Hygge.

Welcome to Part 2 of a series of unknown length that doesn’t particularly have a title, but is more of an explanation of sorts.

In Part 1, I wrote about how I have to stop caring about things that I normally care about for a little while in order to regain sanity and recuperate my heart, mind, and body.

Today, I want to tell you a little bit about a concept called hygge.

hygge

I first heard the term hygge from The Dabblist, Becca Piastrelli. I have been part of her Dabblist collective group since April, and we all have been talking a lot about this concept. Hygge (pronounced hooga) is a Danish word that describes a cozy, warm, secure atmosphere in a long, hard winter, but obviously this can be a part of every day life.

Here in Iowa, we all know how brutal winter can be. The past few years have been dreadfully cold, with temps going to -30 to -80 with the wind chill, and so much snow. It’s hard to enjoy life in an Iowa winter.

This year, for me, has been a winter year, meaning I have been hibernating in my heart. I have been very busy, yes, but my heart has been wrapped in a little cocoon. But now that it is actually winter and I have the time to slooooooooooooooooow down, I want to be totally intentional about my environment. I want to create the feeling of this image in my home:

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Here are things I plan on doing to bring hygge to my home this winter:

  1. I am upgrading my holiday decor. This past weekend, I bought REAL garland, and I’m going to buy a REAL tree. I am going to be doing many crafty things for my decor as well, such as creating little evergreen hoops to hang from my windows.
  2. Buying real candles. I have used Scentsy for a VERY long time, which is great, but there is just something about a real candle. Real candles create warmth and elicit the feeling of hope. I bought 1 new candle and will be buying more.
  3. I have stocked up on hot cocoa! And every occasion is a good occasion to make some hot cocoa.
  4. I’ve been making chili basically every week.
  5. Blankets everywhere.
  6. Onesie pajamas. Not sexy, but definitely warm and cozy.
  7. Hot baths with essential oils. Need I say more.

And really, the biggest thing I am giving myself is permission to say no. No. No period. No, with no explanation. I am not going to be doing anything that I don’t want to because my soul needs space and time to heal.

How can you bring hygge into your life this winter + holiday season?

xoxo, La Rae

Why I Have to Stop Caring.

Have you ever been so weary that your entire personality has to change for a little while in order to get some rest? That’s where I am right now.

This post is basically going to make you hate me, probably.

While I’m hoping you don’t, I understand that it’s a possibility.

But here we go.

I am an empath.

What is an empath, you ask? An empath is a person who feels and takes on other people’s energy. This is an enormous gift, but also an enormous burden and responsibility. Most empaths really have to work on boundaries or else they will essentially go crazy in one way or another.

There have been certain times where I have sobbed for the world. Sobbed for animals. Sobbed for the environment. But my heart reached it’s peak heartbreak this year in terms of my empathic abilities.

It started with Bernie Sanders.

If you know me personally, you know that I have always been a fighter for humanity. I believe in equality in all things, for all people. When I first heard of Bernie Sanders, I was like “Who the hell is this guy? How does he think he can win?”

Then I heard him speak. I was inspired. This was the leader I had been waiting for.

I talked with people about him. I supported his campaign financially. I gave my heart and soul to him and his cause, his message, his love.

When he dropped out of the race, I sobbed. I couldn’t stop sobbing. My heart was absolutely shattered. I don’t think I have ever been so broken.

This was a breaking point for me. I realized I couldn’t let my heart break like that again.

Then I got a new job. This new job has been an absolute blessing to me in many ways, but not necessarily financially. Like a cliche, yes, I have taken a financial cut in order to do some real good in my community and in the world. So I have been focusing on trust, which is my word and goal this year. I knew I was taking this risk, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck, and it doesn’t mean it’s happening without heartbreak. Every time I have to hold my breath at the checkout line at the grocery store, hoping that my payment actually goes through, my heart breaks. Every time I worry about where my mortgage payment is coming from, my heart breaks a little more. Every time my husband and I fight about money, it breaks even more. So I have had to build my walls a little higher.

And my new job is just one thing-I am also an entrepreneur. I am coming out of perhaps my busiest time EVER. I worked myself to the bone every day for 3 months. I have sacrificed my health, my husband + our time together, our enjoyment of life, our puppies, etc.

