Live More Happy
Living Loving and Traveling the World
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I needed a break.

I took a break from blogging and from social media. I deleted the apps from my phone and made all of my accounts private.

I thought I needed to be public in order to keep myself employed. Working for myself the last 7 years I have relied heavily on social media as the main way I have marketed my services, my company and kept a steady stream of clients and freelance work.

I am happy to say that taking a break has allowed me to build my business bigger and better. I have more clients and work than I know what to do with.

With the free time I have saved from being on social media and working on my profiles, I have read more books, listened to more podcasts and had more real conversations with friends.

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Instead of being on my phone, feeling the need to post at peak posting times, I am present in conversations, actively listening and not so obsessed with needing to be engaged with the community I worked so hard to build.

I love the community I built online! I love every single one of you who read my posts, visit my blog and give me so much in return for my open hearted sharing.

I am in awe and complete gratitude every time I open up and receive an outpouring of love and support. That is why I am sharing this with you now.

What I am trying to say is that it is nice to step away once in a while and realize its a bonus, but not necessary.

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I see the travel blogger who spends more time taking the perfect selfie for their instagram than enjoying the magic of the moment they are in.

I see the girl with a yoga clothing company who spends more time picking the perfect filter and hashtags than doing yoga or meditating. #Integrity #LiveAuthentic #Namaste but #CantTouchYourToes

I see the picture perfect couple who set up a tripod on their date night and photoshop their tender moments so they can prove to everyone online how special and romantic their relationship is.

I see the coach who has something powerful to share but can’t post just words without an attractive selfie to go with it.

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I’m not trying to say I’m better than anyone, in fact I am admitting I have a social media problem too, which is why I wanted to take a break and put energy into BEING what I want to be, not just posting about it. We are NOT who we post we are. Our online personas are just that.

So give yourself a break.  Don’t stress about the gram, about the tags, about your followers or if you are looking or sounding as good as someone else because chances are they are trying much harder than you to look that way. Just enjoy YOUR life. Put the apps away and be present in your life.
No one really wants to see a photo of your tacos anyways.

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I jolted awake at 4am this morning with a million things racing through my mind and no chance of going back to sleep. So I do what any insomniac might do and troll craigslist for treasures. 

Craigslist Ad: “I have too many globes and my wife just kicked 4 of them out of the house. I have the three pictured plus a globe of The Moon – pretty cool. They are $20 each/firm with no volume discount. Preference to anyone that wants more than 1. Thanks again.”

Lindsay’s 5am email: “Hi! I am very interested in your globes, including the one of the moon. My boyfriend made me clear out a LOT of my stuff since we just moved in together so I feel your pain. I do not have a globe though and definitely need a few…  I will love them as much as you! Thanks!”

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I say “made me” but really, I was happy to see it all go. When we drove away from our house with a Uhaul full of crap to give away, I felt a thousand pounds lighter. It felt really freeing and made this all very real. 

We’re moving in together. 

Now this isn’t a crazy thing to happen now days. Its happening more and more with us, crazy millennials. Co-habitating before marriage. Its better for our budget especially since we’re already having so many damn sleepovers anyways.  Its a great way to “test out” our mate to see if they are the real deal. You get to know all their dirty little secrets whether its old hummus under their bed, or his old “sexy” home videos. You learn if you can juggle responsibility together. You see what kind of team you are when it really matters. You find out if you can even tolerate the person in large doses. 

Its much different than being on a vacation or trip. While I also require that while vetting any of my potential partners, there is still an eventual end date on any trip. Moving in together means there’s really only two possible outcomes. 

1. You can heart wrenchingly pack up, dividing belongings and co-purchases, super charged with emotion as you wonder what to do with the thousands of photos and feel like your heart is being torn from your chest while you are roasted over a pit of lava. 

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2. You see it through, with all the good and the bad, sometimes not even speaking or sleeping in the same room. Maybe you add a couple more young, messy roommates, and totally mess up the vibe you both worked so hard to create until they leave again and then one of you dies. Thus, leaving the other to possibly wake up to your cold corpse and have to arrange your funeral and then live alone and wait for your turn or go back into the DATING SCENE. (Worse than death in my opinion.) 

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So yes, I’m saying, either way, we are doomed at this point. 

