Life Lessons From The Crown

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I just finished watching The Crown on Netflix.  All I have to say is....Wowza. 

 

I'm totally blown away by John Lithgow (from Harry and the Hendersons!) and his portrayal of Winston Churchill...

 

And by Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth. 

 

How she shows plays The Queen stepping into her role and discovering her inner authority is simply mesmerizing. 

 

But the scene that really struck me is the one in which the Queen is struggling with whether or not to speak to the public about something. Feeling torn, she asks her grandmother, the Queen Mum, for advice. 

 

And her grandmother says: 

 

"But to do nothing is the hardest job of all. And it will take every ounce of energy that you have." 

 

BOOM. The type of wisdom only a grandma can give. 

 

I immediately put down my bag of Pirates Booty and started thinking about the power of NON-ACTION. 

 

You see, I LOVE getting things off my chest, finding my authentic voice and speaking my mind. In fact, it's one of my great passions to be able to help other people find their own true expression. 

 

But when is it best to NOT react? To sit and observe? To do what the Queen Mum is recommending and keep your lips zipped? 

 

Let's take an example from my own life.

 

I get really bad car sickness. A few years back, I took a cab ride where the guy was on a mission to either a) break a record getting me to my destination or b) make me super sick. 


As he made fast turns and weaved in between cars, I felt my face get tingly and my forehead break out in a cold sweat. 


Not a good look. 


Feeling scared and out of control I yelled, "You're driving too fast! I'm getting sick!" 


He looked at me through the rearview mirror and simply said, "There's a lot of traffic." 


I spent the rest of the cab ride clutching my purse and counting down the seconds until I was on dry land.

 

And you know what I did right before I got out of the cab? When all was said and done? 

 

I let the driver have a piece of my mind - I told him he was driving too fast and that he needed to TAKE IT EASY.  And my tone was definitely NOT calm and gentle. 


I mean - what good did that do? 


Should I have said something? Maybe. Would it have been better to take a breath, count to 10 and then communicate? Most likely. Would it have been EVEN better to let it go and take a more expansive view of "Let's end this exchange on a calm note and move on with my day?" Most definitely.  


I'm happy to report I've grown a lot since this bleak moment in my NYC cab-riding career. I now calmly tell drivers I get car sickness right away (communication is key!) and I rarely see the need to have any sort of heated exchange. It's just not worth it. 


So while I don't agree with the Queen Mum's stance of, "You can't have any opinions, sit there and look regal," I DO believe that she's right on the money to say that NOT reacting can be the toughest job at all...

 

So let's take a cue from her advice to NOT react ESPECIALLY when we really want to blow off some steam.

 

Like when you want to write a strongly-worded email to a colleague or when you want to get on the phone with your friend ASAP and get things off your chest. 

 

What can you do instead? 

 

Wait 5 minutes before sending off that heated text to your brother. Go for a walk to clear your head before jumping on the phone with your work team. Schedule some self-care if you're snapping at your your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife. 

 

Don't worry - you can still communicate your authentic feelings. Just take a second before speaking. Your words will be much more effective when you're not in reactive mode. And who knows? You may even decide to let the whole thing go. 

 

And what can you learn about yourself in the process of waiting before reacting?

 

Probably the stuff you need to learn. When you need to let stuff go, when you need to have more compassion for people and when you need to communicate in a soft manner. 

 

All of the waiting actually speaks volumes. But the sky's the limit in terms of what you can learn about yourself.

 

From my heart to yours, 

 

Devon

 

I'd love to hear from you! Any tips you have for keeping your cool? Let me in on your secrets! Leave a comment below or email me at devon@devonmcleod.com

 

 

My Top 10 Favorite Things

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I'm a sucker for any sort of Top 10 list, but the type of list that makes me absolutely weak in the knees is any beauty blogger's list of products they can't live without. 

 

There's just something comforting about having another person's recommendations (and grunt work!) in a list that's not too long and not too short. 

 

With the holidays in full swing, I'm seeing gift guides and lists everywhere, so I decided to live out my fantasy of being a beauty blogger and get involved. 

 

I've included a Top 10 list of people, products and services that spark my curiosity, bring me joy and keep me grounded. 

 

I hope you'll find at least one item (hopefully more!) that surprises you, makes you go "hmmm" or inspires YOU to explore. 

 

1) Dear Sugar - Podcast

I'm late to the game when it comes to following Podcasts, but my friend Bree (who frequently edits my blogs - thanks Bree!) introduced me to this one. It's hosted by Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond and covers everything from books to relationships to current events.

I love listening when I'm doing chores or walking my dog. The time flies and I learn something new. I especially love the episode with Oprah Winfrey where they talk about the power of saying no (which can be tough at times!) 

 

 

2) Deva Premal's Music

Deva Premal is a singer known for putting Sanskirt mantras to captivating melodies. If this doesn't sound like your jam, then give it a try at least ONCE. You don't even have to know what the mantras mean to feel instantly relaxed and at peace when you hear her voice.

Play the music in the background when you read, cook, write or do dishes. She's on Spotify and you won't regret it. 

 

 

3) Megan Hopp -  Interior Design

Megan Hopp is a NYC-based interior designer who comes up with creative solutions to make your home feel uniquely yours. She's not afraid to break rules and she's obsessed with all sorts of wallpaper. Check out her instagram here and website here.

If you're not in NYC, she offers "room in an envelope" packages  where she works with you remotely to create the home of your dreams. She's been featured in Forbes and The New York Times. 

 

 

4) Ayurveda - Natural Healing

Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old system of natural healing with its origin in India. The three doshas - vatta, pitta and kapha are the energies that make-up a person. I'm a vatta-pitta dosha, which means I need to feel grounded and WARM in the winter to avoid feeling rundown.

After living in NYC for 12 years and practicing the principles for one year, I can tell you that ayurveda makes a difference in feeling healthy in the colder months. Take this quiz to discover your dosha. From there, you can do certain things like dry brush, eat at certain time of day and avoid certain foods and incorporate others to feel your best. 

 

 

5) Modern Cosmic - Youtube Channel

Lately, I've been in a Youtube Vortex while watching astrologist Nichole Huntsman's Youtube channel. She breaks down sun signs, moon signs and rising signs in practical, down-to-earth ways.

The last time I watched her channel I was soaking up the astro-knowledge over an hour. I also learned the importance of looking at your moon sign (I'd never even heard of this!), which informs how you handle romantic relationships and emotions. 

 

 

6) Bach Flower Essences - Natural Remedy for Anxiety

I love bach flower essences. They're a natural, holistic approach to dealing with everything from insomnia, fears and overall stress. My favorite essences are White Chestnut for racing thoughts and Larch for increased confidence (I've taken Larch before public speaking and it works like a charm). 

 

 

7) Headspace - Meditation App

There's definitely no *right* or *wrong* way to meditate, but one of my favorite apps is Headpsace. You can choose between various amounts of time (3 minutes, 10 minutes or 20). Plus, they have meditations for different areas of your life like relationships, gratitude, fears, etc. 

 

 

8) Kelly Brogan - Holistic Psychiatrist

Kelly Brogan challenges the traditional pharmaceutical approach to mental health. Based on her years of training, she offers a health protocol for depression, anxiety, PMS, etc. that consists of dietary changes and meditation techniques. She also has a delicious breakfast smoothie recipe to increase brain health. Check it out here. 

