Monday, November 7, 2016

The #30Layers30Days Writing Challenge






We started on November 1, but feel free to join in at any time!  I have been sharing my daily posts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.  You can also feel free to keep your work private and write in your journal.   If you would like to read and connect with other writers doing the challenge, browse the hashtag #30Layers30Days on any of the social media platforms listed above.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

new workshops, new blog, new book




Hey!  Long time no see.

I started All the Many Layers at the end of 2012 and it's been my home as I ventured into self-employment and authorship and all kinds of creative adventures.  Right now I have that bittersweet feeling of wanting to go and wanting to stay at the same time.  But I know it's time to move on.

I've been packing up around here and preparing to move to a new space and release a new book.  Eek!  I'm taking the name with me but leaving a lot behind. Things will continue to be quiet around here for awhile, but All the Many Layers will be back with a new look and feel very soon.

In the meantime, the following info should be helpful:


  • If you're a first time visitor (welcome!), you can find out who I am and what I do here and here. 
  • If you are looking to read my work, most of the posts here on the blog have been taken down or will be very soon. You can access the archive for all my past newsletters here.  Also, be sure to subscribe to future newsletters here.
  • If you are looking to purchase one of my books, they are all available on Amazon.
  • If you are interested in taking one of my live workshops, registration is now open for the following events:
    • Atlanta:  Writing the Layers Self-Discovery Workshop {only 4 spots left!}  (September 17)
    • Washington DC:  Words That Move Writing Workshop {doing this in person for the first time!} (October 22)
    • Atlanta:  Life in Translation: Shaping Experiences into Impactful, Dynamic, and Marketable Content, Blogalicious Conference  (November 5)
    • NYC:  Writing the Layers Self-Discovery Workshop (November 19)
  • If you are interested in taking one of my online courses:



Also, while I'm working on this transition behind the scenes, I'm lurking around on Instagram and Twitter.  

If you sent me an email and I have not responded, I apologize.  I feel like I've been behind on emails forever.  I'm slowly but surely catching up so please don't take my slow response personally.

Lastly, I hope you all had a blessed summer!  I know mine had plenty of ups and downs (as life always does) but I'm grateful for the lessons learned and all the special moments.  I'm letting go of all the expectations that my inner critic is trying to tell me that I didn't meet and I'm focused on staying open and present for what's next.

There is always more going on than we can see clearly in the moment, you know?  So when we ask for strength, grace, growth, relief, whatever, know that for us to receive these blessings, there is going to be some work and discomfort involved. Be humble and brave through it all.  Save your energy for this work and let go of any unnecessary battles or resistance you are holding onto.  Right now I'm sending you love and encouragement for whatever you're facing.

Thanks so much for checking in!  I will update this post as necessary over the coming weeks.

Blessings,
GG

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Updates:






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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

you are going to have to fall



my one and only 


I had a plan.   I thought I would take a huge leap of faith that would change my life drastically, then I'd sit back and watch everything fall into place.

Because that is what people say:  it all falls into place.  

More accurate for me: it all falls apart and you learn to trust the fall.  

My plan was to leap, but I didn't think much about what would happen next.   I just knew that if I didn't leap, I'd be pushed and I didn't want that to be my story.

The past few years have taught me how important it is to approach both ups and downs with the same willingness.  I prayed for a lifestyle change and I got it.  But it didn't descend on me out of the sky.

If anything fell, it was me.

I fell out of favor with some, because I decided to focus on myself.  I fell off the radar, looking for myself in places where no one could reach me.  I fell out of love with old ideas of myself and others that were holding me back. I fell hard for my dreams and my imagination, because I finally started believing that they were mine for a reason.

Along the way I've learned to fall more gracefully.  It's not a one time thing.  You fall.  You bounce.  You soar.  It becomes a dance.  Every time you are lifted up and every time you drop, you gain wisdom that expands your mind and opens your heart.  How you fall becomes part of your artistry and your growth.  If only we could see falling as a sign of progress.

Falling off the pedestal allows you to be free.  

