It’s OK to Cheat Once In A While…

With food, people, with food!

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One of my few cheat foods is popcorn! I’m not talking about microwave popcorn. I’m talking about melt-in-your-mouth, I-love-you-but-I’m-not-sharing gourmet goodness! I’m talking about Crunch Daddy Popcorn! If you live in the Maryland/Northern Virginia area, you might be lucky enough to find it at a store near you. If you’re not, like me, you can order it online and the owner, my friend, Dan Bazis, will get your choice of fresh, yummy popcorn shipped off to you quickly and effortlessly. All you have to do is place your order and sit back and watch your mail.

Crunch Daddy comes in 10 delectable flavors including my personal favorites Bourbon and Bacon Crunch and White Cheddar and Horseradish Crunch!

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I have to say, my biggest fear with the Bourbon Bacon crunch was that it would be tiny bits of bacon. I was pleasantly surprised that not only does Crunch Daddy use REAL bacon but it’s actual pieces of bacon! And it’s the perfect, yummy blend of sweet, and salty with just a tiny bit of chewy mixed in. Hurrah!

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When I ordered the White Cheddar and Horseradish Crunch, I was concerned about how much white cheddar I’d taste (love the stuff!) and how much zing there would be…oh my good-food-get-in-my-belly-ness! One word: Ah-mazing!!

My only caution is that you might get addicted, it’s that good! And I apologize in advance if I’ve just introduced you to your latest addiction.

Once you’ve picked your flavor, you can then choose how much you want. Do you want (need?) a little or a lot? Or maybe, not unlike myself, you can’t be trusted with yummy food in the house so you get just a little as a treat. That’s cool. If you have a family of foodies, there are larger sizes for all of your eating needs. Crunch Daddy also makes great gifts!

As a side note, this is a one man operation so you if you like supporting small businesses, you get great gourmet popcorn and you get to support a small biz at the same time! How awesome is that?!

If you’re in the market for some great popcorn, check out Crunch Daddy Popcorn today! You’re going to love it!

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New Direction, New Dreams, New Focus

I’ve shared just about everything about my life here, as I  believe in choosing vulnerability and honesty, first for myself and secondly, to encourage family, friends, loved ones and readers alike to do the same.

That said, I am changing the focus of my blog! What started as a blog about my life as a survivor and thriver has evolved to my life’s evolution into Spartan Racing, training for the same, traveling to races, my emotional, spiritual and physical growth, what it’s like being intuitive and empathic and the occasional post about living with CFS and Fibromyalgia, as I’m currently in regression with the same. Exhaustion is not my friend but consciously choosing to accept everything in my life as it is, is definitely making life easier! I will also be looking into guest bloggers. If we vibe alike and you want to write a post on my blog, let me know!

I will also be posting more frequently. If there’s something you have a question about, yell and I’ll happily write about it. I’m pretty much an open book!

You can also see some of my thoughts, feelings, training clips and tips and other uplifting stuff on Instagram @spartanjillie2015.

My goal is to inspire and motivate, uplift and encourage people on their journeys through life! It’s such an awesome thing, this life!

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Change is…Today is…

A year ago, July 5, 2014, I met an amazing person who changed my life in so many positive, inspiring, good ways. We were great friends. And then something happened. I triggered him. Not intentionally but, being an intuitive and an empath, my energy often does that effortlessly. That’s neither good nor bad. It just is. In this case, I pushed the person away. We are no longer ‘friends’. Maybe someday we will be again but right now, they need their space and, as much as it saddens me, I accept that.

Change is necessary and sometimes when we change, it’s not OK with those around us. They leave, their part in our story is over, for now at least.

When I started my journey in 2011, I remember saying to my therapist, I don’t care what I have to say, do, own, give up, I will do it, say it, own it, let go of it. But I cannot, cannot, CANnot, CANNOT live this way anymore. I am miserable! She was floored but said “OK” and I’ve been doing my work, letting go, dealing with stunning realizations, amazing truths, hives, more tears than I knew a 5’5″ body could hold and remaking my life, with my loves, passions, values and ideals, MY way!

