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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

Don’t be in sales...

Jamieson Van Loan

I am not a salesperson. I never have been. I remember working for Bear Naked right when they got into the Norwalk Stew Leonard’s and having to demo granola for Kelly & Brendan. I was the worst! It brought out all my insecurities. In my mind, I felt so far removed from myself. Who was I to be selling this stuff? I couldn’t seem to find my true voice. I couldn't handle the rejections and rudeness. Fortunately, they had a great product and it sold itself...phew!

Since owning my restaurant in Costa Rica and now having Maikana, I’ve had to work on my selling skills. I’ve had to get comfortable with things that typically make me uncomfortable. From conference calls to business meetings to marketing myself- all things that used to make me want to run and hide, I’ve had to face head on. Still, when my phone rings, I want to hurl it across the room but I don’t. I’ve accepted that sometimes we have to feel uneasy in order to find the good stuff. This applies to all aspects of life.

I read this article about relationships and energies a few weeks ago and the line that stuck in my head is: 

“You are not a salesperson. It is not your job to convince someone to like you.”

In the past, I have spoken about energies or vibrations needing to align for you and someone to click. This is completely true. Some people you vibe with and some you don't. 

But you know that feeling when you’re not clicking with someone and you can’t understand what YOU did wrong. It is so easy for us to question what we are doing wrong or how we can change in order to appeal to someone else. As an over-analyzer, I’ve definitely been here. Why doesn’t he or she like me? What can I do to make them like me? What is wrong with me?

Answer: not a damn thing.

You are exactly who and where you are meant to be. You are surrounded by the people who are the exact support characters you need at this moment. You are amazing, as is, and the only time you should ever change something about your character is if YOU want to better yourself, for only yourself. No one else. 

If someone doesn’t like you or understand you, that is their problem. Not yours. It is not your job to ever convince or persuade someone to like you. Ever. Never ever.

Do not be a salesperson.

I have been that person. The person who is malleable enough to fit in and can adapt to people and situations in order to stay inside the supposed box. I was young and thought that being who I was "supposed" to be was the right thing. I have since learned the opposite.

The effort needed to portray a different version of yourself is exhausting. And even when you've convinced yourself that this is who you are, eventually you will not be able to suppress your inner spirit. This goes back to what I've said before: let your freak flag fly. The people who rally around that flag are your tribe. 

 Sadly, I still see people my age and older trying to impress or behave in a manner contradictory to their true self so others accept them. When are these people going to be comfortable enough with their own character, their own ideas & beliefs, their own soul to give zero effs about who likes them or not? 

Life is too damn short to be a salesperson.

Taking ownership of your beautiful self and celebrating who you are, with people who do not want you to change a damn thing, is one of the greatest joys in life. Just being accepted for exactly who you are is a gift. Be grateful when it happens.  

Side note: asking people to change for you or assuming people should change for you is just as bad as not being accepted. I've heard countless stories of people saying "oh I thought he/she would change". Why, why would you ever think that? It's fantasy, not reality. 

I vow to never be a salesperson for my character. I vow to love and accept myself as is. Because who I was yesterday, who I am today and who I will be tomorrow are not the same people. And the wonderful humans who see the beautiful value in those genuine versions of myself are all I need in life.

Take the same vow: love who you truly are and never be a salesperson for your soul. 

Jamiesonxo 

Seek refuge...

Jamieson Van Loan

The holidays are filled with joy, laughter, sharing, kindness, compassion and love...mostly. They are also filled with sadness, regrets, depression, stress, anxiety and the more darker emotions. For me, they are a mixed bag.

Like right now, I need a break, a pause. I want to be sitting on a deserted warm beach drinking a mai tai and worried about what time is sunset. Living up the pura vida. But I’m not. And that is ok...with a caveat. If I’m not seeking refuge in travel, I must seek it elsewhere. I must be aware of what I need to recharge, reset and move forward.

I realized how important this is after speaking to a friend who is more of an internalizer and tends to deal with issues in his own head. To some, this may completely work and be fine. I am going to go out on a limb and say that this isn’t the healthiest way to deal with the rollercoaster ride of life. And I told him that.

Humans desire connection and that is made through vulnerability and openness. A major part of being vulnerable is allowing people into the places of your life that aren’t the prettiest. Having humans in your life that can be your sounding board and help you through tough times is of utter importance.
 
Finding that tribe, the people you connect with on a deep soulful level, is where you can find your refuge from difficult times. I am so so fortunate to be blessed with such an amazing tribe. And they are all over the world. They do not need to be right here, right now (hello facetime). Do not be afraid to reach out during the tough times. I repeat, do not be afraid to reach out during tough times. If not to your tribe, to me. Stranger, friend or client, I am here for you. Always. You are never alone.
 
