I'm cleaning out my artwork and a few other handmade pieces and stocking my Etsy shop, A Goddess Garden. I do plan on creating new trinkets and treasures, but for now, stuff's gotta go! For sale right now:
Click on the pictures to go to the listing or click the banner below to visit A Goddess Garden. xo!
Burberry perfume ♥ writing in pink ♥ big bottles of water ♥ finding stored away autumn decorations & a blanket ♥ smelling pretty ♥ getting signed up for nia training ♥ my tie-dye peace tank dress ♥ playing with wet clay ♥ pumpkin patches ♥ polo's pink perfume ♥ having a variety of jobs ♥ The Elementals ♥ bowl full of strawberries ♥ meeting new people ♥ writing about weddings ♥ chocolate hazelnut sticks ♥ my pink pj pants with coffee cups on them ♥ comfy jeans ♥ watching my dog play with a plastic rat ♥ winged self portraits ♥ the purple blanket my mom made me ♥ brain fitness ♥ finding pennies on walks ♥ sparkly pink nail polish ♥ a good, sweaty workout ♥ feeling awake ♥ Julia Cameron's prosperity prayer ♥ lighting lots of candles and writing ♥ creating a new vision board ♥ doggy sweater weather ♥ Halloween parties & lots of chocolate candy ♥ snuggling up in blankets on rainy days ♥ mint, green tea ♥ staying up late watching v sauce with my love ♥ funny, strange dreams ♥
I absolutely love this quote by Jack Kerouac:
"Be in love with your life."
We're always searching for ways to bring more happiness, peace, love, and magic into our everyday lives. Tons of books on the subject line bookshelves: The Happiness Project, The How of Happiness, Stumbling on Happiness, the list goes on...
I'm all about the beauty of everyday, uncovering blessings, and buckets full of happiness, so I've put together ten things you can do to practice everyday happiness.
♥ Express gratitude
From Gala Darling's Things I Love Thursday to the multitude of scientific studies, clearly, expressing gratitude is a form of magic. I started writing gratitude lists three years ago when I was going through a particularly rough time after moving to a new city and job searching. It was amazing how much it lifted my mood and helped me realize all the great things about my life. I still write gratitude lists almost everyday. They're especially helpful on those grumpy days or when you're feeling lacking. Expressing gratitude helps us focus on the present moment and appreciate everything we already have.
"Create altars in your home. Build devotionals to your charmed life. Decorate shelves & windowsills with photos, candles, flowers & little statues, & light matches every night. When you do, take a moment to think about your blessings." - Gala Darling
♥ Practice forgiveness
Here's another one you've probably read a lot about. If you're holding grudges you're not hurting anyone but yourself. It's kind of like you're keeping yourself prisoner. I like one of the exercises Janet Connor uses in her newest book, The Lotus and the Lily; close your eyes and see yourself walking through a prison. Everyone behind bars are people you have not been able to forgive. One by one say, I forgive you, and release them. Forgiving doesn't mean you condone whatever the person did to you. It doesn't mean what they did is excusable. It means letting go so that you can move on with your life. They've probably moved on. Why wouldn't you grant yourself that same freedom? By forgiving, you're taking back control and defining your life in a new, more positive way.
♥ Acts of kindness
Whether it's an act of kindness that's recognized or something in secret, promoting others' happiness gives us the warm fuzzies. And there are so many ways to do it! Buy lunch for whoever's behind you in the drive-thru line; slip positive affirmations in library books for people to find; give a flower to a random person; volunteer; bake cookies for your neighbor; offer to pet sit for free. Making someone else's day brightens our own.
♥ Take care of your body
We all know the benefits of exercise and eating healthy: improves mood, boosts energy, lowers stress. So what's keeping us from incorporating it into our lives? Sometimes it's a time constraint, sometimes it's laziness, but there's really no excuse not to do some form of exercise at least three days a week. I like to mix it up - one day for yoga, another for cardio, another for toning. That way I don't get bored. As for healthy eating, I always feel mucho better when I eat fresh food as opposed to popping a pizza in the oven or devouring a box of mac and cheese.
♥ Follow your dreams
I know what it's like to feel stuck, like there's no point in even bothering because the odds are stacked against you. Depressing! One small action a day can combat this. One small action towards your dream can make all the difference because it gives you concrete evidence that the dream is within reach. That it's real. Track your progress, check things off your dream to-do list, and go to bed satisfied.
♥ Just be you
The comparison game is frustrating. Trying to be everyone else is tiring. You can only be you, and that is enough. It's more than enough! When you ease into who you are, things flow. I do believe age helps with this. 20-something is a hard age, at least for me it was, but I found more comfort in my own bones the older I got. I don't think you have to be over 25 to love yourself though. Write yourself a love letter. Describe everything that amazes you about YOU. You can appreciate other people for who they are and how they do things, but don't forget about your own beauty/weirdness/style.