No, I am not trying to get you to pity me or even throw myself a pity party.

All of this has been a choice. I chose to do this. I’m not trying to be a martyr.

But now, I have a broken heart, a broken body, and a broken soul.

I have to stop caring about things so much and start focusing all of my attention on me.

I understand that this may make me seem selfish, but in order to really show up in this world in the way I want to and need to, I have to take some time off from caring. I have to take a break from caring about recycling, about always and only using my reusable grocery bags, about eating organic, about climate change, about fighting the good fight for humanity. I just need a moment to only care about my small little microcosm of a world.

And if you need this, too, I give you permission to do it.

Sending you love,

La Rae

Full Circle.

Today I would like to tell you a story about myself + some interested current events that have unfolded in my world. Bear with me though, because there are so many beginnings to this story that I’m not really sure where the best place to start is.

I guess the beginning was this. This was me.

Bright-eyed. Full of dreams. Ready to bloom. Most importantly, full of love, but more so, full of a void in my heart that I wanted to fill with love.

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My biggest problem was that I didn’t know how to love myself. I mean, this is unfortunately a pretty common thing for many people.

At 18 or 19, I got a tattoo of a lotus that said “Love is everything.”

Back then, I got the tattoo for new beginnings. I also got the tattoo to somehow show my high school boyfriend that I was serious about wanting to get back together with him. Well that never happened, and soon, the new tattoo’s meaning faded away.

Fast forward to about September 2016. This month was pivotal for me in terms of courage, trust, and self-love, as I am finding out now, but of course didn’t know it was happening then.

As many of you know, I have really been working on trusting my intuition. For me, this has meant believing my intuition, and go for whatever it tells me without really questioning it.

So, I received the intuition that I was supposed to get a tattoo, and that I was supposed to work on my lotus tattoo.

Not questioning it, I decided to look for designs to incorporate. I was so excited because I knew exactly where I was going to get the money, and everything would work out.

Of course, then, in October, numerous expenses came up and I realized I wouldn’t have the money to do this. I wasn’t worried, though, because I knew my intuition was correct, and I knew that something would happen that would allow me to get this tattoo.

A client had contacted me about photographing her wedding, and then I hadn’t heard back from her, so I checked in to see if she was still interested. I got a really strong feeling about this client, so I didn’t want to just let her go. She told me she loved my work, but was having trouble coming up for the money for the deposit. I told her I would work with her on the payment, and then she mentioned that her fiance is a tattoo artist and he would be happy to trade services for part of their payment.

BOOM. YES UNIVERSE. I SEE YOU.

So this guy is actually incredibly talented, so of course I said yes.

After my consultation with this artist and now client, we set up a date, and I was sooooo stoked.

2 days later at yoga, my instructor decided to show us the lotus mudra.

Mind blown. YES UNIVERSE. I SEE YOU.

She told us that this mudra is about learning unconditional love.

UNIVERSE, I SEE YOU.

While this post isn’t going to go in-depth on my processes of how I’ve been learning unconditional love just yet, I just felt that this is such a powerful message from the Universe for me. When I got the lotus tattoo 9 years ago, I didn’t exactly know what it meant. I thought it was meant to be for someone else. But it was supposed to be for me. It has been an amulet, a talisman, without me even knowing it.

And I am now not the same. I am different. I am new. I am free. I am on my way. I have come full circle.

Watch me shine.

xoxo,

La Rae

Take the Leap.

What if.

What ifs sometimes bring us from bad times to good times. What if I hadn’t have made that bad decision? What if I had chosen differently? Those are often the what ifs we think about.

Today, I have been filled with positive what ifs.

What if I hadn’t made the decision to pursue photography? How did I ever believe that I could do something I barely had any knowledge of.

What if I had never taken that first wedding client?

What if I actually gave up when I thought about giving up?

I am so happy that I took the leap. That I tried something I never even imagined trying. I am so happy that I believed in myself.

Following my dreams has been sooooo hard lately.

We’ve gone to the grocery store, filled up our cart, then asked which one of us was paying for it, resulting in having to put some items back on the shelves, and praying our payment gets accepted at the checkout.

I have feared losing my house because we didn’t know where money to pay our mortgage would come from.

The electric company literally came and posted a sign on my door to tell me they were close to turning our electricity off.

