living intuitively

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Posts tagged good vibes
The O T H E R
Styling and Images by Whitney Richardson Photography  Model Lily Cuoio

Styling and Images by Whitney Richardson Photography

Model Lily Cuoio

“I’m here to challenge you.”

As soon as my warrior queen friend Julie told me this, I acknowledged its brilliance and added it to my phone’s Notes. We’re all here to learn from each other. The people in our lives are there for a reason, I truly believe this. Every interaction, no matter how seemingly minor, has a purpose. We’re all here to learn from each other, inspire each other, empower each other, LOVE each other.

Everyone you meet has something to teach you. EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. I’m willing to go out on a limb and posit you’re like me and haven’t mastered every single thing there is to master in the universe, and don’t know every thing there is to know. No matter how mature or advanced or enlightened or “woke” we are, there is ALWAYS something to learn. Maybe it’s a productivity hack. Maybe it’s a fitness pointer, or a financial tip, or a navigational shortcut. Maybe it’s a spiritual revelation. Maybe it’s even an example of what not to do.

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And technology has shrunk our world even more. More people from whom to learn and with whom to connect. So let’s all do each other a solid and keep (respectfully + lovingly) challenging each other.

And I challenge you to challenge yourself. Watch news from a different network, read a book outside your area of expertise/comfort, learn about a new religion, try something new - not to confirm pre-existing notions, but to question and expand your beliefs/outlook/assumptions/repertoire. Grow baby grow.

As Holocaust survivor/activist/author/professor Elie Wiesel advises, the more we are able to accept the many aspects of who we are, however contradictory those aspects are, the more easily we can accept others, with all their contradictions.

The extent to which we accept ourselves is the extent to which we accept others - ALL others, not just those aligned with our beliefs/lifestyle/etc.

So again, this requires:

  • Self awareness

  • Shadow work (face your demons, your repressed emotions, your fears, your S H A D O W S)

  • Self love


If you have issues with others, it’s a sure sign you have an issue with yourself. You’re projecting somehow. Our perceptions of others are reflections of ourselves. If we see a trait in others we don’t like, it’s because it’s triggering something within us, a shadow part of us. It’s triggering a fear/hurt/etc. It’s the ego at play, trying to protect us: protect our mental/physical/emotional health. Trying to preserve our dignity/sense of self. Our learned identity.

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It is the otherness of the other that fascinates me... What can I learn from him? What does he see that I do not, cannot?
— Elie Wiesel


We each have blind spots, just as every candle casts its own shadow. Only when you place a second candle next to the first do the shadows disappear, illuminated by the other’s light.

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A beautiful aspect of diversity is we EACH have our own way of perceiving the world, mixed with our unique set of background/chemical makeup/experience/etc. Even identical twins don’t share exactly the same outlook. We’re all like snowflakes, and we ALL have something distinctive and special to contribute.

That’s why:

  1. It doesn’t matter how saturated an industry is: We all have our individual eye/voice/view. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a photographer amid 25,000 other photographers in your city. No one has your same eye, your same touch.

  2. It’s crucial you nurture and celebrate and promote your individuality! Your quirks and eccentricities. They’re what SET YOU APART and make you SPECIAL. They constitute your superpower!


The distance between us is necessary, not something to turn away from.
— Elie Wiesel

When encountering someone with differing beliefs, listen to them. Listen to find their strength, not their weakness. Listen to enhance your own understanding, to enrich your own perspective; not to find holes on which to pounce, or incompetencies on which to judge.

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And respect the distinctions among us. If we believe we’re all the same, we might be tempted to prescribe identical solutions to all. In other words, we might think others are feeling the same feelings we are, and require the same remedy we do. Sure, it’s important to recognize our commonalities and collectiveness, but let’s not forget to acknowledge and celebrate our differences!

We need each other precisely for our differences and our diverse experiences. Those differences can cause conflict, and that conflict can be destructive or constructive, depending on our approach and mindset. Sometimes conflict can be good, to challenge the status quo, or our way of thinking/believing. If we never had challengers, we’d never have innovation. We wouldn’t have scientific breakthroughs, or technological advances, or humanitarian improvements.




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Entertaining different opinions and outlooks fortifies our understanding and stimulates our thinking. Even if we end up keeping our perspective, it can strengthen our grasp of the matter at hand. Staying in our echo chamber, shunning opposition and diversity, only weakens us, in ever way.

