Complete Release


Ever had those moments when all the self-work finally hits home and you get this complete sense of peace?  A conversation may happen or something as simple as watching a movie or reading a book or just taking a hike alone opens your heart and mind to the truth.  You feel this weight lifted off your shoulders because you basically just make an agreement with yourself that you finally get it.  You understand all the ups and downs in life brought you to this moment and you accept it, even if you don’t completely understand all the whys behind it.  You just completely release all the guilt, all the sadness, all the woulda-coulda-shoulda’s of life and just embrace the moment you are in.  You find a moment in life where the chaos in your head stops and you just cry, not necessarily tears of sadness or tears of joy…just relief.  Relief that you are enough, that you are amazing, that you have made shitty choices, good choices and a few things have happened that may have not been your choice at all, but all of it has brought you right to this moment.  You can choose to go to sleep tonight dwelling again on the lost moments of the past or the what-ifs of the future…OR…you can choose to release it all and just sleep well knowing you are exactly in the right place and ready for the next chapter in your story and oh…what an amazing story it is.

With love, happiness, and health,


Don’t Let Your Past Dictate Your Future


We all have a past and we all have had crappy things happen in our childhood that have imprinted on us to some degree.  We have all had struggles in relationships with friends, family and especially romantically to some degree.  We have all had sad moments in life from losing a job, a loved one, or a relationship to divorce or break-up.  No matter how tragic or extreme the lows and highs have been in your life there is a time when you have to take inventory and ask how you plan to move forward.  Acknowledge and feel those emotions attached to past events, give yourself time to sit with them but don’t wallow in it and keep asking why me?  There is healthy time for healing and then there is time to ask if you really want this to define you moving forward.

I have a close friend who had a bad childhood.  His father was a drunk who would go on tirades throwing things and yelling and would hit him and his mother when he was growing up.  He would be embarrassed when his father would show up to school events drunk and sometimes even had wet his pants.  He was later bullied in school for being the son of the town drunk.  He did go on to college and ended up becoming successful.  He had the nice home and cars, a place on the lake and a beautiful family but in time his workaholic ways caused his marriage to dissolve and they ended up in a divorce.  Depression took over when his children left for college and started their own journey.  Contact with kids was few and far between and he was living alone for the first time in years.  When he did finally start to date again he was stressed with work and the financial toll the divorce  and paying for two kids in college had taken on him. So he let out his frustrations in the new relationship.  When things got bad he would frequently refer back to not just the current stress in his life but the past abuse and negative experiences growing up in his home and the bullying in school.  It was obvious that all the negativity was consuming him and adding to his depressive state.

So how do you pull away from this thought pattern?  Depression, anxiety, worry, stress…these feelings can follow us around like a dark cloud and be hard to shake.  It takes small steps to slowly pull yourself out of the darkness of this thinking pattern.  Sometimes it may even take the help of medication while going through counseling to address old hurt, anger, insecurities and other negative feelings.  However, if you find that you are not completely consumed then maybe you have just found it easy to blame the past when you succumb to bad behavior.  Maybe it has become a crutch or an excuse, like a get out of jail free card to be an asshole to those around you?  You say something ugly in the heat of the moment and then apologize later using your difficult past as the reasons why you lash out.  This may work for a while but most people around you will begin to grow weary of this cycle.  Only you truly know the truth, but I encourage you to be really honest with yourself because in the long run you are only hurting yourself.

If you are aware enough to recognize that your past is the reason you lash out each time at what point do you start doing something about it?  Saying your sorry means you understand something is wrong and you plan to change the behavior.  If you continue to apologize but the behavior never changes, well then are you even really sorry?  Take responsibility for your words and actions towards those around you and take an active role in making the hard but necessary change to be better.  There are people in this world who use their past struggles to learn and grow and do better as they move through life and build a better future.  Then there are those who continue to use their struggles as an excuse to be angry, selfish, and ugly in life.  Be honest with yourself and address these negative patterns.  Each day is a new day and a new beginning.  Don’t let your past dictate your future.

The first step in addressing the negativity is to stop focusing on it.  Change your perspective and you can change your life.  Find things in your life that you are thankful for, count your blessings before you go to bed each night and again when you wake.  Meditate and let your mind retrain itself to let go and be still to stop the cycle of constant worry.  Stop referring back to your past when you do wrong in the present.  Take time to pat yourself on the back by taking pride in how far you have come and all you have accomplished.  Take time in your day to relax and do something that brings you joy.  Start complimenting and finding things you appreciate in those around you.  Look for the positive first instead of the negative in every situation and person you encounter.  All of these things may seem simple but when practiced daily they can change your entire life.

