• Wealth
  • 6 Reasons Why I Choose to Live a Simple Life

    simple living, minimalism

    Last Friday was my birthday. I spent the day snuggled in bed. I soaked up all the birthday love. And got plenty of rest. I also watched a documentary. It came at the perfect time.

    At the end of each year, I choose a word to brand the coming year. At the end of 2016, the word made itself known.

    It was prompt and clear. But I doubted its truth. I wrote it down and planned to come back to it. Maybe there would be another word? A better word.

    No. This was it.

    What’s the word?


    Simple is my guiding word for 2017.

    It dashed into my consciousness as I imagined my nursing and writing career. It surfaced when I envisioned my home throughout 2017. And I felt it when I tuned into my core desired feelings.

    Before we left for Colorado, Evan and I moved furniture and picked up clutter in our apartment. Our carpets would be cleaned while we were away. Ease washed over me as I saw the space clear.

    After our trip, I put back most of the furniture. I made several changes and left certain areas open. Free of stuff. I felt inspired by the movement of energy and the clutter-free environment. It was hardly 2017 and Simple had made itself known. And it keeps making itself known.

    That brings me to my birthday. There I was sitting in bed, browsing Netflix. In just a few clicks I see, “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things.” Perfect.

    One hour later my heart engulfed in fire and my tummy swirled with energy. I was lit. The documentary encompassed what 2017 would be for me – creating more meaning through simpler living.

    I know my desire for a simple life reaches into my past. I recently came across a journal entry from my junior year in high school. It read, “I wish I lived in the old days where everything was simple. That way my life would be simple. Simple is all I need.”

    When I wrote that journal entry I believed that simplicity was a way of life that belonged to my ancestors. I believed I wouldn’t be able to achieve it in our materialistic society. At that point in my life, victimhood was all I knew.

    And even though I didn’t believe I could have simplicity in my life then, I now know that simplicity has always been a part of my nature. In 2008, it was natural for me to create spaciousness and simplicity around my college schedule. But by the time I got to nursing school in 2014, something had clicked. I knew that simplicity could be and would be achieved.

    As you can see, I am no stranger to simplicity. Yet this year’s simplicity surpasses anything I’ve experienced. This year’s simplicity digs deeper into my heart, mind, and soul. It returns to the surface as an integrated way of living. This year I’m intentionally applying it to my life.

    After watching the documentary about minimalism, I learned about how simple living could affect me. Simple living affects my freedom, values, connection with people and myself, finances, vision for the future, and the environment. Here’s how…

    1. Physical, Mental, and Emotional Freedom:

    Simple living can create physical, mental, and emotional freedom. We experience mental and emotional freedom as we create physical freedom. How? A clutter-free environment. Less stuff means less headspace and heartspace consumed by that stuff.

    Our stress levels increase as our environments fill with things. Things, things, and more things that we are responsible for. These things are used rarely or infrequently. We may think we need that thing-a-ma-bob to do that one task, but then we use that logic for all one-off tasks. And we end up with a house-full of unitaskers.

    We’ve got a bunch of stuff which do a lot. Too many things to use. Too many choices. Too many choices breed indecision. With so much stuff, we make simple choices complicated.

    On top of it all, the more stuff we collect the more space and time is needed to maintain the stuff and space. All of which are a mental, emotional, and physical drag, whether we are aware of it or not.

    As our space fills with stuff, we feel the pressure of living in a “small” space. We need more room to breath and to experience mental and emotional freedom. We need more physical space. So we work hard, save more money, and buy a bigger living space. But we don’t examine the unconscious consumerism that forced us into a larger space. And the cycle continues.

    We feel mental and emotional freedom for a short while. Then we buy more stuff to fill our newfound space. The mental and emotional blockage returns. And we need more space.

    It rarely occurs that if we just stopped buying stuff and got rid of what we don’t use or value we would have more space – mentally, emotionally, and physically.

    2. Value:

    A simple life is not overcomplicated with a bunch of stuff. As we reduce the amount of stuff in our lives we place greater value on what remains. And whatever enters our lives undergoes greater scrutiny. This means that I’ll only possess things that I value.

    What remains is either practically or emotionally useful. If it’s practically useful, I use it as a tool. And I use it frequently. If it’s emotionally useful, it provokes positive feelings within me. And I take the time to admire or reflect on it frequently.

    The keyword here is “frequently”. If it sits in a box or out of sight for great lengths of time, then I’m better off without it. Otherwise, I intend to use everything I own.

    3. Connection:

    Relationships matter. As we make more room in our lives and allow ourselves to step back and slow down, we see the people that make life worth living. We begin to value their presence in our lives. But we only do that after we’ve detached from our unhealthy relationship with things.

    The first step to living a simpler life is letting go of our obsession with possessions. We think we need more things to be happier. All we really need are quality connections with others.

    Get rid of things in your life. And stop using shopping as therapy. Instead, reach out to your friend or neighbor. See what gem they have to offer. You’ll find that your heart is filled much faster and the good feelings last longer.

    Simple living allows for these connections to happen. It’s a re-organization of value. You begin to properly value objects (see number 2). And you start to properly value people. People should be valued more than things – always. That is the natural order of life. Unhappiness spawns when this order is turned upside-down.

    4. Finances:

    The average American thinks that if they could just make more money they would be happier. Life would be simpler. So they work hard by picking up extra hours or extra jobs. Time spent with friends and family is cut short in favor of making an extra buck. And soon the individual’s health is affected. Now the person has more money but fewer quality relationships, poorer health, and less time.

    Living a simple life means there is no need to chase the extra buck. You don’t need the cash to buy the bigger living space to put all your stuff in that you would need more money to buy. Instead, you see that you can live on less and get rid of stuff to create more space.

    When you stop chasing the money to get more, more, and more, you find you have more. More time, better health, quality relationships – and you’re happier.

