Author Archives: La Rae Awakened

Addicted to Healing

Today something happened in me. A friend posted a song by one of my favorite bands when I was young, Evanescence.

It was a song from their new album, so I clicked and listened. It was a beautiful song. So I listened to another new song. Then another. Then another. Then an old song that they re-did played.

And I slowly began feeling really angry and depressed. I felt like I did back when I first would listen to that song. It was a really strange, startling feeling, so I turned it off.

Then I dinked around on YouTube and saw a podcast from a mentor and thought “Hmmm that looks really interesting! I need to listen!”

My craving to listen to this podcast got me thinking about some things……

The point of healing and rehabilitating yourself is to LIVE A FULL and JOYOUS life, whatever that means for you.

Sometimes, and for some people, living a full and joyous life  as described above can be terrifying.

A problem that I have with my love of self-help and my love of learning is that I am not so great at practicing. The hard thing about self-help and learning is that eventually, you have learned all you can about a subject and then you have to face that you will actually have to finally put what you learned into practice.

Sometimes, healing becomes an addiction. We become enthralled with the healing process because we are afraid of BEING HEALED. Of finally not needing healing anymore. Because we are actually now scared of LIVING.

It’s hard to get out of a healing addiction, because on the outside, it looks productive.  Reading books, journaling, crying it out, dealing with our demons, listening to podcasts, etc. But once we’ve hit a certain threshold, it’s no longer productive. It’s just the same devil, different mask. We are just using it as a crutch.

So today, I was transported back to how it felt before I began my healing journey, which made me feel awful. But something jolted me back into the reality of how far I have come. And it reminded me that I really need to start living that full, joyous life that I have been working so hard for.

Is this you? Do you do this like I do?

If so, this week, I’m going to give you a little assignment. GO OUT AND LIVE. What is something that you’ve been meaning to do, but haven’t? Go do it. How can you take care of yourself? What have you been denying yourself? Do it.

Breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you have come so far, and it has paid off. Don’t forget that your big, beautiful life is waiting for you to live it.

Sending you so much love this week <3

xoxo,

La Rae

(pc: Nicole Harnois Photography 2015)

WE are the holiday.

Happy Samhain, Witches!

Today I want to talk about a sadness I get on every holiday. I guess it is more of a disappointment, but this of course turns into sadness.

It has something to do with my need for MAGIC that I talked about in a previous blog post here. If you’re interested in how my money mindset has negatively affected my spirituality, go ahead and read that post. If you have a feeling in your gut that this may be the case for you as well, DEFINITELY go and read that post.

Every October, I spend the whole month doing things I love: watching spooky movies, listening to spooky music, feeling like the magical witch that I am. I have always had an affinity for darkness, having battled depression basically my whole life. I grew up wanting to be a demonologist and have seen ghosts. Being a witch is just who I am.

So Samhain (Halloween) is of course my favorite holiday because I love everything about it, and I love that it allows me to be who I am.

But when you hype things up, do they ever go as you want?

I am married to someone who doesn’t really care about holidays, least of all Halloween. He doesn’t care about scary movies, he doesn’t believe in ghosts, he doesn’t care about haunted places. Which is really hard for me, because I don’t have many people to share in my love of the darkness and this beautiful holiday.

So every year, I get all amped up. I tell myself that I am going to allow myself to do whatever my little heart desires on MY HOLIDAY.

And then for some reason, the money mindset I was indoctrinated with as a child gets in the way of my holy day.

You see, the money mindset that I am not allowed to have anything EXTRA has permeated my whole life. So as much as I LOVE Samhain, I don’t really allow myself to go overboard. I haven’t purchased new Samhain decor for YEARS, it took me forever to spend more than $4 on pumpkins (up to $25 for all of my pumpkin decor), this year was the first year I spent a lot of money on my costume, but most of all, I don’t really allow myself the EXPERIENCE that I want. I want to spend time in nature, communing with nature and with spirits. I want to have a traditional dumb supper, which I have only done once before. I want to FEEL like a witch on Samhain, not just treat it like any other day, because it’s not.

