Category Archives: Spirit

The Unknown. Exciting or Scary?

I used to be one of those people who really disliked the unknown.  Not knowing what was going to happen next was frustrating and scary.  I used to do everything in my power to plan, plan, plan.

These days there are a few unknowns in my life and I’m okay with it.  I’m going to roll with the uncertainty and have faith that I’m on the right path even though I have no idea where this path is leading me or my family.  It’s sorta exciting – a feeling I find liberating.  The future is in the palm of my hands. Can I actually direct it by thinking positive thoughts and visualizing?

What do I want?

To simply be happy so I’m a great parent, wife, mentor, friend, sister, daughter, person.

What do you think of the unknown?  Exciting or scary?

Things Are Good These Days

Wanted to update you all on what’s going on in my life these days…I have to admit, things are pretty darn good. I went to the doctor and finally got some medicine to clear up my sinus issues.  As much as I hate to admit this, the natural way just wasn’t cutting it. My clear head is helping me keep up with my mission to “add life to my days, not days to my life“.  I’m trying to stay present and not stress too much about things I cannot control.  I am also doing my best to keep up with my artistic side by painting, designing and creating. Fueling that aspect of my life makes me feel the happiest.  I also started to work out a little more regularly.  My kids are finally starting to dig the “kid area” at my gym.  Yyyyesss!  In terms of being a parent, I am being positive but tough with my kids.  I can’t let these little ones walk all over me, which believe me, they are very capable of doing so. And finally, I am getting more organized! How you ask?  I started blocking out 20 minute chunks of my days to clean and organize without phone, email, or facebook interruptions.  I even set my timer on my phone to know when time’s up.

The next thing I want to get back into is Juicing!!!!  I want to juice everyday to get my family’s bodies strong for the winter months.  Eating better will also be a priority of mine.  I better get my copy of Clean out again!

Thanks again for all of your support and kind words!

May you all have peaceful and positive thoughts the next couple of days!

I Wanna Love Who I Wanna Love

Lately there have been a lot of disturbing reports about homosexual teens committing suicide because of being bullied and not being accepted by their peers.  My goodness, this truly breaks my heart. I can’t even imagine feeling so down about life to actually take it.  I know I’ve had my trials and tribulations growing up, but it definitely doesn’t compare to what these teens are going through.  This intense teasing, fighting, picking on, ignorance, etc. HAS GOT TO STOP.

According to The Trevor Project, “Nine out of 10 LGBT students (86.2%) experienced harassment at school; three-fifths (60.8%) felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation; and about one-third (32.7%) skipped a day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe (GLSEN National School Climate Survey 2009).”

Why is there so much hatred out there?  Why are people taking such strong stances against those who simply want to love and be themselves?

I hope that with all the attention brought to this matter people will realize a few things:

1. People just want to love and to be loved.  It shouldn’t matter if they choose to be with the same sex.  We shouldn’t be going against LOVE.  Let’s embrace it and allow others to do it the way they want to – as long as it doesn’t cause any harm.

2. If you notice someone who may feel isolated, reach out to them.  Ask them how they are doing.  Have you ever felt down in the dumps? Nowhere to turn but someone, whether it was a stranger on the bus, a teacher, a friend’s parent or an acquaintance asked you how you were doing, lent an ear and was supportive?  Be that person.

3.  Let’s DEMAND that all schools take notice to bullying and do their best to stop it.  I know teachers and administrators are busy educating and have enough on their plates, but  if schools promote an ANTI-BULLYING policy then students will know that any behavior of the sort is absolutely unacceptable and intolerable.

Being a teenager is hard enough.  One of my closest friends Jill, who’s a lesbian, provided some thoughtful insight about this topic.  She says, “The headlines lately have really focused on this issue as it revolves around teenagers.  Part of the reason being that many of these teenagers are still in a process of self-identification and learning who they are. They are at a more vulnerable time in their lives.”

We are all made up of the same matter…skin, blood, organs, a brain.  The only thing that separates us is our DNA.  If we are all the same then why can’t we love one another?  I know, this is way too idealistic and simple, but please take a moment and think about it.

As they say, sometimes things need to get worse before they get better.  I truly hope this is one of those cases.  For those of you who are feeling lonely, don’t worry, IT GETS BETTER.  This will pass.  Surround yourself with positive people, try to have positive thoughts and envision a positive future.  From the bottom of my heart, I truly hope things get better for Lesbian,Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community.

Here are some websites that may help those who either need help or for those who want to help others:

The Trevor Project – A national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth.

It Gets Better Project – A site that promotes a positive future for LGBT youth.

Suicide.org – Suicide awareness, prevention and support.

Stop Bullying Now – A resource for  adults to teach kids about awareness, prevention and intervention.  This site has cartoon webisodes for children who are bullied.

Image via ffffound.com via Richard Heller Gallery

Add Life To Your Days, Not Days To Your Life

Loved this pic and message I stumbled on ffffound.com.  I thought I would share this sweet little message with y’all.

