Conscious Inklings Blog. IDEAS, INSIGHTS & INK-SPIRATION. / blog
Life is short. There is no more time to waste.
This Little Light of Mine
A few months ago, after being repeatedly encouraged by friends, I decided to check out a class at a local dance studio. I browsed through the descriptions of the various classes and for some reason, a class called “Pop Video with Brandon” just stood out to me. Who doesn't want to be able to dance like they’re killing it in a music video?
So, I showed up to my first day of class, and as I sat on the wooden floor of the dance studio, stretching, I realized that I was really nervous. I hadn’t taken a dance class in over 15 years, and even then I took modern and ballet. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to learn the pop and hip hop infused choreography and that I would end up just making a fool out of myself. Just as my anxiety was starting to hit a peak, the instructor walked, or rather, bounced into the room.
I was instantly fascinated with Brandon. Everything about him was striking. Physically, he was tall and lean, with ebony skin, and a megawatt smile. He was dressed in true pop video star style, with 1970s basketball short shorts, sneaks, and a barely there tank top, and somehow, on him, the look seemed simultaneously fabulous and effortless. Even more striking than his appearance though, was, what I can only describe as, his aura. An incredible light seemed to radiate from him, and I was so busy being intrigued by this person that I forgot how nervous I was.
Brandon hit the music and we warmed up to the sounds of Beyonce, Britney Spears, and Michael Jackson, before shifting into the choreography. I watched Brandon demonstrate dance sequences, and I could feel my movements becoming stiff and awkward as my incredibly stubborn perfectionist tendencies took hold. I continued to study Brandon, trying to understand the secret to his dance amazingness, and then it hit me. While he was certainly executing every move to perfection, fluid in one moment and then sharp the next, it wasn’t what he was doing as much as how he was doing it.
The only word that accurately describes Brandon when he dances is fierce. As I watched Brandon dance, I noticed that he was expressing every ounce of his passion, joy, and talent in every movement. He wasn't holding anything back, he was fearless, and it was a revelation. He moved around the room, beaming his infectious, child-like smile and calling out encouraging things to my classmates and me. “Work it!....Yeah!...Holla!”
I looked around at my various classmates—people of every age, shape, color, and gender. They, too, were completely letting go and dancing like their lives depended on it. No, not everyone was hitting every move perfectly, but no one seemed to care. They were all too busy being Beyonce, Britney, or Michael.
As I found my own fearlessness and began to let go of my inhibitions, self-criticisms, and worries, I found a power inside of myself that I didn’t even realize I had been suppressing. I found my own fierceness, and I realized that this is what makes a pop star. This is the “it factor” that people talk about. The ability to not hold back even a tiny bit of your own greatness, and I couldn’t help but think about one of my favorite Marianne Williamson quotes.
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ ”
In that moment, I realized how much I have lived within this perspective, this idea that I should be careful not to shine too brightly. That it might be threatening to someone else or that it might be too much to live up to. That, maybe, I am not worthy of being great. But the ever-wise Marianne Williamson goes on to ask the question that Brandon implied in his class. “Who are you not to be?” Why should you subdue your light?
Williamson illuminates the truth that was unveiling itself to me. Sweat-soaked, in the middle of a dance class, with club music blasting, I realized what my classmates and Brandon seemed to already know. “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
This is what Brandon’s class was about—liberation. Liberation from our fears, from the limitations that we place upon ourselves. I went into a dance class, hoping to get a good sweat and some new moves, and I came away with a lesson that I have carried with me every day since: Not only do you not have to hide your light, you absolutely should let your light shine as brightly as it will, because the very act of doing so just might give someone else permission to do the same. And that is, most definitely, a gift.
Looking for a way to remember to let your light shine? Check out the amazing affirmation tattoos in The Conscious Ink Store!
Conscious Ink tattoos are designed to encourage you to connect with your inner light and share it with others!
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.
I am enough. Enough.
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.
Founder, Conscious Ink
The Permission Slip You've Been Waiting For
If you've been waiting for a sign that it's time to do that thing you've been meaning to do but haven't gotten around to, well, this is it.
You see, everyone comes with their own built in special aptitudes and gifts to share with the world. If you haven't yet uncovered where your own talents lie, look for those things that come so naturally to you that you don't even give them second thought. Our greatest internal gems are often hiding in places that are obvious to everyone except for us.
So many of us are reluctant to accept these gifts that are innate to us and to in turn share these gifts with the world, because doing so might seem impractical or inconvenient. We may also be unknowingly waiting for some person or external event or circumstance to give us permission to act upon these callings. We say that we'll create that product when the economy picks up or we'll write that book when we feel more qualified to do so.
The catch to waiting for the perfect external person, place or thing to give us the permission to do what we came here to do is that, more often than not, this permission slip never comes. Thereby we pose the risk of going to the grave with these gifts still inside of us, left unopened.