So let’s do our part to open our hearts and our minds to the “other.”

xx,

w




Copy of d a r k . 2. L I G H T
Concept and images by me  Model: Byron Hunt

Concept and images by me

Model: Byron Hunt

I don’t live in darkness. Darkness lives in me.

We’ve all faced darkness. Sure, some more than others but we’ve all been there, experiencing it ourselves/encountering it in others.

We’ve also all experienced challenges and struggles; again, to varying degrees.

It doesn’t matter who you are or how much you have in your bank account. It doesn’t matter if your social life is poppin’ or if your abs pop. Darkness is equal opportunity. It affects people of all classes, of all races, of all backgrounds.

Some people have enough inner light to repel it. Yeah, they might feel down and out for a bit, but ultimately, the light triumphs. Glow baby glow.

For some people, the darkness permeates, and sometimes it’s harder to shake.

It doesn’t matter what your experiences are - being a human can be tough stuff! Just as we’re advised not to compare our highlight reels - we also should avoid comparing our “lowlight reels” so to speak. Our behind the scenes. Our challenges and obstacles. Our sucker punches life throws us.

We’re all on different journeys, with different psyches and pasts and mindsets and cumulative experiences. Maybe you’re a single parent eking out a life for yourself and your young. Maybe you’re a cancer patient fighting to keep a smile on your face and a resolve in your heart. Maybe you’re a teenager navigating your way in a world of bullies and heartbreaks. Or maybe you have a fantastic life by all general standards yet still feel empty.

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How beautiful is the relationship between the moon and the dark night sky. So contrasting, yet so incomplete without each other.

It’s all hard!! Try not to compare your “hard” and try not to feel guilty for feeling knocked down by life sometimes.

Just accept! Accept your emotions. The more you deny yourself feeling them, the stronger they become. As they say, what you resist, persists.

Life offers ebbs and flows. Peaks and valleys. No two experiences are the same - even within your own life! It depends on your current mental/emotional state.

Think about it - sometimes an issue that would normally knock you on your face barely fazes you, while other times, merely dropping a pen can elicit instant rage and a “F M L!!!!!!!!!!”

And the comparison can flow the other way too! Try not to diminish/discredit others’ experiences. Just because someone hasn’t confronted the same quantity/quality of challenges as you doesn’t mean their life is easier. Like I said, it depends on their current mental/emotional state, which depends on multiple factors: their upbringing, their relationships, their health, etc. Shoot, even their current spot on the hanger scale! We truly have NO idea what people are working with and feeling. So let’s all hug - or at least high five - one another - and show kindness and empathy.

It fascinates me how we all have inner worlds to which no one else is privy. Every time I pass someone on the street, I want to know their story: challenges they’ve overcome, accomplishments they’ve achieved, etc. WE ALL HAVE STORIES.

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I myself have experienced my own share of darkness. I’m definitely an empath, so when i feel, I friggin’ F E E L. And I take on other people’s energies/emotions. This sensitivity is both a benefit and a drawback. I appreciate it because it allows me to relate to and care for people on a whole other level (you fellow empaths can relate!), but it also gets me down and stresses me out. I feel the injustices of the world so acutely, particularly as they apply to others. Almost always, when I’m bumming/stressing, it’s on another’s behalf.

I’m still working on setting the boundaries for worrying about others, but as far as my personal darkness - my tried and true method for banishing the blues and maintaining a lasting zest for life - no matter my current situation - is facing it. Not denying it, or fleeing it, or resisting it. Leaning into it. Analyzing it. Letting others in. I’m a big advocate for therapy (and if you’ve tried therapy but didn’t connect with your therapist - keep looking! Vibing with your therapist is key).

And finally, be G R A T E F U L. Gratitude is deceptively powerful. So simple, so cliche…yet SO TRANSFORMATIVE. It truly makes all the difference. It may take significant effort initially to adopt an appreciative mindset. It’s a muscle you must strengthen, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.

My trick is whenever I encounter a sucky situation or draining emotion, I think of three things for which I’m thankful. It’s straight MAGIC. It kicks those good vibes into gear and lights you right up.

No, really. Try it.

I also think of three ways the situation could be worse - and THAT also is profoundly effective. Suddenly, you’re feeling pretty dang good about your current status.

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To deny your broken bits is doing yourself a great deal of injustice. It is the broken parts of you that grew you the most.

You’ve heard it before but that’s because it’s da TRUTH: Every challenge/obstacle/hardship you face is a b l e s s i n g. It’s an opportunity to grow and evolve. To get smarter, stronger, and better. To relate to others and inform your future experiences.

