From Handcuffs to Horses….my People-Pleasing Journey

Chronic people-pleasing is a crime. It’s a crime against your soul, who you are, your unique gifts, purpose and message to share with the world.

By the time I was 21 years old, I was addicted to people-pleasing and external validation. I didn’t believe that I was good enough. Or smart enough. Or cool enough. Or attractive enough. Or lovable enough. So I manipulated my body, my behaviors and my personality so that I would be accepted, approved of and liked by everyone. I was always nice and said “yes” no matter what.

I did this at the cost of betraying my soul.

The people-pleasing road led to bulimia, blackout drunken nights, and self-loathing.

I was a shell of a person: I lost myself: in the midst of depression, I attempted to end my own life. I hit my rock bottom.

Friends and family were at a loss about how to help me, so my parents called the police.

I was handcuffed and escorted into a police car with neighbors gawking and tears in my parents’ eyes.

This was the wake-up call I needed to get real, start healing and take back my personal power, and quit committing crimes against myself.

From a hospital, to a psych ward, to a treatment center, to experiencing equine therapy and life coaching, my people-pleasing recovery journey went from handcuffs to healing through horses.

Horses ignored me during equine therapy if I attempted to be anything other than my authentic self. Horses only wanted to connect with me when I was being real, imperfections and all.

It was mind-opening and heart-opening.

Through working with horses and peeling back protective and inauthentic layers, I found the woman I was meant to be.

I began to accept, approve, like, and, yes, even love myself.

People-pleasing will cost you everything.

You are doing yourself and the world a disservice by saying “yes” to things when deep down your soul says “no.”

Especially as women, we need serious reframing around saying “no.”

Saying “no” to others doesn’t mean being a bitch, being selfish or being ungrateful.

It means we care about how we feel, and we value our precious time and energy.

It means we make choices based on what enhances our spirit versus what drains our spirit.

It means we proclaim that we can truly be there for others, only when we are there for ourselves first.

In a world of 7 billion people, not everyone is going to like you. Or accept you. Or approve of you. Or love you. And it’s okay.

In fact, it’s liberating to know and accept this because you will stop betraying your soul in an attempt to gain other’s fleeting acceptance and so-called stamp of approval.

Are you betraying yourself?

Awareness is key. Pay attention to the choices you make, and notice if they drain you mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

If your choices drain you, it’s a red flag. If you are fueled by your choices, you are feeding your soul and curing the “disease to please.”

Practice saying “no” in the mirror. When you say “no” to someone, use K.I.S.S., aka Keep It Short and Simple.

When you start saying “yes” to your soul, you take back your personal power. This is a practice and you begin to build an emotional muscle over time.

It could mean saying “no” to others. It could mean speaking up even when your voice shakes. It could mean sharing an opinion that goes against what your family/friends/co-workers/spouse thinks.

By pleasing yourself first, you start living the life you are born to live. Only then can you be of the highest value and service to the world and those around you.

When you break free of the chains of always being nice and relying on external validation to feel worthy and good enough, you take the reins of your life. And there is nothing more likable, attractive, and lovable than a woman who says “yes” to herself and “no” to what doesn’t resonate with her soul.

So don’t get handcuffed, get real!

Devon

P.S. If you want to learn how to say “YES” to yourself, join us at the RETURN TO THE REAL YOU RETREAT in Montana on August 12th – 16th, 2018. Save $400 when you reserve a spot by May 31st! Click here for all the details.

P.S.S. Please share this post if you know someone who can benefit.

A Tribute to Playboy

With a heavy heart I need to share that Playboy, my incredible equine partner, is no longer with us, in physical form. Due to health complications, he made his transition while I stroked his forelock and sobbed goodbye.

He was an integral part of my life and a beloved member of Beyond the Arena.

Playboy was one in a million. 

He was a healer, steadfast friend, and coaching partner. More than a horse, he was an angel in equine form who blessed countless people’s lives with his unwavering strength, trusting nature, and gentle spirit.

He was family.

