easy

not too long ago a phrase that i said to myself quite often was “why can’t anything ever be easy?” nothing ever seemed easy. in fact, the only thing that was easy in life was making myself feel horrible about myself and my life.

and then something changed. i changed. i stopped looking for everything to be easy and then suddenly, it was.

i realized that our world has programmed us to think life should be easy & “convenient.”  i realized that nothing ever worth anything in my life came from “easy”.  easy never put a dime in my pocket, a lesson in my head or a true smile in my heart. i started to take inventory of my life to see if the actions i habitually made were authentic ones that matched up to how i want to live my life or if they have been placed in my brain as a conventional, easy way of living life.

today i ride my bike everywhere i go, do my dishes by hand and hang our laundry on the line. why? because that matches up with how my authentic self wants to live life. my authentic self believes that i should take advantage of the energy my body provides and that i was not placed on this earth to be a consumer. i feel better when i put my energy out, not when i am using energy up to live my life.  some of this is unavoidable, for instance the energy to cool and heat our house. some of the energy is negotiable, say the energy it takes to write this blog post. i try to keep a better balance these days. i can feel the weariness in my body at the end of the day and know that it was a good one because i am now spending my life putting myself out there into the world. it’s an amazing feeling.

this post is not about convincing you that you should live life my way. it’s about convincing you you should live life your way.

i do these things because it is what my authentic, deepest self believes and some of these small changes in life have made me infinitely more happy with my life path. my life is simpler. my focus is true. my goals are more clear. and all i had to do was to start living my life the way i want to instead of what is expected of me. i’ve learned to stop comparing my insides to everyone’s outsides. i’ve learned to respect the paths of others because i respect my own. i fall off this horse a lot but at least now i get back on.

are you living the life you truly want? are you living the life you think is expected of you? are you making decisions based on your authenticity or is it to live up to some standard? whatever that may be.

i think my greatest lessons on this have been from parenting. are you a new parent? i want to tell you something: put down the parenting books.

YOU CAN DO THIS IN WHATEVER WAY SEEMS RIGHT AND GOOD TO YOU.

ok, now you can pick them back up again because there is actually some good information in there but please put that phrase in your head and remember to read the books as an exercise in discovering your own true philosophies and not as a manual. your babies and children don’t have to do anything one certain way. as long as you are making informed decisions based on your authentic self you and yours will be fine.

but that is not a guarantee just in case there would be some kind of legal liability attached to this blog. caution! contents hot!

this is just my experience and my opinion. this is what has made me happier and more confident as a parent and person of this world. parenting and life are not easy. nor should we want them to be. at least i no longer desire for them to be. i know i will get a whole lot more out of it if it requires a lot of effort on my part.

so i’ll be here, no longer expecting life to be easy. i’ll be putting my energy out there and making myself open to the returns. because i now know that “not easy” doesn’t have to mean the same thing as “difficult.”  i’m pretty sure some kind of bumper stick is going to come out of this.

i’m thinking LIFE: REQUIRES EFFORT.

desert directive

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^^^^ i don’t even know where to begin ^^^

i guess i will start where this photo essay starts. the picture of ladies flowing from one space to another in brightly colored kaftans is what symbolizes this year’s Life(dot)next retreat for me. the locals thought we were a dance troupe.

i am longing to be back in that desert suspended in a space of self-improvement and introspection. there i was able to be california elaine. i was able to be desert elaine. i was able to be the elaine of my past and, hopefully, the elaine of my future. i was able to be warm. it’s cold here in ohio. reentry is not easy.

i’m finding it hard to write about this experience. there is so much i want to share with you, friends, but i am also feeling this deep, sacred bond and want to hold those events secret in my memory. in catchwords the weekend was filled with:

sun, warmth, laughter, windmills, torched smores, crafts, talismans, blanket forts, disco balls, kaftans, goddesses, vinho verde, connection, skill share, tutus, laugh-crying, hot tub confessions, origami fortune tellers, headbands, glow sticks, visualization meditation, exploration, walks, newness, cousins, MOUNTAINS & TACOS!!!

seriously, 75% of the meals i had while in palm springs were tacos.

for all of you fellow attendees- i fell head-over-heels in adoration of all of you. i’m forever thankful for all that you gave of yourself. that’s all we can ever give anyone.

already looking forward to the next one, whenever that may be, with much enthusiasm.

