Monkeying Around

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It’s crazy that it’s been a month since this picture was taken in Ubud’s Monkey Forest! 2018 has me ON my hustle. There are lots of cool things brewing this year and I’ve been working like crazy to manifest my goals!
 
It has been Awesome. And it’s also brought up a pattern I’ve often held as a Flaw.
 
When my eyes are on a prize I can become reallll serious. I’m like a singularly focused, one-eyed (beautiful) monster. As I march towards my goals, I can often become pretty un-fun.
 
A lot of my 2018 goals revolve around my purpose, which is to inspire people to accept themselves and change the world. That’s not a small deal. So it’s not surprising that I take it seriously! With compassion, I can accept that the Flaw I feel around becoming too serious is driven by the Awesomeness of my purpose.
 
With this Flawsome perspective I am reminded in the midst of my hustling and goal getting, I am meant to be having FUN. As committed as I am to my goals, that is also as committed I am to having fun while achieving them. Because that’s how we are designed to live, with fun in our veins!
 
Do you find that you also can get a little serious when it comes to accomplishing what matters to you? If so, I encourage you to take a moment and celebrate how committed you are to your dreams! And and then express that celebration by having some fun and monkeying around. You deserve it!

Small Steps

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This week marks the four-year anniversary of beginning my journey with personal development. This picture was the first assignment for an online course I took with Brene Brown for her book The Gifts of Imperfection.
 
I can still remember how hard it was for me to write those words on my hand. While I pretended they were true, I didn’t feel them because my running list of Flaws had destroyed my list of Awesomeness. The idea of being myself, not who I thought I needed to be, was terrifying.
 
I was afraid I would never be okay with being imperfect or believe that I was enough. I was afraid but I still wrote those words: “I’m imperfect, and I’m enough”.
 
And wow am I thankful.
 
I’m so thankful to the woman in this picture for being courageous and taking that first step, even when she was afraid. Because of her courage I progressed with the work of personal development and changed my life, and the lives of countless others. Because of her courage I’ve built up my honesty, love and vulnerability muscles in trainings, books, coaching and experiences. Because of her courage I’m writing this to you now!
 
And it was all because of that small first step.
 
Sometimes it can feel like it’s a million miles between where we are and where we want to be. I can tell myself that it’s going to take so much time and work grow and expand. “It’s important, so it must be hard and time-consuming!” I tell myself.
 
But the truth is, there are lots of little ways to grow and change and expand every day. And all those little steps progressively add up to big change. It’s about deciding that we will be courageous and take the steps we need to when they show up for us to take them.
 
For me, it was writing words on my hand and beginning an online course four years ago. What will it be for YOU?

Spread Your Love

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My fish Magic died this weekend. 
 
I learned an incredible amount about myself while pet-parenting Magic. My patience grew as Magic drove me nuts with his unwillingness to eat regularly. I learned to give myself increased grace by giving up trying to do things “right”. Magic taught me the value of not comparing as I accepted that he was unlike any other fish I’ve ever had. And that that was okay.
 
As Magic’s health declined this week I started to really appreciate how much he’s brought to my life. In addition to all the lessons he has taught me, the time we spent together also happened to be during some of the most expansive, challenging and beautiful times of my life. And Magic was a witness to all of it. 
 
This past week I took the best care of Magic I possibly could. And I showered him with loads of love and acknowledgement. I can’t tell you if he felt it, but what I can tell you, FOR SURE, is that I felt it. 
 
Every time I loved on Magic, I could feel love bubbling up inside of me. I could feel my heart grow sweeter, and my body relax. I felt loved by loving him. What an incredible gift it is to love others. For them, and for us. 
 
This week I encourage you to love up on all the beings in your life. Show them how much you care about them by taking extra good care of them. Tell the beings in your life how much they mean to you. Show your love by smiling at the people who cross your path, whether you know them or not.

Speak your love.

Show your love.

Spread your love!!!
 
And notice. Notice what it does. Not just what it does for others but also notice what it does for you! Notice the way your heart and your body feel when you are spreading your love. As love is coming out of you, it’s also getting all over you. So soak it in, you deserve it!
 
As for Magic, thank you. Thank you for being such a beautiful fish and sweet friend. I am forever grateful for you. Swim in peace lil’ fishy, there’s a heaven for a G.

