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Read this if: you have been nervously struggling with ‘trust’ and want to take a leap of faith.

Read this if: you have been nervously struggling with 'trust' and want to take a leap of faith.

 

I grew up thinking that I could absolutely not, under any conditions whatsoever, trust in the world around me. I was taught that people could not be trusted, that the entire world was against me, and that I had to fight for my corner in life. I believed that I had to do it all myself, and that if I wanted life to be a certain way, I would have to forcefully mould it to my desires.

 

It was exhausting. Day after day, fighting this unseen force, never showing my vulnerability, fearing that the world would see my weaknesses and take advantage of me.

 

Then one day, while at university in a class about stoic philosophy where I was leaning about Epictetus theory around being able to change our lives by controlling the internal states of our minds, I had an epiphany.

 

What if I stopped trying to control my life and instead started to believe that it was here for me?

 

It was one of those perfect moments when a sudden, intuitive perception or insight into the reality or essential meaning of life, came out of a simple, common philosophy tutorial. This epiphany changed my life.

 

What came next, was the hardest part.

 

How do I create that kind of unflappable trust in my life, when up to this point, I doubted the reliability of anything beyond the certainty of my mind?

 

Trust is a risky endeavour. It takes submission, vulnerability and courage, to trust. And yet, without trust, life is hardened into a solid, fearful and bitter thing, that leaves little room for warmth, colour and new experiences.

 

I started with intention.

 

I wrote in my journal that I wanted to be able to trust myself, my life, my intuition and the universe around me. That the fearful ways I had been controlling my life were making me feel tired and sad, and that, while I didn’t know, I could sense that there was more than this to life.

 

And then I waited for guidance. I was still at the very beginning of my journey with intuition, and what I understood by now, was she sometimes needed space and time to come to me.

 

One day, I had this idea (an intuitive nudge) to change my password to ‘itrustinlife‘. It felt good, to write that down every time I wanted to get into my emails. I started to feel something shift.

 

Then I decided to make it my mantra. Every time I caught myself trying to control and manipulate my life, every time I caught myself acting out of fear instead of trust I would say to myself ‘I trust in life‘ over and over again, until those scary feelings dissipated.

 

Eventually it became a game.

 

Just how much could I trust my intuition? Just how much could I trust the universe? Just how much could I trust my manifesting powers? There was only one way to play the trust game.

 

I had to be certain in my conviction that life was here for me and practice trust by being patient and waiting until the very final moment for the things that I wanted, to arise for me. When I wanted life to work out in certain way for me, when I wanted to manifest something specific, I couldn’t pull out last-minute because I had doubts. I had to buckle in and ride it out to the very end. What I realised was this:

 

Trust is a decision first, and a practice second.

 

Trust wasn’t about waiting for proof from the world that I could trust it. Trust was created by my decision to step onto the ledge, and leap into trust, into what I did not know, into the arms of my intuition and the universe, over and over again, until I knew, without a doubt, that I would be caught every single time.

 

What that meant was that I chose trust over doubt, over and over again, even though I didn’t know how things would work out. I decided to surrender my fate to something else, and to be okay with that.

 

Trust is a risky thing. But it’s a risk that is rewarded many, many, many times over with life gifts that run beyond what we can imagine for ourselves.

 

 

[This is a short piece from my upcoming book ‘The Practical Guide To Your Intuition and The Universe‘. I hope you find it helpful. It has been a joy to write.]

 

Photo: Mimi Lashiry

Follow your heart. [A conversation on intuition.]

Follow your heart. [A conversation on intuition.]

 

Yesterday I was sitting in a minibus with my boyfriend, on an 8 hour ride north from the bottom of Myanmar, and we had the following conversation about my favourite topic: intuition.

 

Isn’t it weird, how people say, “follow your gut”? I mean I get it, they mean follow your intuition. But do you really feel it in your gut?

 

He looked at me like I was talking crazy, but I knew he understood what I was saying. Where do you feel your intuition? I continued.

