at the things you already enjoy.
You aren’t pretending that hard things aren’t also part of your world, rather you are building reserves of strength and banking cherished memories that can buoy you on the harder days. Spending even as little as 10 minutes a day doing something you love can make a difference in your outlook and improve your mental health. Let yourself enjoy life despite any challenges that come your way. You deserve to be Happy!
Jobs end. Addresses change. Relationships shift. Lives evolve. We know that the only constant in Life is change, and even when we see it coming and look forward with great anticipation, still it feels like a shock to the system when the status quo we have known for so long is no longer so. Bittersweet.
Today, if you are experiencing a great change of direction on your own path, know that you are not alone. Feel all of your feelings, don’t avoid them. Roll and flow with them, ride them like the mighty waves that they are, let them wash over you and cleanse you. Soak in the full experience of Goodbye, of Hello, of Ending, of Beginning. Recall that you’ve been here before, at this exact place of What’s Next and I Don’t Know, and that you figured it out just fine before. How you choose to move forward from here is up to you: Graceful swan dive, or Cannonball? Tiptoe, Waltz, or SMASH THROUGH WALL LIKE HEY KOOL-AID?
It’s OK, Darling. You have all that you need to take the next step, Love, so jump in. Your entrance through the newly opened door can be as elegant and grand as you choose, so make a splash or send a ripple. You’ve got this.
Today, March 8, is a day celebrated for more than a century now as International Women’s Day. In it’s earliest iteration, it was founded as “International Working Women’s Day” and was actually linked back to the American Socialist Party. To be crystal clear, I am NOT a Socialist.But I most definitely am a Woman, and I choose to support, elevate, empower and celebrate women around the world today and every day.
In 2017, I’m astonished that so many women in my own country and around the globe still lack equality and in so many parts of the world, basic human rights. Global politics and policies continue to separate and divide us, and it breaks my heart that so many of my sisters would rather tear each other apart over our differences than stand together to uplift and protect the most vulnerable among us. Instead of engaging in intelligent discussions to seek common ground, too many of us draw uncrossable lines in the social media sand fostered by religious and political divisiveness. Too many of us take the stance that because we are not personally oppressed, it is foolishness that prompts those who protest another person’s felt struggle. Certainly, it is our right as free-born people to peacefully protest, and I completely respect the choice of those who do… and those who don’t. Hey Girl, you do you.
But as for me:
As an incredibly privileged American born woman, I’m deeply grateful for the women who came before me and for their protests, marches, and tireless campaigns to educate and fight for the rights I enjoy today. I am clear that while much progress has been made, there is still much work to be done here and around the globe. As long as there remains such unbearable things as gender inequality, patriarchy, misogyny, domestic violence, rape culture, sex trafficking, ritual genital mutilation, child marriage, and honor killings, we must continue to bravely stand up and speak out for the most vulnerable among us.
I have been to many countries outside of the US. I’ve worked with many women over the years who don’t enjoy the same rights as I do. Not even close! As a result, I’ve raised funds, rallied and educated people here about many of the horrors women and girls still face daily- because once you’ve seen that kind of pain and oppression, you simply can’t unsee it. My compassion and empathy compels me to do whatever I can, whenever I can.
And while I cannot speak for the other women who choose to protest today (or any other day), I can tell you that this is exactly the reason I do proudly count myself among them. I will continue to speak out and stand up on behalf of women and girls globally and dedicate myself to advancing the rights of my sisters here, there, and everywhere. For me, it goes much farther and deeper than the political divisions and power grabs that taint the surface of any one event; it is that we must love every other human to the very best of our ability, and that sometimes means drawing attention to injustice suffered and doing whatever possible to address and correct it. On this, I believe, we surely agree.
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We all have those days. You know the kind I’m talking about, right? The ones that you have carefully and thoughtfully planned out with a neat list of manageable tasks to check off, a few scheduled appointments, and some wonderful self-care all lined up. Ahhhh, heavenly! Except… It all goes sideways. Someone gets sick. Meals get skipped. Self-care gets sabotaged. Deadlines get missed. You find yourself going from blissed-out to pissed-off, and from boss on top of your game to curled up in fetal position under a blanket.
