empowered: looking back + moving onward

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well, my friends, 2015 is halfway over now. i say it all the time… time sure does fly, doesn’t it?

a lot has changed since i began 2015 in asheville, north carolina. of course, the biggest change has been my move back to sweden. my wife got a job, so we up + left life behind in our beloved mountains of north carolina, and traded it for the love of an international, academic, historical culture in the city of uppsala, just north of stockholm.

we’ve pretty much lived a life of transition since january, but i believe that we are finally feeling a bit settled. it feels like we are creating our home here. and we are so very glad to be living in uppsala, while desperately missing asheville still as well. but, as time marches on, so must we. and this is the homeless of our new adventures.

but to really honor  the time which has already passed by us this year, and to celebrate the right here + right now, i thought i’d do a little look back over these 6 months. and then, i’d do a little looking forward. and i’d like to do this all from the perspective of my word of the year.

first though, if you have no idea what i’m talking about, then go — >here and read this post.

ok. now, that you’ve read that (and perhaps even read the post that followed it), you know that the word that i chose as my focus for 2015 is empowered.

here’s what i wrote about the word at the very beginning of the year when it was fresh + new + exciting:

“i believe 2015 to be a year that calls for a lot of action, a lot of taking the bull by the horns, so to speak. and, i’m all ready for that. but, in order to make sure that i stay focused + active + motivated, i need that word of mine slapping me in the face day in and day out.”

well, let me begin my reflection by saying, yep. this word has been perfect. and i have thought about it practically every single day in one way or another. i have seen it, felt it, and i have kept it close to  my thoughts. so, as for being aware of my word so far this year, i get an a+.

i do not feel that i have failed to act empowered this year, though there has been little action. what i mean is, i saw the word as kind of a kick in the ass, as i said back in december 2014. i imagined it being the focus of a little pep talk to myself every day to get stuff done, to make things happen. yeah, like i said, to be active.

it hasn’t been the most active of years so far, though, in terms of “making my dreams come true” – on the outside. in the beginning of the year, i thought empowered would give me the power to do what needed to get done. i think i even may have seen it as a way to tell myself to “suck it up”.

but, i soon realized, after a job interview and a visit to a client, that i could not sell my soul at that point. i could not just do anything. and therefore, the job front has been sketchy + depressing stressful so far in 2015. i’ve been looking and applying and looking and applying like crazy though. all of my work has been behind the scenes… not really the action i intended. but, i had no idea what i really expected.

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in any case, while i have been exploring and looking for job that might suit my skills and abilities and not suck my soul dry, i have also been doing a whole lot of writing, meditating, and inward stuff that i didn’t know i was doing until a few weeks ago. i didn’t even realize that it had been such an inward time, especially since it has been balanced in such a social way – with friends + family + fun experiences popping up all of the time.

but, ever since moving into the apartment in march, i have hunkered down here while lina’s been at work. in conjunction with the job hunting, i have been creating my own little cocoon of empowerment. during the spring, up until midsummer a few weeks ago, i was living and breathing in that cocoon. again, this is not to say that i was anti-social or not active, but inside of me, from deep in my soul, i have been calm and grounded and searching. i’ve been doing tough internal work that just popped up. it wasn’t so much i decided to do it. it all just unfolded naturally.

perhaps all of the ingredients were just there: i moved back to sweden, moved into a new apartment, explored new places, found new inspirations, fell in love with my new city, faced the decisions and prospects and failures of job hunting, got into a serious meditating groove, experimented even more with the art of photography, and began writing my book.

so what has happened during these past six months, has been the empowering of my soul. of digging in and finding a deeper level of power within me that i had never discovered before. so, actually, i have been active. quite active. i’ve been letting the power simmer within me. and i have felt it rising to the top.

and you know what? just now, as we have crossed over into the second half of 2015, i feel that all that it within me is about to boil over. it is time to let that empowered feeling explode and spill out… the energy has been growing and it is now pent up energy, just waiting to be used and acted upon. in what way, i have no idea. i have no answers exactly, but i have my intuition. something is telling me, even my dreams at night are telling me, it’s now or never. it’s time. let’s rock this second half of 2015!

