Category Archives: Self Discovery

[Self Discovery] Setting Intentions that Stick for the New Year

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We’re two weeks into 2019 and I’m sure you’ve seen them popping up everywhere, from the blogosphere to your social media feeds; it’s a new year and everyone is reinventing themselves, so to speak. Though January 1st isn’t reserved for making personal changes, I’ve always found the temporal and physical shift into a new year brings the best intentions into action. Whether it’s physical fitness or mental dexterity, working your way through a list of books or forgoing your smart phone to be more present in the moment – this is the time to be the change you’ve been seeing; but let’s be honest – making those changes stick like glue, is a whole horse of a different color. The unfortunate reality of many resolutions and desired mercurial changes, are that they fall by the wayside if we don’t commit ourselves correctly; whether that’s lack of planning, laziness, apathy which all lead to a loss of vision and ultimately – incomplete intentions.

With the upcoming Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo falling on the first full moon of the year next Monday – this weekend posits to be an excellent time to shake old behavior patterns while putting paper to pen, prepping then putting mind, body and spirit on an actionable trajectory. It might trigger some middle school flashbacks, but vision boards are fantastic ways of making your dreams a tangible reality by transitioning them from your mental space and creating a physical representation of them.

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Putting your dreams, resolutions and desires into a roadmap helps on multiple levels, no matter how haphazard it might seem initially. First, the simple act of creating your board boosts your brain function, firmly implanting the intentions in both your short-term and long-term memory. Next up, putting your board in a place you see it every day places these memories from desire into habit through repetition. Last, but certainly not least, you attract the energy you expel – meaning that through repetition, small steps and dedication, you’ll find the things which you actively seek. Think of these as mental passion pushups that you can do every day and night.

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Reading through The Net & The Butterfly last year, I had the epiphany that creating short term goals meant I could fight smaller battles for little moments of win, instead of the larger war. Goals don’t have to start grandiose, even the greatest Pyramids started from a single brick. All resolutions big or small are built on the blocks of self discipline and setting personal boundaries; discipline forms habit and habit transforms into action. I highly recommend keeping a journal, daily for those who can commit to it, but biweekly at best; and I’ve found that aligning with the Full and New Moons is a wonderful way to have a personal check in, whether you’re into astrology or not. For those that dabble with Tarot or Runes, it’s a keen time for a spread – one stone or card for a daily tarot, and more extensive pulls at a weekly or biweekly level. If you want to keep a journal but don’t want the daily commitment, the Instant Happy Journal is a great way to stay focused.

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When laying the groundwork for big picture goals, I’m a huge proponent of the Passion Planner. I know there are lots of wonderful resources popping up here and there, but for me this one truly has it all. Passion Planner helps align the head for an annual overview, and can become a written visionboard in a way. On the flip side, there’s ample space for monthly reflections and weekly goal setting – key building blocks to your overall success and a great method for incubating ideas and putting action plans behind them.

Whether they’re for the new year, or just a new you – how do you stick to your resolutions? Drop a line in the comments below!

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[Self Discovery] The Serenity of the Sea

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 “My life is like a stroll upon the beach, as near to the ocean’s edge as I can go”
— 
Henry David Thoreau —

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Ever just feel the need to get away? Not to necessarily escape from life, but to take a midweek vacation from all the humdrum stress of your vocation and whatever else might be plaguing or mentally exhausting you.  Lately, there’s been this large itch to jump in the car and not be home – maybe it’s the incredible heat waves we’ve been having in Los Angeles proper, maybe it’s the fact I’ve formally lived in Los Angeles for a decade now; irregardless, lately I’ve had this distant itch that I’ve needed to scratch from sandier locations.

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I work from home and have been working from home for the last five or so years.  It’s a wonderful life, but at the same time – it can make for some stir crazy mornings and cabin fever-esque afternoons.  Thankfully, for the last few weeks, I’ve been blessed enough to tag along while my dad goes on a few work trips down to gorgeous and sunny San Diego, and every now and again I’ve also been jumping in the car with Danny and working from anywhere that cell phone service exists along the Southern California coast.  From Santa Monica, to Long Beach, San Pedro down to Orange County and San Diego – the California Coastline down here has a bevvy of beautiful beaches, ripe and ready for adventures.

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With seventeen miles of coastline and nearly 5000 acres of land, San Diego boasts an incredible amount of beaches per capita, each with their own unique charm, from Ocean Beach to Encinatas and back to Moonlight Beach – you simply can’t go wrong as you bounce from one sandy piece of heaven to the next.  Yes, of course beaches will be crowded – have you met Summer in SoCal?! – so be sure to head there with plenty of time to spare and plenty of sun and sand to be had.

