Made To Love

 

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Alright people I’m just going to make this simple. I love to love. I truly feel like I as an individual was made to love. Some have told me that’s not really a “thing” but I like to think otherwise. It is my strongest (and at times it has been my weakest) trait.

I always have and always will firmly believe that when in doubt you just have to add a little love to it. So I do. Every single day I make it a point to say “I love you” to someone in my life without even speaking those three words. With time I’ve learned that there are so many ways that you can say I love you, it just comes down to whether or not the receiving individual is able to hear it. 

So, lets take a break from that discussion so that I can make a quick point about today: It’s really kind of weird to me that people who are single get so down on themselves on Valentines day. Is the day not about love? Do you not have any in your life? If not, create it. Self-love, google it. Family and friends? Yah go squeeze the shit out of them, it feels really good I promise. Love is so much more than flowers, chocolate, and diamonds on a random day in February. Don’t dwell on the fact that it may be lacking. Just make it happen. You deserve it.

So, since today is “love-day” I vow to celebrate the ridiculous amount that I am blessed to have in my life. My family and friends make my world go ’round. And I’m going to do my very best to remind them of that.

So if and when you feel kind of bummed today do this: Slow down, take a big deep breath, focus on what you have and repeat after me: life is not about what I can get, it is about what I can give. 

And hopefully your heart will feel a little lighter, your world a bit brighter, and your soul will stir with ideas of how you can bring more love into the peoples lives around you. Which, in the most badass way ever, will bring more love into your life in return. How about that for a thought? It’s a win-win babe. I’m tellin’ ya. Love is kind of magical like that. So please, have a beautiful day, kick ass, hug lots of peeps alright?

All my love, cheesy thoughts (and 20-something thoughts) on love until next time,

XOXO, B

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Beautiful People Don’t Just Happen.

There is one thing that I still haven’t really told anybody in my life. It happened last June. Every single day there are at least 5 minutes where I sit there and go back to that month. My chest gets hot, I sweat, I ache, and I think about how there is no way I could ever really tell anyone about it. It devastated me. But I need to talk about it. And I will. I will take the steps to choose to see that event in a different way. I will choose to see the love in it.

I used to be kind of proud of my ability to be open with people. I learned at a young age how much I treasure sharing stories about my experiences. I’d always say “I’m an open book. I have a blog, and I don’t really have anything to hide.”

There were times in my life where I would go through something difficult and at times it would feel like the only comfort I could find was telling myself that it was happening to me so that I could tell my story one day and help others grow. Ultimately I wanted to share my downfalls in order to inspire others somehow… I wanted to help others avoid making the mistakes I’ve made. But things have changed.

The past couple of weeks have really challenged me. I’ve spent my time doing the things that scare me. Going to school, taking on more responsibility at work, breaking unhealthy patterns, figuring out how to remove toxic people in my life in a way that is loving, kind, and graceful, and accepting the fact that my life can drastically change in one month. And I can’t do a damn thing about it.

And suddenly I’ve found myself surrounded by individuals who see right through me, which also obviously scares me. You want a wake up call? Spend some quality time with people who don’t agree with everything you say. Who call you on your shit. Spend time with people who, after they’ve left, stay in your head because of one bold, honest thing they said to you that you couldn’t even begin to respond to.

When I’ve been asked to share some of the things that have frightened me, shook me, changed my perspective, and straight up knocked me on my ass I have discovered one huge thing: I am not the open 18 year old girl that I used to be. I am a woman who has spent some time in some pretty dark places. And that’s okay.

I am realizing that I’ve allowed some of the ups and downs I’ve gone through in the last 2 years into my head. I’ve basically shut off that open, vulnerable, “it is what it is” part of me that used to be so significant and crucial in my life. I have let fear create a home in my mind and in my heart. And I want to work on that.