Refuges do not have to be just people. They can be a space. I tend to go to my meditation altar or the beach. Certain spaces can be healing and help realign the chaos inside. We need a space to stretch our sanity. Seek those places whenever you need to.
 
Personal refuge can also be found in the most menial tasks. I love pausing during the day to make myself my favorite tea (umm have you tried Trader Joes’ Winter Wake up- yum!). Or pausing for a two minute meditation- no matter where I am. Deep breathing for ten breaths. All easy to do and all help me move through my day. What little tasks make you feel better?
 
Although refuge seeking is a major part of self-care, there are also physical ways to self-care during the holidays that help alleviate stress. Figure out what these are for you and add them to your day. For me it is yoga. I do not let anything mess with my yoga schedule this time of year. As a bonus, I love going to the infrared spa, Inner Light in Darien. I always feel so much better after a session there.
 
Do not be afraid to drop plans during this schedule-packed time of year to find space to heal. As a people pleaser, I find this the most difficult to do. To say no when I need to. Say no to what does not fill your soul. I have to ask myself this all the time, “is this going to make me happy or stressed out?” And there are some stressful things that have to be worked through but if the ultimate answer is not bringing you joy, say no and move on.

So seek refuge. Find your person. Your tribe. Your place to heal. Your work out. Your daily task. Your sanctuary. Find it and own it and appreciate it. Be grateful for the people you can vent to, do not take advantage of their kind ear. Listen to them without wanting to respond. Reciprocate their kindness. We will all survive this holiday season, especially if we do it as a compassionate community. That is the importance of the holiday season- the coming together, reconnecting, fueling each other’s spirit and sharing love.
 
Be love, share love.
Jamieson xo

Keeping it comfy...

Jamieson Van Loan

The holiday season always seems to be a time of reflection. A time where we ponder where this year has gone and what has brought us to this current space we occupy. Recently someone asked me about my life plans, for lack of a better term. At my age, I get the typical questions "do you want to get married" "do you want kids" etc. And I have my generic response "hopefully, one day" (although hope is a four letter word for me but that's another rant). 

Normally, I put zero thought into this line of questioning. Curiosity is a natural human condition. Whether it be the holiday reflection or the past few weeks of my life, but this time I really thought about these questions and my answer. 

Here is my conclusion: 

This is me. I am 36. I am single. I have no kids. I do not own a home. I have never been married. I have chosen this life. I have had opportunities for all of those things but I chose this life. Do I want kids? Yes. Do I want a husband? Meh.
JK, a life partner may be cool. Marriage? I could take it or leave it. 

I have never been the girl with ambitions to wed and have the white picket fence with 1.5 kids and a labrador. If this is you- kudos- you know what you want.

For me, I wanted adventure. I wanted to travel. I wanted experiences. I wanted stories to tell. I wanted to witness cultures. I wanted to meet new humans. I still want these things. My desire for experience has not been satiated. 

I realized that what feeds my soul the most are the things that exist outside of the normal comfort zone. What I mean by "normal comfort zone" is the ideals that society imposes on us and that majority of people desire and obtain. And these are all beautiful things to desire: a family, a home, a partner- it is what life is about. It is just not what my life is about. 

I have an irrational fear of routine. I quit a catering job once because if I had to make 300 more Vietnamese spring rolls, I was gonna chop my arm off. I couldn't bear showing up to work every day and doing the exact same thing over and over again. The monotony was killing my soul. One aspect I love about being an entrepreneur is that I never know where my day is going to take me. I am constantly being forced to do things that make me uncomfortable. I live in a state of dis-ease with work and I love it. I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

Comfort zones are the spaces where habits and rituals exist and where stress, anxiety and fear are at their lowest. It is where most people enjoy spending their lives. And why wouldn't you? Less stress and anxiety is what we all want. 

But for me, I need to be in a constant state of evolution. I need to be forced to exist outside of the settled spaces and experience the discomfort. I need to experience the unknown. For its in this realm of discomfort that growth occurs. 

There is a term called optimal anxiety. Essentially, it is the favored level of anxiety that you can handle while still being productive. Everyone has a different level and I tend to have a higher threshold. It is not that I crave stress and anxiety, but I do tend to thrive in those situations. 

When you're in your comfort zone, you're safe and secure. But there is no expansion. You are not pushing your limits. This to me is not an option. I need to be thrust into the unknown and challenge what I think to be true. 

And this is what I learned about myself this week. I crave challenges. I want the difficult puzzles that need to be viewed from all angles to be solved. I feel the most happy when I am not settling for the status quo. I need the grueling moments so I can examine myself and find my growth. 

And this year has been nothing except growth for me. It has been my most difficult and most rewarding year yet. I am at the happiest I have ever been and yet I had the most painful beginning. How can this be? 

