Study Shows that Not every article that starts with “Study Shows” involves a real Study: The Importance of Mindful Research

To Hold myself accountable, I’d like to mention that I am a freelance Blogger, with no degree in journalism and I have had no editor other than myself look this over. This article serves as an opinion piece, and hopefully a source of comfort from what I like to call “Click Bait Syndrome”. The feeling of self doubt you receive after reading a freelance Blogger’s opinion piece about something you’re not doing right that was represented as an actual research article.

Remember the Wild West? New ideas and rumors of striking gold drew in travelers seeking out their own prosperity. Families from the East Packed up everything to move out into this unknown, unsettled land in search of gold. Not only did several people fall ill and die along the journey, the ones that did arrive had to establish a new society based completely on trial an error.

I’d like to observe that our current age of information and internet entrepreneurship is very much developing in the same way. For the first time ever, even if a major publication doesn’t want anything to do with your writing, you can still put it out there in an even more public forum. And if you’re lucky, you can get enough people reading it that advertisements pay for you to write these freelance pieces from an infinity pool in Bali. I personally have not been blessed to win this cosmic lottery, although there’s still time.

With this in mind, freelance bloggers know about the important topics of our time and hope to report on this so you the reader continues to be engaged. The more Viewers, the more chances us bloggers have at getting paid to write. Complicated topics such as mental health, plant based and other specialty diets, gender equality, holistic medicine, ending racism, politics are common all across the blogging world, and the majority of bloggers aren’t experts in this fields. Most bloggers will do their best to research before hand so they don’t spread any misinformation, But more often than not the sources they’re getting their information from is other freelance bloggers writing opinion pieces, just like this one.

To become a mental health professional and give sound advice on stress relief it takes at the very least a bachelors degree, if you want to be a clinical psychologist it takes your PH.d. Yet somewhere down the line Taking a great Vacation that changes your perception in a positive way became all the credibility you need to write a blog post and title it “Study Shows people that Travel are Happier”. To assume you know enough about your own mental health that you know beyond a reasonable doubt that a feel good experience fixed you, and then to preach it as gospel is a dangerous thing.

Readers are now bombarded with medical research and advice that isn’t actually backed by sanctioned studies, and it forces you to look at your normal, perfectly acceptable life with fear that because you’re not blogging in an infinity pool in Bali that you’re not practicing self care, or that you’re not living your best life.

I still advocate for reading and supporting blogs. We become more connected and compassionate as humans when we take the time to read about other people’s experiences and how they’ve learned and grown. But keep in mind that one person’s experience is not gospel or fact. Read as yourself, take what you need from a good blog post but remember that even case studies have variances. Do your own research on how to live your best life!newspaper

 

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Checklist Syndrome: Friendly Reminders When you Feel like you aren’t Measuring Up

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We’ve never in the entire history of humanity been more connected than we are today. Social Media has given us the ability to connect with people across the globe and see their way of life. Anything we want to know about the world at large is just a google search away. While this is incredibly beneficial for us to learn and grow, as creatures of vanity we can’t help but use these tools to watch our friends, family, our exes or high school rivals. Only to see their seemingly perfect lives and feel crappy about our own.

In most of our minds by a certain age we would be married, working in a career we love, stable with our finances, traveling the world, having kids, living in a lovely house etc. It can be painful when life doesn’t match the blueprint you set for yourself, but chances are you have something you’ve got that others want. Whenever you find yourself coming down with a nasty case of “Checklist Syndrome”, keep the following bullet points in mind.

