Just this past Christmas my sister gave me a journal titled “Zen as F*ck”. It’s a small journal with 128 pages of coloring, writing, expressing, releasing negative emotions and even negative people in your life. They claim it to be “A journal for practicing the mindful art of not giving a sh*t,” and it certainly is! It’s a playful way of dealing with pretty serious crap in your life and trying to release it out into the universe.

I spent some time perusing through the journal and I came to a colorful page that said “You wanna fly, you got to give the shit up that weighs you down,” Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison. This was very fitting seeing that I am currently souring through the sky at 35,000 feet on a B737. I love when synchronicities happen like this. They’re so special, IF you choose to acknowledge them. I could have read this quote and kept on reading but I’m conscious enough now to make a synchronicity out of it. You can CHOOSE to make these synchronicities occur in your life. Pay attention! Or as the saying goes, “Be in the present moment”.

At this time four years ago, I was eyeballs deep in alcohol. Alcohol controlled my life. It controlled my thoughts, it controlled my body and it certainly controlled my emotions. At this time four years ago, I had just returned from an exotic vacation and was in the wallows of resentment. I remembered 3 days of that trip, the rest was a total blur. I did what every “normal” person would do on vacation. Wake up late, start drinking by 10AM, with Bailey and coffee, drink frozen drinks during the day to help ward off hangover and switch to hard alcohol after 5PM, because it’s “acceptable” after 5PM, then pass out by 9PM, drunk. Then, I’d wake up and do it all over again the very next day. Sounds fun right? Nope, it’s not. If you think this is “normal”, you may want to consider taking a long look at yourself in the mirror. Sorry to be a buzz kill, yes pun intended, but this is NOT normal. I’ve always had remorse that I missed so much of that trip, because I was drunk, but in reality, it was the final straw that led me to realize I had a problem.

Here I am, four years later, souring through the sky on a trip across the country. I’m conducting my first Joy Quest Women’s Wellness Retreat in Sedona, Arizona. I’m honored to be guiding incredible women on their Joy Quest through hiking, adventure, yoga, meditation and soul searching. I had to ask myself, “How the heck did I get here!?”. Well, I’ll tell you! “You wanna fly, you got to give the shit up that weighs you down”. I let that shit go! I put in the work, and let me tell you, IT.WAS. WORK! We carry crap around with us, stored in our minds, because we believe we need to constantly beat ourselves over the head with it, over and over and over again. It’s a way to “keep yourself in check” and remind yourself how sucky you truly are. “Remember when you did that bad thing Erica. Remember when you messed that up Erica. Remember when you weren’t smart enough Erica”. A constant barrage of all the reasons why you suck! When you let that shit go, it actually goes!

So, how do you go about getting rid of this stuff you ask? You conduct an “Investigation of Self”. This is what I take my clients through. A “Mining of the Terds” I should call it. This title just popped in my head and I find it quite amusing, laughing to myself as I stare at clouds passing below me. An “Investigation of Self” is a search of all the crappy stuff that you have stuffed down, so far inside of you, that you have chosen to hold on to through your life. You’ve made a conscious effort to hold on to these events, situations, beliefs, lies, to keep you small, while holding you back from your intended greatness. Why do we do this to ourselves you ask? Honestly, I’m still not entirely sure. Self-deprivation is my best guess. It’s easy, it’s known, it’s patriarchy. And OH. MY. GAWD. If you only knew what was on the other side of this, patiently waiting for you to release your stuff, your head would blow off your shoulders. Or maybe you’d get your butt in gear faster to reach “freedom from self” if you did know. Take my advice, go for it!

We are capable of anything and everything. As I typed this I even questioned myself, “really?”. Yes, really! How quickly our brains, including mine, forget we can create or do anything we want. Does it take effort to do this? Absolutely! Does it take effort to mentally beat the crap out of yourself all the time? Absolutely! I chose the former instead of the latter for a VERY long time. Sure, self-deprivation will get you places but at a very slow rate. Choose the latter.