Happy Girl's Guide to Life

"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thought. With our thoughts we make the world"- The Dhammapada

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11/23/16

Gratitude



Gratitude has been a cornerstone in my spiritual transformation. It is a practice that took some time to integrate into my every day life, but now seems more like second nature to me. Growing up I never truly understood what it meant to practice “gratitude.” During the holiday season, I would hear adults saying that we should count our blessings and be grateful for what we had. Yet in the same breath I’d hear complaints and frustration about everything they lack and that is going wrong in their lives. If someone mentioned to be grateful, it was often met with an “of course I’m grateful” but there was a lack of feeling behind the words. This is how society has taught us to think. Society programs us to think from a place of lack, fear, and self-piety. We tend to spend a lot of time focusing on what we lack and how we will be happy when.

This holiday season I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with those I love, as well as getting to know new people. I’ve enjoyed incredible food and fun laughs in great company.  But I took note of something during these gatherings that made me a bit sad. During this time of year we tend to go around the table and discuss the different things we are thankful/grateful for. And what I noticed was that many people truly struggled to come up with things they were grateful for or there was a lack of feeling behind the words. Now this was something that bothered me because it hit so close to home.

I was that same way years ago. I struggled with anxiety and depression. And my thoughts constantly revolved around what I lacked, why me statements, and I’ll be happy when statements. Sound familiar? I’m sure many of us are guilty of using those story lines. What I’ve learned over the years is that life is very dependent on our perspective of things. When I decided to make a radical change in my life, my first step was adopting an “Attitude of Gratitude.”  Now changing our thought patterns can be significantly challenging and involve much time and effort. But before we get into that, I’d like to give everyone a little perspective on how blessed each one of us truly is.

“The world’s population is approximately 6.7 Billion.

3 billion people live on less than $2 per day.

1.3 billion of them on less than $1 per day.

Starvation claims one life every 3.6 seconds, usually a child under the age of 5.

If you have money in the bank, money in your wallet, and spare change somewhere around your house, you are amongst the richest 8% of the world’s population.

If you have a car, you are among the richest 7%

1% of the people in the world have a college education.

7% have computers

43% of the world lives without basic sanitation

Close to half of the people in developing countries are suffering at any given time from health problems caused by water and sanitation deficits

If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back a roof over your head, and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of the world.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness you are more blessed than the million people who will not survive this week.

If you never experienced the danger of battle the agony of imprisonment or torture, or the horrible pangs of starvation you are luckier than 500 million people alive and suffering

If you can read this message you are more fortunate than 3 Billion people in the world who cannot read at all.”

Really let that sink in. Now look around in your life. See how many blessings you truly have? Practicing gratitude can literally create MIRACLES in your life. When I began integrating an attitude of gratitude in my life I started off small. Every morning as I would go through my morning routine I would state out loud all the things I was grateful for, no matter how “small” they may seem. And as I would state what I was grateful for I made it a point to truly feel it in my heart. With time, I began keeping a gratitude journal where I would write nightly what I was grateful for. I noticed that I always felt much better about my life after these exercises and over time I began shifting my perception on life. Suddenly it seemed as though I had much more to be grateful for then to be upset about.  Things that would have brought me down previously no longer carried great importance. Fast forward to present day and the transformational powers of gratitude continue to amaze me. I find myself living present in each moment and appreciating the little things in life. I find that the gratitude I set forth into the universe always comes back to me. And when I fall off the wagon and have moments of sadness or doubt, I get right back on the gratitude wagon and my mood quickly changes. Gratitude has been a cornerstone for me in my pursuit of happiness. I encourage you to take some time out to integrate Gratitude into your everyday practice and I promise you the results will amaze you. We all have so much to be grateful for.



#gratitudechangeseverything #happygirlsguidetolife

11/9/16

Here's to You...