When he wasn’t helping people heal in the arena, he was in high demand for clients’ celebratory moments beyond the arena. Forever patient in front of a camera, his sweet face graced Facebook profile pictures, Christmas cards, senior high school pictures, and horse-themed baby announcements.

He was a safe presence.

One client, who battled an eating disorder, would lie on him bareback to feel more connected to her body. She felt safe with Playboy.

He was a life saver.

“Playboy was truly special and saved my life. I am so blessed I was able to have the bond with him that I did. I will never forget him and all that he taught me. He taught me how to trust again.”

He was a pillar of strength. 

When a woman came out for a two-day retreat with her sister, mom and three best friends, she was in the throes of grieving. Her 21-year-old son had committed suicide.

Standing next to Playboy, I invited her to hug his neck, share her pain, and lean on him for support. As she wrapped her hands around him, she began to wail while Playboy stood still as a statue and didn’t flinch. When she needed it the most, he gave her unwavering strength.

A year ago, a sweet, sensitive young boy came to see Playboy. He was being bullied by his older brother and needed comfort and strength. As he reached up to stroke Playboy’s soft muzzle, he lowered his face down to the ground for the boy. In that moment, that boy leaned his forehead against Playboy’s face and said in a soft voice, “My parents don’t understand but Playboy knows…he understands.”

At that moment, I couldn’t help but cry. Playboy had an invaluable gift for helping people feel safe, heard, and understood.

I’m grateful for the sacred time I had with Playboy and to witness the difference he made in people’s lives. He left hoofprints on many hearts.

“There is a cycle of love and death that shapes the lives of those who choose to travel in the company of animals. It is a cycle unlike any other. To those who have never lived through its turnings and walked its rocky path, our willingness to give our hearts with full knowledge that they will be broken seems incomprehensible. Only we know how small a price we pay for what we receive; our grief, no matter how powerful it may be, is an insufficient measure of the joy we have been given.” – Suzanne Clothier

If you knew Playboy, it would mean a lot to me if you’d leave a comment below and share a few words or a fond memory to honor him and celebrate his life.

He is and will forever be deeply missed.

Remembering a beloved friend who helped so many,

Devon

I am enough, I know enough, and I am worthy

Recently I stayed at Canyon Ranch…a world renowned healing and wellness resort in Tucson, Arizona. I got my boots shined at the airport, then flew down to meet about a position to create and run their equine retreats for 2018.

It was a dream come true.

During my meeting, I sat at the head of a conference table surrounded by a doctor, executive director, and leading therapist for the wellness program. In the formal setting, I felt myself go into “realtor” mode, like I was at a listing presentation and trying to impress people. With my hands crossed, I spoke in a serious tone and tried to sound brilliant and official.

I was caught in an old habit of trying to be someone I’m not. This stems from not feeling good enough, worthy enough, or smart enough.

I was well-prepared presenting my material but my body was stiff and tight. My face hurt from trying NOT to smile, thinking that would make me appear unprofessional. As I left the meeting, I felt physically exhausted like I had been carrying 50 pound dumbbells of inauthenticity.

It’s hard work trying to be someone you’re not and that’s exactly how I used to live my life 27/7 in college and working in real estate. The old habit had crept back in and I was painfully aware of it.

Prior to my meeting, I had seen in the Canyon Ranch brochure that there was a walking meditation labyrinth, amongst the hundreds of other incredible healing modalities.

I headed outside the building and asked a staff member driving around in a golf cart where the labyrinth was. He pointed down the pavement that turned into a dirt road and said, “About half a mile.”

Setting off at a brisk pace, I quickly came across the labyrinth sign. I exhaled a deep sign of gratitude. There’s nothing I love more than a good labyrinth walk, especially after a self-imposed stressful meeting.

I entered the labyrinth, repeating the mantra I should have practiced pre-meeting but none-the-less, it was coming to me now: You are enough, you know enough. You are enough, you know enough. I also added a new line: You are worthy.

With each mindful step on the rock-lined path, I repeated out loud “You are enough, you know enough, and you are worthy.” My body began to relax and I reconnected to the truth of why I was here.

I was offered this opportunity to share the healing gifts and coaching skills I have honed the past 7 years. The Universe was telling me it was time to take my equine coaching work to the next level, and in spite of my comfort zone-oriented ego, I was ready for it.