I’m not saying it isn’t worth it. I’m saying either way we are doomed in life and love. There is no easy way out. If you chose to truly love, you chose to put your heart and your life, in someone else’s hands. You have to be all in or it doesn’t work. 

Confession: I have never gone all in before. Sure, I was living with my ex, I was ring shopping and wedding scheming and playing house but it was to make him happy because his happiness made me happy. Now was this self sacrificing and in some ways, disingenuous? Maybe.

In the past I had been too selfish. I wanted to keep too much of my life separate, keeping relationships private, off social media. I wanted to “maintain my brand” and my image. A big part of me was just scared. I was scared if it didn’t work out that I would feel the fiery heartache of removing that person from my life, embarrassed, explaining to people over and over, or, gasp….changing my Facebook status to single, OH MY! 

I was so angry after my ex cheated because I had felt like I had let him into my life. I was his biggest supporter, helped his business and brought him into mine. We loved each others families and had dreamed of our own. 

But I wasn’t always all in. For the first year I rolled my eyes or teased him anytime he brought up marriage. I told him it was over rated and put down his fairy tale dreams because of my own troubled family history. I held my ground on issues that didn’t matter to me as much as I thought. I kept my own Carrie Bradshaw apartment as (a pretty sweet Airbnb side business) but also a “just in case” backup plan. 

I was guarded and I didn’t really let him in. Maybe it was my intuition. Maybe my walls were too high. Either way, when I moved back into my backup plan apartment, I took a long hard look at myself and realized I had made myself right. What you fear, you create.

Time to change. 

Now I could write another novel about how easy things with my new love have been, how we share the same views and values and spiritual practices but I wont bore you. ;) 

What I will say is that it feels so easy and it is a stress free love. (Which is ironic for two business owners with anxiety.) 

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I feel like this is a real shot at true love, loyalty and equal partnership so I had to make the choice to grow out of my comfort zone. I have to be fearless. Either I am getting my heart ripped out or I am getting my heart ripped out, but I know that theres always lessons to learn and life goes on. (Unless I die first.) 

So I cleared out half of my collections (clutter) and artifacts (things left by half a decade of old roommates and guests) and made space in my home, my heart, my life, for my love. 

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We are keeping his place in North PB as an Airbnb rental (its too sweet of a gig not to) and not as a back up plan (lets be real, his king size bed and massive bean bag are never getting back out of here.) Its an end of an era, the JediLounge is no longer a youth hostel, a travelers pit stop, but a real home. Time to settle in. Here goes everything! 

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Writing has been my greatest tool for understanding myself better.

It has been a therapy when the thoughts and words are swirling in my head, repeating themselves over and over, out of my control. Until I put the pen to paper or begin to type, I feel as if the words have control over me. My thoughts run away from me and writing them down is the only way to take the control back.

Writing makes me feel free. It also makes me feel naked.

The last few months I really challenged myself to be more open, more vulnerable. When my friends learn of my stories they have often said I need to write a book. I’ve always cringed at the idea.

“Maybe if I write it in a pen name! I don’t want random people to know my past or my secrets!”

The last nine months I have found the courage to share some of my most personal battles and the response has been incredible. Thousands of “random people” have read about my struggles as an entrepreneur, shared in my journey to overcome my greatest heartbreak and cried with me when sharing their own stories. Random people have become close friends.

When I hit publish on the first real scary blog post about my cheating ex last September, I held my breath. A huge part of me didn’t want anyone to read it. I knew it was an ugly truth and sad. It was something I needed to face in order to be set free from it. It was the first time a blog post I had written on my personal site had seen over a thousand views.

(My ex has since written his side of the story, and I feel like its only fair to share the other side. As he puts it, “its pretty dang cute.”)

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After writing about my mother’s addictions and my lifelong battle with anxiety last month, I was overwhelmed with support and love. People I had never met, people who I have only been connected to online, reached out to say they knew what I was feeling and they were looking for the same relief and peace. My hypnotherapist received 8 new clients from my post and besides being glad to help my amazing friend Kristyn grow her practice, I am in awe of how many people took proactive action to find their happiness.

My little blog post did that. Wow. Powerful stuff.

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Checking my google analytics after a scary blog post gives me heart palpitations. Most people are excited when 2,000 people visit their site. I feel exposed.

Turning hundreds of random people into real connections based on shared human experience is a life changing experience and scary as hell.