Travel up the coast a bit and you’ll hit the beautiful beaches of Orange County and Newport, including the stunning 1000 Steps Beach.  But I’ll be honest, the only version of the OC I like is the show – and it’s primarily because I can put it on mute. Anyhow, just a hop, skip and a jump up and you’ll reach shores of San Pedro and Angels Gate Park, where notorious scenes from my all time favorite movie were played out in the 90’s.  Can you name the movie? I won’t give it away!  Nestled between two coastlines in a sprawling green park that overlooks the coast, you’ll find the fabled ‘Koren Friendship Bell‘ in all of its vibrant glory and impeccable hand crafted detail.

Los Angeles itself is known as much for the glitz and glamour of Hollywood as it is the menagerie of beaches against its coast.  Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu, Point Dume – you simply can’t go wrong.  Now, it’s definitely a personal decision, but Danny and I typically off for the off the beaten path locations with less people – the more of a tourist trap it is, the less peace, quiet and space you’ll have, you know – if you’re into that sort of thing.

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“Don’t underestimate the healing power of these three things:
music, the ocean, and the stars.” 

Hypnotically beautiful with brooding turbulence underneath, the Ocean water mimics the human condition: meeting new highs and pulsing lows, bringing rocky baggage ashore and washing herself clean of the past, pulling new ideas back undertow and ingraining them in her personality. Summer in SD

It’s as if the waters have found themselves in the midst of mindful meditation that you can’t help but immulate: with this wave – I’m breathing in, with this wave – I’m breathing out.

 

No matter the mood or emotion I bring to the water’s edge with me, it’s always washed away and I’m left feeling rooted, as the soles of my feet and tips of my toes edge their way in and around millions of grains of sand that each have thousands of years of stories to tell.  Twisting my head to and fro to see as far as the eyes can see, I’m inexplicably drawn to the cascading of blues that measure where the sky and sea are drawn together in an almost hand painted gradient.  It’s here, that I shed my snakeskin of the past to the salt and air and become again.

Where do you go when your soul needs to refresh?

 

[Self Discovery] Water Your Own Garden

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You are here now. Those four words echo through my head like the perpetual reverberations of time. In the past few days, I’ve felt an awakening in my center, a soul-shaking, mind-altering shift in my own consciousness as we’re poised to embark on this new journey around the sun.  Hindsight being 20/20, as I think back to the past year, hell – even the past few months, I find myself in awe of my own growth spurts. And now, we’re at the precipice of a new cycle, the perennial moments of the new year and I have to say – it’s a wonderful time to be aware.

As I collect my annual memories and analyze them through a birds-eye view, my resolution for 2017 comes in crystal clear: the grass is greener where you choose to water it, so it’s time to water my own garden, catalyze my own transformation and spend this year turning inward to become the best version of myself.

With the exponential growth of social media grow and smart phones, one could argue that we’re actually just making dumb people.  Don’t get me wrong, being on social media can be fun. It’s a great way to keep in touch, catch up on “news”, and see what the masses are up to.  But, over the last decade, it’s turned into more of a spectator sport and digital version of the SIMS than an actual mechanism of friendship.   Instead of losing yourself in the unimportant feedback cycle of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like – put your phone down, in the other room even, and pick up a book, pick up a hobby – pick up yourself from the couch and go outside for a walk, surrounded by the wonders of nature; engage in your life, and life will engage you back.

Watering your own garden is about personal accountability for your life and the world you’re constantly curating around you; it’s about being a contributing member of your tribe; and, most importantly, it’s about being immersed in the magic of the moment and letting it wash over you like a late Summer rain on a warm August day, without hesitations from past anxieties or future worries.  It’s about creating your own curiosity and caring less about what others are doing in their own lives.  One of the biggest realizations I’ve had as an adult is that we are all the center of our own universes, and each is just as chaotic and nonsensical as the next – but time after time, people become so wrapped up in ourselves that they forget – I have a universe inside me, too. An empath at heart and a giver by nature, sometimes I don’t realize how much of myself I pour out freely for others – often to the point that I have little to none of myself left. So this year, I want to focus on shifting my perspective inwards, focusing on the cosmic shifts that I can cultivate by my own hands.  Collecting intention and owning the now, I finally see what’s possible for me – and let me tell you, it’s possible for you, too.Water your own garden, and you’ll see your life bloom and blossom in ways you ever thought possible.

How do you choose to water your own garden and what are your resolutions for the coming months? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy 2017!

[Self Discovery] How Do Your Stars Align?