My last sideways day looked a little something like this: The first appointment of the day was delayed by three hours, which then set off a falling-dominoes chain of events: rescheduling, scrambling, cancelling, more rescheduling, and a whole lot of stress. Feelings of frustration and irritation slowly start boiling over, and lord help the next person to say something stupid/rude/insensitive to me (I’m looking at you, 3 hour late mansplaining contractor!) GAHHH! So what can you do to keep yourself from completely losing your shit when your day goes sideways? Here’s my Top 3 Tips:
Get Over Yourself
Just Breathe. Okay, right now is when you want to give yourself a quick time out and just take a few deep breaths. We call these “cleansing breaths” for good reason, because slowing yourself down to pause and breathe is the quickest way to immediately diffuse a tense situation. Changing the energy inside you will change the energy around you, clear your mind, and allow you to make a calm next step. A few deep, relaxing breaths can shift you from a path that leads to blind rage, and instead put you back in control of the situation at hand.
Get Over Yourself. Yes, the situation is annoying and you wish it was different, but it’s not. It is what it is, so instead of jumping into victim mode, remove yourself from the equation for a few minutes to regain perspective. Remember that sometimes, shit just happens and nobody is immune to it. See this series of events as an opportunity to let go of things you can’t control, and learn new healthy ways to cope with disappointment, frustration, or anxiety.
Face Forward. No matter how derailed your day may have been, it is all going to be OK. You can remind yourself that you’ve been through tough days before, and just like you made it through the last time you are going to make it through this one too. You may need to course-correct. You may need to learn a few new things. You may have a cool battle scar at the end of this one, but dammit, you surely aren’t done yet missy! Your life is not linear, it’s a winding journey and this is just another part of the scenery. Keep moving forward.
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Sometimes you come across a person who exudes such compassion, kindness, peacefulness and genuine love for others that it makes you pause and wonder: How did they get to this place?
Such is the case with my friend Rachel. She and I connected online through an exercise challenge; she lives in Wales, I am in the US. The energy and support within this online group was AMAZING. Truly supportive and really beautiful! The challenge ended, but several (hundred) of us, mostly women, wanted to remain connected so Rachel soon formed a spin-off group that kept the conversations and support going.
I quickly learned that this remarkable woman was spiritually gifted, intuitive, and an expert at meditation. YES! That vibe is my jam!
I wanted to learn more, and asked her if she’d be willing to share her story. I had no idea that the pain and trauma of her past was so similar to that of myself and of so many other women. I am incredibly humbled that she chose to share her very personal journey me, and allow me to share it with you. If together we can help one more woman find her voice, find her courage, and find comfort- it’s a win.
The Blessings Butterfly interviews: Rachel John
TBB: What’s the name of Your Business/Company/Product/Project?
RJ: The business is Soul BEing, an umbrella for all tools you need to become whole and reactivate your true being. Mindful Coaching, Meditation, Mindfulness, Chakra Balancing / Energy Healing, Akashic Records Readings, Spiritual Development
TBB: What is your role there?
RJ: I am all roles, creator, strategist, manager, accountant
TBB: What were you doing before this?
RJ: I was a General Manager in a large chain international restaurant running a £1,000,000+ store, Coaching, Training, Marketing, Selling, Mentoring, the list goes on. Before that I had always worked in Sales of the Service industry most notably my time with Virgin Atlantic Airlines as crew.
TBB: In what ways is your Business making a difference, or how do you hope that it will?
RJ: I know, that right now, my Coaching and blend of skills is helping women reclaim their power, voice and independence. It is allowing them to make conscious decisions which positively affect their lives without fear. As Brene Browne would say, “They’re daring greatly” , moving forward in life with courage and love and a new found zest that was absent previously.
I also have a collaboration coming up, which begins November 14th, that I’m very excited about. I’m working with a charitable organisation called Recovery Mummy that helps women suffering from post partum depression and psychosis cope with life after having their babies.
I’ll be running an ongoing Mindfulness Course for parents and children which I know will ease the stress and anxiety the families may be experiencing.
TBB: What do you love the most about what you do?
