During my herbal studies this year, there has been a lot of discussion on poison ivy. This past week my father unfortunately was afflicted by this plant. But fortunately I was able to provide some assistance. Jewel weed, in the above photo, typically grows near by poison ivy and has been known to heal it. Some may find it ironic that typically the plants that may cause us harm typically also carries the antidote and if not has the healing plant near by. To me, this is just another example of natures miracles; knowing what needs to grow by which plant. Anyways, going back to my story, I unfortunately did not have any jewel weed growing near by when my father came to me, but I did have burdock. This plant is also known for healing poison ivy, oak, and even sumac. I showed my father the lazy way of taking a leaf, crumbling it up into a ball, and rolling it in my hands in order to extract its juices to put on the afflicted areas. I then also sent him home with a care bag of leaves and told him to make a cold compress with them by boiling water, shutting the heat off, putting the leaves in, letting it completely cool and even suggested putting the pot into the refrigerator and then soak a cloth, ringing it out as best as possible and then laying the cloth over the afflicted area. I also suggested that once the poison is gone and he only had damaged skin to put aloe vera on the scabs to help heal the area.
This passed week a client and a friend asked if I could offer her any financial advice and at first I thought I had no words to offer, but then I realized I had plenty to give. My lifestyle may seem elaborate to many people, but to be honest, many of my fun adventures cost me little to nothing. I am constantly hiking and camping, most of which is completely free or costs less than $20 because I tend to stay in state parks. When I need new gear I am willing to wait, save, and buy on off seasons in order to get great deals. I also always let the universe and those I surround myself with know what I may be keeping my eyes out for. You never know when someone maybe getting rid of something that you are in need of or want. You can also save money by unplugging un-necessary appliances and electronics with little clocks and lights built into them. I once heard a woman say she saved an average of $30 a month by not keeping her microwave plugged in all the time.
And then the overall best advice I can offer is keeping a record of everything you spend. Make lists! The main list is your monthly bills, then make a second list of daily expenses. At the end of each week review this second list and see what you could have lived without to discover just how much you could have saved if you were only willing to make your own lunch, coffee, or quit a bad habit. Then add up the total at the end of the month and decide how you may want to approach the next months. Also, at the end of that first month, multiple it by 12 in order to get a rough idea of how much you could have saved or used that year to finally go on your dream vacation!
It can be difficult to care and show love for ourselves, especially for those that spend so much time caring for others. I am often guilty of this too. It's ironic how we'll go to the end of the world to help a loved one in need, support others financially but then be unwilling to do them same for ourselves. Many of us feel guilty or that we are wasting our time and money when its spent on ourselves. In this current moment in my life, I am working on finding a balance between being there for others and remembering to do things for myself as well. I urge you to also take a moment and access how you care and show love for yourself. I know many mothers and care takers that will make healthy meals for their children but then skip their own meals because they are too busy, or even end up just eating something quick that has no nutritionally value and then end up feeling run down and weak because of this. Self care doesn't have to be anything extravagant. Sometimes yes, you deserve to take a trip to a tropical paradise, but that isn't enough. It's important to maintain a routine with the small things as well like eating healthy, going to bed at a decent hour, enjoying your shower rather than just hoping in and out to get clean and move on to the next thing, and most importantly not over-working yourself. As I am always saying, there is more to life than just working.
Home means something different to so many people. I think when we are young it is common for our home to be the house we were raised in and for some, even after they move out into their own places, their family house remains their home. For others, it's the famous saying of "home is where the heart is." I currently have many people in my life struggling with the concept of home. Some are moving out of their parents and learning to be on their own for the first time, some are homeless living in a tent or an abandoned house, and others have travelled so much that they really can't call one place their home. For me, I've never really had just one place as most people do. I honestly feel I am currently split in three. One being the New Hampshire cabin in the photo above that I painted in pastel; this is were I feel most safe and relaxed. It's a place I go whenever I need to feel healing. The second is the land on which I grew up at. There are gardens and pieces of my memories reflected in the trees and paths and all that I have planted. And the third is wherever my love is. I could be at the cabin or on my family land, but without him I feel there is an essential part of that feeling of home missing. So, whatever/whoever home is for you, remember it is not important how you label it. What matters is how it makes you feel. Remember to give thanks for whatever it is; for home gives us shelter, support, and love.
