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

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)

To those trying to do good anyway 


To the ones trying to do good anyway:

The world is a scary place-especially in this place we congregate with strangers behind screens. 

It’s easy to get discouraged with the state of politics, the current state of the environment, racism, and inequalities across the globe. 

But when you look for them they are there. The people spreading light, creativity and joy. 

The single moms working hard and slaying motherhood with a sense of humor and a glass of wine. 

The millennials who might be eating overpriced avocado toast but they are also changing womens lives with nonprofits in Africa. 

The surfer dudes who started a nonprofit raising awareness for mental health and are making serious waves in spreading the light. 

The teachers who are up late at night making crafts, grading papers and worrying about their students and still getting criticized every day. 

The friends who would go to the ends of the earth to help someone they barely know.

The business owner who is helping hundreds of people get out of debt and create a life of freedom. 

The elderly woman who is protesting because she knows one voice can make a difference. 

The mothers who take care of their babies, even if their babies are 6’2 with a mortgage and 3 kids. 

The eating disorder survivor who instead of hiding their story in shame, shares about it publicly in hopes to save a girl like their former self.  

The college student who volunteers their time at the nursing home, despite getting a bad rep as a drunk idiot by most of society. 

Sometimes their voices are faint. They are the light spreaders. They don’t seek attention. They don’t want praise. But they do good anyway. 

When you spend your time finding what is wrong with the world, all your time will be spent. 

It may seem hard to find them at times, but I promise you, the world is full of them. And it’s our responsibility to make their voices louder than the sounds of hatred, darkness and ridicule. 

The negative aspects of society won’t ever go away but there will always be those who are trying to do good anyway. 

Cheers to you- despite all the voices in your head that tell you otherwise- it’s worth it. You’re making a difference. Our world needs people like you. When you are tired, rest. But don’t forget that the world won’t change with force and hatred. It changes with light. Shine bright and keep doing good anyway. 

#Relationshipgoals

 

If you’ve read my blog for a while you might remember when I first moved to Sydney and took myself out on a solo date for the first time. It’s one thing to eat alone at a quick cafe or food court style restaurant but going out to a proper restaurant with white table cloths and a fancy menu- that’s different.

I promised myself- no matter how long I’m with my boyfriend or married in the future, even when I have a big family of my own- I vow to take myself out to a nice meal on my own at least once a year.

26 flew by and I realized I didn’t keep this promise with myself. But then the Universe stepped in. On the last day of my 26th year and the first one of my 27th, I unintentionally took myself out for a nice brunch. I planned on having a Fluro Friday event here in Auckland but the weather didn’t cooperate. It was pouring rain and I had the cutest Uber driver from India who was a part of an organization called Know Thyself which holds meditation retreats all over the world. We chatted about meditation, eating healthy and how more people need to be connected to the way they are feeling. We had a great chat so I didn’t realize what the weather forecast was until I had already took said (expensive) Uber to the other side of town.

I knew that people probably wouldn’t show but I decided to grab a coffee at the cafe right by the beach and wait for the rain to pass. I walked up in my crazy Fluro get up- flower crown and all. At first I felt a surge of sadness and disappointment. I knew in Australia my One Wave Bondi tribe would have been there rain or shine. I missed my brunch besties, my family and my friends from home all at the same time. But in a split second I reminded myself of my gratitude journal. Five things, Susie. I ordered my coffee and pulled my journal out of my bag and the five things came rushing out so easily.

I smiled because this 27 year old woman wasn’t scared to sit at a posh brunch spot alone in an 80’s bomber jacket and flower crown with tons of business men in suits. Sure, I was disappointed by the rain but we rescheduled for next week and it allowed me to keep my pact of a solo date each year.

I felt deeply grateful for the courage, self worth and confidence I have developed over the years but especially in the past few years. I can’t put into words how important it is to be able to truly and deeply love your own company- just as much as  your closest relationships with others. Much like a close friendship or family bond– it doesn’t matter how long you’ve strayed away from the loving relationship with yourself, when you return to it, it feels easy, you pick up just where you left off and your heart instantly swells with love and joy.

