What To Know In Times Of Grief

The true test of raising your positive energy and trying to attract more miracles into your life comes in the midst of the toughest, roughest and most uncertain times of your life.

It is very easy, I recognise now to say you will ‘ try’ something when you feel safe with time, when you have someone who is helping your financially, and when your present allows you some form of security, so you have the luxury of ‘ trying something’.

However, as I found out very recently, the moment something happens to upset that delicate balance, when something snatches away your security blanket, and opens your eyes to an all new extent of challenges, problems and negative emotions, it is also really freaking easy to abandon your lessons of inner peace, inner healing and give yourself over to despair, to obsessing about the plethora of deadline sensitive challenges and remove yourself from any spark of enjoyment.

My moment came in the early morning around 2 am in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital as a doctor informed me, my brother and my Mom that my Dad, who seemed fine just a few hours ago was now gone.

In those moments, I felt nothing, but my body was reacting all on its own. I wanted to laugh at the sheer insanity of what she was saying and cry when it hit me that this was real. Just like that, my security blanket was ripped away and there laid stark in front of me was a black hole.

The black hole of responsibility and impotence, because my Dad was the main breadwinner of the family ( pun intended as he was a baker) and now he was gone. In my head, all I saw was how useless I am. How much I had been relying on him and that triggered guilt, fear, anger and loads of grief and devastation.

And for this whole week I’ve been playing games with my feelings, ignoring them, basically freezing them out because I told myself I no longer have time. I felt atrociously stupid for thinking I could attract abundance and flung myself as I always do when these kinds of things happen into crisis mode.

I resigned myself by the 4th day to have to suck it up and give up on any dreams I had, because life was not about happiness, but survival and this was all I was going to have.

Grief is a funny thing and it makes you see things in very new ways, not all great. Yet, something in me, this voice that had been cultivating since the beginning of this year, this voice that suggested the challenge of raising my positive energy and told me to surrender, wouldn’t let me give into my own pity-party.

It wouldn’t allow me to reconstruct the dark cape my new challenges and problems were trying to cover me back in. It wouldn’t let me go back into the black hole from which I have been trying to will myself out of years.

And I’ll be honest with you, it is very easy to feel despondent when you’re flat out broke, when it feels as if nothing you do works and that you maybe too idealistic to play the games of reality. It is not easy to change old paradigms, especially when they seem to be all you have to protect your survival when things go horribly wrong.

And I was deep into doubting myself, deep into layering on piles and piles of self castigation, self pity and antipathy.

And then one day, I went back to my blog and listened to some of my Riffing with Ashlee episodes that I had created in those moments of glorious insight and realised that the woman who said those things, who was working so hard on her mindset and had the goal of living a life filled with happiness should not be abandoned.

Why should I honour my Dad’s life by killing all the life within me?

He sacrificed daily for me to be able to bring this dream of my ideal lifestyle to fruition. He listened to me, had faith in me and how ungrateful would I be to give it all up just because a new obstacle appeared?

A voice in my mind…- my intuition maybe-, is telling me to be grateful and appreciative of the times, experiences and moments we had together. It’s telling me to remember to have fun with what I’m doing and trust that God and Universe ALWAYS have my back.

It’s telling me to be faithful and to surrender to the problems, to the anxiety, instead of obsessing over what it all means. To catalogue all the things that are telling me that everything is going to be ok.

This means putting in effort to be mindful of your feelings and to realise that it’s beyond ok to let fun in. That it is ok to allow fun and positivity into your life no matter how dark a time you are going through.

To prioritise yourself health, physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and social over everything else and to not let others dictate how you should feel, what you should do or to give up on what is important to you.

It’s a tough lesson, I won’t lie, but it really is one of the biggest tests I’ve gone through in my life!

It’s going to feel like it’s you against everything and it will even feel as if you’re expendable, worthless and wasting time, but the truth is…you’re not any of those things.

You are brave, strong, wise and beautiful for realising that adding to the world’s miasma is the wrong path. You’re courageous for listening and tuning into yourself and you are absolutely gorgeous for realising that God/ the Universe has brought you so far, not to abandon you, but to prepare you for the next step.

