When I was in beauty school I remember how a lesson in acne led into one of the most powerful life-changing discussions. We were exploring the root causes of acne and how that can be related to stress on all accounts (physical, emotional, etc.). The simple solution our guest teacher had for stress management was to express gratitude and embrace change. At 18, this had me totally shook! It was so simple but it was something I never really sat down to think about how the combination of those two seemingly simple action could turn your entire life, and health, around. My expression of gratitude is a daily practice, however, I do like to take the opportunity to sit deeply on this topic whenever I can. So with Thanksgiving around the corner, I wanted to share my gratitude for the year with all of you. 2017 was not at all what I expected, especially since 2016 felt like we all were hit by a bus. I sort of expected it to be a little easier but with so many life changes it’s easy to think back on it now and realize that this year was going to be a big one. Emotionally, financially, physically, all the things just grew towards a new level I never thought was possible. Without my gratitude practice, I don’t think I could see this year as positively as I do but the old saying still runs true: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. That’s where the embracing change part creeps in. It’s one thing to express gratitude but when life is throwing you all sorts of curve balls, it’s how you embrace the journey that truly transforms you.

First things first, my first bit of gratitude goes to my husband. Getting married to my best friend was something that felt like a no-brainer but it as soon as we actually took the plunge, all of my insecurities, neuroses, and health issues surfaced all at once. His commitment to me was tested and I can say I’ve never felt more cherished and elevated by him than this last year we’ve spent together. He was a great boyfriend, but he’s an incredible husband. I remember earlier this year someone asked me what the difference felt like to me when I got married and I barely held back tears as I explained that this year has been one of my most trying. James held up a mirror to me so I could see that my brain was communicating differently than my reality. I wasn’t the ugly, fat, undeserving person I thought I was and in fact, he made sure to remind me of how beautiful I was so much that I actually started to see it again. He’d get up with me to workout once my ankle started to heal from severely injuring it at the start of the year. He helped me stay on a path that was aligned with my best physical and mental health practices. After discovering how my large intestine wasn’t working properly, experiencing a chemical miscarriage which led to the worst periods I've had in 20 years which also led to having the most migraines I’ve ever experienced, I realized that my brain chemistry had changed so significantly that I was severely depressed. I was at my lowest in one of the most wonderful times of my life, my first year of marriage. He picked me up figuratively and literally so that I could feel like Hayley again. My gratitude for everything he does for me daily, and during the hardships, is endless. I was also reminded to embrace the changes of my body, career, and just leap into my life with an open heart because he would be there by my side no matter what. This was one of the first years I have ever fully just trusted and it's been incredibly liberating. 

Secondly, I have an endless gratitude to my manifestation teacher, Lacy. Lacy Phillips is someone I have written about in previous posts and shared with on my social media for her work, Free + Native. I had followed Lacy for years but it was this year that led me to take the steps to finally start working with her. This woman is a game-changer. If you think that manifestation is woo-woo or you’ve tried just about everything else, you MUST give her a shot. Even just in her writing on her weekly posts and Instagram feed is inspiring enough to actualize your worth and let go of the blocks that keep you from living your most authentic life. Her carefully curated mindful language and flawless manifestation formula is the reason I’m not only booked up for weeks ahead and have managed to cross over into full autonomy without balancing several side-hustles to just pay rent. I’m living out my dream of working for myself and helping my clients in ways I never believed I was capable of. Doing her work has created so much more space for me to reach my potential and believe that I’m worth all of it. I’m forever indebted to you Lacy (AKA free facials for life!).

Lastly, the list could go on and on with several honorable mentions like Jessi and Tara from SFT who keep my creative neurons constantly firing off, but I want to specifically shout out my clients and readers. I’m not sure if you all realize how each of you has shaped me into a better person, but you truly have. I learn so much from all of you and you each leave me with a nugget of knowledge each time I see you. I’m could never thank you enough for putting your faith in me and in my practice. I want all of you to love yourself and see what I see in all of you, which are unique, brave, magnificent individuals who deserve to shine brightly. If I can just amp up your lights with a little facial love and therapy talk, that will forever make my world.

So before you head into your thanksgiving dinners, think to yourself about how you express gratitude daily and how that helps you embrace the changes in your life. Stress is inevitable, and life over the past year has felt insane given our current administration and conditions in our world, but it’s so important to know that within all of this we hold a lot of power. We have the power to shift our own narratives and lead our lives with honor, love, and light. Skin aside, if we don’t make the connection of how each part of ourselves (mind, body, spirit) are connected, we won’t be able to make the changes necessary to see past the hard times. Once you recognize your own power to be the best version of you, you will be unstoppable.

Thanks for reading and I hope I didn’t get too existential on all of you. Have a beautiful holiday and I look forward to writing more for you next week! Xo - Hayley

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