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Communication. It seems so simple to express how you are feeling. Yet, we often end up feeling overburdened, underappreciated and locked into commitments or undesirable situations because we do not voice our own feelings and needs. You feel bad for telling a friend "No" when they asked you to do something for them (even at your own inconvenience), so instead of turning down the request, you seemingly welcome it with open arms. Sometimes, this might be OK. It is in our nature to want to help others in need. However, that does not mean that every situation or request should be so quickly accepted.

Boundaries are an important part of every relationship — familial, romantic, friendly and otherwise. Boundaries often need ongoing re-evaluation and support. Even if you were okay with doing something five years ago, you might not be okay with it today. And that is fine. We can establish a certain kind of understanding in our relationships if we can effectively communicate what our needs are. Maybe it bothers you when your mother-in-law shows up unannounced. Maybe it bugs you when your friend asks for your help endlessly, but never returns the favor. Maybe your husband is not being considerate enough and is often only seeing his side of the situation. In these instances, a conversation going over your needs, feelings and opinions can ward off continuous frustration, arguments or even the demise of a relationship. If we express our needs, we are holding up our end of being honest in the relationship. You cannot control the response or reaction you receive. In loving and caring relationships, though, the other party is hopefully capable of being understanding of your needs. And if they are not receptive of your communication, maybe you need a little (or even a major) break from them.

A good way to address your needs is in a non-accusatory manner. For example, instead of saying, "You always think about yourself. You are wrong. You should be considerate of me," try saying "I feel like sometimes I am a bit forgotten. I would greatly appreciate it if you could think of me in the situation and how that might make me feel." This starts the conversation in a positive way instead of coming into it with guns blazing. It also provokes a sense of trust and safety between both parties.

Another example, instead of saying, "You always ask me to do this and you never do this for me," you could try, "I do not mind helping you from time-to-time, but I would appreciate it if the favor could be returned."

If the kind, gentle approach does not work, sometimes you will need to express yourself in a more emphatic way. And if that does not work, it might mean putting a pause on the relationship until you and your concerns are heard. It is not always easy, but it is sometimes necessary.

Communication is one of the greatest strengths a relationship can have. It helps avoid confusion, misunderstandings, frustration, arguments and ultimately resentment. Not being able to communicate, and thus not being able to establish boundaries and express needs, can weigh on you mentally, physically and spiritually. You can quickly become drained or find that you are harboring negative energy towards another individual or yourself, which can lead to perpetual negative energy if never addressed. If you are having a hard time deciding what you want to do, how you want to react, what you want to express or figuring out what your needs are, find a quiet place to retreat and meditate or reflect on the situation. Instead of reacting or deciding on the spot how to respond, give it a day and allow your true thoughts and feelings to form first.

Communicating effectively is also a means of self-care. You can cleanse your mind of thoughts and feelings, lighten the “load” that holding your feelings inside brings and perpetuate a healthy means of interaction, whereas not communicating your needs can lead to overextending yourself, becoming burnt-out or experiencing irritation on a regular basis. This is far more harmful to you in the long run.

You are deserving of the same care and consideration that you extend to others. Your opinions and needs are just as important as the other person's. Keeping this in mind as much as possible can lead to better growth as an individual and in turn, within a relationship.

And next time someone asks too much of you or you are not being heard, make sure you COMMUNICATE! An expressed self is the best self.

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Hello, Spring!


Spring has always been my favorite time of year. There is something about this season that brings an added joy and warmth to my soul. The sun seems to be shining harder. The breeze so effortlessly makes me feel at peace. Birds are singing to one another and a variety of beautiful and colorful plants and flowers begin to reemerge, painting the scenery surrounding them once more with the vibrant hues of life.

Spring is a time of rebirth and growth; perhaps this is why there is something so inexpressibly refreshing about this time of year. The once-wilted rose bush blooms yet again, bringing with it new color and a totally new energy. If plants can experience this continual rebirth and growth, so too, can we.

This “rebirth” does not necessarily mean that any part of you has to go or “die off” to experience it. Rather, we can identify and nurture those parts of ourselves that deserve more attention, love and care. Is there a part of you that has been neglected, that you could spend time tending to and watering so that it can grow?

What are some of your goals, spoken or unspoken, that you have not yet focused on and achieved? Have you been meaning to start meditating daily but have slacked in making it a priority? Do you talk about spending more time in nature, but forget to do so? Have you thought about taking the next step toward giving your energy practice more attention, but find your attention elsewhere constantly? Search inside to find what parts of yourself and your life you have been neglecting and find the answer to how you might help grow these areas in your life.