 

 

9) Esther Perel - Relationship Therapist

Esther Perel is an acclaimed psychotherapist who focuses on issues of infidelity, monogamy and relationships. Her latest book State of Affairs explores the way society and individuals view affairs. I couldn't put it down. Her perspective will definitely challenge you to think outside the box when it comes to exploring why people cheat, what it means for the couple and how you can effectively communicate and foster a healthy relationship. She also has a Podcast which you can listen to here. 

 

 

10) Pit Bulls and Parolees - TV Show

I recently discovered this show on a flight from NYC to LA (even though it's been on the air for almost 10 years!) The show follows Tia Maria Torres as she rescues pit bulls and employs men on parole. I cried multiple times during the first episode as I watched them rescue a stray pit bull trapped in a field. Pit bulls and Parolees just might be replacing The Golden Girls as my new comfort TV. 

 

I hope you enjoy my roundup! It's so important to *know* the things that bring you joy, anchor you and help you feel grounded when times get tough or stressful. I'm inviting you to make a list of at least 3 things that bring you joy. It could be holiday baking, that beach read you're just now getting to November or anything else that puts a smile on your face.

 

Remember to incorporate joy - however you can :)

 

I'd love to hear what's on your list! Email me at devon@devonmcleod.com or leave a comment below! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-Love For The Holidays

Thanksgiving is next week!

You may be feeling super excited for lots of family time or you may be secretly plotting a Kevin McCallister-style holiday where you order pizza and binge watch Stranger Things.

You could also be feeling excitement and anxiety all rolled into one. 

Either way, you're totally NORMAL.

The holidays bring up lots of feelings. 

Today I'm sharing a video where I talk about my 3 tips for practicing self-love during the holidays.

Because the more you stay centered during stressful times, the more you'll be able to show up as your *BEST* self, not drive everyone around you crazy and actually ENJOY your time during Turkey Day...however you choose to spend it. 

Here are my 3 tips for practicing self-love during the holidays: 

 

1) Accept

It sounds pretty simple, but you have to ACCEPT what you're feeling before you head home. Are you excited? Stressed? A little nervous? Zero in on WHAT you're feeling. It's also totally normal to feel 1,001 emotions all at once - just be with whatever arises. Take your hand to your chest as the plane lands or as you drive up your childhood driveway. Why? Because if you're NOT honest with yourself, you can end up tense while trying to pretend like everything is okay. Be real and take a breath. 

 

2) Go With a Mantra

A Mantra? For Thanksgiving? Yes. Last year, I was so wary about being distracted and on my phone all weekend, that I made a conscious effort to unplug and connect with myself. The result? The entire weekend felt like a spa retreat. I read books, meditated and didn't stress out about running around and trying to fit everything in. Choose one intention for when you're home or visiting family to avoid that feeling of "I wish I'd seen more people," or "I wish I'd rested more." You'll be clear with your goals and you'll come out of the holiday getting more of what YOU wanted. 

 

3) Remember - You are an adult. 

When I'm home, I have the capacity to act like a bratty 13-year old. There, I said it. As much as I think of myself as a spiritual, composed woman, the second I'm stuck in traffic with my mom, I can become the girl in middle school who just wanted to go to the mall and blast Green Day. Why does this happen? Because when you're in your childhood environment, with the people who've known you the longest, you can regress and act like the younger version of yourself. 

 

Fun, right? Not really. The solution for this one is to remember you are an ADULT. You have resources NOW that you didn't have when you were younger. So if your inner child is ready to roll her eyes or raise her voice, take a breath and remember that NOW you have the freedom of choice. You can respond how you'd like to respond and you can even take a break, go for a drive (yay for being an adult and being able to drive), take a yoga class, meditate, go for a walk, read a book, etc. 

 

And more than anything, remember to just be in the moment and accept yourself, your experience and the people around you. 

 

I hope these tips are helpful! Let me know if there's anything special YOU do to take care of yourself. Leave a comment below or email devon@devonmcleod.com.

 

I wish you the best over the next week, however you're spending the holiday.

 

From my heart to yours, 

 

Devon 

 

How To Be Your Own Dream Lover

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I used to think that once I got into a relationship - whether romantic or platonic - that all my needs, desires and wants would be instantly fulfilled. 

 

It's a common illusion that all the pain you experienced during childhood, adolescence or even adulthood would be magically repaired once you met your partner, your soul mate, your PERSON that is supposed to intuitively understand all of your childhood pain, quirks and preferences. 

 

Nowhere is this concept more perfectly exemplified than in Mariah Carey's song Dreamlover - a song I happen to love and get a dose of dopamine from every time I hear its chorus: 

 

Dream lover come rescue me
Take me up take me down
Take me anywhere you want to baby now
I need you so desperately
Won't you please come around
'Cause I wanna share forever with you baby

 

I absolutely love this song. BUT, the paradox is that in order for someone to become your dream lover, first, YOU have to step up to the plate and take care of yourself. This doesn't mean your partner doesn't care for you or show up with emotional support. Relationships should be loving, harmonious and giving. In fact, when two people come together there's beautiful potential to HEAL old wounds.

 

But first, YOU have to tend to your emotional needs. 

 

As a practice for myself - and you're welcome to join me! - every time I'm feeling scared, disappointed, nervous or sad I'm going to ask myself: 

 

What does MY inner child need? 

 

You have a little boy or girl within you - the part of you who didn't feel fully understood growing up - or maybe the part of you who didn't get the right kind of love or affection. Now that you're an adult, it's your JOB to make sure your inner child is given EXACTLY what they need in terms of self-care. 

 

Here are some questions to get you thinking/feeling about YOUR inner child: 

 

  • Do I need less time being "productive" and more time playing and feeling free? 

 

  • Do I need to eat more frequently so I don't get hangry (hungry + angry)? Does my inner child need to schedule more time between appointments so I don't feel rushed?  

 

  • Am I missing quality time with friends? Do I need to schedule a lunch date or have people over for a home-cooked meal? 

 

  • Would my inner child like to do something more creative? Maybe paint, draw, journal or write? 

 

  • How's my physical health? Do I need to schedule an appointment with a nutritionist, personal trainer or functional medicine doctor to get a better handle on my well-being?

 

When YOU take care of your inner child you'll show up in your relationship with less attachment to having your partner fulfill all of your needs. 

 

The result? Your relationship will be more inspiring and fulfilling and you will experience a LOT more laughter and less resentment. Something magical happens when you show up with lots of love and generosity toward yourself - you end up loving the other person not for what they can give you, but for the union you can create together. You'll feel more connected and whole. 

 

The BONUS when you're single - when someone special DOES show up, you WON'T be looking for that person to fulfill all your self-care needs. They'll enhance what you already have.

 

The more energy you place toward taking care of yourself, the more you'll be able to heal, live fully and connect with your....dream lover. 

 

How do you take care of your own inner child? Comment below! 

 

Tips for Introverts (vogue.com)

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I haven't written about this before, but I'm recently engaged and have been busy planning a wedding. As someone who is introverted and needs time alone to balance myself out, I've been brainstorming ways to feel centered on the big day. 


My jaw dropped a couple weeks ago when I was contacted by Vogue.com to share my tips for introvert brides. The writer, Jenny Berg, had NO idea I was recently engaged. But she did know I have an affinity for writing about introverts and flower essences. 


I don't believe in accidents. And I love to keep my eye out for life's synchronicities. This was a beautiful one. 

 

Head over to Vogue.com to check out the article where myself and other holistic practitioners share advice for introvert brides.


I also think the tips can apply to other areas of your life - whether it's vacations with other people or simply finding ways to feel centered when life gets busy. 


