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Journal

Embodied Rituals for Skin + Soul

Filtering by Category: Truth

The Divine Art of Witnessing

Katie Gordon

Just a little over a year ago, I wrote this post on why I don't do New Years resolutions and what I do instead. On focusing not on some particular goal, arbitrary weight, new job title, etc. that we feel like SHOULD matter to us, but rather on our CDF's (Core Desired Feelings). I told you about how (in my opinion) we show ourselves so much more compassion by focusing on how we want to FEEL rather than what we think our life (or ourselves) should look like. But here's one of my major lessons from this year: if we don't feel the "bad" stuff, we also can't feel the "good" stuff. The stuff that motivates us to ACT because we want those feelings. We want to feel desired, empowered, radiant, loved, abundant, embodied. But if we don't witness the "bad" feelings, if we shut down, become numb, and deny the uncomfortable feelings, we block the feelings that we're actively trying to invite in!

As someone who spent a very long time in the seductive, addictive grasp of an eating disorder, I know a few things about shutting down. When I allowed myself to become aware of the compulsion behind the behaviors, it was so simple. I was afraid of feeling. I had zero trust in my ability to deal with anxiety, grief, and anger that I wouldn't even sit still long enough to allow it to come into my consciousness. So it stayed in my physical and energetic body, making me sick, making me angry and then feel shame about that anger. It swirled around in my belly, my pelvis, and my heart creating what I felt as so much ugliness and shame that I didn't know how to even articulate asking for help.

This year has been one of HUGE growth, initiations, lessons, and incredible teachers. One thing I've learned is this: Sometimes, when your soul has decided that you've had enough, when a pattern has finally been exhausted and it's time to move on, some sort of cosmic switch is flipped and it's almost effortless to let it go. There came a day when I found the inner strength to say, "Nope, not this time. I'm going to sit with myself through this moment of total-freak-out-anxiety and see what happens."

And the world didn't end. I cried what felt like tears of pure energy being released. The next day it came up again, and I sat again. It wasn't a moment of white-knuckling through it. It was a moment of grace, a conscious decision to allow awareness to heal old wounds. I finally understood at a very deep and visceral level that nothing can be healed if you're not willing to hold it in your awareness with compassion. Awareness, as one of my favorite people says all the time, is the container for alchemy.

So my INTENTION for this year is to witness more of myself with deep compassion. No judgment, just love, understanding, and forgiveness.

*I'm not sure who said this, but it wasn't me so I can't take credit...*

"Its not who you are that holds you back; its who you think you are not."

With this new level of awareness, I intend to release old versions of myself. The ones that feel too small. The ones that hide from her own brightness.

And now to move into the light...

When self-love sucks (and you wanna crawl out of your skin)

Katie Gordon

People don't believe me when I say that sometimes practicing self-love sucks.  But have you ever had one of those days when you just want to get the f*ck out?  Your mind might be racing.  And it's not even that you can't sit still, it's that you don't want to stop moving.  Because if you stop moving, you'll have to feel all the shit you've been trying to run away from.  So you watch episode after episode of some TV series on Netflix.  (There are like 8 seasons of Charmed, FYI.)  Or you turn to food.  Or alcohol.  Shopping.  Sex.  Facebook.  Checking your email 8,000 times. Recently, I've been going through A LOT of soul growth, and as a dear friend once told me, "Transformation is way less fun than I thought it would be."  Truer words have never been uttered. Transformation is awesome, awful, painful, empowering, and it'll tear you up and spit you out.  Sometimes (a lot of times) I don't know what to do with all the emotions that come up around it.  I'm highly sensitive, as I know most of you are, which is a wonderful gift and can also feel like WAY TOO MUCH!

I also come from a long line of addicts, and let's just say the gene definitely didn't skip a generation. Sometimes it's by sheer willpower that I don't give in to my own addictive patterns and behaviors.  And sometimes I still do.  That's okay.  Here are some things that work for me on those days when all I want to do is crawl out of my skin, escape, shut down, turn off and I know that I can't because I've come too far.

1. Sit.  Just. Sit. Down. Take a breath. And then another. Feel your magnificent, beating heart. Feel that pain you're in?  That's a good sign.  Because that means you're feeling.  And because pain is THE BEST WAY to heal, transform, shift, and make the changes in your life that you've been asking for.