Treat Yourself

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Buying myself flowers, gifts and writing myself love letters has been a weekly practice for me for the past couple of years. I refer to it as “treat yo self” and it’s an important part of my life.
 
Deciding that you are going to treat yourself the way you wish to be treated by others is life defining. You are setting the bar for how the world gets to interact with you. And from that benchmark you can start to measure all other relationships and take a stand for what you need and deserve. It can be empowering, inspiring and MAGICAL.
 
I’ll admit these specific self-love practices can also really flare up my ego. She’ll start chattering things like “If you’re so lovable, why are you writing yourself love letters?” “If you’re so worthy of being given gifts, why are yougiving them to yourself?” Gracious how my ego loves to add Flaws to my Awesome!
 
It’s in these moments though that I truly see that the value of my self-love practices come to life. Because in those moments when my ego is doing her best to bring me down, I get to remind myself that not having someone else buying me flowers or writing me love letters doesn’t make me less than, and it certainly doesn’t mean I am not worthy of love and affection. I am worthy of love and affection because I AM ME. I am on this Earth with a purpose and a plan. And that alone makes me worthy. 
 
And the same applies to you, my loves! So how about this week you treat yo flawsome self? You can write yourself a love note, buy yourself a lil’ something, carve out a few minutes from your day to do something you love to do…the possibilities are endless.
 
Create the time to remind yourself how worthy you are of being showered with love and affection. BECAUSE YOU ARE!

New Year, Same You

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As you know, I love to celebrate! So you might think that I love celebrating the New Year but that hasn’t always been the case. Several times celebrating the New Year has been a reason for my mind to go wild with fear. Specifically it’s triggered my fear of failure which is something I’ve often held as one of my big Flaws.

On New Years that held major life events my mind would be consumed with thoughts about failing. Would I be a failure after college? Am I failure to be turning whatever age I will be that year and not having achieved a specific status?

In 2015 I had accomplished more than I could have possibly imagined. And I became terrified for 2016. My racing mind told me life couldn’t get any better than what I just experienced so I must have been on the brink of failure (shocker: I was wrong!).

And NOTHING though quite kicks up my fear of failing more than the concept of “New Year, New You”. My fear has been: What if I fail to become the new me that I’m supposed to become that year?

As I’ve grown in my relationship with myself I’ve come to believe that becoming a whole new person isn’t really what our purpose here is all about.

I believe that while we are ever-changing, you are always YOU. Who you are was uniquely designed and perfectly made. I believe that we’re here on Earth to elevate and grow and expand and change. And all that change is to bring us back to who we authentically already are, and have always been. Not to change us into a new person!

So what if instead of focusing on being a “new” you this year, you focused on being your “best” you this year? And every day you celebrated the progress you made towards being the best, fullest expression of who you were made to be?

I don’t know about you, but to me, that feels like a lot less pressure. It feels attainable. And it feels like something I can’t fail at doing, because it’s about practicing being ME, at my Flawsome best.

My loves, my 2018 wish for you is a year of growth, love, patience, prosperity, abundance and a year filled with you practicing being YOUR best, Flawsome, self!

Giving Gifts

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My favorite part of Christmas, not unlike most people, is the gifts. I love gifts. I love giving them, receiving them and even watching other people exchange them.

I believe the idea of gifts is more than just material goods. I believe we’ve ALL been given countless gifts by a force larger than ourselves (I refer to this force as God, though It goes by many names). We’ve been given the gifts of our bodies, our specific personality traits, our talents and our capacities to connect with one another. I believe our time on Earth is about finding the gifts within us and sharing them with the world to create Awesomeness.

There is something interesting that can happen to us when it comes to sharing our gifts though. My experience is that some of us, myself included, will sometimes hold back our gifts. Sometimes we hide our gifts as to not intimidate others. Sometimes we don’t give our gifts because we don’t feel we have the energy to give. And sometimes we convince ourselves that we don’t have any gifts worth sharing because of the stories we’ve made up about ourselves being too Flawed to be worth anything.

I’ve experienced all of those reasons in my own life. And I think the most damaging one I’ve experienced is holding back my gifts because I don’t want people to think I’m “too much”.

Despite the look on her face in this picture, my childhood self was OOZING with the gift of joy. She loved to smile, dance and make people feel special by getting her joy all over them. She was the Queen of Joy.

