Scars + Celebrations

Oh, hey there. 👋 It’s been a bit… so I thought I’d pop in with a few updates.

It’s been a little over 3 weeks since my appendectomy and I’m healing quite well. It still hurts like a Mo’ Fo’ anytime I sneeze, cough, or laugh enthusiastically… as if my intestines might burst out from my incisions. And I’m still limited on exercise and lifting. But other than that, I’m feeling pretty fine.

My most recent side boob… AKA side scar pic {wink, wink}

Our weekly Yoga For Cancer Recovery class at Yoga Sol has been going really well. After each class, I find my self in tears of joy and some sadness but also so grateful to be able to co-teach class with my dear friend Jenny at such an amazing studio. My passion for yoga, healing and community shines even brighter than ever before. It’s so rad to be able to truly say ‘I love my job!’

My gal pal Jenny 💖

The Soul Seeds // Affirmation Deck Kickstarter is nearing the end- a little less than a week left- and it’s currently 95% funded!! So fucking cool! Not only is it exciting to see the hard work I’ve been putting in getting closer to fruition, the relationships and community that have been sprouting are incredible! Gratitude fills me completely 💖

The kiddos are adjusting well to their new schools and I am adjusting to the new drop off / pick up schedules along with sports, sports, sports {anyone else have that VTech kids toy?} And I’m thankful to have some rad mom friends on the side lines.

And finally, we celebrated our baby doll, Wyatt, last Saturday as he turned 3… THREE… T H R E E! Oh, my heart. MY HEART! He is a smart, funny, loving, stubborn, kick in the pants kind of kid.

“I wake each day with a grateful heart…”

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Soul Seeds // Kickstarter

Today. Is. The. D A Y !

The Soul Seeds // Affirmation Deck is officially live on Kickstarter! So what does this mean? Basically, this campaign will allow me to see how many people are truly interested in the work I’ve done. On the Kickstarter page, there are several ways for people to help support and fund the project and it’s also a way to “pre-order” the deck. Once the project gets fully backed, I will be able to send the cards to print and that’s where it gets super exciting! All these months of hard work, learning, starting over… and over, loss of sleep (to be real, I don’t really sleep anyways), will all be worth it!

NOTE: If you choose to support this project, you will not be charged until the the end of the Kickstarter campaign, only if the the goal is met.

So, now you might be asking- “Why Affirmations?”

Positive affirmations have had a great impact on my life over the last several years.  And I’ve found that repeating positive phrases with intention and trust has ultimately helped get me out of some seriously shitty head space… losing my parents, a cancer diagnosis while pregnant, persistent anxiety… and most recently, preparing myself for a sudden appendectomy.  It wasn’t an overnight success but speaking kindly and supportively to myself eventually became natural and comforting. {As it should be, right?!)  And it turned out, all of these difficult moments became the inspiration for Soul Seeds // Affirmation Deck and created a tangible way to be able to share this inner magic with others.

Top Left: The Day Before Diagnosis, Top Right: Mid-Chemo Treatments, Bottom: Gang's All Here
Top Left: The Day Before Diagnosis, Top Right: Mid-Chemo Treatments, Bottom: Gang’s All Here

Initially, I tried to get someone else to create this deck.  It didn’t cross my mind that I would be capable of learning Photoshop & Illustrator or get past the fear of being vulnerable enough to really put myself out there.  But hell, here we are!

HOW I USE AFFIRMATIONS

I tend to write affirmations down that serve me in that moment (that moment being an hour, a day, a week, a month… whatever- you get it).  I carry them around in my purse on sticky notes, create reminders on my phone which pop up at random times, scribble them in my planner, I repeat them in my head and often use them as intentions during my yoga practice. I also love offering affirmation cards at the beginning of each yoga class I teach to remind my students just how rad each individual truly is.  Of course, there are no hard rules for positive self affirmations- only what works and feels right for you. 

SO WHAT IS A POSITIVE AFFIRMATION?

