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Create the life you want

Jamieson Van Loan

My 37th birthday is a couple weeks away and it always becomes an introspective time of the year for me. I like to analyze my past year and review what I went through and how far I’ve come. The successes, the failures, the love, the laughter, the joy, the pain, the anger, the worry and all of this converges in my (hopeful) growth. This year has been by far my biggest leap. I’m fairly certain I’ve grown more this year than the past decade altogether. I entered my 36th year with a lot of pain and sadness and struggle. I now enter my 37th year with happiness, love and joy. I learned to combat the lows in life with persistent gratitude, a very humbling self awareness and truly accepting that which I cannot control.

(Sidebar: to anyone going through a difficult time: I promise you, it will be ok. I never believed people when they told me that last year, but I am living proof it is. There is always a light to be found in the dark. Life may chew you up and spit you out but it’s up to you to change your path: not your direction necessarily, just the path to get there.)

To build on last week’s rant about leaving your autopilot life behind and living a life with intention, I want to chat about reaction versus creation. I realized that I spent a lot of my life in reaction, rather than with creation or intention. I am constantly rolling with the punches. I am going with the flow. I always say that a small business owner's overall job is problem solving, putting out fires, and I typically just spend my day going through the motions and dealing with what is thrown at me. 

I am a firm believer in following the universe and the signs around me. I tend to look to the universe and these signs as a guiding force. These signs and situations tend to be how I forge my path. This "let the universe guide me" has been a wonderful way to move through life, but this upcoming year, I want to take a different approach. Even with the universe in my corner, I want to be more definitive about what I want and focus on getting to those goals. I want to stop reacting to what the world is giving me. From now on, I want to create the world I want. I want to pick and choose how and who I spent my energy with. I want to clarify my objectives and only take steps towards them. I want to stop being reactionary in life and really hone in on creating the life that I want. I am going to be proactive. No more reactive living.

We all have goals that we are working towards. But how often are you getting sidetracked? Or they are completely tossed aside sometimes? I often find myself extremely motivated one week and very lackadaisical the next. Or my goals go off into tangential smaller goals and I've lost the entire focus by the end of it. Not anymore. 

So how am I going to stay motivated and focused to create the life that I want versus the life handed to me? Baby steps. That's right. Every day I am going to do little, seemingly insignificant steps towards the larger picture. And by the time 38 rolls around, I am going to have checked off every single thing on that goals list. This rant is my contract. You are my witnesses.  

But at the same time, I have to focus on being happy in the present. It’s an interesting balance. Wanting a different life but being happy with how you’re currently living. And trust me, I am beyond happy right now, but I think it's ok to feel both. It’s ok to be content with your current status but also be working towards a different one. This is how we advance.

What I decided to do this upcoming trip around the sun is to do my best to stay happily present every day while taking my baby steps towards my bigger goals. Maybe just as important, is to not fixate on the final results but enjoy the process. Analyzing the future (honestly the silliest thing we can do) only brings on anxiety and stress. The most reliable way for me to predict my future is just to create it and this is my vow to do so.

Care to join me?


Be love. Share love.
Jamiesonxo

Are you on autopilot?

Jamieson Van Loan

I wake up just before 4:45. I meditate. I shower. I get dressed. I walk my dog. I go to work. I prep and create meals for the next five plus hours. I go to yoga. I go back to work. Cook more. I go home. I email. I work some more. I make dinner. I hang with loved ones. I go to bed. I do it again. 

This is a typical day in my life. This is my autopilot. We all have our own autopilot, our routines. It is our cruise control in life. We move through the day with our brains unconsciously navigating the accustomed habits. 

There are benefits to autopilot. It is our comfort zone. It creates a nice buffer area, where we can sleepily maneuver through the world. It allows us to tackle situations with less stress. It is the space where your brain can function automatically without overthought. And because we are creatures of habit, autopilot is a safe place for us. 

But on the flip side living on autopilot mode is killing all of our spirits. Not to be dramatic about it, but every day is one step closer to our last day and here we are cruising through life without intention. Do you ever get to the end of your day and say, "where did this day go?" or "what did I even do today?" This is your life on autopilot. And why do we want to have such regimented days? Our goal should be to challenge the routine every day. We need to put the brakes on our cruise control minds. Adults make an average of 35,000 decisions a day. Are you being mindful with those decisions or are you on autopilot?

Our  every day goal should be to live a life of purpose. Purpose comes with intention. We need to set a course for a life of purpose, not just wait for it to happen. So every decision you make should come from a place of active thought. There should be a pause and reflect moment before deciding. This will help steer you away from the automatic brain. 

As I've said many times before, growth occurs in the discomfort. We need to try to exist outside of our comfort zone, our autopiloted lives, to really evolve. Autopilot equals stagnation. Experience beyond our scope creates the verve for beautiful living. 

So the question is: what do you want your life to look like?

Imagine exactly what you want your life to look like one week from now, one month from now, one year from now and then proceed forward saying no to whatever deters you from that path. Try to turn off your cruise control and really only say yes to the decisions that fill your life with that purpose.

Start today. Shut off autopilot. Live with intent. 


Be love. Share love.
Jamiesonxo

Get the FOG outta here!

Jamieson Van Loan

I have a tough time saying no to things. I’m getting better with age but I still feel guilty when I say no because I feel like I am letting the other person down. Even if it stretches me too thin, even if it stresses me out, even if it doesn’t bring me happiness- I will say yes in order to make the other person feel heard and valued. This applies mostly to work and slightly in my personal life. I am much better at honoring myself in my personal life. I have yet to learn that lesson within my career.  

Obviously agreeing to a situation you'd rather not be a part of is hypocritical to what I typically preach: being true to oneself. Saying no to people should be a life skill taught to us from a very young age. But it isn’t, so here we are, foregoing our greatest asset- time- to do things in order to please others. Or doing what is expected of us or the "right" thing. 

So I started to think about my people pleasing issues and where this stems from and fear is the only answer I could come up with. There is a fear of not being liked that is universal in all of us. How can we be so secure with ourselves but also feel the need to seek the approval of others?

There is also the issue of obligation. That we need to prove our worth or reciprocate a value in order for others to accept us. There is the tiniest possibility that we may lose friends (or clients) if we don’t say yes and because of the undue pressure that we place on our ourselves, we feel obligated to fulfill this imaginary contract.

I was speaking to someone this week and they put it best by telling me “you have to get yourself out of the FOG. Move away from Fear, Obligation, and Guilt.” Woah! Game changer. Understanding that when you feel a negative pull in a situation, ask whether it’s one or a combination of these things. Realizing that something falls within the FOG helps lessen the insecurities of the situation and allows us to hopefully approach with more authenticity.

Because that is what we want right: for everyone to be authentic with us. I would hate to think a friend is helping me or saying yes to me because they feel guilty saying no. Yet, we all do it to each other constantly. Just the idea that I have not created a space for my friend to be completely authentic is tough for me to swallow. For any of my friends reading this, please always say and do what pleases your heart. 

So what will it take for you to stop saying yes out of fear, obligation or guilt? I know, for me, it will take a lot of self awareness and then self acceptance of the guilt that follows. I constantly feel guilty saying no and it tends to plague my brain. I will have to come to terms with the idea that this emotion is fleeting and will exist regardless, so I must accept it and move forward. I have to look at the guilt as a natural, almost intrinsic reaction and sit well with it. This is my work to be done. 

So how can you move out of the FOG? What can you do in your daily life to be more authentic to your inner voice?

