A Letter to My 13 Year Old Self

Dear Sweet, Younger Me…

First, let me tell you that you are loved.

There is anger inside of you. Let go of that anger. It could hold you back.

Many people want you to be many ways. In the end, the expectations you do not meet, will be your own that cause the most pain. Listen to your heart and follow your own path. “To Thy own self be true”. You do not have to do what anyone else expects of you. You can follow your dreams and the success you achieve by doing so will be the success of a heart that knows its own true North. Many will try to tell you what is “right” for you but ultimately, only you really know.

When making decisions, look deeply within yourself. Get quiet so you can hear the still small voice within. This is what guides you. There will be a lot of “noise” from the ego; who does not have your best interests at heart. It wants to keep you safe in the constructs that you have been taught. It does not seek to help you become radiant. Look past the ego and find the “true” you underneath. Follow that guidance. It will not lead you astray.

There are times in life that are not fun or easy but these are the parts of life that will help you grow the most. Greet them with gratitude and acceptance. Once you have experienced what they have for you, release them to your past. Do not hold on to them like a badge of honor. Everyone goes through stuff that is difficult. What is important is what we take away from these experiences. Giving them blessing and releasing them helps you to move on without the weight of their baggage.

I will now finish this letter as I started it. You are loved. You are even more loved than you can imagine. I love you my younger self and so do many others.

Be Radiant!

Love,

Me.

 

Purpose Driven Life

A friend recently reached out to me, to ask if she could interview me for a class she was taking. The class is from the U of M: Center for Spirituality and Healing called “Living on Purpose.”  She told me; “I chose to interview you as I feel you live your purpose and play the role of mentor for many of us in our group, whether or not this is a conscious decision or just comes naturally”.  I want to share this interview, as I feel a purpose driven life is something many of us want and struggle with. It has been especially challenging for me after my daughter was shot. I felt lost but this interview help me remember to live a purpose driven life. You may even want to answer these questions for yourselves.

1)  How would you describe a purpose-filled or purpose-driven life, in general?

Everyday we have choices to make. Choices about how we show up. Do we walk into work cranky or do we come in with an intention to light up the space we occupy? We have choices about how we care for our body. Do we fill it up with processed food (full of sugar) or do we consume whole fresh foods? We have choices about how we spend our “so very” valuable time. Do we get home in the evening and just veg out in front of the TV or do we do mindful practices, Like enjoy friends and family or work on creative projects? I think living a purposeful life is about making choices and not just doing what might be easy or routine, something which we all become accustomed to, from time to time. Somedays you will fall into routine or make choices that are not in alignment with your purpose. Other days you will make choices that make your soul sing! 

2)   Share 2-3 examples of parts of your life that are very satisfying, give you a sense of purpose and fulfillment.  This could be related to family, work, leisure, hobby or anything that you are passionate about.  What’s the history behind this part of your life?  How does this make you feel when you are engaged in this aspect of your life?

I feel great purpose in teaching and sharing information. This makes its way into many aspects of my life. Time with my grandchildren, my work, and my holistic practices. As you know, I facilitate the gathering once a month. Additionally I volunteer as a speaker, at a public high school, to share what holistic healing is with the students there. I was asked to speak specifically about Reiki and the Chakras, but the kids have so many great questions, that we talked about a lot of different things in the course of the class. When opportunities arise with friends and family; I will share knowledge, wisdom, or practices with them, that I think may be helpful. Recently a friend was telling me about some hip, leg, and foot pain she was having. I asked if she had any type of mediation or relaxation practice. She said she did not, although she felt mediation might be helpful but didn’t really know how to mediate. I facilitated a progressive relaxation with her. We started with some yogic breathing; taking deep belly breaths. She later told me she had never breathed like that and found it very helpful. We then progressively relaxed the muscles of her body, starting at the top of the head and worked down her body. She shared that she found it a helpful practice and has continued to do it. 

A coworker recently shared that she had a lot of work and personal stress going on in her life. I shared a free 21 day mediation experience with her that Deepak Chopra was offering. 

I think there is a a fear of the unknown. When I see little opportunities to share bits of knowledge, various mindful techniques, or a more natural or healthy practice that can improve health; I will take the chance to share and see if the person might be open or willing to learn about a different way of being. If they are not open, I drop it. It is not my intention to force things on others or make them uncomfortable. But there are people out there who are hungry for information. I was once that person who stumbled onto a book which started an awakening in me; from that day forward I was seeking teachers, knowledge, and my whole world changed in ways I could not have anticipated. 

Another area, that I feel strongly is a part of my purpose, is to bring joy and leave spaces a little brighter than they were before I arrived. I watched how my grandmother would enter a room and leave the room brighter than when she had entered. She just lit up the whole space. I have aspired to be like her in that way. I want to share a smile with a stranger, leave any group a bit happier than they were when I arrived, provide calm when I enter a stressed environment, and just make the world I touch a little brighter. There are days I fail at this but there are other days that I hope I create a chain reaction. Sharing joy with this person who shares joy with the next, and so on. 

