health · life curation

Fibro Friday – How I Made Peace With My Diagnosis

Welcome to this week’s Fibro Friday! For those that are curious, I enjoy discussing an aspect of my fibromyalgia experience every week. This condition is more than a diagnosis: it’s a shift in my way of life. But as I continue to learn my “new normal”, I find myself seeing the silver lining every single day. And, if my experience can offer a silver lining for someone else, then I’m delighted that I can make this path easier for another person.

One of the most difficult things about learning that I have fibromyalgia is making peace with my diagnosis. It’s so easy to rebel against the diagnosis and throw myself into a cycle of over-extension, then drastically long recovery periods. I resisted this diagnosis for over a year. I would have one good day, try to do as much as I can, then I’d spend the next week in bed because my body ached terribly and my mental faculties weren’t up to par.

Untitled design

I resisted the diagnosis because I hated feeling “less than”. I hated the fact that I had limitations. I really despised being face-to-face with my own frailty and, by extension, my mortality. I hated the fact that I wasn’t who I used to be, and there was nothing that I could do about it.

When you hit your lowest lows, that’s the point where you learn to release your death grip on your beliefs and to accept that your own resistance is what’s keeping you in your pain loop. Those lows teach you so much, but, mainly, they teach you to let this moment, and every moment you experience, be enough. When the moment is enough, you no longer obsess over why. You lean into the experience, and, just like magic, the solutions to your problems start to appear.

For me, the moment I started resisting my pain and just allowed it to be so, I felt a measure of relief. After that, the relief increased steadily. I’m not pain-free yet, but being present in the moment and observing my body – its pain, fatigue, mental fog, and inability to perform tasks like it used to – without judgment, freed me up to find solutions to my pain. My medication started feeling more effective, my mind started to clear a bit, and I started taking note of what physical activities felt like “just enough”, and which activities were overdoing it.

Instead of resisting my diagnosis and judging myself, I started approaching my diagnosis like a clinician. I analyzed my symptoms from a neutral standpoint, and, eventually, I started treating myself better than any doctor could. Much of my peace from my diagnosis is centered around the fact that I view it as neutrally as possible, which allows me to accept the symptoms without villainizing them, and to forgive myself for not treating my body as well as I could have over the years. When you know better, you do better. And I’m finally doing better by my body, which only came on the heels of accepting my diagnosis and moving forward.

That’s it for today. I hope this post encourages you and inspires you to make peace with the things that you can’t change, and to allow that peace to open the door for relief and solutions to whatever bothers you. Take care, and I’ll talk to you next week!

business · life curation · writing

Create Your Vision – A Sneak Peek Into My Latest Guided Journal

I decided to take a break from Writers Wednesdays, since I’m still editing and doing last minute changes. Instead, I want to take a little time to do a deep-dive into my latest journal, Create Your Vision. This was a special request, and I was delighted to do it for one of my wonderful customers.

Two of the Create Your Visions covers available (25 designs in all)

In this journal, I provide my step-by-step formula for lifestyle redesign, using the power of writing. In the video below, I even give an example of how to change a key area of your life (I use the example of changing careers) by journaling. I’ve successfully used these techniques to change my life and get the results that I’ve desired. Every time I feel the need to change something in my life, I refer back to this formula, since it worked so well.

That’s it for today. I hope you can use the information in this video. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below!

This post contains affiliate links.

culture · international · life curation

Embracing The Year of the Ox

We recently saw the beginning of a brand new Lunar Year on February 12th. Somehow, I was a bit late this year, and I didn’t realize that the Lunar New Year occurred until two days after.

What can I say? It’s been a challenging year for all of us, and if I miss a couple of holidays, it’s only because this year has done a number on most of us.

Anyway, back to the Lunar New Year. I thought of the significance of this year’s animal, the ox. I reflected back on the last lunar year, the year of the rat. I think of mice and rats, and how these animals, while indicative of abundance (they are always in places with adequate food supply), can overconsume and leave desolation where abundance used to reside. I think the year of the rat, marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, was a collective wake-up call. We are abundant, but, as a society, we have taken too much from nature, and balance must be restored.

