A STRANGER WIPED MY TEARS

I cried ugly tears. 

While resting onto my mat the weight of all of life's disruptions I'd encountered in the days leading up to my departure date, another yogi who was volunteering came knelt down beside my mat and gently began to press her palm into my back. She was forcing me to take it deeper. With the next exhale tears began to flow freely from my eyes and there was nothing I could do to stop them. I slightly lifted my head and quickly felt her free hand begin to wipe my tears.

She didn't know me, but she knew what my heart needed in that moment. 

Freedom. 

I was still trying to maneuver within my comfort zone and it was as if she knew that wasn't going to cut it here.

Most of my time leading up to the retreat had been spent preparing my brain for all of the information we'd received during instructor training. I wanted to be ready. You know, just in case someone asked me the anatomical benefits of question while I was fixing a bowl of oatmeal. I'd listened to some of the training videos again while packing my luggage, re-read all of the information I'd highlighted during our weekly video sessions, and practiced at a local studio at least once a day. Once my yoga-bestie Stephanie dropped me off at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, I gathered my packet and name tag from the welcome table, made my way to a group of women who were also attending the retreat and eventually boarded one of the doubler-decker charter buses as one of the only chocolate drops in attendance. 

It was the first night of the Fall Holy Yoga Retreat, and I was already a complete mess. 

And if I'm really being honest, I was a mess before I got there. 

2016 had ended with heartache and betrayal. The type of hurt that seems to make you pull away from your body and look at your life like it's a movie.  A movie that was in need of a better ending. So to keep myself from wallowing in regret and shoulda-coulda-but-didn'ts, I threw myself into my work. I pushed my health and wellness business to new heights, wrote and published my first book, and even relaunched my web design business. I figured the busier I was I wouldn't have time to feel. 

Yea...there is no "busy" when you're on a ranch in Arizona at almost 7,000 ft. above sea level.

There's only time. 

Time to break so you can finally take the time to heal.

Feeling the warmth of her hand on my back while in Child's Pose let something escape from my soul in the form of raging tears. All of my preparation of who I thought I needed to be when I got there vanished as God whispered to my heart, "This is who I need you to be right now. Be My daughter. Let Me hold you."

That's what I love about practicing Holy Yoga. It goes so much further than taking care of your body; it teaches you how to take care of your spirit.

The instructor continued to guide us through the rest of the flow as worship music created the perfect soundtrack to my rebirth. As I lay there in savasana, the final resting pose at the end of every Vinyasa yoga practice, the tears continued to stream down my face.

And she wiped them again. 

I rediscovered my inner-goddess that day. I used to know her very well, but I'd allowed people to break her down piece by piece. Little by little. Lie by lie. 

But she's here.

Forever. 

And I vow to live my life with such authenticity that those who are for me will continue to be drawn to my energy, and those who are not will remove themselves due to their discomfort with my truth. I want my days to be filled with people who welcome my nurturing, who embrace my comfort, who receive my compassion and who offer it all back to me as well. 

As you read these words, whoever you are and wherever you are, this is my prayer for you: "Father, may their heart be free enough to feel pain without becoming lost in it. May they know their identity is in You alone. May they know tears do not equal weakness, and that vulnerability only enhances rawness of their beauty. Amen."

Namaste.

 

xoxo,

Ashley Danielle

 

 

***If you haven't registered for the Holy Yoga Experience yet, there's still time! Join me this weekend in Mobile, AL by clicking the photo below. 

RESOLVE TO GROW: The Ultimate Guide To Thriving in 2018

In December of every year, I try to host a goal-setting party at my house with a few friends to help us get focused on the coming year. We laugh, we talk, we eat, we eat some more, we make vision boards and share our hopes and fears with one another. This year I decided to share some of the tools we will be using to keep our hearts centered on God, keep our minds focused on flushing out the vision He has placed within us, and our keep our bodies functioning as the temples they are. And I hope you will grab a few of these for yourself to make 2018 the year you decide to stop filling your moments with things simply to survive but to turn your spirit towards things that truly help you THRIVE!

ENJOY!


SWIMMING IN GRACE BY ASHLEY DANIELLE

Yep...I'm shamelessly starting out with my own book. Why? Because I wrote this book with a purpose, and I wholeheartedly still believe the words on these pages with break chains and transform hearts. Even though Swimming In Grace chronicles my abortion experience in college, I want people to understand it's not a book about abortion. It's about about grace. It's about God's ability to renew us after we have made a series of decisions that could have broken us. If you've ever felt like you were drowning in the aftermath of one bad decision, no matter what it was, this book is for you. As a bonus, it also includes a 7-day devotional in the back to help you really dig into your own Truth and receive a new understanding of what God's grace looks like in your daily life. Seriously...get it NOW and just come back to read the rest of this when you're done. Tee-hee.