 

Behind my eyes and forehead.

 

Weird. I feel it in my chest.

 

That makes sense. More than where I feel it. But I think when people say ‘trust your gut’ what they mean is their reactive instinct. Like fear.

 

Like fight or flight?

 

Yeah.

 

But that’s not intuition baby. That’s fear. The reactive fight or flight from fear you feel in your gut is not the same as intuition. For example, if you had to intuitively decide between chocolate ice-cream and strawberry ice-cream, you wouldn’t be making a fight or flight decision based out of fear.

 

He laughed.

 

Vienda, the moment you bring critical thinking into the equation it’s no longer intuitive is it!? Trying to decide between flavours of ice-cream is your mind deciding what flavour it wants to taste. Not what your intuition wants you to have. You can’t be intuitive with food.

 

Yes we can! We can have an idea of something that our bodies want to eat, and then go and prepare it.

 

But you need to use critical thinking to go ahead and prepare the food.

 

Exactly. That’s how our intuitions and our logical minds are a team, and work together.

 

He calls it critical thinking. I call it the logical mind that likes to get involved in our intuitive decision-making skills. I think it’s a man-woman language thing.

 

Ok, so ice-cream was a bad example. What about the other day, when you were eating that local tea-leaf salad, and loving it, and you just intuitively knew that that particular salad was full of nutrients that your body needed. You didn’t have any logical reasoning for it, you just knew. And I bet if you did some research on the ingredients and what nutritional benefits they contain your intuitive sense would be validated through logical reasoning. That intuitive knowing you had wasn’t a gut reaction, or a response to fear or fight and flight. It was just something that you knew.

 

Right.

 

Typical mono-syllabic male.

 

So intuition is not a gut feeling in response to danger. It’s knowing a truth about something without logical or practical evidence.

 

Right. It’s something that your heart tells you and trusting yourself to follow that.

 

So, maybe people should say ‘follow your heart’ instead of ‘follow your gut’.

 

He thinks this conversation has absolutely no significance, but I think I’m onto something here. I’m working on a practical guide for connecting to your intuition, and I think I’ve just understood where so many of us get stuck: we think that our intuition is fear-driven instead of heart-driven and this is where we get confused. We allow fear to guide us instead of faith-drenched love.

 

I’m going to come up with a solution. Watch this space.

For the men who say you are feminists.

For the men who say you are feminists.

 

For the men who say you are feminists.

 

You say you’re a feminist, but I think you got confused somewhere along the way.

 

When you talk about equality, the only equality you seem to mean is that I pay my way, equally to you. That when the bill arrives at the table, I take my half and hand over my cash for it.

 

Beyond that, feminism is just a word you throw around to make yourself feel good. You say you’re a feminist because you say you believe that women should have the same rights you do.

 

Yet…

 

You say, you’re a feminist, but you tell me you are entitled to expect me to always have perfectly manicured lady-parts for you.

 

You say you’re a feminist and in the same breath tell me that you want me to have a c-section, because otherwise I might not be as ‘tight’ for you.

 

You say you’re a feminist but insult women who openly enjoy sex as much as you do. You take great pride in revealing your sexual victories, yet deplore women who do the same.

 

You say you’re a feminist and yet sneer and dismiss me with a comment about bragging, when I proudly share how much money I’ve earned this week, even though you often do the same.

 

You say you’re a feminist yet you assume that I will care for our potential children, just because I work from home.

 

You say you’re a feminist and yet I can count on one hand, the number of times you have washed our sheets, or made the bed, or swept the floors in over two years.

 

You say you’re a feminist, but if my opinion is too strong for you and my growth too expansive for you, you close off from me.

 

You say you’re a feminist, but I think you got confused.

 

Let me clear this concept up for you.

 

Equal to you, does not mean, that we pay the same as you, and then still go on to live out all of your machismo assumptions.

 

Equality in terms of gender requires you to recognise women as being full human beings with their own unique set of strengths, abilities and values that vary between each one of us.