  1. We only Post about the Areas in our lives that are going well: Someone that has found success in finances might be struggling in their relationships, but they’ll usually never post about their loneliness. They’ll post the new car they’ve bought, the view from their hotel overlooking a luxurious destination, and often times they’ll post and post and post. But when you’re posting, you’re not striking up a conversation with the cute bartender, or hitting the dance floor. We tend to want to put our best self forward on social media, but rarely do people see the whole picture.
  2. Even the stuff we have checked off requires maintenance: I have the most wonderful fairy tale marriage, full of insta-worthy date nights and Sunday breakfasts followed by cuddling on the couch. But even so we have fights that wake up the neighbors from a cold dead sleep. Checklist syndrome fills our heads with the idea that once an item is checked off we can relax and let the credits role. Your perfect job requires you to show up on time and do the work even when you’re exhausted, a happy marriage means that both of you sacrifice a little of what you want for each other, a big beautiful home will eventually need a new roof, and if you stop paying your mortgage you’ll lose it. I like how Alan Watts refers to life as a symphony. If you rush to the end of it, you miss all the music.
  3. Your checklist might actually be someone else’s: If someone you know seems happy because they have certain things checked off their list, that doesn’t mean you’ll be happy if you check those things off. You might feel bad because you’re at a certain age and still single or not done with college, but you have no way of knowing for sure that if those boxes were checked that you’d be happy. Chances are if you’re really struggling to meet a standard you’ve set for yourself, you don’t really want to meet it in your heart of hearts. Go within and search your soul for your real check list, but don’t give yourself deadlines.

More often than not, unanswered prayers are answered prayers. Be flexible with your definition of joy,  and be open to life’s surprises. You’ll always find something wonderful.

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Having trouble finding your Purpose? 3 questions to ask yourself

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I’ve spent a lot of my 20s struggling with my career and finding a way to make a living without selling my soul. What I enjoyed didn’t pay me and What paid me I didn’t enjoy. I changed my major 4 times in college and still didn’t graduate. Where was this thing that was supposed to feed my soul and bring me happiness?

The lesson I’ve been forced to learn as I embark into the next decade of my life is that your purpose is not about getting what you want out of life, it’s about what you can do to make life better as a whole for everyone. I’d been looking at everything wrong, my purpose wasn’t about spending more time having fun and loving myself, purpose is about shaping yourself to be of service to others. In order to fine tune this process I had to go within and challenge myself, these are the questions that I had to ask.

Question 1: What is something I can do that has a positive impact on the people around me? 

Perhaps people always line up to see what delicious recipes you’ve come up with, or everyone is always asking you to babysit because their kids love you. It may even be as simple as being a good listener or having an infectious smile. These ordinary favors that come as second nature to us offer great insight into what paths we should embark on.

Question 2: Is there a challenge I’ve over come that I can help others overcome too?

I’ve had quite a few major traumatic events in my 20s. From Cancer, to an abusive boyfriend to gaining 40 pounds, fighting my own loneliness, to learning to eat low carb and gluten free after I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Chances are whatever hell you’ve overcome has a huge following of people still trying to get through the same inferno. It’s our duty as human beings in a position to offer guidance to do so. Again this isn’t looking at it from a point of view of what do I like to do with my time, this is a perspective of being of service.

Question 3: When It’s my time to go, what do I want to be remembered for?

In her TED talk, NY Times best selling author Billur Suu talks about writing your obituary to discover your purpose, Which you can watch here ,  . Chances if you reflect on what you’re leaving behind, your first thought won’t be about getting a nicer house or having more success in your career, you’ll think about what people are thanking you for, what brought you peace and what brings you joy and the joy you were able to share with others. When everything physical you know turns to dust, what part of you will live on?

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The lone wolf, a silent hero

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You feel the most comfortable in quiet moments, the people that are closest to you still don’t know everything about you, you don’t crave the spot light or even the eyes and ears of everyone in the room, you’re alone but not lonely.

You’re a hard nut to crack for pretty much everyone that’s going to come into your life. Especially since naturally human beings are social creatures that usually thrive in groups. Why are you different? Perhaps a better question to ask is how did you get so lucky?

By being someone that thrives in solitude you have a powerful ability to develop ideas without being influenced by others. We’re here to have our own unique positive influence on earth and while others can inspire us they can’t decide for us the best possible way to unleash it, though they often will do their best to. The lone wolf’s greatest strength is keeping their energy pure and sticking to their soul’s mission, regardless of the soul mission of others along their path.