For me, it’s a test of faith, commitment and to see if I really am practicing what I preach, what I say I believe and yeah, this was terrifying, but not impossible. It’s heart wrenching, but not enough for me to give up on myself.

So I choose to take away from this experience that it was my Dad’s time, it was gratefully quick, and he was not alone and be grateful that my Mom and I are still able to eat, sleep and worry about things. We are in a tough spot, yes, but it won’t be forever and there are so many things we can both choose to branch out in now.

My Dad is gone.

I’m praying he is at peace and reconciled with the way his life was. Just as you don’t know when you’re about to enter this world, you also don’t know when you’re about to leave it. And you have to remember daily that this time, this journey, these experiences are all gifts, to be enjoyed to add more love to the world.


You made it to the end! Wooot!

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The BS behind the Mindset Transition

I have been going through something last week and it has been making me feel like I want to crawl out of my skin, like there is a mass of dark energy within me, that is about to explode, like all I want to do is weep.

It’s a weird feeling for someone who wants to embrace and share joy in her life. It’s an extra weird feeling for someone who is expressing gratitude for all she has ( no matter how tiny or inconsequential it may seem) every morning and is trying to shift her mindset from the death grip of fear into one of positive growth.

I know it takes time people, but let me be very clear about this.

This feeling sucks balls.

Saturday morning I woke up in a f#$king mood.

My parents were talking and to me were way too energized for so early in the morning to be their querulous selves and I just could not deal.

The jokes were not funny to me and I just wanted quiet. I wanted for no one to be talking to me. For no one to be sharing, arguing or interacting with me.

I wanted to watch wrestling in peace.

It was not to be.

And even as I tried to quell the sudden yet ferocious surge of pure annoyance, it just settled in me like a geyser a hairsbreadth away from exploding and burning everything in its wake.

And because of this, I was mean to my little cousin and after seeing the hurt on her pretty face, I felt like such an asshole. It hurt me too, but the miasma that I was in, was stronger than both of us.

Mind you, it wasn’t that I did anything to her, it was rather, I could not make myself smile at her and once again the parents did not help matters. And yes I got called out for being a bitch, which I can admit now, hours later I totally was.

As the day progressed, my mood did not truly improve, there was something in me that was eating away at the very idea of joy and it was not the wonky weather.

I watched a movie and just allowed the day to pass, but soon my niece and nephew came over and their antics were more than enough to banish the lethargic fog that had been consuming me.

Everything about them fascinates me, how they are communicating better, the smiles, the determination, the twin-tuition and of course the dancing and the boisterous fake laughing.

In those moments I realized with astounding clarity that I was being a whiny brat yet again. I was not living life and enjoying it, I was not laughing just because I could, nor was I allowing myself to just speak my truth.

In fact, over the last few days, I had basically chosen doubt, frustration and fear as my companions and had been serving them a buffet of my dreams, hopes and aspirations.

Instead of just enjoying what I was doing, I sucked the glittery, rainbow fun out of all my ideas, sadistically holding them under the fog of my travel companions, because I was too busy convincing myself they were awful ideas.

Yet, here were these happy babies, rolling with the punches, finding entertainment and demanding love and affection, while expecting it easily. Here they were dimples flashing, hands clapping, showing me that not only were they highly intelligent, they were also fast and when necessary very crafty.

How can you stay grumpy in those moments?

So later when my little cousin re-appeared, looked at me and decided to give me some space initially, before seizing her opportunity to be close to me- loving me unconditionally, I apologized for that morning’s behaviour and asked for forgiveness which was immediately granted.

I took some painkillers for the headache I got from eating too late and was sitting at the table, head resting on my forearm on the table, when she came over to sit on top of me. She makes space people. I’ll never understand how she somehow does that when there is only a sliver before to fit her.

We sang folk songs, played a variety of games and I even let her play in my hair. The resulting hairstyle was wild, yet very chic and I laughed right along with her.