Samhain is a holy day that honors the dead. It is the day of the year where the veils between the worlds are the thinnest, which is how all the Halloween hulabaloo got started. We dress up and carve pumpkins to scare away spirits, and of course, pranks. That’s where the phrase “Trick or treat” comes from- you give us a treat or we pull a trick!

It’s so very wonderful, isn’t it?!

For all these years, I have been waiting for someone to join me on my path in order to allow myself to actually live it. I have been waiting for someone to give me permission, maybe, to throw myself into the joy I feel on my holy days.

But WE are the holiday. The day is holy because of US. Because we are here to experience it. Because we are here to give it meaning.

So I am giving you the permission YOU need to throw yourself into the things you love. If Samhain is YOUR favorite holy day, like mine, I give you permission to celebrate! If it’s Yule, or Ostara, or Beltaine, I give you permission to celebrate!!

WE ARE THE HOLY.

It’s time to start acting like it, witches.

xoxo,

La Rae

Your re-birth doula

All images in this post are the work of Jenni Chung Photography

How My Money Mindset Kept Me From My Spirituality

As you may know, I am a lover of all things self-help/spiritual growth. I’ve been a part of MANY programs that have all helped me along my own path of growth. And TWO of those programs/memberships aided in this week’s aha that I am going to share with you 🙂

I have been a part of Denise Duffield-Thomas’ Money Bootcamp for about 18 months.

I’ve been doing the course at my own pace, of course, and I learn more about myself all the time. Recently I uncovered a money memory around my mom and her own money blocks. When I Was growing up, anything EXTRA was a luxury. My mom would often buy off-brand items at the store, we wore lots of hand-me-downs, etc, etc. She would get SO MAD when my dad would buy name-brand items, or anything that was EXTRA. Even when she was shopping for her dress to wear to my wedding, she bought a $15 dress just because it was cheap; she didn’t buy what she really wanted, she bought something she thought was affordable.

Uncovering this money memory and money block was HUGE to me because I realized how much I was doing that too. I have so many memories about how I would put nail polish in my shopping cart, and even though it was cheap, I would put it back before I went to the checkout line because I didn’t NEED it.

I’ve done this so many times in my life. Even if I really wanted something, if it wasn’t a NEED, I wouldn’t typically buy the item.

Another group I’ve been a part of for the same amount of time is The Creative Sisterhood with my amazing mentor Becca Piastrelli .

This is an amazing group of women who believe in the healing power of sisterhood and creating with our hands. Every month we receive a creative guidebook with a ritual/craft for the month and some journal prompts. For September 2017, our theme was Harvest and our creative project was an abundance broom.

I must admit, I love being a part of this group, but I’ve never actually DONE THE CREATIVE PROJECTS!!! How weird? I couldn’t place my finger on WHY, but I just never did. September’s project though is definitely something I could get behind. Abundance is the name of the game in my book, and I love doing things that attract abundance.

But September almost passed me by completely, when another sister in the group did the project and shared a photo. Which of course reminded me how awful I am by not doing it yet.

I was in town near the craft store and I thought, “I AM GOING TO DO THIS!!!” Before I could talk myself out of it, I parked, walked in, and start looking. The materials only cost me $15, and I got sooooo very excited about making my abundance broom.

As I was driving home, I realized how these two things, my money memory and my lack of participating in the creative project/ritual, intersected. My spirituality is EXTRA. It requires RITUAL. It requires attention, care, inspiration, and sometimes it requires that I do things that I don’t NEED. Maybe you saw that coming from the beginning, but it was really like I was blind and now I could see.

My money mindset has always kept me from my spirituality. I always want to buy crystals, oils, pendulums, oracle cards, but never allow myself to because they are EXTRA, I don’t actually need them. But they are part of who I am.

I am a witch. Witchy accessories connect me to the divine. And I deserve that. I deserve to feel oneness with the divine. Sigh. Even writing that filled me with joy.

