Allow Your True Self to Shine.

“This isn’t me!”  This is more like  me thinking… ‘what would John like?’  What was wrong with me during that time I dated John?”

Much of our life we spend trying to figure out who we are.  We get lost in others, we want to blend, we want to feel validated.

I was sometimes afraid to be myself for fear of judgment.. But why?  Why didn’t I feel good enough and why did the opinions of certain people affect me more than others.

Many times I would do things to please others.  I would pretend I liked things I didn’t.   Half the time I didn’t realize I was doing it.  All those paths led me to feeling empty again.

This realization of what we need to be happy doesn’t show itself in an obvious way.  I wish I could tell you that all you need to do is snap your fingers and decide that you are going to be true to yourself and miraculously all falls into place.  It’s just not that easy.  You will fall many times and at first getting back up is harder because you lose a little hope. Hope in yourself, hope in the process, but this is all a part of your personal transformation. You just don’t realize it at the time.

How do we get to a place of peace and acceptance of ourselves.  The answer is easy but the process is not easy.  Be present. 

In this very moment, be thoughtful, be kind, be conscientious. Be an example for those around you and ask for nothing in return. Let your acts of kindness be your own reward.   I love this line from the poem, The Loving One by W.H Auden. “If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me“.  Send out what you would love to receive. Send without attachment.

As the beautiful song from the movie Frozen says, Let it go.  Much of what we hold on to and analyze and review in our heads is unnecessary guilt and discomfort that we have already realized.  Why in the world do you think you deserve to feel that all over again? Let it go friends.

Do some spiritual work.  Having spiritual guidance and making it a habit of reading teachings to help keep you stay aligned and conscious of your actions is ridiculously important.

I remember when I was a young gal and I read out loud a spiritual quote from a book I was reading to my mom.  She looked at me and said, “well, that’s just common sense”.  Is it though?  I understand now as an adult, that this was in fact a defensive statement.  Parents don’t know everything but they want you to think they do.  We then pass this mentality on to our kids and make them stubborn creatures.  Thinking that you don’t need reminders, constant conditioning, moments that inspire you to continue on your path is foolish.

I remember reading a status update on Facebook one day from an acquaintance.  It read something along the lines of, “If you need inspirational books or quotes, you are weak”.  I really didn’t like reading that because I immediately personalized it but then when I went to his page, all of his statuses were negative and mean spirited and it all made sense.  We need moments to lift us.

The seeds you feed within yourself blossom. So if you are feeding seeds of jealousy by engaging in that behavior, that seed will rule.  If you perform acts of kindness, that seed within you will rule.  Be conscious of what you feed yourself. Be sure to feed the most virtuous seeds.

Be patient with yourself and be ok with being alone.  Understand that a lot of growth happens during these times of solitude. I certainly learn the most when it’s just me and my teachings or me in nature.

The beautiful thing that happens when you allow your true self to shine is that you begin to attract the same in others. xo

Inspired by a friend and our life talks.  <3

 

Share

The many things that children teach us….

Children can teach us so many things… Vanilla Clouds Photography Vanilla Clouds PhotographyThey show us how to still be amazed. They show us wonder, surprise and excitement.
Vanilla Clouds PhotographyThey remind us that beauty is found in the simplest things; a bird, a rock, a puddle, a blue sky.
Vanilla Clouds PhotographyThey remind us how to be content and to not always searching for the next best thing.  Sometimes, a pretty flower is just the right amount of joy.
Vanilla Clouds PhotographyOne of the most important qualities to have is patience.  We are not all learning at the same capacity and sometimes some of us need a little more patience than others. Children remind us of that.

 

Vanilla Clouds PhotographyChildren are oddly braver than we are.  It makes us squirm to see a child carelessly cross a rocky creek but deep down we know that we want our children to live their best lives and being fearless is an important part of that.  Many of us have forgotten what it’s like to be fearless, to feel unstoppable.  Children remind us of that.
Vanilla Clouds PhotographyChildren are accepting. They teach us kindness, encouragement, unconditional love. All very important things that we forget as adults.
Vanilla Clouds PhotographyThen all of a sudden, children seem to know more than we do. They have their own preferences, their own opinions and a sense of pride.  Somewhere along the way, as adults, we forget to be our powerful selves, we are afraid to be proud, we stifle our opinions.
Vanilla Clouds PhotographySo, next time you feel a little lost, spend some time with children.  Admire their curiosity, appreciate their fearlessness, don’t try to tame their excitement.  Then, relax….and try to be more like them. xo

Photo Shoot with these lovely little ladies, Anna Kelaiah and Selah Presten

Share

Shop local today and spread the love!!!

