Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Day 30- Inner Beauty

I'm on my way to California to visit my girlfriend Lori. And something weird happened this morning. I decided to consciously leave my make up bag at home. Something the past me would be freaking out about. There's still a part of me that would find comfort in having it with me, but I don't want comfort right now. 

I want to accept myself in the places that I haven't in the past. Which isn't comfortable but it's necessary. For me right now. How can i feel beautiful if I feel a need to make myself look different than I do authentically? If I am embarking on a journey of courage, than I need to commit to accepting and loving myself inside and out, and living from my authentic self out loud. 

Lori told me the first time she visited me in December that I don't need to wear make up. I thought that she was crazy and sometimes I decided not to but other times I just felt like I couldn't go out without make up. But then the more I felt loved by her and the more I loved myself I started to realize that I don't need it. Nor did I ever. And I'm not saying that makeup doesn't make me look better or prettier. Because it does. But whatever I look like on the outside has nothing to do with who I am. Nothing at all. 

Lori taught me that one too. Well, I knew that before, but she helped me to feel comfortable and to embrace the truth of it. She helped me feel comfortable to embrace my inner beauty and to shine that out. I love her a lot, by the way.

I remember when I was 9 or 10 I heard "don't judge a book by its cover" for the first time, and I loved the lesson taught on that theory. I believed it so early on. That who I am is on the inside, how can anyone have any idea what's in there by my outer appearance? Whether I'm beautiful or not on the outside doesn't matter. It truly doesn't. And I want others to know this too. To embrace their inner beauty and to work on that. Work on loving that part of you. Because that part of you deserves so much love and attention. Appreciation and compassion. Unconditional acceptance. The word unconditional is a key here. Love your SELF. The YOU that exist within the walls of your body. Then you will shine out so much light that it's all anyone could ever see, anyway. 

Another plus, is that not wearing makeup saves lots of time and money, and also leads to more clear and youthful skin. I kind of weened myself into this official decision to not wear make up, but it will be a new part of my 96 day journey. No make up for 66 days. No excuses. No exceptions. Not even if I'm meeting new people, going on an interview, or going to a wedding. This is me. This is my nature, my authentic self, and I don't want to give anything more or less. Just the truth. Just me. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Day 29- I Am A Believer

I get really frustrated when I seek answers outside of myself and they end up not being in harmony with what I'm seeking. I've been researching and asking all over what to do about my diet to regulate some health concerns I have, when it finally dawned on me that the answer is to trust myself. Everything that hasn't worked, that hasn't seemed right, or that caused more disharmony was all an arrow pointing me to my own spirits voice. But I kept choosing not to listen. 

I affirmed this morning "I trust my soul" even though I didn't really know why. After I practice yoga I usually just write the first thing that comes to my head, and that was it. I believe it's about my diet but I also believe that my lack of trust in my soul is the trigger of the body disharmony. I am aware that the body speaks to us in metaphors. I broke my finger once an hour after I cancelled a doctor appointment due to my desire to be there for someone else instead. I ended up in the hospital. Take care of yourself, my soul was saying. It was a larger lesson than the fact that I cancelled the doctor appointment because it was a reoccurring situation I kept putting myself in. The universe will speak loudly if I'm not hearing it's whispers. 

I always experience disharmony in my stomach. Growing up it was a different issue. Now it's a new one. And the solution is partly what I put into my body. Because food is indeed energy. But on a larger scale it's what I feed my mind. What I feed my soul. Such as thoughts, emotions, actions, experiences. It's all energy. I'm trying to go around using the word chakras because I know it scares people away. It scares me away sometimes too. It's hard to believe in when my logical mind is heavy. I can't see my thoughts or my emotions but I can FEEL them. What is the sense of feeling? I don't mean with the hands. It has nothing to do with our senses. Nothing physical that I can touch. It's real. It's the realist thing that there is because I'm a being before Im a human. Therefore I can trust the sense of my being more than anything I can sense with my human gifts. 

I'm trying to be convincing here but I'm also actually trying to convince myself. Someone told me recently to dare to dream. To believe more. In what my eyes can't see. And I do. But the world is heavy so my mind gets heavy too so sometimes believing is hard. But it's who I am. I am a believer. I am a dreamer.Trusting who I am, trusting my soul, that's the journey I am on right now. That is the answer to bringing my mind, body, and spirit into harmony.  

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Day 28- My Vegan Diet

Since August 2013 i have been playing around with my diet. It was around that time that I started experiencing new stomach issues. I realize now, that a lot of the causes were emotional. I do believe, however, that what I put into my body is very important. I find myself wanting to live as close to nature as possible, by including fruits, veggies, and nuts/seeds as the main part of my diet. 

I started off by becoming a vegetarian, but I still wasn't eating healthy at all. I binged on french fries, potatoes, pizza, generally lots of cheese and potatoes. At this time I had no passion or interest for increasing my fruits and veggies. I figured if I got enough protein, I'd be alright. That's what people get nervous about when switching to a vegetarian diet. Getting enough protein. What I realize now, is that the most important thing is getting enough LIFE inside of my body. 

It was hard to become a vegetarian. A year and a half later I transitioned to becoming a vegan. That wasn't as challenging because I did it slowly. Lately every time I go to eat, I only want it if I know where it comes from. What every ingredient is. And it's a battle with my mind because everything I'm eating isn't completely in align with my cravings. 

When I tell people about my diet, usually the response is that it's a little too much, it's taking it a little too far. And sometimes I want to listen because it's hard. There are loud cravings yelling at me to eat everything I would regret after. I learned that lesson too many times. I also know that every time I've honored my spirit, every time I've chosen a more difficult path, I've found more light, more happiness, and more love in my life. 

This body that I'm in is my home. I have to take care of it so the spirit in me can breathe through. So that it can feel alive, energized, and healthy. And it's not going to be easy but I'm going to keep going. I've tried this many times before and failed. But I didn't really fail because I learned. 

That's all failing really is. An education. And I think I can safely say that I am educated. I fail all of the time. And that's how I find the arrows pointing me to higher paths. And I'll go low again. I will. But it'll all be okay because I'm finding my way up. It's all a part of my journey. I don't want it to be easy. I really don't. I can't heal and grow that way. I know I have to allow things to be hard right now. To stretch in the places that hurt. To keep going. And to just trust that I'm healing. That dawn will happen. And it will. It's a life promise. Dawn always happens. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

Day 26- Love Wins

Gratitude. I am overflowing. I'm laying on my yoga mat looking over the grass. Watching the wind blow it, sitting under a tree. There is so much love everywhere. I can feel it. This has always been my biggest wish. To feel it all in my heart. 

