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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How I Got My Flower Fix

 

Sometime in my late 20s, I became the type of person who saw healers, tried acupuncture and began to believe in the mind-body connection. Initially, I didn't want to be viewed as "out there" by my family and friends. I was raised in a traditional household where we went to the doctor when we were sick and took Tylenol every time we had a headache. 

Surprisingly, no one balked at my holistic approach to living. In fact, my family grew interested in the natural cold remedies I brought home and the mantra music playing from my childhood bedroom...That is until I introduced something else that made them temporarily question my sanity: 

Flower essences.

Unlike traditional medicine, flower essences work on an energetic level to address all aspects of our spiritual and emotional health. You can take flower essences for anxiety, depression, increased confidence, help getting over a break-up and much more. They come in liquid form and you can take them under your tongue, in a glass of water or in a bath. While certain flower essences are sold at Whole Foods and other health food stores, they're still not super popular. My ultimate wish is for flower essences to become as common as acupuncture, yoga and green juice. 

Here are some of my favorite flower essences for whatever life throws your way: 

 

Impatiens: for patience

I'm naturally an impatient person and sometimes (all the time) I wish I wasn't wired this way. I meditate and breathe deeply, but sometimes I still rush around for no reason. Impatiens is a flower essence to take when you want to feel, well....more patient. I use it when traveling (hello airport security lines) and I always feel more calm when someone is taking off their shoes and organizing their belongings slowly in front of me. Before I know it, I'm more relaxed, indicated by my shoulders dropping away from my ears and a soft smile spreading across my face. 

 

Walnut: for life transitions

If there's one thing that's constant in life - it's change. We move apartments, change jobs and embark on new experiences.  Walnut can be used for everything from the birth of child to letting go of an old pattern (i.e giving up smoking or cutting back on caffeine). Walnut releases our clinginess to the past while making way for what's to come. 

 

Larch: for confidence

Larch has a special place in my heart because I take it ALL THE TIME.  Larch is for confidence, standing up for yourself and setting boundaries. Any people-pleasers out there? Larch is for you. 

 

Oak: for self-care

I love the show This is Us. One of the main characters, Randall Pearson, has a classic "oak personality." On a recent episode (spoiler alert) he broke down and couldn't move after exerting all his energy trying to be perfect.  People who need Oak usually appear strong and capable while striving toward perfection, but at the cost of their own health. For those with a Type-A personality, Oak helps you slow down and practice self-care. 

 

Mimulus: for fear

Mimulus is indicated when you're feeling scared. In fact, I took it right before posting this blog. "What if it's not good enough?" I said to myself two minutes before I hit the publish button. Fear is a tricky beast and oftentimes our thoughts get in the way of maximizing our potential. Mimulus calms our fear-based thoughts so we can move forward with ease. 

 

I'm happy to report my family now fully embraces my love for flower essences and in fact, they put it right up there with my love for yoga and meditation. Sometimes all we have to do is take the leap – we might just be surprised by the sweet acceptance waiting on the other side.

 

***

 

Have you ever tried a wellness approach you thought your friends and family wouldn't get behind? What was it and did you ever share? Write in the comments below! For more info on flower essences, contact me directly!

 

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Click here to read what people are saying about flower essences. 
 
 
***Flower essences come in a small 1 oz. bottle with dropper. Each bottle contains about five or six essences depending on your personalized blend.  Flower essences are created by placing specific flowers at the height of bloom in water and stabilizing them using a high-proof alcohol. The resulting brews are imprinted with unique floral energies.***

My Trip to Paris

 

Last week I flew to Paris and while I loved the sights, sounds and historical streets, something surprised me more than the beauty of the city. 

 

People had patience. 

 

One morning while standing in line at a cafe, I tried my best to communicate in French. I mixed up what I meant to order and had a hard time figuring out the correct change. To my surprise, an enormous line formed behind me. 

 

"Ahh! An obvious American moment where all the chic French people will roll their eyes and speak in French to each other about my incompetence."

 

After a few seconds of anxiety, I realized no one displayed any acknowledgment of my ordering snafu. Everyone looked relaxed and happy, even if that meant waiting a few extra minutes for their croissants. 

 

My initial response is to always place high value on businesses and situations that make life seemingly easier: "That food came so quickly" or "I'm so grateful for food delivery like Seamless." My personal favorite, "Yes! I chose the right line through airport security...I'm moving so FAST!" 

 

Perhaps the French people I encountered were just having a good day or maybe the universe was sending me a much needed lesson to put my "rush, rush, rush" mentality behind me and show more compassion for people who aren't moving at lightning speed. Patience can be one of those qualities that really pays it forward to others. 

