Start Your Engines, Get In Gear… And Drive.

Ready… set…

I get it. It can be hard to get moving. Whether it’s first thing in the morning, or perhaps it’s a project that as you mashing the pause button over and over. It may feel like every step you take is hit by 5 obstacles that either make you stop and reassess your direction, or just have you terrified to continue.

Don’t think.

Don’t do that to yourself. Whatever your mission, your venture, you chose this adventure for one very good reason or another. You probably had the best intentions when you sat down and thought “I’m going to do THIS for x y and z reason” and those reasons got you this far. Don’t second guess yourself. Pass go. Collect $200.

Start Your Engine

Starting your engine might seem like it takes a lot of work some days. I bet you it’s less the physical obstacles staling you, and more the mental ones that keep you on hold. If you remove the monkey mind (that beast who offers “what if?” scenarios in your head) and plow straight through into 1st gear- you will follow through. Promise. If you allow those worries to hesitate you, even for a second, it will take even more work to get you to move past. Those worries flooded your engine. Shitz annoying, right?

Get in Gear

Melanie Robbins had a great idea. Instead of giving yourself time to think, reasons to get out of bed and doing the things you set out to get done, she offers a handy trick of counting down from 5.

“5…4…3…2…1!”

This gives you the automatic fuel to JUMP, LEAP, COMMENCE. It’s almost a challenge, or a game. And perhaps that’s why it’s so effective. Instead of telling you why to do something (like a parent explaining to a child why carrots are good for you) it gives you an opportunity. It also takes away thought and leaves you with instincts. No time to worry. No time wasted. Just JUMP.

Drive

I’m reminded of the military. The military service men and women I know take orders without much thought or back talk. That obedience and discipline, and dare I say- trust in the process is commendable, honorable. If only I could bring that into my own life, right? Think about how they were trained: They were trained to honor their higher commanders, who were trained before them- and everyone was trained to push past fear and DO. We all can apply that advice somewhere in their lives– I certainly know I can! Try envisioning yourself as both your own commander and as an under officer. You set these goals for yourself, now your commander (you) is enforcing them and counting on you to see the orders through. Are you really going to say no? And if you do say no, is that truly honoring yourself and your desires?

Keep Driving

It’s easy to get distracted, easy to find reasons to pull off to the side of the road. Maybe you “need” to check your map. Maybe you “think” you missed the right road. In my own personal experience, I find that even if you did miss the road, if you keep driving, you’re more likely to find your way back on track than if you stop and overthink a route. And if you are truly lost, asking for advice and listening to people who know the route better than you is more worthwhile then sitting alone behind your steering wheel. Ask questions, listen to the responses, and determine the best course of action. But please, God, don’t hinder your progress by stopping. All that energy you could be using driving, is now stuck between your eyes, giving you worry lines, and there’s no sense wasting your life away worrying. Not when you could be out there, on an amazing journey.

So shut up and drive.

Medication Reflection- By Guest Blogger Sean Temple

Introducing a blog post by Sean Temple, for His Art is Heart!

  “How many times has someone told you to take a pill to fix something wrong with your body? It starts out small. We have experienced headaches requiring aspirin or ibuprofen to alleviate the pain. We have used salves to cure cuts quickly, remove tooth pain, or relieve sore backs and joints. Substances have greatly impacted our present reality, having us believe anything can be dealt with if only you find the proper dosage of a given remedy. Our physical forms have benefited greatly from medical discoveries and procedures…

but what about the mind?

For a great length of my life, I have fought and experienced mental illness. Often, many people cope with something mentally affecting them, and I knew I wasn’t a special circumstance to the vast dilemma of staying sane. However, we can never disregard that every person’s life is separate, and that they experience struggles differently. It took me a great while to understand this concept. I thought I was weak for not dealing with it properly on my own, and believed that everyone else shunned those who couldn’t cope. I receded into myself and repressed every depressing, sad, hurtful situation that occurred throughout my life.

Pills were always the first or final solution suggested to me by psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists. The truth is these pills remove the sadness and hopelessness, but they do not make you happy. Joy and excitement come from a personal standpoint I believe to be deeply rooted within our conscious mind. We may feel the affects of our brain giving us the right chemicals to feel happy and experience pleasure, but the underlying ability to initiate it comes from an emotional level. As such, conscious behavior does hold power.