A part of that was my way of apologizing, but like 85% was because I was also having fun and I remember playing in the hair of another lady who would let me brush hers, while I filled her in on my latest thoughts.

So I decided to play it forward. What’s the harm in having fun with a 6 year old, who actually enjoys your existence?

There isn’t one.

So yeah, Saturday was a learning curve for me, it made me very, very, very aware of the excuses I was still hiding behind, the bullshit I was trying to pretend I enjoyed and my own fears.

It also made me realize what being happy is about . Spending the time with these children, all under the age of 7 reminded me what life and living is actually about.

It’s not about the money or lack thereof, it’s not about worrying if anyone will read your tales with you make that public or if you’re shouting into the void, it’s not about being perfect, it is however about accepting yourself, laughing because you can and CHOOSING to embrace joy and sharing it.


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Rewiring Mindset and Editing Your Life Story

In the last post, we talked about some of the ways we can repurpose our limiting beliefs and even broke them down to specific situations!

Today, I’m spilling the tea on how to rewire your mindset, which is a fancy way of saying changing your perspective on your goals and your mental blocks.

We’re going to be looking at the things that cause resistance around your goals and how to blast them back into the abyss that they dared to fly up from in the first place.

So how do you go about changing your perspective on these things in real time?

You * drum roll * start reconnecting to yourself.

Here’s the thing, a lot of us are so disconnected from ourselves that if we didn’t live in this body, we would have no idea of who we were.

We spend a lot of time getting to know others and enjoying their company, building bonds and establishing trust and respect, however, when it comes to doing the same thing for ourselves, we shy all the way away from doing so!

I know, you’re thinking, how I can be disconnected from myself; I literally am myself and am in this body, with these thoughts and these feelings!

Yes, all true, however, let me know if any of these things resonate with you …

  Sitting in a café / movie theatre/ bar/ you name it- all alone and feeling lonely AF and hyper aware of other people having the best time. Feeling your heart beat staccato in a hollow rhythm because you want what they have. You want to also not be alone. You feel weird and awkward being alone.

  You argue with yourself a lot and avoid certain thoughts when they pop up because you just don’t feel like dealing with them or they hurt too much.

  You feel like a failure too much, you rarely look in the mirror and LOVE what is looking back at you.

  You’re fixated on working on ONE area of your life because to you it is failing and since it is, so are you.

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of those ( no matter how salty) then the truth of it is that there is at least a part of you that is disconnected from the other parts of you and to be honest,  many of us were not raised to cultivate a strong mental relationship with ourselves to begin with.

We rarely check in with ourselves to see how we truly feel about something or what we truly want, instead, we allow someone else (our authority figures/ haters/ lovers/celebrities) to make those decisions for us, so that we do what is expected and keep the peace.

And the more we do that, the more we start to separate from who we are- hence all those movies about ‘Finding Yourself!” – and the less we trust ourselves, the less we enjoy our own company, the less we believe in ourselves, because we are slowly eroding the bond we have with ‘me, myself and I’.

So to change your perspective, you have to be willing to repair that bond.

I like to think of it, as reconnecting with an old friend and making time in my hectic AF day to spend time with that being- myself!

So we meditate, we check in with ourselves, we affirm our loves, passions, and fun times, we work on projects, we talk, we laugh and we allow ourselves to fall back in love, trust and respect with each other. I become my best ‘BFF’ friend a little more every day.

And all of this goes a long way to me understanding what is triggering my limiting beliefs and certain mental blocks and changing my perspective on what is actually happening in those moments.

How you feel about a situation/experience/thing and what you believe based on those are what helps to make your decisions.

That is why limiting beliefs can have the power to stall and even destroy our success, if we simply buy into them, instead of challenging them and listening to what they are really saying about the situation.

So let’s start changing some mindsets!

First identify your trigger moment- what was the thing that made you think of your limiting belief or insecurity?

Check in with yourself and discover when you tend to give up, get overwhelmed or believe that your success is not/ no longer possible.

When you identify that moment and thing, what do you choose to make it mean? Do you make it a positive or negative thing?

 *Hint* It’s neither. It’s just a thing and it has no meaning until you give it such…so don’t give it a meaning.

