The Growing Process

How long has it been? Nine years?  Thirty-four years? Maybe a thousand glasses of wine, two thousand miles of coastal exploration and fifteen gallons of tears? Who knows.

However you choose to measure it, what’s most surprising to me is the cyclical nature of growth.

I’ve been analytical for as long as I can remember.  My loving mother spent many a nights with me as a child, listening to me vent, helping me talk through my confusion, stifling a smile or laugh or look of horror as I explored the corners of my mind.

I have always been curious.  But it was about nine years ago that I was brought to my knees and was forced to look at the world with new eyes.  Forced to see how my choices, my view of the world and the people I choose as my tribe impact every facet of my life.

We want to believe that once we learn a lesson, we can check it off the list and move forward. Ah-ha! I have learned to have patience.  I was patient in that situation, therefore I am now a patient person… check, check, check.

Sadly, this is not how this works. It is not that easy.

All of our lessons and areas for growth will loop back around.  We will be confronted with choices and situations that will make us rise to the occasion again and again.

Can you be patient in this situation? Can you be loving in that situation? Can you show compassion to that person? Can you exercise healthy boundaries now?

Let’s unpack this a little bit more.

For most of my life, communicating my true feelings was not easy for me.  I had so much fear about what people would think, who I might offend, not to mention I often didn’t know how I was feeling.  Years of mindfulness and meditation have helped me understand myself better.  Writing has helped me articulate myself better.  Having hard conversations where I feel like I might throw up or faint, run away or cry, has helped me grow and create better relationships, with both family, friends and lovers.

growth process

But is it ever really easy?  It is ever really done?  Do we ever really know exactly what to say, exactly how to say it, when to say it and what actions will validate our best intention-ed words?

Hell to the no.

We try. We try again and again. And it does get a little bit easier. You learn that you can and will survive these scary situations, but it doesn’t mean you enjoy it or that you don’t mess up.

The same can be said for confidence, worthiness, self-care, mindfulness, authenticity, vulnerability, courage… we learn what it is and how to do it. And then we learn it again. And again. And again.

Each time we will be tested differently. Each time we will respond a little bit differently.  Each time will learn a little bit more.

And hopefully along the way, we learn to offer ourselves some compassion. Offer and acknowledge how far we’ve come and how well we are doing. Knowing that we all make mistakes, we all have greatness and we all have so much to learn.

The best thing I can offer myself today (and maybe you can relate) is to cut myself some slack.

We are all doing the best we can. I honestly believe that. We will trip and fall, hurt people and hurt ourselves, impress others and exceed our own expectations, time and time again.

I think what is most important is that we are always true to ourselves.  That we honor our values and uphold our integrity.  This way, we can always hold our head high. And if, er’ when we mess up, we know exactly where to go back to.

We go back to our true self.  The one that wants to love and be loved.  The one whose hopes and dreams pulse through our veins. The one who hears this with their heart.

Yours truly,

Miss Erin Terese

P.S. Happy 11:11 ❤

Following Your Happy

I remember a time when it was difficult just to make it through the day.  When I would wake up, dreading the day ahead of me, barely able to put myself together and make it to work.  I’d be sitting at my desk, choking back tears and trying just to breathe through the moment.  Just to make it.  Trying not to fall to pieces and leap out of my skin. Not to crawl into a cave and hide away from the realty of the pain.  I remember those days.  I rarely think of them now, but I will always remember what it was like to live in that kind of existence.  The walls and loneliness and guilt and despair.  The hurt and anger, regret and disbelief.

I am so grateful those days are gone.

It’s almost hard to believe that was me.  That was my life.  That was my pain and my prison of emotion. I remember wondering and hoping and wishing I could break free and breathe easy again.  But never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would find this kind of peace and happiness in my life. That it was even possible to feel so content and so at ease in my own skin. To feel so loved and so supported and so fulfilled.  I never imagined that as a single woman turning 30 with an old beat-down car and shoes that need mending, I would feel so blessed.  That I would be able to see beauty in every day and every thing that crosses my path.  I never knew it could be like that.  I never knew that kind of love.