RJ: I love seeing a clients face light up and their joyous reaction when they realize a truth about themselves or they create their own solutions. It’s such a pleasure for me to help people re-discover their own inner power and wisdom and when they suddenly wake up and appreciate their own power and recognize that it was always there to begin with, it’s a wonderful thing to behold.
TBB: So what inspired you to start this unique practice? How did you get to this place?
RJ: When I was younger, I was raped.At the time I told one person who happened to bump into me while I was sobbing in the local train station. I didn’t tell my mother as it was her birthday a few days after and I didn’t want to upset her. I kept it in, squashed it and boxed it up, threw away the key. I became an expert avoider. I was crying inside.
A few years later I lost my home, my flat mate had a nervous breakdown, the fledgling company I worked for screwed me over financially, I took them to a tribunal court, I won the case, they didn’t turn up and disappeared, I lost my job and my money. I was destitute.
I started again. I always tried to remain positive so when I found a job in my hometown of Cardiff, I returned to live with my Mum. I thought this is my time to reset, save some money and get back to where I was and eventually go back to my adopted town, Brighton.
However, the Universe had other plans for me. I had a beautiful daughter and went from full time to part time, I found a great house and while still getting myself together financially so I could only rent I was overjoyed with our little haven. I planned on going to University to retrain as a Psychologist, then my new company offered me my own restaurant. I was unsure, my gut was saying no, go to uni but I took the position lured by the money carrot and the promise of security and extra responsibility. Two weeks before I was due to start in my own restaurant I snapped my Achilles’ tendon but I carried on regardless, a second blatant refusal to pay attention to my intuition. It was a stressful place and a difficult transition but I Managed to turn the ailing store around.
After only a short couple of years my gut was yelling at me to study again, retrain, go find your niche so I took a long overdue sabbatical to plan my route. While I was off work a male manager took over my store, I had no reason to think that was a problem. One day my area manager contacted me and asked, ‘even though I was off work would I like to go to the annual managers party’, which was a festival style few days in the grounds of the owner of the company’s house. Again I ignored my gut to say no, and agreed after I was persuaded ‘what a great time I’d be missing and all your friends will be there, we’ll miss you’.
On the first night of the festival I was sexually assaulted by the manager who was supposedly looking after my store. Everybody had been given a one man tent, sleeping bag, blanket, water, and a sign to post outside your tent. I was so exhausted that night I said goodbye to my close friends and left the festival field early to go back to my tent and sleep. I hitched a ride on a tractor with two other women and a guy, walked across our field, took my wellies off, crawled into my tent, zipped up and fell asleep fully clothed.
I woke up I don’t know how much later to find a hand down the back of my jeans, inside my pants, this man, this ‘colleague’ in my space. I screamed at him to get out, I was in shock, totally freaked out. The next morning I told one person again, not sure what I was staying. She said he was disgusting, and that was that.
I later found out from another colleague that he had lied about the store handover I’d given him, he had failed my store audit, and completely denigrated my character behind my back. Nobody wanted to tell me as they were worried about how I’d react and how it would affect the party. So I was violated in every way.
Again I kept quiet. I moved to a different store, returned to part time hours and to Assistant Manager and started studying Hypnotherapy. I loved the course and boxed up all my past hurt.
Unfortunately for me, my General Manager went on maternity leave and the coward that assaulted me was put in her place. At first I coped but bit by bit, he undermined my position by slowly delegating my work until I had nothing of relevance left. He used my part time status as an excuse then tried to have me removed by the area manager by telling him I was unhappy.
After standing in the tiny managers’ office watching these two grown men argue about who had initiated the move, I’d had enough. I moved restaurant once again to only end up working with his partner. By this time it was too late for me to regain composure. I suffered a panic attack and things went from bad to worse. I became depressed, the following grievance procedure I processed against him in work dragged on and on. The next two years were like a blur as I suffered depression, panic attacks, agoraphobia and cried incessantly.
It’s from here that I carried on studying Coaching, Meditation, Mindfulness, Mindset, my Spiritual development and pulled myself back from the dark edges of life. I re-found my inner strength and wisdom! This is why I started my business and this is why I wanted to help women that have suffered without support, not realizing that everything they need is already there inside of them.
