Taking a Gratitude Chill Pill

Taking a Gratitude Chill Pill

gratitude

I was full of worry today.  All the “What if”s any new business-owner, traveller, woman, or human could imagine began floating through my over-analyzing brain.  I did this all worrying while listening to a back episode of the wonderfully inspiring “The Lively Show” podcast.  Right in the midst of my “What if” panic attack, Jess Lively said “let your ego totally get a chill pill.” Is that not the best?!

She reminded her listeners that one moment is not necessarily any better than another moment, but right now it is the only moment we have.  This one is good enough.

My ego’s best chill pill is gratitude.

I was flooded with gratitude for this moment I’m living in.  I don’t need to be the best.  I don’t even need to be one of the best.  My ego tells me that I do.  But it’s wrong, and it needs to chill.  All I need is to be fully awake in this moment.  The rest is just details.  Maybe I’ll never be a massively successful anything, but I will have been grateful for and aware of the beauty life kept handing me.

My friends, my cup overflows.  I’m bursting with thankfulness this Thanksgiving for everything this year has given me.

— I graduated with my beloved English degree this year! I wanted that degree since I was a young teen. It took me a while and some twists and turns, but I did it.  gratitude

— I went to New York City for the first (but definitely not last) time.Times_Square

— I co-hosted a local event for young women to inspire creativity and embrace our worthiness.

women

— I went on a Mexican cruise with my family.

drinks

— I started a career as a freelance writer and editor.  People pay me to write and edit things for them. Whoa!

— I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time.

grand_canyon

— I moved to Costa Rica right next to the beach.  Enough said!

costa_rica

— I took so many lovely yoga classes.

— I’ve read books that opened my mind and books that entertained me.

— I’ve started new friendships and deepened others.

— I fell more madly in love with The Boyfriend – and by moving to a foreign country together, grew and strengthened our relationship. He’s just marvelous.

costa_rica

So my ego needs to chill a bit.  Instead of a panicked “What if…?!?!?!” – I’m flipping the script and saying, “Look at what life has already offered me!”

Have you been there – when your ego freaks you out and convinces you that you have to do everything and be everyone in order to have a full life? Does your ego need a gratitude chill pill too?  Welcome to the club :)

The truth is, doing everything and being everyone will only get you into a harried mess. We need to drown our ego with gratitude for everything we already have and who we already are in this very moment.  Let’s practice.  Just leave a short (or long!) list of gratitude in the comments!!  Let’s fill up the comment section with a gratitude overflow.

Happy Thanksgiving, reader friends.

Tay xo

Fear Is Not Allowed to Drive

Fear Is Not Allowed to Drive

Fear

I think it’s safe to say that people are scared. Seriously, just spend 45 seconds scrolling through Facebook. Beneath the political attacks and sarcastic quips are flesh and blood people who are scared. And we all handle fear differently.

That’s what terrorism is, after all, terror. When countries like Lebanon and France experience terrorism, we get scared. We’re afraid terror will knock on our front door. That all makes sense.

Fear isn’t the problem; it’s natural. The power we so easily hand over to fear is the problem.

People ask me all the time: “Aren’t you scared, Tay? Living in a foreign country? Starting your own business weeks after graduation and depending upon it solely?  Traveling outside of resorts?”

My answer is simple: I am scared. But something scares me more – the idea of fear taking the driver’s seat in my life and the idea of hiding away from all the interesting goodness life offers too.

You see, life is scary anyway. It does not matter how “safe” you try to live, what you avoid, and which people you do or don’t allow in your country – life is dangerous. I could die choking on food or driving my car to work or getting cancer even if I eat kale. I could get raped in my own bed with the doors locked. I could fall while cleaning my house and die. I could live the most monotonous life and avoid all scary things and keep strange people away and still die, still be hurt, and still have heartbreak.

The fact that life is scary spurs me on to live a wild, full, interesting, and wholehearted life – not because I’m oblivious, but because I’m totally aware.  BECAUSE this world is terrifying, I will not let fear take control; if fear leads, I will miss out on all the truly wonderful things of this world in the process. Fear also won’t stop me from doing what’s right.  If my odds of dying from unintentional poisoning are 1 in 109, you better believe that fear of death won’t stop me from standing by my belief that love is the only way.

You know what the ultimate sad irony of fear is? When we allow fear to take the driver’s seat, we forfeit living in order that we won’t die – and we die anyway! It’s guaranteed.

Terrorism’s goal is to bring terror. We cannot let these disgusting people win. Of course, we must mourn with those mourn, we must pray for those who are persecuted, we must stay intelligent and alert. But we cannot allow fear to drive the cars of our own lives, our countries, or our world.

How about, instead, we feel the fear (because we will, it’s a human emotion), but do the right thing anyway. Feel the fear, but not turn that emotion into hateful spewing. Feel the fear, but stay open-minded. Feel the fear, but keep truly living an interesting, meaningful life anyway.