    You may even realize you don’t need to work so much. Or that you don’t need to work at that job you hate. Maybe you find you can actually pursue your passion. Like farming, knitting, or writing.

    When you stop chasing the money, you realize how much you already have and how happy you can become right where you are. You can be happy on less.

    5. A Vision for the Future:

    “Simple” gives me a new way to live. It’s like I’ve added new colors to my palette. And I can add different layers to my vision for the future. Now I know that I can have soft pink, fuchsia, or hot pink instead of just pink.

    Before I took on this way of living, I believed that the way forward was to buy a multi-bedroom home with a garage, a new car, and a front and backyard with all the lawn care equipment. And let’s not forget the husband, 2.5 kids, and white picket fence.

    In my own way, I envisioned this for my future. I thought I was supposed to have something along these lines. Even though I read blogs about people living life differently, I still thought that this vision was my vision. I see things differently now.

    I haven’t thought it out fully yet, but I’m excited about the new possibilities a simple life means for my future. What if I want to live in a tiny house? What if I’m okay renting and never buying a home? What if I want to drive my car until it falls apart and then purchase a used car? All possibilities for me now. And all okay.

    As I take on this new way of living, I can get rid of thoughts like, “I’m not good enough if I don’t have all the flashiest, fanciest, nicest new things.” Instead, I know that by living on less I actually have more. I have more happiness, freedom, health, and wealth.

    6. The Environment:

    As I choose to live with less in less space I create less waste and destruction. This is the most timely effect of minimalism. And one that benefits every person on the planet.

    Environmental destruction and global warming are some of the biggest challenges facing modern civilization. A simple life leads to less consumption, thoughtful use of materials, and proper consideration of space. If we all took steps to simplify our lives we could maximize our living spaces, reduce harm to the environment, and work towards harmonizing the ecosystem.

    I won’t go into too much detail about environmental conservation. I hope that it is evident at this point that if you reduce what you use you have less impact on the environment. And it’s clear that humanity has been over-consuming and over-using mother nature’s bounty for far too long. A simple, minimalist lifestyle brings this disturbing habit to a slow crawl.

    In a time when it looks like the world is turning upside down, there’s a driving force that compels each of us to make wiser decisions. Often we feel called to great feats of activism. But sometimes we don’t have the bandwidth to initiate or maintain such feats. That’s when it’s vital we tune into what it is we can do.

    We can open our hearts, listen to our true desires, and act on what we learn about ourselves. As we transform our own lives, the lives of others are transformed as well.

    A simple life offers many rewards, often unnoticed by the average person. Simple living creates space, boosts happiness, and supports the environment. Most of all it creates a meaningful life. One thing we all have in common is the desire for a meaningful life.

    Who knew that picking one simple word could lead me to such a profound shift in lifestyle? It’s a new year. I’m a year older. And my life will never be the same.

  • Other
  • Four Great Places to Eat in Boulder and Denver

    Colorado, the land of the free… to smoke marijuana. One of many reasons people across the US are flocking to the state. But not the reason that my guy and I have our heart pointed in that direction.

    Mountains. Snow. Outdoors. Cool people. Great beer. Chill vibe. Holistic lifestyle. These are the reasons we love Colorado.

    Over the holidays we drove 12 hours to visit the state from our home in Dallas. We spent three nights in Boulder and two nights in Denver. We had a blast.

    We ventured about Boulder on our first day in town. We caught the vibe, enjoyed the people, and dreamed about life in the small, college town. Spontaneity caught the best of us the next day as we ventured up the mountain for a day of snowboarding. Despite the unseasonably warm weather in Boulder, Eldora Ski Resort was cold with plenty of good snow.

    The second leg of our trip took us to Denver. We spent New Year’s Even dining at a fabulous sushi restaurant and rockin’ out to our favorite band, Nahko and Medicine for the People. A divine way to bring in the new year. On our last day in Denver, we took a driving tour around the city. We scoped out neighborhoods far and wide as we envisioned our lives in Denver in a few years.

    On our final night in Colorado, we ate at a hip local dive that filled me with energy. As we sat at the bar waiting for our table, I reflected on all the great restaurants we tried on our trip. None were planned in advance. Each one was picked one hour to 30 minutes prior to arrival. And yet we landed at the coolest locations. The Universe had our backs!

    Here are the four greatest restaurants from our trip:


    Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery: We chose this restaurant on our second night in Boulder after we walked the outdoor mall that day.

    The hostess wouldn’t take a reservation. But we were able to get on the wait list, which saved us 45 minutes. The hostess showed us to our table 10 minutes after we arrived. We didn’t even have time to order a beer from the bar.

    We sat down at a corner table that butted against the crowd of people who still needed tables. We ordered the brewery’s top rated beer and our meals. The food was delicious. I chowed down on a locally sourced hamburger while Evan ate the tempeh reuben. Good on him for eating vegan! I couldn’t resist the burger.

    Our waiter was great. He was super happy and friendly. He explained that service was shared at the restaurant, meaning we could ask a question or make a request of any of the staff and they would help out.

    It was a poppin’ local hangout. Every table was full. The bar was full. And more people were walking through the front door. And it was only a Thursday. Once we finished eating we decided to free the table for the people waiting to be seated.

    Fresh Thymes: We ate at this restaurant the Saturday after snowboarding. That morning I spent two hours at Boulder Medical Center Urgent Care. Snowboarding takes a toll on the body, especially during a time when I’ve already been having neck problems. Everything was fine. And we got on our way.

    We drove straight to Fresh Thymes for lunch. They offered healthy, unique foods like “Rad Thai,” which Evan ordered. It was a funky spin on the traditional pad thai. It was one of several meals listed on the board that could be prepared in the back.

    Or there were options on the counter labeled “counter food.” You could choose three sides or proteins or mix and match. I chose three sides from the counter: cabbage/kale coleslaw, garbanzo bean bread, and chicken curry soup.

    It hit the spot. Fresh, whole, warm and cool, and tasty!

