Nothing Is Promised: Treasuring The Love You Have

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When I was little, I asked my father why there were so many songs about love on the radio. He told me it was because love is the greatest thing on earth. I didn’t understand at the time, but the older I get, the more important love becomes. In fact, I feel like my capacity to give and receive love grows every year.

A few days ago, I was talking to my BFF Kat — the infamous Rock N Roll Bride — when she told me that she’d just received an email from a woman about an engagement video. It’s excerpted below.

My name is Lucy Pope and my fiancé is Daniel Marshall, our wedding was booked for 22nd October this year and we were so excited. We had grand plans including a whole bunch of flamingos, multi-coloured balloons, balloons spelling ‘Fuck Yeah Dan & Lucy’, our dog dressed as Pikachu, general craziness. Daniel described it as ‘like a rainbow has thrown up everywhere’! In short, it was going to be a day of happiness and mentalness perfectly summing us up. … Three weeks ago Daniel collapsed at home from a suspected stroke, two days later he passed away after we were told that his cancer had returned and spread to his brain and his lungs. He was 29.

I watched their engagement video with tears in my eyes.

The other day as I flew home from Miami, I read Lily Dale: The True Story Of The Town That Talks To The Dead. The author, Christine Wicker, wrote about a woman who, upon discovering her husband had been diagnosed with leukemia, turned researching the disease into her full-time obsession. Despite her endless late-night internet research sessions and moving close to the best cancer facility in the country, it wasn’t enough. He still lost his life to cancer, and she carried endless guilt that she hadn’t done enough to help. She went to Lily Dale to try and contact her husband on the other side. I couldn’t prevent my tears welling up as I learned about her deep sadness.

Maybe it’s because I’m smitten, head-over-heels, experiencing the deepest love I’ve ever felt.  Or maybe I’m getting sentimental in my old age. But these two stories really rocked me, and gave me an indispensable change of perspective.

Being in love is so special and it’s so rare. Yes, it can be complicated. Sometimes our partners do things that drive us insane. We have conversations that break our hearts, shatter our illusions, decimate our ego. We get frustrated thinking about how we wish it could be. All of these things are normal, but when we stay stuck in that place of annoyance, we are snubbing the gift of love.

Nothing is promised. You could die tomorrow, or you could lose the love of your life. If you’ve been blessed with meeting a person who makes your heart flutter and brings light to your everyday existence, recognise how unbelievably special that is. Treasure it!

Take selfies and hold hands. Say you’re sorry. Stop keeping score. Make grand plans for the future. Don’t hold back about how you feel, because otherwise, you may never have the chance to tell them.

Make the decision to see your partner with fresh eyes every day, with no attachment to old stories or old hurts. Choose to see them as perfect (read Succulent Wild Love for more on this concept). Practice gratitude with the person you love. Wake up in the morning and ask yourself, ‘How can I make my partner happy and their life easier today?’

If you’re in love, try not to be afraid of it. Sometimes we get scared that if we’re too excited about it, it will be taken away. Even if it is, that doesn’t matter. It’s better to love bigger and bolder and brighter than to keep a lid on your love story.

And if your relationship ends? Don’t see it as a failure. Stop viewing relationships as something you “win” or “lose”. Every interaction with another person is an opportunity to learn and grow, and with intimate relationships, that opportunity is tenfold. You don’t have to be with someone until their final breath for that relationship to have been valuable or transformative. Give love, share love, celebrate it, and be thankful for what you’ve had.

To love, in all its forms.

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Radical Self Love Letters

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon Meringue Pie

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Sometimes when life gives you lemons, you have to throw on your apron and make lemon meringue pie. That’s how it was on the last day that my (now ex-) husband and I lived together.

We both woke up early that morning, and while I showered, his friend arrived, and the two of them started moving all of his things downstairs into a truck. I stood in the bathroom trying to perfect my eyeliner as all his worldly possessions paraded down the hallway and out the door. I shimmied into a blue dress covered in sequins and smothered Dolly, our dog, in smooches. I hugged my husband goodbye, asked him to text me once they were on the road, and walked out the door.

There was no time to wallow. It was Spirit Junkie Masterclass, one of my best friend’s events, and I was there to speak in front of 250 women. SJMC is the most immersive, deeply transformative event ever. I had attended the year before — on my birthday — and spent the weekend in a transcendent state. This time was different. For much of the day, I sat in the audience, tears in my eyes, making small-talk with the other attendees, even coaching a girl who was going through a difficult break-up. No one else there knew I was getting a divorce, let alone that my marriage was over, with the exception of Gabby.

