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Conscious Inklings Blog. IDEAS, INSIGHTS & INK-SPIRATION. / authenticity

The Art of Balance

The Art of Balance

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of balance.  It’s one of those things that we often take for granted, like our health, but once we’re struggling to maintain it, its value becomes abundantly clear.  Losing your balance physically can be an uncomfortable and even scary experience.  One moment you might be standing with your feet planted firmly on the ground, but then the surface beneath you shifts, and your body must immediately respond in order to regain stability.  Luckily, our bodies are built with systems that work automatically to maintain physical equilibrium.  We don’t have to think about how to adjust when we feel ourselves becoming unsteady; our limbs simply move into place to attain balance once again.  But, what happens when the loss of balance occurs on an emotional or spiritual level?

 We can lose our emotional balance in a number of ways.  Unexpected life events sometimes leave us feeling as if the ground beneath our feet has shifted or we dedicate too much of our time or energy to only one aspect of our lives.  Over time, too much or not enough work, play, sleep, or food eventually take its toll on our wellbeing.  Addictions, emotional struggles, and unfair expectations lead us to push the boundaries of what is healthy for ourselves, and we restrict, over-indulge, pressure, or neglect ourselves until we feel completely disconnected from our own centers.  We suddenly find ourselves living lifestyles that aren’t sustainable, but how do we stop?  How do we find the balance that we lost?

Any yogi can tell you that balance is a skill that must be practiced and honed.  It is not a static state that will necessarily persist once attained, but requires constant maintenance.  You might find your balance, then start to lose it, recalibrate, and find balance again only to feel it slip once more.  While our physical response to losing balance is automatic, it is still an ability that can be refined and the same is true of our ability to maintain emotional balance.  It is through the practice of staying present in each moment and staying connected to our inner truths that we build a deeper awareness of the unique set of factors that lead to a strong spiritual foundation in each of our lives.  As we becomes more tuned in to our emotional states, we see more clearly the signs that let us know when we have pushed ourselves too far or have neglected something that is vital to our sense of wellbeing, and we give ourselves the opportunity to become experts in the never-ending art of creating balance.

Want to stay present, tuned in, and balanced in your every day life? Click HERE and see which message is speaking to you today. 

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How our outer world reflects our inner world...literally.

How our outer world reflects our inner world...literally.

Mirror, mirror...what do you have to teach me?

We often hear that our world, and our relationships, mirror back to us how we're acting and behaving. Oftentimes, people think that this simply means what's being reflected back is our treatment of others…what some people think of as Karma, so to speak. While this may also be identified, this isn't the primary mechanism of how this "law" works.

With a deeper look, we see that our world, and relationships, actually reflect back HOW WE TREAT OURSELVES. So, if we don't value ourselves, the world reflects back situations where we won't feel valued. If we see ourselves as stupid, the world reflects back situations where we will feel stupid. If we run away from our emotions, this is the behavior we'll experience from others. Our thoughts, actions and behaviors are fueled by the beliefs we have about ourselves, and our world.

We actually create (subconsciously) a reality that brings forth situations that trigger the feelings we're used to having. Think about it. We end up feeling the same feelings over and over and over.

The people, situations, and scenery may be different, but the underlying storyline stays the same.

This may seem cruel and unusual karmic punishment. But, in truth, it's actually grace in action. This mechanism allows us to see vividly where our wounds and patterns are, where we're off the mark, where we're not in alignment with our true selves. It gives us the opportunity to learn, heal and make new choices that reflect the truth of who we really are.

So, if you're not sure of all the subtle, and not so subtle, ways you're treating yourself, and the beliefs you employ, just notice how the world is treating you. Then notice how you're treating yourself the exact same way. If you’d like to change these patterns, make a commitment to treat yourself in the way you'd like to be treated from the outside world.

Breathe. Be gentle. Have compassion for yourself. A lot of emotions may come up. Perfect. This will give you an opportunity to practice self love...the one and only, all-purpose healing elixir.