TBB: WOW, Rachel! You have indeed been through the fire. I am so sorry for the years of pain, struggle andsilence that you suffered. It is easy to see how much of a transformation you have made in your life by finding your voice (and what a powerful example for your daughter too!)
RJ: Studying Hypnotherapy, practicing and gaining my teaching qualification in Mindfulness and Meditation, counseling, coaching, my Spirituality and my resolve have got me where I am today, two years on. Strong and independent. That’s why I want you to be powerful too.
TBB: Can you tell me about any of your current projects?
RJ: I’m currently working on combining all of my ‘woo woo’ skills with my Mindful Coaching to create a phenomenally powerful and more holistic way to coach. I’ve always tended to look at the whole picture and introduced a little alternative into my coaching but now I’m being guided to totally immerse myself in this work and my clients are loving it.
I’m reading the Akashic Records, (which is a way to connect with your whole timeline or soul line as I like to call it), plus reading a clients Chakras and using these channels as tools to blend together for the fullest picture of the issues the client needs to work through.
They’re having real breakthrough transformations, smashing through old, outdated habits and patterns of thinking and living.
I am currently running a discounted offer for my Akashic Readings to just my group, but would like to extend this to your readers.
It’s an initial taster session at $43, the session incorporates Chakra healing/balancing with the Akashics for a 360 reading into the most important areas of your life. Value for October only, follow on packages are available.
TBB: Is there anything else you’d like to share, or advice that you can offer to anyone feeling “stuck”?
RJ: If you’re feeling stuck look for support. Don’t suffer in silence, reach out for help, for in vulnerability there is strength. When you take action the universe conspires to assist you wherever it can. You are never alone. Someone somewhere will be in exactly the same position as you. Ask yourself how would you help your friend if they were in the same position as you, then go do it for yourself. Failing that call me 😉
TBB: Fantastic! Thank You! How can people get in touch with you to get help with meditation, counseling, energy healing, etc.?
TBB: Thank you. You are a strong, beautiful human and I’m honored to share this. Blessings upon blessings, dear one.
RJ: thank you xx
BIO ~ Rachel is a qualified Meditation and Mindfulness Teacher, an Holistic Transformation Coach and a skilled Akashic Records Guide who uses Chakra Balancing, Energy Healing and Mediumship to help her clients rediscover their authentic selves.
She is passionate about helping people bring happiness and balance back into their lives, regain their lost independence, rekindle their creative spark and reignite their zest for life.
Rachel believes that with her compelling combination of practical guidance and spiritual support she guides her clients through an holistic journey of self discovery that ultimately balances the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual selves culminating in mindful harmony.
By making the decision to choose LOVE over fear and being brave enough to take inspired action her clients are taking their first steps to a more fulfilled life of understanding.
She is a Life Coach, a Soul Intention Seeker, a Spiritual Catalyst and Pioneer for Empowerment.
~ BECOME WHO YOU WERE BORN TO BE ~ MAKE THE JOURNEY JOYFUL
On September 1, I started my 30 Day Challenge which included a 10 minute daily walk, daily gratitude journaling, and eliminating certain foods from my daily diet (no sugar, dairy, grains, or alcohol). Aside from the total of 5 days of planned travel in which I released my food restrictions (4 in NOLA, 1 in Vegas), I was able to stick to my Challenge in all three areas! I’m feeling pretty accomplished and I have to say, pretty darn proud of myself.
On this final day of my Challenge, here are my observations:
This wasn’t about counting calories or weight loss, but about feeling better in my body. The weight dropped, honestly, was minimal. Maybe 5 lbs? BUT the fact is that I truly do feel better. Not having pain and inflammation in my joints and bloating in my gut is worth saying “no thanks” to the foods that were hurting me. Being able to love myself enough to listen to my body, take good care of her, and do what feels best for me really sums up my personal mission of helping women to love the body they are living in. You can find support and guidance in my program, The Cocoon, if (like me) you are living in a bigger body and want to take some easy steps forward in your health & wellness.
Making time to move my body and get a little sweaty each day is a legit battle. Oh my gosh, the mind games I played with myself to try and talk myself out of it! Every. Damn. Day. But I would lovingly make myself do it, and each time I felt great. My body felt better physically, I released any pent up emotions, and cleared my mind for exciting new ideas. I know the struggle is real, friends, but the rewards are there for the taking. It’s just 10 minutes. If you are able, get out and walk! If walking is not something your body allows you to do, spend your 10 minute doing something physical such as modified chair exercises.