Enter the year of the ox. This hardworking beast of burden only consumes what it needs to sustain itself, and it’s purpose for existing is to produce through manual efforts. Unlike rats, whose body waste is toxic and often spreads disease, oxen are useful all the way down to their fecal matter, which can fertilize and restore balance to the soil. The ox is sturdy, reliable, and work-oriented. It is the animal that’s most representative of the attitude we need in these times.

I think this year will be a year of restoration and balance. Life will get back to normal, more or less, but what is considered baseline normal has changed. We’ve had roughly one year to stay close to home, spend more time doing domestic activities, and to closely examine what matters to us. Now, we have our work to do.

It’s time for us to produce. We’ve been incubating our skills and talents during lockdowns and quarantines: now is the time to put out into the world what we’ve been creating during our downtime. And yes, I understand that many of us were too stressed and otherwise limited to “create” in the traditional sense. But, our creations need not be tangible: they can be our musings, creative nudges or even inklings of necessary change in our personal lives or in society. We have all created “something” in the past year: now it’s time to unleash it.

May the year of the ox give you great favor and lead you closer to a wonderful existence.

That’s all for today. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Take care!

culture · international · life curation

What Stepping Away From Royal Duties REALLY Means

Happy Monday, friends! I don’t know about you all, but the past few days have been wonderful. The weather is becoming milder here on the East Coast, and COVID-19 seems to be FINALLY decreasing. Let’s hope that these good things continue!

Recently, I read Buckingham Palace’s statement on Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan and their decision to step away from royal duties. As a result of this decision, they will be stripped of their royal patronages. This could not have been easy for the Sussexes, as they have made service a crucial theme in their personal and professional lives. In particular, I think of Prince Harry, who, as a result of this decision to step away, will have his honorary military titles removed. This must have been a very painful outcome for this proud veteran, who dutifully served the Crown for ten years.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (Photo as shown on People Magazine [Karwai Tang/WireImage])

As painful as it must be, I am so happy for and proud of this couple. There is far more at stake with this decision that simply losing titles and patronages. The decision to step away from royal duties is the decision to forge a brand new path. No one so close to the Crown has opted to become a private citizen since Edward VIII, and we all know how much of a crisis that caused. This is truly untrodden ground, as the world that we know today is quite different from the one occupied by Edward VIII and his beloved, Wallis Simpson.

The decision to step away, closing the door leading to life as a royal, has opened a myriad other doors for the couple. Walking away made it possible for them to create Archewell, a revolutionary media company that will distribute the content that the Sussexes want to bring into the world. The Archewell umbrella will also allow them to support causes that are near and dear, and will allow them to influence people in ways that they feel are most impactful, without the limitations imposed upon royals. Stepping away from royal duties will allow the Sussexes to step into serving on their terms.

Ultimately, this is what the couple truly wants to be known for: service that matters to them, and done in the way that they feel will do the most good. The Sussexes demonstrated this almost immediately after the Buckingham Palace statement was released, by supporting a Dallas woman’s shelter that was badly damaged by the devastating winter storms that slammed Texas last week. The unexpected act of kindness is the first public contribution made by the Archewell Foundation, and is likely a small preview of the many charitable acts that we can expect from Harry and Meghan in the future.

This entire discussion brings to mind the famous poem by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken. The poem references how the speaker, considering two paths, “kept the first for another day”, but he also knew well, “how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back”. I doubt that the Sussexes will ever decide to rejoin the royal family in the capacity that was expected of them, but their decision to step away is undoubtedly a choice full of promise and potential. They can make a bigger impact in the way that they see fit, and they can author a spectacular story that starkly contrasts anything that royal life could offer, yet remains true to them. That, I believe, is why they chose to step away, and that, to paraphrase Frost, will make all the difference.

life curation · relaxation

Garden Planning – The First Steps

As if I’m not already busy enough . . . I have started working on my garden plan for this year. You see, last year, spring caught me quite by surprise (probably because I was starting to tutor more and COVID became an issue when I should have been doing my garden planning). So while I did grow a few things, I didn’t have nearly as many flowers and herbs as I would have wanted. I believe that a failure to plan properly is why my garden was so unimpressive.

Last year, I also completed a course in herbalism and became a certified herbalist. As part of my continuing study, I knew that I wanted to grow herbs, veggies, fruits and flowers that I can use in my practice. Also, part of herbalism involves studying plants throughout the four seasons, so that you can become intimately familiar with them. The best way to do that is to grow them from seeds/seedlings and observe them for a full year or two. I can best do that by growing them myself as opposed to trying to find certain plants “in the wild” and trying to keep up with them that way.