I have an amazing friendship with someone where we talked about this very idea: the pressures and strain we put on our relationships because of the FOG. We mutually agreed to never be upset about silly things with our friendship. We agreed to never feel pressure to say yes or no in any situation between us. Essentially, to never stress about where we stand in each other lives' because we genuinely love each other, always.  And because we took a moment to be vulnerable and open with our thoughts, we have one of the strongest relationships. I never question why a text or call wasn't returned. I never feel guilty about not checking in. I never have to apologize for who I am. The relationship flows effortlessly and perfectly. This should all be our FOG-less goals.

I hope this all creates a little space in your lives to be true to your inner voice. To have the capacity to do what pleases you versus pleasing others. To know that it is ok to not be exactly what people want or need. I am the queen of trying to please others and I am working on giving up my crown. 


Authentically yours, 
Jamiesonxo

The stories we tell ourselves...

Jamieson Van Loan

Last week when I was in Charleston, I was chatting with a friend of mine and mid-sentence she stops me and goes “are you creating a story right now?” And I tried to justify my side of the conversation by explaining that I know the situation and person so well that I knew what was happening. And she goes, “Nope, sorry. That’s a full blown story you’ve created.” She completely shut me down. But I thought about it and had to agree. I was basing my future prediction on my past and what I think I know but the reality is we never no anything but the facts.

We innately create stories, majority fictional, based on past experiences in order to come to terms with our present and future situations, as a part of our inherent internal defense mechanism. If you seriously pay attention to your thoughts, you will realize that you are constantly doing this. These stories tend to feed into our anxieties and insecurities.

When someone doesn’t text you back, what are you thinking? When someone is late to meet you, where do your thoughts go? When your partner stays late at work multiple nights in a row, what do you imagine? When someone is silent in your presence? When someone doesn’t respond to your email? When someone doesn’t answer your phone call? When someone stops talking when you walk in a room? Or when you say something then assume someone took it the wrong way? When someone gives you a strange look? When your boss calls you into his/her office? We automatically jump to conclusions without taking into consideration the actual facts.

Or better yet, what about the narrative we create for ourselves? What limitations are we holding over our heads? I always tell myself I’m not athletic therefore running, CrossFit or any high intensity workout is just not my jam. But in reality, I am fit- I mean I can hold a freakin’ plank for more than six minutes (I just timed myself a couple weeks ago and to say I’m proud is an understatement, yee haw!). So why do I tell myself that I am not something that I actually am? When you say “I’m this sort of person” or “I can’t be XYZ” you are creating a personal narrative that is not necessarily true. This type of construct is limiting ourselves. You are putting yourself into a box and then living according to that. Realizing that our personal faux narratives exist can free us from becoming victims to limitations.

Our interpretations of current situations is typically based on our past. When we don’t truly heal from past traumas, their influence will always be an undercurrent in our present situation and our future choices. This makes us victims of our past. Do not be a victim to your past! Do your best to figure out your issues, work through them, heal from them, shift your perspective and move forward. Just because you feel ok about your past does not mean you’ve healed from it.

Since we are always creating these fabricated stories, how is this serving us?

And that’s the kicker, the stories we tell ourselves rarely serve us. They actually can be quite damaging. Our subconscious minds are trying to protect us by creating a story that will put up a wall between ourselves and the situation in question. They create more anxiety, more insecurity, more frustrations and lead to deeper rabbit holes. The story you are telling yourself serves no one but the ego inside.

Next time you find yourself creating a story, stop and ask yourself: what are the facts? What do I know to be 100% true? If all you know is that your text wasn’t responded to- stop there. That is it. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Accept your reality for what it is. 

This demands a level of self awareness beyond your norm. Even just calling the person who cut you off while driving a jerk is creating a story. A tiny story but still not reality. Do your best to recognize when you jump to conclusions or when your imagination begins to float on down to crazy town. Reel yourself back into the present, breath and focus on the facts. This will only serve you better. 

My advice is to do your best to not fill in the blanks in your head. Do not take what you have experienced and project that on others. Realize that we are complicated beings and the complicated mind is controlled by you. Assumptions serve no one. Most of all, be kind to yourself within your mind. That negative chatter is the worst story teller of all.

Be and live the truth,
Jamiesonxo

I’m sorry.

Jamieson Van Loan

When you hurt someone without malice, through actions unintended, it is quite possibly the worst feeling, especially for an empath. This past week I did just that. As I preach being and sharing love and compassion and empathy, I sorta feel like a fraud. Here I am constantly trying to be the kindest and best version of myself and through my own actions, I hurt someone I care deeply about.

Typically when you hurt someone accidentally, your tribe says but it’s not your fault or you didn’t mean it, that’s on them, etc, etc. But at the day’s end, this person is upset and hurt and rightfully so. That pain needs to be acknowledged. We are all allowed to emotionally react to situations in our own way. Regardless if you would react in that manner or think their reaction is valid or not, it is not up to you. If someone feels justified in their emotions, your job is to acknowledge them and lay the foundation for an open nonjudgmental discussion.

We should always feel all the feelings. Own them. Express them. Swim through them. I think a lot of the time when we do or say things that hurts another person, our auto-response is defensive. I know in my past, I’ve gotten angry at other people’s hurt feelings. Having responses like “grow up” or “don’t put that on me” or “that’s your issue” or anything that dismisses someone’s emotions is not only the immature response, but it creates more unnecessary drama. It has taken me a lot of self awareness to see the other person’s pain, acknowledge where it is coming from, own my part in it and apologize and hopefully gain forgiveness and move forward.

The caveat to all this is that your emotional reaction should not be used as a way to trigger a negative response. When we are hurt, we instinctively want to make our assailant the target of pain. We want to use words to bring them to our level of suffering. We try to trigger them and gaslight them, reacting from the most primitive part of our brain. You hurt me, therefore I hurt you.

This is where emotional maturity should kick in. Either a space needs to be created for the anguish to subside before a discussion can be held or the victim needs to realize where the hurt is originating and be able to relay that in an evolved manner. When you boil down hurt, it almost always comes from a place of fear. It can be fear of reliving your past, fear of connection, fear of loss, fear of rejection, fear of heartbreak and so forth, but typically hurt overlays fear.

When you can step back from a situation and peel away the emotional layers to see what is subconsciously happening, you tend to have a more peaceful and respectful approach to the situation.

This should be all our ultimate goals in relationships: to genuinely seek the place where your friend, family member or partner is coming from, make the time and space to understand, or at the very least, respect their position and then cultivate a mature, hopefully solution-driven, conversation surrounding that.

I understand that in the heat of the moment, this is rarely the case, but it should always be our goal. And like all emotionally mature goals, this takes vulnerability. Being able to put your guard down, dive deep into your self, listen and respect a human’s entire past and current stance- it all requires serious work. Because we don’t show up to any situation without our personal baggage. Own your baggage and respect others.

What I learned this week is that my actions do not live a vacuum and I should be more vigilant about how I behave or speak in this world. I have also learned how to set aside my own opinions in order to better understand where my loved ones are coming from. Most of all I’ve learned to accept humility more.

If my fave one, who I hurt, is reading this, please know (again) how sorry I am. Please find forgiveness and acceptance of what cannot be changed. You are loved.

To everyone else: be mindful of how you carry yourself because you never know if your actions or words are hurting another and if they are, be understanding and modest in your approach and sincere and kind in your apology.

Vulnerably yours,
Jamiesonxo

How do you measure a life?

