Your life is the inspiration. Your soul is the artist. Your external world is the canvas. Better get to creating.
Remember Siddhartha, his journey, and the amount of time he spent in the garden of pleasure with a woman who had much to teach? She always had a new thing to teach--she will always have a new thing to teach--always.
Can anyone imagine that a woman as full and seductive as that is not going to teach something?
Is not going to continue to teach something?
"Our whole spiritual transformation brings us to the point where we realize that in our own being, we are enough." - Ram Dass
Self-care is so much deeper than bubble baths and manicures. It's spiritual, it's mental. Sure those things help, but getting deep into your core... deep inside your soul is where your care needs to begin.
As hinted in my other post, I have started the book "Be Here Now" by the amazing man of love and light himself Baba Ram Dass
As I learn more about myself and my longing for a deeper connection into my soul and spirit, the teachings of Ram Dass just called to me. Taking care of my heart, mind, and soul are top priority in my self-care routine.
This week I picked up some lavender essential oil to help with sleep. I also got some raw amethyst crystals for anxiety.
We have lost part of ourselves previously and we will again someday. Ultimately, we are spiritual beings in physical bodies on Earth. We are here to learn. It’s okay to lose ourselves more than once. Because when we find ourselves again, life is going to be so amazing. It’s going to be worth it living through it as you have known what it’s like to be lost. They always say, “It’s better to have love and lost than never to have loved at all.” I hope that this message reminds you of why you’re still living and contributing to the positivity of humanity today.
The following post is from my personal facebook;
I deleted facebook a couple nights ago because I have been feeling very triggered as memories I had turned off keep popping to my feed and this is around the time 2 years ago were I was looking up hospice.
I have also been struggling with drastic mood changes which cause me to engage in stupid arguments that are nothing more than semantics.
It's funny how facebook has become the needed platform for a lot of our lives. I am not talking addictions, that is a whole conversation in itself. I am talking about the way companies, artists, support groups, teachers etc have based their whole entire business through facebook.
I sat down this morning, made my coffee and thought to myself... oh yeah peer grief therapy tonight. Got to make it. My therapist hosts these 3 times a week. Two of which are streamed via facebook live in a private support group.
These aren't mandatory meetings, and apparently facebook is the preferred method as others tend to be internet challenged and only use their devices to access facebook. Sigh
Then I realized with my own bussiness, deactivating my page makes it not visible. In 2018 your value as an artist or photographer... well, business owner really.. Your work, at least in part is evaluated based on the activity and popularity of your social media pages.
Not complaining in the sense of.. oh my let's all delete facebook. Merely saying that I am surprised how reliant I am on this platform for more than the basic checking up on family and friends.
I am not in the greatest place right now mentally. And I say mentally because everything else in my life is pretty... awesome.
With that said, I am in therapy. I have been seeing the same therapist since Pennsylvania through her private sessions online every two weeks and group peer meetings weekly. I attend. I don't usually want to, but I do it anyway.
Long story short.... my page is here... but my mind and heart really aren't into social media right now. I know a lot of people love and care about me... So I wanted to make sure everyone knows that I am ok and I will be back to posting normal again as we get more into summer.
This time of year will always be hard for me. Thanks for understanding.
So that is where my heart and mind are this morning. As I promised, I won't just share the good through my journey... but the bad too.
I am also not giving up on my journey to happiness through love, kindness, and compassion. I just need a little break.
I say it all the time, but self care is so important. You can not help others without taking care of yourself too.
I have a lot of topics I really want to touch on this week including my spiritual experience during my dad's hospice and why I feel openly taking my readers through this with me is very important.
I will also share some recent selfcare and meditation items I bought, as well as the current book I am reading.
Let's start off with.. what IS a vision board? Make-a-vision-board's website says; A vision board is a tool used to help clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on a specific life goal. Literally, a vision board is any sort of board on which you display images that represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your life.
A lot of times we see these for long term goals that to take place over the course of years, maybe even a lifetime. For example, your board might be that you would like to become a millionaire. So you would find imagery online or in magazines related to that goal. Whatever is important to you.