Simply put, they are positive words, phrases, and statements that are used to challenge negative thoughts.  They can motivate and boost low self-esteem or encourage an overall positive shift in your life. They can help to decrease stress and increase feelings of self worth.  Affirmations are designed to alter the beliefs we have about ourselves so that we think more positively. Personally, I truly believe that our thoughts create our actions and our actions create our reality. Because, if we’re constantly inundating ourselves with negative thoughts, we will take negative actions (or lack of action)… thus creating our reality. So just imagine the beauty that can come about from speaking kindly to ourselves.

ABOUT THE DECK

  • 52 Card Deck
  • 90mm X 90mm Square Cards
  • 400GSM {The Thickest Cardstock Offered}
  • Matte Lamination
  • Sturdy Two-Piece Storage Box

A FEW WAYS TO GET THE BEST OUT OF YOUR CARDS:

Feel It

Connection is key.  You don’t want to just grab at any affirmation. Or jack your pal’s affirmation of choice if it doesn’t really speak to you. You feel me?

Say It As If It Already Is

The most important part of this practice- at least as I believe- is that your affirmations are worded in the present- as if they/you already ‘are’.  For example, if you are wanting to channel inner strength, you would say “I am filled with strength and courage” instead of “I will be strong”. 

Short and Sweet 

Keep it short and to the point so that you’ll actually be able to remember and reference back to it.   

Let It Happen 

If you try to force it, you may resent it.  Not just affirmations… but so many things in life.  Let the practice of affirming become a natural and organic part of your day.  Trusting in the process and repeating them daily will help to reprogram your mind in a positive manner. 

Think Positive

Be specific to what you do want instead of what you don’t want.  Our subconscious tends to skip words like not, don’t, won’t. An example of this would be “I radiate positivity” instead of “I won’t be a total bitchwad today”. 

Trust

If you are pulling an affirmation card from a deck, close your eyes and take a couple of breaths.  Trust that whichever card you pull is the card that is meant for you in that moment. If a card ‘jumps out at you’ trust that you are absolutely meant to have this card.

Breathe. Affirm. Repeat.

Give yourself a moment to quiet the mind and connect with your breath.  Read or say your affirmation out loud, paying close attention to each word, how they resonate, observing any emotions or sensations that arise. 

Above are only recommendations as to how you can work with your affirmations but the truly joyous part is that YOU get to choose what works best for you!

Checkout the Kickstarter campaign here!

**This project would never have made it this far without the help of my friend Blaire. She believed in me from the very beginning (aka when I tried to convince her to make this deck) and continues to believe in me and guide me throughout this crazy creative process and project. Blaire- there are never going to be enough words for me to express my gratitude. Other than- bitches do indeed love nebulas.

***Fun Fact: The night I texted to Blaire that I thought she and another specific friend should make an affirmation deck, she immediately responded that her and said friend were actively working on an oracle deck- which turned out PHENOMENAL! You can check it out here: The Threads of Fate

Self Care

How do you practice acts of self care?

You hear the term often, I’m sure. In Insta-Land alone there are over 16 million posts hash-tagged #selfcare. So it seems like we are aware of the idea but do we really know what it means to practice self care? And more importantly, are we taking the time to practice?

If you aren’t familiar with the idea, self care is the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness. Or as psychologist Agnes Wainman explained, self-care is “something that refuels us, rather than takes from us.” And the practice can vary drastically from person to person. With our crazy busy lives, overly packed schedules, and nearly constant comparisons to strangers on the internet (if you don’t participate in the last one, damn you’re good because that shit can be hard) self care often gets over looked.

While writing this, I was inspired to revisit my Simplify post of things that make me happy and ways to practice acts of self care. You can check it out here.

But before getting too far ahead, I think it’s also important to know what self care is not. First off- it is not selfish. Remember how when you get on a plane and the flight attendant reminds you to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others? They get it… because, really, what good are you going to be if you’re passed out and slumped under the tray table in front of you with your face smashed into your carry on backpack? You’re not. No good. Not unless you take care of your self first.

Self care also isn’t something you force upon yourself- but instead, is a compilation of things that naturally bring a smile to your face, things that make you feel full of goodness. And once you are ‘good’, you can then let your cup of goodness overflow to others… because you can’t pour from an empty cup. You feel me? I should also note, to be super clear- It is not something that we force ourselves to do just because it seems right. If you hate bubble baths- don’t take a bubble bath! Your self care, your decision. It is not necessarily what others have defined as self care.