Don’t listen to those who say, “It’s not done that way.” Maybe it’s not, but maybe you will.vanillaclouds

Don’t listen to those who say, “You’re taking too big a chance.” Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor, and it would surely be rubbed out by today. vanilla clouds

Most importantly, don’t listen when the little voice of fear inside of you ears its ugly head and says, “They’re all smarter than you out there. They’re more talented, they’re taller, blonder, prettier, luckier and have connections…vanilla clouds

” I firmly believe that if you follow a path that interests you, not to the exclusion of love, sensitivity, and cooperation with others,vanilla Clouds

but with the strength of conviction that you can move others by your own efforts, and do not make success or failure the criteria by which you live, the chances are you’ll be a person worthy of your own respect.–Neil Simon

Model above is our local beauty, Lauren Prince. I am available for shoots, please contact me at Josefina@vanillaclouds.com

Also, check out my jewelry in my Vanilla clouds Etsy Shop or click on the shop tab on my page here 🙂 xo

Share

I don’t want what’s for her, I don’t want what’s for him, I want what’s for me.

We are all faced with situations or scenarios that sort of remind us of something we may have wanted or dreamed about and perhaps let go or didn’t pursue hard enough.  Sometimes, we really can’t control it but then…sometimes we can.Vanilla Clouds

I don’t want what’s for her, I don’t want what’s for him, I want what’s for me.

And the only way you can find what is for you, is if you work hard for it, work through the obstacles and then work past the suffering and setbacks. You have got to dig deep inside and learn who you are, why you are, what makes you tick and what makes you power down. Vanilla Clouds

“A lot of people get so hung up on what they can’t have that they don’t think for a second about whether they really want it.” -Lionel Shriver.

The problem with coveting the dreams of others is precisely that….they are the dreams of others.   Someone else’s dreams will never satisfy you deep down.  Being blinded by what society feeds you as important, will also never satisfy you deep down. Vanilla Clouds

“The thought of being whoever I want is a terrifying thing, because I have only ever been who everyone has wanted me to be.” – Dianna Hardy

The only way to really find that intrinsic happiness is to be true to yourself, find what you need to be happy and go after it without worrying what others might think.  It may take your whole life but at least you will live your life fighting for something that really matters to you…something that makes you grow inside a little bit each day. xo Vanilla Clouds

 Pictures above were taken at the John Gilbert Trail on St.Simons Island.  Still working from a group of selfies I shot with a new tripod I was trying out.  Getting creative and trying new things!!

 

Share

Patience is one of the best gifts we can teach ourselves and it is also one of the best gifts we can give to others.

This morning on my run, lots of ideas were popping into my head, which is why I love running so much.  I felt an overwhelming emotion of thanks but the thanks I felt was actually directed towards myself.
I was thanking myself for practicing patience over a situation that happened months ago.  The scenario had just popped into my head…I guess that was my subconscious telling me that I needed some sort of closure or reckoning.  It was a small situation I had with someone that really challenged me to remain neutral and not take the actions of the other person so personal and be offended. It was a conversation that challenged my ongoing conscious effort of having a peaceful, patient and compassionate heart.Vanilla Clouds Clearly it’s not easy, as it took me a couple of months to calm down and to realize not reacting was the right thing to do.  But I can assure you that had I reacted, I would have felt tremendous guilt because eventually, I would have had time to think about the fact that we are all fighting our own demons and although I may have a bit of a head start on mine, we are all not at the same pace or place in our journey.

