Letting go…

Learning to let go.

One of the hardest lessons I’ve had this year is how to let go. And by the way, I am not completely there. There are days, I feel like I’m healed and feeling the freedom in my soul and loving myself as I was meant to do. And then, reminders of this year and his death, and quickly all those feelings escape into the dark, and the battle begins. Days spent fighting for my freedom; fighting for my joy. The experience plays over in my mind – over and over, and over. But I think there is a solution to this fight. as cheesy as this may sound, the answer to all this is love. I am realizing that this whole year, I have been beating myself up – blaming and resenting myself for a very unfortunate event that was completely out of my control. Truly love yourself, and everything else will fall into place. I came across a quote the other that has stuck with me. “When you show up as the authentic you, you send out a vibration that co-creates with your surroundings. You attract people into your life that align with your values and what a beautiful frequency you are radiating. If you find yourself feeling “I am hard to love” or “not good enough” check in with yourself.” And that’s what I’m doing, checking in.

Time to…

Let go of the guilt. The guilt that you’re living, and he’s not.

Let go of his “what if’s.”

Let go of his friends and families pain. It’s not your responsibility to take that on.

Let go of the idea that this kind of punishment creates a connection with him.

Let go of anger, hate, and resentment.

Just let go.

Steps I am taking towards freedom and love.

Step 1: Meditation.  For the beginning of my days, and the end of each one, I will spend ten minutes meditating kindness. As I inhale, accept love. As I exhale, let go. As I inhale, you are beautiful. As I exhale, let go. As I inhale, you are love, you are beautiful, and you deserve love. Exhale and let go. Just me and kind thoughts for ten minutes – honestly, shouldn’t we all?

Step 2: Trust. Something interesting happened this past year – I’ve lost my trust in myself and others. Constantly I am trying to control what could happen. It’s not working and it won’t. One, I cannot control anything. Two, if I could, would the result be better. And third, it’s not fair to me or anyone close to me.

Step 3: Passion. I used to spend days drawing, writing, walking, and conversations around life and its beautiful mysteries. I need to find my passions again. New ones, old ones, anything that gets my heart excited.

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Always, I’ll hold you in my heart.

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It has been the hardest time of my life. It has been the sweetest time of my life. It has been the darkest, longest, most beautiful, miraculous, and healing time of my life. January 1, 2014 my world was turned upside down. One minute I was spending New Year’s Eve with my love celebrating the time we’ve had together; looking forward to our future. The very next day, I’m holding him in my arms as he passed this earth. No warning. No time to say good-bye. No time to tell him how much I loved him. No time.

…where it all began….

November 2011.

A friend of mine called me in a panic! She had double booked two bar mitzvahs and was in desperate need of some extra help. Why she chose me who has no prior experience with event planning? Honestly, I even had to Google what a bar mitzvah was. But like a good friend, I wanted to help out.

Fate stepped in…

I can still see him entering the room. My first thought was, “Who is this guy.” He had beautiful wavy hair, a beard (I was always a fan of the beard!), shirt unbuttoned a little bit to show some of that chest hair. I was locked in. We couldn’t stop staring at each other the rest of the night. As Jed said, we were buzzing all over each other. The connection was hard to explain but we both felt it. It was as if no one else was in the room as we talked. Later, I came to find out he was feeling exactly the same way. “You were my dream girl, Rachel.”

Two days later, we’re sitting at Café Madrid (our place) sharing our stories, drinking wine, not wanting the night to end. I felt like I had known him for years. Conversation always so easy together. After that night, we spent the next two years falling in love.

 

It all would change….
I look up to the sky and talk to you. What I wouldn’t give to hear you talk back.
I miss your voice. I miss your laughter.
I miss everything about you.
Always, I’ll hold you in my heart.

Looking back at our last days, everything was perfectly set in place. On New Year’s Day, he went for a 6am run. Jed, a dedicated athlete just started training for his third Ironman. His dedication to fitness always amazed me. He was committed to his training. He thrived off getting his run or bike ride first thing in the morning. It was his quality time with himself. In a way, this was his sanctuary. It was his time to think about the day, give thanks to his life, and worship nature. It was his meditation. Every morning he’d get up hours before me, put on his running clothes, kiss me on the forehead, and head out the door (sometimes taking our dog, Waffles).