Our will is a tool and asset;

If we harness it, we can change a great deal in our lives.

            Obtaining the strength of will I now have has not been easy. It has taken years of perseverance and tribulations that have tested me time and time again. It’s an ongoing process that I am challenged with on a daily basis. Some days are worse than others, and some days I hardly think about it at all. I feel every single emotion, every tide of anger, and every sad thought. I allow myself to accept what I am feeling as it is. I have learned to not simply repress it with apathy and try to forget about it.

By doing this, every situation has become a debate that I win.

Every negative self-perception is challenged by my consciousness. No matter what happens, I do not accept that I am worthless or that I must feel guilty.

“You don’t deserve happiness.” I am sure we could all list a handful of reasons why many of us might think this is true, but in all honesty, we as humans are not entitled to anything other than the essentials; I believe these to be food, shelter, water, and love. The world is not responsible for our happiness– we are. Once we learn not to rely on certain outside factors to make us happy, and instead find a silver lining regardless of the situation, we become more observant of the gain rather than the loss.

“No one cares.” As humans, we adapt. Most of us learn to cope with a situation and move on. I believed that family, friends, and those I loved would be sad temporarily and forget about me. As logical as it was in my head, I forgot to think it through completely. Many of us do feel pain and recover in time. When you get a cut or burn, the pain remains for a time, and then it dissipates; You heal. However, a scar tends to remain and always reminds people of why it is there. What about the process? Who or what put the cut or burn there? The idea is the same for attempting or committing suicide. People may recover, but they didn’t need to feel that pain in the first place. Loved one’s should not have to suffer because of someone else’s sadness and actions.

“Nothing has gone right. Why would it get better?” This was by far the hardest thought process I, personally, had to conquer. I was so used to everything going wrong that I couldn’t perceive anything going right. I assumed anything remotely good that happened was eventually going to end badly. Why bother, right? I forced myself to challenge that thought over time. I tell myself, “Life is a constant flow of ups and downs. It’s not supposed to stay up, and it’s not supposed to stay down the entire time. Be patient, and take each step, one at a time.” I learned to become more grateful for the small things. I enjoyed even just having ice cream for the day. I took a shower– wonderful! I ate today! I got up for work! Once we begin to appreciate everything that we do for ourselves, we can start moving on to bigger goals. We can change our lives around, whether it immediately or slowly. There is no set way in life to do things, as much as others may tell us otherwise.

Pills help our physical bodies, and I do not deny that they also help those who have chosen to take them for their mental health. We do have the option of willpower to aid us. It is not for everyone, but it is a possibility we should never ignore or dismiss. I believe the human mind is capable of many great things, and we can control our life without a substance controlling it for us. I am happy to know I struggled and came out stronger without pills. If you are in a situation where you have to decide to take pills for depression, anxiety, or etc, I recommend opening up to the possibility of trying a safe medication that can help you, but never feel pressured into believing you can’t cope without taking meds. If you can trust yourself, you can access that willpower. I believe in me, and so I believe in you.

Why I Suck at Life, and You Probably Do Too

I admit it, I’m not great at breathing in life. And I bet, if you say you feel anxious, or suffer from an anxiety disorder, you probably have this problem too. I also bet that if you have a dysfunctional autonomic system, you suck at breathing too. And this isn’t said to chastise or alienate anyone! I think it’s freeing to admit I suck at life. I said it- I suck! One of the prerequisites to LIVING is BREATHING, so if I suck at breathing… I suck at living!

And again- this is not said to shame you! I say this to free you of your shame, and me of mine. Once we accept our “failures” “mistakes” “downfalls” “flaws” (or however you like to word it) and then see it as a starting point for development and learning- then we automatically start to win at life.

I’m a beginner in life. You are too. Each day, minute, second is a chance to “begin” again at something new or something you wish for improvement in. (Wow, I sound so coachy, don’t I?) But for realzies yo, If there was one easy, quick thing you could change to live a more productive, fulfilling life…

it would be to BREATH, and to focus on what your breathing is doing, and learning how to best breath for the feeling you want most in life (ex- breathing for energy vs. breathing for calming your mind).

