When Does Grief End?

Every year, October 30th creeps up and every year it stings just as badly. Immediately I turn to my words as a place of comfort and solace.  I woke up this morning and immediately started clicking away at my keyboard snuggled in my childhood bed (I’m visiting my parents in New York from England.) The sense of grief is overwhelming today. October 30th is the day one of my very best childhood friends took her own life at the tender age of 16. 12 years have passed. Every day grief is present but I’m sure anyone who has lost someone very close to them, anniversaries present a fresh wound each and every year.

IMG_9685

Corey’s life and story has been such a driving force for my own life. I talk about her all the time. I tell her story. I advocate for mental health. I spread the message of hope far and wide. Unfortunately, this does not bring my very goofy, kind and fun loving friend back. It doesn’t replace the years we have lost. I never stop wondering who she would be now and what awesome memories we would have made. I never stop worrying about her sweet parents. I never stop feeling guilty.

IMG_7473IMG_7472IMG_0089

Nothing makes me more frustrated than when people tell others who are grieving that it’s time to “move on” or “get over it.” I live a very full life. I have incredible friends and a partner who I want to spend my future with, a loving family, a career and business I am building from the ground up and travel stories for days. I have lived such a beautiful life because as soon as I lost my best friend at 16, I was taken into grief and survival mode. Some people get angry, depressed, lonely, desperate. I drank through a lot of the sadness but I also WOKE UP.

 I knew that life was short and that it was my duty to life it to the fullest. It was my job. Despite the overwhelming grief I knew I had to “cherish every day” (which I got tattooed on my foot.) It doesn’t mean the grief isn’t there, it means I’ve done something with it. I didn’t get over my grief, I used it to shape me into a kinder, more passionate, let’s do it right-fricken-now kind of person. So, I proudly have never gotten over the traumatic loss of my best friend, I have carried it with me and learned how to grieve and live simultaneously. Something that continues to be a work in progress.

Continue reading

WCW: Yasmin Muzil

I’m making it a September to Remember. So the #WCW series is BACK! The Women Crush Wednesday hashtag and social media trend is nothing new. But I am trying to reclaim that title not just for half naked celebrities or women you actually know nothing about. The women I crush over are using their womenhood, their voice and their passions to make our world brighter. I have some incredible women in my life so I am honored to share them with you. I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.

Meet Yaz.

IMG_2687

Yaz and I met in Australia at a random hostel in a tiny beach town called Mission Beach. My brother, Jackie and I had been backpacking the east coast of Australia for almost a month and when I came to Scotty’s I was ready to relax, detox and recharge. I will never forget the moment I heard Yaz’ strong welsh accent and saw her flopping into the pool. I could tell right away she had a personality that was larger than life. We got to know each other quickly and spent a magical 24 hours on Fitzroy Island together with my older brother. It was a day I can never forget. It seems to last a whole week in my memory and I knew that day Yaz would definitely be a friend forever.

18342458_10155320403939529_241354757095121275_n15826869_10207866385722338_8610678253877519571_n

 

Our traveling paths took us separate ways but we finally reunited when I came back to the U.K. with Harry last year. Since then we have just strengthened our bond and have so many exciting things planned for the future. I’ll let her take it from here!

Continue reading

Let’s Celebrate: International Self Care Day

In honor of International Self Care Day I am taking care of my soul the best way I know how. I haven’t felt quite like myself in months. My business partner and I had a video chat yesterday and as I opened up to her and we quickly realized what was missing for me. As I sat down on the train this morning ideas started pouring out of me and I realized that I haven’t written a “headspace” article in so long or really any blogs AT ALL! 

I won’t lie, for a writer, I suck at sticking to weekly blog posts. Why? I create content every single day for my social media. I create content to mentor my coaching team and in my wellness groups. I create lesson plans & writing activities for my classroom. I often justify not sitting down to write because I know I can’t spread myself too thin and I need to keep the main thing the main thing. I need to focus on tasks that push my business forward.

But I when I discuss mental health, self-care, self-love, and doing what you love- I am immediately drawn back to my words. If you are a writer you understand. If you are a dancer you understand. If you feel called to any creative expression, you understand. Simply put, when I don’t write, I don’t feel like myself. When I don’t feel like myself sometimes I don’t write. Sometimes the very thing that seems the most difficult is exactly what you need.

Continue reading

Oh, We’re Halfway There: Week 7

Week 7 Operation Obsessed

I can’t believe I am writing this half way through our 13 weeks. Halfway doesn’t even seem that far but seriously the time has flown and I have grown leaps and bounds, mentally, physically and emotionally.  Here is a my vlog recap to get you up to speed! 