For my long term vision board, I am still working the kinks out. I want something a bit more solid once I am sure about my direction. But I still wanted a fun way to pull together some goals and ideas. So I decided to give a digital board a shot. It's really easy and you can do it too.
So for my short term goals, and going digital I used pintrest.com to find pictures of the things I wanted to set for my goals. I had to decide on a really good time frame. For me, my goals are for six months. This means these are the things I want to make happen over the next six months.
You really have to envision yourself not only working on, but living your best life. I say that phrase a lot. Living YOUR best life. This should be based on your own goals. Your own hopes and dreams. YOUR standards. So when making your board, keep that in mind. This is for you, not other people. You don't even have to post your board if you do not want to. Just work on your goals, the things in life that make you happy.
You may not be sure what you would even want to put on yours, so let me dig a little deeper into for you;
-You can share things you want to do! Get a new job, climb a mountain! Whatever pops in your head.
-Places you want to go. You want to travel to Italy? Put it on your board.
-Who you want to be. Maybe your goal is to be a kinder person, or be a better mom.
-Things you want to learn. Maybe a new language. Or how to places you would like to go.
Let's talk about my board's goals. Again, for me, it's 6 month shorter term goals. And they are pretty personal. Yours maybe be nothing like this. But here are mine;
- Continue to declutter and practice minimalism.
- Learn more about different species of houseplants and find the most sustainable for my family's lifestyle.
-Submit some of my work to an art show event.
-Give myself some more self care.
-Read actual books I can hold and turn the pages.
-Plan a beach vacation to a beach I have never been to and GO!
-Work on my yoga posing goals.
-Polish my raw crystals, give them life.
-Meditate more when feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
-Study the teachings of Ram Dass, my guru.
I really hope these ideas will be helpful to anyone looking for fun and interesting ways of goal keeping. Keep your board someplace you will see it every day. Make it your facebook profile cover, set it as your phone's background. Let it help you stay on task.
What's going on your board?
I may not have had a mother growing up, but I had a wonderful female role model in my grandmother. Bridget Lucy Taylor. Born in 1912 and passing at 98 years old. An Italian American immigrant who was chasing the American dream. My grandmother was very graceful and feminine in her young days. She wore such fancy pinup styled hair and dresses. The types you see girls trying to pull together today. In my memories of her, although she struggled with walking and chores as she aged, she would always leave the house with full hair and makeup. She packed our lunches every day for school. Made sure we had our homework done. She loved my art. Her and my grandfather bought me my first camera. She loved reading all the boring stories I would write. And she let me put on plays for her. She was one of the first people I told when I was pregnant Ashlie. And she never judged me for having a baby at 17. She loved all my friends growing up and welcomed them in with open arms. She baked lasagna, and made the best sausage and meatballs. She was married to my grandfather for nearly 70 years. She was a military wife, and only had one child, my father. She traveled around the US with my grandpa until my dad was school aged. She was the one family and friends would go to when they needed to talk. She would listen without speaking and always made you feel like your opinions were valid.
I miss her a lot. Her love, her kindess, and her wisdom. Happy Mother's Day, Grandma.
I beat myself up a lot about my jealousy issues. I often feel like my husband and I work so hard and we have to watch people cheat the system and the government gaining their dreams and happiness.
And it's funny because our life isn't bad. We have it better than most. We actually are happy.
So when I put the burdens on my mind and I have to ask myself; Is this really necessary?
Because not only do I get overwhelmed by the feelings of jealousy, I get consumed over the guilt of feeling this way. I don't like myself when I become this person.
This morning I found myself screen-shotting a re-share of a former friend and sending it to one of my besties. We talked about it, laughed about it... but you know? I actually didn't feel better I felt worse.
For one, the whole mentality of "I've got screen-shots for days" is not me. It's not. And it is SO EASY to get caught up in this. I despise people who do this and here I am falling back into this trap. And for what? Why am I stressing myself out over something so trivial.