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now, just as i realized that this as how i was feeling, and as messages were being given to me in my dreams (like i literally dreamed last night that elizabeth gilbert told me what to focus on in my book), i also decided to have some fun and read my horoscope on tuesday. here’s what it said:

“It’s the power-building phase of your astrological cycle. To take maximum advantage, convey the following message to your subconscious mind: “I know you will provide me with an abundance of insight, inspiration, and energy for whatever intention I choose to focus on. And during the next four weeks, my intention will be to cultivate, expand, and refine my personal power. I will especially focus on what author Stephen R. Covey called ‘the capacity to overcome deeply embedded habits and to cultivate higher, more effective ones.'”

umm… can you say, universe conspiring to make my dreams a reality? yes, this is the stuff of personal legends, of destiny, of a calling and an affirmation that i am on the right track. this felt like a door and a window and the whole world opening to me.

so, here’s what i’m gonna do for the rest of 2015:

i’m gonna let it unfold.

i am gonna stay dedicated and focused on feeling empowered. i am gonna continue to meditate every single freaking day. i am going to continue to exercise and take care of my body. i am gonna drink lots of water, as i have done. i am gonna keep applying for jobs. i am gonna explore a life coaching certifcate (spiritual guide). i am gonna write + create more resources to help others live a life filled with spirit and wildness and intention. i am gonna keep writing my book – scratch that… i am gonna FINISH my book. and i am gonna listen and stay open. i am gonna trust and remember that the process is a slow one, that it never turns out the way you imagine, and that non-action can still be action. real growth and transformation take time.

the first half of the year was me filling up my soul with even more empowerment than i could have imagined. the second half? well, it’s gonna be me using all of that power and creating big, soulful, magical things in my life.

i am ready to read the signs, to feel the power, and even more importantly… to unleash my power into the world.

HAPPY HALF OF THE YEAR! ONWARDS + UPWARDS!

the summer of love + freedom begins with tonight’s full moon

happy july, friends!

don’t you just love gazing at the moon? it’s like it’s this powerful, beautiful reminder that we are so small, and yet so important. and full moons are even more magical + beautiful, aren’t they? with all of their bright light, casting shadows even in the dark night. giving a cool, calm glow to everything.

lucky for us moon lovers, we’ve got 2 full moons in july. two!! that’s right, the month is book-ended with a full moon on july 1/2 and once again on july 31. and in-between the two moons we have lots to experience, lots to do, lots of opportunities.

it’s summer for us in the northern hemisphere. and we all want to relax some. we want to enjoy life, especially outdoors as much as possible. we want adventure. we want to just live life and feel free. (for a fun july playlist with lots of music about freedom click –> here).

even as we celebrate the carefree spirit of the summer season that is upon us, we have also begun to perhaps tap into where we want our life to go. and we know that, once this month is over, it’s time to get back to work. time to get down to business. to manifest our dreams. so, in the meantime during this month, as we enjoy life as much as we possibly can, relaxing + celebrating even the little things in life, seeking some freedom, we also have a month to begin to make some shifts to create that life that we have always dreamed of. think of it as preparation, but in a letting go, free-spirited, non-stressed kind of way.

and it all begins today, with this beautiful full moon which ushers in a summer of love – love of life, love of ourselves, and the love of living a life that is true to our truth and our souls.

you know, anything is possible in a summer of love. 

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i came across a full moon blog post on elephant journal the other day, and it spoke very deeply to me. it was as if the writer had reached into my soul and connected with everything that is happening in my life right now. so, instead of trying to share my own thoughts (because i would just be copying hers), i have shared her article here for you to read for yourself.

here are some thoughts on tonight’s full moon + what it just might mean for our lives. enjoy!

On Wednesday July 1st, the moon will be full in Capricorn, and our emotions and desires will be running high—and hot!

Romantic love has been and will continue to be a big theme this year astrologically. So many of the movements and conjunctions of the planets have been about giving us the confidence to pursue what is in our hearts.

This month Jupiter and Venus (the goddess of love) have been dancing together in the skies and will cumulate on June 30th with an immense event—this passionate energy lends itself to the full moon in a big way.

