Don’t worry. Be happy.

I recently went on a therapeutic journey to rid myself of anxiety and stress. I had experienced these mental disorders in some form or another for years, but it wasn’t until I had a child that it became so severe and debilitating. My mind would race every single day, focusing on problems I had created in my own head. They weren’t major issues, nor was anyone else concerned about them. However I was so fixated on these unhealthy obsessions that I barely had any headspace or energy to focus on anything else in life.

I am now nearly 14 months postpartum, and about a month ago, nearly came to a breaking point. Postpartum anxiety is so challenging, lonely, and isolating. But with encouragement from my husband, family, and close friends, I was determined to get past it.

I came into this journey with three intentions set:

1. To rid myself of anxiety and worry and instead be free and happy
2. To be more affectionate and appreciative towards those I love
3. To connect to a higher purpose and become more spiritual

Through a lot of hard work and a trip away from my family to focus on myself, I’ve finally begun to set myself free from the negative feelings I was experiencing. With those in mind, here’s what I will take away and apply to my life from here on out:

DON’T WORRY. BE HAPPY.
Life is all about choices. We make our own choices to be happy, to be sad, to be anxious, to be worried – to feel any feeling. All of these emotions originate from our head and our heart, and we are in control to dial them up or down, turn them on or off, look at them or look away from them.

I recently have been reflecting on a podcast I listened to a couple years ago. It taught me that reality is simply based on the concepts we experienced in life. Reality is whatever you make it to be. Reality actually isn’t real. Instead of anxiety and worry, my reality can be happiness. It can be filled with happiness because I am in control. I will enjoy my life to the best of my ability and be happy with every choice I make. And I am in control to achieve that – I just have to do it, to believe it.

SEE THE POSITIVE IN EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE.
For me to be happy, I need to focus on the silver lining and always identify the positive. It does exist in every situation. I will interpret every experience, every person, every place, every thing as positive – no matter what. If something appears to be negative, find the positivity. It does exist. And if I really can’t find it, then I don’t need that in my life.

Similarly, nothing in life is truly annoying. Annoyance is just the filter to which people choose to see things. If I don’t focus on that filter, I can rid myself of the feeling of being annoyed.

TAKE CARE OF MYSELF FIRST.
I can never let myself get back to where I went this year: not putting myself first and instead putting my needs and desires last. I need and want to do the things that make me happy first so I’m best equipped to make those around me happy too. I need to eat when I’m hungry and sleep when I’m tired so I have energy to go about my day. If I take care of myself, I’m better equipped to take care of anyone close to me.

BE APPRECIATIVE.
I was so amazed at how much I missed my family during my trip away. I started this journey wanting to learn how to show them more appreciation, and left with more gratitude than I have ever felt to have them in my life. I know that will come more naturally for me moving forward and am excited about it. I will continue to remind myself of the things I am appreciative of every day and journal about them as often as possible. There’s so much in life to be grateful for, and focusing on these things will help me feel more fulfilled. Gratitude isn’t just a checklist, it’s what keeps me going.

SURROUND MYSELF WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE.
Life is too short to be around downers. I feel the most energized and the happiest when I am around people who truly understand me, appreciate me, and want to be with me. Surround myself with happy people and I am bound to continue to be happy myself.

BE PRESENT.
No more multitasking. No more racing thoughts. When my mind starts to wander too much, take some deep breaths, slow down my heartbeat, and come back to what I am doing. Be present in each and every moment and enjoy whatever it is I am doing right then. There’s no need to plan what’s going to happen next – it will come, and I will soon have the time and headspace to think about it. In the meantime, finish the task at hand… and be happy about it.

Life is amazing, but short. Enjoy every second of it.

Follow the trail of breadcrumbs the universe leaves you to fulfill your life’s purpose.

Recently, I learned that when we allow our intuition to be guided by universal consciousness, we can manifest our life’s purpose. To say it another way, if we follow the breadcrumbs the universe leaves for us, we can discover our passion, the deeper meaning to our life, as well as what we are supposed to achieve. 

Years ago, I would have thought this to be a ridiculous idea, chalking up directional breadcrumbs in life up to nothing more than mere coincidence. Life was becoming bland. I, like many of us, was being overrun by my materialistic tendencies. There was a lack of meaning in my daily existence that was creating a hole inside me I was struggling to fill. The mystery and higher purpose of life eluded me. I knew something had to change. 

As an experiment, I began to attend to the small signs that appeared around me. I realized these signs were all part of a coordinated “trail of breadcrumbs” supplied by the universe. When I began to see them for what they were, I quickly realized these breadcrumbs were everywhere. All I had to do was pay attention.   

The first breadcrumb I followed was a few years ago. It was a call to experience plant medicine in Peru. I’m not sure why I followed that first call, but as soon as I read about this consciousness expanding plant medicine, I began to see breadcrumbs everywhere.  They were guiding me to the plant medicine in Peru. On the plane flight to Peru, I wrote in a journal, “This is it. Either I find something more here, or there isn’t anything more to find.” It was that determined statement that drove me to search for my purpose.

Those first series of experiences in Peru cracked me wide open. I became more in tune with what my mission on this earth was supposed to be.  Over that first week, I learned what I needed to do, and possibly even more importantly, I learned what I needed to stop doing in order to live a more conscious and fulfilled life.  

As consciousness stifling bad habits (like numbing my senses with materialism and overindulging in the drugs commonly abused in the West) began to slowly shed themselves, I became more open. I noticed and followed the breadcrumbs around me. I began to see them with more and more frequency and clarity.  

While I still miss a lot of the breadcrumbs that are out there, I am committed to working harder to be more and more open. As a result, the trail of breadcrumbs becomes more and more clear. The universal consciousness has opened itself up to me, and with each passing day, I am closer to living my life’s purpose. Paying attention to the breadcrumbs around you, provided by the universe, is key. It worked for me, and it can work for all of us. 

The Obstacle is The Way (For The Most Part)

Obstacles and roadblocks in life are usually not enjoyable, but they help you grow and mature. Whether you’re going through physical strain of a 10 minute workout, spiritual instability of a 4 hour psychedelic journey, or emotional discomfort over 6 months of litigation, the result is more often than not a better, stronger, and more resilient person.

 

It’s commonly known that exercising the body will help you become a physically stronger person. However it’s less common to think about the mind as a muscle — something that needs obstacles to grow. And it’s even less common to think about the spirit in that way, too.

 

One of my mantras in life is to constantly grow so that I can remain healthy and at peace. Life tends to be easier and more enjoyable when I am resilient, and my most rewarding experiences usually come from hard work set forth to overcome obstacles.

 

For those reasons, I constantly train and challenge my mind, body, and spirit through conscious decisions to choose discomfort.

 

When you choose discomfort over and over again, you get more comfortable with being not comfortable – physically, mentally, and emotionally. You build thicker skin, a tougher personality, and gain a better perspective on the world.

 

A few examples on how I do this:

  • I train my body and mind with exercises that involve both physical and cognitive function. Those usually include strength, balance and accuracy.
  • I also train my body and mind with cold showers, saunas and cold plunges.
  • I train my spirit by being committed to my marriage, my business, and raising my child, and through shamanic journeys that involve plant medicine.

 

Please keep in my mind that I don’t recommend putting yourself in danger, but to consciously choose discomfort with clear intentions that help you grow.

 

Note: I have borrowed The Obstacle is The Way as a mantra from Ryan Holiday, author of The Obstacle is The Way. In this book, Ryan Holiday shows how some of the most successful people in history — from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs — turned new obstacles into opportunities to get better, stronger, and tougher.