My Take on Network Marketing

When it came to network marketing, I was like you too. I had been approached by the network marketing girl from high school that I hadn’t spoken to in over 10 years and asked to buy her product. She didn’t even ask how I was or use my name, and it looked like a copy and paste message that had been sent to everyone in her inbox. One of the women on my team got approached by someone she hadn’t spoken to in years who told her that she had a “crazy idea” and that she had a dream that the two of them should start a network marketing jewelry business together. I know… I know… can you imagine what both of our responses were? We didn’t respond. I get it, I get it, I get it!! We’ve all had bad experiences with network marketing and even if we don’t actually know anything about the business models or structures, we’ve definitely heard the term “pyramid scheme” being thrown around a lot, and from what we know, those are bad so anything that resembles a pyramid scheme automatically goes into the “nope” category for many of us. We don’t want to be “those people” that annoy their entire friends list and isolate their friends and families.

I never researched network marketing until I was contemplating joining a company that used nutritional support products from a network marketing company. Since our partner products were distributed using this model, I went to work to understand how it worked, and why people hated on these companies so much. What I learned shocked me. Not to mention, I also learned that not all network marketing is the same, not all models are the same, and that a lot of the myths I believed about them weren’t true.

Over the years I’d heard of network marketing companies getting sued due to claims being made by their distributors that were untrue. I’d seen the incessant posts on people’s walls where all they did was talk about and promote the products, and I’d been annoyed when I felt like someone wasn’t being authentic. See, we can pick up on that energy! Have you ever sent a text message, in a bad mood, and even though nothing you said was negative, the other person responded to that energy and inquired if everything was okay? I have, guilty! This is also why I was against network marketing- because I wasn’t a salesman, and I definitely wouldn’t try to “sell” anything I didn’t believe in. I used to think, honestly… no one LOVES a product THAT MUCH! I thought it was all a bit ridiculous.

Now that you know how I used to feel, let me talk about why all of this changed. When I got introduced to my team and program I was at a point in my life where I was feeling lost. For those of you that don’t know my story, let me give you a quick recap. I was 30 years old and had been living overseas and working as a scuba instructor for 7 years. I was in Indonesia at the time and since my job revolves around tourism, natural disasters had a tendency to affect that industry pretty directly. We moved from Mexico to Indonesia just in time for Bali’s Mount Agung volcano to reactivate and cause an evacuation which meant that finding a job as an instructor on the island of Bali, as planned, would be a bit difficult. So we moved to the Gili Islands and struggled through low season only to have a magnitude 7.4 earthquake level the island and leave us in a rough place financially. On top of all of that, I was struggling with my drinking after years in the dive industry and my mental health. I was craving something different and when my world got shaken up I decided to go back to the USA for marijuana harvest season- at least I knew there was money to be made there, and I had a van I could live in and friends that worked in the industry. This opportunity fell into my lap shortly afterwards and I didn’t even realize that I was craving all of the things this opportunity offered me- more financial and time freedom and the ability to work from anywhere while I heal myself.

I never saw myself as an inspiration, but I was determined to get sober and healthier in my 30’s then I’d ever been. After 2 weeks on the products the migraines I’d suffered since I was 12, that debilitated me while scuba diving and my team would have to take over, disappeared. I was blown away! My belief in the product was secure because I had felt the changes myself! Since I knew I’d be on the products for life, I decided to start selling them in hopes of paying for my own product. Not only did the products work for me, but so did the program and all I had to do was share my experiences regarding a product that had already changed my life dramatically. Now I was sober and migraine free and realized it was time to start diving into the programs and working on myself. As I worked on myself and shared my story, my business began to grow organically and I pretty quickly realized that I was falling more in love with myself and more in love with this industry! Every month a few hundred extra dollars was showing up into my account, I was getting healthier, and without even realizing it, I was taking on the business part time. I’d like to state here that not all network marketing companies are the same, so I can only speak for the company I work for.

So why do I love The Soul Project and the network marketing model?

THE PRODUCTS

You have to love something if you’re going to sell it. At least, I did. I’m not a good saleswoman so selling things I don’t believe in is a dead give away. If your belief in the products isn’t high, then you won’t succeed. We have a unique company within network marketing because we’re a legacy company. The Soul Project utilizes the the Juice Plus+ nutritional support products because they have been around for 50 years, making these products for 30 years, and NEVER had a recall, have made it through multiple recessions, are talked about and used by many athletes, and are literally the simplest of whole food nutrition. They are the ONLY nutritional product in the world with a FOOD label because they are just that, food. After I researched the products, read the reviews, read the clinical studies on the website, and listened to people’s stories at being transformed by fruits and veggies- I was hooked! It worked for me! And it made sense to me- our bodies need more fruits and vegetables, and we’re not getting enough and people will always need more fruits and veggies, no matter how good of an eater they are! Over the years I’ve seen my own customers results, heard their stories, and seen other amazing stories of healing and it reconfirmed my belief in the simplicity and strength of something like this. Our studies regarding our products and the immune system are incredible and I have multiple women on my team who suffer autoimmune disorders and have seen incredible improvements. Listening to their stories lights me up. How can you argue with wholefood, vegan, GMO free, NSF certified organic (better than USDA), fair trade, vine ripened fruits and veggies in a vegan capsule? You can’t. There is literally no other product on the market like it, nor with the studies to back it.

THE PROGRAM

We believe in healing from the inside out which is why we chose Juice Plus+ as our nutritional support products. Did you know 90% of our diseases today are linked in some way back to the gut and health of our microbiome? 90%! This includes mental health diseases such as depression and anxiety. What is happening outside of us is a direct reflection of what’s happening inside. Starting with a solid wholefood base of nutrition allows our customers the catalyst to heal the rest: not just the body but also the mind and the soul. Our program focuses on healing of all 3 and they are programs created by us, for you. We run 10 day detoxes every month starting on the 15th and each month focuses on a different party of our health- mind, body or soul. We also have meditation guides, recipes, meal planning, self care, weight loss, self love & SO much more customized for your goals. Because we believe that healing needs to start with families, kids eat free! We have our own customer hub where myself and my team are adding value daily. I have found my voice within helping those that struggle with alcohol as well as giving monthly full moon & new moon circles because these are things that are close to my heart and areas of my life I have experience healing and working with.