Frank Gjata,

Founder, Conscious Ink

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Behind the Ink: “I can begin again…”

Behind the Ink: “I can begin again…”

“It looked like a death sentence,” says Collins King about the moment she got up at 3am to reflect on her cancer diagnosis. But fast forward nearly a decade and now she is celebrating 7 years cancer-free! “I'll be 7 years out in November 2017 for Triple Negative Breast can-sur. I don't even spell it out and give it merit.“

But after chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, at 53, Collins started having body issues. Then Collins saw Conscious Ink tattoos  pop up in her Facebook newsfeed. Collins had decided to start a workout regiment. She wanted something positive on her skin that was visible to keep her on track, keep her positive and so she began wearing a Manifestation Tattoo on her right wrist every day before a workout.

You are loved.

Love your body.

Empowerment.

These were the words that she wore to remind her of her own strength. “Every time I look down at that tattoo, I am reminded that I can begin again.”

Collins can’t have tattoos (needles) in her arm and these tattoos allowed her the beauty and purpose of a tattoo without the actual ink, needles or permanence.

“I love wearing them and when my friends ask, ‘did you get ink?’ I say ‘temporary on the skin, indelible on the soul’ to them.”

In the end, it comes down to the words we choose for ourselves.

Collins says that if she could leave a single message to the world, it would be:

“Life is a Journey, not a destination. Go with God. Oh,and of course cancer sucks!”

***
We are honored to be a part of our Inkers journey towards healing.

Have you struggled with an illness? How did you overcome it? What mantra would you claim (or have you claimed) for strength for the journey?


Share your story of healing with our Conscious Ink family. Our collective stories are powerful when we allow them to rise.



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Behind the Ink: Realize Your Beauty.

Behind the Ink: Realize Your Beauty.

Stacey Lorin Merkl, Founder & Executive Director of Realize Your Beauty, reached out to Conscious Ink for her nonprofit’s New York City event when she realized that her own mission and that of Conscious Ink were perfectly aligned. “Realize Your Beauty is all about youth empowerment and Conscious Ink is all about empowering people with their tattoos. The messages of positivity, working to empower others, and helping them to believe in themselves - though we do this work in very different ways, at the end of the day, we have that strong commonality.” The event was a wonderful success and as the pictures poured in, we knew we had to feature Stacey, her organization, this event and her mission. This is her story of outreach and impact.

  • How was Realize Your Beauty Born? 
  • At a young age, I fell in love with theatre arts, and I knew that in some capacity they would be a part of my professional life. When I was about 14 yrs old, I had a mentor who used theater/music as a means to help those infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS. When I was 15, I began performing with his organization, helping with the fundraisers, and so on. It was this experience that taught me I could use what skills I had in theater arts as a means to help others. For me, that realization changed everything.

    After years of struggling with my own serious body image and eating disorder issues, it became clear to me that I wanted to spend my life empowering young people to feel good about themselves, to see their value and truly to understand their worth. With my background and skill set, using theatre as a means for social change was the natural path for me. For all these reasons, in 2010, I founded the non-profit organization, Realize Your Beauty, with the mission of promoting positive body image and eating disorder awareness to children and adolescents through theatre arts.  

  • What was the event that Conscious Ink sponsored all about and what inspired you to create it?
  • Conscious Ink so generously sponsored our annual event, Realize Your Beauty Day, which is an International celebration of inner-beauty, kindness and self-esteem: a day to celebrate what makes you uniquely beautiful. Conscious Ink sponsored our NYC Celebration, which was the main event for the organization. The event was so much more than what we could have hoped for! We had people of all ages in attendance: high school groups, parents and grandparents with young children, Girl Scout Troops - everyone was smiling and enjoying the activities! We had jewelry making, face-painting, a juggler, live music, live theatre performances, crafts, activities, and even a ‘Tattoo Parlor’ (sponsored by Conscious Ink!). All of the activities had a common theme: inner-beauty and kindness. The space was very generously sponsored by BALANCE Eating Disorder Treatment Center, and we were so lucky to have Denise Bidot (Plus Sized Model, Activist and Founder of No Wrong Way Movement) as our Guest Speaker. Everyone was so supportive and engaged with the presentation, and Denise Bidot gave a wonderful speech. It really helped the whole day come together, and reinforced the message behind the day: a day to celebrate what makes you uniquely you!