We took his kids and Waffles to the park. His daughter showing off her gymnastics and dance moves! His son, kicking the soccer ball and chasing Waffles. This was Jed’s little heaven.

I see you, baby, just like that.

For New Year’s Eve, we took his kids to Medieval Times and stayed up for the countdown. We had a blast! Everyone was so happy. Tons of love that night!

The next day, he woke up saying how he’d like to take me out for dinner, just us. We dropped off the kids at Barnes and Nobles with his parents. Jed hugged each of them saying, “I love you Mom and Dad,” and we headed off for an early dinner. This would be the last time he saw his parents and children.

After we dropped them off, we headed to what would be our last dinner together. I remember thinking how affectionate he was with me. Telling me how much he loved me. Kissing me, hugging me and not caring who was watching (he never cared about that kind of stuff). People would walk by, and he’d say “Look how lucky I am!” I’d laugh, completely embarrassed but loving every minute of it.

Jed, I hope you know I felt the same way.

I said to him, “Baby, what got into you today?” He said in all seriousness “I’m happy.”

A few hours later, everything in my world changed. From having a romantic flirty dinner, to being at the ER watching the doctors try and bring him back to life. All I could do was scream out his name. All I could do was cry out, no god no.

He can’t be gone.

I need him.

He can’t be gone.

Stop, please just stop.

I wanted to jump out of my body and never come back. I have never felt so much pain at once. I was sick. I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t understand what was happening. My legs didn’t’ work. I didn’t know how to respond to doctors questions. I couldn’t remember how to walk. Everything in my body, heart and mind shut down. Everything I had loved was gone. My love, my best friend, my future…gone.

They asked me if there was anyone I should call. My mind went blank. I couldn’t figure out how to operate my phone. As I sat on a hospital bed, calling my parents, a lady came over to me, holding me, and praying. When I got off the phone, I looked over to see who this person was, but she was turning a corner. Looking back, I believe it was an angel. I can still feel that embrace. It was an embrace that understood pain.

My parents arrive. I fell into their arms. Hours passed. I couldn’t leave the hospital.

“Jed is here, I can’t leave. Where are they taking him? What are they doing with his body?”

Before I am about to leave, the nurse comes out with a bag of his clothes. I fell to the ground holding his shirt. My body and heart dying inside.

At that very moment, I experienced a little bit of what hell must be like.

I don’t remember the drive home, just remember crawling in bed and holding our dog, Waffles. For weeks Waffles would go back and forth to the garage door where Jed always came in. She’d go to the door in the mornings, and right before bed. We both just sat there together as I told her, “He isn’t coming back.”

Will this nightmare ever end…?

After the funeral, I needed to get out of town.  As I was going through some of our letters we wrote each other, I came across a card Jed wrote me for Christmas. At the time, I remember thinking, “Why did he write about the beach on a Christmas card?” But now I know why. It said:

“You find yourself at the sea. Remember how it sets you free. Always go to the ocean, that’s where you find yourself.”

I fell to the ground, crying, laughing, and talking to Jed. “Ok baby, you got it.” That day, I booked my flights to San Diego and Del Ray Beach.

Thank you, Jed. You knew me so well.

Both trips helped me find a piece of my spirit again. I’ll share with you a little about each one…

While in San Diego, I met a woman I know I was destined to meet. This woman, a spiritual advisor/medium/psychic shared with me a message she said Jed wanted me to hear. I’ve probably lost some of you with “medium”, but that’s okay. She shared with me things that only Jed and I would know. As I sat down holding her hands, afraid about what was going to happen, I felt warmness through my body, I got chills. She tells me, “He is still with you, Rachel. He is right here. What do you want to say to him?” I always knew how to talk to Jed, but this time I was so nervous. I took a deep breath, and let it all out. Whatever that experience was meant to be for me, it helped me open my heart up again. After the funeral, I was starting to close myself off to people; even Jed. I was so afraid I would become this person that never loved or opened up again; that I would let this destroy who I was. But at that moment, as I talked to Jed, and heard his message, my heart opened. Forever, I am grateful for this woman’s gift.