Gay marriage is officially legal in the whole U.S today. Scrolling social media brought me to tears today. My supportive friends and family I felt so much gratitude for them. For there awareness of the change that has been made and their excitement about it. I felt so much compassion and excitement for all of the dreams coming true. All of the people that receive the freedom they deserve. 

I came out four years ago, in the month of June (and then to my parents on July 11) and four is my lucky number. That's just another cool fact. The past enemy inside of me told me this would never happen. That id never be accepted or loved or supported for being who I am. That I had to hide forever. I'm so happy that I didn't listen. That the enemy inside of me didn't win. Love won. It always does. 

I think I'm overflowing with gratitude because I'm here. And I love being here. Alive, on this planet. I didn't want to be. I really really didn't. My enemy made me feel like I didn't belong on this planet. Why would I be breathing if I didn't, why would I have a heart beat if I didn't? I belong here. I feel it now so strongly. 

We all have shells to come out of. We all have things that we hide or things we wouldn't say or do in public. There are certain parts of ourselves that we don't express in public. Or at least that's my experience. My understanding and observation. Holding hands with a girl in public was a hard one for me. It doesn't bother me at all now. What I'm working on now is expressing my spirituality with freedom. I chose to celebrate today by coming to the park and doing meditation/yoga. By doing something else that I'm afraid to do. 

My mind wanders in weird ways when I do yoga in public. "Are people staring, do they think I'm weird?" I ignore it now because I know it doesn't matter. Today I just felt a lot of love. It was more important for me to give the opening of my heart attention rather than the silly thoughts in my head. I deserve to feel this love, I told my mind. I'm going to feel it. And I do. I really do. 

I am so grateful 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Day 25- We Are All One

I was at the Apple Store today for three hours. I don't know how I made it through and out while still keeping my peace and calm. But I did, and I experienced something interesting and new. 

I looked around the crowded noisy store and thought about how no one is actually a stranger. On the deepest level of our being. We are really all one. I felt this overwhelming feeling of oneness, as if everyone was a part of my family. The child holding onto his moms leg, the impatient guy shaking his head while waiting too long, the teenage daughter that did not want to be there. The guy that was sitting next to me asking the apple employee about recording music. The dad on the other side of me asking how to back up his daughters college papers.

We're all in this life together. We really are. There's no separation. We're all one. I've heard this so many times before. It made sense to a certain point but then my mind wouldn't grasp it further. But today my mind let go and my heart got louder to make me so aware of this truth. 

The mall is the last place I would expect my heart to open in such a new miraculous way. I am usually nervous to go to the mall because there is so much mixed energy, good and bad that I am a sponge to. I never go. I don't go out at all really because of this energetic sensitivity. But I had to get my computer and phone fixed so I just accepted that it needed to be done and went with it. 

Something new happened in my heart. Somewhere between the last time I felt like an energy sponge in public, and this one. There is more space there now or something. More compassion. And perhaps an increase in compassion is what I needed to be strong enough not to be a sponge to negative energies. To see it, to know it, but to be at peace with it. To be gentle with it. To just completely be at peace knowing that oneness is the truth, underneath all of the mixed thoughts and feelings within me and everyone in my surroundings. There is only love. And seeing that, knowing that, feeling that, takes a practice in compassion. 

I am starting to believe, or maybe I am becoming more aware of something I already know, that compassion is the greatest strength. The greatest healer. The greatest power. Of the self. Of the planet. Of the universe. Of every being and form of life that exist. It is the answer to all prayers and the solution to all struggle. I do believe this. With all of me. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Day 24- Responsibility

One thing that is not a strength of mine is responsibility. I know it's my responsibility to be a good person. To take care of myself and others. I can do that. I can do my best everyday. But the little annoying things like paying my loans, getting my phone and computer fixed, getting an oil change on time. I put all of that to the side. It builds up. This week I'm trying to knock some stuff off my to do list that has been on my mind forever. I need to clean out the cluttered bedroom in my mind where I've been tripping over stuff and refusing to look at it. I'll feel much better if I JUST DO IT. Its annoying though. I will stop myself from complaining and try to shift into positivity. But this is where I find irritation. I think it's just hard for me to be a human and do human things. I just want to be free.

After I take care of these responsibilities that I put off, I'm going to get a schedule notebook. It's important. I'm going to complete the task on the date that I write it needs to be done. No excuses.  The outside world impacts my inside world. In many ways. But this is one that I overlook. No more.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


I just collapsed on the floor after work. I'm exhausted. I am literally just laying here. And I'm beating myself up.  Mentally. "I should have done this. I shouldn't have done that. I should have said this. I shouldn't have said that." Why am I being so mean to myself?

I have no energy to do yoga right now. But I know that I need to. I'm having trouble shifting my focus. Sometimes it works to just take my negative thoughts and affirm the opposite. Affirmations I use often are: I am worthy, I am loved, I am whole, I am healing. But I can't get to that positive state when I'm stuck here. It just feels frustrating to try and affirm it while I'm stuck in a negative place.  I need something stronger. I need a tool. Something powerful. I need movement and breath. I need yoga.

When I do yoga I imagine the energy in my body as a maze. And as I move I'm shifting around a ball, and I'm surrendering to wherever it needs to go. When it lands it explodes with light. It opens closed doors. It clears the pathways, and knocks the rocks out of the way in the places I'm stuck. The ball I'm talking about is me, by the way. The "I" that I talk about. The spirit inside of me that gets lost in the woods. In the forest of my subconscious.

The last time I looked at the clock it was 6:12. Now it's 6:59. Somewhere in between it started to rain outside. And also from my eyes onto my yoga mat. Not just a drizzle. A pour. God, it felt so good.  To let go and release. After Savasana, I wrote in my affirmation book: I AM WORTHY, in giant letters, taking up a whole page. At the same moment that my pen was on the paper writing the words, a lightening bolt struck outside my window.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Day 22- The Only Fight That's Worth it

As a person who works with kids, I need to be the one with the backbone. I need to be strong. But sometimes I'm not. I experience a lot of self pity. What a weird thing to admit. But I do. And I'm realizing that I haven't been learning from it correctly. Its a lesson for me that I fail often. I get lost in these habitual thought patterns where I think no one understands or cares. Or that the world is out to get me or something. But it's not. It's making me stronger. It's making me more compassionate, loving, kind, and patient with myself and others. It could be the opposite if I get stuck there. If I don't learn from it. If I don't let it teach me.