Jamieson Van Loan

Following up on my rant last week on the Carrie Mae Weems performance, she also spoke about the elusive question: how do you measure a life? What a grand question. One that I have yet to fully digest. Her performance was in respect to the constant violence and murders of people of color and marginalized ethnic groups. The sadness and tragedy surrounding the inequality and power struggle of these groups and heinous acts towards them, begs the question: how do you calculate the value of a life?

Is it in years? In laughter? By the number of times your kids hugged you? By your skin tone? Is it based on your career growth? Your promotions? By how much money you made? By how much money you spent? By the amount of friends you made? By the amount of friends you lost? By your material objects? By the dreams you had? By your goals achieved? By the cars or houses you can afford to buy? By the moments gone by or the moments to come? By the memories you're in? By the experiences you missed out on? By the chances you took? By the times you've woken up on the good side of the bed? By the moments of pure happiness? By the not-so-great days? By the doors that opened and closed? By the countries you traveled? By the sights you've seen? By the amount of times you've loved and lost? By your resilience and strength? By your people in your tribe? By your growth?

How do you measure a life?

There are no right or wrong answers, I realized. The way we value our lives and the lives around us are intrinsic to our upbringing and our own personal core values. For me, my core values fall under, give or take, four categories: my personal relationships, my spirituality, my career and my social responsibilities. And really, the most important to me are the personal relationships or the people who love and support me and vice versa. Therefore I would measure my life by how many times we positively reacted around each, our beautiful (and maybe not so beautiful) memories we have made, our laughter, our tears, our hopes, our joys, the stories and secrets we shared and, above all, the love we all shared. I will measure my life by the amount of love that flowed through and around it. 

What will you measure yours in? If we are the sum of our parts, what will your parts be and how will they hold weight in your life? 

Miss Weems made the valid point that however you choose to measure your life, it IS of value and the same respect you hold for your own life, must be paid to others. 

This is all but a scratch on a very thick surface. How you choose to measure your life, to splash it with colors and beauty and claim it as your own, is entirely up to you. And this measurement is fluid. There are no set guidelines or units to measure by. It is not meant to be done in contrast to other lives. It is a way to take stock of your current situation and lay value to your past and hopeful future. It is a way to stay keenly aware of what is happening in your own life but to also stay present to what is happening in the world very clearly outside all of our doors. 

Please know this: each breath you take, each moment that you get to live and experience another day is a freakin' blessing. Do not take your fortuitous awakening each morning as anything but glorious. Because however or whatever you choose to measure your life by, you are still here. 


Live life without measure and love immeasurably.

Namaste,
Jamieson xo

Putting in the work...

Jamieson Van Loan

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending an art performance by Carrie Mae Weems at Grace Farms. It was brilliant, of course, and I am still digesting her deep message. Thank you so much to my favorite art professor, Danielle, for inviting me! After the show, we were invited to a private event with the artists and Carrie gave an impromptu speech. Besides being an excellent orator, she spoke words that really touched me. She said, and I am paraphrasing, that we all start out with an idea and it is up to us to carry that idea forward. But to truly expand on that idea you need to put in the work: the deep real intense work. And you not only need to put in this very courageous work, but that you never do it alone. The great outcomes do not happen when you are standing alone. 
 
This concept of putting in the work and really dedicating yourself to, let’s call it your dreams, is understood by all. Rarely do dreams just fall into our laps. We have to work and work hard at them. We have to be diligent. We have to be resilient. We cannot accept failures; we push through them. We learn and we work better. 

On a deeper level, she got my wheels spinning about the internal work that needs to be done. I have come to realize that my late 30s is when all the internal work truly began. We all look back on past years and go "wow, look how far I've come" or "I've changed so much" but this past year alone I have grown tenfold over what I grew the past decade. I focused on my internal struggles and did my best to unpack my life baggage. I worked through issues with the help of a therapist and my tribe. I took full ownership of my demons and stopped projecting and blaming. I tuned into my intuition and dived deep into my spirituality. I realized that my external work, my dreams, would not ever come to fruition if I did not really understand the depths of myself. Where do these ambitions come from? Why do I want to pursue them? What is my purpose?

Although I am still answering those questions, I have constructed the foundation for the work to be done. And I could not have come so far without my tribe. Carrie Mae Weems said it multiple times during her speech that we do not stand alone when we are working towards bringing our ideas to light. It is the people that you surround yourself with that can either push you forward or hold you back. If you find yourself in stagnation, first ask yourself what you need to change within but also ask yourself, who are you sharing your energy, your life with. Are those people bringing out your internal shine or are they squashing your glow? Do not be afraid to release people from your life that are not serving you. Our time on this planet is too short to surround yourself with toxicity. And your tribe will always evolve, as you evolve. It is ok to let go of people but still love them from afar. It is also ok to lean hard on your people. The right people in your life will stand by you and accept you wholly. They will be the major part of why and how your life work gets done. 

For those of you struggling either with the internal or external work, know you are not alone. We all live in struggle city. We are all doing our best each day to work towards our goals. We all break down and get frustrated and stressed. But you pick yourself up, dust off the negativity and you get back to the work. Because life is about achieving your ideas and finding your purpose. It is about taking each minute, each hour and each day as they come. It is meant to be difficult or else the finish line wouldn't be so attractive.

Today, I hope that you take a moment to think about your purpose and not just your to-do list. Find that nagging idea that you want to bloom and take one baby step towards it. Accept the work and the hurdles that lie ahead but know that you will get there. Your loved ones will be cheering you on each step of the way but you will carry yourself over that finish line. 


A work in progress, 
Jamiesonxo

Value Alignment

Jamieson Van Loan

I recently read an article that spoke about the values that we hold and whether or not those values are actually indicative of our behavior. This, of course, got me thinking about my own values versus my idealized version of myself. Coming to the conclusion that, in fact, my value system and my actions are not always aligned. 

Like for one- I (obviously) value our planet and realize she’s the only one we have- but what am I doing every day to facilitate a cleaner, healthier planet? Answer: not much! I recycle, I try to use less plastic products, but that isn’t being very proactive about something I feel passionate about. So do I truly value it? Or is it an idealized value? Answer: yep, its an ideal value but not reality.

We like to think of ourselves as awesome, do-gooding, kind humans. We are all treating people fairly and spreading love and kindness like it’s freakin’ nutella but are the principles that we hold in high regard, actually the way we are showing up to the world? 

One great example, which we all do, (I am super guilty of this) is saying we value our time with our loved ones- HUGE but here- BUT when we are with them, we are on our cell phones. So do we value them or our cell phones? What is so much more important on your phone than the human sitting across from you? 

And I hear your side of the argument- but work, but my kids' school, but my doctor, but social media, but I gotta answer this email- whatever it is, I hear you. I am the queen of using my phone in front of others (insert barf emoji). The question is, what does this habit say about your values? Is it saying that what is on your phone is more important than the person across from you? Even though this is not black and white, I am going to have to say that if you're using your phone in front of someone else, whatever is occupying your precious attention is very blatantly more important than the person you've chosen to spend your time with. It made me realize that I do value my phone (read: work) over others and it needs to change. 

For me, this calls into question a lot of my prior values. If I died tomorrow, what would people say about me? And I mean the honest people, not the "oh she was so lovely" people. This value concept grew into what sort of legacy do I want to leave on this world.  I do not mean in a grand way but in the soft and subtle way, how do I want to be remembered? What values do I want people to remember me by?

