Trip Advisor – Keepin on Keepin’ on, and the Art of Swimming On Through

Just Keep Swimming.

You’re ready. You’ve sat down and attempted to discover where you want to go on your next journey, and even pin pointed the stops you’re going to make, and the experiences you want to have. You’ve even taken the time to chart the distance, in miles, that you will travel.

You’re ready. You’ve color coded the “entertainment” stops, the “museums” in the area. You’ve made a list, checked it twice… actually, three times, and you know exacatly every moment you want to fill with progress.

You’re ready. You’ve spoken to friends, especially those who have traveled as you’re about to travel. You’ve taken into considerations their experiences, they hang-ups, their adventures and inspirations along the way.

You’re ready….But you don’t feel ready.

Not in your heart. Not in the bounce of your step. And so, all these plans, all these beautiful charted lands of adventure… sits stale, on your coffee table. You try to convince yourself you’re ready, you remind yourself of everything you have accomplished so far to get you to this point, but to make that leap, to start driving… to get out there… Man, that’s a journey in and of itself.

And so you hesitate. You ponder. You may even do some jumping jacks to get your mind in gear… but yet something has you stuck.

“Stuck? We hear ya.”

And that something is You. And it hurts. And you know this, either on a subconscious level, or a very surface level. You know you are limiting yourself, something has you believing you aren’t capable of taking that most important step. And so this knowledge builds and builds, hitting you over and over in your mind like a hammer. BAM… BAM…

Either externally or internally, you’re reaching a breaking point. Will you scream “F-CK IT” and jump? Or will you burst into tears, cut down repeatedly by your own blows, and hide in a corner.

Fight? Flight?

And shame still has you cornered. It’s visceral, or so visceral. Perhaps it’s hiding behind glossed eyes, perhaps it’s beating harder and harder in your chest. Perhaps, it’s making you sweat, or making you scream, or making you punch walls, drop kick unsuspecting objects on the floor, or yelling at your cat for sitting where he’s sitting. Either way, you’re stuck- and you’re mad about it- or you’re sad about it- or you’re absolutely enraged by it.

But don’t be. Don’t further resist and blame yourself for feeling scared or stuck. Embrace it.

“Embrace it? For realz? How does one do that? How can I possible be ok with being a fraidy-cat, a nervous Nelly, a ….a ….”

Yes, embrace it. As soon as you allow yourself space to feel stuck, feel scared- it will pass faster than if you skip over this very important step- that of Acceptance.

You’ve heard it before, fear teaches us many things. Fear keeps us alive. And it does! Fear and hesitation acts as a moment for us to assess important situations, take a moment to breath, or reconsider our actions. It helps reduce destructive impulses and actions we may soon regret. It CAN be your best friend. It can also be your most annoying, insecure friend who bombards you with “what if?” scenarios. Each moment, recognize fear, and consider what he/she is saying to you.

What points do you agree with that fear? What points do you know are a load of BS?

Many call this a pros/cons list.

But, let’s try something new. Take a moment to write about your friend: Fear.

  1. Ask yourself: In what ways has Fear saved my life, or been there for me in the past? (Maybe alerted you to a dangerous situation? Possible let down? Red flags?) In what ways has he/she been a boss and stood up for you, putting you in a protective bubble, giving you confidence to get away or stand up for yourself?
  2. Now- before we list the negatives of fear, THANK fear. Thank that mofo biotch for keeping a watchful eye out for you. Thank them for their constant vigilance, their unshakable stance, and their acute eye for the devil in the details.
  3. Now take a breath. And, with compassion, let fear know you can take it from here. Tell your friend you appreciate their concern, and you take what they say to heart and see it as their way of showing love and care. Be grateful he/she is in your life as a lovely stop sign to help you really decide what is best for you. But the light is now green.
  4. Decide for yourself. This is the scary part- and this is the part where your friend, Fear, may be bouncing up and down trying to stop you over and over with their opinion, even after you’ve shown your appreciation, even after you assured them you’re going to be ok. You have the angel and devil on your shoulder, but you can’t tell which is which! Is stopping your plans a GREAT idea? Or a bust? What if? What if?

I can’t tell you how long this process may take. I can tell you, it doesn’t have to take long, and it also doesn’t have to take an instant. Reconsider your plans if it feels right to you. Take fear into consideration if you feel in your gut something is keeping you at a standstill for a reason.

But, if you ARE ready, (and, know, that I believe in you!!) if you have been ready- and Fear, your friend, has been the one holding you back, despite your perfectly charted plans? Give him/her a hug, hold their hand, and walk into the uncomfortable, uncertain future… together.