This past week I failed my lesson. But it's okay. Now I can catch myself next time. Not again, I'll tell myself. Grow here. Let this teach you. Let this open your heart.

I'm going to let self pity teach me. And whatever else exist in my darkness. And I'm going to admit it when I feel it. When I experience it. I'm going to say I'm sorry when I mess up because I didn't learn the lesson. I'm also going to be kind to myself and respect my emotions. But it's not productive to sit with them for too long. To take it out on other people. That's not what I want. That doesn't feel good. It feels good to be kind. To be loving. Patient, and compassionate. It feels good to vibrate and send out that energy. It feels good because that's who I am. That's who we all are. We just have to be willing to walk a difficult path to get there. To dig out heavy burdens. Whatever they may be. This is mine. Or one of them. But I'm willing to let go of it. I'm willing to fight for the well being of myself and others. It's the only fight that's worth it.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Day 21- Float

When the puzzle pieces of the you that you are are floating through space let them. Let them float. Let them come together. Trust that they will. Because they will. I promise you. And when they do it'll all make sense. It's okay that it doesn't right now. It truly is. Be patient and gentle with yourself and the process. Hold on. The light and love always comes back, and then again you remember that it was always there to begin with.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Day 20 - In and Out Of My Shell

I've been thinking a lot about coming out of my shell. But sometimes we need it. Sometimes it's necessary. It gets lonely in there but we need to go in there to know who we are. We have to go inside before we go outside.

This is what Doree, my yoga teacher talked about today in class. Which was perfectly fitting for how philosophical I've been getting about a discussion I had last night with my college roommates about hermit crabs.

One of my college roommates, Emily, has a hermit crab named Eugene. She has had it for a year now, and it still hasn't switched shells. She has one ready for him to switch to, but he's not ready to come out yet. This is rare for a hermit crab, they usually change within months or so. But that's okay. Eugene can take his time.

It took me eight years to get out of one of my shells. The one where I was in denial about being gay. Being afraid to be who I am.

Then I came out. It was lonely and dark in there but I needed it. It made me who I am now. It's why I fit in my new shell. It molded me to fit it perfectly. Inside a shell that was ready to show me a new understanding.

What's different now is that I don't hide inside. Hermit crabs come out of their shells and go back in. But I wasn't one of these hermit crabs. I used my shell as a hiding place. And although it was unconscious, I did learn a lot, it did make me who I am, but right now the she'll I'm in is conscious.

I choose to go within. To understand, before I go out there. This is a journey of self discovery, of growth. And also a discovery of God, for me. It gets lonely in there but it's also where I learn that I'm never alone. I learned this from the outside world but now I'm learning it on the inside. God, my spirit, the very only light inside of my heart carries me in this world. But it's all inside. And in the outside world I loose this awareness, which is why I need to go back in.

But it's about balance. Sometimes I go in and stay in too long. Last night was the first time I socialized outside of family and my girlfriend for months. My new task now is finding balance between going inside and outside. This is for me, the people I love, and Eugene. I understand Eugene, I get it completely.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Day 19 - Acceptance

Being that it is the month of June, I am going to write more about my coming out story. I came out in the month of June, four years ago.

I know this story might be getting old, the whole coming out of the closet-first she told her friends, then her parents, now she goes to gay pride and cries happy tears at the sight of same sex couples holding hands, type thing. But for me it wasn’t the same old coming out story. For me it was the collision of the planets and the waking of the dinosaurs. Seriously, I feel like a T REX jumping around the street. I felt like I came back to life without even remembering what that felt like during childhood.

For 8 years I told myself I rather die than tell the world that I am gay. But then I told the world that I was gay, and now I rather die than be straight. Maybe I not rather die but, you get the point. Not because I have anything against it, of course, but because its not who I am, and now I love who I am. I accept who I am. But to get to this point, I had to pull out a huge deep arrow.

I never imagined that I would be a happy person. Never, I thought that I was just saying the words “I’m gay” out loud so that the secret couldn’t kill me. Seriously though, that’s what it felt like. I was choking, and the only way to breathe was to let it out. I didn’t know that I was giving birth to me.

I started by telling the straight girl that I was in love with for two years how I felt. It came out like vomit, like I said; I just couldn’t hold it in.
This was awkward. She was my very best friend. That's all she thought she meant to me. I knew that she did not feel the same way. After I told her via email, I went in the shower and sat on the floor and just cried as the water hit my face.  I know, I’m a tad dramatic. I didn’t want anyone in my house to hear me cry, and I don’t know why but the shower helped keep me sane while I waited for a response.

I actually had no expectations. I wasn’t hoping for acceptance, I wasn’t hoping for her to feel the same way. When you vomit without trying to, you don’t think  “I’m going to vomit and then I am going to feel better.” It just comes out, and this is what happened. People tell me that I’m courageous for it but really, I wasn’t even in control.

What I received from her was acceptance, and understandable shock.

This ounce of acceptance led me to believe that there was the possibility of even more acceptance. Something that I did not believe a day prior, and it was only because I didn’t accept myself. With every ounce of acceptance I received, I started to accept myself ten fold. However, I had a long way to go.

So I started to tell more and more people. My best friend that I loved connected me to a gay male friend of hers. I remember crying while walking miles to a wawa in the rain, texting him under an umbrella. This is how badly I didn’t want anyone to see or hear me cry. I don’t know what it was about not wanting to cry in front of anyone. The best answer I can come up with on that one is that I didn’t want anyone to worry or feel responsible for caring about me or helping me. Which is really quite a sad thought for a person to have. Worthiness. The biggest human issue we struggle with, in my opinion.

Anyway, he really helped me a lot. He helped me to realize that once I accept myself, everything will get better from there on out. He also helped me realize that I deserve to be happy. He didn’t even really know me, but somehow I could feel that he meant it. Maybe because he knows that he deserves that, too.

The next person I told was my college roommate Kristina. It was summer time so this was through an email-also because they were words I couldn’t get out without crying. To me it felt like the first person I told, because the hardest thing about the girl I was in love with was worrying what she would think about the fact that I felt that way about her. When I told Kristina, I was worried about what she would think about me being gay. After bringing home guy after guy after parties, after boy-talks and after hiding under a poker face for so long, I didn’t want her to think I was liar, and more than that I didn’t want her to think I was any less than the person she knew.

I turned out to be so much more than the person she knew, and she reminds me of this all of the time. Thank you for that.