I probably have $100-$200 in overdraft fees each month.

I have sobbed. I have mourned my old life where although my situation sucked, I had enough money and didn’t have to do without.

I have questioned why I quit my full time, good paying job, to get a part time job I adore and love with all my heart and to pursue entrepreneurship, but where money is never guaranteed and the hustle game is strong.

But this is why. This feeling of joy. This feeling of coming out of the fog. I know it will still be a struggle. I know that we’re not out of the park yet. But there is light at the end of the tunnel and I’m running towards it.

Take the leap, friends. It’s scary. It’s hard. It’s exhausting. But do it anyway.

xoxo,

La Rae

Just babies.

No, I didn’t imply there are those on the way.

What I mean is, look at these two.

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Just babies.

No idea what was in store for them. No idea that their world would be turned upside down in just a matter of years.

Life is so hard. As Taylor Swift says, Life makes love look hard. Love isn’t hard, life is hard. But sometimes it takes love down with it.

Life doesn’t care if you just got married. Life sets you on the path you were meant to be on with no regard for your feelings.

So here we are now.

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Not babies anymore. Adults who have had a really hard couple of years. We are older, maybe wiser. Tougher, less hopeful. We are weary.

Sometimes it’s hard to keep the faith, ya know?

But we dig our nails into it to keep it here.

Because to not go crazy, you just have to keep believing.

Today.

Today, I don’t feel beautiful.

Today, I don’t feel exceptional.

I feel broken + lost

drowning

trapped beneath the surface.

I feel hopeless.

I feel bland.

numb

I feel despair.

I feel fear

so much fear.

I feel desperate.

I feel tattered

weary

The road less traveled has left me bruised, scraped, thorns in my feet.

So I make a crown

with these thorns

and carry on.

Unsafe.

Unsafe.

It’s a word that most people associate with this present moment. We all know when something is unsafe. Usually, it’s a glaring problem, one that is very noticeable. Fire. Burglar. Car accident.

But this week, I realized that I have felt unsafe my whole life without knowing it, and this has really affected my life.

Growing up, I felt it was unsafe to be myself in school and at home. I was bullied at daycare, at school, and being such an old soul, I think my parents didn’t really know how to handle me. But I did know that I was safe when I was being extraordinary. I started singing solos at church when I was only 5-that was extraordinary. I got really good grades-that was extraordinary. I did extraordinary things to keep myself safe-to make my teachers and parents like me, even though I wasn’t like them. This was a safe way to be different, but if I acted different in any other way-I didn’t feel so safe.

This way of living made me depressed. I started to cut myself when I was in the 8th grade. I would sit in my room and cry and sing to Evanescence. But it was unsafe for me to be depressed, so I pretended that I wasn’t. But then it all got too much for me to bear, so I pleaded with my mom to send me to therapy. But she didn’t. So I kept being depressed and it led to so many emotional issues that I am obviously still trying to work out as a 27 year old.

It was unsafe for me to leave the Christian faith at 14 and do what was right for me, which was being openly Pagan. I got kicked out of my house (just for one day, but the unsafety scarred me deeply), and even when planning my wedding, I was told I was going to hell.

Unsafe.

I was sexually assaulted twice in my life-the first time I was very young and working as an Ebay lister down the street. Some older guy worked in the furniture store portion of the business, and I had a crush on him. One day, he attempted to get my pants off and I freaked out, but I liked the guy, so I didn’t know how to say no. I don’t remember how I said no, but I know this situation scarred me, as any sexual assault would scar a young girl.

Unsafe.

I was sexually assaulted again at 17 when a series of bad decisions led me to a party with a group of people I’d been friends with for about 4 years. After some crazy things happened, I decided to avoid drama by staying with the couple whose apartment we were at. Then the guy proceeded to sexually assault me.

Unsafe.

I can’t speak for all women, but I do believe that women probably feel unsafe much more than men do because many times, we are at the will of the men around. They can hurt us at any time-we must do and say things to keep ourselves safe. *I know this is a generalization, but please consider this truth in your own life*

So here I am, just now realizing how unsafe I’ve felt my whole life, and realizing how it has sooooo dramatically affected my life without me even knowing it. It’s affected my relationships with everyone, especially my husband.