There is no inherent meaning to life. But the beauty of that is that each and every one of us are allowed to CREATE our own meaning. And I want one of the most meaningful aspects of my life to be MAGIC. If that means I have to be “extra,” then I will gladly be.

And as an aside, I ALWAYS buy the nail polish now 😉

So mote it be!

Until next time, beautiful lifers!

xoxo,

La Rae

Too Many Circles.

Lately I feel like even though I work from home and usually have an entire day to get things done, I don’t. I can’t. I get overwhelmed really easily. I always have, and while I do have an idea why, that’s a whole other story for another day.

The anxiety of overwhelm is crippling. Some days I feel like I will never have any order in my life. Some days I justify the chaos with “I’m creative, chaos is natural.” And while that’s true, it’s exhausting. Sometimes, I just want order.

Someday, I will have a weekly maid. Or even a daily maid. And perhaps, a paid assistant. But right now, I don’t. It’s just little ol’ me.

But lately I have been thinking back to the time where I had a coaching session or therapy session, which ever you want to call it, with my former coach Rebecca McLoughlin. One of the things she talked about popped into my head.

Circles.

Closing the circle.

This is a metaphor she used to talk about the process of a project. Every project is a circle, and it has to be closed. But when we don’t finish projects, the circles remain open, and there are energy leaks.

Ahhhhhhhhh. Light bulb moment.

I have too many circles open. I am not finishing the things I start. Energy is leaking everywhere, causing overwhelm, anxiety, and feeling like I’m floating all the time.

Here are some examples of circles I need to close:

Finish the upstairs bathroom.

Finish the downstairs bathroom.

Finish the basement renovations.

Declutter.

Organize.

Finish reading my book that I’ve had for like 5 library cycles.

Folding and putting away laundry once I’ve washed it (anyone else leave it in a laundy basket for a few days or weeks before doing this??)

Basically, all of my home projects have been put on the backburner during wedding season, which I’m not sure can be helped. But I’m looking forward to getting those things done this winter, if not sooner.

Want to read Rebecca’s blog post about this? Click here.

Do you have any circles that are still open for you? What ones will be the easiest to close? Start with that one!

Sending you love on this journey <3

La Rae

GROUND Yourself : A Short How-to

Lately, I have been so frazzled. So much to do, not enough time to do them.

The big problem with being frazzled is that you forget the basics! There ARE simple, easy, usually fast things you can do in order to help ground yourself when you feel like you’re running around like a chicken with your head cut off.

Here is a short list of these easy to implement habits that can help you feel more grounded during a chaotic day or just everyday life.

What do you think of my list?

Is there anything you would add?

Let me know!

xoxo,

La Rae

My Most Valuable Trait

I’ve always LOVED learning. When I was young, my parents thought that my love of learning equated a love of school, but that’s not the truth. I didn’t actually like the school part of learning. 
 
That got me in trouble in college, because learning in college costs so much that in order to make financial sense, it has to equate to not only a degree, but a career. I just wanted to learn. So of course, I changed my mind about 6 times about what I wanted to “do” with my life and now have a hefty amount of debt, as many people do. 
Everything I learned in college, I could have learned without going to college, which means my debt is largely unnecessary. And many of the things I gave up studying, such religion and technology, are part of my life’s purpose, but didn’t make any sense as careers at the time. While Anthropology seems like a wasted degree, it has shaped my skills, my senses, and my world-views so much. I am so thankful that I studied anthropology because it truly made me a better human being. It has helped me so much along the way.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and I can see how all of my passions fit together, but in college, not so much.
So, where is this post going? I guess maybe the only point of me telling you all this is that my love of learning has been the biggest gift in my life. I crave learning. I obsess over it. I haven’t had cable since I moved out of my parents’ house at 18, and I attribute that to much of my success. It means that I have spent most of my time learning new things, reading books, listening to podcasts, watching documentaries, having deep, spiritual conversations with my beloved. Of course, I binge on a TV shows on Netflix or YouTube, but not nearly as much as I would if I had cable readily available. I have spent my time dreaming and acting on those dreams.
And now, as I am figuring out my next steps in life, I can see just how important my love of learning is. I have always been a student of life, but now I am back to being a scholar, seeking information. Being a scholar doesn’t mean you have to be in school. Being a scholar is a way of life. I wish I had been able to distinguish this before I went to college, but alas, everything that is meant to be, will be.
What is YOUR most valuable trait? Can you see how it has been a part of your personality your whole life? Share below!
Until next time,
xoxo,
La Rae

