Monday, October 19, 2015

The real B word

I have recently been referring to myself as a Bitch.  I know my mom is saying silently, "Oh, Hope Ann, why are you swearing?"   Some others may be saying, "I can't believe she would use such a sexist word."  Even more absurd is some thinking, "Hope could never be a bitch, she's such an angel."  

Now I don't feel like being a bitch is a negative trait because I like to give the word a different  definition.  

  1. 1.
    a female dog, wolf, fox, or otter.
  1. 1.
    express displeasure; grumble.

noun 2015 definition 

  1. A HUMAN who is aware of having an emotion.  Understanding that emotion is trying to tell you something. Once they become aware of this emotion they then actively try to change it.  Understanding that in order to change the behavior you must first understand where it's coming from.  This person will speak about these emotions because they are living in the moment and feeling life as it happens to them.  Because of the passion these words may not be agreed with.  No harm is meant, this human is just being true to themselves & their emotions.  

Okay, so maybe I can't add a new definition to the word; but I am tired of people feeling like in order to be a spiritual person wanting to make an impact on the world, you have to let of ever having emotions.  People feel like they need to be perfect.  Well, not only does perfect not exist no matter how enlightened, the definition wouldn't include pretending emotions don't exist. 

I know I'm not alone on this experience; where I speak out against something I don't agree with, and the response being, "You're so fake, everyone thinks you're such an enlightened angel, when you're just a bitch."  Why do we put such high expectations on another person.  Speaking on behalf of the imperfect, I will do things you may not agree with, I will say things I sometimes shouldn't have, and I won't always realize when I'm being insensitive.  As hard as I am working towards reaching my highest self and living a life with the most purpose; I am human and have learned that allowing myself to be human does a whole lot for my mental health.  

Let those expectations go and see how free you feel.  Then see how your views on others may change.  That girl you said was being a "bitch", takes on a new meaning.  That girl speaks up for what she believes in and has passion and she is doing her.  Why does her being self expressive make her bad?

Let's start seeing each other through new eyes.  HUMAN eyes.  

photo found on tumblr source unknown

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Rituals have changed our lives in 1 week

"Ritual is the Remedy" 

You guys know my journey already with Ayurveda natural remedies, and I would like to share some success with y'all!

For the past two years, I have had some sort of morning routine I did, but it wasn't consistent.  In trying to improve my consistency with life, I've been actively seeking a morning ritual.  After attending the Ritual is the Remedy workshop with my teacher last weekend, Steve & I developed a consistent morning ritual we both do.  

Since doing this everyday I have to report great success already!  I will first tell you about each of our rituals, and then share our results!

I wake up 2.5 hours before Steve.  It helps me to be able to have my own time to focus on my morning ritual & it also forces me to get up and going; which I need sometimes.  

I start with Lemon and Ginger in warm Water, Golden Milk, and homemade Chai tea.  I will enjoy these while I do my morning smudging and journal.  

I then do oil pulling, washing, face care, massage with oils, Nasya oil, brush teeth, & clean my tongue.  
Following I do yoga, I usually flow with whatever I am feeling that day.  Some days I do a challenging hour long session if I have the time, or other days I do 20 minutes of easy flowing.  I then do around 5 minutes of Pranayama (alternate nostril breathing), followed by 15 minutes of meditation. With the meditation, I find mantra meditation the most effective for me, explore what works best for you as there are so many useful techniques. 
After that I do some earthing, and go put my bare feet on the earth and absorb the grounding energies momma earth provides us with.  I do this for usually 5 minutes while I take in all the sounds and sights nature has to offer. 
At this point, Steve is usually just waking up.  Our morning routine with Steve includes traditional medicine & natural medicine.  
  • Our first thing we do is put him on his morning dose of IV antibiotics. 
  • We then clean his nose with suctioning the drainage and using nasya. 
  •  I then do full trache care including changing drainage sponges, inner canulas, ties, & deep suctioning.  
  • Then we do some Calendula massage around his neck where he has the most spasms, and do other oil massage on his neck, shoulders, & arms.  
  • Following we give him 3 (to start we are working towards more) types of tinctures that help with lung health, infections, and muscle spasm
  • Give him his morning medicines
  • Brush his teeth
  • Clean his tongue
  • Wash his face.  

Because I had been implementing some of these rituals in my life already it's been an easy transition to want to do this every morning and it not to feel like a chore.

My most noticeable benefit is feeling more grounded! :) I also have some relief in constant stomach pains and my skin is clearing! 