I know so many people who are afraid to fall for what they believe in because of what people might say.  Because of what is deemed responsible and acceptable and prudent.  I can easily think of dozens of unsolicited comments I've received from people over the years.  When I got pregnant with all these babies without being married. When I went natural.  When I quit my job.  When I stopped letting people's limitations become my own. When I embraced my style.  My pace.  My needs.  When I dared to be human and emotional and unashamed.  There is always someone who will judge and try to detour you with their disappointment.

The escape from all of that is to let yourself fall.  Fall for something that tests your faith and your ability to let go.  It's scary to come undone.  But it you embrace the fall, you can finesse it.  You can observe yourself and grow from it.  Do it with a little more honesty next time and a little more gratitude.   Try doing a flip or a spin in the air.  Arch your back.  Point your toes.  Do not be ashamed to surrender to the ride and make it your own.

I haven't enjoyed every part of my journey.  At all.  But I'm thankful for all of it and the rewards wouldn't be possible without the struggles.

You have to leap and trust the fall.

You might think you want something but you're afraid of what you'll have to sacrifice to get it.  The only way to learn is on the way down.  You might have issues that are so heavy, you think they'll pull you down and you won't survive.  But all things are possible.  You will only learn that on the way down.   There may be obstacles and problems you didn't expect, but it's okay, because as you fall you will see miracles happen, mind shifts and heart breaks, that change your whole everything:  how you live, how you think, how you believe, how you rise back up.

Prayers are powerful.  But blessings are not always obvious.

Plans are good.  But flexibility is magical.

Knowing all of this in theory is helpful but eventually you have to leap and you have to fall to find out for yourself.

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Spring has me feeling all kinds of new feels.  After hibernating most of the winter, I'm craving new sights and experiences and my calendar is filling up.  What about you?  Most importantly, are you honoring how you feel and intentionally giving yourself what you crave?  There are a few spots left for my my next writing and self-discovery workshop on April 30.  If you want to come, don't hesitate.  Join us.  I have to reschedule my May workshop in New York, so I'll have an update on that soon.   Atlanta, I'll be there in September.  Yay!  

Before I go, a few goodies I've been loving:   The Incense Box,  Balm & Co.'s Honeysuckle Turmeric toner,  The Zahir by Paulo Coelho, and Aunt Jackie's Hydrating Sealing Butter.   I'm not being paid to endorse these things, just looking for a way to share.  Talk to you soon.  xo 

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Friday, April 1, 2016

overcoming anxiety with minimalism { 10 ideas for a simpler life }





People make me nervous.

So do unexpected phone calls, overbooked schedules and uncomfortable clothes.

Life in general makes me nervous.  So many people and problems and energies and uncertainties.  I'm sensitive to all of it.

The older I get, the more of this world I consume, the more I feel overwhelmed and anxious.  But I know I need to be at peace and operating from a place of love, not fear, in order to live the life I want.  So I see this anxiety thing like any other challenge life throws at me, an opportunity to be creative with my life design.

Space eases anxiety for me.

To face my anxiety and understand what it's trying to teach me, I have to constantly clear my mind, body, spirit and surroundings of toxic energy and unnecessary clutter.  I have to create space, even when it seems there is none.

I've had to look closely at my old assumption that more stuff would bring me more happiness and validation.  I want to live slowly and savor my experiences a certain way, so I have to protect what is meaningful to me and let the rest go.

What stresses you out and makes you anxious day to day?  Start paying close attention to your triggers without assuming that you are wrong or weird.   Ideas flow more freely when you are not judging yourself. Notice what upsets you, what relaxes you, what angers you and lights you up, then one by one, start making adjustments.  Life does not have to feel so abrasive.  You can change your experience.

The lifestyle changes I've made are grounded in minimalism, creativity and most of all, love.  

Because when anxiety has me in its grip, worry and heaviness distract me from being present and open to what I love most.  Do you want to free up more energy and space to love what you love and do what you do with more clarity and intention?  I DO.  So these are just some of the ideas and adjustments that are helping me do that.

simple abundance.  creating more space and intentional energy in my mind, my home and surroundings.  simplifying my schedule.  spacing out my obligations. releasing the need to be everything to everyone. letting go of negative thought patterns. making sure everything that takes up space serves a purpose of function, nourishment, play or inspiration.

capsule everything.  less clothes.  less jewelry.  less makeup. less decisions. discovering the bare necessities that make me feel like myself, add value to my life and nuance to my aesthetic.  more time, space and energy to shine without fluff that just makes me feel awkward.

creative self-care.  less products. mostly natural and DIY.  the process of researching, experimenting and making my own products and regimens soothes me and has become a creative outlet.  discovering natural solutions makes me feel more resourceful in all aspects of my life and boosts my confidence.

cultivated certainty.  more yes, more no, less maybe.  lingering decisions make me nervous and distracted.  trusting my intuition and owning my decisions without regret creates the energy needed to move forward confidently, ready to accept the results of what I do.

social mantras.  before I go into social environments, I set my mind on being myself and not giving into intimidation, inadequacy or irrational fears.  I tell myself that I am enough, I am present, I am safe and I am grateful.

savor sensuality.  prioritize pleasure.  escape from stress and welcome sensation.  whatever strokes your femininity, make space for it.  have you ever written a romantic or erotic story?  choreographed a chair dance?  try it!

aromatherapy.   essential oils.  incense.  sage.  anointing myself with oils several times a day burning incense everyday.  my favorite for anxiety is an oil blend called peace that includes vetiver, lavender, ylang ylang, frankincense, clary sage, marjoram, and spearmint. (you can shop for high-quality essential oils including peace in my doTerra shop.)

visualization.  calming meditation + breathing exercises.  sit in a chair.  stare at the wall.  visualize your fears as clouds, floating by.  don't cling to them. let them pass without giving them energy. breathe in deeply and picture yourself breathing in clear, fresh air, full of hope and light.  breathe out and picture grey smoke leaving your body, full of doubt and fear.

art therapy.  write. color. draw. dance. paint. sing. sew. decorate. design. photograph. travel. cook.  transform your feelings and moods and passions into creations.

build community. creative soulmates. church friends. mom groups. sister circles.  yoga buddies.  book clubs.  running partners. whatever it is, get yourself a tribe that cares, understands and supports.  avoid gossiping and complaining.  surround yourself with people who talk about heart and soul and growth.

When you set out each day with peace as your priority, minor vexations don't bother you so much.  

You start to notice the people, places, and conversations that no longer serve you.  You see opportunities to grow and become more rooted in places where before you felt completely reactive and at the mercy of your surroundings.  You look at anxiety and stress as what they are, signals that you need to settle more deeply into your truth and your faith.

What I've listed above are just a few themes that have been prevalent for me.  But it all stemmed from professional therapy and doing my own research on anxiety, minimalism, mindfulness, high sensitivity and introversion.   I would love to hear how you are taking baby steps and huge leaps toward living a more peaceful, spacious life.   Please share with me in the comments!


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Thinking about giving up on something?   Read this for a different perspective.    Feeling unmotivated by your goals?   Consider this.    Feeling stuck and afraid about making changes you know you need to make?  This is for you.    Are you signed up for my newsletter?  If not, you missed out on the free coloring pages and affirmations I sent out.  But no worries, you can sign up here as I'll be sending them out monthy.  And don't forget to reserve your spot in my next workshop in DC on April 30.   Okay, love you, bye.  xo

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

one day I said it's enough



She was nothing like me.  I could tell by the things she said to him and the way he responded to her.  She seemed to bring out a side of him I'd never seen before and while their exchange infuriated me, it also intrigued me.   Was this the real him?  Does he keep these girls on the side to satisfy a part of him that I can't?  Maybe he thinks I'm boring.  Maybe I'm the good girl and he keeps his bad girls on the side.  I'm not every woman to him.  I'm not enough.

I read his text messages everyday as a form of self-torture.  I looked forward to the pain, like I wanted to keep poking the wound, reminding myself that it was there and it was getting worse.  Pain sinks in slowly with me, vibrating in waves.  I have delayed reactions like kids when they fall and the shock of it steals their breath for long seconds, mouth open, eyes wide, as the pain settles in and the cry builds up in their throats.

I was insecure and I was always looking out for proof that I couldn't win.  Obviously if I was dating a guy and he cheated, it was because I wasn't good enough to keep him.  Obviously if I didn't get the job I applied for, it was because I was just average, not smart enough or capable enough to stand out.  I wanted to be picked and I wanted to be praised to prove I was good enough.  I let my neediness disfigure me and I couldn't see the shape of who I wanted to be and how I wanted to live.

Inadequacy can become a habit, a part of our everyday cocktail of emotions.  We get so used to feeding it to ourselves that we begin to hunger for it, looking for ways to satisfy the craving and stay full with its emptiness. It's a heavy, manipulative, sticky thing.  It'll have you thinking that it's all about one thing when it's really about another.  It'll have you believing that you are damaged, unlovable, unacceptable, undone and that you should just settle for whatever scraps you can get.

The shame and inadequacy I felt kept my mind occupied for long periods of time.  Time I could have spent feeding myself something different. But it taught me what I didn't want to do and who I couldn't bear to be.  I couldn't go through life anymore thinking that everything was my fault.  That being mistreated and suffering in silence somehow made me the better person.   All the constant rearranging I did, dying for someone to see me from a different angle and tell me what to fix, what to do and how to feel.  I wanted to be honest with myself and get real because the nonsense was making my life feel so frail, like it could fall apart any second.

Lies pile up and attract more lies, but truth multiplies too.

Once you open the floodgates and start admitting real things to yourself, the truth starts to overflow from your heart to taking over your mind and pouring out of your mouth.  Truth moves things around and makes things fall down and rise up.  I'm telling you, the truth is the path to a good life.  Not the life that everyone else wants for you, or even the one you thought you'd have, but the life that you were created for.  A life where you can be yourself without apology, free from lies, manipulation and drama.

One day I said it's enough.  I made him watch as I shed a layer in front of him.  He said things to me that used to make me cry and I laughed.  He told me lies I used to believe and I saw through them.  I pitied him because he didn't know what I knew, how much I knew, or how I'd already made up my mind.  I barely spoke his language anymore.  I  felt lifted like I'd been living underground all this time and didn't know it.  I escaped.  Seeing the sky and the trees and all the roads leading anywhere I want to go and looking back at this man realizing I was the one who'd trapped myself, attached myself, starved myself -- not him.  I was always free to go, but I'd chosen to stay, afraid of what else was out there, but even more so afraid of what else was inside of me.

Maybe he was afraid of it too.  Maybe he wanted to keep me small so he could contain me.  Maybe he'd lived in fear of the day I'd wake up.  He'd seen my rawest moments: back arched in ecstasy, in pain, in laughter, in grief.   These gifts, this access I'd given, and to think I thought I wasn't enough.

I learned.

I stopped begging him, holding my cup out to be filled everyday.  I started thinking about how I could fill myself instead.  I acquired a taste for new things, healthier than anything he'd ever given me.  I realized my insatiable hunger was for my own love, not his.

Life is always trying to teach us and God is always answering our prayers, while we insist on avoiding the lessons and blocking the truth.   Listen to your heart when it says it's enough, you're enough, and it's time to move on and be all that you are, no limits.


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If you can relate to this, please leave a comment below!  Self-discovery is crucial to personal growth and living the life you want.  I held my first self-discovery workshop in February and it was amazing to lead a room full of women through writing about things and sharing things they never thought they could.  I had that "this is what I'm supposed to be doing" feeling.  Stay tuned and save the dates as tickets go on sale for my next workshops: April 30 in DC, May 14 in NYC and September 17 in Atlanta.  Thank you so much for reading.  xo

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Friday, February 5, 2016

less judgment, more love






There's about three feet of snow on the ground and I see a woman who looks like she needs help.  But I don't help her.  Because awhile back I'd decided that this woman was mean and my assumptions wouldn't let me move.