Here’s to you…

I wanted to dedicate this blog post to my Grandfather. It’s been about 12 years since his passing yet his legacy still lives on. He is a man who has deeply impacted my life and inspired me on so many levels. Ironically, he has taught me more in spirit than he ever did in life. My grandfather Antonio Tavares or as I call him Avo Tavares passed away at the age of 83 a few months’ shy of my 17th birthday. My Grandfather was a man who came from very humble beginnings. He was born in a small town in Portugal, and immigrated to Angola. He spent some time studying to become a priest, but then he met my beautiful Grandmother and his course in life changed. My Grandfather was a man who was full of life, he loved to laugh, celebrate, dance, sing, and play his guitar. He always looked at the glass half full and had an unwavering faith in life. He was an honest man of great character and integrity. My Grandfather was a dedicated husband and loving father. Truly a family man. He was a compassionate man who lived a life truly rooted in gratitude and eternal optimism. Now my Grandfather’s life was far from easy. He faced many challenges throughout his lifetime, many that I can’t even fathom experiencing. He survived war, having to leave behind everything but the shirt on his back, immigrating to 3 different continents, and several serious illnesses including cancer just to name a few. Yet his passion for life remained strong. My Grandfather was very ahead of his times in terms of his thinking. He had a deeper understanding of life and what is important. These are things that can be very challenging for many of us. We are up against a lot in terms of negativity in society. Many of us were brought up to think and function from a place  of lack, to always allow ourselves to go the negative thoughts. Despite all the obstacles life presented him with he continued to trust that life would always provide him with what he needed. And guess what? It did! While I didn’t understand how deep his message was in the way that he lived his life at the time of his death, life’s circumstances and experiences have allowed me to reflect on these things and see a completely different perspective on what an incredible example he set in how he lived his life. I admire his optimism, in fact I find it incredibly refreshing especially considering the times he grew up in. My Grandfather understood that happiness is not something found outside of ourselves but rather something found within. He understood the importance of a life rooted in gratitude and how our thoughts and perceptions can affect our happiness. So today, I end this blog entry in deep gratitude to my Avo Tavares and to all of the people who inspired me and continue to inspire me to grow and learn. May we continue to share our journeys with one another and continue to inspire each other to reach our full potential.

#herestoyou #happygirlsguidetolife

1/15/14

Love is all you need....


 As I’ve continued on my beautiful journey through life questions often arose. I’ve spent much of my life questioning everything. Worrying about the future or staying stuck in my past.

11/11/13

A Look Back....




           
   As I welcome my 26th year of life and look forward to all of the wonderful adventures ahead I can’t help but reminisce about the journey that got me to this place. I get so overcome with emotion when I think about where I was on this very day a year ago. I began my year completely broken, lost, overweight unhealthy, and a short year a later I stand tall, strong, healthy, and happier than ever. I look in the mirror and no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to find that lost scared girl from a year ago. That girl has been replaced with a strong, confident, healthy, and loving Woman with a hunger for life. I started my 25th year with a simple mantra. 25 was MY YEAR. And looking back I can honestly say it really was my best year thus far.  I learned so many valuable lessons and experienced such an incredible amount of spiritual and personal growth that I thought I’d share 25 things that I learned during my 25th year. 

1. Many times situations that we go through that seem the worst end up being the greatest blessings. We are just too blind to see it in that moment.

“Sometimes it’s necessary for everything to fall apart so that your prayers for a new life can be answered”-Doreen Virtue


2. Embrace change. Change is a beautiful thing. 


3. Gratitude is EVERYTHING. What better way to attract more wonderful things into your life then to feel incredibly grateful for all that you already have. It’s literally a sure fire way to put yourself in a positive mindset. Start your morning every day listing all of the things your grateful for in your life. I guarantee it’ll put a smile on your face. 


4. Forgive everyone including yourself for everything.  For-to-give. Forgive is such a beautiful word, “give” is literally embedded in the word. It truly is one of the greatest gifts. Ultimately forgiveness doesn’t mean you condone the behavior, it means your allowing peace in your heart again. You see, what people don’t realize is that true forgiveness has nothing to do with the person that you feel has wronged you it has to do with restoring the peace and love within your heart.

“Forgiveness is to offer no resistance to life—to allow life to live through you”-Eckhart Tolle

“The most beautiful thing man can do is to forgive a wrong”-Rabbi Eleazor of Worms


5. Live from your higher self. Unfortunately most of us live from our ego. And our ego in spiritual terms is fear based. It’s that little voice inside that always says you can’t. Tune that guy out because guess what? YOU CAN!!!!


6. Be impeccable with your word. When we hurt others ultimately we are hurting ourselves.  Whether it’s by gossiping or any other form of ill intent. Have you ever noticed when you talk badly about someone or do something to hurt someone that you feel pretty crumby too?

“Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love”-Don Miguel Ruiz


7. Look at the world through the eyes of compassion. 


8. Live Life FEARLESSLY. Chase your dreams. Say what you feel. Take a chance. Better to have tried and failed then to have never tried at all.


9. Live your TRUTH.  Studies have found that the biggest regret of the dying is not having had the courage to live the life they were meant to live instead of living the life someone else wanted them to live.  I find that incredibly sad. I don’t think that’s a realization anyone wants to come to. So grab life by the horns. Believe in yourself. If there is something you want to do, or accomplish, or a place you want to visit GO OUT THERE AND DO IT!! 