Here lies Jamieson, she was....and here is the best part, I get to be the person driving home this narrative because my actions speak for who I am. I want to be remembered as the person who always showed up for you. The person who you could call at any point and I would be there for you. The person who hugged you when you needed it but couldn't ask for it. The person who cheered you on when you weren't sure you could succeed. The person who listened when you needed to vent. The person who pushed you outside of your comfort zone so you could grow. The person who brought you soup when you were sick. The person who reached out when you felt lonely. The person you could share your secrets with.  The person who you could dance and be silly with. The person who made you feel on top of the world. The person you could laugh with until you cried. The person who you could be your authentic self with, without judgment. I realized I do not need to be the person who saves the planet, as much as I idealistically value that. I value how much I can give to this world in a positive manner and how happy and secure I can make people around me feel. 

I have to say that I cannot stand mixed messages. If you say one thing but act another way- it drives me nutso! At this point in our lives, and the way the world is headed, be authentic with your voice and actions. It is so easy for people to defend their actions, especially when it doesn't align with what they said a week ago, but to me it is cowardly. Own what you say and follow through. The end. So for me to have such a vigorous stance for others, it is only right to kick my own ass the same way. This entire article has gotten me to reevaluate what I hold near and dear and how I can prove to the world my true values through actions. It has opened my mind up to being a-ok with not truly valuing what is socially expected of me, i.e marriage. Sorry, not interested. Moving on. It has made me hyper aware of my perceived values versus what I actually exhibit to the world. Overall, this article was a game-changer for me. 

Intrinsically, I want to be a kind and loving human. But I am not always that. From this moment on though, I hope I can dissolve the disconnect between what I truly value and my values of grandeur. My goal is to truly align my values within me and expose them outwardly. If one of my fundamental values is to be the best version of myself as possible, how can I substantiate that to the universe?

Ask yourself this, what are my values based on my behavior? What are the values I would prefer to exhibit? And then do your best to make the divide between them dissolve. It is certainly not without challenge, but it is a clear path towards growth.

Jamiesonxo

Be the light...

Jamieson Van Loan

This week, one of my favorite humans paid me the best compliment I’ve heard in a very long time. Speaking about me she said, “the fun we had would not have happened without you. You make people want to sing and dance. You bring that out in people. You make us want to have fun.”
 
I don’t think she knew her words would make me cry, but they did. Joyous tears. The idea that I make people feel joy and fun and give them a space to be themselves. To give them the freedom and luxury to sing and dance without judgement. Holy moly, what a kind beautiful compliment!

My first takeaway is that we should all be so honest and open and giving with our compliments. I am an authentic complimenter; to the point that people may think I’m being fake, but I’m 100% not. I tend to tell people, immediately, if I like something about them, even strangers. I love that quote that says something like “if you see something beautiful in someone, tell them. It may take a second to say, but for them it could last a lifetime.” And it’s so true! We all have memories of kind words spoken about us. It is such an easy and simple way to better someone’s day, so why not do it?!

After evaluating why that compliment made me so emotional, I realized that I never thought those things about myself. Ever. I always felt like I’m the person who has the sturdy shoulders that others can stand upon. I’m the support system to their shine. I’m not the one doing the shining.

But something clicked after she said that. I AM the one who’s shining. I am the freakin’ magic. It’s been me all along. I always thought that the people in my tribe were making me feel great and making me laugh and they add all this value to my life but I didn’t realize that I was doing the same for them. I never anticipated that my presence was pulling out the magic in them. How powerful did that compliment just become?! I am a major part of the reason that my tribe feels comfortable enough to enjoy life and be silly. Woah!
 
Since this acknowledgement, I have now come to recognize that the light I seek and see in others, tends to be the same exact light that they see and seek in me. We all are making each other glow. We are all highlighting the beautiful, yet sometimes hidden, parts of each other. We are pushing each other to the point of illumination based on our combined vibrations. It is seriously effin’ magical!
 
We are all radiant beings.

I can only speak for myself but I have to be honest here, I RARELY feel this way. I rarely feel like I am conquering my to-do list. I rarely feel like I am succeeding. I rarely feel like I’ve got it all together. I rarely feel like I am influencing any beauty in this world. I rarely feel on top of anything at all. I feel like I am mostly surviving, just getting by.
 
That being said though, majority of the time, I feel happy. Like surreal happy. Like questionable happy. Why is that?
 
I think it is because I have realized that my self-confidence, my inner happiness, is never contingent on exterior situations. I am never defining my true being by what is happening outside of me. Internally, I am grateful. I am happy. I am secure. I am aware.

So what I learned this week, after 36 plus years on this planet, is that I am the freakin’ magic. I am the light. I am my own joy.
 
And get this- so are YOU! If you are reading this and absorbing any of this, you are your own beautiful light. If you are seeking beyond your own wisdom and growing, you are creating the light within.

With all the hatred in the world (my heart goes out to NZ), my advice today, and every day, is to be that lighthouse for others. Be that guiding illumination that allows people to be authentic and to vibrate higher. And gratefully, bask in their reciprocating glow.  
 
Namaste,
Jamieson xo
 
PS. Happiest of birthdays to my best friend, Lauryn! She is the beautiful human who shared these words to me. Lauryn, thank you for always being the brightest light in my world! xo
 

How green is your grass?

Jamieson Van Loan

With the inception of the internet, moreover social media, keeping up with the Jones’ has left the comfort of our neighborhoods and has broadened to complete strangers. We are no longer looking longingly at what the people around us have but what the rest of the world has. This desire for more or better is the constant state we are living in. This is the greener grass syndrome.

Now, I can easily say that I am content with what I have. I practice mindfulness and do my best to stay present. But I also have a travel list a mile long and see influencers traveling the globe taking gorgeous photos and living “the life” and I am envious. I want that. I want more. My desire to endlessly scroll through my Instagram, fantasizing that I’m in that hot air balloon over Turkey, supersedes my desire to just be content in the now.

Bottom line: we are no longer happy with the status quo. We are constantly inundated with what everyone else is doing and how AMAZING their lives are that we can’t help ourselves but think that the grass is always greener.

Take vacation last week. Everyone was posting their awesome beach or ski photos. They are all having a grand ol’ time. Life is awesome. And I was at work in the freezing cold wondering how I can change my life so that next year I’ll be sitting on a beach drinking a margarita. What is wrong with that picture?

Now it is not necessarily a bad thing to use the greener grass syndrome for motivation. I think competition, to an extent, is healthy. But this idea of never being satisfied with our current state is definitely not healthy.
 
We are all drawn to shiny new objects. New means excitement. It breathes new life into the mundane of everyday. The problem begins when we align our happiness to that desire for shiny new objects. Have you ever started a mental statement with “I’ll be happy when…” I’ll be happy when I can travel more. I’ll be happy when I can afford XYZ. I’ll be happy when I can get the same jacket as that influencer. It never ends. We are in a constant cycle of desiring more and better. And while we are doing so, we are neglecting the beauty of where we are and what we have right now. We want the shiny new object, we obtain it, we are briefly happy, and when that happiness and shine fades, we seek the next best thing to fill that shiny new object void. We need to get out of this insane cycle.

How satisfied are you in with your life? With your day-to-day? Are you constantly seeking more, someone or something better to fill the voids? Are you forgetting to appreciate what is right in front of you for the next best thing? Do you look at your life and negatively compare it to others?