It is because my challenging situation forced me to break down a barrier. I had no choice but to move outside of my comfort zone. Once the boundary had been knocked down, I was able to expand. I am so grateful to have gone through it. The personal evolution has been immeasurable. 

This brings me to my entire point. I may not have babies and a husband and a white picket fence. And I may never have those things but my life is filled with love. The amount of love that is showered on me every day and that I have the honor of sharing with people is infinite. I can't tell you how many times a day I say "I love you" to people. How lucky am I? 

So next time someone asks me what my life plans are, here is my answer:
To be loved and share love. 

xo

Accepting the chaos...

Jamieson Van Loan

There is something in the air this week. Chaos, that dirty ol’ B, has entered my home and I am not happy about it. You all know that I meditate, actively practice mindfulness and gratitude, practice yoga, go to therapy- essentially, do my utmost each day to show up and be the best version of myself. But damnit if there aren’t weeks that just push me so far that I can do nothing but give in. I have to surrender to the monkey mind, to the daily stresses, to the roller coaster and allow the universe to swirl around me. My younger self would be inclined to freak out, probably drink a bottle of wine and export all my stress on my closest humans. Joy oh joy.

My current self acknowledges that days or weeks like this just exist and there is nothing I can do about it but keep on swimming. In the heightened moments of stress, I still practice my deep breaths, my mindfulness and reality checks, but sometimes it is not enough. Sometimes I need more. Sometimes I need a release. I need to cry. I need to yell. I need to run (literally, and if you know me, that doesn't happen often). I need to dance my face off. I need to eat a lot of Girl Scout cookies.

I like to think of these weeks as transition weeks. No one’s path is constant and steady. Our lives are peaks, plateaus and valleys. Sometimes we are winding up or down these mountains (or being hurled up or down) but either way, we are in motion.

I imagine myself on an island that is lovely and comfortable but I can see another island ahead and it’s magnificent and has way better fruit but I need to get there. Sometimes the ocean between these islands is calm and gently rocks me to my new space but sometimes the seas are rough and angry and I have to fight to arrive at my island. This week I paddled against the current with high winds and a hole in my boat. Either way, my motion is forward. I am moving through it. I am not fighting against the volatile universe. I am accepting the chaos and progressing.

Acceptance is critical in these moments. Letting go of control and expectations and owning that you may have to eat some shit sandwiches in life allows the darker moments a shorter lifespan. Acceptance of the uncontrollable aspects of your day grants you the freedom to separate, almost elevate, yourself from its negative grip. The chaos loses its power over you.

In yoga teachings, the Sanskrit word for faith is Sraddha. It is this faith, or energy, that you hold that your life is on its exact path. The concept that no matter what, you're exactly where you are meant to be at that given moment. The essence of sraddha always rings truer and louder during the darker or chaotic life moments. For me when the unanswerable questions bubble up inside, my sraddha deepens. Always knowing your life is where it is meant to be, good or bad, makes accepting the chaos easier.

With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching (where did this year go?!), chaotic weeks like this inspire the most gratitude for me. Eating shit sandwiches reminds me of how great my life truly is.

As an ode to Thanksgiving next week, here are some excerpts from my gratitude journal:

I am grateful for the people in my tribe who support me relentlessly and aggressively. My best friends who never allow me to accept second best or settle and push me towards gold.

I am grateful for my family who have seen me and supported me at my best and worst. They are the foundation that I stand upon.

I am grateful for the people who make me belly laugh, who heighten my joy, who brighten even my best days.
 

I am grateful that I have the luxury to pursue my passion each and every day. 

I am grateful for my health. For without it, I would be nowhere. 

What are you grateful for?
Write it down, say it aloud. Shout it from your heart!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week! Squeeze your loved ones and tell them what you love about them.

Be love, share love. xo

The Power of our Words

Jamieson Van Loan

Last week I discussed the power of thought. The idea that your thoughts are essentially the canvas for your day-to-day life. The other, and easily as critical, factor that is an extension of thought, is the power of our words.

I have touched on this before, but we tend to forget how powerful our words are. Just like the thoughts you put out into the universe help create the world around, words are also generators within our existence.

First of all, think about your words and how they affect others. You can use your language to create love in someone’s life, to make them happy, to make them sad, to help, to hinder, to make them feel secure, to shame, to hurt them, to cause pain, to cause joy, to heal, etc. Your words have a direct impact on the people around you. Essentially your words have the power to uplift the people around you or destroy them.  How insane is that power? You can alter someone’s entire path through your words. 

I once read an article about imagining your words as either bullets or seeds. If your words are hurting someone or dragging them down or condemning them or negatively criticizing them, your words are bullets. They are destructive. If your words are seeds and they are showing support and creating a nurturing world with others, they are constructive. Speak seeds, not bullets.

Our goals as humans should be to raise our language. Not in an ostentatious manner but in a demonstrative way.  We should be constantly promoting the well-being of ourselves and others. Building up, not tearing down.