10. We’re connected to everyone and everything.


11. We are all energy. We don’t realize how powerful we really are. I’m a true believer in the law of attraction. Every thought we put out there is energy. We are like magnets we attract what we think. 


12. Positivity is contagious. Just like negativity is a downward spiral. Positivity can be just the same. 


13. We can’t control every situation but we can control our reactions to them. Life can be as easy or as hard as you like. You decide. Ultimately it’s all about perspective.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”-Dr. Wayne Dyer


14. Love yourself first. This is so important. In order for you to help others, love others, and put your best foot forward you MUST first LOVE yourself. You set the tone for how you want to be treated. So be good to yourself. Be gentle. Who you are in this very moment is enough. 


15. Live from a place of love.  Love is the only thing that is real.

“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.”-Marianne Williamson 


16. Be fully present in this moment.

“Welcome to the present moment. Here. Now. The only moment there ever is.”-Eckhart Tolle

“ If you are depressed you are living in the past.  If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”-Lao Tzo


17.  Do away with limiting thoughts. It is important that we choose our thoughts and our words very carefully. Focus on the things you want rather than what you don’t want. There is no dream to big. If you can think it you can achieve it.

“ You get in life what you have the courage to ask for”-Oprah


18. Release and surrender to life. Graciously let go of the things that are clearly not meant for you. Life doesn’t always go as planned and that’s ok. Learn to accept it and trust that the universe has greater plans.


19. No one is perfect. We are all flawed creatures. And that’s ok. It’s what makes us unique and beautiful in our own right. The goal here is not to be perfect but to be true to who you are. 


                20. There are no mistakes in life. Only lessons. 


                21.  Balance. Create balance in all aspects of your life. Especially in relationships. There must always be a balance of give and take.  


                22. “Begin to see yourself as a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul”-Dr. Wayne Dyer. I love this quote as it holds so much merit. I think it is important that we recognize that our physical is not what defines who we are. We are so much more than just flesh and bones. 


                23. Journal. I think journaling is so important. It gives us an outlet to express our feelings and really get to know ourselves. There are so many great journaling exercises that really give us the chance to look inside ourselves and get to know who we really are. Journaling is truly a form of therapy and can help us overcome so many emotional roadblocks. Everyone should keep a journal. 


                24. Learn to step outside of yourself. I think it’s so important to be able to step outside of yourself and see things from other people’s perspective. It allows us to grow and understand others and ourselves on a deeper level. 


                25. Believe in yourself. Just because someone thinks you can’t or doesn’t agree with your way of living your life doesn’t mean it’s wrong. We all have our own path to walk. Stay true to you.  You deserve to be happy. It is your divine right. So go out there and enjoy life!



 “Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
― Apple Inc.

9/12/13

A Place of Love..





This summer has been a mash up of highs and lows for me. I experienced a lot of personal and spiritual growth. And while I am still learning and growing every day the experiences I lived through these past two months will stay with me forever. At the beginning of my journey this year when my life was falling apart I remember writing in my journal about what it was that I wanted to do this summer. Travel has always been a great passion of mine. I made a vision board of all the different places I’d love to visit and what I wanted my life to embody this year.  I never thought I’d be able to pull off all these trips in one summer. Especially trips that where so monumental to me. But it happened 2 months of traveling to amazing places I had only dreamed of visiting. During my traveling I was forced to really step out of my comfort zone. Something I have always been weary of doing. Fear and ego tend to overtake my decisions to put myself out there and step out of the box. I’m guessing this is something all of us struggle with from time to time. It ended up being the best decision I ever made. In today’s blog I want to share some of the things that I learned this summer and some of my goals in personal growth for this upcoming year. I have an extremely romantic view on life. When I went through my break up one of the things I truly learned was to embrace every emotion. Whether it was joy, happiness, sadness, or anger it didn’t matter. I try and find the beauty in every feeling. The first thing I learned was to set no expectations in life. I’ve always been such a planner in everything that I did. We put so much energy into planning things that when things don’t play out the way you had intended you end up being disappointed. Sometimes it’s better to let life unfold naturally.

“Learn to trust the process of life to always bring you what you need”

This quote really bears a lot of truth. The universe will provide you with the information you need when you need it in order to keep you on the right path. You just need to trust. 