When it was time for me to speak, Gabby gave me a beautiful introduction that felt like a spiritual bath. As we sat together in the spotlights, she interviewed me about how I run my business. I talked about blogging, self-publishing and book deals, creating digital courses, and using your social media presence to create an experience for others. We took questions from the audience too, and I felt so good: Gabby was holding me up, and it was pure pleasure to be able to help others, especially at a time when I was feeling so lost.

At the end of the day, Gabby, her husband Zack, and I shared an Uber back to our neighbourhood. I climbed the stairs to our my apartment, opened the front door, and leaned back against it as it closed. There was no clicking of little dog feet, no TV playing in another room. The whole place felt completely empty, like a vacuum had just sucked up something huge.

I grabbed my laptop and sat on my bed, ready to lose myself in some kind of internet haze, when my phone rang. It was Gabby.

“Hey,” she said. “Are you hungry? Come over and eat pizza with us.”

I spent the rest of the night with her and Zack, eating, watching movies, and shooting the shit.

Gabby had been onstage all day, caring for and supporting 250 women. She was running an event, managing a team of people, keeping everyone happy, and generally being everywhere at once (in the way that only she can). By all accounts, she’d earned a night off. And yet, she thought of me. She took me home and then fed me. She didn’t leave me alone in my empty house. She pushed her own need — to relax, to be quiet, to sleep! — aside, and instead, she took care of me. Every time I think back on that night, I get emotional. It was one of the most selfless and generous acts I’ve ever experienced.

I have never met anyone who walks their talk as fully as Gabby. The internet is a strange place, where people can present themselves as experts on all kinds of things, and invent whatever persona suits their business model best. When I first discovered Gabby online, I had my doubts that someone like her could actually exist. But she does. She is the real deal.

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For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been emailing about the fear of speaking up and standing out, the importance of raising your prices, and the fear of being an overly self-promoting jerk.

These are all issues that I hear about from almost-preneurs all the time. I have met so many women with brilliant ideas, who want to make a difference and run their own businesses, but they’re held back. Afraid of telling their stories, terrified to charge their worth, and scared to even talk about what they do, they are simply treading water. If you’re unable to do those three things, you don’t have a business. You have a hobby. And probably not for long.

Gabby is one of my mentors and it’s not just because she runs her business with heart and zest. She knows that when you charge your worth, you thrive — and your success helps others succeed too. She knows that when you take that deep breath and tell your story, you empower multitudes to do the same. And she knows that when you’re passionate about what you do, it’s not “self-promotion”: you’re simply sharing, and the right people will be irresistibly drawn to you.

Spirit Junkie Masterclass is where she teaches all these concepts, and so many more. If you want to run a spiritual business — but you don’t want to eat beans from a can every night! — these concepts are essential. When you shed the old stories and you begin to recognise the enormous power you wield, sharing your message — and stepping into the world fully — becomes a necessity, a responsibility.

On the day that my husband moved out of our home, I heeded the call to be bigger, braver, and bolder than ever before. I answered when I was asked to lead, to help, to inspire. And it made me stronger. I wouldn’t have believed it was possible to do something like this on such a difficult day — but it was. That’s the kind of confidence that Spirit Junkie Masterclass gives you, and with a gift like that, we all benefit.

I’ve attended two Masterclasses, and they just keep getting better. I have never seen Gabby as on, as in her power as when she is on stage, creating teachers. Everyone sitting in the audience is lit up, supported, and given the tools they need to go out there and truly make a difference. After all, isn’t that what you really want?

Up until now, Spirit Junkie Masterclass has only been an in-person event… But this week, Gabby opens the floodgates to Spirit Junkie Masterclass Digital, so you can learn everything from the comfort of your home. I’m delighted to help her spread the word. The modules include my section on how to use the internet to build your business, and I know it will help you out SO MUCH!

I can’t tell you how much I believe in Gabby and the work she does. Spirit Junkie Masterclass is always the first thing I recommend to women who want to light a fire that sets the world ablaze. And I want to make it even more enjoyable for you, so when you sign up, I’m going to shower you with gifts!

In addition to Gabby’s incredible training, you’ll receive:
Access to Radical Self Love Bootcamp, my six-week intensive course which will teach you how to love yourself once and for all (Value: $197)
Radical Self Love Bible School, my art journalling class which will encourage you to see your own awesomeness, in addition to using up all that rad stationery you have lying around! (Value: $97)
A personalised, signed copy of my book, Radical Self-Love: A Guide To Loving Yourself And Living Your Dreams!
A very colourful livestream with me, where you can ask me absolutely anything about business, blogging, or being your authentic self online!