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Raised as far away from organized religion as possible, my personal view on life and the world around us is that we’re inhabiting a universe built on vibrations emanating from a master source, strung together across infinite planes of existence.  So, to a large degree, it’s no wonder that I believe that the exact placement of the planets and stars around our sun are indicative of unique personality traits based on the day of our birth.

Born on a Full Moon during Mercury Retrograde, my lifetime long obsession with horoscopes, astrology, numerology, tarot, rune stones, and the like makes infinitely more sense. As a child, my parents unwittingly fanned my medium-esuqe flames.  They let letting me run rampant in used bookstores and gifted me ‘The Secret Language of Birthdays‘ when I was still in Middle School. Fast forward to High School and I was handed down my first tarot deck -a beautiful Ryder-Waite deck from the 70’s.  All of these events grotesquely shaped my view on the spiritual and physical worlds and I’m eternally grateful that I’ve discovered a bevy of resources for my metaphysical mind to wrap itself around.

Though I’ve considered myself Sagittarius through and through, the older I get2457724028830 – the more I realize that sun signs are only one piece of your complex, personal puzzle. To get the entire picture, you’ll want to delve into the entirety of your natal chart.  Plain and simple, your natal – or astrological – chart gives you keys to unlock and understand key personality traits.

To get a look at your natal chart you’ll need your birth place and birth time – an approximation will do, but exact is always the best.  Astrolabe is currently my favorite online resources for natal charts, and even better – the basic chart is free. For the cosmically curious and astrologically enthused, I suggest snagging a copy of Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Astrology – it’s the perfect introductory reader, and you’ll learn tips and tricks, including how to compute a natal chart by hand.

Beyond your sun sign, you’ll discover your moon sign – an emotional, and feminine energy that plays into your shadow self and subconscious behaviors.  If you were born on a Full Moon like me, it’s a pretty easy formula: our moon signs directly oppose our sun sign – my sun is in Sagittarius, and my moon is in Gemini.  In parallel with the moon sign, the moon phase when you were born equally indicative of deeply ingrained personality traits; if you don’t know the moon sign for the day you were born, you can calculate it here.

The more I delve into my own natal chart, the more I answer unasked questions about my personality and inherant behavior.   Do you notice anything divine about the way your stars align?

Let me know in the comments below!

[Witchy Ways] DIY Sage Sticks for Your New Moon Rituals

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As the year winds down, the palpable, universal energy feels like it’s picked up ten-fold. October’s New Moon fell on All Hallows Eve Eve, November’s New Moon comes tomorrow on the 29th as we’re clearing the air of Thanksgiving and it’s wonderful cast of visitors, while December’s New Moon falls right after Christmas on the 29th. Maybe – probably – it’s just me, but this year has felt different – it’s had a synchronistic air to it the entire time. That said, with the New Moon hanging over our head this evening – today marks the perfect time to get weave your witchy ways.

Coming from a pastime riddled with Tarot, rune stones, numerology and energy healing – it shouldn’t be that hard to understand that I live, eat, breathe and love in moon cycles. Though the moon cycles through it’s phases every 28.5 days, I find it incredibly beneficial to have a few reference guides just in case I don’t remember off the top of my head.  For phone apps, I highly suggest Moon Phase in the Apple Store or if you’re online –  you can always venture to Moon Giant for the latest and greatest in lunar happenings.  Last, but certainly not least, let your thirst for knowledge lead you to the fountain of your minds youth: resource books.  Load up on your literature and you’ll never have a dull day ahead of you; if you’re looking for a jumping off point, I would start with Llewellyn’s Moon Sign Book (snag your 2017 copy meow).  New Moons pose the perfect time to marinate on the last cycle, and set your intentions for the new one while Full Moons are excellent occasions to act on those intentions and make potential energy kinetic. As such, rituals surrounding the New Moon can be useful for grounding yourself and cleansing your spiritual space.

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Whenever the holidays rear their rasta colored head, an old quote always comes to mind: Everyone loves guests; some when they come, others when they leave.  Because let’s not get it twisted – this year’s Thanksgiving festivities were fantastic! Danny and I both had family come into town for the holiday, my parents stayed with us for four nights and Danny – bless his heart – made pretty much all of our Thanksgiving feast.  Now that the parental units are out of the house, we’ve finally realized just how tiring the holidays are when you’re actually adulting (also known as making a plan and following through with it).  Now that our house is full of post-holiday herbs, it’s the perfect time to get my home cleanse on.

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Materials

    • Twine – level up and get fancy with mutlicolored twine
    • Scissors
    • Fresh Herbs and Dried Flowers: Think Sage, Rosemary, Lavender, Rosebuds 

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It’s a pretty simple formula once you have all your supplies in place!

