Not Fair to Compare


"Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everyone else." - Margaret Mead

One of the most remarkable revelations I've ever received, was discovering just how useless comparing myself to others is.  Unfortunately, I struggled with this misconception for more years that I care to admit. 

It started around high school when I slowly began unjustly judging myself on a great number of things.  Whether it was my athletic prowess in gym class, my popularity among the student body, or my academic performance, I would regularly measure myself against the talent, charisma, and intellect of others.

This tendency lamentably lingered on into my young adulthood, where I put away my childish judgement ruler and began scrutinizing my strengths and weaknesses using a much bigger, more adult yardstick.  

I graduated to comparing job titles, income, vehicle make and models, and other worldly possessions as my perceived basic standards of success.

Too Hard on Yourself

"Comparison is the thief of joy." - Franklin Roosevelt

My tendency to compare may have worked in my favor had I used it as a motivational tool for personal growth.  Instead it became a source of pain because I took the strengths of others and compared them to my weaknesses, so it seemed to me as if I was failing.

This sort of self-criticism obviously doesn't feel good!

Self-judgement is often at the root of our pain.  We judge ourselves harshly, we judge our past, present, and future experiences, and we even judge our feelings.

From my limited and shortsighted perspective, everyone seemed to be doing better than me, as I hadn’t yet learned how to:

  • Create my own standards for success

  • Choose my own path of fulfillment

  • Set goals that were authentic and not superficial

As a result, I felt as if I were constantly marinating in a stew of disappointment, frustration, discouragement, anger, and anxiety.

The Consequence is Low Self-Confidence

"Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle or your middle to someone else's end." - Tim Hiller

When we compare ourselves, our self-esteem takes a major hit - This could cause us to stop pursuing our goals and dreams before we even really get going.

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For example, when I first began writing picture books, I would often compare myself to other authors.  However, I made the mistake of measuring my efforts against writers who had been in the game for years - writers who had paid their dues behind the scenes and were justifiability being rewarded the fruits of their labor.  They were experiencing a level of success that took them sometimes years to gain, yet I wished to be decorated with those same accolades right out of the gate.

Was it fair to compare my beginning effort to someone else's middle effort?

Instead, of comparing, I learned to focus on my strengths - writing honest, substantive stories that have meaning for me; knowing that with some effort and patience, I would manifest what success looked like for me!

You Do You, I'll Do Me

"Be yourself, everyone else is already taken." - Oscar Wilde

It's so cool that we have the ability to acknowledge the fact that so many people have a variety of talents - and when those people let their talent shine, we can all benefit from that.  However, we should try spending a little more time focusing on our own talents and strengths instead of the strengths of others.  We will be of greater service to ourselves and those whose lives we touch by developing a true awareness of our own value and self-worth.

How do we go about learning what our value is? Here's a link to The Seven Signs You Know Your Value.

Develop Resilience

"To love is to stop comparing." - Bernard Grasset

So how do we stop squandering our happiness and get out of the comparison trap?

Be aware.  We've been comparing ourselves to others for so long that it has become a bad habit.  Like other bad habits, we must first admit that we have a problem to become more conscious.  Becoming aware of the thoughts that are going through our minds helps us to identify who or what triggers our envious thoughts.  Be mindful of the fact that these thoughts add no value to our lives and STOP!

Pause.  Remember that these are real emotions that may show up every day, or even moment to moment.  Putting them in their proper place will take time and practice.  Don't beat yourself up! Acknowledge the thought and then shift focus.

Be grateful. Shift your focus back to yourself and what you’ve already been blessed with.  Count what you have and look forward to the things you plan to gain by focusing on following your unique path.

Have hope.  To compare as a source of motivation is one thing, but to "covet" is not cool! Do you admire these people, or do you want what they have?  Let's be real, you will never have exactly what they have.  It may look similar, but it will always be different.  Embrace that fact.  You can use people as motivation because they inspire you, but when you just want their "stuff" then you've entered into unhealthy territory.

The only person you should be better than, is who you were yesterday.

Remember that they are just people too, and if they can do great things, so can you.  

Don't fall for the okey-doke by allowing other people's successes to make you feel a sense of lack.  Flip the script and use comparisons as motivation to become a better person so that maybe you can use that energy to increase the joy in your own little corner of the world.

MB


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MORE FROM MARC:

@SWIRLMAGAZINE

Altered View


 

  You may cry over the broken bones and the lost lives.

You may feel anger towards those whom steal.

But if you can love the creatures that roam upon the earth,

love the warm arms that held you close.

If you can feel complete tranquility of the first snow fall of winter.

If you love the sight of dust particles floating in the ray of sun.

If you smile at the person in the mirror.

If you feel a sense of peace when the birds sing into your ears.

If you feel whole when your bare feet meet the earth.

