Manifestation

What it Really Means to Self-Love

Self-love is more than just a day at the spa...Though it just so happens I did spend a day at the spa last week with a couple of very dear friends. We listened to each other’s stories, and connected deeply on a level of understanding about how the work we do for our clients and ourselves takes a very strong commitment to self-care and self-love. It was that very experience at the spa, where I realized that one day of healing waters isn't enough to sustain me day-to-day in the practice of self-loving. In order for us to serve others the way we desire, with love and our highest integrity, we’ve recognized that offering ourselves self-care looks like many different actions and takes on many different forms on a daily basis. 

Let’s start by listing some of the ways we typically hear of how we should include self-love in our lives: 

— Spa day with your friends

— Quit your job and go travel the world

— Buy yourself a fancy new dress

— Splurge on cosmetics 

— etc. etc

(This is not to say that all of the aforementioned ways aren't absolutely incredible, and I that I do think you should incorporate as many of them as your heart and soul desires!)

However, I’m all about remembering to be grounded and actively participating in this exquisite human life. This exquisite human life, that sometimes demands we do very mundane, human life tasks. 

 

I want to make it clear that self-love is not about finding ways to escape your everyday problems. 

Self-love is about alchemizing your everyday problems, into magical and incredible everyday experiences. 

 

I also want to highlight how, with the right attitude, these very basic human life tasks we have to do all add up, surmounting to a very incredible amount of self-care and self-love even though they can be boring, tedious, or mundane. Let’s take a look at some of the things that might seem monotonous daily practices, but that are also pieces of your daily self-love and care regime. 

— Household chores: washing the dishes, sweeping, cleaning, organizing, purging

— Home improvement: renos, decorating, fixing

— Cosmetic: nail filing, moisturizing, shaving, waxing, scrubbing (whatever floats your fancy)

— Finances: Accounting, taxes, filing

— Creating: writing, singing, dancing, playing, photographing, filming, acting, painting

Now, you may think that the daily chores of dishes, mending clothes, or cooking meals are not the incredible trip to Bali that all your friends are going on for their holiday getaways, however, on a daily basis we are caring for ourselves by getting our chores done. For instance, take accounting; we can do our taxes with the appreciation that we were able to buy many things over the last year, and with the understanding that abundance in monetary form is a blessing. Acting as such allows you to receive and care for yourself more in the future. It can be a source of empowerment if you let it be, rather than a means of discouragement and irritation.

After a very plain old Sunday spent at home, one of my housemates mentioned that she often thinks about how almost everything we do on a daily basis is done with the intention of self-sustenance. We go to work so that we can make money to feed ourselves. We mend our clothes so we can wear them again. We sleep so that we have the energy to wash, rinse and repeat. This may sound pretty dull to you, but I want you to know that isn’t dull at all when you change your perspective from, ‘I have to do this just to survive’ to, ‘I am doing this because I care about myself enough to create and live another day.’

Because here is the truth; when I don’t do my laundry, or sweep the floors, or finish my taxes, I feel like I’m living in a mess…that mess trickles into how I experience my life on all fronts. When I do my laundry and sweep the floors, I have a clean space to work, I get things done, I’m more creative, I invite friends over (I’m more social), I feel good, and I definitely love myself more. 

Even when I go to the gym and lift weights, I feel better.

I just spent a month waking up 2-3 times a week really early to get my ass to a circuit class at my place of work. I unofficially took part in my own ‘November challenge.’ 

Being a dancer and a full time entrepreneur/freelance artist is a very tricky thing to balance, so I wanted to show myself that I could stay strong, healthy, and feel good without having to take dance class everyday. (Because the truth is, I can’t afford to take dance class every single day right now.) Throughout the month I had moments of “I hate this, I’m going to throw up, and I can’t do it,” but by the end of the month I’m feeling healthier and I’ve learned so much from my co-workers about fitness through their new challenges. 

I also discovered that I really do like lifting weights. I find it so empowering to feel strong as a woman! 

 

The most clarity I’ve received from a steady workout regime where I’m constantly being challenged is that being physically stronger allows me to open up to being more vulnerable in other facets of my life.

I feel I’ve made quite a shift, not only physically but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

 

Now that’s just one example (my most recent and personal example), of what self-love can look like and what it can create and make space for in your life. 