Acknowledge, accept, and honor your challenges. Be grateful for them, for they’re specifically what you need to evolve. Customized launch pads to strength, success, and wisdom.

xx,

-w-

*This post is not meant to discredit the use of psychotropics. Take control of your own health and please also consider consulting a psychiatrist/other mental health professional if necessary!











L O V E yaself
Images shot by Abbey Armstrong Photography  Edited by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images shot by Abbey Armstrong Photography

Edited by Brooke Richardson Photography

The only cure I have ever known for fear and doubt and loneliness is an immense love of self.
— Alison Malee

I think I’m awesome.

Please don’t be put off by that. I want Y O U to feel the same about yourself.

And you can!

Do I think I’m awesome 100% of the time? Don’t get it twisted: I have my moments of discouragement/frustration/etc, but overall - I always LOVE myself, which is especially important during those moments of discouragement and frustration. I think I’m a rad chick.

You owe yourself the love you so freely give to other people.
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I had to work hard to get to that point. That unconditional self love.

BUT YOU CAN TOO!

You too can create an abiding self love, independent of your moods/feelings/triggers/experiences/environments.

It requires practice and awareness. It requires facing your shadows. Feeling - not repressing - your emotions. Reserving judgment and extending grace. Being honest and not feeding yourself stories just to make yourself feel better (this only feeds the ego and creates a faux, insecure self love). It also requires a touch of tough love, and calling yourself out when necessary, to live into your potential/cease the false narrative/incorporate the discipline.

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Comparison is an act of violence against the self.

It’s not easy at first, but once you get a taste of true self love - YOU SEE IT’S WORTH IT. You realize how powerful, necessary, liberating, and impactful it is.

Self love is imperative. Not like, “Gee, it’d be ideal if you loved yourself, but it’s whatevs.”

Nah. IT’S NOT WHATEVS.

It’s absolutely c r u c i a l not only to your ultimate wellbeing and happiness, but also to the wellbeing and happiness of your inner circle, of your outer circle, and of the whole entire world.

I know, I know, you’re likely thinking, “Okay, dramatic much?”

But it’s true. If you want to change the world, start with yourself. The ripple effect starts with you. Happy people radiate and perpetuate bliss and good vibes. It’s all about energy, man. It’s the currency of the universe. Your energy introduces you before you even speak. Once you get right with yourself and start riding those high vibes, you’ll be amazed how it affects the space/people around you (I discuss this in my latest episode with Izzy Ramirez). That’s not just Hippie Whitney talking. That’s science. Physics. Your thoughts/actions carry energy, and people/life around you responds according to the frequency you emit.

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Be the type of energy that no matter where you go, you always add value to the spaces and lives around you.

Don’t believe me? Think about a time you were feeling great/okay, and encountered someone in a less-than-stellar mood. Even if you manage to stay on that high vibe, you’re still affected to an extent by the negativity. And don’t even get me started with consistently toxic people.

Self love makes you happy. Happiness gives you energy, drive, stamina, compassion. (Plus, as Elle Woods rightfully noted, it fights crime and preserves marriages because “happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.”)

Shoutout to all the people out there trying to love themselves in a world that’s constantly telling them not to.

And ESPECIALLY if you have kids in your life, modeling self love yourself is key in developing their own. Particularly regarding body image. Society already demands they contort themselves to meet impossible and elusive ideals. Set your kids up for success and mitigate societal damage by expressing self love, especially during those impressionable younger years.

Daring to love yourself is an act of rebellion in this world. LET’S REBEL TOGETHER.

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How sad is it that society has taught us to view people’s expression of self love as arrogance. Self absorption. Narcissism. When we see someone celebrate their win, or acknowledge their skill, or comment, “Hey, I look smokin’!” we tend to dismiss them is “sooo into themselves.”

SAD.

That should be our baseline. We should allow ourselves and others the space to embrace our awesomeness. Our beauty and smarts. Our talent and skill. Sure, we don’t want to get obnoxious about it and go on and on about how ahhhmaaaze we are.

There’s a distinction between self love and insecurity. When you’re solid in yourself and truly love yourself, you’re secure - and have the mental and emotional bandwidth to love and care about others. When you’re insecure, you tend to overcompensate. You feel compelled to seek validation externally. When you love yourself, you internally validate yourself.