THE COMMUNITY

This shocked me! I didn’t realize the massive self development that would take place just from joining this supportive community. The Soul Project spans Australia, New Zealand, US, UK, Canada and more and we ship to 28 countries worldwide! Our leaders all have different gifts to share and contribute their content and modalities in such inspiring ways. I’ve had access to trainings by Tony Robbins and Eric Worre, who are known worldwide for their masterclasses but are also HUGE advocates of the network marketing industry. I’ve inspired other leaders to quit alcohol and share their experiences with their community, I’ve made great friends that have inspired me and taught me invaluable skills moving forward. We are an eclectic group of men and women who are uplifting, supportive of each other’s wins, and come from all different backgrounds- stay at home moms, corporate professionals, healthcare providers, travelers, wellness instructors, life coaches, skydivers and so many more! Because of them I have found my own voice and started creating my own content. Everyone needs supportive people behind them!

CONCLUSIONS

Look, I love scuba diving and will always teach diving, but I needed a second set of income I could build on the side to start planning for the future. I had a dream to own a dive shop one day but now I’d love to own a holistic health business! But no matter what, I will stay within this industry because it has given me so much! I honestly, truly, want to change people’s views about network marketing. But one thing I need to make clear is that this isn’t an overnight success. This is something you start and build over time which is why we call it the 4 year career. It’s something you get in line for. But it’s also something that will give you and your team the skills and the flexibility to really decide what way you want to show up and be of service in the world.

While working for this company and creating a vision for my own future, I realized that I wanted enough money to not only be comfortable but to actually make an impact in the world and donate to causes I believe in. I wanted the time freedom to work on projects that I feel make the world a better place. Is it easy to make money in this industry? Heck no! Which is why so many sign up, do nothing with it, get discouraged, and quit, only going on to have a bad experience with this industry and tell everyone they know. This is a job, just like any other, and how much you make is a direct reflection of the time you put in. It also requires you to be self motivated and consistent. It is a SOCIAL media job which is why it’s called NETWORK marketing. You have to network! But one of the biggest misconceptions is that people believe they’ll isolate their friends and family. Um… hello, social media! Look, I grow my network by connecting with other like-minded people daily. I find other travelers, yogis, skydivers, sober, cat lovers (to give you an idea of the types of people I meet and interact with) and I do all of this through the power of social media! The only time I’ve ever suggested these products OR this business is if I feel it could help people. I don’t isolate anyone, I expand my tribe, have met amazing people online, and it has led to amazing collaborations. All because I chose to not listen to Nancy down the street and took a chance to build something different!

In our lives right now, we are seeing a MASSIVE influx of fear for the future, fear of uncertainty, FEAR FEAR FEAR and it’s ruling our lives. But it always has. Fear controls almost every aspect of our lives at all times. Fear has also become my favorite emotion to work with because I’ve learned that it is also our best teacher. Some of my favorite things in life started out as fears- scuba diving, skydiving, traveling, network marketing. If I had lived in fear, or listened to what others said, I wouldn’t have had the ability or the balls to create the life I want. I don’t feel bad about that and I won’t apologize for it, it’s one of my favorite qualities about myself. If it’s something that you feel like you’re lacking then I’d encourage you to reach out, because helping others work with their fears is also a superpower of mine since I’ve gone through it. In conclusion, I’m thankful for this industry and all that it’s taught me.

If you’re considering branching into network marketing or looking for something you can do along side your career then I have just this advice: research the company & model, find a product you LOVE and will use for life, look for a “legacy” company not a “startup” and research its history. I am 2 promotions away from healthcare for life! I already make residual income which is literally money while I sleep, and now, more than ever, people need to start taking their health and their family’s health seriously- and I think people get that. So if you’re scared of anything right now, I’d encourage you to start dancing with that comfort zone because if I’ve learned anything it’s that all my best moments have been birthed from fear. Don’t let fear keep you stuck.

Oh and I’m not saying everyone should join a network marketing company! It definitely isn’t for everyone and I think that’s why so many fail. I’m only 1.5 years in and I still have another year or so until I could be full time from this but I’m putting in work every day because I have seen what this opportunity has done for others that I know, and I want to be the one that succeeds too and I see no reason why this business couldn’t give me that when it’s given me so much already. So, maybe next time you decide to buy makeup you could reach out to a Mary Kay distributor, or for hair- Monat, for essential oils- DoTerra, for supplements ME or for household supplies Airbonne. You’d be supporting a single mother or a traveler instead of big corporations like Target or Walmart. Understand that these people probably love these products and love this industry just like I do. We are constantly sharing the recipes, foods, retailers and products we love, so why wouldn’t we get paid for it? Maybe you won’t turn your nose down at network marketing and maybe you’ll take the time to understand that there will obviously be unethical practices in all business, and I cannot control how other’s run their business but I can ensure that I run mine ethically, authentically and honestly. I hope this has answered some questions if you’ve been thinking I’m a crazy person, or that I’m just trying to sell you something, because yes I am crazy, and NO I’m not just trying to sell you something. I think you’re a smart enough consumer to decide for yourself, that’s what I did. But quit hating on this industry cuz at least here, I can be my own CEO and run my own business, and I’m fucking thankful for that.

A rant on communicating as an adult, social media, and being triggered.

A theme that has been circulating for me recently is how incapable people are of having respectful conversations or dialogue regarding a topic where they disagree with the other person. I feel it too, I feel the need to step in when people are misinterpreting, misunderstanding, or I genuinely or morally disagree with what they’re saying. But I am an adult, and I’ve been practicing deep listening, so I try to show respect even when what is being said seems triggering to me somehow. When I was in my early 20’s I would have a few drinks in me and fight to the death trying to be “heard” by people that didn’t want to communicate about it in the first place. I am wiser now, and I pick my battles, and I realize you cannot argue with stupid (as my father always said).

This is continuous practice! This isn’t easy! And it especially isn’t easy when the other person is triggered or disagrees and leaves respect aside to start insulting you directly because you disagree. I’ve had a few recent experiences with this and I’ve been thinking on the ways I can handle it better next time. When people go on the defensive and start making it personal or attacking your character, it can be hard to stay calm and not stoop to their level, after all, they’re poking the bear… but ask yourself this- who is going to look worse in the end? The person that couldn’t keep their cool or you, for staying silent when respect turned its back on the conversation? Trust me, bite your tongue, it isn’t worth it.