You can ask the universe, your higher self, Spirit or any higher power that you believe in, “What areas of my life deserve more attention and care? What parts of myself can I nurture and help grow?”

You might find the answer as seemingly simple as cooking more and eating out less. Or, you might find something within you, that you never even thought of, that deserves more attention and awareness. Whatever you find, know that you are worthy of the love, attention and care that this part of you requires to grow. You are worthy of the health, happiness and contentment that this growth might bring you.

Spring is a time of reawakening. We reemerge to find fresh beauty all around us. Let your inner world experience this same transformation. Give yourself permission to grow and watch the blessings around you bloom.

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Show Your Love Every Day


Every year for February 14th we buy Valentine’s Day cards for significant others, spouses, friends, family members and even classmates. It is the one day per year that some consciously remember to dote on those around them and let others know how much they care. While romantic and thoughtful, for many this practice is sometimes limited to this one day (or other special occasions) where they show their love for others. Is showing others compassion, love, gratitude and affection something that we truly want to reserve for one day? Or, is this something that we should practice year-round?

Often in life, and in the network of our relationships, we become comfortable. That’s not to say that we don’t care, but that perhaps we don’t consistently show that we care or show our love for others and the world around us as much as we should. We take things for granted, and we take people in our lives for granted. Almost all of us are guilty of this at some time or another, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of, but it is something that we can strive to be better at.

We don’t have to wait until February 14th to buy a sweet card or to write a loving letter to those we care about. In fact, I feel that those signs of appreciation make an even deeper impact if they fall on random days or times when they are unexpected.

I used to write my husband cute little sticky notes for him to find in the morning all the time when we first started dating. It used to make him smile, and he would lovingly express his appreciation for them. So why did I stop? Isn’t bringing joy to his day worth the extra effort? Valentine’s Day is a wonderful holiday to treat almost as you would New Years — with new intents and goals of showing love to those around you on a more consistent basis.

This expression of love can be extended to our family members and our friends, to our children, our coworkers, to anyone who we care about. These individuals in your life deserve to hear on a regular basis how much they mean to you, and they in turn will feel more deeply loved and/or appreciated as a result. Whether it’s through a card, letter, hug, phone call or even a face-to-face interaction, you can show those around you how much you value them every day.

This outwardly display of compassion doesn’t have to be limited to those who are close to you, either. Human beings are all deserving of love, and expressing appreciation to those you run across throughout your day or week, sometimes complete strangers, is just as nice. You can tell the woman who let you skip her in line how kind and considerate she is. You can tell the person behind the cash register how appreciative you are of her friendly attitude, or make a point to genuinely thank the employee who walked all over the store to help you find what you were looking for. Love and gratitude are wonderful feelings to share.

Love and gratitude also don’t have to be verbally expressed to others every day to exist. If there is anyone currently in your life (or deceased) that you have felt/currently feel love towards, simply remembering them or thinking of them with an open heart full of gratitude is a nice way to honor that love. You can even think lovingly of those who you have grown apart from, those who have hurt you or those who might need love the most. Just by thinking it or feeling it, you are sharing your love.

Life seems to pass by quickly. We can easily get wrapped up in routine, but if we consciously take time to remember to show our love to others on a daily basis, we are gifting those around us and ourselves as well.

So this Valentine’s Day I challenge you to not only shower your loved ones with your feelings of love and gratitude, but to also remember to honor them on a regular basis, because they are deserving of it.

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Where there is love, there is life”. Happy Valentine’s Day!



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Holiday Joy


Ah, the holidays have almost arrived!

During this time of year, many are rushing about in an attempt to get every gift on their list for loved ones — the latest and greatest in toys, scarves, tech gadgets, candles, books, and wines to hand off to family and friends.

While material gifts are great, what if we were to celebrate our love of giving to others in another way? What if in addition to the toys, we ask our children about an activity they would like to do that would make them happy? What if we asked our significant others what one amazing date would be to them, and then take them on it? What if we asked our brother, sister, mother, or mother-in-law if they would want to spend some time together doing their favorite thing?

In the spirit of giving, we could give others something that holds more value than anything else — our presence, our love, and our undivided attention. Everyone might not want this, but for those that do, it means far more to them than a gift card to a store.