On the beach, I started to journal. The sun was shining and I could feel him near! I promised Jed right then that I will choose life, just like he always did. I promised I would smile. I promised him I would dance and sing. I promised him I would fall in love again. I promised him I would be happy. I promised him I would find myself again. I swear, I heard Jed say – in his smirk-like way, “Prove it.” I ran into the ocean, clothes on, diving in and out of the water.

Next I was off to Florida to meet friends; friends that have become my family, Ed and Liz. During a dark period of Jed’s life, Ed and Liz took them into their home. They became the family he needed, and now, they have become family to me.

Jed, thank you for bringing us together.

In Florida, we saw one of Jed’s favorite bands, Dispatch.

Jed met one of the band members, Chad Stokes from Dispatch at a living room concert at Liz and Ed’s home back in October. We were invited to come to the house before the concert started to hang out with Chad. I remember walking into the house and saw Jed chatting it up with Chad. I wasn’t surprised one bit! His smile said everything. He ran over to me and was like, “Babe, he’s here.” As Chad gets ready to sing the first song, he says, “I’d like to dedicate this first song to someone I met tonight. This song goes out to you, Jed X!” All of us are in shock!

Jed smiles, turns to me and says, “I always loved this song but had more meaning to me when you came into my life.” Jed, you were always the romantic one.

Flying Horses
by Chad Stokes
I knew I was all alone
then I saw this girl with the most beautiful hair
she had it wrapped around her for clothes she did not wear
I asked her for a lock and she complied, after leaving
gorgeous footsteps in the sand as if she didn’t care
she was the prettiest girl I ever saw
the stone lay still without a flaw
the feelings I had defied the law

JED

As we’re waiting for Dispatch to play at the music festival in Del Ray Beach Florida, I was determined to see Chad. I had to let him know about Jed. I had to let him know how grateful Jed was that the first song dedicated that night was to him! Liz and I see Chad and quickly run up to speak to him. I grab Chad and start telling him the story. He is shocked and remembered Jed so well. He hugs me and tells us all, “Tonight we will tribute a song to his life.” The concert starts and we all work our way to the front, pushing and shoving; whatever we needed to do to be up there. And then, right when I get in a comfortable spot, Chad and the rest of the band says, “This next song is for you Jed X.” They put their hands on their hearts, look at us and started singing Out Loud, a song about someone who has passed away trying to deliver a message to their loved ones. I cried looking at each one of them thanking them over and over. I don’t know if they’ll every fully grasp how much they helped me, but every time I think of that moment, it bring me joy. In that moment, I found my smile.

Out Loud
by Dispatch
And if I was gone from the land we know
Would be the dawn
And let your beauty still show
And if you were walking
And heard the cold night coming
Would you call my name
’cause you know I’d come running

Getting back from Florida….

I think the hardest part in all this has been discovering me again. Before Jed passed, I made decisions for my life that involved the both of us. It’s like I’m meeting myself again for the first time. Part of my identity included him in it. It used to be Jed and Rachel, now it’s just Rachel. I miss him every day and I know a piece of me always will.

I’ve had some amazing dreams that lasted for a couple months after his passing. During my meditation every morning, I would ask for Jed to come to me. Speak to me, send me a message, let me say goodbye.

The first dream I had of Jed was after the night he died. He was laying on top of me with his face pressing into mine. I felt the pressure and warmth. It scared me at first. I woke up; my face was red and hot.

Thank you Jed for saying goodbye to me.

Next dream….

He drove up in his car. I was in a field, nothing around me. I recognized his car, and waved my hands. The door opened, and there he was. “Get in, gorgeous!” As he drove, we just talked. Smiling, holding hands, and laughing. I don’t know what we were talking about, but I could see us just like it used to be. I remember one thing he told me, “Sweetheart, remember this moment. I have to go, but I’m good.” He dropped me off at a huge building, smiled and took off.

Thank you, that he is happy.

Another….