 

Feminism was never about being the same as men. It is about being recognized as the unique divine creations that we are.

 

We are in holy communion with the moon and stars, everyday. Our blood and our moods shift with the tides from morning to night. We have fluctuations in energy that we must honor, and through those fluctuations creations become living, breathing manifestations.

 

Our strength lies not in our arms, like yours, but in our hearts and our ability to change and adjust with rapidity, to shine light in the places that are dark and to grow another human inside our bodies.

 

We work out of devotion and self-expression and to support ourselves and those we love. Unlike you, we don’t use our work to gain a sense of purpose. We are born with purpose, the purpose of being a woman.

 

When we cried “feminism” we wanted to be recognized as the valuable, powerful and equally important and necessary feminine source that we are.

 

Instead we got caught up with shoulder pads and proving our worth and fighting for the rights to be considered the same as you.

 

But we are not the same as you.

 

And still we don’t receive the same financial remuneration or recognition for the work that we do. Yet, you say you’re a feminist, and therefore I have the honor to pay my way, just like you.

 

When you say you’re a feminist, what you mean is that you’ve still not understood our strength as women, nor understood your powerful role as a man. So you’re hiding behind the words of equality as a shield for not stepping up to your wholeness and fullness, nor to honoring our differences.

 

For the men who say you are feminists.

 

I think you got confused.

 

But here’s the thing. If you really want to be a feminist, here’s what you can do:

 

If you want to be a feminist, know yourself so well, that you can hold space for anything, including a woman’s ever changing emotional landscape by being whole and strong within yourself as a man.

 

If you want to be a feminist, learn to feel and express your feelings without hesitation and fear.

 

If you want to be a feminist, respect the choices a woman makes about her body, about her sexuality and about the way she chooses to manicure her lady-garden or wear her clothes.

 

If you want to be a feminist, worship at the gates that bring life forth, without objectifying them as a portal to your pleasure.

 

If you want to be a feminist, see your role as a parent as important and valuable and equal and necessary as a woman’s.

 

If you want to be a feminist, encourage and celebrate her accomplishments whether financial, physical or in the kitchen, as she does yours.

 

If you want to be a feminist, do the chores in the house as your greatest service to the woman who you love, rather than something you can avoid and let her do.

 

If you want to be a feminist, grow and expand alongside her, by stepping up to the pedestal you are being offered through her.

 

For the men who say you are feminists, this is your chance.

 

Illustration: Ambivalently Yours

The Free-Spirited Collective — September 2016 — inspires you to roll up your sleeves.

The Free-Spirited Collective -- September 2016 -- inspires you to roll up your sleeves.

 

September Issue 6 includes: 1 themed podcast, 1 tailored video, your monthly astro-guide and your very own printable Chart Your Cycle instructions manual and chart.

 

This month inspires you to roll up your sleeves and do the real work to walk your talk as a woman, as a human, as a spirited Being of the universe.

 

September is a time to integrate and assimilate your experiences and prepare for upcoming changes, and is a time that is geared towards feminine healing and wholeness.

 

Last month you worked on identifying and sharing the ‘self’ whereas this month you get to take it one step further, and a little bit deeper by uncovering your feminine ‘essence’ and allowing that to play out in the real world.

 

Focus on mastery — on bringing out your true essence to allow the energy of this month propel you forward.

 

You can join our monthly discussions at The Free-Spirited Collective.

 

 

PODCAST: Connecting with, and charting your cycle.

 

Intuitively we know about our cycles through direct experience. Nature, the seasons, birth and death, growing food, and so on. A woman’s menstrual cycle is also linked to the cyclic phases of the moon.

 

This month is all about bridging and integrating your inner and outer worlds, and helping us with this task is our very special guest Victoria Jones from YouTube sensation Femmehead, teaching us how to understand and chart your cycles, so they become an integrated aspect of our daily lives.