So, just as I should have patience for myself in my growth, having patience for those around me is also important as they too are fighting demons. Vanilla Clouds

I don’t think anyone consciously wants to sabotage their own future and the relationships around them, but it is an obstacle some of us are fighting in our journeys.  So, when I really think about it, that small disruption in my day, was not about me, it was about that person and their ongoing journey.  The best that I can do, is to let it go and keep myself on my own path of progress.
Vanilla Clouds

Choosing to keep someone in your life who continually chooses to make decisions that keep them in a downward cycle of life(when they themselves admit this) is another topic of discussion. Vanilla CloudsThe world is filled with angels, and some are strictly gifted in lifting others up.  It’s not an easy job and we all have our strengths, but at the very least, we can provide a bit of patience and compassion to those around us and just opt to remain quiet until we have the strength to respond in a better way.

Patience is one of the best gifts we can teach ourselves and it is also one of the best gifts we can give to others.

Images above were taken at the John Gilbert Trail in St.Simons Island, GA.  I added a cooling photo filter for a moody affect in photoshop!

Share

The Beauty of an Acorn…

The other day as I was riding my bike, I came across a bunch of acorns. These acorns were a bit older and the colors were fading to a pale gray or very light brown.  Acorns are one of the things that I actually really enjoy shooting because every single one of them is different.The Beauty of an Acorn-Vanilla Clouds

Before the summer began, Brian and I were riding our bikes along a back road and he was a bit ahead of me.  I saw a bunch of fresh acorns sprawled across the road and I stopped to snap them.  He looked back at me and saw me squatting on the ground and yelled, “what are you shooting?” I said, “acorns” he said, “why, they all look the same”.  I smiled.The Beauty of an Acorn-Vanilla Clouds

The Beauty of an Acorn-Vanilla CloudsIt’s moments like these, that remind me how different everyone’s eye is. I can see the varying shades of an acorn and identify beauty in the bark of an old tree.  I can spot a pattern of trees against a blue sky and love shooting the wood of carefully crafted bridges.  I feel so lucky that there are so many things that I allow to lift me up if I just pay attention.The Beauty of an Acorn-Vanilla Clouds

The Beauty of an Acorn-Vanilla Clouds 2014-09-27 16.04.01

“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”
Mary Oliver

Pictures above were taken at the John Gilbert Nature Trail(first 3) and Jekyll Island (last 3) Golden Isles, GA Coast.

 

Share

I pray that I never forget how good it makes me feel to champion others.

Planted goodness is the only thing that you can take with you wherever you go.  No one can take the good deeds you do away from your heart.  Let them enrich you.

The other day while I was in this Barre Toning class that I recently became obsessed with, I remember feeling out of sorts.  Working out is one of  my favorite stress releases and unfortunately, the weather has kept me trapped inside as my only mode of transportation to the gym I belong to, is my bike at the moment.  And my golden rule is, when the temperature drops below 45 degrees, it’s officially too cold for this lady to ride her bike!  Actually, it’s not even the temperature that is the issue, it’s really the wind against my face that becomes intolerable.Vanilla Clouds Note Card

Anyhow,…I digress.  The new studio I enrolled in just for these classes, happens to be about 50 feet from my apartment, so, it’s quite convenient.

I actually haven’t taken a class in while.  I am ok doing free style dance moves but when you ask me to count and move and step at the same time, something in my body goes wrong.  So, as usual,  my uncoordinated butt was having a hard time following the routines and to boot, I’m blessed with the sweat gene, meaning I sweat more than anyone in the class within the first 5 minutes of even starting. Lovely!Vanilla Clouds The Fall NC

Despite what seems like me complaining, I actually really enjoyed the class and it certainly kicked my butt.  I kept to myself since I really didn’t know anyone and as I walked out, this older woman who was way more coordinated than I was, tapped my shoulder and said, your hair looks so beautiful, I couldn’t help but stare at it since I was sitting behind you.  Meanwhile, my hair was in a bun but the Buddhist teacher I listen to says, never deny a compliment, you do yourself a disservice.  So, compliment registered, check.Vanilla CloudsTransform Adversities NC

Now I know you’re thinking, that that little compliment doesn’t seem like a big deal but the thing is, even the strongest person has bad days and although they shield it with a smile or a grimace, many people are suffering inside.  I’m certainly not the strongest, actually, I’m a wimp and sometimes, I need a little boost just like everyone else who doesn’t like to admit it does.  This simple moment just reminded me that sometimes all it takes is a kind gesture to make someone’s day. It may require you to leave your comfort zone for a bit but it’s such an honorable thing to do.  So this blog post is about kindness.

