manifesting your dreams: my summer solstice celebration

summer sunset

as you may have figured out, if you have been reading my blog for a while, i love certain times of the year that lend themselves to reflection and renewal: times like the new calendar year, anniversaries, birthdays, certain religious/spiritual holidays (lent) and changes of the season.

with the changes of the seasons, there is often a celebration of the solstice – especially during the winter & summer solstice. there is so much symbolism within these seasons and the cycles of life that they represent. in the winter, we are surrounded by darkness, but it is a cold and a darkness that down not overcome us – as the holiday evergreen trees remind us. and, in the summer, as the days become lighter and brighter, and we soak up the rays of the sun on the longest day of the year, we celebrate life once again – and use the light to reenergize us and motivate us to keep on keeping on.

so, since we are celebrating the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, and since we’re all filled with the joy and energy of the sun today, i figured it’d be a great time, a halfway mark, to revisit my goals for 2014 and gather all of the energy and inspiration i can from this beautiful, life-filled season that i need to push myself forward to keep working on making my dreams come true in the second half of 2014.

sunshine

my word for 2014 is paradise: i decided that throughout this year, I wanted to focus on  learning how to create my own paradise – to live the life that i feel called to live. to follow my heart, my soul, and my dreams – and to make things happen.

what follows below is a list of the words that i identified and i dreamed up at the beginning of 2014 - words that, i believed, would help me create my paradise – the life that i wish to lead. so, let’s see how i’m doing so far. have i been creating my own paradise? is paradise still even a relevant word for me for 2014?

wild

  • what i’ve done: on random days, i have found myself just heading up some mountain road nearby; not for some extended period of nature activities, but for little drives and stops close to where i live. it’s so easy to access the high mountains here, and just going for a 20 minute drive with a moment to stop and breathe and look out, renews my soul a bit. i’ve also visited some parks to walk or just spend some time, and walked around in the urban places of asheville as well. i suppose it’s been about fitting in little increments of time in nature within my daily life – still, i crave more.
  • what i want to do: camping. enough said. so, for the last half of 2014, i will find some time to go camping and spend some extended time in nature – off the grid. period.

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spiritual

  • what i’ve done: i participated in a mediation series, which i did at home on my gorgeous meditation pillow (a favorite gift from my love last year). i’ve also worn my jape mala beads, which actually have served as a reminder – every time i look down at them or feel them – to breathe, focus, and be present in the moment. i’ve also let go of a lot of guilt i have had about not being connected to any christian church at the moment – that’s just not where i am right now, and my love and i have talked about that a lot. she’s been such a great support as i continue to seek freedom and connection in my spiritual life. i have found a lot of freedom in making personal time important and rediscovering spiritual rituals and disciplines that i have always loved. as for community, my fika group that meets every wednesday, has been an endless sours of inspiration, challenging me, offering me different opinions, and giving me a chance to use my spiritual gifts.
  • what i want to do: yoga. like on a regular basis. a class. i will create that time and make it a priority. the end. (or the beginning… hehe).

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magical

  • what i have done: well, i did this with my love. we created the perfect balcony setting. it is a magical place – morning, noon, and night. but, especially at night. with candles flickering, cozy lights hung around, friends that gather to sit and chat, comfy seating, some green plants. it’s just been the perfect spot. in fact, i’m enjoying its magic right now as i type this.
  • what i want to do: more of the same. more lights. more candles. more native american influences. more buddhas. more fireflies. amen.

spring balcony magic

simple

  • what i’ve done: i’ve read a lot. simply cozied up somewhere, and read. and i’ve taken photos – a lot of photos – of random, ordinary things. i’ve also experimented with making my photos more minimalist. we changed our bedroom around, stripped it down and made it very simple – the best place to have a lie in, or a cozy evening watching netflix with twinkling lights over our head. i’ve listened and loved the hear people jump in the pool – the *splash* sounds like life. and no tv. i’ve cut way back on turning on the tube just to have sound. i’ve let silence flow into my life – and it has been so sweet.
  • what i want to do: i’m canceling my cable subscription and going all netflix. no more tv in this home. there’s too much other amazing stuff to experience in life. also, i want to cook more – but, that goes with the next word…