Each moon, whether it is new or full is about asking ourselves a question. Lunar cycles are about initiating change, and giving our souls a check-up, to see where we are and where we want to be. After all the recent changes we’ve experienced this full moon in Capricorn is asking us, “Why wait?”

Emotionally, we’ve been doing a lot of purging from our lives, and in turn have also done a lot of self-exploration. More than likely, many of us have come into our own hearts the past month, and are very confident in what we need and want from our lives.

It’s has been like a light of truth shinning into our darkest places and letting us slowly illuminate whatever feelings have been hiding inside of us.

We have been taking our time and initiating change slowly in our lives—but all that is about to change.

We are going to wake up and realize with a shrug of our shoulders that there is no time like now to go after what we want. This moon isn’t about taking crazy chances, or big risks, but instead it’s going to feel like a light suddenly turns on, and we can’t deny ourselves what we want any longer.

Sometimes the only option we have is to jump right in.

full-moon-capricornimage from — > here

The wonderful thing about this moon in Capricorn is that although we are going to want to dive head first into our future, we are doing so grounded in practicality and the knowledge about our choices. This isn’t a leap of blind faith. Capricorn is an earth sign, and is known for its traits of confidence and practicality. Capricorn usually is slow to react, but because of its ruling planet Saturn being in retrograde through Leo until August, it’s all about initiating passionate change now.

There is no more waiting for what we know we want.

While this moon and the conjunctions of Venus and Jupiter are all about romantic love, for some of us that energy may translate into other areas as well. Under these conditions we may have completed the journey back to ourselves and our heart center—we may have discovered what our true passion is in life and possibly what career direction better suits us now.

It has been all about the journey to find our own individual truth and then making a life out of that.

This year is the finale in a series of years, since 2012, that are meant to rearrange our lives and bring us back to ourselves. A lot is going to change this year, and while some change happens slowly under the radar, there will be other times like this summer that things are going to move faster than we ever thought possible.

The energy is antsy right now, but the most important thing is to breathe into whatever we are feeling around this time. Acting out of fear will not help us on this particular journey, and while experiencing fear over change or the new is normal—it’s not where we want to make our decisions from.

Living life big takes courage, and it’s not for the faint of heart. Lucky for us—starting with the energy on the Solstice and leading up to July 1st—whatever fears we had are going to fall to the side, because the desire and passion inside of our hearts is going to be pushing us forward.

This is the summer of love—and this is just the beginning.

July is going to be a hot and heavy month for us. Not only are we tired of waiting to manifest what is inside of our hearts, but this month is pushing us to take risks—because everything that has happened over the course of the past couple years all comes down to this moment.

“Once in a blue moon” is a phrase that we are all familiar with—it’s a phrase to represent special chances, or moments. In July we have not only one full moon, but two, and it is this second full moon that is dubbed the blue moon. Soon I will be releasing my special Full Moon in Aquarius: Once in a Blue Moon forecast, but for now, it’s important to be aware that this first full moon in July is setting the tone for the entire month.

Between the first full moon on July 1st and the second full moon on July 31st we are going to feel the pull of desire on our hearts in a breathless and very passionate way. We are going to be drawn to those that excite our soul and make us feel alive. We are going to crave only those relationships which honor our authentic truth, and we will find ourselves seeking out those opportunities that pull the strongest on our heart strings.

This moon is going to light the fire in our sacral chakra and move us towards passionate endeavors. Whether it’s investing time in a worthwhile project, or spending hot nights under the moon with our lover—we are going to be filled with passion for our lives.

We need to get ready for fireworks in all aspects of our lives, but most especially in our hearts—and bedrooms. We are passionate creatures, and like the tree, some seasons we lay dormant and others we bloom into possibility.