In this video, I open up about what led me to my path of wanting to suck less at life, and learn how to be a better breather. You’ll hear about the chronic illness I dance with daily (I say dance, because why use such criminal words like- “suffer”, “deal with”, or”put up with”?)

Hellz nah, I dance. I two step. I conga line!

Giggles for Gratitude- A Visualization Technique that Gets You Grounded

I have no clue how, when, or whereabouts this started.

Actually, it’s rude to begin a blog post with a lie. I’m pretty definitely, positively sure this started on my daily commute to a job I used to work… and HATED.

Oh, I tried to like it. I tried to sit myself behind that grungy cubicle every day, 9-5pm, and convince myself that a light shone from within me, shielding me from the negative comments, complaints, and bitterness around me. I tried to convince myself that this Eeyore-the-donkey-vibed environment was making me stronger, building my character.

But no, let’s be honest: it was sucking me dry. As much as I prayed, sang, and upped my frequency in the car- as soon as I sat in that cubicle, for even an hour, I would be back to my original sadness and desperation.

And so, I developed a morning “Tune-up” routine to prepare myself for war– er, I mean work.

Every morning, I envisioned those around me, family, and friends snorting and laughing. Seeing their joy in my mind gave me strength, at least for an hour- but it was enough. It was a start. It was also enough for me to realize that the environment I was in was toxic, destructive, and did not fit my goals in life. Daily, during this practice, I was able to get a gleam of happiness- and knew it existed. I also knew that gleam died quickly in the job I was working. So when I got laid off, I saw it as an opportunity… and I knew it was the universe KNOWING I hated it there, but also knowing that I would never give up. I’m a good little worker-bee, after all, and I don’t back down. (Thanks Universe, for having my back!)

imagining the joy my family has gives me strength.

 

So here! Have another tool for your happiness toolbelt! If it doesn’t work for you, but some other tool does- please share!! I’d love to hear more.

If It’s Not Broke (and it never is)- it’s Abundant!

Keep holding on! Life is full of many twists and turns

Recently, I’ve gotten away from diving in and writing a blog post. I got sucked into my old habits of overthinking and analyzing my choice of words, so much so that my initial, beautiful message came across inauthentic– at least to me. I’m breaking down that barrier, and here’s what inspired me!

There has been wonderful news on the job front. Last I spoke, I believe I had been laid off (boo- hiss!) and due to complications running my own business, I was not eligible for unemployment benefits. Depression annoyingly booped me on the head as I realized I was now unemployed and BROKE.

And see that’s the thing. I felt broke…broken.

It took some digging out of that hole over the next few months to reconnect with my spirit and realize, “Girlllll, you ain’t broke!”

I was actually pretty abundant. All that time I spent wallowing in my little hole of despair, I could have spent recognizing this free space as just that… free. I was in the land of the free! When the fear of losing everything and not being able to pay bills clouded my judgement, I became insufferable, especially to myself. The stress was so much that my boyfriend and I took a break to recalibrate.

Financially, it appeared I was in ruin. Spiritually I was drained. I lost sight of myself, what brought me joy, and my old peppy nature vanished into… well, I have no idea where it went…

But what once was lost, was soon found.

Having been through trials and tribulations before, I took this as a hint from the universe to figure out my shizz.

(Recalibrate!! Recalibrate!!)

What did I want in life? What did I actually, truly, reeeeeeally need?

Being “broke” taught me the lost art of simplification. I didn’t need to only eat organic food from the most expensive store. I didn’t need to stop for breakfast every morning before work.

What I needed was my family, friends and a reason to get up in the morning- and my reason was: I needed to serve others.

And so began the job hunt! Tirelessly, I sent endless cover-letters and resumes out to the internet. I reconnected with a past retail job I had loved, so I could be surrounded by beautiful friends and beautiful clothing/jewelry I actually enjoyed selling. It isn’t a ton of money- but it’s more than nothing, and working customer service keeps me sharp.

I also reconnected with my high performance coach, who always believed in my capabilities, and became her executive assistant as she helped me on my own path.

Along with the lost art of simplification, I remembered the lost art of appreciation. And with it came new opportunities.

“Them that’s got shall get…”

I was getting. And it wasn’t my overflowing bank account (hah.) that was proof, it was my new perspective, light and happy, that now allowed new opportunities for further abundance to pop up.

