Monday, March 20, 2017

Random Acts of Kindness

Cardigan: Secondhand, Steal | Splurge
Ring: Vintage (see story below), Inspired
Location: Seven Magic Mountains, Las Vegas, NV

I just got back from a mini-roadtrip with my boyfriend through the West, and I'm so in love with the desert now. Sometimes, I think all we need is a quick getaway to clear our heads and make some sense of things we so often unconsciously carry on our shoulders. I feel lighter, just in time for Spring. And in my standard fashion, it was a fulfilling, yet extremely frugal adventure, as we loaded the car with pre-made meals and slept on layers of blankets in the back. Ahh, to be a broke grad student... :)

Henry and I stopped at all kinds of beautiful, random, unique places, like the Seven Magic Mountains art installation above. But I have to say, of all the magical and divine moments on my trip, the one surrounding my new turquoise ring had to be the most special: 

We pulled up to a tiny antique shop in the sparse town of Morristown, Arizona called Trading Co - 123. A petite woman named Catherine greeted us at the door and as I browsed the antique Native American rings, she spoke to me about how she had acquired the business, and how, after the death of her husband (who was more of the expert), she was now really diving in deep with learning more about the predominately Native American pieces in her shop. Most of the rings didn't fit, nor could I really afford them, so I wandered around and spotted some antique Navajo baskets, which I've been looking to find for quite some time. After a quick haggling sesh, I walked away feeling like I had scored a 3-for-1 special (which I guess I technically did). I expressed my gratitude for her generosity, and we chatted for a little while longer about my schooling and the future of acupuncture and then said our goodbyes. 

But just as we were about to climb into the car, she came out of the shop to stop us and said she had some "Apache tears" for us.

"Hold our your hands, but don't look yet," she said as she filled our palms with two small objects. Then she proceeded to explain how the Apache Indians believed black obsidian was a stone of protection and that it warns the wearer of evil. She wished us a safe journey and then said, "Ok, you can open your hands now." 

In my right palm was a tiny black obsidian and a 1898 Indian head penny. I assumed Henry had the same. We were extremely touched, and gave her one last bear hug before leaving.

Once in the car, Henry turned on the ignition and then stopped and turned towards me. 

"Hold out your hand," he asked, and as I did, he slipped a turquoise and sterling silver ring on my index finger -- the only ring I had tried on in the shop that had actually fit.

"WHAT?? How did you know that one was the only one that fit? ... When did you even buy it? You were with me the whole time!" I was genuinely surprised and confused and yet, utterly elated. 

While Catherine had given me an Indian head penny with my gemstone (which I then immediately gifted to Henry!), she had filled his hand with the ring, knowing he'd know what to do with it. 

Not only was it an exceptionally thoughtful and generous act provided by a woman we only came to know for an entire 10 minutes, but she afforded us the opportunity to share a magical, sweet bonding moment that we'll remember forever.

Acts of kindness, guys. That's the theme of this all. A little selflessness really does go a long way, and it has a ripple effect. I'll never forget Catherine and her sweet spirit, and I hope to have that same effect on many lives around me. 

Don't forget to ask yourself on a daily basis: What simple thing can I do today make someone's day brighter? 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Getting Unstuck: Pt. 1

I believe that many of the choices we make that lead to feelings of unfulfillment or unhappiness are choices based in fear. Looking back, the choices I have made that made me feel stuck--whether in a dysfunctional relationship, a dead-end job or just living in a really shitty place that didn't excite me--were choices I made out of fear. Fear that I didn't have enough money to step out and do what I actually wanted. Fear of moving because it seemed hard and the unknown can be really scary. Fear of leaving an abusive relationship because, even though I was being crushed mentally and emotionally, at least I wasn't alone; and what if no one else would ever like me? But on a deeper level, I discovered, the fear was rooted in a lack of self-worth. I didn't feel like I was enough. I didn't believe I was worthy of doing a job that made my heart leap; living in a place that made the energy course through my body; be with a person who saw me--really saw me--and loved me for every bit of it. In my own personal healing journey this last year, I've done a fair amount of research and observation and, without a doubt, not feeling enough is at the root of most of the problems I and the people around me face.

I'm still working through the old emotions and the crippling anxiety that still surface from time-to-time, but I'm doing the work at least. Trying my best, and going easy on myself in the process. Our realities don't change until we change, after all. I'm compiling a list of the life changes that have made the greatest impact for me to time. :)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Sweater Season! ...Finally...

