Why letting go of expectations helps you grow.

It is my birthday today and it may have taken thirty six years but this Libran girl finally found her balance in life. Ironically, it came from letting go of all the expectations that I clung to for external stability. During the years when I frantically micro managed all aspects of my life, I would not have imagined my current ability to experience inner peace and joy amidst chaotic, unpredictable and the most challenging circumstances. Detaching my joy from external circumstances or labels enabled me to nurture the emotional qualities that make it easier to encounter  disappointment. This ability to feel worthy and at peace when outcomes do not unfold as expected constantly offers new  wisdom that subsequently enriches my creative potential. So today, my birthday wish for everyone to also discover the love, abundance and purpose that results from abandoning the expectations of who we must be, so that we can grow into our highest self and potential.

Expectations are self depleting.

I now understand that being attached to my prior expectations of validation, perfection and control undermined my conscious awareness of my intrinsic worth. Like many people, I subconsciously believed that I wasn’t as valuable if a desired outcome didn’t manifest, hence there was always an uncharted part of myself that I was fleeing from. For example, if didn’t get the grade I wanted, I first questioned my intelligence instead of simply resigning to apply more effort without criticizing myself. I took for granted that a self defeating dialogue that proceeded my disappointments actually hindered my capacity to sustain the momentum of my goals. In hindsight, the self critical version of myself was not courageous enough to rise to the occasion of thriving amidst challenges. Yet, there I was putting one foot in front the other, constantly reacting to appease every unmet expectation convinced that it was surely leading towards greater abundance and fulfillment. Unfortunately, the only destination that chasing external expectations lead to is internal unworthiness, distress and a repeated cycle of familiar woes.

Breaking the cycle of expectations.

We will never truly arrive at our desired fulfillment and abundance while chasing  validation, perfection control or certainty, etc,.  Pursuing those expectations externally prevents us from cultivating them internally and taking ownership of our happiness and life. Rather, I unknowingly lowered the bar of what it took to feel validated or perfect each time I emerged from my disappointments until I was gradually barricaded within my comfort zone with diminished fulfillment. This is that phase of limbo where many of us feel stuck or stifled in life because our subconscious attachment to our expectations blinds us to greater possibilities for expansion, while our authentic self is eagerly tugging at our soul to be freed. Our truest self is the ability to feel worthy under all circumstances, which requires detaching our happiness from all external expectations that are not within our control. Doing so, subsequently enables us to nurture the emotional qualities (kindness, compassion, patience, trust, etc) that allow us to still love ourselves when life isn’t validating, perfect, certain etc. The ability to feel worthy during undesirable outcomes makes us unafraid of unpredictable outcomes,  thus we remain motivated and inspired during set backs. Letting go of perfection has resulted in being more compassionate with myself, which in turn makes me less fearful of imperfect outcomes. Rather, the commitment to accept ourselves as unconditionally worthy eliminates the notion of failure all together and we simply get to be whatever it takes to grow into the size of our dreams. 

The journey to our authentic self begins by responding to every episode of emotional discontent in a manner that detaches our inner peace and joy from the particular unmet expectation. This is how we gain the wisdom of who we truly are and what we are capable of beyond external influences. 

A Dream Of Self Acceptance

I have a dream, that one day you will awake to a renewed hope in your being.
That we will not turn our backs on ourselves in hopes of receiving love from another.
That we will look upon ourselves like our babes and smile at every part of experience.
We will not treat ourselves like an outsider when we fall, stumble or cannot find our way.
We will not play favorites with ourselves, rejoicing in our being only when we can take a bow.
But we will sit and be with ourselves in our darkest hour, in the loneliest thoughts and become deaf to the noise of others’ voices bullying our pain.
We will be like our own loving parent who sees their young running towards them with their scraped knees panting and wailing to tell the tale of their assault,
With open arms, we will hear ourselves out with compassion and without judgment and will disregard what the perpetrator should have or shouldn’t have done.
But choose to let our hearts swell with love for our vulnerability, embrace ourselves nodding to our soul that we are okay.
I have a dream that once we see our ups and downs with the same favor of contentment then the spaces in our heart will never be closed and joy and peace will always find their way in.
And pain and sadness will come and go without being held captive.
I have a dream for all to know this divine smile of peace that now rests in my being and sees no threat in anything beyond my soul.
Join me in the oasis of unconditional bliss that seeks only to fulfill itself.
Because once we embrace the “other” within ourselves, who was undeserving of our love, we’ll no longer estrange the other before our eyes.
I have a dream that we will awake to the truth that the gifts which are hidden in our souls, cannot be found on the surface but only through our healing.
That in healing ourselves, we discover a magic that we wish to spread to those who bear the same wounds.
I have a dream that all will stop dreaming of who they wish to be but accept the glory of their wholeness and with the freedom that ensues will grow into more than they ever imagined.
I have a dream that we will awake to the power of love that lays within, awaiting our return home.

