Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Power is in Your Thinking

Positive thinking. It’s a phrase we hear thrown around a lot these days. 

It sounds nice and all, but what about when real life strikes, and it’s not always so easy to put a smile on your face? Maybe you’ve been suffering from health issues for a while and your mind and body are exhausted. Perhaps a loved one has been battling a chronic illness and it’s hard to stay hopeful. Maybe your job drains the life out of you, or you’ve lost your job altogether and are feeling financially insecure and afraid. 

When times are unsure, it can be extremely difficult to not go into self-pity mode, or spiral down into a pit of fear and worry. However, it’s during these difficult moments when it’s more important than ever to keep your thought-life in check. 

Why?

“Our thoughts literally influence the way our brain sees the world. When we engage in repetitive thought patterns, it influences how our brains develop and function,” says Ashley Anne Seewald, MA, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and a doctoral student in the Department of Counseling & Educational Psychology at Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC).  

The science of it is called neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to reorganize and “rewire” itself by forming new neural connections, for the purpose of adapting to new situations. Just as we take the time to exercise and train our muscles, it’s imperative for our overall health to take the time to train our minds, as neuroscientists are finding that happy thoughts and optimistic thinking, indeed, supports brain growth—especially within the prefrontal cortex, which serves as the integration center of all brain-mind functions (Psychology Today). Likewise, negative thinking patterns also have an effect.

“Ruminating about worries will program our brains to look for more things to worry about, while practicing gratitude will program our brains to look for more things to be thankful for,” says Seewald, who is also an adjunct instructor for The Family Institute at Northwestern University and serves as a success coach for the College of Nursing & Health Sciences at TAMU-CC. She is also currently studying to become a certified yoga teacher, specializing in mind/body/spirit connection and integrative healing.

What this all means for us is that, despite the roller coaster that life may have us riding at the moment, it’s still possible to find peace and contentment—even joy—when we take the time to practice better thinking habits.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

5 Powerful Crystals & 5 Ways to Heal With Them

5 Must Have Crystals
1 // Yellow Citrine
2 // Black Tourmaline
3 // Rose Quartz
4 // Orange Calcite
5 // Amethyst

(see end of post for uses)

>> THE LOW DOWN << 

While I've always been drawn to the sparkle and imperfection of raw cut crystals, I was highly skeptical of their "healing powers" that I'd often hear people speak of.

But if this last year has taught me anything, it's that vibrations are real. There are people and places that vibrate at very, very low frequencies, just as there are h-i-g-h-v-i-b-e-s all around, too. We all have that innate sixth sense to feel the energy around us -- we are simply a highly-distracted culture. The superficial things we consume with our eyes and ears, as well as the processed shit that we consume with our mouths (in the name of frugality and ease!) all help to lower our vibes, and thus, our abilities to tap into our extra senses that can serve us greatly. However, the more you nurture this inner gift through speaking affirming words, consuming nourishing foods, spending time doing positive activities with happy, encouraging people, the more you heighten your vibration, and thus sensitivity towards feeling and knowing things your eyes and ears may fail to pick up on.

Crystals are a great tool for raising vibrations! I'll be honest -- I'm still a crystal newb with much to learn, but, as my intuition and ability to feel energy has increased, I can attest to the fact that crystals are like waterfalls of pure, light energy that help to cleanse the body and remove energetic blockages within.


>> LET YOUR INTUITION GUIDE YOU <<

The best way, I've found, to make use of crystals (and begin to tap into your third eye/intuition) is to visit a crystal shop and see what you are most drawn to. Simply stroll the aisle and be open to what draws you in. A particular crystal may seem like the "most beautiful" one to you, or you may not even be able to pinpoint why you like it so much -- you just know that you do. Often, this is how our spirit tells us what it is that's needing to heal at the moment. See, every crystal has a "specialty," so to speak, like helping to cultivate greater self-love, or expelling negative energy (though I'd argue that most crystals aid in both of these, to a degree, as raising vibrations, in general, tends to naturally expel lower vibrational people and actions we take against ourselves and others).