Let’s do better. Let’s stop going out and buying things we don’t absolutely need. Let’s stop comparing our lives to anyone else’s. Let’s stop seeking more and start appreciating more. Let’s do our best to be happy with where we are right here and now. If you can say that you’re healthy and loved, then you’re already doing way better than most. The grass may in fact be greener elsewhere, but you’ve got pretty damn amazing grass right in front of you. Focus on your own grass because wanting others is doing you no favors.


Jamieson xo

Love is everything.

Jamieson Van Loan

Think about that statement. Love is everything. It is typically the very first human experience we have. It is what we (hopefully) are trying to fill our lives with. It is what drives us to protect, give, share, experience life with others. It could be argued that it is the driving force behind every major milestone in our lives and history, for that matter. Your love of something outside of yourself has brought you to where you are today. 

Love being the surrounding energy in most of our lives, it is sometimes taken for granted. Think of anytime you've lost your patience or gotten upset at someone you love, that is you taking their love for granted. That is you assuming that your mutual love can withstand negative energies. We forget that love is not owed to us. Someone loving us and being "attached" to us, even with familial love, is never guaranteed. It is why loss is so devastating. The attachment formed through love is broken and the loss, whether expected or not, is devastating. Moral of the story: do not take anyone's love for granted. 

I've been really trying to digest my theories and thoughts on love lately (thanks V-day). What prompts it in my life, how I share it, how I wanted it to be shared with me, my expectations with love, self-love, how willingly I accept love (like how hard is it for you to take a compliment, accept a loving gesture), how my narrative affects how love shows up in my life, etc. 

Since love is a fluid, evolving emotion, it requires attention. You've heard the saying that you attract the love you think you deserve. This means love begins and ends within you. How you love your self mirrors how love shows up in your life. If love is presents itself in a hurtful or less than charming way, it is because you believe that is all you are worthy of. The amazing part of that is you have the control to change that. Do not ever accept love in a form that does not make you completely happy. This applies to all relationships in your life. If you're lowering your standards of shared love between you and a partner, you and a friend, you and a family member, then you should reevaluate their position in your life. Life is too short to accept anything short of magical beautiful love. 

Today when you are out running around in the world, watch how love shows up for you. It is not always arriving in the package we expect. It can be as menial as the person who let's you cut in front of them at the grocery store when you only have one item or a person paying you a compliment. It can be grand and apparent. It can be just a smile. When you refocus your attention on the love constantly surrounding your life- not the chaos, not the to-do list, not the stress- but focus solely on the love, you will have a completely different day. I promise you. 

Love is a gift. No one has to love you. No one has to show up for you. So when they do, appreciate the shit out of that. Love is also vulnerable. Do not tread lightly when love is gifted to you. It should be revered and shown the gratitude it deserves. 

I decided to count how many people I had the pleasure of saying "I love you" to in one day. I said it to eight different humans! I felt, and still feel, so fortunate. To be able to be your authentic self, show up and be seen and appreciated for exactly who you are and have that fully reciprocated by someone else is nothing short of magical. How many people are you going to share that with today? 

Love always, 
Jamieson xo

Fantasy vs Reality

Jamieson Van Loan

My therapist asks me a lot if what I’m thinking or saying is actual reality. And a lot of the time my answer is no. I think as humans we are prone to fantasize life. Blame Cinderella, but we tend to sway towards a dramatization of our actual lives versus what is actually happening.

For example, do you ever find yourself telling a story and elaborating it, even slightly, for the desired response. Like your kid didn’t actually wake up at 5:15 but 5:30 or your boss made you stay late every day this week but it was really every day but not Tuesday. We all do it. I own it. We want to feel justified and acknowledged in our feelings and reality so we err on the side of exaggeration to illicit the feedback we want. This is normal.

The issue with this then becomes, does your fantasized world overtake reality? Do you live in the fantasy version of your life? Do you project your fantasies on people? Do you tend to have catastrophic thoughts? I certainly used to. I would imagine outcomes before they happened. I created a story line for people before understanding them. I forecasted my future (always wrong by the way). I created "end of the world" type scenarios (not the apocalyptic kind) constantly. I jumped to conclusions. My imagination was way more attractive than the simple reality. But eventually all those fantasized expectations led to disappointment, anger, negativity, etc. It has taken a great deal of practice to question myself and where my thoughts are coming from to prevent this distorted view of the world. I am constantly asking myself, “is this reality?”

And I’m not talking about fantasy in an extreme sense but how often does a situation occur and you try to analyze it and break it all down including the other person’s standpoint but the reality is you have no clue what anyone else is thinking or feeling and assumptions never benefit anyone. My therapist would tell me to “stick to the facts”.

The idea of the “could bes and should bes” is really poison for our thought process. Fantastical thinking tends to be future based. There are situations where you idealize past events (also not healthy) but typically it is the idea that the future (or people) could-be or should-be a certain way. These imagined expectations only cause you disappointment because rarely are they based in reality. Unless you’re a clairvoyant, you cannot predict the future.

This issue weasels its way into our inner self-thoughts as well. Telling ourselves or convincing ourselves of fake news is just as terrible. Thinking that you “just can’t do something” or “I’m not good enough” or “I’m better than that” or “I’m not worthy” is a defensive mechanism we use based on illusions. Always remember that we become the stories we tell ourselves. Be positive but truthful in your personal narrative.

This is all a reminder to stay mindful, stay present. Question your thoughts and if they are based on reality or based on a story you’re telling yourself. Stick to the facts. Use your imagination for good, like vacation planning but not for building the world around you. Being mindful of where your thoughts are originating will not only be helpful in staying present and avoiding disillusioned disappointment, but it will begin to create a healthier mindset overall. Try it today- question where your thoughts are coming from and how reality based they are. Shift them and see your mindset change for the better. 

Jamieson xo

Controlling your narrative...

Jamieson Van Loan

I have a great friend who is currently dealing with a not so great break up. Not that any break up is unicorns and rainbows, but hopefully at our age, there can be some maturity and kindness surrounding the dissolution of a relationship. In his situation, there is not. Sadly, she has chosen to spread rumors and lies about him in order to destroy his reputation. She has chosen the immature path forward. I realize the pain surrounding a break up and this desire to make a person hurt as much as you do, but there is never a circumstance, in my mind, where you have to choose to go down such a hateful path. 

This has brought up many conversations about controlling our own narrative. How do we stay calm and quiet when someone else is speaking negatively about us to the world? How do we accept a situation that is out of our control, but specifically about us? My mother would say that you should hold your head up high and continue on your path. I am a firm believer that other people's opinions about yourself is NONE of your business. But when it involves your career, your family and more, how do you stay strong enough to keep chugging along happily? 

Our conversations haven't yielded a great solution. They are rollercoasters of rage to empathy to sadness. From a business or political standpoint, when a company hits a crisis and needs to control the narrative, they always say to be ahead of the media and to attempt to control the spin by putting any information out there first. Can you apply this technique to personal relationships?

My initial thought is no. We aren't cogs in a wheel that can be manipulated by PR. But there is a slight truth to this. My advice to him was this: continue to be exactly who you know yourself to be and realize that they people who truly matter in your life have zero doubt in you. They cannot be manipulated by someone else's poor judgment and harsh criticisms. The people who matter in your life, will stand by you and dismiss lame rumors. They will stop those rumors before they have a chance to grow. The people who care about you and want you to succeed, will not listen to false gossip or be swayed by emotional retaliation. If you can stand so firm in who you are, you can find the inner strength to let the haters roll right off your back. And as embarrassing as a situation can be, you can stand in the truth that the people who believe in you will continue to believe in you. They will continue to champion you. Your strength and perseverance during a personal crisis, is how you control your narrative. 