Steve's are more profound.  Previous to using the Nasya on Steve, he had constant drainage from his nose to the point where eventually we would have to plug his nose with tissues.  Steve is currently on 36 hours plug free!!!  He's needed his nose wiped a few times, but it's been profoundly better.  Also, Steve has a lung infection called Pseudomonas, and for those unfamiliar it has a very distinct odor. While, his lungs have a ways to go; between the several things we have been using plus a new fairly expensive antibiotic I don't smell the Pseudomonas today. For the first time in a year!  His sputum cultures we collect weekly still shows infection, but this is only after 1 full week of this.  I can't wait until the pharmacy calls me in shock to tell me the infections are getting better!  Because I believe in all we are doing and finally feel like we are hitting Steve's health in all directions! 

We are pretty relaxed with planning our days because with us everyday is different for us between ALS needs, nurses, visits, projects; etc.  We have started an evening ritual as well of turning off from technology an hour before bed, with some evening gratitude journal, and short meditation.  

I know the positive results will increase as times go on and I'm very excited to continue sharing our journey with y'all.  Thanks for being a part of it. :)

If you don't have a morning or evening ritual; consider trying it.  Start slow and with what works best for you.  


Monday, October 12, 2015

My commitment to a sustainable Ayurveda lifestyle

I started Ayurveda classes this weekend.  It's a 6 month, level 1 course, mostly done online; with a one time a month session to put our knowledge into practice with our amazing teacher, who is a dear friend of mine.  I hope to make all 6 of the sessions, provided Steve is healthy, and we have a nurse available; but if not I can make it up and will still be able to complete the course.

Ayurveda, for those unfamiliar, is a traditional system of medicine, based on the idea of balance in mind, body, and spirit; using diet, herbal treatment, ritual, and yogic breathing.

After my first class I was so inspired and extremely happy/grateful for this opportunity.  I was also surprised with how many things I'm already implementing into my daily life that are Ayurveda practices.

  • I had been oil pulling, which is a morning ritual in Ayurveda, for almost a year now and swear since I've started it my immune system has been incredible.  Are you thinking, what is oil pulling? If yes, click me to learn more
  • Ayurveda shows evidence that lunch is the most important and largest meal of the day and should be the biggest, because of the way our body works and digestion.  Naturally I've never been a big breakfast eater, and would often feel guilty with all the advertisements of it being "the most important meal of the day."  After learning of the dosha cycles, and how lunch time is when our body is able to handle and digest the most food; it made sense, my body was being intuitive by it's love for lunchtime!
  •  Ayurveda teaches the importance of healthy body AND MIND.  So the yoga and meditation I've included everyday is a huge part of Ayurveda ritual.  Because health is being balanced in ALL dimensions, not just body.  

Our bodies want to be healthy, we feel better when we eat the right things, do the right exercises, have the right mindset, etc.  However, someone like me with little consistency and limited knowledge, I was still doing a handful of things my body wasn't liking; and sadly so many that I couldn't pin point just what on my own.

I've had several discussions with our teacher previously about symptoms I've been experiencing and asking for recommendations.  Between that, all the reading I've been doing, and our first class I am gaining the knowledge to live the vibrant healthy life I desire.  I've started changing my lifestyle little by little with each new thing I learn; and I also have started implementing those that I can into Steve's daily regimen.  The difference has already been significant and we are just getting started.

I want what goes in my body to be clean and healthy, I want to help others close to me have this lifestyle; and I want to help heal mother earth.   There are a lot of ways in which we think we are being healthy, where in turn we are hurting our planet and ourselves.  My goal is to find a self sustainable, efficient, Ayurveda lifestyle that will help keep Steve & I at our optimal health. Hopefully in turn by me sharing, others will see the benefits in us and try it for themselves.

I believe this knowledge I am gaining on Ayurveda, my passion to save our planet and daily efforts to do so, and sharing it to everyone I come in contact with can really make a positive impact.  Not only on the health of myself and those around me but the health of momma earth!

I'm excited to share more as I continue to learn, implement, and grow!  Thanks for being apart of my journey! xo

Friday, October 9, 2015

Be YOU, warrior people

In college my nickname was Red, as in Red Forman from that 70s show, because I wasn't one to keep quiet if I disagreed with you.  I also was quick to call people dumb ass.  Of course, it was meant with love ;) Another nickname was Sass mouth.  Because I would always have an opinion; and often voiced it loudly.  Those that knew me understood it and loved it.

I lost the sassy side of me when I lost myself for 5 years!  I only found myself again when Steve & I started dating.  I became so ashamed of my voice, my ability to be strong and stand up for myself, my "I will take no shit"; that I hid that quality.

My sassy came back as Anger for a while, as I was suppressing my inner warrior woman; and when she came out she did in the wrong form, because I was still ashamed of her.  Instead of speaking up when things bothered me, I would keep quiet and try to just deal with it internally like I always have. On top of that, dealing with being a wife and caregiver, until I would just blow up one day because it all hit me at once.