I’m in a tent, pacing back and forth. I am muttering, “where is he, he cannot be lost.” His kids are there with me. Shauna was talking on the phone with her mom; Ryan playing with his toys. I look out of the tent and see a man dressed in white robes. I look closely, and it’s Jed! I scream for Shauna and Ryan and we all run! I jump into his arms; we kiss and roll in the grass. Shauna joins in. Ryan was scared, but Jed grabbed him and started to tickle him. Everything was back to normal. All of a sudden, Jed is wearing cyclist’s gear, sitting on a rock, his hair is long. I remember thinking how young he looks. He is telling us all about his travels. He has been traveling throughout Europe. Smiling and acting out stories; making us all laugh. He kissed us, and says “Time to go. I love you all.” I didn’t want to wake up. I woke up crying.

Jed, I believe you seeing the world. Traveling like you always wanted. You’re happy.

Dream…

I’m in a room; he is standing there with Ed and Ben. They are both talking, laughing like they always did in the Club Ed days. He hugs both of them, and they all look at me. Jed looked happy. He says, “It’s okay baby. I am so happy.”

My last dream with Jed….

We’re in a white room. I hear a gunshot, and Jed falls into my arms. I am scared. I am holding him; he is looking up at me. I am thinking to myself, no please, not again. He says, “it’s okay baby. You are going to be fine. We can say goodbye to each other now.” I share with him how much I love him. How he changed my life. How I am not sure I can go on without him. He says, “Yes, you can. I love you and will never leave.” The last thing he said, that stays with me every day, “Rachel, just BE YOU.” I hold him, promise to be me, kiss him, stroke his hair and then I wake up.

Thank you, for letting me say good-bye.

July 1st. 191 days. It still shocks me. I don’t understand how this happened. I still blame myself. I still see his death. Yesterday, normal day, having dinner with family and my phone alarm goes off. Weird I thought for it to be going off around 7pm. It’s a calendar reminder “Don’t forget to get Jed a gift for his 3rd Ironman.” My heart sank. It all hit me at once. Everyone is laughing at the table, no clue that at that very moment my heart dropped. I could feel the tears coming. I was fighting it. I was starting to sweat, my heart beating fast, I’m trying to laugh along with everyone but all I want to do is scream. I had to get out. Once I got into my car, I lost all control. I didn’t know where to go. All I wanted was to feel Jed’s presence but as the days goes by; he is starting to feel very distant.

I didn’t know where I was going, but somehow I ended up at our home. I pull up to our old condo, rolled the windows down and tried to see us together. I imagined him in the kitchen cooking his specialty pasta, waiting for me to get home from work. I loved those surprises. Coming home, the table set, wine and dinner prepared.

Please Jed, never let me forget those beautiful memories. Don’t leave me. I’m not ready.
I know those moments will happen. I know they will hit me at random times. 191 days after that nightmare though, I am happy.

I have been living.

I wake up every day excited to be a part of this world.

I wake up everyday grateful I had the honor of living life with Jed.

Lately…

As some have maybe seen on Facebook, I am dating someone. I was nervous about sharing this part of my life with anyone who loved and knew Jed, afraid of what everyone might think. And then I realized, that’s not living. And it’s certainly not what Jed would want.

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Meet Ben. I met Ben through Jed a couple years ago. Ben’s parents are Ed and Liz. Jed and I almost every Sunday would be at their house, drinking and hanging out by the pool. Ben and I became instant friends. I remember feeling more excited knowing Ben would be at the house. Not because of any hidden feelings, I just really enjoyed his company. After the funeral, I moved in with Ed and Liz. As they took in Jed during a dark time, they took me in during my dark time. Ben helped me move out of the condo and into his parents house. He started coming by for dinners, and slowly I started noticing each time I’d get a little more excited and anxious to see him. I was nervous about it. I felt guilty at times. But one day, it was like I couldn’t fight it any longer. I like Ben.

Ben and Jed

ben and jed

Life is funny. Sometimes I wonder, “Jed, did you do all this?”

For anyone who has lost someone close to them, my heart is with you.

Dear Friends, Family, Jed’s Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for the amazing support you have given me. All the messages helped me get through every day. I know our hearts still break, and mine always will. But as Jed would want it, continue to cherish and celebrate his memory. Don’t give into the darkness. Find the light in everything. Shine for him. Love you all. I am amazed by your love!