She held my hand through the process of telling my other roommates and my other sorority sisters, and my parents, and high school friends.

Everyday I struggled during this process. Looking back I know it is because the arrow hurt while it was stuck, but when I took it out, it was an even more painful process. But it was definitely quicker than 8 years; it took me about three months to start smiling and feeling what it felt like to actually feel the smile in my heart.

I didn’t want to bother people everyday while I was in the process of coming out, so sometimes I held it in. One morning after not talking about the issue for a few days, but needing to, I woke up to a letter from Kristina. It was random, I hadn’t asked for further advice, but she had something to say. She explained that she had been thinking about what I am going through and wanted to make sure I knew she was there. She told me that I was so strong and that she knew that everything in my life was going to get better from there. She told me that she accepts me and loves me and that I don’t ever have to feel alone.

I remember a different kind of crying this day, not the kind on the shower floor or under the umbrella on the walk to wawa, a different one. A different cry because it was the first time that I didn’t feel alone.

After this summer, I went back to college for my last semester. My roommates Kristina, Emily, and Erin welcomed my new self with so much love and acceptance. I was a hermit crab in a shell and now I was out of the shell trying to find a new one. I was eugene only I wasn't afraid anymore. (Only my roommates will get this one). And they support my new one just as much as the old one. And they supported me in between when I was confused and trying to figure this new life out. They loved me without condition and I felt it. It helped me grow. It helped me accept and love myself. It really really really did.

Thank you so much. For your support, acceptance, love, and genuine friendship. I will appreciate you always.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Day 18 - The Light Is Always There

Almost a year ago from today I was in Costa Rica on a yoga retreat. On one of the days when I had some free time in between classes, I went for a walk by myself along the beach from the retreat center to the shops. On the walk back, it started to rain. Down pour I mean. I had about 45 minutes of a walk to go, and I was already pretty nervous about finding my way. The opening to the retreat center was a little bit hidden and although I had created a way in my mind to remember how to get back in, everything was hard to see because of the rain. My contacts were completely blurred. My feet were soaking into the sand making it hard to move quickly. The ocean was taking over more of the shore.

I felt awake in a nightmare. Ironically, being that I was on a relaxing yoga retreat. But I also think it was universally set up for me to gain an understanding. I had experienced the Costa Rica rain before. It happened everyday. It was just a quick, hard down fall shower of rain and then it stopped. The sun came back out. But this time, when I was caught in the moment of the rainstorm, it felt like it would never end. Every worry and fear awakened. I forgot about the sun, which was still there, since I wasn’t walking in complete darkness. And it’s always there. I try to remind myself of this always. Sometimes I forget. I get caught up again in the moment. Sometimes the moment drags into days, weeks, or months. I forget about the light. I forget that its always there. Surrounding me. Within me. Always. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Day 17- Tug-A-War

I woke up today with a lot of questions that I didn't have yesterday. About life. About myself. About my path. I'm a knot in the middle of a tug-a-war. There are two sides tugging me. Both are strong. I think that one side is my heart and the other is my mind. Except I can't tell which is which because the mind is tricky. It runs on fear which always fools me. I'm confused. I'm lost. And afraid. I have to let go of the rope and trust my soul. Its already knows the answers anyway.   

Haiku Affirmation: 
I have total faith 
I trust my soul completely 
I am strong and brave 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Day 16- Be Still

Something interesting just happened at work that I didn't know what to do with at first. Something that never happens. Out of the three boys that I take care of, one is sleeping, the other is at school, and the other is at his friends. Which leaves me alone to do nothing. Nothing. My days are filled with moving and playing and running and dancing. But right now I have an opportunity to be still, so I decided to come outside, sit down, shut my eyes, and meditate.

In the past I would find guilt here. I would think that I needed to do everything else. I needed to be watching something or eating something. Calling or texting someone. Researching or cleaning, or my minds favorite, just thinking and thinking and thinking.

Stop, I tell my mind now. Wait a minute. Or more than a minute. This is important too. This is more important. I am a human BEING. Not a human doer.

As I understand my being more, well, the to do list becomes much shorter. It turns out that the being part of me doesn't really benefit from that tv show or candy bar. It doesn't really need to search WEB MD to figure out how to get rid of whatever I self-diagnosed myself with that day. And usually, the phone calls and text messages could wait.

At first I was frustrated with the non-stop thoughts because they are like little kids that don't listen. I tell them to wait and they don't. To stop but they don't. So I had to make peace with them. And it's a constant practice for me but the peace grows. I had to learn to let them be and just watch. Just witness. I just recenter myself on my breath when I get lost on a thought train. The peace grows. It really does. I'm so grateful for this practice because it has kept me away from harmful remedies for my discomfort, such as meds, alcohol, and addictive foods. But most of all it helps me to be okay in the midst of the chaos. It helps me to discover my truth. To connect to God. To love more. To be myself. To be still.

Everything within myself that challenges my stillness is something else besides my being. Something that I need to clean off so that there is nothing again. Like a dirty dinner plate. Now I can fill it. But with something necessary. Something that benefits me and keeps me healthy.

And I'll get dirty again. Because I am indeed a human. And I'm a sponge. Someone complains about something silly and now I feel it too. The people I'm with are in a rush and now I am too. Someone is angry and in a bad mood and now my jaw is clenching. I feel the tension. I pick up energies and I lose myself but then I find myself again. I take another shower. But it's always worth it. Always.

I'm training myself to remember this as often as I can. This stillness. This silence. Perhaps allowing myself to be still and meditate is the most productive thing I could do. This way others get the best of me. And the best of me is different everyday. So I'm also teaching myself that whatever my best is that day, is enough. Even if it doesn't feel that way. It's okay. It's enough. It is. It is. It is. Yes. (My mind is trying to disagree here still, something else to work on, another place to grow).

Monday, June 15, 2015

Day 15 - My 2 Year Old Teacher

I am a full time nanny. That's what i do for work, I take care of three boys, ages 2, 4, and 6.

Every day I walk in, never knowing what the day will be like. All I know is that it will be filled with love, laughter, and playfulness, as well as challenges aka opportunities to grow.

I took this picture while Max (2 year old) and I were on a walk/motorcycle ride this morning. We do this almost every morning after his older siblings go to school. It takes us about an hour to do a 5 minute walk. I'm not exaggerating. We stop to look at every worm. Every leaf that has fallen from the tree onto the sidewalk. Every rock that stands out. To wave to every car, person, bird, and puppy that goes by.