So that got me in search of answers. Are my feelings normal? Are they valid? Here is what I found;
Jealousy is one of those toxic feelings that eats away at us and leaves a bitter taste in our mouths. It’s definitely not a comfortable feeling, to say the least. But we definitely can’t deny the fact that we all get jealous- it’s a very normal human feeling. And as much as we dislike feeling jealous, jealousy doesn’t actually have to be as bad as we make it. And we truly do not need to feel guilty for feeling jealous. Let’s break it down a bit.
Sometimes we see people doing really spectacular things, and rather than celebrating them, our immediate thought is that we are failing. And we wonder, maybe I should be doing that. Or wow, I wish I could be more like that. And then we feel bitter, and sometimes resentment towards the person we are feeling envious of. And then we feel bad for feeling bitter. It’s a never ending loop.
Next time you are feeling jealous, try not to beat yourself up for it, and also try not to avoid the feeling or repress it. You never need to feel guilty or insecure for envying someone else’s life, or seeing something that you feel you are missing. You truly never have to feel guilty for desiring something. Desires are how we grow and change. So rather than suppressing the feeling, pay attention to what you need in your life, and remember that there’s space for all of us to find happiness, and room for all of us to go after what we desire.
A great read on Jealousy:
I am so glad I came across Colleen's article. Sometimes you really need another's opinion to get some clarity of your own thoughts.
Being happy is a full time job. And it's harder for some then others. Please don’t take mine or anyone’s blog (highlight) reel as a sign that someone’s got it all pulled together well. Pulling it together is an up and down job. It ALWAYS will be. One day is never the same as the next. You will have hardship, you will have ease, you will have joy and you will have grief and to escape any of these extremities in the world map of human emotion is to escape a living breathing life. If you’re not feeling all these emotions in your life, you are not alive.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Social media is not real life, it is not the benchmark by which to compare yourself, it is not the barometer by which to measure your achievements against those of others. Everything real is outside of this screen you hold in your hands. Release and go hold someone’s real hand.
I think one of the biggest confusions about trying to live a positive lifestyle is that you have to be happy all the time. That just isn't true. You will have off days. I have them. If you go through my blog, I speak pretty openly with my grief and sadness. This blog has been a way for me to heal.
I once had a blog that averaged 5k visitors and readers a month. It received many comments, mostly positive. It truly was something I loved. However when my father became ill, and I started losing friends, I stopped writing. Then when my father passed, I deleted the blog entirely. I regret it because I had a lot of things over the past 8 years that I would have loved to look back and reflect on.
This blog doesn't get much traffic. My website does, I get roughly 1k views a week which is wonderful, for business... but the blog is rarely clicked. But you know, I keep on writing. I keep going.
This blog is like therapy to me. My ups and my downs are all here for the world to see. It really goes back to a realness through vulnerability. I have learned without being vulnerable, open and honest. Without showing people that hey... I am human too that I am offering nothing to anyone in this world.
I blog for ones who've seen confusion and known struggle, who have pulled themselves up from the shackles of heartache and strife, disappointment and darkness, exhaustion, and loss. They have risen with a heart as open and unwaveringly wide as the ocean itself... but humble enough to not have to tell people how big their heart is. Because when you're a good person, have clean karma, a big heart, and are empathetic... there is no need to remind anyone.
That is one of the life lessons I have taught my children as they seek guidance in life let it be through spiritual leaders, friends, family, even politicians. Seek out the humble. A good person with a good heart and empathetic soul will not have to remind you how good they are. You may never even hear those words come from their lips. But you will feel it. The energy they give off. The vibes you have with them. You will just know.
Through my own imperfections, I find myself questioning things that happen to me. And I catch myself.... I don't always utter the words outloud. But sometimes I do say in my head. "Why is this happening to me, I have such a big heart... I am a good person". But I can not think like that. If I am going to put trust in the universe and have faith in my plan.. then I shouldn't question what I deserve or don't. I should just keep going with the flow.
And you know? As I started this post and mentioned above. Today is a bad day for me. I am not feeling my normal self.....
I have questions. I am questioning my journey. My path. My path to healing, working through grief, and finding happiness in my best life.