It began by wanting more.  Being sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.  Not wanting to cry and feel defeated.  Wanting to feel happy.  Wanting to know what made me happy.  Wanting to know that happy was possible.  It began by following my happy.  That was my first step out. My first grasp at the light and a world that was more possible that not.  Following my happy.  It seems so simple really, and yet it was, for me, the biggest leap of faith.  How could following my happy really help?  Isn’t it self indulgent to chase after happiness?  Yes.  And what better than to indulge yourself in happiness.  What a beautiful act of self care and self love.

Yes, that is me skipping toward the water!

Yes, that is me skipping toward the water!

Instead of staying home and eating ice cream on the couch with a glass of red wine and a horror flick, I called a girlfriend and we went on a walk.  Or out for a glass of wine.  Or to see a band.  Or to a movie.  I started saying yes.  F$ck it, I had to try new things.  Maybe I would like it!  Maybe it would make me happy.  Maybe it would give me hope and inspiration and help me figure out what I wanted.  Maybe if I said yes and went to every concert and cooking class and drum circle.  If I went to every symphony and art opening and karaoke night.  If I just said yes when I was invited and pushed my comfort zone.  Maybe there was more beyond the walls I built for myself and safety net of friends and hobbies I had built.  And there was.  And so much more.

To write about it all would be a novel in and of itself.  But I can tell you one thing that is so incredibly true:  the state of peace and serenity I now live in all began by wanting more.  By making the choice to follow my happy.  To follow the laughter and the smiles and the things that make my heart dance.  To embrace those moments and seek them out. To cherish them, to share them and to hold them in my heart.  To make those moments the ones I carry with me forever.

How about you?  What has helped you live a life filled with passion and purpose?

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

The Language of Intent

We live in an age of great technological advancement.  Every year brings a new smart phone, a new application, website and quicker means of communication.  I Skype with my parents back in Wisconsin to see the snow and hear how the Packers are doing. FaceTime with my friend in Texas to see the view from her rooftop deck. Text with the men I meet to line up dates. Talk on the phone with my Grandmother. Write letters via snail mail with my sister. Email with my coworkers and friends. Tag my friends on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Stay in touch via Pinterest and Tumblr.  Oh and I talk to these people in person.  With so many means of communication, is it any wonder why there is such great miscommunication?

How often do we feel alienated by a post we see or a text we receive?  How regularly do we misinterpret an email or text and assume it said one thing, when the intention was really something else?  How often is something we wrote in good-fun or humor taken seriously or with offense?  How often is our silence or non-response taken as an insult?  I’m guessing there is some head nodding, eye rolling, or sighs of agreement going on as you read this. Am I right?

There is something that unites us all.  A language that is spoken in every corner of the world. A universal language. The Language of Intent.

Behind every spoken word, text sent, picture shared, high-five given, hug squeezed, or letter mailed, there is an intention.  A meaning.  A purpose.  A feeling felt and a feeling meant to be expressed (not always the same).  With all of this going on, of course we experience confusion! We are wading through the words and images, through the smiles and sounds, to find the truth.  The authentic message.  The intent behind the exchange.  So often, the intent does not match the words or presentation – thereby causing more confusion.  We are in such a rush to “express ourselves” and “fix” the situation, that communication is often sent abruptly and without proper care and attention to timing.

It is really best to take a moment, focus your feelings and intent before moving forward.  What are you trying to express?  Are you trying to share, help or confront?  Are you looking for resolution, an apology or are you just looking to vent?  Be clear in your mind before you move forward.  Seek the answers within your soul and see what your true intent is.  Is it for you or the person you are addressing?  And with that intent in mind, which mean of communication is best?  Is it truly urgent or can it wait?

This unspoken language is seen in many forms, but we feel it and know it best in our gut.  Our intuition. 

Knowing that this universal language flows through the undercurrent of every exchange, what if we all took a moment to set our intent before moving forward?  If we were to do this, would we communicate more effectively?  I really do think that understanding your intent and becoming clear on the intent of those you are communicating with, is the best way for everyone to be understood.  For exchanges to be truthful.  For voices to be truly heard and an authentic moment to be had.

language of intent

What do you think?

