Trust in the Universe, and Be Open to Fate

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As a child, I was exposed to a variety of very troubling experiences. Learning to cope with adverse, life-altering events was difficult at best, but also impactful in the development of my character and personality. I lost my innocence to the sometimes harsh and unfair world, before I had even hit puberty. Nevertheless, I am thankful for the wisdom and maturity that I gained as a result.

One of the most important lessons that I learned from my childhood experiences, is that you have no control over the way that life unfolds. Without question, there will be many challenging experiences that you will be forced to endure, but they cannot be altered by any acts of yours. You are helpless in the way that the universe dictates events. When you try to predict, control, and manipulate the turns of the universe, you are only disrupting the peace and flow of nature.  You are creating a source of anxiety for yourself, and the illusion that you have any role in the way that forthcoming events unravel.

Accepting this truth has been quite a struggle for me. Oftentimes I agonize over trying to control things and the way they play out. Feeling helpless in controlling the struggles of my childhood has contributed to a strong inclination to want to take things into my own hands, and do everything in my power to control the outcome of events that have not yet occurred. Although I feel responsible for controlling things, I ironically feel powerless in doing so. Therefore I am conflicted most of the time.

Lately I have been working on trusting in the universe, and simply letting myself be naturally affected by my experiences. Waves of the ocean come and go, rocking objects that exist within their path…much like experiences that come and go, rocking us as we come to know them. We do not dwell on any one wave, in the same way that we should not dwell on any one experience. There are always more on the horizon.

The universe has a plan, and largely operates by the law of attraction. You can attract good things into your life by harvesting positive energy, and dispensing it out into the world. Your positive vibrations are picked up on by your surroundings. When you send positivity out into the world, you allow space for it to come back around full circle. The universe has your best interest in mind. It will work with you harmoniously, if you allow it.

Visualization is key. When you envision the future you hope for, the universe finds a way to give it to you. If you’ve ever read “The Secret”, then you may be akin to how powerful visualization truly is, and the several accounts that attest to this. There are no bounds to the generosity of the universe. Trust that there is much to be reaped when you are open to fate.

xx allie

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Up, Up, & Away

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

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I never knew that it was possible to pack so much fun into a 24-hour time span (sleeping included)! But this weekend proved to me that it is.

In October of 2016, Ben and I booked a hot air balloon trip with Sunrise Balloons in Temecula for our one year anniversary. Leading up to it, we were very excited for this exhilarating adventure. However, the Friday before our balloon ride on Monday, we were notified of its cancellation due to poor flying weather conditions. As bummed as we were, we still had time to cancel our hotel room without any penalties.

Hopeful, we rescheduled our balloon ride for a date in December around the holidays. When the time came, we packed our bags and headed on the road. Not too long after we headed out, we were again notified of the trip’s cancellation—due to (you’ve guessed it…) poor weather conditions. To us, the weather looked perfect. Sunny and cloudless. However, in Temecula the wind was picking up. As it stands, it’s better to be safe than sorry. With heavy hearts, we decided not to continue on to Temecula, and unfortunately were forced to pay for the hotel room fee nonetheless.

Yet again, we made one final attempt to reschedule to a date in February. Leading up to our flight date, the weather decided to take a turn for the worse. As I’m sure you know if you live in California, it’s been one of the stormiest months to date. However, Ben and I refused to accept another cancellation, and were convinced that there’d be no way they’d cancel our trip 3x in a row. Regardless of the weather, we decided to take our chances and head to Temecula. We figured that it would be worth a weekend getaway to Wine Country, even if we were unable to fly. We headed out early Sunday morning and made our way there.

We explored Old Town Temecula, and really adored the southern country vibe. We had no idea it would be saloon-style. The stores were quaint and enchanting—we visited a little candy store, a lavender store, meditation stores, gardens, and even an olive oil tasting room! We got to explore our taste buds with samples of flavored oils and vinegars—it was a lot of fun! I also purchased an amazing salt scrub from the lavender store.

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Olive Oil Tasting!
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Old Town Temecula!

After exploring Old Town, we made our way to the heart of Wine Country. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize that all of the grape vine plants would be completely dead this time of year. We decided drone shots of the dead, black plants would be a waste of our time, so we opted for footage of a nearby duck lake. It was calm and pretty, and we made it there right in time for the sunset.

At about this time of day, our contact at Sunrise Balloons informed us that the chances of the balloon ride happening the next day were only 40% likely (due to cloud cover this time). We were given the opportunity to opt out and reschedule, but we decided to hang in there and hope for the best!

Later that night, we chose to have a low-key evening in our suite at the Marriott—it was so nice! We did Thai food takeout, and dined in our room while watching The Hangover. Then we finished the night with our fave vacation show, Forensic Files (it’s just so reliable).

The next morning, we awoke at 5:30am to get ready for our sunrise flight. As we got out of bed and started getting ready, we wondered whether it would be cancelled upon our arrival (as we were warned that it is sometimes cancelled onsite the day of). When we arrived at Monte De Oro Winery, we were greeted with mimosas, coffee, muffins, and waivers. We signed away our lives, and were told who our pilot would be. At this point, we knew it was actually happening! As they say—3rd times’ a charm!

