Tainted Love: Forgiving Ignorance

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We can only love as much as our current level of consciousness allows.

When we say that we love someone with all our hearts, the limited nature of that love is dependent on the level of consciousness we hold at the time.

Love can be so easily tainted by fear, which by its very nature is often so insidious that we don’t even know it is there, so insidious that we believe it IS US. One of the biggest fears of all being the fear that someone else will withdraw their love and our own unworthiness will definitively be proven to us beyond any reasonable doubt.

I know that I do not love with absolute unconditional purity, that is a high goal that I know I might never reach. But I open myself with a willingness to love with more of my authentic heart every day. When I look back on my life, I can’t even count the number of times that I have hurt others while just trying to love them with the whole of my being. This knowledge is still a sick slime in my belly and something that I am still working on forgiving myself for, that I am still working on releasing and healing.

I hurt them by depending upon them for love, by burdening them with the full responsibility of my own mental/emotional well-being, by asking for something that only I could give myself.

I hurt them through unconscious words that rocketed from my mind and through my mouth before my conscience had its say.

I hurt people I loved, by staying silent and still, by diverting my eyes from their need of fear, or embarrassment.

I hurt them by speaking for them and by making assumptions about what was in their hearts and by failing to speak the truth written on my own heart.

I hurt people by loving them without boundaries, by taking on responsibility for their wellness that was not mine to take.

I hurt them through my own ignorance of what it means to love for Love’s sake, from a continued experience of wholeness and oneness, without attachment to reciprocity or outcomes.

I think we all do this, and every time we become aware of someone else’s ignorance of love and failures to fully love us, it is a Precious Gift. These experiences of well-intentioned but tainted love are how we begin to examine our own lives and behaviors and become determined to not repeat those mistakes again. It is the unconscious mimicking of ignorant patterns of behavior the perpetuates cycles of limited love.

"True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for that experience.’" ~ Oprah Winfrey

It is time to forgive.

To forgive without the cloying aftertaste of tolerance, pity, and obligatory resignation and without getting sucked into the initial cycles of blame and self-righteousness. Rather, let’s forgive in the spirit of compassion and gratitude with the knowledge that we also have caused suffering while simply trying to love as best we could.

Let’s forgive ourselves, our parents, our guardians and family members, our friends and our enemies, our teachers and our students. Let’s forgive the human collective, for to forgive one is to forgive all. That is what makes forgiveness so powerful.

This is not the same as excusing the behaviors but is rather a commitment to living in the present and learning from the past. Forgiveness frees us from the weight of blame and self-pity and empowers us to step out of the shackles of victimhood and make decisions on what way of life is best for us. Forgiveness allows us to put an end to the cycle, instead of continuing to punish ourselves daily because a past version of ourselves or someone else didn’t know how to limitlessly love.

Every day we wake up new.

"Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning." ~ Desmond Tutu

I am not the same woman I was yesterday, not even close. I am not the same person who caused all that pain in others. My mother, father, and step-parents are not the same people they were. The lovers who left and the friends who turned their backs are not the same people they were when they hurt me. We are not the same people and most of the suffering we experienced was caused by ignorance, by this separation from Love that we were not even aware of!

This is not to say that there is no such thing as malicious action, but I do believe that true maliciousness is rare and even that, at its core, is the result of a severe separation from love.

We all need to do what we feel is right. If this is not the right time for you to forgive, then it is not time. However, I would just remember that forgiveness of more of a healing balm for your own soul than it is a backdoor of absolution for the other person (or for your past self).

If it is our goal to love more fully and to open ourselves to the experience of all that Love is, we need to release that weight of blame and resentment, anger and fear. Forgiveness is a beautiful way to let go of that weight.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

May you be aware that pure, limitless Love is with you always!

Love,

Ana

Productivity pressure and other mindset traps!

What is your biggest reason for putting off self-care?