If you are amazed by the breath you can see when the frost has covered the grass.

If you feel overwhelming gratitude towards your being and all of which surrounds you,

you are the happiest you could ever be.

There is not a cent more that you need to weigh you down because happiness begins when realization meets simplicity and the eyes no longer view dollar signs as value,

but rather valuing each moment makes you the wealthiest person alive.

Making Peace With The Inconsistency of The Path

 

One of the reasons I’ve been reluctant to share my work publicly is that nauseous feeling that takes over me when I look back at what I created, wrote or drew few years, few months or even few weeks ago.

It is something I noticed very long time ago, when I’d flip a few pages of my diary and feel like there was a completely different person logging in only a few days before. Needless to say, nobody was actually stealing my diary and pouring their deepest secrets on its dotted lines, but at times it’d almost seem so. My handwriting would change, the style in which I would write, the vocabulary I’d used - which are all pretty normal and temporary things that can change in short time-spans - but the aspect that horrified me the most was the essence of the human behind my scribblings, the opinions, feelings, approaches and mind-states which were transforming all so damn fast and abruptly that at some point I started to doubt all of my thoughts and opinions, asking if I’d be ashamed of them in a few weeks, just like now I am ashamed of what was standing in their place some ten days ago?

Horrified by these fast-paced changes in my creative expression and shame and disgust I’d feel when looking at my earlier work, be it writings, poetry, paintings, drawings or photography - I was postponing sharing them with others, even just with my friends on Instagram. On the other hand, I wanted to do it so badly. I’d be seeing other artists and creative souls sharing their work online and would feel so attracted to do the same, but there was that underlying fear of looking back and being ashamed of my work. I had been promising myself that I’d do it when I get just a tiny bit better, when my English improves, or when my paintings look a bit more “presentable”, whatever the fuck it means.

Time passed and nothing changed. My perfectionist side kept sabotaging me and preventing me from sharing my art with others and once I got aware of it - of the pattern that has been repeating on and on for years, I just decided to do it as I realized that I’d never be completely satisfied with anything I create or write and therefore there’ll never be the perfect moment to take the leap of faith and put myself and my work out there.

I got over my pride, told my fear to take the back seat and started to put some of my drawings and paintings on Instagram. When it stopped being scary and nerve-wrecking, I took it a step further and started sharing even the stuff I thought bad and shitty for the sole purpose of putting myself in the midst of discomfort and getting rid of the pressure that every single thing I create should be good. If I allowed myself to create stuff I wasn’t necessarily proud of and started to see it as a part of journey, step stones on the path of creative evolvement, it’d suddenly all become less important and I could focus just on that - growth, evolution, learning - instead of dwelling on previous work that didn’t meet the impossibly high standards that I tend to set for myself.

That step opened the gates to new creative freedom that I didn’t even know existed! Once liberated of the pressure to always create something “perfect”, my creative juices started to overflow and my production increased immensely! I rarely look back on my previous work and if I do so, it is only to see how much progress I made and not anymore to beat myself up for the lack of skills that I notice in my earlier works. The funny thing, also, is that some of my artwork that I really didn’t like from the beginning received the most praise and positive feedback while paintings I was stoked about and proud of sometimes received very average feedback. What does it mean? Absolutely nothing!

I want you to start creating more and do it for the mere joy that comes through the process. Share your creative magic with others and let it touch their souls - and, most importantly, don’t judge your work and keep it for yourself until it reaches ‘perfection”, you never know what can resonate with whom! Maybe exactly that poem you are ashamed of sharing is what someone needs to hear in this very moment - we never know what can ease someone’s pain or bring some light and hope to their day.

Love you all and stay creative,

Maja


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@SWIRLMAGAZINE

Love. Can't Be More Simple.


What is art?

It is love in different forms.

But where?

In every tone, word and color... love appears. If you can feel it, it exists. If you cannot feel it, it still exists.

Why?

Because love is the main part of everything. It is the start of endless life, energy, magic.

How to find it?

Look around you, look into yourself. Love is there and everywhere. Don't close your heart. Be aware of what you truly are.

You are love.

 

Why Do You Travel? A Dialogue With Myself


When I first moved from my parents’ place, I was actually running away, even if I wouldn't admit it to myself. Away from a place I didn’t like, from bad memories I had there, from a family that didn’t understand me. But it’s much later that I realized it, through self-reflection.  

I felt into this trap again recently. I ran away from a place where I had had a very painful memory that my mind couldn't let go off. There was other factors that made me want to leave, but nothing unbearable. I just felt this urgent need and took this spontaneous decision in a few weeks and left. I moved to another country again for a few months. I was enjoying the place there, traveling and living a new experience, but something felt wrong and I had a lot of time to think… and self-reflect. Today I’m realizing that most of my travels where some kind of escape from a reality I wasn’t happy about. Running away from myself. I didn’t appreciate myself and thought ”in a totally new place, you can be someone totally new”.