 

Connecting with your cycle is another way to connect with the energy that governs the rhythms of the universe and life, making us feel freer, more whole and happier.

 

 

VIDEO: How to integrate and reconcile the masculine and feminine within.

 

When I soften, am present, and centred in my body, I feel close to my divine feminine. When I dance, when I cook for the people I love, when I’m listening — really listening, to what someone is saying — I am being in the feminine.

 

But when I sit down to figure out the best way to market something, or I pick up the phone to call my accountant, or I’m passionately mapping out a change, then I’m definitely wielding my masculine energy to get stuff done.

 

In order to integrate and reconcile the masculine and feminine energy I have a playful dance of dipping in and out of each one, throughout the day.

 

In this video I share my own personal story with these polar and yet symbiotic parts of the Self with one main point: while there is no formula for this, beyond being able to listen to yourself and the way that you feel, what is most important in integrating and creating a beautiful marriage of the feminine and masculine, is self-awareness.

 

 

ASTRO GUIDE: September 2016 Astro-Guide.

 

Virgo knows how to prioritize and apply information, and teaches us the benefit of coming down-to-earth after the high of the Leo buzz. Virgo also rules the small intestines as well as the spleen, which indicates that this is a time to integrate and assimilate our experiences and prepare for upcoming changes.

 

During the season of Virgo, we may analyze, speculate, perfect, and clean out any excess that is weighing us down. Virgo is a time when the Vata energy may also be high, which means worry may be at an all time high as well, so part of Virgo season may be geared towards healing and wholeness of mind, body, and spirit.
Join us for The Free-Spirited Collective here. 

 

Illustration by Victoria Rosas.

 

It’s an exciting time to be alive.

It's an exciting time to be alive.

 

After, what felt like an eternity of heaviness over the past few weeks, there has been a huge shift in energy.

 

I feel so fired up, on purpose and aligned with my vision now, because things that I wasn’t clear on previously have revealed themselves to me.

 

It’s an exciting time to be alive.

 

We are all being asked to step up, and become more real with ourselves.

 

What does that mean?

 

It means you can’t just continue on floating around, letting your predetermined beliefs and conditioning create an ongoing ‘Groundhog Day’ of your life.

 

You are being asked to get real about where you are, what you are doing, and whether it actually is what you want.

 

Perhaps you’ve been doing what other people tell you to do, for far too long. And without that external guidance you feel lost and insecure. I get that. I’ve been there.

 

But here’s where you get into the danger-zone: if you don’t start trusting yourself, and start living your life for real, and paying attention to that inner compass we all carry around, you will never get to fulfill your unique purpose in life.

 

Lots of people get freaked out about purpose, because they think it has to be this big, grand thing. It doesn’t.

 

Maybe your purpose is to be the most attentive, present and passionate gardener in the world. By doing that you create a positive ripple effect on the whole world by bringing gardening the attention it deserves.

 

Maybe your purpose is the be an incredible role-model for your children, by teaching them how to create their worlds with intention.

 

Maybe your purpose is to be a gentle artist, whereby you remind people how to keep coming back to themselves, to remember to come back into their hearts, through the inspiration and beauty you create.

 

Plus, you don’t have to have it figured out yet. More often than not, your purpose is right there beside you, unfolding as you go about your life, waiting for you to notice it, and give it the focus that it deserves.

 

Don’t worry, your purpose isn’t going to up and leave you. It’s yours and only yours forever. It is the most committed lover you’ll ever have, whether the love is requited or not.

 

An exercise I like to do, in times of rapid growth and change, like now, is to journal about what I’m all about, so I an refine and define it in a way that I can make use of it.

 

What are my gifts?

 

What lights me up the most?

 

What are my lifelong influences?

 

What kind of legacy do I want to leave behind?

 

How would I use my time if I could do anything I want with it?

 

What am I naturally really good at, and what do I truly hate doing?