Self-care being anything that balances out stress or hardship by allowing you to prioritize your health and well-being (physically, emotionally, energetically, spiritually, etc).

Is it not enough time?

In which case, can you be more specific? What is taking up your that time that is more productive than self care? Remember, self-care doesn’t need to happen all day every day. But if you feel overwhelmed, off balance, stressed or fatigued, you need to assess how much self-care (and what kinds of self care) is going to bring you back to equilibrium and health.

My mindset trap tends to be what I think of as Productivity Pressure. I had a habit of pushing aside self-care because I didn’t view it as productive. (I say “had” because I am actively focused on changing my perspective around this issue)

So here is where I needed to pause and ask myself a couple of questions…

1.       “What does productivity mean to me?”

2.       “Why is productivity more important to me then caring for my well-being?”

3.       “How can I shift my perspective to find balance between work and rest, productivity and self-care?”

Whatever your typical reason for not prioritizing your own health and happiness is, I invite you to question it. The answer may go a lot deeper than you might think.

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Momentary backstory: (It comes full circle, I promise!)

My older brother married the one true love of his life on Saturday and the whole weekend was EXTREMELY emotional for me. I was so happy for him and for his new wife and between Friday night and Saturday I cried a LOT of happy tears! Listening to the ceremony, the vows they made to each other, and the speeches and toasts about love that followed, really made me reflect on the love in my own life and how I am treating and respecting, and most of all receiving, that love.

What got to me most was the way they looked at each other. Each glance held excitement and pride, joy and relief, knowing and understanding, devotion and respect, and so many promises. I thought for a brief moment, I wish my husband looked at me like that and in the next moment, I knew… my husband DOES look at me like that, I just don’t let myself see it or bask in it in the same way that these beautiful newlyweds were basking in it.

As always, the question was “WHY?”.

The word that came to my mind first and stuck into my heart the most was PRIDE. I was not allowing myself to see the pride in my husband’s gaze because I wasn’t looking at myself with pride. That realization broke me open enough that I was able to study myself long and hard (and most of Sunday was devoted to me doing just that… and then going to bed at 7:30 to recover)

Somewhere inside, even after all the years of dedicated self-growth and healing work, I still believed that I hadn’t earned the right to be honored or to be looked at with pride. I still felt that I needed to work harder and longer, that I needed to earn more money or pile on more accomplishments; I needed to be MORE PRODUCTIVE to be proud of myself or to be deserving of anyone else’s pride.

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I put off self-care a lot of the time, because I pressured myself to be productive so that I could EARN LOVE from myself and others.

There is a difference between the things we KNOW to be true in our minds and the things that we FEEL to be true in our hearts and bodies.

I know on an intellectual level that I am a being made of love and that I am inherently deserving of love. Sometimes, I feel this truth in my body and when I do I feel wholly and fully myself, completely deserving of love and pride and respect. I know what this feels like and try to go back to that feeling and refocus myself into this truth as often as I can.

When I am putting this productivity pressure on myself to the extent that it is overwhelming my need for self-care, I know that older limiting thought patterns are taking over. Thought habits that are not based in love or in the highest truth of who I am.

I think that looking into WHY we put off our self-care, can give us a deeper look into what we believe about ourselves. When we take the time to ask questions and identify our limiting beliefs around self-care, we can work on shifting our perspective much more quickly, thereby saving ourselves from burnout, overwhelm and other forms of suffering.

Personally, I had to realize that, for me, the word “Productivity” was synonymous to “Earning Love” and that I when I am prioritizing the energy of “Productively Earning Love”, I am viewing my reality through the lens of the limiting belief that I am not inherently worthy of love. So, I need to shift that perspective and change my definition of productivity to something more healthy and balanced.

I am going to try defining Productivity as “actively sharing my love with others” and Self-Care as “Actively sharing love with myself”. Self-care is what allows me to be productive, because it allows me to fill my own cup so that I can share my gifts with others. This, to me, feels much more healthy and balanced.