Sugar is EVERYWHERE. Corn too. WTF? These two foods, I believe, have been my body’s primary enemies and main sources of inflammation. I read ingredients labels now for everything before putting it in my shopping cart at the grocery store. Corn syrup, sugar, corn oil, sucrose, cane sugar, cane syrup – if any form of these were on the ingredients label, I didn’t eat it.
I know that I will be A LOT more careful and conscious of what I eat. For sure, I will be reading ingredient labels moving forward. And yes, sometimes I will indulge a little and have some sweet treats when I’m celebrating with friends and loved ones- but it will not be part of my everyday meals.
Whole foods > Junk foods. Well, duh. Of course they are, but I mean they just realllllllly are so much better. They look better. They taste better. They provide better & longer-lasting energy. They are not difficult to prepare. They inspire culinary creativity. They do not leave me feeling gross, tired, bloated, blah. They keep my head clear and mind focused. They are easy to pronounce. They are a better value for the money. Even on nights when I was tired after a long day and didn’t have the stamina to create a fabulous dinner, we could still enjoy no sugar added, uncured smoky bacon & eggs. WINNING. I’ll be sharing a collection of my favorite recipes from this Challenge, so if you’d like to receive them in your inbox just complete the form below! (Including this SO TASTY Pot-Roasted Chicken)
I really like a good glass of wine. During my Challenge, sometimes I craved a sweet dessert, but that craving would pass quickly. Some mornings I craved a latte, but again, it would pass quickly. If I really hardcore wanted something sweet and indulgent, I had some Medjool dates or a Frozen Smoothie Pop. As I was getting closer to the end of my 30 days, though, I found I was really looking forward to enjoying a glass of fine wine with dinner. Maybe I will feel differently after that first glass tomorrow, but I don’t think so. CHEERS!
Yesterday I had the honor of being interviewed* for the new Do It Scared podcast. The premise of the show, hosted by Danielle Schnakenberg and Liza Wilde, is to showcase all of the scary shit we choose to do in our lives; stuff that makes us feel alive, vulnerable, powerful- stuff that pushes us to become better versions of ourselves.
As I was preparing for what I wanted to talk about, I was frankly blown away by all of the (not literal) fires I’ve jumped into over the years. I was struck by how much I’ve changed and grown and evolved with each successive encounter of facing my fears, and how each iteration of self becomes something I could have only dreamed of before. Click here to read my “How I Became The Blessings Butterfly” series How equally terrifying and exciting it is to become a new creation!
This magical and magnificent power to transform is within each and every one of us. It is in me, and it is in you. Reach deep, beautiful soul, and take one more step into your greatness. Try it on, take it for a walk. Burn away & shake off the old, tattered clothing of a former self. Discard the chains & boundaries that no longer suit you, that want to keep you silent, that seek to make you small. This world is hurting and NEEDS you to be your greatest self. You owe it to yourself to Rise Above it all!
Adulting can be so hard sometimes, AMIRITE? Don’t worry Lovelies, you can do this! Whether you are trying to get yourself out of bed and back to work after a long holiday weekend or perhaps an even longer vacation break, there are a few simple things that you can do right now to make your reintegration to Responsible Adult Life a breeze.
Here are my Top 5 Tips for Easing Back in After a Holiday:
Re-Hydrate! Top of the list for getting your body back on point. Spending fun times with friends and family almost always revolves around food & drinks. You probably ate a lot more than you normally do and probably ate and/or drank things that you don’t normally indulge in. Good! Life’s short, it’s OK to splurge and have fun! Now it’s time to give your body some extra-love by flushing out all of the extra junk from your system. Drink LOTS of fresh clean water and give yourself a time-out from soda & alcohol for at least a week.
Rest! Whatever your age, your body needs sleep to recharge and regenerate fresh new cells. It needs even more after you’ve been partying it up, and more still if you’ve been hopping in and out of different time zones. For your first 2-3 days back after a holiday, give your body the opportunity to readjust by going to bed early, taking 10-15 minute naps during the day, and saying a polite but firm “No thank you” to social engagements.