I occasionally post political things on my personal facebook, as it’s my right, but I always try to start dialogue regarding whatever hot button issue it is. I encourage people to act respectfully, but let’s be real, this is the internet, where people can hide behind the screen, be keyboard warriors, and defend their opinions with personal insults and attacks. So even though we see it for what it is online, I also see it being carried out into the real world where we’re incapable of entertaining the idea of listening to something that doesn’t sit right with us. I think this shows a severe lack of compassion and is a huge problem with the division currently escalating in our country. I have deleted people I felt were being disrespectful or unable to engage without retorting to the likes of a 5 year old throwing all their toys out of the cot when they don’t get their way. I received backlash for deleting people because I was told it was blocking free speech. I disagree and here is why: I believe in free speech absolutely as long as it is done with respect and can refrain from swearing, insults, personal attacks, or comments such as, “you must be STUPID”. I also don’t get down with homogenous blanket statements about specific groups of people because I believe it furthers an agenda of division. So YES TO FREE SPEECH but I will not support your negativity or disrespect, it’s called boundaries- have some for yourself.

These should be basic rules of conversation that we have learned since childhood, but somehow it seems that grown adults are starting to forget how to have a respectful conversation about something controversial without getting so caught up in the emotion themselves that they are unable to converse at all anymore without retorting to the above listed. It makes me SO sad to see the value of communication and genuine conversations going downhill so traumatically. I’m sick of dealing with children in my adult relationships because they haven’t done the work themselves and lack the self awareness to realize change. Heal yourself so you can show up to the table and come from a place of love, even when triggered because you’re able to take the emotion out of it or be smart enough to walk away until you can. I will say it again, HEAL.YOURSELF! Stop getting triggered by the president, your mother in law, your partner, or anybody else that you let get to you.

I had another experience recently where I’ve made a good online friend who I’ve connected with and chatted with for months as we have similar interests and are both active in the same groups. We talked frequently about relationships, tarot & astrology. I loved her energy and she published poetry that I adored almost daily, so reading what she wrote became something I looked forward to. But last week she made a post about Jesus where she spoke about how all people who studied witchcraft, the occult, used tarot or crystals, and had sex before marriage were in fact doing the work of the devil. I took the time to read the whole thing in it’s entirety even though I was immediately triggered. I obviously realize she just had a huge shift and stated that she would no longer have sex until married and that she was pulling away from all things “witchy” as she felt called to come back to God.

I respect all of this and as someone who grew up in the Church and chose it for myself, not because my parents wanted me to, I walked away from the Church in my teens because I found that the people preaching nonjudgement were some of the most judgmental people I had ever met. I felt there was hypocrisy weaved within religion and I knew that I didn’t need to be part of a religion to have a personal relationship with God. Over the years, I have found my own way back to God through the practice of witchcraft, ritual and work with my deities. I do not think there is one right way to know God nor do I think you can ostracize all people who don’t rejoice in the same way you do. I wrote out my response to her with respect and said it made me sad that she was taking the road of judgement when in fact our God says that only he can do that. I pointed out the conversations we’d had regarding tarot and the divine and felt incredibly saddened that she was pointing the finger at others instead of focusing on herself and her path. I pointed out that prayers and spells are the same thing- energy sent out into the universe and just because our rituals and altars don’t look the same, doesn’t mean our relationships with creator are less valid.

I re-read what I wrote multiple times before I sent it and when I woke up the next morning I was blocked. I was bummed. I had developed this amazing relationship with this woman and when I tried to point out that we were more similar than different she decided against conversation even when it was done respectfully, and instead chose to block any and everyone that disagrees with her. This is a problem! As I pointed out above we all have the right to free speech and if it’s done with respect we have a great chance to converse, learn from each other, and come to understanding. But if we cannot even engage in respectful dialogues with differing viewpoints, then we REALLY have a problem because we’re clearly so unsure in our own beliefs that anything that contradicts what we think seems like a threat. We cannot live in our own little bubbles and shoo away all humans who see things differently, it is creating a divide in our world and society.

This past week I’ve been reflecting on this theme of not being able to deal with a worldview that differ from ours. Our whole world is full of humans who look, think, act and believe completely differently then you! Grow up. Sit with things that make you uncomfortable for a second and see where the discomfort comes from and if any of it is being carried by you before you project it onto others.

I recently had a couple of openly devout Christians publicly denounce the Church for becoming more accepting and tolerant of GLBT communities. As an openly bisexual Christian women, I felt so upset seeing people tell me that I’m not welcome in their Church. I am sick of people telling me that my relationship with God has to look like theirs, that I can only have one God, and judging me for my path to God. I do not judge yours, and the personal relationship I have with my creator makes me feel safe, warm, accepted and understood. You do not get to tell me otherwise. Any God I work with wouldn’t be a judgmental selfish God, because I think the universe is much more balanced than childish human emotions.

End rant.

Here is what I’ve learned-

  1. I realize ignorance can be frustrating because we expect people to “know” certain things, but try to meet everyone where they’re at, instead of expecting them to be where you are.
  2. Every conversation is a chance to learn something new. To strengthen your argument or show you another way. We still might choose our way but at least we can open our minds to the possibility of other existences.
  3. Most of the things we are triggered by say more about us than the other person. So before you match energy and act out, look inwards. Our unhealed inner child is speaking, shut up. Do the work.
  4. Therapy is good. I hope you’re working some time of self development program because no one is perfect and we are all human. We always need a bit of help to become the best versions of ourselves. Those of us in therapy are in it to deal with those of you that aren’t. I will spend money on all other facets of life regarding my health, why wouldn’t my mental health and self improvement be just as important?
  5. NOT EVERYONE WILL AGREE WITH YOU AND THAT’S OKAY.
  6. Agreeing to disagree is a legit thing. You can listen to someone’s point of view and still not agree. It’s fine, try it out, you won’t die.
  7. It is important to analyze our role in misunderstandings. It takes two to fight and it is never one sided, own up.
  8. Lastly, STAY IN YOUR HEART. If you cannot, then pause the conversation or come back when you’ve returned to the heart. There is no point in continuing a conversation that is pushing you to a place of disrespect. Walk away.
  9. Boundaries are important. Have them for yourself and for others.

 

 

 

How ditching my birth control was a journey to feminine freedom.

From a young age I internalized the language that periods are a terrible time of the month for women. I felt that I should be disgusted by my period and always felt grossed out by the blood between my legs. I was taught that talking about “that time of the month” should be done by making degrading comments about my own body and that “period talk” wasn’t proper conversation in most circles. I was taught that men would find “period sex” disgusting and therefore I could use “that time of the month” as an excuse for not having sex. I believed my doctors and elders when they told me that I should be on birth control to help “regulate my periods” and when that didn’t work to calm my monthly symptoms I was put on birth control to stop my periods completely. And over the years I listened to women tell me how “lucky” I was to not have a period at all and I believed the hype into college that birth control was my ticket to freedom and my way of taking control back over my own body.

But they were wrong.

How many women reading this right now can relate?