 

Ultimately, self-love means a deeply rooted commitment to yourself. It means doing what you know you truly want to do always, and sticking to it long enough so that you can reap the incredible benefits, from the mundane to the marvelous. 

 

It means not being a people-pleaser in the plainest terms. The only exception should be that you aim to please yourself.

It means taking responsibility for your emotions, your thoughts, and your current creations. It means loving yourself just enough so that you can show up and get things done. It means loving yourself enough so that you can serve others, once you’ve served yourself. 

It means breaking down the foundations and restrictions that hold you back, so that you can be revealed and unleashed in the most pivotal ways. 

It means remembering who you are and what you love. Remembering to always ask yourself — What makes you happy? What do you desire?

It means refining and creating more of that in your life, right now. 

Self-love means committing to new levels of health. For me, it means more acupuncture. For others, it means less late-night partying. 

For you, maybe self-love means a new supplement to your diet, or cutting out that extra cup of coffee.
It may mean more water, or a new herbal tea. 

It may mean setting up 20 minutes of meditation or spiritual practice each day, and less tv. 

It may mean swaying away from things that are violent.

It may mean letting go of connections that are collecting dust.

It may mean listening to your heart and traveling across the world alone on Christmas when everyone else is with their families. 

It may mean signing up to work with a mentor, or spiritual guide and energy worker. 

It may mean quitting your job and starting your own business. 

It may mean that you pick up that pencil again and start writing. 

It may mean you start to sing down the street and care not what anyone thinks. 

It may mean you no longer need to shop at high priced trendy stores, and you become best fiends with the treasures of thrift.

It may mean you make your own superfood hot chocolate as opposed to drinking the crappy store-bought version.

 

It may mean you start a savings account.
It may mean you move out.
It may mean you break up. 

It may mean you surrender and let them win. 

 

Whatever it is for you, it will be different for someone else. Self-love takes on many forms. 

Only you know best what you need to feel fully and completely loved within yourself. 

 

The problem is we’re often not quiet enough to hear, and we don’t feel capable enough to listen and act accordingly. Let me tell you at the very least that, you do deserve it

You do deserve to listen to your heart. You do deserve happiness in all its forms and manifestations. You do deserve to move through all the difficult things and come out on top, shining and feeling forever-free.

 

And the only reason I can fully say that, is because I deserve it too…

and I have, and I will. 

If I can do it, if I can look fear in the face every single day of my adult life and tell it that I love it so much, I want it to rest and play right near me, all while I keep moving forward no matter what — then, so can you

If I can listen to my heart when my mind wants to abandon, sabotage and drop everything, then so can you

If I deserve to move through all the shittiest, crappiest feelings that spiral out of control for no reason other than to teach me some badass and bold lessons — 

then my darlings…so can you.

And you have, and you will.

 

With love, 

Vanessa

Edited by: Moriah Stendel

Embodying Your Visions: The Spiritual Warrior Path

The other day I was a warrior. You see, I have been participating in Deborah Skye King’s online tele-series, The Spiritual Warrior Path, and in our second call she presented me with a meditation that guided me to see myself as a high priestess of an ancient time. 

Below is a reflection of my vision as a ‘spiritual warrior’: I was in Europe at a time where Catholicism was highly regarded and widely practiced. After reflection, it is my understanding that this vision is relative to my heritage and lineage as a settler of European decent. It’s been made clear to me through many previous experiences and visions that I have pretty deep roots in the areas of Scotland, Ireland and England. This time it felt like Scotland..

My vision of my spiritual warrior and how it embodied within me was shown through very intense images. First, an image of my hands: index fingers and thumbs together pressed in front of my face. I bowed my head in the middle of a desolate field with crows and vultures — it felt like death; the land was dying. I was wearing an oversized, dark black cloak with a hood. I threw my hands apart and flames escaped from them into the fields and open air. I did this as if to "shoo" all the ominous animals and symbols of death away. 

A Google image search helped me find what looks very similar to the tool I saw in my vision. I learned that it is called a censor and was often used in ancient rituals.

A Google image search helped me find what looks very similar to the tool I saw in my vision. I learned that it is called a censor and was often used in ancient rituals.

I picked up a small rusted ball and chain that was filled with smoke and potent essences. I swung the ball around multiples times over my head; lashing out the smoke into the space around me… but the fields were no longer empty, this time they were filled with people. It was as though I was imparting death upon them, not actually killing them, but killing their demons. I was destroying the parts of them that weren't serving, the parts of them that were holding them back. 