2. Create.  Paint your heart out.  Make it messy.  Write a poem to your darkness.  Make jewelry.  Cook.  The process of creation transforms that manic, "I need to get out of my body" energy and channels it into objects and symbols.  That, my friend, is some serious magic.  (Side story: When I was in treatment one summer I channeled all of my energy into knitting.  Everyone got scarves that Christmas.)

3. Or destroy.  Part of creation is destruction.  So tear, rip, cut, smash.  I have a stack of old magazines reserved for the sole purpose of cutting up.

4.  Cry.  Loudly, quietly, slobbery sobs where you can't catch your breath, or soft, silent tears that roll down your cheeks.  Whether it's on your meditation cushion, your yoga mat, a friend's shoulder, or falling apart on the tiled floor of your shower, that energy's gotta go somewhere.  What's that quote about salt water being the cure for everything...?

5.  Call someone.  This one comes with a caveat, though.  I have a lot of friends who are coaches, which is AWESOME!  But when I call them in a "just let me fall apart" moment, I don't need to be coached.  I just need to be heard.  So either know in advance who can hold your space, or tell them, "Please just listen with compassion and don't be offended if I use the f* word a lot.  I'm not yelling at you."  Which brings me to my next point.

6. Ask for what you need.  Sometimes it's a nap.  Sometimes it's food.  Sometimes it's quiet time, to crawl into our little cave and hibernate.  Maybe it's a walk by yourself, or with your best friend.  When you ask for what you need from the people who love you, it makes us vulnerable, and thus humanizes us.  THAT opens up lots of room for love and compassion.

7. Get outside.  Nature is the most healing, restorative, high vibe place to be.  When I'm all up in my head, there's a favorite tree I go to sit under, lean back onto, and let all that stuff melt into.  I literally imagine everything that feels too heavy, too much, too dark seeping down into the ground, and giving it up to the earth to be transformed.  Sound too woo-woo for you?  Just try it before you get all judge-y.

8. Trust.  I'm a firm believer that things happen for a reason.  Maybe it's my inner optimist, but I refuse to believe in coincidences, in shitty things happening for no reason, in bad luck.  I believe our outer world is a reflection of our inner reality, and that we are responsible for the way we participate in life.  So trust that if you're showing up, doing your best, and honoring your truth, things will play out the way they need to.  (Notice I didn't say they'll work out the way you ideally want them to.  At least not right away.)

If none of these work, that's okay too.  It's a lifelong practice to be able to sit with your feelings and feel them.  There's no such thing as failure here.  If it doesn't work out today, you'll probably get another chance to practice tomorrow.  Keep showing up.

Oil Changes, Financial Freedom + Self-Love

Katie Gordon

As many of you know, I've been on a journey lately to heal my relationship with money. I knew it was time to write this post because as I sat down to write it, I really didn't want to. Resistance. It's a beautiful and VERY anxiety-provoking teacher. As Steven Pressfield writes in The War of Art, "The more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That's why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there'd be no Resistance.” So here I am, writing about something I NEVER thought I'd be writing about, self-love and money. Another thing I resist? Doing anything related to car maintenance. I know it's ridiculous. It's a very grown up and responsible thing that we automobile owners need to do. And why do I avoid anything related to cars? Simple: it makes me feel stupid. Disempowered. Small. Totally out of my element. Transmission fluid? Air filters? Alignment? Yeah, no thanks.

But one of my Core Desired Feelings this month is "Empowered." I want to feel empowered and independent around my life circumstances and my responsibilities, especially the ones I've previously avoided.

Don't get me wrong, I'm SUPER independent! I left home when I was 18 and moved 3,000 miles away from my family, I like doing things myself (sometimes to a fault...delegation is not my strong suit), and I'm not afraid or uncomfortable going places and having a great time on my own. Solo road trip? Hell yea! Exploring new cities on my own? Totally!

So the other day I decided it was time to get my oil changed. (Actually the sticker in the top left corner of my windshield SAID it was time.) As I sat in the waiting room, biting my nails, feeling small and super awkward, I realized here was a perfect instance of a lack of self-love.