As an adult though I’ve often held back my joy for fear of feeling like it was too much for people to handle. But what I’ve realized is that holding back any of my gifts, particularly one as life-affirming as joy, isn’t doing anyone any good. And in fact, it might be harmful to others.

Cause that’s the thing with gifts — they grow in impact as we give them away. And better still is that when we give our gifts away we are the example to others that it’s okay for them to give their gifts away too. When I give away my joy, I’m giving you permission to give away your joy and your many other gifts. The ripple is palpable.

My Christmas wish for the world is for the courage to endlessly give away our gifts. May we unleash what’s inside of each of us to bring new life to ALL. I hear that’s the reason for the season!

Forgiveness

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This picture was taken at a “family life” retreat when I was 8 years old. At the retreat my family (well my parents) gave a talk about Forgiveness. I don’t remember the contents but I remember watching families crying and embracing. And even at my young age, I remember how the energy in the room became lighter as families forgave each other.

Forgiveness is an ultimate example of Flawsome. Because it can really suck and feel Flawed to have something happen that needs your forgiveness while at the same time it’s Awesome to experience the peace that comes from forgiveness.

I was recently blessed with the opportunity to forgive (oh trust me, it didn’t feel like a blessing at first! I am human.) I was in a situation where I felt like I had been used and wronged. For days I felt filled with subtle anger which consumed my thoughts and manifested in my body with a stomach ache and fatigue. It sucked!

A dear friend knew what I was going through and prayed for me. She asked God for my peace and comfort. I woke up the next morning and knew in my bones I needed to forgive the person I felt had hurt me.

For a multitude of circumstances I chose that speaking with the person was not the best course of action. And then I remembered something I learned from an incredible mentor: You can forgive someone without them being involved. You can write them a letter (which you don’t send), ask a friend to step in and role play as them, or even speak to them out loud, to yourself.

I chose the third option and that morning while walking the streets of my neighborhood (with my headphones on so people wouldn’t know I was talking to myself) I spoke out loud all that was on my heart. I spoke out loud all the ways I felt betrayed and of all the hurt I was feeling. I spoke out loud of how hurt I knew this person was to be acting the way they had. And I spoke out loud that I forgave them. And my heart lightened. AND IT FELT FLAWSOMELY AMAZING!

Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that what they did was okay. Forgiveness means accepting that the past can never be any different. It means releasing the hurt that is holding on to your heart and empowering yourself to move forward having grown wiser & stronger through your experiences. Forgiveness is giving yourself peace.

Practicing forgiveness has been life-changing for me. And I am committed to continuing to share about my journey with forgiveness, especially the practices I’ve learned and am learning. We all deserve the peace, freedom and all the Flawsome goodness forgiveness provides!

Yes I Can

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In 2014 I went to Ireland and spent a week of my time there traveling solo. I decided to find activities that were unique and that I wouldn’t do at home. After hours of Trip Advisor-ing I found a company that led caving adventures (often known as spelunking in the US).

Having grown up & lived my whole life in Los Angeles I wasn’t often exposed to grandiose nature. Being exposed to caves?? Ha! Not unless that cave was secretly disguised as a 7–11. So needless to say it felt like a huge accomplishment when I made it out of the cave after a half-a-day inside the Earth!

When I emerged out of the cave my first thought was “Whoa, if I can do that, what else can I do that seems impossible?!”

At the time of this picture I was working in an environment that brought out some of the most challenging parts of myself. I played small, I held on to anger, I avoided vulnerability and I numbed myself regularly. Most of all, I doubted myself and my capabilities. I felt like I was underwater and on the verge of drowning nearly every day.

So when I came home from Ireland, I immediately put this picture on my desk as a reminder of what I was capable of doing because of my courage. And every time the voice in my head said I was going to drown, I reminded myself that I had made it through worse. I had made it in and out of a cave for goodness sake! I could certainly make it through a tough Tuesday at work.

Even now I use this picture to remind me of what I’m capable of — especiallywhen doubt ravages me. I consider self-doubt to be one of my biggest Flaws. But when I think about what’s been possible when I have overcome self-doubt, I’m grounded in my Awesomeness. This picture supports me living my Flawsome life!