Honestly, I’ve found it hard to write and take photos every single week. I’m not sure why but mentally I’ve been in a place where I don’t feel like much is happening in my body day to day. I feel like my results aren’t “worthy” of sharing because I didn’t have 20 or 30 pounds to lose. It’s scary to put yourself out there when you know how hard you are working and people discredit, criticize or dismiss your hard work. But honestly, I know how much work I have put in. I know the level of commitment I’ve kept and how hard I’ve been pushing every single workout. Everyday I show up. I’ve been feeling fabulous. I’ve been following the plan. And my confidence and self love is through the roof. That alone is reason enough to celebrate.  If you do want more of that behind the scenes make sure you join me on Instagram. Instastories  is a slice of daily workout moves and recipe ideas (you want them follow me there @ensusiasm)

The creator of this program said that Phase 2 is designed for “building” and I am lifting heavy weights and eating a lot of food. To be totally transparent with you I felt like I wasn’t seeing progress anymore and I was feeling a bit “fluffy” or feared that I was hitting a plateau. I felt like I was working so hard but maybe it wasn’t worth it? Then I saw my progress pictures.

Continue reading

Change is Coming: Week 3

Week 3 Blog.png

Week 3 was the start of a roller coaster. I felt so strong and motivated to keep upping my weights and getting stronger in the program. I knew that on Saturday I would be flying to Ireland and facing some challenges of getting my workouts in at my Air Bnb and staying on track with my nutrition in a country that is known for its alcohol and hearty foods. Since I knew I was going away, this made me focus on my nutrition and workouts even more for Week 3. I finally felt like I was in a routine with the timed nutrition and really feeling good about the workouts. Hear all about it here in my Week 3 vlog. My visible physical progress feels as if it plateaued a bit BUT visible physical progress is not the goal here. It’s a side effect. I’m still showing you my photos to hold myself accountable. 

Unfortunately I knew that disorder was on the horizon. First would be my 4 day holiday to Ireland and then a week long trip to NYC. I will share more about those in my Week 4 blog, but I want to focus on Week 3. On Saturday I woke up early and got in my cardio routine before we headed to the airport. My boyfriend meal prepped our food for the plane so we had healthy lunch and snacks. When we arrived in Dublin we took the bus to our Air Bnb only to find out that apparently heat wasn’t in the cards and it was freezing in that house. Not letting it get us down we walked over to the local vegetable market and butcher and picked up some essentials for dinner Saturday night and meal prep for all of Sunday because we had a 12 hour tour booked to the Cliffs of Moher and Galway on the other side of Ireland.

Continue reading

Stronger: Week 2

week 2 blog

Week 2 has come and gone and I am feeling an extremely positive energy this Monday. Watch my vlog and soak up some of those good vibes. The second week is typically harder because the newness wears off. The workouts are just as hard but they aren’t brand new so it’s easier to think about the reasons why you want to give up rather than the reasons you want to push harder.

I finished my workout this morning and I took my progress pictures and I was in awe by what I saw. In just 14 days I see a change in my body and spirit. I feel empowered. I feel disciplined. I feel confident.  I feel like I want to shout from the mountain tops. Movement. Whole foods.  Community & Support- THAT’S ALL YOU NEED. It doesnt’t mean that it is easy but it does mean that it’s simple. The recipe for success with your health and fitness is pretty simple but the mental journey is what sometimes makes it complicated.

Continue reading

WCW: Veronica Drayton

2018’s first WCW is an extra special one. The Women Crush Wednesday hashtag and social media trend is nothing new. But I am trying to reclaim that title not just for half naked celebrities or women you actually know nothing about. The women I crush over are using their womenhood, their voice and their passions to make our world brighter. I have some incredible women in my life so I am honored to share them with you. I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.
Meet Veronica. 
FullSizeRender (11)
I met Veronica when my very first #WCW of the series, Hollie, invited me to The Goddess Group picnic in Sydney. Not only did I get to spend time with the founder of the Goddess Group, Melissa Ambrosini, but I also got to meet all of the wonderful women who had been attending the groups.
19859222_10209312052503104_408070769_o
Veronica and I got along right away because of those North American vibes! I was drawn to her beautiful tattoos and her kind but very commanding personality. We were the last people at the picnic and took the bus and train together so we had the maximum time to chat. Anyone who can willingly talk as much as I can instantly gets brownie points in my book. We connected on many levels and I remember getting off the train and thinking, “I really like that girl. I hope we become friends.”  Unfortunately I met Veronica shortly before I had to leave Sydney but I got the opportunity to attend one of her Detox Your Life workshops and she sparked a new love for essential oils in me and strengthened my love for meditation. Luckily after I left Sydney, we have remained in close contact with social media and the interwebs.