Imagine the world without language (anyone seen the movie, “A Quiet Place”? Watch it!) and how difficult it would be to make human connection. How are you using language to connect with the world?

But what about language and how it pertains to you? To your mindset?  To your goals?  

There is an energy factor behind your words. Imagine how you feel when you’re around your best friend and you’re chatting and laughing. The energy that exudes from the shared language between you is positive and almost palpable. When you are in a difficult situation and the verbiage becomes negative, your energy level drains.

This energy is what hides behind intention. We must harness the energy that comes from our words, from our connections, to create the intentions that we set forth in our day.

How are you going to approach the world today? With love? With stress? With frustration? With truth? With kindness  & compassion?

The energy we put towards our linguistic construct is quintessentially our character, the basis for our true selves. So the way we language is a critical part of how the world views us. This is why honesty is always the best policy. What you speak, speaks volumes of your character.

Keep this in mind for when you speak to yourself. Be kind and compassionate to yourself. Self love is the most important love. 

With our words setting our daily intentions, we can then begin to verbalize our goals, our dreams and set them into motion. It is vital to have full faith in your words. To truly believe that what you say will indeed manifest. Manifestation through language is just as powerful as manifestation through the mind. Believe in your thoughts and words and the rest will follow.
 
My bottom line: 

Always speak the truth. Always speak with consistency. Try to avoid gossiping or wasting time on verbal trivialities. Speak to create positivity around you. Speak with intention. Speak with love and respect. Be effusive with your language. It will create a positive space for you and for those who enter your universe.

Namaste xo
 

~

The Power of Positive Thought

Jamieson Van Loan

Steve Jobs' “think different” campaign was beyond just a marketing strategy. He created a culture where thinking outside of the box was encouraged and fanciful ideas became reality. Besides the innovation side of this, the literal aspect is what made Steve Jobs a great leader. He chose to turn his thoughts into reality.

This idea that our thoughts can hold the immense power to create and to manipulate the universe around us is not novel. But it something that we tend to forget during our daily rituals.

Our thought paths are the derivative of our emotions. Our emotions in turn direct how we move and interact throughout our day. Therefore our thoughts are the basis for our general wholeness and mental well-being. If the thought groundwork we are laying leans towards the negative, our days tend to turn out that way. We are overwhelmed, stressed out, irritable, etc. If you wake up on the “right” side of the bed and your mental state gravitates towards the positive side, your days tend to be lighter and more at ease.

It is human nature to blame exterior influences on our moods and behavior. But how often do you look within to correct your circumstances? The power our thoughts can have over mood and behavior is extraordinary. It does not need to be reiterated how important the power of positive thinking is but I do think it does need be a daily reminder in our lives to ACTUALLY practice this.   
 
There are days (I’ve had about four this week alone) where my positive day hits a negative wall. My younger self would dwell and sink into the negativity. My current self chooses to meditate, to realize that what is currently happening is impermanent and therefore the anxiety that rises up inside of me is not worth the fluctuating situation. I have to constantly be aware of how my thoughts are shaping my reactions and to actively choose to not go down negative rabbit holes. It is not easy, but the more I do it, the more accessible it has become.

Try it. Force yourself to realize that what is happening is both these things 1) literally not the end of the world and 2) not going to exist or matter at some point.

This does not detract from the pain of loss or the realities of a harsh world. There are moments in life that alter us and our mental states forever. I acknowledge that. But during the moments of being broken open is where we find the most growth.

So here is the thing, if Steve Jobs can literally take the thoughts in his brain and turn them into tangible success, why aren’t we all doing that? What is holding us back? Is it the fear of failure? Rejection? Fear, doubt and rejection are the repellents of life’s abundance. You need to squash those nasties in their tracks.   

How can we use the power of our positive thoughts and harness them into reality?

Stripping away the negatives and focusing and keeping the faith in what you truly want and deserve in life is the first step. Being hyper aware of your goals and following through mentally and with action is the next step. It requires vigilance and conviction. Stay positive, even when you find no reason to. Do not quit on yourself.

Remember this: we are the creators of our universe. You have a choice in who you spend your time with, you have a choice in how you interact with the world, you have a choice in your career, where you live, how you self-care, how you self- love, what makes you happy, etc. These choices all begin and end in your mind so be wary of how you wield that power. Use it to create a more beautiful and happy world around you.

Namaste xo

Own your regrets and move on...

Jamieson Van Loan

We all have regrets in life. Even those of us who think they don’t, they do. I used to be that person who always said “I regret nothing- everything in my life has brought me to this exact moment in time, precisely where I should be.” And that is true. To an extent.

All of the beautiful moments, the hardships, the tears, the laughter, the right or wrong decisions have brought you to this specific space. And I’m hoping this email finds you in a gloriously grateful space this morning.