I hope you enjoy!


From my heart to yours, 

 

Devon McLeod
 

Flower Essences For Empaths

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Last weekend, I ran errands in Soho, which can be a CRAZY experience in New York City with TONS of people. By the end of my excursion, I was feeling drained, impatient and ready for a three-hour nap. 



I'm an empath. You might be one, too if you feel exhausted by lots of people or if you easily pick up on the vibes of those around you. 



I've written about tips for empaths and sensitive people before. It's one of my favorite topics! But today I'm talking about the one resource I ALWAYS come back to: 



Flower essences. 



Flower essences are a natural remedy that help you feel more calm and grounded. I've used them for six years and they've never let me down. I also use them in my therapy practice



So instead of crawling into bed like I wanted to last weekend, I took some flower essences. The result? I instantly felt recharged and was in a WAY better mood. 



And I want YOU to have the info you need to feel calm and centered. 

 

 

Here are the specific flower essences I recommend if you're a sensitive person or empath. I've included the links for purchasing on Amazon -  simply click on each essence in yellow and read the descriptions to see which one resonates.

 

 

Flower Essences For Empaths / Sensitive People: 

Golden Yarrowprotects your energy so you don't feel worn out by your environment i.e. crowds and high traffic areas


Pink Yarrowassists with healthy boundaries; alleviates emotions absorbed from other people; helpful if you "take on" other people's problems


Water Violet -indicated if you isolate or keep to yourself when feeling drained or misunderstood; helps you connect more easily to others while still maintaining a sense of self 


Hornbeam - helps with chronic exhaustion and difficulties getting out of bed in the morning 


Mimulus - addresses specific fears i.e fear of crowds, heights, flying, speaking in public, etc. 


Love Lies Bleeding - helps you develop more compassion for the world when you're feeling internal pain 


Impatiens - helps you feel more relaxed and patient



Each flower essence can be taken by itself or mixed with others in a small bottle. Two drops under your tongue four times a day is usually effective, but you can take them more frequently for stressful periods. 



In addition to taking flower essences, make sure you're getting quality sleep, drinking water, eating healthy foods and pacing your activities in a way that feels good for your soul. In other words, take care of your energy in a loving way :) 



Remember - when you take care of yourself, you show up with more presence and love to give the world. 



Keep your heart open. Honor your sensitivity. 



From my heart to yours, 


 

Devon

 

 

p.s. Are you a sensitive person? Do you know someone who is? Either way, I want to hear from you! How do you stay calm and grounded? Leave a comment below! 

 

 

 

How to Make Your Fall Laid-Back

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I was a super busy kid. I danced competitively (think Dance Moms), played on sports teams, studied, played outside, attended birthday parties and studied some more.

 

But in the summer - when the dance competitions came to a halt - I'd do my absolute FAVORITE thing...

 

Read. 

 

I loved curling up in the corner of the young adult section at the local library. I got my hands on everything from Sweet Valley High to Goosebumps to The Babysitter's Club. 

 

I'd spend HOURS there and then head home with a fresh stack of books. I still remember the plastic on the covers and how heavy my arms felt as I lugged the latest editions back to my mom's car. 

 

I didn't have to GO, GO, GO as much as I did during the school year. During the summer I could just unwind and not feel guilty about it. 

 

Flash forward to me as an adult - I never take enough time to TOTALLY decompress  - even during the summer. 

 

I always feel guilty if I try to take a break. 

 

I "should" be enrolling in a new business course. I "need" to be working on my blog. I'm not yet "at a point" in my life where I can relax like this!

 

But this past summer, I decided to pay homage to the little girl within me who needed a time out.  I decided to go back to doing the thing that brought me joy AND signaled that I could trust the process of relaxation. 

 

I read my face off. 

 

I read trashy beach reads, fiction, self-help, biographies - anything I could get my hands on. I even bought a kindle (which made me feel very hip, before realizing everyone's been using them since 2009, but I'm a late adopter. And I'm fine with that). 

 

To be honest, I was kind of scared to take FREE TIME to read - I could be attending workshops, listening to podcasts (I just discovered those, too!), learning to cook, cleaning out my closet, organizing my email inbox - you get the point. 

 

I had a million and one "very productive" things to do.

 

But I read my face off anyway.

 

And now that it's fall, I'm realizing I'm actually ready for the change in seasons for once in my adult life. I'm recharged BECAUSE I prioritized decompressing.

 

Who would've thought? 

 

And it's not just the ACT of reading. It's about carving out for time for myself and remembering that I don't always have to be striving and doing. 

 

Why is it easier to make time for relaxing during summer? 

 

So as we transition to fall, the holidays (I just saw someone post that we only have 8 Fridays until Thanksgiving!) it's more important now than ever before that you do the things that make you feel calm and nourished.

 

Bike rides? Picnics? Swimming? Long runs? Staring out your window with your feet up a wall? Laying on the floor with your cat or dog? Journaling? Drinking copious amounts of tea?

 

Easing into the morning instead of rushing out the door? Listening to juicy podcasts? Yoga? Reading self-help books? Farmers market? Strolls in the park?

 

Just because it's fall doesn't mean you have to get rid of the stuff you save for "vacation-mode." Commit to at least one thing this week that feels like a mini-vacation...even if it's only for 10 minutes.

 

Make your fall as laid-back as possible in between the moments of traveling, spending time with family, and the upcoming holidays. 

 

You'll feel grounded, relaxed and inspired....with a LOT more to give :)

 

Now I want to hear from YOU! What recharges your soul? Leave a comment below and let's keep each other accountable.  You can also email me at devon@devonmcleod.com. I'd love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

The Golden Girls Got This Wrong: Therapy Myth-Busting

 

Have you ever watched a TV show with a really WEIRD therapist? 

 

 

I certainly have. 

 

 

The 1950s era Mad Men show when Betty sees a psychoanalyst comes to mind. Betty sits on a couch while the therapist says absolutely NOTHING throughout the session. I think halfway through she even lights up a cigarette. 

 

 

And I also think about my all-time favorite show The Golden Girls and how all THREE women went to see a therapist to help them with their roommate problems.

 

 

Did Blanche end up hitting on the therapist? I can't remember. The episode ended up being more funny than a realistic depiction of what happens in a therapist's office. 

 

 

Because of all the media portrayals out there about therapy, today I'm busting one of the most POPULAR myths I see: 

 

 

Therapy Myth: Therapy is SELF-INDULGENT

 

 

Have you ever heard someone say that therapy is for people who have a TON of time on their hands? Or that therapy is for people who wants to stay stuck in their problems? 

 

 

Me, too!

 

 

I'm BUSTING that myth today because therapy is definitely NOT self-indulgent and it's NOT always like what you see in the movies or on TV. 

 

 

You don't have to go into a therapist's office and talk OVER AND OVER again about your problems on a road to nowhere.

 

 

And it's NOT for people who are just looking for someone to tell them how great they are and to stroke their egos. 

 

 

Therapy provides an opportunity for DEEP SOUL WORK, where you can change the way you respond when you feel anxious, sad or angry....you can clarify the goals you want for your career and relationships....and you get to decide the type of person YOU want to be. 

 

 

So therapy is the OPPOSITE of self-indulgent, namely because it provides the opportunity for you to show up more fully in all of your relationships. 

 

 

You can be a better wife, brother, boyfriend, girlfriend, employee, you name it. 

 

 

So sing it with me now...

 

 

Therapy is an investment in YOURSELF and it provides the opportunity to improve all of your relationships...including the one with yourself. 