Since having this realization, I have been using mantras that start with “It is safe for me….” which has definitely helped me. Even when something doesn’t really make sense, I am using the mantra because feeling unsafe has permeated through my whole life. So even things like “It is safe for me to go to yoga,” or “It is safe for me to nourish my body,” have been making a huge difference to me.

And feeling safe is a huge part of TRUST. Which is my word for 2016. Learning to Trust has definitely shown me that I haven’t felt safe, but now that I am aware of the unsafety and showing myself that life is safe, I can more fully TRUST my path.l034

Sending you big love on your journey in this life. <3 I am with you on this path, and I honor your path.

La Rae

Why LOVE Really IS the Answer

Do you want to know what the answer is to all of life’s questions?

Love. It was, is, and always will be the answer. No matter how complicated a problem seems, the answer is simply love.

Do you want to know WHY this is? Let me tell you.

Everything has energy, a vibration. Every thought, every word, every action. This is how things like the Law of Attraction and Karma work. They are based on vibrations throughout the Universe.

We’re getting woo-woo here, I know. But stick with me.

There is so much hatred in the world. There is so much sadness and heart-ache. These are low vibration emotions and energies, and they, like all emotions, have a spiraling effect, except these spiral downward.

Love, trust, and PEACE are all high vibration energies, and they too spiral, but they spiral upward.

That is why Martin Luther King, Jr. said “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Because you can’t escape a low vibration emotion with other low vibration emotions.

This is the power of love. Love is the highest vibration emotion there is, which means it can pull any low energy emotion/energy upwards. You cannot hate and love at the same time. You cannot be scared and trust at the same time. You cannot be chaotic and peaceful at the same time.

The problem is that low vibration emotions and energies are harder to get out of on your own. Which is why I’m always attempting to SPREAD love. Sometimes it takes a little help to raise your vibration. However, it is not impossible to get out of on your own. Most of the time, YOU are the only one who can make the decision to rise.

While that explanation may be more woo-woo than you feel comfortable with, you just simply have to know that LOVE really is the answer to everything. If you think that it’s not, just trust me. It really, really is.

La Rae

Focus on Love.

So today is International Peace Day, and peace is something I have always believed in but could never achieve within myself.
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There are so many lessons I have learned just even in  the past week that are leading me towards the path of peace, which I am so thankful for!
One major thing that has been helping me lately is this:
 
I am an empath, which means many times I take on the energy and emotions of others. I also was born to be a world-changer, but a world-changer cannot change the world if he or she is constantly drained from the sadness in the world. So I have been working very hard on actually NOT reading too much about the bad things that happen in the world because it doesn’t do any good to allow those bad things to break my heart. Instead, I am simply focusing on doing what I can to make the world a better place.
 
Maybe you think this is naive, but it is the only way I can function without completely shutting down. I can’t watch the news and be completely emotionally shattered. I can’t allow the sadness of the world to swallow me whole.
So if you find that you are completely heart-broken by the world….maybe it’s a good thing to take a break from watching the news and focus on love.
I pray that we can all find peace.
La Rae

What they don’t tell you about following your heart

My cute little VW Van shaped coffee mug is one joy of my mornings. It brings me so much happiness.

This morning I was filling my cup, desperately seeking joy from my coffee, when the wording on the inside of the mug hit me a little differently today.

“Follow Your Heart.”

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It’s something I’ve always told myself + have recently had the chance to follow that advice down a very unsure path.

But this morning, after such a dark night, my inner voice said, “There is so much they don’t tell you about following your heart.”

Yes.

When people say “Follow your heart!” in business or life, they are saying it to you once they’ve already made it out of the darkness that follows. They know they are out of it, so they can tout that joy.

People rarely say it when they are in the darkness. The darkness that is fear of not being able to pay your mortgage.

The fear of equipment breaking and not having money to replace it.

The fear that you can’t make it, that it could all slip away so easily and you will be fucked.

Yes. I rarely have dark nights of the soul. But I guess they wouldn’t be good for you if you got nothing out of them, no?

So today, I know there are some safety nets I need to put into place to make my darkness not seem so vast and frightening, so all-encompassing. I need to make those things a priority.

After all, the only person you have to take responsibility of your life, at the end of the day, is yourself.

La Rae