More Than Just A Birthday Candle

This Friday, I’ll be 33. If you’re like me, birthdays always bring a moment of reflection. I look back on tough decisions, life lessons, what I’ve gained and lost over the last year, and so on – and each time proves another hard learning year was had. This year was different. While I still learned so much, I finally seemed to learn lessons “not the hard way,” if that makes sense. I found myself ahead of things, rather than behind them. I felt alive, rather than forcing things into place. It was a year where I wasn’t coasting – and where I found consciousness.

Last December, I stumbled upon a wonderful human in the most serendipitous way. Unexpectedly becoming my yoga instructor, Jaz ended up becoming my very dear friend as well. As someone who still struggles to touch their toes, I’ve been very aware of how much my body needs to stretch. It wasn’t until this year, however, that I realized how inflexible my mind was.

Jaz and her business partner, Alicia, produce Yoga Evolution TV – a conscious live talk show followed by a yoga flow. I attend monthly to listen to fascinating people talk about different topics, such as meditation, astrology, and self-love. At one particular airing, John Tran (yogi and creator of YOUniverSOUL Fest) enlightened us on the power of manifesting. He explained how important it is for us to share our dreams with others – and how we can actually manifest our dreams into existence.

What is manifesting? Jaz explains it as “tapping into our ability to attract vibrational matches for what we desire or envision.” I like to call it “bringing the dreams from inside our souls out into the physical universe.” How do we do this? By writing our dreams down. By saying them out loud and sharing them with others. By truly believing they will happen. If that seems a little “out there” to you, check this out:

John told us a story about his birthday some years ago spent with family and friends. It was time to blow out the candles on his birthday cake and he had a thought: Why is it that we don’t tell anyone what our birthday wish is? After all, we only get one birthday wish a year – why do we choose to keep it to ourselves? Doesn’t it make much more sense to say it out loud so the people around us (and the universe) can hear it? So on that particular birthday, he chose to say his wish out loud to his family and friends and asked them to share one of their wishes in return.

I was intrigued. Earlier in the year, I started to write down my goals and dreams for the first time ever in my life. I found it strange at first – the things I wrote down actually started to happen! I thought back to this as John was sharing the story of his birthday. I thought to myself – if this has already happened on a small scale, and I didn’t really even know what I was doing, what could happen if I really started manifesting my dreams? If I truly believed in them so much that I could firmly declare to others what I wanted and what I saw for myself in the future? I didn’t know what would happen, but I was down to find out.

I started to declare what I envisioned for myself – I shared it with friends, family, clients, and just about anyone who would listen! The more I said it out loud, the more I would believe in it, and the more things would happen – why I had never said my dreams out loud before?

I took some time to figure out the answer, but it came down to this: Insecurity. Insecure that what I wanted wouldn’t come true. Insecure that people would laugh at me. Insecure that I wasn’t good enough. Insecure because I didn’t know how to actually get what I wanted.

Why was I so concerned about what other people would think of my dreams? After all, they belonged to me! And I had no idea what the future version of myself would look like – what battles I would overcome, what struggles would make me stronger, what people I would meet to lift me up – why was I so worried about the future version of me? Did I not trust myself?

These thoughts made me keep my dreams inside – where doubt, overthinking, and anxiety would eat them alive if left there. I had chosen not to share them (even to myself!) based on an imaginary feeling that my future self might potentially have.

I felt kind of silly once I broke it down to be that simple.

My mind was absolutely blown at how much doubt I had in myself and how it was revealed. That day I made a vow – no more doubt. No more fearing what other people would say. I would tell my dreams to anyone and everyone, and in the depths of my soul, I would believe them to be true. I would manifest them into a reality.

