It starts a little something like this: Here is an image of me, probably close to my personal best, and

for some reason.. my ego decides to tell me that it is my standard of where I need to be at to look good.

Now, to be honest I feel beautiful, I feel strong, smart and feminine all at once. The times I am the most empowered, wild, and organically free, is when I have no makeup on, dirt on my feet and my hairs a mess. But here's the kicker - I don't have to look at myself in those moments. In fact, I rarely have to look at myself and in not doing so, I am unencumbered by life's societal pressures.

What happens though, when you all of a sudden want to start an online based business where you have to brand yourself through online media and social platforms?? Well, for me it began by taking a million photos and videos to start creating what "inward to ithaka" means to me. "Branding" myself and putting it all out there to share...

Of course I ask my darling boyfriend to take a photo of me while on vacation, or two or three hundred.. who knows I wasn't counting and while he tried (bless his soul)... he is not a photographer... not even close, and I am apparently not a "top model" with dirty feet, natural regrowth (aka roots) and wild hair.

"W.T.F....!!" is exactly my opinion when I am looking at the photo's Anthony has taken for me.

Here are some of the honest self made (brutal) egoic comments when I looked back at the pictures:

*Fix your f*ckin* hair!!

*You definitely have at least 10 more lbs to lose

*Do you think that your skin around your stomach will get tight again post baby??

*Dear lord where did your muscle tone go?

*Is that seriously how I look?

*I am pretty sure I see cellulite...

*I can't do this... (online business)

*You look pretty fat in that one, bulky shoulders... is it the angle??? or is it you...

*Boobs are definitely not the same anymore...

And so it goes...

At one point in my hike early on, Anthony said "here you go babe" and took the photo I asked him for (which was nothing like in my minds eye... lol) and I looked at it and started crying.

What has happened to me?? I uuuuused to BE beautiful.. I thought...

Just saying that to myself, made my other self... you know the one that roots for you in the corner, so sad.

Here is a photo where all of my negative self talk came up... I feel the need to show this because my INNER self was so proud of this moment. I look at it and FEEL so beautiful in it. I had just finished running up a freaking mountain!! Not to mention that was right after I had just run up a previous mountain, and I wasn't even tired after that either. I felt strong and confident in this moment. You can see it radiating from me, however, after a few moments upon viewing it.. I started to look at the photo in a negative light.. and my ego decided to deflate all of the feelings of positivity from that moment...

This obviously was something I had to reflect upon while being up here. It wasn't until a few days ago I was hiking to another destination in Zion National Park that I started coming apart in a more positive way.

*Side note, I am quite emotional since being a mom, so I cry a lot now... no holding back :)

The lyrics from Trevor Hall - Forgive started in my head and everything began to melt away.

Specifically this:

"Forgive everything that has ever happened

Life is everything we can imagine

Laid out in patterns of pain and passion

You cannot control it

So keep your compassion

There are no accidents

There are no factions

There is no us or them

Nothing to borrow or lend

No enemy or friend

And only forgiveness can make that happen

The only battle worth the fight

From the Rwandan genocide

To the Seven Sisters forgiving Orion for how he chases them across the skies every night

Forgiveness is for giving

So give yourself this gift from time to time

And let all of your mistakes

Become all of your greatest gifts

In disguise"

It all melted away, I began to look at the photo again with a new strengthened resolve. I realized I was making an enemy of myself that did not need to be there. I knew in that moment I had to practice forgiveness towards myself and "keep my compassion". In that moment I felt the realization that there "is no us or them" inside of me and I truly felt connected to the nature around me. To everyone.

I also realized that I need these moments to keep me in check. In alignment with my "truths". Instead of retaliating by making myself feel guilty for thinking those things.. I just forgave myself completely. I choose to no longer give my time to things that do not serve me, and negative self talk is one of them. I am healthy and I am getting stronger and stronger every day.

This is my journey to Ithaka, and my happiness depends on my ability to see things as they are, and not as they should be. Thank you to all of those who are here with me, joining me along the way.



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