Secondly, check in on how you usually respond to the trigger moment in most recent situations.

(Make a list of all the trigger moments and all the things that have been making you pause on working as enthusiastically as you would towards your desired goal. Be honest and specific)

Thirdly, when you observe your response to the trigger moments and limiting beliefs, is this, what usually leads self-sabotaging behavior?

Do you feel unmotivated or incensed enough to want to give up?

Fourthly, make a firm decision here and now that you will start practicing responding in a more positive way when the opportunity next presents itself.

So let me give you an example of how this may play out:

My goal: I want to start a successful online business.

Context: I have launched my first product and there are no sales yet. I looked at my Business account and there are exactly zero sales made .It’s been a month and I barely hear crickets. I feel like a HUGE failure and I want to give up.

Trigger moment: I think to myself, no money equals HUGE failure and I leave the room sad, frustrated and in tears.

Process: I decided that because I’ve not made anything yet, it means that I NEVER will and that made me feel like a failure and useless.

I realize after I’ve cooled off that, I’ve added my self-worth and future success to this one perceived failure, when really I could go online and look at what I’m actually putting out and see if I would buy the product based on that.

I could take a break from this and re-charge my energy so that I’m putting the best energy and intuitive actions into my business.

I’ve decided that I will stop attributing myself worth and overall success in life and business to something that I consider a failure and instead discover what was further needed so I can try again.

I decide that my success is inevitable and I’m going to allow myself to attract it and work smarter instead of more desperately.

Trigger moments happen often when we feel as if something has thrown us off track from our success and if we allow them to continually ‘pause ‘our progress we will start to doubt ourselves more, stop taking intuitive actions and even feel as if we should surrender our power and dreams to someone else.

We will begin to focus more on the problem itself, thereby making it bigger and more significant than it really is, because we are now attributing meaning to this issue, when really we just need to take a moment, focus on something we deem to be going right and go with that, and allow the problem to resolve itself.

Trigger moments are just one of the things that can cause our limiting beliefs to transform into real mental blocks, which are even harder to dismantle when they are in their so deep in our minds causing setbacks and stress.

A belief is simply a thought that we allow to circulate in our minds so much that we affirm them as truth, which means that in all things we do have the power to make a decision on the path we want to take.

It means that we can start to re-train ourselves to see these trigger moments as what they are and take a moment to repurpose them as well.

Next, I’ll be breaking down the real triggering emotion that actually derails your momentum and makes you a perfect target for stress!



Envy No More: How To Be Happy When Everyone Else’s Life Looks Perfect

They are all wrong!

It’s not that you hate your life; it’s that you know that it can be even better!

You know your life can be so much more and, you feel it in your gut, you feel it every time you think of what you’d rather be doing in this very instance if things would only FINALLY go your way.

You know it’s possible to live this free, adventurous and relaxed lifestyle, because whenever you go on your social media, there are hundreds of stories about those who left their job and are now vacationing in Bali, can work whenever and wherever they want to, are constantly partying but most of all, what really attracts you to the accounts are the looks of total bliss and freedom they are expressing.

And those images, stories and experiences are what draw you like a magnet to their accounts.

You gobble up their stories of living a fully free life, of making money in their sleep, of pursuing their dreams effortlessly and flawlessly and you compare that to your own seemingly boring and staid existence while  longing settles deep inside.

man riding on the motorcycle beside woman standing on the road
Photo by Dimitri Kuliuk on Pexels.com

Why can’t that be you?

Why can’t you be the one sharing the stories of living this fabulous life, of going to the parties, of rubbing shoulders with amazing people, of buying whatever you want, going wherever you want when you want?

Why are you only sitting on the sidelines, pining over someone else’s lifestyle , deciding as you  want more that your own life will never even be close to theirs?

So you get envious, frustrated, angry, jealous, exhausted and stressed out because you no longer feel as if your life measures up or will ever get even truly close to all the things you now believe you need to have in it.