It all comes down to being scared that exposing anything in my life that is not beautiful and well kept will put a big ole’ “I’m not worthy of love” sticker on my forehead. But that is so far from true. Maybe finding the will to truly open up to people will teach me about trust again. Maybe it will teach me me to love and be loved because I have nothing to hide.

So, February has been a month of getting real with myself. It’s been about going to the places in my life that I once ran from and dumping all the love, acceptance, and forgiveness into them. It’s not always pretty, but digging deep within and truly grabbing the rot and negativity out of your life with your hands is one of the most empowering, loving things you can do for yourself. It’s just finding the will and finally saying “I’m done hiding from this shit.”

This is the month where I make peace with the bad so that I can make more space for the good. This is my time to make peace with the past.

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Alone But Not Lonely

I remember being about 13 years old and going through pre-teen “funks”. I was (and still can be) a moody little shit. But I always knew what the solution was. I’d hurry home, play soccer until the sun went down, and then “redecorate” my bedroom. I would put in my favorite CD and go to town. Getting rid of things that no longer served a purpose and reflecting on the things that did (I was a weird kid). I’d always make my mom stay upstairs until I was done (which I’m sure she was thrilled about) and then reveal my “new and improved space” when I finished. I knew at a young age how much of an impact my personal space had on my mood.

With that little hobby came big dreams of having my own apartment. I imagined that it would have beautiful art, shelves full of books of poetry, romance, sorrow, and adventure…candles, music, plenty of plants, and soft pillows and large blankets. A place to relax and write, entertain the people I love, make memories, and dream . And I am incredibly blessed to say that my little shoe-box apartment is beginning to fit that description.

It’s been such a fun and rewarding process for me to make that dream into a reality. But like all good things it has taken time. I have added each piece that is in my home slowly, making sure that each object resonates with me some way or another.

A few months ago my aunt Carolyn told me that she wanted to buy me a piece of art for my home. I was so excited. But I’d been looking for a while and just couldn’t find anything that made me feel like I had to have it. Last weekend while my mom and aunt were out shopping they came across a piece at my favorite store, Dancing Cranes. They sent me a photo of it but I just wasn’t in the mindset at the time to make a decision about whether or not I wanted it.

For the past week I’ve been on my way home and thought about that piece as I drove past DC. Today all three of us went back to Dancing Cranes and it was still there. I guess that is how I knew that it was meant to be mine. I came home, hammered a nail into my paper-thin wall, and just stared at it. It’s perfect where it is.

The piece is called “You Found Me, Alone But Not Lonely.” It’s such an accurate symbol of where I am at in my life right now. The photo was taken in Bear Rive Migratory Bird Refuge.

You Found Me, Alone But Not Lonely.

I just finished reading Gabrielle Bernstein’s book “Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles.” and it is now a new favorite of mine. So I decided to buy myself a new book to keep my reading flow going as well as a meditation pillow. I have been using a pillow from my bed or I’ve just sat on the floor while meditating, so I’m eager to have a comfortable place to gather my thoughts, pray, and meditate everyday.

The book I purchased is called “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot By The Taliban.”

I truly believe that Malala is our youngest and most powerful female voice right now and that she will continue to do incredible things throughout her life. Her book has truly moved me. I’ve made a promise to myself to only read it when I have time to really allow her words to sink in and sit with me. I start school next month and her story has changed my prospective on getting my education as a female. I strongly encourage you to purchase it for yourself and/or someone you love.

"I Am Malala"Meditation pillow

I hope that you have had a weekend full of the things that bring you inner peace and joy. It can be hard to find time for ourselves during the holidays, and some people look down on it. But I find it absolutely essential to find a balance between giving love to others and giving love to yourself in order to be happy and healthy.

All my love, Bailey Mikell 

 

Remember Why You Started

Hey all, I hope you’re having a beautiful weekend so far. I spent my Friday night in the gym with my best friend, we worked hard and laughed harder. And as I was breathing through my latest challenge (perfecting the deadlift) I looked at myself in the mirror and figured out why I was really there.