This practice can be woven into your daily life. For example- giving yourself permission to let go of those persistent energy vampires in your life can be incredibly empowering and healthy. If you walk away from someone feeling completely drained each and every time, it might be a sign to let go, simply because that energy suck can lead you to being incapable of caring for yourself.

The practice can also be something that you schedule in to make sure you don’t overlook YOU. An example of this might look like scheduling an hour a day to do something that truly brings you joy. Or scheduling a massage once a month if that’s what tickles your fancy. Remember, self care is necessary in order to keep us in tip top shape- so release the guilt that might try and creep in and trust that taking care of yourself is also the best way to take care of and serve others.

Some of my favorite acts of self care include:

Epsom Salt Baths

Yeah, I’m that bitch. No shame in my game, I love a hot, half an hour bath in silence. Or maybe with a little John Mayer playing guitar only for me.

Journaling

Just getting ideas out of my head and on ‘paper’ releases so much stress for me. When I write things out, it has the ability to take away the power a negative thought may have had over me. Journaling can be extremely therapeutic… once you get past the feeling of being a young teeny-bopper pouring her little heart out.

Giving Myself Permission to Say No

“If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no”– Jen Hatmaker. Preach sister. If I can only half ass it, or not give it my full attention, or do it just to bitch about it the entire time- it might be best that I bow out in the beginning to avoid resentment and stress later on. I’m learning to really dig boundaries.

Alone Time

My alone time is sacred. It is when I calm down, process, and recharge. I love quiet and I require time where I can focus my energy on only me. Working, being a parent, a partner, etc. are all wonderful things but they can also take a lot out of you. Setting aside alone time to just BE is be-utiful. For me- sometimes this looks like waiting until everyone is asleep and organizing and consolidating my many sticky notes from the week, preparing my schedule for the upcoming month, organizing my to-do lists and upcoming projects, or just taking a moment to step back and re-evaluate priorities. And sometimes it looks like me… sitting there… in a locked bathroom… savoring the silence.

Being Outside

Connecting with nature may sound hippy-dippy and very woo-woo but I dig it. If possible, I take my shoes off and connect with the earth, face up to the sky so to take in the sun or the moon. Being outside is an instant refresher for me. And if I can hear birds chirping and singing, it’s an added bonus. No shits- I will literally hug a tree if it feels right.

Also a Rock Hugger

Affirmations and Belly Breathing

Affirmations are my jam. I have been using them for years to help manifest positives in my life but also as a form of self care. When things seem out of my control or overwhelming, I say to myself “Breathe, everything is happening exactly as it should be” or I might remind myself that “I am enough”. Affirmations paired with deep belly breaths can help calm the nervous system, alleviate stress, and improve confidence. Plus, breathing is pretty important to living, so there’s that. * Special thanks to my pal Jacqueline who introduced me and the tiny humans to this number one hit.

Sweatpants

Not just anything without a button and zipper, I mean like early 90’s PE clothes sweatpants. Not leggings, not swishy pants, not PJ pants. I’m talking Straight. Up. Sweatpants. They just make me happy. Pair them up with an undisturbed binge sess’ of a Dr. Pimple Popper marathon… that, right there, that is my ultimate self care.

What self care is not for me: Spending money I don’t have in the name of self care just to stress later and require more intense self care. I mean, I’m all for Treat Yo’ Self as long as Yo’ Self can afford it. There are lots of free and inexpensive ways to take care of your mind, body, soul. And it won’t look the same for everyone.

Oh, and to be clear- It’s definitely not being a total bitchwad and labeling it as self care. Because, rude.

If you are struggling with what self care looks like for you, start by jotting some ideas down. Get your mind used to the idea that self care is not selfish and instead, so very necessary. Eventually your mind will begin to recognize what fills your cup and ideas will start to flow.

If you already practice, what are your preferred acts of self care? Comment below… because you never know when sharing your story might be the ceremonial fire lighting under someone else’s ass.