You focus on all the things that are glaringly missing. The people in your life, start to point out the long laundry list of things that you have yet to accomplish and compare you with those close to your age or younger who seem to be living that socially-accepted close to perfect life and because you’re hyper aware of this, and it STINGS- it drives you even further into the scarcity mindset.

Where even as you want more, desire more and work towards it, the one thing that drags you just from the finishing line- that you aren’t even aware is  so close to you-, is the fact that you already know that you’re never gonna get there.

And the real reason that you’re never going to get there is because you’ve not been honest about what you really want in life.
tea drinking

You haven’t been honest about what lifestyle you truly would enjoy.

You have not been honest about the fact that you lost sight of your intuitive end goals a long time ago because you buried them deep in your psyche.

You haven’t been honest about the fact that you do NOT believe in the possibility of your life changing for the drastically better without some sort of cosmic sacrifice, (which means really that you have already doomed yourself to failure, even as you pretend to bury that thought).

All of that doesn’t deter you however, from wanting to prove those who doubt you wrong.

If anything, it drives you to all out war, and you hustle, grind, do all the things, but never just enough to actually win consistently, because deep down you know you’re not going to.

You just need a win. You just need something to show that you are working towards success, but whose version of success are you actually working towards?

For a long time, I thought success was checking off my grocery list of things to have, things I had to prove and living a life that was more professionally based than actually feeding my soul.

I spent hours researching how to make money from home, because I felt as if my  job was making me crazy and I was convinced that I could make large sums of money quickly so that I could just enjoy myself without having to worry about money.

I wanted all the nice things- vacationing, expensive dinners because I love food, time to go to the gym, time to relax and unwind, etc.

And I was going to do ALL I needed to do because I wanted this and I SAW others living this, so I could too. Envious?

Of course not, I just wanted to live a wholly different life, just like those other people who were boldly boasting were as well!

At least that was what I told myself.

design desk display eyewear
Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

In reality, what I was doing was counterproductive to any of the things I wanted.

I stayed at home, researching how to build my business and tried a hundred marketing strategies, that promised to work with no large investment, even as  I knew were not intuitively correct for me because I was now fully on into my DESPERATION mode and not the ‘I love what I’m doing’ mode.

I strained my eyes because I was forever staring intently into the computer screen, trying to figure out what I was obviously doing wrong, because the Experts all said they did this one thing and maybe I’m just not good at this… and instead of actually taking time to heal, I brainwashed myself into thinking a little strain was nothing and tried to make myself work even harder all to no better or further results.

I did not really work out, because I had no time to spare  and if I did manage to squeeze in a few minutes, it was to work out the mounting  frustration, I felt at STILL not living that glamourous life! Which meant that I didn’t allow myself to enjoy the fact that I was getting stronger and more flexible ; instead I became fixated on the fact that the scale was not decreasing as quickly as it damn well should be.

I did not really sleep or actually wake up feeling refreshed because my mind was turbulent and I could not shut off my thoughts or the web of increasing fears that wrapped tighter and tighter each day that I failed at my goals.

And in all of this, I spent rare time with my friends, ( citing mountains of work, no money and no free time) , got irritable with my family when they needed my help with anything (because seriously, can’t they see I’m trying to get stuff done? Why can’t they even try to appreciate what I’m trying to build here?)

I got progressively deeper and deeper into the mindset that I was a stupid failure  who was never going to be one of those people who got to just lived life as they freakin well wanted and should just shrivel up and stop, because obviously I was never going to hack this thing.

Hindsight is 20/20 and now I can tell you that all of that stress and self castigation was not at all in line with what I was telling others or even myself  about what I wanted in life.

So what was the root of this discrepancy in what I wanted in life and what I was doing?

My idea of being successfully happy was what was screwing with me and I suspect you as well.

Chatting with a friend of mine recently about life and why we got so frustrated about not having the things we wanted, we came to realisation that our mindset and the things we claimed to want were not our true goals.

It was a shock to realise that even as we were trying to change our lives, we were still essentially people pleasing!

Yes, we wanted to break away from the status quo of white picket fence, and an ok job, where we worked up to 5 weeks of VACATION. Where the amount of money you had declared your life a success or failure and  wanted to chart our own path, but in the bak of our minds, the things that were driving us were not our true wants.