When we bypass the permission slip that we believe we need to move in the direction of our dreams and get started now, we step into our power. If you must, grant yourself permission and go for it. The important thing is that you get started.
Wanderlust: A Journey Back To You
We humans are quite keen on knowing where we are headed at all times. It gives us a sense of certainty. Something tangible to hold onto, like a road map that guarantees if you take all of the right turns you will arrive at your destination. The problem is that life does not work like this. Life is not a straight-line trajectory- it ebbs and flows. Often times you have to wander off-trail to figure out who you are, what it is that you want and bring these desires to fruition.
I have always been a wanderer myself- quick to abandon a promising, secure path the moment it proves to not be a fulfilling choice for me. My family and friends were particularly worried when I dropped out of high school 3 months into my freshman year. Although this is the path that is seen as necessary in our society, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was more waiting for me outside the classroom.
From wandering off of the societally appropriate path, I was able to get in touch with myself and achieve what I previously thought was out of reach. Over the course of 4 years I traveled across the country, hiked through the Sierras and managed to complete my Associate’s Degree at 18, when my high school class was just graduating. This all came from listening to my intuition and letting it guide me, even when it felt insanely impractical to do so.
All too often our desperate need to know where the next step will lead blocks the guidance our intuition provides for us. Intuition is like that high school boyfriend your parents didn’t care for. It shows up, windblown hair and leather pants, daring you to hop on the back of its’ motorcycle. Every bone in your body is screaming for you to hop on, but your mind is like erm, Amanda, you have Biology at 12. And this is how you miss out on the thrill of a journey intuition paved out for you.
Wandering is an essential part of listening to your intuition.
Your intuition will lead you down awry paths that may not always make practical sense but feel right in your gut. Onlookers will likely take your swerve off-track as a sign of you being lost in life but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Following your intuition only brings you closer to yourself. In reality you are not lost, you are actually closer to finding yourself than ever before.
With that being said, I urge you to tune into that gut feeling lying beneath all of the well-laid plans. When you get the impulse to flee from the perfect path you’ve carved out for yourself, know that there is no harm in wandering off course.
Often times it is the dirt road with the overgrown bushes that leads you back to who you really are.
Conscious Ink Staffer
Self Love- How we treat ourselves.
I AM: decisions and declarations
Everyday we claim our titles, our choices, our paths. Everyday we make 35,000 decisions -- choices that can seem as inconsequential as we choose to add an extra slice of tomato to our sandwiches or how we tie our shoelaces. But among those many decisions, those big and small choices, we also decide WHO AM I.
We choose to be compassionate or judgmental.
We choose to cling tight or surrender.
We choose to be kind or be cold.
These are choices we make as we drive down the street, see our coworkers in the hall, greet our families at the door or kiss our kids (or fur babies) goodnight. Our thoughts and actions shape who we are and who we are becoming. It is by living consciously, by intentionally choosing those thoughts and actions do we become radically empowered in creating the trajectory and momentum of our lives.
Conscious Ink was created to empower the world to own their truth. The manifestation tattoos are a simple tool of awareness and empowerment to serve our daily reawakening and our daily reminder to choose wisely.
How can you be GRACE today?
How can you be INSPIRATION today?
How can you be HOPE today?
How can you be HEALED today?
How can you be POWERFUL today?
First, you must look in the mirror and claim it.
Decide it. Declare it.
Look into your eyes and see the truth. Be witness to your great, glorious, sometimes messy, always evolving I AM.
We are honored to be choosing, growing, claiming, evolving with you.
Behind the Ink: Be Present
Shona Marie believes in the power and potency of words. She lives them. Breathes them. As the CEO of a copywriting boutique, her business is to know how to yank and tease words together to make them entice a reader or buyer.
Shona Marie has a copywriting team from all over the country. She trains them and leads them, but first, she wants to support them and make them feel seen and supported. Before diving into a team project, Shona asks her writers to pick a word, a mantra or a phrase, that deeply resonates with them at that moment.
That’s where Conscious Ink tattoos come in. The team gets to pick their tattoo and then can wear it as a reminder and beautiful adornment as they set to spin words into stories.
“A permanent tattoo doesn’t capture the fluidity and evolution of our individual experience. That’s why I love these temporary tattoos,” says Shona. “ A mantra or word or phrase that may have deep resonance today, may be something completely different a week from now, or a year from now. The key is to be present to our experience in the now and honor it. When we do, our power emerges.”
To be present requires honesty.
To be present requires us to get still and listen.
The beauty of Conscious Ink Manifestation tattoos is that they require us to lean back and reflect on…
And as we do, we get present and every time our eyes skim the tattoos on our skin, we are reminded that what we need is right here.
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.
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!”
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.