Sometimes, it takes a wedding, or a big emotional upheaval or a time of being extremely off balance, to make us realize that something isn’t right and that something needs to change. When we get into the habit of questioning ourselves and the way we react to these times, we can shift our perspectives and step into the next day with much more balance and clarity and determination and pride.


I hope you take some self-care time to ask these big questions of yourself and get to know yourself at the subconscious level of limiting belief.

Productively sending my love to you!


Ana

A Letter from My Belly....

I have been thinking a lot about how I might be kinder and more aware of the needs of my physical body.I have a tendency to get caught up in masculine energy (still) and I know that my feminine energy is most intense when I can get fully into my body in a loving and appreciative way. This was an intention that I set for myself this morning.


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*** SHORT STORY***

So it is my husband’s Christmas break, he’s a high school teacher, and so he doesn’t have to get up early. I am feeling a little sick and so I gave myself a break and set the alarm for 7am instead of 5:45am. I get up, drink some tea and sit down to meditate, as usual. I was given very firm instructions to appreciate and take care of my body more and GO. BACK. TO. BED! Which led to a lovely and relaxing morning and meant I didn’t start working until around 11:30.

But this made me start asking “How can I be better about allowing my nurturing feminine energy to balance my masculine energy? How can I love and take care of my body better?

So a day of work goes by, studded with long breaks and then at 7:30pm, I went back into meditation to get some inspiration on what I need to do for the rest of the week. This turned into a full on information DOWNLOAD that was way too big for my conscious brain to even get all of it.

At the end of this crazy experience I went back to thinking about my theme for the day. I began asking myself more questions like….

What is my least favorite body part?
What would that body part say to me if given the chance?

Then Download number 2 happened and this is what it said...

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A letter from my Belly:

I see that you are trying
You look in the mirror, 5 seconds, 10 seconds
“I can work with this”, “It’s not beyond saving yet”
You have come a long way,
Then you glance away, can’t yet keep eye contact, 
Looking for reassurance from a part you that feels safe

You hide me in black, confines
Elastic band after elastic band
As if maybe you can squeeze me away
All the pinching, prodding, pulling down and away,
Like maybe if you pull hard enough I’ll stay
So you might see something flat and hard and perfect 
underneath

In my folds you store all your guilt
Every piece of birthday cake and every regret
Not trying hard enough, not fasting long enough 
Not measuring small enough to measure up 
To standards you found somewhere and decided were truth

I forgive you, I am there for you
I hold with such gentle care your future for you
And I soak up every shred of love you can muster
Hand on me gently at night before sleep
Hidden under over-sized shirts, under sheets and blankets and darkness

I am your center, your core
I create the balance that you take for granted
I am the goddess
I am the mother you came from,
I am the child who loved to be photographed
In me are the memories of generations past and to come
There is magic within me, yet to be tapped, recognized and celebrated.

I know this truth, when you do not

I can see that you are trying 
But for all the times you cannot love me
This is my message to you…

I love you anyway
I accept you anyway
I forgive you anyway

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Powerful shifts are possible when you ASK QUESTIONS and go into meditation consistently to listen for the answers!

What is your least favorite body part?

What would it say to you if it had the chance?

How would it move your body if it had the chance?

How can you love it, even just 2% more on a regular basis?


As for me…

I accept that I have room for growth. I accept that I am trying and I will continue to try and extend love to myself more and more.


Love you all!


Ana

If Knowledge is Power, Then Emotions are Superpowers!

This is something that I am super passionate about! I wanted to start by giving you a little background on my story and then the 5 concepts you need to know to turn your emotions into your superpower. If you would rather watch the video, scroll to the end!



Emotions were not always my superpower!

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In fact, they used to be more like my Kryptonite.