 

As much as my brain would argue otherwise, life isn't an efficiency contest. My weekend in Paris reminded me that slower can be better and less efficiency can be an opportunity to let go even more. Take the fast with the slow and look for the space in between because it could be teaching you something important...at least it was for me. 

 

Every day this week I'll be doing my best to move slowly and look for the lessons in the waiting. I'll simply wait for the train instead of wondering how long until it arrives and I'll take big breaths when someone walks slowly in front of me - a challenge for this efficient-minded individual (I live in New York City!) but something worth doing. Progress, not perfection is the name of the game and I'm grateful for the Parisian reminder to slow down, take a sip of my espresso and simply enjoy. 

 

How do you stay patient when you're running errands or eating out? Any mindfulness tips you want to share? Write in the comments section and share your wisdom. 

 

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How To Open Your Heart

Sometimes it's hard for me to let go and drop into the most sacred and all-knowing part of myself....my heart. But whenever I do, I come to decisions easily, I'm guided by my intuition and I have more patience with myself and others. 

My perspective gets crystal clear and I'm instinctively aware of what matters most. Issues that bothered me seem like distant memories and I'm in awe of everything and everyone. I always want to capture this feeling and hold on to it forever. 

Occasionally, I lose my footing. I become impatient. I'm more critical. I check my phone way too much. I'm moving fast, but with less efficiency because I'm forcing things and leading with my intellect alone. 

Here's how you can shift your perspective back to your heart at any time: 

 

1) Spend Time in Nature

When we spend time in nature, we immediately connect with a feeling of expansiveness. Flowers know when to bloom, leaves know when to fall and when we spend time around that kind of wisdom, we remember that we're also living in perfect timing. Spend time in nature and feel grounded, calm and ready to meet the world with a renewed sense of patience and love. 

 

2) Connect with a loved one IN PERSON

There's texting rapid-fire style with friends and then there's meeting in person and really asking people how they're doing. I'm super guilty of not making enough time to get together with people and just "be." Remember in high school and college when you'd just hang with people for hours talking about anything and everything? Bring a little bit of that energy back to your next conversation or lunch date. Less rush, more savoring. 

 

3) Release Separation

We can be so focused on "finding our tribe" and connecting with like-minded beings that we forget the beauty in noticing similarities. The next time you're in line for coffee or navigating a crowded store, look into a person's eyes and see something that's the same in yourself. Instead of judging someone for running through a store, remember a time you were feeling stressed and send the person some love. This practice helps take away any illusion of separation. 

 

4) Slow Down and Practice Self-Care

My natural tendency is to move through the world at lightning speed. That's all well and good until I burn out, get tired and become impatient with everyone in my life. To stay heart-centered, we have to tend to our bodies. Some of my favorite ways to get connected are through acupuncture, reflexology and deep tissue massage. I usually end up moving more slowly and methodically; less in a rush, more okay with the now and kinder to everyone around me.  

 

5) Laugh or Cry...Whatever Feels Right

Our bodies have infinite wisdom and know exactly what to do in certain moments. The other day I really needed to laugh, so I watched a funny movie. Tension in my shoulders dissipated as I cackled to myself. Sometimes I need to cry, so I'lll turn on a movie that'll get the tears flowing. We're meant to feel a range of feelings. It's the beauty of being human. Let yourself feel. 

I came across this quote from one of my favorite animated films of all time (that always makes me cry!) Initially I didn't want to share it because my brain thought it might be silly. But I'm leading with my heart, so here it goes: 

 

"Let your heart guide you. It whispers, so listen carefully." - Littlefoot's mother, Land Before Time

 

From my heart to yours...Happy Valentine's Day, 

 

Devon

 

 

What helps you stay heart-centered? Write in the comments below and feel free to share this post with a friend! 

 

.

Tips for Winter Living

Winter in New York City can be brutal. I'm from sunny Southern California and even after 10 years on the East Coast, I still find myself needing a little extra support when the days are gray and the temperatures drop. 

Instead of complaining about the weather and counting down until spring, I've learned to embrace the time to go inward and curl up with a comfy blanket and cup of tea. 

Here are my 5 favorite tools for thriving during the winter months. And if you live somewhere like California or Florida, you can still benefit because even a subtle shift in the weather can affect our systems! Or maybe all you warm weather dwellers can simply forward these tips along to someone in need. 