I was put on birth control shortly after getting my period at the age of 12 because I had similar symptoms to my mother and my periods were so heavy, so random, and so painful that I would miss school monthly. After they tried almost all forms of birth control from the pill, to the ring, to the shot we finally settled on the Depo Provera shot throughout high school and university. When I moved overseas I got the Nexplanon implant in my arm as it promised 3 years. What my doctors failed to realize is that there was a huge connection between hormonal birth control and migraines. I started getting crippling migraines when I was 12. Coincidence? I think not.

But no one saw these connections, not even my doctors, until I started doing my own research into migraines and birth control. Then I started researching birth control and I started to realize that maybe, I needed to give my body a chance to normalize on its own. At 26 years old I went off birth control but before I did that I researched hormone balance and naturopathy and realized that I needed to heal my body and my hormones from the inside-out. I prepared for the worst- breakouts, mood swings, weight gain/loss and everything else that came along with removing such strong chemical hormones from our bodies. I started taking herbs to regulate my hormones and my cycles. I started monitoring my own cycles using apps and a basal thermometer. I changed my diet and removed all hormones- meat, soy, dairy… These things are all connected you know? Or maybe you don’t, I mean… I didn’t. Basically, I started taking control over my body, my period and my cycles for the first time in my life. The illusion of control that I had been lured into believing I had was fading fast. I knew now that I had been tricked.

I had been tricked into believing the shame surrounding my period. I had been put on birth control and disconnected from the very essence of my femininity, my intuition and my power. I had been told that because I had a disease that was similar to my mother’s we should use birth control as a “preventative” instead of trying to get to the root of the condition. And after 14 years on birth control I decided way too late into my adult life to take my health into my own hands and let me tell you, it was terrible! My mood swings came, my skin was worse than when I was a teen, my appetite suffered, and I almost went back on birth control for fear of these symptoms being permanent! So many women try to get off it but cannot deal with the months of side affects and instead choose to go back on. It’s a trap! But I was prepared and I kept going with the help of a clean diet and food journaling I was determined to come out on the other side.

And I did!

About 4 months later the veil lifted, and when I say “the veil lifted”, I mean that I came out of a mental fog I had lived in my entire adult life without even noticing any different because I’d never given myself the chance. I never knew I was supposed to think this clearly or feel this empowered! As my periods regulated and I became hyper aware of all of my cycles I started to use them to my advantage. I started to honor the time of the month my period came as a chance to look inwards knowing that I become highly intuitive during these times. I started protecting my energy while I bled knowing that I am more sensitive. During my ovulation periods I can identify which ovary is now releasing the egg as it changes month to month based off the pain on one side or the other. I experience ovulation cramps and use this time to harness my creative energy as I’ve realized it’s an incredibly powerful time for me. I have learned that I cycle with the moon at exactly 28 days and that when the new moon comes, so does my period, and when the full moon comes, so does my ovulation. As I got more in touch with my own body I started to tap into my own intuition reveling in the fact that for so long I hadn’t even known how to listen to myself.

How had I allowed such a vital part of who I was be taken from me? How had I waited so long to give my body the chance to heal on its own… to reveal parts of myself to me?

I now know that my period is magic and I celebrate the cycles! After 5 years birth control free I have considered going back to it for the “peace of mind” regarding unwanted pregnancy. But I have also decided that “peace of mind” isn’t worth MY peace of mind. I see now the negative ways in which allowing a drug control over the divine feminine is damaging to the psyche- to the power and beauty that women are. I see birth control as a way of controlling the “wild woman” by teaching her to feel shame regarding her cycle. Going off birth control for me was the first step in taking back control over my own body.

When Native American women were on their period they were brought to a women’s-only hut where they meditated and protected their energy, knowing how powerful they were during this time. Throughout history aboriginal tribes have always known the power of menstruation and menstrual blood- using the blood to garden knowing how rich in nutrients it is, and harvesting the placenta to be used in teas. But bringing this up might have you a little grossed out and I don’t care! If this grosses you out then you too have believed the lies about your own body and you have work to do! If your partner won’t have sex with you while you’re on your period, and you allow that, then you both have work to do! I had to heal the shame I felt around sexuality and menstruation and really dig deep to see the societal conditioning I had internalized. The cycles of our bodies are nothing to be ashamed of and should be openly talked about and discussed. If one more person asks me if I’m sensitive because I’m on my period I won’t react because I know that they too have been duped. We like to downplay women’s power during menstruation by making fun of these sensitivities and calling them irrational because if women saw the power in these cycles and weren’t ashamed then god help us all!

I hold space for myself in a strong way during these various cycles. I use chaste root, kava, turmeric capsules and marijuana to ease my cramps. I also indulge in self pleasure because it’s like an internal massage when the cramps are rough and I’ve learned the power in my own touch. I have found that menstrual cups allow me the ability to see how much I bleed and what the consistency is like from day to day. I am no longer grossed out by this process but empowered by it. It wasn’t an easy journey but if you’re feeling like birth control isn’t serving you, I’m going to go out on a limb and say it probably isn’t. If you think that natural family planning doesn’t work and you’re concerned about getting pregnant then you obviously don’t realize that you have control. Start by educating yourself, then start by listening to your body. You deserve that chance. Trust me, it is the most empowering of journey’s!

I understand that maybe some women “need” to be on birth control. But I was one of those women that was told that I “needed” it too, and when other women spoke out against birth control I fired back because I hadn’t healed my own feminine wounds. I didn’t realize at the time that I had control and when people started telling me I did I was resistant to these “women” because I felt they didn’t “understand”. If I’m triggering something in you and you feel the need to respond or react to what I’m saying, then I encourage you to do some deep listening first. What conditioning have you been taught to believe? And at what point were you told told that you didn’t have control? Oh, that’s right, we’ve been told that our whole lives. Unwanted pregnancy may be scary but if that’s your ONLY block to quitting birth control, then it isn’t a block at all.

The fact that women cycle with the moon, and will start cycling with eachother if in close proximity is absolutely amazing! Do you see how powerful this is? I cannot tell you what’s best for your body, only you can do that, but I hope maybe you can at least start honoring those parts of the month and stop talking negatively about your period or your body during this time. You are amazing! See that! I encourage you to start to track your cycles and at least become aware of how you feel during the whole process. Women’s intuition is strong and heightened during this time- use your power, don’t be ashamed by it. End rant.

 

 

 

So, what does it take to be a skydiver?