I spent many years of my life completely denying the emotional aspect of myself. From a young age, I grew up in a household where mental illness was prevalent and (no matter how loving and nurturing and awesome my upbringing was) I was acutely aware of how seriously debilitating depression, anxiety and PTSD can be. In my mind, I associated all intensely uncomfortable emotions with mental illness, and I was terrified by them. I was terrified of being emotionally overwhelmed and then diagnosed with a mental illness and I was terrified of being put on medication (even though I knew on a mental level that they could be truly helpful) and no longer in control. So instead of feeling my emotions, and accepting them, and learning from them, I stuffed them deep down and tried to throw away the key.

I immersed myself in my masculine energy and focused on developing and valuing my masculine traits. I put my head down and pushed my way through every obstacle. I tried to solve every problem by working harder and longer than anyone else. I avoided friendships with women and worked in male dominated industries (tree work, landscaping, etc).

The problem with pretending not to be emotional, and stuffing down all emotions, is that every once in a while (more like once or twice a month) I would have a full on emotional breakdown. A huge tidal wave of emotion would completely knock me flat and I would barely be able to do anything for days. I would sink into these deep depressions and this would simply reinforce the beliefs I held about emotions.

I believed that emotions were scary, that they were a weakness and an obstacle that needed to be overcome. I believed that if I gave my emotions any leeway, they would completely take control over me and every time I experienced this severe emotional overwhelm, I would “prove” these believes right. I was also terrified to seek help because I was afraid of that diagnosis, of medication and of my fear that something was really wrong with me, being proven true.

Then I found an outlet that allowed me to explore my femininity, aerial circus. I found a way to control my emotions to some extent by using my physical body to turn them into art. I was able to move my body in an emotional and feminine way and then I was able to perform and share that part of myself with other people. This did not “solve” my problems, by any means, but it did begin to relieve some of the pressure.

I started to slowly look at my emotions in a new light and today I have had a complete change of heart. Today, I view my emotions as my biggest superpower! My emotions are my most effective tool for uncovering my beliefs and knowing myself as the deepest levels.

This practice of using emotions as a tool for self growth and self-knowledge has improved my life in so many ways. It has allowed me…

  • to develop a self love practice that felt true and powerful for me

  • to feel like I can confidently solve problems and get to the bottom of what is causing my emotions as they occur

  • rescue my relationships by allowing me to be vulnerable and authentically communicate what is actually going inside of me in a way that others can understand.

  • to develop this amazing tribe of people who love and support ALL of who I am, emotions included!


So let’s get into the 5 “C’s” behind using emotions as superpowers!

  1. CONTROL:

 In order to gain control over our emotions, instead of letting them control us, we need to STOP denying our emotions and start embracing and accepting ourselves as emotional beings. Be open to the idea that emotions are actually here to help us, not harm us. We need to stop hiding our emotions away and shaming ourselves for having this natural, normal, amazing human quality.

Our emotions are our guidance system. Like the pain that comes from leaving our hand on a hot stove, uncomfortable emotions make us acutely and immediately aware when we are creating our reality using fear based beliefs. In the same way, extremely good feeling emotions let us know that we are on the right track and that our beliefs, in that moment, are in alignment with the higher truth of who we are. Our emotions are there to guide and teach us about our beliefs and give us that “warmer or colder” style feedback about the decisions we make (whether that be thoughts or behaviors).

When we decide to view our emotions as an asset and use them as a tool to get to know ourselves at the deepest level we step away from that victim mentality and take our power back.

2. COURAGE & CURIOSITY:

Emotions can be intense. It is easy to develop the fear that if we fully FEEL our emotions, that we will loose all control and sink so deeply into the hurt or sadness or rage or anxiety that we will never be happy again. That may read as a little melodramatic, but to some degree, if you are this far into this blog post, you know what I am talking about!

We are also afraid of taking responsibility for the beliefs that caused these uncomfortable emotions in the first place. We are afraid that something is actually really wrong with us because we have been trained to put so much emphasis on the power of beliefs, instead of the concept that beliefs are just thoughts we keep thinking and they can be changed.