♥ Create a ritual
Michele Connolly has a nice list of happiness tricks, and I especially like #4: Have something to look forward to. I like little rituals, transitions that help us ease into moments in our day. Like Michele says, these are things we look forward to. When I was working the 8-5 I enjoyed making that first cup of coffee before diving into paperwork and emails. Now my ritual involves reading a daily passage from Until Today by Iyanla Vanzant and Heaven Calling. I look forward to divine guidance and it helps ground my day. Other rituals can include 4:00 tea, a bath before bed, or whatever makes your heart sing.
♥ Look for everyday magic
My last post on everyday magic should give you an idea. It's all around us. Living poetry. The flicker of candle flames, the way the earth smells after it rains, the texture and color of flowers, even weeds. It's all magical when you stop to really look/smell/touch/taste it.
♥ Gift yourself little luxuries
Even if you're on a strict budget, you can allow yourself a luxury here and there. It's like being on a diet and restricting yourself from chocolate for six months. At some point, you're really going to crave chocolate and if you deny yourself every time, you're missing out on some major happiness points. I'm no miss moneybags, but I'm actually happier now that I can't afford to go on shopping sprees. If you read Keep Walking you know that at one point I was buying stuff almost all the time and it wasn't increasing my happiness. It's only when I allow myself these little luxuries every now and then that I get the boost. For me, little luxuries include candles and Starbuck's coffee. Yours could be a spa day, a new book, or ice cream in a sprinkle-covered cone.
♥ Do away with people/stuff that doesn't serve you anymore
It's time to spring clean your life to make way for more magic and happiness. Get rid of the clothes that don't fit, the books you don't read, all the little nick-knacks collecting dust, and the people who drain you. This stuff weighs us down, creates clutter in our minds, and stops us from moving forward. Get rid of it and watch miracles happen.
A lavender, chamomile, and rose bath
A quiet house and a glass of wine
An un-birthday party
Shimmery eye shadow
Grass beneath your feet
Midday tea or coffee breaks
Lit candles in every room
*Photos by me unless noted otherwise
Okay, so I wasn't completely without a plan, but according to all the books and articles that suggest not quitting a steady job without income already coming in, six months worth in savings, etc...I might as well not have had one.
When I turned in my resignation I did not have six months in savings. More like three. When I decided to leave, I had no work lined up. All I had was faith and a semi-plan of what I was going to do. Write.
Before I quit, people advised me to go part-time or work on my business part-time and leave the day job once I had money coming in. It all makes perfect sense, but I knew that if I didn't do it right then, I'd never do it.
It's so much easier doing the day job thing. I got complacent. I didn't use all my off-time hours working on my business. I just couldn't focus like that. For me, quitting cold turkey was the only way. It was the only way I was going to get busy and focused and actually do the work.
And that's exactly what I did. The very next day after my last day of work, I reached out to people in the community I wanted to work with. I queried magazines. I scoured freelance job boards. I put more into this blog.
I do some things for free, like blog for a literary organization knowing that it puts me in touch with novelists and poets. I do some editing, wedding writing, and help a tutoring company with admin. It's so much better than doing the same thing over and over again, day in and day out.
Money trickles in and I take it month by month. My plan is to keep doing what I'm doing, constantly writing, constantly connecting and searching, and I know things will flow.
"This season we become the alchemists of our own change. Like metal, we evolve through redirection. What needs to be removed and stripped away so that the glistening essence of who we are can shine like a diamond?" ~ Sara Avant Stover from The Way of the Happy Woman
Autumn's message has popped up quite a bit for me. It is a time of gathering, focusing, turning inward, and letting go. Janet Connor, in her book The Lotus and the Lily, agrees that it is a time of letting go and clearing out.
I wrote about this in my journal many months ago, before autumn officially started, before I read Sara or Janet's confirmations. And last night I had a dream that someone had stolen everything I own. It's so relevant to what is unfolding.
My life is in sync with the seasons; I have to let go of most of my stuff, clear out and only keep what is essential. This is because my love and I plan on moving out of country and it's just too much of a hassle to take absolutely everything.
My story transitions just as the seasons do. I will become the alchemist, letting go of things and ways of life, making room for new ideas, new experiences, new things. Then winter will come and I will retreat into the cocoon, take care and prepare myself for change. And spring, of course, is when I get my new wings. After the letting go and the preparation, I will be ready to fly.
What is autumn's message to you? Are you letting go of anything?
Hello! I'm Cassandra, an American ex-pat living in the Philippines, writer, beach bum, and book nerd. I blog about happiness, self-love, and magical dream-life living.