• Speaking My Mind

    Flowing with The Current

    I’ve been listening to The Lively Show podcast a ton lately, and not just because I have too much time on my hands, but because I have learned so much from it.

    Jess Lively, the woman behind the show, is an entrepreneur and an intuitive coach. Essentially, she coaches people on how to become more in touch with their intuition.  Her podcast used to be a more Q+A style, but recently she switched things up in Season 5 by airing sessions she has with clients.

    I love listening to these sessions! It’s comparable to listening to someone’s therapy session, except focused on intuition rather than on psych. This podcast has caused me to reflect on my relationship with my intuition.

    In my previous blog post, I did an oracle card reading which concluded that I need to connect with who I really am, also known as my intuition. I have learned that my pessimistic attitude can be attributed to resisting my intuition. This is not uncommon at all, as I’ve been learning from the podcast.

    The two clients that Jess has interviewed thus far have been confronted with the challenge of acquiescing to one’s intuition, even if it’s scary because the results are unknown. The unknown is what makes life exciting and worth living, though. Thus, I’ve been working on transforming my perspective on life by living more intuitively.

    You might be wondering what that even means, which is a completely valid question.

    I believe living intuitively is different for everyone because everyone connects with their intuition differently. I think I connect with my intuition when I write, similarly to the two women in Jess’s sessions.

    Initially when I write, I’m actively thinking about what I want to say…but eventually my intuition takes over. My intuition is why I learn the most about myself when I’m writing because it is when I’m writing that I have epiphanies and moments of complete clarity.

    Since I want to strengthen my intuition, I’ve decided to write more frequently than I currently do, which is at least twice a week for my bog. In addition to my blog, I’d like to hand write in a journal. I tend to avoid writing in a journal because I find it to be more isolating than writing somewhere on the internet. Unless you give the journal to someone, only you will read what you write, which is fine but I enjoy building a community with others by sharing. On the other hand, journaling is also very valuable because it strengthens the community that one has with oneself.

    I’ve decided to journal either before or after meditating, which I’d like to make part of my morning routine if I choose to do yoga in the evening instead of in the morning. Once I begin my new job, I will manipulate my daily routine as necessary.

    By the way, I have a job! I begin on Monday and I’m quite excited about it. I was really nervous to take the opportunity because initially it wasn’t what I thought I wanted to do. However, with my more intuitive approach to life, I decided that I should take advantage of the job offer and see where it leads. I’ve also finally decided to stop vacillating between the decision to apply for grad school or not, and I’ve officially concluded that I will postpone applying for at least another year. My intuition has been guiding me to get to know myself without school…so I’m going to trust it.

    There are many examples of when my intuition proved itself trustworthy, but the most recent one has been with my experience as a new yoga instructor.

    I began teaching last week, and it was phenomenal! It’s a 5:45am class, which initially made me hesitate because it’s so early, but my girlfriend urged me go for it and I focused on my intuition rather than on my nervous mind. I’m grateful I did because despite whatever job I’m doing, I’ll be able to continue teaching this class since the class is before most jobs begin.

    I have been working for only a week, but so far it has had so many perks! I’m able to sub for other teachers (which I’ve already done), participate in other classes, and use the facilities. Plus, I got CPR certified and I’m part of a great community! I feel like I can try new things without fear of criticism, which is important to me too.

    Evidently, things are going pretty well right now. Flowing with the current of my intuition has allowed me to feel more aligned with my true self, which isn’t stressful at all. I thought it would be…because trusting yourself is scary, but when you go all in, it’s not.

    This is not to say that you will never experience seemingly undesirable things if you trust your intuition, because that’s not true. However, I do think that trusting yourself provides you with a peace that is unachievable when you only tune into your mind. My posts are a great example of that. I often begin my posts using my mind, but by the end, I’m more intuitive.

    Aside from writing, another cool way to hone your intuition is from an app that Jess shared on her podcast. The app is free and it’s called ESP Trained. Astronauts use it to strengthen their intuition and according to the app, they improve their skills significantly. I like playing some rounds with my eyes closed.