In a moment of perfect synchronicity, I was sitting there reading Kate Northrup's book Money: A Love Story so it hit me...*cue facepalm*...

There's another area of my life in which I've always felt disempowered: MONEY. Budgeting, financial planning, accounting, bookkeeping? Nope. Again, major resistance. I've been working SO MUCH to cultivate more self-love in my own life, teaching self-love to my clients, so here was my chance to practice getting into my body, listening to my heart, and begin healing this part of me that felt inadequate.

image

The major pattern in ALL of this? Avoidance. Burying my head in the sand and *fingers crossed* hoping things would somehow just work themselves out. It's worked thus far, right? Kind of. Mostly. Not so much. So here are the new practices I'm implementing with deep commitment and intention to cultivate a LOVING relationship with my money...

1. Checking my balance. Making it a part of my daily routine, a ritual, even a spiritual practice in mindfulness, gratitude, and intention behind my conscious, daily choices. 2. Feeling gratitude. Feeling abundant isn't about the amount of money in your bank account. It's about the way you FEEL about the money in your account. When I check my balance now, I see the work I love doing. The clients and students I love working with. The fact that I get to live a purposeful life AND make money doing it! 3. Notice what I spend my money on. Not to create guilt and shame, but to make sure my purchases are in alignment with my values. You've heard it before: We vote with our dollars! So why would I invest my money (and therefore my energy) into businesses that don't feel good to support.

I wrote out these action steps as I waited for my car to be ready, then got into my car feeling lighter, more conscious, and EMPOWERED!

Intend to shine

Katie Gordon

Watch this video (it's short) and then read on...

"I can do anything good!"

What would happen if we all said this to ourselves every day?  Awhile back, after much deep soul work and transformation, I realized I can actually do anything.  I can make stuff happen.  Manifestation, the ability to do anything "good" when we align heart, mind, and action.  That realization is POWERFUL!

We all have the power to create the life we want.  Usually that power is just hidden beneath layers of old beliefs, old patterns and stories that we hold on to because at one point in our life they served us.  But they don't anymore, so it's time to say "Thanks, Fear.  I know at one point you kept me safe and I appreciate it SO much.  I don't need you anymore."

This little girl, Jessica,

The thing about fear is that it allows us to play small.  It's safe.  We don't have to risk exposure, criticism, judgment, or getting knocked down.  And sometimes we need to get knocked down.  I know it doesn't sound fun, but stick with me for a minute here.

immediately-regret-this-decision

We all make mistakes.  In the words of Ron Burgundy, "I immediately regret this decision."  Or as one of my lovely friends says, "Ya done fucked up."

It irks me a little bit to hear new-agey people say, "there's no such thing as a mistake.  It's all a lesson."  Yes it's all a lesson.  We learn A LOT from messing up.  But mistakes do exist.  Failure exists.  But it's not the end of the story.

If you're doing big things in the world, if you're in a state of personal growth and development (which, if we're doing our work, then we are), your ego is gonna get checked.  You'll have moments of arrogance, idiocy, thoughtlessness.  You'll fall short of your own and someone else's expectations.  Sometimes you'll get criticism without necessarily "earning" it, but simply by speaking your truth.  But that's another matter for another post.

Today, we'll just acknowledge that mistakes happen.  So let's feel empowered around our "epic fails" rather than shaming ourselves because of them.

Action Time: Think of a time you really screwed up.  Your "favorite" failure, and by favorite I mean the biggest bungle you've made.  What did you learn?  Get SUPER honest with yourself.  Don't get sarcastic, mean, judgy, or defensive.  That doesn't serve anyone and it puts up all kinds of walls that we're working to tear down.  What did this snafu open your eyes to that you didn't see/know/understand before?  How did this mistake make you stronger than before?

You can then take it one step further.  Is there a pattern in the lessons you've learned?  Perhaps it's taken a few lapses in judgment to learn a particular lesson (I've totally been there).  As humans we seem to have a propensity toward making the same mistakes over and over.  And over.  We'll get it eventually.