Once Upon a slip of paper…

While working my last job, stuck behind a sad cubicle, migraines on the daily, I decided to try the whole “manifestation” concept again. It had worked before. I set a goal, asked the universe, oh so politely for my desires, and diligently continued on with my life as if I hadn’t done so. Then POOF, it appeared. So I gave it another shot. I wrote on a piece of paper what my dream job would look like:

  • surrounded by supportive employees and bosses
  • trusted to go out and about to meet clients
  • not stuck behind a desk the whole day
  • better lighting- more light!
  • doing what I love to do and getting paid to do it
  • valued.

Hah.

So many hahs. Why? Because POOF it appeared.

Once upon a Gallery Night…

While walking from one gallery to another, in celebration of Erie’s community-wide Gallery Night, I happened across a local marketing business I had heard about before, but never looked into. As my gaze turned toward their front window, a little internal “Ding!” noise went off in my head, as if someone was letting me know “take note!”

The next day– and I do mean the very next day– a new job listing was posted for this same marketing company. (Ding, ding, ding!!) I applied immediately. And instead of spending hours overanalyzing my cover-letter and berating myself for it’s minuscule imperfections- I said SCREW IT and sent it as fast as I could; perfection had left the building.

And now I work there.

The job I got hired into surpasses my expectations every day. Initially hired to do graphic design, I am now also recognized as a valuable copy writer, photographer, and videographer. Hot damn- I seem to be doing everything I love? And getting paid for it? Um, whaaaatt? And the people I work for are encouraging, supportive, and trust me to get work done. And don’t get me started on the amount of natural light pouring into the office. It takes little to no effort to get out of bed and off to work, and so I am feel very grateful.

In the end, it took recognizing I was already abundant to allow abundance back into my life. Seems so simple, but it can be easy to forget. I created daily Tune-Up routine to help connect myself back with that “rich” mentality. Next week I share part of this tune-up routine in a video so you can learn to bring in more abundance yourself. Stay tuned for a new Sunday Session with Sooz on, you guessed it, Sunday!

Thump Away ‘Dem Feelin’s!

Here is the first ever Sunday Sessions with Sooz!!

I recently got back into the swing of things on YouTube. In the past, I used to upload vlogs and offer helpful tips I used in recovery to overcome debilitating anxiety, depression and eating disorders. There were over 200 videos up at one point. The insights I made drew attention and I was even contacted by OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) to be involved in a documentary at one point. The project fell through, but man it felt good to be recognized!!! Oprah? Oprah… calling me???

Ok, well, Oprah wasn’t, personally,  but that experience made me realize that people were seeing my stuff. A large part of me made the videos and posted them to track my progress and revisit tips I would need in the future. And I found that helping others helps me feel better.

However, in 2013 I realized that I wasn’t taking the time to really focus on feeling better, off camera. I wanted to have a professional career and worried that my past would come back to haunt me. Ashamed, embarrassed and feeling very vulnerable, I removed the majority of the videos that had helped so many men and women. For the next few years I allowed myself space to breath and re-center. I’m glad I did! Now I’m back with even more insight, and know which tips work best.

And man, I didn’t realize just how MUCH of my life was documented! I’m able to pull from the past, when I was at my worst, and share tips and tricks that helped me get from there to here! I’m forever grateful to myself for recording so much. I know at the time, I just felt compelled to write everything down, to video-tape my every move (even if it was cringeworthy.) and to turn my emotions into art.

Every Sunday I will be uploading a new Sunday Session with Sooz, which will cover a different topic surrounding depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Topics may be dark (suicide, self harm) and I am sensitive to those in different stages of their recovery process.

If there is a topic you would like to see covered or you have a question, be sure to comment on the video or send me a private message. Help me help you!

A Song for My Winged Friends

So, I think I may be starting a band? Or… maybe I already have?

I’ve started recording music and songs I write and calling myself A Serious Artist, to poke fun at the idea…

However, I’m really liking the idea!!

Last night a song came to me and I recorded it. It’s possibly still in the demo phase, but I was itching to share it and hear feedback, so I uploaded it and am sharing it now!!