 

 

Now I of course, want to hear from YOU! Do you think the myth about therapy being self-indulgent still exists? Or do you think people are opening their eyes more to the power of self-help and healing?

 

 

And maybe it's not just with therapy - maybe with seeing a minister, attending workshops, whatever it is YOU do to work on yourself. Write your perspective in the comments below! I love hearing from you!

 

 

Also, if you want these blog posts sent directly to your inbox, enter your email in the box below so you don't miss a post! 

 

 

 

 

 

A Radically Simpler Way to Talk to Your Friends

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Last weekend I took a drive out to the beach with my best friend Stephanie. 

 

She just had a beautiful baby girl a few months ago and we spent the car ride talking, laughing and shooting the breeze. 

 

Somewhere along the way - in between our third time listening to Despacito - I drew a blank when Stephanie started a new topic...

 

She began talking about her experience being a new mom - her fears, excitement, intense joy and the big questions: Breastfeeding? Sleep Patterns? Growth Spurts? Tummy Time?

 

What the heck are these things?! I didn't know what to say. 

 

Full disclosure - I don't know a lot about babies. My brother and I are pretty close in age. I never really babysat. You could say I'm clueless. 

 

So when Stephanie talked about the tough stuff, I nodded my head and imagined what it was like to be her. 

 

To be honest, during the conversation I kind of freaked out. I thought I might never have the same closeness with Stephanie as I had before - I mean our lives are so DIFFERENT now - how could I possibly *get* what she's going through? 

 

After a few minutes of me listening she said, "I just want to thank YOU because I feel like you're really with me on this journey." 

 

I thought to myself, "What?!" 

 

I looked at her like she had three heads and said, "But I'm not really *doing* anything. I have no idea what to say about babies." 

 

She then said, "The thing you're doing is just BEING there...And that's what I really need."

 

I let her comments sink in as I kept my eyes on the road and thought of friendship, relationships and the way people's lives change.

 

Sometimes we make the mistake of distancing ourselves, giving canned answers or something worse - avoiding the people we love - out of fear of not saying the "RIGHT" thing. 

 

But, we don't have to know *exactly* what someone is going through to be a good friend. 

 

You don't have to say the "perfect thing."

 

You can just show up, listen and let them know you're there. 

 

You can relate to your best friend's fear - your sister's self doubt - your brother's excitement - your mom's frustration  - whatever it is, you can just show up, ask questions and be there. 

 

"How are you feeling?" 

 

"What's that been like for you?" 

 

"Tell me everything." 

 

You can even disagree with some of their choices. 

 

Stephanie and I spent the remainder of the ride talking. I didn't feel like I had to have the perfect response to everything. 

 

I felt closer to my friend. 

 

And I was probably a much BETTER friend because I'd let go of perfectionism.

 

Transitions happen and you're not ALWAYS going to be on the same page with someone at the same time. 

 

Just showing up with an open heart is enough. 

 

And who knows? You may even learn a thing or two about something you don't know - even tummy time :) 

 

Here's to showing up. 

 

I'd love to hear from YOU! What's ONE thing YOU can do to let your friend, colleague, family member, boyfriend or girlfriend know you're THERE? 

 

Commit to at least one thing and write in the comments below! 

 

Enjoy a Comparison-Free Life


Full disclosure - I used to compare my life to everyone else's. 


Or more specifically - I'd compare my life to someone who had THAT THING I wanted - whether it was a relationship, career, wardrobe choices, etc. 


It's simply NOT a good idea. 


But I assume you know this and would definitely agree :) 


Something clicked for me a few years ago when it came to dropping the whole "compare and despair" game. And I'm so grateful it did. 


Today I'm sharing my tips for letting go of comparison. When you use these tips, you'll feel more relaxed and at peace with how things are unfolding in YOUR life.

 

Tip #1 Keep the Focus On Yourself

Are you jealous of your friends' exotic vacations? Or maybe you really want to have a career like your colleague who seems to get promoted every 6 months? Put the focus back on YOU. Ask yourself, "Where in my life do I want to be going to adventurous places?" and "When can I put myself up for a promotion?"

And most importantly - forgive and let yourself off the hook for those kind of comparing thoughts. You're human! 

 

Tip#2 Let Things Unfold

Sometimes we don't know WHY things are happening the way they are. It can be SUPER frustrating, especially if it feels like we're falling *behind.* But we have to trust that things are working out the way they're meant to.

The universe can seem like a mystery in terms of timing and things falling into place. Trust that everything is part of the plan. 

 

Tip #3 Talk About It 

Don't keep your thoughts to yourself! I've tried it and it's NOT helpful. Talk to a friend or therapist. You'll be surprised by the relief you feel when you put it all out there in a safe place.

As acclaimed social worker and researcher Brene Brown says, "Shame can't survive empathy." Get those thoughts out to someone you trust!

 

Now it's your turn! Do you ever find yourself getting into comparison-mode? What do YOU do to stay centered and keep the focus on yourself? Write in the comments below or email me at devon@devonmcleod.com. I love hearing from you!

 

 

 

My Trip To Scotland

 

Two weeks ago, I went to the Scottish Highlands. Our guide Martine was a Scottish born woman whose captivating accent and warm demeanor provided the perfect backdrop for the journey. 

 

As we careened through the windy roads, she told stories of the Highlands, the epic clan wars and how the movie Braveheart, while certainly entertaining, changed more than a few historical events. 

 

Everywhere I looked, I was enveloped by deep greenery. The land had an intoxicating effect. I was at a loss for words. I felt relaxed and as if I was floating. 

 

I didn't want to blink - I thought I might miss something. 

 

As I digested the scenery, Martine elaborated on the characteristics of the Scottish people: 

 


"A Scottish man will tell you he loves you by simply nodding his head. He doesn't have to use his words. He's loyal and reserved." 
 

Touched by her words, I thought of my strong, stoic Scottish grandparents. And the way my uncle jokingly proclaimed at my cousin's wedding, "We're Scottish. We don't hug."

 

Martine continued: 

 

"Yes, the Scottish are fiercely loyal and reserved, but once you get them talking and into their hearts...you discover a deep well of emotions." 

 

As I sat in the passenger seat, her words washed over me. I thought of how I prefer quiet to chatter and while I'm not always effusive, I love fully. 

 

I oftentimes feel like this part of me is misunderstood....like my exterior doesn't always match my intentions and heart. 

 

She turned to her left, appraising my energy and said, "Yep, you're Scottish." 

 

My defenses melted. I didn't have to explain who I was. I felt like myself and I felt like I belonged. 

 

Healing occurs when the very things that we think make us WEIRD or different are reflected back to us with unbridled ACCEPTANCE. 

 

I'm not "different" or "lacking."

 

I'm Scottish. 

 

I am who I am and I felt like in that moment, I belonged.

 

It's easy to build up narratives of the ways we're "different" or not good enough.  

 

But when you do the things that bring you joy and hang out with the people who truly *see* you...you feel worthy. 

 

Feeling worthy and accepted isn't some self-help/personal growth catch phrase. When you feel like you can be yourself, connections and relationships deepen. 

 

You may risk certain people not liking you, but you'll attract and grow with the people who do. 

 

After my trip to Scotland, I feel a lot more relaxed about who I am. Who knew that a trip across the pond and a tour of the Highlands would give me permission to be more accepting of myself?

 

And you don't have to go to Scotland or another country to feel accepted and understood. 