Sometimes I'm in a rush. For no reason at all. It feels unnatural to take so long to take a short distance walk. But he's teaching me something here. How to slow down. How to be present. How to appreciate the miracle of life in every moment. How to never stop being in awe about it.

After I took this picture, he called me over to sit with him. So I did, somewhere around the block from his house, in the middle of the sidewalk. There was a stressed voice in my mind "ugh, come on," and another, "just let go and be with life." I sat with him and watched the wind blow in the trees and listened to the birds. We ate grapes together. Then he got distracted and stood up and started chasing a butterfly. Then jumped in a puddle.

He is free. Something I'm trying to let him teach me how to be.

Today I let go of the voices that were afraid of being present and free. Sometimes I want to keep the kids inside when I get overwhelmed. Inside where there are walls and I know they're safe, and it's so comparable to my own internal fears. I need to let the walls come down. To let myself be free. Present. Authentic. Playful. Loving. Me.

Everyday I'm working on letting down the walls. Literally, we are always outside. But I'm working on getting more outside of my head. With them sometimes, more often now than ever, the walls become transparent. I see and walk right through. And my God, life is so beautiful, and so much more fun outside. Why does it feel safe inside there anyway? It's boring. It's mean. It's stressed. It never wants to play. Freedom sounds much better.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Day 14 - Space

Today my mind is spacey. Words aren't flowing freely. Puzzle pieces are floating around with no interest in linking together. So right now I am letting go, allowing myself to float through this space and feeling safe knowing I will come back down to earth.

As all of my ideas, ambitions, worries, and thoughts dance and sing in my mind, there are ten clear words standing still in the center, helping me to feel peaceful and grounded.

"I am light and strong, I am rooted and free." -Doree Nissenblatt (the wonderful yoga teacher that I discussed on day 7.)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Day 13- The Earth and My Own Beating Heart

It is ironic that a couple of days ago my post was about saying no and giving to myself, when today I ended up in a situation where I was stuck doing something I rather had said no to. There wasn't another option. Today wasn't my usual restoration Saturday. It'll have to be tomorrow. So today I tried to surrender and go with the flow. I allowed myself to be flexible rather than resisting the unplanned day.

My flexibility took me to a farmers market after work where I got lots of exciting fruits and veggies, such as: watermelon, apricots, peaches, apples, bananas, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, broccoli, and different green leaves. I drove home thinking about how this planet gives me such an abundance of support. It gives me so much nourishment. It doesn't ask for anything in return, it just keeps giving and giving. And I keep taking without enough awareness and gratitude. I get busy and I forget how blessed I am by the planet. I forget how much it needs my love, support, and gratitude in return.

After returning and enjoying some yummy fruits, I went for a walk and noticed more than ever how much litter there is on the sidewalks. I had a thought that I should pick it up, and then another that said "people passing by will think you're weird." Then I remembered this journey I'm taking a part in, so I did it anyway. And now I can't believe I haven't done this on every walk. Or every time I've seen litter. This is my home. This planet. This ground that I work on. It carries me everyday.

 I felt it's gratitude. I don't care if I sound like a "hippy" or whatever. But I felt connected, like we were building a relationship. Myself and the earth. I felt like I was taking care of the kid in school that gets bullied, even though by doing so I didn't fit in with the cool kids.

My mind did wander into worries about what people passing by might have thought. That mental habit still came alive, but I was more aware of the benefit that the earth was receiving and deserving, as well as other potential positive results. Maybe someone saw me doing it and will be inspired to do it too. Or maybe someone drove home to tell their husband or wife how a weirdo was picking up garbage on the side of the road, and their kids overheard and start doing it too. The only thing that matters is that I stay true to myself. To what I stand for and believe in. That's all. This is another part of my courage practice.

I am aware and feel that it's my responsibility to take action, because through every transition in my life, this planet will always be my home, as long as I'm in this body at least. It will still hold me as everything changes, moves, grows, begins, and ends.

Like today, as I was picking up litter on a main road, cars and people kept passing by. Coming and going. It was all temporary and momentary, while at the same time there was a foundation. An unconditional promise to be loved and supported, in this lifetime. In this breath.

There's the earth and there's my own beating heart. Both need my loving attention and care just the same.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Day 11- Say No

Today I said no. I gave myself a break and in return the universe gave me even more of a break. I said no to overworking myself in respect to my health, and in return I get to go in late tomorrow. I get to see my girlfriend on FaceTime tonight. I said no on the outside world but I also said no on the inside world too. I said no when my mind tried to worry about money, and then this morning I found a 100 dollar bill hidden in my draw. I have no idea where it came from. I'm just going to believe that it was magic because it's fun.

Believing in magic is fun. Believing that magic is real is even more fun. I believe it is. There is something out there happening that my mind will never wrap around. There are games and tricks and puzzles. I have so many questions. But the universe speaks to me. It whispers and it screams. I'm trying my best to listen, but I think that saying no today was a good start.

What I give, I receive in return. Giving to myself counts too, like today. The energy behind the giving is the trick though. Are you happy to be giving? Are you giving with love? Do you expect/want/need anything in return? I am training myself to learn these answers, but if the answers aren't yes, yes, and no, then I'm doing something wrong. I'll write more about this as I figure it out, but right now I'm going to enjoy myself some free time that I don't usually have.

Thank you for listening :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Day 10- Blessed

Everyday is different. A different story. A different vibration. An extremity of joy and pain mixed into twists and turns and highs and lows. I ride it out. There's an inbetween area. Gray shades. I learn here. I go here a lot because I can see the light and the shadows. I just end up here.

People think I'm a mystery. My quiet nature and my shyness. I'm working on my shyness by increasing my sense of worthiness, but I think ill always be introverted. I want to understand and for me that takes time and reflection. I want to understand the whole thing. Not just some of it. I want to know the root of the root. The core. The truth.

Maybe one day the answers will come quicker but right now it's slow. Right now the answers come when I dwell in the gray. Letting the dark and light twist me open from each side. Sometimes it feels like a storm but I am practicing being the eye. The stillness in the center.

It's beautiful when the storm passes though. When I open. Like today I opened and the rain poured in. A rainbow took over my body. The colors came to life.

I am glowing and vibrating. I am feeling free and joyful. I am overflowing with gratitude, embracing the truth of how blessed I am.

I am blessed.
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Day 9- Haunted

I want to do whatever makes me feel alive in my body. Because there is something alive in my body. It's breathing through me and it's beating my heart. I want it to know what life is. How can I not let it when it's what's giving me life?

