paradise! (2014′s word of the year).

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it’s word of the year time! and, as you can tell by the title, my word for 2014 is paradise. it came to me one day in december during one of my fika meet ups. it was something i read, a message to me in a random horoscope i picked up. when i saw the word, “paradise” laying on the page, in black and white, i knew that creating my own paradise – as the text suggested – was perfect. it stated exactly where i am in life as this new year begins. then, a few days after christmas i received my “message from the universe” email in my inbox which said this:

“I want you to know, Liz, that I’ve ordered up another year for you. Think I’ll call it 2014. 

I’m going to put most of the same people from 2013 in it, since you all think so much alike. But there’ll also be a few new, very cool cats coming to play – give them some time to grow up though. 

And I’m going to have things start off pretty much exactly where they left off in 2013, for continuity’s sake. Flips folks out too much when I don’t. 

All in all, 365 more days in paradise… and only one request of you: DREAM BIGGER.”

unbelievable, i thought. seriously. the word paradise showed up again, screaming at me that this was my word for 2014. but, i sat with it, not claiming it as my word of the year until the day before new year’s eve…

in order to hammer down and commit to my word for the year, i needed a little self-retreat evening – ‘cuz that’s how i roll. so, on the 30th of december i did just that. thanks to a link from an instagram buddy, i found the perfect material on susannah conway’s blog to help guide me through this process of claiming my word for 2014.

i went into our studio, lit a bunch of candles, got my journal and some pens, and a glass of wine and some music, and sat down for about 2 hours. what happened during that time was a literal letting go of and saying farewell to 2013, and preparing my vision for 2014. and, in the end, it came to be that paradise was exactly the word that fit my vision for the upcoming year.

so much has happened in the past year. so many amazing things have begun, that i felt my soul telling me to grab onto the things that have begun, and dig in. work hard. bring those dreams, which have only begun to peek out of the ground like little seeds sprouting, to fruition – this is the heart of me creating my own paradise.

so, it’s not a new year of chasing new dreams. instead, it’s a new year of working on the dreams which have already begun to come true. it’s a new year of creating that paradise, that way of life that i yearn for and crave. things that only just started in 2013… now’s the time to really make things happen. no more searching and seeking. no more trying to discover who i am (though every day is a learning process and reveals more & more of who we are throughout all of life). no more just being and asking for my soul to reveal its hidden secrets to me. no, now is the time for living. and i mean living life to the fullest. now, is the time to grow and build and become. now is the time to do things.

with a blank slate before me, i have been thinking about what paradise would look like for me this year. i went to handy dandy pinterest and my journal to gather images, words, and symbols that speak to my soul. i suppose it has been my version of vision-boarding. anyway, here are some of the things that i hope to make part of my paradise in 2014:

a wild year.

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a spiritual year.  tumblr_mytb84NEhf1t0zh2ao1_500

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a magical year.tumblr_myt99tcIBS1rp1pulo1_500

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a simple year.tumblr_myk7twl9a31rp1pulo1_500tumblr_m7ru0mxtuZ1qlkvz1o1_500

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a healthy year.

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a wandering year.

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81333fb503c2ab74329829eb27dc94dba passionate year.

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one more thing about paradise: yes, the word inspires and challenges me to make my life exactly how i want it to be… to live the life i want to live and to actively make that happen. but, it is also all about understanding, realizing, and be aware that paradise is already right here, right now. it is within. it is only a matter of opening my eyes, slowing down to breathe and recognize the beauty in the present moment – and celebrating every single day.

so, ultimately 2014 is about creating balance – and that creates paradise. it is a balanced life of staying connected and grounded (and for me that is through mediation, etc.) and staying active (using the inspiration i receive through meditation, etc.) to create the paradise i dream of.

what about you? have you chosen a word or a phrase for 2014? what is it? share with me… let’s inspire each other! wishing you the happiest, most adventurous, and beautiful 2014!

peace & love. xx

what’s your daily mantra?

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good morning, friends & family! here’s a little thursday love and pep from me to you. ecb154ee319911e3902022000a1ddbd3_8

peace and love – receive it and share it. xx

the day i decided to just go for it.

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it’s my brother’s fault. he got all inspiring on me last week and mentioned why didn’t i just look for a space on craigslist? he knew that there were places available for pretty cheap, right in the middle of everything. and he said that it’s be a place dedicated for me to work on writing and perhaps even mentoring/counseling at some point. i took him seriously, but didn’t really think about it… until thursday night.

i have no idea why, but i found myself on craigslist searching for downtown asheville office spaces for rent. never in my wildest dreams would i come upon one that said this:

“Flat Iron Office Spaces for Rent. Small, fully furnished, ideal for a counseling practice and/or one person who needs to meet with clients, work on the computer/phone, etc. Could also be arranged to accommodate a massage therapist. Sofa, desk, cabinet, rug, etc. All of the basics are in there, but not many personal touches… YOU ARE WELCOME TO ADD YOUR OWN. I only need this office on Mondays, so you’re welcome to it the other six days of the week.”