So my family is very direct and straightforward with one another.  We don’t fluff anything up when giving advice or tiptoe around one another’s feelings which can sometimes be tough to swallow. Tough love isn’t always the easiest to deal with but sometimes it’s just necessary. The other day my mom and I were talking and she mentioned to me that lately it seemed like “life” has been sucked right out of me.  She felt that my spirit was not at its fullest potential.  Although I had a million and one excuses ( I have two kids who are a bit high maintenance in the emotional and physical department, my husband works super long hours, there’s so much turmoil in the world that literally has an effect on me, my sinuses are at its worst this time of year….blah, blah, blah) I knew she was right.  Sometimes I go through my days just waiting for the evening to roll around so I can veg on the couch with a book or the remote in my hand.  I don’t want to be a zombie just going through the motions.  I want to be energetic, creative and fun!  I owe it to my family and to those around me.

So that’s what I’m working on these days.  I want to add life to my days, not days to my life!  Thanks Mom for the tough love.  It was just what I needed to open my eyes to a brighter horizon.

What do you think of tough love?  Are you easily offended or do you view it as constructive criticism?

I’m Baaack!

I apologize I have neglected this part of my life – the innerpeace seeking blog.  To be honest I haven’t felt super peaceful these days. think a large part has to do with allergies and my sinus issues.  Chicago is such a lovely place this time of year.  It’s still sunny and green, the flowers are still in bloom, and there’s a nice breeze in the air. But something about barometric pressure that wreaks havoc on my ability to be my best.  There are days when I just can’t step outside for the life of me.  My body is tired, my face feels so heavy, I feel spacey (not in the good way), I’m irritable and I can’t seem to focus.  It sucks and I am always trying to figure out a way to combat this feeling (Clean, Juicing).

I am doing a few things to help me get stronger, mentally and physically, to recapture that spark that started to fizz out a bit.

This is what I did:

  • began meditating.  Megan sent me this link one day and I began meditating.  it’s bringing me so much clarity, a feeling of euphoria and relaxation, and it began to stir up some excitement within myself.  Thank you for thinking of me, Meg!
  • Started telling myself to be happy.  That worked. I also forced myself to smile more.
  • I am reading a ton more again!!  I am reading books about organic gardening in small spaces, how to decorate your home using recycled materials, fashion/decorating/beauty magazines (a pastime of mine), researching business plans (thinking about going into business with my mom), a thriller, etc.
  • Crafts.  I found a project that gets me excited and pumped to do.  Can’t tell you what this is yet because I’m going to give it to my good girlfriends and family as birthday and holiday gifts.  SO excited about that.
  • Exercising.  Got back into Pilates and my body is thanking me by getting stronger every time I work it out.

I think I’m back.  No, i know I’m back. I feel ready to go, pumped to embrace what the world has in store for me head-on.  I am at home everyday with my 2 and 3-year-old (yes, lucky me).  I have to be a strong mom for them.  I want those kids to feel so loved they don’t know what do with themselves, I want to nourish their brains with what their hearts yearn for, expose them to as many positive situations and learning experiences as possible in hopes that they will grow up to be happy and well-balanced people.  Is this too much to ask?  Apologies for the diversion.

My point is let’s get this party started! I’m back and ready to share and I hope you are too. It’s going to be a fun and healthy fall 2010!

Btw, how does the change in weather make you feel?  Am I the only one who needs a little time to adjust?

Love What Your Mama Gave You

Today before my shower, I was brushing my skin and was thinking about how I would love to lose a little bit of weight.  I thought, man, my thighs are looking a bit thick and wouldn’t it be nice if my abs were just a little bit tighter?  Why am I beating myself up like this?  I’m a naturally curvy lady and I should be proud of what I have instead of having a negative body image.

Being a woman can sometimes be tough because everywhere you look there are models, actresses, singers who make a living flaunting their bodies, and it can leave us normal women feeling a wee bit insecure.

I’ve decided that I’m going to LOVE my body and appreciate it instead of being so hard on myself.  Nobody is perfect.  What is perfect anyway?

Positive thinking is sorta like working out.  You have to force yourself to work your brain muscles in order to keep those positive thoughts flowing.  So these are some of the things I am going to say when the mind starts to go negative:

I love my body because…

It allows me to live my life

It allows me to chase my little children around the park

It allows me to feel things and experience life

It is what God gave me, so I am going to nourish it with healthy food so I can maximize its potential

I will embrace my body and be thankful for all it has provided for me

I want to be a positive role model for my daughter and teach her that the shape of her body doesn’t determine her value in society

Who cares if you are too curvy, too skinny, too short or too tall?

We are all beautiful in our own unique way. Don’t forget that!  (that’s what I’ll be telling myself!)

I Heart Traveling

One of my favorite things to do is to daydream about traveling the world with my family. I get excited thinking about taking Stella and Harry to – the top of the Eiffel Tower, The Great Wall of China, on a safari in Africa, St. Sophia mosque in Turkey, the mountain tops of Switzerland, the Grand Canyon, the beaches in California, etc. You get the point.  I know they will love it and they might learn a thing or two from other cultures.

Our next destination?  New York City!  Actually, we are staying in Park Slope, Brooklyn visiting my fly sister Krystle and her boyfriend, Tim.  Fun times ahead!  I’ll share some stories and my own pics afterwards!

