Tag Archives: self discovery

Montana reminded me the importance of self – love

This past week I went on a yoga retreat in Montana, right outside Glacier National Park. I’m not really certain what my expectations were going into the trip, but now that the experience has came and passed, I’m sure it exceeded any possible expectations. 

Montana is quite possibly one of the most tranquil, gorgeous states I’ve ever visited. The mountains roll for miles and the color schemes surpass every possible palate imaginable.

I didn’t know anyone else going on this trip when I signed up. I was slightly nervous about that, but I make friends easily – connecting with people is something that comes very naturally to me. The people – it turned out – were all so incredible. We bonded through laughter, sweat, tears, chill bumps, and our love of yoga. 

On the trip, we packed a lot into a quick week. We biked, hiked, cold plunged, enjoyed a homemade sauna, ate delicious, nutritious food, while soaking up the refreshing Montana air. The whole experience truly feels like a fairy tale dream. 

I got to really unplug, soak up nature, and get into my body and outta my head – which is a reality I consistently strive for. Certain experiences have the power to ground me in ways I didn’t realize I needed. 

I journaled a lot – I bought a new journal on the first day of my trip and almost filled it completely up. Journaling is a meditative and grounding experience that I keep coming back to. Filling page after page with my thoughts and ideas has always soothed me. 

Some of my main take aways from my trip are:

The world is abundant. Life is about meeting new faces and seeing new places. I want to always step out of my comfort zone to experience new things. I am never, ever stuck. No matter if it feels like that some days. I have the power to explore and roam and soak up the beauty this earth has to offer. 

Self love is the most precious gift I have to offer. It allows my light to shine bright and positively impact those around me. Even when I don’t like everything about myself and my thoughts veer towards deprecating, I have the desire to fully and unconditionally love and accept myself exactly how I am. That thought process – I believe – is rare and something I hope to always come back to. 

I don’t have to always “go with the flow”. I am the author of my story; I am the creator of my reality. At any given moment, I have the power to pivot and start a new chapter. At any given moment, I have the power to shift the direction of my life.

Being outside is vital for my health. I need space, air, and room to explore and grow. Since living in a metropolitan city, this has taken a backseat. I’ve always known it was necessary for me to be outdoors, but this week really confirmed just how important it is to soak up fresh air and be submerged in nature. 

I feel very appreciative of all the growth I’ve endured in the past year since moving alone during a pandemic. It’s been a bumpy road, but I’m content with this path I’m on. I truly love who I am becoming and I know that each chapter is important and worthy of being present for. 

Manifestations are real! Manifesting is the first step to achieving my goals and accomplishing my dreams. I will, I can, I am. Journaling my manifestations are going to become part of my weekly routine and I’m so excited to see how things shift in my life. 

I am strong. I am capable. I am determined.

Having role models is important. The owner of the retreat I went to easily and quickly became one of my role models. She bought this big, beautiful home in Montana and turned it into a yoga studio. She spends a couple months of the year out there and opens it up for others to come and enjoy and practice yoga at. Can you say GOALS? 

This life goes by extremely fast. It’s too damn short to not enjoy it. Too short to not seek out the things that excite me and bring me joy. This could all be ripped away in an instant. Don’t take anything fore- granted.  

Onward, friend, always onward. 

Be Impeccable with your Word

The power of our words is astounding. When we speak something aloud, it becomes our reality. I had a basketball coach who would chastise my teammates and me whenever we’d talk negatively. If we’d say, “I can’t make a shot,” he would agree and say, “yeah, now you definitely won’t make one because that’s what you believe.” And it was true. Once you articulate something, you manifest it.

This is true for both negative affirmations and positive affirmations.

I recently started reading “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. The first agreement is “Be impeccable with your word”. Our words shape our lives. Therefore, I believe positive self-talk is such a beautiful way to show self-love.

Recently, my life coach gave me an exercise: look at your reflection for three minutes and write down every single thought you have.

I procrastinated doing this for a couple days until one morning I caught a glimpse of my reflection and decided it was a good enough time as any to do the exercise.

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So I stared at myself for three whole minutes. At first, I was apprehensive. Nothing came to my mind for the first minute and a half. Then, a Glennon Doyle quote popped into my head:

“Make sure when you look into your eyes, you’re looking into the eyes of someone you trust.”