As I sit here at this brunch place, I’m still here and writing this on notebook paper since I didn’t bring my laptop. The sun is now shining- of course. But that means I get to do my meditation on the beach and go for a nice long walk along the ocean. After I write this, of course.  This is also like returning to an old friend. A comfortable, familiar feeling. Time and time again– I am floored by the power of words in my life and the immense sense of rightness I feel as soon as I’m creating words of my own or reading the words of others.

I won’t sugar coat it, the last couple months in New Zealand have been the most difficult of my life, probably since Corey died in 2006. But life has a funny way of contradicting itself because these struggles have led me to a more gratitude, more self actualization and most importantly more clarity on just how strong of a human I can be.

After brunch I popped in my headphones because I got an email that my favorite podcast, The Melissa Ambrosini Show, released a new episode about relationship goals. As I started listening to this awesome couple talk about love and relationships, I laughed to myself because right now I am #relationshipgoals with my own damn self.

Don’t get me wrong I’m in an incredible relationship with I am so in love with my funny, charming, English gentlman-but luckily that doesn’t exclude having a kickass relationship with myself too.

Starting my 27th year, I am committed to keeping my #relationshipgoals with myself thriving. I implore you to do the same. Loving yourself is not about posting pictures in your undies on social media #selflove. Dude, if you can do that and you feel great doing it, more power to you-but much like beautiful couple photos don’t define what love is actually about, self love is so much deeper than being confident and proud of your body. Let your relationship with yourself evolve and change, give yourself the grace, patience and encouragement you give others and most of all- keep those promises you make to yourself- You’re going going to write that book, start that degree, say that thing, plan that trip, and take yourself on that date. I guarantee you won’t regret it. Now that’s what I call #relationshipgoals.

 

18870018_10209030665148596_389789779_o

Repacking My Life and My Blog

Never fear, my free form headspace articles have not been forgotten. As my blog has evolved over the past few years, I have felt the desire to do more with it. With daydreams of being a nomad,  I have watched countless webinars and read many blog posts on how to turn your blog into a profitable business. I already have my own coaching business which I began separately from my blog. I started my blog as my passion project, a way to communicate with my friends and family when I moved abroad to Thailand in 2013. I had NO IDEA what would come of it.

At the time, I was graduating with my MA from WVU in Secondary Education with a specialization in English. My BA was in English. Since I was a young child, I loved to write. I loved reading, creative writing, and creating entire fictional universes. I couldn’t understand why my classmates hated writing so much. If the assignment was one page I wrote three. I couldn’t fathom why it was so difficult for most people, but it just came so naturally to me.

Take a minute and think of your favorite teacher you’ve ever had. Every single one of us have “that teacher.” For me it was my 9th and 10th grade English teacher, Chapman. Chap. Chapstick (my personal favorite.) He is a living legend when it comes to teaching and he saw something in me I couldn’t yet see in myself. I am happy today to call him a friend and mentor to this day. In recent years and more stints living in foreign countries, I haven’t spoke to him as frequently as I would like but he will always be someone who I credit for my passion for English and especially writing. He made me believe I had something special, an actual talent. Mind you, both my parents were incredible teachers and my mother was a phenomenal English teacher whom I greatly admire,  but it’s really hard to believe your parents when they tell you you’re “special.” Mr. Chapman was that teacher for me and for that, I will always be grateful. I wanted to pursue this hobby because of him and I’m not sure where I would be without that spark to this deeply burning flame.

In high school, shortly after Chapman’s English class, my best friend tragically committed suicide. How on earth does a 15 year old cope with that pain? Partying. Check. Drugs. Check. Numbing the pain. Check. Writing. Check. Writing was my saving grace. I turned to this former hobby and past time as a form of therapy- an escape. This was really the only healthy coping tool I had at the time. I didn’t share much with others but finally I decided to share something I wrote for the one year anniversary of Corey’s death(which I shared again here for the piece I wrote about the 10th anniversary earlier this year.) I quickly realized that my words could help people. They could reach people. They might even be able to save people.  Then I thought they might be saving me.