Take a helping handful of your herbs – feel free to mix and match, but make sure you’re heavier on the sage.  Amanda-10

Grab the herbs by the base of the leaves and begin to wrap the twine from the base, up to the very top – it’s okay for the bundle to be a bit loose, because we’re going to wrap the twine back down one more time.
After you’ve wrapped your smudge stick, find a nice place to let it air dry and let it hang upside down if possible.  In about three weeks, your sacred smudge stick full of your beautiful intentions will be ready – and just in time for the December New Moon, and the next influx of holiday visitors.

 What are your favorite Holiday crafts?  Let me know in the comments below!

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[Self Discovery] The Truth About Lying

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Lies.  Big or small, white or monstrous – we’ve all told them, and to believe the contrary would be – you guessed it – a lie. According to a recent study, we lie in 25% of our interactions.  Both in action and as concrete ideas, lies can build an unstable foundation in any relationship, familial, romantic, platonic – and even your relationship with yourself. And these untruths aren’t confined to our external environment, either; for every falsehood we voice out loud, there are a handful of others that we tell to ourselves. Unfortunately, the lies we tell ourselves pave the way for the way we lie to the world.

In contrast to Mark Twain, who saw them as ‘Lies, damn lies and statistics’; I choose to think of them as white lies, grey lies and black lies, all sitting on a sliding scale of deception. Let’s do a thought experiment for a second. Quick as a bunny, what’s the last lie you told?  Did you tell your boss you needed more time on a project, when you’ve actually just been procrastinating?  Did you misrepresent yourself in the way you dress, catering to a specific subset of society? Did you tell your squad that you’d meet them for drinks tonight when all you plan on doing is curling up on the couch? Did you tell an artistic friend that you enjoyed their last piece of work when you were anything but interested? Did you tell yourself you didn’t want seconds when you’re still hungry? From half truths to complete falsehoods, none of them are honest – but, one could argue, they’re socially necessary.

From an early age when we couldn’t yet grasp the veracity of the truth when contrasted with the stark emptiness of a false promise, or erroneous nature of a flat out lie – we babbled, we balked, then we talked and walked.  We expressed ourselves emotionally, in our own truth, while slowly learning the truths around us.  Leaves don’t dance down from trees, they fall with the assistance of gravity; I’d rather believe the former, but the later screams accuracy.  And that’s the thing, lies always start small – innocent, lacking any semblance of personal harm or distrust.

White lies are the lies we use on a daily basis to navigate the world.  Telling the cashier that your day is going well even if it’s anything but, entertaining a lunchtime meeting with your boss when you just wanted to have your head in a book, compromising on restaurant choice because your friend’s appetite is heavily invested and you could give a shit.  Yes, you could be honest in all occasions: My day is actually shit, how long do you have to talk; Sorry, I would rather be alone than talk to you; No, I’m not interesting in eating there.  Yet, you don’t – because it’s simpler, easier, almost more necessary to give in to the dance of life.  However, each of those scenarios becomes exponentially trickier the more you you’ve seen the cashier, the longer you’ve known your boss or just how well you know your friend.

They say that improvisational comedy won’t work if you continually say ‘No’ to scenarios, and life isn’t much different. Though white lies are most certainly lies, how awkward or tense would you have made each of those situations for both parties by delving into the veracity of the situation?  In an economic sense, you understand what you’re giving and you’re complicit in what you’re getting. What transforms the white lies into the grey ones, and the damned black dishonesty, are the people you’re deceiving and the levels of duplicity you’re willing to go through.  The closer you consider the relationship, the more harm dishonesty inflicts. Conversely, the more effort you put into the lie, the more disastrous the backdraft.

Beyond being kinder and flat out honest (things I like), the truth is also easier to remember and never has to be defended – because, simply put, the truth just is. It exists whether or not we want to acknowledge it.  It’s like evolution, climate change and science – it’s there, and life becomes more valuable when you accept the truth and move forward with it in your pocket.

The economy of friendship is built from the supply and demand backbones of truth. Though we would love to believe that we are infallible and incapable of telling lies, the fact of the matter is we all bend fact to make fable from time to time. Which begs the question not of why do others lie, but why do we lie? Comfort, ease, and emotional protection top the list – the comfort, ease and protection of our own ego.