We were still protecting them by hiding them from ourselves and getting frustrated when we were unable to achieve them.

What did that mean for us then?

It meant that I had not actually decided for myself what success ACTUALLY looked like, what it would feel like and mean to me; rather, I was looking at OTHER people’s ideals of success and how they were creating that for themselves.

Isn’t that crazy?!

My borrowed idea of happy success and accompanying envy was what was holding me back from living a life that was truly free and happy. I was grinding and hustling because I was told I needed to and I believed that that was true, even as I was focusing on the things that didn’t mean as much to me.

So if I truly wanted to be living the lifestyle that I knew deep down I wanted, then I had to be honest with myself and most importantly, reconnect to my true goals and desires.

So yes, others were building families, getting promotions, working their dream jobs, vacationing in exotic places around the world and making money in their sleep.

And if I’m honest with myself, while I was impressed by those things, they were not necessarily what I wanted for myself and not intuitively right for me in the way others were getting those results.

That revelation lead me to do more mindset work, to dive deeply into myself and pull out my truth from the depth of the vault I had hidden them within.

When I really did the mindset work and put in real effort to envision the kind of life I was truly craving, I found that what was truly important to me were not necessarily  tangible, rather there were about moments.

Do I want to make the money?  Yes.

Do I want to live the carefree life and own all the creature comforts that I see? Hellz Yes.

Are those the most important things in my life? No

And that shocked the crap outta me, because if they weren’t that important, then should I be focusing on them with the intensity that I had  been?

What I did learn was that what was the most important things in my life were my experiences, my moments spent with those I loved and who loved me.

It was about being fully present in the moment and making lasting memories. It was about feeling healthy and brimming with joy at being in my own skin.  It was about being self sufficient, and enjoying the life I was creating one action and thought at a time.

Those were the things that truly mattered to me and as such those were the things that needed to have my intense concentration. And the more I focused on those things, the more the other things came into being.

The other things, the money, the business and the luxurious things I wanted, all came to being as they were necessary to support my other goals.

( So I wanted to spend more time with my family, then I had to ease off of the long hours and late nights. Same thing for really taking care of myself and as I did that, my business started to actually take off, because I was now taking actions that were not from desperation, but from a true place of confidence and allowing the business to actually breathe!).

I started giving energy finally to the things that fuelled my soul and allowed them to light up the rest of my life.  Something so simple now as I write it, took me months to give myself permission to do.

Afterall, I had been taught to focus on making the money at all costs, on working so hard at my job, and it felt weird to not be giving 12 hours to trying to make money and build the empire.

It felt weird at first to actually spend weekends ‘slacking’, to allow myself to rest, to not be obssessed with the things that were going wrong and to celebrate no matter how small the things that were going right

Even now I’m still struggling and learning to just be! Years of conditioning will not go away overnight. it takes WORK!

And I’m very happy that I have allowed myself to come to this firm decision  to shift my mindset so that it was more centered on me truly enjoying life, instead of waiting for when things were ‘perfect’ to start.

And what really helped me to get to this pinnacle point in my life?

The Level Up Journal Prompter.

Level Up works

This workbook changed my life and the lives of those who have worked through it, by reminding us that we are not in a race with others and that our self is the thing that we need to be nourishing and helping to truly grow.

It has 8 core themes, that as you work through  guides you to insights about how you really want to create and nurture the life you want.

  • That means reconnecting and learning yourself as you would with a BFF. What do you really want, what really drives you etc.

  • How to identify, conquer and resolve your limiting beliefs and triggers.

  • What stories you have created around your life due to your experiences and how they have been shaping your life and how you can use them to empower yourself.

  • How to start truly trusting yourself implicitly.

  • How energy really works and how you can use it to actually manifest your real end goals.

  • Understanding what intuition really is and how to use it to guide you through your best life.

  • Creating and envisioning your Next Level Self and bridging the gap between the You of now and that Boss level person.