 

People and places carry energy. Find what resonates. Seek out the people who get you. But most importantly, let yourself be seen and vulnerable. 

 

Sometimes we just need people to reflect back that we're perfectly normal - beautiful even - being exactly who we are. 

 

Now I want to hear YOUR perspective. How do you connect with people who get you? Is there a PLACE you go where you feel more like yourself? The beach, mountains, your hometown? Write in the comments below or email me directly at devon@devonmcleod.com. I love hearing from you!

 

 

 

3 Tips Every Sensitive Person Needs

Ever since I can remember, I've loved being alone and while I also love people, I recharge during periods of solitude. I'm an empath.



You may be one too if you're exhausted by large group gatherings or you feel drained after too much activity. Living as an empath is totally doable with a little self-love, boundary setting and creativity. 

 

 

Today I'm sharing a VIDEO with my 3 tips for THRIVING as an empath and sensitive person. 


 

3 Tips for Thriving as an Empath:

 

1) Accept Who You Are

Don't try to be anyone but yourself. For years, I tried hanging out in large crowds and keeping a go-go-go mentality. It was exhausting and I ended up not being fully present with family and friends. Accept who you are and honor the beauty in your individuality. 

 

2) Communicate Clearly

Be honest with loved ones. Say, "I need a 10 minute walk by myself to recharge. I'll feel more myself when I come back!" People will respect your authenticity. 

 

3) Get Your Tool Kit Ready

Water. Personal Space. Headphones. Essential Oils. Get 3 things you *KNOW* will bring you back to a place of serenity and calm. For more ideas on tools for a sensitive person head over to my previous post on living life as an empath. 

 

 

Now I want to hear from YOU!  I love talking about the ways we're different and how we can better understand each other as people. Do you know someone who is sensitive? Do you need alone time to decompress and feel like yourself again? Share in the comments below! 

 

Let's Talk Spiritual Grocery Shopping

 

I went to Trader Joe's in New York City the Friday before Fourth of July. 

 

The place was nuts - a line out the door with an anxious energy of "Let's buy as much as we can and then get the heck out of here." 

 

A woman aggressively bumped into me with her shopping cart. Startled, I turned around, expecting her to apologize for the fender bender in the dairy section. 

 

Instead, she moved down the aisle with NO APOLOGY. 

 

My instinct was to think, "This woman is rude, self-centered and completely unaware she has to behave like a polite member of society."  

 

But, I tried something different. 

 

Full disclosure - I had just finished the book The Dark Side of the Light Chasers. 

 

The author Debbie Ford talks about how the very things that annoy us are usually the things we need to focus on ourselves. 

 

If we're really upset about someone who seems greedy, we may need to focus on our own desire for wealth. If we're irritated by someone's self-righteousness, we may need to focus on our own determination to be right all the time. 

 

Debbie Ford writes that we can't truly embrace our whole selves until we embrace the things from which we run and hide. In the spiritual community, this aspect of ourselves is commonly referred to as our shadow.

 

Back to the woman at Trader Joe's - I decided to use her as a catalyst for understanding my strong reaction. 

 

Why was she pushing my buttons? 

 

I thought of a time I was so flustered and impatient that I wasn't fully aware of my surroundings and maybe I was even a little...rude. 

 

Let's see - there was the time things got tense with a cab driver. We had different "views" on which route was the fastest during rush hour.  

 

Or how about that time I felt irritated on hold with customer service while setting up cable - 20 minutes is my breaking point.  

 

Oh! And that time in airport security when they opened up a new line after I had been standing in the LONGEST line on the planet for nearly an hour. 

 

I wasn't necessarily pushing people at the grocery store, but I definitely had the capacity to be rushed, impatient and maybe even a little rude. 

 

But to be honest, I was still a little skeptical. Who wants to think about their flaws all the time? 

 

Wouldn't putting attention on my imperfections make me feel badly? 

 

So I tried it for a week: 

 

  • When I was irritated with someone's messiness, I remembered the time I let the dishes pile up.

 

  • When I was bothered by someone's rage, I remembered a time I felt so passionately about something that I would've done nearly anything to be heard. 

 

  • When I was angered by someone's sense of entitlement, I remembered a time that I, too, felt like I really deserved something

 

I thought that putting the focus on myself would make me feel guilty, but instead I noticed a softening in my heart toward all people, including myself. 

 

I had compassion for people having a rough day and I felt more connected to people I probably would have judged.  

 

I started to see how, as Debbie Ford writes: 

 

"When you understand that you contain everything you see in others, your entire world will alter...When we reclaim these disowned aspects of ourselves, we open the door to the universe within. When we make peace with ourselves we spontaneously make peace with the world." 

 

I slowly released the idea of separation and ego. It started to feel like we were all in this thing called life together. 

 

It turned out to be a pragmatic approach to owning your shadow, connecting with others and softening how you view the world.

 

The next time you're feeling annoyed by someone or something, ask yourself, "Where in my life have I exhibited that same quality?" 

 

If you're skeptical, then start small.

 

Notice your reactions to people at the grocery store, post office or DMV. Who you do instinctively want to judge? Who gets under your skin? 

 

WARNING: This exercise is in NO WAY intended as a tool for beating yourself up or amplifying your flaws.  Don't judge yourself. Look at each thought as an opportunity to get closer to knowing yourself and releasing your ego a little bit at a time.

 

You may be surprised by what you notice. Root your discoveries in the idea that whatever we try to deny about ourselves takes up a LOT of energy. 

 

And we can use that energy to be comfortable in our skin and more accepting of people who, on the surface, *look* different from us. 

 

Think about family members you don't see eye-to-eye with or that one colleague who rubs you the wrong way. Wouldn't it be great to approach your relationships with a little more softness? 

 

The purpose of understanding ourselves after all - darkness, flaws and imperfect reactions included - is to come to an even deeper level of acceptance of ourselves and others.  

 

Check out the full book. It was published in 1998 and Debbie has been on Oprah and featured on her Super Soul Sunday series. The book offers practical tools for releasing your ego as well as a comprehensive approach to looking at your flaws and even LOVING them. 

 

And if you need me, I'll be shopping at Trader Joe's on a Sunday night...just so I can have the growth opportunity of really getting to know myself. 

 

Wish me luck. 

 

Best wishes and deep breaths, 

 

Devon 

 

 

Now I want to hear from YOU. What helps you stay calm when frustrated with other people at the grocery store or just in LIFE? Write in the comments below!

 

How Nature Can Help You Chill Out

 

I called spiritual teacher Joseph Aldo, Ph.D on a Sunday afternoon after getting his number from a close friend. I was going through a particularly stressful time in my life and needed guidance on what to do. I'd spent weeks second guessing decisions and experiencing high levels of stress, so I figured a session with him couldn't possibly hurt.

 

I'll share more details about this session later, but for now I'll tell you that he gave me a little bottle that could fit comfortably in my hand and my purse. 

 

The bottle was a personalized blend of flower essences. 

 

I took two drops under my tongue four times a day. 

 

I started to feel a little better over the next few days and A LOT better over the next week. 

 

"I'm now officially the type of person who believes in flower essences," I thought to myself. 

 

Little did I know I'd grow to love flower essences and carry them with me wherever I went for the next several years. 

 

So what the heck are they? 

 

Flower essences are an energetic remedy created by placing specific flowers at the height of their bloom in water and stabilizing them using high-proof alcohol.  

 

Today, I'm focusing on how flower essences can help with something you or someone you know may be dealing with: Anxiety

 

I've taken flower essences for the past 6 years and they've helped me feel more calm, centered and appreciative of the moment. 