I’ll see you on the road, dear wanderer. I hope you get a chance to meet my friend, Fear sometime as well, (though she can be a bit of a brat.) She has some good insights.

Fear’s your friend (sometimes.)

What Do I Need To Be Happy? – The Post Break-Up Question to Ask Yourself

After a break up, we’re often thrown out of wack. Kept in this ping-pong type insanity of wishing they’ll come back, and hoping to high heavens they don’t. Then agonizing that we feel like victims, and being too forceful to-get-over-it-already and find control in the situation by focusing on passions, or hiding in a depressive mess on our beds (or floor, whichever looks comfiest).

I got dumped. There. It happened. I said it. Dumped.

It sounds dramatic, and vulgar to say it that way- the opposite of how the end went down for me. Sure, I cried (a lot) and sure, he held me (so lovingly…) but I didn’t set the bed on fire, or give a Xena-warrior-princess shrill cry as I stabbed him in his heart with a sword (much like how my heart felt). I loved him. love him. loved him. love him.

Whichever,

doesn’t matter now, does it?

But either way- every moment I feel some emotion related to the unseen blow… hurts. But I’m convincing myself that it also gives me another opportunity to assess the question….

DaFUQ do I want in life??? Is how I’m living this life… how I want to be living?

And it sucks that it takes a loss of someone in my life to bring this question to mind. And sure, I admit, I wondered this constantly before this past relationship ended, but never to this degree of “Welp, better figure this out now!”

Being single (*cringe- not used to that term yet*) means I don’t have anyone to love as openly as I had, or pamper as much as I want to. Who am I if I can’t care for another person?

That’s what my post-break up mind is wondering. So, In response- I sat down and started my list of “What do I need to be happy?”

This list was different than the first list I made, titled: “My new guy”, in which I detailed every nuance of a perfect mate. (“Delicious man-scent, cleans up after himself, keeps his f$%%$ promises…” etc)

And it was very different than my Pros and Cons list of my (new) ex, in which I examined what the hell I NEVER want in my life again… and gee golly, what I wish I had in my life constantly still…

Nope. This “What do I need to be happy?” list turned a very different corner for me.

I thought it would have things like “snuggly, cuddly animals to cry on when I’m sad”, or “punchable face pillow that resembles my ex”, or even a good mix of the two… “punchable face pillow that resembles my ex that I want to cuddle and cry on.”

But instead, it got down to the bare necessities.

  • Nature
  • Sun
  • Quiet
  • Music
  • Wind
  • Water
  • A hand to hold
  • Skin to touch and love
  • Eyes to love
  • A bathtub
  • Animals to pet
  • Stairs to climb
  • Balcony to overlook
  • Legs to walk
  • Scruffy face to feel (his)
  • Instruments to play
  • Paint to splatter
  • Books to read
  • Hands to heal
  • Light dresses to dance in
  • Blankets to lay on and under
  • Camera to see
  • Computer and phone to share
  • Jewelry to remind me
  • Clothing to express…
  • Faith to believe
  • Strength to continue
  • Courage to begin
  • Wisdom to let go.

My list began with what feels happy to me, and happy for me was feeling alive: Feeling wind on my face, sun on my skin, water flowing past me. Feeling soft animals, scruffy faces, wearing light flowy clothes…

But the last four on the list took me by surprise, and also seemed to make the most sense. Hardly a thought crossed my mind as I wrote them, and it seemed as though some other force was working through me, counseling me on how best to get through this new journey.

And yet, reviewing them now, I wonder- how do I know which trait to enact, given the situation? Will I know what to let go of, and what to have the strength to continue with? Ah, so many questions. But I know that each moment after this break up, as long as I rely on listening to myself and allowing myself to heal and feel as I need to, I will be ok.

And so, I leave you with this song- which is often seen me through times of uncertainty and change.

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.

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.

Let Loose, Get Kickin’ !

Swish

I always think of that one scene in Garden State, where Natalie Portman’s character says:

You know, back in High School I was a clown. I was in theatre, I was big (in spirit) and loud! I laughed, I danced, and I made weird noises… a lot like Natalie Portman in this scene. These days, I recognize how timid I am in comparison.

With fears centered around “don’t get fired”, “Make that money!” “be grateful, or else suffer!” It’s hard to live a life free, loose. It’s easy to fall into thinking about pleasing others first, because you have internalized society’s fears. It’s hard not to! We’re surrounded by it!

