I have created a vision board for every month, the past three years. But two months ago, I just couldn’t make one. I sit down at my desk, light a candle and turn on my favorite music: natalie merchant or the lumineers earlier this year. It’s a ritual that I have always loved, putting myself into what is an expression of myself and intention for others. Two months ago, I was going through a difficult time in my company and in my personal life and both were connected deeply. I was questioning so many things and making tough decisions that involved other people and were ones I never anticipated coming up when I started this company, but has come up over and over again. I received much lashback and to this very day, receive emails and unsubscribe letters from women expressing their dislike of me. What was the hardest was when my mom called me after she saw a public announcement of women joining forces to speak their dismay for me. That one was really hard. It really made me question what I was doing in my life. I shut down and I also needed to step away. In all honesty, I was crushed, I didn’t understand and I didn’t know how not to take it all so personally. What I do with Fierce Forward IS me. I had to find me again because if I am not whole and complete, I can’t do this or anything else without just faking it to make it and that’s not how I want to live my life. So I got quiet and remember, I took a picture of myself after I got really sad and I promised myself I would follow my heart for me now. That everything I have built, I might have to let go of it so I can find me again. I turned my vision back around to me. I knew that my choices were the right choices for me and while I have never experienced this kind of dismay from so many people at one time in my life, I had to do the work of knowing who I am through all of this. I felt such a lack of love that I knew that I had to love myself more than ever now. I really shut down and I felt myself put a big wall up with women. I could have shared my story and defended myself but that’s not what felt right. My passion is to be good to other women, to empower them to see their beauty, to know that they are limitless and to discover their fierce. I’ve only ever wanted to help. I remember my first yoga class when this all was happening, my teacher said to me, “Ashley, your heart chakra is closed.” I was surprised but it all felt so clear after she said that to me. I have felt a weight on my chest, with my anxiety visiting me almost daily those days and I felt so completely disconnected from my purpose, from others and from myself. Deep breath.
It’s not easy to be vulnerable and I am sharing this because I know what it feels like to feel alone and I am ready. I hope you know how so not alone you are. Even if you feel like the world is against you, there are good people out there that DO have your back and above all, there is YOU. And you gotta work daily on that self love and be passionate about it. No one is going to do it for you and in fact, most of the world will want to undo it because so many people are unhappy in their lives and it’s a reflection of how they live their lives and how they feel about themselves. The same for how you treat others. And there is you and how you treat yourself.
In this dark time for me, I felt so alone. I felt on an island and I hit rock bottom. I faked it, hoping no one would see and I kept quiet and I didn’t know where Ash went. And it was in this time and through this time of challenge that I learned how to step up for me again. I learned how important it is to always, love yourself. I learned that I can’t tie my self worth to outside sources and I was doing that. With my business, if it was working, if women liked me and all of these things felt like they were crumbling and so went my self worth right with it. And I had a decision to make, I could keep wrapping myself up in feeling alone, in feeling all this hate and dislike of me…or I could fill up my own damn cup and know that no matter what, I had my back. No matter what happens in life, good, bad or cruel…that I will always be there for me, because I know my heart and I love me. Man, what a game changer this year has been. I lost my Fierce and I didn’t know how to Fierce Forward anymore. And I’m supposed to be a goal coach, a yoga teacher, an inspiration to others to Fierce Forward and to lead retreats to empower women and here I was…feeling worthless and lost and it wasn’t until I got quiet and looked at what really mattered, that I found it. And now, I think I am more connected with what Fierce Forward means to me than I could have ever imagined three months ago. And sometimes, you just have to start over and often times, we *think we lose things when we start over. We let go of things and things leave us and maybe, some of the things we lose is actually a gain. I dumped my baggage of what others thought about me and I gained a knowing of who I am. I realized that I will never be happy if I measure my self worth with sources outside of me and while I lost that too, I gained from that loss. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of you. What matters is what you *know about yourself. It doesn’t matter how much success you have, or who likes you. What matters, is how much YOU like you. And when you love yourself, no one and nothing can touch you without your consent.
Last week, I was watching This Is Us, an incredible show on real life and every episode I have cried. I have just felt so connected to the message and to each character and I see myself in each of them in different seasons of my life. Then, a commercial came on with balloons in the sky and the song I Will Follow You and it went, “I will follow you, wherever you may go. There isn’t an ocean too deep, a mountain so high it can keep, keep me away from you. I love you I Love you I love you. Where you go I’ll follow. You’ll always be my true love forever.” And I knew, that I understand finally. Never let yourself keep yourself away from yourself. Love yourself fiercely and be your true love always.
I don’t know along the way, when I stopped being in the work of loving myself or putting myself first, but I know that I have come home and that we need every lesson that presents itself to us as the darkness. It is always darkest before the dawn and even if all you can do is crawl your way to the sun, then damnit, you’re crawling home and that is…Fiercing Forward!
So here I am, with November’s Vision board, all about knowing yourself, trusting your gut, conquering from within and always, rising up so that you can Fierce Forward for you.
If you are here right now, thank you.
And hey, if you are feeling alone, remember to always follow you. This ones for you:
I started making a Facebook Cover photo for you each month, that’s below. Grab the images or get the PDF to print here: ffnovembervisionsquare.