The Level Up Journal Prompter is one of the only resources on the market that challenges you to really introspect and not only express yourself but also gives you homework so that you take real time actions that will give you real results.

Nothing is ever gained by just journaling and writing ( sadly), you also need to do the work, after you’ve gained the honest insights.

The journaling  will help to clarify your path, now you have to actually take the steps and the Level Up Journal Prompter is perfect for guiding you to action for making the life you wanted for real.

So are you ready?

Are you ready to STOP being envious over other people’s way of live and boldly live your own, freely, happily and enthusiastically?

Are you ready to intuitively describe your own version of what YOUR successful life looks like?

Are you ready to pursue your real end goals and reap the benefits of putting your energy and effort into the things you ACTUALLY want to accomplish and live for yourself?

If you answered, yes to any of these, it means that you are ready to take action!

It means that you are over settling for less than you KNOW you can have!

You’re SO ready to get to the good part, ( career success, love, money etc) !

You’re ready for things to FINALLY start going your way!

You are ready to evolve and become not only a happier version of yourself, but a levelled up version of you!

The you who no longer people please, or gets frustrated when people don’t get/ scoff at  your vision but gets the results they actually desire, even as they are scared.

The You who is so invested in enjoying their live RIGHT NOW that they are ready to make it a reality and the Level Up Journal Prompter is the first step towards starting the real work to getting there.



How to Stop Depriving Yourself of Happiness

I used to believe that one of the reasons I was not ‘happy’ was because I did not know what would actually make me happy.

Of course, I knew all of the things that made me feel sad, disappointed, angry and stressed out. Those things I could rattle off like an expert when asked or slip them into any conversation surrounding the ‘What I do not want in my life’ list.

Yet, for all that I knew with pinpoint laser clarity what I did NOT want; ironically, I had no idea what I actually wanted in my life.

This was a hard lesson in realizing that just because I knew what I no longer wanted to feel, did not immediately translate into what I longed to experience and feel.

In fact if anything, this knowledge led me to realize that I was riddled with doubt, fear and anxiety over the possibility of good-great- things occurring in my life, without struggle, without pain, without agonizing disappointment.

And to top this amazing sundae off, in this mindset of fear and scarcity I refused to allow myself to think of a world where my life was smooth sailings and do you know why?

It was because I was unsure.

I was now so lost and deep in the state of fear as a lifestyle that I legit could not fathom a world that was better for me. Sure I could imagine nice homes, making money consistently and in high quantity, but it was harder to dispend my belief any of that could happen to me.

This lead me further down a downward spiral, where I simply was unsure of myself, and my place in this vast world.

I was still unsure about how I wanted to spend my days, of what would really give me pleasure, make me smile and just give me that boost of joyousness those High vibe people were talking about over the internet.

I wanted to be happier, to believe that I could do what I had secretly been craving to do and make a wonderful living from it.

I wanted to believe these good things could happen for me as well, that there could be a day I woke up and the first thing to come to my mind was ‘I’m so happy to experience this day’, rather than a deluge of to-do errands and feelings of inadequacy, but I simply had no idea how to even start the process or if I had what it took to make it manifest.

The first step in my journey towards self-happiness came when one day I caught myself actively dismissing something that would have actually made me feel better and the realization startled me.

Here’s why I was so shook: This incident made me acknowledge that I was wrong in my first hypothesis.

 It was not that I did not know what would make me smile, or illicit that feeling of joyous happiness, rather, the issue was that I was actively burying them and choosing to not take action towards doing the things that invoked those happy feelings.

I was basically throwing away my good feelings and choosing to not delve into them, because I was too busy in the throes of regret, dread and fear.

In that particular incident, I had no choice but to acknowledge that I had chosen to not feel better because I had decided it was an inappropriate time. I was fighting tooth and nail for my limitations and could only accept feeling good, or boosting my mood if something huge had happened, or all the stars had aligned.

Let me tell you what a mind-frick it was to realize that I was so attuned to feelings of fear, anger, anxiety, etc that I had conditioned myself into believing that they were my default settings.

