So, what is the Skinny Dip Society? Don't worry. We all keep our clothes on. ;)
Katie Den Ouden puts it perfectly:
Think back to a time (or now) where you felt fully in the moment, giddy with excitement and adventure, not a care in the world about your body or food, but rather killer confidence and contagious joy. Connected. You weren’t held back. You weren’t stuck. You weren’t confused. You weren’t weighed down. You were happy. wild. brave. free. ALIVE.
Got that moment? Now surround yourself in that moment with hundreds of other women cheering you on (go ahead, picture it), seeking together the great life, and celebrating your awesomeness (no comparison, no competing). Feels pretty amazing, right?
Time to get deep, my friends...
When Katie asked me to join, I was so honored, excited, and to be honest, a little surprised! A few clicks around the fabulous contributors' posts and it's clear that these women are embracing their truth, story and way of life. They seem to have it all figured out. They're not stuck or confused. They're truly free and leading the way.
I purposely chose this date not only because it's my lucky number, but also because I needed proper time to marinate on exactly what I'd share. And as this day grew nearer, the further I fell into a funk and the less fitting it felt for me to share my story or advice on, well, loving life. The doubts set in:
"Who am I to tell people how to be truly happy...especially if I'm not over-the-moon loving life right now?"
"What makes me an expert on life, freeing your body and feeding your soul?"
"Do I have credibility for this sort of stuff? I'm not established enough."
THEN, it all hit me, as it always does when I'm reaching the end of a rut. I was reminded for the thousandth time that life is not about arriving at some glorious destination of happiness and perfection. It's a 24/7 work in progress that's messy and beautiful all at once. Every single one of us has an amazing story coupled with even better advice inspired from our individual journeys no matter what our profession is or how "established" we are.
Yesterday, I soaked in some amazing advice from my husband (embrace the negatives, shift your perspective and ask what you can learn), listened to my heart and realized this:
Being truly alive means embracing our everyday challenges for what they are (no matter how massive or mundane) and appreciating what they're teaching us. Being truly alive means connecting to others with authenticity, stopping to smell the roses (literally) and reveling in our ability to create our own destiny. Being truly alive means facing our fears and ditching our comfort zone.
So what feeds my soul? Here's just SOME of it. I hope you find snippets of inspiration for your own path.
That's right. Not your typical inspirational topic, but I secretly love ruts and challenges. Each time I've felt stuck or "not there yet," I've gained that much more patience and gratitude in my personal journey and especially in my business.
It's what happens at the tail end of these "off times" that brings me the most clarity. But the secret is to embrace it and not bury it. Next time you're in one, face what you're feeling and LISTEN to what the tension in your heart is telling you. You'll discover magical things.
Be grateful for the curve balls life throws you. The second I catch what these unexpected pitches are throwing at me, I feel SO alive, and I'm reminded that great things take time. Some of the biggest realizations from my life events haven't hit me until years later, and it's those "AH HA!" moments when everything begins to make sense. My soul lights up and my heart feels electric.
Only positive things can come from shifting your perspective about the negatives.
Flowers symbolize so much for me.
Flowers symbolize what inspired me to follow my heart + start my business. They are always a reminder that we have the ability to create our destiny, and sometimes we have to let nature take its course. When I decided to take a 180 from my corporate path, one of the driving forces was my craving for COLOR, creative freedom and working with people who created a business around what they LOVE.
So, I decided to approach The Perfect Petal, a gorgeous flower shop meets garden-inspired boutique meets mega-talented event design team. They've been around for almost 20 years and have played a huge role in supporting emerging and established designers while giving back to great causes.
From the first conversation I had with Owner Cindy Ollig, everything just fit. It's where my whole business journey began, actually. But the best part? Starting a business happened by accident. It happened ORGANICALLY. By following my heart and taking a chance on what fueled my soul, the doors continued to open, and the ideas continued to bloom. When you're doing what you love, people pick up on it. They thrive off of it. Making that first leap is beyond terrifying, but I have NEVER, I repeat, NEVER heard anyone speak regrets about letting their heart lead the way.
Flowers remind me to slow down and drink it all in. These delicate beauties, whether blooming near city sidewalks or sitting pretty at a special event, always catch my eye and remind me that even the smallest things can make a big impact. They represent endless possibility, BEAUTY and organic growth.