    Boulder offered sweet eats but we were ready to see what Denver had…


    Sushi Den: We made New Year’s Eve a special event by eating sushi. I researched quality sushi places, but it was hard to choose. There were several restaurants with 4.5 stars and great reviews. I originally planned for another place but switched last minute. And it was a great decision!

    The Uber dropped us off across the street from the restaurant. We stood on the corner a minute to figure out exactly where it was. We saw a restaurant on the corner with beautiful large windows and couples sitting at tables with low intimate lighting. I can remember thinking, “Oh, how romantic. I wonder what restaurant that is?” Then I saw the sign, “Sushi Den,” in small, slanted letters scrawled across the wall next to the door.

    We walked into the dimly lit restaurant, put our name on the wait list, and took a couple seats at the bar. We ordered wine while we waited and discussed our trip. I soaked up the atmosphere. It was the perfect romantic and intimate setting for a New Year’s Eve celebration.

    The atmosphere was on point and so was the sushi. It was pricey with drinks and dessert included. But we didn’t mind since it was a celebration.

    The hostess sat us at the front by the beautiful, large windows I spied from the across the street when we first arrived. Heaven!

    We ordered a couple classic rolls and a few unique rolls. Followed by tiramisu for dessert. The sushi was delicious, but I’ve had better tiramisu.

    Sushi Den was the perfect date night setting. For me, it felt magical with the dimly lit dining area and the beautiful Christmas lights on the trees and storefronts that we could see from our table. It was the perfect way to end 2016.

    City O’City: This was the last restaurant of our trip. We were cruising downtown the Sunday before we left, exploring what the city had to offer. We skipped lunch that day, so we were pretty hungry.

    I had to find a place fast because Evan’s hunger monster was coming out. I googled vegan restaurants and this came up immediately – even though it wasn’t the closest one to us. It had 4.5 starts on google with over 220 ratings. I knew this was a keeper.

    We made our way through downtown, taking one last peek at the city streets we drove by. We parked on the same block as the restaurant and questioned where to enter. It was hard to find since we didn’t know what we were looking for. I was suspicious at first. And I was unsure of how this would turn out.

    We found the front door and entered into a crowd of people waiting to be seated. The restaurant was packed.

    The vibe was a cool, chill, grungy, hipster vibe. Once we were on the waitlist we went straight to the back bar for a drink. We ordered a pretzel with vegan cheese and two beers. The pretzel and cheese were tasty, but the cheese could have been thicker. It was tasty but not as good as the vegan cheese we’ve had at HG Supply Co. on lower Greenville in Dallas.

    We didn’t wait too long before we were seated. I ordered savory waffles with vegetable ragu and a scrambled tofu topping. Evan ordered pasta with vegetables and a vegan yogurt sauce. Both were tasty.

    The atmosphere and vibe of this place were on point. It gave us a good idea about the scene we’d be getting into if we move to Colorado. It was fun to see groups of friends hanging at the bar and all the tables filled with customers.

    Looks certainly were deceiving with this restaurant. Hard to spot on the outside but popping’ on the inside.

    These are the four great restaurants we ate at on our trip. We didn’t only eat four times, though. We were blessed with free hot breakfast at our hotels. And other days we skipped meals, ate at cheap places, or ate on the slopes. It all worked out perfectly.

    Even though Addison (the area where we currently live) is considered the restaurant capital of Texas, I was impressed by the what Colorado had to offer. And I’m excited to go back and explore more!

  • Wealth
  • “There’s Not Enough time,” Is It True?

    heart driven life

    It’s a Tuesday. I’m off work (I’m a registered nurse by day and writer by – my other days). I jump off the couch from a brainstorming sesh to head to my yoga studio. I’m happy to go stretch and move, but a wave of anxiety comes over me. I feel excited but anxious.

    There’s a lot to do between now and January to prepare for my 2017 plans. Plans I’ve been grounding for the last month and a half. Now I have another month to finish everything to get the year off on the right foot.

    In an instant, I think to myself, “There’s not enough time.”


    Did I really…



    Of course, there’s enough time.

    One step at a time.

    In less than one minute, I’ve brought awareness to a thought that didn’t serve me, flipped my attitude, and re-focused on what mattered most.

    At this point, its easy for me to do. Much easier than it used to be. It took practice. Lots of practice. “Practice of what?” You might ask. Three simple steps. (Yup – three steps. Because life is always simpler when in step form.)

    I’m gonna share those three steps with you because I think you’ll benefit immensely.

    “There’s not enough time,” is such a pervasive and insidious thought, it’s time you drop it. Here’s how to do it…

    1. First, you become aware.

    Awareness develops over time. “Over time” being the key words. It stumps people because we often want instant results. It’s the nature of living in our time. What with technology, the Internet, and all.

    But I have learned that quality results require – time. More than time, results require faith. Faith that the Universe will bring about exactly what you desire. In this case, awareness.

    Set the intention that you’d like to develop awareness. Particularly of your personal habits, like limiting thoughts and beliefs. Then each time you notice yourself noticing (so meta, I know), applaud or pat your self on the back, figuratively or literally. Your awareness will develop – over time – and with repetition.

    2. As you become aware of the thought, you’ll notice the feeling that follows. For me, that’s anxiety. Maybe it’s different for you. At this point, you’ll want to whip out your magic affirmation.

    To affirm something is to state something as a fact.

    Here are several affirmations I repeat to myself, the first several being specific to this situation and the others applicable for other scenarios, too.

    • “There is plenty of time for everything.”
    • “I’m able to complete everything on time.”
    • “What matters most will be completed.”
    • “What matters most is right in front of me.”
    • “One step at a time.”
    • “Whatever happens is in my Highest and Best Interest.”
    • “I have faith in the Universe.”
    • “Everything is working out perfectly.”

    Repeat the affirmation multiple times. It’s likely to feel weird. Like a miss-fit. You might not believe what you’re saying.