As this change occurs, the purpose of this blog is also evolving. As I am no longer a survivor but a thriver, blossoming into a brand new life, so too will the content of my blog change. I am hoping to blog several times per week and inspire readers or help them in some way. This is a work in progress. Stay tuned.

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What Installing a Printer Taught Me About Letting Go!

Several weeks back I had a client ask if we could install a printer on his desktop computer. I told him I thought we could, gathered the components I’d need to install a printer on a machine with an 18-pin female port. Got as much stuff off the machine as possible to make room for the driver package and the install and finally tried to install it. The machine was not sensing the connection. So I tried to install the other, more modern printer. Same problem. I tried everything I could think of to no avail. Finally, I had to deliver the news: sorry, but you’re not getting a printer on this machine.

He thanked me for trying and that was that. I was done. I surrendered. There would be no printer on this 20 year old machine. Then I went in again while he was at lunch and, for giggles essentially, with nothing to lose, tried to install it wirelessly. I expected nothing but it was thinking…and then, suddenly, SUCCESS! I had installed the printer, the better of the two, on his very old 512MB computer. I bravely printed a test page. It worked. When he got back, I told him that we had a printer installed on the computer. He was quite pleased, as was I!

So, why am I telling you this? And what does a printer installation initially gone amok have to do with letting go?

I was resigned and bummed, having tried everything, or so I thought. So I let go of “success” because I thought there was to be none. And then, there was!

I’ve read that the moment when you are resigned, when you surrender, when you let go…that’s the moment when the magic happens. “The dawn will come when you let go…”

I’ve “tried” repeatedly to “let go” of many things in my personal life that I just can’t seem to convince my Inner Mean Girls (IMGs)/ego to be brave, trust and let go of. And then this happens.

Granted, I have no emotional attachment to the printer, unlike my personal life. But in that moment, I realized the truth of it. That when I was done, when there was no printer to be had on this computer, when I resigned myself to the impossibility of it, that’s when it happened.

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Without trying to, I proved to my ego that it’s true, it’s safe to let go and that I can trust that whatever comes after the letting go is far better than what’s in the here and now. Powerful stuff.

I have looked high and low, to people I admire greatly, looking for a step-by-step “how to let go” guide and try as I might, even when I diligently followed the steps, couldn’t let seem to do it.  Then, without trying or meaning to, I did it. I let go! So, if you’re reading this, know that when you’re ready, you’ll let go on your own time, space and terms. And THAT is when things will start to transform!

Have you accidentally done something similar? Care to share?

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Triggered

The last year of my journey has been particularly daunting. I never know what’s going to trigger me anymore. I keep hoping and praying that I’ve embraced, felt, cried and dealt with every last fiber of it…I know I haven’t yet but a girl can hope!

Case in point: late last night. I’m having a conversation via IM with a friend. I said goodnight and thought nothing of it. Minutes later, I blew me up like a puffer fish!

We had been talking about how exhausting this journey can be. I agreed. Yes, it can be. But it’s worth it. It is. Truly. It’s absolutely worth it.

She said, “I’m tired.” I’m saying now, admitting it: I’m tired. Yes, I’m tired. Between handling my stuff and everybody else’s stuff, I admit it, I’M TIRED! In fact, I’m exhausted.

So after the minute of lamenting about being tired, I admitted something else. I choose happiness, knowing in my heart of hearts that there is a transition coming. I’ve lived through all of this and honestly, my survival record is 100%. So, I consciously choose happiness.

I thought briefly about saying, “Then just let go!” but she’s not there yet. If you’re not familiar with the concept behind release, surrender and letting go, you’re going to read “Then just let go!” and think, “Do WHAT?!”

To be clear, it’s not her fault. Yes, she said something that triggered me but I reacted, albeit involuntarily and subconsciously. Another person’s reaction to what we say is not on us, it’s on them.