Feel the fear; do it anyway

Feel the fear; do it anyway.

I may never be able to erase feelings of fear in my life, but fear sure as hell isn’t going to drive.

“Dearest Fear…You’re not allowed to suggest detours. You’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

 

A Rocker, A Scary Clown, and A Beach Crawl

A Rocker, A Scary Clown, and A Beach Crawl

beach

This past weekend was lots-o-fun!  And I wanted to share some pictures with you all!

Saturday – Halloween

On Saturday, The Boyfriend and I did some last minute shuffling to find some cool costumes.  We’d heard that Tamarindo is one party place for Halloween, and we wanted in!!  We love Halloween.  See last year’s costumes:

halloween

And this year:halloween

Holy scary boyfriend, Batman!!  We made do with VERY limited options – an 80s rocker and the most terrifying clown ever!

Funny story: we went out at 8pm and NOBODY was dressed up yet.  Nothing like being brand new in a foreign city AND being the only two in ridiculous costumes!  Eventually people starting coming out, and there were wild and wacky costumes everywhere!  We had a blast.

After looking back through my photos the next morning, I realized I was trying to look 80s tough with horns in this photo, but ended up really only flipping around the “I love you” sign in sign language.  My hippie “let’s all be friends” self refuses to hide!

halloween

Sunday – Beach and Pool Crawl

The wonderful Instagram account #discovertamarindo (follow them for sweet beach pics!) really hooked The Boyfriend and me up on Sunday with a fantastic time at the Beach and Pool Crawl.  We got to go to three different locations, have a free shot at each stop, and met some really cool people!

The first stop was the INSANELY gorgeous Las Catalinas, a master-plan community.  If I were rich and retiring in Costa Rica, I would choose Las Catalinas.  We were serenaded with lovely Bob Marley covers all afternoon.

las catalinas

las catalinas

las catalinas

las catalinas

Then we went to two resorts.  One even had an awesome swim up bar!

bar

We truly had a blast taking the bus around and exploring new areas while meeting awesome people.  It is one of the highlights of our time in Tamarindo so far.  In fact, if you ever visit Tamarindo, make sure to put the Beach and Pool Crawl on your list (while it could be fun for any age, I would normally suggest it for 20s/30s and anyone older who still likes to have lots of fun!) :)

Hope you all had a great Halloween weekend too!

Ladies, You Need to Follow Your Arrow

Ladies, You Need to Follow Your Arrow

arrow

Have you ever had a moment in your life when you realize, I mean deeply and terrifyingly realize, that you’ve gone way off track?  You knew who you were at one point in your life, but the person inhabiting your body now is foreign to you.  Mama always said to not talk to strangers and yet, somehow, you’re that stranger.

I would look at my hands and think, “Yes, these are Taylor’s hands.”  I would hear myself speak and think, “Yes, this is Taylor’s voice.”  But I examined the life I was living and thought, “Who the hell is this woman?”

This important, yet freaky realization typically comes at rock bottom.  The end of your rope.  Fortunately, that’s the same spot where inspiration typically comes knocking.  For me, inspiration peaked its head around the corner in the form of a Facebook photo quote a couple years ago.  This exact one:

Follow Your Arrow

 

Arrow.  Focus.  Launch.  Aim.  These words resonated with me, so I latched on to them.  There was something there for me in the midst of the muck.  I was backward, and I was being dragged by difficulties.  So the thought of being launched into something great was fine by me!!

Enter Kasey Musgraves.  About the same time as my “Who Am I?” meltdown, the country singer published this tune called “Follow Your Arrow.”  It goes like this:

If you save yourself for marriage
You’re a bore
If you don’t save yourself for marriage
You’re a whore-able person
If you won’t have a drink
Then you’re a prude
But they’ll call you a drunk
As soon as you down the first one

If you can’t lose the weight
Then you’re just fat
But if you lose too much
Then you’re on crack
You’re damned if you do
And you’re damned if you don’t
So you might as well just do
Whatever you want
So

(Chorus) Make lots of noise
Kiss lots of boys
Or kiss lots of girls
If that’s something you’re into
When the straight and narrow
Gets a little too straight
Roll up a joint, or don’t
Just follow your arrow
Wherever it points

If you don’t go to church
You’ll go to hell
If you’re the first one
On the front row
You’re self-righteous
Son of a-
Can’t win for losing
You’ll just disappoint ’em
Just ’cause you can’t beat ’em
Don’t mean you should join ’em

(Chorus)

Say what you think
Love who you love
‘Cause you just get
So many trips ’round the sun
Yeah, you only
Only live once

(Chorus)
And follow your arrow
Wherever it points

The song is clever and comical, but it makes an important point.  People want lots of conflicting things from us.  We need to be good, but not too good.  Skinny, but not too skinny.  Educated, but only in the “right” fields.  When we play into that, we start pretending. Before we know it, we get to that point where we don’t even know who we are.