    And it may take a bit to get out of your negative feeling. Don’t let that stop you.

    Learn this – it’s always harder in the beginning. These affirmations are different than your normal thoughts. Resistance naturally rears its head when you do something different. Different often being better. That’s why it’s even more important to keep practicing.

    Just because they don’t feel true – now – doesn’t mean they won’t feel true soon. Dedicate yourself to the essence of these words. It’s a message of positivity, faith in a Higher Power, and hope for the future. It’s an energy that becomes a way of life.

    And – if it’s any encouragement – I felt like a fraud when I first started. Affirmations just didn’t feel true.

    I eventually gave up using affirmations. In retrospect, I used affirmations to get my way. Now I have a much healthier relationship with them. I use em’ only when I need em’, not as a means to manipulate my destiny.

    Affirmations are best when used as tools to guide and direct your energy and emotions rather than as magic spells.

    You’ll find many blog posts about manifesting whatever you desire by using affirmations. This is not healthy, which is a whole other post in and of itself.

    But back to cutting the habit of thinking there’s not enough time…

    Breaking the spell of anxiety is more challenging the longer you dwell in it. It’s paramount to become aware as soon as possible. Then affirm what you’d like to be true.

    These two steps are crucial to turning your day around. But to actually make any progress on your goals you’ll need the final step…

    3. Now that you’ve affirmed what you would like to be true, focus your energy on – one – task. No matter the task. Just pick one.

    It’s easy (in a habitual kind of way) to turn to the closest person to you (if you’re around people) and purge your feelings. Sometimes, if we’re unhappy with the work we’re doing, we’ll complain. Even if we’re happy – but anxious, we’ll offload, too. If you’re alone, the tendency is to get lost in useless activity. All of it as a means to diffuse the feelings brought on by the thought, “There’s not enough time.”

    Instead of offloading on another person or into useless activities, channel your energy into one meaningful activity.

    Here’s the kicker…

    Yea – the thought isn’t the most expansive and positive thought, but see all the energy (in the form of feelings) it created inside you? If you’re smart, which I know you are, you can channel that energy into your work to superpower your productivity.

    So, like I said, pick – one – thing on your to-do list and get to work! You’ve been gifted energy to get all this “crazy” amount of work done. Amazing, isn’t it?

    Let’s recap:

    1. Awareness. It takes time. So start now.

    2. Affirm. Affirm. Affirm.

    3. Focus and channel.

    God, or the Universe, has no other plan for you than the one right in front of you. Do that. And watch the magic happen.

  • Love
  • 2016: The Year of Completion

    heart driven life

    One thing most people don’t know about me is that I’m interested in numerology. Numerology deals with the significance of numbers. Each number indicates a specific meaning depending on whether you’re talking about a person’s name, birthday, or the universal year. Like this year…

    When you add together 2 + 0 + 1 + 6 it equals nine. A nine universal year signifies completion, reflection, and service. All year we have been bringing to an end whatever started within the last nine years, that which is ready to come to a close as we prepare for a new nine-year cycle starting in 2017.

    For some, this past year may have been slow, low-key, and relaxed. I know that it certainly was for me. I started my new career, ending a long stint of college education. I had several months of learning to rest and relax as this year comes to a close. I’ve even spoken with a couple people who have had similar experiences from friends to family members. This year has brought change and closure to a lot of people’s lives.

    But looking back over the past nine years, I find I have a lot to reflect on.

    Nine years ago I was in my final year and a half of high school and starting a journey of independence and self-reliance. That’s about the time that I became interested in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay, “Self-Reliance,” and used it as a guiding light for my own self-understanding. Upon reflection, I see how Emerson and that essay foreshadowed and fully encapsulates what the last nine years have been for me.

    It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great mean is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

    After high school, I went on a four-year journey not only from home to home but also an inner journey as I awakened to a reality much greater than my self-obsessed one. I can remember each specific step along the path that cracked open my mind and heart with each moment subtly leading to the next. Until one day, my world got turned upside down and, like an explosion, my consciousness expanded to include the cosmos.

    I can remember my perspective shifting from one of self-centeredness to literally include my view of the earth from outer space. Since then I have grown tremendously as a person and spiritual being.

    While my spiritual lessons were underway, so were my human lessons. I had to figure out my life path and purpose. And I was dedicated to discovering what was right for me. Many times I wanted to move from my path to nursing but with each step or even hint in any direction away from nursing, my guides forcefully redirected with me. Yes – forcefully.

    The force included anything from upset and nauseated stomachs with diarrhea or even headaches to flat tires and broken parts within my car. I quickly learned that I’m on a path that is crucial to my life purpose. And I learned to trust my body and the environment for signs about which direction to go. I developed a strong intuition as I navigated choppy waters and made mistakes along the way.

    I made it through two college degrees and finally into my career where I’ve settled into the beautiful knowing that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. And that feels good.

    Throughout the last nine years, my career, life purpose, and relationship with myself underwent an overhaul. My personal expansion literally blew my mind and still blows my mind today. I am in awe of the woman I am today as I am still learning to love and appreciate myself deeply instead of relying on others to validate what I already know to be true about myself. This is a major lesson I’m wrapping up.

    My family relationships have certainly shifted over the last nine years. The structure of my family has changed immensely with divorces, marriages, and babies. There have been breakdowns in my extended family, difficulties between siblings, parents and children, and tremendous collective growth as we have all changed with the times, no matter how small or large the change. Some of us have matured, myself and my siblings included as well as cousins, as we’ve come into our own. We contribute to the family in ways we were unable to do so before.

    I’ve learned a lot about family in the past years. I’ve learned about expectations, traditions, patterns often passed on from generation to generation, the sponge-like ability of children, and the enduring power of love – if and when love is actually present. We all just want to fit in and be accepted.