 

Here are some of my favorite flower essences for anxiety: 

 

Crab Apple

If you feel like everything has to be perfect, then Crab Apple can help. You can take it if you're preoccupied with your hair, skin and body looking just right all the time (side note - this isn't possible, so cut yourself a break!) or if you're the type who needs to clean your apartment all the time to feel sane. 

 

White Chestnut

White chestnut helps racing thoughts. If you second guess yourself over a date, a relationship, or any kind of decision, then White Chestnut is for you: "Did I send that last email? Did I sound okay in that meeting?" It's especially helpful if you have a hard time falling asleep and can't turn your brain off. 

 

Larch

Larch helps with confidence. If you're nervous about an upcoming presentation or big event, it'll set your mind at ease with the thought that you can handle anything that comes your way. I take Larch whenever I have to speak in front of large groups of people.

 

Mimulus

Mimulus is for specific fears like flying, heights or small spaces.  You can also take it if you're afraid of certain relationship dynamics, like rejection or not finding the right person for you. Mimulus helps you live courageously. 

 

Impatiens

If you tap your foot while waiting in line or feel irritated when you're on hold, Impatiens helps you feel relaxed. I've taken it when traveling through airports and during apartments moves (because furniture always takes longer than expected and I have a predisposition to wanting things done yesterday). 

 

While anxiety should be looked at holistically (diet, sleep, emotional factors) flower essences are a natural support to add to your tool kit if you're meditating, seeing a therapist or using your own self-care tools to feel your best. 

 

Anxiety isn't a "negative" feeling that should be immediately eradicated from your being. Every feeling you have is worthy and valid and oftentimes, those feelings are here to guide us toward what we need to grow. 

 

Flower essences simply provide a support to access the deeper wisdom that rests below the daily struggles and anxieties you may experience. 

 

It's also important to remember that you're never alone when you go through darker times. I'm always pleasantly surprised when I share a struggle and the person I'm confiding in replies with, "Me too." 

 

If you know someone who experiences anxiety on any level, then you know how painful it can be to witness their struggle. If you experience anxiety yourself, then you know what it's like to feel like you're stuck and not living to your full potential. 

 

Forward this post to a friend who may need the reminder they're not alone.

 

I offer personalized flower essence sessions for $149 for a 30-minute session (in-person or over the phone). Your first session comes with a FREE personalized bottle. Email me at devon@devonmcleod.com to book an appointment or to ask me any questions!

 

I also want to hear from YOU! Share your tips in the comments below. How do you cope with anxiety? What helps you stay centered? 

 

Read what people are saying about flower essences: 

 

Testimonials

 

"When Devon first gave me flower essences, I was feeling very angry and upset. She said,  "Take these." Within 10 minutes, I felt relieved of my anger and a sense of calm. Ever since, I've used flower essences on a regular basis to work through my emotions so I don't feel too "crazy." I recommend flower essences to anyone looking to work through their emotions." 

- Sales Associate, New York City 

 

 

"Devon is a wonderful person and gifted therapist with very positive and warm energy. She gave me a personalized bottle of flower essences to try. I must say, I was very skeptical at first. I've been taking them for two weeks and I definitely noticed increased energy, more productivity, positive thinking and overall less stress. I would definitely recommend trying this natural remedy that devon makes with love and care."  

- Anastasia, Aesthetician, New York City 

 

 

"I was struggling with sleep, confidence, anxiety and just an overall sense of despair. Devon really listened and thoroughly explained how and when to take the essences. The beauty of this approach is that it addresses a number of issues that are specific to the individual. After taking these flower essences, I noticed an immediate difference. I was battling insomnia for weeks and this helped to take the edge off. When waking up in the middle of the night, I would take a few drops to calm me down. I also feel more relaxed, which is something I often struggle with. I'm glad that I've finally found something that doesn't make me groggy and plus, it's natural!! I would highly recommend flower essences for those who feel they need to improve how they are feeling. I'm so grateful for Devon!"

- Director of Account Management Sales, New York City 

 

 

More Info On Flower Essences: 

 

Can You Take Flower Essences While Taking Medication?

Yes

Flower essences can be used as a support with medication. 

 

Can You Take Flower Essences While Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

Yes. 

Each flower essence is made with a small amount of high-proof alcohol. If you're pregnant or have any alcohol sensitivities, personalized blends can be made with organic vinegar. 

 

Are flower essences the same as essential oils? 

No. 

Flower essences emphasize the energetic qualities of different flowers, while essential oils focus on physical properties like smell. Flower essences have no scent and you typically take them under your tongue, versus placing them on your skin. 

 

How long does each bottle last? 

Each bottle lasts approximately three weeks if you take 2 drops under your tongue 4 times a day. The amount you take and how long it lasts may vary depending on whether you're going through a more stressful period and need more support. 

 

Why You Should Absolutely Trust Your Intuition

A few years ago I felt a strong pull to work at a spa in New York City. I tried to distract myself from the thought because it didn't "make sense": 

 

I should get another job!

This job has nothing to do with my Social Work degree! 

 

And yet, in my quietest moments, when I was in nature, washing dishes, or after exercising, I felt relaxed and at peace every time I pictured myself working at this spa. 

 

I sat for a couple weeks grappling with whether to take the job or ignore my intuition completely. 

 

Thankfully, I listened to my gut, took the job and ended up meeting people who are my most trusted and valued friends to this day. 

 

I also received invaluable personal and professional lessons: I learned the art of running a business, the value of customer service and what it means to truly care about the people you serve.

 

During this time, things flowed and I felt like I was right where I was supposed to be. 

 

All because I listened to my intuition. 

 

In fact, I could (and probably will!) write a blog just about the rich spiritual and personal lessons I gained from saying YES to my inner wisdom - taking the job was a pivotal point in my personal and professional growth.  

 

Have you ever gotten a hunch to do something?

 

Maybe you get an inkling to call a certain person or travel to a certain place. Perhaps you feel stuck at your job and have an urge to switch things up.

 

Your intuition is ALWAYS there. We just get so caught up in overthinking, binge watching shows (guilty) and feeling disconnected that we lose sight of our inner wisdom. 

 

Sometimes I think about what might have happened if I hadn't followed my gut. Staying strictly in your intellect and thoughts can be all too easy to do. Thankfully you can access your intuition at any time.

 

Here's how to let go of over thinking and connect to your wisdom: 

 

  • Meditate - Check out Headspace, Kundalini Yoga, guided meditations or simply close your eyes for 3 minutes and breathe. Quiet your thoughts.  

 

  • Take a hiatus - Instead of sitting at your desk and thinking over and over again about the same problem, tell yourself you're going to take a break from thinking about it for a whole day. I always come up with the best solutions after a breather. 

 

  • Put your thoughts out there - Ask a question related to what you're struggling with right before you go to bed. That way, your unconscious has time to process what you're going through while getting some shut-eye. 

 

  • Play some funky music  - Play something that gets your creative juices flowing. For me, it's Deva Premal's mantra music. As opposed to my regular Spotify stuff, the mantras work on me in a deep way. The next thing I know, I'm more relaxed and open. 

 

  • Find your happy place - You probably have a place where you instantly feel relaxed. Maybe it's the beach, mountains, running outside, biking, exercising, etc. Go to these places and do these activities more frequently.

 

Resist the urge to chase your intuition. I'm going to go on that bike ride so I can feel intuitive! 