Today I let it sleep. I feel even more exhausted now than I would if I was to let it live. It was as if I pushed it away. Every ounce of energy. It kept trying to live and something else kept telling it to sleep. This was the cause of the emotions I'm feeling. The frustration, self pity, anger. There is something alive in my body but there is something else to. A ghost or something. Something that needs to leave my body. And I think I need to make friends with it before it'll agree to leave. I need to feel everything it wants me to feel before it slips away.

So haunt me. Swing my moods and spin my mind. I'll let you. Ill listen. I'll feel it. Then I'll let you go in the morning.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Day 8- I Love All of Me

Today is about acceptance. Acceptance of where I am on my journey. Of who I am today. I am healing. I am working on myself. In the river I speak of, I am stuck on a rock. I'm not flowing. I'm somewhere in between the clutter in my container. Tangled in the vines of my heart. I know I can't dwell here. I am staring at darkness and trying to give it love. Getting stuck on imperfections that need acceptance. Listening to thoughts that I don't want. That I don't deserve. They're not nice.

I decided that this morning I'm going to go on a "kindness walk", where I shift my thoughts and consciously say nice things to myself until my spirit feels uplifted. Until I am a little more filled with light. Until I am more open and expansive rather than constrained and tense.

This is my journey of love and light. This is what I give to myself. I will radiate it. I will give it outward. But right now the healing process is about me.

Concluded affirmation after my walk, in the form of a haiku

I accept myself
I take care of my whole self
I love all of me

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Day 7- The Light Within

I woke up this morning with a thought in my mind "appa deepo bhava." What does that mean? I wondered as I tried to figure out where that thought came from. Then I remembered that I read this line in a book called The Buddha Said by Osho, about two years ago when I first started meditating. I went and found the book and flipped through until I found the words, which were highlighted. "Be courageous, Ananda, and be a light unto yourself...appa deepo bhava...be a light unto yourself."

According to this book, appa deepo bhava, were the last words that Buddha communicated to his disciple Ananda, who was very fearful of life as Buddhas came to an end. He was afraid that without Buddha his life would become extremely dark. Where would he now get his light from? Buddha explained to Ananda that his light is within his own being. That no one can take it away from him, it is his to shine unto himself, and that is the light that will be radiated outward for others to receive, just as Ananda received light from Buddha. 

The light is within my own being. There is no need to search outward. I picture myself as an empty container filled with light, but I am cluttered, so it’s hard to always feel this light. I need to clear out this container. I am realizing that inner light takes work. It takes time. It takes dedication. It takes courage. It takes courage to let go of everything I am clinging to inside.

Every morning I take time for myself, just for me, to meditate, practice yoga, to read and write. This helps me empty my container, but sometimes when I go out into the world I get cluttered again. I experience frustration, impatience, and insecurities. But it’s okay to get lost sometimes. Its okay its okay its okay. Let it go. I keep telling myself this over and over. I am trying to be gentle and patient with the process.

Being that I have my own meditation and yoga practice at home, and that their are great yoga classes at my gym, I rarely am willing to pay for classes at studios, but this one class in particular for me is a must. Every Saturday that I am able to, I give myself this gift, to be in the presence of an amazing yoga teacher, Doree Nissenblatt at Yoga+Herbs in Marlboro NJ. She redirects me to my light, like Buddha did for Ananda. She reminds me to take care of myself before others. To use my pain as a tool to serve. Not to be afraid to be who I am in public and to become comfortable with what makes me uncomfortable. Somehow she always knows what to say to resonate with the group. She is a healer, a teacher, a person of compassion and wisdom. A person I aspire to be. 

After walking out of the studio, I thought that I should give her the link to my blog. I returned inside and another class had already started, so I left it on a post-it note at the front desk. On the drive home, I thought about how I am going to give the link to my blog to every person that inspires me. To my yoga teacher, to everyone that inspires me, you are the light that helps me grow. Thank you for being you and for shining your light. Thank you for helping me blossom into me.

When I returned home and was about to open the mailbox, I noticed a baby caterpillar crawling on the handle. Metamorphosis. Transformation. It’s something I always think about. I know in my life I have grown in many ways, I have transformed. I have been the caterpillar and I have been the butterfly, and then the caterpillar and butterfly again. It’s a cycle of shedding layers of what I am not to become who I am, of emptying out my container so that more light can shine. 

But right now it’s just the beginning. This transformation process is new. I am reborn again. There are new lessons to be learned, new discoveries to be made, more me to become. This calls for courage to stay committed, to welcome the changes I am about to experience. More than anything, this calls for lots of self-love and acceptance. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Day 6 - Tune In

After spending last saturday tuning in and reconnecting, I woke up on sunday feeling the way I know I can feel everyday.  I woke up feeling like I was living inside of a tree, seeing the world the way the tree sees it. Calm and patient, allowing the wind to blow, allowing life to happen and simply just being a part of it. Simply existing without a need to control or resist life, just being. There is a quote that I heard on a yoga retreat in Costa Rica, which was "we learn how to be human doers, but rarely ever do we experience what its like to be a human being."

For some it may seem like a challenge, to disconnect from technology for a day, or for even just a part of the day, but for me its absolutely necessary. I fall into this whirlpool in life where I get carried by the societal winds, the expectations, pressure, and responsibilities. When I tune in, I don't swim against the current, I simply let go and jump out of it, and fall into my being, which ultimately makes everything I have to do in the world as a human more peaceful and enjoyable. 

Every saturday, or for every period of time that I am able to, I will be disconnecting from the outside world and looking within. This doesn't mean that I will be doing nothing all day. I will be practicing more meditation, yoga, and nature activities than I do on most days, but I will also be doing laundry, food shopping, and other errands- only with an increased ability to be mindful and present. My hope for this saturday practice is that it will increase my ability to be mindful and present in everyday life, and that this new powerful ability within me will be stronger than the societal whirlpool that pops in and carries me away. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Day 5 - Through and Above The Water

As I mentioned in my first post, I moved to Iowa for 4 months (I intended to be there longer, but that's another story.) where I studied at Maharishi University of Management. This is a school located in the middle of nowhere in Fairfield Iowa, where everyone meditates 2-3 times a day. These 4 months were an extreme period of growth for me.

I see my growth process as a river, and throughout challenges that I overcome, rocks that block the free flow of the river are removed. The rocks that hold me back from me being me.