 

Lyrics (work in progress):

dragonfly, where ya goin’
is it some place far away?

i can see you are sad
by the light of the day

don’t be sad just spread your wings and fly
isn’t that what wings are for?

dragonfly don’t be scared there is nothing to fear
i believe in your capabilities, is that all you need to hear?

look up high and rise past those fears
you won’t die, you will overcome

(chorus)
take a breath prepare for lift off
the wind is there to help you overcome
just trust in yourself and you will be rewarded
and soon one day you will reach your home
butterfly you are so pretty but what’s going on inside?
I can tell you’re unsure and you feel like ya gotta hide

But you can’t cuz your always on view
that’s ok, cuz there’s something great, that’s in store for you

Let them laugh, they don’t know you, they’re just a waste of your time
Let them point, they just judge you cuz they know you’re one of a kind

it’s got nothin’ to do with you
fly above and carryyyyyyy on throughhhhhhhh

(chorus)
take a breath prepare for lift off
the wind is there to help you overcome
just trust in yourself and you will be rewarded
and soon one day you will reach your home
buzzin’ bee what’s the rush? where do you have to be? (hah, get it?)
i just heard that you’re the one to beat, and it’s pretty clear to see

don’t you wish you could let go of the anxiety
you don’t have to constantly move around

do you fear the calm and what your mind may think and say to you
are you afraid you’ll fall behind and that there’s someone better than you?

slow it down, smell the roses and have some fun
if you don’t you may miss a ton

I Saw Myself in a Mirror Today and Judged

I saw my past in another person today. At first I blamed them, judged them… but then I paused. I allowed myself to feel their struggle: unapologetically, unbiased. And in doing so, I saw myself in a new light. I realized I was not blaming them, judging them- I was judging me. Although I lived like I had forgiven my past and the burden I felt I had been- I had not. Not entirely, at least. I tried, as I must every time the chance arises, to forgive myself. I had hurt others by hurting myself- and in the past, instead of showing myself love and compassion- I further beat a beaten man. Own worst enemy? You betcha. That was me.

5But it isn’t anymore.
When I feel myself judging someone and their hurt, their guilt, their shame- I am further beating that beaten man- Still. To this day.

We all judge at some point in time. And during those times, we must follow-up with forgiveness, to promote stability and growth in our own lives. Acknowledging the past and respecting the struggle helps build the belief we have in our own capabilities and perseverance. And since we all struggle, and mirrors of ourselves are all around, we have so many opportunities to build and grow. Forgive ourselves. Love ourselves. Respect ourselves. Cuz’ we dope ASFUQ, and we are all deserving of love and compassion.

If you are struggling and feeling like no one can understand your hurt,
and agonizing even more because you wish they did,
but beating yourself up because you know you are preventing that growth…

You are not alone.
Feeling this way does not make you unlovable, deserving of more hurt, or mean you are incapable of overcoming this. It means you know you deserve more, want more- although you may not know what “more” is.

So why not start with self love? Be your own best friend, especially if you are scared to find one outside of yourself. Why not start there? And when you’re ready, I’m here for Bestie spot #2.

I don’t judge. And if I do? I’m not judging you.

It’s Always About the Process

Ya know, I record music in my spare time. I like to write my own songs, and make new arrangements of old favorites. This one here? That I’m sharing? One of the first ukulele songs I learned and still a favorite of mine. I tend to nerd it up, play ridiculously for my own entertainment, and this is me exposing that.

I know I had mentioned in a previous post (this one) that I grew up surrounded by music and musicians. Everyone in my fam-damly played at least 3+ instruments and sang. Boom. We’re magical like that. I tended toward voice, because my arms often feel like noodly-bits and my fingers spastic. But hey! Learning Ukulele on my own has been very rewarding. Am I mad-awesome? Not really, but I enjoy it, and as you can see in the video it brings me great joy and makes me feel like a kid again. So, I share this to let you guys see it’s OK to not be the best, and OK to be OK not being the best.

Who’s imperfect? WE ARE!

When I posted my first uber-self-conscious-ukulele video (note: here), I was hella’ nervous. Comparing this new video to that, I see the growth I’ve gone through- both in my ukulele playing ability and my confidence level. It’s cool to be able to look back on who you were and how far you’ve come.