    Do you tune into your intuition? How so? Please comment below! Also let me know if you try out the app and tell me what you think!

    xx Vic

    PS: The photo I used for this post is from a few weeks ago when I was out to lunch with my sister. I’ve been to the area before, but I was inclined to snap a photo of the creek that time. Little did I know it’d make a perfect photo for this post!!

  • Mysticism

    Realigning with My True Self – An Oracle Card Reading

    September has been emotionally difficult because every day feels like a futile fight to stay positive and to cultivate a future. It seems like a futile fight because most days I wake up already in a bad mood, and on the few days when I actually wake up excited and I work toward my goals, I end up feeling defeated and depressed by the end of the night.

    I try not to casually throw around the word, “depressed,” because I don’t want to misuse it…but I feel like after weeks of crying daily, instigating tons unnecessary fights with my mom and with my girlfriend, emotionally beating myself up, reducing myself to nothing, and wishing I could escape from reality warrants the use of the term, “depressed.”

    I have only wished I could disappear when I am struggling to cope with change, struggling to stay afloat, and struggling to thrive. Right now I’m struggling with all three, so it’s overwhelming.

    I’m not sharing this to worry anyone…I don’t want to hurt myself, I just don’t always want to deal with my life. Not because my life is bad or anything, because my life isn’t bad at all. I have food, a home, a caring family, health insurance, and I’m finally working part-time. My life is good and comfortable, which I’m grateful for and I try to remind myself of this all of the time.

    Despite acknowledging my blessings, I get caught up in my stagnancy. When I focus my energy on taking steps toward my goals so I can move forward, I doubt myself and I doubt my ability to move forward at all. It’s a toxic cycle that unfortunately has poisoned my emotional well-being as well as my relationships. I don’t want to be around anyone because I feel like poison. Isolation exacerbates my depression too.

    So…I pulled my Ganesha cards on Monday to get some insight and guidance that I can reflect upon. I’m not going to share a picture of my cards this time because most of them I have already shared on my blog.

    My Reading

    1. The first card, which represents where I am now, I pulled Positive Outlook. I was bewildered when I saw this card because as noted previously, I wouldn’t consider myself having a positive outlook at the moment. Well, the card is about how all circumstances are neutral, and it is one’s mental attitude that influences how it is perceived. It reminds me of what I have read in The Untethered Soul as well as something I had painted on a flowerpot after my grief group concluded two years ago: Your perception is your reality. I suppose I need to take a step back from judging my experiences as negative and to at least view things as neutral.
    2. Sustenance is the card that represents my next steps. The painting on the card is of Ganesha enjoying a buffet, but the card isn’t about food. It’s about how I need to acknowledge my blessings as well as acknowledge the abundance of ways to support my desires. I need to understand my needs and satiate them, even if it’s scary or unconventional.
    3. My obstacle is Cultivation, which is strongly linked to music. Music creates communities and it soothes the soul, causing music to be a method for connecting to spirits. I haven’t been listening to music too much…I either listen to podcasts or watch something on Netflix. When I’m not listening to these things, I spend my time in silence…but I suppose it’s a little too isolating right now. Perhaps replacing the silence with my yoga playlists would facilitate some more positive thinking, creativity, and a sense of belonging.
    4. My resource for overcoming my inability to cultivate is Reflection. When I saw this card, I was like “duh, I’m great at reflecting! I reflect and write weekly!” When I read the description of this card though, I was speechless. I’ll just share what it all says.

    “You have reached the point in your life’s journey where self-judgment and criticism no longer serve you. It is imperative that you understand and appreciate the distinctive persona that you bring into all situations. Each of us has our own unique path….Through reflection and visualization, get in touch with the wise person within you.” – Whispers of Lord Ganesha Oracle Cards by Angela Hartfield

    While this card is titled “Reflection,” I feel like it is about more than that…and it really resonated with me.