    Personally, I have found my voice within my family. When I entered my teenage years I felt different than the rest of my family. And as I entered many years of metamorphosis that these last nine years have been for me, I’m now exiting this cycle with a sense of self that I am confident in and able to express vocally to my family. This was not possible before.

    Before, I did not feel as though I had a voice or a place. Today, being different is still a challenge but I’m learning, at great strides, to trust the bonds of familial love and risk my uniqueness in favor of self-love rather than self-betrayal. From this, I learn that family will either love me or not no matter how I show up. Being myself is far more important. Being loved as who I am is important for my own happiness and for the happiness of those around me.

    The journey I’ve been on continues to inspire me to move forward with greater vigor, enthusiasm, and passion. The lessons I’ve learned, no matter how hard, have shaped me into a human worth being and excites me about the human I’ll continue to become.

    We are now entering into a new nine-year cycle. I want to encourage everyone to finish 2016 with deep reflections over the last nine years. And take the time to set intentions for the next nine years.

    I have learned from personal experience that self-reflection positions me to respond at a higher level the next time I have challenges to face. As I encounter and work through challenges, I can up level my response and grow as a person, becoming a better version of myself. Self-reflection plays a major role.

    When you know where you’ve come from and what you’ve learned, you can make smarter and wiser decisions going forward and be an active, happy co-creator with the Universe. Yes – you – can actively participate in the creation of your life. It is a dance after all. The Universe may be leading the way but you have the opportunity to have your own flare and style along the way. That is the beauty of being human.

  • Wealth
  • The Tapestry of Your Life

    heart driven life

    I’m sitting at my two computers this morning. My new MacBook Air has an abundance of internet tabs open as I passionately develop my brand new writer’s website. The “Old Lady” (my MacBook from 2008) is turned on on my left-hand side with the documents folder open, as I peruse all the writing I’ve done since 2012. I’m collecting samples to add to my portfolio as I prep for the launch of my freelance writing business in January 2017.

    In this moment, I sit back in complete awe of all the writing I’ve done over the years. I started my first blog in 2012, in which I wrote weekly. That blog led me to be introduced to a Florida woman who started Dreams Recycled, a business re-selling wedding dresses and rings, aimed at divorced women. I started writing for her blog one year after establishing my first blog. At the same time, I started to write for an online publication called Wild Sister Magazine.

    I continued to write for Dreams Recycled and Wild Sister Magazine as I transitioned from my first blog to what is today Heart Driven Life (HDL). At the time, HDL was my coaching business with a blog on the side that I continued to produce content for. Eventually, I closed my coaching business so I could focus on finishing nursing school, and HDL took a short hiatus.

    After HDL and while I was finishing nursing school, I had the brilliant idea of creating content for nursing students. I quickly developed, promoted, and conducted a workshop for incoming nursing students.

    Today, I’ve reopened my blog and now I’m starting a freelance writing business. I never imagined I’d be starting a freelance writing business, nor did I realize how all my choices up to this point would create such brilliant fodder for a writing portfolio. In each of these moments, I simply wanted to create. I wanted to provide value to the world and feel like there was meaning to my life.

    I feverishly explored my passions to understand myself on a deeper level and share my experiences with the world. I overcame buckets of fears and doubts with each blog post published and email sent to outside publications. I wrote and wrote, always thinking that I never had anything important to say or that my writing wasn’t any good. And yet – I did it anyway.

    Why did I keep doing it? Almost as though I was continually pulled forward by some external yet invisible force.

    Since the start of this year, I have reaped reward after reward and benefit after benefit of having followed that invisible pull, even when I had no clue where the heck I was going or what it all meant.

    In January, I received a Facebook message from a cool girl located in my city, Dallas. She said she’d read my writing in one of the Wild Sister Magazines and noticed we lived in the same city. We decided to meet up. Eleven months later, we’ve hung out multiple times, explored the mysteries of life together, and are great friends. She’s truly an amazing human being that I feel blessed to call my friend.

    In April, I felt a strong pull to create a second stream of income, or so that’s what I thought I was doing. I followed the inspiration and turned my workshop content into a book sold in eBook format on Amazon.

    Today, as I put together my writer’s website and portfolio, I’m in awe of the selection of samples I have to choose from and the clear indication that I’m on the right path.

    When I started writing actively in 2012, I had no clue that it would lead me to where I am today or bring me the benefits of a new friendship. At the time, I felt like I was searching and clawing my way to some semblance of meaning and direction in my life. As each new creation eventually fell away, I grieved for the loss of a dream. With each endeavor, I felt like, “This is it! This… is… it!” And yet, it still fell away anyways… not quite right.

    Over the last two months, I have sat with myself, researched until I was blue in the face, and drew a copious amount of tarot cards to guide me to where I am now. I’m on the cusp of starting a new journey. A journey that had been growing, developing, and expanding since before I even realized I was on a journey.

    From this experience, I am blessed with the fully integrated realization that what we do in life matters, even when we don’t always know what it’s for.

    I encourage everyone everywhere to go after their heart’s desires as long as their heart desires it and then let it go and move on. You never know what each creativity pitstop will lead to down the road. And you’re not supposed to know. If you did, you’d be God. Plus, where’s the fun in that?

    Like they say – life is a tapestry. Each of our individual experiences, seemingly unrelated, eventually all come together to form the beautiful working of our lives.

  • Uncategorized
  • The Divine Feminine’s Grief

    divine feminine grief

    My relationship with the Divine Feminine continues to surface. I can feel the call to meditate on the Divine Feminine energy, to cultivate and integrate Her presence, and to express Her presence in all that I do.

    At times I am in complete awe of Her beauty. I sit back and relax into Her warm embrace, engulfed in Her sweet smell, and beaming with joy absorbed from Her presence. The Divine Feminine is vibrant, glowing, warm, and all-encompassing. She uplifts me while allowing me to spread out in every direction. My vulnerability is embraced and made safe as I unwind, expand, and open to the Universe.