I had conditioned myself to seek out those feelings and to disregard the ones that lead to a different path, only allowing them in, if I subconsciously knew they would lead me to those ‘negative’ feelings again.

Yup, I had to look in the mirror and acknowledge that what I had become was a fear junkie.

And it felt bad- duh- but it also liberated me enough to allow me some control over my life, because now I knew for certainty that if I could choose to feel bad about myself, if I could choose to box away ‘feel good’ emotions, then I could do the reverse and live happily!

What it would take is some lessons in mindfulness- so I became aware of what I was doing and when I was choosing to feel crappy over feeling at peace – and it would mean learning to shift my mindset from fear junkie to someone who lived her life from a place of love and happiness instead.

I’ll level with you on my previous concept of happiness. It went like this: For me, it felt like the concept of happiness in my life was just easier to deal with and swallow if I allowed myself to think of it only as a ‘pipe-dream’. A thing I could fantasize about, but did not in my wildest dreams even dared to believe could be achievable to yours truly.

If I convinced myself that happiness was a conditional construct, then when things got rough- as they invariably do, then I could use this emotion as a cop out and something to day dream about, instead of actually pursuing it in this real life.

This allowed me a secret fail-safe when I was in difficult situations, meaning I could say, ‘this sucks because I’m not happy. I just want to be happy,” even as I know full well, I am not doing anything to truly change the direction of my downward spiral.

 What I’ve learnt since I have started practicing more mindfulness and not running away from my mind is that happiness is not a one-off kind of thing and it does not require the kind of ‘efforting’ I once believed it would.

I legit thought I’d have police myself and dream big, then have to find a new technique to deal with the inevitable let down of things still sucking, while being accused of not taking anything seriously.

I also learnt that living a happy lifestyle does not negate over emotions or situations. In fact you can live a very happy life and still get upset and angry about things, no matter how trivial, but the real difference when that happens in you mindset- your perception and your response to them.

For me this manifested in me becoming more appreciative of the skills I am learning and improving on, rather than bitching about how slow I’m taking to learn them.

From what I’ve seen as I investigated the possibility of living a happy lifestyle, genuinely happy people know that they will feel what they feel, and they know that these emotions are not there to derail them, rather to show them what the situation they are experiencing means to them.

They see emotions and situations as neutral constructs there to provide them with information and then they choose how best to respond, react or experience them.

 They have a brighter outlook on life because they are enjoying the experience of being alive, rather than getting back on the endless hamster wheel of grinding.

They know that happiness is a choice and they make it with every option they are offered.

I won’t lie, it’s a process, one that takes mindfulness work to know the difference between being happy and projecting happiness with spiraling and feeding your fear addiction.

I can admit now that the idea of happiness was something I was straight up afraid to believe could be real, because I was too busy looking at how far a drop I’d be flung after rising to such glorious peaks.

So to console myself I decided to focus on the harshness of the world and told myself I could never reach those peaks anyway.

The truth I’ve allowed myself to acknowledge is that sometimes to really reach that plane of Zen; we do have to go through some painful trials as we heal from the inside by resolving the limiting beliefs and bone deep unresolved issues from our own childhood and young adulthood.

I’ve noticed that many of us humans, choose to live on the precipice of living our ‘best life’, because we are simply terrified of the crushing pain of what would happen if the other shoe dropped and something simply took our happiness away.

Once again, let me reiterate that true happiness is a decision and it is a mindset and there is no other shoe to drop- it is literally just what you decide.

I live everyday reminding myself that I get to choose how my overall feelings about my day will be. I get to choose if one person can ruin my whole mood or if I’ll allow myself to be angry over the situation and then realize ‘hey, I want to feel much better’ and take the time to re-center myself.

I get to decide who and what has that much control and power in my own life and I have made that decision.

It’s me. I decide that my life can get better and better, that my life can be more and more fun- that fun is necessary for my well being and it’s ok to indulge often.

I get to decide who I am minute by minute, hour by hour and I get to know that my happy life is something that I am building with appreciation for what I have now, what I’m experiencing and learning and  gratitude for what is still to come.

No longer do I deprive myself of happiness, because being happy is my new default settings.