What reminder of your Awesomeness can you use when the voice inside says “I can’t”? Maybe it’s a picture, a note from a friend or even clear memory you can reflect back on to remind yourself of what you’ve been capable of accomplishing, overcoming and creating. The voice inside may tell you that you can’t but let me assure you, the proof is already there, and YES YOU CAN!

PS — You can hear me tell this story on Christine Baird’s Worthfull Project podcast — click here to listen!

High School Self

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This past weekend I went to an epic hip hop concert headlined by Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg. Having grown up in Long Beach, California during the height of West Coast Hip Hop this was a dream show for me. And I do mean DREAM. I had been dreaming of this concert since I was in high school!

So it was perfect that as I was dancing freely, singing loudly, laughing wildly and completely expressing myself to artists I adore, surrounded by people I love, that I felt my high school self alive in me. And man, was she PROUD of the woman I am!

My high school self had a lot of expectations for where we’d be at this point in our life. And many of those are not where I’m at right now. I’m not married, I don’t have kids, I haven’t gone to all the places she wanted us to go and haven’t experienced all the things she wanted us to experience.

My high school self’s expectations have not all been met and sometimes I feel guilty about it. Sometimes I feel like my “flaws” have held me back from the fantasy life my 17 year old self imagined for us. And I feel ashamed.

Which is why that moment on Friday was such a gift. As I saw my younger self watching me she was beyond amazed and proud and stunned by the life we’re now living! There was no questioning of what we aren’t, or what we don’t have. Instead, there was absolute appreciation & gratitude for exactly where I am and what I’ve worked so hard to manifest!

What might it be like for your high school self to watch you? Would they be amazed at how you’ve survived challenges? And overcome heartbreaks? Would they be proud of all you’ve created with your resilience? I BET SO!

Check in with your high school self and give them the chance to celebrate your life! It might not be the perfect dream life they imagined, but it’s real and that’s FLAWSOME.

Committed To Me

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This is one of my most favorite pictures of myself. It was taken in September 2013 in Paris, shortly after I married myself.

You read that correctly. I am married, to myself. And I have been for over 4 years.

What brought me to this moment was several months of being incredibly hard on myself — emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. I was in a career situation that was in opposition to everything I wanted and I was on the verge of major romantic heart-break. I was in a fragile and uncomfortable place. And I was taking it out on myself by living in a state of constant stress and anxiety.

My solo vacation was meant to relax me. But as I wandered the streets of Paris I grew increasingly sad and agitated to be alone. I began stopping into churches every day (Europe is great for this, churches are everywhere!) and praying for peace.

And my prayers were answered as a small voice inside me began saying I wasn’t alone. That I had myself. And that if I let her, she’d love me forever. I believed her. (If you haven’t been, you should know Paris is the most romantic city on Earth so it was easier than usual to believe the voice.)

I bought a ring at the Lourve and made my way to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. And there, perched over the city I love most, I exchanged vows with myself. I promised to love myself for better or for worse. I promised to love myself for richer or for poorer. I promised to love myself in sickness and in health. I promised to love and cherish myself, all the days of my life. Without knowing it at the time I was promising to love my flawsome!

Living that commitment has not been easy. Love is a decision and the decision to love myself has been the hardest, most fulfilling, one I’ve made. Sometimes it’s been unbearably hard for me to love myself, leading to separation. Over the past 4 years, myself and I have definitely felt on the edge of divorce. And in those moments I do my very best to remember this day in Paris. The day I committed to love and cherish myself. Forever.

Are you committed to loving yourself forever? What would it be like to go through life knowing that you’ve got your back for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, in poverty and in wealth, and in everything in between? It might not be an easy promise to make, and it certainly isn’t easy to keep. But just like YOU it is WORTH IT.

Giving Thanks

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I love Thanksgiving. In fact, this picture wasn’t even taken on Thanksgiving. It was taken in Summer 2009 when some friends and I held a taco cook-off, and I introduced the world to the Gobbleaco (a Thanksgiving-themed taco).

What I love about Thanksgiving is quite literally in the name: I love giving thanks. A family tradition is to go around the table and share what you’re thankful for, and it’s easily one of my favorite parts of the whole year. Hearing everyone’s blessings, my own included, is so beautiful and fills me up. I love it.

Lately I’ve been in a serious practice of giving thanks.