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Start Her Up!

We headed in a party bus (at 7am) over to the flight location. When we got there, two giant hot air balloons were sitting in a grassy field. 18 people were boarding our balloon! In no time at all, we were up, up, and away! The balloon ascended rapidly, and we were graced with a beautiful view of Wine Country! We made it to nearly 3,000 feet in the air, held by nothing more than a wicker basket. As a psych major, I couldn’t help but think about the inner workings of the excitation transfer theory that were sure to be occurring on the flight (sorry—I love psych). We were served champagne while aloft, and were given a detailed overview of the land’s layout by our tour guide, CJ. Plenty of awesome footage coming your way in the next few days: visit Ben’s instagram, @thebennylee.

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Awkward Moments with Ben!
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Couldn’t Resist..
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Love this one.
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View from Above

After our flight we headed home and made a pit stop in Old Town Pasadena. Here, we went to a crepe café and enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the city.

For a 24 hour vacation, it sure was packed with excitement and a ton of laughs. After all of our discouraging attempts, we were finally able to celebrate our one-year anniversary…almost a half of a year after the fact. All I can say is, it was well worth the wait!

xx allie

 

 

The Hedonic Treadmill: Time to Stop Comparing.

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It’s close to midnight. It’s been a long day, and all you want to do is check your social media before dozing off for the night. You grab your phone from the bedside table, and start to scroll down your Instagram feed. One girl that you “know” from Instagram alone has just arrived in Cancun on vacation. A high school acquaintance has just posted another transformation Tuesday photo and detailed her weight-loss journey as a way to inspire. A stranger that you’ve never known has just uploaded a photo of her perfectly designed bedroom—with fluffy pillows, accents, and wall deco.

We survive in a culture that embraces comparison. We look to what others are doing in order to set standards for ourselves. We use the word “enough” too much. “Good enough”, “pretty enough”, “skinny enough”, “smart enough”. Enough for who? Enough for what? What are we measuring ourselves up against? Can you ever possibly be “enough” of anything? You cannot achieve happiness alongside comparison. There is no room for both.

The more success you achieve, the more your expectations and desires rise in tandem. Your long-term happiness level never increases, because you are experiencing what is known as the hedonic treadmill. Your pursuit of happiness is exactly what is blocking your chances at it.

There is no use comparing yourself to others. There will always be somebody who is more pretty than you, more smart than you, more giving than you, more rich than you, more lucky than you. But one thing’s for sure, there will never ever be anyone in this world who is more you than you. You are special and unique. You are fortunate. You are something to be proud of. You need not strive for anything that is not you.

xx allie

Go Red for Women.

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Today marks the first Friday of February, meaning that it’s also National Wear Red Day. When I first saw this ‘holiday’ flagged on my work calendar, my initial reaction was, “Oh cool, a day to mindfully dress in a color that is widely renowned as salient, sexy, and confident. I’ll dress to that!”. But after a bit of some personal research, I came to find that this national day of wearing red stands for something much more significant than just simply a bold color. This particular day was created 15 years ago to bring awareness to the #1 killer in women—heart disease. It’s no coincidence then that the color red was chosen symbolically to refer to our hearts.

A heart is a beautiful, yet vulnerable organ. As long as it continues to beat, we continue to be alive. It is responsible for our blood’s circulation to every vein, artery, and capillary in our body. And while it is the very reason for our livelihood, it is also the number one reason for our death. I found this to be ironic, in the least comical sense of the word.

Naturally if we were diagnosed with a disease of any organ, we’d respond by suggesting immediate removal of it. However, this is not an option when it comes to the heart.

The heart has long been esteemed as the mechanism behind our passion, our love, and our emotions…the backbone and driving force of our relationships. The catalyst of malice and revenge involving love stories gone amiss. It is irrepressible. It is the reason for everything we do, if we are in fact following our hearts. Our hearts bring us closer. We keep people in our hearts. Memories in our hearts. We have compartmentalized our hearts, to give everything we love a place in it. And yet, this very structure becomes diseased. By what? What can possibly challenge the strength and nature of this magnificently incredible derivative of life?

This is not, by any means, the first time we’ve been akin to something beautiful also turning out to be vulnerable. We’ve seen this before, many times. For what is beautiful, must also be vulnerable…in order for it to be beautiful in the first place.

Try as we might to guard it from danger, we really have no control over its scientific adversaries, extensive wear & tear, and tragedies that inevitably befall. It has been planted in the center of our chests, and yet we have no choice but to succumb to its tumultuous, yet catastrophic workings.

It is no surprise then, that we are granted a day to celebrate both the glory and misfortune of our hearts. It is a day to be humbled by the inexplicable propensity for our hearts to maintain their own electric pulses for decades without a fault. Through trauma, grief, passion, love, and metaphorical ‘heartbreak’…they never fail us, all but once.

A woman’s heart is strong, despite its susceptibility. It can be cracked, worn, and shattered, but it can never be wrecked.

Happy National Red Day.

To donate to the American Heart Association, visit heart.org

xx allie