    These moments are juicy, raw, and real. These moments are beautiful, touching, memorable, and exciting. These moments make my heart weep with tears of joy and elation as I think about the collective and Her full manifestation.

    And then there are moments in which my heart weeps with tears of sadness and frustration. In the last two years, I have experienced waves of deep understanding and insight into the collective’s experience of the feminine. I have touched our wounds. And our wounds have touched me.

    I can recall one experience in particular… It was a Saturday night in the middle of summer. My man and I decided to get dressed and grab a drink at a local bar/restaurant. We were short on ideas. This was the best we could come up with for our Saturday night shenanigans.

    We walk into the restaurant and straight to the bar at the back, past the dance floor and the DJ. We order a couple of beers and start to chat while casually eyeballing the venue. It was a normal night, just like any other night.

    Halfway through our beers, I’m struck by this undeniable repulsion, anger, and grief. My eyes bounce from one young girl to the next, tagging along behind their guy’s.

    I feel so overwhelmed with grief that I tell Evan I want to go sit down. We find a table in the room next door.

    At this point in my life, I wasn’t great at communicating what was going on with me, partly because I had no clue. I just knew that emotionally I no longer felt well. Unfortunately, Evan starts to think it’s about him. My lack of clarity around my emotions and his masculine presence tempts me to blame him for how I felt.

    I dwelled on these seemingly random feelings while we finished our beers. Then we decided to leave. By the time I get home I’m truly hurting. I feel pain in my chest and sadness in my belly. I throw off my clothes, put on my pajamas, and crawl into bed. I begin to weep.

    I grab a tissue and bawl into the palm of my hands. Evan comes to my side, completely clueless at what’s occurring but tenderly offering a shoulder to cry on. I weep and weep and weep. My body heaves  in undulations as emotions pour through me. I feel sadness purge from every pore. I ache. I feel heavy. I sink into my body as my mascara runs down my face and snot flows from my nose. The pain of the Divine Feminine shatters my heart into a million pieces.

    That night I cried for myself, my mother, my sister, my grandmothers, and my friends. I cried for the girls at the bar. I cried for the women persecuted as witches and burned at the stake. I cried for women oppressed in foreign countries today. I cried for each woman spoken down to in the workforce. I cried for our sexuality and it’s continued assault over the ages.

    I cried until I could not cry anymore and even then I think I could have cried a little more. My body shook with grief for my sisters worldwide. No time in my life have I ever cried like this before. No time have I cried and wept for every woman ever called a whore. No time have I cried like this before.

    And still, I grieve until this day despite my conscious knowing. A piece of me grieves for my sisters when I hear stories of inappropriate and perverted female sexuality. I grieve at the thought of man’s attempt to continue to degrade, belittle, manipulate, control, diminish, undermine, and abuse my sisters and the Divine Feminine on the whole.

    I don’t always know that grieving is still occurring until I’m triggered again by a thought or phrase. Like last night… when my man shared an experience of a young girl dressing like a woman. Inappropriate dressing for a girl of her age, but how is she to know when no one has taught her that being a woman is more than sexuality, although sexuality is deeply feminine and human. But being a woman and appropriately expressing sexuality in an honorable and sacred manner is not what we’ve been taught. What we’ve been taught is a hyper-sexualized sexuality in which women are objects to be dressed and abused, in which her intrinsic value has no meaning and her appearance is all that matters. For this – I grieve.

    I grieve for the shallow pits my sisters fall into, including myself, and the hoops we jump through to be valued by the masculine. To fit into a society that values women as objects and nothing more. This is for what I grieve. And I will continue to grieve and honor my feelings, knowing in my heart of hearts that this time is for healing.

    No matter the pain that emerges, that which surfaces is here for purging. And I will play my part in the purging of hate, so the Divine Feminine can fully integrate and make an appearance, not one of objectification and oppression, but one of strength, love, empowerment, and grace. We are here as vessels for this beautiful energy. And as She takes her place on this world stage, I know I’m not the only one who will face centuries of emotions rising to the surface to be acknowledged and healed for Her highest expression. Now is time for Her emergence, and I’m honored to grieve clean a new field of transcendence.

    What we need most more than ever, my sisters, is to be valued by each other. To acknowledge the pain within one another. And to open our hearts especially when it’s dark. We must learn to communicate who we are as the empowered embodiment of the Divine Feminine. We are no longer victims of the Divine Masculine. As we come into power, the shadow of the Divine Masculine will be balanced by the beauty of the feminine. We have experienced centuries of pain and oppression at the hand of an unconscious Divine Masculine but we are at a turning point. And I’m happy to be alive and part of it.

    I’ll continue my meditation and dance with Divine Feminine, in Her beauty and in Her grief.

  • Wealth
  • Stop the Chase, Trust the Universe, and Become Available

    I’m learning the interplay between busyness and rest. It’s amazing how when I’m deep in the midst of learning I can see myself still enacting behaviors I know aren’t in my Highest Interest.

    One day it’s easy for me to slip into ease, spaciousness, and rest. The next day I’m restlessly rummaging about my apartment and trolling the internet seeking engagement and activity.

    I’m in a deep period of trust at the moment. I’m trusting the Universe to provide for me opportunities that are for my Highest and Best Good, even if those opportunities don’t appear as I think they should.

    In my mind, I ought to be spending all this free time searching for a second job. I ought to have a second job (my monkey mind tells me). I ought to be employed at minimum four out of seven days of the week. My days off ought to be spent resting just enough to have energy to complete my chores and tasks at home, while the little energy that is left is reserved for heading back to work.

    I convince myself that I should look into job opportunities, even though time and time again the Universe provides signs that indicate that my job now is enough. What I’m doing now is enough. And still I remain unconvinced… So, I ceaselessly scour the web for ideas of how to bring in extra cash flow.