Sometimes, the truth is boring and as orators and storytellers by nature, we yearn for the truth to be more exciting.  But more often than not, the truth is a a difficult pill to swallow – let alone force feed to another soul; it becomes an alarming reason for pause, a conversation starter, relationship ender, or an anxiety induced call to internal calamity. All the while lies, time and time again, are used to smooth over any future scars before the threat of pain is on the horizon.  The problem is this – lies are akin to using a bandaid to stop a gunshot wound; it might cover the wound and provide a momentary solution, but it’s not going to stop the bleeding or the pain.  While, on the other hand, intimate trust is more like a mirror – once it’s broken, it can never be put back together quite the same again; and lies have the innate ability to dismantle relationships altogether.  This brings about a new problem – and I’ll leave it to Nietzsche to summarize: “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that I can never believe you again.

None of us wants to believe the people in their lives to be liars, or dishonest in any way.  Yet knock out one of the mosaics in the stained glass window of your relationship with a lie and you’re bound to shine light on an emotional situation.  Knock too many down, and the vibrant image has been replaced with a new vision of clarity.  How many lies does one need to tell to be removed from our inner circle and emotionally placed outside of the intimate confines of our reality?

How many lies do we need to tell ourselves before we realize that we don’t have to be what the world wants us to be? We can be unapologetically ourselves, with all of our faults and idiosyncrasies, where our true preferences are wrapped up in the fibers of your ego and expunged through every fiber of your being.  Once you’ve lived honestly with yourself, there’s no going back – being honest with the world you cultivate and curate feels like living with love in every step; once attained, it feels like the only way to live.

No matter the circumstances, next time you’re about to fib, falter, misspeak, or flat out lie – wonder what you’re lying to yourself about first, and ask yourself why.

I watched this movie called “Liar Liar” and the message was, *Don’t* lie; and that was a smart movie.

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[Self Discovery] Discover An Organized Happiness with the Passion Planner

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As the years go by and I’ve catapulted by way from being a 20-something with a bunch of dreams to a 30-anything with a menagerie of passions, I’ve found it harder and harder to wrangle all of my daily activities, hobbies, part time gigs and fun shenanigans into one compact, concise, contained and well maintained location.  Existing within a highly chaotic and energetically entropic world requires some sort of organizational opulence.

For the smart phone user in our highly digital age, there’s a long list of apps for both iOs and Android that will keep you on your toes.  Google Calendar has long been a favorite of mine for scheduling events while I’ve depended on the seamless ease of Evernote from my phone to my desktop computer for the last three years to keep my litany of lists in line. I’ve always prided myself on my memory recall for dates, phone numbers and meetings – however, whenever I use anything digitally based, I honestly have a harder time keeping track of the events.  And then it hit me – having a physical, tangible resource that our brain power went into creating helps forms neural pathways that we later revisit as a ‘Memory.’  Nowadays, even though we’re well into the year 2016, I’ve found myself with a penchant for paper planners over anything electronic, and believe you me – I’ve tried them all.  The goal of a great agenda isn’t to fill every last hour of your day with tasks, but in finding the hidden hours in your days, weeks and months so that you have time for the little things you find important, dear and sacred that make you happy, calm and collected.

After juggling stacks of postits, notebooks and to-do lists for the better part of the last two decades, I figured it was about time I get my shit together.  So, around the turn of the year year, I started scavenging for an awe inspiring agenda and finally – almost 8 months later, I think I’ve found the perfect planner – aptly called the ‘Passion Planner.’ Originally funded on Kickstarter , the Passion Planner is my one stop shop for staying sane in this mad, mad world.

Just one look, and I fell head over heals into organizational bliss – there are so many different ways to stack your days, weeks and months – and this planner makes it easy as pie.  Even offering space to dream, doodle and delineate to-dos. Twice a year, you check in with yourself and your goals, realigning yourself with your true home frequency while to wrap up the moth, the planner  offers up a few great journaling prompts for some retrospection.

The highly organized habits of successful people are inspiring, and to me the Passion Planner is the perfect way to get on track.  The first day with the journal, I’d suggest giving yourself a lazy afternoon to get acquainted with all of the little details – especially your roadmap; but after you find your focus, it’ll be smooth sailing. As a general rule, I devote 10 minutes at the start of the day and 10 minutes at the end of the day to keeping my schedule plus a good half hour on the weekend to figure out what’s ahead for the week.

There are multiple designs to choose from – Academic Calendars that Span from 2016-2017, or Annual Calendars which are currently on a discount since the year’s half over.  I wasn’t sure what I was getting into at first, or if I’d even want to keep up with it – so getting a little Trial version was perfect.   Right now if you buy one planner – you’ll get a second for free so you can share the wealth with a friend.  Trust me, they’ll love it – I know I do! And to boot, if you’ve got the printer paper you can even download your own pages to keep handy in a binder or notebook.

What’s your favorite way to keep organized? Join in the conversation in the comments below.

For more details on the Passion Planner, or to simply snag your own – head to their website and socials:

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