  • If you could tell the world one thing, what would it be?
  • If I could tell the world one thing, it would be that we are the most beautiful when we are the most ourselves. Be yourself, let yourself just…be you. You bring something to this world that nobody else can, because there is nobody in this world just like you. That seems so overly simple and maybe even trite- but it’s the truth. We all have different life experiences, along with our natural personalities and strengths, that combine to make us unique individuals. And we all have something positive we can share and contribute to this world – and the word desperately needs more positive contributions! The beautiful thing is that the more you’re able to love and embrace who you are, the more you’re able to love and embrace others.

     ***

    Conscious Ink was honored to contribute to the Realize Your Beauty event. When Frank Gjata founded Conscious Ink, he wanted the simplicity of a Manifestation Tattoo to have lasting impact by using the power of words as a regular reminder of our power. Stacey shared her own thoughts on the power of words and they perfectly reflect the heart of Conscious Ink: “I think many people underestimate the power of their words. Words inspire us, they influence us, they help to shape the way we think. A positive mantra can have a very powerful effect on our day to day lives, by helping and teaching our brains to think of things in a positive way. Words have power, and the way we speak to ourselves on a day to day basis has a very strong impact on how we feel about ourselves. It’s time to learn to speak to ourselves with words of love, respect and kindness, and a positive mantra is a great place to start.”

     

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    Live Richly.

    Live Richly.

    With My Father’s Death, Comes A Lesson For Life…With A Little Help From Our Friends.

    ~Frank Gjata, founder, Conscious Ink

    Setting out to write my father’s eulogy, I wasn’t sure where I would land, but I was clear as to the direction I was headed.
    I started my expedition with my compass pointed to the core essence of my father, Thomas. His deepest truths. What made Thomas uniquely Thomas. I mean, why mess around? If I was going to dig, I was going to break out the heaviest, and the finest detail, excavation equipment I could muster.

    I wasn’t sure if I would arrive at this very specific intended destination successfully, but, fortunately, this kind of distilling and mining for truth was a practice I had grown accustomed to over the years, whether it was directed at myself, others I coached, or the universe at large.

    I won’t include the entire eulogy here, but I will share how in search for some of Thomas’ deepest truths, they, serendipitously and graciously, found me first.

    This was fitting…since Thomas would also often say, “Life is strange”. What he meant by that was that he noticed the synchronicities of life. He saw how everything was connected, and interwoven together.

    I experienced a couple of these “life is strange” moments during this time contemplating about my father.

    ...this kind of distilling and mining for truth was a practice I had grown accustomed to over the years...

    I have the pleasure of being an acquaintance of Anita Moorjani, a beautiful soul, and the best selling author of “Dying To Be Me” (a life-changing book which chronicles her incredible near-death experience, which I highly recommend by the way). Anita and I had tentative plans to have tea, a few days after my father had passed. She unexpectedly had to fly out to New York. I let her know that my father had passed recently, and asked her to please have her people on “the other side” welcome Thomas. She graciously said she would say a prayer for my dad, and would ask Wayne and others to look out for him for sure. I thought to myself how awesome, and delightfully unexpected…I forgot that Anita was dear friends with Wayne Dyer (that was the “Wayne” she was referring to).

    Grateful to Anita for her kind gesture, I started to wonder, “Could there be a connection between my dad, who’d never read a self help book in his life, and Wayne Dyer?”

    Hmmmm…

    Well, for starters, Thomas was a wise man in his own right. So much so, that a family friend coined the nickname for him, “Nostra-Thomas”… a play on words with the famous seer “Nostradamus”.

    Thomas knew how to go with the flow of life. And he knew how to ultimately let go. He would often say, “C’est la vie”, “water under the bridge”, and, “what can you do”. He seemed to have a strong grasp of understanding the difference between the things we can control in life, and the things we can’t.

    And then, another serendipitous moment occurred during the wake for my dad. A couple of us were sharing about Thomas, talking about his warm smile, big heart, and the way he carried himself…then, all of a sudden, Anna, our 80-something year old relative with a thick Italian accent blurts out loudly and enthusiastically, “Ricchi senza soldi!”. And even before I could translate the words from Italian into English, I knew instantly that our relative Anna had sourced Thomas’ essence in a flash.

    Thomas lived, “Ricchi con o senza soldi!”, which translates to, “Rich, with or without money”. I thought wow, that’s IT. That describes Thomas to a tee. This is how Thomas lived “Ricchi, con o senza soldi.” Rich, with or without money.