With love, health, and happiness,


Revisiting the Past for Inspiration


About four years ago I had just started the relationship that has recently ended.  We came into each others lives when we already had full lives and plans made as single individuals.   So that summer he went with friends to California while I visited one of my closest friends in Florida.  During that time I felt amazing.  I was working a full time and part time job and had not started back to school yet but I was seriously thinking about it.  Thinking back to that time in my life, just four short years ago, I realize how much I loved about myself and how much I have grown and accomplished.  I completed my bachelors degree, started my masters degree, changed jobs, paid off my car and other debt and so many other adventures have occurred along the way.  It is easy to feel sad and focus on the things that went wrong or we could have done better in a relationship once it ends but in order to really appreciate life and move forward in a healthy way it is better to really focus on the good.

Looking back I truly thought I had found a guy that had a healthy life and full life of his own, like I did, and we could come together in a way that would allow us to maintain those lives while adding to each others.  I had found an honorable and trustworthy man that I did not have to challenge and check-up on because he seemed to constantly challenge himself in life to constantly grow and be a better man in every aspect.  I thought I had found my equal, a man who saw the world not exactly like me but was on a similar path and a few steps ahead of me to offer support and guidance in my goals while I supported him in his already established business.  It was an exciting time and it felt like a relationship full of potential and promise.  Considering where things are now I realize that my perspective was not exactly in alignment with his and maybe it never was.  I will probably never know what his thoughts were at that time or at any specific time in the relationship.  All I know is,  my intentions were good from the beginning and I loved him to the fullest and after it is all said and done I feel he did love me too.

As I move forward I have discovered the process of grief covers many emotions and sorting through the past is necessary.  Once we get through the shock, heartbreak, sadness, anger and forgiveness of self and the other person we finally come to a place of acceptance.  In that moment we can hopefully look back at the time spent with the other person and appreciate the good, the bad, and the ugly, as part of the journey to who we are today.  I am inspired by that little bit thinner, much more tanned, longer hair version of myself four years ago.  She was full of hope and joy for so many things and four years later she has accomplished many of them!  So now is a time to set some new hopes and dreams and see what the next four years will bring!  Lets get inspired this holiday season as the year comes to an end…inspired by our past courage, faith, motivation, endurance, and grit to keep finding the positive, learning and growing with every experience life throws our way!

With love, health, and happiness,








Rough Around The Edges


I come from a small river town in southeast Missouri.  It’s located in a county that is known for its beautiful river and it’s low income and high rate of meth and other drugs.  Many of the people I went to school with that stayed in the dead-end town have succumb to a life of poverty and addiction.  Then again, many of us got out and moved on to places that offered more.  When I think about my roots, where I was born and raised, I think about the beauty of floating down the river on tubes and walking down back country gravel roads to a friends house and going swimming in the creek.  I think about the county fair where I entered the sew with cotton competition in which I designed and made my own clothes and then modeled them for a prize.  I thought I might be a true fashion designer some day, but honestly I hated sewing.  I grew up in the same house and went to the same school my whole life and didn’t leave home until I was 21 and married.  My life was simple and sweet in so many ways, but I always felt this trapped feeling, this need for more.  I remember being around 10 years old, when the trains still passed through town and dreaming of jumping on one and never coming back.  I wanted to move to a different town where no one knew me and start fresh.  I was tired of the same boring life in the same small town.

I am older now and the fond memories and not so great memories intermingle to create a truth of what it means to truly grow up.  How we perceive the world changes and so does the light in which we choose to remember certain aspects of our experience.  I was a naive, small town girl who married too young and went from Missouri to Texas thinking life would be different and anything different had to be better.  The truth is, it usually isn’t.  We take what we know with us and the real change is within us, in how we choose to learn, grow and process through each experience.  You can change the scenery but it doesn’t change what you know or who you are.  I wish I had known this when I was young.  I always had my happiness placed in the future…if I could just get out of this town, if I could just meet the right guy, if I could get the right career, buy the right house in the perfect neighborhood, have the family….as we age we realize none of those goals are the real answer to happiness.

We look to what we know, what we feel comfortable with so we seem to repeat aspects of life even if we don’t intend to.  Some of us may work harder to hide where we come from, or fight against being like our parents but eventually little pieces come back to haunt us…the good and the bad.  It is best to own who you are and where you come from and recognize the pieces within yourself.  This not only helps us embrace the good parts and be proud of who we are but it also helps us accept the bad and heal.  Growing up and finding happiness within ourselves takes time but it also takes courage.  Be honest with what you see when you look at your past, even if it isn’t pretty.