“Recover your innocence, for she is an endless well of wisdom” .–I. Anana

I’ve always had an innate desire to make sense of everything but when I saw life from my ego, I directed my inquiry outward instead of understanding myself. But the answers that guide our personal journey reside with our authentic understanding/alignment with our highest self, therefore deciphering others is like writing the wrong test during an exam. We must know ourselves beyond our ego’s expectations in order to gain the true wisdom for our lives. After years of supposedly knowing it all, it was when I began seeing life through the lens of innocence that I discovered the wisdom and passion laying dormant in my consciousness. In what felt like an ordinary moment earlier this year, during my own sullen experience of misalignment, I briefly mourned the eventual loss of my angel’s innocence pondering the day that she too will shed her innate knowing that she is already enough. The sadness that followed that moment was the catalyst for my spiritual awakening and self rediscovery. I now understand that I was actually being inspired through divine intervention to mourn the loss of my own innocence and to rescue her from the fog of my ego mind.

You must mourn the loss of your innocence and commission a search party for her return. Put out her missing posters and knock on the doors of those who still remember her. Let them tell of how she was bold or gracious, knew what she wanted and went after it without fear. They will remind you that her imagination bore the greatest fantasies, she was full of curiosity, love and zeal. She sprinkled beauty and kindness everywhere she went and lifted the spirits of all those around her. Let them recall how she galloped with pride in her being and spoke her mind freely without doubt. Let your heart be moved by her legacy and weep that she has been buried alive. And as a loving parent who wouldn’t rest until the safe return of their missing child, you must find the courage to recover her. Fight for her in every waking moment of your day, knowing that when you choose to see life though the lens of love, you are one with your true and highest self.

“The Problem is the Solution to Your Evolution”–Ini Anana

Whenever we find ourselves unable to embrace our circumstances or struggles, we must ask ourselves “what am I resisting?” Consider the personal skill or trait you are avoiding or not embodying in your resistance to the situation. Are people taking advantage of you so you can learn to speak up for yourself? Are your interactions with your children or family strained in order to teach you the compassion that you are also lacking towards yourself? Were you humiliated to force you to stop caring about what others think? Your resistance to this particular quality is also essentially fighting/resisting yourself and limits your capacity to be good to yourself. Without developing this aspect of our character, we are choosing to impact/cater to the actions/opinion of others at our expense. If you live the rest of your life without nurturing this all important trait, you’ll never be good to yourself and subsequently will never be happier, more fulfilled or empowered than you are right now.

Expecting others or life to be perfect simply because we lack the courage to be good to ourselves will keep us stuck and living below our potential FOREVER. I’ve been given a new inspiration to develop a self-compassion workshop and would you believe that I’ve been experiencing the very situations that require me to be compassionate to myself instead of worrying about the perceptions of others. In the past however, I would have chosen to be distressed and pondered why life didn’t love me enough to make everything easier and perfect 🤷🏾‍♀️. Rather, I said “how’s this a good thing for my goals”? The reflection revealed that I may have taken the basics of self compassion for granted due to my committed spiritual growth, thus my current experiences is taking me through the “practical” and elementary knowledge to incorporate into my teachings. This approach opened my awareness beyond the immediate predicament, raised my vibration and propelled me into taking aligned actions. When you consider how your challenges are beneficial, it gives you a sense of control over them. Have the courage to ask the questions that will move you forward because your progress can’t occur against your willingness.

You are courageous and powerful, lean into your truth and potential.

Words of Wisdom to My Younger Self: This is What It Took To Become Authentic.