“if you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your life. there are no limits. there are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” – bruce lee

life (dot) next

guess what, friends…sharing time!

hmmm, well let’s start with what has been on my mind pretty much 24/7 since we had that nice little warm-up that snapped us back into cold weather: upcoming Life(dot)next retreat in Palm Springs in 15 days!

i can feel the sunbeams upon my face already. and i just received a nice little packing list today:

invite-2_pack

did you see what was on that? swimsuit, flip-flops, sunglasses…i might not return. it’s going to be really, really hard to come home to grey…..ugh scarlet and grey. sorry osu fans. just had to put it out there that i think the school’s colors are derived from all the slit wrists the grey winter ohio skies provoke.

but my wrists are going to see sunny skies in 15 days!!!

but i’ll progess with this post because this retreat is not death(dot)next…it’s LIFE(dot)next.

Life(dot)next is the creative baby birthed by my friend Meg Buzzi. I credit her retreats for the following:  the majority of my personal and professional growth in the last two years, the inspiration to start this blog, quite a few hangovers, the evaporation of excuses surrounding my hesitance to start birthwork, an empty jar of pickles by my face in the morning, some of my best all-time karaoke performances, and a slew of new, inspiring, kick-ass ladyfriends. {they’re all really pretty and ride unicorns too!}  i don’t want to get ahead of myself but i’m pretty sure we’re going to discover the cure for cancer at this next one…or just give palm springs some of the best karaoke they’ve ever seen.

either way, i’m stoked.

i hope to come back with more inspiring, words o’ wisdom bullshit that will make you first want to throw up, then go and conquer your world.

in all seriousness, i think these retreats have accelerated all attendees on their life path. the retreats are just that right mix of strength and vulnerability that spark long-lasting change. well…there’s something about them because a lot of us keep coming back. Or, it might just be the copious amounts of boxed wine and signature cocktails. at any rate, i hope to bring more friends and readers to the life(dot)next table.

do you know any lady-loving organizations? or organizations that believe in empowering humans to make healthy strides and impacting changes in their lives? life(dot)next would be a great avenue for sponsorship. send some sponsorship support and ensure the occurrence of a future retreat. this one’s all full up, lass.

pathways

i took a bit of a technology break this weekend to focus on family and Waltzgiving so no pics of anything :(  but we had a great weekend all the same. great weather! and lots and lots of fun and friends at Waltzgiving. and great food. we inherited some tasty dishes. very thankful i won’t be needing to cook for a few days. yeaaaaaahhhhh.

the break from interwebs lead to some thoughts. deep thoughts. here:

i think i’ve spent far too much time putting pressure on myself to “create” the life path that i want to take. i think i finally understand that the path of my life is already out there. everything i want is already out there in the universe and it’s just up to me to find it.

that is so liberating. to know that i don’t have to create or force anything to happen. it’s already out there for the taking. i just have to seek it. i just have to work on getting in tune with what that path is.

i know this is easier said than done and i don’t think this means it’s any less work. i can just attest to the alleviation of mental and emotional stress with this new personal mantra.

i also have come to realize that finding this path and exacting the life i want to lead is not going to come from working on my weaknesses. it’s going to come from building and bolstering my strengths. i’ve spent so much time trying to fix my weaknesses that i’ve damn near forgotten what my strengths are.

it’s not all up to me. fixing my flaws are not all up to me. maybe they’re there for a reason. creating a life path isn’t up to me but living the path that is out there for me to the fullest is.