Even if you don’t feel like you identify as a lone wolf, spending time in your own silence can be a great way to restore focus on what truly matters. In an age where we’re constantly surrounded by advertisements and social media influencers Take a a note from the lone wolf and check in with your true self. The next time that friend from high school posts something that makes you feel like you’re not enough you’ll be able to call yourself on it and figure out what makes you feel like more than enough.

Become your own best friend by developing a mindfulness practice and taking technology breaks. The inner stillness is where our divinity lives, away from the pack.

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Nervous Energy: Letting the Butterflies in your Stomach Fly Free

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The flutter of butterflies in your stomach, the feeling of little bugs crawling on the inside of your brain, the non stop voices questioning your ability, the shaking, the pain, the sadness, the uncertainty, do any of these emotions or sensations sound familiar? We often associate them with anxiety and start to internalize it by freezing or externalize it through irritability or rage. We’re only human and we’re bound to have some negative expression of emotion here and there, but this uncomfortable energy truly has a higher purpose in our human experience.

What if the next time you got these nerves you turned them into something magical? That just happened to be how this blog post started for me. The past couple of years for me have been full of non stop transitioning and growing and while I’m much better at flowing with it than I used to be, every once and a while I get overwhelmed with this all too familiar unsettled feeling.

The common theme with all fast moving energy is that it needs a place to go. You can sometimes slow it down with meditation but sometimes that’s just a waste. The most effective Intuitive visionaries use this to tap into this and turn it into an extrasensory gift to help heal or retrieve messages. The most talented artists use this energy to create master pieces.

Chances are if there’s some sort of action that needs to be taken, nerves are the electricity to get you plugged in and moving in the direction of your highest good.

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Kundalini awakening: The Painful Truth

kundalini eye

That crazy Kundalini energy. A primal inner heat that rises up to bring awareness and energy to our whole being that starts at our base chakra. Literally speaking, Kundalini energy is the fire under your ass that you need to go get what you want out of life.

My original intention when I began a meditation practice was to be more peaceful, healthier, happier and maybe someone would take pretty artistic pictures of me doing yoga on mountains. And mind, you for a while that’s exactly what happened. Little did I know that as I dug a little deeper into the ancient practice that everything would become extremely uncomfortable.

I had been living my life a certain way for a while. Mainly as a college drop out bartending and waiting tables. I was making full time money working part time hours, living alone in an apartment close to where my parents lived. I was comfortable and safe, mildly unfulfilled but not enough to make any changes. After a couple of months reconnecting with myself through meditation feeling mildly unfulfilled was like the equivalent of torture. Not being 100% authentic to my truth had turned me into an insubordinate employee at work. I used to believe that the best way to stay afloat was not to make waves, but with this powerful shift within me I became a storm destroying everything in my own life to make room for something else. I’m still on the path to figure out what this something else is, but I knew that life as it was had to be over.

I’m still floundering a long my path and the destruction I unleashed is still taking a toll. But in the past year I’ve moved to a new city, married my true love, been given many detours in the form of health issues and rejections to opportunities I thought I wanted but I’m the most powerful I’ve ever been.

I’ve never been LESS content than when I first awakened my kundalini, and there’s still no end in sight to my wandering. Yet something’s different. Since awakening my kundalini I’ve felt like an actual participant in my own life. I am able to more quickly process lessons and blessing that I gather a long the road and use them to improve myself and help others. I have made friends with all aspects of my being, the dark and the light. That’s what kundalini energy does to you.

The spiritual awakening journey is not about finding the pleasant escape we call nirvana, it’s about being awake and present on your journey, with all your triumphs and short comings, and moving in the direction that your inner fire leads you.

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Winter Loneliness: The Healing Power of Solitude

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Depending on where you find yourself living these days, January can be a cold lonely month. When the snow is piling up to high to leave the house and you can’t explore the world around you, we’re forced to live with ourselves. For many this can lead to extreme depression and in some cases suicide.

