Values vs. Resolutions: A "New" New Years Tradition

 Up until 3 years ago, and since age eleven, my New Years resolutions had always been the same: lose weight, change my personality (no, seriously) be an actress, --and my personal favorite--get a boyfriend. It's okay. You can laugh. I am.

I didn't realize it right away, but as I addressed, worked through and eventually healed my dysfunctional, abusive and totally irritating relationship with food and my body 3 years ago, I stopped making New Years resolutions. I felt that if I didn't have a goal or make a promise to lose weight, "get" a boyfriend or change who I am entirely, then what was the point? My whole life had been strictly governed by food for so long that when it wasn't, when I'd now be eating the exact same way and the exact same foods on January 1st, as I did on December 31st, I didn't see a point in resolving or promising to do anything. So, I put the whole concept of resolutions on a high shelf that I couldn't reach (because I'm only 5ft) and just let January 1st be synonymous with any other day.

But that didn't feel right, either...

I've done a lot of work on myself in 2015, folks. And most of that work has been finding the balance and the line between what is self-improvement and self-indulgence. Turns out, it's a fine line...even for a "Wellness Professional." But the other work I've done this year is explore the importance of making decisions based only on my values, as opposed to making decisions based on goals. This has been an enormous game-changer, both personally and professionally and has made SO much sense out of my trip to India, earlier this year. #Finally.

So, rather than come up with resolutions for the future, I'd like to do the ultimate "yoga thing" and honor what I already know, what I've already learned, what I already do...and just. stay. present. So...here are eight values I'm taking with me into 2016...

creativity:

This year, creativity has taken a lot of forms for me, mostly in the realm of creative writing (like here and here) and, well, coloring my skin. With ink. Permanently. A.k.a my first tattoos.

I've also seen how much creativity and out-the-box thinking goes into the conversations we have, the ways we move our body and the ways in which we address conflict. Things like Assertiveness, loyalty, honesty and vulnerability take an awful lot of creativity in relationships. So, I'll just go ahead and take all the colorful, creative pieces that make up my relationship to myself and the world around me, into this next year.

Elementary school we visited in Rajasthan, India

Elementary school we visited in Rajasthan, India

humility

Whatever. I'm calling my entire trip to India this year one GIANT lesson in humility. I went to that country with the expectation of being given all the magical answers to my life and my future and I'm proud to say India gave me none of those things. Thank God. This year, I learned the most about Humility here, here, here, and here.

 

humor

While I've always loved to laugh, finding the humor in things isn't always easy for me...especially when it comes to matters of the heart and things that really bother me...like the sound of people chewing.

I've actually laughed quite a bit, this year. Sometimes inappropriately. But I found my High School Reunion particularly hilarious, and you can read it here, and here.

 

commitment

Commitment has been huge for me, since recognizing it as a core value of mine. When my Dad passed away, almost nine years ago, I lost a lot of my sense for honoring my word and following through with plans, in a very general sense. This year I made a conscious effort to not only honor the commitments I made, but NOT commit to things, if I wasn't entirely sure I could show up.

I wrote a bit about that here.

 

curiosity

This year, curiosity has yielded several books, including and especially, Big Magic by, Elizabeth Gilbert. Thanks to that book, curiosity has taken on a whole new meaning for me. If you haven't read it yet, I HIGHLY suggest you do so.

Being no stranger to therapy itself, but curious about having a different experience in it, I hired my first male therapist this year, which I wrote about here. I've learned a lot about myself, particularly myself with men. I'm not usually into "self-help" books, but at the request of my shrink, I read this book,  and it changed my entire life. Seriously. (Ps, it's a TERRIBLE title, for what its actually about...but, whether you're in a relationship, out of one, or want to be in one (like me), don't let the title turn you away. Just read it. You're welcome.

 

sharing

Wow. Sharing. Yea, so, I'm an only child and it's become remarkably clear in my adult life just how difficult it is (deep down) for me to share stuff. In fact, I should probably blog about how being in the Essential Oil business has taught me/ REQUIRED me to share my things. Remind me to do that.

This year, I really took a step back and funneled my blog and my business in a clearer direction. It's been quite a journey reevaluating what I actually share on here, and WHY. WHO am I writing for? WHAT do I actually want them to know? I've shared some pretty personal and vulnerable stuff, and now it's clear there is a difference between a blog and a journal. Let's just say, I'm happy to be a blogger, and I'm so pleasantly surprised at all the feedback over this last year about how some of my posts really resonated with you. 