Property of ImAlwaysAshley.com

Property of ImAlwaysAshley.com

 

BRUISED BUT NOT BROKEN BY TORRIE CHATMAN

Have you ever read a book that left you absolutely wrecked in the most beautiful way? This was definitely one of those books. I had the pleasure of meeting Torrie at a women's conference over 6 years ago when she stopped to ask me if I was "Always Ashley from Instagram". Ha! And even if God hadn't blessed us to grow into the sisters we are now I would still recommend this book to every woman I've ever known. The way she articulates her joys, sorrows, victories and struggles left my jaw dropping every few pages. I wish I could go into detail about the numerous times I had to just shut the book and call a friend to talk about it, but I don't want to give away to many details. I feel that reading something that's simply good for you soul that isn't considered to be a "self-help" book is very important. So, grab this book TODAY to reset your heart and help you focus on what really matters in life before you go into the new year.

 

THE LARA CASEY POWER SHEETS AND WRITE THE WORD JOURNAL

Taking the time to set effective, attainable, and BOLD goals has changed my life in so many ways. I have been using the Lara Casey PowerSheets since 2013, and they have helped me accomplish things in my personal and professional life by keeping me focused on #whatmattersmost in life. I am so blessed to partner with this company now to share Lara's love for seeing women truly thrive in every beautiful thing their heart yearns to cultivate. To order your set of PowerSheets, click here

In addition to the PowerSheets, I have become in love with the Write The Word Journals this year. Now, I'm one of those people who doesn't really need a reason to get a new journal. Its it's pretty and on sale consider it bought! However, I believe these journals are not only a treat for journal addicts for myself, but are perfect for someone who is looking to get into the habit of spending daily reflection time in God's word. They quality of the materials makes them extremely durable for people like me who like to carry my journal in my handbag all day just in case I get a few moments of unexpected quiet, and the interior layout takes away the intimidation away from those who aren't quite sure where to begin. Oh, and another key factor I don't want to leave out: they're so pretty! Yes, I'm a girly girl who usually only wears black and grey or any variation of the two; however, these colorful little pieces of heaven have wiggled their way into my heart and I love how they brighten up my workspace. CLICK HERE to get a better look at them and grab one (or be like me and get the entire set to use as gifts for your friends and family!).

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THE EMILY LEY SIMPLIFIED PLANNER

Once I finish flushing out my thoughts in my PowerSheets, I keep everything organized in my Simplified Planner by Emily Ley. This planner is EVERYTHING! It just speaks to my busy-mama heart, while reminding me that I am still so much more than a mom. I even tried another planner, which is very similar to this one, in 2015 and I still ended up coming back yo my beloved SP. The other planner gave me too much of what I already had with my PowerSheets, and not enough of what I needed on the daily planning pages. To explore all of the office fabulousness in Emily's shop and grab your own Simplified Planner, click here

 

THE MAKE YOURSELF MARKETABLE PERSONAL BRANDING PLANNER BY EMMELIE DE LA CRUZ

I...love...this...planner! If you're an entrepreneur you need this. I don't have any long, fancy, flowery way to say it other than that. This worksheets in the beginning help me breakdown exactly how I wanted to represent myself as a brand, and allowed to finally recognize my target audience. Now some of it wasn't relevant to me as it dealt with people who work traditional job, but if that's you then you still NEED this planner! Because of this planner and my hour-long coaching sessions with Emmelie, I was able to successfully launch Swimming in Grace and have planned my upcoming book tour with ease. Click here to check it out!