    5. My new outcome is “Acceptance,” which I’ve pulled multiple times because I’m always fighting with my true self. This relates back to alignment as well. Life will become easier when I accept my true self and when I accept that I don’t have to know everything. The reality that I don’t know anything about my future has been weighing on me because it’s an uncomfortable feeling. I haven’t been enjoying living in the unknown and not having all of the answers right now. My life will improve though when I look at my experiences and the world from a more spiritual perspective as well as by not placing so much value on my thoughts.

    All of these cards address connecting with who I really am…thus, that may be the key to transforming my perspective and my life. It will take some time and patience to realign with my true self via these suggestions from my Ganesha cards. My meditation practice, although not daily (yet), will help me get there too.

    Also…while I feel like I have been stagnant, that isn’t necessarily true. As I’ve mentioned previously, I am now working a part-time job. I am also almost done with the hiring process to teach a regular yoga class in my town. I doubted I was going to be able to teach yoga this year and if I hadn’t nailed the audition, I was going to postpone my teaching dreams…but the universe surprised me. Lastly, after avoiding and debating with myself for several months, I finally booked a GRE test date!

    So…things are moving. I’m progressing, contrary to what I believe.

    If you would like an oracle card reading, please comment below or email me at hello@unziptheselips.com.

    xx Vic

  • Yoga

    Swings and Meditation

    Hello, everyone!

    I made another video, and this time I edited it! This is the first time I have edited a video in about eight years and I think it came out pretty good. I’ve really been enjoying playing with visual media a bit, and I’d like to continue to practice with it so I can improve.

    I hope you enjoy the video and comment your thoughts below!

    xx Vic

  • beauty and fashion,  Speaking My Mind

    My Bath and Body Works Collection (Plus What I’m Wearing this Autumn)

    The weather around here has gone from humid heat to cool and gloomy, like the weather in The Goonies. It’s the perfect autumn weather, despite it being a little bit early. I’m okay with autumn arriving early though because it’s my favorite season!

    My birthday is in the fall and so is my favorite holiday: Halloween! I decorated my room for Halloween in August and I’ve been wearing an autumn color palette for several weeks as well. I’m excited to be home this year for the season because I get to actually see the leaves change colors too.

    Another great thing about autumn is that Bath and Body Works releases an autumn/Halloween beauty line! This season is my favorite time to shop at B&BW, but I shop there every season with my sister and my mom. We always get the seasonal soaps, lotions, body sprays, and oil diffusers. It’s a fun seasonal tradition because the aromas really get you into the spirit of whatever season it is.

    Since I go every season, I don’t always finish the products I buy. Sometimes I don’t finish them because the scent I got was limited edition (most of their stuff these days seem to be) and I’m reluctant to finish them. Thus, I thought it’d be fun to share my collection of Bath and Body Works items I have accumulated over the last two years or so, in addition to the latest scents that I will be wearing this season!

    Not all of the scents are available in stores anymore, but I found some shops on Amazon that sell them. They may or may not be reasonably priced though.

    If you only want to see this year’s autumn scents, please scroll down to the bottom 🙂

    Nearly Empty Lotions:

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    Aquamarine came out this past spring I believe and they don’t sell it anymore. I got it in conjunction with a sparkly body spray of the same scent. The scent is described as a blend of ocean water, mint, and wet stone. It’s super refreshing and feminine in a unique way. It’s definitely one of my favorites even though it doesn’t fall under my preferable aromas which are vanilla, marshmallow, and almond.

    Sandalwood Rose came out either two or three winter holidays ago. It emerged around the beginning of their aromatherapy line, and I’m devasted that they discontinued it because sandalwood rose is my favorite aroma next to vanilla, marshmallow, and almond. I even remember the first time I smelled this combination: I was in elementary school and taking yoga at the recreation center in my town. The instructor had given me the remains of a sandalwood rose oil and I held onto it for as many years as I could until I eventually had to throw it away.

    This combination is so good because it has a “warm” smell that I tend to gravitate towards, but it’s also feminine without being fruity. It’s fantastic, I highly recommend it.