 

1) Light Therapy 

I'm late to the game when it comes to purchasing what I lovingly refer to as my "happy light," but let's just say I noticed an immediate shift in my energy. Sometimes the sun doesn't peek out through the clouds and it's been great to start my day with a bright light staring back at me. I'll drink my coffee with it about 12 inches away from my head. Warning - do NOT stare at this thing straight on. Think peripheral vision. I noticed my energy was higher when it came to working and writing and I was dragging my feet less when it came to going outside. Placebo? Maybe. But, I'm choosing to believe that this light is giving me the added boost in my energy to power through February and March. 

 

2) Essential Oils

I'm a sensitive person, so thankfully various aromas can work pretty easily on my system. If I'm having a hard time getting to bed, I'll place some lavender under my feet and if I'm in a funk, I'll place some Elevation from DoTerra on my wrists. Sometimes it's the little things that give you the added shift to make it through the day. 

 

3) Shea Butter

What did I do before shea butter? Looking back, I arrived in NYC with measly lotions and creams compared to what I really needed to fight the elements of the city. A little bit of this mixed with your regular lotion and you're good to go. I even place a little on my face, which freaks out my friends with oily prone skin, but I promise it's worth it. 

 

4) Good Feng Shui

I've worked with amazing Feng Shui expert Laura Cerrano, who you should all check out. She's bicoastal and offers remote consultations. The impact your home has on your mood can be pretty alarming. My favorite tip from her is to make sure your "relationship corner" in your room has warm/hot colors like red and purple and that objects are in twos. For example, you'll want two candles, a picture of two palm trees, etc. That way, whether you're with a partner or not, you're reinforcing the energy of feeling supported by your current (or future!) mate. We can spend more time in our homes during colder months, so having a supportive environment is key. 

 

5) Danielle LaPorte's Daily Planner

I'm having a love affair with Danielle LaPorte's daily planner. Instead of focusing on mundane "tasks" and "to-do's," you focus on how you want to FEEL and everything flows from there. My core feeling this year is FUN. If you've known me at any point in my life, you'll recognize that this is a warranted goal because I've had the tendency to be serious since I was in pre-K. Whatever feeling or concept you want more of in 2017, you can streamline your actions based on that feeling. 

Now if you need me, I'll be having a dance party in the kitchen with my dog. 

Here's to self-care and more fun :) 

***

How do you survive the colder temps? Any life hacks you want to share? Leave your comments below and feel free to share this post with a friend!

 

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My Latest Lesson....

A few months ago, I wrote about life as an empath and introvert, namely absorbing other people's energies and feeling misunderstood. People reached out to me, saying they related to my post and I anchored deeper into my identity as a sensitive being. 

 

Something happened over the next few weeks. My tone grew tense and my approach more rigid when it came to honoring my needs. I was overcorrecting. I was holding my sensitivities like a sword and using it as a weapon to keep from letting go. 

 

This aspect of myself isn't something I want to admit, let alone write about. And yet, as the late Leonard Cohen beautifully wrote, "There's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." 

 

When faced with our flaws and imperfections, there's only one place to go and that's up. 

 

Here are 3 ways to honor your feelings without compromising compassion: 

 

1) Get In Touch

Lately, I've been rejecting social plans so quickly that my intuition doesn't have time to kick-in. Find a quiet place to sit. Take a deep breath in and a deep breath out. Envision a white light coming in through the crown of your head.  Breathe until you feel centered. When I did this most recently I got to the bottom of my knee-jerk reaction and discovered that I actually did want to go to a party (gasp!) No one was more surprised than me. Let your breath be your guide. 

 

 

2) Relax Before You Act

After years of stifling my sensitivities, I have the potential to over-communicate my "very" important feelings. I forgot the art of letting go, relaxing and showing compassion in my delivery. When I want to blurt out my feelings, I'm working on breathing and doing what's hardest for me at first...absolutely nothing. Let your body tense and contract. Count to 10 and speak from there. 

 

 

3) Create Space For Others

The next time you're feeling misunderstood, look into the other person's eyes. I was surprised to find that the person across from me was just as desperate to feel loved and accepted. We were in it together. The moment allowed my shoulders to relax and my jaw to soften. 

 

The more I lovingly confront my flaws (beating ourselves up never helps) the more compassion I have for others. You and everyone you know is doing the very best they can. 

 

I'm still filled to the brim with emotion, but I'm setting down my sensitivity as a sword. I'm opening myself to the higher truth of my heart and letting go a whole lot more. 

 

****

 

When was the last time you communicated your feelings in a gentle way? Did you feel like you were compromising your authenticity? What worked and what didn't? Leave a comment or question below! I'm re-reading Don Miguel Ruiz's book The Four Agreements this month if you want to join. His words always steer me back to compassion and love.