 

tidiness

This year, at the direction of my BFF, I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. If you haven't read it, I recommend you do...but PLEASE...DO NOT empty out your entire house without actually reading the book. K? Thanks!

Here was my experience with getting rid of half my house, pretty much, and why I now only have things in my possession that "Spark Joy". Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six.

And lastly...

 

leadership

Oh Boy! What can I even say about my lessons in leadership without bawling my eyes out?! Honestly, without consciously holding leadership in high value, my other values suffer. From transitioning to working from home and being self-employed, to owning my responsibility in my relationships, educating people how to use essential oils, staying curious about my relationship with men, keeping my home tidy, and teaching Yoga...I've seen just how vital leadership is, not just for me, but for everyone I'm in relationship with. Essentially, I wrote about my experience with leadership in a Multi-Level-Marketing company here. But I'm curious...where are YOU already a leader in your life?

Perhaps this post will come across a bit self-indulgent, as I'm only referring to myself and my values...but my point is this: If we replace resolutions with values, we may find so much more power in realizing everything we are and everything we want to be is already here. Resolutions often last several weeks, but values last a lifetime. I mean...what do YOU think? What are YOUR values?

*Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for hanging out with me here, this year. I am so inspired by your readership, your feedback and your friendship. This blog is one of my best friends and I am so thankful I can share it so freely with you. I truly, truly value YOU.

Here's to a great year ahead! Happy New Year!




Trying Not to Lose My Crystals: A Winter Solstice Ceremony

Last night I attended a last minute Winter Solstice ceremony at my dear friend, Courtney's, house. As the story goes, Courtney had been meditating in the bathtub at around 7pm and received a "message" to hold a small Winter Solstice ceremony in her living room...for the following hour. So, when I received her text about something to do with intentions and manifestation and essential oils and candles and crystals, and wine, I turned off my oven, left my partially-cooked spaghetti squash to fend for itself, got in the car and drove my little hippy ass 45 minutes over to her.

 

I arrived at Courtney's home, where she had created an alter for the ceremony, in the center of her and her husband's studio apartment. The table was adorned with crystals and gems, evergreen branches, candles, and a painting of her favorite stone. Each element intentional and so, so beautiful.

Crystals are to Courtney, what oils are to me. I've never really gotten into using crystals as tools for healing and living, in general. Essential Oils and Yoga are about as granola as I've gotten and I'm very selective about my weirdness. But since Courtney is wildly talented and owns her own handmade, one-of-a-kind jewelry company, I'm slowly but surely getting down with the quartz and the pyrite...

So, here's how we did the Solstice thing...

Each person gets their own candle (preferably a white one)

You can add anything you want to the top of the candle, but we used:

1) 1 drop of a therapeutic-grade essential oil blend (that I'd LOVE to tell you about in a private email. Because I can't tell you my company name on my blog. Because FDA).

2) A tiny rosebud: rose is the highest frequency flower in the essential oil and healing world. It represents the purest love and emits the highest vibration. So, that's cool.

3) Pyrite: for abundance, grounding and protection

4) Amethyst: known as the "stone of sobriety" to help clear the mind and keep focus & clarity

5) Silver: just for a touch of magic...I think.

6) Good, good, good, good vibrations

 

We then took a small strip of paper and wrote down our intentions, desires and wishes for the new year. You can keep it as minimal and simple or elaborate and loaded as you like. Write one word, or write a hundred words. My suggestion: when brainstorming all the things you want to manifest in your life, think about how you want to FEEL in your life, before you think about what you want to DO in it. (More to come on this loaded topic, but for now, just do that.)

 

We lit our candle with a match and then burned the piece of paper, holding all our hopes and intentions for the year ahead, because a ceremony isn't a ceremony if you don't light something on fire. Am I right?

As an early birthday gift to me, (which is on January 6th FYI), Courtney sent me home with a huge hunk of rose quartz because I'm pretty sure I'm gonna wanna go ahead and get married someday soon, and rose quartz is good for attracting love, so...

I will use the large stone to cleanse and "charge" my new rose quartz necklace from HabitationCo.!

Even if you're not into the "Winter Solstice Woo-Woo", this ritual is a really grounding, clarifying and fun way to ring in the new year or a new chapter in your life.

What rituals or traditions do you do??