 

Clearly, there’s always going to be so much more going on at the soul-level, but this is how we bridge the path between the practical and logical reality, with the energetic, limitless and ethereal reality. Both are always at play, and as humans we have this beautiful opportunity to bring it all into a real, tangible sensual experience.

 

Isn’t that amazing?!

 

I literally am blown away by all that is possible and all the different levels of the human experience. Literally anything is possible, if we choose it to be.

 

Photo: Luke Marshall

Freedom is a state of mind. [Aka: how to transition from corporate life to gypset life.]

You asked, I answered: How to transition into a traveling gypsy lifestyle, and overcome the 1 major issue: money.

 

I recently received the following from a devoted reader:

 

I have a question. I know deep down in my heart it’s meant for me to be a gypsy. I am free-spirited, caring, passionate, and creative. I have a friend in Seattle who lives that way and I am hoping to join her soon. The major issue for me (which I would assume is most people’s issue) is money. I recently landed my dream (corporate) job, and I am interested in it only because of the money. How did you transition? Or are you one of those people who are just blessed to have money? 

 

The question is very practical: how do I feel financially secure while following a path of uncertainty.

 

The answer however, is less straightforward: it lies not in what you do, but in what you believe.

 

I think the foremost thing to remember is that there is no linear route to reach the experiences we want in our lives. The transition isn’t one of smoothly gliding into a life filled with freedom. The transition for anyone, is filled with messy, crazy emotions, fear, guilt, and having to let go of many of the expectations and beliefs we hold about ourselves, world and life.

 

Corporate employment brings with it a sense of certainty and security. Someone else creates safe structures for you to live within, and you can rely on a consistent pay cheque. You pay for that sense of security with your time. Your life.

 

Gypset live requires you to develop you own inner sense of certainty and security. You can no longer look for safety and validation in the paradigms of others, they don’t exist for you any more when you choose freedom. You become wholly responsible for every aspect of your life. That takes tremendous courage, and rewards you with tremendous freedom.

 

Another issue here is that we believe freedom and money to be mutually exclusive. Many of us think that in order to have freedom in our lives, we have to give up some of our comforts; some of the things that we really quite like. This will help: 3 ways to have waaay more freedom, without giving it all up.

 

We all love stories, so here’s mine.

 

I never made the transition from corporate to gypset. I also was not blessed with money. I knew, growing up in an eclectic and broken family, that the status quo of living, wasn’t made for me. Not that I had any answers on how to do it differently. I just knew what I didn’t want.

 

Whatever you focus on, is always attracted to you, as I teach in my 8 week course, Manifest More. And so I focused on seeking out ways I could live differently.

 

At 18 I sold ice-cream in a square in Salzburg, Austria.

 

At 19 I was a nanny to a 7 years old in Florence, Italy.

 

Then I moved to London and worked in several bars, before getting a job as a receptionist at a bridal magazine, and then an office manager at a film editing company.

 

At 20 I decided to go to university to study Psychology.

 

I put myself through uni, working as a waitress, at a sunglasses shop, and at music events. I also travelled around Australia in a van in the summers, and spent two months in Central America one winter.

 

At 24, with a degree in my hand, I still had no idea what I wanted to do. I just knew I wanted to live my life according to my rules, not anyone else’s. I got a gig at a music festival helping the event producer, and then another, and then another. I spent 4 years of my life, traveling all around the world, working at music festivals as an artist coordinator. My gypset life was in full force. I learned a lot about freedom, and creating life from the inside out, during this time.

 

At 28, I’d had enough of the wild and wonderful ways of festival life. I moved to London, and worked as an event coordinator for a while. And then went to India, to find myself.

 

At 29, I moved to Sydney, determined to start a business of my own. But I had no idea how to do that, nor where to start. So I got a job as a business manager for a small marketing agency. So I could learn about running a business and marketing. While the job itself didn’t teach me as much as I had hoped, what it did give me, was time.

 

At 30, I started a blog.