The next morning, I took advantage of a few Canyon Ranch offerings and attended a powerful meditation class followed by a lecture on the “Importance of Deep Sleep”. I loved the authentic styles of the presenters; open, smiling, friendly, relatable, and extremely well-versed in their topics.

My self-doubt dissipated and I was bubbling with excitement of why I came here in the first place…to share my expertise and create a top notch equine program for Canyon Ranch guests to experience the healing power of horses. I felt renewed faith in myself and a deep sense of gratitude replaced my fear. 

The meeting the next day went much better…100% contributed to the fact I gave myself permission to be ME and I stopped trying to be someone I’m not. I was smiling and relaxed. I was asking people about themselves and cracking horse jokes. I even had the head therapist saying “yeeehaaw” by the end of our meeting.

Being myself sealed the deal because I’m now going to be Canyon Ranch’s equine retreat facilitator for 2018, WOOT, WOOT! My home base will continue to be Colorado and I’ll be traveling to Arizona to lead their retreats.

The biggest lesson is that we are enough just as we are. When we try to be someone else, we lose. It was a reminder that stuffy, uptight Devon isn’t my gift. It’s not what people are looking for. And if they are, we are never going to be a good fit!

Being yourself is the key and it’s a relief to know AND trust that.

I’d love to hear from you…where in your life to can you relax more and be the REAL you? It’s a huge gift to yourself and to the world.

I am enough, I know enough, and I am worthy,

Devon

How to be Present (in 10 mins or less)

Being present allows us to enjoy and experience our lives more fully. It relives stress, brings peace of mind, and deep contentment.

As I type this blog, I’m listening to the click-clack of computer keys and smiling because it reminds me of a horse’s hooves on pavement; click-clack, click-clack. It’s my first time noticing this sound on my computer because I’m practicing being present!

Take it from Oprah, “Being fully present in every moment is the greatest meditation I have found. It’s a prayer of praise to appreciate the now — and the best way I know to create a sense of well-being.

Below are 5 tips to Be Present (in 10 mins or less)….

1. Meditate. Take 5 to 10 minutes to sit, close your eyes, and observe your breath. It helps relieve anxiety, and connects you to your inner guidance. By meditating regularly, you become more present and develop the ability of observing your thoughts instead of your thoughts controlling you.

2. Go on walk and spend time noticing your surroundings. Breathe in the air as you walk, and notice the trees, the smells, and temperature of the air on your skin. Nature bring us into the present moment when we take time to notice what’s around us.

3. Listen to calming music. Close your eyes and get comfortable while listening the sound of whatever song is playing. Let the music in and allow it to lift your heart. One of my favorites is the “Lakmé, Flower Duet”….you can CLICK HERE to listen to it on YouTube.

4. Disconnect from technology and go outside and look up at the sky. It connects us to something bigger than ourselves (and beyond our screens) as we become aware of the vast presence of the screen of the Universe. My favorite time to do this is at night, gazing at the stars.

5. Speak to your pet. Let them know how much you appreciate them while speaking in a loving tone. Show them you care while stroking their fur in a gentle way, and verbally expressing your gratitude for having them in your life.

I’d love to hear from you….which of the 5 tips resonated with you the most? What is your favorite way to be present? Share in the comments below…

Signing off and headed outside,
Devon

Grieving the loss of my best friend

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” –Vicki Harrison

I woke up this morning feeling sad. I had a tear streaming down my face before I got out of bed. The busy-ness of my birthday week is over and so are the distractions from my sadness. My heart feels heavy. It’s hard to breathe. I miss him so much it aches — especially in the morning, when I have to remind myself not to look over to where his dog bed used to be, to see if he’s awake.

Since Namo’s passing a month ago, I’ve received enormous support, messages, and heartfelt letters but there’s still a Grand Canyon size hole in my heart. Nothing seems to fill it.

Grief take us to the depths of our being and wakes us up to our capacity to feel.