Saving the best for last, it's time to talk about my favorite topic: DITCHING THE COMFORT ZONE. All the best things in my life have resulted from doing something out of my everyday bubble of comfort, and every time I've stepped out of it, it's fed my soul and enriched my journey. Here are some of my favorites:
COUCH SURFING IN NEW YORK. My senior year of college, I contacted every woman on BUST Magazine's masthead telling them how badly I wanted to come intern for them. That itself wasn't the easiest thing to do, but I was so determined. It felt so right. Fast forward two weeks into the internship, and the gal I was subletting from was moving back from Miami. Luckily, my sister's friends from college took me under their wing and let me couch surf until I went home. For this Colorado girl who'd never lived out of state, living with three guys (who are now considered my older brothers) out of a suitcase was most certainly out of the ordinary, but I LOVED it. I wouldn't trade that summer for the world. I felt so free, adventurous and happy. I learned SO much about myself, others, and what I wanted to do with my career path: work with WOMEN!
TRYING STAND-UP COMEDY. I used to frequent the Squire Lounge on East Colfax on Tuesday nights for their open-mic comedy night. I lived nearby at the time and LOVED the eclectic crowd it would draw. There was always a great mix of comedians (veterans and rookies), but there were hardly any women who'd get behind that mic. So, my friend Will and I came up with some routines (I thought it'd be wise to impersonate Harry Caray and Bobcat Goldthwait...no big deal...) and tried it out. I WAS SCARED OUT OF MY MIND. Unfortunately, they scheduled me to go on second to last, which meant I had a handful of hours to drink my nerves away. Let's just say I had a few too many vodka sodas and most certainly bombed, BUT it's one of my favorite memories, it's a story I'll always remember, and my friends got quite a kick in the pants over it. When I went back a year later, the bartender totally remembered me and impersonated my act. Mission accomplished.
GOING ON A BLIND DATE. This is how I met my husband. My mom and my now-husband's aunt actually conspired the whole thing, and this is hands down the best decision I have EVER made in my life. Being open to the possibilities even though it scared me to the moon and back? Well, it worked out...
STARTING DANCE PARTIES IN UNEXPECTED PLACES. I. LOVE. DANCING. THAT is what makes me come alive. Need I say more?
This is my first real international trip. I traveled to Vancouver in college, and the longest flight I've ever been on was to Hawaii. I never studied abroad or did the post-college-backpacking-through-Europe, and I certainly never had any interest to hit Mexico. In fact, when David first told me he would be traveling to China for work and suggested I join, my response was an immediate no. I didn't want to deal with the long flight or spend all the money to visit a place I had never wanted to go to. I imagined it would be like Times Square on steroids, with overwhelming crowds, no fresh air, entirely too much madness, and no flexibility for the everyday germophobe. (OK, so all those assumptions now ring true, but I'll get to that in a bit.)
You can read my full journey here.
SO, once you pop that comfort bubble, there's a ripple effect of fun decisions that follow. While on The Great Wall, I asked David's boss to do a handstand with me. While I complete;y butchered my attempt, (and unfortunately, there's video footage), it was in this moment that I felt truly alive and free. We were all laughing so hard. I loved it.
DOING A SURPRISE FATHER-DAUGHTER DANCE. This was my DAD's idea. How cute is that? Nailing this dance at my wedding scared me more than walking down the aisle or exchanging vows in front of everyone, but it's one of my favorite memories of ALL time. Talk about LOVING that you did something so frightening. OK, now go watch the dance.
EMCEEING URBAN CAMPFIRE. A few weeks before the first Urban Campfire in Denver, Melody Biringer told me the woman who normally emcees these events wasn't making it. When she asked me if I wanted to do it, I said, "Well, no, but I HAVE to!" Scared yet again, I knew in my heart that I needed to do it. I had poured so much love into planning this event and finding the speakers that it just. had. to. be. done. AND guess what? I survived! It was a tremendous experience that had me feeling so alive, in the moment and wanting more. Everyone's feedback was so beyond positive, too. It was very eye-opening!
MOVING TO GERMANY. Ah, yes. Perhaps the biggest and most exciting adventure of my life awaits me in just a few months. My husband and I are moving to Dusseldorf for two years come this November! While scared (yet again), I'm overflowing with excitement for what this adventure will bring. THAT, my friends, is to be continued...
If you've made it all the way down here, congrats! Again, I hope you've found tidbits of inspiration for your own journey. Ready to read more from the other bloggers on the Skinny Dip Society Blog Tour?