There is so much talk about going out and FINDING yourself.  But I think sometimes we’ve already been found.  Our natural tendencies and desires, the things that make our eyes light up and our hearts beat a little more quickly – we know those things deep down, or at least we have an inkling. Maybe it’s not only about finding the pieces of who we are; maybe we also need to drop the pieces of who we are not.  What’s left is your arrow.

arrow

My “Arrow” came to represent the real, deep, nitty-gritty Taylor and all my dreams and plans – minus the pretending and role-playing.  Lo and behold, once I started following that arrow, I found out that my life was really interesting TO ME, and I genuinely loved it.

It is THIS concept that has urged me on to create The Interesting Project.  I’m getting close to launching a workbook that helps young women (18-30ish) follow their own arrows by pursuing interesting lives that THEY love. As part of this project, I will also offer free goodies, some blog posts, and newsletters to aid in the process.

I know what it’s like to forget about your arrow. I know what it’s like to be pulled backward from life’s difficulties. But I also know what it’s like when you follow that arrow and really start pursuing an interesting life you love. THAT is what I want for my fellow ladies.

If you are a young woman wanting to move from thinking about your dreams into LIVING your dreams, The Interesting Project will be for you.  Please subscribe to my new newsletter right here, and you will be updated as soon as The Interesting Project Workbook and all the other cool stuff is available.

Remember, my friends, your arrow is there. Follow it wherever it points!

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When You Are Sad, Find a Crocodile

tamarindo_beac

I used to think that to be a strong woman, I always had to be strong. And I thought being strong meant pushing aside any emotion that is conventionally considered weak – like sadness, hurt, or anger.

But pretending nothing ever gets to you is only a defense mechanism for somebody not willing to do the hard work of dealing with these difficult emotions. Brushing your emotions aside is a weak cop-out; showing and dealing with them is brave.

You see, for the past few weeks I have been working endlessly on something called “The Interesting Project” which I will be launching soon. I’ve created a workbook that will help 18-28 year old women figure out how to get unstuck and how to pursue interesting lives they love.

But this week, I felt really really sad and hurt.  I wasn’t feeling unstuck and interesting, I was feeling weak.  People close to me said horrible things based on no facts. My gut reaction was to be “strong” by pretending I wasn’t hurt and trying to be badass. But really, I was just pretending. The sting was too fresh for me to truly feel anything but sadness, hurt, and anger.

I felt like a fraud – who am I to tell women how to have interesting lives they love? Look at me! I’m bawling in self-pity and can’t even be badass! But then I remembered that ALLOWING myself to really feel painful emotions is the brave and interesting thing, because it demands actually doing the hard work of dealing with them.

So I decided to just roll with it the next day. These emotions were real, so I was going to feel them. The Bible says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. A time to be badass. And a time to say ‘Screw It!” Okay, maybe the Bible doesn’t put it EXACTLY like that, but you get the gist.

saltwater

So I said, “Screw it!” and gave up this need to SHOW my badass. I turned to life’s best cure for all that ails: salt water. First, I cried. Lots. And then I went to a walk to the ocean and touched the salt water with my feet!

There is an estuary off the beach in Tamarindo that you’re not supposed to swim in. Supposedly, there can be crocodiles. Lo and behold, we walked by that estuary on our salt-water walk, AND THERE WAS A CROCODILE! I stood about 90 feet away. The Boyfriend went a tad closer. It was just sunbathing on the beach with its jaw wide open.

Oh it was quite the sight! I’d never seen such a perilous wild animal outside of a zoo. It was incredible, and I was in awe! We stood there for a few minutes and marveled. And I realized in the presence of such a majestic creature: I AM BADASS! Somebody really hurt me yesterday, but here I am today standing by a freaking CROCODILE!

The whole “never smile at a crocodile” took on a brand new meaning.  “Oh hello, Mr. Crocodile, I’m currently wallowing in my own difficult emotions. Don’t worry, I won’t smile.”

As most of you know my motto is: Feel the fear, do it anyway.

My 2nd motto is now: Feel all the feels, and go see the crocodiles!

If I had been too busy trying to LOOK like I had it all together and going on as if I hadn’t been hurt, I would have missed out on this beautiful, interesting moment to heal up a bit. Or if I had simply wallowed in bed refusing to get up, I’d have missed it too. We can’t hide our emotions, and we can’t let them hide us either – We have to let the process work.

It’s not being immune to hurt that makes us badass. It’s the courage to cry and let ourselves do the things we need to do in order to heal.  Who knows, maybe along the way you just may see a crocodile.

(P.S. To stay in the loop regarding the workbook I’ve made, The Interesting Project, subscribe to my newsletter with this link below!)

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