Sometimes the enormity of grief hits me like a tidal wave, and I buckle over in the shower because I’m sobbing so hard. Other times, it’s a sharp bittersweet memory of our final months together, when I see a slow-walking, aging dog in the park.

Namo (short for Namaste) was the poster dog for unconditional love. He was my go-to comforting confidant for every breakup, business failure, and fear I have faced the past 12 years. He never judged me, just purely loved me with his big brown eyes.

When he passed away, I lost my best friend and my constant support system. The world feels scarier without him. It’s harder to reach out to people for support. With Namo, I just had to reach out a hand, or wrap my arms around his neck — much easier than picking up the phone to call someone.

Namo was always there for me, literally by my side.

I haven’t found someone or something to replace him, and intuitively I know that finding a replacement is not the answer.

There is no answer, nothing to fix. I’m allowing myself to grieve and take its natural course. In doing so, I’m reminded of why we’re here: to deeply love and be loved.

I know isolation is not good for me and that Namo taught me to share more of myself. He still tells me, now from the other side, that he loves me, and that I’m going to be okay.

Namo, I love you and miss you with all my heart, buddy.

Devon

Have you ever lost a beloved friend? There’s no way around the raw pain of grief — only through it. If this resonates for you, please share in the comments below. It’d mean a lot to me to hear from you.

 

Top 5 tips for Well-Being

Are you going through a rough time, feeling out of whack, or just want some tools to feel better in general?

Check out my TOP 5 TIPS FOR WELL-BEING…

BE IN NATURE

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir

Being in nature is an efficient healing source and a quick way to shift your mood. Go barefoot in your backyard and feel the grass under your feet. Walk in your local park and look up at the trees. Visit a garden and literally smell the roses. Notice the colors, aromas, and diversity of nature.

On my daily park walks with Namo, I’m reminded of the abundance of the universe, and it lifts my spirits and clears my mind.

 

SHARE HOW YOU FEEL

“Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”- Brene Brown

This can be a hard one for many people who try to appear to “have it together all the time”. I’m going to let you in on a secret….NOBODY DOES! I used to be a master of hiding how I felt and it was working with horses that taught me to share my authentic self.

Keeping your true feelings buried causes you to feel alone which can lead to depression. Call a friend, family member (my sisters are on speed dial), or visit an Equine Gestalt Coach or therapist. When you share how you feel with a trusted confidante (person or animal), you instantly feel lighter, more connected, and not so alone.

 

JOURNAL

“What a comfort is this journal. I tell myself to myself and throw the burden on my book and feel relieved.” – Anne Lister

Writing down your thoughts and feelings is a healthy outlet for them to be released. It can give you a new perspective, and it’s a powerful way to reflect on what is and isn’t working in your life.

My favorite journaling practice is Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages” exercise of writing three pages each morning. I love stream-of-consicousness journaling of downloading all my thoughts and feelings through the pen.

 

MOVE YOUR BODY

“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.” – Carol Welch

Crank the music and dance in your kitchen, or go to the gym and sweat it out. Nothing gets you out of your head, and into your body faster than raising your heart rate.

Even when I don’t feel like it, I make it a priority to exercise at least 20 minutes 4 to 5 times a week and I ALWAYS feel better and more energetic afterward.

 

MEDITATE

“Suffering is due to our disconnection with the inner soul. Meditation is establishing that connection.” – Amit Ray

Take 5 to 15 minutes each day to sit, close your eyes, and observe your breath. It helps relieve anxiety, and connects you to your inner guidance. By meditating regularly, you develop the ability of observing your thoughts instead of your thoughts controlling you.

I love guided meditations because they help keep my mind from wandering all over the place. I highly recommend the Headspace Meditation app for simple 10 minute guided meditations.

 

We ALL feel out of whack at times and by integrating these tools, you can experience more balance and increased well-being.

I’d love to hear from you….what practice or tools do you use to stay balanced and feel better? Share in the comments below!

To your well-being,

Devon

How to Embrace Uncertainty

Recently, my life has been in flux with lots of uncertainty.