This year, I’m going to do better. I’ve already read a book about lunar and biodynamic gardening (book review posted here) as well as a book about how to group your plants in your garden. I’ve purchased some seeds, some seedling trays, and I have some soil left over from last year. I have my supplies, but now I have to actually work out a schedule for what to do and when to do it.

My seed stash

For assistance with scheduling my garden activities, I’ve been relying heavily on the Farmer’s Almanac website. There is a great, easy-to-read guide on when and how to start seeds indoors, as well as a guide for vegetable gardening for absolute beginners. Now, I’m growing herbs as well as flowers, fruit and a few vegetables, so I will have to check some other websites to get a good schedule for my non-veggie plants. But the Farmer’s Almanac website has a handy calendar to help you plan your vegetables based on your zip code, so I’m glad that they have made it so easy!

In the weeks to come, I’ll share my list of veggies, herbs and flowers that I’m growing, as well as any tools or resources that I’m using to help me with the gardening process.

Do any of you have a garden? If so, when do you start planning your garden? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

life curation · Uncategorized

Stepping Into My Power

Happy Monday, friends! I composed this post a few weeks ago, as I reflected on 2020 and the events that occurred that have changed all of us. I hope you enjoy!

During the past year, I’ve come face-to-face with many challenges. As a result, I’ve been called to speak up more, be less afraid, and honor the space that I occupy. Some of these challenges have been interpersonal, while others have been systemic.

In any case, these challenges have required me to step into my power in a way that I have never done before. I’m embracing this new stance and I’m open to wherever this empowered path will take me. Oddly enough, I suspect other people are having similar experiences. Something about being at home has really pushed me toward deeper introspection, and has caused me to grow highly uncomfortable with anything that has minimized my joy. I figure that I can’t be the only person having these sorts of revelations.

Stepping into my power looks like:

  • Taking naps without feeling guilty
  • Voicing my opinion more
  • Refraining from “explaining” myself
  • Refusing to spend my energy in any way that doesn’t help me or my family
  • Stand firm with my decisions, instead of wavering and being doubtful

I realize that I was beginning to experience feelings of insecurity and anxiety because I hadn’t been stepping fully into my power. Not speaking up and owning my truth unapologetically was making my physically ill.

But I changed all of that. I’m taking small but definite steps to ensure that my needs and concerns are considered. I’m changing what I can, and opting out of anything that causes extreme discomfort. These changes have made a huge different in my life.

Have you felt compelled to assert yourself in new ways recently? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!

beauty · culture · life curation · luxury

Five Easy Ways to Be More Like Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

Happy Monday, friends! I hope the beginning of your week is pleasant and everything that you need it to be.

Recently, I reviewed Archewell Audio, the podcast project started by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan. I’ve been fascinated with Meghan for quite some time: I love that she is graceful, elegant and intelligent, and she uses her influence to create positive changes in society.

As part of learning more about this brilliant woman, I read a bit about her and found that there are many things that she’s done to position herself as a woman of status and influence. I made a video highlighting five of those qualities.

The qualities I discussed are as follows:

  • Learn a foreign language
  • Take up a luxurious hobby
  • Eliminate or reduce meat from your diet
  • Wear blush
  • Start a blog

By engaging in one or more of these activities, you can live a little more like Meghan.

Do you have any Duchess-worthy tips? Let me hear about it in the comments below!

life curation

The Beginning: My Introduction to Conscious Creation (Law of Attraction)

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had an enjoyable and restful weekend. Let’s step into this week with confidence and joy!

A few weeks ago, after starting my YouTube channel, I took some time to think about my Law of Attraction (LOA) journey. I often look to one of my favorite books, Write It Down, Make It Happen (I did a review on this book on my old blog, so I’ll repost that in the near future), as the “beginning” of my journey.

However, after further consideration, I realized that this is inaccurate. I actually started on the conscious creation path long before I became familiar with the work of Dr. Henriette Anne Klauser (author of Write It Down, Make It Happen). My journey actually started in 2007, in a small IRS office in Richmond, VA. That’s where I had the great fortune of meeting Mr. Arthur Childs, who first told me about Dr. Wayne Dyer. When Mr. Childs retired, he gave me his composition notebooks, full of quotes and tidbits of wisdom.