Continue reading

The 2016 Collection: Finding Your Passion 

Finding Your Passion

img_5910


“The more I encourage others to take risks, take action and live the life of their dreams the more I continue to do it myself.”

“ Being healthy, active, busy, soaked in sunshine and helping other people as much as I can fills me up”

“No one has an idea and knows where it will take them, they just fight for that one idea and let it evolve naturally.”

“ ‘Being enslaved by the exigencies of life and by our constitution does not preclude the possibility that we can feel free. We experience freedom when we choose a path that provides us both meaning and pleasure.’ Although life itself is full with responsibilities (especially this whole adult gig) when we are choosing what life we make our own it is much easier to feel free and satisfied.”

“Never let someone else’s view of what you SHOULD do with your life steer you away from what you want to do with your life. Even if that means you are saying you don’t know what you want to do. Why is everyone so scared to admit they don’t know what will satisfy them in their career? Why can’t people just say they haven’t found it yet, but they are still actively searching? I respect someone who is constantly trying to better themselves, taking risks, making mistakes, pushing themselves to live a life that fills them with passion much more than someone who pretends to be satisfied by mediocrity.”

“Through The Power of Now I am realizing what all of my passions have in common. Writing, exercising, traveling, children, helping, talking; they all require all of your attention. They force you into the now. I could get lost in my mind FOREVER. I need extremely interactive outlets to channel my Being into being.”

“Creating a life that you love is a tiring roller coaster ride of grit, resilience, inner strength and determination. But loving the LIFE in you, bringing yourself to life, that all lies in the power of now. Our power is infinite but we must tap into ourselves and listen to our hearts, and remember to enjoy simply being. Adventures are by far my favorite thing, so I choose to make an adventure of now.”

“Cheers to having the courage and living the life you imagine and the humility to CHANGE THAT PLAN if it isn’t what you want anymore. Life is simply too short to do anything less. Make it count.”

“I love surrounding myself with good people, not people who have it all together, people who graciously accept not having it all together and always provide an open ear and open heart. I love inspiring(verb) people and I love inspiring(adjective) people. I love moving my body, connecting my mind, body and spirit and challenging myself to expand. People often talk about growth, but the most interesting part about growth for me is I haven’t gotten bigger, I have simply gotten closer to the voice inside my heart. My growth has expanded my mind and my perception but it has lead my back into myself. “What you choose to focus on becomes your reality.” I choose to focus on growth, happiness, adventures and most importantly helping others to do the same.”

“Listen to yourself and what makes you feel at home. If you haven’t found it, keep looking and keep your mind and heart open so when it arrives you won’t be too jaded, frustrated, or scared to find a different home.”

“I think people spend too much time worrying about finding their “passion” and not enough time feeling it out. When you do a job or an activity that you are good at and that brings you happiness, you feel joy. You feel flow. You feel satisfied. You feel on top of the world. DO THINGS and if they feel good, keep them. When they don’t make you feel good, don’t do them again.”

“I am learning to let go of my over analytical mind and accept that finding your passion in life is not a direct flight. We are human beings. Passion evolves as your life evolves and life is a measure of your ability to adapt your behaviors and actions to match your ideals for success and happiness.”

“But here is the thing, although we think we matter a lot, in the scheme of things we matter very little. Some people use this as an excuse to live on a small scale. I view it as the opposite. I use this fact to propel me forward into my future with as much passion, action, adventure and chutzpah as humanly possible. In the end, the only one who knows if you lived the life you are capable of is you.”

“If you haven’t stopped and asked yourself these questions in a while (or maybe ever) please do it now. When do you feel the most like yourself? How often do you do that activity? Does your work incorporate what makes you feel flow? When is the last time you went for an adventure? What is the most beneficial thing you can do with the next hour of your time? Are you living a life that suits you ? Are you experiencing flow more than you are experiencing hardships and pain?”