So DECIDE RIGHT NOW to win yourself over. Commit to falling in love with yourself and watch your life absolutely TRANSFORM.

xx,

-w-

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32 L E S S O N S
Images by Abbey Armstrong Photography   Edited by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Abbey Armstrong Photography

Edited by Brooke Richardson Photography

Age is irrelevant. Ask me how many sunsets I’ve seen, hearts I’ve loved, trips I’ve taken, or concerts I’ve been to. That’s how old I am.
— Joelle

Coming up on 32 trips around the sun. Thirty-freaking-two. That shit’s bananas, yo.

Absolutely W I L D.

I’m not old. I’ve just been young for a very long time.

I am fully committed to improving with age. Learning and evolving and polishing and refining myself in every single way - and ACCEPTING myself in the process. Loving myself through the evolution. That last part is key, yeah??

It’s about not resenting your current status/situation. Not bullying yourself through it. Not wishing it were otherwise. Just simply telling yourself, “Okay cool, this is where we are. I recognize that. I accept that. And I know I have so much more to give. So LET’S DO DIS.” Basically…”I see where I am, but I know where I’m going.” High five?! HIGH FIVE.

In honor of my 32nd birthday (or princess day, as I like to call it, because everyone should feel like royalty on their birthday) I’m sharing 32 lessons I’ve learned thus far.

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  1. Too much discipline can be as harmful as not enough.

  2. Gratitude is THE BEST way to get back to good when you’re stressed/sad/pissed/bitter/anxious/uncertain. It’s a magical salve!

  3. Love is an infinite resource. There is always more where that came from, so keep tapping into that resource and sprinkling that shiz everywhere.

  4. People care more about how you make them feel than how many degrees/talents/accolades/achievements/possessions you have.

  5. You don’t have to explain yourself.

  6. Let your intuition reign supreme. Save yourself time and regret and don’t ignore it/silence it/intellectualize it. Especially when it comes to the next point, which is:

  7. When it comes to relationships, someone’s potential is irrelevant if they’re not pursuing it. And as previously stated, honor your intuition.

  8. A messy start trumps no start.

  9. Minimalism is undervalued, in pretty much all areas of your life. This plays into the next lesson:

  10. Quality over quantity. With clothes. With friends. With business ventures. With home decor. With exercise hours.

  11. Your body is significantly more intelligent than you can even imagine. Don’t try to outsmart it. Which corresponds with the next few lessons:

  12. Your biography becomes your biology. Your body reflects your stresses/traumas/life choices.

  13. Adopt a holistic approach when healing your body.

  14. Get on the same team as your body. Don’t try to resist/fight/shame/bully it into submission. No matter how you abuse it, it still strives to keep you alive every second of every day, with every heartbeat. Now that’s love! Recognizing its loyalty to you is a game changer. Instead of wishing for a thigh gap, express thanks for those strong quads.

  15. Live intuitively, particularly regarding your health. Your body instinctively knows what it needs. Once you learn to tune into it, you’re set. Try not to intellectualize your fitness and nutrition. Don’t follow a certain regimen just because it’s the latest fad, or because a social media guru recommended it, or because your bestie glowed up with it, or because you want to look a certain way. Every body is different (what works for me might not work for you), and your body’s requirements fluctuate daily. So try to clean your palate (minimize the processed foods in favor of foods in their natural form), pay attention to what your body tells you after a meal/workout, and adjust accordingly. Once you vibe with your body, you’ll be blown away by its intelligence. Whether you listen or not, it’s constantly communicating what it needs for you to look and feel your best. Let it be the boss.

  16. How you feel matters far more than how you look.

  17. Confidence is K E Y. If you OWN it, it doesn’t matter what you look like, or how much you know, or how talented you are. And since we’re all works in progress, let confidence bridge the gap from where you are and where you want to be (with your body, your business, etc). Fake it ‘til you make it, if necessary, which leads to:

  18. Your thoughts are mind-blowingly powerful. Like the quote says, if you knew how truly powerful your thoughts are, you’d never think a negative thought. So get on those daily affirmations: “You is kind, you is smahhht, you is impohhhtant.”

  19. Nature is the best therapy. Instant energy re-charger and soul restorer.

  20. Energy rules the universe. It all comes down to energy. This isn’t hippie talk, y’all. Don’t believe me?! Even Albert Einstein says so: “Everything is energy and that's all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.”

  21. Your biggest act of kindness to the world is getting right with yourself. When you’re at peace and solid in who you are, it’s a ripple effect: you radiate love and acceptance. And this world desperately needs more love and acceptance.

  22. It’s always worth an ask. Whether you’re asking for a date, a promotion, or an extra side of hot sauce - you’d be amazed what you can get if you just dare to ask.