I’ve noticed that most 20-somethings are in the gym to see quick results. They do whatever it takes to get that perky booty, toned stomach, wee arms, and the infamous “thigh gap” (which I hate, but that’s another story. Click here for my opinion on that) And I’ll be honest, a year ago I was that girl. But I’m so grateful for my experience in the gym these last 2 months because it has drastically changed my view of what fit and healthy really means. 

When I go to the gym I focus, I compete with the person I was the day before, and I have fun. I am gentle with myself when I am not quite understanding something new for the first few times, and I am hard on myself when my body says “give up” and my mind says “try one more time“.

At the beginning of this journey my goals were not healthy. I wanted to look good for a trip we’re planning in January that calls for bikini’s and sundresses. But something clicked and I realized that I’m not there 6 days a week to have skinny arms to flaunt at the bar or while I’m on vacation. My reasons go much deeper than that because they’ll effect my life, and those in it, years from now.

I want strong arms so that I can swoop my nephew up and squeeze him tight when we’re playing. So that it’s not as much of a challenge to carry things like groceries up the stairs to my apartment. I want to be strong so that I can defend myself if I ever found myself in a scary situation. And so that in May when it’s time for me to move I wont have to rely on so many people for help (and wine to recover;)

The strength I am working so hard for is for myself. So that I can have a lifetime of good health & fitness instead of simply working towards a slim body for the holidays or sporadic vacations on the beach.

And I am many years away from this part of my life, but I work hard now so that one day I can be a strong momma to my children. I want to be a good example of happiness & health for them. I want to be able to keep up with them when they are being stinkers & booking it as fast as they can away from me ;) & I want to be emotionally strong, which is what focusing on loving and nurturing my body does for me.

I will continue to run races, compete and complete spartans, and stay active. I want to be a fun auntie, a daughter who can help with big projects, a girlfriend who can do her own heavy lifting, a self-lover, and someday I hope to be a mom who can keep up with my quick and curious kids.

So when I walk into the gym on a Friday night or an early weekday before work I will forget what society says, I will brush any self-doubt aside, and I’ll remember why I started. And I think that’s pretty powerful.

“A woman is often measured by things she cannot control. She is measured by the way her body curves or doesn’t curve. By where she is flat, or straight, or round. She is measure by 36-24-36 and inches and ages and numbers, by all the outside things that don’t ever add up to who she is on the inside. And so if a woman is to be measured, let her be measured by the things she can control, by who she is trying to become. Because every woman knows measurements are only statistics, and statistics lie.” -Nike

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Finding My Fitspiration

Good morning sunshines! I start a strict meal plan & workout routine this Thursday. Kelsey & I are doing it together which is a bonus because I always excel with a partner, especially when it’s my gym-loving best friend.

I decided to hit the gym early today before work. It’s 5:30 a.m & I don’t know how people do this! Luckily there is a lot on my mind so it was fairly easy to wake up. I am still deciding if I should go all natural or purchase a pre-workout. Right now I’m sticking to 2 cups of black coffee & a plain rice cake with some all natural peanut butter (dying for bananas right now) Do you use pre-workout?

It’s leg day & I tend to feel a little self conscious in the weight area when I’m solo. I’m looking forward to gaining confidence in that area. What are your favorite ways to stay motivated to stick to your routine & healthy food choices? Do you use a pre-workout or do you stick to good ole’ black coffee? I’d love your feedback. They say that it takes around 3 weeks to form a habit… Here’s to day one :)

Pre-workout day 1

“It takes 4 weeks for you to notice your body changing, 8 weeks for your friends, and 12 weeks for the rest of the world. Give it 12 weeks. Don’t quit.”

 

My Vision

17 weeks ago I started my vision board. But at the time I couldn’t quite fill an entire white poster board with my dreams because I did not know what exactly I wanted. So I chose to wait until I felt passionate enough to continue. 