Plus, Gabby is offering an extra special bonus when you sign up for the training before June 26, 2016: her Spirit Junkie Business Basics digital program! In addition to two live training calls, you’ll get everything you need to set up the back end of your business: contracts, negotiating tools, insurance information and much more. These bonuses are valued at $3500. Sweet!

Click here to get all these bonuses today!

It’s already the middle of June. If you’re still to-ing and fro-ing about whether it’s time to start that business you’ve been dreaming about, or if you find yourself in “a financial cul-de-sac” (thanks, Carrie Bradshaw), it’s time to get serious. Gabby and I would love to help you do it.

If you have questions, be sure to reach out on Twitter or Facebook!

Love forEVER,

Illustration by Laura Callaghan. I am an affiliate for Spirit Junkie Masterclass, and may earn a referral fee if you sign up from my recommendation. xo

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Up Yours, Sadness! Five Ways To Feel More Radical Self Love Today

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It’s always easier to be unhappy. Misery is simple: allow your ego’s natural instinct to focus on the negative to take over, and boom! There you are. Saddled with sadness, riddled with wretchedness, feeling utterly inferior and wallowing in your woe. (Also: alliteration!)

In fact, one of the most Instagrammed pages of Radical Self-Love: A Guide To Loving Yourself And Living Your Dreams is this one:

“Any old fool can find something to moan about, but it takes skill and effort to see the good in life. Being happy requires strength and intelligence.”

It’s said that nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so. That means that there are no inherently terrible events: what matters is our perspective on them. Some people seem to be able to find the silver lining in everything, and guess what? You could be one of them, if you wanted! Optimism is a learned skill. Negativity is a choice.

Here are a few ways to flip the script in your head. If you use any of them, I’d love to hear about how it turned out on my Facebook page!

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“Document the moments you feel most in love with yourself – what you’re wearing, who you’re around, what you’re doing. Recreate and repeat.” ― Warsan Shire

LOOK BACK AND RECREATE
When you first start thinking about what might make you happy in this moment, you might feel overwhelmed. You may not know where to begin. But don’t freak out — you already have all the information you need! Your history holds massive clues as to what — and who — really makes you feel good.

Like Warsan Shire says, keep notes about the times you felt happy. Where were you? Who were you with? What were you wearing? What were you doing? Then make an effort to recreate those feelings.

Of course, you don’t want to be in some kind of Groundhog Day loop for the rest of your days, but when you’re really stumped for how to put a smile on your face, plumb your past for gems, polish them up, and bring them into your present.

GRATITUDE, GRATITUDE, GRATITUDE
Work the practice of thankfulness into your daily routine. Write what you’re grateful for in your Instagram captions, name five things you love before you get out of bed, send your best friends regular messages telling them how much you appreciate them, keep a gratitude jar, say thank you to the universe before you go to sleep, talk about the best parts of your day with your family at dinner… You get the idea!

Gratitude really works. It improves your physical health, helps you sleep better, and boosts your relationships. It doesn’t get better than that.

Stop making excuses and get on the gratitude train TODAY!

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOURSELF?
Take time to tally up what you love about yourself. It’s okay to start with one tooth. Your love will grow from there! Keep a running list of things about you that are awesome, and add to it whenever you discover a new attribute or achieve something you’re proud of. This might sound cheesy, but I promise you, it does the trick!

As much as we would all love to get constant compliments from the people around us, that isn’t always a feasible situation. You need to be able to generate your own self-esteem, rather than relying on others. Feeling good about yourself makes you mentally strong, physically healthy, and enables you to take the risks that you need to take in order to create the life you’ve always wanted!

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SING AND DANCE YOUR HEART OUT
It doesn’t matter if you have two left feet or sing like a cat caught in a garbage disposal unit, singing and dancing is guaranteed to make you feel good! One of my favourite ways to blow off steam is to turn up my favourite songs and dance turbulently around my living room, or call up one of my friends and head to a private karaoke room! (I recommend kicking off your session with Fleetwood Mac. Always a good time.)

Singing releases endorphins, and it actually changes your brain. Dancing is even better for you. (That article is fascinating! Have a read!)

So next time you’re feeling stressed, don’t hesitate to crank up the tunes, wail along, and throw your elbows around like you’re at a New York sample sale!

GET FRISKY!
The research on sex — and masturbation — show that the more you do it, the happier you are. In fact, getting laid once a week makes you feel as happy as you would if you earned an extra $50,000 a year. Not too shabby!

Sex, whether with a partner or with yourself, is a way to exercise your creativity and imagination, get your heart rate up, indulge in fantasy, and abolish stress and anxiety. A thundering orgasm is just a bonus!

P.S. If you’re looking to switch up your routine, try this for size!