I miss those good old days though. Cliche’? I remind myself often that it’s a state of mind though. I am still technically that loud, slightly obnoxious teen who loved and lived life with open arms. Admittedly, I conked out in College. Depression and Anxiety set in, I missed my family and friends from high school dearly, and my sadness swept away my vibrato. I was lost for a few years, 8 to be exact. Then, I found the light again after years of therapy and realizing the light was always there, it had just gotten overshadowed for a bit.

I learned a lot from those dark years, and it deepened my understanding of the human condition for sure. My “empathy bone” (as I like to call it) grew, and I slowly learned the lost art of compassion. The biggest way to be compassionate is to first start with yourself. And every moment that I find myself thinking ‘I miss that lively girl I used to be” is every moment I could be living as the beautiful, matured, compassionate person I’ve grown into being. Yeah, Teen-me was a LOT of fun, and hilarious! And I still embody those traits, though they may be more subtle. I don’t need to beat myself up for NOT being the young, somewhat blissfully ignorant me. I can embrace this new chick; she’s pretty dope too.

And Ah, the memories! I have so many great memories to be proud of and so many more to create. Feeling sad missing the past robs me of the beautiful moments now, that will be just as memorable in 5 years.

Do not lament me, for I am still kickin’.

Share Your Spark: Sarah Bennett, the Multi-Passionate Soul

sarah_dress_11web

You could say Sarah Bennett, of Bennett Trails blog, is my tutee (hah! Funny word, right?) Months ago, she asked me to tutor her in graphic design and photography. She has big dreams to start her own Etsy shop and loves the process of learning as much as possible. Honestly though, Sarah has become one of my closest friends here in Erie and I learn so much from her. We’ve taken sewing classes together, gone on photo-adventures, and scoured Salvation Army’s and Goodwills for vintage finds. Meeting with her weekly has been a breath of fresh air. Not only do our mutual interests stop at artistic pursuits- but she’s my soul sister! We encourage each other to follow our hearts, have guts, and to NEVER forget to love! So, in this edition of Share Your Spark, I introduce:

Sarah Bennett, age 31: Multi-Passionate Soul currently living in Erie, PA.

Myself, left, with Sarah Bennett, on right

I was born in California,

grew up in Salem, Oregon

went to college in Spokane, Washington

moved back to Oregon for a few years

then moved out to Vermont for a few years

and have been living in Erie, PA for the past four years now.

I think living so many places has shaped me to be a more flexible/adaptable individual and stronger in knowing who I am and what I value in life. I feel fortunate to have lived (in my opinion) in the prettiest regions in our country. I love New England and I also love the Northwest; both areas feel like home to me. I am drawn to green, 4 seasons, and living an active, creative life. I believe the areas I have lived in made me realize these things mean a lot to me. 

sarah_dress_14web

What activities do you enjoy doing in your free time?

 I enjoy going on hikes or runs with my husband and our dog Odin. I love going on country drives and exploring back roads with some good tunes playing. I really enjoy singing/playing music with my husband, taking it easy in the morning with a cup of coffee, snuggling, and practicing yoga. Above all, I mostly just love getting deep into my creative work with no restrictions or interruptions.

 In what ways are you involved in the community?                                                                            

My situation is a bit different. We are preparing for a big move back to Oregon in the beginning of June so quite honestly I haven’t felt completely invested in the community lately! I did get pretty involved with the Erie Art Museum last year; I took quite a few classes and volunteered to take photos for an event. It was nice getting involved there– I definitely felt like I was around my people, which is good to know for the next place we are moving to! I also feel like I have been involved at Asbury Woods during my time here, just by being such a frequent visitor there. That place is a gem in this community; it has been my go-to for recharging and reconnecting over the past four years. I’m extremely grateful for Asbury Woods!

 Where do you go to find peace in the world?

I go to nature to find peace. I always feel revived and renewed after taking time to get lost in the woods or even just taking a short walk to get fresh air, away from the rat race. Also, a hot bath with a candle lights is my other place to find peace.

sarah_dress_8web

 What inspires you the most?

That’s a hard question… so many things really inspire me, it’s hard to say what most inspires. Music, traveling, interactions, colors, seasons, experiences, reflection… I guess just life in general inspires me most. There is always something that pops up in one way or another that will spark an “Aha!” moment.

Creative women taking risks, following their heart, and doing things their own way are my role models; Women who are wildly successful in their specific path and living their truth, inspire me.

 What challenges have you faced in life?