Not allowing haters to control your narrative and bring you down is no easy task. I think for humans it is much easier to believe the negative chatter about ourselves than the positive. The best way forward is to remove yourself from situations that do not bring you joy. Marie Kondo your life, people. If if isn't bringing you joy, get it as far away as possible from you. Cut ties, move forward.

To my buddy dealing with this negative situation or to anyone dealing with someone else bringing them down, always know you make the final decision on how you approach your day. It is only up to you whether you tackle your life with love, light and joy. No one can take away that positive energy from you, unless you allow them to. Stand in your positive truth and the rest of the universe will follow. 

Stay happy and healthy this weekend, friends! 
Jamieson xo
 

Ho'opono what?!

Jamieson Van Loan

Our newest addition to the Maikana team, the lovely Carla, (Hi, Carla! I know you're reading this!) has been such a beautiful source of energy and grace. She stormed into our team and completely stole my heart. She had me at yoga, meditation, reiki and all the spiritual travels of her life. 

One amazing thing she taught me about is ho'oponoono (hoe-oh-poh-no-poh-no). This is the Hawaiian practice of forgiveness, reconciliation (more with yourself but also with others) and releasing needless energy surrounding negative situations in your life. 

I'll give you a quick synopsis, but I highly recommend you googling it and listening to videos or reading articles on the forefather of this practice, Dr. Hew Len. 

We are taught that we are 100% responsible for our own actions. And I completely agree with this. We must be completely accountable for our actions.

I've noticed that people tend to use others as their excuses for their own actions. ie. I did this because you made me feel this way or set me off in such a way that I reacted that way. They may take ownership for their actual actions, but they don't take ownership of where those emotions stem from. I must say, I am guilty of this. 

Ho'oponopono is the practice of full responsibility. Total and utter responsibility for everything in your life. It basically means that no matter happens or where it stems from or how it makes you feel, you are completely 100% responsible for the situation in your life and you must take ownership of the situation, positive or negative. 

It is easy for all of us to take kudos for positive situations in our lives. Oh you won an award or got a promotion- kudos, good job. Easy to accept. But what about the negative situations, how do you handle those? 

Ho'oponopono wants you to take full responsibility for negative situations and realize that you essentially brought yourself into that situation and now you must deal with yourself and how to heal from that. It's not that you asked for it, per se, but that your own subconscious and underlying historical perceptions manifest the situations you're finding yourself in. 

When Carla told me about this practice I was a wee bit skeptical. So what... I just own every single thing in my life? Like if someone cheats on me or hits my car- that is my fault?! And the answer is pretty much, yep. 

Your approach, or better yet mantra, to every situation are these four notions: 

1) I'm sorry
2) Please forgive me
3) Thank you
4) I love you

You are to use these four energies for all situations. If you're angry or upset, repeat these lines (over and over again) and send that energy towards that issue. It is supposed to help you take responsibility of whatever happens and to begin to heal from within. We tend to need others' apologies or their ownership to begin to heal from our disparities with them. Ho'oponopono says nope! It is from within that you can heal. No outsider's words or actions can help you heal, only you can move through the recovery. 

I have to say, that since I've started really conceptualizing the practice of ho'oponopono, it has become to make much more sense in my life. It has stopped me from the blame game and the judgmental (read: defensive) stance we can sometimes take in our negative stories. It is a fresh perspective. I recommend you all try it. It may not be for you, but it is a good way to dial issues back in. 

Give it a whirl! Find a way to say, "I'm sorry I caused negativity in your life. Please forgive me for this. Thank you for being open to my apology and open to me as a human and I love you no matter what". It is not easy but it is worth trying. 

Have a beautiful weekend! 

Jamieson xo

Excuse me?!

Jamieson Van Loan

I listened to an online workshop recently and the speaker said that one day he woke up and decided to stop making excuses for himself, under any circumstance. That he wouldn’t be too tired or lazy or unmotivated or blame the weather or whatever excuse in the book to keep him from accomplishing his goals.

This got me thinking of my common excuses (mostly, I’m too tired) that I tell myself, the excuses I tell others and the excuses that I make for others. If you start to listen to yourself and pay attention to the way your mind reacts to your to-do lists, scheduled plans, mandatory events, goals, dreams, etc- how are you showing up or are you making excuses? How many things are on your “I’ll do that next week” list?

I’m gonna own that I make excuses. A lot. I did not even realize how many I make until I started paying attention. From trivial things like “oh I can’t make a healthy breakfast because I don’t have time” to more important things like “I can’t speak on that panel because (insert fear based excuse)”. It comes down to a few overall excuses- my time, my physical & emotional state and my fears.

Realizing this, has made me reevaluate my priorities. Am I putting energy in places that truly matter? Since last month, I’ve been really paying attention to what I give my energy to, how it’s serving me and how can I avoid my inner excuses and just get it done? This has been a game changer for me. A lot more of my life seems to be falling right into place. This change in my thought process has caused an energy shift in my life.

Another part of this topic is making excuses for others. I am constantly doing this. I like to think I see the best in people and even though this is typically a positive thing, it has its disadvantages. What I have realized is that if someone is showing you exactly who he or she is, believe them. Stop making excuses for other people’s poor behavior. 

Creating excuses, internally or voicing them into the universe, is not serving you. It is your mind, or more likely your ego, attempting to protect you. To keep you in your comfort zone. Don’t allow this to happen anymore. Stop making excuses and start tackling your day with an “I got this” attitude. The absolute worst that can happen is you fail and within each failure, the greatest growth occurs. It’s a win all around.

Head into this weekend, paying attention to your inner voice and your excuses. Pay extra attention to how you justify others and their behavior. Allow them to make their own excuses and stop doing it for them. This mental shift will begin to open more doors for you. It is a way to starting saying yes to the universe more. And we all need to be more "heck yes" this year.

Jamieson xo

Come on ladies!!

Jamieson Van Loan

I heard a story this week about one mom screaming at another mom in a Stop & Shop parking lot because of a situation between their two teenage daughters. One grown (debatable) woman was actually name calling the other, using words like “fat” and “ugly”. This disturbed me to no end.

I do realize these women had underlying unresolved issues but how, in 2019, have we resorted to this emotionally barbaric behavior?

How, after a momentous year of female empowerment and women finding voices they had buried years ago, are situations like this- woman vs woman- still happening? Come on ladies!!
 

I’m by no means standing on a soapbox or allowing a few bad apples to poison the collective but I really need to speak my piece on this. Society has already categorized us as the lesser gender (sure we'll take unequal pay, no problem) and here we are breaking each other down. What is going on? 

Personally, I have had moments the past few months dealing with other women and their approach, or lack thereof, to supporting my female driven business. In case you didn't know, Maikana Foods (andMaikana Herbs) is a completely female owned and run company. Collectively, we are a team of six hardworking, driven, smart, kick-ass-and-take-names females. Anyone else hear Beyonce's "Who runs the world?" song playing in their head right now? 

To me, there seems to be a great divide between the women who truly and actually support other women and the women who just preach it. Do not be a woman who just preaches it. 

Be the woman who champions other women. Be the woman who other women feel secure enough to be vulnerable around. Be the woman who creates space for other women to grow and thrive in. Be each other's biggest supporters. 