When you finally embrace your authentic self, you end up wishing that you would have begun the search much sooner. The desire to gain validation and my prior addiction to perfection distracted me from seeking my highest self and exploring more of my potential. Therefore, the distance to self rediscovery gets shorter once we begin putting ourselves first and realize that making others proud or happy is not more important than our own well being. While it’s true that everything happens in its own good time and we cannot force personal growth, life only gets shorter with time and we unfortunately spend too much energy trying to find ourselves in the wrong places. Sometimes, we miss growing into our gifts all together because of our subconscious self sabotaging habits. Having the clarity of my hindsight, I have some advice that I would give to my younger self about what it took to grow into the truest version of me. And for anyone else who has dared to ask themselves that million-dollar question of “who am I”, these are my words of wisdom on how to cultivate your most empowered self and authenticity.

Be truthful with yourself. 

I spent my twenties and half my thirties frequently making choices that did not honor the truth within my heart because I wanted approval at all costs. I entered and stayed in relationships that I shouldn’t have, said yes to opportunities that didn’t feel right and outright adopted a demeanor of fibbing to avoid unfavorable reactions or opinions. I assumed that the validation I would gain from the experiences or relationships in question would offset my internal discord. But I was wrong, every single time; living in a lie with myself to appease others has never made me happier in the long run. Rather choices that contradict our truth undermine our own opinion of ourselves, diminishes our self esteem and leads to not trusting our own judgement. The more difficult it is to make a decision that upholds our internal truth then the more esteem and trust that we will gain or lose in ourselves, depending on how we proceed. Living honestly with yourself builds up the confidence and belief in yourself to live your dreams.

Stop waiting.

You are already complete and good enough, so stop waiting for any experience or milestone to determine your happiness. I waited for education, jobs, relationships to feel worthy but until we stop defining ourselves by external expectations, we will waste our whole lives waiting for joy to happen to us. Pursuing our goals from a mindset of inadequacy often leads to playing safe or choosing other people’s version of success. We must already love and accept ourselves unconditionally in order to have the passion and tenacity to pursue our own unique gifts, which may not always be supported or understood by others. The very expectations that you are waiting for either circumstances or others to meet creates your false perception of not already being enough. Self acceptance frees us from the opinions of others, empowering us to follow our hearts and pursue our most authentic desires. Get up and do the things you’re putting off until you lose weight, have more money, have a spouse, a family because nothing completes our happiness if we are not happy now.

Ask for what you want.

The true mark of our independence is the ability to ask for what we want. My naivete associated vocalizing my true intentions as being needy or pushy but when I did not articulate my desires in relationships, friendships or other settings, I became resentful or emotionally dependent. Giving ourselves permission to ask for what we want enables us to take responsibility for our lives, instead of simply expecting others to anticipate our needs. When we do not speak up for what we need, our inherent entitlement diminishes our capacity to nurture a more open and genuine connection with others. You must speak up for what you desire, to receive what you deserve.

Explore your passion.

We begin adulthood determined to make our mark in life but I soon learned that after you leave academia and settle into professional role, life smaller and less fulfilling if you don’t allot energy into a passion or an endeavor for your own enjoyment. Expand your creative horizon if you don’t want to end up like those folks who are not as content in the same careers that they too once pursued with all of their young potential. Exploring our passion heightens our confidence and often expands our personal growth by providing the impetus for us to evolve outside of our comfort zones. When I did not actively engage in my passion for writing and sharing my ideas, I was caught in a limbo of restlessness and boredom. Pursuing our creative interest often requires us to be kind to ourselves, enhancing our self acceptance and sense of wholeness.

Be a champion of others.

We must genuinely celebrate and build others up to personally feel empowered to step out in pursuit of our own dreams. The constant need to be perfect and validated in my younger years led to not fully showing up for others but often meeting them with my judgmental ego. My critique of people’s mistakes or criticism of their imperfect choices contributed to my own reluctance to take risks and put myself out there. When we do not celebrate others, we internalize that it’s not socially safe to be bold and become afraid of also being judged and not supported. We discover our own strengths and bolster our character as we build others up and bring out the best in them. Our genuine encouragement of others diminishes the tendency for comparison, which reinforces our own awareness of also being enough. What we embrace in others becomes a mirror for what we cherish in ourselves and vice versa.

Be more vulnerable.

Without a doubt, vulnerability is the only means to self awareness, growth and experiencing true love. Yet, I avoided it for years because I did not know how to experience the pain of confronting my emotional vulnerability or shame. I would mentally jab at my weaknesses or failures with a ten-yard stick and judge myself through the perceptions of others. Experiencing my difficulties with my mind instead of my heart made me my own worse enemy and I would become less authentic as I tried harder to prove my worth. Now, I delve into my vulnerability heart first, showing myself the self compassion necessary to accept myself as worthy amidst my defeat and disappointment. Our willingness to be vulnerable with ourselves helps us to shed limiting beliefs, make decisions with clarity and become more accepting and connected to others.