  23. Save yourself time and sanity and don’t try to do it all (STILL learning this). Your time and energy are worth money and are finite resources. Know when it’s worth it to DIY, and when it’s better to outsource. This plays into:

  24. Stop the glorification of busy. Stop considering an impossibly-packed schedule a badge of honor. The truly successful people know how to best invest their time and energy to maximize their strengths and yield the greatest results. They also understand:

  25. Re-charging and reflection are essential, for your productivity, sanity, health, and creativity. Inspiration usually strikes not when you’re actively/aggressively luring it, but when you’re taking a breather.

  26. Normalcy is an illusion. Everyone is “weird” so own your weirdness. Your uniqueness is your superpower.

  27. Feel your emotions, don’t repress them. What you resist, persists. If you ignore/deny/shove them down, they’ll just fester and pop up eventually - in magnified form. The trick is to feel them and let them move through your body without wallowing. Emotions are emotions - they’re not good, they’re not bad. They just…are.

  28. You can appreciate others’ beauty without diminishing your own.

  29. There are multiple types of intelligence; don’t judge your intelligence or others’ by one definition. Some people are masterful musicians (sound smart), or brilliant logisticians/mathematicians (number/reasoning smart), or natural athletes (bodily-kinesthetic smart), or gifted linguists (word smart), or…the list goes on. So the next time you feel tempted to judge someone for mistaking you/you’re, consider how you’d feel if someone assessed your intelligence solely on your calculus skillz. Appreciate and play to your strengths, and honor and acknowledge others’.

  30. Everybody has a story to tell. Stay interested in others.

  31. You never know what life has in store. Do your best to enjoy the ride. Celebrate the highs. Cherish the “minor” moments. Appreciate the tough times for the lessons they teach and the strength they impart. Stay jazzed on life and never ever become numb to its beauty.

  32. Balance is the key to life.

Let’s never stop learning.

xx,

-w-

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There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.
— Sophia Loren














where Y O U are
Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
— Melody Beattie

It can be all too easy to wish life away. To focus on what you’re lacking/wanting rather than on what you already have.

“Once I earn my degree, life will be easier and I can breathe a sigh of relief.”

“My life would be so much more meaningful if I had children.”

“My life can really start once I’m married/have a life partner.”

“When my finances are solid, then I can catch my breath and enjoy life.”

How about enjoying life on the way to those goals? How about focusing on what you do have instead of what you don’t? How about celebrating your current situation?

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If all you did was just look for things to appreciate, you would live a joyous, spectacular life.
— Abraham Lincoln

This seems to blow some people’s minds when I tell them, but I can genuinely say I have never minded being single. I have never been the girl who needs to be in a relationship. I would much rather do my own thing than be with someone I’m not 100% into. Yes, a major part of that is I’m independent AF, but I’m also perfectly happy in a relationship.

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We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
— Abraham Lincoln



The trick is I focus on the benefits of each status.

For example, the bonuses of flying solo are:

  • Crushing hard on that tall beautiful stranger at the gym

  • Considering your options

  • Flirting shamelessly (with other single guys!)

  • Receiving those cute initial texts

  • Creating nicknames with your friends

  • Going on a first date and wondering where it’ll lead

  • Being selfish with your time and covers ;)



And on the other hand, the upsides to a committed relationship are:

  • “Fun stuff” (yep, that fun stuff)

  • Cuddling

  • Someone to share life with (to include but not limited to: major moments, inside jokes, challenges, adventures)

  • Instant “plus one” to weddings

  • Someone to dress up with on Halloween (we all know this is the real winner and should be at the top of the list)

  • Someone to SPOIL

  • Having “your person”

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Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.

Same concept applies to other situations! For example, I can’t wait to have littles of my own someday, but until then, I’m soaking up the advantages of a current childless existence. For example, every time I take a nap whenever the hell I want, or sleep in, or take off on a spontaneous getaway, I think, “Couldn’t do this [easily] if I were a mama!” On the flip side, I can’t imagine the love you parents experience for your little ones, and the special moments you share.

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The takeaway here is just being grateful for wherever you are in life, while working toward what you want.

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Don’t settle! Don’t force anything! Don’t rush anything! Don’t wish your life away!

Sure, you may have moments where you feel less than awesome and just REALLY FRIGGIN’ WANT THAT promotion/degree/ring/bambino but if you spend the majority of your time focusing on the positives, then you’re golden.

xx,

-w-

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