I Don’t Want to Hustle Anymore

Someone once said “Hustle until you don’t have to anymore.” I can’t remember where I heard the quote or who said it, but it is something I forgot until I achieved my dream of working for myself.

I remembered that the life I was living isn’t the one I actually want to live.

The life you have to lead and who you have to be to achieve your dreams is absolutely necessary, however, it doesn’t have to be who you continue to be.

I called myself a Girl Boss. I hustled. I channeled Beyonce every moment I could.

It all seemed very glamorous on the outside, because our society worships being busy.

But.

I worked tirelessly.

I burned myself out.

I was bitchy to my husband, the person who loves me the most in the world. I neglected him, my responsibilities, and the people I love.

I gained soooooo much weight (as I have mentioned many times on this blog before, here, and here)

During all of this, when my hubby was feeling neglected and I would say “I’m doing this so that we can have freedom in the future!” I 100% believed it. And alas, it did get us there. But I had to actually REALIZE that I finally had everything I was working for. I took a step back and saw that we are living in a great house in a good area, we could afford healthy organic food, we had so many blessings. It wasn’t until this hit me that I could finally say, it’s time to really live this dream.

Yes, it was so hard. It was hard to keep going when things weren’t so fantastic. When I was so over it. When I thought it would be one of the reasons my marriage would end.

But, I’m here now. I have arrived at the goal I set out for myself.

What happens when you FINALLY reach the dream you’ve always had in your heart? Well, you can either replace it with a new dream and continue to participate in the rat race, OR you can appreciate what you have an re-evaluate your plan of action.

Which is what led me to finally working for myself full time.

One problem is that the hustling spirit doesn’t just go away, but in time, I hope to harness it correctly. I am learning my new patterns, which can only be done through the power of awareness and observation (my degree in Anthropology didn’t completely fail me!).

So now, I know 1 thing for sure: I no longer want to hustle in the same way I had hustled before. I didn’t become a full time entrepreneur to still be a slave to my laptop, to social media, to other people. I became a full time entrepreneur for freedom, spaciousness, alignment, joy, and grace. I am going to have to put things in place to make this really happen. Editing takes up almost ALL of my time. So I am considering how I can hire a maid or an assistant (or both!) so that I don’t have to waste my time cleaning and running errands. My time is best spent on creative and income-generating endeavors. Once I get things a little more ironed out, I think this could be a reality.

So today, I leave you with the assurance that if YOU are hustling for your dreams, and it doesn’t always feel so good, you CAN CHANGE. BUT you have to be willing to slow down and take a look at your priorities once you achieve your dreams.

Sending you so much love on your journey.

xoxo,

La Rae

Photo credits to (in order of appearance): Crystal Photography, Sally Kleiss Timmer Photography, Wild Soul Weddings (my company).

 

Lessons Learned in My First Two Months of Full-Time Self-Employment

I can’t even believe it’s been TWO WHOLE MONTHS since I had my last day of “work!”

Honestly, it has gone by in a flash. The best part of my training as an anthropologist is my ability to watch, notice, and identify patterns; pair this with my awareness of myself and my environment, and I have really turned into a very fast learner. I realized recently that so many things from over the past 3 years, including the Year of Courage, the Year of Trust, and the Year of Nourish and all little sub-lessons learned in these years, has led me to such a keen sense of awareness. This is one of my biggest triumphs, and it has been helping me grow so much.