The planetary alignments and this full moon are throwing kerosene on what has already been smoldering…

And it’s all about to finally explode and light up our life in a big way—now all we need to do is enjoy the show.

full moon

what do you think? can you relate? as i said above, this is summarizing and explaining my current life situation in ways that i can hardly believe.

but no matter whether you feel any vibes from this article or not, the fact is that we do have a full moon tonight. and it is a time that is filled with energy and power and magic and beauty. so, if even for just a minute, look out your window or go outside and look upwards to the moon. make a wish, send your dreams up into the great beyond, and let the light and hope that this moon shines down on you fill your soul. let it ground you + inspire you.

we are so ready to get a move on things, ready to act. i know i am. but, what if we just let all of that beautiful energy just simmer in us throughout this month? to simply live in the present moment, letting it continue to mold + shape us + prepare us.

tonight,  we could use the energy from this full moon to help us state exactly what our soul is telling us, put into words the direction in which we are headed. it’s time to feel our passions leading us. to stay open to possibilities. and let ourselves  bask in the glow of feeling alive and knowing exactly what we need. think of this as the last few weeks to just let everything sit within in, growing and gathering momentum + power.

and then, remember, there is another full moon on the last day of the month. that one will propel us forward, to begin to manifest our dreams and to make sh*t happen. the universe will be waiting for us to grab on and take flight.

in the meantime, lets revel in the love + freedom that this summer month offers us. many blessings of light + love i send to you.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

full moon article written by kate rose. you can find her blog –> here

july collage

a month like no other. (and august’s photo journey is revealed!)

july’s theme for belovelive’s photo journey was adventure… and what an adventure july has been! wow. i new it’d be crazy and amazing, and i knew what lay in front of me as the days passed; but i had no idea exactly what it would look like, feel like, and be like. i knew i was ready for it, and july has not disappointed. one special moment after another has made this month an unforgettable one. a month that i am certain will go down in my little history book as a huge turning point, a great transition, and a crazy chance to keep following my bliss.

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july 1-6: spending special “goodbye” moments with friends/family in sweden.

3548c1eee31e11e2b5f422000a9e5ad5_7july 7 – 13: a week in the swedish archipelago

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july 14-20: the big move! flying with 8 bags, two people, a cat, and a guitar.

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july 21 – 27: settling into our apartment & soaking up asheville.

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july 28 – 31: finally. a week’s vacation on the coast of north carolina at my parent’s home. a perfect place to end an overwhelming month.

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so, now that july has passed, it’s time to move on to august… for me, it’s the end of the summer season. the days where we transition from the carefree, long days of summer back into routine and reality. a time to come home, from all of our travels & vacations. soon, it will be the season of home and hearth, of harvest, and of cozy, colorful, cool days.but, before i get ahead of myself, we still have some time left of warm, golden days. there are still days of summer hear, summer storms, and bbq’s. still, it is a month when we begin to turn inward. we return… to our homes.

so, this month, in celebration of the month of august & the return to routine, and in celebration of setting up my new home in asheville with my love, i decided that august’s theme would simply be… home.

a month for us to open our homes to one another, to share our favorite spots and little secrets, if we dare. a month to remember that the home is actually where the heart is, and fhat those of us who are lucky enough to have a roof over our heads and a bed to lay down on every night, are truly blessed. for there are many who do not have a place they call home, or they have a home filled with violence, fear, and/or poverty.

this month we celebrate all things that make us feel at home. and we give thanks for the homes that we have had. so, i invite you to join in and play along! here’s how:

save the photo journey list to your desktop or on your smartphone, so you know what the word is for each and every day. as i was thinking about the idea of “home”, i realized that there are so many ways we can feel at home, so i organized the month into different mini-themes that are centered on different things we think about when we think of homes. each of the words under each mini-theme gives you something to focus on for those days. remember that it’s all about how you interpret the word. be creative and express yourself however you want!

here’s a link to instagram so you can sign up & get started! click here to join in.

and if you want to become part of the bllphotoaday community, just follow me at @lizslens on instagram.

if you don’t have or don’t want instagram (which is totally fine!), then simply post your pics on facebook or on your blog. but, let me know, so i can follow along. i’ll do my best to spread the word that you are participating. however, the best way to create a photo journey community is actually on instagram. buuuuut, there is one more option… you can post your photos every day to belovelive’s facebook page! perhaps we can get that community growing as well! invite your FB friends to “like” belovelive’s page and then our community will spread even further & wider! think of all the inspiration! click here to go to belovelive’s page.

so, there ya go! we’re all ready for august now!

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i am really looking forward to seeing your homes, your feelings, your thoughts, and your interpretations! thank you for playing along and, as always, thank you for reading belovelive. your presence is such an inspiration!

love & peace.