And that, my friend, is empowering.  That is Self-Love.  Own it.  Love it.  And then let it go.  Because as Danielle Laporte says, "You can't face forward until you've processed your past."  And because you can do anything good.  Intend to shine.

Keep the channel open

Katie Gordon

lady pantherI've been having some deep conversations lately with sisters, fellow artists, therapists, and visionaries in all capacities about taking that next step.  From being on your spiritual path, doing trainings, certifications, seeing clients, teaching classes, showing up day to day, to then stepping into this new, unknown, and completely terrifying place that has been chosen by your soul.  You know that everything up until now has been leading to this moment in time.  All the transformation, all the dark, mucky, sludgy, messy, chaos and shitstorms that you've been weathering have led you here.  And now ALL you have to do is open, receive, and allow your soul's work to come through you.  So you freeze. Instead of working on a class or lecture you're putting together, you binge watch some crappy show on Netflix.  Rather than make those teacup succulent gardens you're brilliant at, you let yourself get lost in the endless household chores.  You take low-paying (or maybe even high-paying) jobs so that you're too busy to write that AMAZING coaching program you've been wanting to launch *sheepishly raising my hand*.  Maybe it's something more shameful to you like using alcohol, drugs, food, or sex to fill that creative void or distract yourself from what you know in your heart you have this burning desire to fulfill, write, paint, create.

So, I'm calling bullshit.  And I'm doing this mainly because this is EXACTLY where I've been hiding out.  I've been holding back for one very simple reason: fear.  I'm afraid that it won't come out right, that no one will be pickin' up what I'm puttin' down.  That I'll essentially be failing the Universe at the task that's been set for me.  The path that my own soul chose.  What if I just suck at it?  What if I fail?  What if I put my whole heart into something, make my voice heard, show up as big and as powerfully as I can, and all I hear is crickets?

It took a major surrendering, totally letting go of what I thought my ego wanted to do (because it was easy) and realizing my authentic self, my wild soul, is here to do something.  A big something.  Yesterday, I got to receive a bodywork session from a woman I'm lucky enough to call a friend, sister, and teacher.  I got to go into the deepest, darkest recesses of my soul to listen.  I had finally reached the place where I could say, "I have no f*cking clue what I'm supposed to do with any of this.  Why is all of this happening?  What piece am I missing?  Please help!"  I was ready to be open and hear whatever needed to come up.

At the end of the session, before I opened my eyes, before I had a conscious thought, I heard a voice say, "Something big is coming."  And it felt light.  Powerful and light.  As if my guides were saying all I have to do is say yes to this, to stop standing in my own way, and it's coming.  Actually, it's already done.  I just have to write it.

In reflecting on this intensely beautiful session and on the subsequent conversation with my friend after, I remembered this quote from Martha Graham:

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you and into action. And because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is: Nor how valuable it is; Nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is ever pleased, there is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine satisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.

So I'm putting my voice out there in a HUGE way.  I'm bending some of the marketing rules, completely breaking other ones, but sometimes you gotta break the rules for the sake of creation, transformation, and showing up as a leader.  And if my message and my unique gift to teach is that of self-love and honoring the wildness of your soul, one that is desperately needed by so many women (and men) in our society, then I need to get over my hang-up's about being "good enough" and let it flow through me.

{Shameless Self-Love} Do you know how AMAZING you are?

Katie Gordon

Have you seen my Shameless Self-Love video series yet?  It began as a way to work through some of my own visibility issues and evolved into my newest (and soon to be launched) one-on-one coaching program.  30 days + 30 videos dedicated to creating a deeper and more nourishing relationship with your body + soul.  Here's one of my favorites from day 28 where we dive into Self-Acceptance as part of Self-Love!  Check it out, comment, and share if you so desire...

Why I don't have New Years Resolutions and what I do instead...

Katie Gordon

20131230-161325.jpg

Maybe I just don't like doing what everyone else is doing. My inner rebel likes to do things differently. Maybe it's because I know myself well enough to know that when I've had NY resolutions in the past, they last for about a week. Maybe my resistance to New Years resolutions is something I should look at. Whatever the reason, since I was young I just decided that I don't do resolutions. To me, it can feel like we're telling ourselves, "you're not quite good enough the way you are, so these are the things we're going to work on changing this year." Don't get me wrong, I'm all for growth and development. It's just that resolutions typically sound like a list of things that we'd like to change about ourselves.