It takes courage to face all this fear, to be willing to actually FEEL your emotions and sit in the discomfort, to acknowledge and accept the emotions as they come up, and to get curious and dig into your own depths to take responsibility for uncovering the beliefs that are causing those emotions. This process can take a little time, especially in the beginning and there is a lot of fessing up that needs to happen and a lot of responsibility that needs to be taken. But this is where your power lies, in your ability to take responsibility for your beliefs, but to believe in your own ability to change.

3. COMMUNICATION & COMMUNITY:

A large part of why we communicate is to collaborate on solving problems. However, it is impossible to communicate something effectively, or problem solve efficiently, if we do not fully understand what we are communicating about.

When we do not know WHY we are getting emotional we tend to just blame it on whatever triggered the emotion. We blame instead of taking responsibility. We blame our spouses, our friends, our work, our family member, the weather, the neighbor’s cat (you get the picture), and this means that we end up communicating about problems on a very superficial level and making the other party put up all their emotional defenses in the process. When we neglect to figure out the underlying cause of a problem or an emotional trigger, we are never able to come to permanent solutions because we are not addressing the underlying beliefs that caused the emotions in the first place.

As we develop our courage and curiosity and we become more efficient at uncovering the beliefs behind our emotions, we are able to communicate on a deeper, more vulnerable, more efficient and more authentic level. It is like two doctors discussing “who gave the illness to who”, instead of talking about what caused the illness in the first place and what to do about it!

4. COMPASSION:

The more we know ourselves, the more compassion we have for ourselves and others. As we build up evidence for the idea that we get to choose how we react to our emotions and we get to choose to identify (or not) with the beliefs behind those emotions, we begin to naturally veer towards being more compassionate with ourselves. We realize that it is okay that we feel uncomfortable emotions sometimes. In fact, it’s great, because it’s a new chance to learn about ourselves.

We also begin to have compassion for people who have not done this work and we can step back enough from them to have that compassion because we no longer blame them for our own emotional reactions. When others act out of ignorance and fear, we can empathize and we also know that there will be plenty of times STILL when we will fall back into those same patterns and that is okay. We are all on different parts of the same circular path.



5. CREATE CHANGE:

Training our emotional superpowers gives us a foundation for change. When we know WHO we are and What we believe, we can start to decide what we are going to do with that information!

We can ask ourselves the big questions at anytime, questions like…Who do we want to be, Why are we here, How do we want to feel, What do we want to believe, How do we want to show up in the world? But without a solid foundational understanding of where we are starting, we cannot effectively answer these big questions.

The big questions are great. They give us a compass, a general direction in which to travel, but it is the small, everyday decisions that make up the road-map. Our emotions tell us which way to turn at every crossroads. They are as equally crucial in small scale decision making as they are in answering life’s big questions and we need both to have a successful life-long road-trip!

In other words, using emotions to understand ourselves, is a super important part of creating the reality that we truly want to live!


Thanks for sticking with me through this post. I am still working on articulating my thoughts in a clear and concise manor on video, so I like to write them down in addition to posting the FB lives. But if you want the video version, feel free to click the link below.

Don’t Forget! I want to start a conversation around these topics, so PLEASE leave your comments and questions below and I will be happy to reply!


Love you all,


Ana


What if I suck at Meditation? 5 tips for when your brain won’t shut up!

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(Video at the end of the page) 

First of all, let me just say that the only way you can “suck at meditation” is to not try at all (or to give it a few half-hearted attempts and then give up)! You DO NOT have to turn your thoughts off to meditate.

Yes, meditation is a time to reset, listen and be quiet and still, but worrying about quieting your mind is counterproductive. Your brain is meant to be working and thinking all the time.

In some ways the brain is like a rambunctious 3 year old. The key is to give your brain a toy that is interesting enough that it can entertain itself while the rest of you gets quiet and still. This is one of the reasons why chanting, or counting the breath are so common place in meditation practices, doing these things gives your conscious mind something to do so it doesn’t just get bored and run around like a toddler who found the sugar bowl while you weren’t looking (or a monkey in a tree, which is where the phrase monkey mind comes from)!