Becoming the best version of ourselves is primarily a process of letting go of the conditioned expectations that diminish our authenticity. However, what I had to do more of, was to love. Mindfully choosing kindness and compassion in all my interactions reconnected me to my innate loving nature towards myself.

NI ANANA IS AN ASPIRING LIFE AND SELF DEVELOPMENT COACH IN EDMONTON, AB. LIKE STEEPING JOY ON FACEBOOK  FOR MORE SELF DEVELOPMENT INSIGHTS.

 

Stop Waiting For Mr. Or Mrs. Right

Dating in 2017 is an endless waiting game, with popular relationships advise on social media continuously cautioning us about the type of person that every girl or guy should wait for. But what exactly are you waiting for? Dig deeper than the list of wonderful qualities that you desire in an ideal mate and ponder why you value those traits as much as you do in the first place. In the past, I was basically waiting to stumble upon someone who would compensate for my own shortcomings or inadequacies and love me more than I loved myself. If this also sounds like your current dating approach then I encourage to stop wasting your precious time and stop waiting for your perfect mate because the only factor that determines who attract is you and how much you love yourself. A better use of your waiting period is healing the cause of your internal unworthiness so that you can develop better boundaries and make empowered decisions that will prevent choosing partners from a mindset of desperation and neediness.

Stay Single Until You Love Yourself.

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The last dating article you read may have just told you to stay single until you meet someone who doesn’t make you doubt yourself or something along those lines. But here’s the catch, if you doubt yourself then you will forever continue to chose partner that cannot offer you security. It’s irrelevant if a prospective lover possesses the right or wrong qualities because you are willingly choosing your partners. Therefore, you ought to focus more on what is guiding your choices and less on the factor that you cannot control, which is the other person. If we dare to be completely honest with ourselves, then admittedly what we desire in a partner often resembles how we are not treating ourselves. When we do not genuinely love and value ourselves then we will typically choose partners based on how “we think they will make us feel” more worthy or desirable and become completely blind to who they are as people. I refer to this as the starving for self love syndrome, its comparable to missing a meal during a diet and your subsequent food choices become driven purely by your deprivation and hunger instead of what is beneficial and nutritious. In contrast, when we authentically embody the expectations that we desire from a spouse towards ourselves then we longer need anything from a partner to feel worthy and take responsibility for our own happiness within our unions. This allows us to see a relationship as a platform for personal growth and learning, which makes it easier to walk away from toxic relationships that no longer promote our wellbeing.

Your Expectations Are For You.

I will take a stab at the fact that if you have a long list of expectations that you desire from a potential partner then you may still be harbouring significant emotional hurt and pain that you must heal to truly love yourself. That’s because our expectations are merely the external band aids for long standing wounds of how we feel unworthy. If you wrestle with insecurity then you may desire a mate who is very confident but lack the self-assurance to date such people, opting instead to settle for those whom you perceive will make you feel more secure. Seeking confidence through a partner distracts a person from enhancing their own level of self worth. So, don’t throw out your expectations all together but simply become aware that the qualities, which you desire in a spouse represents what you must nurture in a greater capacity within yourself to experience your desired benefits from those traits. All the incidents that cause a person to feel inadequate will not suddenly cease to elicit unworthiness simply because the “perfect match” showed up. Our insecurities are often our own best kept secret and our lovers aren’t in the loop that they’ve been tasked with making us feel worthy. Rather, when we chose people according to their perceived ability to meet our expectations, we put them in charge of our happiness and do not take responsibility for the true cause of our emotional discontent. This often leads to projecting our unhealed wounds onto our spouses and not recognizing the broader opportunity of personal growth that our persistent insecurity offers us.

Stop Rushing and Start Discovering.