Continue reading

New Years PLOT TWIST

Last year for my end of the year project I did a series of excerpts from 2016 blog posts and I loved how it turned out. I felt proud of my creativity and enjoyed reflecting on the year past. This year felt a bit different. Content, content, content. You have to give your readers good content. But sometimes, you simply aren’t sure what will be meaningful or useful to your readers. I will give you a summary of my reflection on 2017 and my intentions for 2018 based on the questions I found on Melissa Ambrosini’s blog, someone I really admire. One word to describe 2017 was unexpected and one word I want to describe 2018 is transformative.

It’s easier to reflect on the year when you feel really accomplished and proud. I can’t say that’s my gut feeling going into reflecting this year, but after I answered the questions and dug deeper into myself I realized I am extremely proud of myself.

FullSizeRender (9)

If you are new here or you need a recap, I started 2017 living in Australia, teaching part time at an English language college and running my coaching business as a part-time side hustle. After about 1.5 years in Australia, I finally found my true girlfriends and I was lucky to be a part of an awesome community One Wave. I was truly creating a community of my own networking with other travelers on a similar path. In February 2017, my partner and I got the news that our sponsorship visa had been denied and we had 28 days to leave Australia. We were shocked and I was actually heartbroken but my partner was determined to stay positive so we booked a trip to Bali and applied for a visa for New Zealand. We decided we would use this as a transition to hopefully make our way back to Australia.

Life seemed to have different plans for us. After 5 months in New Zealand we left for an epic long term travel adventure to America and Europe(mainly to meet each others families in America and England and other important events along the way.) Our two month trip was incredible. One of the best adventures I’ve ever had. By the end of it we felt called to stay in England and try to plant our roots here. Once again, we have the obstacle of a visa to face. I’ve spent September- January here in England on a tourist visa and I will return to America early next month to apply for my more permanent visa. This process will likely take a few months and there are no guarantees not to mention my partner and I will have to live separately for a few months. I am starting 2018 still in a transition period. This is my reality and to be quite frank, it’s not easy. 

Continue reading

The No BS Truth about Following your Dreams

“Every quest begins with a question– what did I come here to do with my life?”

Listening to Oprah’s podcast this morning featuring one of my greatest inspirations in my writing career, Elizabeth Gilbert, I was brought to tears. At  8 o’clock in the morning. In the middle of my workout. In my apartment by myself. Why are you crying Susie? It’s not even that time of the month. She discussed finding your calling in life. We all have this question spring up. Luckily, we live in a time in our society and world that we have the ability(especially as women)to follow our calling in a way that wasn’t feasible before. But it can’t be depicted as rainbows and butterflies, flashy aesthetically pleasing Instagram feeds and comped trips around the world. Following your dreams may look like that– but that is not the whole true story.

Follow your dreams, quit your 9-5, travel the world and all will be right in the world. No. The part that we don’t want to talk about following your dreams is that is hurts. It is a lot of work. You question yourself every single day. You question your worth. You cry a lot. You question your capabilities. You feel like you want to give up and retreat to safety and comfort– a “normal life.” You would rather watch Netflix and chill. Sometimes you definitely do watch Netflix and chill. You have to learn to rewrite your internal dialogue and be your own biggest fan. You have to seek self improvement, keep yourself motivated, organized and inspired. You have to do all of that and you have to LIKE IT– because you’re lucky. You’re following your dreams for goodness sake.

Why doesn’t everyone get started then? I’ll chase my dreams when I have enough money. I’ll do it when I have more time. I’ll do it once my kids grow up or I pay off my loans or I figure out what my dream really is. I don’t have anything I’m that passionate about. I’m happy doing what I do.. For now.

My dream since I was a young girl was to be a writer. I wanted it from deep within my bones. I wrote stories for fun at and age most kids couldn’t construct a paragraph. I didn’t understand why anyone would complain about an essay assignment. At one point I wanted it so badly, I decided I would be a teacher, and then become a professor and THEN I could publish my book. Once I had some street cred. I wanted to be a writer so I felt like I would just take those traditional steps, ones that felt comfortable and logical in my academic family. I wanted it so I knew I would do what it took.

Once my best friend Corey committed suicide when I was 16 years old my world turned upside down and I decided that would be my first book. A story honoring her life and her story. I started writing it then and I still haven’t finished. But I know that I will. I often wonder why I haven’t yet.

But I didn’t ever lose sight of this dream. It is real to me. It’s not a far fetched thing. It exists in my future. But I can’t say it was always at the forefront of my actions. I felt called to write but I didn’t always do it. I had the calling– but I didn’t always listen and hear it.