For me, selenite has been my miracle worker for the last several months. I had been living in a space that harbored a ton of dark energy, and it physically affected me on a daily basis. Thankfully, my circumstances also forced me to learn how to protect myself and my energy, establish greater boundaries, and find ways to energetically cleanse not only myself, but the space around me -- because I had to. Anyway, I went on a trip during one of my breaks, and while in New Mexico, wandered into a shop with a wall lined in selenite crystals. All I knew what that I couldn't leave without purchasing one. I held the different crystals and, while they all looked relatively the same, opted for the one that "felt the most right."
Selenite is useful for any energy clearing work and is effective at cleansing the auric field and removing energy blocks, both from physical and etheric bodies. It's also useful for communicating with Angels and spirit guides (Hello, Archangel Michael).
Bingo. It was exactly what I needed, even though I didn't realize it at first. Whenever I'd begin to feel my solar plexus and heart areas knotting up, I'd simply grab the selenite and mediate with it, carry it around, call upon Archangel Michael for protection -- whatever seemed right at the moment. And it made a huge difference! I could hold in my left hand (our receiving hand) and feel the energy pouring into me as I'd hold my right hand (our giving hand) over my heart.


>> 5 WAYS TO USE CRYSTALS FOR HEALING <<

1. Meditate while holding your crystal in your left hand. Let your body sink deeper and become more grounded in the Earth below you.

2. Wear crystals set in jewelry or put smaller stones inside your bra for personal protection or direct manifestation. (I often stick black tourmaline in each bra cup for energetic protection -- especially when I know I will be with people who have a tendency to suck my energy dry)

3. Place crystals directly on the body, either over chakras that need healing work, or over injuries, aches or pains. When healing chakras, use stones that match the color of the corresponding chakra.

4. Lay stones of protection (like black tourmaline or obsidian) in the four corners of your living space to guard against dark or evil energy.

5. Bathe with them. I've started taking more epsom salt baths to cleanse myself of excess energy I tend to pick up from people and places. I started throwing crystals into the bath with me to further charge the water. I believe it not only aids the body, but it can help cleanse the crystal itself, for a clearer charge.


Remember that there's not necessarily a right or wrong way to work with crystals. Trust what your intuition/Higher Self tells you! 

----
1 // Yellow Citrine: Stimulates the Solar Plexus (our power center) to help strengthen our will and powerfully purify our centers.
2 // Black Tourmaline: Premier stone for protection. Corresponds with the Root Chakra, so it is very grounding. It can also be worn to deflect negative energies directed at us.
3 // Rose Quarz: Premier love stone. Activates the Heart Chakra and helps us heal our hearts, as well as tap into greater self-love and love for others, the Earth, the Universe and the Divine.
4 // Orange Calcite: Corresponds with the Sacral Chakra (where we house sexuality and creativity), so it can enhance creativity and sexuality, heal emotional issues, and release past traumas to allow for greater joy and optimism to enter our lives.
5 // Amethyst: Corresponds with the Third Eye and Crown Chakras, so it can cultivate our intuition (and aid in thinking abilities), as well as prevent psychic attacks. It is also calming.



Friday, March 31, 2017

Spring Cleaning





ShirtRossInspired
ShortsThriftedSteal | Splurge
TrenchTobiTrench Coat
NecklaceThriftedSteal | Splurge
BootsThriftedSimilar
SunniesH&MAviators 


Vernal Equinox came just a little over a week ago, and, while I love this time of year for the fact that there's so much more color and life outside, the weather is sunnier, flowers are blooming, and I can wear far less clothing, it wasn't until I began this healing journey that I really grew to appreciate the first day of Spring on a deeper level. 


You see, Spring is a pivotal time for growth, change and transformation. Which isn't really an odd concept at all, if you stop and think about it. I mean, baby animals are being born left and right. Trees barren by winter are filling with green again. People are re-resolving once again (post-New Years) to get in shape for "bikini season." What laid idle during the winter months begins picking up the pace.  So if you've been feeling stagnant quite some time, there's hope!

And to break it down even further, 2016 was a "9" year (if you add up the numbers), which means it signified the end of a cycle and, thus, was a year of endings (which was pretty clear what with all of the unfortunate celebrity deaths we witnessed). If we used it wisely, we could finally put to rest things like negative patterns that we may have felt stuck in for many years, or we may have closed the door on certain destructive or dysfunctional relationships. 

2017 is a "1" year, and, thus, the start of the cycle and one of new beginnings. As this New Year rolled around recently, I, like many, was SO ready for it. Planetary influences are the real deal, and I was so eager for those planets and their energies to finally shift and give me a break.
And yet, if your experience was anything like mine...nothing really seemed to change. In fact, certain issues seemed to hit a peak. And I got sick--really sick. 

I read recently, though, that I'm not the only one experiencing this. In fact, what we consider the New Year is not actually the end of the "cycle"...because the seasons dictate the shifts. Hello, Spring! See? It really is an important time of the year right now full of so much opportunity, if we take the time to set intentions and goals, and really work to manifest the things we desire that are in line with our paths. We can count on the Universal energies working with us, and things will begin to move forward more easily now; transformation will begin taking place if you have done the work to shed the extra baggage! 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we consider this the season of "birth," so what kinds of new ideas and habits are you giving birth to? It also corresponds with the Liver organ, so now is the prime time to try out a liver cleanse. Clarifying your body of the extra toxins you've built up during winter (AKA: "storage" season in TCM) will do wonders for not only your body, but your mind and soul! I am currently using this cleanse.