So here are 5 things you can try out when starting a meditation practice, but once again, making it a practice is the most important thing!


1. Allow your brain to do its’ thing!

Really, it’s okay. Allow your brain to think and go crazy, especially when you are first starting. Just set a timer for 5 minutes and watch your monkey mind go crazy. Committing to that 5 minutes of silence is a great start.

The key is to accept where you are in this moment. “Right now my brain is racing and that is okay, I accept and love my mind. My brain is amazing, look at it go!”

Eventually, begin to notice and repeat back to yourself some of the thoughts you are thinking or begin to interject mantras or intentions at random points, “It is my intention to think good feeling thoughts”.

Again, just notice how your brain responds. At the beginning, your meditation practice is to be mindful of the mind. To notice your thoughts and sit with them without judging them. Once you are able to do this, the next natural step is to….




2. Follow the good feeling thoughts…

and swipe left on (or delete or say “NEXT!”to) the not so good feeling thoughts. When you begin to notice what thoughts are actually coming up, ask yourself “Does this thought feel good?”. If the answer is yes, then ask, “What thought would feel even better?”.

If the thought didn’t feel good, swipe left or say, “NEXT” in your mind and keep doing that until a better feeling thought shows up. This kind of focused attention is a wonderful meditation practice and you don’t need to stop thinking, just focus on thinking things that make you feel good!

This is one of my favorite things to do in the car. I don’t have to close my eyes or sit perfectly still, but eventually, following the next good feeling thought, leads me to a state of blissful connection. When I found that state of connection for the first time I was so excited and so amazed at how easy it was to get there. Once you find that place of feeling full of love and bliss, things shift inside of you and you can never go back and you will never be the same.

(I realize that sounds kind of ominous, but really, when I began to be able to access that place on a regular basis is when my self-growth really sky rocketed, because I realized the “truth” of my nature and was able to compare the rest of my life to that.)




3. Focus on your breathing.

Yup, this one has to be in there sorry! But there are lots of ways to focus on breath and again, it gives your brain something to do while the rest of you gets quiet and listens. Here are just a few ways to focus on your breathing.

  1. Focus on how the air feels cold as it enters your nose and how it feels warm when it exits.

  2. Count your breaths. I like to start by counting to three on the inhale, 3 for the pause and 3 for the exhale and then work my way up to 7 counts for each part. Counting gives your brain something to do while you breathe.

  3. Place one hand on your belly and one on your heart and focus on the feeling of your hands moving up and down. OR focus on the feeling of energy that build between your hands and your body, imagining it as golden light.




4. Visualize, darling, Visualize!

There are an infinite number of things to visualize while meditating. I have my 5 favorite visualizations for free on my website (HERE), but I will give you an example here as well. You might be surprised how easy this becomes, especially once you have practiced a favorite visualization for a while and performing it becomes second nature.

Growing Tree Visualization

Picture a seed in the center of your heart. It is made of light and energy and can be any color you like. As you breathe, the seed begins to grow, sending out tiny roots down your spine and little baby leaves up into your chest and throat. As you continue to breathe, imagine the roots getting bigger and stronger exiting out of your body through the base of your spine and into the ground, eventually connecting with the center of the earth (I like to picture the center of the earth as a giant crystal). Similarly, the leaves and stem of the plant begin to extend all the way out of your head and into the sky, the branches growing and spreading. Eventually, the trunk of the tree begins to thicken and strengthen and your whole body is surrounded by the light of the trunk. Lastly, imagine that the roots pull up grounding nurturing energy from the earth into your body as the leaves gather starlight and moonlight (or sunlight) and pull that energy into your body as well. Soak up as much energy as you would like (or set a timer) before ending the meditation.