I want to talk about a public speaking experience during my time at MUM, where a huge boulder was removed from the river.

It was the day of presentations, and I had prepared a speech about my experience working in the nursing home. On my walk over to the class, I was already feeling super nervous and rehearsing my words over and over in my head. I agreed with myself that I would go first and get it over with, but I didn't honor this agreement.

Every time the professor called and asked who would like to present, I'd hear a voice in my head: raise your hand, and another: don't do it! I felt my fingers move, my elbow move up a little, and then it would fall back down. It was if I was being held under water by a force (fear) with an inability to rise above it.

There wasn't time for everyone to go on the day of presentations, so it turned a into three day process, in which I ended up going last on the third day. After day 2, I was laying in my bed feeling mad at myself for not raising my hand so many times. I was experiencing too many negative thoughts, when a loving question popped in my head: What can you do to make this better? How can you solve this repeated issue?

The answer that I came up with was to agree with myself to let go and do something completely vulnerable, and this is what I did. When it was finally my turn to go, I walked to the front without my unnecessary amount of notecards that I wrote on front and back, and said to the class "In the event that I'm going last, I'd like to talk about my fear of public speaking."

Everyone laughed, with me, not at me, which lightened my spirit and made everything so much easier. The topic that we were expected to speak about was somewhat related to metamorphosis, where we described the process of an experience or change from beginning to end. The idea was to reflect, but it was without limitations, so I decided to put on a live show of my own metamorphosis. I talked about everything I was thinking and feeling. About how I wanted to raise my hand but something inside kept holding it down. About how I was comparing myself to others. And overall, how I was afraid of being heard and seen in a vulnerable way. I told the class about how I tossed and turned the night before, and woke up with a plan to let go of this fear, to do something about it.

Although it was an awesome reward to receive compliments and a positive response to my speech, the best reward was the one I gave to myself. The gift of letting go, allowing myself to be heard, and staying true to myself.

After this date, I continued to give authentic, open hearted, and honest speeches. There is one big question that I ask myself when I am doing my final revision, am I being vulnerable enough? I joined a toast masters after moving back to New Jersey, and learned that I have truly grown past this fear to some extent, but if I was to ask myself everyday the question: am I being vulnerable enough today? The answer would be sometimes be no. I hold back from asking questions and from saying what I want to say, which leads me to missing opportunities. I'm not sure if a public speaking opportunity will arise within the next 96 days, but what I am promising myself today, is that every time I am afraid to ask a question or to speak: I'm going to do it anyway. I'll keep doing my best to swim through and above the water.

P.S: Yes, I still hold my nose underwater =)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Day 4- Teddy Bears Aren't Real

Teddy bears are kind of like fear. As a kid, we might believe that a teddy bear can keep us safe at night, we feel cozy and warm when we stay close to it. We cling to it. And this is what we do with fear, sometimes without even realizing it. In my life, fear has kept me safe from being rejected, offended, or devalued. It told me when to swallow my words and hide inside, and every time I listened, it was as if I was swallowing nails and drilling them into my spirit, in which I rejected, offended, and devalued my own self.

Sometimes I still listen to fear, which is what this 96-day journey is all about. To use more and more challenges as opportunities for growth. To give myself lots of love by allowing myself to be heard. To learn everyday which voices inside myself are real and which ones are not. Because the truth that we all learn when we grow up is that teddy bears don’t keep us safe at night. They don’t love us in return. They aren’t real, and neither is fear.

Tomorrow I will be writing more about how I have overcame speaking fears over the past two years, and how I plan to progress more and more over the next 96 days.

Thank you for listening <3 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Day 3- Love Is All You Need

I've always been a softy when it comes to love and romance. When people ask me what kind of movies I like, I usually respond romantic comedies (sometimes I get laughed at.) But really, I enjoy anything that involves a love story. It usually takes me forever to finish a book, but not when it comes to Nicholas Sparks. Yes, I'll admit it. I love the notebook.

I wanted to find love like I saw in the movies and like what I read about in my books. Maybe that's why I was in denial for so long about being gay, being the love story is almost always between a man and woman.

After I gave up on dating people for 8 years that I didn't have genuine feelings or attraction for, (sorry ex boyfriends) I became a little bit too excited, maybe even desperate, to find love. Now that I knew it was an option for me, to actually be in a real relationship with a girl, with mutual shared feelings, it was all I could think about.

I dated and searched, on dating sites and in bars. Most of my dating experiences turned into friendships, which was definitely something I needed at the time. I experienced two different dating situations that were significant to me, one where I liked someone and was attached to someone that didn't equally feel the same way. And another, where I fell in love (or thought I did) but whenever I got too much attention, I was scared away. Everyday was different. I was inconsistent and drove both of us crazy. This back and forth went on for a while until I decided it was time for me to do some self-work.

When I went away to Iowa, I had realized that although I had found my voice and came out, I had still did myself a lot of damage by hiding inside for so long. I was still lacking in self-love, a positive mindset, and a connection to a higher power. A connection to a higher power, which I do call God, is not something I knew I was looking for. It's just something that happened. Something that appeared to me. Something that I felt one day. It happened kind of the same way love did.

Last September I took a trip to California for an ending weekend to my life coach training class, and decided to stay a week and explore a bit. About 6 months prior to me visiting, my good friend Missy had moved to LA, so I made sure to get a chance to see her while I was there.

One of the days I was there, Missy asked if I'd like to go to a a bar called The Abbey in West Hollywood, where her friend Lori was hosting an event. Being that I had not been to a gay bar in probably the same amount of time since I've seen Missy last, I was excited to get out and do something different from my usual day to day life.

I was still in the same mindset, focusing on myself, letting go of the search for love and just going with the flow. I didn't have any goals of the night to meet anyone, I just was thinking id dance with my friend Missy. I was across the country from my home anyway, so looking for someone was extra out of the question this night.

But then I met her. Lori. Love. It just happened. It was the most unexpected, wonderful surprise I've ever received.

In the past, I suppose I was never ready to let love in. I was always able to give it, but something I needed to improve on was my sense of deserving to receive it. I needed to go on my own internal journey to discover and heal past wounds, I needed to give myself lots of self-compassion. I needed to be patient with the process. I needed to let go and trust something higher than whatever my mind was desiring or searching for.