    Happiness is part of Bath and Body Works current aromatherapy line, and this product definitely incites joy. This lotion is a combination of bergamot and mandarin essential oils, so it’s very bright and almost spicy. I use it all over my body on days when I’m feeling a little solemn.

    Nearly Empty/Partially Used Body Sprays:

    I have a lot of body sprays in this picture, I know. I tend to use body lotion very quickly, but the body sprays don’t go as fast, so I end up with a ton leftover. I should probably refrain from buying more body sprays for awhile…anyway, let’s commence!

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    From left to right…

    Wild Madagascar Vanilla (far left) is basically the more sophisticated, older sister to Warm Vanilla Sugar (far right). The former is vanilla with African pear, wild jasmine, and white sandalwood. This scent was available about three years ago now, but they discontinued it, unfortunately. They still offer Warm Vanilla Sugar, which is part of their signature collection, but I’m honestly waiting for them to get rid of their signature collection. As a long-time shopper of Bath and Body Works, it seems like they are moving more toward expanding their aromatherapy line.

    I purchased Island White Sand this summer, and while it’s a lovely smell with undertones of sparkling tangelo (what is that??), sand, white orchids, driftwood, and coconut water, it just isn’t me. I don’t know what possessed me to buy this scent honestly. It isn’t a “warm” scent and it also isn’t particularly feminine in my opinion, so I barely used it. Pretty much the whole bottle is left. I used the lotion I had paired with it at least, but I may have to find someone who would want this.

    Japanese Cherry Blossom is an iconic scent seeing as its part of the signature collection. It makes an excellent perfume because it’s strong and lasts for several hours. (Or maybe this one is so strong because I’ve had it for at least 4 years??) If you like feminine, floral scents, I recommend it. I feel romantic when I wear it and I have it both in the sparkly spray, pictured here, as well as in a non-sparkly spray.

    Almond and Vanilla is the evilest aroma Bath and Body Works has created because not only does it smell fantastic because it’s my two favorite scents ever, combined, but they also discontinued it in their stores. Thankfully I bought a lotion in this scent before they completely got rid of it.

    Beach Nights Summer Marshmallow is more my jam in regards to summery scents because it smells cozy and delicious! It’s a blend of toasted marshmallows, salt breezes, and S’mores. This spray is from two summers ago and whenever I use it I can’t help but reminisce about that time in my life.

    I already talked about the Aquamarine scent, so I’ll skip over it and talk about the Spiced Pumpkin Cider one! It’s a blend of pumpkin, cinnamon, and apple cider, and it’s the ultimate fall aroma! This is from last autumn but they brought it back this year too.

    Cashmere Snowflakes is a scent my sister and mom got me into, and it’s the perfect post-holidays, dead-of-winter aroma because it adds some brightness and warmth to your life! I’ve barely used it, so I’m hoping to get more use of it this winter. They offered it during the last two winters, so they will possibly offer it this winter as well.

    Bright Autumn Blooms is probably the most floral fragrance I own, but it’s not too much for me. I honestly don’t what flower this is supposed to replicate and there’s no description of it, but it’s quite refreshing. It was part of their autumn collection last fall but it’s no longer available in stores.

    Favorite Summer Scent This Season:

    I got this travel-sized fragrance for my Disney trip at the beginning of the summer because I was not checking my suitcase. I wish I had gotten a larger size though with a larger lotion (I had a travel-sized lotion but I finished it) because this scent is just…sexy. It’s not a “warm” scent, but it’s super perfume-y in the fact that it’s strong and it smells super good. I hope they offer this one next summer too.

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    What I’m Wearing This Autumn:

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    The three items from the left are from the new collection. I’m really excited about the Rose lotion because while it’s not Sandalwood Rose, it’s sufficient enough. It has a lovely floral scent without being too overpowering.

    Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte was available either two autumns ago, so I suppose it’s a staple seasonal item. I used it two years ago and then opted to use Spiced Pumpkin Cider last fall. I love the Marshmallow scent more though because it has the warm undertones that I adore.