As I was reacting last night, I could hear my heart beating in my chest. I truly would love to know what was being triggered since there were no tears, nothing inflammatory or upsetting at all, as a matter of fact. My hives outbreaks are severe emotional stress manifested outward. They’re also the body’s way of releasing emotions. That much I know. What I didn’t know, still don’t as I’m editing this nearly 24 hours later, is what was triggered. Hoping I drained it completely.

Anyway, I digress. One of the hardest things about this journey is not knowing what your going to find as you go. There is nothing to light your way, neither a candle nor a LED flashlight. Nary a match. Nothing. So you’re feeling in the dark and yes, it’s scary. There is no start and no finish. No deadline. “You’ll know it when you get there.” Excellent! I’ve heard that before…

And what are you going to find? What stories? What emotions are buried there that you need to stare down and pull into the light? [Hint: if you sit with an emotion and keep feeling it, you’re through it in 11 minutes, max. That’s the longest length of an emotional arc. My worst, most painful ones have lasted less than 5 minutes.]

It requires rock solid faith and knowing your body and its reactions very well.

In my case, I honestly don’t know what I stumbled upon last night.

I hate to ask that awful question but, “God, are we there yet?”

Honestly, healing my stuff and helping others heal theirs, depending upon the energy, can be exhausting! Emotionally, mentally and physically. It’s necessary work, it’s an honor to be part of someone’s healing story but as a conduit, it can be exhausting. I admit it.

In doing this healing work, the emotion attached to the story, the space or the emotion is the crux of the issue. It’s hard to know what’s what and what’s attached to what. Something is triggered and we react. Sometimes we can choose our reaction. Last night, I didn’t react at all. I actually didn’t give the conversation another conscious thought. Until hives started washing over me.

I know many people who stuff things down because they’re scared of what’s there and the emotions attached to emotions and thoughts. They don’t want it to affect their work, their decisions or their performance. They don’t want their life to be affected. Change can be scary. I get it. I do! I used to be that way.

I can’t say I blame them. One minute you’re falling asleep, the next minute hives is washing over you like an ocean wave. Scary stuff. And I’ve been through it enough times now that I could feel it coming on.

I know my body and trust it. I took an antihistamine. This, too, shall pass.

I just wish I knew what exactly triggered it. And what the conversation triggered. Maybe my general fed up ness caught fire and brought on the hives. It’s hard to say but I am grateful for it because I definitely released trapped emotions that were toxic to me. I’m also grateful for it because it showed me how this process and my interactions with others can affect them. And that’s huge insight that no matter how much I am there for them, their reaction is out of my control.

As I finish this blog, I’m hives free. Completely. Clear skin all the way around. Clear mind and heart, too. Lessons learned.

My intuitive sense says that this was a huge learning lesson, which I got loud and clear, and and a cleansing, too. It’s a blessing in disguise, being triggered.

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Who Are You Living YOUR Life For?

Do you live your life for you or for other people? I asked that question of a client recently and it was met with stunned silence. I’m not casting shame or blame, I’ve been there myself.

As a recovering people pleaser, I know the extent some people will go to please other people, sacrificing their own wants, wishes, desires, needs and dreams because “what would so-and-so think if I told them ‘no’? If I changed my mind?” Like I said, I’ve been there myself!

I’ve also told people that if what they’re planning to do no longer works for them, it’s OK to change your mind. That, too, gets met with panic and abject horror. Wait, you’re saying I can change my mind after I’ve made a decision, told someone I care about that I would do something and (gulp!) declared that I would on Facebook?!

Short answer? Yes. Unless you’re flight is in the air or your ship has literally sailed, you can change your mind. If there’s a lease or a contract involved, you might lose your earnest money but if your gut is saying “no”, follow it. People often have life affirming realizations in a split second that cause them to change their minds. Many times, they feel like they’ve gone to far to turn back (e.g. not cancelling the wedding or the move because “everything is planned and ‘people’ would be disappointed or it would look bad). But what about you? Isn’t it YOUR life?

The world will not stop if you change your mind.