I gave my 30 days notice at the ranch where I live and work and I don’t know where I’m moving yet. It’s the right decision, to move on. My intuition had been telling me to do it for months yet I was paralyzed in not knowing my next steps. Tired of feeling scared of the unknown and sick to my stomach by not acting on my intuition, I woke up on Friday, pushed past my fear, called the landlord, and spoke my truth.

The moment I hung up, a huge weight lifted…a clear sign that I’m moving in the right direction, although I don’t know where I’m moving.

Before I gave notice, the one requirement I gave myself was to secure a temporary place for me and my animals, which I did. It’s a last resort but gave me the cojones to give my notice and know that in the worst case scenario, Detail, Playboy, Namo, Charley and I wouldn’t end up homeless and barnless.

Once the temporary safety net was in place, I had nothing to lose, except the growing knot in my stomach.

Uncertainty stretches you Outside your Comfort Zone

I’m independent, stubborn, and proud aka I don’t like asking for help. However, being uncertain about where I’m ultimately going to live and work (and having a 30 day deadline), lit a fire under me. I’ve reached out to friends, family, and people in the horse community asking for suggestions of places to relocate. You never know who knows somebody who has a nice home for rent and a ranch with an indoor arena.

Instead of trying to figure this all out on my own (old habit), I’ve stretched outside my comfort zone and asked for what I want and need. As a result, people have been kind and helpful and have not looked down on me, as I feared they would if they found out that I don’t have my entire life figured out.

Here’s the secret…NONE OF US HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT. It feels vulnerable to ask for help and suggestions AND I’m realizing how many people are eager to help. By reaching out, I’ve gained great ideas and referrals, and most importantly, let other people in, especially when my life isn’t “perfect”.

It’s not a terrible thing that we feel fear when faced with the unknown. It is part of being alive, something we all share. – Pema Chodron

Uncertainty makes you Re-evaluate your Life 

Uncertainty has been an opportunity to take stock of my life. It’s made me look around and re-evaluate the way I’ve been living. I’m proud of the business I’ve created and the impact Beyond the Arena has on helping others. In the midst of building a business, my living conditions have taken a back seat and I’ve been roughing it a bit the past 3 years. What once worked for me, no longer does, and I’m ready to evolve my standards from a shower stall, to a shower with a bathtub.

I went to my financial planner a few weeks ago and she looked me in the eye and said “You’ve paid your dues. You should have a dishwasher.” I laughed and agreed.

It’s time to upgrade my life and I’m looking for a place that has the amenities I desire…a washer/dryer, bathtub, dishwasher, and a strong WiFi connection. I don’t know how my desires will manifest but I’m certain about the living conditions I’ve outgrown, and what I’m not willing to settle for.

“Maturity is the capacity to endure uncertainty.” – John Huston Finley 

Uncertainty teaches you to Trust and Have Faith

To address uncertainty and boost my manifesting mojo, I went on a shopping trip to Micheals for a small keepsake box, posterboard, and a glue stick.

Taking Tosha Silver’s advice, author of Outrageous Openness, I’ve created a God Box to write my worries on strips of paper and then put them in the box. It’s a tangible tool to release my worries, get out of my own way, and allow the Universe to do her thing.

I’ve also created an updated vision board, and written myself a check for the amount of money I want to make in a year, taping it above my bed as a reminder.

Feeling uncertain has propelled me into taking action steps that deepen my faith in the Universe. I’m learning to trust that what the Universe has in store for me, may not be what my ego has in store for me…gulp…and that’s ok.

“When nothing is certain, anything is possible.” – Author unknown

Uncertainty is inevitable and we can fear it or embrace it. I’m looking outside right now and I’m uncertain when will the muddy road dry out? Where will I end up living long-term?  When will I meet my soulmate? When am I going to…? The list goes on and on.

I’m not certain of the answers but I am certain that by honoring my intuition, taking action, reaching out, and trusting the process…the path will be revealed, one step at a time.

Seeking horse ranch and beautiful home with clawfoot tub,

Devon

How to Meditate in 7 Simple Steps

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” Lao Tzu

Horses live in the present moment. They aren’t worried about the fight they had with their spouse yesterday, or what the weather will be tomorrow. Because they live in the moment, their natural state is peace and serenity. Horses are great meditation teachers.

