In the End…

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(Artwork by Ana Laero)

When we die our loved ones write our eulogies. But what if we could tell our own stories from the grave?  What if we wrote our own parting words of wisdom in our Wills to be read out loud at our funerals? Think of the impact it would have to speak from the heavens, for your family and friends to know your dying wishes, hopes and dreams, to know your very last thoughts as you contemplated DEATH.  Well, this exactly what I propose.

Some might be lucky enough to leave a legacy, or write a book or maybe live their life exactly the way they wanted to while they lived. Let’s hope that’s the best case scenario for all of us. But just in case, something like this could really inspire the ones we leave behind, especially if we leave suddenly.  Not everyone in our lives knows us fully. Let’s be real, sometimes, we don’t even know ourselves. I think in the face of death, we are forced to re-evaluate our core beliefs, values and everything that happened to us. So, I think in that moment we can really say what we really mean without fear of judgement or feeling misunderstood. Here are a few words that I would leave with you today…

Life is full of good and bad moments, of love, pain, sorrow, and joy…I know, it’s like a roller-coaster, at least for me.

But IN THE END, it is our choice in which light we see our experiences.

For IN THE END, every sorry had it’s lesson and every joy had it’s sacrifice.

IN THE END, I loved everyone for the courage that they gave me OR the lesson that they taught me.

And IN THE END, everyone was just a mirror of what was going within me; the love AND the hate. It was all just a reflection of my internal struggle.

Life is no less than amazing, the harder you take a look a it with all of its intricacies, systems, and automatic genius.  Look at nature, science, and psychology.  By the grace of God, I have returned to the WONDER of a child in my adulthood.  The world is full of complex emotions like compassion, forgiveness, heartache, and falling in love (what some might even call magic).

In all of the human experience including its foibles, I see beauty in the vulnerability and bravery it takes to face our deepest and darkest of fears. We are tested for INTEGRITY as we seek the truth and return to our essence as God intended from the very beginning. Some find their meaning early in life and some a little late…

IN THE END, there is only joy and peace in returning back to my Creator. I pray that I lived my short time on earth impacting those around me in a positive light as they continue on their journeys.  My hope is that I had helped even just a little…

I love humanity with all of its trials, tribulations, courage, and strength. For you CANNOT have the good without the bad. But IN THE END, there is only love, if we ALLOW it…

FOR AUDIO, CLICK HERE!

 

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Anxiety, Friend or Foe?

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Anxiety is a b*tch. Anyone who knows her, knows this. She controls what you do, what you don’t do, who you’re with, your dreams, aspirations, and your daily life decisions.  She’s that over controlling friend that you just can’t seem to shake.

It started out in high school even though there were signs of it long before that. The household I grew up in concocted the perfect environment for anxiety like mold on a humid day.  Negativity hovered over my head wherever I went and it clouded my judgement in all that I did, said and thought.  My parents did not have the tools to deal with their anxiety and so they passed it onto me.  Unfortunately I think anxiety gets passed down generationally.

My mission is to conquer anxiety once and for all, for my family and the generations to come.  I’m not sure how I’m going to do this but I refuse to let it control my life.  It has already stolen so many good years from me.  In my early 30s, anxiety took over.  For the past 2 years, I’ve literally had to quit my business, take a break from friendships, shake up my marriage, and go on a spiritual mecca to come out the other end. I’m still crawling out the other side of the tunnel. I’m not quite there yet but I can finally see the light.

So let me tell you how I plan on defeating my nemesis. My plan of attack starts with awareness. A wise man once said, knowing is half the battle!  That’s right, I just quoted G.I. Joe.