But there are also moments in life we wish we could re-do or articulate in our best manner. You know these moments. When you’re brash and impulsive and say or do things without truly thinking it through. Last week, I was infuriated with my bank because my account information was stolen and abused for the second time in three months. I yelled. I lost my shit. I was a lesser and, quite frankly, embarrassing version of myself.

This is why apologies exist. Saying “I’m sorry” is owning your regret. It is saying, I behaved in a manner beneath me and I wish I hadn’t caused you to feel that way, please accept these words as acknowledgement of my deep regret.

The most important part of an apology is to know it’s true starting point. Are you apologizing for self relief or relieving the pain of the victim? To apologize in order to alleviate your guilt or just throw a band aid on a situation is not a true apology. When you use the powerful words, “I am sorry” your gesture must come from the purest and most vulnerable part of you. True apologies are never easy. They require humility.

And yes, I did apologize to my bank peeps.

Now do we have to constantly live with or analyze our regrets? Heck no! That does nothing for true living and staying present. But it also does not make you less of your amazing self to admit to regrets and wrongdoings. Admitting to and owning them followed by a retraction or apology and then releasing and letting go completely, is the healthiest way forward.

People who say they live without regrets are possibly better equipped to compartmentalize their wrong choices but more accurately, they probably create a dissonance between actual reality and personal reality.

 Actual reality is the current state without outside biases. Perceived or personal reality is the current state through your own projections.

We see the world as we want to see it. So if telling ourselves that we have no regrets is what our defensive mechanism or ego needs for survival or happiness, so be it. 

My point to all this is to take ownership of your poor choices or behaviors in life, apologize for them and move on. Quickly. Do not let issues linger. Do not shove them under your secret regret rug. This life is made all the better by finding the courage to be humble and own your mistakes. This brings you the freedom from the past and the ability to be more present. And being more present should always be your ultimate goal. 

Are you absorbing life’s lessons?

Jamieson Van Loan

There is a quote I posted on social media that said “anything that annoys you is teaching you patience. Anyone who abandons you is teaching you to stand up on your own two feet. Anything that angers you is teaching you forgiveness and compassion. Anything that has power over you is teaching you how to take your power back. Anything you hate is teaching you unconditional love. Anything you fear is teaching you courage to overcome your fear. Anything you can’t control is teaching you how to let go."

The evolved within us knows all this. The question is: are we actually paying attention to it? Are we being cognizant of the signs and lessons around us?

I recently had the pleasure of meeting someone who completely changed my mindset in life. It is strange when you’re actively pursuing a certain mindset and someone can automatically spark that shift within you. It feels like the universe is speaking to you. This person was in my life for a blink of a moment, but they made me realize how much I was truly lacking. I had forgotten about this momentous person inside of me who valued laughter, joy and fun. It was not that my life did not include those imperatives; it was that I was prioritizing my work over everything else. I prioritize work over my sleep, over my friends, over my social life, over my family, over honestly, all the things that matter the most at the end of the day. To look back on my past post about “what would you do if today was your last day on earth”- I was spending mine working. If I was hit by a bus later today, would my last thoughts be about not emailing that person back or regretting that I hadn’t spent more time with the important factors in my life. I am going to assume the latter.

It is not always easy to be hyper aware of the lessons in life. We are in such a tight hamster wheel of precision and routine that when there are moments of fluster or aggravation, we tend to just follow the emotions. But when we step back and realize that those moments that deter our constant are truly there to push us in a forward motion, we actually grow. My most literal and daily attribute to this is how I am constantly getting stuck behind the slowest drivers. Now most humans would be ok with this, but I am not one of those humans. I tend to be in a rush and wondering why the person in front of me is going eight miles slower than the speed limit, which is actually 15 miles slower than the rest of society. Through deep breathes and self-awareness, I realize that this person is really here to teach me to be patient and that life is not a constant state of rushing (albeit I am normally missing a train to nyc at this point). It has made me grow, evolve.

Every single time I am bothered by someone else’s influence in my life, I take deep breaths and ask myself, “what are they here to teach me?”

There has yet to be an answer that has not rung true for all aspects of my life. I am so grateful to the person who reminded me that fun and laughter is crucial to my purest existence. I am so grateful to the slow drivers for reminding me of my need for patience. I am so grateful to all the people who have made me explore my inner self in order to happen upon some beautiful discovery.

Remember this:
Without exploration, there is no discovery.

My takeaway this week is that we need to be grateful for the people who force us outside of our comfort zones. The people who rile us up or upset us or anger us or frustrate us, they are the people who compel us to hone our reactions and delve deeper into our personas. Be grateful for all of it. These encounters, although not always positive, create a crater of experience that can only be filled with wisdom.

To give of yourself...