When pursuing your dreams there are always going to be those who believe in and support you while others will judge you, be jealous, and tell you to get a real job. When I first started teaching my holistic and art classes many of my friends were very encouraging for me to offer more and keep going, but unfortunately some family members and even friends would constantly warn me out of love and concern not to rely on what I am doing and to continue working my "real job." As my business grew and I began to realize I could actually support myself without the need for other employment, I began to doubt myself and questioned if I could survive financially without a "real job." But as the months passed and my spreadsheets continued to prove to me that I was ready, I began to ask myself, "what is a real job?"
A "real job" does not have to mean doing something you hate in order to survive. Many people will judge you and even try to make you feel guilty and shameful for not being another number within the crowd of the corporate world. I had to break free of this twisted way of thinking and be proud of myself for all that I have worked for. When you are self-employed many people only see the public events you are apart of but miss all of the hours and effort that is put into making those events possible. People don't see the days and nights spent answering phone calls and emails, planning and organization for events, the write and re-writing process for the event descriptions, coordinating with other people, etc. The same is true for stay at home mothers and college students. People as a whole need to stop the criticism of themselves and others and allow themselves to chase their dreams. Stop listening to all the nay-sayers and start pursuing!
Love is a precious thing that deserves nurturing and caring for. As many of you know, after I changed my life, left the person I did not belong with, and started being true to myself, I met my soulmate. And I can honestly say that I am in as much love with him as I was when we first started dating. I believe this is because we are always considering each others feelings and doing sweet sentiments for one another even when its not a special occasion. For many people, the romance begins to fade away six or so months into the relationship and I believe its because people get comfortable and stop working at it. For my love and I, we constantly try to do sweet things for one another. For example, one of my favorite things is receiving love letters, little notes and like today, post cards. It doesn't have to be expensive or time consuming, but something just enough to let your partner know you are thinking about them. An important note I often share with my female friends is men deserve to be romanced as well. Unfortunately, tradition has taught many people that relationships are all about how the man treats their woman, but its so much more. In order for a real, long lasting relationship to continue to flourish the effort needs to come from both people. Men deserve just as much attention and thoughtful gestures as us women.
Connecting with Spirit, Universe, or God (really whatever word you wish to use) does not need to be overly complicated. Many people imagine they need loads of time to be a "spiritual person," but that's just not true. Some days my scheduled is packed with work, errands, and studying and I wonder how I'm going to get everything done. I often hear myself saying there are just not enough hours in the day. But even still, there is always time to be made for Spirit. Each day when I get into my car I say a quick prayer to keep me and those around me safe. And when something good happens, I will take a moment to feel gratitude and thank Spirit. It takes less than a minute to do and sometimes that maybe the only time in that day I dedicate to Spirit. On other days, like today, I am able to sit in my garden and meditate. I admire mother nature and all her beauty. I focus on the sound of the wind and the feeling of the sun on my skin. In those moments I feel Spirit with me. And when I am seeking answers, I will pull my oracle cards and read for guidance. Today, Spirit told me to stop worrying and that all my dreams are coming true- as are yours!
On a regular basis people reach out to me for advice on happiness. Friends and clients see all the fun and exciting things that I do and think for some reason my life is perfect and theirs not. The truth is, my life is not perfect yet it is indeed filled with happiness regardless. I've had many obstacles to overcome and still struggle from day to day with worries just like anyone else. The difference is, I refuse to allow my struggles to keep me down.
As some of my readers know, about a year and a half ago I made the decision to start my life over. I had followed the ideals taught to too many young woman and ended up married to a man I should have never been with. I was miserable and following a path I had no desire to be on. I was depressed and felt stuck for a multiple of reasons. I honestly could not see a way out of the whole I had dug for myself. I wanted to blame others for teaching me wrong, or not helping me to see clearly, but when it came down to it, every choice I made was my own.
One night I snapped. I could not pretend to be happy anymore. The truth spilled from my lips like a river through a dam that had finally gave way. And from that moment I did not stop telling the truth. I began allowing myself to go deep inside my soul. I allowed myself to feel emotions I had gone numb to. And within just a few months I started the slow discovery process of learning who I am and what I actually want in life. Now I smile because I am honoring my true being. I am happy because I know how to say no when something is not right and how to say yes when it is.
I was once living a life I had no happiness in, but through creative exploration I discovered myself and how to manifest all of my dreams. Through my blog I wish to give my readers hope and inspiration to create the lives they truly want & deserve.