I will admit, there have been many moments in my life of jealousy, insecurity and competitiveness with other women, but fortunately, that immaturity died along with my 20s. I came to realize that if we are not paving a path of compassion and generosity for ourselves and one another, then who else is going to? Standing in solidarity with each other should be so deeply ingrained in us as females, that situations like at Stop & Shop should not exist. 

Let's all make a pact to stop being mean girls. Stop bashing each other. Stop being the reason another woman is upset. Stop criticizing each other. Stop measuring ourselves against one another. Just stop this insanity.

We are all in the same boat and we need to stop rowing against each other. Rowing together is what will carry us farther in life. 

So let's work on being happy for one another. For being the joy in another woman's life. For building up another female, rather than tear her down. Let's be kind to our daughters so they can learn to be kind to other women. Let's accept and worship our bodies and not nitpick at each other's "flaws". Let's stop comparing one woman to another and just own that we are all amazing in our own right. Let's all be each other's biggest cheerleaders!! 

If we cannot build a sisterhood at this stage of human evolution, we are screwed. Remember- the next time you want to criticize or gossip about another woman- stop yourself and ask, "what does this say about me?". It speaks volumes. 

I hope we can all learn to truly champion each other. And above all, respect each other. Male or female, respect should be the most common of decencies.

Jamieson xo

So far, so awesome!

Jamieson Van Loan

We are four days into the new year and I’ve been loving all the social media posts about people focusing on their self care and self love. A lot of people seem to be taking true self care- focusing on what heals and feeds the soul, a more mental health to feed their physical health approach. From meditation toand more into their day to day. It seems a far departure from the days of crash diets and other quick fix “new me” ideas.

Don’t get me wrong- trying to be the very best version of yourself is what you should be striving for each and every single day. But the idea of a “new year, new me” sounds like a tough ideal to live up to. Baby steps lead to big steps lead to major change. But it doesn’t just happen overnight.

Although we all have the capacity to change what doesn’t agree with us- it is never a quick fix. We can decide in an instant to change but for that change to stick around it takes time and effort. A real commitment. Do not assume you can do it in 21 days or a month or two months. It will take time, but the beautiful part is that one day down the road- that change you made will be so ingrained in you, that the effort and focus to maintain it will be unnecessary. It will be a solid part of you. But deciding today to change and actually commit is all it takes. One decision, one baby step forward, one day at a time. Leaps and bounds to ensue.

There are a few things that stuck with me this week during everyone’s resolution chatter. One quote I read said if you can improve yourself just by 1% every single day, imagine how amazing 365% improvement will be at the end of the year. If you can do one tiny little thing- meditate for for a few minutes, choose a healthy food option over a junky one, text someone and let them know you care, hug a friend- really anything that is positive, you can change your mindset daily and vastly improve over the year.

Along those lines, practicing gratitude can truly change your perspective each day. I wake up each morning and write down three things I am grateful for. And during difficult or stressful times each day, I try to recall them. Resort back to gratitude over jumping head first into stress and anxiety. Try to find peace and gratitude in the most ordinary of moments. It is not always easy but it works! Also keep in mind that those chaotic moments are impermanent.

I heard in a podcast this week a man asked a crowd during a lecture, “how many of you are suffering from a toothache right now?” And a few people raised their hands. Then he asked “how many of you are not?” The hundred plus others raised their hands. Then he said, “how many of you are grateful to not be suffering from a toothache?” No one raised their hand. Be present, be grateful.

Yet another takeaway from this week was this crazy idea:
what would happen if you stopped complaining?!
Honestly, I’ve tried to go one full day without a complaint this week and I couldn’t do it! And not even big complaints- that was easy- but minor grievances like sitting at a red light talking to myself saying “ugh when is this light going to change?” It is so difficult! But I’m going to keep trying. My goal is to make it a habit. No complaining, who’s with me?

Because isn’t that what it’s all about, boosting your mental health?

Physical health is so important, don’t get me wrong, but your mental health is the foundation we grow from. When we feel down in the dumps, we aren’t jumping up to go work out. It all becomes a struggle. But when your thoughts are positive and your mental state is happy: you want to work out, you want to improve and feel motivated. Keep in mind that a positive mindset is also directly related to the food you put in your body. Junky food creates a negative mind. In the moment when eating a Big Mac you may feel satisfaction, even joy but it dissipates and then the “why did I do that” or “ugh now I have to work out” creeps in. Eating junk food brings out the inner critic. Put down the junk and make better choices this year. 

On that note, if you haven’t looked at our Resolution Reset program coming up January 14-18, please do. I’m so excited for our first reset program and to be participating in it. The menu is capital A, Awesome. 

If you’re on Instagram: you can follow @lilies.and.lambs and enter her giveaway to try to win our RR program also!! But don’t miss out on it! And keep in mind Maikana will have a limited regular menu that week.

Hope this first week of 2019 has been awesome for you! I know it’s been 27 times better than I could have expected so far!!
(Zero expectations = more life wow moments)
Loving it! Have a wonderful weekend!

Jamieson xo

Whatcha got 2019?!

Jamieson Van Loan

We have come to the time of the year where introspection and reflection become more prevalent. Moving into a new year can come with profound motivation but also a sadness with the passing of time, regrets and things lost. My nutritionist and close confidant, Katie Diehl and I have discussed this past year at length and she has deemed it the “year of the devil”. We have both faced great challenges- workwise and personally. I will be the first to admit that the first half of this year was soul breakingly difficult for me. I was depressed and heart broken and barely had the motivation to make it through each day. I was at the lowest I had ever been as an adult. There were moments where I really questioned my existence on this planet. But to know me before the years that hardened me and to know me now, I am a completely different person. It is true that the most difficult phases in your life will spit you out on the other end, changed for the better, if you allow for it.

At first, I was saddened that I wasted months of my precious time being upset about a loss. We have all had these thoughts in our heads...why did we waste our time on XYZ? But now, I look at this passing as such a gift towards my resilience and strength. I grew tenfold this year and ended up being happier than I have ever been. Back to my previously stated cliche, "if you can switch your mind from why is this happening to me to what can I learn from it" you will always be in a better space. 

Please know and remind yourself that if you are going through a difficult time, it too shall pass. And you will recapture your personal inner strength and confidence again. The world will not end. You will regain your happiness. It all may evolve into something unexpected, but it will change for the better. I promise. 

What I realized most this past year is that I need to constantly be realigning my happiness in life. What I thought was my utmost happiness in January of 2018 was not even close to my happiness factors in December of 2018. We are perpetually evolving and what fed our souls months ago, may not be what we need in our present. This is a time to let go of what is not feeding your soul. Reevaluate your relationships, your career, your dreams, your goals, your everything and call into question this: Who and what is truly supporting me and driving me towards my goals? Without any drama, without any chaos.  Who and what is adding to my happiness, not retracting from it? 

Focus on the people and things in your life that will make 2019 more beautiful and carefree; not the people, jobs or situations that are adding stress to your plate. Focus on your inner happiness and self worth and the universe will pay attention. Realign with what is truly serving you.

This forced realignment is the best way to move into a new year. It is a way to let go of your past weight and move into a lighter new year. What can you shift in your life that will make 2019 lighter, more fun and joy filled? 