After that, my thoughts mainly concerned my physical features: wild eyebrow hairs, unruly, unwashed hair, and blemishes where my mask rubs against my skin. Then the anxiety came. “I’m doing this wrong! I’m supposed to be having profound thoughts!” But I wasn’t. There was no blueprint or guidelines, just me and my reflection.

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I sent my list of random, scattered thoughts to my life coach afterward, and she turned these thoughts into affirmations for me.

Read silently. Then read aloud. Then read aloud while looking in the mirror.

I love trusting myself.

I love my skin. I love my eyebrows.

I love how my body knows just how to take care of itself.

I inhale the breath of life. I exhale ease. (Do this)

I love how my instincts guide me.

I love the person I am.

Home

Twice a day the tide in Bar Harbor, Maine parts to reveal a quaint path that leads to a sandbar. The locals call this mysterious strip of land Bar Island. The tide is reliable, like rain in Seattle, and doesn’t stay parted for too long. The locals will be sure to mention this casually by whipping out their phones and showing images of tourist’s cars submerged in the cold, salty seawater.

The term local is used loosely since the island shuts down from November to May. If you’re there working for the season, as I did four summers ago, you might as well consider yourself a local. Tourists would routinely flood the island. They were mostly tolerable, except for days when cruise ships would dock, and hundreds of people would exit the boat and fill the shops and restaurants with their demands and impatience.

I remember this island fondly and all the precious memories I made while living on it. It was a transformational summer. I grew more in those three months after my first year of college than I imagined was possible. Now four years later, I reflect on those young, innocent days and realize I was only beginning this journey of creating myself.

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Since moving alone during a pandemic, I’ve struggled to feel at home. Visiting my college town feels like home and going to my hometown feels like home, but being here in Nashville alone post – graduation certainly does not feel like home.

I’ve been here a little over five months and I’m starting to finally feel settled. I have a couple of favorite restaurants, weekly routines with new friends, good relationships with my coworkers, and the house I’m living in is filled with my books and plants. But the city itself does not feel like home. It’s too big, with too many tourists and “instaworthy” photo spots. I miss being minutes away from gorgeous hiking spots in the mountains.

In these last five months, I’ve felt like a tourist myself. I don’t know my way around the city, I can hardly seem to remember the names of the places new friends take me – unless I write them down. It doesn’t feel permanent.

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One night four years ago, while I was still living in Maine, I decided to go to the sandbar to see if the tide was parted. The wind was lazily blowing, a cool contrast against my tanned skin. The sandbar was out of my way, but I was leaving the island in just a few weeks. Time is a concept I’ve never been able to wrap my mind around.

To my disappointment, the path of shells and rocks was covered by the vast darkness of the sea. I was content that the journey would not be a complete waste of time so I climbed atop the container wall and stared out to the small stretch of land. When my vision adjusted to the darkness I saw two sets of glowing eyes across the water. I locked gazes with a mother deer and her baby.

They had probably walked across the sandbar while the tide was down, lost track of time, or were never aware of it. Now they were forced to spend the night on the small patch of land and wait for the tide to break before they could prance back home. At the time, I was sad for this deer and her young. They were trapped, unable to get home because their only path back was temporarily blocked by Mother Nature. But now looking back, I realize they were home all along. They were together, with a source of water, and enough leaves and twigs to keep their bellies full for the night.

Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

Amongst all the internal and external chaos, I have realized, just like those innocent, clueless deer, I have been home all along, right here, within myself. I have spent years ignoring what my body tries to tell me. I have pushed nervousness away until it has put me in my kitchen floor, choking on anxiety and tears. I have ignored uncomfortable emotions and avoided difficult conversations while pretending everything was fine. I have felt like a tourist in my own skin.

But now, I’ve realized this body is my home; I am my home, and usually, once you realize something like this, you cannot go back.

It won’t be perfect – nothing ever is. Nor will it be permanent – because nothing ever is – but it’s mine. The tattoos, the piercings, the scars, the acne, the stretch marks, the wrinkles and folds, the shape, the texture. All of it is me. Beneath this flesh and these bones, I have found a place to call home. A place of safety, love, and gratitude. No matter what city, town, or state I’m in, I know that even if the external world doesn’t bring me peace, my inner world will always be a place of acceptance and self-love.

It has taken me twenty-two beautiful years of metaphorically staring across the water, helplessly looking for the sandbar, to realize that home has been right here all along.