Jeff Brown, author of Soulshaping, posted this beautiful quote today:

"Sometimes we forget how far we have traveled. Good to acknowledge what it took to get this far, all those hoops we had to jump through, all those difficult overcomings. Good to stroke our face with love and remind ourselves how much courage it took to brave the journey. Good to say 'thank you' to the spirit that walks within and beside us, reminding us that we are simply and utterly worth fighting for."

This is what the new year is about to me. It's about looking at this last year, and 2013 was a doozy for me, and telling myself "Damn! Look at all the amazing things I did and learned!! How lucky am I to have received this love, these lessons, and to have been in communion with such beautiful souls. How can I expand on this moving forward and how do I want to FEEL as I do?" Because it's not about getting things done or losing that weight or reaching a goal. It's about EVERYTHING that happens through the process. It's about the way you feel in the moment and what that's reflecting about your soul and your journey.

I've noticed we have some resistance, consciously or subconsciously, to feeling at ease, in our flow, and allowing things to happen without pushing. We like to MAKE things happen. We RESOLVE that things should be a certain way, so we're going to do whatever we need to do to get that outcome. That we need to be busy, to be working, to always be doing better (whatever that means). This year has taught me that all that is SO overrated. When we're in our flow, letting things take their course, moving and acting from the way we want to feel in our lives...THAT'S when the magic happens. That's when our soul and our vision can move through us and things can be seemingly effortless. Don't get me wrong, it takes effort to show up, to do our own work, to be present. But when we make that effort, the Universe/God/Goddess/etc. conspires and synchronizes to bring to us exactly what is needed.

So instead of resolutions this year, I'm taking time to reflect on what I want to FEEL more of this coming year. I'm inspired by one of my mentors, Danielle Laporte, to think about what my Core Desired Feelings this year/month/week/day are, and what can I do in order to feel those CDF's.

This year I want to feel In Communion, Abundant, Playful, Flowing, Expressive, Sensual, Free. What are your Core Desired Feelings? How do you intend to grow, expand, allow, and show up in 2014?

There is no such thing as a toxic relationship

Katie Gordon

ovid Let's face it...we've all had at least one relationship (and probably a lot more than one) that we've labeled as "toxic", "unhealthy", "codependent", "draining", etc.  It makes us feel better to be able to label it something so that we can push it away, leave it behind, or some how properly deal with it.  We break up with toxic boyfriends/girlfriends, we can move out of codependent family situations, and not hang out with friends that we deem as energetically draining.  But when we simply leave it behind because it doesn't feel good, we fail to grow.  And when we fail to grow, we repeat the SAME patterns OVER AND OVER AGAIN...

So here's a little bit of truth that I've picked up after spending my entire life judging and labeling my relationships...

No one is sent to me by accident.  I have something to learn from everyone I am in relationship with, whether it's a partner, friend, family member, student, boss, or coworker.  If we see that people are all lessons, there's no more need to label good, bad, healthy, unhealthy/toxic, functional, dysfunctional, codependent, etc.  They all serve a purpose.  Our souls call in the people, the teachers, and the lessons we're ready for.

When we call a relationship or a person "toxic", it creates shame and guilt around seeing that relationship as a "mistake."  We judge them and ourselves instead of really seeing the truth about experience as it is.  They're on their path and so are we.  We attract the people for which we need the lesson and the lesson is never "good" or "bad".  It just is.  And it's always necessary.  It's always exactly what we need in that time.  All those lessons, or experiences, whether big or small, fun or not so fun (and let's be honest, not too many of them feel good or fun at the time) make up our life's curriculum.  And what we do with that completely depends on us.

Do you see how none of that is about the other person?  How it's ALL an inside job?  Do you see how we have all the power the moment we decide to stop judging, labeling, and shaming ourselves and others and just start seeing what is?  What's here for us in this very moment?  That it's all so perfect, so divine, that it couldn't possibly be any other way?  Of course this is all a process, it takes practice to not judge and really SEE.  Just be gentle with yourself and watch what happens.