Let me first say that my very first month working from home, I got almost NOTHING done. You are reading that correctly. NOTHING. I thought I would dive right into productivity, but that was simply not the case. I definitely took my time in getting things done for that first month, but it was definitely what I needed.

So, what are some of the things I’ve learned? Let’s dive in:

  1. My sleep patterns were actually very normal: I found my sleeping sweet spot, and it’s going to bed between midnight and one, and waking up between 8:30 and 9:30 every day. This is the same sleep pattern I had while working at my part time job, so this was an easy transition.
  2. Unexpected effects of being at home all the time: More dishes to do, more toilet paper used, more garbage produced, need for higher internet speeds, need for more clearly defined work/personal space. Since my hubby and I both work from home, we really needed to figure out the best place for my office, and the best place for his studio. We had to move some things around, but things seem to be good for now.
  3. How my menstrual cycle affects EVERYTHING: I thought I was having an productivity crisis, and tried something called the Pomodoro method where you set a timer for 25 minutes, and you don’t stop working until the timer dings. Then you take a short break. But I realized that I was attempting to force myself to work during a rather unproductive time of my menstrual cycle. During ovulation, I am all feminine. I am in my prime energy flow. I sway with my desires and moods like the wind. My mind can’t focus, but I am open and receptive to my creativity. I have come up with a LOT of ideas during my ovulation time, they just flow into me. And they flow into me because I am IN my flow. Once I am done with ovulation, and I enter into the luteal phase of my cycle, I enter the “get shit done” portion of my cycle, and I stay here until I’m in the final parts of my menstrual phase. During this time, it’s like a light switch is turned on to my structured productivity. I harness this energy and work almost for 2 weeks straight, all day, so I don’t have to during ovulation. This is the single most incredible thing I have uncovered about my energy, and I know this is true for all women.
  4. Identity crisis: When you can finally be who you are, you realize how much you have NOT been presenting yourself to the world. Now that I am able to dress however I want, do whatever I want, say whatever I want, and BE myself, I had to figure out who that is. I still don’t know how to fully show up as myself, but I am working on it. I will write more about this process soon.
  5. We are still working on purging our home of stuff. We have accumulated soooo much stuff, most of which is just crap that we have just failed to remove. There are so many un-needed and un-necessary items, but it takes time and energy to get rid of. Since I have been putting so much energy on my photography company these days, I have little get shit done energy for anything else.
  6. Now that I know I can make substantial amounts of money, I need to learn how to be a better steward of that money…ie, I need to start saving!

Whew! So, that’s a lot of stuff to learn in just a few short months, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. I am delving more deeply into my identity and my cyclic feminine nature, which I know will be so beautifully transformational, for myself and for the women I am meant to serve in the future.

Did any of these things surprise you or resonate with you? Let me know!

xoxo,

La Rae

“And In This Moment I Am Happy.”

Last night, I had a mini photoshoot with myself. Doing more self-portraits have been something I’ve been dying to do. It was so much fun, and I really feel like I honored myself by doing that.

I must be nearing the end of the get shit done part of my cycle because last night I slept for 10.5 hours. I woke feeling joyful and refreshed, and I breathed in the deep gratitude I have for the life I have built.

I sat down to work, and my puppy kept jumping on me, so I decided we should go for a short walk. After our walk, I did a few Sun Salutations in the yard while my two younger dogs chased each other around. Lilith kept coming to lay with me and lick me in the face while I was in upward and downward dog.

I am feeling the joy of this beautiful day and wanted to share it with my sisters. 

I hope you all have a day that fills your heart with joy.

I Bought Myself a New Wedding Dress

This year around the time of our 4th anniversary, I did something crazy for myself: I bought myself a new wedding dress.

To some, this might seem crazy. For me, it was an integral part of my healing around our wedding.

In case you don’t know the story, let me tell you.

My wedding was surrounded by crazy. Everything that could’ve gone wrong, did.