– Rachel

Thankful reminders

Yesterday, I was meeting with a student (I recruit students to college) and I noticed how thin his coat was, and the holes in his shirt. He came to campus by bus and foot in this very cold and windy day in Dallas. My heart sank a little as I looked down at his coat knowing how hard his commute might have been to get here. I drove in a warm car → perspective.

 

We’re chatting about the holiday, and what going to college will mean for him. He shares with me how it will mean everything. He wants to start over in his life, but no one believes he can do it → perspective.

He asked me, “Miss Rachel, do you think chance or social economic status determine your success?”

I answer it in a way that shows how much of a bubble my life must look to him. “Your success is determined by you. By how much effort and hard work you are willing to put in your life.” Right? I do believe that’s true, but is it really just that easy?

His eyes looked sad and empty. He knew right then, I just didn’t get it and I never will. → perspective.

Here I am trying to put myself in his shoes, like the saying says but I couldn’t. How could I ever really understand this person’s life? I don’t know what it means to be born into the projects (his words). I don’t know what it would have been like to work at the age fourteen to help provide food for the family. I don’t know what it would be like to have a family that never said they believed you could do it. I never even thought that college wasn’t an option.

I can’t relate to this sweet man, and it breaks my heart that I take advantage of my opportunities daily. → perspective.

I don’t think it’s about feeling guilty – and that’s not the emotion I am trying to create. We don’t need to feel guilty for having supportive parents, education, or the “middle class” lifestyle. It’s not about feeling guilty that makes you better, but I should feel shame when I don’t stop and truly be thankful.

We have moments when we forget, we’re only human. Mmmm.

In those moments, like the one I had with this student, I believe your reactions and feelings make up a lot of who you are. It bothered me that his coat was thin. It bothered me that he had holes in his shirt. It bothered me that he has gone through life with no support or encouragement. It bothered me that he has to fight people’s stereotypes of him every single day. It’s that moment that tells me a lot about who I am.

I am thankful to my soul for being sensitive to other’s less fortunate. I’m thankful for my experiences that have taught me the “reality” in this world. Thank you life that you have not been easy – you taught me well.

This man needs a coat. → perspective.

It’s Thanksgiving; it’s only natural to have a spirit of thanks. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I will offer just that…

Thanks.

Thankful most for the reminders of other people’s struggle and need. Those reminders shape me into someone who has continued to grow into a better person. If I went one day without a desire to help another, that would be a dark day for me. I’m thankful for life and how it’s taught my soul to do well.

Spend Thanksgiving with the one’s you love, but also with the one’s who need love.

Nourish your soul daily, my friends. Ask daily for perspective.

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Photo by the ever so talented Arlee Grace, my sister!

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peace and ♥.

Kindness: it is always possible

Kindness Matters.

I love random acts of kindness. I love receiving it, and I most certainly love offering it to another. Being able to remind someone how loved and important they are, it’s an overwhelming joyous feeling. You read all the time about people giving anonymously, or making a person’s wish come true! I love starting my day off knowing about the kindness that’s still in this world.

Then you get the chance to SEE kindness. You get the opportunity to be witnessing a complete stranger offer an immense amount of kindness to another. Part of my journey lately is living life with an open heart, eyes, and mind. I want to SEE more in this life. I want to BE more in this life. I want to LOVE more in this life. As I take on each day, I meditate, pray, and ask myself: may my eyes and heart be open; give me perspective.

With open eyes, and an open heart, I have seen two amazing moments this week.

Yesterday, I watched as a man pulled over, took the coat off his back, and offered it to a woman who was standing in the cold streets. This woman might of been hoping for cash, but what she received was just as needed in her life: kindness. I drove away in shock. Did I really just see a man in his fancy car offer his coat? Maybe there was some cash in the pocket. Maybe there was a note of a place for her to go and get back on her feet. Those things, I will never know. But I don’t think I am suppose to. What I needed to see was pure generousity.

Thank you sir for not only changing her day, but mine as well.

I hope the other drivers were able to join me in that moment.