    This tug-o-war has reached critical mass, and I’m finally deciding to let go. Yes – there are plenty of ideas out there for ways in which I can generate extra income, but not one idea I’ve come up with has felt just. right. Except… one. Except one that I can’t seem to see as a viable option at this point, mainly because I’m uncertain of how it will work or how it will turn out. That one option being to turn my extra attention, energy, and focus onto developing my blog and website.

    That is the small voice and nudge I continue to hear and feel within myself. On one level, I doubt that nudge because of my history with choosing that path. I chose that path when I started nursing school and it felt… rushed… tense… tight… pushy… and wayyyy too busy. I let it go so I could focus on nursing. Now that I’m here… it’s like… calling me back to play.

    I’ve fist bumped it a few times, sent a little wink in it’s direction, maybe even blown a kiss or two… but I’ve never seriously considered re-aligning myself with a full-steam ahead mission to bring my site back to life.

    Previously, before my site got wiped and before I closed my coaching biz, I was on some sort of roll. A decent one considering I was working on my coaching biz while in nursing school. I’m proud of the effort I made. I know I can get the ball rolling again, and I’m excited to give it a go.

    My choice to focus, once again, on my site as a means for expression as well as a potential source of income excites me in all the right ways. It feels free, creative, expansive, spacious, exciting, titillating, and mind-altering! These feelings are quite contrary to those that arise when I search for a standard side-j.o.b. The side-j.o.b. seems more like a means to end. A get in and get out kinda deal, which I could do. But do I really wanna? … No.

    What I want is to feel spacious, free, excited, liberated, expansive, open, nurtured, loved, kind, compassionate, enthralled, and available. I want to spend my days off from the hospital directed by my own leadership and under the supervision of my Highest Self, rather than the management of another company or corporation. I want to direct my going’s on’s. I want to direct who I connect with, in what way, for how long, and for what price. I want to create income streams for myself that flow through my own creation (my website) and reflect that love and caring I have not only for myself but for those who receive my work.

    I know I can provide value for the world in a way that in turn provides value for me. I know I can do that. I know I can. And it’s all a matter of trust.

    I need to stop chasing instant gratification of employment via another entity and drop into the flow of the Universe, the unknown field of emotional fulfillment and viable self-directed and self-created income. I know that when I place my faith in the Universe to provide the path and the opportunities my job is simply to remain available and take inspired action.

    Today I commit to remain available, which is a big commitment considering this recent unending hunger for continued work and activity. Today I make that commitment. From this moment forward, I’m no longer actively looking for a side-j.o.b. Instead, I’ll be seduced by my creative works via my website and potential self-generated income. Today I make myself available for that possibility wholly.

    Will you join me?

  • Health
  • Your Body as the Starting Place for Connection with the Divine Feminine

    divine feminine

    I’m sitting on my balcony tuning into my body and listening to what desires to be expressed in this moment. I have my right hand on my chest bone, over my heart, and my left hand on my belly just below my belly button. I can feel the warmth circulating between the two points.

    This has been a go-to practice for me off and on throughout my personal journey. It’s my way of sinking into my body, becoming present, and loving what arises or tuning into what needs to be heard.

    It’s easy and simple to sit with your right hand over your heart, yet I feel that somethings missing when I do just that. So, I gently apply my left hand to my lower abdomen. The immediate sensation of my warm hand on my belly draws my energy full circle throughout the entirety of my body, and I instantly feel grounded.

    The body is a source of wisdom and insight that I’ve been continually tapping into over the past several years. I can remember the very first time I ever felt a deep sense of release wash over my entire body and a calm connection to my being.

    At the time, I was living in Austin, Texas. I had recently picked up yoga for the first time ever. I had found a TV channel that played various yoga series each day. I started to wake up early to do yoga. I’d find the channel guide and write down all the times and days I could catch the show.

    I think I was well into my second month of doing yoga when I first had this body-opening experience. It was the end of the series, and I laid on the ground in shavasana, which is basically like laying flat on the ground. I can remember just allowing myself to feel supported by the floor beneath me. I released.

    I felt an almost orgasmic sense of release as I relaxed into the floor. I felt tension pull from my body, leaving me in a pile of skin and bones, melted into the fibers of carpet beneath me. That was the first time I felt such a release. That experience kept me coming back for me.

    It’s this time feeling of letting go that draws me into body time and time again. The irony is that I don’t realize how much I’m missing this connection to my body until I experience that release. It’s as though the tension blinded me from my own inner knowing.

    Today it’s a conscious practice to drop into my body and tune into what’s being felt, what needs to be heard, and what yearns to be expressed. I’m not perfect at it. Yet, as time passes and with more conscious practice, I seem to get better.

    I find that in our modern society we are often encouraged to rush around like chickens with our heads cut off, doing things – any thing. All for the sake of being busy. If we aren’t busy, then we aren’t productive and/or responsible. Busyness seems to be some sort of warped signature of success.

    It’s a warped paradigm that I’ve bought into time and time again.

    Even today I frequently play with the line between busyness and ambition or busyness and creativity. I am an ambition person who does love to work hard. I do find it difficult to just relax. When I relax I feel guilty that I’m not working myself to the bone to earn more money to pay down my debt.

    I deal with these feelings daily as I navigate what is actually true for me. When have I reached overload? When am I chasing rather than allowing? How do I know I’ve gone too far?

    That’s when I turn to my body. This is my practice. I tune into what she has to tell me. Is there tension in my head? Shoulders? Back? Jaw? How am I emotionally? Do I feel excited, joyful, open, receptive, and/or spacious?

    I’m working the fine balance between being in the present moment, arms wide open, back on the ground, and heart to sky and nose to the grindstone. This is the interplay between masculine and feminine.

    We are at a point in human history in which we are collectively resolving the entanglement of these two energies within ourselves. And I can clearly see this dance at play in my own life. And I clearly see how my body is a major part of being in tune with which energy is needed when.

    That deep sense of release and peace can’t be forced into existence. It requires space to flourish. It requires ease, flow, openness… It is the Divine Feminine.

