Mind, Body & Spirit

Stop And Smell The Flowers

Today I bought a book by Oprah, What I Know For Sure. So far, all I’ve read is the intro where Oprah talks about once being asked by Gene Siskel what she knows for sure. She, Oprah, didn’t know how to answer that question. She thought about that question until it morphed into a monthly column in O Magazine, where each month she answers that question. This book is a collection of those knows. Before reading on I wanted to take an evening to think about the things, at thirty-one, I know for sure.

As of recent, when writing, addressing my words to someone, at least in my mind has been beneficial, inspiring. It helps me to better tell my story. My number one goal for writing – always – is for it to mean something to at least one person, even if that person’s me. When thinking about what I know for sure, I couldn’t help, but think of my nieces and nephews, and what wisdom about the world their crazy and adventurous aunt would bestow upon them. The truth is at all moments of our life we can use a little wisdom from others it offers a little light to life’s pathways.

So, to those precious souls who’ve brought so much joy and sunshine to my own life let me share with you my wisdom.

*I’ve include nineteen pearls of wisdom because that’s my lucky number and you can never go wrong with a little luck.

Living Is The Hardest Thing You’ll Ever Do, It’ll Also Be The Best

It may seem like a paradox, but you’ll soon realize that the more challenges life throws at you the stronger you become and the more rewarding your life will turn out to be. There will be ugly moments and people will shock you, but from those moments you will find your best self and it’ll stay with you forever. When life looks it’s gloomiest, a storm will roll in, but after it passes the sun will return and a rainbow will be there to welcome you to the other side. Don’t fear life’s hardship, grow from them.

The Things We Least Want To Do Are The Things We Most Need To Do

You’ll come across things every day that you don’t want to do. It may be cleaning your room, an assignment from your boss, going for that run. Some things may be bigger and more impactful, but if you’re feeling resistance you need to face what’s holding it anchored. Take the things you don’t want to do head on. Place them at the top of your to-do list. Tackle challenges head-on until there’s nothing left in your way.  

You Don’t Need The Highest GPA To Have The Brightest Future

You don’t have to be good at math to be good at life. In fact, in college, I once got a K in Algebra. What’s a K? I still don’t know. I assumed it meant Keep Trying. I never got good at algebra, but I got very good at the things that interested me. So, if you’re not interested in the things you’re learning change your syllabus. The most important thing is that you learn at least one new thing every day. Don’t ever get too old to learn.

The Ocean Is Where Dreams Are Made

Visit often.

Dream As Hard As You’re Willing To Work

You can be anything you want in this world, don’t let anyone tell you differently. If you want to be an astronaut, you work your tail off until you become an astronaut. That’s the secret. If you’re willing to put in the time, effort, and sacrifice required to achieve your dreams then they’re within arm’s reach you just have to lift the weight. There’s nothing you can’t do.

Discover Your Greatest Desire

Know your greatest desire and then live for it. My desire is to see the world, so I prioritize around that desire. When I see a new piece of the world there’s an excitement the shivers up inside me, it’s that same feeling I used to get when tip-toeing down the oak staircase on Christmas morning. That childlike excitement is special so pay attention when you feel it. Understand what gives you that feeling and then prioritize.

Live passionately

Every morning when you open your eyes, fight away that grogginess and that urge to sleep just five more minutes – instead pop open your eyes thank the heavens that you get another day. Everything you know in this world has an expiration date, so cherish everything – the blue sky, the way the sun reflects off the rocks and the water glistening beneath them – notice these things and be thankful that they’re there. Apply this to every aspect of your life, even the challenges, and when you do you’ll be living passionately, and that’s the only way to live.

Stop And Smell The Flowers

This seems simple, but how often do you stop and smell the flowers? Life moves incredibly fast, but sometimes you need to slow down. Pause. Bend down and take a whiff of one natures sweetest scents. Every time will be worth it. I have a friend who buys herself flowers every week and keeps them in her apartment. For a long time, I didn’t get it. In fact, I thought it was a waste of money to buy something that you knew would be dead within a week, but the fear of something leaving you shouldn’t stop you from appreciating it while it’s there. So please, whenever you can stop and smell the flowers.