There is vulnerability in letting our guard down and experiencing joy. I recently heard the quote “Happiness is a feeling, not a condition.” I like that because it gives space for us to let that feeling come and go without having to attach to it, and with more appreciation when we feel it.
Something I pay attention to daily is ‘what feels like to flow and ease versus what feels like force and fighting?’ Even the hardest things I have accomplished, when done efficiently, timely and with proper alignment came with relative ease. Alignment can be felt and seen not only in your physical body, but also emotionally and spiritually. Alignment feels like integrity, honesty, a connection and expression from core values. Alignment with the people around you comes from clear conscious communication, doing what you say you’ll do when you say you’ll do it, setting and maintaining boundaries, and taking your hats and masks off so there is congruency in your self and in your life. You don’t have an endless amount of energy and ability to focus, and alignment allows us to conserve and create high quality energy throughout our day.
Days like this.... I can be honest with myself and others. I feel a bit worn out. I am missing my father. I feel overwhelmed...
I am human......
My alignment is off, but I am going to jump off the internet for a bit and do a little reflection within myself.
But I am going to keep going, and you should too. Don't let these days stop your progress. Maybe you had a fight with a friend, your mom, your husband... maybe you're left with self doubt and are questioning your own journey. Please don't. Keep pushing through. Trust in karma. Trust in the universe. Things will smooth out for you again.
This is me without makeup and filters. I am human. I have my flaws. I struggle sometimes to see that in myself. I am so self conscious about myself sometimes... because I have red cheeks and I have adult acne and eye bags and somewhat wrinkles... grey hair... I am very overweight and I have many more flaws. And I may not be as pretty as other girls but I want to let you girls know that are in the same boat as me that sometimes think the same ways as I do; you might think you are not pretty as the girl in front of you or next to you or that you don’t look good in that outfit or in that makeup or without makeup but guess what fuck it. Embrace it. You are beautiful. Everyone’s beautiful in there own way. Learn to compliment and love yourself because no one is perfect. And who ever likes you or loves you will accept your flaws and they learn to love them, that’s what makes you different from everyone. And beauty is not everything, personality counts a lot too. Just remember to give yourself a compliment,it will boost your confidence up and you will learn to be comfortable in your own skin.
I am obsessed with becoming a woman comfortable in her own skin. In the end of the day beauty is having confidence and accepting who you are - when you make this transition not everyone will like you... But you won't care about it one bit!
Here are some things I’ve learned since you passed:
1. It helps me to talk about you. Some people want to avoid the topic for fear of making me sad, but honestly that just makes things worse. I love telling stories about you because it's my way of keeping you alive.
2. I feel okay sometimes. Sometimes I even feel strong. But if I don't allow myself time to cry each day, sadness catches up and bursts out unexpectedly - at the bus stop, out to dinner, on hikes...
3. I have a really great support system from my family and friends (mostly thanks to you).
4. I find it super weird that grief has its own hashtags (you would have a big laugh over that), but it's helped me to find a community of others going through the same thing, helping me to navigate through my own grief.
Those were the words I sent via text to my husband today when he sent me a beautiful picture of our daughter helping his father in the kitchen. 'And my dad is dead'.
I regret it and soon as I sent it, and all Tavo could do is send back a sad face. I don't even know why I said it. Why was I so triggered tonight?
I am left feeling a bit selfish. We moved to Chicago for family dinners like these. The tiny moments that make life worth living. I wanted this, but yet I am consumed in this moment with anger, jealousy, and sadness.
I am glad she gets her other grandfather.
Volunteer with Chicago NORML at the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County's 2018 Expungement Summit!
We'll be there doing our part to help folks get their lives back on track after serving their time.
Many are for offenses that have "collateral consequences" like denied housing, employment or educational opportunities and are barriers to successful re-entry into society.
Sign up and help our communities help their own.
I didn't get as many pictures this time as Inbnwould have liked to, but I did get the chance to meet some people from the Chicago chapter of Norml. A couple hundred people stopped by throughout the day and I would say their event was a pretty good sucess!
