YEAR ANNIVERSARY Q&A FROM CO-FOUNDERS

As we celebrate our year anniversary this July 4th, Stacey and Kaitlin took time to reflect on this past year developing and running Your Beautiful Story. Their answers are from the heart and prove how much their love and dedication to this beautiful project has affected people from around the globe.

SUMMER SOLSTICE SEEDS FOR THOUGHT

Summer solstice it is a time to celebrate the light of consciousness within ourselves and each and every person, and to reflect upon the potential for our own consciousness to awaken. Everyone awakens at different moments in their lives. Many times these awakenings can feel like a complete paradigm shift, where in an instant you can see with crystal clarity how a certain perception has molded and shaped your life.  

It can be an exhilarating feeling of our own empowerment at our potential to reshape our lives to reflect our highest goals and dreams.  

During Summer Solstice, as the sun climaxes to it's highest peak of light, it can be symbolic of lightness overcoming darkness and our own potential to see things/perceptions that we've had with complete clarity. When we can see clearly we can choose clearly and that can feel amazing.  

Summer Solstice in an invitation to awaken to our own inner Guru, which leads us from darkness to light.

INTENTION: Embrace our new and exciting potential to choose with clarity so we can create beyond our wildest dreams.

April Bernardi has been on a journey of self discovery and growth for the past 16 years. As a long time yoga teacher she is currently teaching Kundalini Yoga in Southbay Area Studios as well as privately. Her most recent passion as a Licensed Esthetician is working with an amazing facial machine called the Myopulse LN which smooths, lifts & calms the skin. Her Spa is called the MyoGlow Skin Spa and is located in a brand new location inside the Hermosa Nail Co @ 950 Aviation Blvd. Suite i, Hermosa Beach, Ca. To book an appointment visit: www.MyoGlowSkinSpa.com

April's yoga DVD's and children's book are available on Amazon. Follow April on Facebook and check out her website www.goldenyogini.com 

TAKING FLIGHT

Spice scented breeze stirs me from sleep. It’s still dark as I ease myself from the yak wool blankets that have kept me cozy through the night and tip toe from my tent.

Outside my eyes turn skyward where infinite stars are awaiting me.

I pick my way through the Rhododendron laced path and shower on slate that shimmers beneath the moonlight to the melody of cicadas. As I dress I can’t shake this feeling that today could be the day I die.

The beauty that surrounds me is unimaginable — my connection to it, intimate.

Perhaps that is why I decided to jump.

Twilight begins to surrender to day as I make my way to the suspension bridge that threads one side of the mountain to the other.

I wasn’t even expecting to be here now. I’m in Nepal. Not content with life back home, I’d sought refuge abroad, far outside of my spear of reference. Mothered by the mountains and Monasteries of the Himalayas I’d traversed from China into Tibet before being moved on by the Chinese Government earlier than planned.

Just yesterday we had maneuvered ourselves across the boarder, passports and papers in hand,  amidst a blizzard snow storm. As the altitude dropped glacier bound mountains gave way to a dense and tropical jungle. Frozen streams thawed to life, to the delight of the passing hawkers who washed themselves in the foaming, frothy waters.  Eagles accompanied our descent, while we pealed off layer upon layer of clothing and watched the vegetation grow larger and greener.

When we arrived at our destination, it felt like paradise found. A number of activity were presented to us, along with a complimentary chai (as is customary). Perhaps it was the heady warmth of the famous Nepalese welcome, the sugar spice song of the tea or the euphoria of having completed a signature journey solo that helped me find myself but I found myself signing up for a bungee jump.

Not only did it feel right, but appropriate. Here was an opportunity to discard all the things that grounded me, weighed me down and evolve. I wanted to embrace life in free fall. I had confronted and let go of so much on this trip, I wanted to show myself I now had enough trust, faith and courage to leap into the unknown.

So I did. I stood on that bridge, took a deep breath and took flight. I said goodbye to the me I’d known and welcomed a future of my own design.

It was electrifying, exhilarating and terrifying. But it showed me I could fly. That day, I let a part of myself die.

Since then I have changed my life and continued to travel. Now I am a yoga teacher and yoga retreat leader, hosting yoga retreats inspired by my own passion for well being and wanderlust that I hope will help others become unbound.

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Katherine Smith_Taking Flight.jpg

Katherine is a yoga teacher and writer filled with wanderlust. She hosts yoga retreats across the globe intended to uplift, nourish and stir the soul. She has a finely tuned appetite for adventure and a healthy thirst for cocktails and coffee. Inspired by simple pleasures, Katherine is passionate about all things well being, making people happy and standing on her hands. 

Follow Katherine with her many adventures, upcoming yoga retreats and inspiring practice on KatherineSmithYoga.com.


INTENTION MENTION

Wow... 2015.  Isn't this the year that you're allowed to open those time capsules you made back in elementary school? What would we have put in those things back in kindergarten anyway? Think about how much the world has changed even in the last few months, let alone YEARS. We are 1 quindecennial into the new millennium and time is f-l-y-i-n-g. Most of January we are overwhelmed with "New Year, New You" and resolutions galore.  But the bottom line is, the new year brings an opportunity to view your life as a spectator rather than a participant and encourage yourself to continue following your dreams! This way you can ensure you are living each day to the fullest, placing value on the things in your life that make you happy and being your best self!

We believe that taking a moment to reflect on your life and writing down your intentions is a great thing to do at any time, the beginning of the year is just another great excuse.

A few of our favorites:

  • Live minimally.  Spring cleaning is not just for the spring and no one likes clutter.  If you have items around your house, closet, garage or anywhere else that random gadgets and rejected belongings can pile up, take a second look!  Some items may sit around untouched for months at a time.  Donate this!  Donating these items to charity is not only a nice gesture but free's your mind of clutter and is cleansing.  Clean house, clean mind.

  • Don't be so hard on yourself.  The number 1 resolution of every year is to lose weight.  Go on a diet, work out more, stop eat fatty foods; we've heard it all.  It's nearly impossible to hold to that 100% of the time.  Everything in your life is a balance.  Listen to your body and if you end up indulging in dessert or missing a workout, don't beat yourself up over it.  Get back on the saddle and move forward.  A negative mind doesn't create a positive life (Check out Merry Henry's article here for some great tips).

  • Seize the day.  Every single morning you wake up is another page of your story.  Live in the moment, do what makes you happy, spend time with those you love and continue to follow your passions.

  • Try Something New. Do your friends always talk about a favorite yoga or pilates class, but you've been too scared to try it? Go with them! Is there a coffee shop or park you pass on the way to work that you wish you could pop a squat and write or read? Make the time! Whether it's traveling, tasting, seeing or doing, make the most of 2015 by putting yourself out there and trying things you never thought you would.

  • Practice gratitude and radiate love.  Showing love and appreciation to everyone who touches your life and having gratitude for how lucky you are goes a long way.  Write thank you notes. Send a special message to someone. Give compliments. Smile at a stranger. We will often write down the moments in our life that we are grateful for.  Never overlook what is in your life that truly brings you happiness.

Let's kick this year off right, live in balance, radiate love all over and continue being awesome.  The next chapter in our story looks beautiful. We know yours does too.


FIND YOUR TRIBE

For as long as I can remember I've been fiercely independent...

I was the defiant kindergarten kid who wanted to walk instead of taking the bus home with the other kids (the bus driver found me and made me get on the bus).  I was the one who left home at seventeen for college and barely looked back, the one who left a “stable” job as an engineer at twenty two and moved countries, with no job, and no plan.

I grew up like any normal kid of divorcing parents, somewhere in that struggle between not knowing exactly what to do and not wanting to burden either side of the parent equation with my questions or needs.  I was praised for my independence and so I wore it like a badge of honor.  Asking for help never really felt like an option.

The Independence Myth...

Many believe that independence and strength are the same thing.  That needing others makes us “needy” and weakens our resolve, ability and capacity for success.  They believe that real happiness and abundance belong to those who can build them, “McGyver style” from nothing but the cards life has dealt them, stuck together with singlemindedness, and sheer force of will.  I used to be one of those people...

I was the one who believed that asking for help was for suckers and that anything I wanted I could have if put my head down and worked hard enough.  And it worked, for a while...

And then came... children.  Having kids (twins actually), put a crack in the “I don't need help” facade.  I realized for the first time in a long time that I needed (no, I wanted) my mommy, and I'm extremely grateful that she was there!  Kids made me painfully aware of the fact that we can't do it alone... and we're not meant to.  They changed the way I saw myself and everyone around me.

And then came.... starting my own business;  My second “awakening”, amplified in many ways by being in a new home, new country, and a new and unfamiliar city.  The reflex to batten down the hatches and go it alone was strong, but this time was different, I was different.  This time, full of passion and experience, and determined to make a difference, I reached out instead of drawing in.  And in doing so connected with a compassionate mob of kindred spirits who had similar challenges, questions, and fears.  Was this what I'd been missing for so many years..?  Little by little I started asking for help and it felt good and I realized that help doesn't always look or feel the way we think or expect it to.

The truth about connection...

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. “- Brené Brown

It's taken me years and a life-time of experience to get to this place.  And what I know now is something I would never have guessed back in my fiercely independent twenties, which is that no matter what we endeavour to do in life, we can't do it alone. 

Technically we can, sure, there are plenty of folks out there doing what they do without the mental, emotional and physical support that could make the difference between surviving and thriving.  But what I'm finding in my life, is that connection makes all the difference.

Having someone in your corner, to celebrate your wins (no matter how big or small), help you make sense of your mistakes, inspire, conspire and see your light (even when you can't) is the most valuable thing in life.

So find your tribe, your people, your sangha, your community of many or one who will build you up, and give you the strength, and sometimes the clarity you need to see through your own stories to your truth.  These people are VITAL to your health and happiness.  And chances are, they're right beside you or all around you waiting to contribute to your greatness.  And when you find them (or they find you), above all be generous enough to allow  them to support you.   Soften into and embrace these relationships because the moment you open your heart... the magic happens!

INTENTION:  In what areas of your life do you need or want support? We all need or want support in SOME area.  Think about when and where you feel powerless, confused or anxious. Commit to asking for what you need.   Allow those around you to contribute to your process of finding solutions (yeah I know it's scary but it will change your life).  Start small if you need to.  Consider that in reaching out, rather than closing in, you're creating connection and giving another person the opportunity to be generous, and who doesn't want to be generous?

xo, Chara

 Follow her on  Facebook ,  Twitter ,  Instagram  and  Pinterest .

Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Chara Caruthers is a Yoga therapist and Ayurvedic practitioner with a simple, powerful message... Know yourself, Love Yourself.  She's also the founder of Bliss Body &Soul, an on and offline resource dedicated to health and happiness seekers who want more than a “One-Size-Fits-All” approach to living!  She offers wellness mentoring, workshops, programs and lots of free mind-body wisdom at BlissBodyandSoul.com.


TAKE RISKS TO MAKE YOUR DREAMS A REALITY

I consider myself to be very lucky. I am healthy, educated, and in love. I live in the greatest city in the world with my soul mate. There is nothing that we could not overcome together. After 3.5 years of dating, we finally decided to move in together when I was presented with an opportunity to work on a Los Angeles based project.

My excitement to live in my newly leased apartment with Alex was the only thing that made me think twice about accepting the opportunity the second it was presented to me. After discussing the pros and cons of the travel schedule, we decided that the opportunity was too valuable to refuse. While it would be difficult to manage the work / life balance with me living in Santa Monica and him in New York, the work was perfectly aligned with my interests and goals. Besides, Alex and I were used to the Monday through Thursday travel schedule. We were not necessarily fans of it, but we made it work. So, we agreed that I would accept the role and start traveling cross-country the following month.

The first month of bi-coastal living was easy. I was so tired from the long hours required to catch up on the vision shared by the core team and the weekly 12 hours that I spent on the plane, I did not even realize the attention that I used to spend on Alex, family, and friends was redirected towards work. I, a naturally focus and driven individual, became obsessed with my work. Alex, who has always been the most supportive of my dreams and ambitions, would jokingly tell family and friends that I loved my job more than him. While this statement was entirely false, it did reveal that I wanted to focus on my own personal growth and development before my relationship’s at this point in my life.

As I continued to travel, I began to feel a bit lonely without my partner in crime around me every day to bounce around ideas and offer an additional perspective on daily life. I saw no feasible solution, as I would greatly regret giving up either. What it boiled down to was that I had to make both work - the love of my life and my dream job. I concluded professional and personal happiness are not mutually exclusive. This is no easy feat to execute with the middle of the country separating me from my career aspirations and my loved ones. As time went on and the passion for my work grew, I realized that in order to achieve peace and happiness in my life, I would have to understand how I could overcome this obstacle and learn from this experience in my life.

The work aspect was easier than the personal. I was so interested and engaged in my work that I never thought twice about staying late or lending a helping hand. My personal life, on the other hand, appeared to be unraveling at the seams. I was never home. I spent 4 nights in Santa Monica and 1 night on an airplane every week. Alex and I both felt as if we were living by ourselves - he in our NYC apartment and I in a different hotel room every week – during a time that we expected to live together. I had to discuss my dilemma with my team. Luckily, my team was extremely supportive about reducing my monthly travel schedule to allow me to work remotely 2 Fridays of every month. As for the other 2 Fridays, we designated those as travel weekends when Alex would travel to meet me on the West coast.

I realize now in hindsight that my alone time, spent learning more about my passions and interests, informed me about myself. I now have a better understanding of what I want to be doing and the people I want to have in my life. The ironic thing was that I had to do it alone, a state that would be hard to sustain living with Alex. This realization put me at ease and made me thankful for the opportunity to have this moment of personal, intellectual, and professional understanding and growth while continuing to fall deeper in love with Alex every day. These feelings are real life evidence of the cliché 'distance makes the heart grow fonder'. The middle of America all of a sudden transformed from an obstacle between my love and my career to a blessing that left me with a greater understanding of myself.

INTENTION: Sometimes life presents you opportunities that you cannot resist. You should take it: don’t think twice about the associated challenges. No challenge is overcome without a meaningful lesson revealed.

Sophia Trupos.jpg

Professional commuter. Sophia enjoys laughing, taking photos, running, summertime, and education. She hopes to make an impact on the world by creatively solving problems of those in need. Follow Sophia on Instagram with @sophiaamalia or Twitter with @soofeeyah7.


A LITTLE BULLYING AIN'T HURT NOBODY

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Let’s discuss the “B” word. No, not “bitch” I’m talking about the other controversial “B” word: “bully”. The media has recently hyped up the negative effects of bullying so much that I’ve been inspired to play devil’s advocate. 

We’ve all been bullied in some capacity and in fact I believe it’s a part of life. In 4th grade I was bullied by my frenemy Amber, whom in various forms called me “fat”. The topic was particularly sensitive to me as my twin sister had always been thinner than me causing me to be very insecure. Deep down I didn’t actually believe that I was fat, but I couldn’t deny the fact that I was physically “bigger” than my twin. 

Fast forward to post-college life and chasing my dreams in Los Angeles. During an acting/TV hosting class (how “LA” of me) the highly opinionated instructor informed me that I wasn’t “into” music enough to ever host a music show. (Um, how the heck would she know?) And told me I should pursue another point of interest in hosting.

Here’s where it comes full circle my friends! In both degrading situations I believe I triumphed. Dare I say it was partly due to the motivation this bullying gave me? Not only do I work as an on-camera personality as my profession (take that Amber!) but I broadcast music news daily and am a TV host for a music competition reality TV show.

All this being said, there is a different between a little smack talking and downright verbal abuse. You definitely need to know where the line is and don’t be afraid to stick up to Amber is she crosses it!

INTENTION: Take negativity and manifest it into encouragement.

xo, Misty


 Misty Kingma

Misty Kingma

Misty Kingma is an entertainment host & producer in Los Angeles, known for her black ray ban glasses. Misty is passionate about all things celebrity culture, pop music, social media and Youtube. Misty lives and motivates with the motto "Be Yourselfie". Follow Misty on Twitter or Tumblr and check out her website http://www.mistykingma.com

CLEAR AND EASY ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS

There are moments in life when we want to see things clearly: Should I leave this job? Is this person compatible enough to be my boyfriend? Is it time to change careers? As a human, there are many times in our lives where we wish making these decisions could be easier. We hope, wish and pray that some life-force will blow the answer right into our laps. One of the biggest life lessons I have learned (and work on daily to accept) is that asking to see things clearly is not the same as making things easy.

I am pregnant and recently left my job to focus on my and my baby’s health. I was working at the company for over two years and while I loved my co-workers, had great opportunities and gained valuable experience, the workload and stress levels had been growing day after day. 

It was a hard decision to leave, but after many prayers and therapy sessions with my husband and girl friends, it was the right decision for me. This sounds easy (even to myself as I write the words), but this choice took over a month to make and was caused by a domino effect of smaller life events. A close co-worker turned friend quit, I was given more responsibility because of this, my boss took a leave of absence, and I was forced to work in a very stressful work environment that I knew was putting a burden on the health of myself and my baby. As each domino hit the ground, leaving a mess behind in its path, it became harder and harder for me to do my job at the company I was working for. As all of these things were happening around me, I asked God for guidance on what to do and I felt like I wasn’t getting any answers. A month passed and I finally gave up and let go. I realized that misery is guidance. Each experience I was forced to work through was a lesson I was learning and a path to the answer I needed. I was no longer meant to be at my job and God was pushing me to my limits to force me out of my current work situation.

Many times I have asked God for guidance only to have to wait for what seems like an eternity to get an answer. My wish for all the answers being whispered into my ear never comes true, but when I think of how many things have to get choreographed to make one thing in my life happen, I start to look at things from the bigger picture, as God does. Ninety-nine percent of the time, my big problems are answered in the form of many small life events. Sometimes these events aren’t small at all, but the trick is to notice them no matter how busy you feel you are. Stop asking others for advice, checking your email and social media accounts, or flipping on the TV to ignore your problems. Instead, sit quietly for 5 minutes and ask yourself what has happened in your day, your week, or your life to get clarity on a question you want your answers to. I promise it won’t hurt.

INTENTION: To see things clearly, even when you can’t see the answer.

xo, Kaitlin


 Kaitlin Delaney

Kaitlin Delaney

Kaitlin is the co-founder of Your Beautiful Story. After many jobs she feels she has finally found her passion. Check her out on Instagram @kaitdel or the YBS team @BeYoutiful_Story.