In my wildest dreams...Part 1

Katie Gordon

dream catcher I've been working lately on dreaming more.   Dreaming, envisioning, desiring.  I used to be really afraid of wanting something whether it was a thing, a feeling, a person, an outcome, because I was afraid of how I'd feel if I didn't get it.  If I don't acknowledge and feed them, though, none of them will come true.  And the thing about dreams is, the more we open to them, the more vulnerable to them we become, the more the Universe conspires to help you in your vision.  In the words of Joseph Campbell, when you "follow your bliss...you will begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you."

I dream of long walks in shaded woods, of medicine-making, of magic.  I dream of Ireland and Paris.  Of sitting around a fire with my soul sisters who inspire, hold, and bless me with their presence in my life.  I dream of laughing until I cry.  Of time to write, paint, dance, and BE in my body every day.  I dream of holding space for healing, speaking my truth, and supporting dreams of others on their own paths.  Curling up with a book.  Of creation, compassion, softness, and ease.  Living in a beautiful place with enough land to have gardens stretching off into the forest.  And a dog that looks like a wolf.

When I first wrote down my dreams and looked at my list, I was shocked.  Staring back at me was this beautiful piece of my soul.  I saw myself so clearly in those words, in my dreams.  This short paragraph was so much more vibrant and full of life than anything I had ever written or even allowed myself to see, to recognize about myself.  And so wonderfully feminine.  Reading over my dreams sets my soul on fire and makes me feel like I'm finally taking up the BIG space I have in this world.  I hear a voice saying, "There she is!"

There's always more work to do, our journey never ends, but in this moment there's a stillpoint.  It's the end of an exhale, a pause before the next breath.  And I'm so grateful for the fight, the pain, the heartache, traumas, stories, teachers, and shadow teachers that have been a part of this journey so far.

Some of these dreams will be realized, and some of them won't.  Some of them will have to die, and that's okay.  Sometimes we need to let go of old dreams to make space for new ones.

What do you dream of?

Self-Love: Not Your Mom's Golden Rule

Katie Gordon

The Golden Rule.  We've all heard it a million times before.  "Treat others the way you want to be treated."  It's a nice thought.  Nice.  Another forthcoming post will be all about how much I dislike that word.  (Yes, sometimes I can be a hater, but it's all in the name of self-love. ) Today I'm keeping my words short and sweet, so let's get to it... Here's my revised and improved version of the Golden Rule: Treat yourself how you want others to treat you.  Be your own best friend.  We've all been wired to give, give, give until we're completely tapped out, and then give some more.  We drain our own energy because we feel obligated to family, friends, bosses, and coworkers to give of ourselves until we have nothing else to give, and then hope that it's enough.  All the while, we haven't been trained to nourish and love ourselves so that we can replenish our energy of love.  We think a day at the spa or getting a message every couple months is the same as self-love.  I have BIG NEWS for you: It's not.  I have so many clients coming to me because, in their words, they want a more "balanced lifestyle."  Well, working your a$$ off on a regular basis is not balance.

But what IS balance?  Honestly, most of the time I have no idea.  Maybe it's best so save that exploration for another forthcoming post too.  But I will say this...You can't love others until you love yourself.  In the words of my girl Christine Arylo, author of Madly in Love with ME:

The more love you generate for yourself, the more love you have to give...love always creates more love.

Does the idea of self-love scare you?  Confuse you?  Do you equate self-love with narcissism, vanity, conceit, or self-centeredness?  If so, in the next coming weeks I have some MAJORLY TRANSFORMATIVE information for you!!  So if you haven't already, bookmark my website: www.wildgrace.me and make sure you're signed up for my newsletter (It's where you put your email in and click "Subscribe") so that you'll receive the videos, meditations, activities, and exercises I've made for you...

So here's my takeaway of the day: When you love, respect, nurture, and feed yourself, others will do the same, both for you and for themselves.  Start setting an example of self-love and watch what happens around you.  "If enough of us embrace love, the world will eventually be saturated with love. The love in the world begins with the love within ourselves." ~Deepak Chopra (who is, incidentally, on instagram as @deepster2)

xo

I don't know where this photo came from, but it's a sweet tattoo + reminder