Move Your Body (Gently)! Your body will greatly benefit from getting back into a regular exercise routine sooner rather than later. It’s important here to ease into it instead of going hard your first 2-3 days back to avoid injury and setting yourself back for weeks or more. Keep your exercises incredibly simple and short for your first 3 days back with 30 minutes or less of walking, yoga, and weightlifting each day.
Eat Clean! Don’t make the mistake of trying to starve yourself or otherwise deprive yourself of good food just because you may have gained a few pounds during your holiday. That kind of punishment is not even remotely healthy for your body, mind, or spirit. Honey, you earned those pounds (or more likely, ounces) and the good memories with loved ones are totally worth it! Treat yourself to fresh fruits, veggies, and clean protein, but take a break from fast foods and sugar-packed desserts & baked goods for at least a week.
Share Your Stories! You had a great time, right? Share your fun stories, recommendations and favorite moments with your family, friends, coworkers, colleagues, or boss if appropriate and let them experience life through your eyes. Savor the great memories you created, and record them in a journal, photo album, or video montage to look back on.
If you would like a free 10 minute gentle workout video from my private membership class The Cocoon, leave me your email here:
For the past couple of years, I have been wanting- no, longing to- create a series of fitness videos for people living in bigger bodies, with a crazy twist: I don’t want you to lose a bunch of weight (unless that is something YOU want for yourself). Instead, I wanted to simply love, support, and encourage people just like me to love the body that they are already living in, and provide them with some easy action-steps to help guide them to a healthier lifestyle.
I had this radical notion that I could begin to deeply, truly LOVE myself exactly as I am instead of constantly feeling shitty about the way I look & thinking that “If I just lose this extra weight, I’ll be happier”. NOPE! Life is too short, and I decided that I don’t want to waste any more time trying to get my body to look like it did when I was wearing size single-digit before treating myself like the beautiful, strong, wonderful and valuable woman that I already am. Talk about a game-changer! It’s what led me to create my very own body-positive holistic health & wellness program for bigger bodies, The Cocoon – Empowered Transformation.
The truth is, and trust me when I tell you that the bazillion dollar health & fitness industry doesn’t want me to tell you this: You can achieve good health and still live in a plus-size body. I’m certainly not saying that you shouldn’t take good care of yourself; no, I’m saying that you don’t have to fit into standards set by the beauty industry in order to be healthy, beautiful, and utterly amazing. YES! You can adopt a healthier lifestyle AND you can start loving the body you have right now. What a crazy concept, hey? Here are my five top tips to get you started:
Develop a more positive mindset. Instead of constantly tearing yourself down, criticizing, and comparing, retrain your brain to shift the focus on to what is good about you, and on what you are doing right. Find the positive spin. Speak to yourself with love and kindness daily, and especially in times of great stress and challenge. Talk to and about yourself as you would your best friend. Believe in yourself!
Move your body every day. Be intentional about creating more movement for your body every day. Do at least 10 minutes of physical activity each and every day. 1, 2 or 3 times a week, add in some fun physical activity for 20, 30, or 60 minutes. Build up slowly, and try different things to see what you enjoy the most.
Food is not optional, so make it great. Whether you choose to eat as a carnivore, omnivore, or herbivore, the food we eat should nourish our bodies and delight our taste buds. Always opt for organic, non-GMO certified foods whenever possible. Choose the freshest fruits & veggies you can find. Cut way back on sugar, but not on healthy fats. Cook your own meals whenever possible and develop some mad skills!
Hydrate! There are so many benefits to your body from drinking plenty of water each day. Improved organ function, fresher breath, eliminating toxins, reducing headaches, clearer, more supple skin, and more. Start with drinking a glass in the morning before you get out of bed and aim to drink 8 more throughout the day. If you don’t already love the taste of fresh pure water, infuse itwith fruit or herbs. Drink up, Buttercup!
Throw out that damn scale. Seriously, just ditch it. Don’t be owned by a number whether it is on a scale, a pair of jeans, a bank account or a birthday cake. You are WAY more valuable than any of those. In fact, you are priceless. (See Tip #1!)
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