It started because recently my expectation-generator has been working OVER-TIME, especially in my relationships. And as we all know, the more expectations we’re setting, the more likely we are to be disappointed. As a friend once told me “expectations are resentments waiting to happen”.

I spend a considerable amount of time & energy thinking about what I want to happen (a lovely part of my controlling tendencies). Sometimes I find myself in a near constant mode of imagining how I want things to be and when they don’t end up that way I find myself upset, sad and stressed. Barf!

Recently though I decided to try out something new. I committed to doing my very best to shift my resentments to gratitude. When things haven’t gone “my way” (meaning the way I want them to happen): I give thanks. I give thanks for everyone involved. I give thanks for our collective blessings. I give thanks for what growth there is in the situation. I give thanks for anything & everything that I can think of when the expectation/resentment wave starts to hit me.

And as I’ve been practicing over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed my resentments have softened. I feel less sick and stressed when things don’t go according to my plan. The greatest side effect though has been that the more I focus on all the blessings around me, the less I’m experiencing being controlled by my expectations. Because I’m seeing how amazing this life already is….WIN-WIN!

Have my expectations & resentments gone completely away? HA! No. I accept that I will likely never stop setting expectations completely. But now I see that I can use my expectations, and the resentments that arise from them, as a reason to practice gratitude & give thanks. And that is Flawsome.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all. I give thanks for YOU and YOUR FLAWSOMENESS!

The Real Deal

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This picture was taken last month. It was unplanned, spontaneous, a totally natural and real moment. This picture is an incredibly spot-on reflection of who I am at my happiest. Theoretically, I love it. In reality, when I found it on my phone a few days after it was taken I thought “ugh, I’m not showing this to anyone, it’s not perfect!”.

Sure when I saw it I also thought “oh this is really cute” but as I appreciated the awesomeness of my authenticity, the chorus on my flaws loudly began: my double chin, the shine on my face, the way my arm is protruding out (for starter’s). I decided no one else would get see it. The awesomeness of my joy was not enough to over-shadow how I felt about my flaws.

And then I started to look at that story. How often have I decided not to be seen because I didn’t judge myself to be perfect? How often have I hid, not wanting to be seen unless everything is packaged up nicely? How often in my life would I rather not be seen, than to be seen with flaws? Pretty f-ing often is the answer.

So I decided to lovingly interrupt the story. To lovingly remind myself that I was born to be seen. That I am worthy of being seen, especially when it’s not perfect, because that’s when people can best see themselves in me. And that it’s okay that sometimes my flaw chorus is louder than my awesome chorus. Because each time I notice that I am judging myself, there is an opportunity to tell myself the truth of who I am. A moment to remind myself that I am FLAWsome, and that it is perfect.

My loves, I KNOW I am not alone in this conversation. So today I’m asking you to notice where you’re holding yourself back because you are judging you’re not “perfect”. Notice, and lovingly encourage yourself to be brave and to be seen. Because you are worthy of being seen. You were made to be FLAWsome, and for the world to see YOU!

Scars to Your Beautiful

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About 8 years ago I made a commitment to transform my body and to get healthy. I lost close to 80 lbs and as a result I have excess skin all over my body. The places that bothered me the most were my tummy and arms. So after years of consideration, in October 2015, I had reconstructive surgery to remove the excess skin there. After my “arm tuck” I ended up with these scars.

One of the things I considered about having the surgery was knowing that I would be replacing excess skin with scars. My flappy skin drove me so crazy though that I figured I wouldn’t mind the scars nearly as much. Turns out, that wasn’t entirely true. From the time they began healing, my scars began to bother me. I judged them as ugly. I wanted to hide them, and to ignore them. I saw my scars as a new Flaw.

As time has passed though, through practice and patience, I’ve come to love my scars. They remind me what I worked so hard to create — a strong and healthy body. They remind me that I can live through seemingly unbearable pain. They remind me that my body is a badass with the ability to heal itself like magic. They remind me of my awesomeness. My scars have become FLAWsome.

Do you have scars? Have you ever judged them? Ever wished them away? Do you remember where they came from? Do you remember the pain that created them that you overcame? Are you willing to accept and appreciate your scars? Your scars are uniquely, FLAWsome-ly, yours and they get to be loved. Just like YOU!