But the truth is, there’s no escape from your own mind. Wherever you go, it travels with you. There’s no escape from yourself. If you do it for bad reasons, traveling can be an endless vicious circle. You cannot spend your whole life running away. Perhaps some people do, but they never find happiness. 

I have a long-term solo trip to Asia planned soon. Obviously, I need to make things clear with myself. 

-       Why do you travel ?

I travel to see the world. To meet its people. To experience. To learn.

-       But why?

To LIVE, to feel alive. To feel richer inside. To have incredible stories to tell my grand-children and adventures to remember always. To find love. And I don’t mean love as in a person. I mean love as infinite and unconditional. Feeling in harmony with my soul.

-       So why, finally?

To be happy.

-       But why can’t you be happy at home?

Home? You mean the place where I grew up? It’s not a place where I have ever felt really happy. Perhaps this is why I travel: to find home. To me, home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling.

-       You are contradicting yourself. You agree that home isn’t a place but a feeling, yet you keep moving and looking for it in different places. If home is a feeling, that means you can find it in the place where you grew up or where you are now. 

You’ve got a point. I travel to find something that is already in me. Yet, I feel most happy when I’m getting to know other cultures, traditions and people, and this is something that I can only experience while traveling. 

-       And that is a great experience, but what about getting to know yourself? Because if you rely on external experiences to make you happy, you will always be frustrated in the end. Everything in this world is temporary. You count on traveling, on experiences, on others, on little things, but they don’t last, as much as you repeat them. You must find your "home" inside. How? By finding love in yourself. How? By loving yourself. You are the only person that you will need to bear all your life. Your own company is precious and irremplacable. You must build « home » in yourself. It doesn’t have to be walls, but a strong base for stability and a solid roof for protection. How? By taking care of your body and mind. By spending time on your own and learning to appreciate it. By practising non-judgement, trust and patience towards yourself. By realizing self-love is your most important material to build that home feeling inside. Your body is a temple that needs to be honoured and your mind is a miracle because it is awareness. Celebrate them for they are your first home. Love your home. If you travel, travel to love your home.

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We Will Thrive.


It’s so dark without you here.

Why did you leave me when I needed you most?

Why did you leave when you heard what they said?

Why did you leave when you saw them pointing and snickering?

Weren’t you supposed to stay then more than ever?

Wasn’t that the time you were meant to support me?

How did this happen?

It’s so dark without you with me.

It’s lonely without you.

It’s scary when all I hear is their laughter and ridicule.

You were so confident when they were not around.

When it was just you and me, it was beautiful and bright.

We shared joy and love in all moments.

We had it so good, why do you keep leaving?

Where are you?

Are you coming back?

Are you coming back to silence them?

Or am I meant to find you?

Do I have to move from this dark place?

I don’t know how, or where to go!

You used to guide me when I asked these question in the light.

Please come back to me...please!

Their ridicule is getting louder now. Why are you silent?

 

*breathe* *breathe* *breathe*

 

 

...wait, I remember something…

...I remember something you said…

You told me that you will always be there for me.

That you will never leave me and that you will always support me...always!

So what happened?! Was it me?

It is me! I made this happen!

I have allowed their voices to get louder...louder than yours.

Their ridicule is only their doubt.

Their doubt is only their fear.

It’s not even about me.

They are merely projecting.


 

I’m sorry for doubting your faithfulness…

You did always have my back!

It was me who blocked the light, me who stopped listening.

Me who allowed their voices to fill the space between you and I.

This needs to stop.

I need to be so close to you that your voice is the only one I hear.

I will latch onto you so strong that darkness doesn’t get a chance to creep in.

We will reunite and never split; with our vision back on our future and on what’s good for us,

We will thrive.

We. Will. Thrive.

 

Ambition, I love you.

 

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Prioritizing Positivity Not Perfection


“If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.”  - Jiddu Krishnamurti

Upon finding an article where Mila Kunis stated that it's 'bizarre how everyone has the same facial features now', I related to her sentiments in a sad way. The truth is there always have been certain trends within the make-up/beauty world. But when I look around the world at the moment, it seems to be less about enhancing your own already beautiful features, but about instead changing them entirely. It's dismal seeing an army of people unaccepting of their own beauty and favouring to alter their features.

As a young woman, who wants to live a free and fulfilling life to the best of my abilities, I've begun to navigate what are the necessities to my happiness. Our exterior bodies are beautiful creations, but it’s our words and actions that can touch peoples lives. We should prioritize what we do, and not how we look. What feeds the soul is love, friendships, passion, peace and following your dreams. I do realise that make-up and hair are incredible art forms and there are many artists I admire in those areas. Although indulging in enhancing our best features through make-up and being creative is an important part of a lot of peoples lives, we should be making sure we don’t place too much worth on this.

