Being happy is letting go of what slows you down. ~Falzone
I pressed play on a new album by the Lumineers-Cleopatra (this is the first time I have connected with new music in over a year) and here I am, NOW, fully present, willing and open to write my heart out. This album is what I need in this moment, as I let go of everything that has kept me in my past and future, keeping me from the magic moment we all have…now.
I was so happy in this photo. It was the day I married my best friend. I remember so much love from that day and just feeling the boundless amounts of love…it was magical. I have not been happy lately. For months I have been trying to push back the truth and keep plunging forward into my work, into my goals, into my busy-ness. But something happened last night. I knew that I could no longer live this way. Last night, I sat down and made a declaration to myself. I titled it: Taking Back My Life, Taking Back Me. I am not even sure where to start except to say that I finally got to a point where I felt like I didn’t recognize myself in my days any longer and I didn’t recognize myself in my Life any longer. I have been living to always move forward and in the process, was not able to be available in my present, that, at every moment was becoming my past. Yesterday, I had a wake up call with myself. I have been giving everything to everything else except my self. My Self, two words that are so important to foster, nourish and take care of with all of your heart. It makes me sad to think I let it go on this far but NOW is all we have. None of us knows how long we are given to LIVE on this Earth and that word, to Live, has been something I haven’t been doing. It makes me incredibly sad and guilty to think I have been giving OF myself and not TO myself, for so long. Giving of yourself is such beautiful, important work, but you first have to take care of you before you can give yourself to others and other things. I have not yet figured out exactly what it means for me to take back my Life except just to start today with doing things that make me feel free, that make me feel alive, that make me feel like I am living for Ash. I have been so busy building something that matters so much to me and while it grew, I let stress take control of my Life and I lost myself in the busi-ness. Sometimes, what slows you down is the things you are trying to make move forward.
Last week, I was doing the dishes and all of a sudden couldn’t catch a breath. A lack of being able to breath fully has been happening for a couple of months now and comes and goes into and out of my Life depending on how stressed I feel and how I choose to manage my stress. I have been living so long for everything else and maybe even something I thought was me (my Brand, Fierce Forward), but to realize that me is more important than anything I’ve ever started or created, that me has to come first for me to be my best self in and for my Life.
Sometimes, the only thing to do is to not do anything. I got so busy pushing forward to keep something alive, to keep giving my all to it, to keep pouring myself into a brand that means something words cannot explain, to pushing and pushing and pushing and in this pushing, I did not see it coming. But what was coming was a breaking point. Life is not to be always pushing, Life is meant to be Lived and somehow, somewhere along the way, my habits added up to a way of Life that did not make me happy. I created a day that turned into a habit of waking up to check my email immediately (I could have set my intention for the day and pet my cats in that time), scarfing down my breakfast while scrolling the social media feeds to see what others have been up to over night as if this is so important (I could have been walking barefoot in my kitchen, making a killer smoothie, hearing the rad sound of blended fruit and slowly, enjoying my creation that nourishes my body), posting on my social media so I wasn’t “behind” on posting and doing it during my workout (I could have been fully connected to my me time and been channeling my power in my time with my body and mind and spirit), to then coming home and grinding until 8pm, sitting there by my husband’s side and working on the graphics for the next project because there is always a deadline (I could have been with him fully and looked over at him and thought how lucky I am to have this wonderful man in my Life), and the list continues on with habits I created that would support this constant forward movement. And the thing is, it’s all based on fear.
I fear everything I have poured myself into, going away. So I try so hard to hold on to it by keeping control of every part I can sink my grip into and keep it moving and growing and in that, I lost Ash. Oh, this is not the first time you have lost yourself Ash, you have many times before and what’s beautiful about that is that you are able to recognize when it happens and know that you can turn this around in any moment and Ash, the moment is NOW. That is the only moment. A friend recently shared with me and our other girlfriends that she has cancer. I was in shock and that day, I cried for her. She is so vibrant and she is my gypsy friend through and through and I just, can’t believe it. I really started thinking about Life and living it because at the end of her sharing this with us, she said, “Please LIVE.” I wrote about it here that day. I can’t stop thinking about her. I can’t stop thinking about what she said and how she’s dealing with this and how she’s choosing to LIVE now. And how I will choose to Live in any moment. I haven’t been living. I have been living to work and to foster a deep rooted fear of loss. That is not living. All the festivals I have traveled to the past year, I never fully let go of this fear to experience them on a deeper level of adventure, fun, FREEDOM, freaking road trips and LIVING. I let worry, anxiety if I would make my investment back or if I could be at a festival and still put my time into my business to keep it running. Deep breath. Eyes closed.