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And then suddenly my life took quite a few unexpected turns. Some beautiful, some ugly, but all together they are mine. The recent change of pace has motivated me to continue creating, dreaming, and striving to live my very best life. Within some of my personal struggles I have found a great fighter inside of me. I want to wake up and be proud to take responsibility for the life I live and the things I do. At the end of the day it’s simple: we must be able to go to sleep and be happy with the decisions we make and the person we become.

(and yes I’m aware of my plants slightly brown ends…oops)

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So after a long week at work I came home, took my makeup off, and pulled out my vision board that was partially done. I played my favorite Pandora station and poured myself a glass of wine. And as I scanned through each Oprah, Self, and Womens Health magazine I own I pulled bits and pieces of inspiration that made me take a second look — and this is what I came up with.

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Working on my vision board helped me feel more clear about what I need to do to become the woman I know I can be. It also showed me that Elmers Spray Adhesive belongs in every creative persons home and that my creative go-go juice is (and may always be) Blackbox at its finest.Image

By the way, I easily made 10 paper balls or more out of magazine scraps to keep this stinker occupied until he called it a night.. Image

Last night I realized that there are a lot of things I must do for myself in order to reach my goals but I’m willing and ready to do what it takes.

A few things I will be working on for the rest of 2013 are:

  • Getting outside and just doing it whether it’s a hike, run, or late night walk.
  • Saying yes to every opportunity life gives me
  • Living an all around healthier lifestyle (clean eating, exercise, meditation, and plenty of yoga)
  • Allowing myself to rest when I am over-worked. I have to remember that my tasks will be there when I wake up… checking work emails in bed at midnight is not necessary.
  • Self-love! No more putting my personal needs on the back burner. Learning to treat myself not cheat myself.
  • Don’t settle.
  • Educate myself through the people I surround myself with, the books I read, the songs I hear, the places I go and the meals I eat.
  • Travel. Anywhere and everywhere
  • Express gratitude daily. I want to give back to those who have helped me during my journey.

I also need to remember to be gentle with myself during the process and remember that it’s about the journey, not the destination. So I did my best to get my fingers to stop sticking together so that I could have two girl scout cookies for a midnight snack and then I went to sleep. I would call that a pretty successful night.

I’d like to end on this quote and hopefully it will help get my message across…

“Develop into a lifelong self-learner through voracious reading; cultivate curiosity and strive to become a little wiser every day.” -Charlie Munger

All my love, Bailey Mikell

Turning Point

I stood on my toes and peered into a basket full of crystals with big curious eyes. I was 5 years old and sure that I’d never seen anything more fascinating. The woman at the register watched me carefully sift through the group of stones with my tiny hands. She looked down at me and said “You can take one home if you’d like.” I smiled and reached for the first one that caught my attention, a small amethyst with jagged edges and a smooth bottom. I said thank you and left the store with my mother.

As we made our way back to the car my excitement got the best of me; I walked too fast and stumbled on the concrete. The amethyst slipped out of my hands and broke into pieces on the ground. Hot tears skipped off my sun-kissed cheeks.

A man with long blonde dreads in his hair walked towards me and bent down to pick up the pieces. He looked in my eyes and quietly said to me “Don’t cry, sweetie. Some things are just meant to be shared.”  I handed him the largest piece that had broken off of the stone as I held the other piece close. He smiled at me and with an unspoken understanding he stood up and walked away.

I never saw that man again but his smile and energy were unforgettable. My amethyst has stayed with me since that day. It stands as a reminder that some things break and you simply can’t let it shake you. I still visit Dancing Cranes Imports (the store where this event occurred) and feel the beautiful crystals in my hands. It will forever be one of my favorite places to be.

That was the turning point in my life where I discovered the art of sharing the things we hold near and dear to our hearts. I believe we can only lose the things we hold onto, therefore I allow my experiences to open my eyes and then I move on.

And that is what has inspired me to start this blog. My only hope is that someone will stumble upon a post and be able to take just one thing with them that helps them along their journey.

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