When we expect a relationship to make us feel worthy or valuable then we get in a hurry to see if we can have our cake and eat it too. We will rush things to the next level because we want to confirm if a partner does indeed fit the bill of expectations that we have created for them. However, dating is an opportunity to discover who people are and through self awareness support each other in becoming the best version of ourselves. If we are not being honest or feel not confident about our choices within a relationship, it leads to believing that we have something to lose in taking our time with progressing through the relationship. For example, when I lacked the courage to act on the subtle inklings and red flags that I felt about my exes, I would inherently want rush things to the next stage to prove myself wrong or right. Similarly, if you doubt your partner’s commitment level, the answer is not rushing to move in together to see if they are willing to commit and inadvertently test out your expectations. When we assume responsibility for nurturing our own happiness through a positive mindset, selfcare and personal hobbies/passions then a partner cannot hinder our joy and we never have anything to lose in any relationship.  In contrast, making choices solely on our expectations undermines our boundaries because we will act to feel validated instead having the clarity to make choices that honor our integrity and well being.

Stop waiting for Mr. or Mrs. Right if their role is to make you feel better about who you are because our pain or unhappiness is our own and nobody else can take that away from us no matter how good they are on paper. When we are happy with ourselves and living honestly in our truth, then our relationship choices will reflect this.

INI ANANA IS AN ASPIRING LIFE AND SELF DEVELOPMENT COACH IN EDMONTON, AB. LIKE STEEPING JOY ON FACEBOOK  FOR MORE SELF DEVELOPMENT INSIGHTS.

An Ode to Love: Love is For The Receiver.

Love is our only true freedom because,
To love takes the courage  to live outside of all fear!
Love does not fear loss, it is not afraid of failure, and
Love is not seduced by the clout of the ego.
Love indeed is for the Receiver, so whom so ever receives Love may be graced with acceptance and virtue!
Love is for the Receiver, for
This is the nature of the Divine Love bestowed upon us, which is unwavering and
Does not bind nor possess and is not rationed upon circumstance!
But it sets us free so that we may always feel welcomed, because
Love is for the receiver and as we receive Love, so shall we discover how to Love  because,
Love is for the Receiver!
When we share Love for the sake of the Receiver, then
Love is unselfish, and only
When we are not selfish that
We are set free.

 

“Steeping joy, brewed with all that life has to offer”

8 Reasons Why Babies Are Awesome And Adults Should Learn From Them.

Babies have some of the most amusing and ironic mannerisms and at any given moment Fraya’s behaviours offers us the best entertainment that you can get for free. Unbeknownst to them, babies have a constant dotting fan club that comes with round the clock paparazzi and our constant adoration of Fraya’s quirks reveals a deeper value in all her traits. Here’s a list of eight classic behaviours that babies display on a daily basis, which I believe we should also try and emulate.

1.) The only focus on what they want.

  • A baby’s eyes are like a set of magnets for the object of her desire. Nothing else around them matters during a moment when baby is eyeing the string in your shirt, the fluff on the carpet or the crumb stuck between their fingers. Even as I try to flash something more appealing within her view, Fraya does not shift her interest from whatever she is intent on making hers. Approaching our pursuits with this type of passion is what motivates us to remain focused solely on the means of achieving them. It takes a baby-like dedication not to become discouraged by the difficulties we encounter while pursuing our desires.

2.) They let go of anything they don’t need.

  • A toy, pacifier, bottle or a cup, when an object is no longer useful to a baby, it’s leaving their hands like a hot potato! Consider the practicality of a baby freeing up their explorative resource to embrace something  of greater interest once they are finished with another item. We may fail to discover our creative potential if we remain preoccupied with ideas/thoughts that are not useful. Our mind is our most valuable creative resource and it’s not beneficial to invest our imagination reinforcing thoughts of what makes us unhappy. I believe that we must develop an understanding of the emotions that give rise to our negative thoughts in order to eliminate nonconstructive ideas  .

3.) They let you know when they are unhappy.

  • Babies are living the high life because they let us know when we need to remedy something in their environment. From arching their back, fussing, squealing, crying, grunting and that snake-like rotation maneuver freeing them from your grasp; babies are good at conveying their discontent until someone understands how to fix the problem. However, as adults, we have to be able to identify WHAT is causing our discontent to remedy our unhappiness and this is probably the biggest obstacle to creating positive life changes. Our lack of fulfillment signals that something is amiss but we may be unable to identify the cause; I believe that we should develop a daily practice of questioning and understanding our negative emotions to discover the source of our discontent.

4.) They get over things quickly and move on.

  • Babies will have you believe that the world is ending in one instant and will be playing blissfully just moments later, showing that they know how move on once their discomfort is over. This is currently a noted blessing with Fraya entering the recurring head bumping stage of her mobility. I am passionately practicing this concept of letting go of displeasing sentiment(s) and it’s becoming hard to fathom why I would have ever remained preoccupied with negative experiences. The secret is that we need to progress emotionally before we can move on mentally, which requires an understanding of the fear(s) that are manifesting in our negative emotions.