A recent movement by Jameela Jamil, 'I Weigh' shone a light on how there are so many more important things than our looks; personal growth, recovery progress, friends, family and just having fun and adventuring. The instagram page was born out of a concern for the issues around self esteem problems. Combating a culture that would rather see women worry about their weight rather than flourishing in their talents.

“Every minute we spend thinking about how thin and gorgeous and perfect we aren’t, is a moment that we aren’t thinking about growing our business or our education, or our family or the fun in our lives.”

I once did focus and put a lot of pressure on the way I looked when I was younger. This lead to me edging away from my true self, trying to look like who I thought was beautiful, rather than realising I was beautiful. Instead of having a healthy, loving, accepting view of myself, it was an unhappy egotistical energy that held me back.

In our superficial society we are often told that our likeability is determined by our looks. This leads to self esteem issues and a never ending cycle of trying to reach an unrealistic goal among many young people. I’ve found I’ve almost had to unlearn the lies that have filtered through modern media and into my brain. I understand photo-shopping, light, make-up and how much work and effort can go into making people look a certain way for just one photo. Therefore now I can fairly judge myself and others, and not make unfair comparisons to the fake beauty standards of Victoria's Secret and celeb selfies.

Being comfortable in your own skin may be a slow process but it’s so rewarding. It may be a bit of a battle but you have to remember there's a lot of money in the business of making you feel bad about your body. You've got to fight the urge to judge yourself too harshly. When you begin to realise the world doesn’t fall apart when it sees you in your natural form, you’ll have more clarity and confidence within yourself. Maybe you'll even feel a better connection with the world, as nothing in nature apologises for the way it looks, it just lives.

If you focus inwards, you can see where your true self thrives. When you're truly happy in your skin, you won't need to hide it or change it. The more we connect with our souls and less with our eyes, the more we can make genuine connections with people and grow within ourselves. Rather than when we put all our energy into our exterior looks, consuming and worrying about things that make us look like the current version of attractiveness. We're focusing on something other than what serves our soul, our dreams, ambitions or the people around us.

I am in no way saying make up is a negative thing in itself, wear as little or as much as you prefer to. It's a fabulous art form, and you can create all sort of funky looks. Just don't use it to hide yourself. Don't fall into the trap of the cult of perfection. Focusing so harshly on your exterior is a waste of your time. Time that could’ve been used on enjoying your life and feeding your soul with magical experiences.

 

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Easter Encouragement.


It’s springtime which means new life, fresh starts, and the sunshine blooming through (hopefully). It means forgiveness of others and ourselves. New birth symbolising letting go and looking forward.

Growth is always happening through challenges and changes in our lives, and through the really amazing parts too. We may learn to accept the past, be growing into ourselves, or growing with someone we love.

I hope you are all looking back this weekend and see how far you have come. If you feel like you’ve hit a wall – remember where you started. Inspiration can occur at any moment, so remember to keep your eyes peeled and your mind eager. If there’s something you’ve been putting off – start it! If there’s a million ideas running around your head – write them down!

Take some time to think about where you are in your life, where you want to be and how you can get there. Reach out to the people around you and ask for help.

“An optimist is the human personification of Spring” – Susan J.

Bissonette.

So as the sun breaks through try to think more positively of yourself and what you could achieve.

Also, I hope you all eat some Easter treats and spend some time with special peeps.

Goddess


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Within every one of us 

Lies a divine feminine

Dormant from lack of attention

Locked away into the deepest part of our souls

Cast away in favor of false perfection

Our instinctual wildness publicly shunned

We have abandoned her

But yet, she rises slowly

As not to disturb

Creeping back into our souls

Broken chains dangling behind her

Her gentle voice 

Breathes life into our souls

Lights fire in our eyes

Heals our broken hearts

Courageously she stands unabashed

Restoring our lost souls to their true glory

Welcome back to the wild, my sister 

 

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How to Create Healthy Habits


The saying “old habits die hard” has been striking me quite hard lately. Since changing my entire life by moving here I have been trying to work on forming good habits to give my life a little more stability and growth. Hawaii tends to make you feel a little too relaxed, complacent if you will. I became so engulfed in the feeling of going with the flow that I felt my life had become quite stagnant. I was no longer writing regular blog posts, I no longer had a set workout/yoga routine and I was getting literally quite sick of my eating habits. When I tried to throw myself head first (like I do with everything) into new habits I failed miserably. I wanted to know why us humans struggle sometimes our entire life with simple habits that we may have never consciously realized we formed. What I found and put to the test was a few different things, hopefully these tips help you in the same way they helped me.