Science shows that meditation lowers stress, increases mental clarity, and improves sleep. My favorite benefit of meditation is it quiets the monkey chatter in our mind so we can listen to our intuition.

When we are NOT present, we miss out on the richness of life; the smell of our dog’s fur as we hug him, the way the sun feels on our skin, a smile from a loved one, the flavor of dark chocolate as we savor every bite.

By training our mind to live more in the present moment, we stop seeking peace and serenity, and realize it’s right here, right now. Below is a guide for getting started…

7 simple steps on how to meditate

1. Sit upright comfortably. If you’re like me and you try to meditate while lying down, you’ll fall asleep. Instead, sit in a comfortable chair with an upright back, get a meditation cushion, or fold a pillow and sit cross-legged on it, which will help support your back.

2. Breathe Deeply. Ah, the breath, the wonderful breath. It’s our ANCHOR to the present moment and a tool available at all times. Start by taking 10 deeps breaths and counting to 5 during each exhale and inhale. Allow your lungs to fill up as you inhale (it feels good to take a deep inhale) and then slowly exhale through your nose, allowing your shoulders to drop. Repeat.

3. Gently close your eyes. If you’re not doing so already, I suggest closing your eyes to help you focus. It’s easy to give our mind an excuse to wander when we are staring at our laundry that needs to be done.

4. Slowly scan your body, and notice any sensations. I love this step because it’s checking in with our body. How many times a day do we ask others, “How are you?” A lot. How many times a day do we ask our body, “How are you?” Hardly ever. It’s an opportunity to check in with your body which is an effective way to bring you into the present moment. Start by focusing on your feet and moving up to the top of your head. Notice if there is tension anywhere, and if there is, consciously send breath in the direction of that body part.

5. Be aware of any thoughts you are having. Do you ever get stuck in overthinking? Here’s a chance to notice your thoughts WITHOUT getting roped in by them. Imagine each thought is like a cloud in the sky and you’re the observer. Notice what thoughts are present, “I need to call my mom, I have to go to the grocery store”. Allow each thought to come up, and pass by, without any judgment or attachment.

6. When your mind wanders, focus on your breath. When your mind wanders, which it will, come home to your breath. Your breath is the the number one tool to help you stay grounded, connected, and focused in the moment. When you focus on your breathing, your heart rate slows down, your mind begins to quiet, and your body can relax.

7. Gently open your eyes when you are ready. I suggest practicing meditation for 5-10 minutes in the beginning. The best time of day to do it is in the morning, BEFORE having coffee, if you’re a caffine consumer. Connecting to your breath will set the tone for your day. It’s a positive and empowering tool to practice beyond the pillow, and throughout the day. Even if you don’t have an opportunity to close your eyes, you can practice conscious breathing during a meeting, in a traffic jam, or in a conversation.

For a printable checklist of How to Mediate,  CLICK HERE. You can post it in your bedroom, or by your desk as a reminder.

For guided meditations, check out HeadSpace which is an easy-to-use app that walks you through a series of 10 minute meditations. The guy who records it has an soothing accent too.

Happy meditating!

Inhale…1, 2, 3, 4, 5…Exhale…1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

Devon

How to Declutter and Bring More Joy into your Life

You know what feels good? Decluttering.

Last night I cleared out 4 large drawers under my Ikea bed and here’s the result (Charley supervises while Namo sleeps peacefully in the background)…

In the pile are 46 items I’m giving away and that does NOT include the tattered clothes I’m throwing out. 46 items I haven’t used in months (and in some cases years) have been energetically and physically clogging up my personal space. Time to make some changes.

The book that taught me how to declutter is Marie Kondo’s international bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It’s genius and here’s why….

“A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. It is life transforming.”

The whole point in decluttering, is to be happy.

She encourages us to “Imagine yourself living in a space that contains only things that spark joy. Isn’t this the lifestyle you dreamed of?”

Yes, Marie, it is.

It’s simple and here’s her process…

1. Visual your ideal lifestyle and WHY you want to feel that way

I recently saw the movie Minimalism and it lit a fire under me to get rid of things I don’t need. My motto for 2017 is SIMPLICITY.