Jamieson Van Loan

I am a giver. Of all things. I give completely to my friends and family. I share openly and candidly about my life. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I listen wholeheartedly and give good (hopefully!) advice. I would give the shirt off my back to a stranger if it would enhance their day. I find joy in being available to help others and would bend over backwards for the people in my tribe.

Being a giver is a part of my essence. It feeds my soul. Cooking for people is an extension of this. I am at my happiest when I bring joy to other people’s lives. What I did not realize is that being a giver in life is not always positive. It means I’m not great with taking.

It has taken me years to truly accept compliments. I cannot ever put myself before others. I'd sacrifice my own needs to fulfill theirs. I am not good at asking for help. I find it difficult to accept gifts from others. My automatic mental response is what can I do for them in return? Just this past year has been the first time I’ve ever accepted friends buying me lunch or dinner, without my need to plan my immediate reciprocation.

More importantly, it means I am not good when people don’t give back. When I give my all, I expect a version in return.

This is where the lessons begin.

No one ever needs to meet you where you stand. Ever. Remember that next time you’re feeling hurt by someone. They do not need to understand your thought process or reach out to you as much as you do to them. They are following their own heart and mind. You cannot fault someone for not caring in the same capacity that you do. This does not mean the person doesn’t care; it only shows distinctions in our mode of export.

Is it amazing when they do? Yes. Completely. But seeking anger for someone not sharing your views and/or characteristics solely hurts you. 

For those of you like myself, there is a rare moment when the people we care and give to are unsure of where they stand in our lives. For those of you unlike myself, I would vouch that vulnerability is not at your core and you express your love (giving is at its essence an expression of love) for someone in variety of ways but you are not shouting it from the proverbial mountaintop. 

The problems arise when a giver and, for lack of a better term, a taker cannot figure out how to frame their relationship. It is not easy. I’ve had and still have plenty of takers in my life. My job is not to fault them for not aligning with my practices but to show them love without the prerequisite of reciprocation. Being self aware enough to understand that I am choosing to give with zero expectations of mutuality is no easy feat. It requires serious mental work.

My initial (and immature) thought process was “how can people not think exactly how I do?” I spend majority of my life checking in with loved ones and making sure my tribe is happy and if they aren’t, what can I do to improve that? Isn’t this the BEST way to be?!

The answer is: no, nay, nah. 

This is just the best way for me to be. It is my authentic self. I cannot judge others for not being or thinking the way I do.

How often does this question creep into your head: what were they thinking?! Or why didn't they do XYZ? 

Stop yourself right there. There is nothing to be gained by going down this rabbit hole. It is a judgment zone and only creates a negative mental state. 

To stave away from this state you have to constantly remind yourself that your choices are yours and yours alone. If you choose to give your all to another, that is only on you and there is no guarantee for reciprocation. 

If we could all be aware of our differences and respect them, even if we do no agree with them, we would all benefit.

Regardless if you are a giver or taker, life is about acknowledging said differences and accepting them as a part of the whole.

And please, for the sake of all stop saying things like "well I did this, therefore I expected.." Stop expecting. You are only hurting yourself. 

To be open enough to give of yourself is a beautiful thing but to be smart enough to take and really accept what the universe happily hands over is an awakening. 

Be the balance. Be a giver and a taker. 

If this is your last...

Jamieson Van Loan

Last week I went to three Paul Simon concerts in a row! I am such a superfan and I couldn't let him retire without seeing him as much as I could. His music has been such a strong force in all chapters of my life. Needless to say, it was amazing but I could sleep for a week straight right about now. 

During one of the shows, I started thinking about how he must be feeling. To spend your whole life following your passion and one day, even if by choice, it comes to an end. The bittersweetness of this seemed palpable towards the end of the shows. It got me thinking about how this was the last (of 103!) time he will play Madison Square Garden and this is the last time he will sing this song to tens of thousands of screaming fans. I cannot imagine it was easy for him. 

I began to mentally apply this to my life. What if this is my last time attending a concert at MSG? What if this is the last time I get to hang out with my gal pal? What if this is the last time I eat a NYC hot dog with the works (yea that happened)? What if, what if, what if...

Duh. We all know that we should live life to its fullest and be grateful and the whole she-bang but are we really practicing this? 

When your kids aren't listening in the morning and you're running on fumes and the bus is about to arrive and they can't find one shoe and you want to run away to a remote island solo...are you really telling yourself, gosh darn it- this is amazing and I'm so grateful?! Prolly not. And that is ok. You are human. But how can you reinforce the gratitude during moments that are stressing you out? 

The vicissitudes of daily life will always throw a wrench into our gratitude practices. Refocusing our mindset during those moments is how we build our self-awareness and minimize negative reactions. 

So do we actually implement this? 