    The Almond and Vanilla is no longer sold in stores but it’s a great autumn scent for when I run out of the MPL lotion, which will definitely happen too soon.

    That’s pretty much it for my collection!

    Do you love to shop at Bath and Body Works? What are some of your favorite products?

    What scents for lotion/body spray do you use in the fall?

    xx Vic

  • Yoga

    Kundalini Meditation

    Today I tried something a little different by making a video to update you all on my meditation experience! Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed a video format or if you prefer blog posts.

    Here are some of the links I promised to include in the video:

    My previous meditation post

    My vulnerable blog post

    The Journey Junkie’s Kundalini meditation tutorial

    Do you meditate? What style do you do?

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Pumpkin Spice, Everything (Will Be) Nice

    These last few days have been emotionally tumultuous for me, so I’ve been recharging in Starbucks sipping on iced pumpkin spiced lattes. They’re a delicious treat and I feel a bit better after consuming them. It’s also nice to be out of my house considering I did not leave my house at all in the last two days…which is probably not healthy but I don’t really have anywhere to go these days. Not leaving my house is definitely one of the many reasons I feel emotionally out of balance as a Vata person.

    In Ayuverda, which is the sister science to Yoga, I am predominantly a Vata person. I can explain this more in a different post, or you can look it up…but to explain briefly: Ayuverda is a method of characterizing everything in the universe, and there are three Doshas that can be used to describe it all in a very detailed manner. Everything has all three Doshas, but sometimes one is more prominent. Vata is only one of the Doshas, and in regards to how this Dosha appears in people, it includes being tall and slim, physically cold, creative, and idealistic. Some of the things that imbalance a Vata person are a lack of schedule, stress, and instability. I have been experiencing all three.

    While I have stability in the sense that I have a roof over my head, clean water, and food, everything else in my life feels unstable. It’s the dance that all twenty-somethings that graduate from college have to do, and I feel like if someone were to rate my performance thus far, it’d be a lackluster rating.

    The lack of a schedule, while everyone else is busy with school and/or work, is really getting to me now that my sister went back to school. For the first time since I was born, I’m living at home with only my parents around. It’s kind of weird honestly…so I’ve been spending a lot of time in my room.

    There have been perks with that though because I’ve finally been making progress with my room. My mom bought me some new furniture to store items in and my room feels so much more peaceful. I have to tidy up my floor now and then do some more minor organizing, but I plan to get the biggest stuff finished this week. I will share pictures soon.

    Aside from cleaning my room, I’ve also been reading daily before I go to sleep instead of wasting time on social media. I have finished three books I had half-read: The Period Repair Manual by Lara Briden, The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer, and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I plan to finish Don Quixote next, although it may take more time considering how large the book is.

    The only tasks on my schedule lately are job interviews, which is super stressful. All of my interviews have been phone interviews so I don’t have to go anywhere and I also haven’t been getting dressed for the day because I spend so much of my time at home. My interviews seem to be going well for the most part. I did have a terrible interview experience though…perhaps I’ll talk more about that in a different post.

    I know I have said this before, but maybe it really is time to look for part-time work? At this point, based off of my interviews, I won’t be working until October 1st at the earliest, but that’s assuming I get second-interviews and then a job offer before then. If that doesn’t happen, I may end up not working until December, January, or even later. Ideally, I’d like my part-time work to be yoga related…but considering how volatile my self-esteem is these days, it’s so hard to put myself out there face-to-face with someone. My girlfriend recommended I put teaching yoga on the back-burner for now because when the time is right for me to teach, I will be able to teach. I do have a yoga audition today though…but yeah maybe I’ll hold off on it for a while.

    It feels like I’m just “holding off” on everything. I’m postponing taking the GRE, applying to grad schools, and thus, attending grad school. I am also postponing getting a yoga job and it seems like the universe has decided for me that I am postponing working full-time for at least another month.