“Many people don’t take the time to figure out what they actually want, that’s why they never get it.”

“Don’t give up and do not be stagnant. Unless you are bursting with pride and happiness about the life you are creating, you gotta find what is missing by trying something new.”

My Space

As I sit and stare at the Opera House on a sunny Thursday afternoon in Sydney, my mind is taken to so many different places and spaces. I want to live in this moment again and again. I’m not sure how …

And then my laptop died. To me, a sign from the Universe to drink in that moment and write about it later. Remembering it now, it still feels like just as sweet of a space.  

15368722_10207574230018628_755642744_o

I feel as if I am neglecting my words like the VCR that slowly got replaced by the DVD player or the walkman that got tossed aside for the iPod. But every time I turn to them again it feels like an old, familiar, and comforting friend. My words are the ratty t-shirt you wear to sleep that has a hole and some permanent stains but still feels just right. Even when things steal my attention (Facebook Live) or make it difficult for me to write (broken laptop) I still know in my heart this is my purest form of expression, therapy, joy and creation. My words are my space. 

So here I am, on a Sunday night, with my ever looming to-do list and my stack of ungraded papers. My apartment is clean, my workout is complete and my inbox is empty- all of which give me great satisfaction. But my words are still looming waiting to form and reflect. My words still give me the deepest satisfaction I can ask for and that’s how I know they are my truth and my space.

Continue reading

More is possible

In April, I promised to appear weekly with a “headspace” blog post which certainly has turned into an incredible outlet for getting out my weekly thoughts, experiences and reflections. If you are a writer, you understand the often grueling process that goes into our craft and I desired a space to express myself without fretting over my sentence structure or my word choice. Of course, I pay attention to these things but for my weekly writing the actual use of my blog as a “headspace” or a “brain dump” was much more important than the mechanics of the piece. After discovering that one of my favorite authors Elizabeth Gilbert has her own podcast (called Magic Lessons, PLEASE LISTEN) I am feeling more inspired than ever to continue my journey as a writer and push my creativity to higher levels. Coincidentally, I also got an offer to be a contributing writer to an up and coming website that is seeking to be one of the biggest blogging websites on the world wide web. I am so honored and excited because the offer to write for them is completely aligned with my aim for myself as a writer. They encouraged me to write about whatever inspires me the most and see this as an opportunity to connect to a whole new community of writers and readers. Coincidence? I think not. That my friends is the power of the universe.

After binge listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast (trust me a podcast binge is so much more fulfilling and stimulating than a Netflix one) I felt an intense pull at my heart strings to pursue and cherish the gift and the passion I have for my writing. The stories inside of me are not something that I feel as if I can survive without telling. That may sound extremely dramatic to those of you who do not have specific creative calling(that you are aware of) but to me it is plain and simple. Like the feeling of hunger, excitement, joy, or sleepiness. The feeling to create is plain and simple for me and it is relentless. The more I listen to it, the freer I feel. You can expect to see more from me in the coming months as I pursue my new venture as a contributing writer. I am honored and downright ecstatic based on the continual support I get from those around me. My mother, will always be my most faithful reader and artful critic. But I notice and appreciate every bit of feedback you give me. The truth is, I would and will write despite the fact that anyone reads or enjoys it. But the fact that you read and enjoy it channels my inner “flow” of spirit. The more genuine I am to my most inner thoughts and feelings the more my audience responds favorably. To me, that is simply a testament of this incredible gift. One of my favorite quotes, that I have included on the homepage of my blog, “Great writers remind us that more is possible”- Kiddler & Todd. Simply put, I can not think of a better mantra for what I am to aiming to bring to my readers. More is possible, in so many facets and nuances of life, writing, troubles, and happiness. More is infinitely available but impressively elusive. Let’s go find it together. 

Continue reading