FOCUS ON CREATING NEW HABITS, NOT ELIMINATING OLD ONES:
I watched a Ted Talk starring Charles Duhigg on habits, and I am patiently waiting for his book ‘The Power of Habit’ to come in the mail so I can soak in more of his knowledge. The first thing that stood out to me was when he talked about how difficult it is to end a habit when you’re entire focus is on just that. When I am constantly thinking about how much I don’t want to do this particular thing I end up doing it in the end because it’s all I can think about. It actually has proven to be more effective more me to just place my focus on an entirely new habit I want to form in order to replace the old. When my thoughts aren’t being entirely consumed by this I find it’s much easier for me to stay away from it.

SCHEDULE/BUY A PLANNER:
Another thing that has helped me tremendously is scheduling. This was hard for me to accept because I am so rebellious even toward myself sometimes. I was stuck in this ‘free-spirited’ mindset so much so that I didn’t even want to tell myself what I had to do. Watching another Ted Talk about achieving personal goals by breaking them up into manageable tasks every day pushed me to go buy a planner. I can’t count how many times I have said I needed to get something done but completely put it off because thinking about the entire thing seemed downright exhausting. If I keep my to do list in my head it tends to seem a little overwhelming, forcing me to not even start it in the first place. Listing each task out, each day and balancing it out with downtime makes it so much easier for me to achieve. There’s also such a pleasing feeling that goes hand in hand with finishing your day off knowing you did everything you planned to.

DON'T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF:
I think the most important thing to practice when changing habits is self-love and patience. Sometimes we are trying to reverse habits that we formed over years, and expecting them to go away overnight may be a tad unrealistic. I find that when I have slipped up I am more prone to slipping up again if I am too hard on myself for it. Negativity towards myself has never led to huge improvements in my life.

I hope these simple tips help you as much as they helped me.

Love and Light

Kindra Rae

More Advice:

GOOD ENOUGH?


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ever since I can remember, I have based my value on marks, on grades, on percentages

on sheets of white paper with black, standardized text, asking standardized questions 

questions that mould intelligence, creativity, individuality of a beautiful child’s mind into a numerical value

a score out of 100

a red-biro fraction in a red-biro circle inked in the top right-hand corner.

that ink seeps into my skin, is etched into my soul; carving out what it means to be liked, to be successful, to be worthy,

worthy of love

worthy of being far, far away from that fear of failure and all that we are told comes with it;

worthy of holidays, of a nice house, of presents at christmas

things us children are told come hand-in-hand with ‘financial security’, with ‘a stable career’

with money

with happiness.

 

but now I am not a child, and I know that this simple equation is not all it seems

although I will never forget that my one ‘B’ grade in an ocean of sparkling ‘A’s’ was in maths

I still can believe my less than satisfactory brain when I think

that this mathematical equation is one that is,

in fact,

incorrect.

a subtracted mark from that all important score

a mark I would agonize over; would question teachers about 

never feeling satisfied

never feeling proud

never feeling quite good enough.

 

and as a girl becomes a woman

it is too easy to fall into into another trap society has set 

placing self-worth on the external 

placing self-worth on our image or on our ‘health’

where in reality as our physical health maybe momentarily increases

our mental health steadily dwindles.

there was a day when i looked into the mirror to see the progress of my teeth growing in 

not the progress of my ‘abs’ as a marker of my ‘fitness’

a day when we were told our ‘bottoms were a seat’ and not a marker of attractiveness

of admiration

of envy

a day when we did not know beauty was linked to an image of a ‘perfect’ female form.

 

the word anxiety creeps its way through an innocent child’s skin

red ink, swirling, into my bloodstream

and settling

deep in my stomach

wrapping one arm around the space that once, I trusted 

a space that so effortlessly nourished and cared for me

and the other arm around my mind

it’s fingers skillfully placing a tint over my eyes

undetectable

making me see life through glasses of fear

of hate

of insecurity 

before closing it’s arms together, in a toxic embrace

forming a link between my worth and what I choose to enter this area of my body

or what I choose not to

creating irrational fears that see-saw from being so obsessed with health

wanting to improve

wanting to be better

to not feeling worthy of the money that nourishment costs

hidden behind the frugality of a loan-dependent student 

to not feeling worthy of nourishment unless, maybe, if following certain rules

because following rules is a perfectly measured recipe that bakes a sugar-free, fat-free cake of success

 

a see-saw between the achievement of being so clean, so pure

and the achievement of being empty and thriving

a see-saw between the fear of never reaching my best self

and the feeling 

of not having one

 

because if even if that red ink writes 100/100 

like it has on occasion for now-trivial past achievements

 

even if i rebuild my outer shell that has shrunken in the laundry

as my self-esteem was washed away with the suds of perceived ’imperfection’

 

even if what i see in the mirror does finally satisfy me, even with a number on the scale that does not inflict worry or concern

 

even if the red ink completes that circle

once again encompassing my worth and compacting it into the top right hand corner of a piece of paper i’ll never see again

 

would I then be freed from this never-ending cycle that society has created?

these expectations, ideals

images

the fears that almost are ingrained into our genetic makeup

 

the circle of the grade

the circle of the percentage

the circle of my stomach

the circles of my eyes

the circulating thoughts in my mind

 

maybe then

I would feel

good enough.