When I threw the ball into the air there were screams and screeches of demons and smoky shadows escaping human bodies, leaving them almost empty. I unleashed huge healing flames that licked through the meadow and metamorphosed the landscape; the field burned completely. 

I had fiery orange-red hair. I looked quite similar to how I am now, only more magical. I was fair skinned, a little taller and sported kinkier curls. All that said, I looked ‘witchi-er’.

My task in the meadow at that time was hard and difficult. I almost didn't want to use the idea of ‘killing’ these people, but that is what it looked like. Though it seemed fearful, an internal knowing allowed me to understand that they would experience rebirth and be stronger, better, lighter afterwards. This applied to myself as well, only once they were ‘reborn’ would I be able to fully embrace and share with the world my brightest lights. I was then relieved of my heavy cloak, now wearing a lighter piece of clothing that embraced the magical and mystical. 

It was clear in the vision, that for the time being I had to be some kind of darkness. I had to embody what it was that was bringing the community the most pain.The only way I could really destroy the darkness was by being so close to it, by becoming it. I had to embrace and live in shadow, showing it that it would not have full control over us anymore. In order to gather those around me who were seeking and calling, to embrace their lighter living — we needed to use our own darkness as medicine.

Since this vision and meditation last week, I’ve been aiming to find ways to truly embody my ‘spiritual warrior’; the high priestess. After a vision as powerful as this one I’m always pulled towards finding ways to embody visions: to bring our revelations to the surface level, out in the open, in ways that are integral and honest to where we are at. I thought I’d find, practice, and share a few of the tools that I know work consistently for me when trying to fully embody my highest visions.

In this context, I’m specifically referring to visions of past lives or soul fragmentations that appear like windows into other times and dimensions, showing us parts of ourselves that are ready to be reinvented and reinvigorated through your current physical presence here on earth.  It’s my hope that the visual capacity to which this speaks is limitless. I have used these suggestions with clients who have visualized themselves in every way; from the most etheric and fantastical species to the most humane and earthly beings. However, you may also apply some of the following steps to embody and manifest your everyday visions such as: moving to a new location or home, starting up your own conscious spiritual business, and welcoming new relationships in your life. Chances are you’ll be able to feel your desires, and actualize them a little faster. 

  1. Meditate and experience your vision. Find a position, or a practice that allows you to be in your stillest state. Sit, stand, or lay quietly focusing on your breath and use either a guided past life meditation or see if you can tap into your own innate guided journey. Allow yourself to feel it in any way that’s available to you. Hear, see, sense — sometimes with numbers; dates, ages, years or words; names, places, symbols — what it information is being sent through your vision.
  2. Work with someone you trust to aid and guide you into spaces that activate further reach and loving introspection. I find that when I have a mentor, teacher or guide who has experienced some of what I want to experience and learn about, I am able to go deeper within my self because I feel safe and supported in my venture. This also allows me to feel like I can debrief my experiences with someone later if I would like to. The concept of accountability also comes to mind here, as telling someone often takes courage and allows you to speak your truth and stay committed to embodying your new vision.
  3. Take time each morning and each night to tune into your whole self; emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, and soul. Ask openly for your guides and your higher self to show you through your dreams (night) or through the waking day, more of what it is your working with. Ask them to be specific and then keep checking in to the five parts of you that make up the whole. Walk in awareness so that when they answer you won’t miss it! Trust the impulses or signs you feel you are receiving. 
  4. Listen and do what is shared with you — Take action. (Don’t ask and then stay at a standstill.) Buy the bouquet of flowers that are so brightly staring at you…when you don’t even like flowers. Feel what that might mean. Bring your dog to work with you today, even though you don’t normally. If you wake up and feel like you really need to stock up on some new colours or styles for your wardrobe, then trust that. It may be something that seems absurdly superficial and that’s alright. I would say that embodiment often starts with whatever is most superficial because that’s the easiest signifier and carries the least amount of weight. It’s meant to be a starting point so that you’ll be more likely to actually do the task without too much fear. Take that first step, and you’ll start to find that the more you listen and take action, the deeper the directions go. Start with the things that are easy and possibly seem superficial and use this as a jump-start, the deepening will happen as you develop the qualities and energies of that part of you. The more meaning behind each step you take, the more weighted your vision will feel. You may not look exactly like what you saw — that’s not the point. The point is to walk fully embodied in the energy of your dreams. That’s how they become reality. Ask yourself questions like: Is this woman/man/animal etc. you imagined sensual and luxurious? Did he like jewels and large castles? Or maybe she was a lover of the jungle, with rough hands from climbing trees. Did she run fast? Did he work with a certain element? Was it water, wind, earth or fire? Did they have any props? What could you use as an emulating prop? How can you be them in the world? The deeper you go in integrity and honesty the more you will start to see and feel yourself as the energy behind that vision.
  5. Find her cause. What is the reason she’s come through for you? Often the soul that is revealed is a fragment of ourselves which longs for us to do more of what they did, be more of who they were. If she was herding sheep, maybe it means you need to also work with animals, or that you may want to be teaching children. If she’s doing ancient rituals or spells maybe that’s something you need to incorporate into your life in a simple way, like lighting a candle every day. This is a very important step because without knowing their cause, you miss the poignant message and why it’s come through. Often times, the message is related to your spiritual advancement, to remind you of why you’re here and what you’ve chosen to to fulfill your soul’s desires. It’s usually a reminder of how to keep on your path and ground you back into your commitment to yourself. It can also be a great way to show you some of your innate talents, and at times caution you of what you’ve done in the past — bringing along with this an opportunity to carry it out differently, and better, than you have before. 
  6. Allow yourself to move through the world like her, fully embodied. Every morning when you wake remember what she looks like and remind yourself how you are going to let her shine from the depths of your insides and out of your eyes. ☺ It’s not necessarily about wearing the same garments as her, or being in exactly the same location as her but it’s about letting her live through your actions, your decisions, and your consequences. Allow yourself to take responsibility in a new way that matches the desired energy and grace of the part of you that’s just been waiting to bust. 

