A massive piece to my healing journey has been engaging in many of my passions on a daily basis. Everyday I engage in almost all of these personal passions: recipe creating, blogging, snuggling with my kitty, connecting with my family and friends, watching the sunrise or sunset, getting dressed up pretty, busting out a solo hip hop dance party, journaling, meditating, researching, singing…So much fun, positive energy! But guess what?! My life has not always been like this. I used to hide, isolate myself, and keep myself from such things. Over the course of YEARS of identifying the simple things I LOVE TO DO and slowly implementing these pieces of creativity, grounding, relational connection, and silly fun into my life I am now able to flow with regularity at this capacity which has been a crucial part of my healing process.
Gluten free, vegan macaroon!😋 I did not record the exact measurements as this was the result of me playing in the kitchen.🙈Oh man, I wish I would have recorded my measurements but I was so excited about how it came out I just had to share anyway! 😁 I started with melting about 2 Cups of coconut oil, then added a pinch of sea salt. Followed with half of a dropper full of liquid vanilla stevia and about 3 TBSP of cacao powder. Mixed carefully and efficiently. Then added about 2 Cups of shredded coconut (enough to soak up all the oil). I just left my coconut mixture in the small saute’ pan I used to melt my oil, then put it in the freezer for 5 minutes. The oil hardened up super quick so afterI took it out of the freezer I had to let it sit out of the freezer for at least 5 minutes before I could cut it. This was so good with coffee and as a night time sweet munchie! 😋✌🏽️
Maintaining a blissful and hopeful outlook can be quite a journey. Bliss can come very quickly and easily, just as quickly as it can be washed away. A blissful moment of fulfillment is quite attainable, a blissful life takes work. Keeping optimistic is a challenge, life beautifully presents obstacles that can quickly veer one from a blissful state. I find it rather easy to fall from total bliss into a negative mindset. Not working through these life obstacles can lead to being stuck in ones personal darkness. I have spent years being stuck in my darkness, being sad, feeling hopeless, afraid of my obstacles, ashamed of myself. It wasn’t easy being their either. It took a lot of work to stay in that mindset of defeat.
Working through life’s obstacles takes a great deal of energy. As well, having grace, patience, humility, compassion, understanding, and the act of letting go which all take quit a bit of effort and it can often be very uncomfortable. This work is worth it, with consistency and focus, the bliss will become difficult to wash away. Which brings up the topic of the phrase “I am willing to let go anything that no longer serves me” which is something a heard in passing as a young adult and it became the mantra to my person growth work. It was profound to me when I first heard it spoken yet took me years to even begin to understand how to go about letting go to hold onto that bliss.
Throughout my 20’s and early 30’s I had dark thoughts, actions, habits, and patterns, never knowing there was any other way for me. I was sad, frustrated, and full of self judgement. It was easy to stay in that place as long as I was focusing on how awful everything was. The more I put my energy into my fears and anxieties the deeper I sank into the darkness. It was uncomfortable, it hurt, it didn’t feel good, and it became so much work to just get out of bed in the mornings. It was so difficult to get out of bed, in fact, that at times I didn’t get out of bed. I was constantly feeling sick from the stress from my darkness. I was constantly sick with debilitating digestive issues as well as depression and anxiety. The work it took to find validation for why I was not able to function was exhausting. I blamed the world, I was a victim of everything, I was hopeless. Somehow, somewhere in the dark I began to reflect upon the phrase, “I am willing to let go of anything that no longer serves me” and thought what can I lose. I was at the lowest of my lowest and was literally sick and tired of living in my darkness. I chose to create a vision of light and peace for myself and began to completely force myself to focus on it.