3)  Is there anything you do on a regular basis to help you be more purposeful in your life?  If so, please describe.

I look for signs and messages. Whether this is a blue jay on my garden gate, drawing a tarot card, seeing a star (which reminds me to see the joy in my life right now), hearing a song, or having something be brought up 3 times; I am always on the lookout for ways in which the Divine is keeping me on my path. 

Mediation is something I always aspire to keep a part of my daily practice. There have been times in my life where mindfulness has not played as large a role as I would like. But today, is a new day, and an opportunity to begin again. 

Acceptance is another purposeful action. Accept others for who they are and where they are at in their journey. This has to also be acceptance for myself. I work to not “should” myself. I am not perfect and everyday I am not going to be the perfect version of what I aspire to be. I have to accept my humanness without getting stuck there. I have to accept that some days I could do better and continue to live forward, trying to be a better version of myself each day. 

4)  What is your recommendation to me for creating a more meaningful and purpose-filled life, both in general and on a day-to-day basis?

Set an intention for each day or practice in your life. Maybe it is just an intention to find more peace in this day or start a daily practice (whether it be drumming, yoga, self reiki, or jogging) with the intention of being more mindful. Intentions are powerful and they increase the power in anything we are already doing. 

Do not be hard on yourself. Know that no day is going to be perfect. Some days you will do better and other days you not be the person you aspire to be. That is okay. We learn from those times we fail. Think about a child learning to spell, it is the words they get wrong and have to practice again and again, that will become the most firmly planted into their mind. It is the same for us when trying to live a purposeful life. Those areas that we struggle with are the ones we will embrace (and know) the best. 

Share your wisdom with those who need to hear it. What we teach, we learn on a deeper level. When you see others who could benefit from something you have been through, offer them some tidbit from your experience. Then be willing to accept if they are able to hear what you have to share or not.

5)  Is there anything else you would like to add?

Trust your soul to guide you. When you feel that push, listen. You have a beautiful light! Your gifts will benefit many people. Fear can be crippling, especially when you live differently from the norm. You don’t have to share everything about yourself with others to be authentic or live a purposeful life. You can let out little glimpses of yourself to people who you feel it may help or you feel safe with.  

Not everyone you meet is a support person for you. Know who those support people are. Those whom you can be fully authentic with. The others are people on your path who may benefit by seeing you live your purpose filled life and getting a peek at the bright light that is you. 

 

I hope that this has inspired you to live your own purpose driven life. I love you!

The Roman Theater at Pula, Croatia

I have been fortunate enough to see the Coliseum in Rome. Coming from a country where all the architecture is brand new in comparison to Europe, I am always awed to walk in something built so long ago.  The trip to Rome was on our honeymoon. My husband and I were walking along the streets when suddenly, there it was. This huge ancient structure rising up out of the city. It seems so out-of-place with traffic lights blinking and delivery vans zooming by. But there it was, none the less. Giant and majestic and so old it boggles my mind.

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Colosseum  Rome, Italy

The Roman Theater at Pula, Croatia is small in comparison to the Roman one. It is still well worth a visit though and has some very interesting things to offer.

Doing some research on the Theater at Pula, I learned it is thought to be the most intact of Roman theaters. Another fascinating thing, about the one in Pula, is that it is still being used as a Theater today. Concerts and film festivals are held there routinely.  It is still fulfilling its original purpose of entertaining the people. Thankfully, we no longer watch Gladiators destroy one another, but people still flock through the entrance anticipating a great show.

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Roman Theater – Pula, Croatia

When we traveled to Croatia, there was one main purpose. This is the country that my husband’s family originated from on his Father’s side and our purpose in visiting was connected to that. We brought my stepson along, thinking what an excellent opportunity for him to see and experience his roots. I was reading a guidebook, my mother-in-law had loaned us for the trip. When I happened across the mention of this Roman Theater.  We adjusted our plans and added several hours of driving, in order to make the track to this part of Croatia, to see something history left behind for us.

It was well worth that drive. The setting sun painted the theater again and again, changing its appearance.

We sat where crowds of people sat and were entertained by events of days gone by.

IMG_6272We Walked where Gladiators had walked, pumped up for the battles they were about to fight.

We were surrounded by shadows of the past and hope for a bright future.

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Even having seen the Colosseum in Rome, which is bigger and more famous, the Roman Theater at Pula was well worth the drive. It was a visit that I will relive in my memories. and I am glad that my 14-year-old stepson was also able to experience something so old. Hopefully it will live on in him, inspiring creativity, dreams, and the promise of future adventures to come.