    I’m great at doing the masculine. In fact, I bet most of us are, as that’s the type of society we have all grown up in. Stay busy. Work hard. Never sleep. Never nourish your mind, body, and spirit. Yet the tables have turned and the Divine Feminine is calling forth a spacious return to peacefulness, not filling the void, and following intuition.

    The return to the feminine for me (and for you, too) starts with returning to the body. I do that by implementing the practice I mentioned above. It’s a simple practice that can be done anywhere and at any time. But there are many other ways in which I return to my body to open to the feminine.

    Exercise (heavy or light) is an excellent way to get back in your body. But don’t do exercise the way you see those tiny, muscular blonde girls doing it on Instagram. And don’t do it the way you see that California yogi doing it on the top of a cliff. You’ve got to find what turns your body on, makes you feel good, and gives you that deep release.

    Here’s an example for how NOT to do exercise… Don’t go the gym and lift heavy amounts of weights because you think it’s what you’re supposed to do. Don’t go to HIIT class and push yourself past your limit in an attempt to keep up with the pros. Don’t dishonor your body to try to look and be like those around you.

    Go to yoga and go at your own pace. Run around the block at an insane speed because it feels good. Dance in your living room naked for 30 minutes. Hike a local trail barefoot or with your brand new hiking boots. Sink into to your body and figure out what it wants to do or feels like doing and do that!

    When you choose to do an exercise that feels right for you then you’ll honor your body, get the release you’re looking for, and align yourself with your inner wisdom and insight.

    Another way to open to the feminine within yourself is to sit. Yes. Sit. I love this. I recently had a whole conversation with a girlfriend of mine about sitting. Sitting can be a powerful exercise in allowing life to be just as it is. It’s akin to meditation but you don’t have to keep your eyes closed, and I find it far more relaxing. It’s especially nice when you have a good view from a balcony or patio, but that’s not a pre-requisite. You can easily sit in your bedroom, living room, or even on the toilet. I’ve had many a great insight sitting on the toilet.

    My last suggest for opening to the feminine is to stretch. You can take five minutes in the morning and evening to stretch your arms, legs, and spine. This is different than yoga, but yoga can be incorporated.

    These are all conscious acts that open your body. Your body is the key to the Divine Feminine and the key to opening to greater wisdom, insight, and guidance from within. And right now, the Divine Feminine is calling all of us to open to her in deeper and deeper ways. Your life will open to an array of new opportunities as you allow the Divine Feminine to permeate your being and direct your day-to-day decisions. She’s an awesome conductor of life in a way that leaves you feeling nourished, nurtured, and loved. Allow yourself this experience.

  • Health
  • Recipe: Chocolate Banana Blueberry Smoothie

    I love smoothies! I started drinking smoothies two years ago, and I’ve never looked back. My smoothies are the healthy kind (not the kind loaded with sugar and juice). I drink them for breakfast paired with a sprouted grain toast with non-dairy butter, almond butter, or peanut butter. Or, I drink them post-workout since they have a scoop of protein.

    My first smoothies were filled with veggies and fruits and super chunky! They were brown, green, puprle, and all shades in between.

    These days I’ve modified my smoothie recipe to the point of perfection. No – I’ve never actually followed a smoothie recipe from the internet. Why? I’m not sure. I assumed I could just figure it out myself. I had fun experimenting and using my noggin’.

    I primarily use smoothies as a means to dose myself with a serving of veggies, fruits, and nutrition from a variety of sources. I have a green smoothie recipe that is my staple, but these days I’ve been experimenting with chocolate and cacao. I’ll share my green smoothie recipe another day.

    Today I want to share my Chocolate Banana Blueberry Smoothie.  The recipe is as follows…

    • 1 and 1/4 cup of organic, unsweetened coconut milk
    • 1 scoop chocolate vegan pea protein powder
    • 1 organic banana
    • 1/4 to 1/3 cup frozen organic blueberries
    • 1 tblsp organic cacao powder
    • 2 tsps raw, organic maca powder
    • 2 tblsps flaxseeds or flaxseed power

    Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth! Voila! A delicious and nutritious chocolate banana smoothie.

    If you want a dose of veggies, replace the blueberries with 1 cup of spinach. You might think greens + chocolate would taste funny, but the added cacao covers the taste of the greens. It’s especially helpful if you use spinach because spinach blends really well, unlike kale or other greens. Kale is edgy and spiky and sometimes takes longer to blend. At least, that’s the case with my blender.

    So, that’s my chocolate banana blueberry smoothie! Try it out and let me know what you think.

    With love,

    Paula D Jones

  • Love
  • How to Take Back Your Power

    I want to share with you a small post I made on facebook the other day. It was in response to a friends post. She posts regularly about her troubles with people in her life. She publicly discusses her latest hurdles. I read her posts, and I have noticed a trend. In response to her latest post, I felt inspired to write the following.

    I noticed how often she gave her power away to other people. She may not be doing so in the moment, at least not obviously so, but when she turns to Facebook to air her frustrations she unknowingly gives her power away. It prompted the bubbling forth of the following response…

    Every day we are at risk of giving our power away. Our power is our autonomy, our ability to dictate our response to experiences.

    As life happens, inside and outside our control, we are prompted to respond. Our power lies within our response. Do you give your power away or do you remain powerful?

    You might give your power away by dropping into fearful, anxious, worrisome, controlling energy. For example, an experience happens, at which point you have a choice – respond in fear or love. When you respond in fear, i.e., succumb to the lower level energy of the experience, you reduce, limit, diminish or give your power away in favor of the lower energy. When you respond in love by complimenting, praising, or not accepting as your own the lower energy of another, you maintain a higher level energy; you maintain your power.

    To respond in like to a negative situation gives your power away. Your power is amplified when you respond with love and kindness. Today – practice loving kindness. Take back your power. ?

    With love,

    Paula D Jones