Then today, a lady pulls her car over, goes through her groceries to offer him food and water. You saw his eyes sparkle towards this beautiful person who took the time in her busy day to help him. He clasped his hands together and smiled in great appreciation. Those busy carsbehind her did not worry her, what bothered her was seeing a hungry man.

He is hungry, so feed him. He needs water, so give him drink.  

A ripple effect….I hope.

I’m guilty for not believing in people. I am guilty for assuming the worst at times, and brushing people off as selfish, inconsiderate, and dishonest.

I love being proven wrong.

I’m also guilty for my perception of the poor. I grew up seeing my eldres shrug them off. Look at them with disgust and complain about how their precious tax money is spent on the homeless. Where is the compassion? Do you think you know everyone’s story? Do you think you’re a better person for looking away? I’m not trying to preach and say, “Next time you see the homeless, offer them cash.” But I am saying, work on opening up your heart. Be careful with those “certainties” in life; it causes rigidness.

I love that not only was the man and woman who received the offering, the man and woman who gave the offering – BUT all those around who saw it happen – we all were effected in a powerful way.

Look at me; it moved me so much I want to share it to anyone who finds their way to my page.

May this moment that I was blessed enough to witness be a change in you. May it encourage your eyes and heart to be open. May it spark the kindness in your life. May we always be kind to the poor. May we always remember the needy in this world. May they be first.

Look for those moments. Be in those moments. Receive those moments. Share the moments!

Peace, love, and KINDNESS today.

Rachel

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Say yes to travel.

 

            Travel rejuvenates me. Wherever it may be, I’m always up for going some place new. It amazes me that even though I may never re-visit those places, I am still able to feel the moments I first experienced. Almost as if taking those journeys were not only to open my mind and soul, but gifts of beautiful memories that will forever be living inside me. You have to cherish each journey, honor and keep safe. You may never know when you’ll need to call on them again.

            Travel has helped me grow. Much of my independence is due to traveling at a young age. I believe it’s given me a confidence in myself being able to experience and relate to different parts of the world.

            Travel has taught me respect. Growing up in America, there tends to be a prideful attitude. Maybe it’s more of a Texan mindset, but its there in a lot of us. We live in an extremely blessed country, but it doesn’t mean we’re superior to others. When you enter a foreign land, you enter with an open heart and mind. You’re a visitor. This world is so big, how can it be that there is only one way to live. Learn about people. Learn about how they believe. Learn about what they appreciate most in life. Let people, culture, religion, and nature teach you. I thank my travels the most for opening my heart and seeing more clearly the truth in this world. And that is for each person to discover.

            Travel has kept me grounded. I thank my life everyday that I’ve seen poverty. As hard as it was to stomach at times, I needed to see it. I have to be reminded about the need in this world. Travel has shown me compassion.

            Seeing the world and meeting people different from me, it’s opened my mind to the bigness and beauty of humankind. With that said, it has also show me the dark side of human nature as well. Believe in the power of change, and run after it.

Moments from my travels that have formed who I am:

Moment: In a village, I met with a lady who did not speak English but somehow (and still amazes me to this day) we “communicated” for hours. Without being able to use words that both of us would understand, we still were able to connect, drink tea, smile, and “talk.” When I first walked into her home realizing that she did not know English, my reaction was to leave because I was nervous. She had a child who was born mentally retarded. She was abandoned by her family because they believed she and the child was cursed. Anyone could see, this was not a curse – we see children in the States getting the proper care and attention for this illness. She was in desperate need for interaction. We had a beautiful lunch.

Moment: As I continue to go back to the Caribbean, I’ve witnessed how sea life has drastically changed. Each time I scuba dive I notice less life, less color, and more trash. It breaks my heart each time because it’s people that have done this. That chapter of my life has set a fire in my heart to be more proactive about helping our environment.