 

At 31, I quit my job in Sydney, and went traveling again for 2 years: Portugal and France — Amsterdam for 3 months — Prague to heal a broken heart, Germany, London, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama — San Francisco and Los Angeles for 3 months where I worked as a social media manager for a start-up, London again, India and Australia. During that time, my blog grew into a business that started to support my freedom-fueled life.

 

At 33 I realised I was living my dream: traveling had become a way of life, and I was supported in all of my ventures.

 

The thread the runs through all of these years of living a life filled with freedom, was the inner work, the mindset shifts, the releasing, the reframing and choosing to see the world, and my life through a lens that I create with my thoughts.

 

I share more of this story, and how I have consciously created a life of freedom in Manifest More, my popular 8 week course on the adventure of filling your life with all the you desire. Doors to Manifest More close on Wednesday 31 August. Until then, you can be one of the 120+ enthusiastic manifesting mavens at a 50% discount. Learn more about it here. I’d love to have you join us.

 

 

You asked, I answered: How to stay positive, remove blocks and manifest great things.

You asked, I answered: How to stay positive, removing blocks and manifesting.

 

I’m really struggling to stay positive in a certain area of my life at the moment — despite manifesting and writing in my gratitude journal daily — every time I encounter a hiccup I spiral into negativity again! Any advice on staying positive? I’m trying my best to work on blocks! Thank you. 

 

I am so glad you asked this question. Let me answer it in 2 parts, beginning with a story.

 

//

 

Yesterday I went on a wonderful adventure with my love, scooting around the beautiful, tropical island of Penang in Malaysia, checking out rainforests, tropical fruit farms, a butterfly sanctuary and beautiful beaches. And even though everything was well in my world, I felt really, really, really cranky. I started having all sorts of horrible thoughts about life, and humans, and the environment — everything really — it all just sucked. I was spiralling into a world of negativity, even though I had no real reason to.

 

This is very, very normal. It’s called: being human.

 

Our current new-age spirituality movement is totally obsessed with being positive, and maintaining a constant artificial high of ‘happy’. Is it real? No. Is it healthy? Also, no.

 

How you feel is a direct indicator of what’s happening in your environment. It might be that something in your realm is out of balance. For example, that you’re tired and haven’t taken enough time to rest. Or that somebody has said or done something that doesn’t align with your truth or values. Perhaps your partner called you disorganised, for not getting to work on time. Or that you are tuning into feeling what’s happening in the world, in the bigger picture, and it’s impact on all of us as individuals. Like politics, pollution and global warming.

 

There is no right or wrong to the emotions that you are feeling. The need to feel positive all the time is an unnatural one. And the best way to get through feeling crappy and back to happy, naturally? By leaning in and sitting with those feelings, without judgement or attaching meaning to them. Feel what you feel. And then let it go.

 

This may seem like a paradox. In my popular course Manifest More, I harp on and on about how important it is to view life from the most positive perspective, because what you feel is what you manifest. And when you feel good, you attract more good into your life. So how does feeling crappy and being positive, work together?

 

From whatever place you find yourself in the present moment, you want to choose the next best viewpoint, in order to uplift your energy.

 

Yesterday, when I was feeling so crappy, I could attach a thousand logical reasons to explain how I was feeling. My boyfriend is sooooo slow in getting ready. The world is falling apart. The roads are so bad. People are such idiots. My friends don’t understand me. It’s too hot. There’s so much plastic and rubbish everywhere. The truth, however, was that I was just really, really tired and didn’t have the energy required to go on an adventure, no matter how magical it was.

 

This is called ‘projection’, when you project how you are felling on things and people outside of you, and is how you end up in a spiral of negative thinking. By following thought after thought with logical reasoning as to why life is not feeling or looking the way you want. Often, instead of addressing the very simple, practical, real-life issues that are affecting your mental state, you allow your mind to go hay-wire and choose reasoning for its madness.