1) Begin to truly recognize negative reactions and feelings when they arise. Be aware of how your body feels in that moment. Speaking for myself, when I get angry or upset, I feel a tightness in my chest. Now that I am hyper-aware of that physical condition, I can validate the emotion and tell myself, "This is how you feel in this moment but it will pass. It is just an emotion and not reality."

Have you realized this? That emotions, although they feel extremely real, are not reality. They are fluid mental states that can alter at any given moment. Do not let them own you. 

2) If you've been suckered into the negative realm, taking deep breaths is key. Before responding to the situation, begin taking deep and long breaths. I like to count to five on the inhale and eight on the exhale. It naturally calms your body and the counting distracts you from rash choices. 

3) Ask yourself this: will this current situation have any serious bearing in my future life? If your kid misses the bus and you're upset that you now have to drive him or her, what are the chances you'll even remember this moment in a year? The answer should be: zero!

Do not let trivialities affect your mood. 

4) Find compassion for yourself. In those moments where you react in a way you're not proud of, forgive yourself and move on. Do not dwell on situations that cannot be changed. It is so easy to over analyze and beat yourself up, but it literally leads no where! Stop analyzing, own the situation, apologize (sincerely) if you need to and move forward. 

5) Start your day with gratitude. I personally have a gratitude journal. I write at least three things I'm grateful for before I leave my bedroom. This, combined with my morning meditation, prompts me to begin my day on the right path. 

6) I am a firm believer in meditation. I try to be as diligent as I can with my practice but sometimes a week will go by and I have to reset my meditation motivation. It helps create inner peace and raises your frequency. Even if meditation seems too woo-woo for you, there is zero harm in trying it. Give it a whirl. 

Now even with these suggestions, will you move forward being a gratitude junkie who is cognizant enough to live each moment like it could be your last? Prolly not. Like I said earlier, we are human and we are flawed. But these tools will begin to set you on a better path. Once you become more conscious of your actions and have a heightened awareness of appreciation, your mindset will shift.

Mindfulness always pays off. 

The question now is, are you going to live today like it could be your last?
Or better yet, your first. 

Vulnerability is the conduit for connection..

Jamieson Van Loan

A friend, client and mentor just gave me my first Dr Brené Brown book! Muchas gracias, Christine! I have yet to crack it open (my bedside reading stack is bananas!!) but I have listened and recently re-listened to her TED Talk on vulnerability.

Vulnerability is defined as the state of being exposed to possible harm, whether physical or emotional. 

True, but it is so much more. Being vulnerable is allowing yourself to be broken open without fear of the consequences. It takes great courage. We spend our lives taking our negative experiences and building a barrier around our souls, our hearts and emotions in order to protect us from those failures and that knowing pain. Being open to really moving through those negative moments and the lows of life with a true awareness is what brings evolution. It opens us up to newness and growth. This is why keeping vulnerability by your side is crucial.

We all need to more vulnerable. We need to dive in and swim deep in her waters. We need to appreciate the gifts the universe gives us and realize that opening our hearts up wholly and fully is the only way intense deep connections can be made. We were put on this planet to foster connections. We exist for the bond between two hearts.

Keeping up your barriers causes disconnect and separation. Vulnerability is about lowering those walls we have built around us. Guarding the beautiful (and not so beautiful) parts of yourself keeps connection at bay. Vulnerability is about making human connections regardless of the consequential fear.

And I get it. We have all been through trauma. We all have reasons to put up protective walls. Acceptance of past disappointments is the very first step to becoming vulnerable. Understanding that vulnerability, although soaked in negative connotation, is one of the most necessary emotions and actions in our lives. 

Imagine if someone didn't take the vulnerable risk to hold your hand or cross a room to talk to you or ask for your phone number or offer you a hug or pick up a phone to call you or ask you to coffee or best yet, say "i love you", where would your life be right now? 

Vulnerability is also the courage to be authentically you. You do not need to fear not being accepted. You do not need to fear judgment. Judgment and a lack of acceptance is another soul’s issue, not yours. To own your beautiful self, to truly love yourself and be comfortable enough to share that with the world is pure freedom. We all wear masks at different points of our lives, or even throughout the day. It’s natural. But if you can allow yourself to be a little more accepting of your authentic self and a little less worried about the world accepting you, you will be a great deal more happy.

I promise. Life is too short to not be your authentic self. 

Being vulnerable is accepting your flaws as your uniqueness and not being afraid to show all those shades of color to another human. Being a more accepting human and creating a secure space for your tribe to be vulnerable is also a part of your human occupation.  

Bottom line: your goal this week is to be more vulnerable. To let your guard down and let the love in. Allow these connections to feed your soul. You deserve it. We all do. 

Do you trust yourself?