Here is a list of things that went wrong/not the way I wanted:

-My hubby broke his hand at his bachelor party

-We were victims of fraud when we purchased our photographers plane ticket, and we didn’t find that out until about 3 weeks before the wedding

-I didn’t want a traditional bachelorette party, but we went ahead with that because I didn’t have the guts to stand my ground

-My bridesmaids didn’t all get along

-My sister and I got into a huge fight

-Our basement flooded the week before our wedding, and the area around our venues were flooded as well. This of course resulted in HUGE amounts of stress.

-My DJ tried to sleep with one of my bridesmaids

-My videographer was creepy

-An unwelcome guest decided to show up at my reception, which put me in quite a sour mood.

-I felt like there were things I wanted that no one paid attention to

-I am an introvert and I don’t like being around so many people for so long

-I ordered my wedding dress 1.5 years before my wedding, and by the time our wedding rolled around, I wished I had a different one. My hubby offered to buy me a new one, but I didn’t want to be so vain.

-It seemed like the day wasn’t exactly about our marriage…it was just a huge party. And that didn’t sit well for me.

I needed therapy for about a year after our wedding, and I also kind of became a hermit for that year. I didn’t want to see people, hang out with them, anything. Girls have so many preconceived notions about their wedding, and when it doesn’t turn out the way they thought, there are lots of negative emotions.

So since the hunk of burning love and I had such a tough year last year and didn’t kill each other or get a divorce, I wanted to do a vow renewal this year. Yeah yeah, it is only our 4th anniversary, but I still wanted to do it, and I wanted to do it the way I originally wanted it all. Well, needless to say, we didn’t travel to Italy or find ourselves atop a tall mountain, but I had a crazy idea one day while driving to Ankeny to see my bestie, Alicia.

I wanted to buy myself a new wedding dress.

We went to get a pedicure, then ventured over to a wedding dress consignment store. I thought I’d just look and see what I could find and what the prices were. Well, I tried on about 5 dresses, and a dress that I at first glossed over ended up being almost EXACTLY the one I wish I would’ve wore 4 years earlier.

This dress made me feel so beautiful, even being the heaviest weight I have ever been.

It is everything I wanted.

I fell in LOVE with this dress, and put half down on it.

A week later, I came back to pick it up. I had kept all this from my hubby, but my other best friend Sally, an associate with my photography company, knew my plans. We had a branding photoshoot scheduled, and I told my hubby we were getting some anniversary photos taken as well. Little did he know, I was waiting for him in my new wedding dress.

I even bought myself a bouquet of my favorite flowers, peonies, from Wildflower Florist in Reinbeck, Iowa, and I had cupcakes made by my friend Kiedra at Sweet Magic by Kiedra in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  I had my hair done by Madi Bowen in Grundy Center, and my makeup was done by my dearest friend Alysha, who owns The Old Fifty-Six: barn weddings and events in Grundy Center, Iowa. I was giving myself some much needed closure on this whole wedding fiasco by pampering and doing things the way I wished they would’ve been.

So, did buying a new wedding dress work? Did it help me heal?

Yes. It did. It released the importance of that ONE DAY, that ONE DRESS. The day we decided to stay together last year almost means more to me than our wedding day. Choosing to marry someone isn’t nearly as difficult as choosing to STAY married when things seem impossible.

It also helped my money mindset as well. I saw what I wanted, I had the money, and I bought it because I knew it would bring me complete joy and closure on the pain and sadness I felt around that day.

I am not keeping this dress, just as I didn’t keep the first one. I would LOVE to keep it and wear it all the time, but honestly, I am losing weight, and it was too big when I bought it, and it will continue to get bigger as I get smaller. I also want to help another bride feel the joy I felt in it.

We hold onto material things too much in our culture because we care about the thing more than the emotions or memories, which is another reason why I’m selling it.

But I am so thankful for the joy it brought me while I was wearing it, and I am thankful that I did what I needed to do. It was definitely one unexpected way that I nourished myself this year.

xoxo,

La Rae