The past six months, I have been in a dark time, having anxiety attacks, not being able to take deep breaths, having a very short fuse, struggling so hard to believe I’m possible because I have not been feeling possible with my anxiety, caught in the act of comparison that I should be somewhere bigger or have accomplished more or should this or that, practicing and practicing these habits that did nothing but hold me back and squander my happiness. Others may not see it and in fact, you may even not recognize yourself slipping backwards into darkness, but over time, you start to feel it, as if your body, mind and spirit give you soft, subtle cues and then, when you don’t listen, they start speaking louder and then, when you continue to ignore them and keep pushing and pushing forward, they smack you and then, you hear it. The truth is, Life keeps moving and time keeps going. There is no guarantee to how many years of living you have.
My eyes have opened. I AM Ashley and my Life is NOW. I am taking back my Life by letting go of the habits, the mindset, the practices and the things that have held me back from feeling free and in turn, happy. I’m starting to think, this is what Living Fiercely means…
I think of the things that make me feel like I am living like: adventure, road trips, seeing new places, feeling free, listening to new music on the back porch with nature, taking walks in the woods, reading, running until I feel my self feeling really alive, reading a magazine with a candle, chatting with my best friend for hours on the phone, giving hugs, feeling loved by the people that love me, laughing so hard I cry and so many more, doing whatever I damn well please! , being so so good to my self and the list remains open for so much more!
Some things I wrote down last night and I revisited this morning are these fabulous, glittering pieces of magic:
I AM/I WILL
+ set my intention for the day while still cuddly in my bed and end with, “It’s going to be a fiercely, amazing day Ash, I can feel it!”
+ walk barefoot in the morning and create a smoothie that will nourish my mind, body and spirit
+ go outside every day and connect with nature
+ my travel this year is going to be an Adventure packed with road tripping with windows down, the Lumineers screaming over the radio telling me to LIVE, hair flying in the wind and sun in my face
+ deep breaths
+ let go of the belief that I could lose it all and replace it with the belief that my life is abundant just as it is, that it’s working and it’s all coming and going as it needs to
+ pet Axel and Leo more
+ I declare to no longer squander my freedom. To do whatever I want, when I want. I have a job that allows me freedom and I want to take advantage of that
+ I want to get a vintage bike and ride it. It’s been so long since I’ve ridden a bike
+ I want to play more and find my inner child again. This adult business is not making me happy when I take it so seriously
+ just so many more!
There are so many things I want to do and I’m tired of not doing them because I’m living out of fear (fyi: this was a recent realization as of last night). Sometimes I think to myself how I can’t do that because, “I have a husband and he doesn’t get much time off or maybe he wouldn’t do it with me” or “I really shouldn’t spend the money on it” or “it will be too hard to make happen,” or “is it too late for me to learn to do that?” Me and you could give 100 excuses why we can’t but the truth is, it’s not about can’t, it’s about will or won’t. Will you Live now? Will you do the things you have always wanted to do? Will you? What can you do to start living today, tomorrow or this year?
I started a Pinterest Board called, “I Will” that have all the things I really want in my Life and have been afraid, putting off, finding an excuse for or just not giving my energy to. Here are some of the things I want to do that I am declaring in my Vision right now…
Windows down, hair flying in the wind. The feeling of freedom on a road trip
Travel to Africa in 2017 to give back
Get a pair of pink 4-wheelers and learn to skate
Get a bicycle and ride…
This is dedicated to my friend who pleaded with me to, “Please LIVE” and who inspires me more than she could know.