    (And, the irony wasn’t lost on me that this moment was able to reach me when I was willing to let go trying to find it.)

    So, I thought, what makes a man rich? We know that money doesn’t necessarily make one so. So what then? For Thomas, it was a CHOICE to live richly, everyday. Well, most days. And Thomas made that choice in a variety of ways. He didn’t allow circumstances to dictate the way he lived life.

    Live richly, with or without money.

    This is the key principle:

    Choose to live richly regardless of circumstances (however that might look like for you).

    Give that a moment.

    So, with his “Ricchi con o senza soldi”, Thomas would greet each day dressed in a suit, polished shoes, clean shaven, and with a flower in his lapel. He wore a rich, warm smile. And he valued every interaction greatly, and intently.


    He had a deep respect for life. And life noticed.

    He lived richly by sharing with others what he had, regardless of what he had. He would give money, whether or not he had money to give. He made friends wherever he went, even in unlikely places, with people from all walks of life, including those he would meet on his walks, like the homeless. He would literally stop and smell the roses. And he was always prepared for adventure…saying “YES” to the invitations of life that crossed his path, without overanalyzing, questioning, or making excuses about why he couldn’t participate. That is living richly, “Ricchi con o senza soldi”! Say it with me now. It’s kinda catchy. “Ricchi con o senza soldi”.

    LIVE RICHLY, WITH OR WITHOUT MONEY.

    Now this sounded like a great title for a self help book I thought.

    Although, as I mentioned previously, I would venture to say that Thomas never read a new age book in his life. Yet, here he was embodying, some very rich concepts in living.


    I mean, who wouldn’t be able appreciate Thomas’ motto of not letting circumstances get in the way of living richly?

    How might that look like for you today?

    If Thomas and Wayne do end up meeting up, perhaps serendipitously, on the other side, I can envision them, very sweetly, walking (or floating?) arm in arm, enjoying each other’s company, in appreciation, joy, and wonder.

    I’ll leave you with one last sentiment my dad shared with others. When he would meet someone, he would say, “It’s my pleasure”, or “The pleasure is mine.”

    I, and I believe those who crossed Thomas’ path, along with the universe itself, would say the same of knowing him…the pleasure is indeed, ours.

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    Temporary Tattoos: A Tool for Permanent Transformation?

    Temporary Tattoos: A Tool for Permanent Transformation?

    Let’s be honest, in our fast-paced world with endless to-do lists, we need all the help we can get to stay grounded, and focused on our well-meaning intentions. But temporary tattoos, really? Most of us are already familiar with the most popular self-help rituals, like meditation, yoga, and walks in nature. These are all wonderful, and have proven to be effective. The problem is that more times than not, soon after we’re done with repeating our 1000th mantra, luxuriating in savasana pose, or communing with nature, we quickly can find ourselves back in our old routines, and may find ourselves cursing that inconsiderate “idiot” in front of us in traffic!

    Wouldn’t it be great to have something…a practice… that would help us in those out-of-control moments, when we’ve simply lost our center? Well, one way to keep our intentions top of mind is to also keep them “top of body” with a Manifestation Temporary Tattoo by Conscious Ink. It’s this precise purpose that life-coach founder Frank Gjata created these unique, unexpected, and effective tools.

    With over 300 positive words, inspiring phrases, and empowering affirmations, it’s easy to find the perfect message to support you with whatever you’d like to manifest into your life.

    Plus, these Conscious Ink Manifestation Temporary Tattoos can perform magic even if when you’re not consciously noticing the inspiring messages. According to Dr. Emoto & his groundbreaking research on water, even water molecules are affected by thoughts, words, and feelings. Since our bodies are 70% water, just imagine the influence that thoughts, words and feelings have on us!

    So, there you have it, it’s time to get inked up for good! Log onto our online Conscious Ink Store and pick out the temporary tattoo that speaks to you... you might find that it’s the tattoo that picks you. (We think that’s a good thing.) Happy manifesting to you!
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    Stand

    Stand

    There are few things more powerful than the simple act of standing.

    Gandhi stood for peace. Martin Luther King Jr. stood for equality. Mother Teresa stood for compassion. Hardly pushovers.

