Throughout one's life, you can transform in so many ways. Am I different? Yes. Am I someone I don’t recognize? No. One thing my past and present share is my love of nature. As I think back on certain distinct memories of my life, nature has always been a part of me. I have always had an interest and obsession with what naturally surrounds me. Nature's power to restore and renew life mentally, physically and even sometimes metaphysically is what I am drawn to. Let me start from the beginning.
I didn’t go to dance classes when I was little (ugh, I dreamed of being a B-Girl!). I also wasn’t in Pop Warner Cheer. I went to my great grandmother's house every summer and after school up until about seventh grade. Would I change it if I could? Never. I learned so much from her and her simplistic ways. I learned how to plant flowers and plants and to care for them. Making sure the soil wasn’t too wet from the days prior, as to not over water. I would sit on a towel in the backyard with a bucket and pull weeds. Getting the root on the first try was a game I was skilled at! Sounds like child labor, but it wasn’t in the least. She was always right there with my sister and I, making sure we went inside when the bees came out since she was scared of them. I remember when I had ear aches and my Nana would pull out this old Pace Picante jar from her closet. She took some of this green liquid and would heat it up on the stove with a spoon. She dropped it into my ear and placed a cotton ball inside. My ear aches ALWAYS went away. I now know her magic medicine was just olive oil and rosemary. That was my first lesson with nature and her healing power
Fast forward to age 21 and my skin is awful. I am eating like garbage and drinking, obviously. I start to break out and it is bad. I was lucky I didn't have any teenage acne, just the occasional cyclops at the most inconvenient of times, but you know, that’s normal. I hated my skin and I wasn't used to it. I happened to be taking facial classes at the time and I was learning so much about the skin. I quickly learned dairy was a big culprit of cheek breakouts. I cut that out real quick. I saw some pretty fast results within a couple weeks after taking out dairy. I was however left with scars, because you guessed it, I’m a picker. I had all this new found knowledge of natural ingredients and the effects it has on skin and I was naturally drawn to Aloe Vera. One, because my mom had a bunch of it in her front yard and two, I knew it would reduce my redness and create cell turnover so my skin would start to heal itself. Each night after washing my face, I would fillet one side of the leaf and rub the gel straight onto my face. I let it dry and went to bed. That was my second lesson—my skin was CLEAR! I don’t remember how long it took, but I continued using my plant serum for quite some time after. I now no longer had acne or scarring and I know it was due to that miracle plant. During the next few years I was spending lots of time outdoors. I was hiking, running and I also started making my own Coconut Oil—from a legit coconut. I guess I didn’t know about the power of Amazon in 2012.
Five years later I am now pregnant. Now, was this pregnancy a result of me buying a Moonstone Crystal? Doubtful, but whatever helped. I needed nature on my side. In all seriousness, I wanted to let my body naturally do its thing as far as birth. One thing I do know plenty about is, you cannot plan anything. So as much as I wanted to have a natural birth, I was aware that it may not happen and I was okay with that. Everything I did for Ximena and myself was the best I knew how to do. I tried to stay as active as I could. We walked a lot and hiked too. Most importantly, we were mentally deactivated with our meditation sessions. I truly 100% believe that is what helped me focus and literally breathe her out during birth. The first time I meditated was actually during those facial training courses. My training followed Ayurveda - an Indian practice of balance of the mind, body and spirit to create whole body wellness. I had continued to meditate for a while, but like many things, if you do not make it a priority it fades to the corner of the room. As fate would have it, during my last few months at Drybar, one of my clients happened to be a meditation instructor. That was all I needed to hear to get back into the practice. I knew now more than ever that I needed to focus and be within myself for this journey. *Spoiler Alert* It worked! I still meditate when I have the chance to. If she sleeps in a little longer or sometimes I’ll do it to calm my mind while lying down before bed.
So here I am 28, and now I am Vegan. Long story short, about three months ago the Littles were sleeping and Stephanie and I were binge watching Netflix. It all started with one documentary—we both cried. Was it that transformational or were we just both really hormonal? Regardless, it peaked my curiosity. Over the next week I had just about watched all the vegan documentaries out there. That was all it took. Do I miss meat? Was it hard? What does my husband say? No, to be honest I do not miss meat. I remember what it tastes like, so I know I am not missing out on anything. I quit cold turkey (tomato). I didn't really have any strong attachments towards food. Don’t get me wrong, I do love to eat. But now my favorite thing to say is, “I love being Vegan because I can eat as much as I want!" because you know, veggies. Daniel is amazing. We haven't bought meat since we have moved to Chicago. He eats every meal I make and already has some Vegan favorites. He calls himself a Vegan by association. For him he really can have his Vegan cake and a cheeseburger too. We respect each other's views and we hear each other out. As for me, I am doing it for the health benefits but that is secondary to my real reason. I now know that I can be healthy and fulfilled without eating animals. For me, it just naturally fit my values. These values have been with me all my life, it just took awareness and recognition on my part.
That's growing up for you.
Have I really changed all that much, or am I becoming the person that I have been all along? Now that I have Ximena and am eating Vegan while breastfeeding, I am educating myself even more so. With technology and information so readily available, it's hard not to. Never stop growing and never stop learning. But if I am being honest, a real and more personal reason I feel I so strongly connected with nature, is because that is where I see my Dad. He is flapping his beautiful butterfly wings. Flying so gently on the sweetest of random days and with out fail on the days I wish he was there, he appears. The sound of wind chimes when there is no breeze. The beautiful stars in the sky and I know he is shining up there. For me, nature is and always has been a part of me. I love being a part of this Earth and now I get to raise my own family respecting it. Even on the days that are hard, the great ones will always outweigh them. Everything always comes full circle, it’s the days in between where our lessons are learned.
Steve Jobs said it best,
“You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.”
A small collection of natural, beautiful moments.
Stephanie + Brittany here! We'll be sharing different topics week to week depending on what life throws at us! Funny moments, frustrating moments, heart to hearts, epiphanies, ideas, thoughts and anything in between.