I recently completed my A license for skydiving with the USPA (United States Parachute Organization). I’ve had a lot of people ask me questions about what it takes to be a skydiver and what it means to have an A license. Skydiving isn’t something you encounter often. Unless you happen to have a local dropzone (DZ) or know some skydivers, it can seem pretty mystifying. But having sought it out on my own, I thought I’d give you some information about the course and what it takes. Having my A license now allows me to pack my own main parachute, do basic skydiving formations with others, and means I have a minimum of 25 skydives (I have 44 now). My B license is coming up real quick at 50 jumps but involves canopy control skills and in water skills. With a C license and 200 jumps you can start working towards your Instructor Rating, which upon completion would put you at a D license.

I started my skydiving journey at Skydive Mex in Playa del Carmen in April of 2016. They had recently moved their location from the Pacific side in Puerta Vallarta a few months before so I jumped on my chance once the season slowed down to start my AFF course (Accelerated Free Fall). AFF starts you off with a tandem and then gets more difficult as you go through all 8 levels (8 jumps). Once you complete the tandem jump with your AFF instructor, you progress to your own rig on jump 2 and have 2 instructors holding onto you as you exit the plane. After you pass your first 4 levels you progress down to only 1 instructor who eventually, towards the end, isn’t even holding onto you at all but flying next to you in the air. If you complete all these levels without failing (most people fail at least 1), then you are graduated from AFF and on student status, jumping by yourself and slowly ticking off other skills in the process that involve coach jumps, parachute packing, and exams. Once you get all this signed off and get to 25 skydives, BOOM you have an A license!

If you really must know, I failed level 4 by failing to locate and pull my own canopy… the first rule of skydiving and the most important rule is “always pull” so you can imagine how I felt after my instructor had to fly in when I couldn’t seem to make contact with my hand and the small golf ball I needed to pull out of the back of my rig. He pulled for me, which means I failed. He felt terrible and I remember being like, “um… honestly, I think it’s pretty important I have the confidence to do that myself, so let’s do it again!” Yea, you loose about 200+ dollars on that jump but it’s a small price to pay for your own piece of mind. After that I did have a small panic attack about locating the hackey… but I’ve gotten over that now and can reach it with ease every time.

I got through my AFF last year with Skydive Mex here in PDC but after that they lost coaches, didn’t have a plane, and had some other complications which kept me out of the air for some time. Since I was still in student status, it is necessary you jump at least once every 30 days to stay current. I went out of currency multiple times which costs you more money in the end because the DZ will ask you to do a coach jump to check your skills before they’ll let you jump solo again. Understandably so, but a huge bummer none the less. Last spring I was in Florida and found out about a DZ called Skydive Sebastian in Sebastian, so I drove there and did 2 jumps in 1 day. One of which I landed on a golf course near by due to winds that changed while we were in the air. I was safe, and no, I didn’t yell “four”! After that I went out of currency again before I jumped with Skydive San Diego and surprised my AFF Instructor, Tom, who works there. He signed me off for a coach jump and that day I learned how important it is to keep your head on a swivel around other jumpers who sometimes do unpredictable things, like fuck up the whole landing pattern and almost collide with your canopy. Another valuable lesson.

After 11 months out of the air I flew back to Skydive Sebastian last month for almost 3 weeks to complete my license. Their DZ is huge, there are hammocks, tiki bars, the local Zoo Bar next door, camping behind, an amazing family of skydivers and a great view of the Indian River inlet and the ocean while you fly. I wanted the support and encouragement from a skydiving family like that and found it with them. From the women in manifest, to the instructors with 15,000-23,000 jumps, to the packers and everyone in between, the whole community absolutely blew me away. I learned so much from these people and was at the DZ every day I could be. I cried, I laughed, I made mistakes and I had triumphs. I learned to fly smaller canopies and I learned that I could trust myself and trust my knees to run out the canopy upon landing if need be. My landings had always been my most anxious part of the whole skydive because I’ve gone through 2 knee surgeries and still have a lack of confidence in my knees and landings. I was a notorious butt sitter upon landing… I got over this while I was there.

Skydive Sebastian was the ultimate “sky fam”. I’ve been fortunate to jump at 3 DZ’s during my student status and found a community and a quality of instructors that was definitely unique. I cannot wait to continue the search and keep finding more places like this with killer people. The first weekend I was there was a “boogie” which is a festival for skydivers. It was called Splash Bash and came with slip and slides, water slides, inflatable pools, a crawfish broil, a helicopter and an accuracy competition. I stayed out of the sky mostly, that weekend, due to the high volume of jumpers and a need to play it safe, but I still had the opportunity to sit at Zoo Bar, make friends, watch the landings, and participate in general. Thank you Skydive Seb, I miss you all and I’ll be back!

So how did I know I wanted to be a skydiver? I did my first tandem skydive at Skydive Hawaii in 2014 with my father and brother who had both done them before. Upon landing I started crying uncontrollably because I was literally the happiest I’d ever been. I remember having this rush of adrenaline the whole day. At that moment, I knew I’d do it again, and I knew I was going to do it solo. It was the coolest thing, hands down. When I got back to Thailand the only DZ was in the north and I never managed to make it out. I camped across from Burning Sky, the skydiving camp at Burning Man, the last 3 years and got to talk with a lot of the jumpers deciding that at some point in my career, I’d jump out of a plane at BM. When I arrived in PDC the only skydiving company didn’t teach courses, but only tandems. So when Skydive Mex opened, I went in and signed up for my course.

Skydiving has become my favorite thing. There’s something about being up there and solving your problems in the sky. I feel like I really can “leave it all up there” and land with a clearer focus and purpose in life. I know that sounds extreme, but it’s true. People always ask, “why would you want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane?” to which I reply, “there’s no such thing as a perfectly good airplane”. Or, “why would you want to fall towards the Earth that fast?” and I say, “you’re not falling, you’re flying”. We all have different things that make us feel alive, and skydiving and scuba diving and cave diving are my things. When I’m falling, nothing else matters, when I’m under water, it doesn’t matter what’s happening on the surface. It’s a way to escape the pain and the confusion of this world and remember what it feels like to truly live in the moment. These sports have taught me to trust myself. I know that I can think clearly and logically in highly stressful situations and I’m capable of problem solving my way out. Anyone that has chosen these things as passions knows what I’m talking about. For those of you that don’t, go out and find something that makes you feel this way! Please! I’m not saying it has to be extreme, but it should make you forget about life for a while.

Lastly, if you’re thinking about doing your course I have some tips for you:

1.) Make sure you have the time! Literally, you will spend more time waiting on the ground and waiting for the weather then you will jumping. For sure. So make sure you have a few weeks off to get through your license and fully commit. If you spread it out like I did, you cost yourself significantly more money. This course isn’t cheap.