    So what makes this standing so powerful?

    When we stand for something, we have an unwavering commitment toward it. It’s clear and definitive. There’s no wasted energy thinking and rethinking, deciding and un-deciding, hemming then hawing. So those who stand for something enjoy super-concentrated energy.

    And that’s just the beginning.

    Since the entire universe loves clarity, it naturally and bountifully supports it. For example, a tree is definitive in being a tree. The universe abides by the tree’s decision and thus fully supports the tree by supplying everything it needs – sun and water, etc. The same holds true with us. When we stand for something authentic within us, we will be supported by the entire universe. Yeah, baby, yeah … now we’re talking!

    Let’s take a look at how it works the other way around. Until we make a conscious commitment to stand for something, we stand for nothing. And when we stand for nothing, we’re lost in no man’s land. And in no man’s land, we can eat up a lot of energy quickly … perhaps by standing then sitting repeatedly, or standing until someone tells us to sit, or standing until someone sees us standing, so we quickly sit in fear of judgment.

    What a mess.

    No worries though. It’s an easy fix. First, simply get in touch with something that’s authentic within the “real you” – your essence. Then make a conscious decision to stand for it.

    Simple as that.

    Now, here’s the trick: Make this decision when there’s no pressure to make this decision. Don’t wait for a set of circumstances to come up before you decide what you stand for! For example, if your essence likes the idea of integrity, make a decision right then and there that you stand for integrity. So then when a situation arises that might compromise your integrity, you automatically and effortlessly say no.

    No questions asked. No energy leak. The decision has already been made. If, let’s say, certain circumstances arise before you’ve decided to stand for integrity, you may unconsciously get caught up in a particular story, rationalizing this or that, and ultimately make a dishonest decision.

    The standing must come first.

    One last thing …  sometimes, before we can stand for something authentic, we must surrender something false, which may first require us to fall to our knees.

     

    Want to make statement about what you stand for?
    Check out our tattoos that are designed to affirm, inspire, and support you on your journey!
    You can find them in the Conscious Ink Store!
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    Life is This Moment Now.

    Life is This Moment Now.

    Life is this moment now. In this instance, I get in my car and drive.  One freeway to the next, along the ocean, and I can feel the mountain calling me, inviting me in.  I am carrying the burdens of a modern life.  My body is tense, my mind races, and I am restless, agitated.  I go to the mountain, because like a mother, she is soothing, unconditionally loving.  She is always there, ready to accept me with open arms, and as soon as I am near, I can already feel my body relaxing, my thoughts slowing down.

    I take the path I usually take but I start from the opposite end and the change in direction makes everything new.  The same trees, rocks, and grooves in the trail that I have always noticed look completely different and I am reminded of how the smallest shift can completely change my perspective.  The mountain is my teacher, and even though I have walked these trails a million times, there is always something new to learn.  I learn my strengths and weaknesses.  I learn what I am capable of.  I learn the truths that emanate from every living thing around me.

    There is no past, no future.  Life is this moment now.  One foot in front of the other, just breathe, enjoy the scenery, let the light nourish me, and let the silence unveil the knowledge that I carry deep inside me; I live in a generous universe.  I have everything I need right here.  All supports me.  I am loved.  I am enough.  I am more than enough.  I am part of this magnificent creation.

    As I walk and run along the paths, I can feel that I am connected to everything around me.  I make it to the top, but it is not a finish line.  There are many hills and valleys along the way and every part of the journey has something to offer me if I am open and willing to receive the gifts that are present in every moment.  Blue dragonflies and grey brown lizards dance and scamper around me, and all is well in my world.  I let go of the last drops of negative energy.  I let them seep right out of my pores and I feel lighter, freer.  I am at peace, full of joy.  Every cell in body is in perfect order.