I was excited to find one of the notebooks recently (I have the other one in storage). Finding that notebook made so many good memories flood back into my mind, and it’s the inspiration behind the video that I’m sharing below. I hope you enjoy the video!

Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

business · career · health · life curation · luxury · reading list · travel · writing

The First Three Steps: 2021 Goals

A few days ago, I mentioned on a blog post that I would list out my first three steps for each of my big goals for 2021. This will help me to stay focused on completing the little things, which eventually will result in me accomplishing the big things that I have planned for myself.

So, here’s my follow-up, because we all know how important accountability is. My first three steps for each of the goals that I have for 2021:

  • Publish 5 books
    • Step 1 – Set a daily timer to remind myself to work on my writing
    • Step 2 – Make a weekly word goal
    • Step 3 – Select the titles for the books I’m working on this year
  • Lose 15 lbs
    • Step 1 – Figure out my starting weight
    • Step 2 – Confirm what kind of weight loss services are available through my doctor’s office
    • Step 3 – Make an updated yoga playlist on my YouTube
  • Manifest 3 international trips
    • Step 1 – Make a list of ideal trip locations
    • Step 2 – Create a “dream trip” piggy jar
    • Step 3 – Start learning a few key phrases in the languages spoken in the countries I’d like to visit
  • Earn 6 figures from my businesses
    • Step 1 – Review the coaching session that I participated in, that had ideas for increasing my revenue
    • Step 2 – Make a playlist of podcast episodes featuring people in the same industry as me
    • Step 3 – Create a list of potential promotional opportunities
  • Read 100+ books
    • Step 1 – Make a list of the first 33 books I want to read
    • Step 2 – Schedule book review posts for the first 6 months of the year
    • Step 3 – Place my first ten books by my bedside, so I can reach them easily
  • Luxury purchases – an item from Hermes, a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes, a pair of Sophia Webster shoes, and a pair of Ralph & Russo shoes
    • Step 1 – Select the actual items from each company that I want
    • Step 2 – Confirm whether the items can be purchased from local retailers
    • Step 3 – Designate a “Luxe Items” piggy bank/savings account
  • Cure my fibromyalgia (as I mentioned in my last Fibro Friday post)
    • Step 1 – Research the stories of people that were able to reverse their fibromyalgia diagnosis
    • Step 2 – Relisten to herbalism/naturopath podcasts that have recommendations for treating fibro
    • Step 3 – Make a list of local naturopaths that may be able to help me on my journey

I’m keeping my target simple: I’ll only take one or two steps a day. That sets me up to finish my three steps for each goal within 21 days at most. So, in 21 days, I’ll share whether I did all of the steps above (I’m pretty sure I can do it all LOL), as well as my next three steps for each goal. Of course, at some point, outlining the next three steps of a goal may not be applicable, but I’ll do it as long as it is logical and helpful to accomplishing my goals.

Have you tried writing out the next three steps for any of your goals? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

life curation

Simple Steps for Actualizing Your Goals

Happy Monday friends! Another week full of potential lays before us. I’m so excited to embrace every day of this new year. I hope you all feel the same energy that I’ve been feeling; it’s a feeling of excitement and possibility. I love this time of year!

Recently, I’ve been really enjoying podcasts and Clubhouse. I love listening to different topics as I cook, clean, write, and do other things around the house. One of my favorite podcasts is Law of Attraction Changed My Life, hosted by Francesca Amber. I used to faithfully watch Francesca’s videos when she was on YouTube, but she stopped making new content a while ago. By chance, I visited her YT channel and saw that she’d made a video, announcing her change from vlogging to podcasting.

I promptly found her podcast, and spent the next two days binge listening to her content. (Disclaimer: her podcast does contain profanity. It isn’t an issue for me, but I want to at least put that out there so that there aren’t any surprises) Her January 1st episode had some great tips for actualizing your goals for 2021. I recommend that you listen to that episode for details, but in the next few days, I’ll share how I applied her advice as respects my own goals for the year.

One of the greatest takeaways from her podcast was to outline the first three steps required for each of my goals. I love practical, easy-to-implement advice like this. So, as I stated before, later this week I will share my first three steps for each of the goals that I mentioned last week.

Do you have any tips for reaching your 2021 goals? Let me know in the comments below!