2.) Find a DZ with people that make you feel comfortable and are supportive and involved throughout your whole course. A lot of DZ’s will get you through AFF and then put you on the back-burner because fun jumpers don’t make DZ’s a lot of money. Find a DZ that will see you through your A license and encourage you the whole way. Find a sky fam that makes you feel comfortable and whom you don’t feel intimidated asking questions to, even stupid ones.

3.) Cheapest doesn’t mean best. If you’re looking for cheap, you’re in the wrong sport. I’ll tell you that now. I say the same things to people asking me about “cheap” and
“good” scuba courses- they don’t exist. Typically the two aren’t mutually exclusive. You get what you pay for! This is a sport that involves high tech, expensive equipment, and airplanes, there is no such thing as cheap. Get that out of your head and pay for your own safety.

4.) Skydiving takes money. The first 8 jumps or your AFF course typically costs around 2,000 USD, then you’ll be paying about 50 USD a jump after that until you get your A license. If you plan on buying gear it’ll run you 2,500-10,000 so it definitely isn’t cheap. That’s why we always joke that skydivers have no money! You’ll want to make sure you dedicate time to the sport to stay current and safe. It is a lifestyle and a gear intensive sport. The upside is that most rigs are easy to sell if in good shape so if you have gear and skydiving won’t be a part of your life for awhile, you can always sell then buy again when you’re ready. Once you have your own gear, you pay 20-30 USD per jump.

Check out my gallery of photos and stay tuned for my first group skydive and our attempt at a train, which more closely resembled a rollercoaster!! Keep up to date on my Instagram (theramblingmermaid) for more adventures! If you’re a skydiver and have any DZ’s that hold your heart, please comment below! Also, any other skydiving stories you’d like to share, I’m always down to discuss skydiving! Thank ya’ll for reading! Blue skies!

 

7 Things That Happened When I Ditched My Phone for a Week

If you know me at all you’ll know that my track record with cell phones would probably be comparable to a 2 year old constantly losing one shoe. To put it NOT lightly, I suck at holding on to them. But in the last year I’ve “got my shit together” as you’d say and managed to keep the same cell for almost exactly a year. That morning as I’m heading to see the whale sharks with my boyfriend, I’m chatting away about how I was almost at the 1 year mark and so proud of myself. Flash forward to that afternoon when I put it on the back of a toilet seat and then proceeded to walk out the door. Oops! Something I did in Vietnam 4 years before, a mistake I’d already made, and we’re sitting in the van heading back to Playa del Carmen and I realized I didn’t have it on me. I instantly dropped my head and knew exactly where I’d left it- on the back of the damn toilet seat! Women, if you’re reading this, we aren’t dudes, we face the toilet seat once, turn around and pee and then walk out, so stop making this a habit! I know from experience.

Thank buddha I do have insurance on my phone and happened to be heading to the states a week later, so instead of stressing about it I ordered it to be sent to Florida so I could pick it up from the Air BNB I’ve been staying at while skydiving here. It’s pretty obvious that I’m a huge social media buff, although I resisted smart phones for years I finally got one 3 years ago after everyone told me “it’ll change your life”… which it definitely has and although some changes as a traveler are extremely positive and make my life way easier, others are mostly negative and it’s so easy to become addicted to our phones. I’ve tried to find a balance with my smart phone use but I still find myself pulling it out while talking to people or scrolling pointlessly when there’s nothing to be looking at. Habits I’m aware of now and am working on breaking. I read a quote that said, “hang out with people that make you not want to look at your phone” and I’ve realized that my friends and my partner deserve my undivided attention when I’m with them.

I could have gotten a cheap throwaway for the week but I decided to go without and it was honestly such a refreshing reset. There were way more ups than downs and I noticed a few things in particular.

  1. I smiled at people more. Way more. When I wasn’t constantly checking my phone or pulling it out to avoid contact with people I found myself smiling at strangers and actually provoked interesting conversation with people. On the bus, at work, on my flight, everywhere. And you know what happened, people smiled back and it made me happier and more in touch the rest of my day.
  2. I had to become a planner. Gone were the days where I could change or adjust my plans last minute. Without a phone, I didn’t have that option. My mom used to always say how nice it was that people made plans and showed up instead of cancelling, and there’s something to be said about that. It forced me into make commitments and sticking to it, and now I realize how important that is. Not that I didn’t before but because everyone else always got away with it, I became a slacker myself. It made me realize I didn’t want to do that anymore.
  3. I read all the time. I’ve always been a reader, I go nowhere without my kindle and in most situations would rate it over my phone in terms of necessity. But instead of mindlessly scrolling on Facebook, I’d whip the kindle out instead and get 5 minutes of reading done while I waited. Hell, sometimes I’d just sit there and watch the world around me instead.
  4. I felt happier. No shit, seriously! I’m sure it was a combination effect of the above but I honestly felt more grounded and connected to myself, others and the world around me and I can only assume it came from being more present. Because I was less connected to social media I wasn’t absorbing everyone else’s energies all day. This allowed me to fully sit in my body and be aware of how I was feeling.
  5. I was less anxious. Maybe that’s because I didn’t feel the need to check my phone or think I’d missed something. And if someone tried to get ahold of me and I did miss it I had an excuse because I literally couldn’t have answered if I’d wanted. Something about that felt really freeing. I was only obligated to the people I was around and if I needed to sit down in front of the computer for a few hours to get some work done, I actually got work done instead of brainlessly using social media.
  6. I used my computer time wisely. Because I wasn’t constantly connected I had to schedule time in to respond to emails and maintain my own social media accounts. But because I was only checking in and logging off, I was able to keep the rest of my day separate. I made phone calls on Skype (which felt like going back in time) and paid my bills over Skype phone calls as well. It was actually good to schedule that time in instead of being reminded all day of emails and other various things I needed to respond to. I checked it all at once, and was done with it just as quickly.
  7. I didn’t miss it. I really thought it was going to have the opposite effect on me but I was relieved to find myself settling into it with ease and finding that it didn’t stress me out at all. Quite the opposite! Even when I did get my phone back I was hanging at the dropzone and spending all my time jumping and meeting new friends and it took me almost 2 days to get it configured anyways. I was bummed I slacked on photos but I actually don’t regret being fully present at all.

