This is who I am inside
This is who I am, I’m not going to hide
Cause the greatest risk we’ll ever take is by far
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
So stand in the light and be seen as we are
With courage and kindness hold onto your faith
You get what you give and its never too late
To reach for the branch and
climb up leaving sadness behind
Fight hard for love
We can never give enough
—”Stand in the Light” by Jordan Smith
My chosen word of the year is sprout. I have the intention to grow and evolve using the foundation I set the past year. With only a few months into 2016, I have noticed the incredible impact my word has already made.
I began a new practice every night, at the suggestion of my wise friend, Sharri, to review the positive intentions that I set forth throughout the day. And to carry out my word of 2015, gratitude, I begin each day with all that I am grateful for. This sets the most wonderful tone that keeps me in a place of love all day. I find just how much my intentions change when I am steeped in gratitude.
At the tail end of one of the most tumultuous times I have experienced in my journey of spiritual awakening, on the cusp of change in every major area of my life: relationships, career, and home, I ventured on a walk with my dog (as I do every Saturday). This Saturday was like any other except it felt completely different. My life is rumbling with so much movement that I have felt like I stepped onto a rollercoaster ride that simply would not stop.
Although I have surrendered to the change and granted it permission to work through me to create the life I dream of, I have yet to learn how to keep my cool when shit hits the fan. And trust me, it’s blowing all around me, sending me in fifteen directions at once.
So, you know that crossroads I speak of often? The one at the intersection of love and fear?
I am once again at a major crossroads. MAJ. And as much as I talk love and am love, I still grapple with fear. We all do. And so my challenge lately is to live what I teach, and that is what I’m here to show you.
God is a cloud from which rain fell.
What if a hummingbird
is God’s way of telling us
to soak up the sweet nectar of life?
What if God gave us stars
so we can be reminded
of his light at night?
What if the stars
are a reminder
to search for our own light
even when we cannot see it?
What if a rainbow is His way
of telling us to seek out his Grace
even if we cannot see the end in sight?
What if our soulmate
is God’s way of ensuring
we reach our highest potential?
What if His love,
love for ourselves,
and love for others
is why we are here?
Look for God’s signs of love,
and when He rains down
in sadness or jubilant joy,
know that the result is love.
For we have to feel
all we feel in darkness
to return to the light inside.
You are light.
You are love.
You are whole.
Know that you are perfect in this moment. Your past, your childhood conditioning, your relationships or your job do not define you.
You are a divine being of Light and you are Love at the very core. When you connect to the true nature of your soul, you will simply radiate from the inside out. You will become a beacon of hope and healing to all those you encounter. This is who you are.
So drop the dead weight and baggage you carry from your past, because you deserve to feel light and love.
Imagine a word you want to embrace and embody, then create a mantra around that word. My mantra today and every day is: I am light. I am love. I am whole.
My life coach, Sky Blossoms, advises in her book, Best Thing Ever, to write your chosen mantra or word on your mirror, at your desk or in your car (or all three), and leave it there for 30 days. Repeat it daily to yourself.
Notice the changes in you after the month closes; see the difference you feel in your mind, body and spirit. When we decide something and allow it to pervade our being, something shifts in our body. Our body responds to whatever is in our mind. So choose to believe and repeat empowering words to yourself often.
Our mind comes up with enough negative jibber jabber on a daily basis; counter some of that with positive reinforcement in your thoughts and words. Your mind will catch on and your body will follow suit in beyond measurable ways. Try it and see just how much of a difference this will make in your life.
If you do you and keep your basket full, you are bound to upset some people who want your time and attention. Do you want to give them your half-assed, spread-too-thin self or be sure you’re taking care of yourself first? Because the latter will allow you to show up with a healthier, more loving perspective and attitude.
I promise you will upset, piss off or annoy certain people either way; you might as well take the time to make yourself happy first.
One doesn’t often dig into the meaning of a word, the essence behind it, or the root of the word itself. Brené Brown does this like a champ in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection. One word’s meaning stuck out to me more than others, a word that defines my journey to an open heart: courage.
The root of the word courage is in fact heart (cor). Brené defines courage as the ability to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart. This might have been the single most vulnerable action in my journey as it was what I most struggled with in my downfall.
On my journey to repair my broken heart, I discovered that in feeling the depth of my pain, I actually feel more whole than ever before. And my whole heart is ready to love on a new plane, one that understands love as if I am love. That’s what I am when fear is stripped away. That’s why I am here.
And so coming to this place of love, for myself and for everyone in my life (including those I felt betrayed by), I find myself wanting to go to that place where love thrives. I want to escape the mundane grind of everyday life and create one that is riddled with love: friendly love, sibling love, platonic love, romantic love and unconditional love.
As a society, we are wired to search for love—to complete a part of us that we feel is lacking by plucking an elusive partner (as if we truly know what’s best for us). You decide that this stranger will somehow make your life better by filling up some space inside your heart that feels incomplete.
And so as the law of attraction states, you will also attract someone who is looking for a partner to complete them. I’m not a math whiz by any means, but I know that two halves make a whole. The problem with this is: once you remove one half, you cannot be whole. You are very simply putting yourself in a vulnerable situation in which you rely on another person to feel whole. Not only is this absolutely dangerous for your wellbeing, but it is just as treacherous for the other half of your equation. The immense pressure you’ve just set each other up for is not only unhealthy, but unsustainable too.
I have been the co-dependent girl who searched for love outside myself to feel whole. I know the very empty place it leaves you in when someone cannot live up to the absolutely impossible job you’ve signed them up for. An even worse predicament arises when your other half needs to feel whole too. You gather what you can from your already depleted reserve, but you cannot give what you do not already possess.