I’m not writing this to brag but to give myself the courage and recognition I need to continue to write. So many crazy things have happened and are happening to me all the time and if I can share a little bit of my insight, who knows how many people will find the tiniest bit of wisdom or inspiration to make changes in their life for the better.

own your story

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I haven’t been home in San Diego a full month and here I am in the Mayan Riviera in the Yucatan,  Mexico, on a completely spontaneous and unplanned trip.

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Monday I was heading to Vegas, working as a social media and event coordinator for a client at the Consumer Electronics Show for four days, when my friend asked me to come to Playa Del Carmen with her for the BPM music festival. It was way too last minute, way out of my budget and totally inconvenient.

She promised a free place to stay and the flight came from her stockpile of air miles from her even busier travel lifestyle. (Can you believe I have friends who travel MORE than me?)  I had no choice but to say yes.

Then panic hit me. Its always there, the anxiety and racing thoughts of all the shoulds and the responsibilities I am constantly taking on.

“I have so much to do.”

“I just got back from a major trip”

“I’m being irresponsible”

I had to answer all of these questions and doubts in my mind with what was being said in my heart.

“Just Go.”

I truly believe these opportunities open up for a reason. There is no accident my friend was in need of someone to come with her at the same time I was feeling the most pressure I have felt (from myself) in years.

Launching my second business, Givebackpackers, has been one of the most exciting and terrifying experiences of my life.  I am not just a consultant for a project or working for a specific campaign or event. Its entirely on me. However, its the first time I have had a business partner, and so its not entirely mine.

Working, traveling and having a very close friendship with someone is a wonderful and delicate situation. I love working with Krissy, I love traveling with her and seeing our dream come to life. We are living our purpose together. Helping people, while sharing the stories and creating a community of travelers with purpose, is the most rewarding thing either of us have ever done. Its also the most challenging.

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Having a business partner is like getting married. Both of those things have terrified me more than anything because of the risk of loss, heartache and betrayal. You have to trust completely, be open and honest and WORK on the communication, with patience, love and commitment.  I was finally willing to give the marriage thing a try a year ago and the whole thing crumbled around me leaving me with this feeling of absolute loss of control over my own life. It’s been an interesting year of examining my broken heart, my loss of all trust and what I learned from it. I want to throw myself back into that space of being open and trusting and glad I have a “wife” like Krissy to live this amazing life with. ;)

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I’m the kind of person that pours my heart and soul into something, weather it is my work, my volunteering or my partner, I want to give the best and deepest parts of myself but find myself hurt when I don’t get the same in return or things don’t work out like I planned. Thats one reason my new years resolution for 2015 was No Expectations.

This brings me to the Yucatan. While I was in Bali last month I kept thinking to myself, “This place is great, but its so far away and so touristy. I really love the Yucatan best.”

I thought this several times, knowing that I wanted to come back here and revisit the place I spent a few weeks backpacking in 2013. It was calling my heart and then the opportunity arose, completely unplanned and unexpected.

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I haven’t planned out the next week. My girlfriend only stayed the weekend and went back to LA for work commitments. Here I am now, “alone” but surrounded by amazing, intelligent, fun and spontaneous travelers from around the world. I’ve got my new amazing camera and laptop, a shitty rental car that makes my 98 ford escort seem luxurious and a week of no expectations.

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I need this week of unplanned, solo adventures. While on our trip around the world I was completely consumed by Givebackpackers, the kickstarter campaign, updating the site, creating content, working with artisans, touring non profit projects, sleeping a few hours to make the most of the daylight and work hours and while I enjoyed the trip, it was definitely a lot of work. When I got home I didn’t slow down for a second. I had fundraising events and a volunteer trip to Mexico the same weekend. I went to LA for a GUESS event and developer meetings, then Palm Springs for a Givebackpackers photo shoot and every minute in between was meetings and working on the website I am building for Givebackpackers and other website projects for LMH Promotions clients. 

I spent Christmas alone, working. While I am not a big Christmas person at all, I still realize how much I have been pushing myself to achieve and accomplish too much, too quickly, under too much pressure. Last week I spent 3 days straight at my desk without leaving or eating. My friends were worried and would come by to get me out of the house for coffee or make me dinner so I ate. I realize I am an intense person and sometimes, you just have to take a break.