Moment: While in India, I went to a leper’s hospital. Before you make the squinty face – I get it, but it was not dangerous. I also had a very uneasy feeling about being around so many “sick” people. But as I walked into the hospital, those unsettling feelings disappeared. I didn’t care how sick they were, I just wanted to meet them. I can’t even explain what happened inside me. It was as if I was overtaken by a spirit that needed to interact from these helpless people. A power of compassion took over my heart. I remember like it was yesterday, the caregiver saying, “Some of these people have never been touched or hugged by a stranger. These people’s families and friends have not been educated about this sickness, its okay to be with them.” I thought to myself, “This person has never received a hug?” Tears flowed becuase imagine a life without being hugged. Maybe it sounds silly to you, but truly think about the mulitple interactions you have daily that are greeted with a welcoming embrace. My heart sank. I went to every person I could meet with, looked them in the eyes, dhel their hands and said, “I love you.” My soul was forever changed. Thank you, thank you, and again thank you for changing me in that moment.

Moment: I loved living on Saba! Known as the Caribbean’s secret garden, it was truly the best experience I gave to myself. While exploring the island of Saba, I discovered the significance of solitude. We all need it at times, some more than others. Quiet mornings dedicated to meditation while the sun came up over the open sea. Days spent in silence, being able to truly have time with just me. It’s important to get to know ourselves. I fell in love with new parts of me. Because of traveling to a foreign land for the purpose of maturing myself, I am grateful.

            I could go on and on and share with you how my travels have taught me something new about life and myself but some memories are not all meant to be shared. Saint Augustine says it perfectly, “The world is a travel book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”

Let us read. Tell me your stories.

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Fight for your beauty.

Body Image. We all struggle with it. We all hate it. There are days where I completely feel free from it. And then the dark days, where I’m trapped into thinking my worthiness correlates with my weight.

With everything I know and everything I am extremely blessed with I continue to have those moments. Why do I allow this to continue into my heart, my mind, my body?

Media kills me sometimes.  With the powerful influence they have, it continues to drag people down. It seems that there are too many shows out there about what you should be wearing, and how to look in it. Shows about how the rich, famous, and beautiful live. Ok, so there is a curiosity we have. Sure I get it. But I’d rather know about the families that need our help, our aide, our prayer, our time. Can we take a break from the media?  Don’t you want to take a break from the constant comparing of ourselves to these unrealistic images? It’s exhausting.

People laugh at this, but I don’t own a television.  Yes, I know. Have your moment. But I’m telling you, it’s helped. I don’t obsess much about,  “Do I look like that?” Or spend time being envious of others.

Before you think I’m completely insane, I should probably mention I do love Netflix and I’m an avid moviegoer. I’m not a full on granola hippie.  But I’m careful how I use it. You’ll never see me get into reality shows.  It seriously drives me insane. I’d rather have a tarantula lay eggs in my ears than watch the Bachelor, Desperate Housewives, and whatever newly wed famous couple’s reality show. Ugh. There isn’t any substance to it, yet our society it obsessed.

The media has so much control. It can influence how we think and how we perceive each other. Lies have been fed about our country. And without a doubt, the media has masterfully seduced women to believe in these unrealistic expectations of our appearances. 

I’m still learning about my beauty, and its taken time for me to accept myself for being me.  And probably took me even more time to start seeing all encounters of women without judgment of appearance.

To get here, it took starting with my mind – the power within us all.  You have to take away all the negative influences, harmful relationships, and unconstructive thoughts and start a journey towards freedom. When I struggled with weight, I go rid of the scale. Were those numbers telling me anything about myself that generated healthy thoughts? For me, it was the enemy. An obsession with getting the numbers lower and lower took over. I felt I had no control of my moods if I did not get on the scale. If the numbers were not exactly the same, or lower, it was a very bad day. A day filled with hurting my body by rejecting food. A day filled with negative words to me. A day wasted. Get rid of the scale.

Get rid of the magazines. 

Get rid of the Hollywood obsessive behaviors.

Start obsessing over the beauty within you that is more glorious and powerful than the media. Take back your control. Be the change. Be the light. Be your beauty. Be in love with you.

I understand this isn’t easy for some. It took me a long time before I started this healthy path, and still there are days I am weak. I’m not trying to tell you how to do it, because it’s different for every individual. But I do not that in order to be happy, in order to find that gorgeous soul, you got to find it. Sometimes in your weakest moments, you are called to be your strongest. When you choose the strength, you will grow. And when you grow, you change. With change, there is influence.