 

Let the moments come to you and resist trying to figure things out. I got the feeling to work at the spa when I was sitting quietly in my apartment one day.

 

Your most profound moments will likely come when you're not thinking about it. 

 

In terms of action, you don't always have to act immediately. Thankfully I've collected enough experience over the years to know if I sit too long, I end up frustrated and stagnant. You'll find your rhythm. 

 

You may come up against resistance from loved ones, coworkers or even yourself when you follow your intuition.

 

Your intuition may tell you to quit a job, move states or start doing something completely new. People may look at you with weird head tilts and a pained expression in their eye like, "Oh, you're doing thatttt." (I've totally gotten this response). 

 

Each time you take a step in the direction of trusting your intuition, you strengthen it and send a signal to yourself and the universe that you're receptive to listening. 

 

You're also sending a much needed signal to yourself to not care what people think (that was the biggest lesson I got from trusting my gut). 

 

By quieting your mind, you'll feel like life is less of a struggle and more of a beautiful unraveling of experiences designed to give you everything you need.

 

My hope is that you'll continue living a life where you drop all the "shoulds." I should spend time with this person, I should be happy at this job, etc.

 

You'll start to find a knack for listening to your heart, your gut, whatever you want to call it. Imagine how you'll feel when you do the things your soul wants to do. 

 

This quote from Deepak Chopra perfectly sums up the beauty of following your intuition: 

 

"We must go beyond the constant clamor of ego, beyond the tools of logic, and reason, to the still, calm place within us: the realm of the soul." 

 

Wishing you a soulful journey, 

 

Devon

 

***

 

How do you connect to your gut feelings and intuition? Write in the comments below or email devon@devonmcleod.com. I love hearing from you!

 

The Will Ferrell Guide To Life

 

A couple weeks ago I was working on a Friday afternoon and decided to do what so many of us do....check Facebook. 

 

Instead of scrolling through my feed and seeing what my friends were up to - I saw a live video of Will Ferrell giving the commencement speech at my alma mater - The University of Southern California. 

 

Will Ferrell holds a special place in my heart because he was a permanent fixture at USC back when I attended during the school's football "glory days." Oh, and he was in Old School, but I digress...

 

I was immediately captivated by his speech as he talked about his early days of comedy and how a certain professor at USC inspired him to keep trying to make people laugh. 

 

I thought back to my graduation day. 

 

My mind raced to the 22-year old girl who was scared and excited about the future, which included moving to New York City and teaching 2nd grade through Teach for America. 

 

I then thought about my freshman year of college when I heavily doubted myself, stressed about every paper and had a heavy case of imposter syndrome a.k.a "I'm not smart enough to be here." 

 

"If only I knew then what I know now," I thought to myself. 

 

I wouldn't have studied so hard (my nickname in the dorms was "Library"). 

 

I would have believed in myself. 

 

I wouldn't have worn tube tops. 

 

The classic question "What would you tell your younger self?" definitely applies. There's always wisdom that comes in time. 

 

But I actually wondered what my younger self would say if she met the woman I am now. 

 

My younger self would probably be impressed by my courage, strength and even the way I've handled life's so called mistakes and mishaps. 

 

My life certainly hasn't turned out *exactly* as I planned. Thank goodness. But part of the ride is getting to learn about myself through the twists and turns. 

 

I bet you have something you've gone through, something you didn't expect to happen and while you may have stumbled through it, you came out stronger on the other side. 

 

I want you to try something:

 

Picture yourself 10 years ago -  what were you worried about and what were you feeling? What were your hopes and fears?

 

Now picture your younger self meeting the person you are now. What would she say? What would she want to know? Would she be impressed and proud?

 

It's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and get caught up in feeling like we haven't accomplished everything we've wanted. 

 

But I'm guessing your younger self would be impressed by the way you've handled what life has thrown at you, even if things haven't turned out exactly as planned.

 

To deepen this exercise, take out a piece of paper or write an email to yourself with at least 3 things your younger self would be impressed by. 

 

Here's what I came up with: 

 

1) Moving to New York City  

 

2) Learning about myself through break-ups and heartaches

 

3) Believing in myself even when I felt scared

 

Maybe you don't give yourself enough credit and maybe you lose perspective from time to time. It's bound to happen when we focus on setting goals, achieving things and moving forward. 

 

There's real power that comes from appreciating how you've grown. 

 

FYI, Will shared that his biggest accomplishment is his marriage of 16 years to his wife Viveca and his beautiful three children. 

 

You get to decide your factors for success and happiness.

 

Thank you to Will Ferrell for the beautiful reminder. And Fight On :) 

 

*******

What are the three things your younger self would be impressed by? Get specific and remember what you were like 10 years ago. Write in the comments below and share this post with a friend who may need a perspective shift!

 

Letting Go of Perfection

I'm a recovering perfectionist and my desire for things to be "just right" would drive me (and everyone around me) crazy. Growing up, l forced my parents to drill me with spelling words after I already knew them cold. I was terrified of getting one wrong. 

 

Something surprising happened a few weeks into fourth grade - I misspelled my first word. When I held the test in my hands I was shocked. How could I have missed one?! But instead of feeling upset, I vividly remember tension melting away from my shoulders as I realized I no longer had to be perfect.  

 

Sure I'm not stressed about spelling tests these days, but sometimes perfectionism can creep up in other areas. Maybe we stop ourselves from bringing an idea to a boss or moving forward with something out of our comfort zone.  Maybe we don't say something to a friend or significant other out of fear they'll judge or disagree. 

 

The fear of not being perfect can run deep. Just last week I received less than stellar feedback on something and I may have shed a tear or two (hey, I'm sensitive!). 

 

My instinct was to curl up in a ball and not move forward. "If I can't be perfect, I don't even want to try!" I said to myself. I have compassion for the part of me that has that initial thought, but those sort of statements keep us stuck. 

 

Whenever you notice a thought creep in like, "I should've done better," repeat the following: "I tried my best. I'm human. I don't have to be perfect." You can even place one hand on your chest to reinforce the message. 

 

You can also remember a time you thought you "royally" messed up - maybe it was a botched presentation, forgetting something at work or sending a wrong email. In the moment, you might have thought it was the worst thing that could happen. Looking back, you probably won't think the instance was THAT big of a deal. Perspective and time can be incredibly healing. 

 

Ultimately, we're all connected by our hopes, desires and fears. Whatever pain or frustration you've experienced, it's likely someone has felt the same. Your co-worker, friend, partner or boss have probably all at one point questioned themselves. We can reframe our mistakes and missteps as an opportunity to connect with everyone else. 

 

That's the beauty in being human.

 

Imperfectly yours, 

 

Devon 

 

What do you do when you're afraid of failing, messing up or not being perfect? Any tips for getting over your fears? Share your wisdom in the comments below! 

 

I used to ignore this feeling...until I understood its gift

 

As a sensitive person, I feel all emotions pretty intensely. If I'm excited, I feel like my heart is leaping out of my chest and if I'm sad, I feel like my body weighs a ton. However, the feeling that's been most difficult for me to experience and work with is anger. Understandably, I'd sometimes rather ignore this "unpleasant" feeling. But all of our emotions - even anger - are here to teach us something.

 

One of the best explanations I've received around this topic comes from Karla McLaren's book The Language of Emotions. She talks about anger as a protective force because right under anger are usually secondary feelings like sadness, fear or even grief. 