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

Why Starting Over is a Good Thing

There are many ways to view starting over. It may seem daunting, overwhelming, exciting or exhilarating. In truth, the concept of starting over generally brings about anxiety in most people. It implies scrapping all that has occurred and starting from the beginning – insinuating that all work up to this moment is null, void or a waste of time. I’d like to re-frame the idea of starting over as a rebirth. A new opportunity. A chance to create, start fresh and begin anew. An opportunity to reflect upon the past, gather all that you have learned and apply your new self and ideals to this endeavor. If you were to think about it that way, wouldn’t your new approach yield a result much more spectacular than before?

Starting over in your career, relationships or hobbies can feel frustrating at times – but it may be what is absolutely necessary. Presenting your authentic self to the world is one of the most important pieces of this puzzle called life. In order to lead a life filled with love, passion and purpose, we must feed our soul. And what feeds our soul? That which speaks to our authentic self. If we are in a career, relationship or partaking in a hobby that does not align with our authentic self, we most likely are not receiving the nourishing love and energy that feeds our soul. Starting over in a way that represents your true self allows the space for you to thrive. Beginning anew and starting fresh from a place of pure intent allows the world to recognize your authentic self and to respond accordingly. Moving forward carrying a renewed sense of purpose will open doors that have not been opened before. Paths will illuminate and guide you on your new course.

C

Starting over is not something that should be feared. It is something that should be embraced. Welcomed. Cherished. Creation is the ultimate source of life and all that exists. Any chance we have to create should be appreciated and accepted with gratitude.

How will you create the world in which you live?

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

P.S. Inspired by the Daily Post Writing Challenge: Starting Over

Learning to be Mindful

This post was written for The Lotus Effect – a group created to aid in Spiritual Development.  Enjoy!

Today’s challenge is one I hope you all choose to partake in.  This challenge lasts for one full waking day.  From the time you wake until the time you drift into a peaceful sleep, I want you to be mindful of your thoughts, actions and the words you speak.

Mindful

Our Mind is an amazing tool.  We use it to assign words and values to people and things.  We remember past experiences and formulate wishes and hopes for our future.  It is an amazing and beautiful tool we use to help express our soul and emotions. But I want you to “keep in mind” that your mind is a tool – it is not you.  It is a tool to help you. And as we all know by now, your mind can also speak words of doubt, hurt, conspiracy and gossip.

I want you to be mindful of the words that are passing through your mind and across your lips.  Are they serving you?  Do the words in your mind express doubt and uncertainty?  Do the words you speak express love and acceptance?  Are the words you think and speak reflecting who you are?  Does it reflect your spirit?

All of us participating in The Lotus Effect are trying to open our mind and our heart to a more loving and peaceful existence here in our bodies.  We need to eliminate our self-doubt, negative thinking and judgment of others.  Our primary concern during this process is finding peace and love within, thereby allowing us to share this wonderful state of being with others.  We are looking inward.  As you catch yourself having negative thoughts and conversations throughout the day, I want you to stop and recognize them.  This is not to say you shouldn’t explore why you are having these negative thoughts and speaking in such a manner, but today I want you to realize how much of your energy is spent in this area.  Until we understand how our mind is perceiving our experience, how will we know where to start our healing and what issues need to be addressed.

Do not feel badly about your negative thoughts and words you speak, just recognize that they are there.  If you so choose, feel free to correct your thoughts with a positive affirmation or stop your gossip or conversation in its tracks by changing topics.  But for now, the most important thing is that you observe yourself.  I want you to experience your thoughts and interactions as if for the first time.  Let them resonate with you. What is your mind doing and is it serving you?  Your mind is a tool and is here to help you live the life your innermost self is meant to live.  Do not let your mind get in the way.  Your mind is not going to like this challenge, but your soul, spirit and inner light (whichever you choose to call it) will love this.

Ultimately, we want to trust our intuition and soul.  Part of this is learning the language we have taught our mind to use, and training it to work in a manner that serves us now.  Whether this means quieting your mind, calming negative thoughts or learning to be present rather than thinking about the past and future, we need to first see where our mind is going and what we are doing in there.