It’s exhausting trying to be “perfect.” It’s exhausting looking for that “perfect” outfit, especially when you’re constantly negative towards how you look. If the dress isn’t you, put it back on the rack.  The “perfect” body, whatever the hell that is.

I know there are those that fight perfectionism. I will not be able to relate to you on that because it’s never been something I’ve struggled with. I’ve always been okay with a little mess here and there. But I do have friends that have this desire for everything to be perfect; I think you struggle with the negative thoughts the most because you can be so hard on your beautiful self. We all need guidance and help. All of us do, go after it.

It’s amazing how many women can relate to each other in this. We can be so hard on ourselves, but we can also be so empowering. I hope that through my growth and my change, I’ll influence. I hope we all start taking a stand to speak kindly about one another. Stand for a movement of strong and gentle confidence. Take the stand not just for yourself, but for every woman.

It could work, right? Would be one hell of a journey, don’t you think?

Shout out to our girl, Jennifer Lawrence. Authenticity is rare. She believes we have the control.  Let’s own it.

Jennifer Lawrence says it best

Beauty is healthy and strong. I thought about posting photos of images of beautiful strong women, but then I thought to myself, “We would probably just compare again.” Instead I’m going to put my photo. NOT because I am trying to be conceded, but because this journey is about the individual. If you come across this post, I’d love your comment to include your photo or what is beautiful about you. Because you’re beautiful.

Find you light. Set free. Empower.

peace and love ladies,

Rach

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…..check this out if you haven’t…..
     Jaw-Dropping Before & After

The “Friendship Divorce”…

If you don’t read goop, you should start! It’s a fun blog created by the ever so talented, Gwenyth Paltrow. But, if you’re thinking you will get to read some fun Hollywood gossip on this site, then you won’t be fond of goop. Took me a while before I even realized it was her when I came across it a couple years ago. Anyways, back to this post. There is an article from goop called the “Friendship Divorce” I read a few months ago, and it’s continued to stick with me. Mainly because I feel I’ve been battling this for the past year: the transformation of friendships.

I have these friendships that seem to stick around mainly because of history. You’ve known them most of your childhood. You’ve bonded closely to their families. You’ve been through many emotions and life altering events together. There were times you never felt closest to the person but now, it’s so different. Years and years go by, you change through age and experience. You see it in marriages where two people grow apart from one another. Very similar to friendships.

The History.  Don’t overestimate history. It’s extremely important and rare. Those friendships should be held with a close respect because of the experiences that have been connected to each other.  But how do you handle those friendships that are mainly around because of history? When you feel the only common ground you have with this individual is history. You don’t share the same thoughts about life. You can’t relate to one another about work, relationships, spirituality, communication. It’s as if converstation is hard.  

The purpose of friendships are to help us grow. The best friendships I’ve ever experienced are those that changed me. They helped transform who I was, to be better and truer to myself.  We are created for relationship. We crave intimacy with another. For me, a frienship means supporting growth for each other. That is why this stuggle has been very difficult. I don’t feel the growth anymore with some.

I have a close friend who I’ve known for most of my life. We have been there for each other, and invested so much time together. But I no longer feel like I am growing with this individual. I guess I need to accept the fact that this happens. Never would I want to cut her out of my life, that would tear me apart. But more than ever, I see how different we are.

Have you ever cut someone out of your life? Or have you ever had a friend that you need to create some really big space from? I’m not sure cutting out a friend is ever good advice, but I have had to diminish a friendship. When we first met, there was instant connection. Immediately we became the closest of friends, and literally did everything together. As our friendship developed over time, I slowly saw another side to her. A side that was deceptive, dishonest, and destructive. Eventually, you couldn’t trust a word she said; you couldn’t trust her intentions. I’m not sure what happened to her, or how it got to be so bad but I had to get space. I never meant to cut her out, but even over a year I have yet been able to speak to her. There is hope that we’ll connect down the road, but it will take time.

I don’t really like thinking about it. Breaks my heart.

Keep your friends close, especially those that make you mature to be a better you. Cherish the memories you’ve had with the friendships that have seem to diminish. And may I always be a true friend back, and help another grow.

** goop article about frienship: http://goop.com/journal/be/71/friendship-divorce

Images of friendship I love…

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