Conclusions? If you do have the opportunity to put your cell phone away, whether it’s on holiday for a few days or a weekend, you name it… take advantage of the opportunity! If you want to use your phone for photos, fine, just turn your data settings off so you won’t be tempted to use it for anything else. Trust me, no one will die if you aren’t Snapchat-ing the awesome weekend you’re having or sending out Instagram posts INSTANTLY, just hashtag #latergram and call it good! Or don’t hashtag at all, who fucking cares 😉

Because of that experience I still find myself rarely checking my phone and if I’m brainlessly scrolling I realize it pretty quickly. It changed the way I view social media and this “instant response” culture we live in. Now, I realize that I don’t need to stop what I’m doing to respond to a message when I can respond later. We need to stop harping people for not responding in “due time” and instead allow everyone else to live their lives presently and call or return our messages when they want.

I’d encourage everyone to be a bit more mindful when it comes to their phone. Try leaving it at home sometimes while you run errands, try charging it at night outside your room or out of reach and set an alarm the old school way. If you’re hanging with friends don’t reach for it unless it’s to take a photo, but then put it away. There are things we can all do differently and I can promise you it’ll make you feel better. This all coming from a girl that is definitely a social media addict! If I can have the awareness and start making small changes and it’s affecting me in such a huge way, I promise it’ll do you some good as well. Try some of these things and let me know what you’ve noticed! I’d like to hear your comments so please post below and let’s chat about it!

 

What the F is going on with everyone?

A good friend of mine always used to begin a story by setting a preface. Like, somehow he had to set it up for 5 minutes before he even began to tell you what was on his mind. I asked him once why he had to preface everything he said and he looked at me like it was obvious and said, “because I want to be understood”.

Wanting to be understood is in the most innate parts of us. We are able to identify ourselves and explain our viewpoints. Being understood validates our worldview and challenges our perspective but in between every debate is the essence of wanting to be understood. Wanting to be heard.

But some times we won’t be understood. And no matter how we fight, no matter how we try to explain, sometimes it’s not a matter of being understood but being correct, getting our point across. Sometimes we just want to be right. Don’t we?

But life isn’t about being right, life is about having the right to every opinion and every action we make. It’s about seeing the beauty in differing viewpoints and appreciating the differences instead of arguing over the right and the wrong. The good and the bad. The ethical and the unethical. Our moral high ground. Our book of law.

Who are we to tell someone from another country, with a different language, a different culture that our opinion is right? Who are we to tell our neighbor that they are wrong? So, maybe we need to listen more. Dialogue doesn’t always mean equal voices. Sometimes we learn more in silence then we do in conversation.

What I’ve been feeling the last few months has been a whirlwind of energy, rash decisions, spontaneous movements, and a need for a reaction. It’s subtle but manipulative energies and we’re hurting the people closest to us. We’re all turning ourselves into storms and taking out everything in our wake. I’ve talked to a lot of friends and I’m seeing it everywhere. I’m seeing a disconnect between who people are and their actions. I’m seeing it in myself and I’ve felt a very strong pull to disconnect socially and go within.

I’ve never been an anxious person but I’ve been having these crippling moments of anxiety when I have nothing to be anxious about. Intense moments of fear that last a maximum of 10 seconds and then disappear. Moments where my heart feels like it’ll beat out of my chest. I talked to my psychotherapist and he told me that many people are having the same experience, crippling anxiety out of no where in a person that’s never had it before. He said that the energy of the universe is extremely chaotic right now, and that a lot of people don’t even have time to feel their own energies. So, those of us that do are processing these anxieties for the rest.

Being an empath it’s completely natural to absorb the energies of those around us. We are strong enough to feel them because others aren’t but sometimes we get so caught up in other energies we can’t differentiate between our own. When this happens you’ll feel completely disconnected from yourself. But I’ve had to remind myself that it’s not me, and that I’m allowed to feel these emotions but I don’t have to identify with them. I don’t have to take them on as mine.

Whenever someone I love carries out a drama in their lives and looks for a reaction I don’t have to give it to them. Because I’m realizing that the things people say to me and the choices they make have nothing to do with me. It’s their drama, it’s their problem, it’s not mine. I can choose to not react to it, and not let it affect me. It doesn’t mean I don’t care, it just means that I’m not going to join them in the agony. Right now that’ll make your friends feel like you’re pulling away but keep reminding them you aren’t, but that you come first.

Sometimes we aren’t going to agree. And that’s OK. And sometimes there isn’t anything we can do for one another. That’s okay too. Stop taking other people’s actions so god damn personally. Especially right now. People aren’t themselves, you aren’t yourself, I’m not myself. Live in that moment but know that nothing will be fixed tomorrow, and more than ever before we’re more disconnected and out of touch. That’s what happens when the world starts waking up. I know it’s scary for those of us that are already aware, but be gentle with those that aren’t because they are acting out. Love them anyways. Change is uncomfortable. Waking up isn’t easy because it challenges every paradigm we have.

The friend that calls you and wants to put blame on you for something, the partner that is telling you that you’re wrong about something, the parent that hasn’t been listening… now isn’t the time to shut them out, now is the time to love them more.

We all are trying to be understood. But we’re all unable to find the worlds right now. Love harder. Stand taller. Take care of yourself so you don’t catch and embody the negativity of others. We’re all hypersensitive beings right now and instead of ego we need humility. Find that place in yourself where you can be true to you. Currently we feel like we’re all ships passing in the night, but I assure you we’re all just looking for someone to take the time to listen.

So shut up.

I’ll say it again,

SHUT UP.

.

.

.

And listen.

To yourself.

To your partner.

To your friends.

.

.

.

Love eachother anyways because we all deserve to be loved just as much when we’re tranquil lagoons as we do when we’re hurricanes. I refuse to only love the good parts of someone if they don’t trust me enough to show me the bad. Do the same for others.

 

 

Goodbye

I said goodbye to him this morning

under hushed voices,

whispering

as if it means more that way.

I said goodbye to him

like I say goodbye to everyone.

But he isn’t everyone.

I know that.

It’s just that I’ve gotten too good

at goodbye. 

Maybe I taught him to be good

at them too. 

Because there isn’t a me,

without an eventual goodbye.

Goodbye is a part of my life.

And I made it a part of his.

I’ve desensitized. 

There was a time 

where it hurt. 

So I learned to protect myself

because my lifestyle is completely

conducive to goodbyes.

I had to learn to be strong.

I would always promise 

that I’d come say hello and goodbye

to your face,

but eventually there was always

an excuse. 

An avoidance of goodbye. 

So, I hate goodbyes.

I had to learn to be 

good at them instead.

Arm outstretched,

smile on my face,

a promise of another meeting. 

My dad always said,

“long hellos, short goodbyes”

and I’d constantly remind myself

how small the world is.

And how much of it I would travel

to never have to say goodbye to people,

to say hello again. 