    People don’t talk truthfully enough about the frustration, depression, and self-doubt that comes with graduating from college and then trying to get a job. I feel like people only talk about those feelings in hindsight once they get a job, so their perspective on the situation is different at that point. They see their challenges through rose-colored glasses because they had overcome the job-hunting challenge.

    Well let me be honest: post-grad life is grueling.

    College is super stressful, but this is a whole different type of stress because you will be on your own and you will be trying to be an “adult.” Plus you will get asked by everyone you interact with the dreaded “so what are you doing now that you graduated?” and as the months go by and if you still don’t have an answer, you will seem and you will feel more pathetic. All you will do is worry because you won’t want to dread that question, you will want to answer it and you will want to be excited about your answer, but you will have no idea what/when/how you will have the answer.

    Every job application you send out will feel desperate and you will just hope that the employers can’t tell. You will feign enthusiasm in every interview you manage to get, but the second you leave you will be overcome with negativity and self-doubt. Every rejection you get will feel personal, because it kind of is, and you will doubt every decision you’ve ever made in college ie maybe you should have studied something else, maybe you’re not an ideal candidate for any job because of XYZ.

    It will feel like everyone is judging you, especially your parents/guardians, especially if you live with them because everyone is judging you. “Judging” is essentially what employers do. No one will judge you as much as you judge yourself though.

    Right now, on the mental and emotional spectrum of Esther Greenwood in The Bell Jar (clinically depressed) to Don Quixote from Don Quixote (unaware of his senselessness but unwaveringly believes in himself, disregarding the ridicule from anyone else), I feel closer to Esther Greenwood. I would love to be more like Don Quixote.

    Hence why I got dressed for once to be seen in public, went to Starbucks, and got an iced pumpkin spice latte.

    Pumpkin spice, everything will hopefully be nice eventually.

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Remembering

    Yesterday was the two-year anniversary of the passing of my cousin.

    It had actually slipped my mind that this anniversary was approaching because my sister was preparing to move back to school so I was spending a majority of my time with her and my mom. What caused me to remember the anniversary was that I started thinking about my cousin more than I usually do.

    I always think about her…but this was different. She was at the forefront of my mind when I woke up and thoughts of her were affecting my mood more strongly than usual. It wasn’t until a couple days of this that I remembered the anniversary of her death was approaching.

    I’ve been practicing strengthening my intuition by simply using it more, so intuitively, I felt that she was reaching out to me. Perhaps she wanted some attention or perhaps I subconsciously wanted to actively remember her, or both. So, I decided to start talking to her.

    It may seem a little unusual, it’s a little unusual to talk about it honestly….but it feels right to me.

    I talk to her when I’m driving, which is usually to my girlfriend’s house because I don’t really drive anywhere else. The drive is about an hour, thus it’s a decent amount of time to talk to my cousin about what I’ve been up to, thoughts/feelings that I have, and I also ask her some questions. Sometimes she asks me questions.

    My cousin was like an older sister to me, so allowing myself to communicate with her is…comforting and familiar. I used to call her frequently and she was always there to provide the insight that only an older sister can offer. I don’t have an older sister, in fact, I am the older sister to my sister, so the relationship I had with my cousin was and still is really special.

    Another way that I’ve been remembering and honoring my cousin is by rewatching Freaks and Geeks, which is a show she had told me to watch during my sophomore year of college, and we had talked frequently about it. It’s a perfect show to watch as autumn approaches too.

    At the end of the day, the little things I’ve been doing to remember my cousin are more focused on who she was to me when she was alive on Earth rather than focusing on how devastating it is that she is gone and feeling solemn that she isn’t growing with our family anymore.

    To me, it’s more important to remember the life one had as well as acknowledging their spirit. It reminds me of some of the African spiritual practices I’ve read about in Jambalaya, which I haven’t finished yet but I highly recommend it. So many cultures have traditions for their ancestors…I want to make my own for my cousin as well as my other ancestors. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet but I will let y’all know what I decide to do!

    Please provide me with inspiration! How do you remember and honor your ancestors?

    xx Vic

     

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