What’s The Point Anyway?

You may be wondering why I’m writing this blog, what direction I want to go with it and what the point of it is. Well, here’s how The InnerPeace Project started and what the goal is…

My quest for innerpeace started about seven years ago. I was 23, newly married, a college grad, just came back from backpacking around Europe for almost two months, had great friends and family – basically had a fantastic life, but I would suffer from intense anxiety. I was anxious about my career path, the state of my friendships, my family, not having enough savings, not having the latest purse, carrying on a few extra pounds…the important stuff, right?

I would get these terrible stomach aches that would literally stop me in my tracks and cause me to double over in pain. I saw several doctors and they diagnosed me with ulcers, acid reflux, IBS, and lactose intolerance. I had none of those.  I finally saw an insightful doctor who took the time to ask about my mental state. I told him my list of worries and he diagnosed me with trapped gas caused by anxiety. Hmmmm….anxiety was what was giving me these horrible, debilitating stomach aches? Interesting.  It turns out how and what I was thinking about was causing a physical/physiological effect on my body. Wow.

I went on a low dosage of an antianxiety medication and started to feel a bit normal again. I remember thinking to myself, ‘oh this is what it’s like not to worry so much.’ I was more even keeled – maybe a little too even keeled because I realized not only was I not experiencing the lows, but I wasn’t experiencing the highs either.

I got off the medication (it’s not easy and if you are thinking of doing this, please consult a doctor). After about two weeks of horrendous withdrawal effects, I started to feel normal again but the nagging thoughts were beginning to creep back into my head and I was starting that whole vicious cycle again. Luckily, I have a wonderful husband who is the most empathetic person I have ever met. He would listen to my worrisome thoughts and finally he said, “Clear your head of the clutter.” That phrase struck a chord and made me realize, yes, I will not worry about things I have no control over and I will not feed that ego-driven aspect of my personality anymore.

Once I let go, things started falling into place for me. Because I wasn’t so preoccupied with negative or worrisome thoughts, I was open to broader and greater opportunities.  Great books fell in my lap, inspiring people came into my life, and I finally got that challenging and exciting job opportunity . Don’t get me wrong, I still went through trials and tribulations, but with my newfound attitude, life was just a bit easier to deal with.

I had all this free time to read as many books as I could. As I read and read, I would share information with my friends and family and could see that they were benefitting from the information as well.  I’m opinionated and love to help people. My dear friend, Megan, is very similar so we thought we would start a blog to share our thoughts, new information, and our stories.

As for the present moment…

Megan is heading down her own path right now and wants to help others in a different way. I will share her exciting situation as she progresses.

As for me, I will continue to read and meditate in pursuit for real happiness, MY innerpeace. I want to be a positive role model for my children, my husband, my family, my friends and to people who share a desire to live their best life possible. I try my best everyday and it’s HARD. I’m very far from perfect, but I am going to do my best to share what I learn in hopes of inspiring just one person. We don’t have to be a miserable society with jealous, hateful and negative thoughts.

This blog is my way of thanking the universe for all the opportunities that have been presented to me.

Let’s do this together and see what kind of difference we can make.  Good luck with your journey and wish me luck with mine!

Channeling Your Inner Kid

You know what the best thing about being a parent is?  Getting to relive your childhood again with your kids.

I encourage everyone with or without children, old or young to go out there and have fun for a day or even an hour.  Check out an amusement park, hit the swings at your local park, play hide and go seek with friends, sing at the top of your lungs, put your favorite song on and dance your heart out, shoot some hoops, have a water balloon fight, read a comic book, go fishing, ride your bike with no hands, LAUGH. Whatever it is, have fun.  As adults, we take everything so seriously.  Make a conscious effort not to worry about whatever it is you think about on a daily basis.  Put it aside for a bit and embrace that inner kid.

Encourage the people around you to do the same.  They will thank you and you might be surprised by how good you feel afterwards!

Nananana Booboo!  You can’t catch me!

Visualize, Visualize, Visualize!

What do you want in life? (hmmmmm…?)

Would you like to lead a happy life? (um, yes.)

What’s “happy” to you? Traveling, feeling passionate about your life’s work, a white picket fence, a thriving business, innerpeace, a big family, early retirement, a healthy life, fame, a fancy car? Whatever it is you want, you can get or so they say.  My sister is an excellent example of someone who thinks about what she wants, visualizes and things happen.  Pretty cool, if you ask me.  She’s always telling me, “Ashley, figure out what you want and visualize it.”  Okay, sounds easy enough.

A couple of months ago, I started by writing down short-term goals and some long-term goals on a post-it, and now, I try to visit the list as often as possible.  I remember doing this activity freshman year of highschool in health class.  I’m back at it, and I look forward to seeing how everything will pan out!  Should I put my goals on here?!  (kinda scary!)

Here’s a start:

My dream "green" house. I would love to live in an open, modern, electrically efficient home that's surrounded by nature.

I see myself wearing comfy clothes, sitting with my husband and children, reading books, laughing, listening and playing music while sharing our thoughts with one another.

May all our dreams come true!