Rock a Loud Sweater

In the process of rediscovering my creativity and feeling the flow of inspiration once again, I've been looking back on past projects as inspiration for future ones. I used to play on Polyvore all the time and I found this set I made about two years ago. Now, I know black chokers and the word "squad" are all the rage right now, but I've always been an eclectic, and I think these outfits are freakin' awesome. Still. And while these particular pieces are probably no longer available (though you never know), they're still fun to look at. Make them your own!

In this state of project planning, I can feel the inspiration stirring, low in my belly. My sacral chakra is igniting, the creativity is rising up once again -- and it's really exciting! But more on all that in a future'll be a really interesting one, I promise!

Monday, September 26, 2016

15 Affirmations to Add to Your Morning Ritual


Sit. Breathe. Experience the moment. Rest in it. 

These are the steps I've taken up each morning (or most mornings, we'll say...), along with reading a daily devotion, speaking positive affirmations over myself, and doing some reiki self-healing or chakra balancing.

See, throughout this self-healing journey I've been on in the last year, one of the things that has become most apparent to me (among a thousand revelations) is how quickly I allow myself to abandon my own needs when change happens or when life gets busy. I know this comes from a deep-rooted issue of not feeling worthy enough. And I think self-worth (or lack thereof) is at the core of many peoples' issues. This process of getting my "game" back, so to speak, has been a slow and steady trek and by no means a sprint. But I see glimmers of creativity returning; spurts of energy bringing my spirit slowly back to life; moments when my heart begins to feel joy and not just emptiness or sorrow; more feelings of self-love and less of self-loathing.

Baby Steps. It's all been baby steps. Right now, I'm working to take better care of myself, because it has to begin within me. I'm learning to be a more self-disciplined and intentional person, and -- most importantly (and what I find I'm struggling with the most) -- not being so hard on myself when I don't perform perfectly or flat-out fail. We judge our poor selves so harshly so often, and that never serves us.

I wanted to share the 15 affirmations I've adopted. I speak them aloud in faith each morning, and I notice that starting my day speaking success and positivity over my life can really carve out the direction that my day will go. Some of these have been borrowed; others I've written myself. Please feel free to borrow the ones that work for you, to add to your own morning ritual.

15 Affirmations
1. Today I am brimming with energy and overflowing with joy.

2. My body is healthy; my mind is brilliant; my soul is tranquil.

3. I am above negative thoughts and ill actions.

4. I am guided in my every step by God and my Higher Self, who lead me towards what I must know and do.

5. My relationships are becoming stronger, deeper and much more stable and fulfilling every day.

6. I possess the qualities and talents needed to be successful, and I will utilize them today.

7. Creative energy surges through me and sparks new and brilliant ideas every day.

8. I am the architect of my life; I build its foundation and choose its contents; today, I choose happiness, love, positivity and compassion.

9. Today I abandon my old habits and patterns which don't serve me, and take up new, more positive ones.

10. I forgive those who have harmed me in the past. I forgive myself. Today, I let go of all hurt feelings.

11. I am blessed with a wonderful family and incredible friends.

12. My efforts are being supported by the Universe; my dreams manifest into reality before my eyes.

13. My obstacles are moving out of my way; my path is carved towards greatness.

14. I am at peace with all that has, is and will happen; everything happens for a reason and for my ultimate good.

15. I love myself and I am worthy. I radiate confidence, charm, beauty, grace and forgiveness.

--> For those of you who already use affirmations as a tool for success, how has it served you? 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Begin Again.

I first began this blog nearly three years ago, after moving back to the States from South Korea. I lived there for several years, teaching English and traveling as much as I could around Southeast Asia. It was such a wonderful adventure, and I’ve gotta say—it was somewhat of a difficult transition coming back to this country. But we can go more into that later…While abroad, one thing I dearly missed about this country was the accessibility we have to garage sales and thrift stores, home and garden super-centers and craft havens, like Hobby Lobby… There were so many times I would dream up an incredible idea, but my resources were limited, so I’d stick it in my back pocket and vow to create it one day. So, of course, when I got back here, the first thing I wanted to do was make everything. 

And, having just returned from traveling a bunch, meeting people from all over the world, having a disposable income thanks to a generous Korean government, I was on a high, with self-confidence seeping from my pores. I assumed everyone would be dying to see all the things I was making, and read my oh-so-enthralling words of wisdom and witty stories. It was a fun outlet for a while. And then—I got sucked back into life. American life, I should clarify.