Once you’ve done all the work of writing, journaling, honouring, and listening you will start to find that you are moving through the world with that beautiful intention and feeling of this Goddess, warrior, woman, man, peasant, king, alien or animal. The more that you commit to honouring this ‘new’ part of yourself, the more they will offer you. It’s an interesting and interactive way to rebuild a mystical relationship with yourself. It requires a good amount of give and take of course, and thrives on the balance and equality of magic and reality. The more you give, by feeling honour for your magical self, the more your practical and ‘real’ self flourishes. 

A vision, a déja vu; is a glimpse into something that may seem quite fleeting for a lot of us. But once you’ve found the lost ‘soles' of your past and taken the time to walk in them, you will find your life takes shape in a way allows space for new perspectives and desired experiences. At the very least you may feel a greater sense of knowing and self-respect for who you are, and from where you’ve come. Time is one of the most generous gifts you can give to yourself. Take the time to truly explore and embody your visions, you’ll owe it all to you!

How many sacred visions and secret versions of yourself are you hiding?

Feel free to listen to Skye's audio meditation The Spiritual Warrior Path and share below!


Edited by: Moriah Stendel

Empty chairs, Full spirits

I look at the chair across this wooden table on my rooftop. And for a moment I pretend that it were filled with my beloved. 

unnamed-3.jpg

But right now as it stands, it’s an empty wooden chair. It’s old and it’s partially broken.

And as lonely as that might seem to be. As lonely as that’s often made me, today — it doesn’t. 

There’s a calmness in my heart. There’s a lift in my spirit today that is nourished by the sun rays beating down on my chest and legs. Sunbathing in my lingerie. I feel the heat on my palest skin. And it warms just like a body would. 

It doesn’t mean I’m sitting here imagining what you might be — as I often do — instead I don’t care what you might be like or how you show up. Instead the romance here lies in the way I live. The way I live with conscious knowing; you are here. You are here with me. Today you are here with me. You must be. For, without you my heart couldn’t possibly feel so complete.

Not always made by physical, tangible presence sometimes it’s another kind that we are seeking. Of someone, of some place. 

It’s more like the presence of knowing that holds our gaze. 

And today I feel my lover sitting there, even though there is no true embrace. 

I can’t help but think that my clarity in this moment is for holding on to memories I will share with you. They are part of the stories I will tell you. The stories we will tell each other of how long we both have waited. Searched. Found. Let go of. Hoped for. Called out and remembered again. 

A final time. 

It is one of my deepest hopes that the one out there feels and retains with similar intentions; To share with each other at a later date. 