 

Wishing you all my very best, 

 

Devon 

 

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The Beauty of Asking for Help

I've been independent for as long as I can remember. That being said, because of my stoic, "I've got this handled" mentality, I'm a prime candidate for not asking for help when I need it. During break-ups, transitions and funks, I handle things quietly and in solitude. After the emotional storm I'll usually share my experience with friends and watch their jaws drop...

"Why didn't you tell us?!" 

I've come to the realization that this so-called "independence" is based on the false assumption that people won't be able to handle me or help me. 

I'm ready for a change. 

Here are 3 tips for asking for help if you're independent, self-reliant and strong: 

 

1) Be Clear

Case in point, I texted my friend last week. I asked how she was doing, inquired about her life and then briefly alluded to how I was "fine" but could be better. I kept things upbeat, saying my situation was on the upward trajectory and threw in some smiley face emojis to lighten the mood. 

Try as I might, I have a deeply ingrained belief that I should handle things alone. Today, I called my friend and simply said, "I'm not okay." My shoulders relaxed. I was done pretending. Be specific, be clear and be authentic with your inner circle. 

 

2) Show Your Cards

Recently, I had a confessional-type conversation with my best friend about all the ways I wasn't being my ideal self. I cringed as I uttered each of my sins and waited for her to gasp in horror. Instead, she shared how she relates pretty wholeheartedly to what I'm going through and we laughed more than I could have imagined. Reach out to family and friends. Be blunt, be vague or talk in barely formed sentences until your problems start making sense. 

Your life requires realness, vulnerability and connection. Speak to another person and receive the beautiful medicine of being fully accepted for who you are - flaws and all. 

 

3) Connect

I've relied on therapists, healers and meditation teachers for years to process my stuff. And you know what happened to me the other day? I actually had the following thought...I should be able to handle things on my own.

Umm, I'm a therapist. I'm in the business of helping people and sometimes my brain doesn't even buy what I'm selling.

We move faster with the support of someone else. It's normal to feel stuck in a rut every now and then, but if you feel the downward spiral is lasting too long, try something different. Explore workshops, therapists, healers, coaches or anything to get you out of a stuck place. 

Shed the anxiety, the pressure and the constant need to power through things on your own. Your truth, even if it feels scary and like no one will understand, will be of service to someone else. Give yourself permission to be real. When we step up the plate, others follow. If you feel scared, I'm right there with you.

Take a breath, release your need to be perfect, and remember you're never alone. 

 

****

When was the last time you got real about what was going on? Are there times you energetically put yourself on airplane mode? Do you have an emotional emergency contact? Share in the comments section below. 

For more info on connection and vulnerability, read Brene Brown's bestselling book: Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. 

I'm also adding a new service - Flower Essence Consultations. If you've heard of Rescue Remedy, which is sold at Whole Foods, then you've heard of flower essences. Flower essences support us through anxiety, fear, life transitions and much more. Phone and Skype sessions are available if you're not in NYC. Contact me for more info! 

Wishing you all my very best, 

Devon

 

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Too sensitive? No such thing.

 

When I was 6-years old, I told my grandparents I needed "privacy." They were watching me for the weekend and apparently, I'd experienced enough supervision and was craving a little personal space.  

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

As you can imagine, moving to New York City 11 years ago was quite the transition. 

People were everywhere and places were loud and...did I mention everything was loud? The first few months left me confused and frustrated, absorbing other people's energies on the subway, in waiting rooms, elevators, you name it. I spent hours alone in my apartment to recharge. It wasn't fun and it wasn't sustainable. 

I'm an empath.

You might be one too if you're exhausted by large group gatherings and drained after listening to an angry person vent.

People like us can hide this aspect of our character by putting on a happy face and moving from one social function to the next. We usually end up exhausted, sick in bed or looking for any excuse to listen to what our bodies and souls actually need - rest. 

Thriving as an empath is totally doable with a little self-love, boundary setting and creativity.  

Here are 4 tips for empaths, introverts and anyone who's been told they're "too sensitive." 

 

1) Accept

I need time alone every day. It looks like taking a walk, sitting in meditation or closing my eyes wherever I am.  I used to be ashamed, muttering under my breath that I felt tired or making up errands while traveling with friends.  

As maid of honor in my best friend's wedding this summer, one of the duties included getting ready in a hotel suite with 15 people. Halfway through the day, I curled up with a magazine in a quiet corner. After my mini-siesta, I felt energized and fully present. 

I was even spotted by a fellow bridesmaid, who revealed she was craving alone time, too. Our instant bond was a reminder that when we're authentic, we attract like-minded people who love us for who we are. 

 

2) Visualize

Pragmatically, I need major tools for living in NYC. Between street performers, traffic sounds and collective sidewalk conversations, urban living is the ultimate training ground. 