My parents are not from Missouri they are both from West Palm Beach Florida and transplanted to the small Missouri town.  I often felt cheated that I didn’t get raised in sunny Florida near the beach.  I didn’t have the hillbilly accent that many expected me to have when I told them where I was from because my parents didn’t talk that way.  I realized the stigma attached to being from that small town when people often looked surprised that I had all my teeth and could speak proper English.  I laughed at these jokes but a part of me cringed at the thought. This made me somewhat ashamed of admitting where I was from when I was younger because people automatically assume you must be a little rough around the edges.

As we learn, travel, grow and work to find our own path in this world it is important to remember where you come from but also remember that it is only a piece of who you are.  You have a choice in where to go from here.  Keep the good pieces, accept the bad and resolve to always strive to be better.  I have grown to love the small town grit within me and I think the truth is, over time it doesn’t really matter where you come from, we all end up a little rough around the edges. The real key to happiness is embracing who you are fully without apology.

With love, health and happiness


Speak Your Truth & Forgive to Free Yourself

I have recently had the privilege of reading interviews and progress notes pertaining to rehabilitation programs.  A consistent theme with many individuals is guilt or shame about the past.  Often the guilt or shame comes from events they really had no control over, but it just eats away at them.  In the negative environment often the easiest available relief from the guilt and shame is to escape through drugs and/or alcohol.  Abuse, neglect, lies, cheating, tragic loss, are the most common reasons for such deep pain.  In a perfect world we would understand that each day is a new day and a chance to be different, but often we feel change is not possible because the past defines who we are and therefore defines our future.  So the shame of past dirty deeds follow us around, making us believe it is simply too hard and we are not strong enough.  Shame, guilt, anger, fear, hurt…all of these negative feelings keep us trapped in a dark place.  If we stay in that dark place long enough we actually identify with it, accept it, and the thought of moving passed it is unimaginable.

The idea of letting go of everything we have ever known about the world and ourselves can be a very scary process.  Some individuals are in denial of what is really happening, they do not see how their choices are affecting themselves and those around them.  Obviously the first step is no longer denying the truth, but instead, facing it head-on.  We must be brutally honest with ourselves.  If you have been abusive to others, a cheater, told lies, just purge it all.  Lay every dirty deed out on the table that you have committed on yourself and to others. Then find it within yourself to forgive yourself.  Admitting your wrong doings to yourself and out loud to those you have treated badly can be very humbling and also freeing.  Some may accept your truth and your apology and others may tell you to get lost.  The point is not what others think of you, but the fact that you are owning it, taking responsibility and at the end of the day what really matters is what you think of yourself.  If you truly speak from the heart and let it all out, letting the denial, anger, hate, mistrust and all the other negative feelings go, then you will begin to feel free and know in your heart that today really is a new day.

The second step to admitting the truth is acknowledge what others have done to you.  Those who have abused you, lied to you or cheated on you, even those who left or died in some tragic way.  You have to let go of that anger and hurt and forgive those individuals as well. This also means not taking the blame on yourself for what others have done to you and no longer using what others have done to you as excuse to continue living your life in a unhealthy way.  Being honest and offering forgiveness are the keys to freedom from the negative emotions and the first step to letting go of the past so that you can move forward.

Once you have spoke your truth and forgiven yourself and others, you can re-evaluate and take inventory of your current circumstances.  Where are you in the important areas of your life?  Do you have a family, a job, a home, an education, a spiritual connection or faith in a higher power?  If you have done enough damage to be without all of these things then you can start at the basics and build yourself back up.  This will not be easy but the process is very rewarding.  I have watched individuals complete a GED, enroll in college, get a job, an apartment, start going to church and build a support system, and eventually rekindle positive relationships with children and other family members.  The truth is you have to start with yourself and learn to be alone first.  This process is the hardest because being alone can lead to temptation to revert back to the old ways of thinking and unhealthy habits.  You cannot force yourself back into others lives.  Some may never forgive you and that is their choice.  Be willing to keep moving forward and forgive them for not forgiving you.   Have your own back, because if you don’t love yourself you will continue to allow yourself to be put in bad situations and make bad choices.  This process can involve letting go of unhealthy relationships that may not support your goals.

Letting go of all the negative and toxic relationships, thoughts, beliefs and ideas about yourself and the world around you is very therapeutic, but sometimes easier said than done.  Individuals may relocate in order to start all over and remove themselves from toxic environments.  It may sound extreme, but sometimes it is the only way to reclaim  health and happiness.  It is not about the past anymore and the future does not really matter, it is the present moment that really matters.  Today is the first day of the rest of your life, start speaking your truth, apologize, forgive and re-evaluate your current circumstances and most of all be grateful for having each new day. The truth really will set you free.

With freedom, forgiveness, truth and love