I started with throwing out material possessions that did not serve me as well as organize my house. At the beginning of this purging, my house was a disaster, I did not like having company and I felt lost inside of my own home. I had piles of things all over my house and I didn’t even know where to begin my overhaul. All I could do was believe it would all be finished some day, I kept holding onto that belief for 9 years. Bit by bit, piece by piece, load by load to the Goodwill, I have let go of most of my things. So many items I truly believed I could not live without were given away. If an item did not bring me to a place of bliss I got rid of it, come to find out, I can live without them! Selling my possessions never crossed my mind. I never sold anything, I gave everything away. I truly believed the generosity of just giving my things away would manifest a priceless reciprocity. I am proud to say, I am truly beginning to see that reciprocity in action. As I do receive the abundance I have manifested, the purging of non serving items continues, I just took a load to the local Goodwill yesterday. As I continued my journey I began letting go of foods that did not keep me in a blissful state. The task of eliminating foods which do not serve me is a continual journey I have been traveling for 9 years. Yes, I have been consciously eliminating foods which do not make me feel my best for 9 years. My food elimination journey began with letting go of gluten, which took me about 5 years to figure out. I then let go of poultry, beef, and pork but continued to eat fish, shellfish and mollusks. Eliminating meat was an instant switch, I found meat easy to let go of. I was having tremendous tummy aches and tried eliminating meat to see if that would help and it did. After about a year of being a vegetarian, I let go of alcohol. Surprisingly, this was also a very easy elimination. I used to drink rather often and heavily but I woke up one morning and said I don’t like alcohol anymore and I let it go and have not touched it one time since. Next I switched to mostly organic produce and I got rid of all dairy except for butter. I wanted to keep some cholesterol in my diet through eating butter daily and I eat pasture raised eggs about 3 days a week. I am a fan of grass fed butter and pasture raised eggs for many reasons, see my blog post on butter from January 18, 2015 for further details. Sugar followed right after my dairy elimination. I began doing research about all types of sugars and discovered that my body does not like any sugar in any form. Believe me, I’ve tried every sweetener available and the ONLY one that works for my body is liquid stevia. Fruit and coconut water went next, letting go of fruit has been the most difficult food elimination. I do eat raspberries on occasion but that’s it for fruit. I certainly miss my coconut water as well but the sugar content is too much for me. The most recent food elimination I fully finished was yeast. Yeast in any form messes me up really bad, just as bad as wheat effects me. Yeast was difficult to let go of because it is in many supplements, superfoods, and fermented foods.
To sum up my food elimination journey, I now live off of low fructose veggies, legumes, cashews, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, coconut oil, grass fed butter, apple cider vinegar, Braggs Liquid Aminos, pasture raised eggs and some grains. I only drink water, coffee, and some nut milks. I purchase organic, humanely, and sustainably raised foods as well as have the blessing to live in a household with an organic home garden. About 5 months ago I began taking very high quality supplements from a company I am incredibly impressed with who has impeccable ingredients and ethical practices. With my recipe of foods and supplements I cannot believe the balance I now have within my body, it is a dream come true.
All during the time I have been letting go of foods, I have also began practicing putting my ego and personal agenda aside when dealing with adversity or those with processes that differ from mine. When life gets difficult and stressful, I have learned to think of my fears and negative energies as great lessons to grow from. This practice really helps my ego stay calm. I began listening to people without interjecting my opinions constantly. Historically, it is incredibly difficult for me to listen quietly as someone is conveying a message I either do or do not agree with. I naturally over power conversations no matter the content or the audience. Listening and supporting someone without talking their ear off became a concentration of mine. Another piece of this letting go was to let others be right. I have discovered it is much easier to let people have their own opinions, even if I absolutely do not agree with them. Holy moly, what a concept! This letting go of ego, has been a serious challenge for me and I am still working hard at this one. As a result, I found myself less and less trying to convince people to see my side of an issue. I used to talk myself blue, passionately trying to get my point across, trying to be right all the time. It feels so awesome to quietly listen to the opinions and perspectives from the people around me without pressing my opinions upon them. Come to find out, I understand people far more now that I’m actually listening to them. I am still learning the acceptance that not everyone thinks like me and that I do not have to try to convince them to do so. Applying all of this has taken serious effort, my food elimination journey was far easier than my letting go of ego and personal agenda. The next elimination came with personal relationships, which came naturally and easily. I put up boundaries I never knew I could and let go of many people in my life. All this time staying true to purging what no longer served me as my driving force, creating an unconscious shift in my paradigms. My circles have become smaller, my relationships became stronger, and I began to attract people who truly hold me with absolute integrity. I can trust my people far more than I ever have been able to before, as I used to be far too naive, open, and trusting. Presently, I have incredible discernment over who I allow in my life and who I allow to really know what is going on in my life. Many relationships have eliminated themselves, some of the people I used to spend my time with do not want to be around me any longer because they no longer resonate with me. Some relationships I have had to consciously walk away from. The relational wealth I have obtained feels like being in the warmest, most comfortable place I have ever been, I feel truly held and loved by my people. I now can trust that I can reach out to my community and receive what does serves me, what I deserve. I truly believe that through all of the hard work of my letting go of material possessions, foods, thoughts, patterns, and personal relationships which no longer serve me, the outcome is my life is consistently in the blissful state I have always wanted to be! I often cry tears of absolute bliss in response to my self reflections and introspections. My house is efficiently organized and flows so beautifully. I have more financial abundance and more business opportunities than ever. My body feels good ALL the time and my mind has never been so clear. I am rarely emotionally down and when I am it does not effect me the way it used to. My stress level is non existent. My personal relationships are incredibly fulfilling. It has taken so much work, such patience, grace, compassion, and acceptance of so many things to get to this place of abundance and opportunity. The work entailed to get here was tremendous and very difficult but it was just as much work as it was when I allowed myself to stay in the dark. I choose to do the work to stay in the light and I am so incredibly excited about what beauty and splendor are still to come.