Love always,

Photos from the American Beauty lookbook by Wildfox.

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Get Inside Your Lover’s Head… And Blow Their Mind!

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One of the most useful — and simple — things I’ve ever learned to help strengthen romantic relationships is Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages. It’s such a good shortcut to understanding your partner, and I’ve mentioned it in passing before, but I recently looked into it a little deeper and wanted to share some of my discoveries with you.

So what are the 5 Love Languages and what the hell does that mean?

Each person has one primary and one secondary love language. Chapman suggests that to discover a love language, one must observe the way he expresses love to others, analyze what he complains about most often, and what he requests from his significant other most often. People tend to naturally give love in the way that they prefer to receive love.

In short, if the thing you want most from your significant other is compliments, that is the way you will tend to express love: by giving compliments. The problem occurs when your partner’s love language is different to yours. If you show love by giving compliments, but what they really want is to simply spend time with you, they’re not going to feel that they are really being loved. When you know how your partner defines the act of love, you’ll be able to essentially communicate with them in that language.

The love language quiz is right here and it’s free to take! Make your partner take it too!

The five different love languages are outlined below (the descriptions are taken from the official site). You might be able to glance at them and instantly tell which are your primary and secondary languages, but sometimes it’s not that obvious, so be sure to take the quiz!

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These are the 5 love languages.

Words of Affirmation
Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important – hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. Kind, encouraging, and positive words are truly life-giving.

Quality Time
In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there – with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby – makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Quality Time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities.

Physical Touch
This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face – they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive. Physical touch fosters a sense of security and belonging in any relationship.

Acts of Service
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts.

Receiving Gifts
Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous – so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are visual representations of love and are treasured greatly.

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Okay, so, how can we put this into action? Here are some of my ideas.

If your partner’s love language is…

WORDS OF AFFIRMATION, try…
Waking them up by telling them something you love about them. Sending sweet text messages. Writing them a haiku every day for a month. Making a list of the reasons you love them, and emailing it through. Doing an Instagram post telling the story of how you met. Showing your partner how much you value them by bragging about them when the two of you are hanging out with friends. Leaving messages in chalk outside their house!

QUALITY TIME, try…
Blocking out a chunk of time every week where you do something special together. Making date night an essential, non-negotiable part of your week. Organising a surprising new way to spend time together every month. Creating a warm, relaxing environment for them to come home to at the end of the day. Really listening to your partner (and not just waiting for your turn to talk). Spending time talking about life, the universe, and everything. Having shared hobbies or interests that you do together.

PHYSICAL TOUCH, try…
Waking them up with kisses. Giving them a massage at the end of a long week (I like Lush massage bars for this purpose, especially Sacre Coeur). Holding hands as you walk down the street. Giving a lingering back rub while they’re reading. Washing and brushing their hair. Giving lots of hugs and kisses. Making sex a priority. Being physically close when you’re just hanging out. Devising a secret handshake!

ACTS OF SERVICE, try…
Asking, “How can I help you?” Surprising them by cooking a meal, doing their laundry, tidying their bathroom. Doing exactly what you say you’ll do, when you say you’ll do it. Lending a hand without your lover having to ask for it. Organising anything to make their life easier — hiring a housekeeper, topping up their MetroCard, finding the perfect babysitter or dog-walker.

RECEIVING GIFTS, try…
Making a note of the things they stare longingly at, and secretly snapping them up. Bringing them home something small, just to let them know you were thinking about them. Planning extra-special birthdays, Valentine’s Days, Christmases. Throwing a surprise party (remember, for your partner, it’s all about you making the effort). Making small gestures to let them know they’re on your mind and they are a priority. Creating a treasure hunt full of surprises!


Here’s to love…

Kisses,

Photos by Blush Photography, via Rock N Roll Bride.

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New Moon Magic: June 2016

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Hello, June! It’s officially Gemini season, which of course means that this Saturday, we’re being gifted with a beautiful New Moon in Gemini. The energy of Gemini is dynamic, clever, funny and enthusiastic, and makes a nice change from the steady, grounded vibe of Taurus that we’ve been dealing with for the past month. If you’ve felt a sudden pep in your step, you’re not alone!

Below, the AstroTwins have the scoop on what’s going on astrologically, and I’ve followed it up with a handful of ways to optimise the energy. Here we go!

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NEW MOON IN GEMINI
JUNE 4 2016

IN THE SKY… (The AstroTwins)

Some sweet talk could be in the stars this weekend, as this year’s New Moon in Gemini sidles up to charismatic Venus, the planet of love and affection. Gemini is the sign of the Twins, but that doesn’t mean being carbon copies (trust us, we know this firsthand). Gemini #twinning is more about mirroring someone: really listening, HEARING them and reflecting back their truth. Excellent communication skills—or at least, the quest to develop them—are savvy and cerebral Gemini’s domain.