So after two failed relationships in a row, I decided to get wiser. My whole world simply cannot crumble if my partner doesn’t take so much of it with them. I knew if I were to succeed in love, I had to look inward. I could spend my life in denial and blame others for my heartbreak or I could get busy uncovering the void in my heart that attributed to my relationship demise.
I would choose to love myself first. I would feel the immense pain in my heart and I would use that as fuel for my self discovery. If we search for love to fill a void in our own lives, we most certainly don’t love ourselves fully and we cannot embrace (or find) the love that lingers in our own heart.
I decided to create a sense of wholeness, one that would render me independent, self sufficient and wildly in love with my life and myself. Rumi reminds me time and time again that “Your task is not to seek love but to find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
Self love or lack thereof was my biggest hurdle. I couldn’t find the place of peace in my own heart that would sustain me. I wouldn’t accept my own life circumstances and feel gratitude for what I do have. So I went to find peace outside myself and that always managed to be from relationships. Placing myself in their life always seemed better than what I was dealing with. But after living a life that didn’t feel authentic, attempting to love with less than a whole heart while lifting them up inside, and feeling lost at the end, I knew I had it all wrong. And two wrong, less than whole people don’t make a right (and never will).
Fast forward one year of being single and learning to love myself and others unconditionally. And let me tell you a secret. You do not need to be in a relationship to do this. I would actually urge you not to be in a relationship at this time. You will most certainly attract the same kind of less than whole people while in this phase of your progression. And unless you feel strongly that the universe has delivered this person to you in order to hammer the lesson into your brain further (and you might very well need another dose of reality), do not invest your time in a relationship right now.
Love yourself during this time. Look into the shadows of your soul to find why you have a less than loving perspective of yourself. Friends and family are a beautiful blessing to your during this time. They are also a reflection of the love you are radiating currently and will reflect any less than loving feelings that may arise. If we cannot love our close friends or family unconditionally, then odds are we won’t be able to love anyone else to that degree either.
Go back to the drawing board every time your inclination is to judge or show any behavior that is less than loving toward yourself or your loved ones. It is here that you can learn to reconstruct your programmed mind that keeps you safe from perceived dangers, protects your heart and tells you what is right or wrong in any case. You can only place right or wrong on your own journey based on how loving you feel in that moment. We cannot place any semblance of right or wrong on others; they’re fighting their own inner battle, so you must continue to show up with love.
Ego will fight against this loving sentiment and place fear where love should be (especially if someone is showing you less than loving intentions). Know that it isn’t personal; showing someone less than love by reacting negatively only hurts you.
When you are love, you recognize love and see no barriers to it. You can fall in love in one day. You can let your deepest, most vulnerable self be seen and touched by another. And you can give up your search for love, because you are love. And the love you are will undoubtedly attract that same love in another.
If you are whole and you are love, then your partner will be whole and will be love. Together two whole hearts will create a love that illuminates every part of your world. You will grow and be tested in unforeseen ways. You will feel like your best self where your soul continues to shine. You won’t need or require the love of another, yet you’ll be lucky enough to have it when you lose sight of the love in your own heart. They will see your resilient spirit. And they will never let you forget where you’ve been or where you’re going with an open and loving heart.
Together, the unity and vision you create will set you on a journey where you alone may not reach. You will give the ultimate gift of unconditional love and finally surrender to receive this gift in return. You will never take for granted the way this one makes you feel. And it will be your pleasure to remind them every day of the pristine heart they truly are.
I chose gratitude as my word of 2015. I constantly worked to create and cultivate this feeling in my everyday life through my gratitude jar. Gratitude filled my heart with acceptance, presence, awareness and ultimately love: love for what is, what has been and what could be.
I find myself choosing a new word for 2016.
Due to my year of gratitude, I am radiating happiness from within so brightly that I can’t help myself. I can’t help but shine that energy outward.
And so I am led quite effortlessly to my word for 2016: sprout.
Sprout where I have planted my gracious heart and allow that love to grow like weeds and spread like wildfire wherever I go.
Sprout with my roots of understanding and awareness of my limitless soul and potential for spreading light.
Sprout with the knowledge I acquired from relentlessly watering my hungry heart last year.
Sprout with intention to discover the potential of my purpose as a light seeker, love dweller and infinite soul.
Sprout with the faith to trust another human with my heart and gently hold theirs in my palm.
Sprout with the dream I have placed on my heart and harness the power to create it step by step.
Sprout with the lessons I hold emblazoned on my heart as a reminder to live boldly and bravely always.
Sprout with the kindness and compassion that one gathers only by living with an open heart.
How will you grow in 2016?
Ditch the resolutions and simply choose to sprout where you are planted. Know in your heart that you are perfect in this moment.
Always water your heart with more love than you think is needed. Only then will you have an overflow of joy to affect those around you.
Here are my tips for taking the love in your heart and spreading seeds of intention wherever you go:
Choose a random act of kindness that pervades the current state of our world with hope. Acts can involve money but favors and deeds will impact someone on a deeper level.
Befriend someone you know could use some uplifting and encouragement.
Hug longer and harder than you usually do and don’t be the one to let go first.
Pause in moments when you want to react adversely and choose to be your higher self.
Smile at strangers. You won’t know how much they need your light until you see it reflected in their reaction.
And if your 2016 is beginning in a dark place, choose to spread your kindness inward and love yourself through whatever battle you are facing.
You are love. You are enough. And you too can sprout after you put down loving roots in your heart.