1)  AWARENESS.  Observing your triggers and thoughts are the first step. I didn’t even know how negative I was until I started to meet more positive people. I started listening to my inner voice and realized wow, I would never talk to anybody like this.  Why would I treat myself this way? (For help with this, check out https://melissaambrosini.com/)

2) EXPRESS YOURSELF.  Whether it’s talking to a friend, family member or counselor, get that sh*t off your chest. Don’t let it fester and grow into a monster. Because when that happens we know all hell can break loose at the snap of a finger. One minute you’re fine, then complaining about the dishes, and then suddenly you’re yelling at the top of your lungs.  Well, that seems out of context…

3) CONNECTION.  It could be art, singing, journaling, meditating, or walking in nature (Harvard agrees). All these methods help you reconnect with your true self and the Universe.  Find your coping mechanism. In our society where busyness is praised, we need to find time to wind down and reconnect with ourselves.  We need to recharge.

4) THE BASICS.  Exercise and eat healthy. We’ve known this since the beginning of time… But do we do it? I often see that skipping meals or eating fast food is acceptable nowadays. We sit at a desks for 8 hours a day to go home to sit some more in front of the television.  Our ancestors were on their feet all day hunting and gathering. We are creatures of the earth. We were meant to eat off the land and be on our feet all day.  Something as simple as eating more salads and evening walks will help you function better from the inside out.

5) TRACK PROGRESS.  If you can meditate on your blessings for just 5 minutes, count it a success! If you squeeze in time to socialize with a lunch date, count it a success! If you can walk your dog for 20 minutes, count it a success!  In other words, be your biggest cheerleader.

6) ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE.  I’ve tried it all.  Acupuncture, massage, herbs and counseling all have the ability to aid you in your quest to conquer anxiety.  They can help remove blockages, remove toxins, balance, and shift your mind, body and soul.

7) FOCUS.  Multitasking is overrated. To me you can get more done in less time with focus. You not only produce better work but fewer mistakes. That means less time wasted on editing and re-dos!  As I practice mindfulness (The Huffington Post agrees) and being present in the moment, there is more balance in my mind. I no longer feel rushed and with that comes inner peace and clarity.

8) LET IT GO. This is the most difficult of them all.  Sometimes we let drama sit with us way too long when we should just let it go. We let our bad experiences get the best of us instead of us getting the best of them. We let them teach us fear rather than learning from them. We shrink into ourselves instead of letting our fears make us stronger, smarter, and fiercer the next time around. But we don’t have to. It’s always in our power to shift our perspective.

Anxiety is no joke. We often don’t even realize it’s crept up on us. It comes in the form of a headache, nausea, indigestion, or other form of sickness. It’s that worry that pokes at you, letting you know there’s something to pay attention to here. It’s not meant to be ignored or masked by medications. It’s here to make us deal with an underlying issue that often perpetuates personal growth (A doctor’s explanation). It makes us feel uncomfortable for a reason.  I guess in the end it’s not all bad. It doesn’t mean to harm us. It’s merely here to keep us in check, to keep us in balance.

FOR AUDIO, CLICK HERE! 

I Gave Up Church for God

I want to live and breathe God. He is by far the most amazing experience I’ve had in my life thus far…I wouldn’t trade it for wealth, fame, relationships or anything else this world has to offer…

I come from a very religious background but I’ve never considered myself “religious”. I’ve always tried to be as genuine as possible in my faith. I never wanted to push my beliefs on others (although at times I may have failed) but I did want to share my story. I realize now how religion played a role in boxing me in.  I’ve often questioned things I’ve learned at church especially when one church said one thing and a different church said another.  I wanted to find my own answer.  I’m not big fan of authority figures. I guess I’m rebel at heart kind of like Jesus.