And then, I started my blog. I realized that I didn’t have to write a 10 page research paper with cited references and quotations to write. I realized I didn’t have to write the perfect young adult novel to get my words out there.  I realized that my voice and my words were relevant. They were important. I realized that the only way to be a writer is to write. And once I started to share what I wrote about my travels, I realized that other people cared what I was writing. They liked it and they thought I was kinda talented.

I knew this, but I didn’t own it. I questioned it. I was frightened to step into my truth and be a creator not a consumer. I was frightened that no one would care. But finally, I realized that I didn’t need them to care. I love that people respond to my work and my words. I love motivating and inspiring others. But I don’t need them to love what I write because I love it. I feel as if it is my calling to construct words, poems, blog posts, content, and novels. I don’t feel like it is an option– and I do it for free. I would continue to do it for free forever.

I also have gone down the path of becoming an entrepreneur… starting a business that is based predominantly on social media marketing and creating content. I still followed the traditional path and got my BA in English and my MA in Secondary Education. I taught for 3.5 years but I decided to do it in Thailand and Australia. On the side I started my blog– for fun and I also started my business– as a hobby. Through it all, I have been given the chance to use my calling– and I listened. You don’t have to have a blog to do what I do. I often put my words on the back burner because I need to complete my MIT’s(most important tasks) for the day. But now I realize that I have an even bigger chance to use my calling for impact, creativity and  information. Why wouldn’t I?  

That’s why I’m here writing this today.  I do it because I love it. It’s where life makes the most sense and I experience true flow. I could write for hours and never get bored.

That is how I know that this is my calling. That is why I was crying in my living room listening to this podcast at 8am because you can hear the same message 100 times but it is up to you to HEAR it. It’s up to you to HEAR your calling from inside and to act upon it. And it will not be easy but that’s not what you have to focus on.

As I was writing this– an Amazon delivery arrived at my house(weird, that never happens) and I received a book I’ve been wanting to read for ages. The Universe Has Your Back. How ironic. I began to read the introduction before I finished this. This line nearly had me in tears again, “You may be doing all you can to create freedom, connect to flow, and release your fear-based habits, but it’s likely that the moment you feel some sense of relief, you’re blindsided by the shadow of fear that dwells below the surface.” Touche Universe, I hear you.

For everyone following your dreams and pursuing your calling- either as a career or as a hobby.. I see you. I feel you. I applaud you. Turning your passion into your career isn’t just a catchy motivational quote on Instagram. It is a recipe for magic. It is painful. Don’t negate the emotional rollercoaster you have to endure. Don’t pretend it’s all rainbows and butterflies.

If you are following your dreams or if you need that extra nudge- I hope I can encourage you to pursue your calling, listen & hear your true purpose and then ACT upon it. Imagine the vision of your life.

And then level up– evolve and transform until your life matches that vision.

The essence of who you are should be personified in what you create and if it’s not– keep creating.

Summon that abundance into your life by taking ACTION.

To be a writer, you have to write.

Here I am showing up for you, not with the answers but with the question– what did you come here to do with your life?

I came here to write so that’s what I’ll do. I’m so grateful that you come along. Let’s use this beautiful day as a moment to pause- listen & hear and then take action. Because, you beautiful creature, the Universe definitely has your back.

image1 (2)

Grief: It means something

Every year it’s hard to see October 30th on the calendar. I used to hate October in general. Last year, it was the 10th anniversary of losing my best friend Corey to suicide. Luckily, I created a small project which you can read about here and I felt very connected to all of those who loved her in planning this surprise.  I also had the opportunity to share her story at my One Wave Fluro Friday in Bondi and it was received with so much compassion and love. That really meant something.

image1

This year, I am in a brand new town and apartment in England with my wonderful partner. I’m working from home so I will probably spend most of the day on my own working. Luckily, I feel deeply connected to my work- helping others work on their health  mind-body-spirit. Giving women their confidence back. Helping people pay attention to their mental health, self care and internal voice more than ever before.  Every year the emotions I feel today surprise me. I try to let myself feel and work through them however I can. It hurts but I want to make it mean something.

I think of Corey every single day of my life. If you have lost a loved one close to you, I’m sure you understand that this is not an exaggeration. Grief is a roller coaster ride and even 11 years later I am very much still on the ride. But I have leaned into that grief. I have dealt with it in a variety of ways, healthy and unhealthy. Losing Corey was the single greatest catalyst for learning to use my writing as therapy. As a 15 year old, I didn’t know how to cope. I didn’t want to ask for help. I didn’t even really know how to fully express my thoughts and feelings (hell some adults still don’t.) But when I wrote, it made me feel better. When I wrote the pain wasn’t too much to bear. That is why today, I write because it means something.

Continue reading