 

As I noticed my mind trying to find reasons to blame for my cranky mood, I tuned out the mental noise, and despite feeling low in energy, accepted my current state, decided to just be very present with each moment. I sought to find beauty around me, even though I wasn’t feeling it. I sought appreciation for what I was experiencing, even though I wasn’t feeling it. I knew that my state of mind came from feeling tired and low in energy, and I accepted that this is where I found myself and allowed myself the space to feel the way I felt, without blowing it out of proportion. And I went to bed early.

 

//

 

Removing blocks is actually an entire topic of its own and indicates that there is a continuous pattern that keeps showing up in your life, and leaving a negative imprint. More often than not, it’s a lesson that’s waiting for you to learn.
Usually when there’s a particular area in your life that you are having a hard time transforming into grace, ease and joy, and manifesting the great things that you want, indicates that you have some pretty deep-set patterns that need to be released.

 

The best way to remove those kinds of blocks is to identify what they are, and where they come from.

 

For example, many of us have deep-set lack beliefs around money. We need to look at our main influencers and ancestors for this. Maybe your grandparents were immigrants and struggled to make ends meet. Then your parents took on this struggling pattern themselves and passed it onto you. Now, even though you have more than enough, you still believe in lack and struggle. So you have to trace this deep-set pattern to its origin. Acknowledge it, forgive those involved and make a new choice.

 

To learn more, I am delighted to usher you toward my article: 4 steps to shift big blocks and limiting beliefs; when you feel confused, bewildered and frightened. It’ll give you a pretty clear outline as to how to work through things when you aren’t feeling so hot.

 

//

 

For the month of August, I am running a very special 50% discount on my popular manifesting course Manifest More. Doors close on Wednesday, August 31, and I’d love to have you on board, to join this adventure and manifest more of the great stuff, that we all want in our lives. Get all the details here.

 

Photography by Luke Marshall

 

Read this if: you’re going through a transitional phase and feel raw, scattered, vulnerable and confused.

Read this if: you're going through a transitional phase and feel raw, scattered, vulnerable and confused.

 

For most of my life I have felt like such a weirdo, because I am very self-aware about my constant… growth.

 

Every few months I reach a point where I’m going through a transitional phase and feel raw, scattered, vulnerable and confused.

 

These feelings are common responses to the growing pains of… growth. They often feel so damn uncomfortable, but are necessary, if you are devoted like I am, to the ongoing learning and understanding of what it means to be human, to be oneself, and how that works in relation to others, our planet and the Universe.

 

In the past I have tried everything to control and diminish those uncomfortable feelings. I would eat to quell what I felt, or I would control my eating to push away what I felt. I would fill my time with never-ending tasks so I wouldn’t have to deal with what I was feeling. I would try to “help” other people in an effort to ignore what I was going through. I would work too much; I would drink too much; I would shop too much. But none of those things actually worked.

 

What I was trying to do, was to get away from what was making me feel uncomfortable. In a way, I was trying to get away from me.

 

One day, I decided to sit still with all of my feelings — all the raw, scattered, vulnerable and confused feelings — and ask for guidance from my trusted confidant, my intuition.

 

She told me this:

 

“If you sit with your uncomfortable feelings, and don’t try to run and hide from them, they will dissolve.”

 

I didn’t want to, but I had not other options left.

 

So I sat with them, and I felt them. The heart-breaking ugly rawness of the human experience. The weird scattered currents of thoughts racing through my mind. The confusion that seemed to be touching every part of my life. I felt how much it all doesn’t make sense, and yet all works together symbiotically. I felt how much I love and how much I am replied by many of the same things. I felt all the contrast and contradictions and paradoxes. And when I finished feeling all the feelings, they were gone.

 

What replaced those uncomfortable feelings was a new definition and understanding that had been culminating underneath this phase of transition all along, waiting for me to shed the old skin.

 

This lesson has stuck with me since.

 

I still, often, feel all those feelings. But instead of resisting them and wanting to get away from them, I now embrace them, with the understanding that they need to be felt, as part of the transition and growth.

 

Photography by Michelle Jensen