At one point, I went to church, attended not one but two bible studies and served the church in multiple facets including leadership.  Honestly, all that together weighed me down like a ton of bricks.  I was exhausted by all the religiosity. And I’ve never felt farther from God than when I was busiest at church. But this again, is my personal experience. I don’t doubt that others have found their experiences uplifting. And not to say I didn’t benefit from church because I did. There is something uniquely beautiful about worshipping God with others. And I do believe there are authentic people in the church and others that are just trying to find their way the best they know how…

But for me, organized religion suffocated me. I am already a discipline person; I don’t need more structure. In fact that is the last thing I need. It kills my creativity, my freedom to think, feel, and be. In fact, I need less structure. That is where I thrive.  That is where God and me are limitless…

I’ve let go of a lot expectations from friends, family, society and what people will think of the new, hippy dippy version me.  And I’ve got to say, I’ve never felt freer.  I want that freedom for everybody.  I believe that everyone experiences God in their own way.  My purpose is to simply be the best human I can possibly be.  I pray that I can do justice to God’s plan for me and therefore inspire others to do the same in their own journey.  That would be my ultimate dream…

FOR AUDIO, CLICK HERE! 

 

The Dirty Truth About Marriage

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Doesn’t it intrigue you that something as sacred as marriage has its dirty little secrets? Don’t get me wrong, I have cherished my marriage for almost 8 years now and I still love him to pieces. But the question is, is that enough?

Some of you may think I sound ridiculous, thinking how can she love someone so much but simulaneously consider parting ways? Well, let me tell you my dirty little secret. I love my husband but I love myself more. This recent ephiphany of mine has shifted my view on marriage.  My husband and me were great partners when we were in our 20s because we had the same life goals. But in our 30s, I think our life goals have changed significantly. Let’s just say a decade of life can change one’s perspective.

I think my husband and I have both made our share of compromises which we thought were necessary in our marriage. But what if those compromises take you to the point where you don’t even recognize yourself anymore? Is it still beneficial to stay together purely out of loyalty?  Do we really love each other if we are holding each other back in any way from our true calling in life?

I feel like I’m a gypsy soul at heart with love of travel and unconventionalism. My husband is more traditional; he adores the idea of a family and a home. Can we meld the two together so that both parties are happy? Maybe we balance each other like the ying and the yang.

Let me leave you with these last thoughts.  Is lifetime commitment too much to ask from someone seeing as we change throughout the course of life or is it nature to want to form a lifetime partnership, to settle down and have a family?  Thanks in advance for participating in this tantalizing topic!

For the AUDIO version, click here!

 

American Dream Remixed

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My birthday is just around the corner.  34 is looking quite different than I thought it would. I thought I’d have kids, a house and a thriving career by now.  Not that it’s looking bad these days. I’m happily married, live in sunny California and am the mom to one of the best dogs in the world (Okay, I’m a little biased here).  Life’s good.

I could compare myself to other people and think wow, I should be much farther in life. But COME ON, when has that ever made anyone happy?  I finally decided to stop the drama.  I turned that show off and began to write a new story for myself.

I’m lucky.  I’ve checked off a lot of things that were on my bucket list.  I’ve lived overseas, backpacked in Europe, sky dived, learned to play guitar, seen the Northern lights, started a business, sung open mic, volunteered for the homeless and the list goes on.  Like I’ve said I’ve lived a full life and there’s not much I regret. Although I love adventures let’s be honest, I was a little obsessed with checking things off the list. I forgot to soak up those experiences while I lived them. They passed me by so fast I barely remember. I was so young and in such a rush to conquer the world.  I wish I could re-experience those things now with the eyes that I have today.

This last year of my life taught me to love my life again! That is why 34 is extra special to me. It might not be the big 30 or 40, but it is the year I got my life back. I lost my child-like joy as I became an adult.  I was suffocated by what was expected of me. Now, I know those shackles no longer have power over me. I get to choose my life. Unconventional or not.  So, what if I don’t have kids yet?  So what’s if I’m not at the top of my industry?  So what if my life doesn’t look perfect from the outside?!  I’m true to myself and that’s all that really matters. I have found my inner peace and I think that’s better than just looking fancy.

I suffered from depression on and off most of my life and I’m finally free. I love myself just as God loves me without the shame, guilt, and without conditions.  I’m human, I know that I will struggle with ups and downs but I’m now rooted in my true identity.  It doesn’t revolve around the external world but rather my internal one.  I can experience life without fear of judgement. I am secure in the arms of God. Hallelujah!