While having dinner last night in Austin, the table next to me was celebrating a birthday. The room filled with life as the group lit the birthday candles and sang to their friend. When he blew the candles out, his friends asked him to tell them his wish. He laughed and refused to tell them. I found myself exclaiming across the room, “No, tell them!” The table looked over and I laughed. “Tell them,” I said again. “Manifest your dream.” This started a fun conversation between strangers. One of their friends yelled out, “The Power of the Spoken Word!” Yes! There is power in speaking your dreams out loud. There is power in truly believing that you can do something. (P.S. Shout out to anyone from Salty Sow last night reading this after I shamelessly plugged this post.)

This Friday, I’ll be 33. I’m going to spend the evening with friends, and I definitely plan on eating some cake – but before I do, I’m going to make a wish and share it with everyone there. They don’t know it yet, but I am going to ask everyone to share one of their own dreams as well. That’s what I want for my birthday! I want all of my friends to realize that they have the power to get everything they want – and that they really believe that power lies inside of them.

What dream have you been keeping inside, unable to tell anyone?

What thoughts cross your mind that talk you out of your dreams?

Can you commit to telling one person your dream? If so, who will you tell?

If that is too much for you, will you commit to telling yourself your dream out loud or writing it down? You’ve got this!

“With one mouth, you can sing so many songs. With four strings, you can play four hundred tunes. So also, one mind can give rise to so many thoughts. Your destiny is based on your character. Character is based on actions. Actions are based on thoughts. Therefore, cultivate morality and sacred thoughts. None can escape the law of action, which is based on the nature of the mind.” (A quote sent to me by my friend Vinod, appropriately timed for today’s post!)

Embracing Uncertainty

I’m sitting here writing this a little delayed in a parking garage of The Domain in Austin. It’s beginning to cool down and my windows are open for a breeze. Outside, the rush-hour traffic slowly rolls by. Two girls are standing nearby discussing their favorite spots in London. If you were to ask me a year ago if I saw myself in this exact moment, the answer would be no. A month ago – no. A week ago – again, no. Hell, 24 hours ago – nope! Life threw me an unseen plot twist – I ended up driving from Houston to Austin last night within an hour of receiving a phone call asking me to help the team by teaching some SoulCycle classes in the neighboring city, beginning this morning at 7AM. I have to laugh when I think of what led to me this exact point – because I saw just about none of it coming but am embracing all of it.

My day didn’t go as originally planned. But remember – we’re not sticking to the plan, we’re sticking with ourselves. Plan A, y’all. We gotta let that go. It’s a constant practice to do so – after all, Plan A is our security blanket. It’s an idea that we cling to when uncertainty finds us. “I have to make Plan A work! It’s familiar and I’m comfortable with it.” “I’ve worked so hard on Plan A, it would be a shame to let that go to waste.” “It seems like a lot of work to divert from Plan A.” 

Or how about this one: “If Plan A doesn’t work out, I don’t know what else I would do,” followed by thoughts of doubt and fear. Why is it that something as simple as a lack of new direction can stunt us from stepping into our purpose? It’s because we cling to original direction because it’s comfortable and gives us a sense of stability. There is a huge misconception out there that the more “direction” we have, the more stability we have. Let me ask you this – what is more stable than your purpose?

It’s not our job to understand everything. This is a human experience that we are a part of – that means we’re going to have to trust a lot more than we’re going to understand – that is, if we’re doing it right.

Think of it this way: You are where are you today (the present) and you have everything that has brought you to this point (the past.) Everything in your mind is extremely finite up until this moment.

Everything that is yet to come (the future) is full of infinite possibilities. We must lose our finite mindsets when thinking about infinite possibilities. Yikes – that sounds uncomfortable. It is – trust me. But it’s so necessary. We subconsciously think about the future and find ourselves in doubt, worry, and anxiety because we are trying to understand everything that is to come – but what basis do we have to understand? Only our past. 