This event was hosted by Jim Patton and his page is https://www.facebook.com/Chicago-Peace-Fest-107420245952134/
Worth a follow for more Chicago related marijuana information.
So this is not my prettiest angle, but I am sharing it with you guys today (rolls and all) because I am 25lbs down and on my 5th yoga class! As I said in a previous post, sometimes being open and vulnerable is a good thing. It teaches us we don't have to pretend to be something else. In light of this new thinking, I have been sharing more and more full body images of myself. I can love myself even at the start of this weight loss and soul searching journey.
Early before going into my Tuesday evening Mindful Mini class, threw on some meditation music and just let go!
This space felt like Zen, the vibes were so beautiful. The blessing of just letting it go flowed so beautifully for me in this space.
The first step in Spiritual Surrender is- Prayer, and asking for the highest good for all! So I sat in meditation. Truly doing just that, praying for this feeling of acceptance. It is a powerful thing to become humble and courageous enough to dig deeper, to let go that little bit more. However, I am so ready for this work! This deep pull that has come over me to finally show up for what I have been so deeply ignoring.
Far too often I find myself judging .... ME!
Judging how I’m not getting enough done. How I’m not spending enough quality time with my children or my husband.
How, shoot for just a moment I want a minute to drink a coffee and sit in silence. Judging and picking apart every moment I feel inadequate or less than....
Ugghhh can you relate?
Something that I am learning on my matt and truly bringing the essence off my mat is the idea of no of myself. That each day I am where I am meant to be, doing the best I can in every present moment. When I let go of this idea of how I am supposed to be “Momming”, “Living”, “Being”, “Working”, etc. I have truly began to breathe in this beautiful presence that is the real authenticity that is myself.
Truly my authentic whole self is the best version of me. Something I continue to strive to always embrace.
My judgement of myself is no one else’s perception of me than me. Allowing myself the ability to release this perception only allows for a loving mindset to take form.
I have SO much to update about, but first I wanted to talk aboit some things weighing heavy on my mind. Karma. When you spread positive energy positivity it will come back to you. Nothing that goes against you or wants to cause you harm will ever prosper.
I recently had a discussion about business practices and Karma at Yoga with a friend of mine, Addison. She is not only this queen of zen and has yoga skills that blow my mind, she is a business and life coach.
We got into a discussion about the old phrase and mentality of "fake it to you make it". When does it hurt your karma? How to go about it in a positive way.
If you're lying to your clients about your lifestyle, how much money you're making, or your team - it's not faking it till you make it. It's simply bad karma.
What should you being doing? Exude confidence when you're scared. Work through your fears. Share your goals. Talk about the ones you have already met and plan to meet.
I almost got into a MLM with a girlfriend of mine. You may of selling essentials oils. She made it sound like such an amazing oppurtinty. The company was called Doterra, and in fairness, I do believe in their products. Their oils are high quality and I actually use them everyday. So I could in confidence speak very highly on Doterra oils. However, where my karma comes into question is the MLM business plan itself.
For one the company sells people the dream of their own business. You will often hear, let it be Doterra, ItWorks, Beachbody, Plexus, or Younique. You are sold and are selling the idea to people that you are going to be a business owner. And that just isn't true. The company is using you to push their products essentially for free. These presenters disguised as business owners are trained to lie to people.
They all make similar posts which a lot of time are copy n pasted sent around over and over. They make videos about their lives changing and what an amazing opportunity they have invested in. All while their life circumstances have not really changed. They may have an extra few hundred dollars that month, but you have to ask yourself how much of your karma did you sacrifice to do so?
This business model also encourages you to push these products on your friends and family in order to make a decent profit. They have you create facebook groups, host online parties and overall just be an annoying pest.
Where I am living now, mostly everyone is in an upper to middleclass financial situation. I know a lot of the Chicago land suburb mommies can easily afford Doterra so I could in better conscious speak to them than my "friends". If we are talking my close friends from back in Carlisle, or some of the people I grew up with... well a lot of them are living in housing. They are living pay check to pay check. How could I tell them how awesome this MLM life is when I know that $20, $40, $100 oils order could have went to their rent or their children. Instead it went to a company who won't even pay their employees a living wage. Because that is what you are. An employee, not a business owner.