 

 

 

 

 

- Alexandra Murray-Reynolds (@thehippychickpea)

find more at thehippychickpea.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You Will Be Okay


Dear Everyone,

Believe it or not, you will be okay. Nothing lasts forever. This pain will leave. One day, you will be okay.
You will wake up one morning and realize that you didn’t cry yourself to sleep the night before. You will be driving while listening to your favorite playlist and realize that you overcame the fear of driving.
Someday, you will be laughing with your family or friends and realize, in the middle of that moment, that you got through the weeks where you thought you would never laugh again. Your head ached and your heart hurt during those weeks but now your stomach is the only thing aching and it’s because you can’t stop laughing.
You will be happy someday. You will be eating a meal with your favorite people and having a good time talking with the people you love most and the realization that you overcame your eating disorder will overwhelm you and you will feel filled with strength you never thought you had.
You will be talking to somebody and enjoying the conversation you are having when you realize that you used to tremble with fear anytime you had a social interaction with anyone. Eventually, you will be okay.
You might be sitting in class raising your head every couple of minutes because you finally understand a concept that you couldn’t think about without panicking a few weeks ago and you will be overwhelmed with confidence in yourself.
Maybe you will post a picture to Instagram of you at the gym and realize that you once couldn’t stand to look at yourself in the mirror and now you are confident in what you look like because you are strong and your body is capable of much more than just looking good. You will have new found confidence in yourself because you finally made the realization that if you work on yourself and feel good and happy on the inside, you will be beautiful no matter what you look like on the outside.
You will finally understand that looks aren’t everything and so you will spend time working on your character more than you used to spend obsessing over your jeans size.  
One day, you will smile for the camera instead of covering your face and turning away.
You will learn to live in the moment rather than fearing for the next one.
The future won’t seem as scary and uncertainty will not be your enemy anymore.
You’ll learn to love and accept change as it comes. You’ll find yourself enjoying the changes in your life.
You will let go.
You won’t feel the need to have everything under your control anymore.
You will learn how to let go of things that you have held on to for as long as you can remember and because of this, you will feel free.
You will keep changing and growing and eventually, you will be okay. 

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learning to dance with yourself


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the leaves tilt to the melodies of the sun

but i'm numb, and blind. 

i can only hear them whisper 

but my soul doesn't speak the same language

so i stand still. in a noisy silence that i want to escape.

it is then, when i am about to run away, that the first flower blooms.

in my black and white mind, hues of pink and blue wake up 

as the first petals start to whine like newborns. 

the blindness becomes shades

the shades become light

and the light caresses my skin as i start to feel 

the life of the flower invade the life within me.

and it is then, when i am about to give in to the beauty of the colours

that the second flower starts to bloom.

and this flower is red.

and this flower is blooming from my heart.

from my soul. 

and it is now, that, alive, i can understand the whispers of the leaves.

they sing beautiful songs to the melodies of the sea.

now that i understand the music, my petals dance a waltz with the sun. 

and let me tell you, 

the world has never been so happy. 

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Old Bones


Sometimes you have to break apart to grow
Rip apart the skeleton,
then lay out all the bones & start to reassemble them-in order to breathe life back into them
When you finally get a taste of air, your bones will dance
That dance will grow flesh & warmth
That dance will call your spirit back
That dance will bring new life to old bones that almost turned to dust

-A.P.

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How I Make The Present Moment Home


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The first time I ever really thought about the idea of “living in the moment” was when I stumbled across the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I feel like I heard people say this all the time, and maybe I even said it all the time without ever stopping to think about what it truly meant. This book was in such great and beautiful detail that I truly started to take in the words. I was moved. I started to think about why I would really want to live any other way. Of course I am human, and will have moments where I slip up. That is perfectly okay, and I believe that it's important to forgive myself and accept those moments. When I start to really feel what it's like to live in the here and now it transforms my point of view on life.

 

Living in the moment strips away worry. When I discovered that the only thing that truly exists is this moment I stopped stressing about the future, because I realized the future doesn't even exist yet. Why worry about something that is non existent? I do believe there is power in planning for the future, having goals and dreams and working toward reaching them. Now I realize that I can be content with the present while also working toward my dreams. Along with eliminating stress about the future, living in the moment also removed any depression I may have felt about the past. I was able to finally let go of pain and suffering that I was holding onto so tightly without even knowing it. I let go of things that I was clinging to and things I had buried for so long. None of that mattered when I felt like I was being present.