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Thank you for reading my blog today! May you find yourself on adventures and experience snapshots of history, as if by magic.

** Thank you to SydneysByDesign for doing photo editing to a couple of these photos. Your work is breathtaking!

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Do You Believe in Trolls?

Albert Einstein said,”Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” Imagination is a wonderful thing. My husband and I are in Seattle, traveling and exploring the Pacific Northwest. This is one of my favorite parts of the country. Today we went to Fremont and saw the troll under the bridge. It reminds me of my childhood.

 IMG_6874When I was a child, my grandmother used to tell me the story of 3 Billy Goats Gruff. I was always so nervous for the Billy Goats. Afraid that the troll would come out from under the bridge and eat them up. I was so relieved when they would outsmart him and get safely across the bridge. It was a great story to let you know, as a small child, that you could overcome things that seemed bigger and stronger than you with cunning and creative thinking. 

I find that traveling is a great way to embrace your creativity as well. You can imagine what it must be like to live in the area. Think about what it was like long years ago when only the indigenous people were here. I find myself wondering if perhaps Bigfoot really does lurk in the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest amongst the Hemlock, Douglas Firs, and Aspen trees. 

We decided that this trip really should be an adventure, so we booked several quirky places to stay that include an Airstream, yurt, and an little cabin in the woods. This is further sparking our imagination and allowing us to dream. What great originality our hosts had to offer such unique experiences. 

The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before. ~ Neil Gaiman

Imagination is not just for children. It is for all of us. It is fun, it gives life a spark that it just doesn’t have, if you don’t allow yourself to dream. Dream big, dream often, and dream in a way that might just change the future, even if it seems to be in a small way. Think about the artists that created the troll under the bridge in Seattle. This creative project has attracted people to the neighborhood to see the troll. Children look in awe and then with a gleam in their eye, run and climb all over him, while parents snap pictures with delight. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. Dream my friends. Dream in big ways and in small ways. Allow your imagination to sore. Blessings. 

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Self Care: a series – part 2

In the first blog, in the Self Care series, we talked about the importance of healthy boundaries. Now let’s talk about another aspect of self care, finding time for yourself. It is an important aspect of taking care of yourself but it can seem impossible in the course of our busy days and hectic life. Let’s think about some simple things you can do to take a little time for yourself.
1. Take a walk. (or a jog if you prefer more of a fast pace) It is a great way to get a little time for yourself. The nice thing about this activity is that it is also good for your body. Additionally, it can get those healthy endorphins flowing to help your emotional health too!
2. Work on a creative project. If you are like me you can get lost in doing something artistic. The time and pressure fall away. As the item starts to take form, your stress can also melt away. I enjoy drawing with chalk pastels, making sun catchers with beads and crystals, taking pictures and working with stained glass. There are so many creative things you can do.
3. Read a book. Whether it be poetry, fiction, history, spiritual, or self improvement; books are a nice way to step out of your world for a short period of time and find a little space for yourself. It is something you can pick up for 5 minutes or an afternoon, depending on how much time you have. If you like audio books you can listen to a book while getting something else done. (if it doesn’t require a lot of mental concentration)
4. Take a bath. Baths are underrated in my opinion. I love to soak in a nice hot tub. Bring a nice cup of tea or glass of wine along, light some candles, and put on some soothing music. It can be like a trip to the spa. There is less expense to it and not as much of a time commitment. If you are able to do it right before bed at night, it can help you relax into peaceful slumber, when you crawl beneath the covers.
5. Play with children. Whether it is your child, your nieces, your grandson, or the kid from down the block; taking some time to hang out with a wee one, can be quite refreshing. The smile from a baby, the giggle of a toddler, or the curiosity of the school aged youngster can provide a nice fresh outlook on life. My grandchildren, stepson, and I made fairy gardens yesterday. It was an mystical and imaginative way to spend some time together. Just make sure this one feels fun and is on your terms.
6. Snuggle with your pet. I do not have pets but I respond very well to pet therapy. I say hi to all the dogs when I go on walks. I coax my friend’s cats over to scratch behind their ears. The act of petting an animal has been shown to lower blood pressure. It can be very soothing to spend a few moments with a four legged friend, even if you do not have your own.
7. Meditate. First off, do not ”should” yourself about meditation. I know too many people who get stressed about this, because they feel they “should” be doing it more. Instead, make it like a nice little treat, something you “get to do”. There are so many different ways to meditate, find the one that works best for you.
I am sure you can think of many other little things you can do to give yourself some of “your” time. What is important is that your remember that you deserve it. If you keep giving all of your time to others eventually you will have nothing left to give. Take care of yourself. I worked with a chaplain once, who compared it to when you are in the airplane. They tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, because if you don’t, you will pass out and not be able to put it on the person next to you that really needs your help.

I wish you peaceful moments that are just for you! Thank you for reading my blog today.

 

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