"For magic only happens when one is fully present and available to what is so, and not preoccupied with what is not."- Katherine Woodward Thomas

 This summer I also fell in love in every way you can imagine. Love is really such an intoxicating feeling. Every form of it. Love for yourself, for a partner, for friends, family, and life itself.   In fact in life Love is the only thing that is real.  The love I am talking about is honest, real, genuine, and sincerely from the heart. It is the kind of love you give with no expectations only sincerity. These feelings of love truly inspired me. And with that as inspiration I set a new goal for myself; to truly Live from a place of Love. It felt so good to live my life from such an honest and genuine place. Living from a place of love can be quite challenging at times but the feeling of satisfaction and peace is worth it. A heart where only love resides leaves no room for resentment, fear, or anger. When you look at life through loving eyes your reality changes. You attract loving energy, situations, and people into your life. Living from a place of love does not mean that you will never be hurt. It does not mean that your life will be perfect. It means that you are choosing to change your perspective on how you view the world. You are choosing to allow peace into your heart which will mirror into your life. Every one of us emits powerful energy into the world. When we choose to live from a loving place there is an energy shift that takes place. These small shifts in energy help bring the world closer to becoming a more peaceful and loving place.
 In conclusion, this summer really taught me to go out and grab life by the horns so to speak. If you want to do something, try something, go somewhere don’t let fear hold you back. Just go for it. It may be the best decision you ever made. When we leave this earth the only thing we take with us are the experiences and connections we made. Make them worth it. Put yourself out there and try new things. Vulnerability is a beautiful thing. It’s better to have tried and failed then to never have tried at all.



“We only need faith the size of a mustard seed to move mountains in our lives”-Doreen Virtue
                                                                             


7/24/13

Release and Surrender




                             
                               Release and Surrender 



“Little did I know out of my greatest disparity would come my greatest gift”—The Secret 


Sorry for the long delay in posts friends. The past few months have been a bit overwhelming (in the best way possible!). I’ve had lots of exciting things coming to fruition in my life.  This time apart from writing has given me the opportunity to sit and reflect on many things.  It’s amazing how much can change in one short year. This time last year I was at my lowest point in life. My life was shattering before my very eyes. Today I sit here feeling the happiest and strongest I’ve ever been. Reflecting on all the ups and downs of this past year evokes a feeling of deep gratitude.  I can’t help but be proud of the woman I am slowly becoming. And to think it all started with this little phrase…”Thoughts become Things”.  YOU are in control of your happiness friends and I am living proof of that. 


“Live Fully. The most important things in LIFE cannot be seen but must be FELT with the heart. Be kind & generous. SIMPLIFY. Have Patience and Compassion. Be GRATEFUL for the gifts you’ve been given. Challenge yourself. Inspire Someone. Take the road less traveled. IT’S NEVER TOO LATE!” 


One of my greatest struggles throughout my journey this past year has been to release my fears and just trust life. I am someone who always liked to be in control. So much so that I tried to control every situation in my life even my emotions. All that resulted in was stress and anxiety. After all feelings and emotions are what makes life worth living. Right? I would constantly try to suppress feelings or make sense of them.  I tried to rationalize every emotion especially those that made me feel particularly vulnerable. Until I finally realized that trying to rationalize or make sense of emotions was useless. It didn’t solve anything. If anything it created more stress and anxiety. It was silly that I was punishing myself for something so innocently human as feeling emotions. I finally decided to just accept my feelings and emotions and simply allow them to be. If I felt sad, I allowed myself to feel sad. If I felt passionate I allowed those feelings to be. If I felt love, I allowed that feeling to live within my heart peaceful and unbothered.  I took this one step further by not only allowing those feelings to be but to feel gratitude for those feelings. I felt grateful that I was capable of feeling every emotion. 


“We must release expectations, surrender our fears, and learn that only by letting go can we let the light in”


It is important to find peace in not knowing. I started to release situations which I had no control over to the universe and simply “riding the wave” of life. Trusting life to provide me with what I need.  I made a conscious choice to be fully present, mind body and spirit, in every moment of my life. I know this concept sounds scary. And it can be at times. But life is all about risks and truthfully this hasn’t failed me yet. On the contrary, releasing and surrendering my worries to the universe has allowed me to be more open to all of the wonderful experiences life has to offer. The universe is very obedient, set your intentions for your life, don’t worry about the how… that’s for the universe to take care of…
 


“For magic only happens when one is fully present and available to what is so and not preoccupied with what is not.”

I have two exercises for everyone to try this week.  The first is to allow your emotions to simply be. Acknowledge them and allow them to live in your heart unbothered. 
The next is a meditation. I want you to quiet your minds and think about a situation that has been stressing you. I want you to imagine that, that situation is a little ball of light that you are holding in your hands. Focus on it for a moment and when your ready release that ball of light into the air and imagine it shattering into a million little pieces and the little light particles flowing into the universe.




"The bottom line for everyone is "I'm not good enough." It's only a thought, and a thought can be changed"-Louise L. Hay