The next year and a half were really rough. I entered what I call my “humbling period” and soon found that getting a job—let alone my dream job—was harder than I thought. I “tried out” a couple of “careers” and it didn’t take long for me to realize that I wanted nothing to do with them and that kind of lifestyle I was rapidly being sucked into—the nine to fiver, slave to a work routine sort of life where you do much more than you’re actually paid for and are inhibited from ever really reaching your own professional potential due to dysfunctional management up top. Perhaps I should’ve moved and simply looked elsewhere. There are things I suppose I could’ve done differently, and yet, everything was as it needed to be to project me to where I am now. Call me a hippy millennial, but my workplace satisfaction is very important to me and was severely lacking, and all the while, I was simultaneously suffering emotionally (and at times physically) due to my personal life. I realized I had allowed myself to become completely surrounded by people of questionable character and fear-consumed naysayers. Within myself, I began to uncover the deep-rooted patterns of negativity and fear-driven anxiety that had controlled me my entire life and seemed to be pinning me into the suffocating confines that I found myself in at that time. 

That was when I had my breakdown; my existential crisis. It was the toughest and yet most beautiful time in my life. My 27th year—my golden year—was the ugliest, yet most remarkable year of my life. The first moment I really opened myself up to God was the night I came face-to-face with the girl my boyfriend was cheating on me with. One of them, anyway. I had never experienced this kind of blatant disrespect from a “loved one” before. And worse still, I had been made to feel it was my fault. That, because I wasn’t enough somehow, he was forced to look elsewhere and secretly date other people. And that's only a sliver of the dysfunction I felt bound within.

It’s in those moments of shock, grief, fear—when we come face-to-face with the idea that we really don’t know what to do anymore—that God shows up. And its not that He was ever not there. We just finally release control and that tightly-held desire do things our way to get what we want, instead of what’s truly best for us. The moment I relinquished my grasp and truly opened by heart to God, because I not longer knew what I wanted, He was right there. Where I had struggled before with finding the right people to form friendships with in the town where I was living, He immediately brought a few strong, encouraging women into my life who lovingly picked me up and gently began dusting off the dirt from my fall. They began breathing life into my deflated self-esteem. They spoke words of success and positivity into me when I’d express my doubts, and I am forever grateful for them. That was the beginning that I needed.

I thought I had always trusted God and yet, I had always been doing life on “Meredith’s terms.” And sometimes it was really pretty incredible. Yet, often I found an underlying emptiness. A void that I’d attempted to fill with boyfriends and adventures and striving and stuff. But it never really went away. Until I let go.

Which leads me to where I am now. I’m on this blog, typing my terribly profound musings, once again, because of Rachael Ray. Yes, Rachael Ray.

One of her show coordinators reached out to me several months ago asking for permission to use one of my crafts from this blog in her show. I responded with a resounding YES. That simple email—the recognition that my imagination had created something worthy of acknowledgment on a national medium—is what drew me back to this sphere. See, my creativity suffered much after my “crisis.” As did my confidence, my self-worth, etc etc… But, through this journey of discovery and rediscovery, I finally feel ready to begin nurturing my right brain again. It’s fascinating how so many beautiful pieces of our personalities can quite literally shut down and go into hiding when we feel threatened. My imagination has begun tapping me on the shoulder, gently making itself known again. It feels ready to step away from the shadows and into the glorious sunshine once again. So here we are. 

As a side note, I’m also now living in Austin where I’m studying Oriental Medicine. Things have never felt more right, and I can look back now and realize that God’s actually been at work, setting me up for this for some time now—and all the while I was stressed because “I didn’t know what to do with my life…” Ha! Such beauty and understanding when we finally surrender… Anyway, it began with a casual interest in Eastern cultures and Japanese fashion which led to many Asian friends in college which inspired me to study Japanese as my foreign language which led to studying abroad there which led to a desire in my heart to live in Asia which led to me moving to South Korea when an opportunity presented itself after college which led to my further understanding the culture upon long-term immersion and the long-term stay and understanding led to my exposure and openness to Oriental medicine and a more balanced lifestyle, in general, which allowed me to recognize the dreadful imbalances plaguing the people in our Western culture upon my return, which burdened me to the extent that I knew I needed to do something, which finally spurred me to study this medicine and the lifestyle practices that have made such a huge impact in my own life, so I can help others, too (longest sentence ever). I’m continuing to heal as I study something I’ve always been interested in, but was scared to pursue, as I know many people here still consider Eastern medicine “woo-woo voo-doo.”  It was a huge step of faith to move in this direction and go back to school and further into debt. And yet, it’s overwhelmingly fulfilling. Finally. And God is continuing to bring beautiful people into my life who love me and are helping me to bloom in areas I’ve desperately needed help with, like learning to establish boundaries with others, having stability in my own emotions and thought-life, cultivating healthy relationships with grounded women, recognizing that I have a choice in my actions and reactions, and having compassion—not just for others, but for myself. I’ve lived beneath a mask for so long, and it’s been exhausting, disheartening, suffocating…

But colors are becoming brighter, sounds are sweeter and life is getting better, now that I’m walking with Him, hand-in-hand. With this freedom comes a more genuine life and greater possibilities. My daily mantra has become: Let go. Now, challenges will continue to arise, changes will occur—this is life. But I feel more prepared to face them. And I’m open to the change and the growth that it brings. That’s the difference. 