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5.) They find joy in the simple things. 

  • They could be half a dozen fancy toys in front of a baby but they will unfailingly find the commonplace house hold item to be more fascinating. A spoon, a piece of paper, a sock, her books are just some of the items that causes Fraya’s eyes to light up. I believe that it is a baby’s sense of wonder that intrigues them to discover the joy in ordinary items. We stop enjoying the simple experiences/things once we start to believe that we need more to be content. Yet, a reduced sense of fulfillment may diminish the means that we are willing to utilize to acquire more. It is a practice of love that enables us to find joy in the ordinary and the resulting sense of passion is the currency we need to fulfill greater desires.

6.) They know that a smile is a good way to you what you want. 

  • Even our funkiest moods can be altered by a full-hearted ear to ear smile from a baby and I’m starting to think that Fraya already knows when to flash her winning grin. And of course, when a baby blesses you with a smile, you automatically reciprocate and become interested in how they want to engage with you. Similarly for the rest of us, as they say “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar”; a positive attitude is truly the best approach to adopt during any of our pursuits, especially if we require the support of others.

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7.) They pay attention to the little things. 

  • A baby’s development depends vastly on their ability to collect information/cues from their environment and incorporate it into practice. Fraya is now at the stage where her eyes are drawn to the most minute details in her surroundings and I know it’s only a matter of time before she’ll become the household vacuum cleaner. We sometimes become too distracted by the bigger picture that we overlook the little things, which are often the essentials or pre-requisite components to materializing the broader picture.

8.) They love freely.

  • This is undoubtedly the most meaningful lesson that I have gained while living vicariously in Fraya’s world. Babies demonstrate that our true nature is love, and it is their lack of perception that enables them to freely embrace every moment. My spiritual journey and awareness reveals that the perceptions that inhibit our ability to love is a fear of being unhappy. I now understand that every emotion, thought and encounter is an opportunity to choose love or fear and the choices we make from fear foster various forms of our discontent.We can be sure that we are acting out of love if our thoughts during any interaction echoes the positive energy of contentment.

What are some of your favourite traits that babies possess?

XO

Ini Anana

“Steeping joy, brewed with all that life has to offer”.

Love in Action: Lessons From Our First Craft Sale.

When I began to write about our family’s first craft sale experience this past weekend, it didn’t take long for the principles of love to emerge and this revelation gave me the idea to start a new series of blog entries that explore my views about love during our everyday moments. I hope to use these stories to highlight the fact that love impacts every component of life and discuss the endless opportunities where we can utilize our ability to love to improve ourselves and circumstances. To summarize my definition of love, I believe that we could all probably agree that love can be described as an exchange because we ‘seem’ to  feel and show it. If love is intangible and can also be exchanged, then I also agree that love is energy. Extrapolating from the scientific premise of energy, I assert that love is our ability to overpower the force of negativity/ego in every interaction.  Similarly, if we accept that our main goal in life is to be happy then we can also assume that our true self enables us to satisfy this purpose, while the ego opposes it. We experience unhappiness due to our unmet expectation of perfection. Therefore, it is our ego that demands perfection of ourselves, others and our circumstances and becomes unhappy when this does not manifest. Subsequently, ‘choices that stem from the defeated ego’ becomes the force that opposes our ability to love.  As I recount the events and lessons from our recent craft sale, I hope it leaves you more convinced that love doesn’t occur only between lovers or those you care about but there’s an opportunity to embrace the energy of love  in every aspect of how we live.

Breaking new ground in the craft world.