You can also find a guided meditation on YouTube. I like the binaural beat ones and I like to listen with headphones on. My only problem with these is that I tend to want to fall asleep, so I have to sit up.




5. Try different times of day!

I like to meditate first thing in the morning or right after a workout. Other people like the middle of the day or right before bed, it is worth experimenting with different times of day to see which works best for you.

My mornings normally look like this…

First thing in the morning, I get up, make a cup of tea and find a comfy spot to meditate (normally sitting up in bed, but I understand that bed might be too tempting of a place for some). The process of getting up and making tea (and sometimes journaling) before I meditate helps me break away from the sleep cycle just enough that I don’t fall asleep while meditating, but I also haven’t gotten to the constant mental “To Do List” portion of my day.

Meditating right after a workout is really great too, especially if you have a hard time sitting still or getting comfortable in meditation. For me, I like to work out, stretch out, then meditate so that my muscles don’t just cramp up and lock into place. The slight fatigue does help me to calm down and I am usually happy to just sit still for a while after a hard workout.  


Let me know what your story around meditation is. What is your favorite way to meditate OR maybe, What do you perceive to be your biggest obstacles to meditation? Put your answers in the comments below.

Sending my love to you as always!


Ana

The Trials and Triumphs of Turning 30!

Thank you for bearing witness to this reflection on my past and my commitment to stepping into my power and greatness as I step into being 30!

(FB live on the topic is at the bottom of the page, but the blog is different and more concise in a lot of ways, so worth the read!)

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I turn 30 tomorrow and though for many of you, this birthday has come and past and no longer feels significant, for me, turning thirty represents a major turning point in my life. As I step into this new decade, I am acknowledging this moment of stepping into a new, more authentic and more holistic version of me with gratitude and reflecting on all the lessons and wisdom that I am taking with me, hard won from a great many trials and mistakes.

Thinking about the main trials and triumphs of my life so far makes me realize just how far I have come in just the past 10 years. It also makes me realize that it was my trials, my darkest nights of the soul, that have allowed me the opportunity to have any triumphs at all. My trials are the groundwork, the foundation of my triumphs.

For most of my late teens and early twenties, I was in the dark.

There has always been light in my life, but during that time I did not choose to see it.

I chose to identify myself based off my flaws and shortcomings instead of identifying myself based off the unconditional, infinite, loving core that we all share. That is one MASSIVE SHIFT!

Living in the constant fear that you don’t belong, that you have no value or power, that you are not worthy of love or acceptance, that you are really a monster and one day someone is going to find out, is paralyzing and it is so…very…lonely.

Living in that constant fear puts you in survival mode and we create an identity for ourselves based on how we believe we can best survive.

For me, I created a survival identity that was small and powerless and invisible. I would pop up here and there, to try to be helpful and supportive of others, but always in small ways, never in big ones. I would poor out the love in my heart to anyone who would lap it up, but I was too afraid to be with someone who could fully love me back, because that would involve being seen, and accepting love that I did not believe that I deserved. I hid behind mask after mask, trying to be who I perceived everyone else wanted me to be, changing masks moment to moment and trying to keep track of them all.

My heart broke again and again, not because my lovers and friends broke it, but because I had allowed it to weaken over the years by starving it of love.

I couldn’t allow other people’s love into the deep parts of my heart, because I did not love myself.

When we don’t love ourselves, it is as if the deepest part of our heart, the seed of our soul, our child self, goes into hiding, it gets locked away. That is part of survival mode. That seed of our soul hides away so it can be safe for a time and so it doesn’t break when our heart does. It hides away to try and give us as much of a chance and as much time to learn to love ourselves as possible, before we give up entirely.

Luckily, at 19 years old, I had a trial that brought me to a point where I couldn’t handle any more pain. I had to make that choice to live or not. Not to survive or not… to Live or not. Surviving in that amount of pain, loneliness and despair was not an option anymore. That decision to LIVE, really live, is the foundation that the rest of my life rests upon.