That they know as well as I do, they’ll be finding me someday.

Best Practices - Best Selves (The way we do the things we do)

best prac·tice noun

noun: best practice; plural noun: best practices

    1    commercial or professional procedures that are accepted or prescribed as being correct or most effective. 'the proprietors are keen to ensure best practice in food preparation, storage, and serving'

I’d like for this definition to also include that the term ‘best practice’ can apply to everyday procedures – procedures that are the most beneficial to the quality and vitality of any given person’s life.

‘Best practice’ can fit into every aspect of our lives. Through our businesses, our work and our relationships, we are constantly practicing to be our best selves. 

I want to ask you, what do you practice and how do you practice it? 

Once you’ve told me all of this I’d then like to know if we can make this next practice the best practice. How?

What is it that I need to do to make the next run of it my personal best?

In business, best practices are what an industry uses or does that allows for the best outcomes.

What works for your business and how do you practice it on a regular basis, to continue growing your success?

Same thing for goes for professional athletes, dancers and creators. 

What is it that gets you moving your best? How do you continuously do that thing over and over again without getting tired? What is it that you do slightly differently each time you rehearse? What is it that makes it your best practice? 

Where do you see results? Where do you see improvement? 

You know what comes to mind? That quote by someone, somewhere that states, 

Practice makes perfect.

Now, there are a lot of arguments that counter this strong statement, such as:

No one is perfect. There is no such thing as perfection. If you just practice the same thing over and over again you’ll never learn. 

And this, in my opinion, is true. 

I believe that if I practice the same thing over and over again, I will not actually reach perfection, I will just find repetition. 

And yet, just because it’s impossible to reach perfection…does that mean we stop practicing? Apparently, (and absolutely) not.

The key to finding our ‘best practices’ and practicing to be our best selves lies in the way we do the things we do. 

So my invitation is simply this: the next time you are practicing your cooking and making yourself or someone a meal, feel out whether you are using your 'best practice.' If you are great, continue on! And if you aren’t, no judgment necessary – just change it right there. Make it a small thing, a small shift in that instant. It could be that you clean and wipe your knife before chopping a new vegetable or meat to discourage contamination. There is your better practice. 

When you are dancing in the studio ask yourself if you are using your 'best practice.' Where is your mind at when you’re at the barre? Are you thinking about how awful you look doing your grand battements? Remember again, no judgement – just change your thought pattern in that instant. Allow yourself to feel into your body instead and be able to beautifully embody the movement. There is your better practice.

If you are teaching a class or guiding people ask yourself what is your 'best practice' within your role? Are you doing those things? Have you included and engaged as many people in the room as you could? If so, awesome. If not, better still. Give yourself space to change what you are doing, or give yourself space to feel how you are doing things right. Then see what happens. Maybe it’s as simple as asking a question that would apply to the entire group so everyone feels like they can engage. Challenge yourself in ways by breaking habits that you know are difficult to change. There is your better practice. 

Try to remember that you are practicing being your best. And doing that authentically and as consistently as possible will pay off. Those small, tiny, baby steps you decide to take in each specific instance will get you where you want to be. 

Best practice comes into conversation in every industry, workplace or activity I can think of. It’s true on varying levels for bankers, for geologists, for mothers and fathers, for teachers, lawyers, restaurant owners, bakers, hair stylists – you name it – it’s for everybody. 

It’s true for practicing yoga, pilates, meditation, sex, singing, inventing, studying, reading, writing – again you name it – it’s applicable.

We may not think about ‘practicing’ on a daily basis, but it’s important because it affects our everyday lives. 

How we practice anything is how we practice living. 

Here’s a nice little affirmation (if you’re into that and if you’d like a daily reminder for a while):

By being my best in everything that I practice, I am engaging in the best practice of all.

In our days we will continue to practice. We will continue to rehearse, not for reaching perfection but for exploring and feeling in each new moment, a new sensation. In each second attempt, a new viewpoint or insight. Something different will arise. It’s possible something better will show up, and it’s possible something worse may too. That is okay, because it will be what challenges us and teaches us for the next go ‘round. Through our best practices we may just find what we are seeking, needing or wanting. So no, you won’t be perfect. But you'll be that much closer to being your very best self. 

 

If you would like more support on how to practice being your best self, and what that personally means for you right now – contact me HERE.