A couple months ago, my husband began making larger sized scrabble tiles, adding a new element to his hand crafted reclaimed pallet wood artwork. He quickly generated multiple sales from Kijiji and it was through his advertising that he was solicited to participate in a school’s fundraiser craft sale. We immediately decided that this was a great opportunity to showcase his artwork since he planned on participating in markets and trade shows soon. We had high hopes that this novel décor item would be a hit with craft sale goers. He went to work preparing his inventory and it unfolded into a family affair, with his parents cutting/sanding the wooden tiles in their shop at their country home, my husband drawing/stenciling the pieces, I waxed his finished product and one of our daughters refined the flaws with a fine point pen. We worked so hard that both my husband and I came down with a terrible head cold the day before the sale, but the show had to go on. We got up early that Saturday morning and with our sweet Fraya in tow, we were off to the big event. We quickly discovered that one must arrive earlier than early to get the first pick at the premium tables near the entrance, we selected the best from what tables remained and it didn’t take long before we were set up and ready to sell. And with baited breath we waited and waited and waited some more. Our first sale came a couple hours later, which felt quite anticlimactic amidst our growing disappointment. Though we were both thinking it, my husband was first to express his discontent about the minimal sales considering the tremendous amount effort he invested in preparing the inventory. There we were, with our long faces and innocent Fraya oblivious of our deflated spirit, we were still holding on to hopes that maybe we would lure in buyers with her sweet smiles, squeals and giggles. We tried adjusting our pitch and became more vocal with every passer by, greeting them more passionately, but all that was to no avail. And when the sense of discouragement settled in deep enough for me to feel unhappy, I recognized that this was an opportunity to consciously apply the principles of love.

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Love entails self awareness

Unhappiness is always the trigger that we are confronting the force of our ego and as I made the connection between our expectations and the current state of our progress, I asked my husband why he felt disappointed. He explained that it seemed like he may have wasted his efforts preparing for the sale and there was also the implicit doubt of whether his work was desirable to buyers. I remarked “so we basically expected the sale to go perfectly by making lots of money”. Since he also made the connection with our unmet expectations of perfection, my husband jokingly replied “is that too much for my ego to ask for?” Being aware that our disappointment stemmed from our defeated ego, we re-evaluated how we wanted to proceed. We now had a strong incentive to change our outlook because behaving in a sullen manner would give momentum to the force of our ego, which we understood would indirectly block the flow of love in our circumstance. Discussing our bleak outlook forced us to examine the source of our negative emotions and subsequently revealed how the principles of love could apply to this situation.  In turn, we became more conscious of the outlook we wanted to adopt and more deliberate in our choices. Utilizing the principles of love was the pause button, which allowed us to rewind, examine the details we missed before coming to the right conclusion. Therefore, the principles of love fosters self awareness because we gain clarity while scrutinizing the source of our unsettled emotions . This has proven to be the only way to identify if we are confronting the force of our ego and subsequently recognize it as an opportunity to change the presiding outlook and our course of action to permit the flow of love.

Defeat is just a perception

My husband and I addressed our looming sense of failure by realistically considering our tangible losses. And naturally, there were none to minimal losses and at that point we were only $20 away from recovering the cost of our table rental. I quipped to my husband that we weren’t less intelligent than before the start of the sale since its always natural to feel a bit foolish during defeat. Nothing was physically absent from our lives because we did not sell a lot of inventory so why would we concede to the feeling of failure. In many instances one can only discover that the sentiments of their defeated ego is just a perception by deliberately rejecting it and not acting in the spirit of these emotions. Over and over, I’ve recognized that ‘nothing actually changes’ in the capacity that we feared. Yet we often choose to behave according to the sentiments of our defeated ego (limiting the flow of love) because it provides the comfort akin to leaking our wounds without the healing.

There are alternative outcomes

The conscious exercise of choosing the energy of love affords us the realization that there are multiple outcomes to every interaction, and we can choose the version that reconnects us with happiness. When our ego’s expectation of perfection is not met, the negative emotions we feel lead us to believe that there’s only one possible resolve. Proceeding in the spirit of our defeated ego signals our acceptance of it’s perceived outcome while selecting a different course of actions acknowledges that we are willing to create a different resolution. For example, we typically choose resentment when people disappoint us because we accept that their intentions ‘must’ be bad, we may choose anger when we do not get our way because we accept that control is the ‘only’ means to happiness and we choose detachment when we feel vulnerable because we ‘assume’ that we are unappreciated, etc. My husband and I endeavoured to uncover the advantages of our experience at the craft sale as we applied the principles of love to our situation. We decided that it was beneficial to attend a smaller sale to debut his art as an introduction to the learning curve of such events, where there were less costs at stake. We also recognized the generated potential for future sales as a couple dozen people took his business card and a few more requested to have custom work completed. The best part of this story is that soon after we chose to embrace the energy of love, our luck immediately turned around. Coincidental or not, we had the remaining four out of five sales after our choice to reject defeat but the greatest victory was realizing that our initial disappointment was not the end of the story. Similarly, in other situations, the perception of our defeated ego conceals the alternate outcomes that can afford us freedom from the ego as well as happiness.