Your Friends And Family Are The Most Important People You’ll Ever Meet

In your life, you’re born with your family and then you handpick your friends. These people, the ones that stick with you through the good times and the bad, who grow with you, will be the most important people in your life. Treat them well. Be there for them. Let them be there for you. The weight of life is often too heavy without the extra support.

The Things You’re Most Excited For Are Often Let Downs; It’s The Little Things That Hold The Most Surprise

As you get older, you’ll notice that the things you most anticipate will rarely meet your expectations and that’s okay because it means you’re dreaming BIG. You’ll be surprised every day, that the most exciting moments tend to live in the ones that were least expected.

Don’t Be Afraid To Love. Don’t Sit Around Waiting For It Either

Love from tips of your fingers all the way to the bottom of your toes. If you deem something worthy of your love give it your all. Your heart will get broken. But you will have loved so it was worth it. But don’t sit around waiting for love either. I was twenty-one years old before I had my first boyfriend. I worried something wrong with me, but you can’t learn to love someone else until you learn to love yourself. So, when I say love BIG that means yourself, too.

Go With Your Gut

When your gut speaks, listen. There will be moments when you must choose between your head and your gut. Trust your gut every time. That’s your soul talking.

Your Mistakes Are Like A Quilt, Torn Fabric Bonded Into Something Beautiful

So, don’t be afraid to make them.

It’s Okay To Walk Away

It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. The fear of uncertainty keeps us complacent, but there is no shame in walking away from something that no longer fits who you are. You’re going to change, develop, and grow daily, the same way you eventually grow out of your favorite pair of jeans. Walking away from something you once loved isn’t easy – it could be a job, a friendship, a career path, relationship, or way of life. Cheryl Strayed says it best, “Be brave enough to break your own heart.” That’s exactly what it requires. Walking away from something you once loved, and perhaps still love will make you feel like your insides are on fire and you purposely let the hose run dry. But when every fiber of your body know “this isn’t right anymore” you should never feel shame in walking away from something you’ve outgrown. Be fierce. Be Brave.

A Do-Over

At some point, life will require you to reset. It’s like when you’ve built the perfect skyscraper with your Legos and your little sister comes by and knocks it down. That will happen in life. You’ll be left with nothing, but a collection of scattered blocks and the opportunity to rebuild it any way you want. It’ll be scary and uncomfortable. It’ll also be one of your best adventures. And it’s okay to start over many times. I started over when I went to college. I started over again when I realized a career in law wasn’t right for me. I applied to art school in Savannah and moved away from everything I knew. After grad school, I reset again and moved to New York with no job and a shaky plan at best. It turned out okay. Every time. Better than okay, but it was scary as it happened. Savor that fear.

Believe In Something

The best advice I can give you is to believe in something, anything. Having something to believe in whether it be religion, spirituality, yourself –  it doesn’t matter – find something that you can place your faith in because that will be the comfort that keeps you warm on the cold nights.

You Have No Power Over Me

Learn this motto. Funny enough, I learned it when I was three because it was the climactic line in one of my favorite movies, The Labyrinth. Twenty-plus years later I finally learned to apply it. Use this motto when you’re feeling weak. When you start to doubt yourself or your worth, remind that doubt that it has no power over you.

Sometimes The Things We Least Expect Are The Best Things That Ever Happen To Us

There will be occurrences and people that come into your life unexpected. You may not have asked for them, but they’re there for a reason. The beginning of a watershed moment.

That Voice In Your Head Is Usually Wrong

That little voice saying – you’re not good enough, you missed your chance, or that life is out to get you –  is wrong. Those are just thoughts not the core of your being. Don’t ignore that voice, your resistance will only make it stronger. Instead, acknowledge it and let the voice know that it is incorrect. In fact, you are pretty damn fabulous.

Following a five-year stint in New York City, Ashley is now a Los Angeles transplant. Having grown up in rural Kentucky, Ashley is passionate to share self-care techniques used around the world and hopes to make them accessible to folks in rural communities. Ashley believes in gratitude, personal legends, and doing good. Aside from being a business leader in her professional life, Ashley is a novelist and freelance writer.

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