The Valley Fires of Northern California in September 2015 have not just devastated over 67,000 acres of land, engulfing homes and businesses but have also inspired the town of Petaluma, California to take action and help the families and animals affected by this disaster. Being a life long resident of Petaluma, witnessing this effort of giving and helping is nothing new. I have seen many tragic events create community outreach that is only found in tall tales. All of my life, I have witnessed my community swiftly and successfully bring help to those in need.
The moment I learned about the fires I began to see social media postings from my fellow Petalumans about how they are helping. Donation drop off sites popped up all over town. Restaurants, stores, and salons donating percentages of proceeds to victims of the fires. The Petaluma Animal Shelter has taken incredible action, having had delivered their second metric ton of pet supplies to Valley Fire relief yesterday. Petco is giving 10% off discounts to those purchasing emergency supplies for donation. I went to the Dollar Store to purchase hygiene products for donation and the isles containing those products were rather empty. A Dollar Store employee told me how multitudes of people had already shopped that day for donations, wiping out their inventory. Redwood Credit Union is taking cash donations and 100% of the moneys go directly to Valley Fire relief. Jamison’s Roaring Donkey a hugely popular bar/music venue is pairing with another popular Petaluma business, Bovine Bakery, to facilitate a pizza party fundraiser.
Petaluma High School FFA (Future Farmer’s of America) is pairing with Tractor Supply Co. in efforts to collect agricultural supplies for the many displaced, thirsty, and hungry livestock. The people of Petaluma are inspired to help in any fashion.
These giving deeds are not inclusive to Petaluma solely, the entire county, in fact, the entire state I live in is supporting these efforts as well. The reach out activity I see is in my neighborhood and is what I am personally witness to, which brings to my attention the topic of Petaluma’s history of giving as I know it.
We have a history of loving to give because Petalumans know what it’s like to experience trauma and loss, we have suffered many darknesses as a community. The thing about Petaluma is we build greatness on dark and shaky foundations such as the loss of a community member, a sick or missing child, and catastrophe. We host many foundations for giving back, to name just a few of Petaluma’s give back programs: The Carousel Fund, The Polly Klaas Foundation, The Fabulous Women, The Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue Center, The Kevin Whitney Educational Scholarship Team, Mentor Me Petaluma, The Petaluma Education Foundation, Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center, Petaluma Bounty. These programs all began simply to lay a foundation of stability and compassion for our community for times of need. As well, these programs were all born out of loss and deep suffering. I know this because I have seen a number of these give back programs emerge from incredible pain suffered by individuals I personally know.
Our giving does not just happen during dark times, we love to give in the light also. The practice of delivering meals to a family who is welcoming a new baby is rather common place in Petaluma. A friend is moving residences, you volunteer to help them move. You get a new neighbor, you welcome them with a smile and a treat. A new business establishes themselves on the block, you stop in and become acquainted. It’s just what we do. We are a friendly giving community. The warm glow of the love Petaluma shines is rather brilliant. From great tragedy to the happiest of times, Petaluma has a beautiful way of supporting and strengthening community. The essence of giving is in the nature of our community, we can’t help it. Petalumans love one another, we love our neighboring communities, we honor and support the best of community.
✌🏽️🐘🌾🌼💙✨🐘✨💙🌼These yoga pants though!! These yoga pants are not just super comfy, colorful and hip but for every pair sold a donation is made to help save the elephants. The Elephant Pants donates $1 or $2 from every item sold to the African Wildlife Foundation for public awareness aimed at stopping the demand for illegal wildlife products, specifically ivory and rhino horn. What an awesome cause to contribute to! Checkout TheElephantPants.com and use code ‘michellelynn10’ to save 10% off your purchase. 🙏🐘 Donate to the elephants and save yourself a few bucks all at the same time!! Yay!! 💛🐘💛
Breakfast plate for 2💛💑💛 May sound corny but my guy and I often share from the same plate.🍴🍲🍴 It started out as a convenience way to eat on the fly and turned into a fun ritual.💗💙 As a couple we love supporting the best of one another. One way we of showing love to each other is by choosing healthy foods for our individual selves. How does this choice for self reflect in our relationship? We each believe in self care so we can be well enough to give to our loved ones. Sharing a glutenfree organic sustainably cultivated homemade meal is a beautiful way to show your love and support for the wellness of your partner.💛💛