IMG_3875the flat iron building is a very famous, historic building built in the early 19020s in the heart of downtown asheville. the building is in the shape of an iron (hence the name!), and just outside the building is a sculpture of an iron – an unspoken gathering place for local musicians. there is pretty much never a moment when there is not someone playing some instrument of another. the building’s architecture is amazing, with the bottom floors filled with shops & cafes, and the other 7 floors rented out as business spaces – web design companies, counselors, massage therapists, a rooftop bar, health care, lawyers. it’s a dream to have an office in one of these historic downtown buildings.

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to think about having my own office in this building blew me the freak away. and it seemed so possible because it was so cheap. or was i just crazy? well, before i knew it, my fingers were dialing the number in the ad. i couldn’t believe i was doing this! i had to leave a message, and then i didn’t think about it again… until morning.

for some reason, as i was checking email and such on friday morning, i decided to look on craigslist again. and, again, this ad popped up. again, i found myself dialing the number, this time to hear the voice of a sweet man answer the call. we chatted for a moment and then he asked me when i could meet him. on the same day. so, i set up a time, took lina to school, and then drove to the world coffee cafe (my latest fika experience) to meet up with perry, a nice, bubbly, friendly man.

he whisked me away after greeting me and we headed into the historic building, taking the elevator to the 5th floor. directly in front of us, when the elevator man (yes, there is a man that works the elevator full time!) slid open the doors, was room 516.

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perry put the key in, pushed open the door, and in front of me was a little, fairly sparsely furnished office. a sofa. a desk. a chair. a bookcase. and a window. though there wasn’t much to it, it felt good. it had good vibes & energy. and the colors were warm and inviting. could i actually rent this space and write here?! IMG_3862 IMG_3864 IMG_3863

perry and i chatted, and i could tell that i was already approved to be the sub-let tenant of this office space. the lady who rents it had written me a letter letting me know that i could do whatever i needed/wanted to with the space. and, it was true, she only needed it on mondays. wow. and it was dirt cheap. have i said that before?

we headed outside on to the fire escape and upstairs. there are tables & chairs for relaxing on the fire escape… and on the top, there is a bar. it’s crazy awesome. of course, with the rental of the office, i would have access to all of this, all the time. my little secret hideaway. in nature and yet, in the city. oh my gosh, and the views were indescribable.

i told perry that i’d be in touch after the weekend. i needed time. time to not think i was crazy. and time to do the budget. even if was dirt cheap, i felt the need to go through all the finances. he was fine with that and told me i could call whenever. of course i wanted it, but… there’s always that damn “but”.

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i woke up this morning, not having thought about it much during the weekend, feeling stressed. i was frightened of what others would think about this decision of mine. god, when will i ever stop feeling that way? this is one of my demons. ugh. but, when i took some time, closed my eyes, breathed really deeply, then i knew. i knew i had to do this. crazy or not. this opportunity presented itself to me, or i stumbled upon it, or the universe brought it to me, whatever… and i could not just ignore it. i could not turn my back on this chance to seize the day and follow my dreams. this chance to take a step further into becoming that published writer i want to be. i knew it was right.

so, i called perry this morning. and an hour later, i was meeting my new office partner so she could give me my keys. and, by the way, she and i clicked. like big time.

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so, there it is. right up there. i am overwhelmed and excited and scared. i cannot believe that i have my own office to retreat to in the middle of downtown! now, let’s see what opportunities come my way next… ( i have a meeting/interview at website company on thursday to perhaps be a contributing writer for their asheville website) but, before i get ahead of myself, tonight, i am just slowing down a bit, being thankful for the possibilities that are out there. for the people i keep meeting. for the dreams that are coming real, one little step at a time.

the thing is, all we have to do is listen. just be still and listen. listen to that inner voice, feel that inner light. all we have to do is be authentic to who we are. all we have to do is simply be. the answers will come. the opportunities will present themselves. and we will know what to do. and whatever plan you have figured out for yourself, let it go… because the universe, or God, or whatever will have an even better one waiting in the wings. allow yourself to be transformed. allow yourself the joy of creating dreams and chasing them to the ends of the earth. keep dreaming. keep chasing. and, when you reach one, dream an even bigger one. because, you, are amazing. and you deserve all of the happiness and joy and, most importantly, inner peace that exists.

i just want to thank all of you, you who read this blog, for your encouragement, support, words of wisdom & inspiration. i am truly blessed. and grateful. you guys are simply the best! you are my inspirations, along with my wife, who is my true inspiration – the strongest, most amazing woman who kicked ass to get her life back and follow her dreams. one year ago, i would have never imagined that we’d be where we are, doing what we do. but, here we are. and life is amazing. but, we didn’t quit. we didn’t give up. and most of all, we envisioned and believed… in ourselves and in each other.

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now, i want you to do the same. and don’t be shy. stop by the flat iron building and come on up to see me so we can chat and fika together.

peace, love, & dreams.