I’d like to turn this blog into a conversation. Have any of you felt boxed in by the expectations of others? And if so what do you intend to do about it or what have you already done to break free?

Also, what brings you joy and inner peace? Please, do more of that! And to send you off I’d like to end on a quote by Nelson Mandela.  “As we let our own light shine we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.”

Love & Light, Lisa

P.S. Listen to the audio version HERE!

Daddy’s Little Girl

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My father’s birthday is this Sunday. I haven’t seen him since Christmas and he lives just 15 minutes away.  I’ve never had the daddy-daughter relationship people have always talked about. Far from that, actually.  Most of my life I’ve feared him. Today, I’ve changed my perspective and I have compassion towards him.  I think of the relationship we could have had and maybe, still can have one day.

There’s many things I admire about my father. He is fun, passionate, and honest but it’s funny because I didn’t see these qualities about him growing up. In fact, he was a very angry man the way I knew him. This obviously put a damper on our relationship. I’ve come to realize that circumstances were the thief of our daddy-daughter dynamic.  It was especially difficult when my father lost his job for a couple of years when I was in high school.  The weight was on my mother’s shoulders while my father felt useless. And we know how unemployment can kill a man’s ego.   They both took their frustrations out on me. I know that now but back then I felt like my world was crashing down around me.  I didn’t know why my parents hated me so much.  I started to hate myself too.  Even today, it’s hard for me to exchange the words “I love you” with them because I don’t feel it’s coming from a genuine place.  I don’t remember many tender moments between us but I do remember a lot of pain.  Although they clothed and fed me, emotionally I was starved.

For years, I have wanted to forgive them but I didn’t know how. I was so angry, it consumed me. I hid it well from most people except myself. I could hear the negative things I would say in my head every single day. Eventually it became the norm and I barely noticed.  But after some of the two most challenging years of my life, meditation helped me discover self-love for the first time.  I no longer feel the need to gain their approval and love.  Yes, it would be nice and what daughter wouldn’t want that? However, I don’t expect it from them anymore.

I know only God’s love can truly fill that void in me.  I thought I knew God’s love before but I have recently discovered a whole other level.  A love that far exceeds my wildest dreams. Maybe only in my desperation could I have gone this deep with Him.  Because of that I think I’m finally ready to face my parents without fear of an anxiety attack, fear of their criticism, of their expectations and disappointments.  Maybe for the first time in my life.  Okay, I’m still a little hesitant. But scary can also be good, right?  So, wish me luck as I see him Sunday for his birthday. I hope I can give us both a real chance to have what we’ve never had before…

Now that I’ve shared my personal story with you. Can you relate? Are you secretly or openly angry with someone in your life and do you think it’s possible to replace that anger with compassion? Delve deep and give them the benefit of the doubt. Put your ego aside.  By doing so, can you change the old paradigm for a new one? I challenge you to think outside of the box.

Change starts here with you…Let me know your thoughts, frustrations, and stories. Dare to be vulnerably adventurous with me?! Post your comments below!

Hello World!

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Why, hello there! My name is Lisa. What’s yours?!  I am what they call an INFJ, an extroverted introvert, apparently the rarest of the breeds (according to the Myers-Briggs personality test). Some say that the INFJ has supernormal intuition.  So, I guess I’m here to exercise and share this super power.

I want to give you my raw and honest truth on topics like relationships, personal growth, spirituality, health and wellness, the human experience and anything else that lights my heart on fire.  I hope my exploration inspires you to do the same or at least gets your juices flowing.  I’m here to chat, listen, and guide discussion as you follow me on my inward adventures. May I light the pathway as I learn from my mistakes and delve into my deepest and darkest secrets.  Just kidding, but not really.  Please feel free to share your questions, comments and stories here. I want to hear them. Thanks for sharing this experience with me!

Love & Light, Lisa