I have struggled with self-confidence and pretty bad anxiety. I have also struggled with finding my place in this world. It can be hard being a multi-passionate soul because you can see yourself doing many different things and you have lots of ideas and passions. It has been hard to dig deep on that front and get clear. But also, coming to terms with being a multi-passionate and being okay with that has been a struggle. Honestly, when I heard the term “multi-passionate creative” it felt like a diagnosis! When I started hearing that other people like me were out there, I felt a little more at ease with who I am naturally. We all are here for a reason. I like the visual of seeing us all as individual puzzle pieces that are needed to complete the big puzzle-picture. It’s taken a long time for me to see what gifts I have to offer, where my place is, and where I feel most connected and understood­– But man I have come a loooong way.

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 What advice would you give others who are going through similar experiences?

I would say dig deep and be kind to yourself in the process. Find yourself a counselor you connect with and do the work to ask yourself the important questions:

Who am I?

What lights me up?

What are the things that make me nervous?

What can I do to dampen my anxiousness?

Above all, I must stress just be kind to yourself, listen to what YOU need. We’re all uniquely different and we each have our own path. Take the time to get quiet, feel all your feelings and let the healing begin.

 What current obstacles would you like to overcome?

I still struggle with some fear and self-doubt. I think it’s important to have a healthy dose of fear but I’m working on making sure fear only comes up when extremely necessary. I’ve come a long way in overcoming self-doubt and I am still continuing to work on that in life! I’m proud of where I am today and see that all my struggles are actually my biggest successes.

 How do you think you can overcome them?

I think by just continuing to be present, practicing positive self-talk and staying committed to my meditation practice I can overcome future obstacles. My spiritual practice has gone through ups and downs but it is the one thing that keeps me grounded. I devoted a year to a yoga teacher training in Vermont in 2010 and that year was the beginning of my personal spiritual path. I’m so extremely grateful for that program and the time I gave myself to devote to a yoga practice; it was my gateway.

Also, I know this isn’t for everyone– but therapy has proven to be very helpful to me. It’s just nice to have someone who listens to you, who is neutral. Therapy is my time to talk fully about me without feeling like I’m over-stepping any boundaries in the relationship.

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What is the one thing you want people to know about you when they first meet you?

I may come off quiet and reserved at first, but really I’m just taking in my surroundings and listening. I take a while to get to know. My personality has always been: if I open up to you and let you in, you must be pretty special to me. I tend to be more private and more introverted than extroverted. I have always had a few close friends I know would always be there for me rather than a ton of friends that are at a surface level. I take my relationships to heart. I care a lot and put great energy into important connections.

 How do you wish people saw you?

I wish people saw me as a woman who is driven to live a life from her creative heart. I wish people saw me as loving, devoted, and a caring person who just wants to live a light-filled life and exudes light and love!

 What are you most proud of?

I’m proud of the life I have built with my husband. We started dating rather young, at age 21, but marrying him at age 26 was hands down the easiest decision for me. I love living our life together. He has been such a support in my journey; we both support each other’s dreams and are committed to living our dreams together. We truly enjoy each other and it’s been a joy to see us grow both individually and together.

I also am really proud of all my struggles I have gone through personally: The anxiety, the feeling lost, all the jobs I’ve held that left me feeling empty inside. These struggles have made me stronger and made me do the important work I am here to do: to ask myself the big questions and grow in my personhood. I am proud of these struggles because it’s brought me to the woman I am today. I know myself and love myself more and more because of these struggles.

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 Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

We’ll be living in Oregon, my husband will be finishing up residency. I see myself as a Mom to either one or two babies within the next five years. I see myself living my dream; getting paid to do creative work I love­– specifically running an online shop and doing freelance design and photography work– and growing in my creative profession. I see myself working from home in a light-filled office space and enjoying a flexible schedule, loving every moment of this precious life with the people I love.

 What is a quote you wish to live by that motivates you? Why does it impact you so much?

 Ohh geez this is hard! I am a quote fanatic. Quotes are the majority of my pins on Pinterest currently! Here are three of my current favorites that inspire and motivate me. All three motivate and speak to me in a different ways. Mostly, they each motivate me to just be ME, have faith and be grateful. A grateful heart brings abundance; I have experienced this time and time again.

 “The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling.” –Fabienne Fredrickson

 

 “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”– John Lennon

 

 “No matter what the situation is…close your eyes and think of all the things you could be grateful for in your life right now.” -Deepak Chopra

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 How can people connect with you?

I am very active on Instagram, @sariehere. That platform is devoted to my passions for home décor and photography. I also run a blog at bennetttrails.com.!!!

Stay tuned to recent blog posts to come here on Her Art is HEART! Sarah and I took many photos at our last shoot have many exciting images to share!