    The temporary tattoos featured in this article are available at The Conscious Ink Store!
    Conscious Ink tattoos are designed to foster growth, love, and a blissfully authentic life.
    *Special thanks to the photographer, Suzanne Campbell

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    A Life More Authentic

    A Life More Authentic

    Conscious Inklings article on the value of living a life that is rooted in truth and authenticity.
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    Follow Your Bliss

    Follow Your Bliss

    There are many people who have contributed to the development of the amazing company and movement that Frank Gjata started when he founded Conscious Ink.  Over the past year and a half, Suzanne Campbell has been a very important part of the Conscious Ink team and has filled Conscious Ink orders with the characteristic joy and love that she brings into all of her endeavors.  While we are very sad to see her go, we are very proud to announce that Suzanne is following her bliss of giving others the gift of meditation by opening "Sitting Lily Meditation Instruction" Sitting Lily, a meditation instruction studio in Playa del Rey, CA.  This week’s post is a letter from Suzanne sharing how Conscious Ink came into her life and the ways that the messages of our temporary tattoos will be with her always.

    Dear Conscious Inkers,
          My name is Suzanne, and if you have ordered tattoos in the last year and a half, you most likely received a hand written note from me.  Each order I have filled with Conscious Ink tattoos, I have also filled with a lot of love.  It has been a joy for me to see the sweet notes you have written and pictures you have shared.  My career path is taking me in a new direction now, and while I will always be a supporter of the Conscious Ink message, I will no longer be filling your orders each week.  Before I go, I wanted to tell you a bit of my journey and show you how a tattoo, Follow Your Bliss, changed my life. 
        I began meditating a few years ago and, the more I practiced, the more I realized what a simple yet amazing gift it was.  I felt myself drawn to the teacher’s path, and I found that working a full time job with an erratic schedule was holding me back from studying and deepening my meditation practice.  I decided to quit my job so that I could meditate more.
        Yes, you heard me right.  For the first few weeks of unemployment, I was embarrassed to even say that out loud.  When I met new people I would pretend I was still at my old job—in other words, lie, just to avoid the long explanation, which really wasn’t that long. 
        Even though I had savings, I spent the first two weeks stressfully looking for part time work that was flexible, before deciding that this was not the mindset that would find a peaceful job.  I realized that I needed to let go.
        As I prepared to go on my friend, and Conscious Ink Ambassador, Jen Pastiloff’s yoga retreat, I was very excited to unplug and leave my job hunt behind.  I spent the weekend coming back to center and remembering why I quit work in the first place—to take some time and allow myself to make a shift.  It was on this retreat that I met Frank Gjata, the owner of Conscious Ink.  Frank had given a wonderful talk and brought Conscious Ink tattoos for all of us to wear.  Frank and I chatted throughout the weekend and on the last day of the retreat, he asked what I do.  I told him that I had quit my job to meditate more and that he was the first person that I had told this to.  I told him that I had lied to every other acquaintance in the last month, just to avoid an awkward conversation.  Saying it out loud, I felt silly.  I realized that I had just not wanted to admit that my “plan” was so unclear. 
         Frank asked if I had received one of the tattoos from the weekend and I had not yet.  He went inside and came out with a tattoo that said Follow Your Bliss.  After putting it on my arm, I was excited to see where it would lead me.  Five minutes later Frank asked if I wanted to work for him part time as one of his employees had just moved.  The amazing thing is that I had not mentioned to him that I was looking for work, but I looked down at the Follow Your Bliss tattoo on my arm and immediately said, “yes”! 
         This moment taught me that being true to myself meant also being honest in life.  It is ok not to know where you are headed all the time.  Some of the best detours in life are unknown roads to beautiful places.  When I tried to picture what work would best complement my journey of studying and teaching meditation, it involved being a part of a company that was very mindful of its message.  While working with Conscious Ink, I could answer the question, “What do you do?” with the following response: “I mail Peace and Love around the world, literally.”
        My time spent working around tattoos bearing messages of “Listen”, “To Thine Own Self Be True”, “Believe”, “I Am Powerful”, “Let Go”, (the list goes on…) have been constant sources of support and encouragement.
        Thank you to the Conscious Ink team for being so amazing, fun to work with, and providing me with encouragement on my journey. Lots of love to you, Inkers, and Follow Your Bliss, wherever it leads. 
         --Suzanne Campbell
    If you would like to be reminded to Let Go, Believe, and Follow Your Bliss, check out our beautiful temporary tattoos that were created to provide you with support, encouragement, and inkspiration wherever your path may take you!  They are waiting for you in The Conscious Ink Store.

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    The Power of Words

    The Power of Words

    How much power does a single word have? The great American poet, Emily Dickinson, has said, “I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word."
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