Wholeheartedly,

Erica



Life-Changing Magic: Part Three

photo 1-12 Clothes. I got rid of my clothes. Not all of them, but most of them. The truth is, most of the clothes in my closet didn't fit. They were just scraps of fabric, hanging out, waiting for me to be thin again, mocking me for having outgrown them in the waist, shoulders, hips, thighs, nipples, eyeballs, everywhere.

I started in an ordinary manner; I emptied my closet, my drawers and under-the-bed "storage", dumped everything in my living room, became overwhelmed and anxious, rubbed a Grounding Blend on the bottoms of my feet and stared at the piles for about ten minutes, waiting for them to organize and purge themselves. Of course, I could have done one drawer, one section at a time, but I've never been interested in doing things the easy way.

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I had to keep reminding myself; Joy, Erica. It has to spark Joy in order for you to keep it, k? One great suggestion I got from my Magic Sponsor was to look at my clothes and ask myself if I would buy this item again. Were I to see this shirt/jacket/tube top/sequined beret in the store TODAY, would I buy it? And most importantly, DOES IT EVEN FIT? I promise you, I am the queen of keeping clothes for the benefit of my "future body" and especially my "past body". I don't talk a lot about my experience with chronic dieting, or binge eating, or weight gain, or weight loss, or body image, though, I probably should and also I want to, but just take my word for it; getting rid of the clothes once compatible with my body, that now even my arms wouldn't slide into, was mildly devastating.

I studied most of the items as though it were someone I used to know; holding the garment out in front of me, squeezing the material down its length, cocking my head to the side and squinting my eyes, vaguely remembering what it felt like to wear it and mostly remembering constantly being terrified for the day it would no longer fit. And that day came a long time ago. I've gained enough weight and my body had changed shape drastically enough to warrant more than half my closet to not fit me. But the only reason those clothes ever fit me was because I ate nothing but straw, hay, kale and cow diarrhea green drinks. Plus, I exercised like German Nazis were constantly chasing me. (Too soon?) But seriously.

photo 3-11   photo 4-9

So, out they went! TEN bags full of clothes that didn't spark joy, I wouldn't buy today and that reminded me of the years I was terrified of gaining weight. Mmmmmbyeeeee!

I'm *technically* still not done with this category, though. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up gives specific instructions for how to reorganize after de-cluttering. The author has a folding/organizing method that I refuse to use, simply because, in addition to every other article of clothing, she wants you to fold your underwear and I am NOT that kinda gal; I don't have the patience, I don't have the upkeep and I don't have the underwear. (Remember?) But for those of you who LOVE folding your underwear and dividing your t-shirts into thirds and arranging your clothes in the closet from lightweight to heavy...the link is above. Knock yourself out! Make this YOUR magical experience.

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photo 1-13

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So, what now...?

It's hard for me to get dressed, and has been since I was twelve. When I do actually get dressed, I seldom stay dressed. Being self-employed, I have the option of changing my clothes if my mood, body image or the climate changes. But I'm not so sure that helps me feel like a mature, confident woman. For years, I've worked in an industry that regards stretchy, forgiving spandex as put-together outfits and I think it's time I thank my Yoga pants for their service of safety and forgiveness, and try my hand at getting dressed, in "real" clothes.

So how do I start getting dressed, staying dressed and liking it?

Step One: I did the "Yoga Thing"; I set an intention, based on what I value most when it comes to my personal style and clothing. Here are some things that came to mind...joy, confidence, satiety, comfort, stylish, appreciation, worthiness, deliberate, choosy/picky, quality. From there, I pieced together my over all intention for getting dressed; To cultivate joy, confidence, comfort and spiritual satiety in a carefully edited, deliberate and stylish wardrobe. 

Step Two: I made a Pinterest Board filled with clothing and looks that inspire me and that I can see myself wearing on the daily...the ENTIRE day...unless I'm legitimately going to Yoga, in which case, the spandex is okay.

Step Three: I enrolled in Stitch Fix: Clothing and accessories hand-selected by a personal stylist, delivered to your door. Right?! Apparently, there are people in the world who literally want to make my getting dressed their problem. Fine! I won't stop ya! I even dropped a note to my stylist...

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Thanks for sticking with me for this series. Next up: "What's hiding under my couch?" AND "Let's not keep old alarm clocks and other non-kitchen items in the kitchen cupboards, k?"

Ok! Namaste! Byyyyeee!

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Oh, and PS: I totally got dressed yesterday ;-)

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