I can hear your argument from here. But I’ll hurt someone I care about, someone will be disappointed, and how do I tell them I changed my mind? I actually had a close friend share plans with me and I told them what I was getting. That was the first question they asked was how do I tell {   } that I’m not moving? {     } Is going to be upset. I countered with “How do you tell yourself you’re not doing what your soul needs to do?” They’re moving shortly. I can’t make you listen to your soul. Only you can do that.

Is your life a mess and you can’t figure out why? Sometimes stuff happens even to the best people. But a lot of times, we’re not doing what we are meant to be doing. We aren’t listening to our gut. Life is a mess because God/the Universe/your gut is trying to get your attention. It’s a hail Mary, if you will.

We’re trying so hard to please everybody, else answer demands made of us, keep up with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the myriad of other social media outlets that we forget to do two things: breathe and listen to that tiny voice in our heart that if we got quiet would tell us what we need to know.

Life transitions need not be easy but doable with ease. In other words, if you’re procrastinating getting things lined up for a move or if you’re perpetually late to work, you might want to check in with yourself.

Are you at a turning point? Are you living your life for you? For someone else? I’d love to hear from you!

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How Much Change?

A different kind of #TransformationTuesday.

July 1 – October 1 How much can a person change in 3 months? Quite a lot, it seems, when you’re ready and willing and trust it’s all going to be much better than it is now. It’s been 2.5 months.

Had you told me a year ago that I’d be training daily for Spartan Races, that I’d have added a whole new set of amazing racing friends to my life, that I’d be driving to different states to volunteer and race, that I’d be launching a new career and that I’d be living and working crazy hours to do it, while transitioning, albeit slowly, to a whole new life, I’d have rolled my eyes at you. And now, it’s changed even more in less than 3 months. Here’s a glimpse:

It’s not a smooth path though. For example, I made a mistake in early July. I admitted it, asked for and received forgiveness. But you only get 1 chance at a first impression. It has changed a friendship I value a great deal. I couldn’t make the same mistake today if I wanted to because I healed the source issue. I am my whole self now, regardless of circumstance. But who I am, my self, has changed a lot since then, too.

Re-setting goals, choosing to change my heart and my mind, which in turn is changing how I live my life for the (much) better! It’s letting go of what (I know!) doesn’t work, being brave and learning to love and trust my self (again). Building my relationship with my self first before anybody else, especially someone I might want to be in partnership with.

I’ve had people ask me about what I’m doing or tell me they’re impressed by what I’ve done but they’re nervous or scared of what they’re going to find if they do it, too. My intuitive clients ask me. I’ve been there myself. I get it. They haven’t had their moment yet. They will. And they’ll know when it happens. Actually, they will have several.

I had one today as a matter of fact. An epiphany of sorts (it was actually more of a quasi-horrifying moment internally between self and me), followed shortly thereafter by a revelation which was followed by a promise to my self to learn from it and do better. I managed to not beat myself up over it; I acknowledged my error and chose to forgive myself. I reminded my self that I control me, my actions and my reactions. That’s it. And that I would and will do my best. I couldn’t have done this earlier this year.

2014, and more specifically the last 2.5 months, has been about small changes, a few very powerful reads (if you’ve not read Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements”, I highly recommend it!), some amazing, supportive friends and family and knowing that I must do right by my soul’s desire first so I can do right by everybody else.

The truth is, you have to change your mind to change the rest of you, not the other way around. When you heal the chatter/ego, everything else changes on its own, for the better, automatically.

I’ve made more conscious choices (in other words, none by default, none by “well, it’ll make [       ] happy so I might as well”) in 2014 than I made in my entire adult life through 2013. In my experience, most people live by default without realizing it. Is it always easy to live consciously? No. Is it tough when you know someone may be hurt or disappointed if/when you change your mind because a decision you made no longer aligns with who you are now? Yes, absolutely. It’ll even test a relationship or 2 (friendships are relationships, FYI). Is it scary at times when you all have is faith? Yes. Is it worth it? Without a question, yes! However, you have to be ready. Nothing happens until you’re ready.

#changeisgood #goals #blessedbeyondwords #almosttimetofly #determined #cantstopwontstop

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