Jamieson Van Loan

I was always the person who listened to their gut. I can sense people's energies or vibrations, if you will, and I always know right away if we will be true friends or not. I can sense people's real emotions (which isn't always the one they are emoting) and know how to cater to their needs. I always knew in my gut what the best decision was for my work. I made decisions quickly and typically without regret. I knew myself and what was best for me.  I used to trust in my intuition implicitly. 

Keywords: used to

We all have heard the lines "listen to your heart" "follow your inner voice" "trust your gut" but what if that voice inside of you is sending you mixed signals? 

As life is constantly throwing us curve balls, I have had to take a step back from this implicit self-trust. I have been in this strange headspace where I am aware of what (I think) my gut is saying and I have to really evaluate where that conversation is coming from. Am I projecting? Is it based on bias? Is it based on personal history? Is it my ego?

What I have realized is that whenever I am in a grand evolution, my intuition can be faulty. I am in between the past and the future me and my gut sometimes doesn't have time to catch up. It does not help if you have made some gut-based decisions and they have turned out tragically wrong. Boy, does that put you in a headspin?!

Your intuition is constantly self-protecting you. And it damn well should! It keeps your vulnerability at bay and only allows situations to be beneficial to you. It is your fiercest guardian. 

But when you are transitioning or going through difficult situations in life-whether this be with work, relationships, personal growth, etc- how can you refine your intuition to be more accurate? This is what I have been struggling with.

How can I trust myself again?

Personally, it has taken a great deal of self-awareness. I question myself and the basis for my feelings. Are they real and accurate or are they based on my imagination running wild? Typically anytime my gut is wrong, I have been following the latter. And that is ok! We all do it. We all only truly see the world through our own eyes. This means our experiences, our positive and negative pasts, influence how we think and react. It is human nature. But sometimes we have to be bigger than that. We have to sift through our historical biases and realize what our gut is honestly preaching. Realizing that your gut is the teeny tiny voice inside of you rather than the one bombarded by skeptical questions and influenced by experiences and outsiders; that stark voice is the one you listen to.

I am learning to trust myself again. I am realizing that my past mistakes have only carved out a more beautiful soul. I have stopped beating myself up over wrong decisions. I am welcoming a new version of me, one where I can trust myself wholeheartedly again. It is not easy. For anyone who has been in my situation and understands that question of  "why the heck did I do that?", please know that you are in good company. It is healthy to question your intuition. It creates more self-awareness and opens up a honest personal dialogue that urges the growth to your next great evolution.

On the other hand, be grateful for the little voice, that defender of your soul. It is your greatest peronal resource. 

Flatliner vs Rollercoaster

Jamieson Van Loan

Do you ever feel like you're in a constant state of talking about the weather and the more mundane things in life because people are polite and the idea of getting deep and dirty with a stranger is too vulnerable for most? 

Well, I do. And most of the time, I do not mind it. It's the socially acceptable philosophy to small talk, but sometimes you meet someone and they dive right in and you're like woah, me gusta. It is lovely when people have a grasp on ego and vulnerability and take it to the next level from the beginning. Try it sometime, open up deeply to a stranger you vibe with. It may welcome a new friend to your tribe. 

Recently I met someone such as this and besides being extremely interesting and having a wonderful insight on the positive side of life, he taught me about his philosophy on rollercoasters and flatliners.

Que pasa, you ask? Well so did I. 

It is the concept that there are two people in the world, those that rollercoaster through stressful moments and those that flatline. If you are someone who reacts (or overreacts) when life is throwing you curveballs, you're a rollercoaster. The rest of you who stay fairly level-headed and maintain course during trying times, you're a flatliner.
I love this idea and terminology. 

Honestly, as much as I'd like to think of myself as a flatliner, I am most certainly a rollercoaster. With meditation, yoga, therapy and my other self care rituals, I have become much more flatlined in response to drama. And maybe it's the Gemini in me, but the desire to respond to drama and vent feels intrinsic, almost necessary. 

Here is where I am dead wrong. 

It is a choice. 

This past week has certainly been filled with a LOT of ups and downs. Deliveries didn't go as expected, orders got mixed up and I did the best that I could with what the universe was serving me. There were moments where I wanted to export my stress, mostly by venting, ie complaining. But how is that serving me? Does it feel great to get things off your chest? Of course, I get it. And there are certain people who are available to be that sounding board for you. But on the whole, all the complaining or overreacting to stress is doing NOTHING but hurting you. 

Besides the negative health repercussion of elevated levels of cortisol (the hormone released when you're stressed, cure/shameless plug: Maikana's adaptogen superblends), you're also creating a barrier to a more positive life. 

Negativity breeds negativity. 

Here is your goal this weekend: every time your kids or spouse or work or life are driving you crazy and you want to respond by heightening the situation, I want you to pause. Take a deep breathe. Take ten of them. Remind yourself of all the love you're surrounded by. And choose not to be a rollercoaster. Choose to flatline. 

This choice will change you for the better.