If your brain is hurting trying to digest this, picture this: A caterpillar is meant to be a caterpillar for a short amount of time. One day, being a caterpillar just isn’t good enough anymore so he finds himself in a bit of a struggle, in a dark cocoon having no idea what’s going on. “Where am I?” “How long am I going to be in here?” “What is going to happen next?” This is the scary part – the transformation! A short while later, he emerges as a beautiful butterfly. Talk about an upgrade – not only is he majestic, but now he doesn’t have to crawl anywhere – he can fly! The caterpillar’s purpose was always to be a butterfly. Can you imagine if he would have tried to resist the transformation because he couldn’t see the big picture as a whole?

Lose the need to understand everything and begin to trust yourself. Uncertainty is not a bad thing – it is a good thing! It means you are opening yourself up to growth and opportunity – even if you can’t exactly see what that looks like just yet. It means you are defining your future with your future, instead of with your past.

Believe me, I’ve tried more times to fit a square peg into a round hole, forcing things to work – refusing to let go of a past version of myself that once fit. We need to be aware of the things in our life that “feel forced.” We force our present (and future) selves into our past because it’s familiar. Because it might feel like a failure if we abandon it. Because we’re uncertain what else is out there. But perhaps it’s not the best fit anymore…

The traffic outside is dying down and the two girls talking about London have left. I sit here about to go teach a class in a new city to fifty people I’ve never met. I have no idea what the next few moments of life are going to feel like – and I can’t wait to see what happens.

Think of the next 24 hours of your life. Can you see how everything is going to play out? Now think of the next week. Month. Year. 10 years. How much room are you willing to leave for growth?

What is one thing that you constantly battle with “not knowing?”

Why do you think it’s so hard to trust yourself versus trying to understand everything?

What feels “forced” in your life right now?

What are some small steps you can take to stop forcing these things?

My friend, Alanna, sent me this excerpt on a butterfly as I was about to publish this post – I found it to ironic not to share.

Final thought: “Embrace uncertainty – some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later.”

Take The Risk

Hey y’all – your response last week was touching and heart-warming – thank you! I don’t know about you, but it felt good relate to one another and know that we’re in this together. So here we go…(grab that notebook.)

Last week, we decided that we deserve better than a “Shouldy Life,” right? We committed to taking small steps towards living a life that we actually want. Maybe you started thinking about your dreams and you felt alive and on fire, just thriving with thoughts and ideas…until a small flicker of fear appeared and grew a little bigger the more you thought about it.

PSA: This is normal! Welcome to your human experience, where nothing (that’s actually worth anything) is easy. True fulfillment will not happen overnight, and that’s okay – there’s no set timeline for your journey. Take a deep breath in…and now exhale. Loudly. Seriously – do it right now. It just feels good. Trust me.

After I realized my life’s decisions were controlled by what I thought I “should” do, I started to see things differently. I started to take the time to actually think about what I really wanted in life – I wanted to begin to define myself and discover my purpose. How does anyone even begin to do this? If this question overwhelms you and you don’t know where to begin – just start thinking about what you don’t want to define you, and go from there.

For me, I didn’t like the way I was spending my time. I was teaching a few cycling classes per week, but I was employed full-time as a dental hygienist. While I absolutely loved my co-workers and patients, I hated that I had to show up every day and sit in an office knowing I was wasting my talents and gifts. Bottom line. I knew I was designed for something more, but I didn’t know what to do or how to get there…I didn’t even really know where “there” was, to be honest! I realized I was living a life where I was coasting and didn’t like it.

But what was I going to do about it? At the time, I was in the middle of a less-than-cordial divorce, unsure of what my financial situation was going to be, having no idea where I would be living, completely clueless of how much daily expenses were going to cost me. What if I couldn’t support myself on my own? What if I was making a huge mistake by leaving two “stable” things at once – financial income and a financial partner? Honestly, I hadn’t been on my own in five years – I couldn’t even remember what living alone and supporting myself was like. Not exactly the best time to quit my job. I was lost and stopped in my tracks by “What Ifs.”