When you can't take another minute in a crowded store or subway, try this meditation: 

Close your eyes and take a breath. Envision a white light entering the crown of your head and moving down your entire body. Feel the light calming your chest, stomach and legs. See the light offering a loving protection between you and the rest of the world. You can also envision a beach, spending time with loved ones, or any scene that makes you feel calm. Feel free to be creative. 

 

3) Tools

As a sensitive person, I take on other's people's "stuff" easily. These concrete tools help:

Water - Pour epsom salt into a bath or use a favorite scrub in the shower. Water washes away energies we pick up throughout the day.

Sounds -  Deva Premal's mantra music is magic. I play her when I leave my apartment so the calm energy is waiting when I return. 

Flower Essences - This is my ultimate tool for managing waves of exhaustion and protecting my energy. Flower Essences are an energetic healing remedy served in a small bottle. Each essence is derived from a different flower and supports us through various transitions and emotions. Some of my favorite essences for overstimulation are Yarrow, Aspen and Walnut. I use my personalized blend throughout the day to stay centered. 

 

4) Be Gentle

Loved ones may have a hard time accepting your need for alone time and a slower pace. 

If you're frightened by the prospect of saying no, I understand. Take things slowly and gently.

Ask for a few quiet minutes at the end of your day or go on a walk before a big event. Being with myself leaves me recharged and ready to show up for those I love. I remember this truth whenever I feel pulled to keep charging through my days. 

Most importantly, be patient with yourself and others. There's no "right" or "wrong" way of being in the world and the ultimate gift is in accepting ourselves for who we are. My wish for anyone who has struggled with feeling worn down, sensitive or frazzled is that you take a big breath, pace yourself and know that you're doing just fine. 

 

***

Do you relate to feeling stressed or overloaded? Do you know someone who is right now? Forward this to a colleague or loved one who might benefit and write any of your own tips in the comments below. 

For more info on transforming fatigue, check out Judith Orloff's book Positive Energy. I read it when I first moved to NYC and it changed my life. For more info on Bach Flower Essences, contact me. 

 

All my best,

Devon

 

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How to quiet the critic and practice compassion

 

The other day I was on the subway with some teens:

"Don't use that filter!"
"My leg looks huge! Can you crop it?" 

I couldn't help but puff out my chest, refrain from rolling my eyes, and breathe a heavy sigh of relief that I was out of my adolescence and resting comfortably in adulthood. 

Until the next subway stop, when I realized my friends and I do the same thing. 

A few moments later I heard, "Why are you freaking out? No one's going to be looking that hard." 
Another teen replied, "Why not? We always do." 

I would rather write about anything other than vanity, social media and the dreaded compare and despair that even the most enlightened of us humans fall into -  I mean there are SO many other things to be worrying about. 

And yet, how we view ourselves and others is at the heart of every matter. 

Here are 3 tips for cultivating compassion all around: 

 

1) Let Go

"Do I look okay in this photo?"

Me...just now...after being tagged on Facebook...writing this very blog. 

Here's hoping I don't have this reaction in my 80s. If all goes according to plan I'll embody the confidence of Blanche:

 

And yet, I'm not beating myself up. It's normal to adjust the photo and be our best selves in every way. Just don't criticize your life, body and relationships on the quest for "self-improvement." 

We're bombarded with images and content all day. Filter wisely and move on. 

 

2) Accept 

The energy we spend analyzing what "should" be is exhausting. I'm the former queen of spinning a lengthy narrative when simply breathing and allowing will do. 

I'm working on softening my lens while keeping my feistiness and maintaining my views while making space for everyone else's. 

It's hard, I often falter, but when choosing thoughts wisely and judgments sparingly, more energy is available for inner strength and showing up. 

 

3) Connect

I never knew what people meant when they said "We're all one." Isn't growth individual? 

I was given this lesson repeatedly, namely when people pissed me off. 

Someone would say something that rubbed me the wrong way and I'd spend a week venting, only to realize they were reflecting back my insecurities. I'd criticize someone for rushing, only to realize I was annoyed with my own running around. 

My shadow was reflected everywhere I turned and with no where to go, I went inward.

The result - I now recognize that when we criticize others, we're criticizing ourselves. Conversely, when we look for the good in everything our own hearts melt and we feel a higher vibration. We really do have the power to shift perspective and accept everything as it is. We don't have to be perfect, we just have to be - taking it one breath, one moment and one day at a time. 

 

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Does your inner critic make an appearance more days than others? What helps you stay connected? Write in the comments below and feel free to forward to a friend. 

Wishing you all a great rest of the summer. 

Devon 

 

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