I said goodbye to him today

but I smiled.

Because this time,

I know it’s, “see you later”. 

 

 

 

cave diving, sky diving, and diving in head first.

I haven’t written in a few months. I’ve had lots of moments I wanted to share with you and put to words for my own sanity, but I’ve been too busy stumbling around this town called Playa del Carmen, trying to find my feet again. I spent the first few months getting into the groove of things and partying way too much, as you do when you first move somewhere new and feel as though you’re still on holiday. I made some mistakes, made some good friends, and eventually made my own way.

Being reconnected with diving the last few months has absolutely swept me off my feet again and put me over the moon… or should I say “under the ocean”. After spending nearly 2 years recovering from 2 separate knee surgeries and almost losing my sense of self amongst my own anguish and inability to do the things I love, I stumbled lost into Playa (as the locals call it) and tripped and fell back into the Lauryn that I’d almost lost touch with completely. Last February’s silent meditation retreat put me back on track in a way I hadn’t felt in over a year, but the return back to Minnesota for another knee surgery and another summer without following my passion made me feel angry at the universe and my own bad luck.

I thought that I wasn’t, and it really took me until recently to realize how angry I had/have been and that I’m not entirely sure why I’m still carrying all of this negative energy around. But I am. Here I am. Exhale. So a week ago after another spell of bad luck I decided that there was something inside of me that was hurting. There is something that I haven’t resolved within myself, some anger, and my continuous distraction keeps being manifested in my own reality. I’m essentially putting this energy out into the universe and the universe is responding with the very frequency that I’m sending. Bad things happen, thus is life, but I am acting out in various ways because I’m not dealing with something.

I am getting closer to realizing the answer through lots of meditation, music, non-distraction, honest conversations with people that care about me, and self love. I don’t need to find out what it is right now, but I do need to listen to myself more. How did I not realize this? How have I not connected my behaviors from the last year to more than trivial mishaps? How have I not taken responsibility for my actions? I don’t know why it took me so long but I do know with intense clarity that lots of things are about to change for me, and in a BIG way. I don’t know if this change is spiritual or physical, my job, my location… but I do know that I am aware of this negative energy now because I am able to receive the information and the lesson.

Playa has definitely been a trip and I’m so glad that my journey led me here. I’m beginning to see what my reason for being here now is and with that I plan on taking the next step with just as much faith in the process. Lots of firsts, but definitely not lasts.

The last 4 months have been lots of silly stumbles, miscommunications and learning experiences. I started my cave course a month ago which has made me fall in love with diving all over again, and I will be finishing my full cave portion with IANTD (International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers) at the end of the month when work slows down. These Cenotes and cave systems here in Mexico are unlike anything in the world. I am so blessed to be challenged in this type of environment; it’s breathtaking. I have also decided I’m going to bite the bullet and take advantage of the new sky diving school that opened here in Playa, called SkyDiveMex. I did my first tandem jump a few years ago in Hawaii and have never felt such a rush of adrenaline in my life! I literally landed and started crying because I was so happy. I knew then and there that I wanted to jump solo. I’ve always loved heights and the rush of skydiving felt like nothing before. I already know I’m a mermaid, but I may just be a bird as well! Here’s to new adventures. Life looks like it’ll find me sailing around the Caribbean this summer so keep your eyes peeled for more rambling mermaid escapades.

a not so how-to guide about happiness.

Burning Man 2015

Burning Man 2015

Many people have told me that high school is the best years of your life, but I’ve always thought the 20’s would be better. I didn’t know who I was in high school or what I was all about and I assumed that I’d work all those things out during my twenties. I knew certain things about myself but without the years of experience behind me I didn’t know that the things I did wouldn’t always be in the past. I didn’t know that sometimes after a lot of mistakes these things would catch up with you and start to become a part of who you are. I know we can all start over but what happens when you wake up one day and discover that some of those mistakes weren’t one-offs but actually YOU; that there are patterns in your behavior that you wish you could change?

I’ve always believed that awareness was half the battle. Most people aren’t even aware of their behaviors, it’s amazing to me that people can be so out of touch with themselves… but I guess I can’t blame any of us either, floating around in a world of constant distractions, stimulations and judgements. If you have the awareness then you’ve already gone through the hard part. You’ve already decided that there needs to be a change to be where you want to be. I had a professor once that told me, “the key to life is to always remain a little off balance”. She said that we should do this because if we get too comfortable then we aren’t as receptive to new situations and in touch with our life experiences. Her words have stuck with me since, as a constant reminder to continue to do things on a regular basis that are outside my comfort zone. In the uncomfortable unbalance we eventually find our way into the answers.

This year Burning Man tore me wide open. My virgin Burn last year wasn’t quite so intense, I mean it was, but it took me months to actually process it. When I left this year I felt so vulnerable- I had spent the last 2 weeks with a group of people where vulnerability was the norm, saying what you felt was expected and encouraged, and radical self reliance was what the entire experience was all about. But when I dropped off my last friend at the airport in Colorado and began the journey back to Minnesota, I had tears in my eyes. I felt so emotional and so raw. Coming home usually brings me a sense of relief, your own bed again and familiar surroundings… but after everything I’d come to terms with I wasn’t sure how ready I was to go back to reality. Then after getting home I went back to my normal cusp of energy and went through about a week of burning the candle at both ends before I realized something… I wasn’t processing, instead I was distracting myself from processing my experience. I slipped right back into the Lauryn I am when I’m back here, and it took until BM to realize that I had lost myself, and a lot more of myself in the last 6 months than I had any idea of. The last month has shown me who I am and who I’m capable of being again and in that vulnerability I found a reminder of my own power and was able to reconnect with that little girl inside of me again.

And I guess that’s the point. We won’t always have the answers and we will have some time periods where we aren’t necessarily who we want to be. Sometimes we’re aware of this and other times we’re just stuck in a funk. But as long as we honor ourselves and take time every day to be by ourselves and check in with ourselves then we’re doing something right. Because if I’ve learned anything this year it’s that happiness isn’t something we have, it’s something we need to maintain on a daily basis. You cannot arrive at your destination happy and continue to keep the happiness unless it is maintained. Without that we just slowly slip back into that void where we’re not feeling like ourselves. As important as the journey is, the worst thing in the world would be arriving there and realizing you don’t even know yourself anymore.

Everyone is capable of change, but hold yourself lightly and don’t expect drastic changes all at once. If you are feeling like you somehow ended up in a place you don’t want to be, just know that the awareness you have now will guide you into the answers, but only if you honor and listen to yourself first. We must all maintain our own happiness, no one else can do that for us.