I've heard the line "love comes in many forms," but what I've discovered is that it doesn't. It actually doesn't even have a form, real love that is. If you look at our human bodies, we all have different shapes, sizes, and colors. But in our deepest essence, were all the same. There's only one truth, and it connects us all, and it's wind. It's love. It exist within us all and it blows and it lands on the skin of someone your meant to walk through the journey of life with, when the timing is right. It can't be found. It can't be searched for. It just happens when it happens. It happens when you're heart is open enough to let it in. To accept it. To know that you deserve it.

What I discovered when I met Lori, however, is that the healing process never really ends. It's part of evolving as a human, or as a soul that is. I met her because I was ready to experience more of the "being" part of "human being," I was ready to open my heart more and more. Everything I've spent giving to myself the past year before meeting her, the year I took to myself, I was ready to give to someone equally deserving, and I was ready to accept and let it the beautiful love that she comes with.

One of the best parts about our relationship is that we share passions and dreams, but we also support each other other on our own individual journeys. We understand each other's differences and let it be.  We support each other, learn from one another, and help each grow. It is harmonious and healthy, as every relationship should be.

To show my support on her 30th birthday, I want to post an awesome project she has been working on, which is a parody of the show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, you can watch the first episode here at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Nk4bm4FBCnk  as well as follow her journey on Instagram @unbreakable_mandl

As I mentioned yesterday, we both wrote a letter to our past selves, with the words we wish we had heard during troubling times.

Here is her letter:

Beauty. We see and hear this word all the time. It conjures up images, but it's important to focus on the feeling. What does it mean to you to feel beautiful? What does it mean to exhibit beauty? To me now, it has nothing to do with the physical, but rather a more spiritual, a feeling, a sense. Beauty is charisma, confidence, helpfulness, and an ability to make others feel beauty internally. I see people for who they are, their ambitions, hopes, dreams, accomplishments, and attitude.

We truly can be anything we want to be. Only you can be the narrator of your own story, writer of your own destiny. If you dream big, then you are already one step closer to making your future that way. Keep believing in yourself, stay positive, and focus on your goals. You will be rewarded for staying on track. You will learn from your mistakes and failures, and they will guide you toward the way. We cannot avoid negativity- for you must have darkness to have light. Be the light. Do not harp on your faults or flaws. Let them teach you and go easy on yourself. You are only human after all. Be the best you that you can be, be kind to others, and let your heart guide you. Love, in the end, love is all you need.

Happy 30th birthday to my love and best friend.

You are the greatest gift.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Day 2- A Letter to My Past Self

Recently my girlfriend Lori and I wrote letters to our past selves as an exercise to see how we've grown, and what we have gained from our challenges. How we've found light in the darkness, and dug up blessings in what may have seemed to be curses. I planned this exercise while she was here visiting from California (where she lives, we see each other once a month and I will be living there by September) as part of her 30th birthday experience. A desire to help young women and give them the words we wish we heard when we were that age, is something we share together. Below I will post the letter I wrote, and tomorrow I will post hers, on her official 30th birthday (yay). 

P.S Please feel free to share my posts with anyone you think it may help. In this letter I imagined that I was standing face to face with the ghost of my past, the person inside yelling for help, yet smiling on the outside, while being completely asleep to the beauty of life. 

Dear past self who doesn’t know magic and wonder exist everywhere, everyday,

Life is beautiful. I know that it is hard for you to see that right now, but everything that you feel cursed with, you will one day realize is a true blessing.

How can I expect you to believe that you are blessed, although you endure so much pain, you wonder, I know. You feel stuck in a cocoon, but I promise that you will fly. All of the pain that you are experiencing is just the growing and stretching of your wings. Sometimes I still feel it, but its only because my wings are growing again. You will always have the wings that you need. Life will not give you anything that you can’t handle. Let go and let your wings carry you to a place where you can see who you are, where you can see what life really is.

From this pain you will grow a deep level of empathy, which is also sometimes very hard, but the rewards are always worth it. The rewards help you notice who you are. A giver. A believer. A dreamer. You know you belong in this world now because everything that hurt so bad is now worth it forever, because you know you are.

You are worthy, and you are beautiful.

Your existence is needed in the world.

Stay strong and trust the path.

You will be free.

You already are.

I love you.

Love always,

Your Happy Future Self

Monday, June 1, 2015

Day 1- Say I Love You More

As I sit here trying to think of what to write on this special day, my moms 50th birthday, I can visualize my past teenage self almost walking out the door without giving my mom a hug goodbye. "Give your mom a hug" my dad would say, and "ugh, fine" I would respond, as I gave her a loose quick hug and quickly ran out the door. Somehow I remember it, and I know it's because in that moment, I felt guilty not to squeeze her and tell her I loved her, that day and everyday. I felt guilty because I knew that she deserved much, much more than a loose quick hug. Maybe I haven't forgiven myself for not giving her the love and appreciation she deserves in the past. I believe most moms deserve a lot more love and appreciation than they receive, if we are lucky enough to have a great one like mine. 

For some reason, I believe, it is the hardest to say "I love you" to the people that we love the most, for me, at least, and I think I now understand the reason. The misery that caused me to say "ugh fine" when giving my mom a hug, grew to be a comfortable place to live in, like a couch to be lazy on when my spirit just wanted to dance and play outside. It felt safe to dwell in this place around people that I knew loved me unconditionally, like my mom, because unconsciously, I knew that there was nothing I could do to cause her not to love me. I knew that I could be lazy and let the force of fear pull me in, rather than choosing to be vulnerable enough, courageous enough, to choose love. 

A picture of my mom and I 

In my teen years, as a lot of others may relate to in their teen years, I was living in fear, with only glimpses of love, but no where near taking the bridge of courage to get there. Love only hit me like splashes from the river below the bridge, or raindrops from the sky above it.  This was the most selfish stage of my life, but today I choose to forgive myself, because I didn't know where the bridge was. I was lost. But now I am free, or at least I am trying to be. I am not completely over the bridge, I am not living a life of love as much as I would like to be, but I know now that I can practice everyday. I can wake up everyday and choose to practice love and kindness, I can train myself more and more to let go of whatever holds me back from love. I can do my best. I will do my best. Now I know that I have the power in me to pull away from fear, I have the courage, to choose love. To march over the bridge and give my giving, caring, loving, beautiful mom the birthday hug and love she truly deserves. 

I love you, Mom, so so much. Thank you for everything. Happy Happy Happy, 50th Birthday, I hope you have the best day, and the best year, ever. You truly deserve it. For her birthday this year, my family and I wanted to send her away to the Bahamas with her best friend Cathy. It was so awesome that my sister posted it on her youtube which you can check out here- http://youtu.be/2EcpEZwlCtE