In the daily bustling about in life, we often forget to be fully present around those we love. Sometimes we are only half listening to our husband while we are working on other things, or never call back that friend who mentioned having dinner together. We get caught up in other things and maybe don’t think about our great aunt who is spending most of her days alone. What if, in the spirit of giving, we paid more attention, set those dinner plans in motion, and brought our great aunt a warm meal and sat with her for the rest of the day?

It’s easy to gift our loved ones with material things, but in gifting them with our presence, we are gifting ourselves, as well. Sharing love is a gift for all involved.

We can teach our children to value quality time with others. We can show our spouses that they matter greatly to us — that we want to be part of truly making them happy. We can show our relatives that we think and care about them, too, and can make their day by giving them the love that they deserve.

So in the spirit of the holidays, and in the time of giving, I invite you to try to give a different gift this year — a coupon for one romantic date or a nice massage for your partner, a day at the zoo with your child who has been begging for months, a special dinner with a friend that you’ve lost touch with. Fill your holidays with the most cheer possible by remembering the gift of love.

Happy Holidays to all! 


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As The Seasons Change

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Change. Sometimes it felt like cool rain after a particularly smoldering day. Other times it felt dangerous. Like when the air becomes still right before the tornado whisks everything away. It never felt the same. But what I knew of change, was that it always led me to a place that I had never been before. And therefore, to me, it was always worth the storm.



I always love this time of year. The cool breeze is met with a magnificent array of colors in the trees—colors that warm the soul and create a deep sense of peace and readiness for the next season. The bright green leaves begin to shift to a variety of red, purple, yellow, orange, and brown hues, and the result is stunning.


Aside for my love of flannels, heated blankets, and warm baths, fall also reminds me of how beautiful transition periods can be. Sure, the leaves fall and are no more. But what once was, is to be reformed and redesigned into something completely new.


That’s not to say that every transition seems so pleasant and welcome at the time. Fall also reminds me of years ago when my father became terminally ill with brain cancer. He was seemingly fine one season, and gone the next. In that short time, I went through more emotions than I can count. I had a lot of tough emotions that I carried inside for a large portion of my life that stemmed from my often-difficult relationship with my father. I was simultaneously grieving the loss of him as a person and father, but also grieving the relationship that I had wanted with him, that would never be. This was a very tough time for me to go through.


At first, I remained shelled up, suffocated in a whirlwind of negativity that I could not see my way out from. Why me? Why him? Why now? I was enraged with God, or whatever higher power may be, and let this anger rule over me, locking myself in my room and trying to push out all of the thoughts that came up. I was drowning in pain.


I was not ready for this change. I thought my life was over, and just knew that I was not capable of making it through this. There was no light at the end of the tunnel, no sunny day after the rain. There was no escape—I knew that I would never be okay again.


However, in another season or two, I was okay again. I made it out on the other side alive. I had, in time, confronted the many feelings that I faced, and instead of letting them destroy me, I chose to let them help me heal.


I made amends with my father in some sense. He was unable to speak back to me by the time I had the courage to do so, but saying to him how I truly felt, and forgiving him and myself, freed me from the anguish that I held within me for so long. I spent a lot of time ensuring that he knew how much I loved him.


In doing this, I noticed that my memories shifted as well. I was able to see the past in a new, loving way, and was able to understand what once was from a new perspective. I had grown a new, deeper love for myself and for my father. I was stronger, and physically and mentally healthier than before. I was happier than before. I had not only survived a situation that I thought I could not, but I had grown the ability to know that I was capable of surviving anything. It took time, but the days eventually seemed brighter. My altered views on the past brought with them a new me, and just like that, the death of one season, brought with it new life, and the beginning of another.


As the world spins, it shifts. The shifts bring about new seasons, some that we view better than others, just as we do with the seasons of our own lives. Some feel cold, dark, and lonely. Others feel warm and joyous. But just as the world shifts, we too, can shift into something new—something wonderful. We aren’t always guaranteed of what comes with new seasons, but we can, with good intent, invite in the growth they may bring.


So, I choose to admire and appreciate these beautiful, magnificently colored leaves, knowing that these, too, will fall and die, just as they have in the past. But what comes next, is something I have never experienced before. The beauty in that opportunity excites me. I await the new season with open arms, and an open heart, knowing that what comes next is something that I can grow from, and something that I can look back on with gratitude. I invite you all to do the same and wish you the most splendid changes this fall.

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