What if we could use this darkness as a powerful tool though? Or even better, make friends with it? We only have a few choices in the matter really. We can either sit in the corner cowering in fear as our demons taunt us, or we can start the introspective conversation and heal ourselves. Here’s a couple of ways to confront and befriend our shadows.

  1. One of my favorite techniques is to personify the negative emotion. Ask questions like “where did you come from?” or “what are you trying to teach me?” If you can quiet your thoughts even for a little bit, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can get an answer. Having compassion for this darkness can help us love ourselves on a deeper level and develop a more loving relationship with our bad days.
  2. I may be biased as a writer, but Journaling is always a fierce weapon when it comes to understanding and changing our thought patterns. As these negative thoughts come in, write them down as they are, without judgement. Once you feel like you’re at a stopping point and read them, decide whether they come from something you can fix or something from your passed that hurt you. More often than not the second option is the case, in which we should honor and reflect the validity of this pain, but understand that this is a different version of ourselves that we’ve grown from.
  3. Another great writing technique if we’re at the point where we’re ready to move on, that I learned at the very beginning of my spiritual journey from a fantastic blog called, High Existence  , is writing down your negative or damaging belief and burning or burying it. You can create symbolism in your life representing the end of a phase that doesn’t serve you so you can welcome one that does.

It can be scary being and feeling alone whether you’re facing a struggle or not, but you have the choice within you to transform this energy into whatever you need, always.

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Oracle card of the week 12/17/17

You are a creative being with a story to tell. Now more than ever, the world needs to hear what you have to say. Your message may not always come in sweetly, but tough love will get you further than silence. Whatever you need to express, express it through written word.

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Oracle card of the week 12/12/17

As to be expected while mercury is in retrograde, you may find that lately technology hasn’t been your friend. Your devices may be glitchy or completely falling apart. As with anything in life there is a positive purpose and a lesson to learn. Take this time to find your inner silence, and go back to a simpler way of being until everything comes back on. When we can’t find a WiFi connection, it’s often the divine trying to connect us to something greater.

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The labor of love, how to never lose the spark

We all have an idea of love. The fantasy of seeing them from across the crowded room, locking eyes being pulled to them like a magnet and floating softly towards each other by some kind of gentle fire. We imagine candle lit dinners, laughing while holding hands on the beach, dancing our first dance as husband and wife, and all sorts of beautiful moments with violins, soft guitars and birds chirping in the background. Eventually we face the real music though.

Laundry and dishes are piling up, we get asked to work on Christmas, that dreamy beach getaway costs too much money and we don’t have enough vacation time to spring for it. If you have children there are diapers to change, alarm clocks being slept through when the school bus is honking, and not a single thank you in the mix.

It can be easy to lose the romantic magic in the midst of all this reality, but like anything in life a bit of consistent effort goes a long way. Here’s a few easy tips to create magic in your everyday life.

1. Take care of yourself and your health: it’s easy to put your needs a side when everyone needs something from you, but having the strength to set boundaries will help everyone involved more than you stretching yourself thin. Managing your physical and emotional health will only make your efforts more effective, and your attractiveness will be unparalleled for tip 2.

2. Make sex night a crucial part of date night: Even if you can only manage one night a week, sex will keep you connected, and will boost your self esteem as individuals.

3. Remember important dates: Your first date, your birthdays, anniversaries all hold powerful energy for you as a couple. If you continue some kind of celebration ritual year after year you reinforce that power of your relationship.

4. Communicate effectively: This might be the most important tip in this article. You will disagree, and you should be honest about your needs not being met, but the wording, timing and tone of voice you use can make an improvement or an argument. Any time you need to make a suggestion bring up something positive to open the conversation and soften the blow. For example, instead of scenario A…”I told you to get 2% milk not whole milk! You never listen to me!” Try scenario B…”thank you so much for getting groceries, I’m not sure if I specified but next time could you grab 2% Instead of whole milk?” Avoiding blame and assumptions and still showing appreciation for your SO. Try to avoid these conversations immediately after they walk in the door as well.

The labor of love is just that, labor. But it can be a lot of fun with a little consistent effort.

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