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healthy

  • what i’ve done: i’ve worked out… some. not much, and definitely not enough. i have also cut out most drinks (minus coffee, beer, and wine – as i am sure you can tell) from my life that are not water or juice. yes, i still have the occasional coca cola, but, if you new me before, you’d know that i practically had an iv of coca cola in my arm. i don’t even miss it much now. woo hoo!
  • what i want to do: cook more and eat better – much. much more fresh food. i want to make the farmer’s market a weekly destination to stock up on local fruits and veggies, and eat what’s in season, in that season. of course, i want to work out and move around more – i need to. plus, that will boost my energy level even more. so, exercise and yoga. boooyah.

tacos food

wandering

  • what i’ve done: we’ve had tons of visitors in asheville during the first half of the year, and it has been amazing. i’ve wandered in these mountains, showing off the best that the asheville area has to offer, visiting old favorite places and a few new. i’ve also been to new york city for a week – which was incredible! and all i did there was wander. it was like an urban heaven.
  • what i want to do: i’ve got more travel planned – much more! the beach with my family next week – an old, familiar, nostalgic trip i love. then, sweden in a week!! for a whole month! later on the year, we may be headed back to nyc to do some photos/videoing for some of our friends who are getting married – on my birthday! and, maybe new orleans sometime in october. oh yeah.

financial district nyc

passionate

  • what i’ve done: i have made significant progress on getting things together to write my fika book – i have a basic manuscript, which needs lots of editing! but, i’m on my way. i relaunched my fika blog (the fika girl) and it feels so right. as far as it goes with my love and i, what can i say? i fall in love more and more every single day. she is amazing – and simply sharing everyday moments with her just takes my breath away.
  • what i want to do: publish that fika book! i will get at least an e-book out by the end of the year. i will! and i want to be well on my way with the print version. i also want to keep balancing my passion for my love and our crazy life always making sure that she knows that the is the most important thing in my life. she makes everything possible, and all of life more beautiful.

journal moleskin

so far in 2014, i have been creating an atmosphere, visioning and manifesting a life that is beautiful and calm and meaningful – one that i truly love. a life where i have learned to soak up the moments.

now, that i have created this sacred space in my everyday, ordinary life, it’s time to work. the inspiration is all there. the beauty and love and magic are all there. it’s time to put it all to use. in other words, it’s time to make shit happen.

here’s to celebrating the energy of the sun today, to the moments of closing our eyes and letting that energy fill us, so that it sustains us throughout the rest of the year – a year filled with love and happiness – a year that includes reaching for the stars and making dreams come true. a year of creating our paradise.

happy solstice! peace & love. xx

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

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It’s January 1st! A brand new year! I rang in the new year in style and filled with lots of fun celebrations – so. much. freaking. fun. This year was definitely not a quiet New Year’s Eve. It was loud, crazy, fun, and filled with fabulous people, dancing, champagne, and lots of laughs. Like I said, celebratory! A little glimpse of what is to come in 2014… at least those are my intentions. More about my vision and intentions for 2014 in a few days, as I begin to get a feel for this year’s vibe and how it connects with my word of the year. Of course, tomorrow I’ll post lots of photos from our New Year’s Eve celebration shenanigans. How was your night? Hopefully, it was as you had hoped. Right now, I’m about to close the 1st day of 2014. I’m cozy in my bed, with my love & my cat beside me. I’m beat after not much sleep last night and a 3 hour drive home from Atlanta this afternoon. But first I wanted to stop by and leave a heartfelt Happy New Year greeting from my love and me to all of you! So, my friends, goodnight. Sleep tight. Sending you warm wishes for a blessed, peaceful, blissful, and adventurous 2014 filled with celebrations and loving life to the fullest!

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peace and love. xx