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Focus on the gains

The most problematic aspect of the ego’s need for perfection is the fallout when these demands go unmet and we inherently become preoccupied with the conditions that are lacking for our happiness.  However, as we actively negate the emotions of our defeated ego, we begin to look for criteria that validate the choice to be happy despite the ego’s outlook. As we highlighted the benefits of the sale, we acknowledged the fact that we made great contacts with other vendors who shared their expertise willingly and recommended upcoming handmade sales that are more suitable for my husband’s inventory. My husband also felt grateful that he created sufficient inventory to participate in future sales with less preparation going forward and we gained tremendous insight about the workings of such events. And a less related gain was the pleasure our neighboring vendor derived from holding and playing with Fraya. We learned that she works as a nanny in addition to her Arbonne business and it left us feeling content that our presence at the sale somehow allowed her to enjoy her passion for children during the sale.

Driving home after the sale, my husband and I both felt an uncanny sense of success from an event where we did not sell as much as expected. Thus, examining how the principles the ego and love apply to every circumstance is an opportunity to choose freedom and happiness. Once we begin to appreciate that love is not a cliché ideal reserved for stereotypical relationships but it’s an energy that we can enable in every interaction (with ourselves, others and the universe) then we are able to use it’s flow reap abundance in every facet of life. My husband and I chose to show ourselves love when our defeated ego wanted us to concede to failure and in turn we experienced greater love for ourselves, each other and everyone we interacted with that weekend.

Update:

As of today February 16th, we have generated residual sales that matches our total income at the craft show  and we anticipate much more. This is tangible evidence that the science of love is the Law of Attraction because it enables you to recognize the opportunities to generate what you seek.

XO

Ini A.

“Steeping joy, brewed with all that life has to offer”

Five Lessons From My Five Months With Baby Fraya.

Our baby Fraya is five months old today and while this feels like an unexpected jab in the gut, more than ever I’m embracing the truth that time moves steadily and we have to maximize our experiences. I’ve reflected on the last few months and put together a list of 5 lessons that life with Fraya has taught/reminded me of so far.

1.) Everything is a phase, and whatever seems to be missing in one phase somehow shows up in the next phase, so trust the process.

  • In the last five months I have gone from doing everything one handed with little Fraya tucked in one hip to now embracing a higher level of flexibility, which I could not have predicted.  I am treasuring Fraya’s increased independence that now allows me finish a meal in one seating. We tend to be preoccupied with what is lacking in our present circumstances only to gradually see these desires manifest as we progress through life. As they say, “you can have it all but you may not have it all once”.

2.) Focus and be engaged in what you’re doing otherwise you may  forget something important.

  •  Let me attest that mommy brain is real people and apparently there is some research that shows decreased gray matter up to two years after having a baby. I could write a multi volume book on all the blunders I’ve committed  (and I will definitely do a blog post on this sometime soon) due to my absent mindedness. And in all honesty I do confess that these occurrences usually coincided with trying to do too much at once. Sometimes when we spread our focus over too many priorities at once, it may distract us from the real importance of what we wish to accomplish.

3.) You have more fun when you don’t have your guard up.

  • There’s nothing like having a baby to force you to shed your serious shell. So much of our interactions with Fraya requires stepping out of our of adult reservations, from reading Dr. Seuss with a full animated voice to making  friends with perfect strangers smitten with her  sweetness. When we do not have our guards up, we’ve let go of preconceived assumptions and are able to embrace experiences for what they really  are.Processed with VSCO with oc preset

4.) If you spend too much time on shit, you may end up with more shit.

  • I think  the relevance of this statement when changing soiled diapers is pretty obvious. But extrapolating from this point, all of life is energy, physical, emotional, mental etc., and how we allocate your energy impacts our outlook and choices, which indirectly corresponds with the content of our lives.

5.) You don’t really need everything you want!

  • Like eight hours of sleep, rather you amaze yourself when you are getting by with less that four and thank goodness for the reassurance in lesson number 1 because I do not think we were meant to endure sleep deprivation forever.On  a broader note, I believe that an important component of sustaining joy is having the foresight to prioritize the things that are truly essential to our happiness in the first place.

Xo Ini A.

“Steeping joy, brewed with all that life has to offer”

Professional feature image by Janet Cruz Photography, Edmonton, AB.