One day, in a quite serendipitous way, I ended up talking to an old friend on the phone and informed him that I was going through a divorce – something I hadn’t told very many people yet. We started talking about happiness, and unhappiness, and the way I was feeling about my marriage, my job – my life! He empathized with me and told me about a book he had recently read that changed his thinking. 2 days later, it was in my mailbox.

The 4-Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferris. I read 50 pages of the book and put in my resignation the next day. It was a done deal. The book is amazing and very eye-opening in its entirety, but here was my biggest takeaway:

Tim asked me to define my best-case scenario for fulfillment. What was my dream? At the time, it was to be employed in full-time fitness, nationally training cycle instructors how to make people’s lives better through exercise and give riders the best experience possible, while writing my psychological thriller novel on the side. I would be a Master Instructor within my company, and I would publish a book that would later turn into a movie, clearly starring Ryan Reynolds.

(Hey, dream big, right? Again…my deepest self knew my desires, it was time to say them outloud! And for the record, my dreams have changed over the years, as have I – but that’s a story for another time.)

Ok, so Master Instructor, traveling, book-writing, movie with Ryan Reynolds. Tim asked me to rank this dream actually coming to fruition on a scale of 1-10. Wow – I mean, clearly this would be a 10! Can you imagine? Definitely a 10.

Then he asked what I would need to do to make this happen. Well, I would have to quit my job as full-time dental hygienist, go into teaching classes full-time to advance within the company and dedicate time towards writing my book. Great – then he asked, what’s the risk? If I did this – what would be the worst-case scenario if it didn’t go as planned? Well, I suppose I could run out of money, as I was leaving a six-figure salary to teach fitness classes, and I would have to go back to working as a dental hygienist at some point. Alright, on a scale of 1-10, how would I rank the risk? Honestly, I ranked it a 2. All of a sudden, the “What Ifs” started dimming as my 10 started shining brighter and brighter.

Ok, great – the dream is a 10, and the risk is a 2.

Why was I risking a 10 for a 2?

My mind was blown. I was never one for fast math, but those numbers just made sense to me. I was never going to feel fulfilled if I continued to not pursue my 10 out of the fear of a 2.

I chose to take the risk. My original plan has changed and evolved over and over again, and I would have never guessed I would have ended up where I am in this moment. And you know what – I’ve never been happier.

Take the risk. Don’t be bound by fear. I had fear and I had doubts – choose to use them as tools, and see them as necessary steps towards taking on something bigger than you can imagine. We’ll continue to dive more into this.

Get your notebook. Let’s do some math.

Note – my case involved my job affecting my daily fulfillment, but yours could be different! It could be a job or a relationship, it could be emotional, spiritual, or physical. I want you to think about what you really believe to be a big step towards finding fulfillment and start there. There could be many things, too! But pick one – the one you believe to be the most important – the one that pulls at your heart when you initially think about your dreams.

Describe your best-case scenario, where you be doing exactly what you want to do, feeling exactly how you want to feel. (Don’t hold back – remember, you’re just telling yourself what you already know. If you struggle with this – that’s okay! Just start thinking about it and be open to anything that might pop into your head and circle back.)

On a scale of 1-10, if achieved, how would you rank this?

What needs to happen in order for you to achieve this?

What is the risk of following these steps?

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rank that risk?

Why are you risking a _____ for a _____?

There’s so much more to talk about, but I want to let that sit with you. Over the next few days, just be in tune with how much you find yourself thinking about the first question. I’ll see you next week.

OCTOBER 1: OFFICIAL BLOG LAUNCH!

Hey guys! I am so excited to officially be launching my blog on October 1, 2019! Blog topics will focus around fulfillment, empowerment, and vulnerability and I share my thoughts and my own personal journey with y’all. (Yes, I’m a Yankee having lived in Texas for 5 years now and I say y’all.) Scroll down to the left to subscribe! If you have any topics you would like me to blog about, please drop me a note under the Contact tab. The countdown is on!

xoxo Meg

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