And speaking of storage, energetically we may have worked up some blockages in the previous "storage" season, which is why energy cleaning is also very important at this time. Traditionally, people did this in the form of what we now call Spring Cleaning. The Chinese cleaned out their homes around the Chinese New Year to "sweep" out the bad luck and usher in the good. Iranian's participated in khane takani around this time, which literally means "shaking the house," where they made things "like-new" to start the new year off right. And many people still do it today, in an effort to de-clutter. What many fail to acknowledge, though, is that clutter = congested energy. When the energy isn't clear, things just don't move as fluidly. In my own personal efforts to clear my energy these days, I've also been taking a lot of epsom salt baths. The salts are beneficial for drawing out toxins, as well as toxic energy.

So happy Spring to you! May it be a glorious season of new beginnings and positive change and transformation! 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Big Rock Candy Mountain






Cardigan: Secondhand, Steal | Splurge
Ring: Vintage (see story below), Inspired
Location: Seven Magic Mountains, Las Vegas, NV

I just got back from a mini-roadtrip with my boyfriend through the West, and I'm so in love with the desert now. Sometimes, I think all we need is a quick getaway to clear our heads and make some sense of things we so often unconsciously carry on our shoulders. I feel lighter, just in time for Spring. And in my standard fashion, it was a fulfilling, yet extremely frugal adventure, as we loaded the car with pre-made meals and slept on layers of blankets in the back. Ahh, to be a broke grad student... :)

Henry and I stopped at all kinds of beautiful, random, unique places, like the Seven Magic Mountains art installation above. But I have to say, of all the magical and divine moments on my trip, the one surrounding my new turquoise ring had to be the most special: 

We pulled up to a tiny antique shop in the sparse town of Morristown, Arizona called Trading Co - 123. A petite woman named Catherine greeted us at the door and as I browsed the antique Native American rings, she spoke to me about how she had acquired the business, and how, after the death of her husband (who was more of the expert), she was now really diving in deep with learning more about the predominately Native American pieces in her shop. Most of the rings didn't fit, nor could I really afford them, so I wandered around and spotted some antique Navajo baskets, which I've been looking to find for quite some time. After a quick haggling sesh, I walked away feeling like I had scored a 3-for-1 special (which I guess I technically did). I expressed my gratitude for her generosity, and we chatted for a little while longer about my schooling and the future of acupuncture and then said our goodbyes. 

But just as we were about to climb into the car, she came out of the shop to stop us and said she had some "Apache tears" for us.

"Hold our your hands, but don't look yet," she said as she filled our palms with two small objects. Then she proceeded to explain how the Apache Indians believed black obsidian was a stone of protection and that it warns the wearer of evil. She wished us a safe journey and then said, "Ok, you can open your hands now." 

In my right palm was a tiny black obsidian and a 1898 Indian head penny. I assumed Henry had the same. We were extremely touched, and gave her one last bear hug before leaving.

Once in the car, Henry turned on the ignition and then stopped and turned towards me. 

"Hold out your hand," he asked, and as I did, he slipped a turquoise and sterling silver ring on my index finger -- the only ring I had tried on in the shop that had actually fit.

"WHAT?? How did you know that one was the only one that fit? ... When did you even buy it? You were with me the whole time!" I was genuinely surprised and confused and yet, utterly elated. 

While Catherine had given me an Indian head penny with my gemstone (which I then immediately gifted to Henry!), she had filled his hand with the ring, knowing he'd know what to do with it. 

Not only was it an exceptionally thoughtful and generous act provided by a woman we only came to know for an entire 10 minutes, but she afforded us the opportunity to share a magical, sweet bonding moment that we'll remember forever.

Acts of kindness, guys. That's the theme of this all. A little selflessness really does go a long way, and it has a ripple effect. I'll never forget Catherine and her sweet spirit, and I hope to have that same effect on many lives around me. 