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No expectations. Just taking a break to breathe and get back to me. Thanks for reading. While I am not publishing this to justify to you why I am here, I am doing it to justify to me, while hopefully inspiring you to see where you might need to lessen your expectations of yourself and others as well. Take a breath, you deserve it.

P.S. If you need a real break, Tulum is Heaven on Earth

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September 27, 2014

I’ve had a lot of bad days. We all have. Contrary to what our facebook profiles might reflect, life is hard and sometimes it knocks us down so hard, no status or instagram filter can even begin to express how we feel.

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I scroll back through social media history, my timelines, messages and photos and see so many amazing memories, adventures, trips and friends, its hard to even believe the pain I have gone through the last year. You probably wouldn’t believe it by looking at my profiles or blog either. Here’s the truth, without shame or fear of what you might think, because the ugly parts are just as important.

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A year ago today, September 27th, 2013, my heart broke. I think it cracked right down the middle.

As I was flipping through photos on my boyfriends ipad, in our beautiful house by the beach, that together, we made a home, my stomach dropped as I saw photos of girls I recognized, models he had shot for his clients’ photoshoots the last few months, but they weren’t from any photoshoot. There were dozens of  photos of different girls, shameless selfies, photos of him in our bed he had definitely never sent me.  Even screenshots of naked pics from Snapchat. (Yeah, you think its a safe route, ladies?)

Even writing about it now makes me shake and feel sick.

I was in disbelief. I completely lost my mind that day, and while he was giving his Oscar worthy performance to prove his love for me and his “commitment to living a life of integrity,”

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I was getting all the details from the girls who I easily identified and were already fed up with his lies and manipulation.

One girl told me she felt terrible when she realized he “still” had a girlfriend and ended things with him after months of dating. He continued to pursue her until the day I caught him. She said he had convinced her we were done, that I had moved out but my stuff was still there. (He forgot to mention I was also paying rent.)

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She sent me the letters he sent her with the same things he told me, showed me cards and photos of coffee and flowers he delivered her while I was away, working.

She even told me the day he had flown to Vegas to surprise me, picked out an engagement ring and even discussed the story we would tell our grandkids about “this day,” he had woken up in her bed.

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From the day he surprised me in Vegas to take me ring shopping. I was so fooled.

Devastated is a word that is commonly misused, but I think it is fitting to describe how I felt.

I loved him and was not ring shopping and building a life and home together because I enjoy playing pretend. I was in it for real and I was in deep. I loved so hard that it hurt me and my individuality. I gave up parts of myself and my life that I loved because I wanted to sacrifice to show I cared. I lost a lot of who I was and it has taken me a year to regain a lot of it back.

I threw myself into work. I “picked myself back up” instantly because I didn’t want people to think I was weak. I wanted to get back to being happy because, well, I am Miss “Live More Happy.” I didn’t want to be depressed over someone who didn’t value and respect me.

A week later I was giving a talk to 100 entrepreneur women about overcoming obstacles at Inner Goddess Unleashed, and the following weekend I was hosting a fundraiser and coordinating 25 volunteers on a trip to Mexico to visit Door of Faith Orphanage.

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I put my happy face on and got into “do” mode, so that I could avoid “being.” Just being me, being still, being here, meant I had to feel the pain and face the reality. No matter what I did, where I flew off to, I could not escape what I felt inside.

I kept my heart completely guarded. I decided men were of no interest and the ones I did spend time with were distractions, remaining completely unattached and closed off to anyone that could mean anything.

I joked that I built a wall of smart, beautiful and inspiring women around me, but it is true. The kindness, patience, support and love that has poured out of my friends on to me has been the most beautiful acts of friendship I have ever seen.

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Because of this situation, I now feel more connected and loved than ever before in my life. You ladies tolerated me at my worst and loved me even harder. I’m crying for the first time while writing this because of how deeply you have touched my heart.

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In a very “The Other Woman” kind of way, I even have bonded with several of the other girls he was seeing. We have chosen kindness and to support each other, looking past the negative common denominator and have become honest friends over our other common interests. (Let’s face it, he has excellent taste in women.) I had to learn to remove my own insecurity, jealousy and anger and feel empathy for their hurt and frustration as well. (Happy Anniversary to you too, ladies. I love you.)