With simpatico Venus conjunct this new moon, a beautiful mind or dynamic dialogue could even spark a romantic click. But don’t rush to give someone the top spot in your inner circle too quickly. Cautious Saturn (in Sagittarius) will sit opposite the new moon, warning us to take our relationships one step at a time, and not to be cavalier about commitments. If you’re opening up, great—just don’t unleash your “big reveal” in one fell swoop. Pass the baton back and forth instead of dominating the conversation or suffering as the sounding board to someone who just won’t shut up!

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ON THE GROUND… (Gala Darling)

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” — Toni Morrison

Sweet witch baby, I want to encourage you to celebrate this New Moon with gusto! As Anne Ortelee says, this is one of the most potent New Moons of 2016… And of the next eight years! This is a major energy-shifting moment. The plans and ideas that you embark upon at this time will have massive weight, so don’t squander this New Moon!

You don’t have to do some wild ritual to make the most of the New Moon energy — in fact, my suggestions below are quite simple and small in scope. Sometimes the most effective magic is tiny and practical.

Pick one — or all three — and have fun with it. I’d love to see and read about what you discover on our #radicalselflovecoven hashtag on Instagram!

MAKE A CHOICE
One of the things that keeps us stuck and prevents us from moving forward is our inability — or unwillingness — to make a decision. Take relationships, for example. If you’re constantly trying to evaluate whether you should stay or whether you should go, and you approach every interaction with one foot out the door, your relationship is never going to grow and bloom into what it could be if you simply decided to commit.

The back-and-forth, will-I-or-won’t-I mindgames we play with ourselves are procrastination, nothing more. Until you make a choice about whether you are in or out, you will not see progress. Nothing will change or transform in the way you wish it would. So that’s what I want you to do this Saturday: make a choice.

Whatever you’re on the fence about — whether it’s your love life, your career, a certain project, or moving to a new city — this is your signal to MAKE A DECISION. Yes, this is the sign you’ve been looking for!

Pick a side, and then go forth and make magic. Of course, you can always change your mind later, if you get some new information. But please, don’t dilly-dally. This Saturday, sit down with your thoughts and make a choice. You may not feel 100% certain about it, but 100% certainty is not a necessity to enact massive change in your life. All you need to know is which way you want to go, and then start by putting one foot in front of the other.

I believe in you. You can do this!

TALK ABOUT YOUR DREAMS WITH YOUR BFF
Gemini is the sign of the twin, and this weekend is a beautiful time to take a page out of the twin’s handbook to life. As the AstroTwins said, twinning is about mirroring someone: listening carefully (as opposed to just waiting for your turn to speak!), sharing with honesty and integrity, and reflecting back the other’s brilliance.

So invite your best friend over for a late-night lovefest (or chat to them via Skype or FaceTime if — like me — most of your favourite people live in a different city!). Light some candles and get deep. Ask your #1 babe what she most wants to create or manifest in the next thirty days, and let her know that you support her with all your heart. Then you can talk about what you want to do, too.

My friendships are made stronger by the knowledge that the people I choose to have in my life are my greatest cheerleaders, and I am theirs too. Don’t be afraid to let your friends know how much you love them, and that you have their back. That kind of knowledge can empower even the most timid person to take huge risks. Love makes all things possible!

PULL ONE CARD EVERY DAY FOR THE NEXT 30 DAYS
Next week, everyone in the Radical Self Love Coven will be receiving their tarot module, and I can’t wait to get stuck into it! Enrollment for the Coven is currently closed, but you can learn tarot on your own too!

A good way to get acquainted with the tarot is to pull one card every day for a month. You can either do this the old fashioned way, with actual cards, or you can use an app on your phone. I love Tarot! and Golden Thread Tarot, both of which provide interpretations of the cards, making everything very easy.

Sit down in the morning, quiet your mind, and pull a card. If you have time, do a little journalling about the card and how you feel it relates to your current situation. A super digital witch (digiwitch!) way of doing this would be to use the Tarot! or Golden Thread Tarot app, take a screenshot of the results, then insert that image into an Evernote document and journal below it. Easy!


Love and light,

P.S. The Radical Self Love Almanac — your ultimate planner for a magical 2016 — is now on sale and it’s only $10 because it’s JUNE, baby! The Almanac is gorgeous, and it’s loaded with rituals, tarot card spreads, horoscopes and articles to help you power up to make this the best year ever. Don’t miss it!

Photos from The Selby.

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