 

I have my own routines that help me return to that inner stillness, and what helps you may be different. But I wanted to share my experiences with you in hopes that someone can possibly relate.

 

1. Meditate – So I absolutely understand that sometimes meditating is hard and intimidating at first because we are trained to have our brains constantly going, all day every day. For me what helped was learning how to do it a little at a time. I remember only being able to make it 2 minutes before I had to stop. Now I have some days where I am able to make it 30 to 40 minutes. And still some days where I can only make it 2! Each day is different, but so worth reaching that place of being.

 

2. Yoga – For me yoga was much like meditating, I didn't really understand it and I could only make it a few minutes at a time before I would stop. Now I stretch out in a class full of people for over an hour! Nothing happens over night. The breathing and poses I learn to hold in yoga focus my brain to the present moment and it calms my mind, allowing me to relax and just be. It's also amazing for our health! It increases our blood flow, drops blood pressure, maintains our nervous system, and is literally scientifically proven to make us happier! It was worth it for me to give it a try and truly feel the difference after class.

 

3. Writing – So this is specific to me, not everyone's main passion is writing. Some people place their passion in painting, singing, dancing, the list goes on and on. It is beautiful how many different kinds of art humans can create. I urge you to find whatever artistic outlet you need personally and open your heart up to it. I found ways to let so much negativity go through writing. Sometimes my pen hits the paper and it's like my soul is being spilled out through the letters, and you guys understand it! What a beautiful way to let out your worries.

 

4. Spend quality time with people who matter to me – I still have moments where I feel like retreating and shutting people out on days where my spirit feels drained. It feels like human connection isn't even attainable when I am feeling this way. I am learning now that when I feel that way, it is just another moment I am experiencing. I know that I will eventually come into another moment where I want to be surrounded by all my wonderful family and friends. When I experience the company of those that are close to my heart I feel content. I don't want the moment to end and I am taking in each part of it. Each instant is held onto and I feel present. I am learning appreciation for all the beautiful souls I get to share this life time with.

 

There are so many different ways we can get back to that inner stillness. After we practice this we become more of the person that we are meant to be. I encourage you to soul search until you reach what you need personally to reach this state of contentment. I promise it's worth it.

 

Thank you. I love and appreciate each and every one of you.

 

Kindra Rae

@Kindrainwonderland

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Source: http://kindrarae.com

What Hawaii Has Taught Me...


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I wanted this post to give you a somewhat update on my life. Right before I moved to Hawaii, I wrote a few blogs posts that were very raw. I poured my heart out onto the pages and you all responded with love. I had never felt so connected, this coming from someone who is still struggling with connecting with people. It was a beautiful experience and I felt cleansed in a way, free of all the negative energy that had been dwelling deep inside me, growing but never leaving. In that moment, I knew that writing was no longer my hobby, but my savior. I fought my fears with the keyboard, the pages of my journal and a pen.

 

When I arrived on island I felt myself withdraw from social media. It went from inspiring me, to running my life. I still believed in the power of social media, and the wonderful way it can connect us, but I just needed a break in order to get back to why I started in the first place. Instagram is just a creative outlet, it only portrays about 10% (maybe not even) of my real life. This blog was created to show you other parts of my life, things I struggle with. Real parts of me, so that maybe you can see yourself through me, through my words. When I left social media I forgot what I was writing for. I got so caught up in writing for an audience I stopped writing all together. Since I got here, so much has happened. Good and bad. This island has tested me many times already and there has been no creative outlet for me to release all of it and I just knew writing was missing. So here I am again, releasing everything.

 

The first thing Hawaii has taught me is we don't actually need all the things we think we do. Most things we claim to be “necessities” of life are actually just desires or privileges of living in the Western world. Most communities have everything we need in them and we don't actually need a vehicle. Even if the closest store is 30 to 45 minutes away walking, that's completely doable. We just don't want to walk 30 to 45 minutes to the store, which may be understandable but still doesn't make a car a necessity. When I first moved here I was forced for the first time to grocery shop and make it home with all the bags balancing on my bicycle handlebars. I walked 30 minutes to work, cursing the sun for the first time because it was making me overheat in my work clothes. One of my days off I was bored and didn't want to be home so I walked for 4 hours straight, with no real destination at all, just pure exploration. I now own a beat up little car that gets me around the island when I have somewhere I want to go, and it's a gem to me. I appreciate it so much more than I ever did when I had a car on the mainland.