Learning to speak up when I'm angry instead of holding it in, has helped me turn my crazy back to my strong sassy self.  It wasn't easy to realize how I was harming myself by not allowing my voice to come through, it also wasn't easy to allow that back.  Trying to get rid of the anger, I fooled myself to believe it meant I had to get rid of my passion towards life.  What life is there without passion?  Let me tell you from experience; not much!

I get told these days I'm overly passionate.  I call BS on that.  No such thing!  Passion is good, more passion is better.  I didn't feel anything when I let go of my passion and hid my inner sassy. I didn't feel anger, joy, or even have an intuition left.  I was a doormat who was missing out on all the beautiful feelings life has to offer (even the negative ones).  So learning that anger feeling coming in isn't bad; it's a feeling.  It's there to remind me to stand up for what I believe in/myself/others/etc.  Learning to allow the feeling to be there helps you learn to express them in healthier ways.

It feels amazing to be your true authentic self.  The good, the bad, the hidden away gems, the old rooted inherited quirks; all the beautiful rawness that makes up you.  Often we say we are living authentic lives but are hiding the not so flattering parts of our personalities.

Instead of looking at my strong opinion and voice as a negative quality; I see the beauty in it.  As Nahko Bear so eloquently puts it in his song, Warrior People,
 "Well, I will learn to be peaceful
But I keep a knife at my side
And I will pray for compassion
But if war comes to my door, you know I will be blastin

Warrior mentality my responsibility.
Warrior, Warrior people
Makin' the best of peace with the strength of an eagle" 

What quality are you hiding away?  Own in.  Find the beauty in it.  Most importantly, BE YOU!  

Thursday, October 8, 2015

3 reasons I am back in the same spot.

I find myself in the same spot again.  Sitting and thinking, "Okay what now?"  The sinking feeling that I haven't done enough yet.  Always full of ideas and not enough consistency to finish half of them.  Ending up at the same dead end, again and again.

Where did I go wrong?

First there is: comparing.  

How ungrateful of me to even think I have a reason to complain about anything.  We are provided for enough that I can stay home and take care of Steve.  We both get to spend our everyday together, doing creative new projects. We get to hang out with all kinds of amazing people on a fairly regular basis.  People care about us, not just because they like our story; but because they actually care.

So how is it that I find myself stuck in the same spot?  Because I'm comparing this year to last year.  Last year their was the premiere, meeting of lots of cool people, awards, opportunities, articles, news stories; new exciting things around each corner.

This year while we are obviously still living a wonderful life; it isn't as jam packed as last year.  However, if I didn't compare this year to last; I wouldn't be upset at all about what kind of an impact we are making, because it IS as large as last years.

Comparing in all realms of life does nothing but lead to trouble.  Either you feel an assumed superiority or you feel unnecessary inferiority.  Neither being a positive experience.  Lesson number 1 STOP COMPARING!

Second there is: Negative Talk.

Not only do I find myself guilty of talking negatively about others or a project I'm working on, but just as equally negatively to myself.  It's not going to get me anywhere if I'm bashing my work or things I've worked on or people I've worked with.

Sure, I may have made improvements in this arena, but I still find myself in the cycle then, "Ugh I'm just being negative about it/her/him/it/etc...."  To which everyone says, "Don't be so hard on yourself you're human.  We all do it."

Well guess what, that "acceptability" is my problem.  The fact that I've began to find it so acceptable to negative talk.  What a waste of energy.  Lesson number 2 Don't accept the negative talk.

Third is: Forgetting to Trust the Process. 

Because I study and meditate I have a clear understanding that the world has it's own timing; that you have to truly learn to trust. There are too many examples: Wishing this project I've been working on for 3 years would just be able to be released. To have unrealistic expectations of myself, then being upset when I don't meet them;  my book isn't done yet, I haven't been able to draw that face I wanted to yet, or that girls necklace broke, or,....

Reflecting back on this it's clear to see my lack of trust in the process has caused unnecessary negativity to others and myself.  Between me having bad feelings towards others for something out of their control to me being upset with myself for not being where I think I "should be."

I'm sharing these behaviors I find myself going back to with you for two reasons.

1. Accountability.
2. To have you look inside, and see how you may be getting in your own way.

When we find ourselves in these negative spots, we don't seemt o focus on why we are there, we instead focus on, "Oh shit this again."  It's not anyone else's fault, it's our own.  So, there, I am taking accountability and making a conscious effort to eliminate this negative space.

Will you?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Meditation with a mala

I get asked this question frequently and it's inspired me to write a blog.

"Hope, how do I meditate?"