 

Anger can actually help us establish clear boundaries and serve as a wake-up call for the ways in which we're acting like a doormat or not being clear in our needs. For example, I used to say "yes" to everything, before promptly feeling angry and resentful of everything I had so "pleasantly" agreed upon.

 

If I had paid close attention to my physical and emotional cues - tension in my body and a heaviness in my breath - then I would've known that my anger was serving as wake-up call to honor my time and worth. In some situations (not all) anger can even be a sign of self-love. You love yourself enough to feel angry and set a boundary AND you love yourself enough to know what is and isn't okay.

 

The next time you're feeling angry or frustrated, open up a journal and write at the top, "What is my anger trying to say?" It may sound strange, but I've found a solid 20 minutes of freehand journaling uncovers relationship patterns and dynamics we may not be aware of on a daily basis. 

 

The last time I did this, I discovered where in my life I was giving my power away. In other words, I discovered where I was placing too much attention on other people's actions to feel safe and happy. Only I can make myself feel those things. Underneath my anger was the true lesson - letting go. 

 

In an age of distraction, our brains may tell us to ignore our feelings and to binge-watch the next show instead. And yet, when we're able to stay still, get curious and work with our emotions, we may just find the hidden treasure - that our emotions are here to guide and teach us about relationships, boundaries, ourselves and so much more.

 

Stay real. Stay open. 

 

All my best,

 

Devon 

 

*****

Do you ever feel angry and wish you could get to the bottom of what was really bothering you? Have you tried anything that helps? Working out, journaling, talking to a friend? Write in the comments below and feel free to share!

 

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Yes, I *finally* Tried a Meditation App

I've always been one to lightly dabble in meditation. I'll go through a two-week period where I meditate once (even twice!) a day. My mind instantly feels at ease and I'm more patient with everyone around me. Thinking to myself how much better I feel, I do the only logical thing...I stop immediately. 

 

My brain wants instant gratification. If I take a barre class, I want to know I'm getting stronger and will be able to hold a forearm plank longer the next class. If I wean off sugar, I want to experience a boost in my energy and a better mood by lunch. 

 

Alas, with meditation it's all about the long game. So instead of trucking along with my every-so-often practice, I decided to commit to Headspace, an app that gives you guided meditations from a library you can customize according to your goals. Some of the popular picks include patience, relationships, sleep, etc. 

 

As I set off on my "Headspace Journey," I was immediately wooed by Andy (the former Buddhist monk who walks you through the whole thing) and his soothing voice. I did five straight days of ten-minute meditations...then I skipped a day and felt like a terrible meditator. Getting back on the horse, I did seven straight days of meditation. 

 

The app logs your minutes and allows you to unlock different "levels" after completing a foundation course. Writing this makes me want to roll my eyes - how "millennial" of me to be into an online app for meditation. For the record, I consider myself a solid member of the "Oregon Trail" generation. 

 

But I love Headspace, namely because it offered me structure and appealed to the part of me that needs to be held accountable daily. 

 

After seven days in a row, I got to choose my own package. I went with "patience" because of .....you know, life. Moments into the twenty-minute meditation, I could hear my commitment-phobic brain going haywire: "Why didn't you pick the 10-minute version?! You're such an overachiever." 

 

But I sat with my eyes closed for twenty minutes. I inhaled deeply and counted my breaths. My mind wandered and I brought it back. I breathed and then I wondered what time it was. And then I breathed some more and my body relaxed. Finally, I felt like I was floating in water. 

 

In fact, by the end of the twenty minutes, I felt a slight turning up of my lips - not a full on smile, but a sign of relaxation and peace for where I was in the moment. 

 

And that's the piece that appeals to me the most - the idea that all I have to do is breathe and close my eyes and accept myself exactly as I am - even if my thoughts race and even if I'm feeling time ticking slowly by. 

 

While I may not feel like I achieved a zen-like state every session or that I'm living up to my meditation goals, I know that I'm making a commitment to myself every time I sit down and close my eyes.  

 

So whether it's three minutes, five minutes or an hour, what's most important is taking the time out of your day to simply breathe and connect. 

 

Do you have any meditation tips you want to share? Any apps or techniques you've tried? Write in the comments below!  You never know who you might touch with your experiences!  

 

Wishing you moments of peace throughout your day. 

 

Namaste, 

 

Devon

 

p.s. Huge thank you to my friend Jesse Barton who consistently inspires me with tons of wellness ideas - including Head Space. Head over to mindbodygreen to read her article on how meditation taught her about power and compassion! 

 

 

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How My Feisty Dog Taught Me Acceptance

                     Patton the Scottish Terrier

                     Patton the Scottish Terrier

 

Not long after returning from Paris, I entered my apartment, excited to rest and unwind after traveling over the weekend.  As I looked across the room, I saw what I feared - the brand new Picasso book I bought on the trip was completely destroyed. My eyes didn't wander long until they found the primary suspect - a Scottish terrier sitting in the corner, looking not the least bit ashamed. My eyes widened, my fists clenched and my throat tightened. This little dog was turning out to be A LOT different than the golden retriever I had growing up. 

 

No, he wasn't interested in pleasing us and yes, he had his own "ideas" about the rules and regulations of the home. Sure, he sat on command when treats were involved, but for the most part, my Scottish terrier did what he wanted, when he wanted. 

 

I like the companionship of dogs and their warm, cuddly nature (cue Meet The Parents "an emotionally shallow animal" scene). However, Patton wanted his space and as such, he'd come over for light petting on his terms. As luck would have it, Patton was more like a cat than a dog. 

 

Just when I was at my wit's end, wondering if Patton really loved me (he didn't slobber me with kisses! How was I to know for sure?) something happened.

 

One day I was feeling particularly sad. Seemingly out of nowhere, all fifteen pounds of Scottish terrier strutted up to my bed. Initially, I thought he'd sit reclusively on the ground with enough distance to feel comfortable. Instead, he jumped up and rested his body gently on my shins. I felt him breathe as he closed his eyes and slept. His body soothed my sadness as I closed my eyes to rest. When I finally woke from my nap, I felt a warmth in my chest and like I had finally gotten the message: he wasn't wagging his tail effusively, but he was showing love and affection his way.

 

Since that day, I've stopped comparing him to other dogs. Instead, I smile when he goes to a corner of the room to get personal space and I laugh when he demonstrates his signature stubbornness. In short, I've stopped trying to make him anything other than what he IS. A powerful reminder to let people (and dogs!) be who they are. 

 

Once I let go, my dog unexpectedly taught me acceptance. Instead of wishing my family and friends act a certain way, I'm learning to breathe and allow them to just BE. For example, instead of wishing my friend texts me back faster, I'll accept she's more of a "get on the phone" type-person. Instead of getting annoyed with travel companions, I'll accept that not everyone likes to get to the airport four hours early like me (thanks, Dad!) Maybe I'll even accept my brother gifting me vanilla scented candles for Christmas...every...single...year. 

 

I'll carry this treasure into my relationships with family, friends, co-workers and strangers alike. Letting everyone be who they are and cultivating acceptance and appreciation for quirks, personalities and differences. The more I let people be who they are, the more I can appreciate every moment of our interactions. I even have a hunch that the more I let go and appreciate those around me, the more I'll accept myself....and that acceptance is the most beautiful kind. 

 

I'm not perfect, but I have my Scottish terrier to thank for teaching me the value of love, acceptance and the right to a little personal space. 

 

 

*******

Have you ever wished someone or something was different? What helped you let go and appreciate things as they are? Are some situations harder to accept than others? Write in the comments below and feel free to share this post with a friend! 

 

 

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