I have learned more about compassion and self love this past year than in 25 years of being alive. I had to have my heart and trust completely broken. I have shared more about myself, become more vulnerable with the people I know and with people I don’t. I’ve had people I’ve never met reach out to love and support me, tell me they knew how I felt.

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I have attended the School of Inner Beauty, created my own sisterhood retreat centered around community service and purpose, and recently joined the Free Your Voice coaching group where I am stepping outside my comfort zone even further to express my heart through song. I am even shifting my blog from a “database of events and causes” to my personal story with my first person voice to share my journey through the struggle to live more happy. I realized I have been hiding a lot of who I am and by sharing more of myself, my “weakness” and my heartache, I have become closer and more connected to people I never knew were even listening.

I’m certainly closer to myself, and in fact, got engaged to me during a wonderful heARTists way workshop hosted by Debbie Lichter and Jess Johnson.

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Thank YOU for being apart of it. Thank you for reading this and weather you can relate or just think I am crazy, thank you for being here and now, sharing with me in my moment of truth and honesty, regardless of how scared it makes me.

There you have it, my ugly truth. It has been the best year and the worst year, but as much as I used to wish I could go back and somehow change everything, I wouldn’t.

 

One of those girls I discovered in that ipad is still with him, and they just publicly celebrated their year anniversary in July. If they are proud enough to share it, so am I! ;)Live More Happy cheating breakup heartbreak Red photobooth photographer David Manning Photographers  DMP photography San Diego American Idol Morgan Leigh Boberg Band cheater

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Well, if the rest is history, here I am! ;)

I am proud to celebrate my year anniversary with myself, my true, honest self, today, September 27, 2014.

*** UPDATE: To read HIS side of the story for an interesting perspective, visit his site***

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Oh, and HelloAmanda, you were right. ;)

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I have an amazing life and love coach. Her name is Jess Johnson and she is helping me to free my heart and my voice.

Free Your Voice is a sacred container to reawaken the music within our heart and soul. It is a personal, intimate group experience that combines personal coaching with real time virtual experiences to help nourish, stimulate and evoke our creative spirit into a personal expression of love, empowerment and healing!

She is pushing us out of our comfort zone, pushing us to reach deeper inside for our truth, to find our courage to show up and to love.

Jess has greatly impacted me in my personal growth the past 5 months, in opening my heart to forgive, love myself deeper and allowing myself to be open to love from others again as well. Words cannot express the magic that has happened in my heart after only a few hours of working with her. Only song could do that. ;)

I chose to attend the School of Inner Beauty in May instead of Lightening in a Bottle and it was a life changing decision. I was able to bond deeper with many of my friends, create new bonds and became so much more open and vulnerable than I had ever let myself be. Jess and her co-heARTist, Debbie Lichter led a day of song, dance and jewelry making, all around the intention of loving and expressing ourselves without judgement.

Writing and singing used to be my outlet for the pain and frustration I felt all growing up. My mother was lost in her addiction and my dad didn’t know how to connect with me. I turned to my writing and would sing and write my own songs to release whatever was breaking me down from the inside out.

One day I decided that achieving goals, helping others and BUSYness was the way to overcome the pain. Writing became work, a task on my to do list and singing only happens in the car or at a concert. I lost the deepest connection to myself and now I am ready to feel that freedom again.

I started Live More Happy as a way to freely express things I love and my passions, aside from my LMH Promotions brand. I wanted a place to share myself and yet I have been so filtered and hesitant to really open up. (What will you think of me????)

Jess said something on the Free Your Voice call today that really resonated with me.

“Powerful women often times are the ones who stuff down our vulnerability and  truth the most. We are afraid if we show the vulnerability and fear or sadness we will be considered weak and so we don’t share it, we stuff it down, block it out, put on a smile because joy is ok, happiness is ok but rage and anger and grief are not ok. If we show them what will the men and woman around us think of us? We have the opportunity to lead with our vulnerability. The more vulnerability we show the stronger we are. Sometimes its subtle, just exposing a depth of your heart you have never exposed before.”

So here I am, offering a new voice of vulnerability, commitment to deeper truth, sharing more of me and giving you permission to do the same.

 “We dont sing to be good, we sing to be free.” -J.J.

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(I obviously highly recommend Jess as your coach too, no need to have a singing voice or musical skills. Just a 30 minute call with her changed my entire week. Contact her at heartliberation@gmail.com)

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