That first dark night of the soul trial, gave me the determination to learn from each future mistake and slowly figure out how to love myself, how to find connection to others, how to know my own value and worthiness, and how to stand in my power.  

I have always had a little voice inside of me, even in the toughest times that whispered,

“You are meant for greatness! You are special and magical, and you are meant to be MORE than you are now!”

Deciding, even for just a moment, to listen to that voice gave me to courage to reach out to a counselor for help. To be honest, that counselor wasn’t that much help, but the decision to stand up for myself and seek out help was the most important thing.

Over the course of my 20’s, I continued to make a lot of mistakes and put myself through a lot of trials, and each gave me more information about my true nature.

I did a lot of starting over from scratch (new location, no job, no money) and through those adventures, I learned about my own strength and resilience. I learned humility from the number of times I needed to ask for help. I learned that I am resourceful and that I don’t give up easily. I learned that most people are kind and that I have a lot of offer in return for kindness.  

I did a lot of searching for love in co-dependent relationship after co-dependent relationship and learned that Love, from other people, is not enough when you don’t love yourself. I learned the hard way that…

Depending on someone else for your happiness puts that person in energetic chains that they cannot see but, on a deep level, desperately long to escape and that this is a burden no one can bare for long.

These relationships taught me that I was responsible for my own reality and I decided that I was going to take responsibility for my own happiness.

I did a lot of following my intuition from job to job, place to place, from person to person, and I learned that my intuition always leads me to the most interesting situations, the most profound lessons and ALWAYS requires that I face my fears!

 

Eventually, I met my husband and I was back to facing my biggest fear. The fear that I was not worthy of love.

I had decided to not repeat old relationship patterns! I knew that I had to choose to learn to love myself if I wanted to break my cycle of co-dependency and make our relationship work. I had to allow that self-love to nourish my heart and unlock the seed of my soul before I could fully accept the love he wanted to give me.

So, I practiced finding compassion for myself. Empathy for myself. I did the work and I asked my husband to keep me accountable for doing that work.

I committed to meditating daily. I started to see and feel glimpses of my true nature (of infinite love, potential and connection), and began to allow the garments of identity that I had gathered over the years to fall away in those moments. Meditation gave me that basic understanding of oneness and through that understanding I began to extend compassion and forgiveness to people in my life who had hurt me.

As I began to forgive them, I started to understand that, although I had released much of the anger I was holding in my heart towards others, I was still angry at myself. I was angry at myself for all the times in my life that I didn’t love or care for myself, that I didn’t stick up for myself and that I allowed myself to be hurt. I began to visualize meetings with my child self, my teen self, my 20 something self, my future self, my negative self……all the “selves”…. and, I forgave myself and healed myself and extended that offering of love to all the selves that I had neglected and turned aside from over the years.

I accepted all the parts of myself that I had once labeled as “flaws” and began using them as my strengths. Most notably, I accepted my emotional nature and began using the emotions that I had once labeled as “weaknesses”, to strengthen my insight into myself and to clarify and strengthen my communication in a deeply vulnerable and authentic way. Starting first with my husband and then extending that authentic communication practice to a wider circle of people.

Eventually I created a system around my inner work, a method that simplified my internal questioning and self-discovery and made it routine part of my daily life.

Now, as I step into 30 and all the new opportunities that this decade has to offer, I want to share that method with others. I want to guide and support people on their journey towards self-love, self-empowerment, self-knowledge, authentic communication and mindfulness. I want to help people learn to listen to their own inner wisdom and that little voice that whispers that they are MORE; more full of love, more powerful, more limitless, more vibrant, more healthy and happy and FREE than they are allowing themselves to be a the moment.   

So this year, you will be seeing MORE of me and hearing MORE of me because I am committing to expansion and I am breaking free from my “being small” identity! My new identity is all about love without limits and I am excited to share THAT with the world!

Leaving you with love as always, catch you next time!

 

Ana