I pray that I never forget how good it makes me feel to champion others.  I pray that I always remember how it pleases my heart to know that I made someone’s day just a little bit better.

Post cards above can be found here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/VanillaClouds?section_id=16512533&ref=shopsection_leftnav_7

 

Share

Why sappy lyrics move me….

Anyone who knows me, will probably attest to the fact that a song will come into my head and I will sing it and play it until you either love it as much as I do, or hate it ferociously.  I am positive that I made my friend Melanie hate the cd Monster Ballads 1999 because I played it every time we took a ride in my truck the summer we worked together as camp counselors.  Leaving the camp was our escape, however for poor Melanie, there was a  rite of passage each time she entered my car and we left those gates. I also exhausted the highly addictive More Than Words track by Extreme because I was desperately trying to learn how to play it on my new guitar.  Poor Melanie again 🙁SONY DSC

Either way, I’m a total lyric and harmony person and I love ballads. Some people hate ballads because they tend to be sad but I feel the opposite way when I hear ballads. SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC

Ballads remind you that you’re not alone.  They are the words that keep you company when you feel ashamed to admit what you’re feeling around others. You feel like crap, sometimes you know what you’re feeling makes no sense, but you feel it and you don’t want to appear weak.  Ballads have a way of pulling the emotion out of you and spelling it out in words, so that you can finally release the pain.

I remember the comforting feeling that I felt when I heard the song Cry, by Faith Hill.

…. Could you cry a little
Lie just a little
Pretend that you’re feeling a little more pain
I gave, now I ‘m wanting
Something in return
So cry just a little for me

When I heard these lyrics, I thought, yes…yes, .. I need him to cry a little, lie,..just something to tell me that what I thought we had wasn’t an illusion. Please give me a sign that tells me he feels some pain too. Only then, for some strange reason could all this be tolerable.SONY DSC SONY DSC

and sometimes, it’s just a lyric, one line in the song that gets to you. Ahem…for example, I just love that song by Bon Jovi, Thank you for Loving Me, and it’s probably that one line that gets to me but I find myself singing this verse a lot.

Thank you for loving me
For being my eyes
When I couldn’t see
For parting my lips
When I couldn’t breathe
Thank you for loving me

It’s something that you hope one day, you get to say to someone. Not that you should be grateful that someone finally loved a sappy soul like you, but because it’s just a beautiful thing to humbly say to someone,…that you think so highly of them, and that you are so appreciative that you get to hang with them.  I won’t even get into my serious Sarah Mclachlan phase or coming into my sexy self, John Mayer phase.  Songs kind of carry you through a portion of your life, they motivate you when you need that “power song” as my ipod calls it when I’m trying to get through my last mile.  It helps you fall asleep sometimes.  Keeps you company on a bumpy plane ride or boring train ride.  Young gals are so lucky to have Taylor Swift these days, because I certainly would have rocked out or cried to a few of her tunes way back when.  Music rocks!SONY DSC SONY DSC
SONY DSC
So, fast forward to my obsession this month.  This song by the Irish Rock Pop band, The Script, called  It’s Not Right For You.  It makes me want to hold a “boom box” up in the air and blast this, for me, for you, for everyone to hear!  and in this case, it’s the entire song that I connect with, rather than one line, or a verse.

My head, my head is full of things I should’ve done
My heart, my heart is heavy, here it sinks like a stone
She said, is this the life you’ve been dreaming of
Spinning half through the way from the things you love

It’s not too late, to do something new
She said, it’s not enough trying to live your life
But not following your dreams makes you dead inside
If you don’t love what you do

It’s not right, it’s not right for you
If you even have to think about it
It’s not right, it’s not right for you
If you really have to think about it
You got one life, got much to do

My hands, my hands are scarred by things I should’ve done
My feet, my feet are weary from all the miles that I’ve run
She said, open your mind take a look within

Are you happy with the world that you’re living in

If not, you gotta change what you do
She said, and lately I don’t see you smiling love
Are you happy here with me and the things we’ve got
If you can’t say that it’s true

