This week in 2003, I was in Paris with my older brother. When we were at the top of the Eiffel Tower I remember feeling like everyone was in love.
I was dating someone casually at the time and I remember thinking at that moment that when I got back to Chicago that I would break it off.
I stood up there and looked out over Paris and declared in my head that the next time I was in Paris, I would be in love. Madly in love.
When I got back from that trip, I ended things with that boyfriend and then some friends set me up with Matt Burki. We had known each other for about two years as friends but the timing was perfect because we became inseparable.
That following December, he asked if I wanted to go to Paris for New Years. Of course, I said YES!
We went to the top of the Eiffel Tower and kissed. I was madly in love! It was freezing so I remember we weren’t up there long but the whole trip was magical.
I was kind of blown away by how the whole thing happened. When I first I had that thought at the top of the Eiffel Tower I didn’t really have a time frame. So to be back in less than a year was amazing!
I had not known about the concept of manifesting at this time. When I first learned about shifting your energy and asking the universe for what you want, I immediately remembered this story.
I try to live my whole life this way. At times I have forgotten and life becomes tough. Then I remember to remove things keeping me at a lower vibration, figure out what I want or how I want to feel and co-create with the universe (God/Spirit/Angels/Guides) to make it happen.
Your thoughts and emotions are powerful! You are worthy of your desires! Now go put them out into the universe and open yourself up to some magic!
The first 3 photos below are from my April trip with my older brother and the last ones are my December trip with Matt.
About 5 years ago, during a guided meditation, a bear showed up. I didn’t think too much of it until the bear showed up again in another meditation a few months later.
Before this, if you had asked me what my “spirit animal” was I would have definitely said, tiger.
So I was unsure about this bear. I did a little research to discover the energy associated with bears.
Bear Animal Guide Characteristics
At this time in my life a lot of change had been going on and I had been struggling a bit. Just reading the words associated with bears soothed me. I knew I needed this energy in my life.
I began taking more alone time and focused on getting grounded on a regular basis. In the beginning, I would imagine myself in a field and bear coming and putting its arms around me. Protecting me.
It felt good to have this strength and confidence surrounding me.
I decided I was going to call it “Bear” instead of a name. I don’t always associate Bear with being male or female. None of that seemed to matter in this instance.
As time went on, I started to bring “Bear” into my daily life. During my life coaching training when we were doing our first sessions with each other I would imagine Bear right behind me putting its large paw on my back.
This gesture reminding me that I was supported. Sometimes I would even lean back into a bit to connect to this energy even more.
Now I imagine Bear supporting me like this on a regular basis.
When I started wearing flower crowns for videos and events, I started to imagine Bear wearing a flower crown too.
When I start worrying, I ask Bear to take my worries away. I again imagine and almost feel the paw on my back. I visualize worries going from me to Bear. I feel lighter and also cared for.
My phone screensaver is a painting of a bear hugging a woman that reminds me of me. I love and appreciate our connection.
Sharing With Others
Everything I just wrote, I used to be nervous to share with others.
Would people think I was crazy?
I have learned who to share more with and who to keep my mouth shut around. I have also learned that I don’t care too much about what others think so that helps a ton. It took me about 40 years to get to this point and honestly I feel like I have Bear to thank a bit for this too.
Doing this work has benefited me tremendously without hurting anyone. I have always enjoyed taking the path less traveled and here I am.
Would my parents worry that I was replacing God with a bear?
I was raised Irish Catholic so the idea of working with an animal guide was more something I had heard about but not experienced. My Bachelor’s Degree is in Religious Studies and I have spent a lot of time studying religion and spirituality. However, I did not feel religious or spiritual for most of my younger life. I felt disconnected. Teaching yoga led me to more spiritual pursuits are not necessarily Catholic and they actually brought me back to using the word God and believing in a higher power. I am grateful for it. I also say Universe and Spirit.
We are all on a journey. I believe animal guides are simply a way for God/Universe/Spirit to connect with us and lend us support. My parents support me as I explore my own spirituality and are happy that over the years I have become closer to the divine instead of further away.
Is any of this real?
This has been a HUGE sticking point for me when it comes to sharing about working with animal guides. I have ultimately learned that what I have experienced is real. I have felt comforted, healed, and connected. I believe it is a combination of my imagination, intention, and energy. The universe is mysterious. I could spend all of my time worrying instead of allowing these experiences to help heal me. I could worry about what others think or help those who feel drawn to me and this work.
Where I am Now
I now insist on taking alone time daily. I even hibernate sometimes from social media and the world. I have a few solid grounding practices that I used daily too. I know how to connect with Earth energy and how to protect my own energy.
I embrace being a mama bear to my family and have increased my strength and confidence a ton over the years.
When Bear first came into my life, I NEEDED the energy. Now I embody the energy.
Bear Painting by my super talented herbalist friend, Kimberly Kling of Joyful Roots!
I was thrilled to be invited as a presenter at the Craftcation 2018 this last April put on by Nicole Stevenson and Delilah Snell of Dear Handmade Life. This is an extravaganza of crafts, color, fun, and talented and generous people.
The energy of this event is almost indescribable. Also, the effort and vision of its founders blew me away. It was such an impressive event that really brought people together. A lot of the focus was crafting and business but what I picked up on the most was people talking about being around like-minded people, expressing themselves without judgment, and seeing the event as an epic act of self-care.
I was asked to present about Mindfulness for Creatives with my friend Cassie Uhl of Zenned Out Jewelry. We talked about the importance of taking time for yourself and shared a lot of tips similar to what I share on this blog and on social media.
Each day people could sign up for office hours that covered different topics.
I did mini-intuitive business readings and absolutely loved them! Some of the people have continued working with me as clients.
I had my tried and true Medicine Woman deck along with these amazing oils from Joyful Roots. The oils help bring people into the present moment and the cards help people think about and view their situations from a more intuitive place.
I also offered Guided Meditations to attendees on the beach. Wow! These were so amazing. I just loved the energy of the people who came and the sounds of the ocean in the background. To be honest, I felt like I could do this all day long!
One of the highlights was listening to Debbie Stoller talk from Bust Magazine. I am a fan of hers and she left me pondering about what to do with my own Kerry Magazine. It was a project of mine to help show all women as beautiful. It evolved into some pretty interesting issues. You can check it out here: http://www.kerryburki.com/kerry-magazine/.
I love connecting with people I knew from being a presenter at previous conferences like Ami from Flutterbye Prints(above).
I was also on a panel about self-care which is one of my fave topics! I showed up in a bright red dress and a huge flower crown because that is one of the ways I show love for myself, by wearing what makes me feel fabulous. Also, on the panel from left to right is designer, Jeanetta Gonzales, business coach, Alisha Roberston, and Holly Marsh of MarshMueller.
Some takeaways for you would be: getting better at saying no, scheduling downtime, learning to know when you are close to burnout, practicing breathing exercises, decluttering, and taking breaks from social media.
The last evening I was there, I was a part of Wanderings. This is a super fun event where guests and presenters alike are given the opportunity to change their room into a theme for the other attendees to wander in and out of all night. Cassie and I created The Zen Den. We offered DIY essential oil blends, coloring pages, crystal kits and, of course, tarot card reading with me.
I went for 4 hours straight and LOVED the connections, and “aha” moments that happened that evening. I hugged and cried and laughed with people I had just met. When asked how I was able to do this, I told them that I simply created the space for them to feel safe to look within and honestly view the situations they were concerned about. I followed up with everyone about their card a few weeks later to help keep them in the groove of the event.
I made sure I crafted too! Of course, I signed up for the clay moon phase mobile class and a mixed-media macrame wall hanging (above).
If you are a creative business owner or simply someone who loves getting crafty, I encourage you to check out Craftcation. I am very grateful to have been part of it this year.
A year ago Wednesday, I took Simon (my 10-year-old) to the doctor to find out if he had a bladder infection. Turned out he had Type 1 Diabetes.
I had no idea what that meant. They were sending us to the hospital and I thought we would be there for a couple of hours.
As we were leaving the doctors office, he told us to stop at home and pack a bag because we would be at the hospital for a few days. I was shocked but didn’t show it.
Matt (my husband) was traveling back from a business trip and didn’t know anything yet.
By the time we got to the emergency room, Simon was feeling lightheaded. His blood sugar was 530. I had no idea what that meant. They asked him if he knew where he was. I found out that his blood sugar should be between 80 and 150.
He was scared and dazed. Isaak (my 7-year-old) was paying attention to everything. Matt arrived later that night.
Simon and I spent the next 4 days at the hospital. Once they got him on insulin and his blood sugar levels were safer they started teaching all of us about diabetes and how to handle it.
Matt and I learned that Simon’s pancreas has stopped producing insulin which is a hormone needed to allow sugar to enter cells to produce energy.
From there we learned how to use syringes and vials. Make calculations of synthetic insulin doses based on blood sugar and counting carbs in food. We practiced on a Type 1 teddy bear and then had to practice on Simon.
We stayed positive and really appreciated the support of Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
I am grateful for the spiritual practice because it saved me in the hospital. I prayed, I asked angels to watch over Simon, I used breathing exercises for energy, yoga stretches to release stress, asked guides to lead us forward with calm and ease, and so on.
Once we got home our lives became filled with shots, finger pricks, keeping insulin at the right temperature, monitoring blood sugar, and counting carbs. I was pulling out syringes in parking lots, bathrooms, theaters, and cars.
It was our new normal that also came with comforting both Simon & Isaak during this time.
Happy Friday! My birthday was this month and every year for the last 8 years or so I read a beautiful passage for April 6th from the book Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie.
It strikes a chord deep within me every time I read it and I feel like sharing it this year. I often read this on different days throughout the year and also share it in yoga classes.
The journey I have been on in the last year has really helped me dig deep and I feel like I am finally living this passage fully. I still have lots to learn but I truly love myself like I never I have before.
That is a feeling I hope you feel or are working towards feeling too.
So much of my work is about slowing down for yourself and tuning in.
That is where the real magic is.
Be Present For Yourself
Learn to be present for yourself, fully present in a way that’s new and delightful. Be present for your thoughts and emotions. Be present for the gentle way in which your heart and body lead you on. Learn to be fully present for each step of your growth, each step of your journey.
Value yourself, who you are, what you think and feel, and how you grow. For many years you neglected yourself. It was as though you were unconscious of who your were, how you felt, what you believed. You believed that kept you safe, protected you from feelings you didn’t want to feel. You believed it was how you should live. No w you re learning another way. Survival is no longer enough. It does not meet the needs of your heart and your soul. Now you want to live fully and joyfully. To do that, you must be present for yourself.
Be fully present for others, too. Be present for their spirits, their emotions, the words they have to say to you, but especially be present for their hearts. You no longer have to fear losing or neglecting yourself if you are present for others. You can do this safely now. You will not be consumed by their need; you will not become trapped in the workings of their lives. And if your present for yourself, you’ll know how much presence to give others.
Be present for life-for the starlit skies and the chirping birds that sing in the morning sun. Be present for the earth and grass under your feet, for the feel of a snowflake in your hand, Be present for all the magic and mysteries of the universe.
But most of all, be present for yourself. Then your presence for others and life will naturally flow.
Take a deep breath and go be present for yourself.