 

#takecareofyourtemple

This is a hashtag I adopted over the last two years to keep track of my mission to take better care of my body. As a mother to two adorable but sometimes cray cray toddlers, I used to find myself putting my physical needs on the back burner. I wasn't getting enough sleep, I didn't exercise regularly, and my mood was always up and down. When I began my journey with Holy Yoga in 2013, it opened my eyes to just how much a better servant I was to those I love when I took the time to take care of myself. And when I launched my own health and wellness business in 2015, I had easy and affordable access to quality health products to really thrive in the area of self-care. Some of my favorite products have been:

  • Greens - This is a gentle daily detox with with over 38 herbs and superfoods.
  • The Cleanse - I do this at least once a month to counteract the many times I find myself living off gummy snacks and dry cereal because life just gets away from.
  • WOW Wipes - They literally wipe wrinkles off my dang face. Do you need anymore details?
  • Confianza - Praise Jesus for this! I have battled with anxiety problems since college, and suddenly becoming single mom of two toddlers while on unpaid maternity leave didn't help. Yes, prayer and yoga help a lot but the good Lord made the person who made this wonderful supplement and it has helped this mama out A LOT!
  • Vegan Protein Shake - Cow's milk is not my friend so the lack of dairy is a plus. This mix is also non-GMO and tastes like cake batter. YUM! I love it after hot yoga or Zumba, and it's a great go-to for a quick breakfast. 

Many of these items are on a BOGO sale for Cyber Monday so click here to grab them NOW!

Property of ImAlwaysAshley.com

Property of ImAlwaysAshley.com

 

If you already use any of these, please share your thoughts in the comments below! If you're a first timer and order something from this guide, let me know too because I'd love to stay in touch to see what you think about them!

 

xoxo,

Ashley Danielle

*This post contains affiliate links

BOSS UP OR BOW DOWN

I didn't choose this life. 

Being divorced with two children before I hit thirty certainly wasn't on my bucket list.

However, I also never had the desire to launch my own businesses and become a member of the new honorary society of involuntary #MOMbosses. The aforementioned life-altering experience begat the next so, here I am. Thrust into a life where the only choice I was given was to fly or fall and my children will never crash and burn on my watch

So, I grind. 

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After having dinner with my family to celebrate my birthday last week, a friend came over to hang out for a while. Our schedules had been crazy busy for about two months and some much-needed quality time was the perfect birthday present. We joked, laughed and shared the joys and weights of the past few months. At one point, he mentioned that he'd been so busy lately that he didn't even know Hurricane Nate was barreling directly towards us a couple of weeks ago until about two days before it was scheduled to hit. In the midst of more laughter, I looked at him and pressed pause on the chuckles for a second to make a quick confession.

"You know I was a little (lot) salty that you didn't check on me to make sure I straight before the storm hit, right?"

Just as he responded with a smirk and "You right. I dropped the ball on th...", I interrupted. 

See even though my feelings were real, I didn't feel like they were justified. I reminded him that it wasn't his responsibility to look after me; I'm no one's responsibility but my own. We aren't involved romantically, my children are precisely that; mine. The situation forced me to get ish handled on my own. Growing up on the Gulf Coast has made me nothing close to a stranger on how to prepare for a hurricane. I Googled a checklist and made sure me and my little people were fully stocked with bottled water, non-perishable foods, flashlights, batteries, candles, snacks, coloring books, crayons, etc. I bathed everyone early, downloaded their favorite movies to my iPad, dressed everyone in our pajamas for the night and waited. 

He still apologized, and tried to convince me that it actually was his responsibility to check on me as a man who has placed himself in my life as someone who cares about my well-being so he should've done more. 

Unfortunately, I believe I would waste several irreplaceable seconds of my life by filling them with feelings of disappointment if I lived life within the walls of that version of truth. 

When I found myself almost nine months pregnant with my son and sleeping in my grandmother's guest room with my 15-month-old daughter as my then husband and I were on the brink of disaster. Now, at that point in time I had a few options. I could have allowed hurt to overcome me and sink into depression. I could've allowed bitterness to consume me and attempted to retaliate. Or I could've pressed HARD into my Savior, stepped up my game and got on my grind by creating several ways to provide for my little family just in case I was ever in a position where I had to do it all on my own. It was sink or swim. 

Boss up, or bow down. 

Rise to the challenge, or kneel in defeat. 

I lived life under the covering of my step-father from age 6 to 26. That covering then shifted to my husband, and it has rested in my own hands since he allowed the words "I have no desire for there to be anything between us anymore" to flow from his lips in 2015. At this moment, the only consistent covering in my life is God and there's no better protection than that.

So yes, I have issues being dependent on other people. Especially men. I pause when he holds doors open for me, often tell him I don't need help carrying things because I've been carrying the weight of abandonment on my own for so long that I've somewhat forgotten how to let someone share the load.

However, these are the cards I have been dealt and I have placed each one in the hands of The Father.  

I didn't seek out this life. 

But I'm living it. 

Like a boss. 

 

xoxo, 

Ashley Danielle