This exercise is to know your Self and better understand your inner workings.

It is more challenging than you think.  Please re-read this challenge, take it all in, turn on the Awareness Button and observe your thoughts and the words you speak all day.  Be Mindful of your Self. Once you are aware of how your Mind is serving you and how it is viewing the world around you, you can better assess what areas and issues are in most need of your loving attention.  We all have issues, triggers from our past and hidden things from our childhood that flow in the undercurrent of our emotions.  This exercise is to help you see what parts of you may need healing.  What issue is manifesting itself as impatient, judgmental, anxious, nervous, worried, lonely, overly busy, overly concerned?Be mindful of your thoughts.  Be mindful of your actions.  Be mindful of your words.  Be mindful of your inner voice that speaks through the knot in your throat, the pit in your stomach and the butterflies in your heart.  Be mindful – all – day – long!

Now, re-read, turn on the Awareness Button and observe.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

11:11

I awoke this morning from a very heavy sleep, one in which dreaming was done and the kind you know was purposeful.  I did a quick scan to recall all my dreams, but none that came up seemed of dire importance.  I reached for my iPhone to check the time and it was 11:11 AM – this sat with me.  I had been sent a message and somehow it was tied to this 11:11 AM message.  This moment was intense and I really felt a sense of purpose and calling.  Then I lay may head back down and slept for another half hour, unable to recall my dreams upon waking (which is unusual for me).  I am the kind of person that remembers their dreams every day.  Not always in great detail, but every day I remember my dreams and have been able to recall as many as five per night.

11:11

Once fully awake for the day, I hopped on my iPhone, head on pillow, and began my search for the meaning of waking upon 11:11. I was slightly saddened that I was unable to naturally receive what this message was, so I thought “I’ll just use my typical internet tools and savvy to unlock this mystery”.  What happened next was nothing new – a series of articles and blog posts came to the forefront.  Many resonating.  Many not.  But I have found that each time I stop and listen to these small little ques, I do find something that awakens my memory and tugs at my heart strings.  Then I stumbled upon an article that felt as if it were written for me.  As if the author was part of me and writing specifically with the intent I should find it.  Tears began to stream from my eyes in a beautiful flow of recognition, forgiveness, understanding and release.  To further indulge the contents of the article is neither here nor there.  What is important is to listen to that calling.  To give in to the moment that causes you to pause.  To listen to what is being asked of you.  To heed the call.  To follow your light and passion and all that comes with it.  To embrace life in all its various forms, both know and unknown.

Upon reading the article and shedding some tears of release, it was as if a weight was lifted from my back that I never knew was there.  The past few days have been a roller coaster of emotions and I had needed that moment.  That message. That time to allow life to happen and to flow in the current with it.

My message is this:  Listen to the cues.  Heed the call.  Follow the signs. Be present.

The more I learn this, follow this, and believe this to be true, life happens to unfold in the most surprising and truly beautiful of ways.

Please, take a moment to listen today. What is the universe telling you?

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

There Where My Longing Lies

It was there in the moonlight, gazing at the starry sky that I first felt it. Time stood still and the light shining in the distant galaxies was calling me home – pulling me higher.  My body was anchored to the boulder atop the mountain on which I sat, but my soul was soaring.  Voices and memories were pulsing through my veins as if they had been there from the beginning and reminding me with each breath and heart beat that we are as one.

Finally I was given a glimpse of what I had been seeking.  That longing that had been pulling on my heart strings, knotting in my throat and ringing in my ears had found its source. The sky.  The beyond.  Somewhere in the darkness and the twinkling of faraway stars and planets.  Past the black holes, comets and solar systems.  Farther still where sound and light and fantasy shift into a new language undecipherable to my mind.  Yes, it is there where my longing lies.  Somewhere my mind cannot explain, nor my memory attempt to fathom. There in that place lies a piece of me, every bit as connected as the brown in my eyes and the heat on my breath.  Part of me there is reaching out, longing to connect, wanting me to listen.

With open mind, heart and soul I listen.  Now, I listen.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese