It’s Not A Trap, It’s A Doorway


I’m grateful for the times in my life that have brought me to my knees. The time when I was so broke that I nearly lost my house and my car, because I was three months behind on all my bills. The time I was so depressed and tired of this world that I tried to take my own life. The months that grief rocked me to my core, to the point that my brain stopped working completely seven months later.

This isn’t a post about “the lessons and the gifts.”
There’s plenty out there about that.

This is a post about how sinking to the deepest depths, in the darkest corners of this life, allows us a greater capacity for light, love, passion, connection, and appreciation. How it allows us to see the world through a new lens… to relate from a new place… to see new possibilities in everything around us.

I’m not the person I was before my grief.
It’s one of the biggest change markers in my life.

But the me before is still familiar. Because there’s the days where I’m reminded that, oh right, everything’s different now. In big ways and small. In the way I don’t have any desire to celebrate holidays. I’m physically unable to tolerate situations where I can’t express myself fully. The anxiety that riddles my body on random mornings as the sun begins to rise. The work that is birthing from deep inside my heart. The faces of friends that were once so close, and now so far.

And since the me before is still familiar, the differences still fresh and new, it makes me aware of things in a way I never could see before.

When we’re asked to face into the hard parts of life, we’re invited to see the world and everything in it from a new perspective.

We’re invited to grow into who we’re here to be, and uncover the work we’re here to do. To step into what’s next for us, because we were never meant to get stagnant… never meant to stop growing and changing.

And we learn, that not only will we not die by facing into it… but we will find truth and peace and spirit just beyond the parts that hurt the most.

Not only can we survive… but we can truly thrive in ways we’ve never known. In ways that leave us in awe of this beautiful disaster called life.

Not only will we heal… but we’ll rise up from the ashes of our losses with more purpose and energy and focus than we ever had before.

Not only will we come back from it… but we’ll come back with such a deep sense of knowing who we are and what we want.

Not only will we stop feeling sad about the ones who walked away… but we’ll also know what true connection and love and support is from those that wander into our lives amidst the heartache, and choose to stay.

Not only will we appreciate all that’s changed in us and our lives… but we’ll wonder how we ever found fulfillment in what we had before. Because life becomes so rich and deep and filled with love.

These chapters of my life taught me more than anything else ever could.

They taught me resilience, that I can walk through anything and be better for it. They taught me to appreciate what I have, no matter how little or imperfect. They taught me to fight for truth and connection and the kind of love that makes your heart stretch so far you think it might burst. They taught me not to settle for less than I desire and deserve… and that I, like everyone else, deserve to be happy and thriving and filled with joy and love and purpose.

They taught me more than I can name for you today.

And they will continue to teach me so much more than I may ever have the words for. They will never stop stretching me into the depths of the darkness, so that I may experience the light more fully and completely.

They gave me the capacity to live a truly beautiful life.
No matter what happens. No matter who hurts or leaves me.

When we can finally see that these parts of life are not meant to trap us inside a stuckness that gnaws slowly at our soul… then we can understand that they’re simply an invitation into something we can’t even comprehend in the moment. A doorway to something powerful and beautiful and all things amazing.

Trust and faith my friends… it’s the key.

People Need to Be Met Inside Their Pain

The first few years of this business, I built a body of work around pure positivity. I talked about watching the words we use, practicing gratitude, and the best mindset shifts… all very, very important things.

But sometimes positivity just looks like pretty polished words on a piece of paper… things you wish you could feel into, but you can’t, because your heart is so broken — your soul so shattered — that they remain simple words that “sound nice.” Simple words that leave you emptier than you were before, more alone than you knew you could be.

I still believe in being positive.
I personally vouch for the power of gratitude.
And mindset shifts? Well, they’re like magic for our lives.

But since walking through the most gut wrenching kind of grief, I’ve learned the power of owning and facing into the hard parts of life. The places that aren’t so simple or pretty or fun to call by name. And I also know the deep isolation that builds when people continually throw positive affirmations and “sayings” at you, because they don’t know what else to do with your tears or heartbreak or pain.

God never gives us more than we can handle.
Turn that challenge into opportunity.
What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
You’re learning and growing so much.
And my least favorite… you’re going to be okay.

When we’re going through trauma, grief, heartbreak, or loss, we don’t need polished positivity, we need to be met inside our pain.

And we need to be met by ourselves, more than anyone else.

If we’re unwilling to face into the parts that are hard and that hurt… we’re never going to be able to fully heal. If we’re unwilling to name the truth of where we stand and all the awful emotions and feelings that come with it… we’re never going to be able to experience the full, rich range of joy and fulfillment. If we’re unwilling to name things for what they are — challenge, struggle, painful, hard — we’re never going to be able to truly and fully see what they can be… beautiful opportunities to grow or the foundation for a rich, purposeful life.

Spiritual bypassing and polished positivity don’t serve us. They don’t actually allow us to grow, they simply allow us to expand our collection of pretty, flowery words that we then throw around when we’re uncomfortable with what’s really going on. We hide behind them.

What I’ve learned in the last two years is that we don’t have to be so afraid of the words themselves. It’s all just semantics, and we have the power inside of us to change the meaning and energy behind them.

I’m not afraid to admit that I still struggle at times.
I’m not uncomfortable when things are hard or challenging.
I’m grateful and full of joy when I call myself damaged goods.

I know without a doubt that because I’ve fully owned, faced into, felt, and healed in these areas that I’m happier, healthier, and more aligned than if I just chose to talk about them in a prettier light.

Positivity has its place… and if you’re deep inside of the hard parts of this life, my simple invitation to you is to allow yourself the room to just feel what’s true for you, without attaching negative meaning to it.

The gratitude, growth, and gifts will come… they always do, especially when we face into the pain. Right now, let it be okay if things are hard. Welcome it. Feel into it fully. Cry or yell or write it out of you.

Meet yourself inside the pain.
That’s where the real healing begins.

Is It Time To Start Unpacking?


“The more you empty out the sweat, words, art, ideas, and love,” it began, “the freer and lighter you’ll become.”

Isn’t that the truth.

It was one of my favorite things to do. A buddy acupressure session with my soul sister, deep into the steps, and so very open to whatever wisdom was meant to come around the things weighing heavy on my heart.

There’s been a heaviness to my life this last year.

To my body, with the extra weight and exhaustion of adrenal fatigue after grief. To my business, with the uncertainty of just how to plant my feet inside a new body of work that tugs deeply at my heart. To my relationship, with the navigating of co-habitation and stark differences. To my finances, still recovering from taking my feet off the wall when healing asked me to trust more deeply than I knew I could.

There’s been a heaviness to everything.

It built up slowly over time… not just these past two years of loss and grief and healing the anxiety of the aftermath. But over the last decade of my life. A decade filled with the toxic and unhealthy relationships. With many, many moves from home to home, state to state, every year. The ups and downs that comes with running a business. With the uncertainty. The fear. The anxiety. And all the deep, heartbreaking losses.

And yet, even with all this heaviness, there’s an enormous amount of expansion and alignment all around me. I can feel it in my bones.

The last decade the Universe gave me so many opportunities to grow into who I’m here to be. Painful, challenging, and beautiful opportunities. And in the last two years, it kicked me up to advanced life skills to clarify the work I’m here to do. I walked through hell in order to find peace and joy and purpose so deep I know that I’m nothing short of unstoppable.

When things get hard, we tend to close.
To hold tight from fear and pain.
To go inward, hiding inside ourselves.
Standing strong behind that inner wall.

If ever I had a go-to coping mechanism, stuffing would be it. For so many years of my life I chose to be “strong,” assuming that strength meant “holding it all together, all the damn time.” Stuffing down my feelings, truths, and desires. And you know what? I was strong. I held it together through some really hard times… but it never served me. And today me and my body pay the price of that “strength.”

True strength involves tears and heartache. It involves not having all the answers, all the damn time. It requires breakdowns to break through. True strength is made inside the moments that we fall to pieces… the moments that we’re certain we won’t survive another day. The moments where we question everything and everyone. It requires a level of trust and faith that’s, quite frankly, incredibly challenging to lean into.

My work right now is about unpacking.

Writing the stories that went untold. Healing the wounds that left marks on my heart. Creating from all that unused inspiration. Speaking the words that need to be said, in each and every moment. Feeling and moving years of unmet emotions. Sweating out the toxins from all the years of stress and unhealthy habits.

Every single day.
As much as I possibly can.
Feeling lighter and lighter as I go.

And I invite you to tune into your own body. Where are you feeling a heaviness that’s weighted from years of stuffing, avoiding, or closing down? Where are there words, creations, truths, or ideas that need to be unpacked? Toxins that need sweat to find release? Feelings that have remained unmet for far too long?

It might be time for you to start unpacking too.

Sometimes Spiritual Growth Looks Like Leaving


“Relationships are opportunities for spiritual growth.”

We hear this a lot. Many of us know it to be true. And yet, we think it means we’re supposed to stay inside of them… because growing and learning isn’t easy, so a challenging relationship must mean we’re doing just that. Right?

Yes, absolutely.
And, no, not necessarily.

Sometimes, the learning and the growing in relationships is finding the strength to walk away in the moments where someone thinks they have the right to take pieces of us. Pieces that don’t fit into their version of an “ideal partner,” or an “ideal relationship.” To learn what it takes to reclaim and fully own our own power.

I remember the moment I began to reclaim my power, over a decade after I started giving myself away in relationships that were toxic and incredibly unhealthy.

Relationships with men who thought it was okay to mold me. To ask or bully me into bending and folding into what they though I should be. Relationships where I didn’t know myself well enough to stand tall and declare with firmness, “I’m here too. What I want matters too.” Where I gave myself away instead.

I started reclaiming my power the day I showed up on a front stoop, with a bag of things in my hand and a stomach in knots so tight I didn’t think it would ever fully untangle. We hadn’t talked in days, and I don’t think he had any intentions of seeing me that weekend. I had spent the night before in tears, typing out a letter that laid out everything that was left to say so that I could finally let him go.

He wasn’t happy to see me, that much I remember.

“Hey… what are you doing here?”

“Can we talk?” I managed to reply.

“Well, we’re about to get on the phone…”

I remember that simple moment the most, because it was the moment I chose me for the first time in nearly 12 long years. It was the first time that I made myself the priority, rather than shrinking to someone else’s needs or desires.

“It will only take a second,” I responded firmly.

It was a small moment.

The sun didn’t shine any brighter, and there was no triumphant ceremony to mark that day. There was simply a tired, sad young woman standing on a front stoop, holding steady inside of who she was and what she needed to happen in that moment. A young woman, who for the first time, fought for the right to take up space. To have a voice. To be heard, regardless of convenience.

I’m still fighting this fight.

I’m still reclaiming pieces of myself that I gave away. Still fighting for the right to take up space, have a voice, and to be exactly who I am, no apologies.

And I share this story with you in case you might be wondering if your challenging relationship is just “the way it is, because relationships take work.”

Relationships do take work.
They are an opportunity for spiritual growth.

I simply want to take the time to remind you that sometimes growth looks like choosing to reclaim your power. Choosing to take back pieces of yourself. Choosing to walk away from someone who can’t love and appreciate you for all your beautiful, messy glory. Exactly as you are. In each and every moment.

Sometimes the work is learning how to grow and communicate.
Sometimes the work is learning how to negotiate and share space.
Sometimes the work is learning what parts of you need work.
Sometimes the work is learning how to ask for what you want and need.

And, sometimes, the work is learning how to leave.

The leaving isn’t easy.
The leaving hurts more than you think it can.
The leaving is messy and inconvenient.

But sometimes, the leaving is everything necessary and good.
Sometimes the leaving is the moment when things really begin to change.

Sometimes the leaving, inside those tiny, seemingly insignificant moments, is where you declare to yourself and the Universe, “never again will I give away pieces of myself in the name of love. Never again will I bend or fold or dim my light.”

Only you will know if it’s time to leave, or time to grow together.
Trust yourself. Trust your heart. Trust your tears.

But always choose you, in whatever form that means.

Stillness, Suffocation, and the Wisdom in Our Breath

Stillness, Suffocation, and the Wisdom in Our Breath


Breath has become a huge topic of conversation for me lately. Because breath is everything… it is life and living and all things important. Breath is expansion and growth, expression and soul. Breath is essential. It is second nature and so instinctual that we don’t even think about it.

Until we stop breathing.

I think it happened subtly as time passed, because I honestly couldn’t tell you the day that I first learned to stop breathing. The moment when I chose tension and restriction and a slow suffocation inside my own skin.

I would venture to guess it happened inside one of those moments where I was wounded at the hands or words of someone I loved. Someone who was supposed to love me, support me, and keep me safe. Someone who was stronger than I was, physically and confidently. Someone who decided that I was too much, too intense, or too unsettling to their own beliefs and views of the world, and so they chose to take pieces of me. To cut me down, forcing me to be small and simple.

One of those same moments where I allowed myself, consciously or subconsciously, to be “cut down to size.” To be shaped and molded by someone who deemed me and my ways unpalatable. Where I let someone hurt me so bad that it felt safer to stop breathing.

Because without breath, there is stillness.
And inside stillness surrounded by fear, there’s perceived safety.

So, I stopped breathing.

Frequently enough that it became second nature.
It became my go-to in more situations than I can name.

And only lately have I come to realize how often I stop breathing, because as I’ve shared before, my body no longer lets me lie. It no longer allows me to hide out inside the stillness — inside that false sense of safety from that which I fear — because I’m dying a slow death. My body’s fighting like hell for the oxygen it needs to not just survive, but to thrive.

When I notice that I’m not breathing, that I’m choosing tension and restriction and slow suffocation… I pause, and I breathe. I breathe so slowly and deeply that my whole belly expands as wide as it will go. And on the exhale, I tune into the ever impressive wisdom of my breath.

What am I needing in this moment that I’m not getting?
What am I fearing in this moment that is causing me to hide out?
What am I feeling forced into that isn’t aligned for me?
What am I needing to say that I’m unwilling to admit out loud?
What am I avoiding because it will be hard and uncomfortable?
What am I overlooking for myself to make someone else happy?
What am I giving away that I don’t want to let go of?

By giving my breath the voice it never had — the attention it always required — I’m recovering more and more of the pieces that I let others take. More and more of my truth and my desires and a life that feels incredibly aligned.

Breath by breath.
Moment by moment.

I mean, really, truly breathing. Deeply and fully. Slowly and consciously. Breathing is magic in its purest form… and breathing will bring us back to life in ways we didn’t realize we’d been missing. Breathing will bring us home to ourselves. To our bodies. To the kinds of truths that change our lives for the better.

So if you’re struggling… if you’re feeling fearful or uncomfortable… check in with your breath. Check in with your body and where it feels tense and restricted. Where you might feel safer inside of the kind of stillness that is actually suffocating you slowly.

Breathe into it.
Deeply and fully.
Slowly and consciously.

Listen for the wisdom of that breath.
Because there’s more than you realize.

It’s changed my life. It made me became clear on where I am heading with my career and now it’s all falling into place. I can see it going just the way I dreamed of. I’m full of ideas and creativity now and I can put those ideas into practice. I’ve got my fire back. I’m excited, happy and full of energy. Thank you.

— Charlie Oswin