 

Another thing it has taught me is we control everything that happens to us. This was hard for me to understand because I had always treated my problems as if they were something life was just doing to me and I had no choice in the matter. Something doesn't really become a problem unless we allow it to be. Life will constantly throw us different moments, and our reactions to those moments are what causes them to be good or bad. We can learn to control our reactions and how we choose to look at each moment. I stopped attaching “good” and “bad” to the things that were happening to me and instead started calling them lessons. I am now learning something from each moment in my life. I stopped labeling myself as well, and began to ask myself things like “Do you have depression, or does depression have you? Do you have anxiety or does anxiety have you? Before you react badly to this situation, did you cause it, and do you have the power to end it positively?” Things may happen out of our control but we can ALWAYS control how we react to it. After really practicing it, it gets so much easier with time. I am still learning.

 

Relationships of every kind take work. The most important relationship that needs to be handled first is the relationship we have with ourselves. Self love is the key to everything. The island can seem to isolate you in the beginning, your family is halfway across the world, all the friends you've made in your past are just as far, and you're left to just be with you. My first step was dealing with that isolation, spiritual growth is messy. Before being awakened yourself you may see it as this end to all suffering, this path of enlightenment that's filled with love, peace and understanding. Beauty from there on out. No. Spiritual and personal growth is messy. You meet yourself in a place you never thought you would, all of your issues are laid out for you and you feel them one by one. But then, you release them, and you forgive yourself. This is freedom. This is breaking the chains that you didn't even know you had. It's so wondrous, but not at all easy. All of this letting go and forgiving allows you to truly accept and love yourself for exactly who you are and where you are in this moment. Flaws and all. In doing this I could move onto my personal relationships with others. I am still working on all of this so instead of saying “I learned..” let's go with “I'm learning...”. I am learning how to listen to others with an open heart, and open mind, free of judgment. I am learning how to branch out and open myself up to people so that I can have a chance at good quality relationships. I am learning how to stop using my label I gave myself as an introvert as an excuse not to get out and meet friends. I am learning how to build a romantic relationship and a great friendship all in one with my significant other. I am learning how to balance time working on myself and time spent with my partner. I am breaking down walls, even if it's brick by brick and a not at all a quick process.

 

I have learned so much more in the time that I have spent here, but these are a few things I have found to be huge transformations in my life. I need to write. I crave to write. This is such a good outlet for me and I plan to share more and more on these pages.

 

If this never gets published or put out there by me, or read by anyone,

 

Dear me: I love you.

 

If 2 people read this...if a million people read this,

 

Dear all of you: I love you. Thank you for supporting my art & my heart.

 

Kindra Rae

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Source: http://kindrarae.com

It is time to WAKE UP


We come to this world naked and raw....

Until we start to believe our skin is not to be shown, our shape is nothing to be proud of and the only appreciation of ones human shape lays in sexualising the body you were gifted with to experience this human life.

We get shaped, but not like a diamond does...

Actually, our beauty is found in authenticity, in vulnerability and rawness and soulfulness.

The moment I shed the layer of believing that my body was an instrument for appreciation, that it was here for only aesthetic reasons and being appealing to someone's eyes from me...

...I became free. I became myself and more. 

I want to live free. I want to live raw. I want to live soulfully authentic and broken. I want to live MY truth in every single Moment. 

Shining my light through my eyes and loving every inch of what there is, without being afraid of being sexualised or reduced, assaulted or abused. Enough damage has been done. Enough Souls have been broken, put down, made to feel worthless, been taken advantage of and taken for granted. 

It's time to wake up from this social numbness and open our eyes to SEE, to FEEL and to become HUMAN again. 

 

....for more of my writing feel free to come over to my own little loved blog paulinelapetite.com 

all the love x 

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Love Yourself and You'll Never Be Lonely


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Loneliness is that secret emotion that everyone feels but nobody talks about.

Loneliness is that demon whispering in your ear that the world is superior to you.

It’s that voice that says, you might as well give up now.

That voice telling you that you aren’t good enough.

Making you feel as if your life is tainted with failure and deficiency.

And why would you seek out attainment when this cold world has convinced you of your inability to be tenacious?

Because this world is wrong and full of it’s own insecurities. And what is better than proving that someone is inaccurate about the harmful thing’s they have said about you?

You’ve got to wake up on Monday morning and decide it’s not as bad as everyone makes it out to be.

You’ve got to stand outside in the cold and resolve your issues with the chilling winter. Appreciate how the icicles glisten off the roofs of the houses or how the untouched snow is like a beautiful white comforter over the earth.

You’ve got to forgive that person who hurt you almost a year ago and realize we’re all on a journey.

Take a whole day to do absolutely nothing, pull out those video games you played with your big brother when you were 7, before innocence was snatched from your puny fingertips.

Wake up at 6 am for no reason just to