It’s not right, it’s not right for you
If you even have to think about it
It’s not right, it’s not right for you
If you really have to think about it
You got one life, got much to do

If we don’t do something now then
We’ll never know
If we stay here too long then we’ll, we’ll never grown old
So before it’s too late and it’s killing you yeah
We’ve only one life to live
So love what you do

It’s not right, it’s not right for you
If you even have to think about it
It’s not right, it’s not right for you
If you really have to think about it
You got one life, got much to do

I’m sure if you think about it, there is that special song that when you hear it, takes you to another place, another moment.    Images in this pictorial are of a day trip to Savannah, GA.  If you haven’t been, you must go check it out. There is a lot of rich history there and the streets are lined with tons of beautiful colonial homes.  Definitely wear comfy shoes though, because you will be walking a lot! xo

SONY DSC

SONY DSCSONY DSC SONY DSC

Share

It’s in those moments of peace, that we find clarity.

The other day, while I lay down on my comfy bed, as it does on most nights, my mind began to wander.  Sometimes the wandering is not a good wander, a consequence of perhaps eating too late, too heavy or indulging on too much wine.  But, sometimes my mind is still and in these still moments, I get a bit of clarity that I didn’t realize I needed.SONY DSC

I don’t necessarily think that these resolutions are obvious at first, it’s when you are lucky enough to have remembered them the next morning, that they become apparent.SONY DSC

Personally for me, my life has changed a lot in the last 6 months. Less then a year ago, I was still signing single on applications and was completely independent, selfish, frivolous and working a super intense New York City job.  There are and will always be some aspects of that, that I will love, but there are certainly many aspects of that, that I do not miss.SONY DSC

Saying good bye to your single life is kind of a tricky thing when you are older,..in a sense this is something you have kind of looked forward to your whole life, yet when it comes, it requires you to change and compromise and that is something your independent, selfish, single for most of your life persona, resists and can find very offensive.SONY DSC SONY DSC

I believe it’s during this time of change, that it’s super important to have those moments of peace and stillness because that is when you can receive the  most clarity.  I think everyone has fears that culminated from a prior experience and those experiences come to haunt you when there is a chance for you to finally be happy.SONY DSC SONY DSC

Going back to my moment of clarity the other night… I had sort of a foggy memory of a scenario with someone I cared for deeply many years ago.  I remember being in a park and waiting.. feeling uncertain as to whether he would return to meet me.  I remember thinking how awful it would be if he abandoned me, if he didn’t return.SONY DSC

It’s so interesting how something like this can have an emotional affect on you, years later.  Then all of a sudden, it made sense.  My subconscious is trying to tell me something.  If I don’t trust and believe that I deserve what is in front of me, who will?  Developing healthy and loving feelings about ourselves is so important to succeed in life.SONY DSC

We protect ourselves, put guards up, create walls and barriers because we don’t want to get hurt.  It’s a way of protecting ourselves but it’s also self sabotage.  So, find those moments of peace, so that you can get clarity to help you appreciate, enjoy and honor what is around you.  I am the happiest I have ever been and that little bit of clarity is what I needed to remind me of that. 🙂

Images above are of my mini photo shoot for my “Thank You” note cards.

You can find here:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/215338239/thank-you-cards-in-an-unconventional-way?ref=shop_home_active_3

 

Share

New Vanilla Clouds items on my Etsy site!

I’ve been feeling a little inspired lately…and you know what they say, strike when the iron is hot!  So, here are a few new items I have added to my Etsy site.

I kind of jumped on the Frozen bandwagon, albeit, a little late…but here are a set of children’s recipe or invitations inspired by the Frozen colors.  The files uploaded a bit distorted and these colors are not exact representations of the actual card colors.  Click on this link, if you would like a closer more precise look:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/215226535/childrens-recipe-or-invitation-cards10?ref=listing-shop-header-3

Cupcake 2 Pattern v2 Cupcake 1 pattern v3

These are very unconventional Thank you note cards.  There is a unique message on the back.   Photographs were taken on St. Simons Island, GA.  Click on the link to my Etsy site if you would like to take a closer look!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/215338239/thank-you-cards-set5?ref=shop_home_active_1

Group NC Layout

Share