Don't forget to ask yourself on a daily basis: What simple thing can I do today make someone's day brighter? 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Getting Unstuck: Pt. 1


I believe that many of the choices we make that lead to feelings of unfulfillment or unhappiness are choices based in fear. Looking back, the choices I have made that made me feel stuck--whether in a dysfunctional relationship, a dead-end job or just living in a really shitty place that didn't excite me--were choices I made out of fear. Fear that I didn't have enough money to step out and do what I actually wanted. Fear of moving because it seemed hard and the unknown can be really scary. Fear of leaving an abusive relationship because, even though I was being crushed mentally and emotionally, at least I wasn't alone; and what if no one else would ever like me? But on a deeper level, I discovered, the fear was rooted in a lack of self-worth. I didn't feel like I was enough. I didn't believe I was worthy of doing a job that made my heart leap; living in a place that made the energy course through my body; be with a person who saw me--really saw me--and loved me for every bit of it. In my own personal healing journey this last year, I've done a fair amount of research and observation and, without a doubt, not feeling enough is at the root of most of the problems I and the people around me face.

I'm still working through the old emotions and the crippling anxiety that still surface from time-to-time, but I'm doing the work at least. Trying my best, and going easy on myself in the process. Our realities don't change until we change, after all. I'm compiling a list of the life changes that have made the greatest impact for me to share...next time. :)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Sweater Season! ...Finally...

Rock a Loud Sweater


In the process of rediscovering my creativity and feeling the flow of inspiration once again, I've been looking back on past projects as inspiration for future ones. I used to play on Polyvore all the time and I found this set I made about two years ago. Now, I know black chokers and the word "squad" are all the rage right now, but I've always been an eclectic, and I think these outfits are freakin' awesome. Still. And while these particular pieces are probably no longer available (though you never know), they're still fun to look at. Make them your own!

In this state of project planning, I can feel the inspiration stirring, low in my belly. My sacral chakra is igniting, the creativity is rising up once again -- and it's really exciting! But more on all that in a future post...it'll be a really interesting one, I promise!


Monday, September 26, 2016

15 Affirmations to Add to Your Morning Ritual

ALEXANDRA’S SUNSET PHOTOGRAPHY VIA GETTY IMAGES

Sit. Breathe. Experience the moment. Rest in it. 

These are the steps I've taken up each morning (or most mornings, we'll say...), along with reading a daily devotion, speaking positive affirmations over myself, and doing some reiki self-healing or chakra balancing.

See, throughout this self-healing journey I've been on in the last year, one of the things that has become most apparent to me (among a thousand revelations) is how quickly I allow myself to abandon my own needs when change happens or when life gets busy. I know this comes from a deep-rooted issue of not feeling worthy enough. And I think self-worth (or lack thereof) is at the core of many peoples' issues. This process of getting my "game" back, so to speak, has been a slow and steady trek and by no means a sprint. But I see glimmers of creativity returning; spurts of energy bringing my spirit slowly back to life; moments when my heart begins to feel joy and not just emptiness or sorrow; more feelings of self-love and less of self-loathing.

Baby Steps. It's all been baby steps. Right now, I'm working to take better care of myself, because it has to begin within me. I'm learning to be a more self-disciplined and intentional person, and -- most importantly (and what I find I'm struggling with the most) -- not being so hard on myself when I don't perform perfectly or flat-out fail. We judge our poor selves so harshly so often, and that never serves us.

I wanted to share the 15 affirmations I've adopted. I speak them aloud in faith each morning, and I notice that starting my day speaking success and positivity over my life can really carve out the direction that my day will go. Some of these have been borrowed; others I've written myself. Please feel free to borrow the ones that work for you, to add to your own morning ritual.

15 Affirmations
1. Today I am brimming with energy and overflowing with joy.

2. My body is healthy; my mind is brilliant; my soul is tranquil.

3. I am above negative thoughts and ill actions.

4. I am guided in my every step by God and my Higher Self, who lead me towards what I must know and do.

5. My relationships are becoming stronger, deeper and much more stable and fulfilling every day.

6. I possess the qualities and talents needed to be successful, and I will utilize them today.

7. Creative energy surges through me and sparks new and brilliant ideas every day.

8. I am the architect of my life; I build its foundation and choose its contents; today, I choose happiness, love, positivity and compassion.

9. Today I abandon my old habits and patterns which don't serve me, and take up new, more positive ones.

10. I forgive those who have harmed me in the past. I forgive myself. Today, I let go of all hurt feelings.

11. I am blessed with a wonderful family and incredible friends.

12. My efforts are being supported by the Universe; my dreams manifest into reality before my eyes.

13. My obstacles are moving out of my way; my path is carved towards greatness.

14. I am at peace with all that has, is and will happen; everything happens for a reason and for my ultimate good.

15. I love myself and I am worthy. I radiate confidence, charm, beauty, grace and forgiveness.


--> For those of you who already use affirmations as a tool for success, how has it served you?