I’ve spoken about my dislike of the word resolution in regards to the new year before. As language is essential in helping frame our mindset, choosing the right term to boost our motivation in the new year is key. Last year I spoke about setting goals for yourself and I think this is important. Set goals for yourself but do not make resolutions. To resolve is permanent and nothing is permanent. To set attainable and rational goals is the best way forward. These goals need to be manageable and must have the freedom to evolve, like you. Do not beat yourself up for not attaining them. Be ok with failure. Expect bumps in the road. The true attempt is what is important.

Here are some of my tips for 2019:
 

Move forward, not backwards.

Know your worth and act accordingly.

Pick your battles. Not everything truly matters.

Be kind. Be compassionate. Be empathetic.

Learn lessons, move on. Don’t harp.

Only your health and time are of the utmost importance.

Love is easy to share, especially when you love yourself first.

Listen to listen, not to respond.

Compromise whenever possible. Most of the time it won’t matter how you got there, just that you did.

Be kindest to those who support and love you. It’s easiest to take them for granted. Don’t.

Genuinely compliment people. Share what you’re feeling. You may share a positive thought with someone casually that you’ll never remember but that they may never forget.

Always remember that your most difficult day, could be someone’s easiest. You never know what people are struggling with- be compassionate.

Be kind to yourself. Don’t internally beat yourself up for missteps in life. They will always happen but being forgiving and kind to yourself is the best policy.

Self care & self love are guaranteed to make you happier.

Realize what is in your control and what is not. Essentially you can only control yourself and your reactions.

Be the person you hope your kids will some day become.

All of life is impermanent- always keep that in mind. Stop attaching yourself to ideas, people or things knowing this.

Love, hugs and kindness are free. Spread that shit everywhere.

May you all have the happiest and healthiest beginning of the new year! 

Jamieson xo

Holding Space

Jamieson Van Loan

A lot of our holiday season is spent holding space for others. We do this without even realizing. Now that I think about it, we are constantly holding space for others. Effortlessly. The problem is that we don’t always hold space for ourselves.

Let’s start at the beginning though, what is holding space, you ask?

Essentially it’s the act of being present and there for someone else. It is giving someone compassionate, nonjudgmental support. Lovingly embracing them in not just a physical space but in an emotional one.

This comes easily to me. Comforting and protecting another soul. Done and done. The problem for me and I’m assuming a lot of us, is do you take the time to hold space for yourself?

I had someone recently tell me that my philosophy of “do you” is a bit selfish. And I can understand why they would think this- if the whole world was doing whatever the heck they wanted- there would not be a great deal of global forward movement. But that is not what the “do you” ideal is really getting at. I believe we should be doing what feeds our soul each day. And yes, there is a wee bit of annoying adulting that gets in the way, but life is a balance. The most important aspect is that when we do what makes ourselves or our inner spirit happy, we then become more generous, kind and joyful humans overall. Our happiness creates a ripple effect. Being “selfish” enough to seek personal happiness is the most effective way to spread more joy in the world.

The interesting dynamic is that we hold space for others best AFTER we have taken the time to hold space and care for ourselves. Just like you put your oxygen mask on first before helping those with you, you need to care for yourself first. Emotional self care is of the utmost importance.

Be open to others holding space for you. I, admittedly, do not ask for help often or easily. But we cannot thrive without our tribe and this means allowing them to support you unconditionally. Be vulnerable and accept the space and support. 

What I’ve enjoyed seeing on social media this past week is the honesty surrounding the holidays. While some may thrive off the holiday spirit, others are feeling their lowest. And that is ok. However you feel this week, just know you are not alone.

Here is what I’m personally doing this week: I am managing my expectations. This applies to all things, not just the holiday season. Expectations typically incite disappointment. Allowing things to unfold as they come and being at peace with the situation is true emotional intelligence. It has taken me a very long time to learn this lesson. I have to accept that there will be circumstances that will upheave my peace and all I can do is control my response. Holding my space and being compassionate to myself when things may go awry is crucial. Taking a note from Frozen, “let it go” is sometimes the best response. Try that this week: just let go of what is not serving you, let go of expectations, let go of perfection, let go of ego, let go of negativity, let it ALLLL go. Breathe in love, exhale everything that is not benefiting you. Hold your space!

I wish you all a very peaceful and beautiful week ahead! Sending you all love and good health.

Jamieson xo

Learning curves

Jamieson Van Loan

You know when you're on the listening end of someone's problem and you sorta want to shake them and be like, HERE'S THE ISSUE AND HERE'S THE LESSON TO BE LEARNED. But we all have to go through the learning process on our terms. No one can coax us through the process, or present the lesson, without us having to trudge through the hardship. 

I initially started this rant on a completely different plane of thought. But life lessons kept popping up this week. There is that cliched (but completely relevant, hence the cliche) quote that basically says "when you stop asking why is this happening to you and replace it with what can you learn from it?" you can completely alter your perspective. And I couldn't agree more. Life will always have its difficult moments and decisions and it's what you draw from those moments that will aid in your evolution. 

As someone who is a sounding board for many friends, but also someone who reaches out to my tribes people for advice constantly, the question of what can I learn from this situation is always a topic of conversation. If this is not a continual subject in your world, I recommend making it one. It takes the natural instinct to complain into a completely different realm. Our complaints, our issues, become the foundation of learning. How can I process this situation in a way that isn't stressing me out, but is adding to my growth? 

And don't get me wrong, it is not easy to do this all the time. Sometimes we are stuck in shitty circumstances that makes us question our very purpose on this planet. We have all been through heartbreak and loss and massive regret and cruelty and pain. None of those situations or emotions beg us to find the silver lining. Once you get distance, healing and lessons typically prevail, but it isn't always so apparent. 

Our innate response to difficult situations is to put up our protective walls.  Our defenses go up. It is not our fault or our issue, but the other person, who is causing the grief, who is to blame. Our negative emotions and ego like to push against ownership and fault others. In the moment that your mind goes into that mode, that is when the reality check comes into play. Questioning the reality of your thoughts is key. We all over analyze, dramatize and do the "woe is me" dance when we want sympathy and understanding.  So stepping outside of your situation, as difficult as that can be, is so beneficial. How would a stranger, an unbiased human, interpret this incident? 

And if you can mentally distance yourself from the situation, can you push even farther and begin to see the lesson hidden among the suffering? This takes so much emotional intelligence and strength. It is no easy feat. 

But the quicker you can move through the "woe is me" phase into the growth phase, the happier you will be. 

I think one of the best gauges for tough situations is asking yourself the question, "will I care about this problem in a week from now, six months from now, a year from now?" How detrimental to my actual life is this? And if the answer is not at all OR the solution is completely out of your control, then let it go. Move through the emotions you need to, but let it go. Learn and move forward. 

That is a crucial component to dealing with tough issues, are you actually moving forward and through them? Or are you being stubborn? I know friends, and shoot, I've been there plenty of times, who are stubborn, or moreover, stagnant with their problems. They complain and get upset over and over again, which can be beneficial in the venting realm, but it's not facilitating to healing and moving past your problem. How many times can you complain about a circumstance before you take the leap to change it?

Typically taking the leap to change or learn from your issue is the more arduous path. And therefore, typically the path we choose last. I am urging you to choose it now. Be the person who acknowledges the negative situation and expends the least amount of emotional energy on it. Own your part of it, fix what you can, and then shut up and figure out the lesson.
Move forward.

If you are spending the valuable time you have on this planet, upset or stressed or complaining, you're on the wrong side of the tracks, my friend. Don't misread this- we will all be upset, stressed and will complain- but it is how you handle it and progress through it that matters most. Learn and grow- your future self will thank you.

Jamiesonxo