Beyond nurturing my creativity through this blog, I want to use it as a study tool. I plan to share my discoveries in the realm of wellness and natural medicine, as I’m learning so many valuable nuggets of wisdom every day that deserve to be recorded! This is for me. If I am but the sole viewer of this blog, that is just fine. However, if you are not me and you find yourself here, reading my writings and finding peace, encouragement or inspiration, then all the more better! I’m so happy to have you here, and I’m happy to read any feedback or stories that you might have to share.

Be well x

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thrift Challenge #4: Bargain Boho


Castaways - Rockport, Texas



Besides coming out THREE dollars under budget in this current Thrift Challenge, it's been an exciting and eventful week. 

First, I accepted a job as an event coordinator! I then went apartment hunting and put down a deposit on a new apartment. My roommates (otherwise known as my parents) are as happy about that as I am.
Move-in date: TOMORROW! Woo!

I'm keeping this short and sweet for now. However, I have much more to say about the entire job hunting experience. Another day, another post. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Poetess

Yesterday I attended a creative writing class, led by the brilliant poetess Rebecah Hall. I wanted to share some of the key points she went over with us, because it was just so good. 

What is Creative Writing?

"Creative writing is the waltz between the mind and the soul. If they are able to dance together without stepping on each others' toes, then you have something.

What is Poetry?

"Poetry is a marriage of words to create something beautiful and powerful. Beauty and power can go hand-in-hand, and do, in poetry.

Elements of Great Writing:

1. Author uses universal truths (what is unchanging).
2. Universal themes. (e.g. human v. God, human v. nature, human v. human, good v. evil)
3. Use active voice! Stay away from passive. "Because we speak in passive voice, we tend to write in passive voice."
4. Imagery. Show me, don’t tell me. Can the reader SEE the images you're trying to convey?
5.  Originality of presentation. It’s taking an idea, twisting it on its ear, and allowing the reader to understand what you’re really saying without clich├ęs, tired phrases, and worn-out metaphors. "Is there such a thing as creative thought? Yes. Original thought comes in your creative perspective of your worldview."
6. Continuity

Amazing Insights and Tips from Rebecah:

Fall in love with your writing. The heart cannot lie, but the mind can.
- The secret to great writing is rewriting. Restructure – rewrite – rewrite again!
Great writing doesn’t happen by chance. It can only happen through the continual evolution of the writer. Writers must continue writing.
Never write about what you don’t know. Ever.
Write for 10 minutes every morning and get the “garbage” out of your head. Nine times out of 10, it's this junk that causes writer's block.
Look at the world with fresh eyes and capture the wonder of it. Do that by becoming a child.

Following a short lecture, we did an exercise where Becah handed each of us a bag containing 100 words -- words taken from several great poems, jumbled up, and divided among us. Our task was to create a poem of 6-8 lines using only these words. I must preface this by stating that I have never written poetry before; never really have had a strong urge to read it, either, quite honestly. I gave it two tries and this is what I came up with:

Poem 1: 

Like a flower,
ever surrounded in darkness.
The night,
a vast, vacant thing.
Thither a being,
isolated in itself.
A moth,
 with dead, noiseless wings.

 Poem 2:

A promontory of vacant design,
Where the spider and moth stood,
 Vast, noiseless night.

Out of the darkness I launched,
A paper kite,
Casting forth wings to measureless height.

My first poem took on a rather dark tone. I tried to balance it out by creating a more hopeful message in the second -- one of transcendence. It was such an interesting exercise, though, because I often find that I get "tongue-tied," so to speak, when trying to communicate my thoughts and feelings...especially orally, but oftentimes in writing, too (one of my reasons for starting this blog). I can't always find the words I'm looking for to express myself. With this project, there was freedom in the limitations. I just found it so much easier to create when a bit of the pressure was off. I often limit myself to a specific set of language. Yet, what is truly incredible about language is how boundless it is. There are infinite ways to convey your ideas; you just have to find them. Like a puzzle. Which is rather how this assignment felt. 

As Becah reminded us, "With poetry, not everyone will like it. Some will get it, some will be lost, some will 'shoot daggers.' Their loss."