I used to answer with a simple explanation, usually something like this, "Don't put too much pressure on yourself.  We all have to start somewhere.  Find a space that you will use to meditate, and depending on your beliefs you can fill that space with crosses, oil, sage, candles, Ganesh, prayer flags, etc.  You choose this.  YOU.  It's a personal practice, don't allow anyone to choose for you. Start slow, sit, quiet your mid.  Don't become attached to a certain thought and really focus on the breath and present moment."  

Since going deeper in my practice, I would like to expand on my answer.

Meditation with a Mala. 

Present moment, I start my meditation with setting sacred space (sage & Tibetan bowls), journal free thoughts, feelings, and intentions.  The journaling helps me become aware of what I need to improve upon that day, intentions, hopes, goals, feelings, etc.  I then choose a mantra (sometimes choosing 10 & sometimes I stick with one...for a whole week...).  

Let's say my mantra is "I am peace".  I take the mala in my hand and with my thumb and pointer finger I slide the beads repeating the mantra as they slide between my fingers.  I allow my breath to guide the mantra meditation.  I find my rhythm, <inhale> "I am", <exhale> "peace", slide bead.  With each breath I come to the moment more sinking into the feeling more and more.  The important part is to really feel the mantra.  So as you say I am peace, feel it.  If after repeating the mantra that 108 times I don't "feel peace", I do it again.  After I'm done repeating the mantras, I then sit in silence eyes still closed, hearing the sounds, feeling the sun, air, wind, light, etc.  I breathe in the feeling and then offer thanks.  First to God, then the universe, then myself.  The times and lengths vary depending on a lot.  Obviously, if Steve needs me, I will tend to him, offering thanks for the love he brings to my life while tending to him, and then return to the practice.  Distractions are what you make them.  My dog barking, is a test to stay calm in the moment, the mail lady maybe needed some loving energy, etc.  

Personally, using mantra mala meditations have been the most effective in learning to be more present and loving.  It is important to remember that meditating doesn't magically make life's problems disappear.  It helps you become aware of the problem and be able to use the practice while working out the issue.

Example: Steve needs me to wipe his nose for the 30th time that hour while I'm trying to cook, sleep, fulfill orders, clean, pee, etc.  As I'm walking to him/or wiping his nose I am saying any of these (sometimes out loud), "I am patient, I am love, I am caring, I am peace, I am helping someone I love.." This allows the frustrations of that drippy nose to stay just that & not turn into me self loathing for snapping on Steve, who can't help his nose is running and can't help he cannot wipe his own nose...

We are ALL HUMAN.  We will have moments of weakness.  However, the more you meditate the more you find yourself gaining control during these human moments.  The quicker you stop the cycle-to breathe and turn the negative "Damnit" thought to a positive, "I am damn calm"-the quicker you can go back to appreciating the beauty of life.  

Monday, June 1, 2015


1 year after the premiere of our documentary and I've been reflecting on all that has happened in a year.

We filmed a little update video for y'all. However, I started thinking on a more personal level what has changed.

Aside from lots, because we go through so many changes almost daily, more importantly it's the growth that has come from it all.  Putting yourselves out there you will find that you will get a mix of opinions.  With that mix there will inevitably be the negative opinions.

Initially I found my spirit being broken by the 1 or 2 negative comments and would find myself forgetting the 100s of positive comments, which pointed out an area of growth for me.  I had to learn why I was allowing the few negative opinions to affect me so strongly and then find a way for it to stop.

Here's what it boils down to, and has been one of the most life changing lessons I've learned.  
Other people should be entitled to think or feel whatever they want, without my judgment or reaction. Obviously, if I see someone causing another person physical harm then I will always step in, but negative thinking  just doesn't deserve my attention.  It's not my life, I'm not the one saying the negative comment, or putting out that negative energy, so why should I even give it my attention. 

When you can begin to see life in this way, you begin to also learn to accept others (and yourself) for who they (you) are. The REAL truth is that everyone in your life is going to do something you don't agree with, EVERYONE.  However, it is NONE of your business in how THEY CHOOSE to live their lives. 

Everyone deserves love.  No matter how different their lives are, they deserve love.  Even those who have negative thoughts on you deserve love.  Often they are the ones who need it the most. 

Learning to remove yourself from others lives and just simply allowing them to be themselves without judgement will change your life.

The, "ugh, the clothes she wears bothers me," becomes, "that girl is doing her, you go girl."  That's it.  No other thoughts needed, it's NOT YOUR LIFE.  

Is it easy?  No, of course not.
Is it worth it? Absolutely.

Obviously it's not something that always comes natural and it takes some work to train your mind to start to think this way. I promise every time you show love to everyone, but especially those who are the more difficult to show love to, you will find it come back to you 10 fold.  

Allow others the freedom to be themselves, be true to yourself, and love everyone, and watch life become a lot less complicated.  There doesn't need to be any drama about it.