For me, simplicity equals less stress and more time to enjoy the things I want to be doing.

It drives me crazy not being able to find things because I have too much clutter to rummage through. It’s an unnecessary stress and costs me valuable time and energy searching for things.

What is your ideal lifestyle? Is it to live in a peaceful environment which allows space for your creativity? Is it to have an organized home so you can spend more time with your family? Decide why it’s important for you to declutter and it will give you the boost of energy to see it through.

2. Gather ALL your clothes.

First, gather all your clothing in the house and put in a pile on the floor. Make sure you have emptied every drawer and closet. Leave no dresser drawer unopened.

3. Pick up each item and ask “Does this Spark Joy?”

If it does, keep it. If it does not, dispose of it. Marie advises, “When you touch a piece of clothing, your body reacts.”

When I picked up each piece I noticed some clothes felt tattered and limp, long past their expiration date. I also had various jeans that didn’t fit yet my ego wanted to hang onto them in the hope that I’d squeeze into them again someday.

However, the feeling of “someday” does not bring me joy, so they got tossed into the donate pile.

By the time I had neatly folded and put away the items to keep, I peered at the pile and realized how much I’d been keeping that doesn’t bring me joy. I had been holding onto things of my past that don’t accurately reflect who I am today. Reality check.

Today I woke up feeling energetically lighter, more spacious, and grateful to be donating items to places that can use them. I’m on a roll and next is the kitchen…

What about you? Are you holding onto stuff that takes up space but doesn’t bring you joy? Have you experienced the elation that comes from decluttering?

I’d love to hear your experience, share in the comments below.

Giddy up, and tidy up,

Devon

It’s my birthday and here’s what I’m doing

Today is my 33rd birthday. I like the sound of “3-3″…I think those are lucky numbers so I’m going to go with it. One thing I want to do this year is to write more, and I’m beginning today. Kind of like making a commitment to go to the gym except I don’t need to go anywhere, I just need to sit with my laptop and click on the “add page” for a new blog post, instead of immediately checking emails or scrolling through Facebook (busted, I know…do you do it too?)

32 was a roller coaster year. I now know what it feels like to deeply love someone but not have that be enough to make a relationship work; to fall apart in front of friends and allow myself to be supported while I nurse my heartache; to uproot from where I live and work and be consumed by the fear of “what if I can’t make it” and “what if everything I’ve worked for fails”; and to take a leap and pitch my UNBRIDLED Retreat to a national magazine and invite their editor to attend and write about it.

It’s been a year, alright. The main takeaway I have from 32 is that change is scary but there are gifts in it.

time

What I know for sure is that you couldn’t pay me to go back to my 20’s. My 20’s were riddled with fear of not being perfect and putting an enormous amount of pressure on myself to look and act in a certain way.

My 30’s have been much better and although challenging at times, I feel more settled in my skin and better attuned to listen to myself and what my soul wants, as opposed to listening to who I “should” be.

My soul is telling me to write and share more, even when it’s not perfect (ahhh, the ol’ ego still rears its head at that.)

I like this quote from one of my favorite books, The Write to Write, by Julia Cameron, “Taking the time to write how we feel helps us to know how we feel.”

Today, I feel hopeful for the new year ahead and I’m glad I made the commitment to write as opposed to procrastinating and making excuses.

After posting this, I’m going to change out of my fuzzy robe and treat myself to a shopping trip at Murdochs’s to get Bogs winter boots (I refuse to go through another winter wearing crappy boots while feeding horses with freezing feet). Then I’m going on a horseback ride with a friend, having a massage at Massage Heights (I booked 90 minutes! #selfcare), come back feed and all the critters, and then meet a friend for dinner.

A good birthday in my book.

Thanks for reading and I will continue to write and share more with you this year. Basically, I want to connect more and this is how my intuition is guiding me to do it. So stay tuned, and I hope you have a great Friday.

Off to Murdoch’s where I’ll try and not get distracted by all the pretty, shiny, horse buckets.

Older, bud-weiser,

Devon