Oh and the fighting - let it be in these groups or on the side line. Never let a situation take you out of your character or do something vengeful... people have to remember these situations are temporary while actions have permanent consequences. These companies are supposed to be a sisterhood, but they are nothing like that.
So the way the conversation ultimately sparked was me talking about my business and how I, although I never pushed the idea of a better life on people or pushed MLM product purchashing, I am guilty of adapting to the "fake it till you make idea". I told Addison that not working is becoming tiresome. I really need some new strategies, but I wanted to steer clear of 'fake it till you make it' because it honestly got me no where in the past and just left me feeling empty. I no longer understand the point of pretending my workload is more than it is, or that I am making more money than I actually am.
Addison said a lot of things that just made sense to me. And opened my eyes. For one, getting back to the core roots of why I started my own business in the first place. How far I came when I segregated myself from unhealthy relationships, bonds, and friendships. Not just in business, but in life too. It's ok not to be near your goals, but standing still is not a possibility.
I really don't need to pretend things are amazing for me business wise right now as I have only just started to dig into my Chicago potential. Looking at it that way, I have really relieved a lot pressure I had put on myself.
I really busted my ass to get out of Carlisle. And whilst I do not want to get to a stand still, it's ok that things are starting slow here. I mean, in Pennsylvania I built a name and a brand. It did not happen overnight, in fact it took years. Essentially in so many ways it's almost like I am starting over completely. And more than anything... I just want to keep my business karma clean.
I hope that this doesn't offend anyone. Perhaps you yourself are involved in a MLM and have had amazing experiences and feel your karma is clean. That is fine. I will support you with nothing but peace and love. I just know what I can and cannot do to myself or my friends and family.
Always remember that in our lives their is always room for growth. The energy you give off and your vibrancy are the most influential factors in determining your level of success. That is something you never have to fake. Just find your authentic voice, become vulnerable, and then put yourself out there.
𑁍 𑁍 𑁍 𑁍 𑁍
You only have to offer what you offer,
breathe how you breathe,
make mistakes and fuck up and
learn to love your stumbling and
say the wrong thing and stop
worrying so much about
because in the end you
only have to live with yourself. 𑁍 𑁍
I get a little tired of people who assume that just because you have kids, you are automatically completely uncool, and that all your time is spent wiping babies from head to toe, giving spit baths, criticizing their every move, volunteering for PTA, blogging in your spare time, clipping coupons before crock potting a pot roast, ironing the clothes, bleaching the whites, mopping the floors, harvesting your eggs, sewing for your etsy shop, scrapbooking the little things, taking pictures of everything they do, saving for college, reading Dr. Suess, socializing at the bus stop, sweeping the floor, laughing over coffee with your jogging stroller, wearing your birkenstocks and listening to Baby Einstein.
Just because I DO THESE THINGS OCCASIONALLY.
Does not mean for one second that sometimes I don’t just want to be a kick ass girl with streaks in her hair, a ring in her nose, a tattoo on her arm, concert tickets in her purse, vodka in her fridge, a leather mini-skirt in her closet, her best single friends and a standing reservation for Las Vegas once a year with a don’t ask don’t tell policy, and the desire to just once be seen as more than the mother of 5 kids. Sometimes I just want to be seen as a “Maggie”. A “Maggie” with an extremely adorable set of children… (I joke, but sometimes it's hard to over come labels. )
Married + 5 Children
Born in New York
Living in Chicago Land
Italian + Mexican American household
Published Photographer + Artist
Lung Cancer Activist + Advocate
Social Media Enthusiast
Openly in Grief Therapy
Believes in Freedom Of Religion
Studied Animal Science
Backpacking + Hiking
Crystals + Meditation + Yoga
Writing + Scrapbooking + Blogging
Foodie + Cooking + Baking
Tropical Fish Keeping
Coffee + Coffee Shops
Travel + Road trips
Okkervil River + Good indie bands