Just kidding. Nobody texts me that. I've been in hiding, though. More than I'd like to admit and will take the chance now to apologize to friends and family that I couldn't always show up for. (Yet I am still so loved and supported by you all. Grateful. Grateful.) I've been connecting with myself again. Remembering what it's like to be honest. and vulnerable. and soft. and silly. and light. and present. Some of you may know that I hit the lowest point of my depression recently but I am thankful for that period of time because it allowed me to be more aware of and active about my battle with mental health. I could start to put a face on pain and recognized darker pieces of myself and of my past that I had suppressed. I can admit now that I allowed myself to be in certain situations and did things that did not always reflect the love I wanted to have for myself and others. It's challenging, sitting with yourself and getting intimate with your fears, doubts, insecurities, regrets, aspirations and whatever else we may run from sometimes but I wanted to be able to embrace the darkness as much as the light. I was seeking love. I was taught forgiveness. I was given time to rest and rejuvenate. In sitting with and accepting all of the pieces of myself, I could move towards true healing and creating balance within.
I've been meaning to release these photos for some time but didn't do so sooner because I couldn't think of what to say for this piece. I was dabbling with themes of self-love, acceptance, blahbity blah but it didn't feel sincere. I realized I was writing about everything before giving thanks to the very most important thing: God. In every moment, every breath, every thing- God has been and is always there for me. It's funny, how presence has been the biggest theme of my life this past year. So many things pointing me towards the healing and the love that is available for me here and now. Even with my domain name: "Here With Ellie", I didn't fully realize then what a catalyst it would be for me to move towards a simpler, more grounded lifestyle. We are given so much in life yet we are never really content with what we have or who we are. Constantly craving. Seeking. Striving. Resisting.
"be softer with you.
you are a breathing thing.
a memory to someone.
a home to a life."
— nayyirah waheed
There was a quiet little revolution that happened when I decided to love myself. When I told myself that I didn't want to spend any more time giving into thoughts, behaviors, people, situations and things that weren't allowing me to be my most authentic / happiest self. It's been a journey of unlearning what it means to be beautiful, successful and human for me. There is a connection to Love that can't be severed whether the lover stays or leaves, no matter what people may say or think and it is certainly not dependent on how I look or material possessions. I have been more comfortable in my own skin and trusting that I am exactly where I need to be. It is an ongoing process of self-discovery but "change is the rule, not the exception." Change is the natural way of things yet we hold onto so much. Often times we become dependent or possessive of things that can bring us joy and become hurt when it changes or we realize it is no longer is what we wanted it to be. Bring yourself into the present moment. This is what it is. Is this thing still aligned with what you want and who you want to become? Can you accept it fully in your heart for what it is or are you holding onto what was / what you want it to be / because you think it's what you should do? There have been so many times where I felt it in my very bones that something wasn't right for me but I still held onto it because I don't know... my faith in God wasn't as strong as it is now. I needed something to be the bridge to this place of infinite love and abundance, without realizing it was inside of me all along. There is always love for me here and now so I don't need to stress over anything that isn't ready or willing or meant to reciprocate the energy that I give. (Loving yourself is not selfish. Loving another should not be all sacrifice. For all the women in my life who I've seen give and give. and break. Let go and let God.)
This isn't to say that I have resolved all of my issues or that I don't still encounter pain and loss and failure. It's through understanding cycles of good and bad times that I can find peace in the present moment. The wheel will keep on turning but we can move with it when we are centered. Look at how far we've come, though. There were so many times we didn't think we would make it through but we did. We're still here. It's beautiful, really. I was praying the other morning and thanked God for the strength and patience that carried me through these past few months. Life is still the same, forever funking with you when you think you've got something figured out... but I realized that I am different. I feel stronger. I feel more confident with expressing myself and happy with the work that I do. For the first time in a long time, I am feeling things fully again. I love my body, I love my face, I love my voice, my leg hairs, my teeth. My heart breaks and I let it. I'm singing and dancing and creating and laughing and crying. I am able to give more to the people in my life and career from a place of authenticity. Over time, being immersed in the present became more natural and wasn't so far and few between from one moment to the next. As long as I know I can always return to the present (even though we are always here), I know I have love and clarity and abundance. And I have a whole lifetime and then some to dive deeper. #itslit
Some things that have helped me cultivate a practice of being present come from holistic healing remedies such as meditation, yoga, crystals, mantras, pranayama (breathing) and being out in nature. I mentioned before that I've kept away from my creativity and spirituality because I was afraid but I had to give myself permission to BE. These are the things that my heart always come back to and call out for when I stray too far away. It was about time that I listened. I love myself enough to commit and allow myself to evolve through the things that love me back. Yoga teaches me to move fluidly and challenges me on and off the mat. Mantras allow me to tune into higher vibrations through intentions and sounds. Meditation keeps me grounded. My life and vitality comes from my breath. Crystals are always readily available to offer healing and protection. Being out in nature teaches me how to be without being attached to the outcome.
I am still in the thick of my battle with mental health but it doesn't have power over me like it used to. (All of these practices help immensely but also clinical + professional help plays a huge role in treatment as well.) I share all of this because I don't want to feel like I need to be "ready" or "good enough" before I can be truly happy. We are perfect just as we are and exactly where we are. When have you ever looked at a tree or a flower or an animal and wanted to change it into something other than what it is. Whatever gives you permission to be, live in it. Love in it. Give through it. Whether it be jobs, relationships, hobbies, passions, your self-expression - what you have to give is what this world needs. So... what's holding you back?
With all my love,